Thursday News: And then there were nine


WOODHOUSE THREATENS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AFTER COOPER APPOINTS CIRCOSTA: Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday evening he had appointed Circosta to the ninth seat on the Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The wrangling on the way to agreement on two nominees reflected the long power struggle between Cooper, a Democrat, and the Republican-run legislature, which moved to change the board after Cooper won office in 2016. Cooper has sued over the changes three times, most recently this month. But Dallas Woodhouse, the NC Republican Party executive director, said Republicans will talk about asking the legislature to consider a constitutional amendment to allow "a fully bipartisan board," with an even number of Democrats and Republicans.

LEGISLATIVE SCHOOL SAFETY COMMITTEE BEGINS ITS WORK: Elliott Smith, acting special agent in charge of the State Bureau of Investigation, said a gun safety group has reported that a school shooting has occurred once a week, on average, across the U.S. in the past five years. On Tuesday, a high school student in Maryland shot two of his classmates before being shot by a school resource officer. Bomb threats Tuesday also locked down some schools in Wake Forest and led to evacuation at Halifax Community College. Jim Deni, a psychology professor at Appalachian State University and president of the North Carolina School Psychologists Association, told lawmakers they need to provide more mental health support, noting that about 20 percent of people have mental health problems and that school counselors and psychologists are overwhelmed. "We have to have a balanced approach between psychological safety and physical safety," Deni said.

ANTI-GUN RALLY TO BE HELD ON UNC CAMPUS NEXT WEEK: An anti-gun rally next week in Chapel Hill is expected to draw students from area universities, as well as speakers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a gunman killed 17 people in February. The event, "UNC Rally for Our Lives," is planned for March 29 at 5 p.m. at Polk Place, the main quad at UNC-Chapel Hill. Students from UNC, Duke, N.C. State and Elon universities will take part. Organizers say they expect more than 1,000 people at the event, which will follow this weekend's march on Washington, Raleigh and other cities across the country. Joshua Romero, 19, a UNC freshman from Boca Raton, Fla.., started a group called UNC4MSD to support the high school in Parkland. He said he wanted to encourage college students to become more involved in the movement to advocate for changes in gun laws.

CITY OF HENDERSON SEEKS HELP FROM STATE AFTER NUMEROUS SHOOTING DEATHS: Six people have been fatally shot in a North Carolina city in less than two weeks and now city officials are asking state authorities for additional resources. Henderson Mayor Eddie Ellington told WRAL-TV on Wednesday he is asking for reinforcement and other aid after a man was killed Tuesday night. Henderson police say in a statement 23-year-old Darrion Richardson and another person were shot inside a car. Police say Richardson died at a hospital but did not identify the other person or provide information about their condition. Police say three men died after being shot March 14. An unidentified 14-year-old and a 31-year-old man were also killed earlier this month. One arrest has been made in the cases. Ellington says 13 of the police department's 59 sworn-officer positions are vacant.

BIDEN AND TRUMP TRADE MIDDLE-SCHOOL FISTFIGHT THREATS: "They asked me would I like to debate this gentleman, and I said no. I said, 'If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him,'" said Biden, getting laughter and applause from the crowd at the University of Miami. "Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!" Biden's comments Tuesday were at rally for his "It's On Us" advocacy group that aims combat sexual assault on college campuses. The former vice president has made similar remarks before about Trump during the 2016 election.