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MISSING GIRL-NORTH CAROLINA
Police: Body found in North Carolina is kidnapped teen girl
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – Investigators believe a body found in North Carolina is a 13-year-old girl kidnapped from her home three weeks ago.
Authorities said at a news conference Wednesday that preliminary tests show the body found a day earlier is that of Hania Aguilar.
The body was found in a body of water in Robeson County about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of the mobile home park where she was kidnapped on Nov. 5 after going outside to start a relative’s SUV before school.
Police say a man forced the teenager into an SUV and drove off. The SUV was found several miles south of her mobile home park. The body was found a few miles farther away.
ELECTION 2018-9TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Possible absentee ‘irregularities’ examined in Congress race
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina elections board is investigating potential absentee ballot “irregularities” in the 9th Congressional District – a probe that apparently led board members to delay finalizing the district’s election results.
Elections board spokesman Patrick Gannon confirmed probe details Wednesday, the day after the board voted to push back a decision on the 9th District until at least Friday.
Gannon separately said a board investigator took absentee ballot request forms and ballot envelopes from Bladen County, partially in the district. Bladen elections board Chairman Bobby Ludlum said the investigator took “several” mail-in ballot envelopes right after Election Day.
Republican Mark Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the eight-county district. The state board’s web site shows less than 700 mail-in absentee ballots were cast for the race in Bladen County.
INTERSTATE 795 EXTENSION
Transportation officials to hold hearings on I-795 extension
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) – State transportation officials have scheduled three public hearings to gauge sentiment about plans to extend Interstate 795.
The N.C. Department of Transportation is holding hearings beginning Thursday in Faison to pitch the idea of extending I-795 south from Goldsboro to Interstate 40 in Sampson County.
Subsequent meetings are scheduled for Goldsboro on Dec. 3 and Mount Olive the next afternoon.
The department’s ultimate goal is to extend I-795, which now runs between Wilson and Goldsboro, from Goldsboro south to I-40 near Mount Olive and the Sampson-Duplin county line.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports U.S. 117 is already a four-lane divided highway between Goldsboro and I-40. Making it an interstate would involve widening shoulders and eliminating access from side roads, homes and businesses, and replacing them with interchanges.
Police: Alcohol likely involved in wreck that killed cyclist
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say alcohol is suspected to be a factor in a Charlotte wreck that killed a cyclist.
The Charlotte Observer reports Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say cyclist Mathew Nicholas Hoffman had been drinking and was not wearing a helmet when he was hit by a car last week. Police say Hoffman was riding a rented Lime bike and attempted to make a right turn into a parking lot early one morning.
They say he then abruptly veered back into traffic and into the path of an oncoming car, which hit him and struck a building. Police say Hoffman died from his injuries on Sunday. They say the car’s driver was not at fault.
An investigation is ongoing.
North Carolina voter ID mandate details get initial OK
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Details on how North Carolina’s new constitutional mandate for photo voter identification will be carried out have received preliminary approval in the state Senate.
The Senate voted 32-11 on Wednesday for the measure, which implements the constitutional amendment approved by a majority of voters on Election Day. One more Senate vote is needed Thursday before the proposal listing qualifying IDs and exceptions heads to the House for consideration.
The proposal marks the third time this decade the GOP-controlled legislature has advanced photo ID legislation. The other two were derailed by veto or court decisions. Republican co-sponsors said they’ve made over two dozen changes to initial draft legislation released last week.
While three Democrats voted for the measure, other Democrats said the process was rushed and the proposal too complex.
PRISON RELEASE-SUSPECT SOUGHT
Man just out of prison arrested after fatal shooting
(Information from: The Gaston Gazette, http://www.gastongazette.com)
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say they have apprehended a man recently released from prison and who was wanted in a shooting death during a car theft on Thanksgiving.
Gastonia police said on their Facebook page 19-year-old Jeremy Austin Smith was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon.
Smith was released from prison in January after serving a year on motor vehicle larceny charges, then spent another eight months in prison for violating parole. Just over two weeks after his release, he eas named a suspect in the shooting death of Terrence Shatiq Terrell. Police said Terrell was found in another man’s car on Thanksgiving morning, nearly five hours after a shooting was reported
Police have filed multiple charges against Smith, including first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon.
FLORENCE FUNDING REQUEST
North Carolina asks Congress for $8.8B in Florence recovery
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s governor is asking Congress for more federal funding to recover from Hurricane Florence, saying the total $8.8 billion requested is comparable to the help Washington has provided for other disasters since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday asked congressional budget-writers and the state’s congressional delegation to provide another $6.3 billion in federal recovery funds on top of the $2.5 billion already expected.
If approved, the federal funding would make up for about half the total $17 billion in damage from September’s historic rains and flooding.
The state has already committed $850 million. The General Assembly this week is discussing a plan to spend $300 million of that money mostly to help rebuild damaged schools and compensate farmers whose crops and livestock were destroyed.
BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
Frigid weather forces more closures on Blue Ridge Parkway
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Frigid weather has led to more closures on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
A “real-time” map showed Wednesday most of the parkway through North Carolina and Virginia was closed. A Facebook post said snow and ice forced the park to close the Craggy Gardens area to vehicles. The area was still accessible by foot.
Parkway officials said people venturing out should expect extreme cold and sub-zero wind chill.
The latest closures follow the National Park Service announcement that 100 miles of parkway was closed due to ice and rain which saturated soil and caused trees to fall.
Also, the North Carolina State Park system said on Twitter Wednesday that Mount Mitchell State Park was closed because of snow on N.C. 128 iced over from the parkway to the summit.