Nc Joins Movement to Support Paris Climate Deal

Protesters gather outside the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 1, 2017, to protest President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the Unites States from the Paris climate change accord. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina has become the ninth state to protest President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the landmark Paris climate accord.

“Pulling out of the Paris Accord is wrong for our country, our children and the generations to come,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement. “North Carolina’s commitment to clean air and a healthy environment will remain a priority despite the lack of forward-thinking leadership from the current Administration.”

Hundreds of U.S. cities, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and scores of businesses and universities have signed on to the “We Are Still In” letter in the past week, pledging to continue their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities, businesses and investors representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions,” the letter states. “Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity and health.”

In signing the letter, Cooper cited North Carolina’s tradition of working for a healthier environment and improved public health, such as implementing the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard a decade ago and working to reduce air pollution through the Clean Smokestacks Act.

California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington are the other states that have joined the initiative.

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North Carolina’s Battle over Voting Rights Intensifies

In this file photo from February 2016, state Sens. Dan Soucek and Brent Jackson review historical maps in the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh. (Corey Lowenstein/AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s GOP-controlled legislature has worked steadily and forcefully during the past seven years to redraw the state’s districts and impose voting restrictions and a slew of new policies that Republicans say are aimed at reducing voter fraud.

But at every turn, Democrats and voting rights advocates have stymied their plans, dragging them to court and condemning the GOP actions as discriminatory against the state’s minorities.

Instead of giving up — even after two major defeats this month in the U.S. Supreme Court — North Carolina’s Republican leaders are working to push the battle over the ballot box into a new phase.

Rumors are circulating here about a new Republican voter identification bill, after federal judges struck down a previous version saying it targeted “African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” Voting rights advocates are convening emergency meetings to plan legal defenses against it. Democrats are trying in sly, casual conversations with Republican colleagues to extract details on its timing and contours, but Republicans leaders have maintained a disciplined silence.

The Durham County Board of Elections on the first day of early voting in Durham, N.C., in October 2016. The NAACP successfully challenged a North Carolina law that would have required voters to present a photo ID in order to vote. (D.L. Anderson/For The Washington Post)

Their only public comment has been a terse statement vowing to make this second law requiring voter identification law a reality. “All North Carolinians can rest assured that Republican legislators will continue fighting to protect the integrity of our elections by implementing the commonsense requirement to show a photo ID when we vote,” House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said in a joint statement.

Beyond the voter identification law, almost every aspect of the state’s electoral system is now being drawn into this acrimonious political war, from the composition of local election boards and who has the power to appoint them, to rules determining the exact days, hours and operations of voting precincts.

There are now so many lawsuits that even elected officials say they are having trouble keeping track. The most contentious of the court fights have focused on redrawn maps for congressional and state legislative districts, but there have been challenges over redistricted seats as far down as local county commissioners and school boards.

The intensifying nature of North Carolina’s ballot box battles echo a nationwide trend. During the past six years, 21 states have passed new voting restrictions, including five so far this year alone.

“North Carolina right now is the canary in the coal mine,” said Wendy Weiser, an election law expert at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan think tank. “It’s not that the issues at stake in North Carolina are unique, but the attempts there at voter restriction have been bigger and more extreme than anywhere else. It gives us a glimpse of where we as a country may be headed if we don’t find a way to apply the brakes on efforts to game the electoral system.”

Voting advocates also worry about the possibility of federal actions that could make it more difficult for some U.S. citizens to vote by potentially making it easier to purge voter rolls or requiring voter identification cards nationwide. They point to President Trump’s creation this month of a commission to look into his claims of widespread voter fraud in November’s presidential election as momentum toward broader federal restrictions.

In states like North Carolina, the argument from Republicans — in courts and in public — is that their new laws are aimed at combating voter fraud.

