Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Search for hiker underway in Great Smoky Mountains park
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Search efforts are continuing for an Ohio woman who went missing while hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the North Carolina-Tennessee border.
The National Park Service said in a news release over the weekend that personnel from agencies in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia are aiding in the search for 53-year-old Mitzie Sue “Susan” Clements.
Clements was last seen in the Clingmans Dome area of the park on Tuesday. She was hiking with her daughter when they were separated.
The news release says as of Saturday, around 125 trained searchers were involved, as well as helicopters, drones and canine teams. It says the rescuers are working in unforgiving terrain, and volunteer searchers are not being sought.
The park service couldn’t immediately be reached Sunday for an update.
Funeral services set for 6-year-old who disappeared at park
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – Funeral services have been set for a 6-year-old North Carolina boy who went missing at a park and was found dead after an extensive search.
According to an obituary , a visitation for Maddox Ritch will be held Thursday at a funeral home in Huntersville, followed by a funeral service the next day. The burial will be private.
The boy’s father has said Maddox ran off as he and a friend walked at Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia Sept. 22. Ian Ritch has said he couldn’t catch up with his son, who was autistic, because he has neuropathy in his feet due to diabetes.
Maddox’s body was found in a creek slightly more than a mile (1.6 kilometers) east of the park after days of searching. An investigation is ongoing.
TROPICAL WEATHER-MOSQUITO CONTROL
After Florence, communities work to keep mosquitoes at bay
(Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com)
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Communities inundated by flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence are bracing for an onslaught of mosquitoes.
The StarNews of Wilmington reports that the state of North Carolina has identified 27 counties that will split $4 million in emergency mosquito-control funding. The counties include New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick, which were among areas hit by heavy rains after Florence smashed ashore Sept. 14 and nearly stalled for days over parts of the Carolinas.
Stagnant floodwaters provide breeding grounds for the pests.
Crews completed a first round of spraying in New Hanover and Brunswick counties last week.
Officials say residents of affected counties can help by emptying any containers with standing water. People are also being encouraged to stay inside for 30 minutes if they see spraying crews in their community.
TROPICAL WEATHER-FLAG AUCTION-NORTH CAROLINA
Tattered flag famous from Florence auctioned for Red Cross
(Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com)
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A tattered U.S. flag that captured attention nationwide as it whipped in the wind on the North Carolina coast during Hurricane Florence is being auctioned to raise money for the American Red Cross.
The flag was flying over a light station called Frying Pan Tower as Florence made its final approach earlier this month.
The tower’s owner, Richard Neal, tells The StarNews of Wilmington a live camera feed of the flag blowing in the storm averaged 100,000 viewers an hour on Sept. 13, the day before Florence made landfall.
Neal tells the newspaper he is shocked by the outpouring of deep-pocketed offers so far in the charity auction. As of Saturday evening, eBay showed the current bid was at $10,100.
Bidding ends at 10 p.m. EST on Sunday.
CIVIL WAR STORIES
North Carolina history group in search of Civil War stories
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina history group is searching for stories about the Civil War.
The N.C. Civil War History & Reconstruction Center has been gathering oral histories from North Carolinians with a goal of recording stories from each of the state’s 100 counties. The center says in a news release it wants to build a mosaic of what life was like in North Carolina from the people who lived it.
The stories will be used to teach schoolchildren what the Civil War was really like through stories which were passed down through generations.
A panel of North Carolina students in grades 4 through high school ranked the subjects they most wanted to hear about, and among them were culture, law and politics, women and the home front.
Police say armed repairman shoots, kills attacking monkey
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
SHALLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in a coastal North Carolina town say a repairman won’t face charges after he fatally shot a pet monkey that escaped and attacked a woman.
A Shallotte police detective told The Charlotte Observer Friday evening that the snow monkey escaped a backyard cage and “went bananas,” biting the woman and scratching her arms and legs.
Police say the monkey then ran across the street and banged on a neighbor’s glass door. The repairman approached the animal, which then ran toward him.
Detective Sgt. John Holman says the repairman killed it with one shot from his small handgun. Holman says the man had a concealed carry permit and was protecting the neighborhood.
Holman says the monkey’s owner was properly licensed to keep it and other exotic pets.
N. Carolina father pleads guilty to abusing infant daughter
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to charges that he punched his infant daughter in the face and left her with broken bones.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports 26-year-old Michael Dion Coleman II pleaded guilty in Forsyth Superior Court to three counts of felony child abuse.
Coleman had been scheduled to go on trial next week. As part of a plea arrangement, the judge sentenced him to a minimum of three years and two months and a maximum of four years and 10 months in prison.
A prosecutor said a doctor noticed during a wellness check that the 2-month-old girl had bruising around her right eye and bleeding in the eye. A further evaluation found she had broken bones in her forearm and multiple broken ribs.
State extends vaccination deadline because of Florence
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Because of disruptions caused by Hurricane Florence, North Carolina health officials are giving families longer to obtain required school and daycare immunizations.
The News & Observer reports an order this week by the state’s health director means all students have until Dec. 1 to provide the required documentation. Typically, students must show they have received the required vaccines by the 30th day of school.
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Kelly Haight says some immunization clinics were canceled because of Florence.
Haight added that some families might have lost their children’s records as a result of flooding that followed the storm or that some doctors’ offices may have lost vaccines that weren’t kept at proper temperatures due to power outages.