Local and State Headlines for Thursday, April 26, 2018

posted by Mark Starling -

Indiana Woman Dies In Great Smoky Mountains Crash (Forneys Creek, NC)

Rangers are investigating a deadly single car crash in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  A car driven by an Indiana woman reportedly drove off Clingmans Dome Road near Newfound Gap.  It was found upside-down about 40 feet below the road.  The 55-year-old was the only person inside the car. 

State And Local Leaders At Odds Over District Maps (Asheville, NC)

Legislators and Asheville leaders are continuing to butt heads on the idea of drawing district maps in the city to be used for council elections.  Senator Chuck Edwards said at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon yesterday that he was disappointed that Asheville leadership hasn't given its citizens a way to elect council members by districts when so many others are doing so.  Voters in Asheville turned down the idea of going to a district in last year's election, and that was reason enough to keep things the way they are for State Senator Terry Van Duyn.  The crowd applauded Van Duyn when she suggested Raleigh shouldn't be making those decisions locally.       

Duke Energy Rate Increase Challenged By Attorney General (Raleigh, NC)

A rate increase by Duke Energy which partially came about to cover coal ash pond clean-ups is being challenged by the state attorney general.  AG Josh Stein says the company's risk of environmental regulations when it stored ash in unlined ponds should have prevented an increase, which was approved by the state Utilities Commission.  The rate increase affects Duke Progress customers.  The commission is deciding on a possible rate increase for Duke Energy Carolinas at a later date.    

Son Facing Aggravated Assault Charges In Shooting Of Father (Jackson County, NC)

A Jackson County man is facing aggravated assault charges for allegedly shooting his father.  Deputies say they found 20-year-old Daniel Ray Hoyle in the woods behind a home in the Dark Ridge Community after responding to a call that a man had been shot.  Hoyle surrendered to deputies once they set up a perimeter around him.  His father suffered what was thought to be a non-life threatening injury. 

Marion Man Arrested In Dog Drowning (McDowell County, NC)

A Marion man is accused of tying up a dog in a drawstring bag and throwing it into the Catawba River with a rock to weigh it down.  Charles Travis Hollifield was charged with one count of felony animal cruelty.  The chihuahua mix was found at the Yancey bridge in McDowell County by two fisherman.  PETA says the dog was alive when she was thrown in.  

WNC Nature Center To Soon Welcome Red Pandas (Asheville, NC)

The WNC Nature Center is scheduled to bring in a new exhibit that features the red panda this fall.  The City Council has approved funds this week that will be used to construct the exhibit that will feature a den and breeding area, along with viewing areas.  The East Asheville nature center is known for housing native animals.  Center Director Chris Gentile told the council that remains of a relative of the red panda have been found in the Southern Appalachians.

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