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Source: MedleyStory

3 banks that rip you off with reorder fees

Three giant monster mega-banks have been singled out for gaming the system when it comes to NSF fees. Are you banking with any of these bad boys?

Pew Charitable Trust has identified Bank of AmericaChase, and Wells Fargo as the 3 banks that play dirty pool with your money.

What exactly are they doing? Well, they approve transactions when you have insufficient funds, and then use software to recalculate your transactions and reorder the way they clear your checks. Their goal is to figure out the exact order in which checks should be processed so they can generate the most bounced checks or bounced debit charges.

Here's how this plays out in real life: Let's say you had 6 items clear over a weekend. They could go chronologically and maybe only the last transaction would bounce. But instead they use their software and generally process the largest transactions first -- instead of in the order they came in. And just like that, they could generate as many as 5 overdraft charges! 

It's despicable, disgusting, and reprehensible. What in the world happened to old timey decency in business? Capitalists who look at their customers' best interests first typically do the best.

Fortunately, I have some good news to report too. Several big banks do a good job cutting you a break on non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees, according to Pew. They include Ally Bank,Charles SchwabOneWest Bank, and USAA Federal Savings Bank.

When it comes to banking, why not go with someone who wants to respect you rather than cheat you? 

Meanwhile, I have 2 assignments for you.

  1. Keep good records. Track your balance at all times. They can't rip you off at $35 a pop if you do your part and know you're good for the dough *before* making a purchase.    
  2. Know that it is not a matter of if, but when, a big bank will take advantage of you. Go find another place while the getting is good. Look at small local community banks or credit union as your best option.

For further reading:

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:27:44 -0400

9 indicted in kidnapping of NC prosecutor's father

(AP) As the kidnappers pulled into a quiet, upscale golf course community, they thought they were about to abduct an assistant district attorney who sent a high-ranking gang member to prison for life, authorities said.

But they had the wrong address and when the prosecutor's father answered the door, they took him instead.

For five days, authorities said the kidnappers held 63-year-old Frank Janssen captive in an Atlanta apartment, tormenting his family by sending text messages threatening to cut him into pieces if police were called or their demands weren't met. They even sent a photo of him tied up in a chair.

On Tuesday, an indictment charged nine people in Janssen's abduction, including 49-year-old Bloods member Kelvin Melton, who authorities said was calling the shots by cellphone from his North Carolina prison cell. Janssen's daughter, Wake Forest assistant district attorney Colleen Janssen, prosecuted Melton in 2012 for his role in the shooting of his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.

Court records show Melton has a long record of felony convictions in New York, the first being a 1979 robbery committed when he was 14. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery in 1998 and served more than 13 years in New York prisons before being released in August 2011.

His conviction in North Carolina sent him to prison for life. Authorities said he wanted revenge.

At first, Melton wanted the kidnappers to travel to Louisiana to abduct a family member of his court-appointed attorney from his 2012 trial. He arranged in March for each member of that kidnapping team to receive about $10,000, according to the indictment, but at some point, for reasons not explained in court documents, they called it off.

In late March or early April, Melton called again. This time he wanted a team assembled to "kidnap the ADA," who was identified in the indictment as a "Wake County Assistant District Attorney."

One of the team members used the Internet to look up Colleen Janssen's address but actually found her father's home in Wake Forest, about 15 miles north of Raleigh.

Early on April 5, four of the kidnappers left the Atlanta area for North Carolina. Melton called them several times while they were on the road, at one point asking to be put on speaker phone to give them specific instructions. He told them to wear khakis and collared shirts, so they stopped at a Wal-Mart to buy clothes.

When they got to Janssen's home, three of the kidnappers went to the door while another waited in the car, according to the indictment. When Frank Janssen cracked the door, the kidnappers forced their way in, hit him with a stun gun several times and pistol-whipped him.

As they drove back to Atlanta, Janssen was forced to lie on the floorboard of the back seat of a rental car. They put handcuffs on him and used the stun gun on him dozens of times.

The indictment doesn't say what happened when Melton discovered they kidnapped Janssen's father instead of the prosecutor, but two days after he was taken, Janssen's wife started receiving the threatening text messages.

