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Local and State News

Staff Writer

Published: Monday, October 11, 2010

Updated: Monday, October 11, 2010 12:10


 

Governor Perdue issues State of Emergency due to flooding

Much of eastern North Carolina and the Triad were drenched in rain this past week as heavy storms moved throughout the state.  The powerful storm system formed Wednesday afternoon off of the South Carolina coast and absorbed much of its energy from the dying Tropical Storm Nicole.  Nearly two feet of rain was dumped on some parts of the Carolina coast, including New Hanover and Brunswick counties, breaking an all-time record.  Michael Caropolo, chief meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said that the city received close to 21 inches of rain in a matter of five days.  The last time Wilmington had rains of this magnitude was in 1999 when Hurricane Floyd caused devastated and deadly floods down much of North Carolina’s coast.  The rain was so heavy that it caused severe flooding in parts of the state, as well as shutting down school systems for a couple of days.  Governor Beverly Perdue issued a state of emergency, sighting that the flooding could continue for days.  At least eight deaths have been linked to the storm; according to the N.C. Highway Patrol, three people were killed Thursday when their car skidded off a rain slicked road in to a water filled ditch, while a family of five was killed after their car hydroplaned and crashed.  Folks in the Triad saw around four and a half inches of rain and flooding in some parts of the region as well. 

Man given two life sentences for the killing of two Charlotte police officers

Demeatrius Montgomery, 28, who fatally shot and killed Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers Jeff Shelton and Sean Clark, recently received two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.  The two men, aged 34 and 35, responded to an unrelated domestic call at the Timber Ridge Apartments in east Charlotte on the night of March 31, 2007, when they were shot in the head by Montgomery.  Montgomery then fled the scene, but was captured less than an hour later only a mile from the crime scene and placed in handcuffs.  The trial began August 23, 2007.  In three weeks of testimony, prosecutors called more than 60 witnesses and displayed close to 200 exhibits.  Some of the evidence included findings that showed Montgomery’s DNA on the gun and gunshot residue on both of his palms.  Attorneys for Montgomery tried to argue that someone else fired the gun after a surprise attack, but called no witnesses when the prosecution completed their case.  Before imposing the sentence on Montgomery Judge Forrest Bridges asked if the young man had anything to say to the families of the victims; he merely clasped his hands behind his back and said nothing as he looked straightforward.  After Montgomery was led handcuffed out of the courtroom, his father Donald Guy, said “Justice was done.  I’m at a loss for words. We all lost in this one.” 

Employment Security Commission cuts jobless benefits

The state Employment Security Commission announced last week that they will be cutting jobless benefits for some 38,000 individuals in North Carolina.  In a move to recoup $28 million the agency improperly paid out, ESC has begun deducting up to half of some unemployed workers’ weekly benefits.  “The ESC has known it was miscalculating benefits for about 38,000 people since January but was unable to complete the necessary computer programming until recently,” said David Clegg, the commission’s deputy chairman and chief operation officer, “We knew that it was only affecting individuals who were moving into a second year of benefits.  We knew we were dealing with an identified population.”  Within 48 hours the ESC reduced its benefits after informing people about the problem through a series of letters that left many recipients confused.  Clegg said that the reason the ESC overpaid individuals in the first place was because they did not recalculate payments properly when individuals entered their second year of unemployment.  Despite encouraging those affected to contact the ESC commission to discuss their case, many of these people were left without anyone to talk to.  Durham resident David Watts, who had his weekly benefits cut from $504 to $205, said he tried to call Tuesday to talk to a recovery specialist and discuss a different repayment schedule, but was left with a recording.  “‘It’s going to be several days,’ that’s a quote from the voice mail,” Watts said. “And the voice mail is full.”

Computer hacking becomes more problematic in the Triad

The state Employment Security Commission announced last week that they will be cutting jobless benefits for some 38,000 individuals in North Carolina.  In a move to recoup $28 million the agency improperly paid out, ESC has begun deducting up to half of some unemployed workers’ weekly benefits.  “The ESC has known it was miscalculating benefits for about 38,000 people since January but was unable to complete the necessary computer programming until recently,” said David Clegg, the commission’s deputy chairman and chief operation officer, “We knew that it was only affecting individuals who were moving into a second year of benefits.  We knew we were dealing with an identified population.”  Within 48 hours the ESC reduced its benefits after informing people about the problem through a series of letters that left many recipients confused.  Clegg said that the reason the ESC overpaid individuals in the first place was because they did not recalculate payments properly when individuals entered their second year of unemployment.  Despite encouraging those affected to contact the ESC commission to discuss their case, many of these people were left without anyone to talk to.  Durham resident David Watts, who had his weekly benefits cut from $504 to $205, said he tried to call Tuesday to talk to a recovery specialist and discuss a different repayment schedule, but was left with a recording.  “‘It’s going to be several days,’ that’s a quote from the voice mail,” Watts said. “And the voice mail is full.”

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