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Source: MedleyStory

Florida man rescued from vending machine

Authorities rescued a man from a vending machine at a Florida packaging company, according to a spokesman for Jacksonville Fire & Rescue.

Jacksonville TV station ActionNewsJax reports firefighters responded to a call about an industrial accident at Alpha Packaging, on the westside of Jacksonville.

Authorities would not comment on the circumstances of how the man became entangled with the vending machine or how he was rescued.

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As of Friday morning, there was no word on the extent of the man's injuries.

ActionNewsJax called the business where the incident happened. A person at Alpha Packaging picked up the phone and hung up without providing any additional information.

Published: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:17:17 -0400

Dynegy to spend $6.25B on power plant acquisitions

(AP) Dynegy plans to spend more than $6 billion to buy several coal and gas power generation plants from Duke Energy and Energy Capital Partners.

The Houston company says the deal will boost its presence in the Midwest and New England. Dynegy produces power that it sells through wholesale markets.

The company plans to spend $2.8 billion for Duke's assets and $3.45 billion for those of Energy Capital Partners, or ECP. It says the deal will add about 12,500 megawatts of coal and gas generation. Dynegy also expects the acquisitions to complement its existing business and add fuel diversification.

Dynegy Inc. says both deals should close by the end of next year's first quarter.

Shares of Dynegy are climbing in premarket trading.

Published: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:15:34 -0400

Anson Co. advocates to attend public meeting on fracking

(AP) Residents in Sanford will get a chance to voice their opinions on hydraulic fracturing drilling at a public meeting that is the second of four such gatherings planned by the state Mining and Energy Commission.

The hearing will be held Friday evening. It follows one held Wednesday in Raleigh that nearly 400 people attended.

Anson County is one of 14 counties in the state where fracking could occur and residents there are worried about the impact on public health.

Fracking opponents will hold a news conference before the hearing begins Friday in Sanford in Lee County, one of the places where scientists believe pockets of natural gas exist in layers of shale.

Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law this summer clearing the way for permits to be issued as early as next spring for the drilling method that involves injecting water, sand and chemicals to break apart underground rocks so oil and gas can escape.

Published: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 07:54:16 -0400

NC Zoo gets polar bear from Chicago temporarily

(AP) The North Carolina Zoo is getting another polar bear that will relocate temporarily from Chicago.

Anana is a 15-year-old polar bear who will move from Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. She'll return home when construction is completed on the Lincoln Park Zoo's polar bear exhibit, expected in 2016.

Anana will join Patches, the 26-year-old female polar bear at the North Carolina Zoo, which is finishing an expanded polar bear exhibit. That's expected to open in October.

Lincoln Park Zoo is holding a farewell event for Anana on Saturday.

Published: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 07:18:04 -0400

American Ebola doc urges help fighting outbreak

(AP) As one of few Ebola survivors with medical expertise, Dr. Kent Brantly seems keenly aware of the position his painful experience has put him in. He hasn't spoken yet about his plans, but spent much of his first public appearance pleading for help for countries still struggling with the virus.

"I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life and am glad for any attention my sickness has attracted to the plight of West Africa in the midst of this epidemic," Brantly said Thursday at a news conference before leaving Emory University Hospital, where he and a medical missionary colleague spent three weeks in an isolation unit as they recovered.

"Please continue to pray for Liberia and the people of West Africa, and encourage those in positions of leadership and influence to do everything possible to bring this Ebola outbreak to an end," he added before hugging all the doctors and nurses, a display of affection telegraphing the message that Ebola survivors are not contagious.

With the world watching, Brantly could continue sending these messages from the United States or even return to Africa with his doctors' blessing.

"My family and I will now be going away for a period of time to reconnect, decompress and continue to recover physically and emotionally. After I have recovered a little more and regained some of my strength, we will look forward to sharing more of our story," said Brantly, visibly thinner than he appeared in an image circulated earlier by his charity organization, the North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse.

