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Starbucks testing beer-flavored latte in Florida, Ohio

Good news, coffee and beer lovers: Starbucks is reportedly testing a new latte that combines two of your favorite flavors.

According to The Associated Press, the Dark Barrel Latte – a stout-flavored coffee drink – is available at a few stores in Florida and Ohio.

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The Seattle-based coffee chain describes the drink as having a "savory toasty malt" flavor.

The drink includes whipped cream, caramel and a "chocolatey stout-flavored sauce," but no alcohol, Starbucks spokeswoman Linda Mills told the AP.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 06:11:59 -0400

SC Chamber wants gas tax to bring more road money

(AP) The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is joining a growing number of lawmakers in both parties who say the state must figure out a way to raise more money for its roads, calling for a combination of tax increases and other sources of revenue.

But they also realize any push must get the backing of the governor to become law next year. And neither major party candidate for governor this November has backed a tax increase of any kind to pay for roads.

At a meeting of business leaders dedicated to improving South Carolina roads, the president of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce said his organization will back an increase in the state's gas tax as part of a comprehensive plan to get more money for fixes. A bipartisan panel of legislators also told the South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads on Monday that finding a way through taxes and fees to get more road and bridge funding is a top priority in 2015.

"I think we've talked enough. I think it is time to take action," said Otis Rawl, president of the chamber.

Both business leaders and the state Department of Transportation say the state needs to put a lot of money into its roads and bridges, with estimates ranging from about $1 billion to $1.5 billion a year to get them in good condition.

The chamber conducted a poll of Republican voters that found a majority would support the gas tax increase of one cent a year for 10 years if it was carefully presented. Other ideas mentioned in recent weeks by legislators include increasing the sales tax or raising fees for items such as renewing driver's licenses.

House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister promised the alliance a bill getting more money to spend on roads will pass next year, and a committee of House and Senate members is already meeting to craft that proposal. But Bannister said he isn't ready to commit to anything yet and it's a political reality that the governor will have to back whatever the Legislature does.

"We recognize a veto is a problem," said Bannister, R-Greenville. "That is a problem we will solve one way or another. Either get the governor on board to do something, or making our plan match what she won't veto."

While independent gubernatorial candidate Tom Ervin supports a gas tax increase, neither major party candidate has backed it. Democratic nominee state Sen. Vincent Sheheen said he will listen to all options to get more money for roads.

Gov. Nikki Haley said she will reveal her plan for improving roads in January if she is re-elected. But her spokesman said she still does not support any solution that isn't revenue neutral.

"There is no question that South Carolina's infrastructure needs improvement but as Governor Haley has made clear numerous times, raising taxes, legalizing gambling, or secretly increasing fees simply aren't the kinds of ideas our citizens deserve. Solving this issue will require making tough budget decisions and coming up with new ways to use the tax dollars we already have," Haley spokesman Doug Mayer said in a statement.

The Alliance to Fix Our Roads also plans to put pressure on lawmakers and the governor through social media. The organization has set up an interactive map on its website, , inviting users to submit pictures, videos or other information roads with the hashtag "scroads" that will be put on what the alliance is calling its "Road Map of Shame."


Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 06:07:42 -0400

Lincoln County man charged with child abuse

(AP) Authorities in Lincoln County have charged a man with felony child abuse after a 3-month-old baby was taken to a local hospital with a broken bone.

The sheriff's office says Huntersville Presbyterian Hospital reported last week that a mother and father had brought a baby to the hospital with a broken femur. The hospital reported the injury to authorities.

An investigator charged 24-year-old David Lawrence Simmons Jr. of Denver. He is free on $5,000 bond from the Lincoln County jail. It's not known if he has an attorney.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 05:36:03 -0400

2 hospitalized after head-on crash in Ballantyne

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police had to close part of a busy south Charlotte road after a head-on crash early Tuesday morning.

Investigators told Channel 9 that a pickup truck was in the wrong lane on Ballantyne Commons Parkway when it collided head-on with a car around 2:30 a.m.

Officers said they had to close the westbound lane of Ballantyne Commons between Elm Lane and Community House Road.

Paramedics rushed two people to Carolinas Medical Center but they are both expected to be OK.

