More children home-schooled

Home-school enrollment increased by 4 percent this past school year, according to figures released today by the state Division of Non-Public Education.

State officials estimate that 71,566 students were home-schooled for the 2007-08 school year – up from 68,707 students the prior year. The number of children being schooled at home is likely higher because parents don't have to register with the state unless their children are at least 7 years old.

There were 38,367 registered home-schools in 2007-08, a 6 percent increase from the prior school year.

The number of families choosing to educate their students at home has been steadily increasing since the state Supreme Court legalized homeschooling in 1985. North Carolina has generally been regarded nationally as having one of the easier home-schooling requirements for families.

In contrast, a California appellate court made national headlines in February by ruling that parents must have teaching credentials to home-school their children. North Carolina only requires parents to have a high school diploma.

(Raleigh) News & Observer

Meck briefs


Carolyn Mints took over Friday as the new senior director of operations for the Afro-American Cultural Center. Mints was formerly director of community relations at the Mint Museum and will play a leading role in the Afro Center's upcoming transformation.

The center will move from its North Myers Street location to its own building at South Tryon and Stonewall streets this fall. It will adopt the name Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture in recognition of the former Charlotte mayor.

Deon Bradley, CEO of the center, said that Mints' experience working at the Mint Museum will help in her role as the head of operations, programming and community relations for the new cultural center.

Nancy Wang

Local and federal organizations will sponsor the Eastside Back-to-School Festival today at Eastland Mall.

The event is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the mall on Central Avenue at Sharon Amity Road. It is sponsored by the City of Charlotte's Weed & Seed Program, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, and MeckCares.

Weed & Seed is a joint venture by city officials and the U.S. Attorney's Office to prevent crime and improve living conditions in east Charlotte, mainly along the Central Avenue Corridor.

Various organizations will have information about after-school programs, family assistance and school information for families. There will also be entertainment and educational sessions for students and adults, and prizes will be given to participants who complete the Passport to Academic Success, a tour of family assistance programs.

There is no admission charge, which takes place during the tax-free back-to-school shopping weekend.

Steve Lyttle

Regional briefs


A headstone recovered earlier this year from a South Carolina houseboat has been returned to West Virginia to mark the grave of an unnamed infant who died in 1894.

A handful of relatives gathered Thursday at Monte Vista Cemetery in Mercer County as the marker was reset.

It's not clear how the headstone got aboard a boat docked at the Charleston City Marina in South Carolina, where it was discovered in February by a police officer.

According to an engraving on the family headstone, the infant son of George Asbury Hypes and Sarah McClanahan Hypes was born Nov. 1, 1894, and died 28 days later.

Associated Press

Police digest

Union County

One man was injured overnight in a fire at an Indian Trail automotive repair shop.

The fire was reported about 12:30 a.m. at a shop on U.S. 74.

According to reports from the scene, the blaze started in one car and then spread to other vehicles. The injured man was an employee, among several people working on vehicles at the time. There was no estimate on damage.

Steve Lyttle

Anson County | Wadesboro

Three juveniles and one adult in Wadesboro are suspectedof animal cruelty in the beating of a 4-month-old puppy.

The lab mix puppy was discovered Sunday by its owner. The puppy had been taken from her property to a nearby vacant home and beaten with “a handle from a sledge hammer, a rock, and a beer bottle,” said Lieutenant T.L. Spencer of the Wadesboro Police Department.

No warrants have been issued and no suspects were in custody Friday as the police investigation continues.

The owner of the puppy brought him to the Anson County Homeward Bound Humane Society on Monday. The dog was then treated at Brown Creek Animal Hospital for severe lacerations, several skull fractures, damage to his eye and lameness in one of his legs, said veterinarian Dr. Danny Wright. The dog's right eye had to be removed.

To contribute to the puppy's medical fund, contact the Anson County Homeward Bound Humane Society at www.homewardboundhumane.org.

Esther Robards-Forbes

Eastern N.C. | Fayetteville

The case of an Army sergeant accused of killing a fellow soldier, who was the mother of his unborn child, will stay in N.C. courts, although the military could file a charge of fetal homicide against him, a newspaper reported Friday.

Cumberland County Prosecutor Ed Grannis told The Fayetteville Observer that he didn't believe the case against Sgt. Edgar Patino, 27, would be moved to federal military courts.

Patino is jailed on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Spc. Megan Touma, 23, of Cold Spring, Ky. Touma's body was found in a Fayetteville motel room on June 21. The newspaper said Patino could be charged with killing Touma's unborn child.

Associated Press