Dr. Bruce Ribner, who runs the infectious disease unit at Emory University Hospital, said he would not discourage an Ebola survivor from treating those with the disease, since there is no danger of a relapse.

"There would be no concerns and in fact the likelihood is we would anticipate immunity to this virus so that they would probably not be at risk for infection if they were caring for patients with Ebola virus disease during this outbreak," Ribner said.

Both Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who was quietly released Tuesday, should recover completely, and no one need fear being in contact with them, Ribner said.

Writebol's son, Jeremy Writebol, said in a telephone interview that his mother is able to move around, eat and drink normally. His parents are considering their next steps, he said.

Brantly's reappearance was celebratory, in contrast to his arrival in an ambulance under police escort three weeks earlier, when he shuffled into the hospital wearing a bulky white hazardous materials suit. Both patients were discharged after their blood tested clean of the virus, which is spread only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of sick people experiencing symptoms.

After Brantly, 33, and Writebol, 59, were infected while working with Ebola victims in Liberia, their charity organizations, Samaritan's Purse and SIM, reached out to top infectious disease experts for help.

Working connections, they obtained one of only five courses available worldwide of an experimental drug known as Zmapp, and Brantly and Writebol split the doses before being evacuated to Atlanta. The other four were later given to a Spanish priest, who died, and three doctors in Africa, who have been improving.

Brantly's doctors cautioned that it's unclear whether the drug or a blood transfusion he got from a young Ebola survivor in Africa helped, hurt or made no difference at all.

"They are the very first individuals to have received this treatment and frankly we do not know," Ribner said.

Brantly didn't take questions at Thursday's news conference, but he did briefly describe how Ebola appeared in Liberia. He said aid workers prepared for the worst after learning of the outbreak in March and saw their first patient in June. Soon, many more arrived.

He said his team took all the precautions they could. Three days after his wife and children returned to the U.S., Brantly woke up feeling sick and was diagnosed with the disease. For nine days, he prayed for faith.

"I serve a faithful God who answers prayers," he said.

There is a huge gap between the treatment these Americans got at Emory, where five infectious disease experts and 21 nurses provided rigorous care, and West Africa, where the virus has killed more than 1,300 people and counting, and even such basics as sterile fluids can be in short supply.

Ribner insisted that bringing them to Atlanta "was the right decision" and said the hospital could decide to take more Ebola patients on a case by case basis.

"We cannot let our fears dictate our actions," Ribner said.

Treating these two patients has already given doctors insights into how to better care for Ebola patients anywhere. For example, they now believe common fluid-replacement measures may not have enough of certain nutrients patients need to recover. Emory physicians say they have begun sharing their findings with other doctors, and hope to publish in a medical journal.

At least 2,473 people have been sickened in this outbreak — more than the caseloads of all the previous two-dozen Ebola outbreaks combined, according to the World Health Organization.

Published: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 06:20:05 -0400

Weekend Traffic Update 8/22-8/24

South Boulevard Light Rail Crossing Repairs

•             Phase 1 – On Friday August 22, 2014 at 11:00 p.m. OB South Boulevard between Whitton Street and Scaleybark Road and Freeland Lane between South Boulevard and Dewitt Lane will close for railroad crossing repairs.  Northbound/inbound South Boulevard traffic will not be impacted.  The intersection is expected to reopen Monday August 25, 2014 by 4:00 a.m. Traffic can detour around the closure via Clanton Road, South Tryon Street, and Woodlawn Road (shown in blue below).

•             Phase 2 – The 100 block of Freeland Lane between South Boulevard and Dewitt Lane will close Wednesday Sept 3, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. for associated storm drain repairs.  Freeland Lane is expected to reopen Wednesday September 10, 2014 by 5:00 p.m.  Motorists wishing to access Freeland Lane can detour around this closure via Dewitt Lane, Clanton Road, and South Boulevard. A separate detour will not be signed for this closure.

OrthoCarolina 10K Classic

The event will begin on Saturday, August 23 at 6:30 a.m on the corner of Randolph Road and Colonial Avenue.  The route uses Randolph Road, Chestnut Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, and North Dolger Avenue.