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Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 04:48:50 -0400

Apple's Tim Cook brags about company's green 'spaceship' campus

Apple's new campus in Cupertino is still under construction, but the company's CEO Tim Cook has just promised that it will be the most environmentally friendly structure on the planet.

TIM COOK VIA YOUTUBE / ARMAND CZAPKOWSKI: "We're building a new headquarters that I think will be the greenest building on the planet. It'll be a center for innovation, and I think it's something that our employees want, and we want."

 Cook's remarks were made during a Climate Change NYC discussion, part of a weeklong series of events on climate change centered around a U.N. summit in New York on the issue. (Video via People's Climate March)

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The campus Cook was referring to – known as "Apple Campus 2" or, informally, the "Spaceship Campus" – is expected to be finished sometime in 2016. Pitched by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 2011, the finished facility is projected to be 80 percent landscape and house its own green energy plant. (Video via YouTube / jmcminnTechnology Integration Services

Cook's made no secret of his environmentalist bona fides in the past: he's previously touted the company's sustainable practices in an Apple commercial:

"We will work to leave the world better than we found it."

... and in a not-so-subtle dig at rival tech company Samsung, with whom Apple's been locked in a legal battle for years over tech patents.

During Monday's talk, Cook also mentioned Apple's efforts to make their supply chains more sustainable. The company recently banned two hazardous chemicals from their iPhone production lines after facing pressure from labor groups. (Video via Bloomberg)

But a Gizmodo writer notes Cook hasn't been forthcoming about the specifics of the spaceship's sustainability, adding: "If Campus 2 is actually the greenest building on the planet, that's fantastic. If Apple is cleaning and continues to clean up its supply chain, that's also wonderful. But talk is cheap."

Cook's comments come one day after an estimated 300,000 people marched through the streets of New York to demand action on climate change, and one day before 125 world leaders convene at the U.N. headquarters for the climate change summit.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 02:38:56 -0400

'Alien hairballs' that washed up on Australian beach are actually algae

These green balls washed up on the shore of Dee Why Beach in Sydney, Australia, last week. And after seeing the photos, many are thinking extraterrestrial.

FOX NEWS: "Bizarre green balls dubbed 'alien eggs.'"

WGN-TV: "Some are calling them 'alien eggs' and 'alien hairballs.'"

"Alien hairballs?"

"Yeah, that's what they look like."

>> Read more trending stories

But these foreign objects aren't exactly from outer space. 

A beachgoer told the Daily Mail Australia, "I picked one up and squeezed it and it was so squishy — but I wasn't sure if it was alive and was worried I might hurt anything inside!"

Turns out the balls, which are almost perfectly circular in shape, are a pretty rare type of living algae.

But, unlike the gross green goop that clings to rocks and forms on the top of water, this type of algae is"free living," meaning it forms into a ball shape.

According to the French Tribune, scientists believe seaweed comes together to form these circular shapes "to guard themselves from predators."

The Sydney Daily Telegraph reports Alan Millar from The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust says there's a very specific reason these balls came to land: "(It's) clearly another response to spring sunshine, and just the right wave conditions to tumble them. Obviously these biophysical conditions do not align every spring to produce these balls."

So, looks like they're native to Earth, not Mars. Maybe next time. 

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 02:08:19 -0400

Woman breaks windshield to rescue baby from hot car despite warnings

When a San Antonio woman noticed a baby left alone in a hot car, she ignored the warnings from bystanders and a security guard.

Angela Radtke smashed through the car windshield with a tire iron and crawled through the hole to unlock the door. 

"The security guard was yelling that I could possibly be arrested for breaking the window," Radtke told KENS.

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But she said she was thinking, "I don't care if I get arrested. I'm saving this baby."

She very well might have. Officials looked at security footage and found the baby was left in the hot car for 40 minutes. The 1-year-old was taken to a hospital and treated for dehydration. 

Radtke's brave actions are quickly making headlines – with most pointing out she was warned by onlookers and the security guard to leave the situation alone.

With the 27 child vehicular heatstroke deaths in 2014 so far, many of those cases making national news, it's surprising others were reluctant to help her – and those who were afraid Radtke would be breaking the law probably didn't realize she'd be protected by one.

The basics of the Texas "Good Samaritan" Law are explained as this: "If you voluntarily attempt to help someone who is in an urgent situation as a result of an accident or other emergency, then you are protected from any liability for damages that may result from your care."

