By 57-41 Tuesday, senators confirmed Rep. Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
With confirmation of Watt as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, it’s looking more likely that a scramble is developing among candidates who want to replace him in Congress.
But even more confusing may be the elections needed to find a replacement.
At least half a dozen Democrats now say they would like to run to take Watt's 12th District seat.
Because Watt could leave in the middle of his term, two elections may be necessary -- one to fill out the remainder of his current term next year, and a second race for a two-year term beginning in 2015.
"It's possible you could have two elections for the same office going on at the same time," said Michael Dickerson, who heads the County Board of Elections.
In fact, Dickerson said voters could actually face as many as six different election dates before choosing a permanent replacement for Watt.
A special election for the current term could have a primary election in March of 2014, a possible runoff in May and an election against a Republican opponent in June or July.
Much of that schedule could overlap with the preliminaries for a general election in November, when a primary is scheduled for May 2014 and a runoff in July.
Candidates say it could be confusing for voters, but say it will be up to them to make sure voters understand which races are happening at which times.
Gov. Pat McCrory would have to call for any special election. His office said he will share details of his plans when and if Watt is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Read out story on Dems clear the way for Senate to approve Obama's housing pick, Mel Watt here.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:49:45 -0500
Police said an elderly woman was run over by her own car when she fell out in northeast Charlotte.
The accident happened Tuesday afternoon in the CVS parking lot at the corner of Mallard Creek and Prosperity Church roads.
A medical helicopter was flown in to transport the woman to the hospital.
Police said the woman’s injuries are non-life-threatening.
To see more local news stories, click here.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:38:36 -0500
A college student working as an intern at a Mooresville school is in jail accused of having child pornography.
Michael Bernatchez was arrested after investigators were tipped off to the material on his personal laptop.
Bernatchez was an intern at East Mooresville Intermediate School and was scheduled to begin student teaching in the fall.
Bernatchez, 26, is a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
He was doing an internship when police arrested him last week.
Detectives said they found numerous videos and photographs of children involved in sexual activity on his computer.
Investigators said they don't believe any of the images involved students at the fourth- through sixth-grade school.
He had minimal contact, according to school officials. He was in only one classroom and it was one day a week for about 11 days the entire semester.
Officials said Bernatchez went through a strict background check because of his interaction with children.
"We'd never place someone in direct contact without children if they did not pass those backgrounds," a school official said.
After the arrest, the principal called every parent who had a student in the class where Bernatchez interned.
School officials said no students have indicated he acted inappropriately toward them.
Bernatchez is charged with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. He's out of jail on $50,000 bond.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:37:04 -0500
An 8-year-old boy in Lenoir is being called a hero after family members say he woke his mother after noticing their home was on fire.
The boy forced open the front door Tuesday morning after waking to flames and smoke spreading through his mother's home, said his mother's boyfriend, Johnny Bumgarner.
Megan Stanfield suffered second- and third-degree burns to nearly one-third of her body after the home caught fire while she and her son slept.
"He's a hero," Bumgarner said. "He saved his mama's life. They say he's the reason she woke up."
Fire investigators believe the fire was accidental, starting in a part of the home where they say Stanfield was asleep.
Family members said in the confusion she went looking for her son before getting out.
"My wife and I prayed about it this morning," said neighbor Johnny Hicks.
Neighbors said they are praying for the single mother, who had bought Christmas gifts last week for her son.
Now those gifts are gone and fortunately, the boy was not injured.
Bumgarner says the two escaped with only the clothes they were wearing.
"Just making sure that boy has a Christmas is the main thing," Bumgarner said. "And keep him and her in your prayers."
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Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:20:46 -0500
The Rev. Billy Graham's son gave an update on his father's health Tuesday afternoon.
Franklin Graham told Channel 9 on Friday that his father is weak, and now he is asking for prayers.
Franklin said his father had to be hospitalized just weeks after celebrating his 95th birthday.
FULL STORY: Rev. Billy Graham celebrates 95th birthday
Channel 9 spoke to Franklin Friday at an Operation Christmas Child event. He said that his father had another bout with a respiratory infection.
Graham spent some time in the hospital and is now back at home resting.
Franklin said his father is extremely weak, but his vitals are good.
Special Section: Rev. Billy Graham
In a statement, Franklin wrote:
"Our family would appreciate your prayers for him that the Lord would strengthen him. Only the Lord knows what is in store as we move forward in service to him."
In the statement, Franklin says that his father has been so encouraged by the release of his most recent book “The Reason for My Hope—Salvation” that he immediately began work on another book about a subject that he feels that God has laid on his heart.
