Entries in North Carolina (7)


NC Town Setting of 'The Hunger Games' for Sale

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(HENRY RIVER MILL VILLAGE, N.C.) -- Still hungry for The Hunger Games? If owning a "Katniss" Barbie doll isn't enough to satisfy your love of the young adult book series and film, for $1.4 million you can own a town that served as a set for the box-office smash. The film was shot entirely in North Carolina, with the hometown of the three main characters -- District 12 -- filmed in Henry River Mill Village. With more and more fans visiting the place where District 12 was brought to life on the big screen, the owner of the village is now trying to find someone to take the property off his hands.

Wade Shepard, 83, is selling the 72-acre property, which has over 20 buildings. The mill burned down in 1977, but no matter to die-hard fans of the book by Suzanne Collins and the film, which has topped the box office for three straight weekends.

The village is reportedly about 70 miles east of Asheville, near the town of Hildebran.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Despite Setbacks, Obama Pushes Alternative Energy in North Carolina

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson(MOUNT HOLLY, N.C.) -- Visiting the key battleground state of North Carolina Wednesday, President Obama urged Americans to embrace alternative energy sources and lessen their dependence on oil, calling it a “fuel of the past.”

As rising gas prices become a key issue on the campaign trail, the president argued that using less oil is an important part of the solution.

“We’ve got to develop every source of American energy; not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels. We need to invest in the technology that will help us use less oil in our cars and our trucks, in our buildings, in our factories. That’s the only solution to the challenge, because as we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down,” the president told workers at the Daimler Trucks manufacturing plant in Mount Holly, N.C.

His words come in the wake of the scandal surrounding the failure of Solyndra -- a solar company his administration is accused of propping up with hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars -- and the bankruptcy of three other alternative energy companies his administration backed.

Obama announced new incentives to encourage consumers to buy alternative-energy cars, calling on Congress to increase and expand the current tax credit for purchasing “advanced vehicles” from $7,500 to $10,000 -- days after Chevrolet said it was slashing production of its poor-selling Volt -- a vehicle the president personally drove off an assembly line in a show of support.

Obama also announced a new $1 billion challenge to spur communities to invest in clean-vehicle infrastructure, such as charging stations. “We’re going to give communities across the country more of an incentive to make the shift to more energy-efficient cars,” he said.

The president continued to defend his “all-of-the-above” strategy against Republican attacks on his energy policy. “If somebody tells you we’re not producing enough oil, they just don’t know the facts,” he said.

“A key part of our energy strategy has been to increase safe, responsible oil production here at home,” he said. “Under my administration, America’s producing more oil today than any time in the last eight years. Under my administration, we’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high. We’ve got more oil rigs operating now than we’ve ever seen.”

Obama has withered blistering criticism for his cancelling of the Keystone oil pipeline, which supporters on both sides of the aisle would have boosted oil supplies and provided needed jobs for thousands.

While Obama won North Carolina in 2008, he did so by the narrowest margin he had in any state, and his poll numbers there have since declined.

A new Elon University poll shows 48 percent of North Carolinians disapprove of the way the president is handling his job and just 45 percent approve. When it comes to the economy, 51 percent disapprove of the job the president is doing, while 43 percent approve.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Laid-off Worker Wins $4M Lotto Prize

N.C. Education Lottery(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- Camelia McClain, 39, of Raleigh, N.C. may have thought she hit rock bottom when she lost her job last week, but two days later she won the state’s top $4 million lottery prize.

The single mother of three won the first $4 million top prize in the new Cash Blowout lottery game on Thursday. She bought the two $20 tickets two days after learning she was losing her job as a receptionist, a post she had held for 22 years.  She said she had bought lottery tickets before, but decided to “press my luck” after she lost her job.

McClain said she did not scratch the tickets immediately, but brought them home and prepared dinner for her children first.

“I scratched the first ticket and didn’t get anything,” she said. When she scratched the second ticket, she had to ask her children, parents and nephew who were in the home to confirm what she couldn’t believe.

“I had everyone look at that one ticket to look at what it said,” she said.

McClain said she doesn’t want the “unbelievable” win to change her.

The Cash Blowout lottery game, which the North Carolina Education Lottery launched Jan. 10, has three $4 million and seven $1 million prizes. McClain collected her winnings on Friday, choosing to claim the prize in annuity payments of $200,000 over a 20 year period. After taxes were withheld, she received her first check for $136,006 on Friday, the lottery organization said.