Radtke was questioned by officials after the incident but was released without charges shortly after. The father of the child said he forgot the baby was in the car, and he's now being charged with child endangerment.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 00:58:44 -0400

U.S. begins airstrikes on Syrian ISIS targets

The U.S. and partner nations have begun airstrikes on ISIS targets inside the warring nation of Syria.

The Pentagon's press secretary tweeted confirmation of the news just as several outlets began reporting it Monday night.

Though it wasn't totally unexpected, given the president did say this a couple weeks ago.

PRESIDENT OBAMA, FROM THE WHITE HOUSE: "I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria as well as Iraq."

ABC and CNN both report Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Middle Eastern nations are joining the U.S in the operation. But we don't know yet which cities or regions of Syria the U.S. has targeted in these strikes, but the country is home to the radical Sunni group ISIS' home base in Raqqa.

That's in Syria's north, about 50 miles east of Aleppo. Again, we don't know if that's the target of U.S. airstrikes. After all, ISIS controls a wide area stretching east into Iraq. (Video via Google)

Syria is now in its fourth year of a bloody civil war responsible for more than 120,000 deaths. ISIS was born out of the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad, whose government the U.S. itself threatened with airstrikes just a year ago. (Video via Sky News)

We'll update with more details as they roll in.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 00:04:54 -0400

City approves taking out $100M line of credit for airport projects

Charlotte city leaders approved taking out a $100 million line of credit to continue paying for projects in the $1 billion expansion plan at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Now, the airport is paying cash for some of the projects currently underway that will be included in this new form of financing like a new 3,200-space park deck for business valet. Deputy Aviation Director Jack Christine said the new line of credit would allow the airport to redirect its money to other areas while keeping money flowing to projects already under construction or in the pipeline.
"We are using our cash as effectively as we can," said Christine. 
The money would also be used to pay for projects like a three-level addition to the East Terminal near Concourses D and E and improvements that will start by next summer to passenger areas at three concourses and in the Atrium, known for its white rocking chairs.
"We're looking at things like redoing the ceilings, redoing the walls and the carpeting that goes down the main sections of the concourse will be replaced," said Christine.
Airport officials also plan to refinance $135 million in bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates. The move could save the airport nearly $1 million a year in debt payments.
Even though the Charlotte City Council approved the financing, the Local Government Commission will review the proposed financing at its October meeting. The airlines also have to give their approval on the line of credit because it could affect rates and payments they make on debt. 
"It just reduces our overall costs, which helps the overall bottom dollar for the airlines," said Christine.
The financing is expected to close on Nov. 6.

Read more top trending stories on

MEDIC: 1 flown to hospital after struck by car in south Charlotte

Family of father killed in home invasion wants justice

Hannah Graham | Parents of missing UVA student plead for help

Concern grows over 8-foot deep sinkhole in Cornelius

Official start of fall to usher in cooler, crisp conditions

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:59:44 -0400

Firefighter treated after Clover house fire

A firefighter needed to be treated while battling a house fire in York County.

IMAGES: Firefighter treated after Clover house fire

The firefighter suffered cramps while fighting the fire on Whiteside Road in Clover but was released on the scene.

The family made it out safely.

The fire destroyed the home.

There's no word Monday night on the cause of the fire.

Read more top trending stories on

MEDIC: 1 flown to hospital after struck by car in south Charlotte

Family of father killed in home invasion wants justice

Hannah Graham | Parents of missing UVA student plead for help

Concern grows over 8-foot deep sinkhole in Cornelius

Official start of fall to usher in cooler, crisp conditions

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 21:26:16 -0400

City stops paying legal cost in Kerrick civil case

For years, the city has covered the legal costs for any officer sued for their actions while working.


Now, the city said it will no longer do that for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Randall Kerrick, citing a policy nearly four decades old.
Kerrick faces criminal charges in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell and there is also a civil lawsuit from Ferrell's family.
The Police Department and Chief Rodney Monroe are also named in the suit.

The city had paid nearly $21,000 through mid-August and defended its stance to drop Kerrick citing the city policy from 1977.

