Gaston County Gastonia
Phil Welch, director of the Regional Emergency Services Training Center at Gaston College, has been named Gastonia's new fire chief.
He replaces Kenneth Lay, who resigned in October to become fire chief in Fishers, Ind., northwest of Indianapolis.
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A 29-year veteran of fire service and a former Gastonia Fire Department employee, Welch was selected from a group of six finalists, including internal and outside candidates, according to a city news release.
He will take over the leadership of the city's 140-member department on March 16.
Stanly County Badin
“The Ancient Carolinians,” an exhibit of 12,000-year-old artifacts from Stanly County's earliest inhabitants, is on display at the Badin Firehouse Museum, 60 Falls Road, through April 29.
The display features Native American artifacts from the Hardaway site, which is the oldest excavated settlement in North Carolina and one of the most significant archaeological sites in North America.
Archaeologists began digging at the Hardaway site in the late 1940s and their discoveries have provided an intriguing look at North Carolina's earliest known people.
There is no admission charge. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
North Carolina Raleigh
A new member of the N.C. House says he's working to resolve allegations he owes more than $88,000 in back taxes.
Court records show first-term Republican Rep. Darrell McCormick of Yadkin County is liable for unpaid state and federal taxes for 2004 and 2007.
McCormick said Thursday that the issue concerns around how much money generated from his commercial real estate business should be reported as individual income on his personal tax returns. He said he self-reported the problems to tax officials last year and hopes to settle them soon.
House Minority Leader Paul Stam of Wake County said there's no evidence McCormick has done anything criminal or unethical.
McCormick's tax problems were first reported on a blog based in his district.
South Carolina Columbia
The former director of prison health services in South Carolina has been sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of insurance fraud.
The state attorney general's office says 40-year-old Russell Campbell was convicted Wednesday of obtaining property by false pretenses and making a false statement related to a life insurance policy he took out on his father in 2002.
Judge G. Thomas Cooper Jr. also ordered Campbell to pay more than $50,000 in restitution to Auto-Owners Life Insurance Co. That's the amount the company paid when Campbell's father died in 2005.
Campbell resigned from the state Department of Corrections this month. Agency spokesman Josh Gelinas says Campbell had been suspended since the charges became known in November.
Mecklenburg County Charlotte
The husband of a Catawba County woman accused of trying to kill her 11-month-old child says his wife might have been reacting to the pressure of dealing with a baby suffering from chronic health problems.
Scott Stilwell told reporters late Wednesday that his daughter, Alexa, has suffered health-related issues since shortly after birth.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested Meredith Bambick Stilwell, 21, of Conover, on Wednesday morning and charged her with attempted murder and felony child abuse. They say she tried to kill her daughter Tuesday at Carolinas Medical Center's Levine Children's Hospital.
WCNC, the Observer's news partner, said a Web site for children at the hospital, www.caringbridge .org, listed Alexa's health problem as cerebral atrophy, a brain development disorder.
The little girl had been in the hospital about two weeks before Tuesday's incident, WCNC said.
The little girl remains hospitalized at the Levine Children's Hospital. Scott Stilwell told reporters that Alexa is doing fine.
For a second time, “America's Most Wanted” will feature the mysterious disappearance of 25-year-old Kyle Fleischmann and ask the country for tips to his whereabouts.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Detective Johnnie Tuttle plans to travel to Washington, D.C., for the show, which airs Saturday at 9 p.m. He and others will be answering tip lines if anyone calls in after watching the episode. Fleischmann also was featured on a Dec. 1, 2007, episode.
The Elon University graduate was last seen near the Buckhead Saloon in uptown Friday, Nov. 9, 2007. Though there are thousands of missing people reported each year, far fewer disappear and are not heard from, police say. Fleischmann's case has garnered the spotlight because of an intense and public search mounted by family and friends.
Anyone with information about Fleischmann can call CMPD detectives at 704-432-8477.
A two-alarm blaze late Wednesday at a northern Charlotte body shop did $250,000 damage, Charlotte fire officials say.
Charlotte fire Capt. Mark Basnight said discarded combustible materials in the paint booth caused the fire, which was spotted by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer about 11 p.m. Wednesday at Econo Auto Painting, on North Tryon Street near Matheson Avenue.
Basnight said more than 20 vehicles were inside the building when the fire started. First-responding crews called for additional help because of the extent of the fire, Basnight added.
No injuries were reported, and the blaze was brought under control in about 20 minutes.
Gaston County Gastonia
Kevin Johnson's 55th birthday Wednesday ended in a Charlotte hospital, after Johnson was shot several times during what police say was a home invasion in Gastonia.
Johnson, who lives in an apartment in the 1100 block of West Davidson Avenue, had celebrated his birthday earlier Wednesday evening with several friends. A short time after the friends left, several men broke into his apartment and demanded money, police say.
Johnson was shot and airlifted to CMC. He was in fair condition Wednesday.
Police say they later arrested three suspects:
James Wiley Floyd III, 16, of Bessemer City, was charged with robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
Deonte Jonquil Young, 17, and Ricky Jabar McCoy, 21, both of Gastonia, were charged with first-degree burglary and robbery with a dangerous weapon.
York County Rock Hill
Bond was set Wednesday for a Rock Hill man who police said slashed his ex-wife multiple times this week at a clinic parking lot.
A judge set bond at $250,000 for William Dewey Hoyles, 57, in connection with Monday's assault on Vicky Hoyles.
Hoyles is charged with assault and battery with intent to kill and possession of a knife during a violent crime, according to arrest warrants.
Those charges could carry up to a combined 25-year prison sentence if Hoyles is found guilty, the judge said during court Wednesday.
Catawba County Hickory
Hickory police and Alexander County sheriff's deputies seized cocaine valued at $9.5 million this week and charged five men with trafficking the drug.
Officers seized more than 38 kilograms of cocaine from several Hickory-area locations, according to police.
Hickory police charged Wilfredo Olivo Ayala, 33, Jose Samuel Ayala Franco, 22, and Edwin Noel Ayala, 21, all of Hickory.
Alexander County Sheriff's Office charged Joel Diaz Fernandez, 40, of Taylorsville, and Isaac Galdez Rios, 38, of Hickory.