McClain said she is still filling out job applications.

“All I know is work so that’s what I’m going to continue to do,” she said.

When asked what she will do with her winnings, McClain said her family would play a role in the decision.

“We sort of talked about it on Sunday but we’re going to talk again this Sunday,” she told ABC News. “It’s not just something you can jump into and say, ‘We’re going to do this.’”

McClain said she has her own children, a sister, nephews and her parents to consider.

“We want to make sure everyone is comfortable,” she said.

To date, the North Carolina Education Lottery said it has raised more than $2.2 billion for education initiatives statewide.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


North Carolina Family Wins Lottery Three Times

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Most people only dream of winning the lottery, but a North Carolina mother and daughter not only beat the odds -- they did it three times.

Kimberly McCauley of Charlotte, N.C., won $100,000 in North Carolina's new scratcher game called "10X the Money," last week.

McCauley said she never imagined she'd win anything. After all, her mother Amy McCauley is a two-time lottery winner.

"I figured my mom was hogging all the luck. This is so overwhelming, but it's a good kind of overwhelming," Kimberly told lottery officials.

The elder McCauley won $15.5 million in the New York State Lottery in 1991 and just collected her final 20 year annuity check.

Her lucky streak continued four years ago, when she won $161,172 in the North Carolina Education Lottery by matching all five numbers to her ticket. Since then, she has gone on to collect two $1,000 prizes from the state's lottery and even appeared in an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show discussing her windfall.

Kimberly brought her mom -- by now a seasoned veteran -- with her to the North Carolina Education Lottery's office in Raleigh last Monday to claim her prize.

Kimberly, whose winnings are worth $68,001 after taxes, said she plans to spend the money to pay off her student loans and purchase a Mini Cooper.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama's New Jobs Creation Plan Is Met with Mixed Feelings

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(DURHAM, N.C.) -- For Michael Webster, who's been unemployed for 14 months, President Obama's speech Monday in North Carolina was not surprising.

"Jobs are not being created fast enough," Obama said at an energy-efficient lighting plant in Durham. "I wake up every single morning wondering how jobs can be created and go to bed thinking the same thing."

In North Carolina, a state critical to his re-election and with a 9.7 unemployment rate, the president laid out a series of job initiatives with GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt, the head of his jobs council.

"There is no one silver bullet on jobs creation," Immelt said Monday.

The council's suggestions include training workers for jobs that are tough to fill, such as advanced manufacturing, and streamlining the permit process in hopes of kick-starting infrastructure and construction projects. The council also advises easing visa restrictions to boost jobs in travel and tourism and facilitating lending to small businesses.

Many of the nation's top economists weighed in on the president's plans with mixed feelings.

Peter Ricchiuti, a Tulane University business professor, said they were "all good ideas," but he wondered, "Will they get through?"

Martin Regalia of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the proposals would "likely have little impact in the near term."

"Most of this is right out of the stimulus bill, which didn't do much except maintain the jobs of state and local employees," said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

"[What] all these proposals miss is that U.S companies are in better financial health today than in decades," said Bernie Baumhol, chief economist at the Economic Outlook Group. "Record profits, record amount of cash. All financial resources [can] increase hiring if they want to....There's just no urgency to do so at this time."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' April 2011 Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey, there were 2.9 million job openings in April. Retail organizations posted 37,000 job openings this year. Amazon added 17,000.

Accommodations and food services posted 50,000. Companies like McDonald's are hiring staff and managers too. Manufacturing had the most jobs -- 53,000 -- with Ford needing to hire 7,000 workers in the next two years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Announces Strategy to Boost Private Sector Hiring

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(DURHAM, N.C.) -- Following a meeting with his Jobs and Competitiveness Council Monday in Durham, N.C., President Obama announced an "all-hands-on-deck strategy" aimed at training 10,000 new American engineers every year and boosting private sector hiring.

"Right now, there are more than four job-seekers for every job opening in America.  But when it comes to science and high-tech fields, the opposite is true: businesses like this tell me they're having a hard time finding workers to fill their job openings," Obama told workers at Cree, Inc., a manufacturer of energy efficient LED lighting. 

Private sector companies will team up to promote science, technology, engineering and math education, offering students incentives to finish those degrees. Companies, like Intel, will also double their summer internship hiring.