ARTICLE: Advocates ask for change at rally for man shot, killed by officer

"I have decided that it would be inconsistent and untenable for the city to defend Officer Kerrick in the civil lawsuit due to the fact that CMPD charged Officer Kerrick with a crime," said City Manager Ron Carlee. 

Police charged Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter saying he shot and killed Ferrell in September of 2013 after crashing his car.
Ferrell was unarmed at the time.
Kerrick's attorney George Laughrun said he's disappointed that the city stopped paying the costs saying the city should have either paid all the costs or none at all.
The North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police stands behind Kerrick and said it's never heard of a city doing this before.
The NCFOP is already helping with Kerrick's criminal costs but said he can now apply for civil costs, which the FOP believes will be covered.

Read more top trending stories on

MEDIC: 1 flown to hospital after struck by car in south Charlotte

Family of father killed in home invasion wants justice

Hannah Graham | Parents of missing UVA student plead for help

Concern grows over 8-foot deep sinkhole in Cornelius

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 21:05:20 -0400

Discussion on raising SC gas prices continues

South Carolina is known for its cheaper gas, but prices could be going up to pay for better roads.
The discussion has been around for years and now the president of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce said it's time for action.
Otis Rawl said his group will push for a 1-cent-per-year increase over the next 10 years.
Drivers from Charlotte frequently cross the border to find a better deal on gas prices.
Rawl also noted that any increase would most likely need the backing of the next governor but neither major-party candidate has supported one.

Gov. Nikki Haley has said she's against raising taxes and has an alternative plan for road improvement but lawmakers accuse her of keeping it a secret until after the election.
Lawmakers said they've been pushing for money to fix crumbling roads but said Haley threatened a veto.
She said she won't reveal details of her plan until January.
South Carolina currently has the second-lowest gas tax in the country at 16 cents per gallon.
North Carolina, however, has one of the highest, 37 cents per gallon.

Read more top trending stories on

MEDIC: 1 flown to hospital after struck by car in south Charlotte

Family of father killed in home invasion wants justice

Hannah Graham | Parents of missing UVA student plead for help

Concern grows over 8-foot deep sinkhole in Cornelius

Official start of fall to usher in cooler, crisp conditions

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:40:16 -0400

Police search for information in Rock Hill drive-by

Rock Hill police said someone in a car sprayed bullets in a neighborhood at about midnight Monday.

Witnesses told police the car pulled to a stop sign at Ebenezer and Park avenues, where officers found casings in front of a home.
Neighbors told Channel 9’s partners at the Rock Hill Herald they ran for cover when they heard the shots.
The car was gray or gold with tinted windows and had one headlight, according to reports.

Read more top trending stories on

MEDIC: 1 flown to hospital after struck by car in south Charlotte

Family of father killed in home invasion wants justice

Hannah Graham | Parents of missing UVA student plead for help

Concern grows over 8-foot deep sinkhole in Cornelius

Official start of fall to usher in cooler, crisp conditions

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 19:53:27 -0400

Health officials: 6 children in NC have enterovirus

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that the state has joined 27 others with cases of enterovirus D68. 

Officials said six patients under the age of 10 tested positive for the respiratory illness. The DHHS release said the cases are in different areas across the state but did not specify where, citing patient privacy.

Sept. 16 Article: Severe respiratory illness confirmed in 12 states

Eyewitness News checked with the Mecklenburg County Health Department which said it isn't aware of any cases within the county. Several other departments contacted have yet to respond.

"DHHS' Division of Public Health has been monitoring this situation very closely," said Dr. Zack Moore, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with the Division of Public Health. "The confirmed cases were located in different parts of the state, so it is important for everyone to take necessary actions to protect yourself from EV-D68 and other respiratory viruses. There are no vaccines and no specific treatments for EV-D68, so prevention is the best option."

Health officials are recommending that that people take the following actions to protect themselves from infection with EV-D68 and other respiratory illnesses:

1. Wash hands vigorously and often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
2. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
3. Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
4. Frequently disinfect touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Since people with asthma are at higher risk for complications from respiratory illnesses, health officials are reminding everyone with asthma to take their medications as prescribed and make sure their asthma is under good control.

Since mid-August, EV-D68 has been linked to clusters of respiratory illness in 27 other states, including some illnesses that have been severe.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:59:12 -0400

Outrage grows over strip club's video billboard

Seattle's Department of Planning and Development says it is investigating concerns that the strip club, DreamGirls at Rick's put up a large digital sign with provocative video.

