State briefs

  • Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 12:59 a.m.
    UPDATED: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 1:08 a.m.

McCrory visiting Texas

to talk offshore energy

RALEIGH (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory is visiting an offshore energy trade conference in Texas to try to help build momentum for drilling off the coast of North Carolina and other states.

McCrory says he’ll participate in a panel discussion with other governors at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

McCrory recently joined a coalition of governors in Outer-Continental Shelf states that want President Barack Obama’s administration to open more coastal waters to natural gas and oil exploration.

In the Republicans’ weekly radio address over the weekend, McCrory said he asked the president in February to expand offshore leasing. He asked him during a visit to Washington with other governors.

McCrory says the energy industry could create thousands of jobs and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and generate state revenues.

Flooding downs power lines, trees across state

ASHEVILLE (AP) — At least one person has died as heavy rain and wind pounded western North Carolina, downing trees and power lines and delaying or closing schools in some counties.

Authorities say a Norfolk Southern worker was killed in a mudslide as he checked on tracks near Black Mountain early Monday.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman says 33-year-old Joseph Drewnoski and a colleague were inspecting the rails near Black Mountain after a mudslide around 2 a.m. Monday when a second mudslide knocked their special truck with rail wheels off the track.

Authorities say Drewnoski was outside the truck was buried and killed. The employee who was still in the truck called for help and was rescued.

Chapman says the dead worker’s body was recovered about five hours later. Drewnoski was an assistant foreman and had been with Norfolk Southern for eight years.

More than 1,000 customers were without electricity Monday.

The National Weather Service had flood warnings and flood watches across much of the western and north central parts of the state.

Flooding prompted schools to close in Avery County. Schools were opening two hours later than usual in Watauga County.

Emergency crews in Burke County rescued at least two people from a campground.

Some parts of the region have received up to 5 inches of rain. More rain was possible from the latest round of storms.

Couple accused of zip-tying 4-year-old

RALEIGH (AP) — Authorities in Raleigh accuse a couple of using zip ties to bind their 4-year-old daughter’s wrists and ankles to a baby gate.

Raleigh police say 26-year-old Gerald Thomas Swinehart pushed or kicked the girl so hard that her lower teeth broke through her lower lip. Police say Swinehart and 28-year-old Marianne Victoria Coffey are accused of using the plastic ties used by electricians to bundle wires to tie the child to the gate.

Arrest warrants say the incidents occurred in February and March.

Swinehart is charged with two counts of intentional child abuse inflicting serious physical injury. Coffey is charged with one count.

Middle school teacher accused of peeping

HICKORY (AP) — A Catawba County middle school teacher has been suspended with pay after his arrest on a peeping charge.

Authorities say 50-year-old Scott Grantham is charged with two felony counts of secret peeping. He is free on $10,000 bond.

The sheriff’s office said a student told investigators that the teacher used a video camera to shoot down the student’s blouse as he approached her from behind.

Catawba County Schools officials said Grantham is prohibited from being on any campus owned or operated by the system and from communicating with employees and students during his suspension. Officials declined to discuss any additional details.

NC, SC cities among tops for unmarried moms

GREENVILLE (AP) — A new U.S. Census report finds that a North Carolina city is No. 2 in the country for its percentage of recent unmarried mothers, and two South Carolina cities are in the Top 10.

The report says about 36 percent of births in 2011 were to unmarried women.

A number of metropolitan areas had considerably higher percentages of unmarried recent moms. Tops was Flagstaff, Ariz., where three out of four recent mothers were unmarried.

Greenville, N.C., was second with 69 percent of births in 2011 coming to unmarried women.

In South Carolina, Myrtle Beach was fourth with two-thirds of new moms unmarried, while Sumter had more than six out of 10 births coming to unmarried moms.

Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico were the states with the highest percentages.

Boat fees may go up for dredging projects

RALEIGH (AP) — A North Carolina Senate proposal to channel higher annual and one-time fees on most North Carolina boats and watercraft to coastal dredging projects is heading to the state House.

The measure given final Senate approval Monday night by a 38-11 vote would raise titling fees on boats and ID numbering fees on vessels that require them. Much of the money would provide matching funds for local projects.

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