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October 9, 2018
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October 9, 2018
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Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT


North Carolina goes to the frogs as flooding, breeding align
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
MANTEO, N.C. (AP) – In the wake of Hurricane Florence, the North Carolina coast has been plagued with a tide of frogs and toads, but the storm’s record-setting floods aren’t entirely to blame.
State biologist Jeff Hall tells The Charlotte Observer the coast is experiencing a convergence of two types of frog and toad population explosions. The first wave takes the form of tadpoles born during June and July’s abnormally heavy rains, while the second is a boom of “explosively breeding” toads. Those toads found an ideal habitat in tiny puddles created by Hurricane Florence.
But the flooding has also augmented the interactions between humans and amphibians, as the latter group searches for dry ground.
Hall says coastal residents are likely to find frogs and toads in odd places until floodwaters recede.



Karen Pence stumps for N. Carolina Republican
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Vice President Mike Pence’s wife is stumping for a North Carolina congressional candidate, in an effort to turn out women for a man who came under fire earlier this year for comments about women.
The Charlotte Observer reports Karen Pence headlined Monday’s rally for Mark Harris and kicked off a Women for Harris bus tour.
Telling the crowd “all issues are women’s issues,” Pence highlighted North Carolina’s 9th District as key to maintaining Republicans’ House majority.
Harris faces Democrat Dan McCready. Earlier this year, excerpts from Harris’ sermons quoted him calling for women to “submit” to their husbands and questioning whether careers were the “healthiest pursuit” for women.
Donald J. Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, will also hit the trail for Harris. The former Fox News host headlines Tuesday’s rally.



Man arrested in death of woman found in roadside bin
GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) – The body of a woman has been found in a container alongside a road in North Carolina.
Citing a Goldsboro police release from Tuesday, news outlets report that 62-year-old Rocky Marciana Ashford was arrested in connection with the death of 59-year-old Contrena A. Wooten.
Wooten’s body was found inside a container near the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Monday. Her cause of death hasn’t been confirmed, pending an autopsy.
Ashford is charged with concealment, failure to report and secretly disposing of a body. His bond has been set at $50,000. It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer to comment on his behalf.
Police are still investigating.




The Latest: Forecasters: Hurricane Michael gaining strength
MIAMI (AP) – Data from hurricane hunter aircraft flying through Hurricane Michael show the storm is still strengthening over the Gulf of Mexico.
At 11 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center said Michael had top sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph). That’s just below the threshold for a “major” hurricane, and forecasters say they still expect Michael to get stronger.
Michael was moving north at 12 mph (19 kph). The hurricane is expected to make landfall in Florida’s Panhandle or Big Bend on Wednesday before crossing Georgia and the Carolinas as a weaker storm.
The storm’s effects will be felt far from the eye of the hurricane. Forecasters said Michael’s storm winds stretched 370 miles (595 kilometers) across, with hurricane-strength winds extending up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the center.




Unhealthy uranium, radium levels found in thousands of wells
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Thousands of people living near North Carolina’s capital city are likely drinking water with “unhealthy levels” of radiological chemicals.
The News & Observer reported Monday that officials estimate up to 6,000 water wells in eastern Wake County exceed the safe drinking-water standards for uranium and radium. Tests on hundreds of private water wells show levels 10 to 20 times higher than the standard.
Those private wells are primarily outside city and town limits and aren’t regularly monitored for the unsafe chemicals, which are odorless, colorless and tasteless.
Long-term exposure to uranium and other radiological chemicals can increase a person’s chance of cancer and high levels of uranium can cause kidney failure.



Court blocks tree removal company after price-gouging claim
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina judge is shutting down a tree-removal company temporarily after the state’s attorney general accused it of price gouging after Hurricane Florence.
Multiple media organizations reported that the state Attorney General’s office secured a preliminary injunction Monday against A1 Tree & Storm Relief of Lexington. That means that business owner Alva Wilson Lewis and his crew cannot remove trees or clear storm damage until the state’s lawsuit against them is settled.
State attorneys said the business had overcharged desperate customers in the Wilmington area after the storm, including tripling an initial quote of $4,000 to remove three trees for one homeowner. A tree expert estimated the value of the work at $6,400 or less.
Lewis denied he was taking advantage of the emergency to hike his prices.




Governor redirects $25M to repair schools hit by Florence
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s governor is taking hold of state lottery profits and sending $25 million to repair schools with immediate needs after damage caused by Hurricane Florence.
Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday he’s acting to speed up repairs, with priority in eight counties hit the hardest. Cooper’s office says seven public school systems remain closed since last month’s storm, keeping nearly 90,000 students out of classrooms in more than 130 schools.
The Associated Press asked Cooper’s office whether he had the authority to redirect the spending of lottery funds. His spokesman pointed to a state law that allows governors to reallocate funds in an emergency if other funds are insufficient.
Cooper’s office says the emergency school repair money will be administered by the state Department of Public Instruction.




Man accused of threatening students charged with child porn
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man accused of threatening to shoot students at an elementary school near his home is now accused of possessing child porn.
The News & Observer reports 33-year-old Arthur Vladimir Kochetkov of Wake Forest was charged Monday with sexual exploitation of a minor.
Kochetkov has been held at the Wake County jail since he was charged last month with communicating threats. A warrant says he posted a threat to Facebook that said “he’s done amassed an army big enough to slaughter all your Wake Forest kids in their local playground.”
Officials say the porn found on items seized from Kochetkov’s home doesn’t appear to feature local students.
Kochetkov’s family says he is mentally ill. He’s set to appear in court Tuesday. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.