Each one seemed to grow more urgent. On April 9, Janssen's wife received a photo of him tied up in a chair along with a message: "Tomorrow we call you again an (sic) if you can not tell me where my things are at tomorrow i will start torchering."

The indictment said that while Janssen was in the Atlanta apartment, he was taped to a chair in a closet, and some of the kidnappers stood watch. Melton sent instructions to one member to assist in the killing and disposal of Janssen if Melton's demands weren't met or if the team lost contact with Melton for three days. The specific demands have not been released by authorities.

Around 8 p.m. April 9, Melton received a text saying, "We got car, spot, and shovel." A few minutes later, Melton called the kidnappers and told them to kill Janssen and gave specific instructions not to leave any DNA behind, court documents said.

By that night, authorities had determined Melton had orchestrated the scheme and was still calling the shots behind bars. When corrections officers tried entering his cell, he smashed the phone.

Authorities pinpointed Janssen's location and stormed the apartment just before midnight April 9. A short while later, three of the nine people charged were caught in a Chevy Tahoe that had two shovels, a pick and a gun inside.

Melton was indicted along with Quantavious Thompson, Jakym Tibbs, Tianna Maynard, Clifton Roberts, Jenna Martin, Jevante Price, Michael Gooden and Patricia Kramer. All face a federal conspiracy charge related to the abduction, and all but Kramer are charged with kidnapping. Some of the defendants face additional charges. All but Kramer were in custody Tuesday.


Associated Press Writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed to this report.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:36:26 -0400

Former army sergeant to receive Medal of Honor today

Wednesday in Raleigh, an army sergeant who lives in Charlotte will receive special recognition from Governor Pat McCrory.

Kyle White will be awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Afghanistan.

White will be only the seventh living Iraq or Afghanistan war veteran to receive the honor.

He is no longer in the army and now works as an investment analyst.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:21:42 -0400

2 CMS high schools ranked among 10 best in NC

Two CMS high schools are among the ten best schools in the state.

U.S. News World and Report ranked the schools based on test scores and the percentage of students in advanced classes.

Butler High School, in Matthews, ranked fifth in the state and South Mecklenburg High School came in seventh.

Cox Mill High School in Concord was ranked ninth.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:16:42 -0400

Police: Woman drove drunk with 8-year-old in car

A Morganton woman is facing charges after police said she drove drunk with her 8-year-old daughter in the car.

An officer said he noticed Hannah Shorthouse driving all over the road Saturday night and said he smelled alcohol when he pulled her over.

The officer took Shorthouse into custody after he said she failed several field sobriety tests.

Authorities placed her daughter in the grandmother's custody.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:09:41 -0400

Study claims CMS faculty disciplines minorities most

A new study shows faculty at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools disciplined minority students more often.

The report found African-American students are disciplined the most.

It looked at incidents involving assaults, weapons on campus and behavioral problems.

Experts blame cultural gaps between students and teachers.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:03:45 -0400

Second Publix store in NC opens in Matthews

A new Publix opened in Matthews Wednesday morning.

The store is on Fincher Farm Road and it's the second one to open in North Carolina.

The doors opened at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Charlotte's first Publix opened in Ballantyne in February.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 07:51:12 -0400

Study: Stallings is safest town in Charlotte area

A new study claims Stallings is the safest town in the Charlotte area.

SafeWise used FBI crime data to rank North Carolina towns and cities.

Stallings came in seventh, with .7 violent crimes per thousand people.

The study noted the town's newsletter has an entire page dedicated to police information.

Matthews came in as the 11th safest, with a violent crime rate of 1.7 per thousand.

Also in ranked the teens were Huntersville, Mint Hill and Cornelius.

Check out the complete list here.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 07:44:39 -0400

Police charge woman with murder in husband's death

Police in Hudson have charged a woman with murdering her husband Monday.

Officers said they were called to 302 Kristin Lane after receiving a stabbing call. When they arrived at the home they found 58-year-old William Harris outside with a stab wound to his chest.

He was pronounced dead.