Read the full statement here.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:16:56 -0500
A Gastonia family thought it landed a deal on hardwood floors after family members found a close-out sale.
It wasn't until they took the boards home that they realized the problems.
They asked Action 9's Jason Stoogenke to step in and help make things right.
The family went to lumber liquidators in Gastonia and found close-out boards on sale for $6,000.
They said the store showed them samples.
They didn't look perfect, but that was OK with them.
Once the boards were in their home, they noticed the problems, including stamp marks and boards that split easily.
The husband told me he wasn't upset with the price, but that he wanted what he paid for.
Stoogenke called the Home Service Store, the business handling complaints for Lumber Liquidators, and they agreed to make things right by letting the family out of paying the remaining $1,899.
The only catch was HSS made them sign a contract saying they wouldn't tell their story on camera, even though Action 9 helped both sides work out a deal.
Action 9 decided not to show family members or their home to protect them from getting into legal trouble.
But that isn't stopping us from warning customers about HSS and sharing this advice from the Better Business Bureau's Tom Bartholomy.
He says when you buy wood boards as is, don't rely on the samples the store shows you.
Ask to see all of the wood that's going to end up in your house.
"You think, 'Well, geez, there's going to be a thousand boards.' Well, you're paying for it," Bartholomy said. Stoogenke checked with three businesses to find out how their prices compared to the $6,000 the family paid.
The businesses' prices ranged from $5,800 to $8,000 for the least expensive solid wood.
If you've been ripped off, overbilled or misled; or if you see something that is hurting all consumers, contact Action 9.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:14:52 -0500
Members of Congress don't want to hear you talking on your cellphone the next time they are on a plane.
Bills in the House and the Senate would ban cellphone calls during flights.
Two months ago, the Federal Aviation Administration began allowing electronic devices to be used during take-offs and landings.
That prompted the Federal Communications Commission to consider lifting a ban on telephone conversations.
Commissioners are scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to move ahead and begin accepting public comments on the proposal.
"It would be really annoying. I think a plane environment should be quiet," said traveler Sandy Zocher.
The FCC has said it would be up to individual airlines to decide whether to allow passengers to talk on their phones during flights.
Head over to our Facebook page and leave your thoughts on this possible ban here.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 15:50:27 -0500
â€‹You know about that little blue pill.
“Isn’t it time you talk to your doctor about Viagra? Twenty million men already have.”â€‹â€‹
But how about a little pink pill? (Via Pfizer)
Researchers say the key ingredient in Viagra — sildenafil citrate — can also be used to treat menstrual cramps in women. (Via Wikimedia Commons / SElefant)
Over-the-counter painkillers like Ibuprofen are usually the go-to treatment for cramps, but doctors warn against the effect prolonged use those drugs can have on the kidneys and liver. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Derrick Coetzee)
â€‹Which led doctors to Viagra as a possible alternative. As HealthDay points out, it's been tested before, but orally. In those studies, doctors found the side effects, including headaches, to be too great.
This latest study tested vaginal application of the drug in 25 women. They were asked to rate their menstrual pain over a period of four hours. (Via WCVB)
Those who were given a dose of sildenafil citrate reported better overall pain relief than those given a placebo.
Interestingly, the whole point of giving Viagra was to increase blood flow in the uterus. But the patients who were given the placebo also had increased blood flow. At this point, the doctors don't know why that is. (Via ABC)
The researchers say larger studies are necessary to fully understand the benefits of sildenafil citrate. Their findings are published in the journal Human Reproduction.
- See more at Newsy.com
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 15:40:11 -0500
A family came home from vacation to find their home burglarized and gutted by a fire.
Investigators believe the thief ransacked the Lincolnton home then set it on fire.
The fire started early Sunday morning at the home on Huss Street.
A neighbor told Channel 9 she believed she may have seen the arsonist.
The woman said around 2:30 a.m. she saw the shadow of a man on the front porch of the house.
She didn’t know the family was out of town and she thought the man was the homeowner.
About an hour later, she saw flames shooting through the roof.
“Basically my home was taken from me, taken from my family,” said homeowner Derek Thompson.
Thompson said he still can’t believe that someone would destroy his home after stealing two TVs, power tools and games.
“Why would someone do all this?” he asked.
Thompson, his wife and 5-year-old son were at a cheerleading competition in Tennessee. His 8-year-old daughter was competing.
They received a call that their home was on fire.
He said when they returned they were stunned by what they found. It was most painful for his children.
“They would cry in their sleep and it was just hard,” Thompson said.
He said the fire robbed them of almost everything.
“Pictures that were only taken once,” he said.
Thompson constantly made repairs on the house.
“The whole time I lived here I spent every last cent I had just to make it better,” he said.
