Local and State Headlines for Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

NC GOP Chair Indicted on Wire Fraud, Bribery Charges

(Raleigh, NC) -- North Carolina's GOP chairman is facing federal bribery and wire fraud charges. State Republican Party Chair Robin Hayes and investment firm founder Greg Lindberg are among four people being charged. Federal prosecutors said yesterday they promised or gave Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey millions of campaign dollars to remove the deputy responsible for examining Lindberg's business. Lindberg has given more than five-million-dollars to North Carolina candidates, party committees and independent expenditure groups.

Autopsy Reveals Pisgah Inn Employee Was Strangled

(Asheville, NC) -- Autopsy results are in for an employee of Pisgah Inn in Canton who was killed on the Blue Ridge Parkway last summer. The medical examiner's office said this week that Sara Ellis was strangled to death. A co-worker is still in Buncombe County Detention Center on murder charges. There's no word on when his trial is set to begin.

Discolored Water May Last Until Late-Week

(Asheville, NC) -- Discolored water that's showing up for some Asheville residents should clear up towards the end of the week. City officials said yesterday that around five-thousand-people have been affected after equipment failed on a construction project last weekend. The discoloration is apparently unrelated to Monday's water main break in the River Arts District. A restaurant in the district told WLOS-TV that multiple water issues have cost their business to lose several thousands of dollars this week.

Labor Commissioner Won't Seek Re-Election

(Raleigh, NC) The state's longtime Labor Commissioner doesn't plan to run for another term. Cherie Berry told the North Carolina Council of State yesterday in Raleigh that her sixth term will be her last. Her face is probably recognizable to many across the state because it's pictured on every elevator inspection notice, which led to her nickname the Elevator Lady. Berry was elected as Labor Commissioner in 2001.

Grant To Help WNC Early Childhood Education Initiative

(Buncombe County, NC) -- Early childhood education in western North Carolina is getting a boost from a grant. The Buncombe Partnership for Children is using a 400-thousand-dollar grant to expand the program into Henderson, Transylvania and Madison counties. WLOS-TV is reporting that the program will be able to add 60 teachers in those areas.

Tourists Open Minor League Season Tomorrow

(Asheville, NC) -- Minor league baseball is back in Asheville. First pitch for the 2019 season is tomorrow night at historic McCormick Field for the Asheville Tourists, who open up with a four game series against the Augusta Greenjackets. The Tourists have been a farm team for the Colorado Rockies since 1994. Dollar beers will be served up as part of the team's Thirsty Thursday promotion.

Attorneys Seek New Trial In UNC-Charlotte Student Death

(Charlotte, NC) -- Attorneys for the convicted killer of a UNC-Charlotte student are seeking a new trial. Mark Carver is in prison for life for the 2008 strangulation of the student, who was found in the Catawba River in Gaston County. An attorney said in court yesterday that Carver has an IQ of a first grader and couldn't have killed the woman. Gaston County's district attorney argued that Carver was able to hold a job for ten years.

Man Admits To Stealing Mail In SW Charlotte

(Charlotte, NC) -- One man is admitting he stole a quarter-of-a-million dollars from southwest Charlotte mailboxes. The suspect was arrested in December after investigators said he took mail from a neighborhood off Landing View Lane for what may have been two years. A variety of credit cards and checks were stolen from a reported 15-hundred victims. The man pleaded guilty to mail theft and aggravated identity theft yesterday.

Mom Charged After Lincolnton Boy Injured In Lawn Accident

(Lincolnton, NC) -- A Lincolnton boy is still in the hospital as his mother faces charges for a lawnmower accident. The eight-year-old was cut by the blades on a riding mower two weeks ago when he fell while riding on the deck. His mother was arrested on Monday for felony negligent child abuse. Investigators say she was driving the mower with a child in her lap and the eight-year-old on the deck.

Yesterday's Snow Was First Measurable April Snowfall In Decades

(Charlotte, NC) -- April snow is obviously a rare occurrence in the Queen City. NBC Charlotte is reporting that yesterday's minor accumulation was Charlotte's first measurable snowfall in April since 1982. The ground temperature wasn't warm enough to make anything stick around. The National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory for this morning until temperatures warm up close to 70 later today.