Yiasou Greek Festival 5K

The event begins on Saturday, August 23 at 6:30 a.m. on East Boulevard between Springdale and Winthrop. The westbound lane of East Boulevard will close completely between Euclid Avenue and Dilworth Road West until 8:30 a.m. The Eastbound traffic will open at 9 a.m. The route uses Dilworth Road West, Dilworth Road East, East Boulevard, Park Road, Kingston Avenue, Lyndhurst Avenue, and Worthington Avenue

The American Legion Parade

The parade begins on Sunday, August 24 at 4 p.m. at 9th and Tryon Street.  The parade will follow the standard parade route down Tryon Street ending at Third Street. Staging for the parade will close Tryon Street between 9th Street and 11th Street and the cross streets between Church Street and College Street at 2 p.m. until 6:15 p.m.




Published: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 05:11:57 -0400

Ford recalls more than 160,000 vehicles

(AP) Ford is recalling more than 160,000 vehicles in North America for two safety issues.

The largest recall involves 159,395 Focus ST and Escape vehicles from the 2013 and 2014 model years. Ford says their engines could hesitate or stall because of a wiring problem.

Ford also is recalling 616 Focus and C-Max cars made earlier this month because their steering gears don't have the proper number of ball bearings. That can potentially degrade the remaining ball bearings and lead to a loss of steering control.

Ford says there have been no accidents or injuries related to either recall. The 616 cars are still at dealerships and haven't been sold.

Ford Motor Co. will notify customers and repair the vehicles for free.

Published: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 04:45:32 -0400

Popular bar owner shot, police investigation launched

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is investigating after a well-known Charlotte bar owner was shot outside his home early Thursday morning.

Greg Brafford is the long-time owner of Woodshed Lounge in Charlotte.

Investigators responded to Brafford’s home in southwest Charlotte just before 3 a.m. after his partner called 911 and said Brafford had been shot.

The shooter pulled out a gun and attempted to rob Brafford at his home, according to the police report. 

Investigators said the suspect fired at least four shots. It’s believed Brafford was hit by at least two of those bullets.

Brafford was rushed to Carolinas Medical Center.

Friends told Channel 9 Brafford had surgery Thursday and will have a long road to recovery.

Investigators haven’t named a person of interest in the case and no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information is asked to call CMPD.

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Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 23:02:46 -0400

Sheriff: Foot doctor busted in prescription drug raid

Deputies nabbed 21 people including a doctor after a prescription drug raid in Shelby in Operation: Prescribed Epidemic.
Sheriff’s deputies raided the Carolina Foot and Ankle Clinic Friday on Lee Street.
They arrested Dr. Steven Skorman on drug charges.
He's accused of over-prescribing medication to his patients and prescribing medicine to patients who didn't need it.
“It's a problem we're hitting head-on here in Cleveland County,” Sheriff Alan Norman said.

Nearly 700 people in North Carolina died from prescription drug abuse in 2012.In a 9 Investigation from July, Channel 9 showed how officers in Stanly County worked undercover to arrest anyone accused of passing pills illegally.
The sheriff plans to ask commissioners for more money to pay for their efforts.
In Charlotte, 10 drug enforcement administration agents are dedicated to cracking down on illegal prescription sales.

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Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:54:05 -0400

Police arrest boyfriend of woman found dead in Gastonia home

Police in Gastonia are investigating after a 47-year-old woman was found dead inside her home Thursday night.

Authorities responded to the house in the 400 block of Broad Street Thursday evening after a family member found Adaline Phillips dead, and her car missing.

Investigators believe Phillips had been dead for several days because her body had started to decompose.

Overnight, police told Channel 9 they found Phillips' 2001 Pontiac Grand Am at a home on Stage Coach Lane and have arrested her boyfriend, 30-year-old Dwayne Robinson, who investigators said was inside that house.

Police said Robinson was charged with larceny of a vehicle. They also said they’d be interviewing him later Friday morning and could add more charges.

