Sun. Headlines: Dueling Rallies at SC Statehouse, Streetcar Wreck

Jul 19, 2015

Hundreds of people taunted each other on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse Saturday during separate rallies staged by two groups from outside the state.

Black Educators for Justice, based in Jacksonville, Florida, held its rally on the north side of the Statehouse, where the Confederate flag was removed earlier this month. Later, about 40 members of the North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held a rally on the opposite side of the building to protest the flag's removal. The dueling rallies were mostly peaceful, though  two men involved in a scuffle were led away by police.

2 HURT IN STREETCAR ACCIDENT

Two people were slightly hurt Saturday morning when a street car on Charlotte’s new Lynx Gold Line ran into a sport utility vehicle. The wreck happened around 10:30am on Elizabeth Avenue near North Kings Drive, coming just days after the 37 million dollar street car line opened. Charlotte Area Transit System is investigating. The SUV’s driver told WSOC-TV he planned to hire a lawyer. 

FIRE DESTROYS TAYLORSVILLE CHURCH

Fire burned a church yesterday in Taylorsville, and officials are blaming severe weather. Nobody was hurt when the fire tore through the main building of Bethlehem Baptist Church, sending flames skyward from the sanctuary’s roof.  WCNC-TV reports firefighters don't know for sure what started the blaze, but a severe thunderstorm and lightning were in the area at the time.   Fire crews from throughout Alexander County, as well as adjacent Caldwell County and the city of Hickory were assisting in fighting the fire. Taylorsville is about 65 miles north of Charlotte.

HEMP OIL, ZIP LINE BILLS BECOME LAW

Gov. Pat McCrory signed 9 bills into law last week, including one that makes it easier to use a marijuana extract called hemp oil to treat children with severe epilepsy. Other new laws authorize a study into zip-line safety and increase the penalties for wrongdoing related to carnival ride accidents. The zip line study comes after a 12-year-old girl died last month after falling from a zip line in Alleghany County. 

FIRE CLOSES MOUNTAIN TRAIL

The National Forest Service has closed a portion of the Mountains-to-Sea trail in McDowell County because of a small wildfire. The blaze was burning yesterday on about 2 acres of forest service land near Bald Knob. Officials think the fire may have started with a lightning strike.  

LAWMAKERS FAVOR MARCH PRIMARIES

It looks like North Carolina Republican legislators have settled on a new date for  a presidential primary next year.  Lawmakers said Saturday that House and Senate GOP leaders have agreed in principle to move the Democratic and Republican primaries to March 15. A 2013 state law set the presidential primary for late February. But the Republican National Committee has threatened to take away most of North Carolina delegates to next summer's convention if the primary remained in February. Florida, Ohio and Missouri also have scheduled March 15 primaries.  Representative David Lewis of Dunn is an RNC member. Lewis confirmed the deal, which also gives the winners all the state's delegates. A Senate committee is scheduled to debate the bill early this week.

HAMLIN WINS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE

Denny Hamlin bumped Austin Dillon out of the way and raced to victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity race in New Hampshire. NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race at the track today begins at 1:30, with Carl Edwards on the pole.

JORDAN NAMED TO INTERNATIONAL HALL OF FAME

And Charlotte Hornets owner and basketball star Michael Jordan will be inducted into the international basketball hall of fame on September 19th. The six-time NBA champion won Olympic gold with the U.S. in 1984 at Los Angeles, then starred on the famed Dream Team in 1992 in Barcelona, Spain. He’s already in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in the US. The FIBA ceremony will be in Lille, France, at the 2015 EuroBasket championship.