Police arrested his wife, 54-year-old Donna Harris, and charged her with murder. She is being held at the Caldwell County Detention Center under no bond and will appear in court Wednesday.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Hudson Police Department with investigating the case.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 07:42:05 -0400

Car parts company to bring more than 200 jobs to Catawba Co.

A car parts company expects to bring almost 230 new jobs to Catawba County.

County commissioners passed an economic development deal with GKN Driveline Monday night.

The company plans to invest $122 million in its facility in Newton.

Workers can expect to make an average of more than $36,000.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 07:30:13 -0400

Republican NC Senate candidates meet in debate

(AP) The front runner in the race for North Carolina's Republican U.S. Senate nomination is trying to keep his message on his own record and working to defeat Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan in November, rather than attacking his leading GOP rivals.

Thom Tillis, the state House speaker, largely shrugged off criticism about aspects of his legislative record from one of the three other candidates participating in their first television debate held two weeks before the May 6 primary. Tillis focused instead Tuesday night on what Republicans in Raleigh had accomplished since becoming the majority party under his leadership, and how he wanted to do the same in a U.S. Senate majority.

"I led a conservative revolution in Raleigh that the liberals don't like but conservatives like a lot," Tillis said at the close of the hour-long debate at Davidson College, adding that Hagan is out of touch by voting too similarly with Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid: "She needs to be sent home."

The debate was the first of three in less than a week. A half-hour debate by the same four candidates — Tillis, obstetrician Greg Brannon, Baptist minister Mark Harris and family nurse practitioner Heather Grant — was scheduled for Wednesday evening at a Raleigh TV studio. In-person early voting begins Thursday.

On Tuesday, Brannon criticized Tillis for his record on the health care overhaul and national education standards. But Tillis defended himself and later criticized Brannon on a gun rights question.

Grant and Harris stayed clear of harsh words and generally agreed with the other two on supporting repeal of the health care overhaul, questioning the wisdom of raising the federal minimum wage and eliminating federal agencies. Brannon, a tea party favorite who counts U.S. Sen. Rand Paul among his endorsements, added the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Service to the list, citing portions of the U.S. Constitution that leave power to the states.

"That's what we've got to get back to ... individual sovereignty, state sovereignty," Brannon said.

Harris, the former president of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention, suggested ethical principles should stand tallest for voters when picking a nominee.

"You can have all the money, you can have all the experience, you can have all the knowledge of the Constitution and whatever," Harris said. "But if you don't have character, what do you really have?"

Grant, who served as an Army nurse until 2012, said she's running to encourage other like-minded leaders in the future. "We need to work with those who come behind us and grow our conservative so that we never wind up exactly where we are now," she said.

Eight candidates in all are running in the GOP primary. Tillis is the favorite of GOP congressional leaders and leading fundraiser in the primary, which requires the leading vote-getter to receive more than 40 percent to avoid a mid-July runoff.

Hagan and national Democrats have criticized Tillis in recent commercials. Tillis has accused them of trying to meddle in the GOP primary by attempting to weaken his candidacy.

Hagan faces her own primary next month against two little-known opponents. Her campaign spent Tuesday night sending out emails, mostly criticizing Tillis. In a release, the campaign said the debate showed "they all support a fringe agenda that is bad for middle class families and out of touch with North Carolina's commonsense values."

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:46:34 -0400

Oops! NYPD Twitter hashtag backfires

The New York Police Department dealt with a social media emergency Tuesday after a well-intentioned hashtag backfired in an epic way. 

It's simple enough: This tweet from the NYPD's official Twitter account encouraged users to tweet photos of themselves with New York's finest using #myNYPD.

What followed was a day-long coup d'Twitter as users hijacked the hashtag and posted unflattering photos of New York police. 

Some pictures were more ironic, like this photo of officers standing next to an ad that reads, "We're not for everyone. Just the 1% that matters." (Via Twitter / @TheRealKeori)

Other pictures were more comedic, like this officer frisking a suspicious looking pup. (Via Twitter / @BananaKarenina)

>> Read more trending stories

But the tone was mostly grim as Twitter users tweeted picture after picture of police brutality, some more graphic than others. (Via Twitter / @Scizyr@OLAASM@OccupyWallStNYC)

Nearly 10 hours after the NYPD launched its doomed Twitter campaign, #myNYPD was still trending in the U.S. 

