National Roundup

North Carolina
State files 2nd lawsuit against Duke Energy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The state of North Carolina has filed a second lawsuit against Duke Energy, saying that coal ash threatens Charlotte’s water supply.
The Charlotte Observer reported the Division of Water Quality last week changed its existing complaint about ash stored at Duke Energy Progress Asheville plant. The addition added the Riverbend plant near Charlotte.
The state filed a separate lawsuit late last week regarding the Riverbend plant in Mecklenburg County Superior Court.
Both lawsuits complain about the risks from coal ash storage areas.
Duke has said the seepage from the storage area is normal and does not affect water quality in Mountain Island Lake. The utility says it complies with its discharge permit into the lake.
The lawsuit asks the court to require Duke to assess contamination at the site.

Receiver named for treasure hunter dispute

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A judge in central Ohio has appointed a receiver to take over the companies of a treasure hunter who is considered a fugitive in a yearslong dispute over a millions of dollars in gold.
Tommy Thompson and an assistant are being sought by federal marshals in the case, which began when Thompson used investors’ money to raise gold worth an estimated $52 million from the wreck of the SS Central America off North Carolina in the 1980s.
The investors, who kicked in $12.7 million, got nothing, and multiple lawsuits have ensued.
A judge in Columbus issued the receivership decision last week, saying the companies are in “great disarray,” The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday. The judge said the plan should include the feasibility of trying to recover more treasure from the wreck of the side-wheel steamer that sunk in 1857.
The attorney for Thompson’s companies said the appointment of a receiver was disappointing.
Thompson has been a fugitive since August when a federal judge ordered his arrest after the treasure salvager did not show up at a contempt-of-court hearing. Seamen who worked for him on the expedition are suing him for a small percentage of the treasure in that case.
Also being sought is Thompson’s assistant, Alison Antekeier, who did not appear in federal court as ordered in November.
Thompson also has faced legal tussles over claims to the gold by insurance companies and rival salvagers and over returns that were expected by investors in the search effort.

New Hampshire
Home invasion leader drops his court appeal

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire Supreme Court is allowing the man who wielded a machete during a fatal home invasion nearly four years ago drop his appeal.
The court granted the motion by lawyers for 21-year-old Steven Spader to withdraw the appeal of his first-degree murder and other convictions in the death of 42-year-old Kimberly Cates and maiming of her daughter, Jaimie, in the Mont Vernon home invasion in 2009.
Spader last month was resentenced to life in prison plus 76 years. His resentencing was required by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that said mandatory life sentences for killers under the age of 18 were unconstitutional unless judges considered any mitigating factors that are age-related.
Spader instructed his lawyers in the resentencing hearing not to argue on his behalf.

South Carolina
Court date set for school dress code lawsuit

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — A federal judge has set a trial date for a case challenging how three school administrators enforced the dress code at a Sumter County middle school.
The Item of Sumter reports that U.S. District Judge Joseph Anderson has set the trial for March.
In the lawsuit, Charles Smith alleges the enforcement of the dress code at Furman Middle School was arbitrary and caused humiliation for students.
The lawsuit alleges Smith’s son was targeted by administrators after Smith started a petition campaign to have the school’s principal removed. The lawsuit says the boy, who now attends a private school, was suspended for wearing a jacket with a Columbia logo.
The suit names the principal and two assistants. The district says the dress code enforcement was proper.

12 indicted in meth-making conspiracy case

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (AP) — Police in Kentucky say they’ve seen an increase in cases where a large number of people conspire to manufacture methamphetamine.
WYMT-TV in Hazard reported a federal grand jury last week indicted a dozen people in a Whitley County meth conspiracy, and more arrests are likely in the case.
The investigation began at a house in the Canadatown community on March 1. Kentucky State Police spokesman Don Trosper said the Williamsburg Police Department arrested two suspects. Officers also found guns and an explosive device. The investigation led to 10 additional suspects.
Trosper said the sale of pseudoephedrine is limited to a small amount, so several people get involved in making the illicit drug.
All 12 suspects await a federal court hearing.

Widow of killed hunter sues alleged shooter

AUBURN, Maine (AP) — The widow of a Maine hunter shot to death last fall has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the other hunter charged with firing the fatal shot, seeking $500,000 in compensation.
Authorities say Christopher Austin shot and killed 49-year-old Gerard Parent last November while the two were hunting separately in Wales. The Warden Service said they were shooting at the same deer.
Parent’s widow, Becky Ann Brown, sued in Androscoggin County Superior Court asking a judge to attach Austin’s property to ensure her wrongful death claim.
The Sun Journal reports that according to the lawsuit, Brown is under a doctor’s care because of “the emotional turmoil” of Parent’s death.
Austin has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in the case, including manslaughter.
His lawyer did not immediately return a call.


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