Saturday News: King of Pork


BERGER'S BUDGET SENDS $15 MILLION TO HIS OWN DISTRICT: Millions of dollars in the state budget are going to mostly Republican districts for water infrastructure and parks projects. While Republicans defend the allocations as needed help to rural areas, an environmental group questions the process and oversight. The North Carolina Conservation Network analyzed the budget and found that 91% of $25 million in parks and water infrastructure earmarks went to Republican districts. Most were in Senate leader Phil Berger’s district, which includes Eden, Yanceyville and King. As first reported by WBTV, the Conservation Network found that about $23.4 million in direct appropriations, known as earmarks, went to Republican-held Senate districts, and within that a $15 million loan to the city of King in Berger’s district.

TWO SBI AGENTS INJURED AFTER HOMEGROWN (WHITE) TERRORIST ARRESTED: Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Luper and Special Agent Brian Joy were rushed for medical treatment after the blast. Joy was flown to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill and was in critical condition, the SBI said. Luper was also taken to the burn center and was listed in stable condition, authorities said. Tyndall, 33, was being held Friday on several charges, including three counts of possession of weapons of mass destruction, misdemeanor larceny, speeding, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamines, authorities said. Tyndall was being held on a bond of $151,000 at the Sampson County jail. Sky Five was soon in the air after word of the explosion that hurt the agents. Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said there were bombs on the property, and the agents worked away to destroy each one. Neighbors were left on edge as they could hear the controlled explosions.

ARGUMENTS CONCLUDE IN NC GERRYMANDERING TRIAL, DECISION PENDING: The gerrymandering trial challenging North Carolina’s districts for the state legislature wrapped up Friday in a Raleigh courtroom. But no matter what the judges decide, it almost certainly won’t be the final word in this case. The case pits Republican legislative leaders against the state Democratic Party and the redistricting reform group Common Cause. The judges hearing the case did not issue a ruling Friday, and it’s not clear when they will. Either way, whichever side loses will likely appeal the case, and at some point it will most likely come before the North Carolina Supreme Court. Republican lawmakers have been predicting that outcome for months. Earlier this year they tried — unsuccessfully — to move the case into the federal court system. In the races for the NC General Assembly in 2018, Democratic candidates won a majority of the votes statewide. But Republicans still won a majority of both the 120 seats in the NC House and the 50 seats in the NC Senate.

PARKLAND SHOOTER WAS SEARCHED DAILY BECAUSE SCHOOL WAS "CONCERNED" ABOUT HIM: The former student who later shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was such a threat in school that he was searched every morning for weapons, new testimony shows. The extraordinary measure followed an earlier decision to bar Nikolas Cruz from taking a backpack to campus after he talked of suicide and wrote “kill” in a notebook. The search procedure was revealed in a sworn deposition from Kelvin Greenleaf, the security guard who searched Cruz. The South Florida Sun Sentinel obtained a copy of the deposition this week. “Never found a weapon on him,” Greenleaf explained in the testimony July 11. “I think we got concerned when, I think, we found out he drank bleach, tried to hurt himself or something like that, the kid. That’s when we started, like, having the kid come in every morning to be searched by me, but never found a weapon on the kid, never.”

SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF TRUMP STEALING MILITARY FUNDING FOR WALL: A split Supreme Court said Friday night that the Trump administration could proceed with its plan to use $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to build part of the president’s wall project along the southern border. The court’s conservatives set aside a lower-court ruling for the Sierra Club and a coalition of border communities that said reallocating Defense Department money would violate federal law. Friday’s unsigned ruling came in response to an emergency filing from the administration during the court’s summer recess. The majority said the government “made a sufficient showing at this stage” that private groups may not be the proper plaintiffs to challenge the transfer of money. The court’s action is a stay of the injunction issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on a 2-to-1 vote, and the litigation continues. The administration wants to finalize contracts for the work before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.