N.C. briefs

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 1, 2013

GASTONIA (AP) — A two-alarm fire at Freightliner’s truck manufacturing plant in North Carolina forced a temporary halt to operations.

The Gaston Gazette reports the fire early Thursday morning was in the plant’s paint filtration system on the roof. Mount Holly Fire and Rescue Chief Dale Oplinger said it took more than an hour to put the fire out in part because of its location inside a metal structure.

Oplinger estimated the fire caused between $5,000 and $10,000 in property damage, but that does not count lost work time. He said the third shift was unable to return to work Thursday, but the first shift was able to work.

Freightliner employs about 1,500 workers at its Mount Holly plant.

  Untreated wastewater spills in Thomasville

THOMASVILLE (AP) — More than 100,000 gallons of untreated wastewater and rainfall have spilled in Thomasville.

The Dispatch of Lexington reported most of the spill occurred at a pump station and lasted about five hours Tuesday.

The rest of the spill came when an 85-year-old clay pipe ruptured. About 9,000 gallons of wastewater entered North Hamby Creek from the ruptured pipe.

City officials say most of those two spills consisted of rainwater.

A third spill was caused by debris blocking a line. Nearly 1,400 gallons of wastewater spilled into a tributary of another creek.

  Teachers describe challenges to House

RALEIGH (AP) — The state House wrapped up a week listening to some of North Carolina’s top public school educators with teachers who say they’re worried about static salaries, low morale and dwindling avenues for professional development.

About 50 teachers most local teachers of the year in their districts visited the Legislative Building on Thursday. They talked with Speaker Thom Tillis in the House chamber for nearly two hours. Tillis held similar input sessions with superintendents Tuesday and principals Wednesday.

Teachers statewide received raises this year for the first time since 2008 as lawmakers have struggled to close budget gaps. Tillis told teachers he hoped government savings would generate funds to raise salaries again next school year. He says he wanted teachers to remain involved in influencing legislation.

  Fort Bragg soldiers prepare to go to Kosovo

FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — Fort Bragg soldiers are very used to overseas deployments.

But several hundred soldiers will be heading to a different destination this spring.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that members of the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade are heading to Kosovo.

The brigade headquarters and 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, will take over an assignment that has been largely held by National Guard and Army Reserve units for the past decade.

Outgoing brigade commander Col. Xavier Brunson says the Kosovo assignment will present a different set of challenges than those faced by the soldiers who have been going to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Brunson said the soldiers will work with local officials to help ensure freedom of movement between ethnic enclaves.

  Bill seeks licenses for iliegal immigrants

RALEIGH (AP) — A group of Democratic lawmakers in North Carolina has introduced a bill to grant qualifying illegal immigrants driver licenses that look the same as those issued to everyone else.

The bill filed Thursday is in response to a plan by the administration of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to issue driver licenses with a bright pink stripe and the words “NO LAWFUL STATUS” to young adults participating in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The Obama administration initiative grants valid federal work permits to qualified applicants brought to the United States without legal authorization when they were children.

The Division of Motor Vehicles is set to begin issuing the pink licenses March 25. A competing GOP-backed bill would delay the licenses from going out to at least June.