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Source: MedleyStory

Forest Service urges bear safety in North Carolina

The U.S. Forest Service is urging those who are outdoors in North Carolina to be careful around bears.

Forest Service spokesman Steven Westcott told the Asheville Citizen-Times that black bears are not usually aggressive toward people.

But Westcott said people should be aware of the possibility of danger.

He says close encounters with bears are not unusual, although it's been several years since a bear attacked anyone in the Asheville area.

Westcott said bears claw into tents and backpacks looking for food. He says people should never keep scented items or food in a tent.

North Carolina Wildlife Commission biologist Mike Carraway said he's heard a number of bear-related complaints this spring in western North Carolina as bears become active searching for food.

Published: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:36:42 -0400

NC officials urge caution after Hepatitis A cases

Officials at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services are reminding residents to always take precautions when preparing food regardless of where they are.

The warning comes as officials help Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties respond after a case of Hepatitis A in a food handler.

Health officials say thoroughly washing your hands before and during the preparation of meals can prevent the spread of Hepatitis A and other food-borne diseases. All surfaces should be washed, including the back of the hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails, especially after using the restroom and before handling food.

The Centers for Disease Control says vaccination is recommended for all children starting at age 1, for travelers to certain countries and for people at high risk for infection.

Published: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:31:47 -0400

Donald Trump 'serious' about buying NFL team ... supposedly

Donald Trump is back in the headlines. That itself isn't really news. But this is.

"There's been a lot of speculation as to who will buy the Buffalo Bills. And one of those people is Donald Trump, and it is confirmed the billionaire celebrity is truly interested in buying the team." (Via WKBW

"It's unclear at this point whether he'd pursue the purchase by himself or with a group, but his lawyer tells us he has more than enough money to do it all himself." (Via WGRZ

Yes, the real estate, TV, casino and everything-else mogul is reportedly in talks to buy the Bills. Rumors about him being interested started a few weeks ago.

But they weren't taken too seriously. Trump is known to be a man who loves publicity stunts. Still, Trump says he's serious about his interest in becoming an NFL owner. 

He told The Buffalo News: "I'm going to give it a heavy shot. I would love to do it, and if I can do it, I'm keeping it in Buffalo."

The Buffalo News reports Trump has met with Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon twice — but didn't mention just how serious those talks were. 

When talks about Trump possibly being interested surfaced weeks ago, Deadspin posted this article, with the writer saying: "​We know this game, of course. Trump always says 'maybe' before he says 'no.' We stopped believing him years ago when he said he was considering running for this or that political office." 

And even if he does go through with it, he might have some hurdles to jump, as ESPN's Adam Caplan points out. 

"Remember this — he's got to get rid of his casino holdings. You cannot be involved in gambling and own an NFL team."

And there's also an article by the Toronto Sun that suggests even rocker Bon Jovi could be interested in purchasing the team and moving them north of border. That could make for quite the interesting bidding war, you know, if any of this is for real.

 

 

Published: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 01:55:30 -0400

Cognitive function: Is it all downhill from age 24?

To most, the term "over the hill" means a person is at least past the age of 50. But a group of researchers out of Canada say it might actually start at age 24. Before you freak out, though, let's take a look at the study. 

Researchers from Simon Fraser University studied a group of people between the ages 16-44 and found that cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. (Via YouTube / Jordan Couch)

To determine this, they compared the people's performance against one another when playing the real-time strategy video game "StarCraft II."

In a press release, a university rep says collecting the data this way was invaluable because "performance records, which can be readily replayed, constitute big data. ... They present 870 hours worth of real-time cognitive moves performed at varied skill levels." 

According to The Washington Post, players who were 24 years old were the youngest ones showing slower cognitive function. 

But "over the hill" might be a bit drastic. When we say slower, we mean like milliseconds. The Vancouver Sun says the difference in the response time between a 24-year-old and that of a 39-year-old was 150 milliseconds, or .15 seconds.

