GOP'S STEALTH BUDGET JEOPARDIZES CHAPEL HILL/DURHAM LIGHT RAIL PROJECT: New state budget language holds back more than $200 million in funding for the planned Chapel Hill-to-Durham passenger rail project until federal money is promised, a potential road block for the $2.4 billion plan. The new language may set up a chicken-or-the-egg situation: The General Assembly now says no state money without federal guarantees, but federal funding requires a 50 percent match, and the state money has been been counted on. "We are assessing next steps, but the amended budget certainly appears to be detrimental to the light-rail project," GoTriangle General Manager Jeff Mann said in a statement late Monday, after the state budget became public. The new budget language released Monday night as part of the state's new $23.9 billion budget singles out light rail projects, requiring a written agreement establishing that all non-state money needed for construction "has been secured."
FAMILY WANTS ANSWERS IN JAIL DEATH OF 23 YEAR-OLD DURHAM MAN: Karen Kirkland says she knew something was wrong Sunday morning when her fiance, Dashawn Devonte Evans, did not call. "I'm the first one he calls," she said. But this Sunday the call did not come, and Kirkland and Evans' relatives are asking how a seemingly healthy young man, a father of two, was found dead in his cell at the Durham County jail. His death was the seventh at the jail since 2013. "They're not giving us a clear story," said Mercedes Jacobs, Evans' sister. "They said he came out for breakfast [and then returned to his cell]. How does a healthy person just turn around and die?" Evans' aunt Valisha Evans visited Evans twice a week, sometimes bringing his children. "We just talked about how he was doing. He was always laughing. He loved his family."
JUST ANOTHER POLICE SHOOTING OF A BLACK TEENAGE YOUTH, MOVE ALONG: State police are investigating after a teen was shot and wounded by a police officer in North Carolina. Laurinburg Police Chief Darwin Williams told news outlets he cannot talk about the Saturday morning shooting because it’s under investigation. Police were called to a shooting around 2 a.m. Saturday. Williams wouldn’t release the name of the teen or the officer, whom he says has been placed on leave during the investigation. The police department office was not open early Tuesday, a Scotland County dispatcher said. Williams did not say whether there was body camera video of the shooting. Scotland County NAACP president Herman Tyson told The Laurinburg Exchange he’s pleased state police are investigating.
NC REPUBLICANS CONSIDERING CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON VOTER ID: The North Carolina legislative session is expected to wrap up its work next month, but before lawmakers leave, they may consider some constitutional amendments for voters to decide on in November. One of those amendments among the six or so that could be considered is a voter ID proposal, and local lawmakers are already being targeted over it. Allison Riggs, a lawyer for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, says it's political red meat aimed at increasing GOP turnout during the November midterm election. "Just two years ago, the 4th Circuit (Court of Appeals) said that the legislature was racially discriminatory when they enacted this law, so they think, if they pass the buck on to voters, that will somehow give them the appearance of, 'It wasn't us, it was them,'" she said. "What they shouldn't be doing is trying to manipulate turnout and political outcomes in a way that disenfranchises voters."
AFRICA DOES NOT WANT YOUR USED GOODWILL-DONATED CLOTHES: When spring cleaning comes around in the United States, dropping well-loved clothes into a donation box can feel like an act of selflessness. Those stained sweaters, summer camp T-shirts and out-of-fashion shorts will clothe someone needier, right? It's actually a little more complicated. Most of America's castoff clothes are sold by the Salvation Army, Goodwill and others to private companies. Bales of used clothing are then shipped by the container-load, mostly to sub-Saharan Africa, in what has become a billion-dollar industry. African governments have become increasingly fed up. What many in the West think of as a gesture of generosity, they say, is preventing them from building their own apparel industries. In March 2016, four East African countries decided to raise tariffs on used clothing, in some cases to as much as 20 times the previous rate.