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Campaign to open Trump community centers to woo black voters

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's campaign is stepping up its outreach to black Americans as it tries to claw away support from the traditionally Democratic voting bloc ahead of November's general election. Trump's campaign is announcing Wednesday that it is opening 15 “Black Voices for Trump Community Centers” in the coming weeks in major cities in battleground states. The offices will feature a line of campaign swag adopting the “woke” label, videos of prominent Trump surrogates like Diamond and Silk explaining their support for the president and pamphlets outlining the president's record. The retail spaces will be the campaign's first field offices targeted at a specific demographic group.


Presidential hopefuls return to N Carolina as primary nears

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) — A steady run of Democratic presidential candidates to North Carolina is starting as the days dwindle before Tuesday's primary. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leads the return as he participates Wednesday in an anti-poverty forum at the Goldsboro church of civil rights activist the Rev. William Barber. Sanders also has a Winston-Salem rally on Thursday. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will be in Raleigh later Thursday for a televised town hall. She and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are speaking Saturday in Charlotte at a state Democratic Party event. Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg also have weekend rallies scheduled in Raleigh.


Extraordinary North Carolina court review on voter ID sought

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Republican legislative leaders want the state’s entire Court of Appeals to hear arguments on a ruling by three of the court’s judges that set another barrier to implement voter photo identification. House and Senate GOP leaders asked this week that all 15 judges be brought together to hear arguments and rule. They say a three-judge panel of the appeals court got it wrong when it reversed a lower court decision and declared the photo ID requirement should be halted while a lawsuit goes to trial. Such rehearings are permitted under a 2016 law, but the Court of Appeals has never granted one.


Owner of service-dog nonprofit is facing criminal charges

APEX, N.C. (AP) — A man who ran a nonprofit in North Carolina that sold service dogs to people with disabilities is now facing criminal charges over allegations that the dogs were poorly trained and had problems fighting with other dogs or biting people. North Carolina's Attorney General said Tuesday that Mark Mathis was indicted in Wake County on 42 counts of obtaining property by false pretense. Mathis founded Ry-Con, which was based in Apex, just southwest of Raleigh, Some customers claimed that dogs were emaciated, skittish and matted with urine and feces. Many said their pups lunged and nipped at children or weren’t housetrained.


Teen accused of shooting North Carolina deputy pleads guilty

LILLINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A teenager accused of shooting a North Carolina sheriff's deputy two years ago has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the incident. News sources report the teenager, who was 16 at the time he shot Harnett County Sgt. Eric Cook in April 2018, was sentenced to between 13 years and 16 years in prison. The teen was given credit for the nearly two years he spent in jail after the shooting. Authorities say Cook was shot in the face and chest with a stolen .45-caliber handgun. Cook returned to duty 10 months after the shooting.


For a historic high court pick, Dems must think outside box

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden is dangling a history-making promise shortly before Saturday's South Carolina presidential primary. Biden says if he's elected president, he might nominate the first black woman to the Supreme Court. But if Biden or any other Democratic presidential candidate wants to do that, they'd have to look beyond the pool of federal appeals court judges whom presidents have tapped for all but one of the last dozen nominees. According to a Federal Judicial Center database, only five black women are currently appeals court judges, and each of those women is 69 or older this year. Still, there are women who would be obvious choices from politics, advocacy groups and state and other courts.


Colleges call students back from Italy amid virus concerns

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — The spread of the new coronavirus to Italy has led universities to reassess study abroad programs in the country, with many American schools this week calling their students back to the U.S. Schools including Syracuse University, Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University and Elon University said they are canceling programs in Italy, where the death toll rose to 12 on Wednesday. Many universities in the U.S., Australia and Europe already have canceled study abroad programs in China, where the outbreak began. Italy is the second most popular destination for American students studying abroad, behind only the United Kingdom.


Missing toddler's mother, grandmother jailed in Tennessee

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The mother and grandmother of a missing 15-month-old girl are both in a Tennessee jail after giving conflicting accounts about the toddler's disappearance. Authorities say they are frustrated by the pair's multiple versions of what happened to Evelyn Mae Boswell. They have charged the girl's 18-year-old mother, Megan Boswell, with filing a false report. Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said at a news conference Wednesday that authorities were searching for the toddler in an area in Wilkes County, North Carolina.