Across the Region |

Edwards to speak in New York

John Edwards will emerge from seclusion and speak next month at Hofstra University in New York, taking the stage exactly one month after admitting to an extramarital affair.

But his wife, Elizabeth, has canceled what was to be a joint appearance.

The two-time presidential candidate also has agreed to speak at the University of Illinois in October.

University of Illinois spokeswoman Robin Kaler said Thursday that a student group has booked Edwards to speak Oct. 14 on “The American Dream.” Tickets are free, but the student group is paying Edwards $65,000.

Kaler said the group gave Edwards a chance to back out after he acknowledged this month that he had an extramarital affair with a filmmaker hired by his political action committee.

Hofstra spokesman Stuart Vincent said Friday that a representative for the former Democratic presidential candidate has confirmed that Edwards will speak alone at the school Sept. 8.

A spokeswoman for John and Elizabeth Edwards did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Associated Press

Meck briefs


The city is seeking applicants for the following boards: Bicycle Advisory Committee, Business Advisory Committee, Housing Authority, Keep Charlotte Beautiful Committee, Neighborhood Matching Grants, Passenger Vehicle for Hire, Transit Services Advisory Committee, and the Tree Advisory Commission.

For applications, call the city clerk's office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 704-336-2248 or check the Boards and Commissions section of the clerk's page at www.charmeck.org.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. Sept. 15. The City Council plans to vote on appointments Sept 22.

Julia Oliver

Regional briefs

Cabarrus County

A Fallen Firefighters cookout fundraiser will be held Sept. 6 throughout Cabarrus and Rowan counties.

The 28th Masonic District of North Carolina is sponsoring cookouts at 11 Masonic lodges in China Grove, Concord, Kannapolis, Midland, Rockwell, Salisbury and Spencer.

Each lodge will offer hot dogs, hamburgers and desserts. Kids 6 and younger can eat for free. There also will be a raffle for prizes including a 50-inch high-definition television, a gas grill and even a used car.

Proceeds will benefit the Shriners Hospital for Children Burn Center.

For a list of participating lodges, call Ed Britt at 704-782-1652.

Lukas Johnson


Electronic devices could guide visitors along the Dale Trail by May.

The devices use GPS technology and feature touch screens that display multimedia presentations when visitors approach points of interest.

Convention & Visitors Bureau officials presented a sample device during a meeting of the county Tourism Authority board of directors Wednesday.

Visitors will likely rent devices from the bureau, which plans to lease them from Austin, Texas-based BarZ Adventures.

Visitors had used printed maps to navigate between area race shops and along the trail, which includes locations important to the life of late NASCAR driver and Kannapolis native Dale Earnhardt.

The printed maps will remain.

(Concord) Independent Tribune

N.C. capital Raleigh

Most N.C. road construction projects are being suspended during the holiday weekend.

The state Department of Transportation said the suspension will continue until 9 a.m. Tuesday to ease congestion and improve safety. The suspension includes most U.S. highways and interstates.

One exception will be Interstate 85 in Vance County, where construction lane closures have reduced the freeway to one lane in both directions from milepost 214 to 208.

Traffic on the section of I-85 will share the southbound side of the road because pavement has been torn up on the northbound side. DOT officials suggest drivers use alternate routes to avoid expected delays.

Associated Press

Durham County Durham

The 38 members of the 2006 Duke lacrosse team who sued the university, the city of Durham and a host of others are fighting the attempts to dismiss the case.

The players filed documents in federal court this week, insisting that they suffered emotional distress, fraud, negligence and other injury during the 13 months that three of their teammates – David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann – fought criminal charges.

Charles Cooper, the lawyer from Washington representing the group of 38, submitted their arguments in a series of documents Thursday and asked a judge for a hearing.

In May, Duke, Durham and others asked a federal judge to throw out the lawsuit, saying the players had failed to show the fraud, negligence and other injury they alleged.

(Raleigh) News & Observer

S.C. capital Columbia

A program to get the state's children excited about nature has been created by the S.C. State Park Service.

Department officials unveiled a program Thursday that teaches kids how to find and identify plants and animals. It also encourages them to recycle, interview park rangers and learn about safety in the woods, at the lake and on the beach

The free program is for children ages 6 to 9. It is offered at 16 of 47 state parks, including Kings Mountain and Andrew Jackson state parks.

Program materials are available at www.SCJrRanger.com and at the 16 participating parks.

Associated Press

Police digest

Gaston County Gastonia

Gastonia police were looking for a man who robbed the RBC Centura Bank at 100 E. Garrison Blvd. shortly before noon Friday.

According to authorities, a man entered the bank and presented a note demanding money and saying he had a gun.

The man was described as black, about 6 feet tall, slender and wearing an all-white outfit and cap. He left the bank with an undisclosed amount of money. There were no injuries.

Anyone with information about the robbery should call Gastonia police at 704-866-6880.

Joe DePriest

Catawba County Hickory

An officer who twice shocked a suspect with a Taser stun gun this month acted within department policy, according to Hickory Police Department officials.

In a report released Friday, the department said Officer Lance Bean shocked the suspect for five seconds in each of the two uses of his stun gun. Officers have used Taser probes 70 times in the 4,727 arrests the department has made since January 2007, according to the report.

Bean on Aug. 11 tried to arrest Michael Douglas Connor, who has an outstanding warrant against him, but Connor ran from the officer, according to the department. Bean warned Connor that he would shock him if he didn't stop, but Connor continued to run, and Bean used the Taser on him, police have said. When Connor still didn't stop, Bean shocked him a second time and he fell to the ground, hitting his head on a landscape timber.

Bean arrested Connor, who was taken to Frye Regional Medical Center for treatment and later released, said Capt. Clyde Deal.

Hannah Mitchell

Guilford County Greensboro

After reports that several men were robbed when responding to online advertisements for sex or massage, police have charged three men and two women.

Greensboro police Detective K.R. Jones said five victims got directions to vacant apartments in July, then were robbed of cash and cell phones. Jones said one victim had minor injuries.

Police have arrested Joshua Johnson, 18; his sister Joshana Johnson, 17; Shenault Hedrick, 18; his sister, Janella Hedrick, 20; and Nnandi Turner, 17.

The suspects are charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit a felony and common-law robbery.

Associated Press

Forsyth County Winston-Salem

A man was nearly robbed before he got the attention of a police officer – by ramming his car.

The incident happened about 4 p.m. Thursday when 34-year-old Melvin Banger agreed to give two men a ride. Police told the Winston-Salem Journal that one man put a gun to Banger's head and demanded money.

When Banger saw a police cruiser at an intersection, he ran the red light and hit the cruiser. Authorities said his passengers got out and ran.

Officer J.C. Smith suffered minor injuries, and Banger wasn't hurt.

Police Lt. David Perry said Friday the district attorney will determine if Banger faces charges. It was unclear Friday whether the two passengers had been found.

Associated Press