"It's just a matter of respect. If you have a permit that says you’re not going to have moving video that's what you should do and that's the responsible thing to do," said Nathan Lowe, who contacted KIRO7 about the concerns.

A permit approved by the DPD for Dream Girls at Rick's back in June states, "Images shall not change more than seven times per minute. No flashing, no video display methods, and no off-premises advertising is permitted by city ordinance."

The current sign flashes and has moving images of women dancing at the strip club on 11332 Lake City Way NE.
"There are a lot of kids in this community and it's clearly you can't walk through here without really noticing that sign. So that's my primary concern are the kids," said Lowe.

>>Related Story:  Residents unhappy about new strip club sign

DPD spokeswoman, Wendy Shark said that an inspector will be sent out to the business on Monday afternoon.

"There are a lot of kids in this community and it's clearly you can't walk through here without really noticing that sign. So that's my primary concern are the kids," said Shark.

When we went to ask the business about the permit issue a manager asked us to leave and said, "No comment."

In July, KIRO-TV spoke to residents who were opposed to the city approving any permit for the 128 sq. ft. sign.

"It's not the strip clubs that bother me. It's the signs. Like, why does everybody have to know? I mean, everybody know what happens there. You don't need a sign. If somebody wants to go to the strip club, they're just going to go," said Charla Lemoine, who lives nearby.

DPD even if the business is found in violation of what the city permitted, Shark said the business likely won't be fined.

She said DPD will talk to the business about getting into compliance.

"It's something I wouldn't want to watch reel over and over and over again which happens as you're coming down Northgate and you come to Lake City Way. It's right in your view," said Lowe.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:27:19 -0400

Police: Drunk man urinated on another person at airport

A man was arrested after police said he urinated on another traveler at the Charlotte Douglas Airport.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Brian Valdez became extremely intoxicated and urinated on the back of another person.

The incident happened Sunday at 2:02 p.m. in a terminal of the airport.

Valdez, who is from Orlando, Florida, was charged with urinating in public.

Read more top trending stories on

Police: Man stabbed wife with butcher knife in shower

Family of father killed in home invasion wants justice

Hannah Graham | Parents of missing UVA student plead for help

Concern grows over 8-foot deep sinkhole in Cornelius

Official start of fall to usher in cooler, crisp conditions


Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:57:08 -0400

Court date for Panthers’ Hardy case questionable

As Carolina Panther Greg Hardy remains on indefinite leave from the team, attention is focusing on his scheduled trial date on domestic violence charges.

RAW: GM Dave Gettleman addresses Greg Hardy on exempt list
Hardy, who was found guilty by a judge of assault and making threats against his ex-girlfriend, is appealing and asking for a jury trial.

 IMAGES: Greg Hardy case evidence logs

The NFL and the Panthers have indicated he won't be allowed to play for the team until his criminal case is resolved. Legal experts said his trial, tentatively scheduled for the week of Nov. 17, may not take place until much later.
They point out that there are hundreds of domestic violence cases older than Hardy's.
"Every single victim of domestic violence wants to have their case heard," said Charlotte defense attorney Brad Smith. "I've got cases that are years old that are still making their way up to the front of the line."
The District Attorney's Office has sole control over deciding which cases will be placed on the court docket.
From the backlog of cases, prosecutors will choose roughly 30 defendants to essentially be on stand-by for the November week when Hardy's case is scheduled.
If Hardy even makes that list, he still faces long odds on getting his case before a jury.
The DA's Office said because domestic cases rarely take less than a day they would likely only get to two or three cases during the week-long session.
That could push Hardy's case into next year at the earliest.
"If it's treated like any other case Greg Hardy could be sitting around this time next year still waiting on his date in court," Smith said. Hardy's attorney Chris Fialko declined to comment on when Hardy's case may go before a jury.
The District Attorney's Office said deciding which cases are placed on the docket is complicated but insists that the notoriety of Hardy's case won't be a factor.
A list of cases scheduled for the week of Nov. 17 is expected to be made public early in October.

