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Charlotte doctor wins service award

Charlotte pediatrician Jonnie McLeod received the N.C. Medical Society's 2008 E. Harvey Estes Physician Community Service Award Saturday at the society's annual meeting in Charlotte.

The award recognizes her service to the community and state, including her role in the creation of McLeod Addictive Disease Center, the largest comprehensive substance abuse treatment center in the state, and of Charlotte Drug Education Center, now known as Substance Abuse Prevention Services, a private nonprofit agency that has trained personnel to deliver prevention programs in 21 states.

She was nominated for the award by Carolyn Scruggs, executive director of the Mecklenburg County Medical Society, and Drs. Docia Hickey and Katherine Pierce, former medical society presidents.

“For more than 45 years, Dr. McLeod has been a tireless volunteer in civic causes in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and North Carolina,” the nominators wrote. “From sex education to drug treatment to AIDS prevention to assistance to impaired physicians, her common thread has been her commitment to helping people live more productive, happier lives.”

Karen Garloch

Regional briefs

Iredell County Statesville

Federal authorities are trying to figure out what caused an explosion that injured three men at an Iredell County home.

Authorities say the blast happened Friday afternoon in the basement of a home east of Statesville. Three men were taken to a burn unit at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital with critical injuries.

Investigators say the explosion happened in the basement, where they found a large amount of ammunition, gunpowder and weapons.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating.

Associated Press

Mooresville

Two Mooresville commissioners want the town to consider forming a citizens' panel to look into potential conflicts of interest among board members and town employees.

Commissioners Chris Carney and Miles Atkins said the panel would give residents a formal way to lodge complaints and see that something is done about them.

The town also should set up penalties for anyone the panel finds had a conflict of interest in a vote or accepted gifts from someone the town does business with, they said.

The town has an ethics policy that describes how commissioners should conduct themselves, but it doesn't address penalties if someone is found in violation of the policy, Carney said.

Carney and Atkins discussed the idea of a citizens' panel when questioned about ethical conduct in town government during a town hall-style meeting organized by resident Larry Green of Citizens for Responsible Government last week.

Carney and Atkins were the only two town officials at the meeting, although Green invited all board members and Mayor Bill Thunberg.

Last week's meeting drew only 10 residents, but Atkins said such open discussions among town officials and residents are important, no matter the attendance.

Joe Marusak

Orange County Chapel Hill

UNC Chapel Hill is spending more than $900,000 on renovations to Quail Hill, the chancellor's secluded residence.

The work began before Chancellor Holden Thorp was hired this past summer. Thorp, 44, and his family will move in next week.

Documents released Friday by the university show kitchen upgrades of more than $300,000, a master bathroom renovation of $102,000 and infrastructure work to the 50-year-old home, including a $190,000 upgrade to the heating and air conditioning system.

The work is not being done at the Thorp family's request but because of a series of required code improvements to the 1960s-era home, university officials say. It also will be retrofitted to accommodate Thorp's two children, who are middle- and elementary-school age, said Carolyn Elfland, UNC's associate vice chancellor for campus services.

All renovation work is being paid for from the university's unrestricted endowment funds.

Associated Press

South Carolina DENMARK

Civil rights activist and educator Cleveland Sellers, who survived a deadly 1968 protest known as the Orangeburg Massacre, was formally sworn in as the eighth president of Voorhees College.

Sellers gave his inaugural address Thursday at the college. His tenure began in June.

He said he wants to make the historically black college more competitive and increase enrollment.

Sellers was a civil rights demonstrator at the former South Carolina State College in nearby Orangeburg when three students were gunned down and 27 others wounded by state troopers. He was the only person convicted in the incident but was pardoned decades later.

He previously led the University of South Carolina's African American Studies Program.

Associated Press

Greenville

A South Carolina native and character actor is planning to produce a movie about one of baseball's most storied players.

WYFF-TV in Greenville reported that Bo Hopkins received a key to the city Friday as he unveiled plans for his film about former Chicago White Sox player and Greenville native “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

Hopkins is planning to shoot the film in the Upstate.

Jackson and teammates were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series in what became known as the Black Sox scandal. He and other players were banned from baseball for life. Jackson died in Greenville in 1951. Associated Press

Columbia

House and Senate budget writers agreed Friday the state's $7 billion budget must be cut by $488 million, and that the heaviest toll will fall on health and higher education and the lightest on classrooms, prisons and children's Medicaid.

The House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees met simultaneously Friday to lay out changes to a budget that went into effect in July but immediately faced problems as the nation's economy slowed.

The legislature will return to Columbia on Monday to take up the legislation on emergency budget cutting.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Cooper could offer no estimate of how many jobs would be lost. But all state workers may expect to see unpaid time off from their jobs as the budget plan gives agencies wide discretion in furloughing workers.

Associated Press

Police digest

MECKLENBURG COUNTY Charlotte

Police reopened the entrance to southbound I-85 at the U.S. 29-N.C. 49 connector in University City after a fatal accident closed the entry ramp early Saturday.

Emergency and police vehicles blocked the entrance to the highway connector around 7 a.m. Saturday. A body covered with a sheet was visible in the roadway.

Police diverted traffic into a single southbound lane on U.S. 29 for a few hours. The roadway and entrance were reopened by 9 a.m., according to the N.C. Highway Patrol. Other details were not available. Neil Mara

Lee County Sanford

A man charged with killing his father has admitted to taking part in the 2004 slaying of an 11-year-old North Carolina boy, authorities said.

Kevin Lance Key, 26, of Sanford was charged with murder Thursday in the death of Bradley Way, Lee County Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Johnson said.

Key also faces charges of first-degree kidnapping, breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen property, Johnson said.

The body of 11-year-old Bradley Way was found in an abandoned mobile home near his home in July 2004. Authorities said he had been severely beaten and had skull fractures, bleeding in the brain and drag marks.

Key admitted his role while being questioned about his father's death, authorities said.

He said he was with Victor Jermaine Gamble when Gamble killed Bradley Way. Key admitted being in the home and removing the child's body, authorities said, but maintained he did not kill the child himself.

Gamble was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2005 after pleading guilty to killing the boy.

Deputies found Key's father, 54-year-old Eddie Key, dead inside the family's home Sunday. He had been shot in the head.

Key told authorities he killed his father in retaliation for years of abuse, Chief Deputy Randall Butler said. Associated Press

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