Don't write the older players off just yet. The Huffington Post reports the lead doctoral student, Joe Thompson, said, "Older players, though slower, seem to compensate by employing simpler strategies and using the game's interface more efficiently than younger players, enabling them to retain their skill, despite cognitive motor-speed loss."

Thompson says the study, which was published in PLOS One, proves that although people slow down with age, they make up for it by learning to adapt quickly to the constantly changing world around them. For example, in the video game, the older players used cheats and shortcuts to stay ahead. 

See, there is a silver lining. 

 

Published: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 01:37:17 -0400

Driver of car backs up over man, killing him

Family members are trying to wrap their heads around a tragic accident in Lancaster after a neighbor killed a man when she backed over him and drug him several feet, according to police.
 
Family members of the man were there and tried desperately to lift up the car that ran over Jeremy Peay.

But they couldn't, and he died in front of them.
 
Police were called to Rutledge Street shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday. They said a neighbor lost control of her car and dragged Peay several feet.The car ended up in a ditch with Peay pinned underneath.

Lloyd Peay, Jeremy's uncle, was in his house when he heard someone screaming.

He said he ran to the front of the car and noticed Jeremy Peay was stuck underneath it, lying on his back.

He said Jeremy begged him to get the car off of him.  

Lloyd Peay said he ran to get help and at the same time police arrived. He said when he ran back to the car, his nephew was dead.   

No one has been charged and police are still investigating the incident.

They're awaiting autopsy results to determine an exact cause of death.

To see more local news stories, click here.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:25:04 -0400

No one fired after U.S. Airways’ pornographic tweet

Channel 9 learned no one will be let go from U.S. Airways after a graphic tweet was posted Tuesday.
 
It started after the airline responded to an upset customer with a link to provide feedback.
 
That link showed a picture of a naked woman lying on the bed with a toy plane.

ARTICLE: US Airways tweets inappropriate photo Monday

U.S. Airways said a worker was flagging the picture which was sent from another user.
 
The airline apologized and said in a statement: "We deeply regret the mistake and we are currently reviewing our processes to prevent such errors in the future."

To see more local news stories, click here.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:47:53 -0400

Man gets life for kidnapping, killing ex-girlfriend

The man who kidnapped and stabbed his ex-girlfriend before she was hit and killed by a truck will spend the rest of his life in prison.
 
Aaron Compton, 50, went after Tabitha Heavener after she ended their relationship in the fall of 2013.
 
He showed up at her home with knife and rope, and kidnapped and stabbed her.
 
When she jumped out of his car she was hit by a truck and killed.

Aug. 16, 2013 Article: Judge denies bond in murder, kidnapping case

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:31:07 -0400

Investigators: No foul play after body found in Rock Hill

Investigators in Rock Hill do not suspect foul play after finding a body behind a shopping center.
 
Police said they found the body of what appears to be a woman in her 50s behind a shopping center on North Cherry Road Tuesday afternoon.

To see more local news stories, click here.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:08:54 -0400

Police detonate 2 suspicious backpacks at Boston Marathon finish line

(AP) Police have blown up two unattended backpacks found near the Boston Marathon's finish line. They say they've taken a man into custody in connection with them.

Police spokesman Dave Estrada says the backpacks were discovered Tuesday evening, a year after two bombs in backpacks exploded at the end of the marathon and killed three people.

Police say the bomb squad detonated the two backpacks found Tuesday as a precaution.

Police have kept people away and tweeted asking people to avoid the area. Trains are bypassing the nearby Copley Square station.

Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in last year's Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes. Former Mayor Thomas Menino spoke at the nearby Hynes Convention Center.

 

Police have blown up two unattended backpacks found near the Boston Marathon's finish line. They say they've taken a man into custody in connection with them.

Police spokesman Dave Estrada says the backpacks were discovered Tuesday evening, a year after two bombs in backpacks exploded at the end of the marathon and killed three people.

