Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
The Latest: Evacuation ordered in eastern S. Carolina
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Officials have ordered evacuations along the Lynches River in eastern South Carolina because of flooding from Hurricane Florence.
Florence County emergency management officials issued the order Friday morning for about 500 people along 58 roads and streets in the area.
The National Weather Service says the river could reach record flood levels late Saturday or early Sunday.
The county has opened emergency shelters in Florence, Lake City, Johnsonville and Coward.
Carolinas farms could take billions in losses from Florence
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Hurricane Florence is testing the resolve of farmers in the Carolinas, who could face billions of dollars in agricultural damage while still feeling the sting from Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Early farm reports confirm pre-storm worries about losses to tobacco, cotton and corn crops. North Carolina industry leaders remain anxious about whether sweet potatoes and peanuts will suffer greatly as well.
North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Thursday he expected total farm monetary losses to be in the billions in the state. South Carolina crop damage is currently estimated at $125 million.
Tobacco could take the biggest hit among North Carolina field crops. About 40 percent of it was still in the field when Florence arrived, and an industry group projected leaf losses could be $350 million.
TROPICAL WEATHER-SURVEYING THE DAMAGE
Reckoning with loss of homes, livelihoods after Florence
SPRING LAKE, N.C. (AP) – With Florence’s floodwaters receding in some places and still menacing others, tired and waterlogged North Carolinians are getting a chance to take stock of the destruction.
When rivers spilled from their banks this week, many were forced to flee their homes in multiple inland cities. Now that waters are receding, property owners along its banks are picking through debris and figuring out what’s left of their homes and livelihood.
In a flooded Lumberton neighborhood, Kevin Caudle has donned waders to wade in and check on his house multiple days this week. He fears that the floodwaters could be creeping above his crawlspace and could cause more damage.
He told a reporter in a text message: “Very disheartening but we will make it through it.”
BOMB THREATS-CITY HALL
Man accused of trying to frame long-ago ex with bomb threats
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A man is charged with making bomb threats to city government buildings in North Carolina, in what police say was an effort to implicate his ex-girlfriend.
Citing a U.S. attorney’s office release, The News & Observer reports 53-year-old Michael Dexter Brodie was charged Thursday with mailing bomb threat hoaxes to Raleigh City Hall and Durham police headquarters.
According to the indictment, the threats were sent in May and June. Investigators believe Brodie was angered by finding out a woman he dated 14 years ago was married and pregnant.
Although Brodie was identified as a state prison inmate in Wake County search warrants last month, there were no records that matched his name and age in the state’s online database.
The report didn’t include comment from Brodie or his public defender.
Officials: Couple, 2 children die in multi-vehicle crash
WARRENTON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say four members of a North Carolina family, including two children, have died in a multi-vehicle crash near Virginia.
News outlets report the family was driving south on Interstate 85 Thursday when their vehicle was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer, forcing it into one car and underneath another. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says 47-year-olds Linda and Timothy Jowers, 10-year-old Brianna Jowers and 8-year-old Alexander Jowers died in the crash.
Authorities say another wreck had slowed traffic when 55-year-old James Pratt, of Virginia, crashed into the Bowers. Pratt was treated at a hospital and charged with death by motor vehicle and reckless driving. Three other people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
WRAL-TV reports the Warren County District Attorney says the family was returning from a trip to Washington, D.C.
What’s scup with that? Porgy fishermen get a boost from feds
BOSTON (AP) – Federal fishing managers are letting fishermen catch more of a small, commercially valuable species of East Coast fish this winter.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it’s bumping the commercial quota for scup by 155 percent from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. Scup are fished commercially, primarily from Massachusetts to North Carolina, and are used as food. It is sometimes sold as “porgy.”
The winter quota for scup will be nearly 10 million pounds. The fishery has been growing in value in recent years and is typically worth about $10 million at the docks. Some advocates of local and sustainable seafood have called for more restaurants and markets to sell the fish because of its abundance off the East Coast.
The Latest: NFL’s Panthers donating to help Florence victims
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – The new owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers has announced an initial package to aid Hurricane Florence disaster relief efforts in North and South Carolina.
Owner David Tepper and Panthers Charities announced the donations in a news release Thursday.
The package includes a $1 million donation to the American Red Cross, $450,000 to regional food banks through 25,000 emergency food packs, as well as aid to high school athletic programs affected by storm damage.
The Panthers staff and players will engage in direct service projects for impacted areas.
The team is also spearheading and coordinating an effort with college football programs in North and South Carolina to unveil a special “One Carolina” helmet sticker to be worn during games on Saturday. Panthers players will wear the sticker during Sunday’s home game against Cincinnati.
TROPICAL WEATHER-A DEATH
1 death during Florence: A hunter keeping watch on his dogs
KINSTON, N.C. (AP) – Flooding was just one of the things that killed more than two dozen people in North Carolina after Florence hit last week. One man died trying to help his dogs.
Family members say 77-year-old Bennie Lee Sutton apparently fell and died of a heart attack in a field next to his backyard dog kennel. Sutton’s wife Marian says the dogs were howling and barking as the hurricane approached the coast about 70 miles from their home outside Kinston. She says the avid hunter and outdoorsman spent the stormy midnight hours in his pickup truck, shining the headlights on the dog pen knowing that would quiet the animals.
Marian Sutton says her husband of 46 years was known locally as a top athlete who once excelled in baseball, softball and basketball.