Democrats and voting rights activists cite numerous studies that show such fraud is rare, and they say the new restrictions on voting access and dramatic redistricting of electoral maps disproportionately affect African Americans, other minorities and young voters. Republicans retort that their redistricting moves are purely motivated by politics, not by race, and they note that when Democrats were in control of the state, they similarly reorganized electoral maps to their advantage.

Grier Martin, a Democratic state legislator in Raleigh, actually benefited from how Republicans redrew his district in recent years. Republicans packed his district with Democrats to make surrounding districts easier for Republicans to win. But he says Republicans are now trying to game the system in a way that is eroding democracy.

“When my district used to be competitive, I knocked on thousands of doors. Guess how many doors I’ve knocked on since redistricting? Zero,” Martin said, noting he listens to voters in other ways. “But the way Republicans have set it up now, nothing I do will keep me from being reelected. And the losers are the voters who just become pawns in this political game.”

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina relied too heavily on race in redrawing two of its congressional districts, a decision that could make it easier to challenge redistricting plans in other states. That came on the heels of another Supreme Court decision this month not to take up arguments about North Carolina’s previous voter identification law, effectively killing it.

There’s still more legal drama to come. North Carolina legislators are anxiously awaiting yet another Supreme Court decision that could come this week and would determine whether North Carolina will hold special elections this year for many redistricted legislative seats that federal judges found were racially based and unconstitutional.

The federal court rulings have left Republicans in Raleigh deeply frustrated. They blame the judges for painting their actions as racially motivated.

“It’s not just the rulings that are wrong, but the language coming from those judges — the lines about Republicans targeting African-Americans with surgical precision, the accusations about why Republicans are doing things. It’s an abomination,” said Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of North Carolina’s Republican Party. “There are legitimate, compelling reasons for laws like voter ID that will give people more confidence in the election system.”

Jim Burton, former legislative director for the state’s house GOP caucus, said the issue is becoming a question of state sovereignty, and North Carolina should be able to make its own decisions about its own elections.

“For two hundred years, it’s been up to state legislatures to draw these maps, and now it’s being determined by a handful of judges, who keep moving the ball and changing the rules,” Burton said.

GOP legislative leaders did not respond to for requests for comment, and none contacted was willing talk about the party’s strategy moving forward. But Republican operatives confirmed plans among party leaders for a second wave of voting laws.

The main problem with their previous voter identification bill, several said, was that it had included too many other restrictions — such as eliminating early voting and same-day registration — making it more vulnerable to legal challenge. This time around, they said, Republicans will likely split up their restrictions into individual bills, including a simpler, less-restrictive identification law that also allows voters to present student identification cards and other government-issued identifications to vote.

With so much of the ongoing battle being decided in courts, North Carolina’s Republican legislators recently pushed forward a series of bills that opponents say is aimed at weakening Democrats’ ability to challenge them in court. After Democrats won back the governor’s office in November, Republicans have tried to take away the new governor’s ability to appoint judges.

“The judiciary has been our last line of defense,” said Jen Jones, director of communications for Democracy North Carolina, a voting rights group. “If we lose the courts, we lose the ability to fight for people’s right to vote.”

In April, a Republican judge so objected to his own party’s tactics that he resigned just days before GOP lawmakers could enact one of the new laws on court appointments. That allowed the new Democratic governor to appoint the replacement ahead of the law.

The outcome of North Carolina’s war over voting rights could have major national ramifications. Because the state is so politically competitive, any advantage heading into the 2018 election could effect the balance of power in Washington. Before Republicans took over the legislature in 2011 and redistricted the electoral maps, Democrats controlled seven of North Carolina’s 13 seats in Congress. Now Democrats hold just three.

“That’s a four-seat pickup for Republicans in just one state. That’s huge,” said State Rep. Darren Jackson, Democratic leader in the state house. But the biggest impact of North Carolina’s escalating war over the ballot box goes deeper than the political fortunes of either side, he said.

“To make it harder for people to vote, to put up barriers and take away their voice, it’s wrong on moral grounds,” Jackson said. “Voting is a constitutional right.”