Police say the bomb squad detonated the two backpacks found Tuesday as a precaution.

Police have kept people away and tweeted asking people to avoid the area. Trains are bypassing the nearby Copley Square station.

Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in last year's Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes. Former Mayor Thomas Menino (meh-NEE'-noh) spoke at the nearby Hynes Convention Center.

- See more at: http://www.1340wgau.com/ap/ap/top-news/boston-police-investigate-2-backpacks-clear-area/nfbJS/#sthash.T492aXsD.dpuf

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:53:32 -0400

Former soldier from Charlotte to receive Medal of Honor

(AP) — President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to former Army Sergeant Kyle J. White, who put his own life at risk in an hours-long effort to save fellow service members during a 2007 ambush in Afghanistan.

White, a 27-year-old Seattle native, will be the seventh living recipient of the nation's highest military honor for actions in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He will receive the medal in a ceremony at the White House on May 13.

White retired from the Army in 2011. He now works as an investment analyst at a bank in Charlotte.

White and his team of 14 U.S. soldiers, along with Afghan National Army soldiers, were ambushed during a meeting with village elders in Aranas, Afghanistan, according to an Army account of the attack. The Army said the U.S. soldiers had been wary of heading to the village because local residents were suspected of collusion that resulted in a major attack on an American outpost months earlier.

White told the Army that the turnout for the village meeting was unusually large, as were the number of questions being asked. In the midst of the meeting, the group's interpreter started receiving radio traffic in a language he didn't understand and the platoon leader was advised to leave the area.

Before White and his fellow soldiers could depart, they were attacked by gunfire from multiple directions. White was knocked unconscious and when he came to, he realized that most of his fellow American soldiers and all of the Afghans traveling with them were gone, having slid 150 feet down a rocky cliff for cover.

According to the Army account, the only men left up top were White, platoon leader 1st Lt. Matthew C. Ferrara, Spc. Kain Schilling, Marine Sgt. Phillip A. Bocks and the group's interpreter. White set about trying to assess the condition of his fellow soldiers, running and crawling through gunfire as he made his way toward them.

Ferrara was already dead and Bocks was badly wounded. White repeatedly exposed himself to gunfire as he made attempts to pull Bocks into a covered area. Though he tried to stop Bocks' bleeding, the Marine later died.

Suffering from concussions himself, White also treated Schilling's injuries, even tying his own belt around his fellow soldier's leg when he ran out of tourniquets.

Of the unit's radios, only Bocks' was still working after the attack. White used it to call for help, which didn't arrive until after nightfall. When a helicopter did arrive, White only allowed himself to be evacuated after the wounded were assisted.

Schilling survived the attack and told the Army that he plans to attend White's Medal of Honor ceremony next month.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:40:21 -0400

Spacecrafts could use urine as fuel source

Getting water and fuel to spacecrafts in orbit can get pretty expensive, but a new process could scale that down — simply by recycling urine​.

Yes, urine. The idea of drinking water that was once pee sounds pretty gross, but the science behind it could provide a more affordable way to not only hydrate astronauts but also fuel spaceships. (Via CBS)

As a writer for Science puts it: "In Space, Pee is for Power." 

More trending stories

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station already recycle wastewater to recover about 75 percent of water through distillation. The process removes the nitrogen-rich compound urea. Scientists from the University of Puerto Rico say that compound can be transformed into ammonia that fills a fuel cell and emits power, through a process involving osmosis and a bioreactor. (Via ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering)

The team says current tests have generated only a small amount of power, but they hope to increase that amount in subsequent tests.

Not everyone thinks it's a great idea. A NASA wastewater systems engineer tells Science, "This sounds like a clever process, but I'm skeptical about whether it will work at a larger scale or in the uncontrolled environment of space."

