Across the Region

Parks plan to be presented Nov. 29

A team of consultants and city and county planners is close to presenting a 10-year plan for bringing more parks to the center city and South End.

The plan, scheduled to be presented to the public on Nov. 29, will include urban parks that are smaller, yet more diverse, than their suburban counterparts. The plan also aims to connect the parks with a network of green spaces.

“We have parks, but to create a memorable city, you have to have a park system – one with greenways and boulevards,” said Cheryl Myers, senior vice president of planning and development for Center City Partners. “People who move to an urban area give up their front yards, and their front yards become the parks.”

Parks are the No. 1 public amenity center-city residents ask for, Myers said. That request has become more persistent as more people move to the area.

Nichole Monroe Bell

North Carolina Mocksville

Mocksville's former director of public works has pleaded guilty to ordering employees to falsify reports on the quality of the town's drinking water and to dump extra chemicals into the town's wastewater plant.

Daniel L. Smith pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. Smith conspired to violate the Clean Water Act by getting town employees to “pour massive amounts of degreaser and caustic, a corrosive chemical,” into the town's sewer system, federal prosecutors said in a release.

The town, about 50 miles northeast of Charlotte, is required to submit data to state authorities about the cloudiness of the town's water. Smith knows what he did was wrong but sent false data to protect the town from a fine by state and federal environmental agencies, his attorney, Walter C. Holton Jr., said.

There was no threat to the town's water at any time, according to state environmental officials. Smith resigned in December. He's expected to be sentenced next year.

Associated Press

A North Carolina Highway Patrol officer demoted for using a racial slur is getting his job back.

WRAL-TV said an administrative judge made the ruling Friday concerning First Sgt. Mitch Foard.

The Highway Patrol took action after they said Foard used the slur in a message left on a former trooper's cell phone last year.

Former Lt. Virgil Lessane said he received a voicemail of a recorded conversation between two people who referred to him, and one person used a racial slur. Lessane said he believes Foard and another trooper, Capt. Phillip Jones, were the speakers.

Associated Press

Chapel Hill

An early-morning fire Saturday damaged Gerrard Hall, a 19th-century building at UNC Chapel Hill where U.S. presidents, famous poets and Hollywood stars have taken the stage.

Chapel Hill firefighters rushed to the building on Cameron Avenue at 3:04 a.m. after an automatic fire alarm call. Automatic sprinklers partially extinguished the blaze, according to a fire department news release, and fire crews were able to fully snuff out the flames.

UNC police were investigating the fire. The first floor of the building had water and smoke damage. The fire marshal estimated damages at $50,000.

(Raleigh) News & Observer

South Carolina Spartanburg

Eight construction workers at the BMW Manufacturing Co. plant were treated after they were overcome by fumes Friday.

BMW Manufacturing spokesman Bobby Hitt told the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg that the workers were applying epoxy to the floor of a paint shop being built near the existing plant.

Hitt says none of the workers were taken to a hospital.

Associated Press


S.C. health officials have approved an energy company's request to increase the amount of coal that passes through Charleston.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced on Friday it had approved the request from Kinder Morgan Energy Partners.

The Post & Courier of Charleston reports that the approval came after a three-year review of the Texas-based company's proposal. It allows Kinder Morgan to more than double the volume of coal transported through the Cooper River terminal on its way to power plants throughout the Southeast.

Company officials aren't sure when they'll expand because of the weakened market.

Associated Press

Rock Hill

A Rock Hill teen will spend the next decade in jail for fatally shooting a man last Christmas Eve.

Jessie James Mitchell III, 19, pleaded guilty Friday to voluntary manslaughter and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in the Dec. 24 shooting death of 39-year-old Clarence Odom.

Judge Michael Nettles handed down a 10-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter to run concurrently with a five-year weapon charge.

Toya Graham, (Rock Hill) Herald