A writer at Gawker called the hashtag fail "predictable" while a Quartz headline read, "The NYPD just figured out the perfect way to publicize its own worst moments." 

So, what went wrong? How did this whole share-your-NYPD-photos thing turn on its head so quickly? 

According to CNN, the NYPD said in a statement it was "creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community.  Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city."

The New York Times reports the NYPD enjoyed some success in 2012 with a viral image of an officer giving a homeless man a pair of boots, but adds that today's lesson is "Be Careful What You Tweet For." 

At least one user offered up a simple explanation for the failure, saying "Like, seriously guys. It's the Internet." (Via Twitter / @MattMarkiewicz)

The New York Times added that the department is not deterred, despite today's #myNYPD offerings. Spokesman Stephen Davis told The Times, "You take the good with the bad." 

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:43:06 -0400

Michaels: Charlotte area stores affected by data breach

Channel 9 has discovered that most Michaels stores in and around the Charlotte area were affected by the latest data breach.

The company says three million customers nationwide are involved, saying their credit and debit card numbers were stolen.

Names and personal identification numbers and addresses were not affected.

The biggest impact is in the Charlotte area, as hackers stole from all ten local stores.

Michaels says the incident is under control and the malware no longer exists in its systems.

The company says it has received only a few reports of fraudulent activity and are offering customers free credit monitoring for a year.

Check out the complete list of affected stores and dates of exposure here.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:19:06 -0400

You won't believe what America's funniest city is


That’s right, the home of the Cubs, Da Bears, and the place where Second City was born is at the top of the charts.

The criterion was put together by the University of Colorado. Let’s be honest: Since the legalization of marijuana, they probably laugh at anything, but stick with me and we’ll see how they came to the conclusion.

The school's Humor Research Lab developed a formula that considered the following:

  • number of famous comedians born there
  • number of comedy clubs and comedy radio stations
  • number of "funny tweeters" living there
  • ratings of local audiences by traveling comedians
  • frequency of visits to comedy websites and comedy-related Web searches by residents

"We found humor often has a local flavor," lead researcher Peter McGraw told The Chicago Tribune.

>> Read more trending stories

The work says it’s that local flavor that leads those who live in the Windy City to poke fun at themselves.

"The jokes that Chicagoans do tend to tell often feature deadpan and quick-witted humor, much of it directed at the foibles and frustrations of living in Chicago," the study states.

"They prefer to mine observational humor from the situations in which they find themselves. Such remarks seem to fit with the city’s professional comedy scene, since the city is known as a mecca for improv and stand-up."

Finishing out the top five were Boston; Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; and Portland.

More here, including the rest of the Top 10. 

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 02:59:36 -0400

Fire breaks out inside west Charlotte home

Firefighters are working to find out what started a fire at home in west Charlotte late Tuesday night.

The flames broke out at the home on Morton Street just after 10 p.m., damaging the inside of the house.

Firefighters told Channel 9 that nobody was home when the fire started.

Published: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 23:18:11 -0400

Man hit by suspected drunk driver describes crash

A man hit by a suspected drunk driver talked to Eyewitness News Tuesday night hours after leaving the hospital.
Troopers said a suspected drunk driver crossed the center line on St. Paul Church Road causing the crash.
Chris Brown detailed every second that he can remember about that terrifying crash and why he believes it could happen to someone else.

“When the truck was on fire, that's where it burned me there,” Brown said.
Doctors said he will have a long recovery.

"They said it'd be up to a year before I'd be able to do anything normal," he said.
Brown said he was heading home from bowling with his brother Saturday afternoon in Salisbury when he saw a truck headed right for them.
"We ended up off into the ditch, and the first thing I said after that, was I asked if my brother was OK and then I realized that I was pinned," he said.
Brown remembers being stuck in this wreckage and troopers said Mark Carter was driving drunk when he crossed the center line.
Crews had to use the Jaws of Life to rescue him.
Investigators later revealed Carter should have never been behind the wheel on weekends because troopers said his license was suspended due to a prior DWI conviction.

