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Obama to address American Legion in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - President Barack Obama is coming to North Carolina to address the American Legion convention.

A statement released from the White House Press Office on Friday said Obama will address the convention on Tuesday.

The statement said more details will be made available in the next few days.

The American Legion is holding its 96th annual national convention at the Charlotte Convention Center.

In addition to the president, North Carolina Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr will also address the group on Tuesday.

Obama last visited North Carolina in January when he gave a speech at N.C. State University.


Safety concerns addressed for fracking hearing

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - State officials say they have addressed concerns about security so that a public meeting on fracking in Sanford can proceed as planned.

State Department of Environment and Natural Resources spokesman Jamie Kritzer says two officers from the legislative police force will provide security at the site of the hearing Friday night and that highway patrol troopers and Sanford police officers will be nearby in case backup is needed.

The state environmental department had said earlier in the day that troopers were the ones providing security.

Hundreds are expected at the public hearing on proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing.

Mining and Energy Commission member James Womack said in an email obtained by The News & Observer of Raleigh that he would consider canceling the meeting unless security was arranged.


Protesters attend labor rights rally at NC Capitol

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Dozens of demonstrators wearing red union shirts rallied at the North Carolina capitol to call for fair wages and workers' rights.

Friday's rally kicked off seven days of demonstrations by the organizers of the "Moral Monday" protests of conservative public policy at the North Carolina Legislature. About 1,000 people have been arrested at the protests during the past two legislative sessions.

Organizers plan to focus on a different topic each day in the latest series of rallies. Demonstrators marched from the Bicentennial Mall to the Capitol for Friday's rally.

NAACP leaders in several other states were planning protests at their own state capitols this month.

Lavin Summers of Henderson said he came out to stand up for workers' rights, Summers works at an AT&T call center.


NC authorities search for escaped inmate

TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina authorities are searching for an escaped prison inmate.

Correctional officials say Michael Brown walked away from a work assignment at the Alexander County Animal Shelter sometime after 2:30 p.m. on Friday.

Brown is a minimum custody inmate at Alexander Correctional Institution. Records show Brown was serving a 6-year sentence for breaking and entering and being a habitual felon.

Brown is believed to have stolen a county-owned pickup truck from the shelter. The truck was later found along Edd Burgess Road in Taylorsville and law enforcement officials say Brown may still be in that area.

Anyone who has information on Brown's whereabouts is asked to call 911 or the Alexander Correctional at (828) 632-1331.


I-77 toll lane construction to start in 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - State highway officials say construction of Interstate 77 toll lanes in the Charlotte area is scheduled to begin either next spring or summer, with new lanes slated to open in four years.

The Charlotte Observer reports the proposed toll lanes will be built between Brookshire Freeway in Charlotte and Exit 36 in Mooresville.

Officials spoke at three meetings in Mooresville, Davidson and Huntersville on Thursday to update elected officials and town staffs on the $650 million project that Cintra Infraestructuras S.A. will finance, design, build and manage.

The state didn't announce the meetings to the public. They came to light on Wednesday after Huntersville commissioner Rob Kidwell notified media members in an email.

A citizens group opposed to the tolls criticized the meetings being closed.


NC Central police chief out after DWI charge

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - The police chief at N.C. Central University is out of a job, nearly three weeks after he was charged with driving while impaired.

Area media outlets reported that the school issued a brief statement Friday. A school spokeswoman didn't say whether Timothy Bellamy resigned or was fired.

Bellamy led the NCCU police force since 2012. Before that, he was chief of the Greensboro Police Department, where he spent 27 years on the force.

State troopers said Bellamy was at a driver's license checkpoint in Greensboro on Aug. 2 when an officer smelled alcohol on his breath and noticed his eyes were red and glassy.

Authorities said Bellamy registered a blood-alcohol level of .09 percent, just over the legal limit of .08 percent.

Bellamy was suspended with pay after his arrest.


Selma abandons proposed ban on saggy pants

SELMA, N.C. (AP) - Members of Selma's Town Council have decided against some belt-tightening measures and are putting the issue behind them for now.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the town has dropped its attempt to place a ban on saggy pants. As a result, they will remain little more than an unpunishable fashion offense.

The town attorney thought it might be unconstitutional. Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver said there are technical issues, such as where is a person's waist.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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