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



Study: Heavy metals in N Carolina lake bottom extensive
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A Duke University scientist says a toxic stew of coal ash has spilled repeatedly and apparently unnoticed from storage pits at a Wilmington power plant into an adjoining lake, and flooding from Hurricane Florence was only the latest example.
Duke geochemistry and water quality professor Avner Vengosh says in the research published last week that the lead, cobalt and other heavy metals detected in the lake’s sediment equal or exceed the pollution from the country’s worst coal-ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee, in 2008.
Vengosh’s peer-reviewed findings highlight the risk of thousands of tons of coal ash stored near waterways across the hurricane-threatened Southeastern United States.
The country’s largest electricity company owns the lake and the ash. Duke energy spokesman Bill Norton says the lake was designed as a buffer between storage basins and the nearby Cape Fear River. State environmental officials report no significant pollution in the river since Florence.

This story’s headline has been corrected to remove reference to dam bursting.



FDA food sampling finds contamination by ‘forever chemicals’
WASHINGTON (AP) – Food and Drug Administration sampling has found nonstick compounds called “forever chemicals” in some foods.
The FDA presented the unreleased results at a science conference in Finland last week. The Environmental Defense Fund and the Environmental Working Group obtained the results and provided them to The Associated Press.
The findings came from a 2017 sampling of shopping basket goods for manmade compounds called PFAS, which are used in firefighting foam and in nonstick and stain-resistant products and are predicted to take thousands of years to degrade.
Federal toxicologists say some PFAS compounds pose a higher health risk than previously thought. Many states are demanding federal regulation.
FDA sampling shows PFAS in some meat and fish at levels well above federal recommendations for water. The agency says it didn’t consider that a likely threat.



Winning $344.6M Powerball ticket sold in North Carolina
HOPE MILLS, N.C. (AP) – A winning Powerball ticket worth more than $344 million was sold a grocery store in North Carolina.
Officials say the winning $344.6 million ticket was sold at a Carlie C’s IGA in Hope Mills, near Fayetteville. State lottery officials say it’s the largest jackpot ever won in North Carolina involving a single ticket.
The winner has 180 days from the date of the drawing on Saturday to claim the prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. Then he or she will have a choice of an estimated annuity of $344.6 million paid in 30 payments over 29 years or a lump sum payment of $223.3 million.
The executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery advises the winner to sign the back of the ticket and make sure it’s in a safe place.



Ginseng harvest period opens soon for 2 NC national forests
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The time period to apply for the popular ginseng harvest permits in two national forests in North Carolina is approaching.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the dates to apply for the permits in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests is June 10 through July 12.
A permit is required to collect wild ginseng in the two national forests during the designated harvest season. Those seeking a permit must call or visit a ranger district office and submit their name and address for the lottery.
Forest Service botanist Gary Kauffman says ginseng attracted prices of $600 to $900 a dry pound last year. It takes 300 plants to make one dry pound.
Notifications will be mailed to the winners before Aug. 16. District offices will start issuing permits to selected applicants Aug. 26.



Miss USA Cheslie Kryst to return home to NC and SC
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Miss USA Cheslie Kryst is returning for several days to her native North Carolina, where she’ll show her support for a group helps women achieve economic independence and will also speak to legislators.
But first, the Charlotte native and attorney will visit Fort Mill School in South Carolina, which she attended. Later Monday, she’ll visit South Park Mall in Charlotte to show her support for Dress for Success , which provides support, professional attire and development tools to help women.
On Tuesday, she’ll speak with North Carolina legislators. On Wednesday, Kryst visits High Point, the home city of Miss North Carolina USA.
Kryst graduated from the University of South Carolina, then earned her law degree and MBA at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.
Kryst was crowned May 2 in Reno, Nevada.



Teen girl bitten by shark at North Carolina state park beach
(Information from: WCTI-TV, http://www.wcti12.com/)
ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (AP) – A park ranger says a 17-year-old girl was bitten by a shark at a North Carolina beach and suffered severe injuries.
Fort Macon State Park ranger Paul Terry tells WCTI-TV that the teen was attacked by a shark while swimming around noon Sunday. Atlantic Beach Fire Department officials said in a statement that the teen suffered “deep lacerations to her leg, pelvic, and hand areas.”
She was flown by helicopter to the Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, around 80 miles (130 kilometers) north.
Later Sunday, the hospital identified the victim as Paige Winter in a statement. The hospital says Winter is in “good condition.” Describing the teen as an advocate for marine life, the hospital says Winter “wishes for people to continue to respect sharks in their environment and their safety.”



Mountaire Farms buys grain facility in Delaware
(Information from: Delaware State News, http://delawarestatenews.net)
DOVER, Del. (AP) – The company that says it’s the sixth-largest chicken processor in the country has purchased a grain facility in Delaware.
Delaware State News reports that Mountaire Farms says it bought the Cartanza Grain Facility located east of Dover. Mountaire didn’t immediately return an email sent Sunday asking about the purchase price.
The facility was built in 1977 and has the capacity to store more than 1 million bushels of grain. It’s equipped with a grain dryer.
This will be the 13th grain storage facility the company owns on the Delmarva peninsula. Six are in Delaware, five in Maryland and two in Virginia.
Founded in 1914 in Arkansas, Mountaire Farms has nearly 10,000 employees in Arkansas and North Carolina, in addition to the Delmarva states. It now has a corporate office in Millsboro, Delaware.



Judge, killer in tears during hearing for teen’s death
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A sentencing hearing for a North Carolina man who pleaded guilty in the death of a 16-year-old girl made both the judge and the killer cry.
The News & Record of Greensboro reports Superior Court Judge Lora Cubbage grew teary eyed as she sentenced 21-year-old Hajji DeQuan Johnson to at least 16 years in prison for second-degree murder.
Cubbage referred to both Johnson and his victim, Sateria Zoe Fleming, as “our babies.” She said one is buried and one she must “put in a cage.”
Both Cubbage and Johnson are black.
A defense attorney said a woman told Johnson to shoot two teens who tried to steal marijuana. Fleming was killed in March 2018.
Johnson promised he would be a better man when he left prison. His tears drowned out the rest of his words.