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Sun. Headlines: Man Rescued from SC Flood; Jamaican Scammers Targeted; New Year's Hikes at N.C Parks

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North Carolina State Parks

A man was rescued Saturday after being stranded on an island in the Broad River for several days. Meanwhile, federal prosecutors are hoping several suspects can be extradited from Jamaica in 2016 to face trial on charges they bilked Americans out of millions of dollars with promises of lottery winnings. One of the scammers already tried and sentenced was arrested in North Carolina two years ago. And North Carolina state parks are getting ready to celebrate their centennial with hikes on New Year's Day. 

MAN MISSING AFTER FLOOD

A 61-year-old man in Columbia, South Carolina, was rescued Saturday after heavy rains stranded him for days on an island in the Broad River.  The State newspaper reports friends of William Brock called police Christmas Day to say he hadn’t been seen since Monday.

A fire search-and-rescue unit found Brock around 11 a.m. Saturday.  Police say the rising, swiftly moving waters cut off Brock's access to the shore, but officers had not yet determined exactly what happened or how Brock survived.

Brock was checked out at a hospital and was in good condition and spirits. Authorities said he has no permanent address.

PROSECUTORS WANT JAMAICANS TO FACE SCAM TRIAL IN US

Federal prosecutors say they're making headway on extraditing one of the leaders of a Jamaican lottery scam that bilked more than 70 mostly elderly people out of more than 5.6 million dollars.  Lavrick Willocks is facing numerous charges in federal court, but authorities say he's living in Jamaica and building a third story onto his mansion. Prosecutors in North Dakota want to move Willocks and 13 other defendants to the United States to answer charges. They expect movement in the case in early 2016.  Another alleged scam leader, Sanjay Williams, was arrested in 2013 in North Carolina and did not have to be extradited. He was convicted in May and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The scammers told victims they had won lotteries, but needed to pay cash up front to collect their winnings.

HERITAGE PROGRAM CUTS SLOW INFORMATION FLOW

Advocates say budget cuts are undermining a state program used to make preservation and building decisions across North Carolina.  The News and Observer of Raleigh reports the Natural Heritage Program's staff has shrunk from 20 to six people as legislators slashed the budget by more than half over the last two years.  The program, created in 1976, compiles information about North Carolina's natural resources, which helps with preservation, park planning and environmental permitting. But now it’s taking longer to get needed information, including where to build roads.

N.C. PARKS OFFER HIKES ON NEW YEAR’S DAY

North Carolina's state parks system will celebrate the start of its centennial year  with 46 guided hikes on New Year's Day, Friday.  State parks Director Mike Murphy says the hikes begin a year of anniversary events statewide. The state Division of Parks and Recreation says the New Year’s Day hikes range from short leg stretchers to six-mile treks. There’s a photography hike, the unveiling of an art trail, scavenger hunts and a "polar plunge."  A complete list of hikes is at www.ncparks.gov/first-day-hikes. You also can read more on the N.C. Parks blog, ncstateparks.wordpress.com. Last year, about 3,000 people joined the state’s New Year’s Day Hikes. 

DURHAM MAN FATALLY SHOT

Durham police are investigating the death of a 24-year-old man whose body was found on Christmas Day.  Police say someone shot Brian Moore of Durham. His body was found in a Durham street at 6:50 p.m. Friday.    Police say the shooting does not appear to be random, and the investigation continues. They have not released any additional information.

SPORTS: PANTHERS AT ATLANTA

The Carolina Panthers are in Atlanta this afternoon, and there’s more at stake than just their undefeated record. A win today  - or a loss by the Arizona Cardinals - means the Panthers have the No. 1 seed in the playoffs – and home field advantage. Kickoff is 1 o’clock.

Duke won its first bowl game in 54 years Saturday. Ross Martin kicked a 36-yard field goal in overtime as the Blue Devils beat Indiana, 44-41, in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. 

The NHL Carolina Hurricanes beat New Jersey, 3-1, last night. The Canes are 4-2-1 in their last seven games.

Kemba Walker scored 22 points as the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets beat Memphis 98-to-92 last night. Nicolas Batum added 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Hornets are back in action Monday at 7pm when they host the Los Angeles Lakers at Time Warner Cable Arena.