Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. EDT

October 06, 2018 - 12:00 am


3 Airnbnb rentals rack up $1 million in fines from city

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has racked up more than $1 million in city fines for renting properties on short-term rental sites such as Airbnb.

The Ashville Citizen-Times reported Saturday that Reid Thompson is in a protracted zoning battle with the city of Ashville, a hip tourist spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The neighborhood's residential zoning forbids him from renting his three units on a short-term basis, but he's doing it anyway. He's been racking up $1,500 a day in fines for the last two years.

Airbnb is banned in much of Asheville in an effort to preserve affordable housing. But Thompson said traffic from a nearby Whole Foods grocery store makes his properties unattractive to long-term renters.

He wants the city to change the zoning laws in his neighborhood.


Historian: Football stadium sits on site of 1913 lynching

(Information from: The Charlotte Observer,

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A historian says the Carolina Panthers home stadium is the site of an early 20th Century lynching.

The Charlotte Observer reported Friday that the lynching occurred in 1913 where the Bank of America Stadium now stands in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A 19-year-old black laborer named Joe McNeely was dragged from Good Samaritan Hospital and shot to death by a white mob. A lynching does not have to be a hanging. It's defined as killing someone without a legal trial.

Historian Michael Moore said the shooting occurred near the stadium's 20-yard line. It was Mecklenburg County's first documented lynching.

McNeely reportedly had been in a gunfight with a police officer before being taken to the hospital. Moore said the white mob's shooting of McNeely was an act of "racial terror."



South Carolina airport to add nonstop flights to Florida

(Information from: The State,

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's capital city is getting new, nonstop jet service to Orlando, Florida.

The State newspaper reports that Via Airlines will begin flying from Columbia Metropolitan Airport to Orlando.

Via was founded in 1997 and is headquartered at Orlando Sanford International Airport.

The company says it offers flights from Orlando to communities that include Tallahassee, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Charlotte, North Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi; and the Alabama cities of Mobile and Montgomery.

The airline says its new Columbia-Orlando route will begin on Dec. 3.



North Carolina governor marks loss of National Guard soldier

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's governor is mourning the loss of a soldier who died in Afghanistan.

Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement late Friday that he offered the state's "deepest sympathy" to the loved ones and fellow soldiers of Sgt. James Allen Slape. The 23-year-old from Morehead City died Thursday from wounds caused by an improvised explosive device.

Cooper said National Guard members "leave their homes, their families and their jobs and put their lives on the line for us."

Slape was an explosive ordinance specialist who joined up in 2013. Slape's unit had deployed to Afghanistan in April and is scheduled to return in the spring. He is the 26th North Carolina Army National Guard soldier to be killed in action since September 2001.


Ex-governors form committee, want ads against amendments

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The opposition by North Carolina's five living ex-governors to a pair of constitutional amendments on next month's ballot has expanded to the internet and through a referendum campaign committee.

The "Five Governors Committee" was formed last month to oppose referendums to swing powers over filling judicial vacancies and the state elections board from the executive branch to the General Assembly.

The Insider state government news service reports the group is raising money for ads. Former GOP Gov. Jim Martin declined to list a fundraising goal but says the governors have "got some work to do."

The committee has a website that highlights an August news conference where Martin, Democrats Jim Hunt, Mike Easley and Beverly Perdue and Republican Pat McCrory spoke against the changes.


Man pleads guilty after citing cough medicine in wife death

(Information from: WRAL-TV,

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man will serve life in prison for murdering his wife after claiming that his taking too much cough medicine factored in the killing.

Wake County Judge Paul Ridgeway sentenced Matthew Phelps Friday to life imprisonment without parole after Phelps pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. His wife, Lauren Phelps, died in September 2017 after being stabbed or slashed over 100 times.

The 29-year-old defendant had told a 911 operator he took too much cough medicine, had a dream and woke up covered in blood with a knife in the bed.

WRAL-TV reported dozens of people attended court to support Lauren Phelps' family and many wore matching shirts and buttons with her picture.

Matthew Phelps apologized in court for taking his wife's life, saying: "I feel like a monster."



Commissioners in North Carolina coastal town ban scooters

Commissioners in a North Carolina town have cut the power to electric ride-sharing scooters .

News outlets report officials in Nags Head voted unanimously to ban the scooters, citing safety concerns and a lack of oversight by ride-sharing companies. that place the scooters in communities.

Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon said at Wednesday's meeting that representatives of electric scooter companies "seem to be really resistant to the idea of coming to the table first," meaning they never work with local government officials on developing rules and regulations before the companies put the scooters in communities.

The town's planning board also said the scooters would be a hazard on the beach road or the bypass because they reach speeds of 15 mph to 20 mph (24 km/h to 32 km/h).


Volleyball team wants apology from school for racial slurs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina high school volleyball team is seeking an apology from a recent opponent after players said they were targeted with racist and sexist comments.

News outlets report the Mallard Creek High School varsity girls' volleyball team said students from Lake Norman High School chanted "U-S-A, U-S-A" when a Hispanic player from Mallard Creek was on the floor during a match on Sept. 25. Parents said the students also made offensive sexual comments.

Iredell-Statesville Schools Superintendent Brady Johnson wrote to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox apologizing for the incident and said the students involved would be disciplined. Parents of the Mallard Creek players said they want an apology offered to their children.

Commissioner Que Tucker of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association said her organization is now involved.

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