Local and State Headlines for Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Confederate Monuments To Remain At Capitol (Raleigh, NC)

Three Confederate monuments will remain on the grounds of the state capitol in Raleigh.  A committee for the state's historical commission recommends adding signage to the monuments to reflect accurate history rather than moving them altogether.  Members also urged the building of a monument for African Americans right away.  The decision comes just a few days after protesters toppled the Confederate monument known as Silent Sam at the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.     

Affordable Care Rates Going Up In WNC (Asheville, NC)

Insurance rates through the Affordable Care Act are going up in Western North Carolina.  A Blue Cross spokesperson told WLOS-TV that premiums will rise again because there isn't much competition between hospital systems in the mountains.  Other cities like Raleigh will see decreases.  Insurance officials expect around a nine percent increase for affordable care plans in Western North Carolina.

Special Session Considered To Re-Word Constitutional Amendments (Raleigh, NC)

State lawmakers are considering holding a special session to reword two constitutional amendments for the November ballot.  Governor Cooper had filed a suit to put a halt to amendments which would shift the power of judicial appointments away from the governor and into the hands of the legislature.  A judicial panel advised the state this week that the amendments must be re-worded so as not to make them misleading or else submit an appeal.  The appeal was filed yesterday, but legislators are still mulling over meeting as soon as possible to re-write the proposals.   

Mother Of Family Left Homeless By Fallen Tree Dies (Haywood County, NC)

A Haywood County mother whose family was left homeless while she was in a coma is dead.  Kristen Ledford was in a medically-induced coma when a tree fell on her family's home in White Oak.  Her husband and two children weren't home at the time the tree fell.  She died at the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center this week.          

DOT Re-Opens Highway Nine On Limited Basis (Bat Cave, NC)

The DOT is going to give it a go again on a partial re-opening of Highway Nine.  It's been closed since tons of debris slid down a mountainside and completely covered the highway near Bat Cave earlier this summer.  The highway will now be open to local traffic during even hours between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., for just a few minutes per hour.  The DOT has tried to re-open a portion of the road a few times, but rain has slowed progress.    

Elk Get New Home In Haywood County (Maggie Valley, NC)

The growing population of elk in Western North Carolina now has a new home.  Residents and project leaders celebrated the opening of a new two-thousand-acre game land in Haywood County this week.  The state's Conservation Fund director says the best place for the public to spot the elk in the next few months is in Cataloochee. 

Schools And Police Tackling Hoax Threats (Charlotte, NC)

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and law enforcement are teaming together to put an end to hoax threats.  The CMPD has started a new campaign featuring the hashtag think-before-you-post, which has already made its way to area billboards.  CMS Police Chief Lisa Mangum says threats may have gone up double or more last school year than any other previous year.  Officials want students to know that threats will have criminal consequences.

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