NUCLEAR PLANT SHUTDOWN
US opens inspection into shuttered nuke plant
RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) - Federal regulators are launching a special inspection of a nuclear power plant outside North Carolina's capital city that was forced to shut down last week.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a news release Wednesday that two specialists will look into the issue, which was uncovered when plant operators at the Duke Energy-owned plant took a second look at year-old data. They want to know why the tiny sign of corrosion and cracking wasn't found earlier.
Duke Energy spokeswoman Rita Sipe says the country's largest electric company also is examining why the problem wasn't found sooner. The NRC release said repairs have begun.
Charlotte-based Duke Energy took over the plant after it acquired Raleigh-based Progress Energy last year.
Audit: NC Medicaid claims system untested, flawed
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - An audit of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says it has failed to fully test a new $484 million computer system scheduled to begin processing Medicaid claims on July 1.
The report issued by the office of State Auditor Beth Wood raises serious questions about the process used to affirm the complex NCTracks software will be ready to handle the more than $12 billion in Medicaid claims paid by the state each year.
NCTracks is being developed under a contact with Computer Sciences Corporation. The system was originally set to go live in August 2011 at a cost of $265 million.
In a written response, DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos agreed with the audit's key findings and said the agency is working hard to address the issues.
Racial Justice Act repeal heard by NC House panel
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Opponents of a measure that would repeal North Carolina's Racial Justice Act for death row prisoners and seeks to restart executions after several years of legal battles say capital cases shouldn't be rushed because a person's life is on the line.
Supporters of the Senate bill heard Wednesday in a House judiciary committee say justice for murder victims and their families have waited long enough and want this legislation to pass.
The Republican legislation in part would end completely a 2009 law backed by Democrats allowing condemned inmates to use statistics and other evidence to persuade a judge that bias influenced their sentences. Successful cases convert their sentences to a life term without parole.
No vote was taken Wednesday, but the bill cleared the Senate last month along party lines.
NC lawmakers donning hats, bow ties, playing ball
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina General Assembly is taking time out to suit up with big hats, bow ties and basketball uniforms.
Members of the House and Senate plan to host their semi-regular basketball game against the South Carolina state legislators Wednesday evening at Reynolds Coliseum on the North Carolina State University campus.
The game historically has been played in odd-numbered years. The charity event for the Food Banks of North Carolina will be preceded by a game between lobbyists for both states.
Wednesday also marks the annual "Brims and Bows" day at the Legislative Building, where lawmakers, staff and other participants in the legislative process wear hats or bow ties.
Sun Belt delays expanding to 12 teams
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson says plans to become a 12-team league are on hold.
Benson, speaking after Wednesday's conclusion of conference meetings in Destin, Fla., says the conference is comfortable with having an 11-team setup by 2014. He says member institutions don't want to rush to add another school simply so the league can host a conference championship game in football.
Benson says the decision to wait is aimed at seeking stability and ensuring a good geographic fit for a league currently in transition. Four schools are leaving this summer and a fifth next year. Those will be replaced by seven schools, two which do not have football and two which are joining for football only.
The Sun Belt will have eight football teams this coming season.
ACC-GEORGIA TECH-FLORIDA STATE
Georgia Tech tops Florida State 4-3 in ACC tourney
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - A.J. Murray and Mott Hyde hit back-to-back homers in the top of the ninth inning to help reigning champion Georgia Tech beat Florida State 4-3 on Wednesday in pool play at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
The seventh-seeded Yellow Jackets (34-23) led off the ninth with a pair of groundouts before Murray hit a solo shot to left against reliever Robby Coles to tie the game. Then Hyde followed with another shot to left to stun the second-seeded Seminoles (44-13).
Giovanny Alfonzo flied out to left in the bottom of the ninth to end the game for Florida State, with Coles (4-2) taking the loss.
Hyde had three hits and two RBIs for Georgia Tech, while reliever Daniel Palka (2-1) took the win with two scoreless innings of work.
Florida State will face sixth-seeded Virginia Tech on Thursday in Pool B, while Georgia Tech will face No. 3 seed Virginia.
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