North Carolina coastal town hires pro to rid it of coyotes

NAGS HEAD, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina coastal town has hired a professional trapper to rid it of the coyotes roaming on the beaches and among the oceanfront homes.Nags Head Police Chief Kevin Brinkley said the Outer Banks town hired Leary Sink after receiving 68 complaints during a two-year period, according to The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk .The coyotes were killing pets, running along the beach near sunbathers and roaming and raising their young in neighborhoods.So far, 17 coyotes have been killed. Sink said the trapped animals, which were captured during the state's trapping season from December through February, are shot on site typically by an animal control officer.Sink said the coyotes cannot be released elsewhere or they become a problem elsewhere."I think I'm getting groups dispersing back and forth through Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk," he said.Sink said he saw coyotes roaming near Jockey's Ridge and heard them howling at night near the Wright Brothers Memorial. They cross waters to make homes on islands near Oregon Inlet and make dens anywhere there is cover, including vacant lots within neighborhoods. People have reported pets getting attacked and killed. Last year, North Carolina hunters killed 45,568 coyotes and trappers captured and killed another 6,337, according to a report by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.Federally protected red wolves also roam the five-county area where the state requires a permit to kill coyotes. The coyotes look similar to red wolves, and hair samples from the disposed coyotes will be tested to make sure they were not part red wolf.Despite the extermination efforts, more than 30 studies have shown that the coyote population always recovers, the commission report said. A three-year South Carolina study looked at an area where coyotes were reduced by 78 percent annually, and their numbers rebounded to pre-trapping levels in nine months."We hope to decrease them," Brinkley said. "We're not Continue Reading

Bi-Lo and Harveys closing 30 stores in Carolinas

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The owner of Bi-Lo and Harveys grocery stores is closing 30 underperforming stores in the Carolinas.Media outlets reported that Southeastern Grocers said Thursday it will closed 19 stores in South Carolina and 11 in North Carolina.Southeastern Grocers says it is voluntarily filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy as part of a restructuring. A total of 94 stores are being closed in seven southern states.The company said it will continue to operate its other 582 successful stores.Stores being closed in North Carolina include Black Mountain, Charlotte, Concord, Gastonia, Lincolnton, Morganton and Pineville.Stores being closed in South Carolina include Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Clemson, Columbia, Greenville, Greenwood, Ladson, Mount Pleasant, Mullins, Newberry, North Charleston, Seneca, Spartanburg, St. Matthews, Summerville and Warrenton.The exact closing dates have not been announced. Continue Reading

Mom says teen daughter left alone at closed school

RAEFORD, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina mom is complaining after she said her teen daughter was pulled off a departing school bus because of a dress code violation and then left alone when the office closed.India Middleton told reporters a Hoke County High School assistant principal kept her 16-year-old daughter off the bus March 9 because she was wearing a top showing part of her shoulder.Middleton said no one had told the girl anything was wrong during the day.Middleton said a staff member closed the Raeford school at 5 p.m. but she was unable to pick up her daughter until 5:45 p.m.School system officials say the assistant principal was wrong to pull the girl off the bus and she should not have been left alone when the office closed. Continue Reading

2 killed, 1 wounded in North Carolina shooting

HENDERSON, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina say two people were killed and a third person was wounded in a shooting.WRAL-TV in Raleigh reports the Henderson Police Department said officers responding to a home found two people dead of gunshot wounds.The victims were identified by police as 27-year-old Tyheem Shabazz Person and 28-year-old Dyrel Jermal Kittrell. According to police, 21-year-old Devonte Jamal Jones was taken to the hospital for treatment, but his condition wasn't known on Thursday. The shootings occurred Wednesday.Police haven't discussed a possible motive or suspects in the case.———Information from: WRAL-TV, Continue Reading

NC speeds prison hiring after 4 died at understaffed lockup

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina prison officials say they're revving up efforts to fill vacancies at a lockup where four employees were killed.The vacancies at Pasquotank Correctional Institution were so serious that understaffing created opportunities for a deadly escape attempt.The Department of Public Safety announced new measures Thursday as a National Institute of Corrections consultant discussed the group's report into what happened at the prison. The arm of the U.S. Justice Department found workers at the Elizabeth City prison were forced to maintain oversight and prison services despite one out of four jobs being vacant, and thus grew complacent about security. Four workers were killed during the deadliest breakout attempt in state history.Prison officials say they're holding career fairs to recruit guards, targeting military veterans, spouses and their dependents. Continue Reading

Democratic legislators say money for pipeline attachments

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Democratic legislators want Republican colleagues to locate funds to help businesses attach to an expected natural gas pipeline in eastern counties.The GOP-controlled General Assembly passed a law taking effect Friday that intercepts $58 million anticipated from an agreement between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's office and utilities building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Those funds will now go to school districts along the pipeline route.House Minority Leader Darren Jackson told reporters Thursday by overriding the agreement Republicans prevented money from aiding economic development projects for local companies to tap into cheaper energy, creating jobs. Jackson criticized GOP leaders for failing to help them so far.In response, Republican lawmakers highlighted the benefits of the school district funds and how Cooper has repeatedly linked education spending to economic growth. Continue Reading

Some North Carolina hospitals end flu visitor restrictions

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Some of the largest hospitals are ending the child visitor restrictions put in place to try to reduce the number of flu cases in North Carolina.A number of hospital systems have announced that restrictions will end Friday morning after being implemented Jan. 12.Those include Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas HealthCare System), Cone Health, High Point Regional, Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.State health officials reported 29 more flu deaths in North Carolina, bringing the season total to 305. Officials say it's been the deadliest flu season in at least 10 years. Both the 2016-17 flue seasons and the 2014-15 seasons caused 218 flu deaths.The flu season usually ends by the end of March, but sometimes runs into April. Continue Reading

Man says he owns sandbar, part of which is now underwater

BUXTON, N.C. (AP) — A Virginia man says he still owns a North Carolina sandbar, even if part of it may now be underwater.The Charlotte Observer reports that Ken Barlow filed a deed to "Shelly Island" in the Outer Banks in August, although the ownership was disputed by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Before the matter could be resolved, NASA says three hurricanes split the land, causing half to connect to the mainland and the rest to wash away.Barlow is quoted by the newspaper as saying the mile-long (1.5-kilometer-long) piece of land is still there, and that he owns it.Officials have said that if the sandbar connected to the mainland, it would then belong to the National Park Service.———Information from: The Charlotte Observer, Continue Reading

North Carolina man gets 43 years for human trafficking

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to more than 40 years in prison after being convicted of human trafficking in North Carolina.Media outlets report that 39-year-old Roderick Jermaine Boykins of Wilmington was sentenced to 43 years in prison Wednesday on charges of trafficking a child victim, sexual servitude and promotion of prostitution.Prosecutors said there were four victims, including one who was a juvenile at the time.Prosecutors said Boykins recruited women for prostitution between November 2015 and December 2016 and then held the women in sexual slavery. Continue Reading

North Carolina police charge suspect in 2015 murder case

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina have charged a suspect in connection with a 2015 murder case.Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said in a news release on Tuesday that 20-year-old Arshaun Springs turned himself in to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office on Monday, but authorities aren't saying what led them to Springs.Investigators say 16-year-old Tanya Lashay Williams was dropped off at Carolinas Medical Center on Dec. 20, 2015, with a gunshot wound. Officers who went to the scene of the shooting cited eyewitnesses who said Williams was inside a car with other people when she was shot.Williams died on Aug. 11, 2016.Springs is being held in the county jail and it isn't known whether he has an attorney. Continue Reading