If it is successful, the development could support long-term missions in space, especially to areas outside Earth's orbit, such as Mars, where it's more difficult to deliver supplies. (Via NASA)

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:35:08 -0400

USDA says NC health agency met food stamp deadline

(AP) — The federal government is satisfied that North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services has met the final deadline to whittle down its backlog of food stamp applications at local social service offices.

A U.S. Agriculture Department regulator wrote DHHS Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos (vahsh) Tuesday and said her agency had met the requirements to reduce its backlog by March 31.

USDA had threatened the state with losing $88 million to administer the program. Several thousand cases still were behind schedule a week before the deadline.

Regional administrator Robin Bailey said the state had "made significant strides" involving households experiencing delays to obtain or renew food stamps. Bailey still wants weekly reports for at least the next two months.

An intermediate deadline was also met in early February.

To see more local news stories, click here.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:11:31 -0400

Chief deputy testifies he didn't want to 'investigate his boss'

The corruption trial of former Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker has finished its sixth full day of testimony Tuesday. 
 
Roughly 50 prosecution witnesses have taken the stand.
 
Now, the attorney general's office is one witness away from resting its case.
 
The No. 2 man in the sheriff's department, Maj. James Dixon, testified that he saw inmates William Skipper and Mike Lee driving cars, eating out and living outside the jail. 
 
One of the charges against Parker is that he allegedly gave Skipper and Lee special privileges in exchange for work they did at his home and at the sheriff's armory.
 
After becoming concerned that the situation with the inmates was illegal, Dixon said he spoke to the sheriff.
 
"So you brought that to Mr. Parker's attention?"  said Assistant Deputy Attorney General Heather Weiss.
 
"Yes ma'am," Dixon said.
 
"What was Mr. Parker's response?" Weiss said.
 
"That everything was fine," he said.
 
When defense lawyer Johnny Gasser grilled Dixon about why, as the second in command, he didn't raise the issue with anyone outside the sheriff's office, he talked about his family.
 
"Sir, I work for the sheriff. I have a family here and for me to go and start an investigation or start trouble. I got a family I have to feed also. I wasn't going to start an investigation of my boss," Dixon said.
 
In an earlier testimony last week, other deputies said the same.
 
They merely did what they were told to do, they said.  Some felt that they would be fired if they spoke up.
 
Dixon is currently running for sheriff and said he's on a leave of absence from the department for that reason.
 
Prosecutors tried to show that Parker was a hands-on sheriff who knew everything going on his department. 
 
One deputy, Patrol Lt. Spence Vaughn told the jury that was true.
 
"Oh, yeah. He was pretty knowledgeable of what was going on," Vaughn said.
 
Also Tuesday, the sheriff's personal assistant testified that she often signed the sheriff's name to department documents and checks written from the sheriff's office.  
 
Jennifer Vaughn said she had signed the sheriff's name so many times that she didn't have to practice his signature.
 
Over the past six days, the attorney general's office has called a variety of witnesses in its case against Parker. 
 
The jury has heard from numerous deputies who said they had concerns about issues at the department.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:34:02 -0400

Strong winds, snow return to North Carolina mountains

The temperature in the North Carolina mountains dropped a degree every 15 minutes Tuesday afternoon. The howling wind shifted out of the north, bringing snow showers to the high country.

Appalachian State University’s campus saw the weather transition from rain to sleet to snow in the span of 30 minutes. The sleet bounced off students and the pavement. Although the calendar says “spring,” it felt like winter.

“The key thing is to be prepared, still be prepared for anything at this point. You don’t know what to expect,” said student Mona Harris.

“The other day we had 70-degree weather and I was out hiking, worried about getting a sunburn and now I'm worried about getting sleet in the face,” said Rachel Howell, another student.

The cold front has farmers in the foothills and Piedmont keeping an eye on their strawberry crops Tuesday night. The temperature is expected to plunge into the 30s and a freeze warning is in effect. Some of the plants have already started to bloom.
 
L.J. Bowman with Triple Oaks Farm plans on covering her strawberry field, and possibly spraying water on the plants before sunrise Wednesday.

