The latest public school teacher pay rankings show North Carolina still below the national average, but making improvement after raises were approved last summer.
The new National Education Association report showed North Carolina ranked 47th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia during the 2013-14 school year in average teacher pay, at almost $45,000. The NEA's average pay estimate this year for North Carolina is about $47,800, compared to the national average of about $57,400.
North Carolina's 6.2 percent increase represented the highest jump in the country. The legislature raised the minimum salary to $33,000 and gave raises of varying amounts to others.
UPGRADE AT CHERRY POINT AIR STATION
Many military bases around the country are dealing with major budget cuts, but eastern North Carolina’s Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point soon will get millions of dollars in upgrades to accommodate new fighter planes. The Jacksonville Daily News reports that $183 million in new construction is planned at Cherry Point over the next five years. Two new hangars, new fencing and other security upgrades will pave the way for new F-35 Lightning 2 Joint Strike Fighters coming to the base. Facilities for unmanned aerial vehicles also are planned.
POLICE SEEK DRIVE-BY CAR AND SUSPECTS
Police are looking for suspects and the car they used in a drive-by shooting Saturday on Timbertop Lane, off Harrisburg Road in east Charlotte. Police showed photos of a 4-door sedan with black wheels, which they said was involved in the incident around 10:30am. As the car drove, a front-seat passenger fired several shots at the home. One person on the porch was hit in the foot. Anyone with information may call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
TILLIS SAYS SHOOTING SUSPECT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DEPORTED
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis is questioning why the 19-year-old suspect in four recent Charlotte-area killings wasn't deported despite a 2012 marijuana charge and alleged ties to street gangs. Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez faces four first-degree murder charges from two separate shootings in February. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say the killings were drug-related. Among the dead was 19-year-old Mirjana Puhar, a former contestant on the reality-TV show "America's Next Top Model." Tillis said in a statement Friday that Rangel-Hernandez's deportation process was stopped under President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy - even though federal officials knew he was a gang member.
LINCOLN COUNTY WOMAN MISSING
Lincoln County authorities are looking for a 62-year-old woman missing for more than a week. The Charlotte Observer reports teams searched wooded areas and bodies of water for Patricia Loveless. She hasn’t been seen since March 13 near Lincolnton High School, when she was wearing a blue sweatshirt, gray pants and white tennis shoes. She was reported missing by her roommate. Lincolnton Police also handed out flyers and talked to residents. So far police have no solid leads.
CONGRESS MEMBERS DISAGREE ON OFFSHORE OIL
The five US representatives from North and South Carolina’s coastal districts have opposing views on offshore drilling. Govs. Nikki Haley and Pat McCrory are in the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, which promotes offshore energy. But almost 20 coastal communities in the states oppose drilling. And Congress members are in disagreement. Democratic U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and 52 other members of Congress recently wrote Interior Secretary Sally Jewell asking the Atlantic be off-limits to drilling. But U.S. Rep. David Rouzer of North Carolina says offshore oil can encourage economic growth. In South Carolina, Mark Sanford, who has opposed drilling in the past, has no problem with seeing how much oil is out there but says he isn't prepared to go further.
SPORTS: STATE UPSETS NO. 1 VILLANOVA
NC State upset number 1 seed Villanova 71 to 68 last night to advance to the third round of the NCAA division 1 men’s basketball tournament at Pittsburgh. The win is sparking memories of 1983, when the Wolf Pack won the national championship under coach Jim Valvano. Eighth seeded State will be in Syracuse Friday to play the winner of tonight’s Louisville-Northern Iowa game.
Meanwhile, North Carolina beat Arkansas, 87 to 78. And Duke plays San Diego State this afternoon at 2:40. See the full NCAA Division 1 bracket at http://www.ncaa.com/
Davidson ended its season Friday night, with a big loss in their NCAA tournament opener in Seattle. Aaron White scored 26 points to lead seventh-seed Iowa to an easy 83-52 win over the No. 10 Wildcats.
And two drivers from Stewart Haas Racing in Kannapolis will start at the front today in NASCAR Sprint Cup’s Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California. Kurt Busch has the pole position, and Kevin Harvick is No. 2. The 200 lap race starts at 3:30 eastern time. More at NASCAR.com