Friends and family rushed to help and have already bought all new furniture for the family.
They got Christmas gifts and appliances and are still collecting clothes and money.
Their generosity almost moved Thompson to tears.
“They did everything, but rebuild the house,” he said.
The family will stay in an apartment until their insurance replaces the house.
The thing they need most is to see the person who is responsible arrested.
Anyone with information on the case is urged to call Crime Stoppers.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 15:38:44 -0500
A Charlotte mother is preparing to face her first Christmas without her son.
"He liked to joke a lot -- stay in a light mood," said Elaine Price
This Christmas, Price won't get to hear her son's jokes or his laugh. She can only look at his smiling face in pictures, including an angel ornament she carefully hung on the family's tree.
"It's just different because we know he's not going to be here, because he normally is the life of the party," she said.
James Price, 24, was stabbed to death to outside a Lil' Wayne concert at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in July.
Investigators said he was attacked while trying to defend his girlfriend from at least two attackers who verbally abused her and hit her in the head.
Police said hundreds of people were around when it happened, but nearly five months later, no one has come forward to help identify the attackers.
"It could have been them instead of me. It could have been their brother, son or uncle," Elaine Price said.
But it is the Price family that will spend a part of Christmas day visiting a gravesite, praying that someone will offer the gift of closure and justice for James.
"If they would just come forward and tell what they saw, it may be something small, but it may be something the police could use," his mother said.
After James was attacked, some witnesses said they saw a black sedan leaving the area.
If you have any information about the murder of James Price, call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 13:30:26 -0500
Democrats have taken advantage of their weakening of filibusters and muscled through the Senate President Barack Obama's pick to lead a housing regulation agency.
By 57-41 Tuesday, senators confirmed Rep. Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Obama nominated the North Carolina Democrat in May but he's been in limbo ever since. Republicans have said he's not qualified, while Democrats say the 21-year House veteran has the needed experience.
Until Tuesday, Watt's nomination was blocked because Democrats needed 60 Senate votes to end a GOP filibuster. But last month, the chamber's majority Democrats lowered that threshold to a simple majority.
Also Tuesday, the Senate confirmed another top Obama pick: Patricia Millett to join the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:26:23 -0500
It seems cupid has traded his bow and arrow for a rifle in the case of this couple.
Northwest Georgia couple Audrey Mayo, 24, and Matthew Tyler Webb, 23, didn’t feel the pangs of love until Mayo felt the force of a bullet shot from Webb’s hunting rifle tear through her leg.
It was an accident which brought them together. “It’s like a modern version of how a caveman used to bash a woman over the head with a club,” Mayo’s sister, Rachel Greer, 27, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “These days, they just shoot her in the leg.”
On Nov. 21, Webb and Mayo, not yet officially a couple, spent time at Webb’s mother’s house when Webb decided to go after some nearby deer, the Times Free Press reported. Webb grabbed his rifle and began his hunt.
A little later, Mayo thought she heard Webb calling her and walked up on him in a thicket. He shot when he heard the rustle of her footsteps, his bullet piercing her thigh, slicing through a vein, and exiting her kneecap, Mayo told the newspaper.
Mayo woke up days later in a Chattanooga hospital with Webb by her side. She now considers him her boyfriend, she told the paper. Webb has moved in to her house to help in her recovery.
The law may not be so quick to forgive. Webb admitted to police he was under the influence of drugs when he shot Mayo, and he is under criminal investigation.
Webb was charged with discharging a firearm within 150 feet of a roadway and may still face a slew of other offenses.
Lafayette, Ga., Police Captain Stacey Meeks said his department is jointly investigating the incident with the Department of Natural Resources. He expects the DNR will bring an indictment once a toxicology report is returned.
“We had blood samples recovered after he admitted to being under the influence of a couple different drugs, mainly methamphetamine,” Capt. Meeks told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “As soon as they come back, they will try to indict him.”
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:17:51 -0500
Charlotte Mecklenburg police have caught and arrested the man accused of shooting the brother-in-law of the Columbia, S.C. mayor.
Donald Gist was found dead on Beatties Ford Road on Friday.
Police arrested Arthur Givens Tuesday at a home on Echodale Drive.
SLIDESHOW: Paramedics: 1 dead in shooting on Beatties Ford Road
Givens is charged with murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, assault with a deadly weapon and communicating threats.
Investigators were offering a $5,000 reward for information that led to the arrest of Givens.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:11:23 -0500
Gastonia police arrested a man after they said he broke into a home with a teenager inside.
The teenager said she saw David Smith come up her driveway in the Yorkchester neighborhood around 10 a.m., on West 5th Street.