"We know that if we're going to maintain our leadership in technology and innovation, our best companies need the world’s brightest workers -- American workers," Obama said.

The president, who is facing a series of lagging economic indicators -- including a 9.1% unemployment rate -- highlighted the fact that 2 million private sector jobs have been added to the economy over the last 15 months, but said he was not yet satisfied.

"Not until everyone who wants a good job that offers a little security has one.  Not until empty storefronts in town are open for business again.  Not until working families feel that they're moving forward again.  That's what drives me every day I go to work.  You.  Your families.  Your jobs.  Your dreams, and everything it takes to keep them in reach," he said.

The president said that it would take the private sector, academia, and government working together to turn the economy around and called for job creation in targeted, high growth sectors, like green energy.

"My administration has invested heavily in clean energy manufacturing, because I want to see the LEDs and solar panels and wind turbines and electric cars of tomorrow made right here in the U.S.A," Obama said announcing a "Better Buildings Initiative" aimed at "putting people back to work doing the work America needs done," such as upgrading buildings to be more energy efficient.

"It will boost manufacturing of energy-efficient products.  It will put contractors and construction workers back on the job.  It's a win-win-win proposition.  Today, the members of my Jobs Council updated me on their efforts to push this initiative in the private sector," the president said.

Monday marked the second meeting of the Jobs Council, which is comprised of 26 private-sector industries. The first meeting was at the White House in February.

Earlier in the day the president toured Cree's lighting product assembly facility with General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Matthew Rose, chairman & CEO of BNSF Railway, and Cree CEO Chuck Swoboda, stopping at different stations to speak with workers and see them in action.

This is not the president's first trip to Cree. Obama visited the manufacturer during the 2008 campaign and met with the CEO at the White House in July 2009. Vice President Joe Biden also made a trip to the Cree facilities in Durham in March 2010.

Cree received a $39 million tax credit from the stimulus to create jobs at its Durham factory, which helped lead to the creation of 375 new factory jobs last year.

However, just over half of Cree's 5,000 employees are in China, a fact mentioned on the company's own website. The company has a massive 592,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Huizhou. 

On Monday, Obama told Cree "you are helping lead the comeback of American manufacturing.  This is a company where the future will be won."

While Monday's trip is aimed at jobs and the economy, there is an undertone of politics as Obama visits the battleground state. In 2008, Obama surprised Republicans when he won North Carolina, becoming the first Democrat in 32 years to carry the state. It was his narrowest victory margin in the country. Today, North Carolina has the 10th highest unemployment rate in the country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Thieves Canvassing Neighborhoods, Businesses to Steal Gas

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(HICKORY, N.C.) -- Bobby Fox has allegedly found a way around high gas prices: steal it.

The Hickory County thief was caught with a hose in his mouth and carrying a bucket siphoning gas from a pickup truck, police in North Carolina told

"We've had some trucks that had their gas stolen, but we have not connected him to that yet," said Libby Grigg, an administrative assistant at the Hickory Police Department.  "That's under investigation."

The area has seen its share of gas theft in recent weeks, including gas siphoning at a U-Haul facility in the neighborhood.  The case is unsolved.

Fox was caught red-handed in a separate incident siphoning gas out of one vehicle and when approached by an officer he fled on foot, police said.  His motive?  "I guess he needed the gas," said Grigg.

The Hickory County thefts are a part of the current trend of gas siphoning crooks across the United States who are skipping trips to the pump, preferring instead to take gas from the cars of neighbors or businesses as gas prices top $4 a gallon in some places.

"It's not mystery.  It's like copper theft and other precious metals," says Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for  "It's becoming more appealing for criminals to siphon gasoline and diesel."

In the last few weeks gas thieves have grown brazen, with thieves bypassing gas tank locks by drilling holes in the tanks or the more dangerous method of cutting gas lines.  At times, they are walking off, or driving off, with hundreds of gallons of gas.

One daring thief targeted SUVs parked in the driveways of residential homes in St. Charles, Illinois.

"We have occasionally have gas thefts reported but nothing like the last three weeks," said Paul McCurtain, spokesman for the St. Charles Police Department.  "We're guessing it's related to the increase in the price of gas and since most are occurring in residential areas all of our officers are very much aware and are spending more time in the area."´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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