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Archive for June, 2012

NC death penalty bias law heading to governor

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The Legislature has given its final approval to a bill limiting the use of statistics in a 2009 law designed to give people on North Carolina’s death row another method to prove racial bias in sentencing.

The Senate voted Wednesday 30-18 in favor of the overhaul of the Racial Justice Act, which now goes to Gov. Beverly Perdue’s desk. Perdue vetoed a different bill last year that would have essentially voided the law, but lawmakers couldn’t override the veto.

It appears the General Assembly now has veto-proof majorities on the new bill.

The Racial Justice Act directs judges to reduce a death row inmate’s sentence to life in prison if they find race was a significant factor in a case. Opponents say the changes gut the intent of the law.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Wilmington native starring in local production of ‘Legally Blonde’

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — From growing up in Wilmington to the acting stage in New York City, Erin Sullivan has dramatic dreams.

In her career, Sullivan has been on national tours for major Broadway hits. She’s now starring at Thalian Hall as leading lady, Elle Woods, in “Legally Blonde.”

Don’t let her petite blonde frame fool you, Sullivan takes center stage with a powerful voice.

“I’m enjoying every moment. I’m so lucky and the cast is so supportive,” Sullivan said. “I’m very proud of the production.”

Sullivan came to Wilmington as a middle school student. It was also around that time she caught the acting bug.

“Since then, I’ve just been engulfed in the Wilmington theatrical scene and was very blessed to have some fantastic teachers here,” Sullivan said.

The Laney High grad has landed some big gigs so far in her career. She’s been on national tours, most recently for shows like “Shrek” and “Hairspray.”

“You get really good at knowing how to pack a suitcase exactly 50 pounds,” Sullivan said. “I think I’ve been to almost every airport in the nation.”

Sullivan says the job isn’t always glamorous. Her jet setting lifestyle comes with sacrifice.

“I’ve missed holidays with family, unfortunately relationships are extremely challenging and very hard to maintain,” Sullivan said. “It takes great effort to maintain friendships.”

It’s that investment that Sullivan is hoping will pay off one day. She’s working toward a dream of starring on Broadway. But today, she’s just happy to be where she calls home.

“I’m very excited to finally get to play Elle because it has been one of my dream roles,” Sullivan said. “And to come back and get to do it in my hometown, it’s like paying homage to what I have learned here.”

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Downtown staple Caffe Phoenix closing doors July 31st

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A staple in downtown Wilmington is closing their doors. After more than two decades Caffe Phoenix will serve its last meal on July 31st.

Opened in 1989, “Phoenix,” as it affectionately became known, was one of the first fine dining restaurants in downtown Wilmington. Employees say its closing means the end of an era.

“It’s such a staple to downtown Wilmington,” says Nichole Mize, an employee at Caffe Phoenix. “Everybody comes from out of town. They’ll come back once a year to vacation.”

“I mean we still get notes about people who met their significant other here,” says Andrew Sutton, a manager at the restaurant.

When owner, Roy Clifton died after a battle with lung cancer, employees say his wife decided it was time to close a little earlier than expected.

“They ran a restaurant for almost 25 years,” Sutton says. “They opened the river boat in i think 1984 and then they bought this place a while back.”

In 2010, the Clifton’s moved the shop from its original 9th S. Front Street location to where it is today.

“There’s not anything like it downtown and there probably never will be,” Mize says.

Though their doors will be closed soon, Caffe Phoenix is still running full speed ahead.

“We’re doing the same thing. We just got a new menu,” Sutton says. “We’re not slowing down any. We’re just going to keep going until the end.”

A special dinner is in the works for the restaurants final day with drink specials and interesting entrees.

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CRC to consider amended sea-level rise policy

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

A subcommittee of the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission on Wednesday forwarded the new draft to the full commission for review.

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State approves land-use plan changes for local counties

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

One amendment, to the Wilmington-New Hanover County joint plan, affects four parcels off the western end of Stephens Church Road.

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