Area and state briefs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

From staff and wire reports
Freightliner has announced it will lay off 675 workers at its Mount Holly plant.
The Charlotte Observer reported Saturday the workers won’t have a job after Oct. 31. Freightliner is a heavy truck subsidiary of German automaker Daimler AG.
The layoffs reduce the plant’s work force by 60 percent. They follow the plant’s 478 layoffs last year and 260 layoffs in 2005. According to a company statement, the plant has been operating with periodic shutdowns since April 2007 due to the slumping economy and less demand for the medium-duty trucks made there. The trucks are often used in construction.
Also on Friday, Freightliner announced cutting 225 additional jobs at its plant in Gaffney, S.C., one month after announcing 100 layoffs there.
Landis man charged with drug trafficking
A Landis man has been charged with attempting to sell prescription drugs on the campus of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
Shawn Griffin Dillard, 24, of 902 S. Main St. was charged Thursday with possession with intent to sell Xanax and Percocet while on the community college campus, according to arrest reports. He was also charged with trafficking opium, the reports said.
Dillard was placed under $10,000 secured bond pending a Sept. 2 first-appearance hearing in Rowan County District Court.
PCI inmate accused of spitting at guard
An inmate at the Piedmont Correctional Institute has been charged with the felony offense of spitting at a prison guard.
Paul D. Ellison, 32, is charged with spitting at a prison sergeant while he was performing his duties of retrieving items from the prisoner’s cell, according to arrest reports. Ellison was placed under $10,000 secured bond pending a Sept. 2 first-appearance hearing in Rowan County District Court.
Blackwater seeking storm-area workers
Security contractor Blackwater Worldwide is seeking personnel that could possibly be deployed into areas affected by Hurricane Gustav.
The Moyock-based company issued a call Friday for law enforcement officers and armed security officers who already have the credentials to work in such an environment, including those with arrest powers. Blackwater responded to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and reported pulling 128 people to safety. The company started work there without a client, but won both government and private sector business within days.
Blackwater is best known for its work protecting diplomats in Iraq.
Candidate fires son from campaign
Republican congressional challenger Carl Mumpower fired his son Matt from his campaign staff Friday, hours after the 24-year-old was arrested at an Asheville restaurant and bar when police said he punched a patron.
The GOP candidate, who is seeking to oust Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler in the 11th Congressional district, said he had to fire his son as campaign coordinator because his candidacy is focused on values and accountability.
“I can’t hold other people accountable if I can’t hold my own son accountable,” Mumpower said. “I can’t go against those that employ illegal immigrants … or others for not being responsible and give him a pass.”
Matt Mumpower was arrested at an Asheville Wild Wings Cafe shortly after midnight Friday, after he struck another patron who grabbed him in a “sexually suggestive way,” Carl Mumpower said.
Carl Mumpower, an Asheville City Councilman and psychologist, is challenging the freshman Shuler in the mountainous 11th Congressional district.
Train-car collision kills parents, infant
Authorities say an infant found in the grass after his parents died in a train-car collision in rural Johnston County has died.
Seven-day-old Skylar Brady died of his injuries Saturday afternoon at WakeMed hospital. The car’s driver, 25-year-old Brannon Brady, and his fiancee, 22-year-old Crystal Higgins, both of Princeton, died in the Friday crash. Skylar was thrown from the car and found by a former rescue worker who lives near the crash site.
Authorities say the couple was taking Skylar to his first checkup when a freight train crashed into their car at a railroad crossing that has no mechanical warning.
State officials say gates and signals are scheduled to be installed there as part of a three-year effort to upgrade crossings.