A wave of layoffs at Freightliner truck factories in North Carolina and Oregon may not be as bad as expected. Daimler Trucks North America says it will cut about 600 jobs at plants in the two states, less than half the 1,300 it warned about in January. About 340 jobs will be lost at a factory in Cleveland, N.C., that builds Freightliner long-distance trucks. The company originally targeted 715 jobs there. And there won’t be any layoffs at a Mount Holly plant that builds smaller Freightliner delivery trucks or at a Gastonia parts plant, where 500 cuts had been expected. Daimler plans to layoff about 230 people at its Western Star truck factory in Portland, Oregon. The company blames the cuts on slow demand, but says recent orders have allowed it to spare some jobs.
DAY OF PROTESTS: SATURDAY MAIL, CIVIL RIGHTS
Sunday will be a day for protests around North Carolina. The union for U.S. Postal Service letter carriers plans rallies in Raleigh, Charlotte, and around the country in favor of continuing Saturday mail deliveries. Today’s rallies include one at Charlotte’s Carmel Road Post Office and another at the State Capitol in Raleigh. The financially troubled Postal Service plans to stop Saturday deliveries in August for first-class mail, though six-day-a-week package delivery will continue. The Government Accountability Office says the post office doesn’t have the right to end Saturday mail on its own.
Meanwhile, North Carolina's NAACP chapter is organizing marches and memorials to remember the civil rights era and to oppose new laws they say would unfairly crimp the voting power of black Americans. The NAACP plans events Sunday in Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Greensboro to remember Bloody Sunday. That's the day 48 years ago this month when peaceful demonstrators were beaten by Alabama state troopers as they started a non-violent protest march. The Charlotte rally begins at 1 o’clock at Greater Mount Moriah Primitive Baptist Church on West Trade Street. In case of rain it will move to Saint Paul Baptist Church on Allen Street.
GASTON DEPUTY SHOT DURING TRAINING
A Gaston County sheriff's deputy is recovering from a gunshot in the hip after an accident at a firearms training center. Gaston Sheriff Alan Cloninger said the deputy underwent surgery Friday and was in stable condition. Cloninger says the bullet didn't strike any vital organs. The deputy has not been named. Investigators say he was cleaning his own weapon when another student's gun accidentally went off. That student was having some kind of a problem with his gun and was getting help from an instructor when it fired and struck the deputy.
HOSTAGE-TAKER SAYS HE WANTED TO DIE
A man accused of holding three employees hostage in a Burke County pharmacy earlier this month says he wanted to die from the bullets of responding law officers. Jerry Lee Clark says he tried to get officers to shoot him as he and three employees were inside a Valdese drug store March 16. The 48-year-old Valdese native was charged with three counts of first-degree kidnapping and one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon. He is accused of entering a CVS Pharmacy with a knife and holding three people hostage for more than an hour. He was arrested without incident, but not before he swallowed a bottle of morphine.
DAVIDSON WOMEN vs. CHARLOTTE IN NIT
We’re in the middle of March Madness, and the action comes to Charlotte on Sunday afternoon. UNC Charlotte and Davidson face off in the second round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament today at 2 o’clock, at Charlotte.
In other sports news:
- In the men’s NCAA tournament, a big battle is on tap today between top-seeded Kansas and No. 8 seed North Carolina. They’ll be playing at 5:15pm for a spot in the round of 16.
- The second-seeded Duke Blue Devils Will try to avoid a second-straight early exit when they play seventh-seeded Creighton tonight at 9:40pm in the Midwest Regional.
- The Charlotte Bobcats came up short again Saturday night, falling 92-91 to Detroit Pistons. Charlie Villanueva scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead driving layup with 15 seconds left, as Detroit snapped its own 10-game losing streak.