NCDOT: Bonner Bridge could reopen next week
HATTERAS ISLAND, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina transportation officials say the Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks could re-open next week if dredged sand placed around exposed pilings compacts well.
The transportation department said crews performed underwater sonar surveys and divers examined part of the bridge Wednesday.
Dare County Commissioner Allen Burrus says the initial indications from the review were better than expected.
Transportation district engineer Jerry Jennings says the bridge could reopen next week or as late as March.
The bridge was closed Dec. 3 because sand was washing away from the bridge supports. A dredge dug 30,000 cubic yards of sand over the weekend from the Oregon Inlet channel and put it around pilings.
An emergency ferry route was set up between Rodanthe and Stumpy Point, a more than two-hour trip.
CANCER SOCIETY EMBEZZLEMENT
Former Cancer Society worker pleads to embezzling
BURGAW, N.C. (AP) - A former American Cancer Society worker will spend the holidays in jail after pleading guilty in Pender County to embezzling nearly $70,000 from the society.
Wendy Anderson Perdue of Hampstead was arrested in October and entered the plea to three counts Wednesday.
A prosecutor said Perdue opened a checking account last year under the name of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. The prosecutor said she withdrew money for such things as trips, getting her hair done and getting plastic surgery. Perdue has since repaid the money, using money from relatives.
A judge sentenced her Wednesday to 25 days in jail followed by three years of probation. In return for the plea, authorities dropped seven other embezzlement counts.
Judge: No quick trial on NC voting law changes
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - A federal judge in Winston-Salem says there will be no trial on North Carolina's voting law changes until after the 2014 elections.
U.S. District Judge Joi Peake said Thursday a lawsuit challenging the new law is too complicated to be resolved before the elections.
Peake said the two sides will need more time to prepare for a trial that she said might not be conducted before mid-2015.
Peake says she will consider a request from those challenging the law to block some of its provisions from taking effect until after the trial.
The U.S. Justice Department, the North Carolina NAACP, and American Civil Liberties Union and others are challenging the changes, saying they appear to be designed to discourage voting by those most likely to vote for Democrats.
US 64-INTERSTATE SYSTEM
Part of US 64 added to Interstate Highway System
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - State officials say U.S. 64 between Interstate 440 in Raleigh and Interstate 95 near Rocky Mount has been added to the future Interstate Highway System.
Gov. Pat McCrory and N.C. Transportation Secretary Tony Tata announced the addition at a meeting of the Regional Transportation Alliance in Cary.
McCrory told the meeting that the designation is critical to further economic development in the region.
The section of U.S. 64 between I-440 and I-540 currently meets interstate standards and will be signed as I-495. The remaining stretch between I-540 and I-95 will be signed as Future I-495 until the N.C. Department of Transportation widens the inside and outside shoulders to meet interstate standards. That work will be done as part of future reconstruction activities along the route.
Christmas trees are given to NC service members
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (AP) - A nonprofit organization is bringing live Christmas trees to some Marines at the New River Air Station.
Marine Corps spokeswoman 1st Lt. Sarah Burns says Thursday's scheduled delivery is being made on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 2 p.m.
The trees range in size and shape and only one is being given per military identity card holders. It includes active duty members, spouses, and retired military.
The group organizing the event is Trees for Troops, which has delivered more than 122,000 trees to troops and military families since 2005. The trees are donated by Christmas tree growers through the National Christmas Tree Association, state and regional Christmas tree associations and consumers.
SNOWY OWL SIGHTING
Bird watchers see rare snowy owl in western NC
ROSMAN, N.C. (AP) - At least 300 bird watchers have descended on a western North Carolina farm to get a rare glimpse of a snowy owl.
The Times-News of Hendersonville reports birders from South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee traveled to Ricky Maybin's farm in the upper French Broad River valley to get what's described as the first known sighting of a snowy owl in western North Carolina in modern history.
Maybin said he didn't know one bird could draw that much attention. He said he saw the owl last Saturday and thought it was one of the barn owls that usually nest on his farm.
The owl, nicknamed Tundra, was found to have an elevated white blood cell count, and has been placed on antibiotics and is being hand-fed to increase her weight.
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