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NC: Charlotte-to-Hartford Flight Makes Emergency Landing at Raleigh-Durham

May 20–An American Airlines flight from Charlotte to Hartford, Conn., made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Friday because of an electrical odor in the cockpit.

Flight 1889 landed safely at 5:01 p.m. with 151 passengers and five crew members aboard, American Airlines spokeswoman Katie Cody said.

Three crew members were taken to the hospital “out of an abundance of caution,” including the pilot and first officer, Cody said. A flight attendant also was taken to the hospital for an unrelated medical condition, Cody said. No passengers were affected, according to Cody.

Maintenance workers were trying to determine the cause of the odor, Cody said.

A new crew and plane were brought in, and the flight departed at about 7:40 p.m.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

___ (c)2017 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) Visit The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) at www.charlotteobserver.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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How to Find the Right Apartment in Raleigh

If you are moving to Raleigh and you need to find an apartment, you want to make sure that you are renting the right apartment because you are likely going to be signing a lease for an entire year and you don’t want to end up breaking the lease or else you are going to have to pay a large fee and you don’t want to do that.

Raleigh is a great place to live and there are lots of activities that you can do there. You will also enjoy a low cost of living as Raleigh is a very affordable place to live and you can find plenty of apartments to choose from. When you are getting ready to start your apartment search you should first know what your budget is.

Your budget is a great place to start. You should make sure that your rent doesn’t exceed 30 percent of your income so you have plenty of money left over for expenses and entertainment. Once you know what your budget is going to be, you can start making a list of things that you want in your apartment.

It really helps to make a list of each feature you want in your apartment, even if you don’t think you can afford it. You never know what you might find once you start looking for apartments so you want to have a list with all of your preferences and keep it with you when you are searching.

You should start your search online and you can spend time looking at all the different apartments that appeal to you. When you know the neighborhood you want, you can start looking for apartments in person and get your lease signed. Raleigh is a great place to live.

Lawmaker Wants Nc to Help Sex Trafficking Victims

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A lawmaker wants North Carolina to spend $56 million to help sex trafficking victims and to train students and law enforcement officers to recognize signs of the crime.

Rep. Bill Brawley tells The Charlotte Observer (http://bit.ly/2qiagJ9) that when he managed an apartment complex he was unaware of sex trafficking. Drugs, prostitution and at least one indictment for trafficking took place during that time.

He says he realized later that probably a dozen other women were being trafficked. Brawley says that now, legislators tell him they’re aware of trafficking but aren’t sure what to do about it.

According to the anti-trafficking Polaris Project, more than 8,000 cases were reported nationwide in 2016. In North Carolina, 181 cases were called in to the National Human Trafficking Hotline last year.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Nc Firefighters Rescue 6 from Floodwaters

Crews used inflatable rafts to rescue two people and a dog stranded in a home and four people stranded in an apartment

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — People in North Carolina were paying attention to rising rivers Tuesday after storms gave the state its worst drenching since a damaging hurricane late last year.

The state’s heaviest rainfall since Hurricane Matthew caused flooding in the state’s capital, and downstream waters were rising along the Neuse River near Clayton and Smithfield and along the Tar River in Tarboro and Greenville. Gauges in those areas indicate the rivers will crest above flood stage but below the levels caused by Matthew.

Police block a flooded Creedmoor Road in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Raleigh firefighters used inflatable rafts to rescue two people and a dog stranded in a home and four people stranded in another apartment Tuesday, Battalion Chief Jeff Harrison said. In Smithfield, a body was found in the Neuse by a crew cleaning storm debris, but it wasn’t immediately clear if the death was caused by the weather.

“We know floodwaters can be deadly and I urge everyone to be cautious and stay safe,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news release.

The National Weather Service said more than 8 inches (20 centimeters) had fallen in areas near Raleigh by Tuesday morning. Other areas in central North Carolina received several inches.

