Local and State Headlines for Friday, January 4th, 2019

Governor Continues To Urge For End Of Shutdown (Raleigh, NC)

Governor Roy Cooper is continuing to urge for the end of the federal government partial shutdown.  He said yesterday that it's delaying funds needed for hurricane assistance in North Carolina.  The U.S. House passed six spending bills on Thursday that would re-open the government, but none included funding for a border wall.  The bills are likely dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate without money for the wall. 

Former Buncombe County Manager Agrees To Plea Deal (Asheville, NC)

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene is agreeing to plead guilty to several charges in her federal fraud case.  The plea deal filed yesterday must be accepted by a judge in a January 16th hearing.  Greene reportedly admitted to using county credit cards for herself, cashing out on a life insurance scheme and engaging in a kickback scheme with a contractor.   She faces up to 33 years in prison and a hefty fine for each count.  

Several Counties Under Flash Flood Watch Today (Asheville, NC)

Several counties south of Asheville are under a flash flood watch until Saturday morning.  Localized amounts of up to three inches of rain are expected by the time the system moves out later today.  The National Weather Service says flooding is most likely along the upper French Broad River.  Isolated mudslides are also a possibility.  

Driver Unscathed After Lane Divider Smashes Windshield (Asheville, NC)

A driver is okay after a lane divider smashed into his windshield on I-40 yesterday.  The divider lodged in his windshield on the interstate near east Asheville, but didn't make it all the way through.  The man said a car in front of him kicked up the divider when it changed lanes.  A state trooper said the driver probably didn't even know about the accident.    

Record Number Shows For First Day Hikes (Raleigh, NC)

North Carolina State Parks is reporting a record number of people who turned out for First Day Hikes on New Year's Day.  Close to 39-hundred participants showed up to take part in nearly 60 guided hikes across the state.  The annual event first began in North Carolina four decades ago.  The state parks' director said he looks forward to millions more enjoying the outdoors in 2019.    

Days Added On To End Of Buncombe's School Calendar (Buncombe County, NC)

The end of the school year will be a little later than planned for Buncombe County schools.  The district decided to add two days on to the schedule in June in order to make up for missed days in December's snowstorm.  The last day for students is now June 11th.  Friday, January 18th will be an early release day, with Tuesday the 22nd now a full day of school. 

Two More Die From Injuries In House Fire (Charlotte, NC)

A devastating fire this week in Charlotte is causing more tragedy.  An eight-year-old died and several others were seriously injured when fire spread through an Academy Street home early Wednesday morning.  A family spokesperson told WSOC-TV that the mother and her two-year-old daughter both died from injuries yesterday.  Charlotte fire investigators said the blaze most likely started from an unattended candle. 

Harris Files Petition For Election Certification (Wake County, NC)

Republican Mark Harris is pushing hard to have the election results certified in the ninth congressional district.  He received 905 votes more than Democrat Dan McCready, but officials have held off certification due to ballot fraud allegations.  Harris filed a petition to certify the results in North Carolina Superior Court as the 116th Congress convened yesterday.  The future of the fraud investigation is uncertain as the new Board of Elections isn't taking over until the end of the month.        

Mold Causes Class Delay At Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, NC)

Spring semester classes at Johnson C. Smith University are starting a little later than expected.  The school announced yesterday that the beginning of the semester has been pushed back to January 22nd to address suspected mold in some of the residence halls.  Most students won't be able to return to the halls until January 18th.  Any affected students will be relocated to alternate housing if any work remains to be done when they return.

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