“It’s a big worry, because last I heard it’s supposed to drop to like 30 so it is a big deal. It could wipe out a whole crop,” Bowman said.

She plans on getting up around 3 a.m. Wednesday to check the temperature, and then most likely go to work. The mountains have already reached the freezing point.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:04:43 -0400

Police: Suspects in string of attacks used baseball bat

On Tuesday a man who says he was attacked and robbed by a group of teenagers showed Channel 9 his injuries.

His case is one of three police are investigating in a string of attacks this past weekend. Police say one attack was so bad a man was rushed to the hospital.

All three attacks happened late Friday and Saturday, not far from Independence Boulevard and Idlewild Road.

Anil Gurung, 19, told reporter Tina Terry he was walking through the Family Dollar parking lot on Independence Boulevard Saturday night when a group of teens attacked him. He said it happened around 10:30 p.m.

He has scrapes and bruises all over his face and body, and is walking with a limp. Gurung described the attack, saying ,“Suddenly he came around behind me. He suddenly punched me in the back and I fell down.”

A camera at the Red Sea grocery store captured the beating, but Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have not released the video.

Officers believe some of the teenagers are responsible for a similar robbery and beating that happened 10 minutes earlier around the corner near an apartment complex on Idlewild Road. Another crime the day before happened a half away on Independence near Bojangles.

“One of them was assaulted with a baseball bat,” said Lt. Brad Koch, with the Independence Division.

Police arrested Gabriyel Abdullah, 20, in connection with the crimes on Tuesday. On Monday they arrested a 15-year-old. They are still searching for other suspects.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:54:45 -0400

CMPD says prostitution, violent crime rising along I-85 corridor

Charlotte Mecklenburg police said violent crime has begun to creep back up along a busy corridor in north Charlotte and they believe the reason could be an old, familiar problem.
 
With its cluster of cheap hotels and convenience stores all right off I-85, Sugar Creek Road has become a magnet for Charlotte’s sex trade.
         
“It's a big problem around here. I hate even having to walk to the store or anything by myself,” said a woman who lives nearby but did not want to give her name because she says the prostitution has led to a lot more serious problems.
         
“I've heard about stabbings, shootings. All kinds of stuff.  I'm sure it's related,” she says.
         
Police could not agree more.
         
“If it wasn't for the prostitution element in all of these cases, I don't think we'd be having the violent crime that we are in the North Tryon Division,” says Capt. Rob Dance, who supervises that division of CMPD.
         
So Dance is taking aim at the prostitution problem with a series of undercover operations targeting prostitutes and the men who do business with them.  His division has already finished one of those operations and it's planning to conduct more through the summer months.
         
“This problem isn't going to go away overnight. This is something we're going to have to constantly do and keep people on their toes,” Dance said.
         
And neighbors say they are ready for the police to do something.
 
“It needs to be stopped,” says a woman who lives close to Sugar Creek.  “You have children out here.  It needs to be stopped.”

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:45:29 -0400

Controversial sports complex wants to expand

The owner of a Monroe sports complex is fighting city officials to expand his business with a controversial zoning permit.
 
Marco Cevallos opened IASO Sports Center in 2006 on Charlotte Avenue under a conditional use permit which allowed it to operate as a youth soccer training academy with a sports apparel store and office.
 
Since, city officials claim Cevallos has repeatedly flouted the terms of his zoning status by holding pay-to-play soccer tournaments, practice and games of adult leagues and opening a restaurant and grill.
 
City records showed since 2007, Cevallos has received 21 violation inspections and two fire violations, as well as noise complaints from neighbors.
 
Tuesday, the city council will consider voting to expand Cevallos' existing permit to allow use of the facility for other sports including boxing, volleyball and softball. Also, the permit could expand to allow tournaments, championship celebrations and allow competitive games at the complex.
 
"My dream is to put all the families together - kids, grownups," Cevallos told Channel 9.
 
