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Archive for September, 2013

Work to start in November on bridges filling in Wilmington Bypass

Friday, September 20th, 2013

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A pair of new bridges are on their way across the Cape Fear River.

Construction of one of the final legs of the Wilmington Bypass will begin soon with twin spans over the river between New Hanover and Brunswick counties.

A $125 million contract is in the works for the construction of the bridges. The parallel, two-lane bridges will link I-140 in New Hanover County to Cedar Hill Road in Brunswick County.

Andres Herndez has lived in Leland for 10 years and works at Invista off US 421 in New Hanover County. He says when the bypass opens, his commute to and from work will be cut in half.

“When they open the new route, the new road, it’s going to be nice,” Herndez said. “Three minutes from my house.”

Commuters we spoke with say traffic in the area has always been a problem, so they are very excited for the completion of the Wilmington Bypass.

“It would be great, because it will be short time, shorter time to get to where all the truck drivers need to go, especially the traffic. It wouldn’t be as much traffic going on on the road,” commuter Edwin Maldonado said.

Maldonado says he makes the drive from Fayetteville twice a week, and this new route would save him time.

“Saving time will be a lot easier to get home earlier, and get back to the job,” he said.

The bridges will be built high enough for boats to pass underneath.

Construction on the bridges is scheduled to begin in november. They are scheduled to be done in fall 2017.

Once this, and some more work is done, traffic will be able to bypass Wilmington completely.


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Day after search, wanted MS-13 gang member still on the loose

Friday, September 20th, 2013

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A member of the MS-13 gang is still on the loose after yesterday’s manhunt near Mayfaire was called off.

Now both law enforcement and neighbors are left wondering where he will turn up next.

Investigators say they were landscapers by day, but dangerous criminals associated with the gang MS-13 by night. According to a Department of Homeland Security agent the men had been working under false identities in Landfall. When homeland security tried to serve warrants on them, one of the men took off.

“My initial thought was, ‘What’s going on?’ All the neighbors were coming out and trying to figure out what the excitement was about. I felt like I needed to stay inside the house,” said Susan Lew, who lives near the area searched.

A multi-agency search for the man stretched out for hours and carried over into an area near Mayfaire, but when night fell, officers called off the search.

“If they called off the search they must not think that he’s extremely threatening right at this moment,” Lew said.

But investigators say that as a member of MS-13 he is violent by nature.

According to the FBI, MS-13 has close to 10,000 members spread across 42 states. In 2008 the FBI director said MS-13 is America’s most dangerous gang.

Despite that fact , residents near the search area say they still feel safe at home.

“I think we’re pretty safe now,” Ross Marino said. “Everybody seems to have taken off so if they’re not worried I won’t get worried either.”

The suspect who was arrested was taken to the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office, however deputies would not confirm his identity or his charges.

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New iPhones hit stores

Friday, September 20th, 2013


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C hit stores this morning, and so did eager buyers.

Verizon Wireless on South College Road in Wilmington had iPhone fans all day.

Employees say the new iPhone features better security applications and new, fun colors.

“This phone has some new properties to it, the most significant being the 5S with a thumbprint scan,” Verizon’s Danny Richani said. “It provides a lot of security. It has been a great hit, a great deal. It also has colors which is brand new.”

Apple says its latest phone also has a better, faster camera.


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Wilmington City Council will discuss convention center hotel at next meeting

Friday, September 20th, 2013

WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — At their Oct. 1 meeting, the Wilmington City Council will consider the sale of land for the privately owned construction of a hotel for the Wilmington Convention Center.

The city and convention center hotel developer Harmony Hospitality, Inc. are finalizing a purchase and development agreement that is expected to be ready for City Council consideration at their Oct. 1 meeting. The city’s agreement with Harmony for the use of the public convention center parking deck is also expected to be ready at that time and a public hearing will be held on both items.

“Finalizing these agreements is a significant milestone in our progress toward the private building of a high quality hotel for our convention center,” says City Manager Sterling Cheatham. “We are working hard to finalize a deal that is in the city’s best interest while partnering with a first-class hotel developer.”

The city and Harmony have been working on both agreements for months. They will outline details for Harmony’s purchase of about 2/3 of an acre beside the convention center for the hotel, as well as construction of the hotel and use of the city’s adjacent public parking deck. The city proposes to sell the land to Harmony for its established market value of almost $579,000, but final closing on the land will be contingent upon Harmony’s ability to secure adequate financing for construction of the $33 million hotel. That financing is linked to the approval of Harmony’s application for EB-5 federal support. The parking agreement provides 250 reserved spaces in the city’s parking deck to Harmony at a cost of $100 per month per space, which is the publicly established parking rate.

The agreements are among the last items to be approved by the City Council and worked out before Harmony begins construction, which is expected to begin early next year. Harmony has received franchise approval to build a 186-room Embassy Suites that includes meeting space, a full service restaurant with room service and pool.


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NC families go hungry as food assistance delayed

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s food banks are struggling to serve huge numbers of hungry people as problems with a new state computer system have delayed processing of food stamp applications, often by months.

The state Department of Health and Human Services launched NC FAST earlier this year, a $300 million computer system that was supposed to streamline applying for government assistance. Food bank volunteers quip it should instead be called “NC FASTing.”

Under federal rules, food stamp applications are supposed to be processed within 30 days. In Wake County, the average wait for benefits is now 90 days. Many wait far longer.

State social services director Wayne Black says most of the glitches started with a July 15 software update. He says the state is making good progress in fixing the system.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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