New look for N.C. license plates: Flat

Some North Carolina license plates are getting a facelift.

The Department of Motor Vehicles announced Thursday that the first batch of new, digitally printed custom license plates have been produced. Now, new custom-ordered plates bearing names or special messages will be digitally printed on thinner aluminum plates.

Unlike current North Carolina plates, the specialty plates won't be embossed with numbers and letters.

DMV Commissioner Bill Gore said the new plates can be produced in about 14 weeks as compared to the current order time of about 5 months.

The new design doesn't tweak the state's existing “First in Flight” design. Associated Press

Regional briefs

Cabarrus County


The Cabarrus County school system will hold classes Saturday as a makeup day for Aug. 27, when schools were closed because of flooding in the county.

The makeup day will be shortened to a half-day, with no lunch served. Schools will open at the regular time. Information about dismissal times will be communicated to parents by the schools.

The school system decided to have Saturday school to avoid shortening the winter break. In the school calendar, Dec. 22 had been designated as the first makeup day. Gail Smith-Arrants

N.C. capitol


John Edwards will stay out of public view until after the election, saying he doesn't want the controversy surrounding his extramarital affair to harm the candidacy of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Edwards canceled an appearance at Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y., set for Monday. Then he canceled all other public engagements until after the November elections.

“I don't want my appearance at these events to be a distraction from the important issues of the election,” the former Democratic presidential candidate said in a statement.

Edwards acknowledged last month that he had an affair with Rielle Hunter, who was hired to produce videos of him in 2006. (Raleigh) News & Observer

Union County


A judge has upheld Union County's ordinance that can require developers in rapidly growing areas to share the cost of building new schools, attorneys for both sides said Thursday.

The decision is a blow for the group of residential developers and builders who sued Union County, asking a judge to declare the county's adequate public facilities ordinance invalid.

Superior Court Judge Chris Collier's written order had not yet been filed Thursday, attorneys for both sides said. But the trial court administrator had telephoned both attorneys and told them how Collier had ruled, said the county's attorney in Monroe, Ligon Bundy, and the developers' Raleigh-based attorney Dan Higgins.

Higgins could not say whether his clients would appeal.

The plaintiffs are the Union Land Owners Association, Craft Development LLC, Fairview Developers and R.D. Harrell Co. They argued that state law does not give counties the authority to impose impact fees. Mike Torralba

Police digest

Cabarrus County


A Kannapolis man has been charged in a sexual assault involving a 12-year-old.

David Avila Garcia, 22, of the 700 block of Baron Ridge Road, was charged Wednesday with taking indecent liberties with a child. Detective Cheryl Hearne charged Garcia after Kannapolis police started investigating the case Tuesday.

Additional charges are possible, police said. Garcia was being held in the Rowan County Detention Center under $100,000 secured bond.

Sgt. C.R. Nesbitt is handling questions and information on the case: 704-920-4022. Gail Smith-Arrants

Mecklenburg County


Two men crashed through a wall to rob a South Boulevard lending institution Thursday.

The robbery happened about 8:30 a.m. at the Citi Financial office, a short distance south of Scaleybark Road.

Police say two men apparently broke into a vacant building next to Citi Financial, then smashed a hole in the wall. They were waiting inside Citi Financial when the first employee arrived Thursday morning. That employee was tied up, and the business robbed.

When another employee arrived about 8:30 a.m., police were called.

If you have information in the case, call 911. Steve Lyttle

Police are investigating the shooting death of a woman Thursday afternoon in northeast Charlotte.

The shooting happened shortly before 2 p.m. in the 1000 block of Franklin Avenue. That is in the Druid Hills South neighborhood, near North Graham Street.

Police Officer Robert Fey said an officer with the Highway Interdiction and Traffic Safety unit was flagged down by Charlotte Renee Williamson's boyfriend, who told the officer he was taking her to Presbyterian Hospital. The boyfriend also told police that he had shot the woman, police say.

Williamson, 20, died at the hospital.

Investigators Thursday night said the shooting appears to be accidental. But the district attorney will review the case to determine whether any charges will be filed. Steve Lyttle

Lancaster County

Indian Land

An Indian Land High student was subdued with a stun gun in the school parking lot after being accused of attacking the school's resource officer, authorities said Wednesday.

The Tuesday incident stemmed from an argument the student, whose name was not released by the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, was having with his mother and Principal Kathy Farris, said Bryan Vaughn, director of safety and transportation.

The school resource officer, Terry Stogner, said the student pushed and struck him several times on his head and face. The student then went to the school parking lot.

Vaughn said the student continued to resist arrest and made a movement toward Stogner. That's when the Taser was used.

The student, who has been recommended for expulsion, was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer and disturbing school. (Rock Hill) Herald

Lincoln County


Two video poker machines were seized at a western Lincoln County business Wednesday night, authorities said Thursday.

According to a news release from the Lincolnton/Lincoln County Interagency Narcotics Unit, an officer entered the Kountry Korner on N.C. 10 in Vale and played $20 in a machine called Sweepstakes, which is similar to the banned video poker machines.

The officer built credits of $137 and asked the clerk if he could cash in the winnings, authorities said.

The release said the clerk advised the officer that he could take his winnings in merchandise or gasoline and that is when the officer identified himself.

The clerk and owner, Beena Patel, 41, of Lincolnton, was charged with operating and possessing a slot machine, slot machine agreement and operating video gaming.

Mark Robert Adam, 48, of Pfafftown, N.C., is also facing the same charges, authorities said. Authorities said he was a serviceman for a Winston-Salem company working on the machines and dividing the money with the clerk.

Officers seized two machines, his van and $10,700 cash.

Patel and Adam were released on $1,500 unsecured bond. Joe DePriest

Iredell County

Iredell County sheriff's investigators are searching for a suspect in the Aug. 25 robbery and assault of an elderly woman.

Jamel Dennis Mapp, 28, is wanted on charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping and assault.

A second suspect, Antwan Daye, is in custody, sheriff's Capt. Darren Campbell said today.

Call the sheriff's office 704-878-3180 or Crime Stoppers at 704-437-COPS with information on the case. There is a reward. Joe Marusak