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October 11, 2018 - 12:00 am

TROPICAL WEATHER-STATE FAIR DELAYED

Hurricane Michael delays NC State Fair opening to Friday

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — One of the country's largest state fairs is delaying its start as the remnants of Hurricane Michael pass through North Carolina.

North Carolina State Fair manager Kent Yelverton said Wednesday the event won't open as planned on Thursday. Yelverton says the fair will instead open Friday morning and run for 10 days instead of 11.

State Agriculture Department spokeswoman Andrea Ashby said forecasts of heavy rain and high winds led to the decision.

Michael came ashore in Florida on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane. It is expected to pack wind gusts of 35 mph or more and dump several inches of rain in North Carolina.

Ashby said the fairgrounds will remain closed to the general public Thursday, though vendors and others with businesses to run will be admitted.

TROPICAL WEATHER-RECOVERY CENTERS

Another hurricane closes Florence centers in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Individuals and business owners in North Carolina looking for face-to-face help after Hurricane Florence will have to wait while Hurricane Michael crosses the state with heavy rains and wind.

Federal and North Carolina emergency management officials closed the state's disaster recovery centers on Thursday because of the potential for severe weather from Michael.

There are more than 20 stationary and mobile centers in over a dozen eastern North Carolina counties hardest hit by Florence last month.

Government officials anticipate reopening the centers Friday morning. Displaced residents and businesses can still get help online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by phone at 1-800-621-3362.

ATLANTIC PIGTOE-ENDANGERED

Another freshwater mussel could get federal protection

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing protection for another species of freshwater mussel under the Endangered Species Act.

The service's decision on Wednesday reflects the threat of pollution and climate change on freshwater mussels overall.

Atlantic pigtoe mussels are sometimes yellowish in color and shaped somewhat like a pig's toe. They're native to rivers in southeastern U.S. states ranging from Virginia to Georgia. But the species appears to have dwindled to seven populations in North Carolina and Virginia.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife said the Atlantic pigtoe could be at risk of extinction in 50 years.

The mussels need to live in clean and flowing waterways, but runoff has polluted rivers where they live. Climate change also has worsened the droughts and storms that can disrupt their habitats.

GOLD HEIST

FBI offers reward in case of gold stolen from truck

WILSON, N.C. (AP) — The FBI is offering a reward for information about a Florida man charged in the 2015 robbery of a tractor-trailer carrying almost $5 million in gold bars.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday that it's seeking Pedro Santamari, who's from the Miami area and about 56 years old.

He's charged with conspiracy to commit a robbery in interstate commerce and a firearm violation. The FBI's wanted poster says Santamaria had a gun during the robbery in which he bound and dragged victims into nearby woods. An arrest warrant for him was issued in May 2016.

The tractor-tractor was robbed on an isolated stretch of Interstate 95 in North Carolina as it traveled from Miami to Boston in 2015. Two other men have been sentenced in the robbery.

BC-TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST

The Latest: Official: Michael responsible for Georgia death

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — An official with an emergency management agency says Tropical Storm Michael is responsible for a child's death in Georgia.

News outlets report Seminole County Emergency Management Agency Director Travis Brooks says someone called 911 as the storm passed through the area and reported the death. WMAZ-TV quotes Brooks as saying a tree fell onto a home Wednesday afternoon and killed an 11-year-old girl. Authorities have not released her identity.

Brooks says responding crews reached the home after nightfall due to clear downed power lines, poles and trees.

Early Thursday, the eye of Michael was about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Macon in central Georgia. The storm had top sustained winds of 60 mph (96 kph) and was moving to the northeast at 20 mph (32 kph).

The National Hurricane Center says the core of Michael will move across central and eastern Georgia Thursday morning, and then over southern and central South Carolina later in the day.

BEACH HIGHWAY

Park Service allows overland bridge through Outer Banks land

RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) — The National Park Service is allowing a bridge on North Carolina's Outer Banks through part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The park service said Wednesday that its administrators determined the 2-mile-long bridge on Hatteras Island would have no significant impact on the federal land.

The new bridge will reroute NC Highway 12 in the Pamlico Sound to avoid the "S Curves" area at Mirlo Beach in the village of Rodanthe, an area that is routinely covered with ocean water. The area was already one of the island's narrowest before Hurricane Sandy caused more damage in 2012.

About 150 feet of the bridge will be constructed inside the national park. The rest is being built within the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and over water owned by the state.

TROPICAL WEATHER-FERRIES

N Carolina ferry routes to shut down as storm approaches

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Several ferry routes in North Carolina will shut down operations as Hurricane Michael is expected to enter the state with tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain.

State officials said in a news release that several ferries will make one round trip Thursday morning.

The ferries between Ocracoke and Cedar Island will make runs at 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., while the Ocracoke to Swan Quarter ferry will make a run at 7 a.m. and return to Ocracoke at 10 a.m.

Officials with the North Carolina Ferry Division will announce when the ferries will resume operations.

FLORENCE-RECOVERY AID

Cooper unveils $1.5B Florence aid package, seeks $750M now

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wants state lawmakers to provide $750 million next week as part of a long-term $1.5 billion Hurricane Florence recovery package.

The Democratic governor revealed his proposal Wednesday, saying the state needs a "unique and bold" response to a storm his office estimates caused almost $13 billion in damage — as much as hurricanes Floyd and Matthew did combined.

Cooper ultimately wants a half-billion dollars toward housing and another $310 million to help farmers. Other money would go to repair public schools, universities and roads.

Congress already has approved $1 billion for North Carolina's recovery.

The governor says his request wouldn't require higher taxes — initial money would come from the state's savings reserve and money unspent in this year's budget.

The Republican-controlled legislature reconvenes Monday.

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