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Gov. Met Donor Before Prison Contract Renewal; Voters Pick New Mayor Tues.

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Tasnim Shamma
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WFAE file photo
Gov McCrory

SUNDAY HEADLINES: State public safety officials say a friend and campaign donor of Gov. Pat McCrory got his company’s prison maintenance contracts extended, even after the public safety department’s leader said the contracts shouldn’t be renewed.

The News & Observer of Raleigh and The Charlotte Observer reported Saturday that the state extended the contract of TKC Management Services after an October 2014 meeting between the governor, public safety officials and Graeme Keith Sr., a Charlotte developer and TKC's chairman. 

The newspapers say the contracts were extended after McCrory asked staff to look into the issue.  TKC’s attorney says the company is cooperating with the FBI, which is asking questions. Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry argued the contracts don't save money.

McCrory’s office issued a statement Saturday calling the story distorted, with inaccurate headlines and cropped photographs.  

See the full story on the Raleigh News & Observer website,   “McCrory brokered meeting on contract for friend and campaign donor.”

See Gov. McCrory’s response Saturday, “Governor’s Office Fact Checks Distorted McLatchy Story.”

VOTERS PICK MAYOR TUESDAY

Voters this week will pick a new mayor in Charlotte – the fifth in the past six years. Either Democrat Jennifer Roberts or Republican Edwin Peacock will lead the city into a new period following the downfall of their predecessor because of a corruption scandal. Peacock is a former City Council member who came up short in 2013 against Democrat Patrick Cannon, who later resigned after pleading guilty to taking $48,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen. Roberts is a former Mecklenburg County commission chair. She won a primary runoff against current Mayor Dan Clodfelter, who was appointed after Cannon resigned.

Also on the ballot are elections for city council, school board and local mayors and town boards. There’s also an important question … asking voters whether to extend the terms of Mecklenburg County commissioners from 2 years to 4 years.  Mecklenburg is the only North Carolina county where all commissioners serve two-year terms. More than 90 percent of counties use four-year terms, and a few use a mix of two- and four-year terms. 

About 18,000 people have cast ballots already in early voting …  which ended Saturday. That’s down from the last local elections two years ago, when more than 23,000 people voted early.  On Election day Tuesday, polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.  See more coverage http://wfae.org/term/election-2015

Voter information is at MECKBOE.org.

1 DEAD, 1 HURT IN WINSTON-SALEM STATE SHOOTING

UPDATED, 1:12pm - One person died and another was injured in a shooting overnight on the campus of Winston-Salem State University. Both victims are students, the university said. The shooting was reported around 1:20 AM near a dormitory, and the campus was locked down for about three hours.

The university says a suspected gunman is on the loose and visitors to the campus on Sunday are urged to stay away.   University spokesman Aaron Singleton says the slaying victim was 19-year-old Anthony White Jr., a second-year student from Charlotte.  Singleton says a second student injured in the attack was released from the hospital early Sunday. His name and condition were being withheld.
 
The historically black school was celebrating its homecoming weekend.
 

MEN SENTENCED FOR RUNNING GUNS SC TO NJ

Two men are going to prison for illegally buying guns in South Carolina and selling them in New Jersey. Federal prosecutors say 24-year-old Joseph Rutling of Camden, New Jersey, got 15 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. Rutling and his older brother, 33-year-old Marcus Rutling, both pleaded guilty in March to charges of conspiring to deal firearms without a license and possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon. Marcus Rutling lives in Camden, New Jersey, and Saluda, South Carolina.  

FARMWORKERS PLAN ‘DAY OF THE DEAD’  RALLY

Farmworkers and their advocates will gather on the Day of the Dead today to recognize those who have died in fields and poultry operations and those who continue to work in hazardous conditions.  The Mexican Dia de los Muertos celebration of life and death, is today at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh.  Speakers will discuss the dangerous and debilitating working conditions on farms and in poultry processing plants and call on elected officials to better protect those workers.   The service has been sponsored by the Farmworker Advocacy Network, a collection of organizations working to improve living and working conditions for farm and poultry workers in North Carolina.

SOLDIER’S REMAINS RETURNING FROM KOREA

A Winston-Salem man has learned that the remains of his brother have been found and are being returned from South Korea, where he disappeared in 1951 during the Korean War. The remains of Army Pfc. Frank Worley of Wilmington will be returned next week for burial with full military honors in the Salisbury National Cemetery.

CURRY HITS 53, OFF TO A HOT START

Charlotte native and former Davidson College basketball star Stephen Curry is off to a hot start in the young NBA season. He scored 53 points last night to lead his Golden State Warriors over New Orleans, 134 to 120. Curry, who was last year’s NBA Most Valuable Player, had 28 points in the third quarter. Curry also led scoring in the Warriors first two games of the season - 40 in an opening night win over the Pelicans and 25 in Friday’s win at Houston.  The Warriors are 3 and 0.

Also in sports today:

  • The Charlotte Hornets lost their first two games. They’re back in action this afternoon, hosting Atlanta at 2 o’clock at Time Warner Cable Arena.
  • And today at 1:15, NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup continues with the Goody’s 500 at Martinsville, Virginia.