The sun was out by early afternoon in Raleigh, and radar images indicated the storms had largely passed through the state. Still, flood warnings remained in effect.

Duke Energy said Tuesday afternoon that it had restored power to all but about 1,000 customers who lost it in North and South Carolina.

Transportation officials reported more than 100 road closures across the state, but some were reopening in the afternoon.

Near downtown Smithfield, a maintenance crew cleaning storm debris from a bridge over the Neuse found the dead body Tuesday, State Department of Transportation spokesman Robert Broome said.

It took until late afternoon to recover the body because of fast-moving water, Smithfield town spokesman Tim Kerigan said in an email.

Broome and Kerigan referred further questions to the police department, which said the body was recovered and sent to the state medical examiner but offered no more details.

A creek overflowed its banks and flooded streets and parking lots near Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh. The mall was closed in the morning, but some department stores or restaurants planned to open later after the waterway began to recede.

In Cabarrus County near Charlotte, a home was seriously damaged when a large tree fell on it Monday during heavy rains. No one was hurt.

“I heard a crack and then a noise that went ‘bam,’ but didn’t seem that loud, then all of a sudden, the ceiling and ceiling tiles and insulation was falling all around me,” Diane Davis, who was home with her husband at the time, told WBTV .

Questions Remain One Month After Massive Raleigh Fire

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Friday marks four weeks since the largest Raleigh fire in nearly a century, and a cause has yet to be determined.

The Metropolitan building, which was under construction, caught fire on March 16. More than 200 residents in nearby residential units were displaced from the fire.

“It’s so unbelievable now to look back, because there’s really no words to describe seeing flames up above a building,” said Joseph Pallansch, who lives nearby. “It was just unreal.”

Cleanup continues at the Quorum Center and The Link Apartments. Residents at the Quorum Center have been unable to move back due to the damage by the fire, and about 25 percent of residents at The Link are still displaced.

The majority of the residents at The Link were able to move back in about two weeks ago.

“It was just stressful along the way, and I’m only now getting back into the groove of things,” said Sara Lechner.

For those still unable to move back-in, many say they’ve been able to find short-term leases at other apartment communities.

RELATED: Massive downtown fire damages 10 Raleigh buildings, 5 severely

“This whole process has felt like a year,” said Sean Backus. “We fortunately had a place to stay but for a lot of other people they had to get hotels. It’s good to be back though finally.”

More than 100 fire fighters responded to battle the worst fire Raleigh has seen since the 1920s, Fire Chief John McGrath said.

Fire investigators say they’re still working to determine the exact cause of the fire.

Fire investigators say they’re still working to determine the exact cause…

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Boy Scouts Prod Idaho City to ‘Welcome’ More ‘Refugees’

Boy Scouts and their parents filled the city council chambers in Twin Falls, Idaho, on Monday, April 10, to show their support for refugees being resettled from Sudan, Iraq and other Muslim countries.
Boy Scouts and their parents filled the city council chambers in Twin Falls, Idaho, on Monday, April 10, to show their support for refugees being resettled from Sudan, Iraq and other Muslim countries.

One week after three refugee boys from Sudan and Iraq pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl in Twin Falls, Idaho, the city council has voted unanimously to lay out the welcome mat for more refugees.

The council voted 7-0 to direct the city staff to draft a resolution declaring Twin Falls a “welcoming city” after hearing a pitch from local Boy Scout Troop 4, which is sponsored by the Mormon Church.

The Latter Day Saints Church sponsors a scouting troop that is involved in an Eagle Scout project to help refugees being resettled in the area by the College of Southern Idaho.

About 12 scouts and their parents showed up to promote the CSI Refugee Center and its continued resettlement of refugees from Sudan, Iraq and other parts of the world.

But not all residents were for the idea of making Twin Falls a “welcoming city.”

“By putting people into different categories instead of all residents, we’re setting aside a precedent that we’re all created equal with equal rights,” local property owner Terry Edwards told the council. “It’s surprising to me that we have a scout troop here that are in favor of the refugee center and I don’t know that they know a whole lot about it.”

