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Archive for July, 2014

CFPUA forces residents to pay thousands for water and sewage

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is mandating residents in the Heritage Park community to pay thousands of dollars for a new water and sewer connection.

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Health agency says it’s OK to use Dan River

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

RALEIGH, NC (AP) – North Carolina’s public health agency is recommending lifting a recreational water advisory for a river that was polluted by a massive coal ash spill in February.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommendation Tuesday comes a week after federal environmental officials said Duke Energy has completed removal of large pockets of coal ash from the Dan River.

The department says the river now poses no health risk for recreational users, but is still recommending against eating fish and shellfish collected immediately downstream of Duke’s Eden plant.

Duke estimates about 39,000 tons of coal ash spewed into the Dan after a drainage pipe collapsed Feb. 2 at a waste dump in Eden, turning the river gray for more than 70 miles.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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County project costing residents thousands

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County and Cape Fear Public Utility Authority are installing new sewer and water lines in the Heritage Park Area.

Connection to the lines is mandatory and residents must hire their own plumber. Folks living in the area are speaking out and they’re not happy.

“We can’t afford that,” Resident Laura Harris said. “We have families, we have children. A lot of people are retired and they’re on fixed income.”

$10,000-$12,000 per household is the price tag Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is putting on the installation of new water and sewer lines in the heritage park area.

Resident Pearlene Slade says she understands the need for the sewer lines, but until her personal property needs it, she doesn’t want to connect to those lines. “I’ve lived here for 55 years, I have no problem with my water. I have no problem with my sewer,” Slade said.

It doesn’t matter if some resident’s systems are working fine. The project is subject to mandatory connection, meaning everyone within a specified distance will be forced to connect or get fined.

“Why are we being forced to connect?” Harris asks. “Let them run their lines at no cost to us and let it be optional whether we want to connect or not.”

The county and the CFPUA are using mandatory connection to ensure funding for the construction. CFPUA spokesman Mike McGill says it actually keeps cost down.

“It’s called mandatory connection for a reason,” McGill said. “So the cost of construction for these lines is spread out over the entire customer base.”

But the customer base is starting to question some of the charges.

“$110 of that cost is basically new customer fees,” Harris said. “We’re not being new customers. We’ve been here forever.”

Residents expressed their concerns at a public meeting and McGill says the CFPUA is taking that into consideration.

“we’re gonna develop a plan where we can look at certain options of what we could possibly do to lessen the impact,” McGill said.

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FIRST ON 3: Recently married cancer victim charged with having sex with 14-year-old

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — The Pender County Sheriff's Office arrested of Ralph Thomas Smith, 42 of Willard, NC on Monday.

Smith was charged after an alleged incident was reported to social services and the sheriffs office in which Smith had sexual relations with a fourteen-year-old female.

You may remember a story we did back in January when Smith though he was going to die of terminal cancer in a few weeks and got married.

Smith was charged with three counts of satutory rape, three counts of statutory sex offense and three counts of indecent liberties with a child. His bond was set at $920,800.00 secured.

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New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office wraps up Hewett death investigation

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County Sheriff’s office has wrapped up its internal investigation into the death of former Brunswick County Sheriff Ronald Hewett.

In a press release, Sheriff Ed McMahon said they reviewed numerous documents, audio and video recordings, witness interviews, and other pieces of submitted evidence. He says that the personnel at the New Hanover County Detention Facility involved acted in accordance with their policies and procedures.

However, Hewett’s death is still being investigated separately by the State Bureau of Investigation. After completing its report, the SBI will forward it to the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office for review.

Sheriff McMahon said it is his intention that, once the SBI report is finished and has been reviewed by the District Attorney, he can release all the information including video contained in the internal investigation, consistent with what North Carolina law allows and with respect for the wishes of Mr. Hewett’s family.

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