Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Lawsuit: Help called too late for jailed woman who ate meth
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A lawsuit filed by the family of a woman who died while being held in a North Carolina jail says she died “an agonizing death under inhumane conditions.”
The Asheville Citizen Times reports the family of 34-year-old Michele Quantele Smiley filed the lawsuit Wednesday against several Buncombe County law enforcement officials, jailers and a nurse. Smiley died in 2017 while in the county jail on a probation violation charge.
The lawsuit alleges Smiley told jailers she ingested “a lot” of methamphetamine to avoid prosecution for possession. It says Smiley suffered a severe reaction, and medical help was called more than an hour later. An autopsy says she died of methamphetamine toxicity. A state report found the jail failed to check on Smiley enough.
Defendants declined to comment, citing pending litigation.
UNC STADIUM NAME
UNC stadium plate swaps father for son, citing 1898 massacre
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill will swap a “Sr.” for a “Jr.” on a plaque at Kenan Memorial Stadium, to distance the university from William Rand Kenan Sr.’s involvement in the 1898 massacre targeting black North Carolinians.
The News & Observer reports UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said in a Wednesday letter that the university consulted with the Kenan family and decided to change the honorific reference to focus on stadium donor William Rand Kenan Jr.
The younger Kenan’s name is on the university’s business school, professorships and a charitable trust, but he had made the stadium donation in memory of his parents.
Last month, sportswriter Craig Calcaterra reported the elder Kenan was the commander of “a white supremacist paramilitary force which massacred scores of black residents of Wilmington.”
Antsy at the airport: Insects colonize family car in 3 days
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina family returned from a three-day trip to find their car parked at the airport had been possessed by a colony of ants.
The Charlotte Observer reports Caroline Tedder Hacker lodged a complaint on Facebook on Sunday, warning people not to park in a certain section of Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s parking lot.
She said the car’s interior and engine were infested with ants, and her 11-month-old daughter had ants crawling on her during their ride back to Greensboro. She said the colony had been inside long enough to build a nest in the corner of the engine.
Airport officials told the newspaper they offered to pay the cost of cleaning, in addition to waiving parking costs. They said ants tend to surface around this time of year.
BIG DONOR-NORTH CAROLINA
New big donor in North Carolina politics subject of subpoena
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal investigation seeks documents from a North Carolina government agency about business operations connected to a man who seemingly overnight became the largest individual donor in state politics.
The state Department of Insurance on Wednesday provided a copy of a grand jury subpoena demanding documents about Greg Lindberg, Durham-based Eli Global that he founded and several related companies.
The FBI and the federal prosecutor’s office in Charlotte declined to comment on the subpoena and investigation. WRAL-TV first reported their existence. Lindberg hasn’t addressed the subpoena publicly, either.
Campaign finance documents show Lindberg has given more than $5 million to North Carolina political committees since 2016.
Bob Phillips with Common Cause North Carolina says the probe reinforces questions about why Lindberg is donating. Lindberg has said little about why he’s giving.
Florence damage to N Carolina schools could exceed Matthew’s
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s public school officials expect damage from Hurricane Florence to well exceed school losses after Hurricane Matthew two years ago.
After receiving a record number of claims, the director of the state’s public school insurance fund told the State Board of Education on Wednesday that $40 million has been set aside for claims from school districts and community colleges. Director Eileen Townsend says the fund paid $14 million in claims after Matthew.
Townsend says that while claims after Matthew were mainly for flooding, Florence caused more structural damage with winds and pounding rain.
Damage estimates will become clearer as adjusters reach schools that were still inaccessible last week because of flooding and road closures. Public schools in seven counties remain closed because of the September hurricane.
Ohio family purchases US flag shredded by Hurricane Florence
CINCINNATI (AP) – An Ohio family says they bought the U.S. flag captured on a live camera as it was being torn to shreds by Hurricane Florence to honor the memory of a family member who recently died from cancer.
Mike Caruso, of Cincinnati says his family was motivated by the tattered flag’s ordeal during the hurricane, and it also reminded him of his brother, Charlotte resident Kevin Caruso. Kevin Caruso died Sunday, just hours before bidding on the flag closed.
Mike Caruso says the purchase was also motivated by online commentators nicknaming the flag “Kevin.”
The flag earned a national reputation while flying off the coast of North Carolina on the Frying Pan Tower, a former lighthouse that is now an inn.
The family won the auction for $10,900.
Recall issued for hams from North Carolina company
WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal officials have ordered a recall of ham products from a North Carolina company after investigators found listeria contamination which led to one death.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said Wednesday the ready-to-eat hams were produced by Johnston County Hams of Smithfield between April 3, 2017 to Oct. 2, 2018 and shipped to distributors in Maryland, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina and Virginia.
The hams weigh between 7 and 8 pounds (3.1 kg and 3.6 kg) and carry establishment number “EST. M2646” inside the USDA inspection mark.
Department officials were notified last month that a person got sick after eating a Johnston County Hams product. An investigation confirmed four listeriosis cases, including one death, between July 8, 2017 and Aug. 11, 2018.
FLORENCE-PUERTO RICO HELPS
Volunteers from Puerto Rico help feed NC hurricane victims
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – They know what it’s like to suffer from a devastating hurricane, so chefs and volunteers from Puerto Rico are helping out in a North Carolina city damaged by Hurricane Florence.
Chef Lionel Rodriguez and others with a group called Operation Pay It Forward are preparing meals at the East Lumberton Baptist Church. Spokesman Jesus Flores said Wednesday the group arrived Monday and will serve lunch and dinner through Oct. 13.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz organized the delegation, which is working through Operation Blessing, a Virginia-based nonprofit.
Flores says Operation Blessing volunteers are serving about 2,000 meals per day.
Puerto Rico is struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed almost 3,000 people and caused damages estimated at more than $100 billion last year.