Investigators are waiting on an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

“Very strong pungent odor when we walked in the house. The residence appeared to be unkempt, very dirty. There was no forced entrance into the residence,” said Heath McMillan with the Gastonia Police Department.

Neighbors told Channel 9 that Robinson was dating Phillips and killed her, then took off in her car, but police have not confirmed that information.

Investigators were canvassing the area for evidence and obtained warrants to search the house.

It is unknown at this time the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing.

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Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:30:43 -0400

Authorities catch sex offender at Cabarrus Co. park

Police said they caught a registered sex offender at a Cabarrus County park where children play.

James Lawson was placed on the sex offender registry after he was convicted for indecent liberties with a child in 2003.
He's in jail under a $50,000 bond.

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Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 20:33:22 -0400

Car pins person against Central Ave. shopping center

A team of firefighters raced to help a person who was pinned between a building and a car at about 6 p.m. Thursday.
Emergency officials said the victim was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.
The car hit the person on the sidewalk of a shopping center on Central Avenue in east Charlotte.

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Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 20:24:46 -0400

Police: 2 teens involved in north Charlotte carjacking, chase

Police identified a 14- and 15-year-old as suspects in a north Charlotte carjacking and police chase.

The victim in the carjacking said the teens were armed when they forced him out of his car at Barrington Drive and The Plaza.

Police spotted the stolen car on Sugar Creek Road, but the young driver took off.

The chase ended on Oakwood Avenue, and both teens were arrested.

Channel 9 does not have the names of the suspects because of their ages.

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Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:20:24 -0400

Leaders demand answers on toll-lane project

Charlotte area leaders demanded answers Thursday about controversial toll lanes planned for Interstate 77. 
The questions came at one of several meetings with the project's developer, Cintra.
The meetings were supposed to be private, but the Department of Transportation said that was never the case.
A spokesman said the public's chance for comment will come in a few weeks; the Department of Transportation wanted Thursday's meetings to focus on questions from commissioners.
At the meeting, some commissioners demanded to know exactly how much it will cost for drivers on I-77 to use those lanes.
"You got to put that information out. It can't just be at the privilege of the lending community," said David Gilroy, a commissioner in Cornelius. 
He said his constituents were shocked by reports that a round trip from Charlotte to Mooresville could cost as much as $20.
He and a colleague asked for more details on the cost. 
"That is what we're after and we have not seen it. What is the conservative number? We've only seen the high number. Will you release it?" said  John Bradford, another Cornelius town commissioner.
Cintra's vice president of corporate affairs said right now it's difficult to answer that question and said, "We don't want to be creating expectations that may or may not be true."
Huntersville Town Commissioner Sarah McAulay left the meeting not worried about the cost of using the lanes.
"It does not bother me because I think it will be a competitive price and people will want to use the lanes," said McAulay.

Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:36:56 -0400

Man pleads guilty to murder in 2013 DUI crash

A Charlotte man who was driving drunk when he hit and killed a cab driver will spend almost eight years in prison.

Justin Miller pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Thursday, 15 months after the collision that killed cab driver Paul Miller, 56.  The Millers are not related.

Prosecutors said Justin Miller had a blood alcohol level of .17 -- twice the legal limit -- and was going 67 mph on Woodlawn Road when his BMW slammed into Paul Miller’s cab.

They said Justin Miller was also driving with a revoked license less than a month after he had been arrested for drunk driving in Huntersville.

Miller apologized through his attorney.

“If Mr. Miller had called a cab, Paul would have been the one who picked him up and taken him where he wanted to go,” Kelly Barrentine, a friend of Paul Miller, said.

Miller’s attorney said he had been all but abandoned by his family and was working his way through Queens University when the collision happened.

Several of his professors and friends were in court Thursday to show their support, including his adviser, Catherine Eason.

“He's had a very difficult life and that's no excuse for what he did but I do believe there's hope for him,” Eason said.

Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:07:06 -0400

Charlotte church relieved Nancy Writebol cured of Ebola

Charlotte missionary Nancy Writebol was released from Emory Tuesday exactly two weeks after she was admitted to the Atlanta hospital.

Officials at SIM, the international mission organization that Writebol works for, called Writebol’s recovery a complete miracle.

SIM released a photo of Writebol and her husband David taken shortly after her release on Tuesday from Emory University Hospital.

SIM officials said Writebol is virus-free and now resting with her husband at an undisclosed location.

Two weeks ago she was flown from Liberia to Atlanta, brought in on a stretcher to undergo rigorous treatment.

On Tuesday, she was able to walk out of the facility with doctors saying she is completely healed.

SIM President, Bruce Johnson said he talked to Nancy and David shortly after she was discharged from the hospital.

“Health wise she's healthy. She's not under a constant doctor’s care. We're very grateful for how she's doing right now,” Johnson said.

Calvary Church members relieved at Writebol's healing

A Charlotte church is relieved Writebol has been cured of the Ebola virus.

Dr. Kent Brantly: 'Today is a miraculous day. I am thrilled to be alive'
Calvary Church Pastor Jim Cashwell said he talked to Nancy by phone Thursday morning.

He said he expected her to sound weak, but even after this trying ordeal, she is still strong in faith and more concerned than ever about others.

Cashwell said he spoke with Writebol for the first time in months.

“She sounded strong. (She’s) thankful to the people of Charlotte, people around the world for prayers and support,” Cashwell said.

Writebol, one of two missionaries with Charlotte ties said to be cured of the virus, is out of the hospital and reunited with her husband David.

“Being able to restore their intimacy of touch is something they have looked forward to for a long time, so we're grateful for them,” Cashwell said.

Cashwell and other members of Calvary Church and more than 90 of its missionaries serving abroad believed this day would come, the result of the power of prayer.

“They began praying and mobilizing their people. We at Calvary had special prayer services and we feel we've been able to see the mighty hand of God move in a miraculous way,” Cashwell said.

Still, Cashwell said the couple is still focused on others who are suffering.

“Their concerns are still for the people of Liberia,” he said.

And if God's mission is for them to return to help again, they will go.

“They are ready to do whatever he calls for the cause of Christ,” Cashwell said.

Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:02:36 -0400

Police chase ends in Denver residential area

Residents in a Denver neighborhood woke to their lawns damaged and their property damage after two teenage suspects led deputies on an early morning chase Thursday.

Residents living on Cameron Heights Circle showed Eyewitness News reporter Ken Lemon the destruction while deputies continue to search for the 18-year old driver.
"The truck came through there," said Jeff Lindberg.

The truck smashed the side of his RV and derailed his and his wife's retirement dreams.

"Our goal was always to retire and live full time in the RV," Lindberg said.

Their house was also damaged by the teen accused of drinking and driving through his neighbor’s yards while speeding to get away from deputies.
"They say nothing good happens after midnight,” Lindberg said. “This is a good example."
A deputy got behind the truck on Highway 16 a little after 2 a.m.
The deputy said the driver went off the road several times and hit a guardrail.
The officer had his lights and sirens on but the driver wouldn't stop, officials said.
They said he was going 70 mph when he plowed through a mailbox two doors down from Lindberg's home.
The truck also ran over several trees in its path.
Neighbors said something happened to turn the wheels of the truck because it was headed straight for the home where a woman and her two daughters were asleep inside.
There is a deep gash in the ground at the point where the truck made a turn towards the RV.
The deputy who eased off the pursuit arrived in time to see the two teens jump out of the truck and run.
Jason Beane, 17, of Dallas, surrendered and was charged with resisting arrest and underage drinking.
Investigators haven't released the name of the driver who is still on the run.

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Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:47:08 -0400

Police: Convicted drunk driver caused deadly Monroe wreck

Monroe police said a convicted drunk driver will face new charges after he allegedly killed a 70-year-old woman and seriously injured her boyfriend.

