Across the Region

A pastor is facing questioning in the death of his 53-year-old estranged wife in her home near Raeford, authorities say.

Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin says Rosemary Wynn was found unconscious Thursday morning and died a short time later.

Peterkin says she suffered serious injuries, but would not give additional details.

The sheriff says investigators have questioned Wynn's estranged husband, Samuel Wynn, who is cooperating.

Peterkin says officers have also searched Samuel Wynn's home near Raleigh.

Wynn is pastor at Holland's United Methodist Church in Raleigh and was recently named superintendent for the Fayetteville District of the United Methodist Church. Associated Press

Meck briefs


As gas prices continue to climb, Cornelius has found an alternative to paying at the pump. Five months ago, the town purchased three electric vehicles for staff and the Police Department.

The Global Electric Motorcars, two- and four-seat passenger vehicles that operate on battery power, have saved the town about $700 on fuel costs since they were bought, said Cornelius Project Manager Doug Barrick

Each electric vehicle has accumulated about 600 miles and is driven up to 10 miles a day, he said.

“The gas prices have finally started to hit the back pocket,” he said. “We are now able to reduce our fuel costs and help the environment while being kind of a trend-setter.”

Usually, the town pays up to $60 per vehicle to fill a tank with gas. Now, it pays about $7 a month to charge the three vehicles for six to eight hours during the evening at the Police Department.

The electric vehicles, which can travel 25 mph, are used on short trips within town limits. Lena Warmack

Regional briefs

Cabarrus County Concord

Two Charlotte companies have begun work on a $17 million, mixed-use commercial project in Concord.

One of the developers, Shea Homes, is also building 174 condominiums at the 30-acre site at Harris Road near the Mecklenburg County line and Skybrook Golf Course.

The commercial development, called The Shoppes at Edison Square, is from Shea and Trinity Capital Advisors. It will occupy about 10 acres. Eight buildings for retail and office space will cover 85,000 square feet, Trinity director Sean McKinley said.

The first tenants should arrive by March.

Work has begun on a 24,000-square-foot medical office building. Carolinas HealthCare System will occupy the first floor. The Charlotte health-care system will have a primary-care practice and an urgent-care center there, spokesman Kevin McCarthy said.

Restaurants and a day-care center will be among the other businesses at the complex, McKinley said.

Adam Bell

Caldwell County Lenoir

All-America City status was awarded Friday to the city of Lenoir. The National Civic League honored Lenoir and nine other cities with the designation, presented annually to U.S. cities for achievement in innovation and inclusiveness. The honor was presented at the National Civic League's annual conference in Tampa.

One other Carolinas city, Reidsville, also received the honor. A group of Lenoir government and civic leaders was on hand to receive the award. Steve Lyttle

Catawba County Sherrills Ford

The Sherrills Ford Volunteer Fire Department plans to build a new fire station in the area of Catawba County it will begin serving this summer.

Sherrills Ford Fire Chief Keith Bost said his department wants to build a $600,000 station on 2.53 acres off Catawba Burris Road in Sherrills Ford.

The move follows a dispute between the Denver Volunteer Fire Department and Catawba County officials after the county announced plans to transfer Denver's fire coverage in two areas to the Sherrills Ford department.

County officials said the change would increase response times and lower the homeowner insurance ratings for residents in those areas.

To continue services in the remaining portion of Catawba County it covers, the Denver department asked the county to levy the same fire tax rate pitched for Lincoln County. The county declined the proposal, and Denver Fire Chief James Flynn said the department would stop service to Catawba County on June 30.

Lena Warmack

Union County Monroe

Escalating costs of road-construction materials and land acquisition are raising the price tag of the Monroe Connector/Bypass by $173 million.

But supporters of the 22-mile toll road linking Charlotte to eastern Union County say they're confident the long-planned project, now estimated to cost almost $757 million, will open as scheduled in 2013.

That's because the N.C. House on Thursday approved 104-10 a version of the state budget bill that includes $24 million annually for the bypass to cover a funding gap.

The bill must be passed by the Senate and signed by Gov. Mike Easley.

If the funding becomes part of the adopted budget, it would fill a long-standing gap between the amount the state has already committed to the project and the amount the N.C. Turnpike Authority says it can raise through bonds backed mainly by tolls.

Mike Torralba

York County Rock Hill

A 9-year-old boy was seriously injured early Saturday in a fire at the Rock Hill apartment where he lived, fire officials say. Tyrese Thompson was taken to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill but transferred later Saturday to Carolinas Medical Center. His condition was not available Saturday evening.

The fire was reported about 1:30 a.m. at a two-story apartment building in the 400 block of West Main Street. While firefighters recovered the injured youth, who was found in a bedroom, they also rescued two teens from the building. The teens were not injured.

Fire officials say the blaze was accidental, and they estimated damage at about $50,000. Steve Lyttle

Police digest

Mecklenburg County Charlotte

A ruptured natural gas line left one man seriously injured Saturday afternoon, fire officials say.

The line was ruptured and caught fire shortly before 4 p.m. in the 8500 block of Hammond Street, off Moores Chapel Road in northwest Charlotte. Fire Capt. Rob Brisley said firefighters and the department's HAZMAT Team quickly put out the blaze.

The victim was taken by Medic to Carolinas Medical Center with what Brisley said were “possible life-threatening injuries.” Steve Lyttle