Local

Ground broken for new Mint Hill hospital

Meck briefs

Mint Hill

Presbyterian Healthcare broke ground for a new community hospital to be built on the outskirts of Mint Hill at the intersection of Albemarle Road and I-485.

Presbyterian Hospital Mint Hill – the working name while a formal name is evaluated – will serve Mint Hill and the surrounding areas including Cabarrus, Stanley and Union counties. A number of Mint Hill business leaders, residents and elected officials as well as many from surrounding areas were on hand Tuesday for the groundbreaking to show support for the new facility.

The $90 million hospital will have an emergency department with 16 treatment rooms, 38 acute-care medical-surgical beds, 10 observation beds, four intensive care beds, four operating rooms, imaging services, and a full-service laboratory and pharmacy.

When fully staffed, the hospital is expected to have more than 300 full-time employees.

Presbyterian Healthcare received state approval for the hospital in December 2006. Carolinas Medical Center filed a competing request at about the same time, but its request to build a hospital in the town was denied.

The hospital is expected to open in the fall of 2010.

Melinda Johnston

Regional briefs

Randolph County

Asheboro

North Carolina's zoo city won't be dry for much longer.

Voters in Asheboro approved a series of referendums Tuesday that will allow the sale of beer, wine and mixed drinks in the city. Unofficial results from the Randolph County city, home of the N.C. Zoo and a popular lunch or dinner spot for people traveling from the Charlotte area to Raleigh or Chapel Hill, show 54 percent of the approximately 12,000 registered voters cast ballots.

The results mark a change for Asheboro as voters there have rejected alcoholic beverage proposals several times over the past four decades.

The results showed 62 percent of voters approved the sale of mixed drinks, with 61 percent supporting the sale of unfortified wine. The sale of malt beverages was approved by 60 percent of voters, and 59 percent supported having ABC stores within city limits.

Supporters of the proposals had said Asheboro was the largest dry city in North Carolina.

Staff reports

Gaston County Gastonia

The longtime owner of a Gastonia Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership has died of injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash in western Montana.

Clifton “Click” Baldwin was on his way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.

Missoula County officials say Baldwin died Tuesday night in the intensive care unit at St. Patrick Hospital after undergoing surgery.

The Montana Highway Patrol said a motorcycle driven by the 54-year-old Baldwin was westbound in a no-passing zone on U.S. Highway 12 Tuesday morning when he tried to pass a car that had slowed down. Baldwin's motorcycle crashed into the back of the car.

Baldwin and 14 members of the Hamster's Motorcycle Club were traveling together to the Sturgis rally.

Baldwin was owner of the Carolina Harley-Davidson Buell motorcycle dealership in Gastonia.

Associated Press

North Carolina

Raleigh

The N.C. Medical Board on Wednesday defended its right to punish physicians who participate in executions, arguing in an appeal that the legislature never intended for doctors to take part.

The board asked the state Supreme Court to reverse a Superior Court judge's decision from September 2007 that determined the board overstepped its authority by threatening to punish physicians for participating in executions.

The medical board said in the appeal it filed Wednesday that it “would be abandoning its own mission were it not to enforce and protect the ethics of the medical profession, especially one so central to the medical profession as the preservation of life.”

The board's policy effectively triggered a moratorium on the death penalty in North Carolina, which has not executed an inmate since August 2006.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens said last year that state law does not grant the medical board the right to prohibit doctors from assisting in executions. He also ruled that executions are not medical procedures.

The filing said that it's irrelevant whether an execution is a medical procedure because the legislature has given the board the authority to discipline doctors for violations of medical ethics, regardless of whether they involve the practice of medicine.

Department of Correction spokesman Keith Acree said his office couldn't immediately comment because the agency had not seen the filing.

Associated Press

Eastern N.C.

Wilmington

“Nights in Rodanthe” will spend a night in North Carolina.

A special screening of the movie version of the Nicholas Sparks novel will be held Sept. 25 in Wilmington. The film will be released nationally the next day, and Sparks' publicist said it will premiere Sept. 22 in New York City.

The movie, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane, was filmed in 2007 along the Outer Banks and in Wilmington.

Associated Press

N.C. Mountains

Highlands

Officials in Macon County have identified the two people killed when a plane crashed in Western North Carolina.

A statement released Wednesday by county emergency services director Warren Cabe identified the victims as 49-year-old Duane Anthony Moorer Sr. and 22-year-old Duane Anthony Moorer Jr., both of Miramar, Fla.

Cabe said the aircraft was thought to have belonged to an Arkansas company, but apparently had recently been purchased by Midwest Atlantic Inc. of Miramar.

Cabe said investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration as well as manufacturers representatives were on the crash scene Wednesday.

He said the wreckage will be moved to undergo a more thorough investigation.

Associated Press

South Carolina Orangeburg

The former president of S.C. State University filed a multimillion- dollar lawsuit against the school and its trustees Wednesday, accusing board members of acting improperly in his firing last year.

Andrew Hugine's lawsuit, filed in Orangeburg County, accuses seven trustees and one ex-officio board member of defamation of character and conspiracy.

Hugine, who took over as university president in 2003 and received a five-year contract extension two years later, was fired in December for poor performance in academics and not keeping up the university's infrastructure. A review released by the school a month later showed that the board had given Hugine an overall score of 2.84 out of a possible 5.0.

In the lawsuit, Hugine says the seven board members appointed to evaluate his performance “defamed (Hugine) by falsely accusing him of negligent and or intentional misconduct in his evaluation.”

Associated Press

Police digest

Mecklenburg County

Charlotte

A homeless man who served time in federal prison for threatening to murder a U.S. District Court judge in Virginia is being sought by the U.S. Marshal's Office in Charlotte.

Sinclair Landon Atkins, 57, was last seen July 14 at the Urban Ministry Center on College Street. Cornelius officials have reported the man also has been seen there.

He rides CATS buses and trains and has been seen in Gastonia, said Steve Gladden of the U.S. Marshal's Office.

Atkins also was convicted in 1972 for murder. He goes by several fictitious names, including Junior Atkins, Donald Edward Taylor and Edward Daniel Taylor. He is white, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 130 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Anyone who knows where he is should call 911.

Joe Marusak

South Carolina Pickens

Attorneys for the man charged in the strangling death of a Clemson University student asked a judge on Wednesday not to allow prosecutors to mention their client's criminal record during his upcoming trial.

Attorneys for Jerry Buck Inman, 37, asked Judge Edward Miller to exclude the record during his upcoming trial on kidnapping, rape and murder charges in the death of Tiffany Marie Souers.

Authorities have said a bikini top used to strangle the engineering student from Ladue, Mo., was still wrapped around her neck when she was found in her off-campus apartment in May 2006.

Inman spent about 18 years in prison for rapes he committed as a teenager in North Carolina and Florida and is a registered sex offender in both states.

Associated Press
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