Latin Festival moves to Symphony Park

The Latin American Festival will not be held at Eastover Park this year. Instead, organizers are moving the growing festival to a larger location at Symphony Park in SouthPark.

“The Festival's tremendous popularity led us to move it to a larger venue this year to accommodate our growing crowds,” said Angeles Ortega-Moore, executive director of the Latin American Coalition.

More than 20,000 people attended the festival last year. Organizers expect 25,000 this year.

Jess George, the coalition's associate director, said Symphony Park gives them greater flexibility, more parking and a permanent stage.

“In many ways the Latin American Festival has been a well-kept secret,” George said. “Moving the event to a high-profile location such as Symphony Park gives us the opportunity to show off one of Charlotte's premier cultural events to folks who many have never experienced it before.”

The salsa band Bio Ritmo and Atlanta-based Mariachi de Pepe Lopez will headline the Oct. 12 festival. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. Children under 8 and Mint Museum members get in free. More information: www.festivallatinoamericano.org. Franco Ordoñez

Meck briefs


A two-day Republican bus swing through North Carolina ended Tuesday night with a rally in front of around 50 supporters at Mecklenburg County's GOP headquarters.

State party chairman Linda Daves led the trip. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole and Charlotte mayor and gubernatorial nominee Pat McCrory were among those candidates who joined for some portions of the trip.

The rally featured remarks by former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and J. Quincy Collins, a Charlotte real-estate broker who spent time with presidential nominee John McCain as a prisoner in Vietnam. Jim Morrill

Regional briefs

Rowan County

A Salisbury man was killed Monday night in a head-on crash between a motorcycle and a car in western Rowan County, the N.C. Highway Patrol said.

The wreck happened about 9:30 p.m. on Sherrills Ford Road, between Salisbury and Mount Ulla.

Troopers say the driver of a small motorcycle or moped apparently crossed the center line and collided with another vehicle. The moped driver, identified as John Lanoue, 50, was killed. A passenger in the car suffered minor injuries. Steve Lyttle

Richland County, S.C.


Members of an S.C. gay rights organization said Tuesday they hope a recent controversy about ads proclaiming the state “so gay” will stir up interest in this year's gay pride celebration.

“We truly believe that this week, South Carolina is ‘so gay,'” said Ryan Wilson, president of S.C. Pride.

The annual S.C. Pride Festival and Celebration is being held in Columbia this week. Events include a film festival, a parade and an appearance by entertainer and female impersonator RuPaul. Wilson said he expects about 7,000 to attend.

The theme: “South Carolina will be so gay” is a reference to an ad campaign that roiled the state this summer. The S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism originally joined the campaign, which was to include posters overseas saying “South Carolina is so gay” and encouraging gay travelers to visit the state's historic sites and beaches. But the state agency dropped out in July, saying the project hadn't been properly reviewed, and a tourism department employee involved in the promotion resigned. Associated Press

Yadkin County


A medical examiner says a parachute malfunction caused the deaths of a Salisbury skydiving instructor and his student during a weekend jump in Yadkin County.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, however, told The Salisbury Post that that agency is still examining the parachutes.

James Paul Pregler, 38, and a student, 21-year-old Adam Ryan Howard of Deep Run in Lenoir County, died in the jump Saturday. They were harnessed together for a tandem jump at Swan Creek Airport in Jonesville.

Dr. James McGrath of Hoots Memorial Hospital in Yadkinville said the men died on impact after their main and reserve chutes failed to open. FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen investigators will determine whether the parachutes deployed or not. Associated Press

Police digest

Caldwell County


Officers have arrested and charged a Caldwell County man with numerous counts of controlled-substance violations involving the prescription drug oxycodone.

The arrest of John Rhodes Hart of Pine Mountain Road in Hudson closed a three-month investigation by the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office and Hudson Police Department.

Other suspects have been identified and more arrests are expected.

Hart was in the Caldwell County Jail under a $100,000 secured bond.Dianne Whitacre Straley

Lincoln County


Lincoln County Sheriff's Office narcotics investigators seized more than 30 marijuana plants found growing on property off Reeps Grove Church Road in Vale.

Authorities said Travis Eugene Hull, 42, of Vale was charged with felony possession of marijuana, felony manufacturing a controlled substance and felony trafficking in marijuana.

The total weight of the plants was 70 pounds, and some were 8 to 10 feet tall, authorities said.

Hull was released from jail under a $40,000 secured bond. Joe DePriest

Mecklenburg County


Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Tuesday arrested Nathaniel Pass, 25, and charged him with murder in the Monday night shooting death of 21-year-old Quinten Nelson, who was gunned down at a parking lot on North Tryon Street, not far from the uptown area.

Police say officers spotted Pass on Tuesday afternoon, walking in a west Charlotte neighborhood. Officers followed him to a house in the 600 block of South Hoskins Road and surrounded the residence. Pass surrendered a short time later, police say.

Nelson was shot several times about 11:25 p.m. Monday while standing in a parking lot in the 900 block of North Tryon Street, near the Brookshire Freeway overpass. Witnesses told police that a sport utility vehicle containing several men stopped and confronted Nelson before the shooting started.

The suspects ditched the SUV and ran north toward Dalton Avenue, with police in pursuit. But the suspects got away. Detectives have not said if anyone else will be charged in the case. Steve Lyttle

An argument at an east Charlotte apartment complex escalated into a shooting Monday night, leaving two people injured and triggering a police manhunt.

Police were looking Tuesday for Christopher Rush, 25, a resident of the Delta Crossing Apartments on East W.T. Harris Boulevard, where the shooting took place. Police say Rush is suspected of firing an assault rifle at a car carrying two people with whom he had argued earlier.

One victim, Eric Dewayne Linton, was shot in the pelvis and arm. The other, Felicia Prescott, was wounded by shattered glass in the car. Each of their injuries are not life-threatening, police say.

After the shooting, which happened about 9:45 p.m., police cordoned off the apartments, called in a SWAT unit and a K-9 dog search unit, and evacuated residents from nearby apartments. Rush eluded capture, however. Steve Lyttle

Union County


An. S.C. man faces charges in connection with at least 16 residential break-ins in southwestern Union County over the last year, deputies said.

Jason Lewis Thompson, 27, of Heath Springs was arrested Sept. 10 by Lancaster County, S.C., deputies, according to the Union County Sheriff's Office. The break-ins occurred in relatively isolated homes during more than 13 months, between July 2007 and August of this year, said Union County Sheriff's Detective Lynn Yow. They were concentrated in southwestern Union County between Waxhaw and Cane Creek Park.

Investigators were led to Thompson by a victim who saw a suspect leaving her home Aug. 14. The victim was able to provide a license tag number on the suspect's vehicle.

Yow said Thompson also is suspected in residential break-ins in South Carolina – in Chesterfield, Kershaw and York counties. Investigators say they found numerous stolen items in Thompson's home in Lancaster County.

In Union County, detectives hold 16 warrants on Thompson on charges of breaking and entering, felony larceny and injury to property.

Thompson was being held in Lancaster County. Mike Torralba