Across the Region |

Prisons to widen

HIV screening

The N.C. Department of Correction plans to screen inmates who agree to be tested for HIV starting in November.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Thursday the decision was made after pressure from public health officials, lawmakers and religious leaders. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

Dr. Peter Leone with the state Division of Public Health said the testing is a moral imperative for prisoners and for residents concerned about inmates released from prison.

Correction Department spokesman Keith Acree said the testing will be part of routine screening when inmates are admitted to the system and when current inmates get annual physicals. Inmates can opt out of the screening. Under the previous policy, inmates had to request the test. Associated Press

Meck briefs


Temporary flood disaster relief centers in Charlotte and Concord will close today at 6 p.m. After that, flood victims whose homes or businesses were damaged Aug. 26-27 can seek assistance by contacting the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The agency offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesspeople and vehicle owners whose flood losses from Tropical Storm Fay are not covered by insurance or other compensation. N.C. Emergency Management offers grants to eligible disaster victims who do not qualify for an SBA loan.

Flood victims can still seek assistance by calling the SBA at 800-659-2955. Application forms also are available at www.sba.gov.

Applications for state assistance must be submitted by Oct. 6 to the N.C. Division of Emergency Management, Individual Assistance Program, 4716 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4716. Applicants can also call toll-free 866-812-3121.

Regional briefs

Cleveland County Shelby

The 84th Cleveland County Fair, one of the oldest and largest county fairs in North Carolina, opened Thursday and runs through Oct. 4.

Events include the Star Family Circus, Demolition Derby and Mountain Dan Chainshaw Artist. Artists on the performing arts stage will include pianist Leon Jacobs Jr., beach music band Ocean Boulevard and comic Gary Claxton.

The fair includes 6,000 exhibits, 2,000 exhibitors, horticulture, livestock, history, arts, crafts and the Reithoffer Carnival Midway.

The fair is at 1751 E. Marion St. (U.S. 74 Business). For information call 704-487-0651 or go to www.ccfair.net. Joe DePriest

Durham County Durham

The Durham Branch of the NAACP will host a march from the city limits to the Durham County Courthouse on Oct. 5 as part of a statewide pilgrimage to focus attention on the Wilmington riot of 1898.

During that Nov. 10, 1898 riot, white Wilmington residents ousted black city and county officials, burned businesses and killed scores of blacks.

Fred Foster, the branch president, said, “We want to put the N.C. Legislature on notice that we are not satisfied with an apology concerning this historical atrocity. Rather, we seek reparations to be paid to the descendants of those individuals harmed in this gross miscarriage of justice.”

Last year, the General Assembly approved a bill expressing ”our profound regret,” at the incident. The bill did not offer reparations.

On Oct. 6, another group of marchers will continue the pilgrimage in Raleigh to the capitol steps. (Durham) Herald-Sun

N.C. State University Raleigh

N.C. State University researchers will work with some of the state's high schoolers to help create video games that help them complete their mandatory graduation projects.

The university said Wednesday that it received a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Principal investigator Len Annetta will join gaming company Virtual Heroes Inc. and the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science to develop game-creation tools.

Researchers will pilot the program with 150 10th-graders.

The students will create learning games, and do a research paper, portfolio and presentation related to the project to complete their graduation requirement. Annetta said he hopes creating the games will get the students to enjoy math and science more. Associated Press


UNC Chapel Hill

Less than a year after completing the $2.38 billion Carolina First Campaign, UNC Chapel Hill has begun planning a follow-up fundraiser.

According to a memo written by Matt Kupec, vice chancellor for University Advancement, the next “mega-campaign” will have a goal of $3.5 billion to $4 billion and could launch in 2009.

Kupec acknowledged that current financial challenges are a concern but there are other factors to consider.

“The economy is rough, no doubt,” he said. “We have a great opportunity now with a new chancellor taking over. That will excite a campus.” (Durham) Herald-Sun

Officials are trying to figure out if two dead deer were dumped in former UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser's back yard last week.

Both had been shot. Chapel Hill police spokesman Lt. Kevin Gunter said Thursday one had a rope tied around its neck, suggesting it was used to drag the animal.

Gunter said it is unknown whether the deer were simply discarded there or planted as a prank. Moeser spotted the deer Friday while walking near the edge of his property in Chapel Hill.

Gunter said no gunshots were heard in the area, suggesting the carcasses were brought onto the property.

It's unknown what happened with the deer. Because they were on private property, the owner has to have them removed. Moeser could not be reached for comment. Associated Press

South Carolina Pawleys Island

Waccamaw Middle School is halting its single-gender program a month into the school year, according to a letter sent out Wednesday to parents.

This was the first year the middle school tried separating classes by gender for math, English and language arts.

“The attempt at single gender thus far, has not worked as well as envisioned. More long-term planning is necessary to fully accomplish the goals of single gender instruction…,” the letter from Principal William Dwyer said. The school will try to rebuild the program from the “ground up” with more training and resources.

The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News


A reactor at a nuclear plant in northwestern South Carolina is operating at reduced power as workers repair an oil leak in a transformer outside the structure.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Sandra Magee told The Greenville News the reactor at the Oconee Nuclear Station was operating at less than a quarter of normal power Tuesday. Magee says there is no danger to employees or the public. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Ken Clark says his agency will take no action because the problem is not the reactor itself. Associated Press