Easley: More gas coming to N.C. next week
North Carolinians may see additional relief at the gas pump starting next week: The pipeline that provides the state with its main fuel supply will increase its flow rate.
Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory said in a news release Thursday that the Colonial pipeline is continuing to flow at the level it was at before Hurricane Ike struck last month. Gov. Mike Easley said the pipeline is expected to bring additional fuel to the state next week.
Easley also said he will continue to bring in 50 to 100 tankers a day to Charlotte and Western North Carolina, but he did not indicate how long that would take place.
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McCrory said he had been in contact Thursday with the U.S. Department of Energy and with executives of Shell Oil. “It still may be two weeks or so before the supply system is operating at 100%,” he said in the release, “but hopefully citizens are starting to see improvement.” Staff and wire reports
Self-Help, a community development organization, will hold an open house for prospective homebuyers from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday in Peachtree Hills, a subdivision in northern Charlotte near Interstate 77 and Sunset Road.
The organization is looking for qualified people to join a homeowners program that offers a lease-purchase option. Four homes, priced from $65,000 to $90,000, will be open for tours: 5312 Peach Place Lane, 1335 Crandon Drive, 1341 Crandon Drive and 1422 Peach Park Lane. Qualified applicants must earn below a certain income level – for example, $70,840 for a family of four. Call LaVett Saddler at 800-476-7428, ext. 4680. Julia Oliver
Henderson County Etowah
Three people were killed in a two-vehicle wreck in Western North Carolina, authorities said.
Trooper Anthony Hill told the Asheville Citizen-Times that a car crossed the centerline on U.S. 64 in Henderson County about 9:20p.m. Wednesday and struck a pickup truck head-on.
Hill said all three of the victims were in the car. He would not release their names until relatives are notified.
The driver of the pickup, 38-year-old Tony Galloway of Etowah, was taken to a hospital in Hendersonville with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Hill says both drivers were wearing seat belts, but the car passengers were not. Associated Press
Wake County Raleigh
A hearing to decide whether patients at Dorothea Dix mental hospital will be transferred to a facility in Butner has been postponed as safety worries continue to surface.
The state's Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that it agreed with an advocacy group for people with disabilities to postpone a hearing set for Oct. 6. This comes after issues were raised about transferring patients at Dorothea Dix to Central Regional Hospital.
The group Disability Rights North Carolina sued to delay the move because of issues including the Butner facility's paging and wireless communication systems. The agency did not set a new hearing date. Associated Press
South Carolina Charleston
The College of Charleston is getting $60 million richer. The school announced Thursday it has received the largest single donation to a S.C. public college or university. President George Benson says the gift from real estate development firm owner Guy Beatty Jr. will be parceled out to the school in yearly, $2 million increments for the next 30 years. The money will be used to create scholarships and programs. Associated Press
Business leaders and York County officials want South Carolina's first exit on Interstate 77 to make a better impression.
York County Council and business owners near Carowinds met this week to talk about problems with the Exit 90 area.
The Herald of Rock Hill reported Thursday that business owners are frustrated with trash and overgrown brush at the exit.
A plan was offered about five years ago that included palmetto trees, flowers and fountains, but there was no commitment from local government to maintain the improvements.
County manager Jim Baker says county leaders are looking for something that is attractive but also cost-effective and efficient to maintain.
Council Chairman Buddy Motz says one proposal would create a special tax district to generate money for the project. Associated Press
Cabarrus County Concord
A man wanted in connection with a 2007 rape case was arrested Wednesday. Police said he also owed $38,000 in child support.
Lamont Eugene Diaz, 32, was charged with second-degree rape, four counts of nonsupport, felony speeding to elude arrest, resisting an officer, driving with a revoked license, and careless and reckless driving.
Police had been looking for him for two years on various charges, Maj. Wendell Rummage said. The rape, which took place in December in Concord, involved a 21-year-old woman, he said.
When Diaz was spotted at Academy Avenue and Duval Street on Wednesday, officers had to chase him a short distance before apprehending him. Rummage said Diaz had eluded capture five times.
Diaz was being held in the Cabarrus County jail on $108,000 bond, plus a $3,600 cash bond for the child support cases. GAIL SMITH-ARRANTS
Mecklenburg County Huntersville
A police SWAT team surrounded a Huntersville motel and arrested a man early Thursday in connection with a killing Monday in the Rea Road area of southeast Charlotte.
Police say 23-year-old Terrick Lumpkin was wanted in connection with the shooting death of Joel Vasquez, whose body was found early Monday at a residence on Chelton Ridge Lane. Another person was shot and seriously wounded in the incident.
Police say their Violent Crimes Apprehension Team went overnight to the Holiday Inn Express, just off Exit 23 of Interstate 77.
The police unit had the motel lights turned off and guests evacuated from their rooms about 1:30 a.m.
The next part of the police operation went smoothly.
“We basically made a phone call and asked the suspect to surrender,” police Major Dale Greene told WCNC-TV, the Observer's news partner. “And he came out without incident.” Steve Lyttle
South Carolina Columbia
A middle school math teacher has been charged with having sex with a 15-year-old girl he met online. Richland County school officials said Thursday that Edward Craft has been placed on administrative leave while the district investigates.
Authorities say the 47-year-old Crayton Middle School teacher was arrested Wednesday. Investigators think Craft posed as a 16-year-old boy and exchanged text messages with the teen he met on a social networking site. Deputies say Craft drove the girl to his apartment Friday, where the two had sex. Associated Press