Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST
Girl 13, kidnapped from mobile home park in North Carolina
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say a 13-year-old girl has been kidnapped from a mobile home park.
Lumberton police Capt. Terry Parker tells news outlets that witnesses described a man with a yellow bandana over his face grabbing Hania Noleia Aguilar from a yard in the Rosewood Mobile Home Park just before 7 a.m. Monday.
Parker says Aguilar was forced into a stolen green 2002 SUV with South Carolina license plates.
Police are looking for Aguilar and the stolen vehicle. Further details haven’t been released.
POLICE CHIEF ARRESTED-RETURN
N Carolina police department put on leave to return to duty
(Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com)
BOLIVIA, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina police department that was put on paid leave when its then-chief was arrested is set to return to duty.
Southport police Chief Todd Coring tells The StarNews of Wilmington that officers will be back on patrol Monday. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office has been handling patrol duties since July when then-Chief Gary Lee Smith was arrested on corruption charges.
Smith and Lt. Mike Simmons are accused of working a second job with a trucking company while on duty. Smith was indicted in September on charges including felony conspiracy to obtain property under false pretenses. Both were fired last month.
The entire police department was put on paid leave during a city investigation into the allegations.
Detectives investigate fire at sheriff candidate’s business
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Criminal investigators are trying to figure out why the business operated by a candidate for sheriff in the North Carolina mountains burned down.
News outlets reported that the State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the fire last month that turned Shad Higgins’ tire shop into a burned-out shell. The SBI has yet to release any information about the fire or what caused it on October 26.
Higgins is the Republican candidate in a tightly contested race for sheriff of Buncombe County, which includes Asheville. Quentin Miller is the Democratic candidate. Incumbent Sheriff Van Duncan is retiring.
Higgins’ tire shop was back in business last week in a temporary location. He said weeks before the blaze that he employs three people at the business which has been operating for 15 years.
MONTH OF HATE
Synagogue attack a reminder of how common hate crimes are
The massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue occurred during a month that saw several allegations of hate crimes around the country.
The incidents were nowhere near as violent as what happened in Pittsburgh but still left their victims deeply scarred.
Kevyn Perkins stopped cold when he saw a racial slur scrawled on the door to his dorm at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. The black student considered dropping out but decided to stay in school at the urging of his family members.
The incident led to a student protest that prompted the school to cancel class for a town hall meeting discussing racial tensions on campus.
USING AAA WHILE BLACK
Police: Woman in viral rant against 2 others faces charges
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a white woman in North Carolina whose racist rant against two black women having car trouble in an affluent area is facing charges she communicated threats and misused the 911 network.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police tell news outlets that 51-year-old Susan Westwood was served with outstanding warrants Saturday after contacting police in coastal Sunset Beach. Westwood disappeared after the Oct. 19 incident in a parking lot of her Charlotte apartment complex.
It wasn’t immediately known if she had a lawyer who could comment for her.
Video went viral of her berating black neighbors she didn’t recognize while they waited for AAA. Leisa and Mary Garris called police twice to report Westwood was harassing them.
Westwood also called 911, telling the dispatcher she would pay $2,500 “to get them out of here,” according to authorities.
ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA-NEWS GUIDE
N Carolina elections got amped up despite lacking major race
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s midterm elections were once pegged as a low-thrill election cycle without major statewide races, but they became a high-intensity affair.
Record numbers voted early before Tuesday’s midterms, reflecting the energy and money injected into legislative, judicial and congressional races and ballot questions. The election turned into a fight over Republican governing in Raleigh and Washington, and whether Democrats deserved more power.
State Democrats raised mammoth sums of cash, buoyed by Gov. Roy Cooper’s call to end the GOP’s veto-proof majorities in the legislature. Six constitutional amendments pushed by Republicans are on the ballot.
Republicans currently hold 10 of the 13 seats in the state’s congressional delegation, but up to three were at risk to be flipped to the Democrats.
ELECTION 2018-EARLY VOTING
Record early in-person voting for N Carolina midterm ending
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – People not registered to vote in North Carolina are running out of time to sign up and participate in this year’s midterms.
Early in-person voting ends Saturday afternoon, capping an 18-day period in which people can register to vote and cast their ballots at the same time at early-voting sites in all 100 counties.
Citizens who visit an Election Day voting precinct Tuesday won’t be able to vote unless they were already registered.
A record number of people voted at early sites for a midterm this year. Along with all the traditional absentee voters, well over 1.7 million people had voted as of Friday.
North Carolina voters are choosing members of the legislature, Congress and courts, and deciding on six constitutional amendments.
Church barbecue cited as possible link for illness outbreak
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (AP) – More than a dozen people are reporting stomach and digestive illnesses which officials think may be traced to a North Carolina church’s annual fundraising barbecue.
The health department serving Cabarrus County says it’s gotten reports of at least 13 people who got sick after they ate food Thursday at the event held by Poplar Tent Presbyterian Church in Concord. The church has hosted the late-fall event for more than 70 years.
Cabarrus Health Alliance officials say the people who reported vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps are a fraction of the thousands who ate at the church barbecue and they aren’t certain that food served there is the culprit.
Agency Chief Operating Officer Erin Shoe is urging anyone who brought home leftovers to throw it out.