STATE BRIEFS

Anti-Semitic graffiti found

BOONE (AP) — Officials are trying to determine who painted anti-Semitic symbols, including a swastika and a reference to the Holocaust, in a pedestrian tunnel at a university in North Carolina.

Appalachian State University associate vice chancellor Megan Hayes told the Winston-Salem Journal the graffiti was found last Sunday. It was on a wall in a tunnel that is frequently painted with murals and information about school events.

Hayes says that within an hour of it being found, students had painted over it. She says university officials don’t know who did it.

A picture of the graffiti was posted on the Facebook page of the Watauga County NAACP. It shows a Jewish Star of David with an anti-Semitic message, as well as a swastika on a red flag.

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‘Taste of the State Fair’ set

RALEIGH (AP) — If you’re hankering for a Krispy Kreme burger or deep-fried Oreos and just can’t wait for the North Carolina State Fair to open next month, here’s a temporary fix.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports fair officials are holding their first “Taste of the State Fair” in four cities across central and eastern North Carolina this weekend. The fair begins on Oct. 11.

The event will be held in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville and Greenville. Selections will be available from food trucks to sample for free when buying advance tickets to the fair, but the food can also be purchased separately without buying fair tickets.

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Man bound, bagged, shot in head

HIGH POINT (AP) — An autopsy report of a man found dead in a North Carolina lake says he was tied up and shot in the head with a shotgun.

News outlets report the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released the autopsy of 31-year-old Sircorious “Cory” Brion’t Griffin on Thursday. Griffin’s family reported him missing in July. His body was found the next day in High Point Lake.

The report says Griffin’s legs were tied together several times by green plastic wrap and a plastic bag had been placed over his head. It lists his cause of death as a shotgun wound to the head and classifies his death as a homicide.

Police found a vehicle in August thought to be involved in the slaying.

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New tracking system for rape kits

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina government’s top lawyer says a new tracking system for pending sexual assault evidence kits and new funds toward completing untested kits sitting in local law enforcement agencies will help bring victims justice.

Attorney General Josh Stein announced the new tracking system Thursday at the State Crime Lab. It will provide real-time updates for authorities, attorneys and victims themselves.

Stein’s office says a $2 million federal grant will help reduce the 15,000 untested kits in existence. The money also will go toward ensuring all kits have barcodes and training sexual assault investigators.

He said it would cost about $10 million to test the entire backlog.

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Dem spokesman apologizes for tweets

RALEIGH (AP) — The lead spokesman for the North Carolina Democratic Party has apologized for tweets that used derogatory language about women, which he posted while he was in a previous job.

Communications Director Robert Howard said he sent the tweets while he was trying to become a comedian. The tweets, sent between 2011 and 2013, were first reported by NC Insider, a state government news service.

Among the tweets, Howard expressed excitement that actress Reese Witherspoon was hit by a car on the same day in 2011 that nude photos appeared of two other female celebrities. Howard tweeted, “Greatest day ever?”

Party Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds says she and party Chairman Wayne Goodwin accepted Howard’s apology.

North Carolina Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Michele Nix says Howard’s tweets were “utterly inappropriate and offensive.”

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