She said Smith saw her inside but he kept walking to a side window.
He took off the screen, she said, and crawled inside.
She ran out and called 911 from a neighbor’s house.
When police got there, they said Smith was still inside and sent their dogs in to flush him out.
Neighbor Cheri Arnold said Smith is homeless and known to wander the streets.
Arnold thinks he could have been looking for food or warmth, and hopes that's all it was.
"It makes me worry what was on his mind. After he saw her through the window, makes you wonder what he was going to do," Arnold said.
Smith has faced misdemeanor charges for his past run-ins with the law.
He is now charged with resisting an officer, a misdemeanor and breaking and entering, which is a felony.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:02:31 -0500
An Alexander County bank was robbed Tuesday morning.
Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty was at the bank where the Peoples Bank parking lot was taped off.
Hiddenite Elementary School was placed on lockdown after the bank robbery.
Police released surveillance photos of the suspected bank robber who is a white man with an anchor tattoo on the left side of his neck.
Since releasing the surveillance photos, investigators said since then they have received several calls identifying the robber as David Johnson.
He is described as heavier set with a goatee and was wearing a hat.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 11:49:33 -0500
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory announced Tuesday that American International Group will open a technology center in Mecklenburg County, bringing 230 jobs with it.
The company plans to create the new jobs by the end of 2017 and invest more than $5.5 million in Charlotte.
"We're proud of the financial and professional services cluster that has formed in the Charlotte region, and AIG will be a welcome addition to the community," McCrory said.
The technology center will provide application development and management services for AIG.
AIG is provides property casualty insurance, life insurance and retirement services and mortgage insurance.
The new operation is expected to be launched in 2014 and fully staffed in 2017.
To see more local news stories, click here.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 11:35:21 -0500
A former chair of Winthrop University's Board of Trustees was shot and killed Monday.
Authorities said 81-year-old Dr. Mary Jean Martin was shot by her husband 91-year-old James Martin. He then shot himself at their home in Rock Hill, they said.
Authorities are calling the deaths a murder-suicide.
Both of the Martins had failing health.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 11:31:57 -0500
NCDOT will close the Inbound/Westbound lanes of Independence Blvd. to install girders for the future bridge carrying Conference Drive over Independence Blvd. Traffic will be detoured from Independence Blvd. to Harris Blvd. to Idlewild Rd. nightly, beginning at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10th through Friday, December 13th at 5 a.m.
The closures are part of the $51 million widening project to convert Independence Boulevard to an expressway between Sharon Amity Road and Wallace Lane which is expcted to be completed in October 2016.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:57:59 -0500
A man charged with drunken driving in a 2011 Lexington crash that killed two children has been arrested again on a DUI charge.
Authorities say 39-year-old Robert Darren Craft was charged Friday with DUI, second offense. Police say a Springdale officer heard screeching tires at around 2 a.m. Friday and smelled alcohol when he approached Craft's vehicle. Police say Craft also failed several field sobriety tests.
Craft served a year in prison after he was convicted of DUI for the 2011 crash that killed 10-year-old Haley Upchurch and her 7-year-old brother, Cameron. Authorities said the children were riding with their grandparents when their car was struck by Craft's pickup truck.
Craft was in jail Tuesday, and court records listed no attorney for him.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:22:47 -0500
A man and woman were coming home from buying groceries when gunshots rang out.
The Rock Hill man was shot several times in his own driveway. Then the stranger turned the gun on his girlfriend.
Sheneka Carter lives across the street of the victims on Haigler Street and heard the shots.
"I heard two gunshots, and when I looked out the window. I really didn't see anything, and then later I saw the ambulance," Carter said.
On Tuesday, rain-smeared fingerprint dust was still visible on the Land Rover SUV the couple had just gotten out of. Police said the gunman scuffled with Dylangen Robinson, shot him, then robbed Shyreeta Kennedy, stealing her purse, wallet, keys and money.
Kennedy described the gunman as wearing a black hoodie, and said he ran between their home and their neighbor's home.
Police cordoned off Haigler Street and Robinson went to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds.
About four hours after the shooting call, police came back to the same house when neighbors reported hearing glass breaking at the house.
An officer knocked on the door and a man appeared, then quickly slammed the door in the officer's face.
A back window of the house was found shattered, and police think the intruder jumped out that window and ran behind the neighborhood and vanished.
It's not clear who the man was, or if the break-in is linked to the earlier shooting.
Police brought out tracking dogs to try and pick up a trail, but they could not.
Robinson was stabilized at Piedmont Medical Center, then transferred to Carolinas Medical Center where his condition is unknown.
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Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:09:38 -0500