Cevallos admitted he has made mistakes in the past by allowing birthday celebrations that triggered the noise complaints and a written warning about having unauthorized alcohol on the premises.
 
But Cevallos said such violations are years old and promises city leaders he simply wants to help the community, particularly the Latino population, which he said is underserved.
 
"You know what I say, and I tell those guys, I learn from my mistakes, I know we do make mistakes," Cevallos said.
 
Some city council members including Dottie Nash, have strongly opposed any changes to Cevallos' permit.
 
City officials cited court documents that show a state investigator seized $41,000 worth of counterfeit sports jerseys from Cevallos' sports apparel office in 2011. Cevallos was verbally warned during the seizure but never faced any charges.
 
Neighbors told Eyewitness News the constant stream of people visiting IASO creates traffic safety concerns in the residential area.
 
"They're cutting right straight across my yard, and you know, I've asked them to stay off my yard," said neighbor Dale Hargett.
 
City council will vote on the measure Tuesday night.

To see more local news stories, click here.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:23:55 -0400

Local runners to return to Boston for 'unfinished business'

Survivors of the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon came together Tuesday to remember the tragedy one year later.

Some of those running in last year’s race were from Charlotte, and now many of them are headed back for next week’s race with their eyes on much more than just the finish line.

Mark Ulrich is getting everything ready to make a return to Boston.

He was already at his hotel about a block away from the finish line when the bombs went off.

“We actually heard the explosions,” Ulrich said. “Obviously (we) didn’t assume it was a bomb. We just thought it was a transformer or a pipe burst or something.”

One year later, Ulrich is determined to go back and run the race again.

SLIDESHOW: Explosions at Boston Marathon

“After all the events of last year, I think all of the runners said, ‘We need to go back. We need to show strength in running, in Boston, in our country that we can’t use this as a reason to be scared,’” Ulrich said.

The same is true for Nicole Gross from Charlotte who was injured in the bombing while waiting for her mother to cross the finish line.

When Channel 9 anchor Blair Miller first met Gross in the days following the blast, she was recovering in a Boston hospital, learning to walk again.

Even then she was eyeing a comeback.

Gross and her husband Michael are headed back to Boston and will once again be there to cheer on her mother.

It’s much more than just a race to the finish for the thousands of runners headed back for unfinished business.

“When you cross the finish line, you're going to be 50 feet from where the bombs went off so there's the natural mixed emotions of running a race that are always powerful but this year, much much more powerful,” said Ulrich.

For complete coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings anniversary, visit our special section here.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:21:28 -0400

Wrecks clog I-77 north of Charlotte

Interstate 77 southbound at mile marker 30 near Mooreseville was shut down at about 4 p.m. Tuesday due to a tractor-trailer accident, according to officials.

One person was taken to the hospital, according to emergency crews.

Other wrecks were reported in both directions.

Return to www.wsoctv.com for updates on this accident.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:25:13 -0400

Charlotte to receive $3M from Homeland Security after Boston bombings

The Boston Marathon bombings are one reason the Department of Homeland Security is giving local law enforcement agencies more money to prepare for similar attacks.
 
The money helps pay for large training drills.
 
Ross Ashley is a former Homeland Security official.
 
“Every dollar spent in preparedness saves you that much 10 fold in the amount of money it takes to recover,” Ashley said.
 
Channel 9 looked at Homeland Security documents and found the Charlotte area will again get $3 million this year.
 
Charlotte has received money every year since at least 2008.
 
It's one of 39 high-risk urban areas, determined by density and other factors officials won't discuss.
 
This is the most number of cities listed as high-threat areas since 2010.
 
That's partly in response to the Boston bombings, and also because of more funding from Congress.
 
Tulsa received federal grant money up until 2011.
 
The sheriff's office used the money to purchase a mobile radio tower allowing multiple agencies to communicate in an emergency.
 
Local agencies decide how to spend the money.

Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:11:02 -0400