Win prizes for not driving to work
If you bike to work next Wednesday, you could win an iPod Touch or an electric lawnmower.
Aug. 13 is “Don't Drive Day” for the Charlotte region and several groups – the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, N.C. Air Awareness and Clean Air Works! – are combining to offer prizes. Eligible commutes include taking the bus or Lynx blue line, using a carpool or vanpool, walking, telecommuting or biking. To enter, participants by noon Aug. 14 should send an e-mail, describing how they satisfied the rules, to dont firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entries must be from people who live or work in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, Rowan, Iredell, Lincoln, Gaston and York counties.
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The Charlotte region is considered an ozone non-attainment area. On 12 days last August, ground-level ozone levels exceeded federal standards, county leaders said in a news release. The “Don't Drive Day” program is designed to raise awareness of the problem and encourage alternative forms of transportation.
The town has purchased two 2009 hybrid Ford Escapes to be used by town staff.
The sport utility vehicles, which town manager Brian Welch says average 31 mpg in the city and 34 on the open road, will replace an old Dodge Stratus and a Ford ranger pickup.
Welch says town staff needs to use the cars regularly for trips to the post office, and for meetings and conferences in and out of town.
“The keys are hanging up front for any town employee to use. If you're having a meeting or a conference, you can just grab the keys and go,” Welch said.
Total cost of the two Escapes was $55,000, about $27,500 each. Welch said an up-charge of about $9,000 was paid for the hybrid models.
Gaston County Belmont
The proposed Garden Parkway, a toll road that would connect Interstate 85 in western Gaston County with Interstate 485 in southwest Mecklenburg County, is the topic of three public meetings.
The first was Wednesday at Olympic High School in Charlotte, with two to follow in Belmont and Gastonia.
The N.C. Turnpike Authority and the N.C. Department of Transportation scheduled the meetings to discuss the proposed parkway. Residents can talk to state officials about the road and make suggestions.
The turnpike authority plans to build the road between I-85 west of Gastonia and I-485 near Steele Creek Road in southwest Charlotte.
The General Assembly last month approved $35 million in 2010 to help build a portion of the parkway, from U.S. 321 in Gastonia to I-485. That section of the toll road would stretch between 21.5 and 23.7 miles. Construction is expected to begin in 2010 and be completed by 2015.
The schedule of meetings:
Today: 4:30-7:30 p.m., South Point High School, 906 South Point Road, Belmont.
Monday: 4:30-7:30 p.m., Gastonia Adult Recreation Center, 519 West Franklin Blvd., Gastonia.
Durham County Durham
Lawyers for the three members of Duke University's 2005-06 men's lacrosse team who were falsely accused of rape say they are concerned that evidence crucial to their civil rights case will either disappear or has already vanished.
The Herald-Sun of Durham reports that the attorneys filed legal papers Monday saying they're not convinced the city has captured all documents relevant to the case.
The dispute centers on whether both sides should sit down and begin planning discovery. The city's lawyers say it can wait until U.S. District Court Judge James Beaty Jr. rules on the motions seeking dismissal of the players' claims.
Discovery involves duplicating the hard drives of any computers the officials or players used, and turning over correspondence exchanged via e-mail, cell phone text-messaging, social-networking Web sites and other means.
Cleveland County Shelby
A McDowell County truck driver faces misdemeanor death by vehicle charges in connection with a wreck late Tuesday night that killed a 10-year-old Concord boy.
The victim, whose name was not released by police, was a passenger in a car driven by his mother, Sonja Bohannon-Thacker. Shelby police say Bohannon-Thacker was driving a Toyota about 11:20 p.m. eastbound on East Dixon Boulevard with her sons, ages 10 and 13, as passengers.
Her husband, Gordon Todd Thacker, was driving a GMC Envoy and was in front of his wife's car. The family was returning home to Concord.
Police say the Toyota was struck from behind by a truck driven by Archie Dale Cline, 45. The force of the impact pushed the Toyota into the rear of the Envoy. The parents and the 13-year-old suffered minor injuries, as did Cline. The 10-year-old died at the scene. Cline's initial court hearing is Aug. 15.
Anson County Wadesboro
An adult and a juvenile have been charged in connection with the beating of a puppy, which eventually lost an eye.
Purcell Wall, who will turn 17 later this month, has been charged as an adult, law enforcement officials said. The charges are cruelty to an animal, a Class I felony, and felony breaking and entering. He is currently in the Anson County Jail on $5,000 bond.
Wall is scheduled to appear in district court on Sept. 9 at the Anson County Courthouse, according to the district attorney's office.
The juvenile, whom police did not name, faces the same charges.
The 4-month-old lab mix puppy was discovered July 27 by its owner when she returned to her home on Cherry Street in Wadesboro. 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.
The owner surrendered the puppy to the Anson County Homeward Bound Humane Society. The dog was then treated at Brown Creek Animal Hospital for severe lacerations, several skull fractures, damage to its eye, and lameness in one leg, said veterinarian Dr. Danny Wright. The dog's right eye had to be removed.
For more information about the puppy and how you can help, contact the Anson County Homeward Bound Humane Society at 704-695-3116 or visit www.homewardboundhumane.org.
Mecklenburg County Charlotte
A 22-year-old Union County man faces numerous charges after police say his vehicle flipped into a shopping center's outdoor dining area Tuesday evening in southeast Charlotte.
Police say Bentrick Robinson was fleeing from a Union County sheriff's deputy, northbound on Rea Road, and crossed into Mecklenburg County. They say he turned sharply on Ardrey Kell Road, and his car overturned. Nobody was using the dining area and nearby playground at the time, and Robinson suffered only minor injuries.
Two members of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office motorcycle corps were injured Wednesday morning in a wreck on North Tryon Street.
Deputies Kenneth Paige and Phillip Moody were driving south on North Tryon Street when the driver of a car turned in front of them onto Dalton Avenue, the sheriff's office said. Moody suffered a foot injury. Paige was being held for observation Wednesday evening at Carolinas Medical Center.
The two deputies were among original members of the motorcycle unit when it was formed in 2000.
New Hanover County Wilmington
The ex-boyfriend of a New Hanover County detention officer was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday, hours after the officer was found shot outside her home, authorities said.
Authorities continued searching Wednesday for Anthony Antwand Bowen, 30, in the death of Tarica Ann Pulliam, 27, said sheriff's office spokesman Tim Fuss.
Authorities believe Bowen approached Pulliam and shot her several times before fleeing Wednesday morning, Fuss said.
Pulliam was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, but later died. She had worked for the sheriff's office for two years, Fuss said. She leaves behind a 7-year-old daughter.
Public records show that both Bowen and Pulliam had lived in the same Wilmington apartment until April. On April 1, Pulliam said in an affidavit for a domestic-violence protective order, Bowen choked her until she nearly lost consciousness, then punched her in her left jaw.
Authorities said Bowen is considered armed and dangerous.
He was last seen driving a silver Ford Taurus with the license plate VYE3086.
Rowan County Salisbury
One of the three people charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Salisbury dentist will not face the death penalty.
The Salisbury Post reported that Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly said he will not seek the death penalty for 23-year-old Candice Jo Drye.
She is accused in the death of Dr. James David Boyd, who was found bound and strangled in his home.
Drye, 18-year-old Jonathan Barnett and 21-year-old Christopher Boyd are also facing charges of first-degree burglary, larceny and armed robbery. The three are being held without bond.
Police believe the three entered Boyd's home on June 26, took a laptop computer and digital cameras, and used a weapon.
Search warrants said Boyd had been prescribing drugs to young women in exchange for sexual favors.