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Archive for October, 2011

5 men jailed for poaching Blue Ridge ginseng roots

Friday, October 7th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC (AP) — Five men have been sentenced in federal court to jail terms for poaching endangered ginseng roots along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The five men were arrested by federal park rangers and charged with the illegal harvesting or possession of ginseng. They were sentenced separately, the most recent receiving a jail term of 30 days Thursday. The 232 ginseng roots recovered were replanted by the park service.

American ginseng is protected under an international trade convention as an endangered species, but the valuable wild root is often illegally harvested in National Park and US Forest Service lands in Western North Carolina. Permits to collect ginseng root in National Forests are made available each September, but harvesting is prohibited along the parkway and in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Leland Council directs police chief to ask SBI for investigation; Updated with SBI letter

Friday, October 7th, 2011

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — The special meeting held by the Leland Town Council Thursday night was brief, leaving many questions unanswered.

The room was packed with Leland residents who were all looking for the same thing: answers. But it seems they will have to keep waiting. After a quick opening, the Leland Town Council retreated to a closed session with no explanation of what they would be discussing or why Mayor Walter Futch was not in attendance.

After about 35 minutes, Police Chief Tim Jayne was called into the closed session meeting. Then the council returned back to their seats as the crowd waiting for a decision.

“We have looked into what is required of the town to request an investigation by the SBI of any alleged criminal activity by the Leland Police Department and improper release of personnel information,” Leland Mayor Pro Tem Brenda Bozeman said. “We have determined that a request for such an investigation must be made by the Chief Jayne, and Chief Jayne is sending that request in writing. And that request will be sent to the SBI in the morning.”

READ LETTER FROM LELAND TO SBI REQUESTING INVESTIGATION

And as quickly as it had begun, the meeting was over leaving citizens with just as many answers as they had come with. Leland Town Attorney John Wessell said that leaders could not talk about the situation because it was classified under personnel issues.

We caught up with Wessell after the meeting and asked about a statute that said personnel information could be released to the public to maintain confidence. He said under the statute, some information could be released.

“With the concurrence of the council it is a possibility under the statue, yes,” Wessell said.

We also tried to talk to Chief Jayne after the meeting, but were blocked by other officers who rushed him to a car.

We spoke with Mayor Walter Futch by phone after the meeting. He said he had no comment about why he was not in attendance.

We also asked Wessell from a legal standpoint where our sources could go from here and he said he did not have a clue.

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Police: NC man was texting before he died in wreck

Friday, October 7th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC (AP) — Police say an Asheville man was texting on his cell phone immediately before causing an accident that killed him and injured two people in another car.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that police said 21-year-old Jefferson Ellis Jr. sent a text message less than a minute before a passer-by called 911 about the wreck Saturday. Authorities say Ellis crossed a center and drove into the path of another vehicle.

Sgt. Curtis Jones says Ellis was not wearing a seat belt.

Jones says cell phone records show Ellis sent a text message about 7:21 p.m. Saturday. A passer-by reported the wreck at 7:22 p.m.

A funeral for Ellis was held Thursday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Internet a source of information, confusion for breast cancer patients

Friday, October 7th, 2011

As a medical oncologist who works with cancer patients to determine the proper course of treatment, patient interaction is particularly important to Andy Schreiber.

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Beach towns hope to keep guests coming as temperatures cool

Friday, October 7th, 2011

When summer faded last month, members of New Hanover County’s tourism industry were faced with the annual predicament: how to draw people here during a shoulder season.

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