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COMMON CORE

Legislative panel wants Common Core stopped in NC

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Legislators want to replace new public school academic standards used by North Carolina and more than 40 other states after hearing parents and other groups complain that the Common Core program is controlling curriculum and classrooms.

A House-Senate study committee recommended Thursday to the full General Assembly that it pass a law to prevent the State Board of Education from developing further the Common Core standards for North Carolina schools.

A new standards advisory commission would make recommendations to the board on new standards. The current Common Core standards would remain in place in the meantime.

Critics of the replacement proposal on the panel said their colleagues are politicizing public education decisions.

Gov. Pat McCrory has expressed support previously for Common Core, as has the North Carolina Chamber.

PENSION PLAN-TREASURER

Panel says NC should spread pension decisions

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A commission is recommending that North Carolina lawmakers change how the state's $86 billion pension system for teachers and state workers handles investments.

North Carolina is one of just four states where the state treasurer is solely responsible for how pension funds are invested. A panel created by Treasurer Janet Cowell recommended Thursday that investments should be determined by an appointed board of trustees.

Some panel members said the change would be a bad idea because once a group is making decisions no individual is accountable for bad choices.

The union representing tens of thousands of North Carolina state workers has long pushed for an investment board to manage pension funds.

Cowell will review her panel's recommendations and propose changes to legislators who start their annual session next month.

BARBECUE-MARIJUANA

Gaston County restaurant owner faces drug charges

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) - Police in Gaston County say a barbecue restaurant was selling more than barbecue to some customers.

The owner of Smokey's BBQ Restaurant was arrested earlier this week on a variety of marijuana-related charges.

Thirty-nine-year-old Donnie Allen Wooten of the Gaston County town of Dallas was one of three people arrested Tuesday.

Police said the investigation started in November after an undercover agent bought 30 pounds of marijuana.

Wooten faces more than two dozen charges. Thirty-five-year-old Michael Gene Huffman of Dallas faces more than 50 charges. Twenty-nine-year-old Tausha Michelle Mixon of Dallas faces seven charges.

Police say they are looking for a fourth suspect.

It was not known if the suspects have attorneys.

ST AUGUSTINE PRESIDENT

St. Augustine's University chooses interim leader

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The new interim president of St. Augustine's University in Raleigh says he will work restore faith among the school's students, graduates and faculty.

Fifty-five-year-old Everett Ward was named to the interim post Wednesday.

The St. Augustine's graduate is a former Department of Transportation administrator and state Democratic Party director.

He made a $10,000 donation to the school as he took office that he hopes will be an example to alumni of the financially troubled university.

The school's board of trustees removed Dianne Boardley Suber earlier this month after she said she planned to retire next month.

St. Augustine's faces enrollment declines, administrative turnover, staff reductions and a construction lawsuit.

Two federal agencies are reviewing how the school is handling grants. A regional accrediting agency is reviewing the school's finances.

HUSBAND STABBED

Caldwell County woman charged with husband's death

LENOIR, N.C. (AP) - A Caldwell County woman has been arrested and charged with stabbing her husband to death.

Police in Hudson say 58-year-old Danny Harris died after being stabbed Tuesday afternoon.

Fifty-four-year-old Donna Harris has been charged with murder. It was not clear if she has an attorney.

An apartment manager said the couple had moved into the complex last July.

EARNS-LORILLARD

Cigarette maker Lorillard 1Q profit falls 17 pct

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Tobacco company Lorillard says its first-quarter profit fell more than 17 percent as its costs rose, it sold fewer cigarettes and its year-ago results benefited lower expenses from a longstanding legal settlement.

The nation's third-biggest tobacco company said Thursday it earned $271 million, or 74 cents per share, for the period. That's down from $328 million, or 86 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were 69 cents per share, 3 cents lower than analysts expected.

Revenue excluding excises taxes rose 2 percent to $1.15 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $1.19 billion.

Lorillard Inc., based in Greensboro, N.C., says its cigarette shipments fell about 3 percent.

Volumes of Newport, Lorillard's biggest brand, fell 1.5 percent. The brand's U.S. retail market share grew to 13 percent.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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