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Headline Roundup: I-485 Delays, CMPD Surveillance, Chiquita And More

I-485 To Open Spring 2015

It’ll be next spring before the last stretch of Interstate 485 opens. The North Carolina Department of Transportation announced today the project wouldn’t be finished in December, as it had previously estimated. Engineers say the coming colder weather will slow down paving on the 5.7 mile stretch of Charlotte’s outer loop. 

City Manager Defends CMPD Surveillance Tactics

Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee is defending CMPD’s use of cellphone surveillance equipment. Carlee says the equipment was approved by the FBI in 2012 on the condition that specifics about technology and its capabilities not be disclosed. Carlee’s memo includes information from police which says the equipment doesn’t allow the department to collect or monitor cell phone conversations. CMPD says it doesn’t keep information from anyone unless they’ve been named in court as a suspect. Carlee says he’s satisfied the department is only using the equipment for legitimate law enforcement purposes.

Chiquita To Negotiate With Brazilian Companies

Chiquita says it will negotiate with two Brazilian companies who want to buy the Charlotte-based banana giant. That’s after Chiquita shareholders this morning killed a proposed merger deal preferred by the company’s board with the Irish produce company Fyffes. The Brazilian companies, Cutrale and the Safra Group, yesterday raised their offer to $14.50 a share. They say that bid is only good through Sunday.

Woman To Serve Three Months For Lying To FBI

Federal authorities say a woman will serve three months in prison for lying to the FBI during a kidnapping investigation. Chason Renee Chase also received three years of supervised release. She pleaded guilty in August to making false statements to federal agents in the kidnapping of Frank Janssen of Raleigh last April. Janssen is the father of a North Carolina prosecutor. Prosecutors say a high-ranking Bloods street gang member named Kenneth Melton arranged Janssen's kidnapping while serving a life sentence in a state prison. Authorities say Chase lied about knowing and communicating with Melton on a cellphone hidden in his jail cell. Janssen was later rescued by the FBI in Atlanta.

Ashe County Meth Sting Nabs 50

Authorities in Ashe County arrested about 50 people for making methamphetamine. Ashe County Sherriff James Williams says it’s the largest ever meth arrest in the county. The Sherrif’s office worked with the State Bureau of Investigation on the operation, nicknamed “Witches Brew.”

Slow Progress For High Speed Train

Plans for high speed train service between Raleigh and Richmond seem to be starting slowly. The News & Observer reports leaders in North Carolina and Virginia met in Raleigh yesterday to figure out where to get an estimated $4 billion to build the rail line. Their plan is to start with slower trains on the 163 mile route. That’s 35 miles shorter than the current Amtrak line. The leaders hope to eventually use trains that would travel at up to 110 miles per hour. That plan would require 100 new bridges. 

Shaw University Turns 150

The first historically black university in the South is marking its 150th anniversary. Shaw University’s sesquicentennial celebration kicks off in Raleigh today. Events to mark the anniversary will continue into 2015.