AP-NC Newswatch

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October 8, 2018
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October 8, 2018
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT


Funeral held for missing North Carolina boy found dead
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – A funeral has been held in North Carolina for a missing 6-year-old boy who was found dead late last month.
The Charlotte Observer reports Maddox Ritch’s Friday funeral came about a week after police found his body in a creek.
A family friend who knew Maddox, Amanda Wallace, said at the service that Maddox “is in a far better place than we are.” She says the “days upon days of agony of not knowing” and the final news of Maddox’s death have been a nightmare.
Maddox had autism and was nonverbal with strangers. Ian Ritch has said his son ran off while at a park and he couldn’t catch him due to a health problem.
Maddox’s cause of death hasn’t been released, and officials are awaiting his autopsy results.



Ex-Attorney General Holder visiting N Carolina for Democrats
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has gotten involved in North Carolina politics as head of a Democratic group, so he’ll visit the state this week to support a Supreme Court candidate and legislative hopefuls.
Holder planned to attend a Charlotte news conference Monday with Democrat Anita Earls, who is trying to unseat Justice Barbara Jackson next month. He’ll visit Democratic campaign offices in Huntersville later Monday and Greensboro on Tuesday. Workers there are trying to end Republican veto-proof majorities in the state House and Senate.
Holder is chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is targeting North Carolina and 11 other states with a goal of giving Democrats control over the next remapping round in 2021. The committee says it’s given over $500,000 to North Carolina political causes.




University professor accused of stealing political signs
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A University of North Carolina Asheville professor has been accused of stealing political signs.
News outlets report 38-year-old Amanda Wray has been charged with a misdemeanor, one count of removing a political sign. Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan says she agreed to surrender to law enforcement.
Mike Summey is with the political action committee Angry Buncombe Taxpayers, which has paid for and installed hundreds of the signs. Summey says he saw Wray and another woman taking the signs Friday night.
Duncan says sign theft isn’t uncommon during election season but it’s fairly rare it results in an arrest. He says Summey had taken a photo of Wray’s car’s license plate.
University spokeswoman Sarah Broberg says Wray has a doctorate in rhetoric, composition and English.
Wray declined to comment to news outlets.




Experts predict fish kills will continue for weeks in NC
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The widespread fish kills that were likely caused by Hurricane Florence are expected to continue for weeks.
The Charlotte Observer reported Friday that such fish kills often naturally occur following a major hurricane. The cause is not pollution from floodwaters but a lack of oxygen in the water.
The newspaper reviewed a report from North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission. Similar fish kills occurred after Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
An investigation is continuing into Florence’s impact. But biologists said they believe the recent deaths are due to flooding produced by the hurricane.
One of this year’s more well-known fish kills involved thousands of fish spread across Interstate 40. Firefighters used hoses to spray the fish off the road.




Police: Pilot, 65, has died in a single-engine plane crash
FANCY GAP, Va. (AP) – Police in Virginia say a 65-year-old man has died after his single-engine plane crashed in the far western part of the state.
Virginia State Police said in a statement that the plane was reported missing shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday. The plane crashed near the town of Fancy Gap, which is in Carroll County and about four hours west of Richmond.
State police identified the deceased pilot as Ralph C. Young of Fayetteville, West Virginia. Young had been flying between Fayetteville and Elkin, North Carolina.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are assisting with the investigation.




University still repairing student housing after Florence
(Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com)
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Classes are set to resume at the University of North Carolina Wilmington following Hurricane Florence’s destruction.
But the school is still trying to repair student housing ahead of Monday’s start. That means hundreds of students are scrambling to find a place to stay on campus.
The Star-News in Wilmington reported Saturday that school officials were trying to find alternate housing options for students in hotels and short-term rentals around the city. But students were also urged to find a friend to stay with. Or they were sent to a gym where cots were being set up.
The university initially scheduled a move-in date of Sept. 29. But officials pushed that date back due to ongoing repairs.
University officials said they expect repairs to finish up early this week.




Man struck and killed by Amtrak train in North Carolina
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (AP) – A man has been struck and killed by a train in North Carolina.
WRAL reported that the incident occurred shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday in Southern Pines, which is an hour south of Raleigh.
The man who died has been identified as 23-year-old Dylan Patrick Gesme of Southern Pines.
Gesme was struck by an Amtrak train traveling from New York to Florida.
Authorities said investigators plan to review video to determine what happened.
The death was the second involving a train in the area in less than 48 hours. A woman from nearby Sanford, North Carolina, was killed by an Amtrak train on Friday.




3 Airnbnb rentals rack up $1 million in fines from city
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has racked up more than $1 million in city fines for renting properties on short-term rental sites such as Airbnb.
The Ashville Citizen-Times reported Saturday that Reid Thompson is in a protracted zoning battle with the city of Ashville, a hip tourist spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The neighborhood’s residential zoning forbids him from renting his three units on a short-term basis, but he’s doing it anyway. He’s been racking up $1,500 a day in fines for the last two years.
Airbnb is banned in much of Asheville in an effort to preserve affordable housing. But Thompson said traffic from a nearby Whole Foods grocery store makes his properties unattractive to long-term renters.
He wants the city to change the zoning laws in his neighborhood.




AP-WF-10-08-18 1520GMT