Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
BUSINESS INTERSTATE 40-CLOSURE
Portion of Business Interstate 40 to close for bridge work
KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Contractors will be closing a portion of Business Interstate 40 in both directions this week to prepare for construction work.
The N.C. Department of Transportation says Business I-40 will be closed between mile markers 10 and 14 to allow workers to stage cranes and for girder installation work. Single- and full-lane closures will take place overnight between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. starting Wednesday and until work is completed on July 29.
No closures will take place on Sunday nights.
NCDOT Division Engineer Pat Ivey said the work is part of the eastern loop section of the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway. Ivey said the work is being done during a low-traffic period to minimize the impact to travelers.
INTERSTATE 40-BRIDGE REPLACEMENT
2 bridges on Interstate 40 to be replaced by NCDOT
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Two bridges on Interstate 40 in North Carolina are going to be replaced by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The agency said in a news release that it awarded a contract to a Mooresville company to replace the bridges that cross Mineral Springs Road in Burke County. According to a traffic count in 2016, approximately 49,000 vehicles travel that stretch of I-40 per day.
Officials say the bridges, built in 1958, no longer meet the current design standards for the volume of traffic. NCDOT says the new bridges will meet current design standards for lane widths and shoulder width and accommodate expected future capacity needs.
Work may begin as early as July 30 and the contract calls for work to be completed by March 30, 2021.
TRAIN STATION GROUNDBREAKING
Ceremony to mark start on new North Carolina train station
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A groundbreaking ceremony will mark the return of passenger train service to the downtown of a North Carolina city, although the trains won’t actually arrive for another four years.
The Charlotte Observer reports the groundbreaking for Charlotte’s Gateway Station is scheduled for Friday. It’s a 17-acre (7-hectare) site near Bank of America Stadium where work will begin on tracks, signals, structures and a passenger platform. The first phase is to be completed by 2022 at a cost of up to $80 million.
A terminal for passengers is required before rail service can actually resume, and that depends on the city finding a private developer as a partner.
Trains went through downtown Charlotte until 1962. The current station on North Tryon Street is considered small, outdated and disconnected from the city’s center.
GREAT SMOKIES-ROAD CLOSURES
Great Smokies road to briefly close for accident cleanup
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, N.C. (AP) – A road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that straddles Tennessee and North Carolina will be temporarily closed for the cleanup of a multi-vehicle accident.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Newfound Gap Road/U.S. 441 from Clingmans Dome Road to Smokemont Campground will be closed to traffic for three hours Wednesday morning. Authorities will also be conducting an investigation into the July 14 crash that killed 65-year-old David Crump of Georgia.
Clingmans Dome will remain accessible from the north, although the Clingmans Dome Tower will remain closed for unrelated repairs through July 27.
Foothills Parkway East will also be closed overnight Wednesday to allow for the completion of work related to paving operations on Interstate 40.
‘Don’t come back’: Lawmaker slams Trump after Putin summit
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina state lawmaker and veteran has told President Donald Trump that he’s “not worthy to stand on American soil” in the wake of the president’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
News outlets report Rep. Grier Martin posted a tweet Monday tagging Trump that read “don’t come back.”
The Wake County Democrat served in the U.S. Army Reserves for nearly three decades, including a tour of Afghanistan from 2002-2003. He says he’s not subject to U.S. military code forbidding disparaging comments about the president, as he’s not on active duty. He says Trump’s suggestion that he believed Putin’s denial of election interference was disturbing to his generation.
As of Tuesday, his tweet had garnered nearly 7,000 likes. Some of the 240 replies called for legislative action against the president, while others rebuked Martin.
INDECENT EXPOSURE-NEW TRIAL
New trial granted to man who exposed himself with boy nearby
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man convicted of exposing himself to a woman and her 4-year-old son has won a new trial on a felony indecent exposure charge.
The state Court of Appeals granted the new trial to Neil Wayne Hoyle after finding the jury should have received special instructions on what it means for a victim to be in the presence of someone who exposes himself.
Hoyle was convicted of misdemeanor and felony indecent exposure counts after authorities in Hickory say he exposed himself in 2016 to the mother while she stood near his car. The felony count was based on the 4-year-old, who was playing 14 feet (4 meters) away.
Hoyle argued there wasn’t enough evidence to support the felony charge and the court didn’t give the jury special instructions.
This story has been corrected to reflect that court documents say the offense, rather than the conviction, happened in 2016.
BIG DONOR-NORTH CAROLINA
Investor gives another $1.4M to N Carolina political groups
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The largest donor in North Carolina state politics last year kept giving substantially during the first half of 2018.
Political finance data filed with the state elections board show Greg Lindberg of Durham gave more than $1.4 million to state campaign and independent expenditure committees through June 30. More committee filings are due next week.
Lindberg is the founder of investment firm Eli Global. The unaffiliated voter gave $3.4 million to state committees last year.
In 2018, Lindberg has given $600,000 to the state Republican Party, $250,000 to the state Democratic Party and $100,000 to the Chatham County GOP. Another $500,000 went to what’s called the North Carolina Growth and Prosperity Committee.
The Growth and Prosperity treasurer, a Chatham GOP leader and Eli Global executive all have the same name.
Chemours offers filters to owners of tainted water wells
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A chemical company under fire for allowing little-studied industrial compounds into drinking water supplies says it’s going to start offering water filters to neighbors whose wells were tainted.
The Chemours Co. said Tuesday it will install and maintain granular activated carbon filtration systems at homes with levels of the chemical GenX above the state’s health goal.
The company said it’s making the move even though North Carolina’s environmental agency is still testing whether the filters are effective. State Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Bridget Munger said Chemours is acting without consulting the agency.
Chemours says it wanted to extend the offer to residents while DEQ completes its review of the testing results because it’s confident the filters are removing all the unwanted compounds.