Daycare to reopen
Uptown's First Presbyterian Church's daycare program is scheduled to reopen today after a broken furnace forced it to close all day Tuesday.
The program on West Trade Street is one of the uptown area's largest child development centers, serving 200 families who scrambled for child care when the center closed this morning because there was no heat.
By 4:45 p.m., workmen had repaired and tested the furnace and church officials deemed the center ready to reopen, said church spokeswoman Kathleen Conroy.
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The Child Development Center operates full-day daycare service for children from the age of 81/2 weeks to 5 years.
First Presbyterian's Weekday School is in a different building and had heat, Conroy said. That program was operating normally.
Four outgoing Mecklenburg County commissioners bid farewell Tuesday to their colleagues and the public during their last meeting in office.
Leaving the board were Democrats Parks Helms and Norman Mitchell and Republicans Dan Bishop and Dan Ramirez – who had served a collective 34 years on the board.
At the end of the meeting, County Manager Harry Jones also paid tribute to the late Valerie Woodard, who died in October.
The new board of commissioners will be sworn in on Dec. 1.
A full-scale search involving ATVs and a helicopter paid off Tuesday morning as two hikers who had been missing since Monday evening in the rugged Pisgah National Forest in Burke County were found. The two – Wesley Sluder, 22, and Brandy Arnett, 26 – are OK, searchers say.
An official near the scene told WCNC, the Observer's news partner, that the two were cold and hungry, but they won't need medical attention. Sluder and Arnett spent the night in weather that included snow and temperatures in the lower 20s. They were found about 10 a.m. near the Lower Falls area.
Caldwell County investigators are searching for a Granite Falls man reported missing last week.
Michael Scott Fife, 27, was last seen about noon Nov. 9 at the home he shared with his girlfriend, said Sheriff's Detective Shelly Hartley.
His girlfriend told investigators that Fife said he was going to shower and then run errands; however, she said, she didn't see him again and reported him missing the following morning, Hartley said.
Fife was scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Iredell County on Monday on narcotics charges.
Investigators describe him as white, 5-foot-10, 230 pounds, with blue eyes, brown hair and a muscular build. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and white Nike tennis shoes.
If you have information about his whereabouts, you can call the Sheriff's Office at 828-758-2324 or Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300.
Wake County Raleigh
The head of the North Carolina Democratic Party has decided two terms is enough.
Jerry Meek said Tuesday he won't seek a third two-year term leading the party following two successful election cycles. The 38-year-old Meek said he's stepping down in part because he's getting married to state Rep. Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg, in December and will share time between Charlotte and Raleigh.
State Democrats will choose his successor on Jan. 31 in Raleigh.
A 15-year-old Burke County boy has been charged with first-degree rape in an attack on an 86-year-old woman Sunday.
The woman told investigators that a teenage neighbor came to her home in the Chesterfield community Sunday and asked if her daughter was home, said Burke County sheriff's Lt. Becky Brendle. He returned at about 3 p.m. and asked the woman if he could use her telephone.
The woman, who is deaf, let him inside, and the boy went into the kitchen to use the phone, Brendle said. As he was about to leave, he pulled a kitchen knife on her and raped her.
Investigators tracked the boy to the school he attends, and on Monday a school resource officer brought him to authorities, who charged him with first-degree rape. Brendle wouldn't release his name because of his age. He is scheduled to appear in juvenile court on Thursday.