"It makes me very angry to start with, but then also, makes me think there should be a lot harsher punishments for DUIs," he said.
Brown had to undergo emergency surgery on his hip and now he is worried about being out of work and supporting his family.
"Now, they have to be the ones to help me and I've always been the one to help them. Now I can't do that because of this guy," he said.
Carter remains in the hospital Tuesday night.
Investigators said the state may seize his truck because it marks his second DWI offense.
Troopers also said he faces jail time and his license could be suspended for an additional four years.

Published: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 23:06:13 -0400

Truck slams into southeast Charlotte apartment building

The Red Cross is helping three families who were forced out of their apartments after a truck crashed into the building's stairway Tuesday night in southeast Charlotte.

The crash happened at an apartment complex off Teal Point Drive.

Police said no one was hurt.

Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the crash.

No charges have been filed.

To see more local news stories, click here.

Published: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:31:31 -0400

Blind man robbed after throat slashed

A 65-year-old blind man is shaken after someone he was trying to cloth and feed robbed him and slashed his throat.

“It's just something I feel like doing. If I can help somebody reach out,” Steven Caldwell said.  

Helping others is exactly what Caldwell was doing Sunday evening when he came face-to-face with two men who attacked and robbed him inside his home.

Caldwell, who's legally blind, said he knew one of the men, David Simmons, and helped the homeless man in the past.

But he said on Sunday, Simmons and another man showed up at his home demanding $40 in cash.

“He told me I better do that or he's going to hurt me,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell refused and instead, offered the men food and a place to stay for the night. 

He said that's when the situation turned ugly.

“He grabbed me by my throat and just held me around the neck,” Caldwell said. “I felt that when I gave him what they wanted they would go away.”

One of the suspects slashed Caldwell's neck with a knife and stole $100, his cellphone and even his Dictaphone that he uses to communicate with people.

Both suspects ran away but police caught Simmons at a nearby bus stop.

Caldwell was treated for lacerations to his neck but he said the attack won't stop him from helping others.

“The Lord takes care of you one way or another,” Caldwell said.

To see more local news stories, click here.

Published: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:41:35 -0400

Police: Man attacked several customers at Concord Mills

Concord police responded to reports of an assault and acts of property damage at Concord Mills mall Tuesday afternoon.

According to a release from the Concord Police Department, officers discovered a man had assaulted several people with his fists and had broken a display case inside of one of the stores.

The offender also attempted to steal a vehicle from a motorist in the parking lot but was unsuccessful.

Responding officers took David Simpson, 32, into custody in the parking lot outside of the mall.

All victims received only minor injuries. The release also said officers believe it was a random act.

According to the release, officers cannot determine the motive for Simpson’s actions.

Police said Simpson was charged with felony possession of cocaine, attempted common law robbery, two counts of assault on a female, simple assault, resist, obstruct and delay an officer, property damage and disorderly conduct.

Simpson was also served outstanding misdemeanor warrants from Rowan County for disorderly conduct and resist, obstruct and delay an officer. The release said he was being transported to the Cabarrus County Jail.

Published: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:15:46 -0400

Viral video: Massive 805-lb. world record mako shark caught

It took the cousins more than an hour to land the monster mako.

A picture of them putting gas in their truck with the huge fish in the back has gone viral on the Internet. Keep in mind that mako sharks are typically aggresive and are the fastest shark in the ocean, swimming at 60mph in short bursts.

Earnie and Joey Polk are no strangers to catching big sharks. In 2010, Earnie landed a then world record 928-pound Tiger shark. 

Only a month later, Joey topped that when he caught a tiger shark measuring just under 13 feet and weighing nearly 950 pounds. 

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The guys usually tag the predators and then release them for NOAA. This specimen they kept, just for the bragging rights. 

Oh, and the meat. 

Earnie told the Pensacola News Journal he did the homework required to use the fish for food. 

The cousins expect to harvest 600 pounds of shark meat for lucky friends and family. 

“It's a $10 per pound fish at the fish market... It sells right along with tuna and swordfish," he beamed.

"Between all of us, there won't be a bit of it wasted." 

The two won’t tell exactly where they caught the granddaddy shark; they say that’s a professional secret. 

More here.   

Published: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:50:20 -0400