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June 26, 2018 - 12:00 am

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS-THE LATEST

The Latest: Crime victims' rights amendment going to voters

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Voters will be asked this fall to decide whether to change the North Carolina Constitution to rework a current section that lays out the rights of crime victims.

The House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to accept changes in the proposed constitutional amendment made by the Senate. Now the item will be placed on all ballots in the state this November in an up-or-down referendum.

Supporters say the amendment known as "Marsy's Law" would expand rights already in the state constitution approved by voters two decades ago. The changes make clear victims can go to court and seek redress when they feel their rights aren't being satisfied.

Chief sponsor Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary says the proposed changes won't cost the state any additional money for court officials to comply with in the near future. Some House members questioned why the changes couldn't just be altered using conventional legislation.

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UNC-SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Officials: NC university mishandled sexual assault claims

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal civil rights authorities have found the University of North Carolina's flagship school violated Title IX anti-discrimination law because of the way it handled sexual assault and harassment complaints.

The decision by the Office for Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education came after a five-year investigation into complaints at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The office sent a letter Monday night to four former students and a former administrator who filed a complaint in 2013. The letter says the office determined the school did not adopt and publish proper grievance procedures for the resolution of sexual discrimination complaints as required by Title IX.

UNC did not admit any violation. However, it agreed to several changes, including to review and possibly revise its Title IX policies and grievance procedures.

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This story has been edited to correct the title to Office for Civil Rights instead of Office of Civil Rights.

MILITARY IMPERSONATOR-HELICOPTER

Man admits to impersonating general on helicopter flight

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has admitted to impersonating a three-star Army general and landing a chartered helicopter at a technology company to impress a woman.

Christian Desgroux pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of pretending to be a military officer. The 58-year-old faces up to three years in prison at his sentencing scheduled for late July. But his defense attorney said sentencing guidelines call for no more than six months' incarceration.

Authorities say Desgroux unexpectedly had a charter helicopter pilot land on a soccer field last November at the sprawling corporate campus of SAS Institute in Cary. Wearing a military uniform, Desgroux told a security officer he was there to pick up a female employee for a classified briefing authorized by the president, according to federal agents.

BRAIN TUMORS-POLIO TREATMENT

Enemy turned ally: Poliovirus is used to fight brain tumors

One of the world's most dreaded viruses has been turned into an immune system therapy to fight deadly brain tumors.

Doctors say survival was better than expected for patients in a small study who were given modified poliovirus, which helped their bodies attack the cancer.

It was the first human test of this and it didn't help most patients or improve median survival. But many who did respond seemed to have long-lasting benefit: About 21 percent were alive at three years versus 4 percent in a comparison group of previous brain tumor patients.

The treatment was developed at Duke University with help from the National Cancer Institute. Results were discussed Tuesday at a conference in Norway and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

COOPER-BILLS

Senate votes to override vetoes on voting, farm litigation

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A chamber of the North Carolina General Assembly has started overriding two of Gov. Roy Cooper's latest vetoes of measures that would adjust early in-person voting and restrict litigation filed by neighbors of big livestock operations unhappy with nearby odors.

The Senate voted Tuesday to enact the legislation over the formal objections Cooper announced Monday. Those measures now return to the House.

The early voting measure adjusts the current 17-day period by eliminating the final day now scheduled for Saturday before Election Day and moving up the start by one day.

The agriculture industry pushed for the legislation making it harder for nuisance lawsuits to be successful following a multi-million dollar verdict against Smithfield Foods. Bill supporters say without it litigation could force farmers out of business.

FATAL WRECK-GUILTY PLEA

Man pleads guilty in crash that killed elderly man

(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a crash that killed an elderly man.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports 19-year-old Kevin Lamont East Jr. pleaded guilty in Forsyth County Superior Court Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving to endanger and exceeding a safe speed. The judge consolidated the charges into one and sentenced East to between 16 and 29 months in prison.

Police said East was driving at 83 miles per hour on Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem in December. Investigators said one of his passengers told them East began speeding and driving erratically. Another passenger told police they asked East why he was driving so fast and told him to slow down before he crashed into a car making a left-hand and killed 80-year-old Robert Charles Shumate.

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TENNESSEE SENATE-BROADBAND ACCESS

Bredesen to push for TVA to help expand broadband access

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen says he would push to get the Tennessee Valley Authority to help expand broadband internet access to rural areas if elected.

Bredesen is a Democrat and a former Tennessee governor. He is seeking to replace Sen. Bob Corker, a two-term Republican who is not seeking re-election.

Bredesen spoke Tuesday to a Kiwanis Club in Clarksville. He said he is committed to amending the federal TVA act to allow the government-owned electricity provider to bring access to underserved rural areas in Tennessee.

Bredesen says the "foundation" has been set by the TVA's board approval in 2017 of $300 million to expand its network fiber capacity — and by a law signed by Gov. Bill Haslam last year giving electric cooperatives the authority to provide broadband service.

NEAR DROWNING-SETTLEMENT

Family reaches settlement in lawsuit over near-drowning

KINSTON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina family has reached a settlement in a lawsuit involving a near-drowning almost four years ago.

News outlets reports the family of Jaekwon Williams announced at the Lenoir County Courthouse Tuesday that a judge approved a settlement in a lawsuit brought against the city of Kinston, a local water park and the city of Rocky Mount.

Officials for both cities said Kinston paid $10 million and Rocky Mount paid more than $2.6 million.

Family attorney Ken Haigler said Jaekwon, who was 9 years old at the time and couldn't swim, was found at the bottom of a pool on Aug. 11, 2014, during a field trip sponsored by the Rocky Mount Parks & Recreation Department.

Haigler said Williams cannot walk or talk and needs constant medical attention.

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