BEACH SMOKING BAN
NC town to consider smoking ban on beaches
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina town is moving forward with what would be the state's first ban on smoking at a beach.
Town leaders in Wrightsville Beach unanimously voted Thursday to hold a referendum on the November ballot. The action came after more than two years of consideration and a recent 230-person petition to the city's board of aldermen.
The ordinance bans smoking in the sand, but not in the town. Local leaders say the ban will only affect a small strip of city owned land and would not extend to state-owned beaches.
If the ban passes, beach smokers could be fined $250.
BURNED CAR ARREST
NC man arrested after body found in burned car
NEWTON, N.C. (AP) - A 32-year-old Catawba County man has been arrested in the death of a woman whose body was found in a burned car.
Sheriff Coy Reid says Jermaine Wilkes is charged with murder, burning personal property and destroying remains.
Deputies say the victim was 22-year-old Brianne Mary Ginty.
Reid says investigators think Wilkes and Ginty argued and he killed her and tried to hide her body in some woods.
The cause of death has not been released. Ginty's body has been sent to Chapel Hill for an autopsy.
The body was discovered after a landowner noticed smoke coming from his property.
CHARRED MURDER TRIAL
NC man says girlfriend self-inflicted fatal injury
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A Pitt County man charged with murder says his girlfriend set herself on fire before shooting herself in the head.
The Greenville Daily Reflector reports that state investigators testified in Superior Court on Thursday that the charred remains of 51-year-old Teresea Derr Foster contained gasoline.
Foster's body was found in 2009 behind a home she shared with her 57-year-old fianc? Clinton Arthur Ridenour north of Greenville. A sheriff's detective says a red gasoline can was found on the couple's front porch swing.
Ridenour is charged with the first-degree murder and faces life in prison without parole if he is convicted. Ridenour maintains his innocence and says Foster's fatal injuries were self-inflicted.
STUDENT TEACHER SLAPPING
NC student, teacher charge each other with assault
WADESBORO, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina high school teacher and student are pressing charges against each other after a parking lot confrontation.
WSOC-TV reports that Wadesboro police have received assault charges from teacher Patricia Frost and 18-year-old student Johnathan Smith of Anson High School.
Smith told police that Frost slapped him in the face Tuesday morning after confronting him about his saggy shorts. He says Frost demanded he pick up his pants and identify himself.
Frost's attorney says his client did not know Smith was a student because he was not a regular attendee at the high school and that he refused to give his real name. The attorney says Smith was face-to-face with the teacher and threatening her when she slapped him out of self-defense.
Couple arrested in Virginia on NC murder charges
ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina couple has been arrested in Virginia and charged with the death of a man missing since last month.
Randolph County sheriff's deputies have charged 21-year-old Jessica Dawson Summey and 24-year-old Shaun Michael Lundy of Asheboro with murder.
The couple was arrested in Tazewell, Va., on Thursday morning.
Police say Summey is the former girlfriend of 31-year-old John Russell Morris of Durham.
Morris was reported missing May 29. He was last seen by friends on May 25.
Investigators think Morris went to the couple's home and was confronted by Summey and Lundy, her current boyfriend.
Police found Morris' burned vehicle and human remains at the home. Tests are being conducted to confirm the remains are those of Morris.
NC county to erect monument to black Confederates
MONROE, N.C. (AP) - A commission in a North Carolina county has authorized creation of a monument to 10 black men who served the Confederacy during the Civil War.
The Charlotte Observer reported the Union County Historic Preservation Commission voted Thursday for a plan to put up a privately funded marker honoring the men, 9 of whom were slaves.
The granite marker will be placed at the Old County Courthouse in Monroe near the 1910 Confederate monument.
Historians say there's no way to know how many slaves were coerced into service or willingly followed their masters to war. Slaves often provided labor for the Confederate army.
The 10 men all received small pensions from the state of North Carolina for their service. They were listed as "body servants" or bodyguards. Two were wounded.
Former Durham DA wants state to pay for appeal
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Former Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline is asking the state to pay for her appeal of a judge's order removing her from office.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that attorneys for Cline have filed papers in court saying she can no longer afford to pay them to represent her during her appeal.
Cline was removed from office in March after a judge determined that the challenges she filed against Durham's senior judge were false and malicious.
Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood has asked for advice from the state courts system on Cline's request.
The director of the courts system, former Judge John Smith, says there is nothing in state law authorizing public funds for non-criminal cases. Cline's removal was a civil case.
Military training rattles some NJ residents
EATONTOWN, N.J. (AP) - Some New Jersey residents can expect to sleep soundly now that military training for about 100 soldiers has ended.
Noise from helicopters and explosions rattled some residents in Long Branch, Eatontown and Tinton Falls earlier this week as troops from Fort Bragg's Special Operations Command conducted drills.
The training started Monday at an abandoned apartment complex in Long Branch. The troops then moved to sites at what once was Fort Monmouth.
Command spokesman Maj. Mike Burns tells the Asbury Park Press the sites were chosen because they provide realistic urban training. Burns says the training prepares the soldiers for fighting in "a myriad of confusing city landscapes lights and sounds."
Some residents became alarmed even though town websites posted notices about the training.
Feds file complaint against Forsyth County sheriff
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - Federal lawyers have filed a complaint against Forsyth County Sheriff William Schatzman saying he unfairly fired a deputy less than a year after the officer was deployed to Afghanistan with the Army National Guard.
The Justice Department said Thursday that the county and Schatzman violated a federal law that protects soldiers returning from overseas from being fired from their jobs for a year without just cause.
Federal officials say the sheriff fired Michael Russell in November 2010 after he bought tickets in a motorcycle raffle that were being sold by Schatzman's opponent for sheriff. Russell says he just wanted to win the motorcycle and was never told buying the tickets would get him fired.
A message left at the sheriff's office after hours wasn't returned.
McCreery gets CMT award, diploma from NC school
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Scotty McCreery already had an honor in hand by the time he received his diploma from North Carolina's Garner High School.
The 2011 "American Idol" winner took home breakthrough video of the year from the CMT Music Awards for "The Trouble with Girls" just hours before his graduation ceremony at the Raleigh Convention Center on Thursday.
It was a quick turnaround for McCreery, who received the CMT honor Wednesday night in Nashville, Tenn. He then caught a late flight home to walk across the stage in his cap and gown for the 8 a.m. ceremony.
Fans who wanted a glimpse of McCreery needed a ticket to see him graduate. Each student received eight tickets for family members and friends. McCreery plans to attend North Carolina State University in the fall.
Former Wachovia CEO John Medlin dies at 78
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - John Grimes Medlin Jr., former CEO of the Wachovia Corp., has died at age 78.
Wells Fargo spokeswoman Mary Eshet said Medlin died Thursday.
Family members said Medlin' died of a heart attack while playing tennis.
Medlin worked for Wachovia for 41 years, and served as chief executive for 17. He served on the bank's board until 2000.
During his tenure, the North Carolina bank grew from a regional institution to the 20th-largest bank in the nation. The bank was sold to Wells Fargo & Co. in 2008.
Medlin kept an office at the Wells Fargo office in Winston-Salem until his death.
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