Across the Region |

Florida man hikes 930-mile trail

A Florida man has completed walking North Carolina's 930-mile, Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Scot Ward arrived at Jockey's Ridge State Park on Sunday, completing a trek that began May 23 at Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that Ward said the last day was the best since he started.

Ward dodged cars and tropical storms, suffered dehydration and followed a trail that is sparsely marked and not yet complete.

He hopes to write a guidebook for the trail, saying the official guidebook is too heavy to carry.

Ward says he plans to mark possible camping spots, water sources and businesses where hikers can buy supplies. Associated Press

Meck briefs


The area's only psychiatric emergency department, at Carolinas Medical Center-Randolph, will open expanded treatment space Oct. 14.

CMC-Randolph Psychiatric Emergency Department, which has child and adolescent psychiatric emergency centers in the nation, has been managed by Carolinas HealthCare System under a contract with Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health Authority since 1986.

The $6.3 million county-funded project is the first expansion of CMC-Randolph since 1976. It provides an additional 12,856 square feet of space, including separate areas for adult and adolescent patients. Construction began a year ago at 501 Billingsley Road.

In the past eight years, emergency volume at CMC-Randolph has increased by 222 percent, according to county officials. Last year, more than 16,800 patients were evaluated, and volume is expected to rise an additional 5 percent annually over the next five years.

CMC-Randolph provides comprehensive inpatient, outpatient, community-based and emergency mental health services. Karen Garloch

Regional briefs

Catawba County Hickory

Water suppliers in the upper Catawba River basin loosened water-use restrictions last week.

Unless drought conditions worsen, customers may now water their yards twice a week rather than just once a week through at least Nov. 30.

The suppliers include Hickory and its customers, along with Lenoir, Morganton, Conover, Claremont, Granite Falls, Valdese, Long View, Maiden and community water systems such as water corporations.

Though recent rains have improved water supplies, stream flows and groundwater levels are still below normal, and forecasters predict a drier than normal fall, according to Kevin Greer, Hickory's public utilities director. Therefore, all other water restrictions are still in effect. Hannah Mitchell

Cleveland County Shelby

Destination Cleveland County on Monday broke ground for the Don Gibson Theater in the former State Theatre on South Washington Street in Shelby.

The 440-seat venue, scheduled for completion in August 2009, is named for Shelby native Don Gibson, a singer/songwriter who died in 2003. Gibson wrote such classics as “I Can't Stop Loving You” and “Sweet Dreams.”

The renovated 1939 art deco theater will have state-of-the-art technical equipment and be the site for a regional performing arts center.

The city of Shelby has issued a lease agreement with the nonprofit Destination Cleveland County for the theater and approved a $500,000 challenge grant for the renovation. The N.C. Rural Center approved a $400,000 grant for the project, which is part of the local Rhythm and Roots campaign. Joe DePriest

Kings Mountain

Police say a man was killed Sunday when he misjudged the speed of an approaching train.

The victim was identified as Robert Lee Black, 41, of Kings Mountain.

Police say he died about 1 a.m. Sunday while trying to cross the tracks on North Piedmont Avenue. Police say the incident happened near the train depot. Steve Lyttle

Watauga County Deep Gap

Six students and a driver were injured Monday morning when a school bus overturned in Watauga County.

The wreck happened on Hardin Road, near the Deep Gap community. The Watauga County Sheriff's Office said the bus apparently went off the edge of the road and into a soft area. That caused the bus to overturn, and it rolled over once before landing against a tree.

The students ranged in age from 8 to 14. They were treated at the Watauga Medical Center for minor injuries. No charges are expected to be filed, authorities said. Steve Lyttle

N.C. Coast Wrightsville Beach

State environmental officials say two beaches on the sound side of Wrightsville Beach have high levels of bacteria that could cause stomach problems or skin infections.

The Wilmington Star-News reported that more testing will be conducted Monday at the beaches on Banks Channel at the south end of Wrightsville's island. Associated Press

Police digest

Durham County Durham

Two murder suspects were involved in a fight at the Durham County Jail in which two detention officers and four inmates were injured.

Durham County Sheriff's Capt. Ricky Buchanan said inmates in a cell pod refused to be locked back in Saturday night and assaulted the detention officer on duty.

The Herald-Sun of Durham reported Monday that warrants showed that 19-year-old Stephen Oates, and 31-year-old Roderick Jerome Wooten were among five men charged with resisting an officer in the scuffle.

Oates is charged with murder in the death of Duke grad student Abhijit Mahato. Also charged in that case is Laurence Alvin Lovette, who is charged with the murder of UNC Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson. Wooten is charged in the 2005 death of Jason Harrington.

Associated Press

Rowan County Cleveland

Surveillance by federal officials paid off late Sunday night in northern Virginia, where marshals arrested a man wanted on murder charges in Rowan County.

The Rowan County Sheriff's Office said Balmore Moreno, 38, was arrested near Fairfax, Va. He was being held without bond and was expected to be extradited.

Arrest warrants were filed last week against Moreno, in connection with the shooting death last Tuesday of Parra Policarpio. Authorities say tips helped police track Moreno into northern Virginia. Federal marshals conducted surveillance at several sites before spotting and arresting Moreno.

Policarpio, 43, also of Cleveland, was found dead last Tuesday morning. A day later, deputies arrested Mirna Del Carmen Guevera, 38. She was charged with being an accessory after the fact. Steve Lyttle

Wake County Cary

Police outside Raleigh say a teen forced his way into a home, beat a man and a woman and then raped her.

Cary police Capt. Mike Williams says 17-year-old Gavin John Clevesy has been charged with five felonies including first-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping.

Williams says Clevesy had apparently been drinking at a party before leaving and walking in a neighborhood Saturday night. He knocked on the door of a home and kicked the door in when a man unlocked it. Police say Clevesy began beating the man.

Police say Clevesy then began beating the victim's wife when she came to see what was happening. Williams says the woman managed to run outside, but Clevesy caught her.

Police say a passing group of people grabbed the teenager and held him until officers arrived. Associated Press

Spartanburg County Spartanburg

Authorities charged a Spartanburg County man with driving drunk after they said he ran over his 2-year-old son in the driveway and injured him.

Police charged 33-year-old Clay West of Pacolet with felony driving under the influence and child endangerment.

Police Chief Robert Ivey said West ran over his son, Gage, when he pulled into his driveway Sunday afternoon. The chief said West parked and got out of his Jeep Cherokee. He said West didn't realize what he'd done until he got back into his vehicle, began backing up and saw his son on the ground.

The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg reported the toddler was in fair condition at a hospital. Associated Press

York County York

A longtime York city streets and sanitation worker died this weekend when he was shot while working a second job at a coin laundry on Blackburn Street, police said.

A passer-by told investigators that he saw 63-year-old Ernest Tolbert staggering in front of the laundry business around 10 p.m. Sunday, a police report said. When he asked Tolbert if he was OK, he said he'd been shot.

The passer-by then called 911.

Tolbert was shot once through the abdomen, said York police Det. William Mumaw. He died at Piedmont Medical Center at 11:15 p.m.

Some people in a nearby apartments said they heard a gunshot, but no one said they saw what happened, Mumaw said.

Investigators didn't know who shot Tolbert or why. His wallet was not taken and he did not have access to money in the laundry business, said Police Chief Bill Mobley.

Anyone with information about the case can call York police at 684-4141 or CrimeStoppers of York County at 877-409-4321. The (Rock Hill) Herald