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Archive for November, 2009

Murder suspect’s sister testifies against him

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

By Veronica GonzalezVeronica.Gonzalez@StarNewsOnline.com

The why is still a mystery in Dywaune ReShaune Simpson’s slaying more than two years ago, but jurors got closer to piecing together an answer to that question on Thursday when they heard how the paths of the 21-year-old and the suspect in his murder crossed.

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State speaks up for domestic violence victims

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

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Over the weekend, the US House of Representatives approved a health care reform bill. The plan would stop insurance companies from denying patients coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

A women’s rights group says eight states, including North Carolina, currently let insurers deny coverage to victims of domestic violence because they are high-risk.

The claim from the Women’s Law Center has forced regulators to check potential loopholes in state law. For victims of domestic violence, the possibility of being denied insurance coverage for what happened to them is just another indignity.

“He would threaten me in front of the kids, he would say he was going to kill me and bury me outside,” said a domestic violence victim who asked to be called ‘Maria’.

It’s a threat many victims of domestic violence have heard before, and yet victims are so scared of their abuser, that the threat may not be enough to make them leave.

Prosecutor Joe Bowman sees it all too often. “Their self-esteem, their self worth and how much courage they have, has been reduced.”

It took ‘Maria’ ten years before she left her abusive husband. “I was scared that if I didn’t, what would he do? He had hit me over the head with a glass bottle.”

But could being a victim actually lead an insurance company to deny health coverage?

The D.C. based Women’s Law Center says yes.

The group named North Carolina as one of eight states that consider domestic violence injuries, whether physical or emotional, pre-existing conditions.

In the center’s study, domestic violence victims were grouped alongside people with illnesses like diabetes, and heart disease.

When we told ‘Maria’ about the claim, she was shocked. “Whenever you are a domestic violence victim, when you’re in it for 6 months, you may be fine, but when you’re in it for 10 years and you have children, you do require counseling.”

“You may be suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, it’s very typical, from anxiety disorder, you may need to see a psychiatrist, or psychologist. You may need to go through substance abuse, and it costs money,” Bowman said.

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin says the study’s findings have no merit. “When we hear that North Carolina is included on a very dastardly list. First of all, we would combat it immediately.”

Goodwin admits the law may appear a bit fuzzy, but for individual coverage, insurance agencies could face severe disciplinary action if they try to deny a victim coverage for this reason. “North Carolina would never want to be another hurdle to persons that have been abused.”

Goodwin has filed a change with the legislature’s rule review committee to clarify that North Carolina does not discriminate against domestic violence victims.

US Senator Richard Burr says if insurance companies were denying coverage to domestic violence victims, they would find another excuse.
“They would never allow the insurance company to put that on their application, so that’s not a problem today, but the only way to do away with it altogether is to get rid of pre-existing conditions in total. I’m for that,” Burr said.

Burr has the chance to do that when the Senate takes up the House’s reform plan.

‘Maria’ hopes that freedom will give other victims the courage to seek treatment for their injuries and escape their prison of abuse. “I want to make them know that it wasn’t our fault that we were abuse victims.”

If passed, the administrative rule change won’t go into place until March 1, but this is an example of state lawmakers acting on an issue, and working to change it.

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videoOver the weekend, the US House of Representatives approved a health care reform bill. The plan would stop insurance companies from denying patients coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

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Associated poll

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High school athletes declare where they’ll play compete collegiately

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

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A handful of high school athletes from the Cape Fear region made a big leap Thursday by signing their national letters of intent.

As the quarterback of New Hanover High School, Jordan Betts is totally focused on football, but once the season ends Jordan Betts will turn his attention to baseball. Thursday afternoon Jordan signed his national letter of intent to play baseball for the Duke Blue Devils.

“For me it’s just a lot of weight off my shoulders. Now I can focus on finishing my work my senior year and heading to Durham,” Betts said.

At Duke, Jordan will play shortstop or possibly 3rd base.

New Hanover senior Cari Blalock is one of the top high school swimmers in the country. She’ll be taking her aquatic skills to Bayou Country; she’ll be swimming for the LSU Tigers.

“I am so excited to officially be an LSU Tiger. I can now say that I’m going to LSU instead of just saying that I’ve committed and I want to swim there.”

One Wilmington athlete will be staying close to home. Laney softball phenom Tori Sewell will play at UNC Wilmington. She made that official on Thursday. ” I come from an athletic family. I certainly owe a lot to father.”

South Brunswick Cougar Kaitlin Clemmons also plays softball. Next year she’ll be a catcher for Barton College. “I’ve been thinking about playing going to college to play softball since I was little. It means a lot that I’ll be able to go.”

We’ve got one more signing to pass along. Cape Fear Community College basketball standout Cephus Oglesby signed with Towson State today. Towson is in the CAA, which means next year, Cephus will play against UNC Wilmington.

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videoA handful of high school athletes from the Cape Fear region made a big leap Thursday by signing their national letters of intent.

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Associated poll

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Thousands lost power as rains continue in NC

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

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RALEIGH — Thousands of North Carolinians lost electrical service as heavy rains and downed trees and windy conditions caused problems as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida moved off the coast.

Duke Energy reported more than 11,000 customers lost service in the Charlotte area, though much of the service had been restored by late Thursday morning.

Progress Energy reported only scattered outages in the eastern part of the state.

The National Weather Service said Thursday morning that rainfall in the previous 24 hours ranged from less than an inch in Charlotte to nearly 6 inches in New Bern.

Some roads were closed across the state by flooding and downed trees. Schools in several districts in the Wilmington area were opening later than usual.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Thousands of North Carolinians lost electrical service as heavy rains and downed trees and windy conditions caused problems as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida moved off the coast.

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Associated poll

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Family, police seek help finding missing woman

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

By David ReynoldsDave.Reynolds@StarNewsOnline.com

The mix of her outgoing personality and risky lifestyle makes it alarming that she hasn’t been seen in Wilmington for more than four months.

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