Sun June 16, 2013
Power Finally Coming Back On After Storms
Utility crews are still cleaning up after Thursday night’s severe storms across the Carolinas and some customers are still without power, including in the Winston-Salem area, Salisbury, and Rockingham. Duke Energy says those customers may not get power back until Sunday.
Most customers in the Charlotte area now have power back. Duke said a total of 350,000 lost powers at the peak of the storms, and 694,000 customers were affected statewide during the entire event. As of Sunday morning, about 4,100 customers across the state were still in the dark.
MEDICAL EXAMINER QUITS AFTER DEATHS
The Medical Examiner in Watauga County has resigned following an investigation into carbon monoxide poisonings at a Boone hotel. Dr. Brent Hall reportedly knew that carbon monoxide had killed a couple at the Best Western Blue Ridge Plaza before another death there, but failed to share those results with local health officials. A funeral is scheduled in Rock Hill this afternoon for 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams, who died at the hotel last weekend. Williams died in the same room where the couple died in April. Investigators say the cause was an improperly vented pool heater.
QUESTIONS ABOUT RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center has approved questionable loans while making job creation claims that aren't supported by facts, according to a newspaper investigation. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Saturday that the private nonprofit organization used millions in taxpayer money to help build fast-food restaurants, golf resorts and big-box retailers including Walmart. The newspaper found several cases where there were no new jobs or far fewer than reported. Meanwhile, the Rural Center has built up more than $69 million that has gone unspent because of delayed projects or from busted deals. Director Billy Ray Hall insists the center is a good steward of tax dollars, even if every idea it tries doesn't work out.
7 SENTENCED IN BEAR POACHING
A federal magistrate has sentenced seven men to jail for poaching bears and deer and other illegal hunting in national forests in North Carolina and Georgia. U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins from the Western District of North Carolina said Friday the convictions were the result of a four-year undercover investigation, in which officers infiltrated poaching circles to document violations. Ten defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced this week, receiving prison terms of up to 30 days. Officials announced in February that the operation had netted 81 people on a total of 980 violations that included bear baiting, the illegal use of dogs, operating illegal bear enclosures and hunting on federal lands without required permits. Those sentenced are from North Carolina, Alabama and Texas.
FOREST SERVICE BURNS TO PREVENT FIRE
If you see fires out the North Carolina coast this summer, here’s the cause: The U.S. Forest Service is conducting a prescribed burn this weekend on up to 1,000 acres, of Highway 24 in the Croatan National Forest. The service also plans to burn another 4,000 acres in the coming weeks. The agency says the burns improve habitat for fire-adapted species, restore the longleaf pine ecosystem, and reduce the amount of fuel on the forest floor in hopes of preventing catastrophic wildfires.
NASCAR HONORS LEFFLER
NASCAR's Quicken Loans 400 begins at 1pm Sunday at Michigan Speedway. Carl Edwards has the pole position. Drivers in this weekend’s races at Michigan Speedway are honoring driver Jason Leffler of Huntersville, who died in a dirt-track wreck in New Jersey on Wednesday. Denny Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota has changed to a primarily white paint scheme for today’s Sprint Cup race, the same one used when Leffler drove the car for Joe Gibbs racing in 2005. Meanwhile, Saturday’s Nationwide Series race was won by points leader Regan Smith, who held off Kyle Larson in the final 10 laps.
Meanwhile, the College baseball World Series is underway in Omaha. Mississippi State and Indiana won opening games Saturday. Sunday's action will have North Carolina against N.C. State and UCLA takes on LSU.