LUMBERTON RESIDENTS SEEK CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST RAILROAD COMPANY CSX: If they succeed in getting their class certified by the federal judge, that would kick off a class action lawsuit open to anyone who owns property in Lumberton that was damaged during Florence. That could include anything from real estate to a car. It would also include any local business with a claim that it lost income due to flooding from the CSX site. The residents claimed Tuesday in court that that nearly all of the Hurricane Florence flooding in town could’ve been prevented — saving nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in damages to the town and its residents — if only CSX had taken action. Matt Lee is a Raleigh attorney for the Whitfield, Bryson and Mason law firm that’s filing the complaint. He said Lumberton has “a levee system that was designed to prevent this kind of flooding and the one open spot was where CSX had train tracks running underneath I-95. CSX knew about that, and they didn’t do it. They wouldn’t even have had to pay for it.”
CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST WOMAN WHO RESCUED FLORENCE PETS: Tammy Hedges was charged with 12 counts of practicing medicine without a veterinary license after authorities said she converted a warehouse into an unregistered shelter during the hurricane and administered medication, including antibiotics and ointments, to the animals. Hedges was contacted by Wayne County Animal Services last week and willingly surrendered the animals prior to her arrest. Authorities said all surrendered animals were examined by a veterinarian and several have been reunited with their owners. On Tuesday, Wayne County District Attorney Matthew Delbridge dismissed the charges against Hedges, saying her actions put the health of the animals at risk but, since no animals were harmed, the dismissal of the charges will allow authorities to focus on more serious crime.
GROUP FORMS TO FUNNEL CHARITABLE DONATIONS TO STUDENTS AND TEACHERS IN FLOODED AREAS: A coalition of education and business leaders announced Tuesday the creation of Florence Aid to Students and Teachers of North Carolina (FAST NC), which will collect money to give to victims of the storm. Much of North Carolina was flooded by Florence, leaving schools damaged, school supplies destroyed and families of students and teachers without homes and possessions. “Now is the time for North Carolinians all across our state to stand up, to care for our neighbor together and to help our students and teachers get back on track as a result of Hurricane Florence,” Eric Davis, chairman of the State Board of Education, said at a news conference Tuesday. “So I challenge us all." FAST NC will be able to take credit card donations on its website, ncpublicschools.org/fastnc. But people can also give by completing the donation form on the website and sending it along with a check to NC Education Fund, State Board of Education, 6336 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699.
MARION ABUSER CHAINED HIS VICTIM TO A BED SO SHE COULDN'T TESTIFY AGAINST HIM: A North Carolina sheriff's department is looking for a man who they say chained a woman to a bed for days to keep her from testifying against him in a domestic violence case. In a Facebook post, the McDowell County Sheriff's Office says 48-year-old Spencer O'Connor Elliott of Marion is charged with first-degree kidnapping, intimidating a state's witness and assault on a female. Authorities say Elliott and the victim were scheduled to appear in court last Wednesday in reference to a domestic violence order the woman had taken out against Spencer. According to the sheriff's office, the woman had been chained to the bed at Elliott's house for several days before she escaped Saturday and notified authorities.
SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE DODGING EFFORTS BY SECOND KAVANAUGH ACCUSER TO BE HEARD: The attorney for the second woman to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct says Senate Judiciary Committee GOP staffers are involved in “game playing.” John Clune said he was supposed to talk Tuesday evening with staffers about how his client, Deborah Ramirez, can tell her story. But Republicans kept changing conditions of the call. He says at one point they demanded all evidence before they’d pick up the phone. In the end, Clune joined the call and found no GOP staffers there. Clune told CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “There’s a lot of game playing that’s going on with the majority party.” Clune reiterated that Ramirez wants an FBI investigation into her claims that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drinking game at Yale University 35 years ago. Kavanaugh denies it. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote Friday on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.