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News Roundup: Convictions Overturned, NASCAR's New Sponsor, Supreme Court Rejects Vouchers And More

A North Carolina judge has overturned the convictions of two men who have served 30 years in prison for the rape and murder of an 11-year old Robeson County girl. Fifty-year-old Henry McCollum and 46-year-old Leon Brown were convicted in the 1893 killing of Sabrina Buie. DNA evidence from a cigarette butt recovered at the crime scene points to another man in the crime.

NASCAR’s minor league circuit has a new sponsor. Comcast has signed a 10-year deal to sponsor the 33-race series. It will be called X-finity, which is the company’s brand name for its cable, internet, and phone services. The first race of the Xfinity series will be next July at Daytona International Speedway.

The North Carolina Supreme Court has rejected a request for the emergency release of voucher funds for private school tuition. A judge last month ruled the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program unconstitutional because private schools don’t have to meet state curriculum requirements. Legislative leaders and backers of the voucher program appealed to the Supreme Court after a similar request failed at the state Court of Appeals.

Rowan County Commissioner Jon Barber pleaded no contest today to misdemeanor larceny. Barber is accused of using a county copy machine to make more than 4000 thousand color flyers for his business. Commissioners asked the State Bureau of Investigation to pursue the case after county employees reported coming into the office in November to find the copier out of toner and jammed with paper. Barber was ordered to pay $800 in restitution plus a $500 dollar fine and sentenced to 36 hours of community service. He isn’t seeking re-election  in November.

South Carolina’s inspector general is launching an investigation into whether disabled residents are being overcharged for their care. The probe comes after a whistleblower in the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs claimed that several of the agency’s providers were incorrectly charging disabled clients for rent in group homes. The state says it’s hiring an outside accounting firm to review local disability boards’ billing and that residents will be reimbursed for any overpayments.

The four-year graduation rate at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is up four percent to 85.2 percent. CMS saw increases in graduation among minority students by more than 20 percent in the last five years. White students still graduate at the highest rate at 93 percent. That’s more than 10 percent higher than black students and 18 percent higher than Hispanic students. Last year, CMS lowered the number of credits seniors need to graduate from 28 to 24.

Kellogg says it will start laying off workers at its Charlotte bakery in November as the company moves to close the location. According to a filing with the state department of commerce, 161 employees will be laid off between November and January.

All CVS Pharmacy stores are tobacco free as of today. The country’s second-largest drug store chain announced in February it was removing cigarettes and other tobacco products from shelves at all 7700 of its stores. CVS has replaced tobacco displays with signs explaining the change and offering a selection of tobacco replacement products.

American Airlines is adding nonstop daily flights between Charlotte and two Indiana cities. The airline says the service to Evansville and Fort Wayne will start October 2nd.