Lacy Peterson, the mother of the 5-year-old special needs girl who was sexually assaulted at Fawnbrook Apartments last summer, told WND she was concerned.

“I am kinda concerned that they are pushing the city to be a welcoming city. I think it would be best for the refugees before they come into our city to learn about our laws and regulations before they come in, and to be taught the American laws,” Peterson said.

Declaring a “welcoming city” is one step below a sanctuary city, which is defined by its policies of not cooperating with federal immigration agents to enforce federal immigration laws.

Dr. Mark Crandall also addressed the council Monday night, and he sent a letter to Councilman Greg Lanting that explains the Boy Scout troop’s desire to help refugees.

Lacy Peterson and her little girl, who was the victim of a sexual assault last June, allegedly by boys from Iraq and Sudan, at the Fawnbrook Apartments in Twin Falls.
Lacy Peterson and her little girl, who was the victim of a sexual assault last June, allegedly by boys from Iraq and Sudan, at the Fawnbrook Apartments in Twin Falls.

Lanting is the councilman who was caught spreading false and malicious rumors against the family of the little girl who was sexually assaulted last June. Lanting said in a Facebook post that the girl “does not live with the father,” and “The father as far as I know it is not even involved with the child.” Both of those statements were false, and Lanting ended up having to apologize to the family.

On Monday, LDS parents and relatives of the Boy Scout troop filled the council’s meeting chambers, along with a leader of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association, local doctors, teachers and attorneys who all spoke in favor of more refugees.

The LDS community has been supportive of refugee resettlement in Utah and Idaho, offering volunteers and financial donations to the resettlement agencies.

“In this area, almost all the Scout troops are organized and sponsored by Mormon Church wards,” Dr. Crandall said. He said the refugee issue “hits home” with Mormons because of their history.

“In the 1800s, the early church members were driven from state to state … trying to escape persecution,” Crandall added. “They were American refugees in every sense of the word.”

Dr. Crandall addresses Twin Falls City Council in support of refugees at its April 10, 2017 meeting.
Dr. Mark Crandall addresses Twin Falls City Council in support of refugees at its April 10, 2017 meeting.

“Our refugee center is one of only two centers in Idaho. It’s been here in our community for almost 30 years, and it’s provided, through the United Nations, a new start for people coming here,” Crandall told the council. “I grew up in Twin, and I have always felt safe. I have always felt welcome. And I hope that Twin Falls will pass a resolution reaffirming that we have always been a welcoming city and will continue to be so, and that we value all our residents, regardless of their refugee status, immigration status or religion.”

Last Tuesday, three refugee boys – two from Iraq, ages 7 and 10, and one from Sudan, age 14 – pleaded guilty in juvenile court to multiple counts of sex crimes in an incident that occurred last June at Fawnbrook Apartments in Twin Falls. It was there that a 5-year-old girl with special needs was lured into a laundry room, stripped of her clothing and sexually assaulted while the oldest boy filmed the entire incident.

Sentencing for the juvenile criminals will take place at a later date. The sentencing date is being kept secret by the court.

Democratic Party leader Debbie Silver, attorney Karen McCarthy and others were present to show their support for the Boy Scout “project.”

Dr. Crandall, a local physician, said in his letter to Lanting that he wanted Twin Falls to follow the lead of Boise and Ketchum, the only other two cities in Idaho to declare themselves “welcoming cities.”

Crandall blasted those who were outraged by the refugee assault on a small girl at the Fawnbrook Apartments as “out of state anti-immigrant advocates” and thanked the council for its “measured response” to the crime, which included oral penetration, urinating in her mouth and other lewd acts as she was stripped and cornered inside the laundry room of the low-income apartment complex.

In his letter, Crandall said, “They do not represent our values as a city,” a reference to those who argued for a curtailment of the refugee influx following the horrific crime against a child.

