Local and State Headlines for Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

NC Lawmakers Consider Raise Of Minimum Wage

(Raleigh, NC) -- State lawmakers are considering a proposal that would push minimum wage to 15-dollars-an-hour. The House Bill calls for a gradual increase from North Carolina's current minimum of seven-25 over five years. The state would reach the new rate in 2024. The proposal is currently being discussed in house committees.

Lawsuit Against Conservative Activist To Head To Trial

(Asheville, NC) -- A federal lawsuit against a conservative activist is moving to a jury trial in Asheville. A judge decided to move forward with the case yesterday. The lawsuit claims James O'Keefe and his organization Project Veritas made a video that falsely accused a disabled Asheville woman of being a Democratic operative. The woman says she was assaulted outside a rally for Donald Trump at the U.S. Cellular Center in 2016, but charges against the suspect were later dropped.

Several WNC Counties Ranked High For Health

(Undated) -- Seven counties in western North Carolina rank near the top of the state in a recent study for overall health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released its County Health Rankings & Roadmaps for the U.S. yesterday. Watauga, Polk, Henderson and Buncombe were among the top 15 healthiest counties out of 100 in North Carolina. Transylvania, Ashe and Madison rounded out the top 25.

Driver Seriously Injured In I-40 Wreck

(Haywood County, NC) -- Investigators say a tractor-trailer driver was rushed to the hospital after a wreck on I-40 in Haywood County early Tuesday. WLOS-TV is reporting that the driver hit the median wall near the Fines Creek Road exit. The collision reportedly sent chunks of concrete onto the interstate, which damaged a few cars. The interstate was completely shut down during the investigation.

Job For APD Chief Posted

(Asheville, NC) -- The search for a new police chief in Asheville is underway. WLOS-TV said yesterday that the city has now officially posted the position. Former Chief Tammy Hooper resigned in early January, following around three-and-a-half years with the department.

Hendersonville Mill To Transform Into Lofts

(Hendersonville, NC) -- An old mill in Hendersonville is undergoing a transformation. Renovation of the Grey Hosiery Mill in downtown has just begun, as construction crews turn the property into a loft complex. Developers are expecting to have three dozen units open early next year. The old textile mill was built over 100 years ago.

Former Congressman Retracts Statements About State Senator

(Charlotte, NC) -- Former ninth district Congressman Robert Pittenger is attempting to clean up a mess with a North Carolina state Senator. Republican Robert Pittenger accused Dan Bishop yesterday of having knowledge of voting fraud in last year's election. Bishop is now running in the new ninth district Republican primary against nine other candidates including Matthew Ridenhour, who was endorsed by Pittenger. The former congressman retracted his statements last night after Bishop threatened to sue him.

Victim In Apartment Shooting Dies Tuesday

(Charlotte, NC) -- A late Monday night shooting near UNC-Charlotte is now being investigated as a homicide. The CMPD says a man shot at 901 Place Apartments on Forty Niner Avenue died yesterday. Witnesses told investigators that about a dozen shots were fired in an argument. There have been no arrests made.

Suspects Arrested After High-Speed Chase

(Charlotte, NC) -- Three suspects involved in a high-speed chase through east Charlotte yesterday are facing felony charges. The CMPD says they drove away from a North Tryon apartment complex while officers were serving a warrant. The suspects were caught around half-an-hour into the chase after they jumped from the car at The Plaza and Barrington Drive. Police haven't said what charges the suspects face.

Child Seriously Injured In Lawnmower Accident

(Lincoln County, NC) -- A child is recovering from injuries in a lawnmower accident in Lincoln County Tuesday. The sheriff's office said an eight-year-old was riding on the deck of a riding mower on Clark Creek Road when he fell off and was struck by the blades. The child's parent also reportedly had a small child in her lap while she was cutting grass. The boy was airlifted to Atrium Health for surgery.

County Updated On Large Uptown Multi-Use Project

(Charlotte, NC) -- A large multi-use development in the heart of uptown is continuing to move forward. The Charlotte Observer is reporting that Mecklenburg County commissioners were given an update on the Brooklyn Village project yesterday. The developer is expected to raze Marshall Park in the Second Ward and build a complex that includes 12-hundred apartments, a hotel and retail space. Construction still isn't expected to begin for a few years.

Hornets Fall Further Out Of Playoff Spot

(Charlotte, NC) -- The hopes for a Hornets' playoff appearance are fading with a few weeks left in the season. Charlotte fell to Philadelphia 118-114 at the Spectrum Center last night. The loss dropped the Hornets three games out of the last playoff spot in the East. Next up is another home game against Minnesota tomorrow night.

Sheriff: Lynn Keel's First Wife Might Be Exhumed

(Nash Co., NC) -- The Sheriff of Nash County says that a murder suspect's first wife's body could be exhumed. Lynn Keel is behind bars in Arizona waiting to be extradited back to North Carolina for the murder of Diana Keel, his wife who was found dead in a wooded area earlier this month. Lynn Keel's wife died in 2006 after she allegedly slipped on the steps outside of her home. Her death was ruled accidental, but now investigators say they're going back to double check that.

Former Durham Montessori Teacher Was A Camp Counselor

(Durham, NC) -- Troubling details are emerging about a former Durham Montessori school teacher facing child sex crimes. In December, 44-year-old Nathan Elder was arrested in Arizona for a child sex related crime, but he faces dozens of similar charges in Durham and Orange Counties. It turns out he worked at summer camp programs at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. Elder isn't facing any charges related to kids at the summer camps, but anyone with information is urged to call Durham police.

USA Today Sports Ranks A North Carolina Basketball Player And Coach Number One Nationally

(McLean, VA) -- USA Today has released their picks for player and coach of the year in time for the NCAA tournament, and both are from North Carolina. They named Duke's R.J. Barrett the national player of the year, because of how the freshman stepped up when Zion Williamson was injured and helping them win key games that led to the top overall seed. Tar Heels coach Roy Williams was named national coach of the year for his ability to mesh the new players with the older talent so effectively.

Cold Case Rape Suspect Is Charged With Two More Old Rapes

(Fayetteville, NC) -- A man charged in a Fayetteville cold case rape has now been tied to two more. In December, 55-year-old Wilbur McGill was arrested for allegedly raping a woman with a baby in 1990 at a Fayetteville park. Recently, it was announced that he had been charged with two other rapes in the 80s in that same park. McGill was linked to the attacks by DNA left at the scene and investigators say advances in forensic technology is helping them solve a lot of cases they thought they never would be able to.

Documents: Pharmacy Shooter Said His Medicine Tasted Funny

(Garner, NC) -- Court documents say a man who shot two Garner Walgreens employees had a problem with his medication. Last month, 60-year-old Stephen Denning was accused of shooting a 31-year-old pharmacy manager and 33-year-old Brandon Gordon at the Walgreens on US 70. Denning allegedly complained that his medicine tasted funny, and when he was informed that they couldn't help him, he pulled a gun and shot them. The pharmacy manager is out of the hospital, but Gordon, who was shot in the head, isn't. Denning was shot by police, but he survived and faces two counts of attempted murder.

NC State University Alert For Man Who's Making Unwanted Advances

(Raleigh, NC) -- NC State University campus is on high alert for a guy they say has been touching students. Campus police issued a crime alert about a man making unwanted advances on students. They identified him as Jeremiah Frederick, and say this week he was touching students' hands, feet or heads. The News and Observer reports that he was arrested last summer for a similar offense. Anyone with information about Frederick is asked to call University Police.

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