Local and State Headlines for Wednesday, March 21, 2018

posted by Mark Starling -

Asheville City Manager Leaves Office Earlier Than Expected (Asheville, NC)

Asheville City Manager Gary Jackson is starting his retirement a little earlier than expected.  He originally announced his retirement to be effective for later this year, but the city now says yesterday was his last day.  The news was somewhat of a surprise at last night's council meeting.  It comes in the midst of a shakeup as leaders discuss changes in the chain of command in some offices.  Assistant City Manager Cathy Ball will serve in the position as the search begins for a permanent replacement.  

Drug Trafficker Sentenced To More Than 30 Years (Asheville, NC)

An Asheville man is heading to prison for trafficking close to 50 pounds of meth into the state.  James Christopher Gann pleaded guilty to trafficking, in addition to assaulting his girlfriend to keep her quiet in the investigation.  The pair was allegedly bringing in the drugs from Oklahoma.  Gann will serve 32-and-a-half years with no parole for the federal charges.  

Buncombe Schools Adding Time To Days In April (Asheville, NC)

The school day is going to be a little longer than normal for Buncombe County public school students next month.  Snow days forced the school system into somehow making up hours before the end of the school year.  The decision was made this week to extend the school day for 20 minutes throughout the month of April.  Any future possible weather-related cancellations will have to be readdressed.  

Officer Involved In Shooting Resigns (Hendersonville, NC)

A Hendersonville police officer who shot a drug suspect last fall has resigned.  WLOS-Asheville says the city attorney advised them of the resignation of Brandon McGaha, which took place at the end of January.  The November incident happened at a Walmart in Hendersonville after the suspect allegedly tried to run the officer over.  McGaha was cleared of any wrongdoing.  

North Carolina Ranks High In Solar Energy (Undated)

North Carolina remains the second leading state in solar energy behind California.  A report released by The Solar Energy Industries Association says the state ranked just behind California in providing the most solar power and adding the most solar energy last year.  Association VP Sean Gallagher reported that North Carolina has the only Renewable Portfolio Standard in the south for renewable energy.  Duke Energy has 35 solar locations across the state.  

First Bank Comes To WNC (Undated)

Customers of Asheville Savings Banks are seeing a new name at 13 area branches this week.  The company was acquired by First Bank in a deal worth around 175-million-dollars.  The change affects locations in Asheville, Marion and Brevard.  It is now the third largest bank in the Asheville area.

University Student Arrested For Plans Of Shooting (Charlotte, NC)

A UNC Charlotte student is facing a charge of making a false report concerning mass violence related to threats he conveyed to a doctor earlier this month.  Investigators later found blueprints of a shooting plan at the apartment of 20-year-old Matthew Saavedra.  He had been in a Winston-Salem hospital since the doctor's visit and was arrested after his release.  Saavedra is also not allowed on the school campus anymore.  

Pit Bull Wanders Into School And Injures Seven (Charlotte, NC)

Animal Care and Control says a stray pit bull was hyperactive when he wandered onto the grounds of a southeast Charlotte Elementary School yesterday, injuring seven students.  The dog made it from the playground into the hallways of Lansdowne Elementary School close to the end of the school day.  Some students became scared when the pit bull became what Animal Care called more playful than aggressive. The students suffered minor injuries and were said to be okay.

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