Across the Region

Mallard Creek seeks quick ruling

Mallard Creek High's bid to save its perfect football season boils down to asking state officials not to penalize a school that didn't exist when a player later found to be ineligible repeated his freshman year, Superintendent Peter Gorman said Wednesday.

Principal Kit Rea this week told the N.C. High School Athletic Association she had learned that a football player had violated the rule limiting athletes to eight semesters of eligibility. Because that student played in nine of the teams 10 victorious games, the northeast Charlotte school saw its perfect season turn into a 1-9 record because of forfeited games.

Rea appealed Wednesday, seeking an expedited ruling in hopes of getting back into the playoffs. Gorman said Wednesday that neither the student nor the school meant to cheat – but he acknowledged that precedent suggests the appeal will fail.

“It's a shot,” he said. “I know of no instance where they have granted a ninth semester.”

Gorman said the student in question moved from another state and enrolled as a freshman at another CMS high school in 2005-06, before Mallard Creek opened. What CMS didn't know, he said, was that the student had already been a freshman athlete in the other state. It's fairly common, in CMS and across the country, for ninth-graders to repeat that year.

By the time Rea learned about the extra year of sports, the student had played nine games for Mallard Creek this season.

Ann Doss Helms

Regional briefs

North Carolina Apex

A $7.5 million settlement has been proposed for Apex residents who evacuated homes and businesses when a chemical waste depot exploded two years ago.

Attorneys for the residents and EQ Industrial Services outlined the settlement in federal court in Raleigh on Tuesday.

The News & Observer reported that each household that evacuated and filed a claim would be paid about $720, minus any money they received from EQ for the evacuation.

Businesses would receive a maximum of $2,000 if they could prove economic loss.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs said about 4,200 households and 450 businesses would be eligible. Federal investigators say mislabeled oxygen generators probably fueled the fire.

Associated Press

N.C. Mountains

Recent cold temperatures and an earlier-than-usual snowfall have propelled Cataloochee Ski Area toward a new record: the earliest opening date in the area's history.

Cataloochee opened the season with an 8- to 12-inch base on two beginner slopes Tuesday, making it one of only three open ski areas in the country. The Maggie Valley ski area is second only to Loveland and Arapahoe Basin Ski Areas, both of which opened in Colorado on Oct. 14 and 15 respectively.

“We started making snow (Monday) morning around 7:15, then shut it down mid-afternoon. We started it back up around 5 and ran (the snow blowers) until mid-morning,” Tammy Brown said Tuesday. “This is enormous for us, because this is exactly what we're here for: to provide as much and as good quality snow conditions as possible, to be open for as long as we can.”

The (Waynesville) Mountaineer

Eastern N.C. Wilmington

Traffic has returned to normal after an electrical problem led to traffic delays at the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.

The Star-News of Wilmington reported that the bridge was stuck in the open position Wednesday morning, backing up traffic on both sides of the bridge for about 40 minutes. Wilmington police said traffic was moving smoothly by Wednesday afternoon.

The Department of Transportation closed lanes on the bridge last summer to complete emergency repairs. State inspectors had found cracks in hundreds of connector plates that hold together the steel beams that support the bridge. The DOT strengthened eight of the connectors as a quick-fix while crews spent most of the summer replacing all 616 connectors.

Associated Press

Police digest

Mecklenburg County Charlotte

Charges have been dropped against a Charlotte radio personality who was arrested after a school bus stunt in August.

Jase Edward Squires – known as “Cubby” on 96.1 The Beat's “A.M. Mayhem” show – was arrested after getting onto a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools bus on the first day of school.

He was charged with causing a disturbance on the bus while it was headed to Southwest Middle School.

Squires was supposed to appear in court on Wednesday, but the charges against him were voluntarily dismissed by the district attorney's office. NewsChannel 36

An adult and two teens were taken into custody Wednesday after breaking into a house on Biederbeck Drive in east Charlotte.

Police credit an alert neighbor for notifying them about the break-in. Officers arrived in time to catch the suspects crawling out a window.

Officers caught one at the house. The other two fled the scene in a waiting car, crashing into a parked car a short time later on Martha's Ridge Drive. No one was hurt.

Ezekiel Conteh, 22, and two 13-year-old boys were charged with breaking and entering. Conteh was also charged with hit and run. Clay Barbour

Caldwell County Hudson

Detectives are investigating a double homicide that left a Hudson father and son dead early Wednesday.

At 1:15 a.m., Caldwell County sheriff's deputies responded to a phone call about a shooting on Teague Lane in Hudson, according to the sheriff's office.

In the bedroom of a trailer, deputies found the bodies of William Harvey Buckner Jr., 43, and his 18-year-old son, Shane Michael Buckner. The son lived in the trailer where officers found the bodies.

Investigators with the Sheriff's Office and the SBI interviewed a suspect in the case but had made no arrests by Wednesday evening.

Hannah Mitchell

North Carolina Kernersville

A North Carolina woman who was kidnapped at gunpoint and forced into the trunk of a stolen car has been found safe, thanks to the GPS tracking of her cell phone.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported the Kernersville woman was kidnapped early Wednesday by two men in a residential area.

Forsyth County sheriff's Maj. Brad Stanley said the woman called 911 from the trunk, which allowed authorities to use GPS data from the call to track the general location of the car.

Without that call, Stanley said authorities would have had no information to go on in the search.

A police officer tried to pull the car over, but the driver sped away. The car was later found crashed in a driveway in Kernersville. The suspects had fled, and the woman was found unhurt in the trunk.

Associated Press