Banks Donating To Affordable Housing

(Charlotte, NC) -- Charlotte's affordable housing initiative is getting big support from two banks. BB&T and SunTrust announced a gift of ten-million-dollars to the Foundation for the Carolinas yesterday. The Charlotte Observer says they've also agreed to give out 20-million-dollars worth of below-market loans for developers of affordable housing. The two banks are merging, with a new home base located in Charlotte.

Officials Apologize For A Training Exercise

(Raleigh, NC) -- Officials in Raleigh admit that an Army training exercise wasn't handled properly. On Thursday night, helicopters and explosions could be heard in Raleigh's Brentwood neighborhood. Residents say they thought they were at war and many say they had no idea there was a training exercise planned. The city manager said that the exercise was louder than they thought it would be. He apologized and assured that this type of thing would never happen again.

UNC Women Basketball Players Set To Transfer

(Chapel-Hill, NC) -- Three female UNC basketball players are set to leave for other programs. This week, the entire UNC women's basketball coaching staff at UNC Chapel-Hill was put on administrative leave while the program's culture is investigated. So far it looks like at least three players plan to transfer to other schools. The nature of the investigation is still unclear.

Mom Says A Teacher Choked Her Daughter

(Harnett Co., NC) -- A Harnett County mom says a teacher choked her daughter. CBS 17 reports that last week a woman told them her fourth grade daughter was attacked on a South Harnett Elementary School bus. She says the girl didn't sit down for the teacher, and after an argument, the teacher grabbed the girl by the throat and cursed at her. Deputies are investigating the incident, but so far no arrests have been announced.

Body Found In Goldsboro

(Goldsboro, NC) -- Police in Goldsboro are investigating after a body was found. They say a man's body was found next to a dumpster Monday night off Berkeley Boulevard. Investigators are still trying to figure out how he died. The victim still hasn't been identified and anyone with information is asked to call police.

VA Couple Killed By A Driver In NC

(Kitty Hawk, NC) -- A Virginia school system is mourning the sudden loss of a teacher and her husband after a crash in North Carolina. On Monday, 40-year-old Holly Nicolette and her 37-year-old husband A.J. were walking along a road in the Outer Banks when they were killed by a driver. Kitty Hawk police say they've interviewed the driver and charges are pending. Nicolette taught at an elementary school near Richmond for 13-years.

Asheboro Daycare Worker Charged With Child Abuse

(Asheboro, NC) -- An Asheboro daycare worker is facing charges after cellphone video surfaced of her throwing a child onto a mat. Joy Branning is charged with misdemeanor child abuse. The incident happened March 20th at the Children's Center of Asheboro and was recorded by a fellow employee. The child is four. His mother did not comment because the case is still under investigation.

Greensboro City Council Members Want Investigation Into Police Custody Death

(Greensboro, NC) -- Two Greensboro City Council members are calling for an investigation into the death of Marcus Smith, who died in police custody last September. Council members Sharon Hightower and Michelle Kennedy want an independent investigation after emotional testimony outside City Hall last night by Smith's family. The family says Police Chief Wayne Scott failed to mention in a press release that Smith was hog-tied before his death. The City Council will decide who will conduct the investigation at its next meeting.

Suspect Arrested After Davidson Co. Standoff

(Davidson Co., NC) -- A suspect is in custody after a standoff with law enforcement in Davidson County. Nineteen-year-old Charles Neal Junior had several outstanding warrants, including possession of a firearm by a felon and breaking and entering of a motor vehicle. The Violent Fugitive Task Force tried taking him into custody yesterday afternoon at a home in northwestern Davidson County, but he barricaded himself inside. After a brief standoff, Neal was arrested. No one was hurt.

Five People Hurt In Davidson Co. Crash

(Davidson Co., NC) -- Five people are hurt after a car wreck in Davidson County. It happened yesterday evening at the intersection of N.C. 109 and Old U.S. 64 in the Silver Valley area. Officials say at least two cars were involved. There is no word yet on the extent of the victims' injuries or who is at fault.

Greensboro-Area Attractions Among Most Visited Statewide

(Greensboro, NC) -- Two Greensboro-area attractions are among the most-visited in the state. That's according to a new survey conducted by Carolina Publishing and Associates. It says the North Carolina Zoo in Asheville is the third most-visited attraction, and the Greensboro Science Center is the 12th. For the fifth year in a row, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh is the most popular attraction.

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