Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Waste treatment plant disabled due to flooding
GEORGETOWN, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina state health and environmental officials say a wastewater treatment plant is not working due to flooding from Hurricane Florence and untreated wastewater is now being discharged into a tributary that feeds the Waccamaw River.
Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority notified the Department of Health and Environmental Control on Wednesday about the situation affecting the Conway Wastewater Treatment Plant in Conway.
DHEC says it’s in contact with Grand Strand Water about the situation and other wastewater systems in the area to check their systems’ status.
Residents are advised to avoid contact with water around and downstream of the Conway facility.
FLORENCE BREEDS MOSQUITOES
Florence floods breed large, aggressive mosquitoes
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina city dealing with fallout from Hurricane Florence has been swarmed by aggressive mosquitoes nearly three times larger than regular mosquitoes.
North Carolina State University entomology professor Michael Reiskind tells The Fayetteville Observer that Florence’s floodwater has caused eggs for mosquito species such as the Psorophora ciliata to hatch. These mosquitoes, often called ‘gallinippers,’ are known for their painful bite and often lay eggs in low-lying damp areas.
The eggs lie dormant in dry weather and hatch as adults following heavy rains. Reiskind says the state has 61 mosquito species, and “when the flood comes, we get many, many billions of them.”
He says a silver lining is the mosquitoes aren’t transmitting many diseases, but resident Robert Phillips still describes their rise as “a bad science fiction movie.”
MISSING BOY-NORTH CAROLINA-THE LATEST
The Latest: Father says search for missing son is “torture”
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – The father of a missing 6-year-old North Carolina boy said the search for his son has been “torture.” He said he just wants his little boy back home.
Ian Ritch joined Gastonia police and FBI agents for a news conference Wednesday, hours after appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to talk about Maddox Ritch. The boy disappeared Saturday as he walked with his father at Rankin Lake Park.
Ian Ritch said his son ran a short distance from him before he broke into a sprint. The father said Maddox usually runs away, but would either slow down or stop. He said once he couldn’t see his son, he got scared.
With the help of friends who were walking with them, Ritch searched for his son but couldn’t find him. Park personnel also joined in the search but didn’t see Maddox, either.
US House approves $1.7 billion in disaster aid for Carolinas
WASHINGTON (AP) – The House has overwhelmingly passed legislation that would provide $1.7 billion to help residents of the Carolinas and elsewhere recover from recent natural disasters.
The aid was added to legislation to keep Federal Aviation Administration programs running beyond Sept. 30.
The bill passed 398-23 on Wednesday. It also requires that the FAA set minimum requirements for seat width and legroom on airplanes as lawmakers respond to complaints about cramped seating.
Lawmakers describe the disaster aid as a down payment. They say billions more will be needed in the months ahead to help communities devastated by Hurricane Florence.
Lawmakers are working to extend the FAA’s programs for five years while tackling other priorities such as disaster relief.
The Senate needs to pass the bill before it can be signed into law.
Citizens’ group wants prosecution over CIA rendition program
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An anti-torture group says state and local officials in North Carolina should prosecute participants in a CIA program that ferried terrorism suspects to secret sites where they were tortured in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks.
That’s one of dozens of recommendations the self-appointed North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture is releasing Thursday.
The group focused on a North Carolina based aviation company reportedly central to the CIA program. Aero Contractors Limited operates from a county airport located between Raleigh and Fort Bragg, home to the Army’s anti-terrorist Delta Force and other Special Operations units. A London-based researcher says flights operated by Aero Contractors delivered at least 49 people to secret CIA sites for interrogation and possible torture.
Company executives didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Police: Woman shot, killed near apartment complex
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say officers found a woman shot to death and a man seriously wounded inside a vehicle.
Asheville police said in a news release officers on foot patrol near downtown heard several gun shots Tuesday, and when they reached the spot where they believed the shots came from, they found the two victims.
Authorities say 27-year-old Brandie Sherelle Angel died at the scene and the man was taken to a local hospital.
The shooting occurred across the street from an apartment complex. Police said their investigation is continuing.
Ex-N Carolina Gov. McCrory demanding amendments ad be pulled
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says a television ad opposing constitutional amendments on November ballots is false because it leaves the impression he’s against all six referendums.
McCrory signed a letter to broadcasters demanding the ad by the group “Stop Deceptive Amendments” be removed from airwaves, and threatened legal action otherwise. McCrory wrote Tuesday he’s a vocal supporter of a crime victims’ amendment and backs three other questions.
The ad’s narrator says “every former governor” recommends voting no on “the constitutional amendments Raleigh lawmakers put on the ballot this fall.” McCrory has spoken against two amendments, which the ad highlights indirectly.
“Stop Deceptive Amendments” spokesman Justin Guillory calls the ad accurate and clearly referencing the amendments McCrory opposes. The group now has a new ad featuring a retired judge.
POLICE CHIEF-RENTAL UNITS
Official: Police chief’s rental units held drugs, firearms
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – An investigation found that a police chief in North Carolina had rental units holding images of nude women, narcotics and firearms.
A Robeson County District Attorney’s Office release says Red Springs Police Chief Ronnie Patterson’s units were auctioned off for nonpayment and found to also have a file detailing a sexual harassment allegation against him. Citing the release, news outlets report crime scene photos, investigative files and ammunition also were in the unit.
An investigation into missing personnel files requested by former Mayor John McNeill uncovered the units. McNeill’s request followed portions of Patterson’s personnel files surfacing during his county sheriff campaign.
Patterson and town manager Davis Ashburn were arrested on charges including unlawful removal of public records. They are set to appear in court Monday. It’s unclear if they have lawyers.