Read more top trending stories on

MEDIC: 1 flown to hospital after struck by car in south Charlotte

Family of father killed in home invasion wants justice

Hannah Graham | Parents of missing UVA student plead for help

Concern grows over 8-foot deep sinkhole in Cornelius

Official start of fall to usher in cooler, crisp conditions

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:51:28 -0400

Intervention programs work to stop domestic violence in area

The National Football League’s recent handling of domestic violence cases involving several of its players has put the problem in the national spotlight.

Just last week, the league’s commissioner announced a total revamp of its policy.

Channel 9 took a closer look at how intervention programs in Mecklenburg County work to stop domestic violence.

“I think with the spotlight on them, that there’s a lot of opportunity,” said Bea Cote.

Cote said while domestic violence has always been a problem, the recent NFL player controversy has put more much-needed attention on the issue.

Cote is director of a program for violent offenders called the Impact program. There are two courses the courts can order people convicted of abuse into: batterer intervention or anger management. Cote said there are big differences in the treatments. Domestic violence offenders are required to enroll in the batterer intervention program.

“A lot of times there may be anger involved, but there are a lot of other factors involved as well. There’s a lot of history. There’s a lot of buildup,” Cote said.

Cote hopes the conviction of Panthers’ star Greg Hardy and the other cases in the NFL will bring more awareness.

“I think it’s a good thing that we’re starting to turn our attention to it and that hopefully these batterers, these abusers, will be held accountable,” Cote said.

She also runs programs in Gaston, Lincoln, Cleveland and Union counties.

For more information on the Impact Program for offenders, click here.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:26:56 -0400

Masked man robs Plaza restaurant at gunpoint

An east Charlotte Chicken King is back open after a masked man armed with a gun robbed it and injured employees inside.

Employees said the robber forced them to the ground Friday just before 10 p.m. at the Plaza restaurant.

Ivan Rojas said the masked man came in as they prepared to close.

He forced Rojas and three other employees to lay on the kitchen floor. He then hit Rojas in the back of the head.

Rojas was back on the register Monday.

“You don’t know what people might do,” Rojas said.

He was sweeping the lobby around closing time Friday when the door opened and the robber walked in.

“(He) grabbed me and took me to the register and opened the drawer,” Rojas said.

The robber took cash from the register and then ordered him and the three other employees on the floor. Rojas said the robber hit him and his uncle in the back of their heads for no reason. Then the robber ran out of the back door.

Almost one year ago, Rojas’ 11-year-old cousin had a gun pointed at her while she was in the restaurant. That robber left empty handed, and police never arrested him.

Rojas wonders why robbers keep targeting their store.

“For somebody to just come in here and do that, I mean, I thought we were loved by the community,” Rojas said.

Rojas told Channel 9 he plans to add more security at the restaurant. Police got video from a security camera that belongs to the store next door. They hope it will give them a clear image of the robber.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:22:09 -0400

Senator wants coal ash ponds in Rowan Co. cleaned

A state senator is calling on fellow legislators to prioritize cleanup at coal ash ponds in Rowan County.

Sen. Gene McLaurin (D) wants to ask the Coal Ash Commission to put the Buck Steam Plant on the list of coal ash sites to be cleaned.

PAST ARTICLE: Groups sue Duke Energy over coal ash pollution

"I want to keep as much attention on the Buck plant as possible. We've got to clean those ponds up and we've got to remove that threat to our drinking water supply," McLaurin said.

Sherry Gobble lives feet away from one of the coal ash ponds and said in May tests of her well water by the Waterkeepers Alliance revealed elevated levels of chromium 6, a toxic chemical.

"Whether or not they are linked directly to the coal ash pond, I can't say that. But I can say I'm very concerned," Gobble said.

Gobble said her family now uses bottled water to drink, cook, brush their teeth and bathe in daily.

"Just fear -- that's the kind of feeling I had as a mother, just what in the world have I let my children drink," Gobble said.

Another neighbor, Joann Thomas, said she and her husband have been drinking their well water for more than five decades and now no longer allow their grandchildren to play on areas of their property where water from the coal ash ponds is seeping through.

"It's sort of an entitlement as being an American, we should have clean drinking water," Thomas said.

A spokesman from Duke Energy told Channel 9 officials have been monitoring the groundwater around the Buck plant since 2006.

The spokesman said any levels of chromium that might show up in tests have been well below state groundwater standards, and said that the neighbors' wells were safe.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:05:43 -0400