for graffiti incident
at N.C. State
One of four N.C. State University students who had admitted to painting racially charged graffiti in the university's Free Expression Tunnel issued a public apology Wednesday.
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The apology came hours before the N.C. State student senate, meeting in a special session Wednesday evening, voted to issue a resolution condemning the graffiti spray-painted a day after the presidential election.
The student, who has not been publicly named, said he meant no physical harm to anyone. He admits that his statements went too far. The graffiti, which stirred considerable unrest at the university, included statements such as “Hang Obama by a Noose.”
“My intentions were simply to express my views on the outcome of the election, but went too far,” the student said.
The student senate committee has held three hearings.
A report of a possible fire led to the evacuation of 55 residents from an assisted living facility in Lincoln County on Tuesday night.
According to the Lincoln County Emergency Medical Services, a call came in around 8 p.m. about smoke in the Heath House at 919 Wilma Sigmon Road.
Units arriving on the scene put out a small fire and ventilated the building, which took about an hour and 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, residents were placed inside emergency vehicles to keep warm while the building was being cleared, authorities said.
Three residents were taken to Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln for treatment of injuries related to smoke inhalation, authorities said. One of the victims suffered what might be life-threatening injuries, according to EMS.
North Carolina Wilmington
A North Carolina sheriff's official has apologized for plunging a funeral into chaos when undercover agents tried to arrest the dead man's son – and used a Taser on him in the process.
The incident happened as the coffin was being loaded into a hearse. The officers planned to quietly arrest Gladwyn Taft Russ III, who was serving as a pallbearer, The Star-News of Wilmington reported Wednesday.
Relatives said two deputies dressed in coats and ties grabbed Russ and kneed him in his back before using the Taser on him. One deputy's gun fell out of its holster.
Russ' sister, Taffy Gause, said when she got out of the car a deputy “was waving a gun at me and my mom and yelling to get back or he was going to shoot.” She said some mourners went home instead of going to the cemetery.
Russ, 42, had failed to turn himself in as promised after being charged with threatening his ex-wife who lives in another state, officials said.
Gov.-elect Bev Perdue's incoming administration held the first of its public meetings to get input on important issues by focusing on a topic close to Perdue's heart.
About 40 advocates and state regulators met Wednesday in Cary to discuss how North Carolina can do a better job providing assistance to elderly residents.
The group is one of 14 meeting over the next week on topics ranging from transportation to mental health. The groups will make recommendations to the governor-elect by early December.
Perdue did not attend the meeting in Cary. She used to work as a geriatric consultant and services director at a New Bern hospital.
The number of people age 65 or older in North Carolina in 2030 will be more than double the total in 2000.
South Carolina Columbia
House Republican leaders are pushing plans to put more power in the hands of House Speaker Bobby Harrell.
It's an issue the freshmen wrapping up their two-day orientation session Tuesday will have to deal with on Dec. 2 when they begin the House's organizational session.
Republican Majority Leader Jim Merrill said his proposal would make it easier to advance the GOP's agenda and clear the House floor of bills they don't want. But critics say it will concentrate too much power in one person's hands and stifle legislation while silencing critics.
State Rep. Nathan Ballentine of Irmo said too much power in leadership hands already kills important legislation like last year's failed attempt to regulate payday lending.
A federal grand jury has indicted a 42-year-old man who authorities say held police at bay for 18 hours outside a Conway hospital, blocking the emergency room entrance.
Robert McGowan was indicted Wednesday for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Authorities say McGowan had a .22-caliber rifle and ammunition on Oct. 21 when he drove into the ambulance bay at Conway Medical Center and put the gun to his head.
No one was injured in the standoff. McGowan said he wanted help and was considering suicide.
He spent 10 years in prison for shooting a police officer in the hand and had trouble adjusting after his release last December.
McGowan's attorney Bill Nettles said Wednesday he had no comment on the indictment.
The family of an 11-year-old boy killed in the crash of a church bus in northwestern South Carolina earlier this year will receive $450,000 under a settlement.
The Greenville News reported Wednesday the family of Austin Green reached the out-of-court settlement with insurance companies representing the bus driver and the church.
Austin was hurt Jan. 23 when the Lakeview Baptist Church bus taking several children home from an evening program ran off U.S. 178 near Liberty, rolled down an embankment and struck a tree. He died several days later.
The bus driver, Phillip Farmer, was later ticketed for driving too fast for conditions.
The settlement with Ricky Green and Lisa Bonilla, Austin's parents, was filed with the Pickens County clerk of court.
Catawba County sheriff's investigators are looking into the off-campus death of a Lenoir-Rhyne University student Monday.
Sheriff David Huffman said university officials called his office Wednesday morning, saying a student had died Monday evening and requesting an investigation.
Huffman said investigators are questioning students who were with Harrison Kowiak, 19, of Tampa, Fla., when he was injured. He said the students have given conflicting accounts of what happened. Some say Kowiak was hurt in a football game, others in a basketball game. They said the injury happened somewhere on N.C. 127 South.
Huffman said someone took Kowiak to a Hickory hospital and that he was then flown to a Charlotte hospital, where he died.
Huffman was waiting to get the cause of death from the hospital.
In a statement released Wednesday, the university said, “We understand that his death was the result of an accident that occurred off-campus.” School officials wouldn't give further information.
Huffman said that Kowiak, a sophomore, was a member of Lenoir-Rhyne's golf team.