ARMY GENERAL-SEX CHARGES
Judge won't dismiss general's sex assault charges
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - A military judge has declined to dismiss sexual assault charges against an Army general.
Judge Col. James Pohl on Monday offered the defense team to let a different commanding general and prosecutors consider a plea deal that was previously rejected. The defense has until Tuesday morning to decide between that option or allow the trial to proceed.
Before the trial, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair had offered to plead guilty to some of the lesser charges in exchange for the Army dropping the sexual assault charges. The plea deal was ultimately rejected.
On Monday, Pohl reviewed newly disclosed emails and said he found evidence that the decision to reject the plea deal was influenced by political considerations.
Under military code of justice, the decision was supposed to be decided solely based on evidence in the case - and not its broader political implications.
NC Democrats' executive director hopeful ahead
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The new leader of day-to-day operations at the North Carolina Democratic Party says the party is at an institutional disadvantage but considers herself a problem solver who will focus on electing Democrats this November.
The party's executive council over the weekend decided interim Executive Director Casey Mann will keep the job. She told The Associated Press on Monday the party must be willing to try new things to be successful. Mann says activists must work together to win campaigns.
The party has been in disarray over the past two years due to sexual harassment allegations, the recent firing of Mann's predecessor and widespread electoral losses.
Party officials say they have about $60,000 in the party operating account and are evaluating how to keep up their historic downtown Raleigh building.
NC dental board considers rule changes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners could change rules on emergency response and training after a second death linked to "conscious sedation."
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported the board is asking for public and professional comment on changes in the rules and procedures for dentistry and sedation.
Board operations officer Bobby White says he expects changes to be made in response to the comments.
"Conscious sedation" is supposed to depress patients' consciousness but keep them responsive. Both dentists involved in the suspected dentistry-related deaths had permits for conscious sedation dentistry.
White says the review might include ways to better train dentists, methods for response to emergencies and how to select patients for various treatments.
The first public comment hearing is set for Greensboro on March 28.
Search for more CSS Neuse parts delayed
KINSTON, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina archaeologists are delaying plans to use high-tech equipment in hopes of finding parts of a Confederate ship that sank almost 150 years.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported archaeologists will use sonar waves and a magnetic-field instrument over a half-mile stretch of the Neuse River near Kinston. They hope to find more parts of the CSS Neuse including a propeller, an anchor and cannon.
The work was delayed until Friday because the river level was too high Monday.
It was 149 years ago this month that rebel troops lit the iron-armored gunboat aflame to keep it from the Union. The sunken boat's hulk was pulled from the river in 1963.
Officials at the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center hope to raise any artifacts found Friday.
Senate Democrats aim ire at rich, obscure brothers
WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic Senate candidates are gambling they can turn voters against two obscure billionaire brothers who are funding attacks on them and the president's health care law.
Democrats are denouncing Charles and David Koch (kohk), two of world's richest people. The pair's political network is spending millions on TV ads hitting Democrats in North Carolina and several other states.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Kochs are paying huge sums to try to "buy" elections and advance a self-serving agenda of low taxes and less regulation.
Republicans say the Koch-financed ads accurately depict "Obamacare's" faults. They predict the Democrats' strategy won't work.
Republicans need to gain six Senate seats this fall to control the 100-member chamber.
Company to hire 50 to build boats in NC
NAVASSA, N.C. (AP) - A new company plans to hire 50 people to build boats at a new plant in Brunswick County.
The 33rd Strike Group said it will build the plant to make 18-foot aluminum catamaran motorboats at the plant new Navassa.
Brunswick County Economic Development Commission director Jim Bradshaw says the company is renovating a plant and will open in May.
It is not yet taking job applications.
Bradshaw says the new company was attracted to the area because a couple of boat manufacturers had closed in the area. Bradshaw says The 33rd Strike Group knows there are workers in the area who know how to build boats.
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