Crandall said his Boy Scout troop has been working with the College of Southern Idaho, which subcontracts with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, or USCRI, one of nine primary contractors that get paid with federal tax dollars for every refugee they bring to the United States.

More than 95 percent of all refugees sent to the U.S. are selected by the United Nations.

Crandall’s troop donated a vehicle to the CSI Refugee Center, which is now using the car to give the refugees rides to work.

Many refugees in Twin Falls work at Chobani, which operates the world’s largest yogurt plant there and uses refugee labor to fill 30 percent of its positions at the factory.

Crandall provided the council with false statistics in his letter about the number of refugees being sent to the U.S. in fiscal 2017 – the Trump administration recently announced it will allow 62,500 refugees entry into the U.S. this year, not 50,000 as Crandall stated. He went on to relate how he asked CSI what else the Boy Scouts could do to help refugees.

The leader of the CSI refugee center told Crandall that the best thing his troop could do to help the resettlements to continue in Twin Falls would be to publicly “advocate” for the refugees.

The sad story of refugee crimes against Americans is not limited to Twin Falls — find out the entire story about the dark side of refugee resettlement in the new investigative blockbuster “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad.”

That infuriated one leader of the local refugee opposition, who sees the program as lacking in transparency and also lacking sufficient vetting. The program operates completely unaccountable to the local, taxpaying citizenry, said Julie DeWolfe of Twin Falls.

She said she was appalled by the fact that not a single member of the Twin Falls City Council could tell they were being manipulated into adopting the “welcoming” resolution.

“What a clever and sneaky way to accomplish one’s globalist agenda: Get the kids involved and working on service projects – the parents will follow,” DeWolfe told WND.

The College of Southern Idaho provides a steady pipeline of refugees to work at Chobani and a handful of other local industries.

“The Boy Scout troop here stated that they were supported by a LDS church,” DeWolfe said. “Isn’t that what communists do, use the children? The propaganda machines work best if you start with children.

“I’m embarrassed for the Latter Day Saints community who have allowed their children to be used as globalist propaganda tools for the promotion an agenda driven by some of the world’s worst criminal personalities,” she added.

The family of the little girl is still considering filing a civil suit against the families of the refugee boys and possibly against the College of Southern Idaho, which places refugees from several Third World countries into the Twin Falls area.

WND previously reported that the girl’s family has endured nearly 10 months of public shaming and downplaying of the crime by powerful elites who support continued refugee resettlement in Idaho and nationwide.

Retired Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones trashed WND and Breitbart as reporting 'so-called news' on the refugee sex crime in Twin Falls.
Retired Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones trashed WND and Breitbart as reporting ‘so-called news’ on the refugee sex crime in Twin Falls.

The sexual assault was all but dismissed as a minor “kids-will-be-kids” type of incident by county prosecutor Grant Loebs, while others such as former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones tried to insinuate that the incident never happened and was merely a fake news story concocted by WND and Breitbart News.

Retired Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones trashed WND and Breitbart as reporting “so-called news” on the refugee sex crime in Twin Falls.

Jones, speaking at a Rotary Club meeting in Twin Falls in January, referred to the sexual assault as “so-called news” being fabricated by WND and others.

In fact, Jones expressed more concern for Chobani Yogurt and the business community that makes use of refugee labor than for the 5-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted. The Times-News of Twin Falls reported the following on his Jan. 19 speech to the local Rotary:

No longer forced to be silent, Jones, 75, has a lot to say – especially about refugees and “the so-called news that has caused a lot of trouble for businesses, like Chobani, and (the College of Southern Idaho’s) refugee program,” he said. “These (refugees) need safe haven. They should be welcomed here.”

Jones called out Breitbart News, World Net Daily and others he says have played “fast and loose with the truth” and should not be regarded as credible.

The sad story of refugee crimes against Americans is not limited to Twin Falls — find out the entire story about the dark side of refugee resettlement in the new investigative blockbuster “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad.”