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Archive for March, 2012

NC Sen. Burr won’t run for Republican whip

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina says he won’t run for a leadership post in the Senate after the 2012 elections because such a job isn’t conducive to pushing policy initiatives in which he’s interested.

The Winston-Salem Republican announced his decision Friday. Burr said last fall he would run for Republican whip, after Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl retires. The whip is the No. 2 GOP leadership position and keeps legislative vote counts in the party’s Senate caucus.

Burr says a leadership post wouldn’t give him time or flexibility needed to commit to legislation he’s introduced such as an overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn is expected to run for whip.

Burr was elected to the U.S. House in 1994 and the Senate 10 years later.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Triangle-area to get new area code, 10-digit calls

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Residents in the Research Triangle area will have to limber up their fingers to make phone calls from now on.

Starting Saturday, callers with a 919 area code must press 10 digits to complete local calls. The change comes after the North Carolina Utilities Commission approved the new 984 area code for the region. It will cover the north-central portion of the state, including the cities of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Goldsboro and Sanford.

While no one living in the 919 region needs to change their existing phone numbers, all callers in the area will have to dial the three-digit area code followed by the seven-digit phone number to make a call.

Those seeking new numbers may get the 984 area code as soon as April 30.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Peanuts up, tobacco down for NC farmers this year

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — With farmers in eastern North Carolina still recovering from Hurricane Irene, cotton and tobacco crops are expected to drop this year, while some of the state’s other major crops will increase.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a forecast on Friday predicting that North Carolina farmers will plant about 700,000 acres of cotton, a 13 percent drop from 2011. Plantings of flue-cured tobacco will likely be around 150,000 acres, a drop of roughly 10,000 acres. The hurricane devastated many farms east of I-95 last year, particularly tobacco crops.

State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says that other crops are looking more robust. He says farmers are expected to plant roughly 100,00 acres of peanuts this year, the highest total since 2008. Corn, soybeans and sweet potatoes are also increasing in acreage.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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FIRST ON 3: 17-year-old dead after falling from truck on Cape Fear Memorial Bridge

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A teenager is dead after falling out of a truck bed on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Friday night.

The following is a detailed account from the Wilmington Police Department:

“At 8:13 p.m. Friday, a tragic accident occurred on the Cape Fear Bridge that resulted in the death of a vehicle passenger.

The 17-year-old victim had been riding in the back of a pickup truck driven by his foster father, Jerry James Highsmith, 62 years old, from Willard, NC. The victim had been attempting to secure a box spring and mattress in the bed of the pick up truck by laying on them. Witnesses told investigators that the pickup truck was going well below the speed limit.

When the pickup truck reached the top of the Cape Fear Bridge, the driver said a gust of wind lifted both the mattress and box springs, with the victim, out of the bed of the pickup truck and onto the bridge span.

The victim suffered fatal head trauma, but was not struck by any other vehicles.

Traffic investigators with the Wilmington Police Department, upon consultation with the NHC District Attorney’s office, will not be pursuing any criminal charges, once the crash report is complete.”

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$640 million up for grabs has folks grabbing tons of tickets

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s the largest lottery jackpot in the history of the world. $640 million are up for grabs, and there a lot of folks trying to pick the lucky numbers.

The odds of winning are one in about 176 million. That means you’re more likely to become a professional athlete or astronaut or get struck by lighting 500 times. But that’s not keeping folks from trying.

“I’m trying to change my life and the lives of some people I know as well,” Jerry Wilson said.

“Pay my tithes first of all, and then I got three babies and a young wife,” said another excited customer.

“Probably catch up all my bills and go on a great vacation,” yet another person chimed in.

“Lots of people I can help. I’ll pay bills off, and there are lots of churches that could use some donations,” Leroy Grady said.

Grady is one of the hundreds of millions of people across the country trying to win the Mega Millions. He says he never plays the lottery but is willing to lose a buck for a chance at the jackpot.

“This is the largest jackpot for any game in the world, so it is huge,” NC Education Lottery Executive Director Alice Garland said. “It has produced greater than $8 million dollars for education in North Carolina.”

Gas station manager Ash Tilahun is hoping to strike it big. He says he would not work if he won, but if he is not the lucky one, he at least hopes the winning ticket comes from his store.

“That’s going to be big. If that happens, everybody will think this is the place to play the lottery,” Tilahun said. “That would be very, very big.”

It’s bigger than big… It’s an amount of money most of us can’t even comprehend.

“I can’t even fathom,” Wilson said. “My mind can’t even pull it all in, but I’d love to try.”

If the winner chooses to take a lump sum, he or she will still get a cool $324 million after all the taxes are taken out.

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