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Headline Roundup: Judges Review Abortion Ultrasound Law; More

A three judge panel in Richmond today reviews a North Carolina law that requires providers to show an ultrasound and describe the fetus to a woman before she has an abortion. The state attorney general appealed a federal court ruling earlier this year that struck down the law on the grounds that it violates the right to free speech. That ruling also says the law amounts to an ideological message in opposition to abortion.

Woman Who Faked Disappearance Faces 9+ Years In Prison
A Gaston County woman who faked her disappearance at North Myrtle Beach over the summer faces at least 9 years in prison. Amy Robinson pleaded guilty yesterday to identity theft and other charges. Robinson’s husband reported her missing on July 5, two days before she was to appear in court. 

Authorities spent three days searching for Robinson before she turned herself in. Her husband was charged in South Carolina with filing a false missing persons report.

Region's Unemployment Drops
Unemployment in the Charlotte region fell to 5.9 percent in September, that’s down 1.2 percent from the same month last year. It’s a tenth of a point higher than the statewide rate. Unemployment in Mecklenburg County for September was 6.3 percent.  Union County’s was the lowest rate in the region, at 5 point 3. The highest unemployment rate in the state is 12 point 2 percent. That’s in Graham County, in Western North Carolina.

Levines' Gift Increases Scholarship Recipients
UNC Charlotte is expanding its Levine Scholarship Program. The school today announced a $13 million gift from the Leon Levine Foundation. The money will grow the number of Levine scholarship recipients over the next six years from 15 to 80. The scholarships are awarded to students based on academic achievement, ethical leadership, and civic engagement.

UNC Charlotte also plans to build a 425-bed residence hall that will also house offices for the Levine Scholars Program and the Honors College. Construction is scheduled to start next spring. The building will be named for Family Dollar founder Leon Levine and his wife Sandra. 

NC Payroll Co. Operators Indicted For Wire Fraud
A federal court yesterday indicted the operators of a North Carolina payroll company after prosecutors say they took more than 11 million dollars from their clients. The Justice Department names 43 year old James Staz of Iron Station and his father 72 year old William Staz of Huntersville are charged with wire fraud. James Staz is also charged with nine counts of money laundering. 

The two ran the company Employee Services Net, through with prosecutors say the Stazs defrauded about 100 clients. Court records show the two used the money to pay for alcohol, visits to strip clubs, and a luxury home.

Regulators Review Fracking Rules Comments
North Carolina regulators are reviewing more than 217,000 comments on new rules for fracking. That’s the controversial process that uses a high-pressure mixture of water, sand or gravel, and other chemicals to extract oil and natural gas from underground shale. The state Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources plans to present a report on the findings to the Mining and Energy commission next month.