Police said Jose Estevez Herrera had been drinking and had beer cans in the floor of his truck when he crossed the median on Highway 74 Wednesday night.

Investigators said Herrera struck a car head on and forced it into the path of a tractor trailer in the eastbound lanes, killing Laral Callahan.

Police said they had to cut Callahan and her boyfriend, Paul Randall, out of the car before rushing Randall to CMC Union with serious injuries.

"It was just a tragic and emotional scene last night for the emergency service personnel," said city spokesman Pete Hovanec.

Neighbors told Channel 9 the couple had just purchased an RV and were planning to travel cross country.

"They shared a home, shared a lot of things. It's going to be very difficult, and we are going to miss her, we really are," said neighbor David Woollen.

According to state prison records, Herrera was convicted of DWI in 2002 and 1996, and convicted of driving while license revoked in 1998 and 1999.

Investigators said Herrera suffered a broken ankle in the accident but was treated and released.

Officials: 70-year-old woman killed in U.S. 74 wreck in Monroe

Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:24:36 -0400

New rules at colleges designed to get more sexual assaults reported

There is a warning for parents sending students off to college after reports show sexual assaults are on the rise.

Experts said it’s because of new rules designed to get victims to report the crimes.

The Department of Justice said one in five women on college campuses will be sexually assaulted and as many as 95 percent of the cases go unreported.

"I feel like most people don't feel comfortable with it,” said UNC-Charlotte sophomore Sierra Stone.

Starting this school year, the federal government is requiring colleges to do more to encourage students to report crimes.

They are encouraging schools to host awareness campaigns and make it easier for students to report assaults.

Johnson C. Smith student Leanne Pick said she has always felt safe there.

“We’re a very small campus, so if anything happens we know about it instantly,” she said. “All of our campus police numbers are on the back of our ID cards.”

UNC-Charlotte Police Chief Jeff Baker showed Channel 9 the alert that flashes across every school computer when a crime is reported on his campus.

Depending on the severity of the crime, sirens go off too.
These protective measures are federally mandated for all colleges and universities as part of what's known as the Clery Act.  It requires colleges to compile a report listing all campus crimes and publicize it on the school's website.

“This is something we take very seriously, in fact, two years ago we created a position for a Clery lieutenant," Baker said.

Lt. Shawn Smith is that officer. When reports come in, part of his job is to make sure campus police respond right away.

"Typically we can get across campus in less than five minutes, no matter what day it is,” Smith said.

Smith compiled crime logs for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

The university also keeps an eye on crimes at other local campuses, including Queens University and JCSU.  

Among those schools, Channel 9 found a handful of sexual assaults reported each year, but the numbers are expected to rise this year.  

Starting this fall, the Clery Act will require colleges to log all domestic violence, dating violence and stalking reports.

The new stats will fall under sexual assaults, which Smith said could lead to some misunderstanding.

"The mother called me, and asked me these questions and I told her the uptick was from education of reporting," Smith said.

Pick said although the new rules will reflect an increase in crimes, they'll also show something is being done about it.

"I think that parents might be concerned but at the same time they'll know that there is a culture where we're not afraid to talk about it, and not afraid to address it when it does come up,” Pick said.

Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:17:19 -0400

Charlotte residents could pay for volume of trash is thrown out

Charlotte is considering making people pay for trash pickup based on how much they throw away but that would force people to go back to piling up bags of trash on the street.

Charlotte picks up trash each week with some garbage carts half full while some overflow.

Some say that paying for how much trash is thrown away would encourage recycling.

The system suggested by a Raleigh company would have residents buy bags for their garbage that would be a certain color and throw them in the 96-gallon rolling carts.

Residents would have to use an official paid-for bag monitored by the truck drivers.

However, people could throw their trash in other carts, illegally dumping them at businesses or anywhere else like on the side of the road.

The city said it needs to do something to cover growing waste disposal costs and save space in landfills.

The city is still early phases of discussion and it hasn’t decided whether to consider increasing the solid waste fee.

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Published: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:12:53 -0400