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Headline Roundup: Highway 74 Closed, Family Dollar Merger And More

Highway 74 Closer After Traffic Fatality 

Highway 74 is still closed in Monroe near CMC-Union. A section of the road has been shut down in both directions since shortly after 7 this morning, when a tractor trailer turned over onto a sheriff’s deputy’s patrol car. The deputy was killed in the accident. Authorities haven’t released that person’s name. The driver of the tractor trailer, Eddie Weeks of Fayetteville, faces a misdemeanor death by motor vehicle charge. The DOT hasn’t said whether that section of Highway 74 will reopen.

Family Dollar To Delay Merger Vote

Family Dollar says shareholders won’t vote on a proposed merger with Dollar Tree until December 23rd. The Matthews-based discount retailer announced today it would delay the vote originally planned for December 11th. The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing the $8.5 billion deal for potential antitrust issues. An update on that process is expected by the end of the first week in December. Meanwhile, rival Dollar General says its $80-a-share buyout offer for Family Dollar will expire on December 31st. Dollar Tree is offering $74.50 a share. Family Dollar’s board has rejected Dollar General’s takeover bid, saying regulators wouldn’t approve it.

SC Issues First Gay Marriage Licenses 

A judge in Charleston this morning issued South Carolina’s first same-sex marriage licenses. Probate Judge Irvin Condon says he issued six licenses to gay couples. The US Fourth Circuit Appeals Court yesterday denied South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s request overrule a judge’s order that overturned the state’s constitution’s same-sex marriage ban. Wilson says he plans to take the case to the US Supreme Court.

NC Court Upholds Gaming Conviction

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has upheld the convictions of two people for violating the state law banning Internet sweepstakes games. State Attorney General Roy Cooper's office says yesterday's ruling is the first time appeals court judges had considered a criminal case in connection with the video sweepstakes industry. The three-judge panel ruled unanimously meaning the Edgecombe County case cannot be automatically appealed to the state Supreme Court. The higher court could still weigh in, though. State lawmakers banned Internet-based sweepstakes games in 2010. The state Supreme Court upheld the law in 2012. Owners of video sweepstakes parlors that are still operating say their games use revised computer software that makes them legal. But lower courts have ruled differently leading to uneven law enforcement across the state.

NC Lawmakers Study Uber, Lyft 

North Carolina lawmakers have heard presentations on services that allow people to sell car rides through a smart phone app or rent out rooms to travelers through an app. Car services such as Uber and Lyft and short-term rental sites including Airbnb represent a new business model that state lawmakers are studying ahead of the General Assembly Session that begins in January. Representatives of the traditional lodging and taxi industries say the new businesses undercut their prices because they have lower overhead and lighter regulation. Individual entrepreneurs can use Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and other similar services to sell rides or rent rooms with little or no prior experience.