Local and State Headlines for Friday, December 7th, 2018

Winter Storm On The Way (Asheville, NC)

A major winter storm is on its way to Western North Carolina.  The National Weather Service is calling for significant snow to fall beginning late Saturday and possibly into Monday from the mountains to as far east as Charlotte.  Some models show higher elevations will receive over 20 inches.  The Asheville area is currently forecast for up to eight inches of snow.  

Charges Upgraded In Pisgah Inn Murder (Asheville, NC)

Charges are being upgraded in the July murder of a Pisgah Inn employee in Canton.  Derek Pendergraft now faces counts of first-degree murder and aggravated sexual abuse in his co-worker's death.  Park rangers found the body of Sara Ellis off a trail in the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Pendergraft is expected to appear for a hearing this morning at ten.  

Governor Urges Residents To Prepare (Raleigh, NC)

Governor Roy Cooper says residents need to be prepared for bad driving conditions and cold temps this weekend.  The North Carolina Emergency Management Agency is closely watching Winter Storm Diego in preparations to send out a load of plows out on the roads.  Hospitals across WNC are putting emergency plans in place to make sure there's plenty of water and medical supplies ready for patients.      

Man Sentenced For Asheville Airport Bomb (Asheville, NC)

It's around four years in prison for a man who left a bomb at Asheville Regional Airport's baggage claim last October.  A judge sentenced Michael Estes yesterday.  He allegedly made the device himself out of nails and a shotgun cartridge.  He told investigators he planted the bomb to serve as a training exercise for law enforcement.    

Much Of Blue Ridge Parkway Closed (Asheville, NC)

Drivers should probably plan to avoid the Blue Ridge Parkway this weekend.  Large portions of the road both north and south of Asheville are already closed.  It's unclear if that will change before more expected snow hits the region Saturday night.  Mount Mitchell State Park has been closed since Wednesday.    

Annual Christmas Jam To Continue (Asheville, NC)

A Grammy-award winning musician isn't letting the threat of weather stop an Asheville tradition.  Warren Haynes says his 30th annual Christmas Jam will go on as planned tonight and tomorrow at the U.S. Cellular Center.  Dave Grohl, Government Mule and Grace Potter are among the scheduled acts.

McCready Withdraws Concession In Congressional Election (Undated)

Democrat Dan McCready is withdrawing his concession in the controversial North Carolina 9th Congressional District election.  He tweeted yesterday that he didn't serve in the Marines to come home and watch a criminal take away people's right to vote.  Republican Mark Harris has a 905-vote lead over McCready but the bipartisan election board has refused twice to certify the result.  The board has said it has sworn evidence that absentee ballots were collected by someone that never turned them in.

LendingTree Expanding In Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)

Another company is expanding jobs in the Queen City.  Finance broker LendingTree plans to add 400 jobs, while also finding a new location for its already Charlotte-based headquarters.  The state reportedly offered the company eight-million-dollars in incentives.  This comes a week after Honeywell announced it would relocate company headquarters here.

Suspected Package Thief Arrested (Greensboro, NC)

A teenager accused of stealing packages off people's porches in Greensboro is under arrest.  Seventeen-year-old Jonathan Hiltomen was taken into custody yesterday and booked on suspicion of larceny and other charges.  Police say Hiltomen was caught on camera at three different homes on Tuesday.  They recommend folks schedule delivery or leave instructions for the packages to be left in a safe place.

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