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April 6, 2018
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Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Deputies: 12 road signs stolen in North Carolina county
(Information from: The Hickory Daily Record, http://www.hickoryrecord.com)
LINCOLNTON, N.C. (AP) – Deputies say 12 road signs have been stolen in a North Carolina county.
The Hickory Daily Record reported Thursday that each one of the signs stolen in the last week costs taxpayers roughly $200 to replace.
A Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office statement says the thefts create confusion for drivers and endanger lives. Authorities say the signs are vital in helping emergency services personnel find homes and businesses and that the thefts could slow response times.
Road sign theft costs the county about $25,000 per year. The stolen signs are often used as decoration or sold for scrap metal because of their aluminum base.


Blackbeard’s flag to fly on North Carolina ferries
MANNS HARBOR, N.C. (AP) – Ferries serving the North Carolina Outer Banks will be flying Blackbeard’s flag thanks to an agreement between two state agencies.
The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division has teamed with the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources with the idea, which marks the observance of the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard’s death in 1718.
The flag will fly on ferries serving the Hatteras-Ocracoke, Cedar Island-Ocracoke, and Swan Quarter-Ocracoke ferry routes, as well as the Pamlico River route between Bayview and Aurora. Both areas have historic ties to the 18th-century pirate.
The Blackbeard 300 Committee will be hosting exhibits, educational opportunities and events throughout 2018. The anniversary will wrap up at Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree in Ocracoke on Oct. 25-28.



North Carolina city ends temporary winter shelter program
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina city has closed its temporary winter shelter program, putting more than 60 families back on the streets and possibly in their cars.
The Charlotte Observer reports Paul Hanneman of the Urban Ministry Center in Charlotte said 1,500 people used the program over the winter. Of those, Hanneman said 109 were children, some of them only a few months old. The program’s season ended on March 31.
Deronda Metz, director of the Center of Hope, says the closing of Room in the Inn always means more people sleeping in cars outside the shelter. She said one idea would be to create lots where such families can park at night. The lots would be well lit, patrolled regularly by police and possibly offer access to a public restroom.


Report: 23 percent of North Carolina teacher often absent
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A new report shows that more than 20 percent of North Carolina’s teachers are “chronically absent” from work.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that state education officials presented data Wednesday showing that nearly 23 percent of North Carolina’s teachers used 10 or more nonconsecutive sick days in the last school year.
Education officials attributed high absenteeism, in part, to some teachers no longer considering teaching as a lifelong profession.
The state’s nearly 98,000 teachers get one sick day per month to use when students are in class.
Some State Board of Education members said it was not fair to say a teacher that misses one day a month is “chronically absent.”
School officials say absent teachers cost money to hire substitutes and hurt student learning.


North Carolina health officials report 6 more flu deaths
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina health officials say six more people have died from the flu, ending the official 2017-18 flu season with a record 348 deaths.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said there were three deaths for the week ending March 31, which is considered the final week of the flu season. Three more deaths from earlier in the season were determined to be flu-related.
Dr. Christopher Ohl, professor of infectious diseases at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, told the Winston-Salem Journal that last season, there was a late, second wave of flu cases in March and early April, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this season.
Both the 2016-17 and 2014-15 seasons had 218 confirmed flu-related deaths.



Remains of US flier shot down over Laos in 1968 return home
MORRISVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The remains of an Air Force officer lost for almost 50 years at the height of the U.S. war in Southeast Asia are finally coming home to North Carolina.
A container carrying the remains of Col. Edgar F. Davis arrived Thursday at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. His family plans his burial in his native Goldsboro on Friday.
The 32-year-old navigator was shot down over Laos in 1968. The pilot of his Phantom fighter-bomber ejected and was rescued, but Davis was never found until a villager turned over bone fragments in 2015.
The Defense Department’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency reports that since Davis’s remains were positively identified at the end of last year, more than three dozen other service members dating back to World War II have been identified.



More charges for North Carolina woman accused in fatal fire
ELKIN, N.C. (AP) – Authorities have filed more charges against a North Carolina woman accused in her autistic son’s death in a fire.
The State Bureau of Investigation said Thursday that 53-year-old Maria Deneane Kidd is charged with insurance fraud and insurance fraud application. Last month, Kidd was charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony child abuse following a January house fire in which 13-year-old William Kidd died.
The SBI didn’t’ say what led to the additional charges.
The Surry County Sheriff’s Office said Maria Kidd reported the fire on Jan. 27. Firefighters found the boy’s body when they put the fire out.
Maria Kidd is in the Alexander County jail on the latest charges under a $50,000 bond. She’s free on bond on the other charges. It’s not known if she has an attorney.



North Carolina jail inmate fails in escape bid from hospital
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a North Carolina jail inmate being treated at a hospital tried to escape custody by throwing a sheet over a deputy and trying to run away.
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office told local news outlets that 28-year-old Jack Joseph Pekkala of Hubert was arrested after he attempted the escape on Wednesday at Onslow Memorial Hospital.
According to arrest warrants, the deputy used a Taser on Pekkala.
Pekkala was in jail for a variety of charges after deputies say he robbed a convenience store, used a shotgun to steal $200, drove off in a stolen car and then stole gasoline from another under store. His bond was already at $102,500. New charges stemming from the escape added $5,000 to his bond.
Officials haven’t said why Pekkala was being treated.