Local and State Headlines for March 22, 2018

posted by Mark Starling -

Mission Health In Acquisition Talks With Tennessee Company (Buncombe County, NC)

Buncombe County's largest employer is in talks to join with a Tennessee-based healthcare company.  Mission Health has signed a letter to begin discussions with HCA Healthcare, who reportedly wants to acquire the non-profit organization.  Mission Health says that operating as a for-profit like HCA would "generate millions of dollars in tax revenue."  The organization currently employs around three-thousand people.

Henderson Approves Money For Extra School Patrols (Henderson County, NC)

School safety measures in Henderson County are getting a big boost by the county commission.  The board approved close to 200-thousand dollars to add extra patrols for the remainder of this school year.  The deputies will serve as a presence in response to February's deadly school shooting in Florida.   The sheriff's department says it has short and long-term plans ready to make schools safer. 

Group Seeks Changes In Brewery Laws (Asheville, NC)

The Charlotte Brewing Alliance says a current state law controlling the sales of a certain amount of beer is unconstitutional.  Breweries must currently go through wholesale distributors once they sell more than 25-thousand barrels in a year.  A change in that law could have a huge impact on the growing number of breweries in the state.  Many breweries in the mountain regions of North Carolina already use distributors after selling much less than 25-thousand because of travel times.  

Police Seek Vehicular Death Suspect For Failure To Appear (Asheville, NC)

 A man facing felony death-by-vehicle charges is wanted for not showing up in Buncombe County Court.  Michael Shane Wells was the driver in a crash that killed his passenger in 2015.  Investigators say his car veered off Highway 74 and rammed into a tree before overturning.  Alcohol and speed were reportedly factors in the wreck.  [[  note nature  ]]  

Three Men Arrested For Child Exploitation (Swain County, NC)

The Swain County Sheriff's Office says three Western North Carolina men have been arrested for attempted sexual acts with minors.  Eleven different agencies joined together in the operation to apprehend Jeffrey Shelly, Calvin Woodard and Harvey Carpenter.  They are accused of attempting to meet up with children for sex, soliciting them online.  All three are in Jackson County jail.  

Exiting Snow Will Leave Behind Sun And Wind (Undated, NC)

Early spring snow is expected to finally move out of Western North Carolina today.  Some higher elevations in the mountains have reported up to ten inches of snow in the latest weather system.  Skies turn sunny today and Friday.  Forecasters say the exit of the snow will leave behind steady high winds throughout the day.

Toll Lanes A Possibility For Charlotte Area (Charlotte, NC)

Local leaders are in talks over proposed toll lanes that would affect Charlotte drivers.  The NCDOT is proposing to construct the toll lanes at a cost of more than 600-million-dollars.  The proposal includes portions of I-485 and Highway 74.  Money from the tolls would reportedly go right back into construction costs.  

Mother Arrested After Online Video Shows Baby Smoking Marijuana (Raleigh, NC)

A Raleigh woman is facing charges after an online video shows a child smoking marijuana.  Authorities say 20-year-old Brianna Ashanti Lofton  was arrested yesterday on charges of felony child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and marijuana possession.  The child is in the custody of Wake County Child Protective Services.   

Man Arrested For Making Bomb Threats (Zebulon, NC)

A Zebulon man is in custody after threatening to blow up a mobile home park and kill a police officer. Police say 30-year-old Dustin Lamont Bettis Junior called in a bomb threat at Westside Mobile Home Park Sunday.   Authorities searched the area, but didn't find anything.  Bettis called police Monday night saying he had bombs in the park and was hiding in the woods and planning to kill one of the officers. Bettis was later arrested.

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