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Welcome to Gastonia, NC

Gastonia, North Carolina

About Gastonia:

Gastonia is a city located in Gaston County in North Carolina, a state of the United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 66,277. It is the county seat of Gaston County. It is considered part of the greater Metrolina area, a region of population, of which... (More Info and Source) Gastonia Real Estate

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Gastonia Area News

UPDATE: CATS fares will increase 10 percent on July 1

Charlotte city leaders voted Wednesday night to hike fares for Charlotte Area Transit System riders.
The Transit Commission voted yes on a 10 percent bump for all rates that will start on July 1.

It’s a move the commission considers every two years to keep up with inflation and helps avoid a major increase when tough times hit the city.
Daily bus fare will be $2.20.

Now, riders must pay with exact change but Eyewitness News uncovered Charlotte could soon move away from that practice and undergo a high-tech overhaul.

There's a new push to find the money to streamline the system and use a program similar to bigger cities like Washington, D.C.
There's been a lot of new changes with public transportation in Charlotte.

The light rail is expanding and a street car is coming but transportation officials said the buses are outdated when it comes to how riders can pay.
It has old technology in it and something that can't be upgraded, said Olaf Kinard, CATS director of marketing.
CATS is applying for grants to make the payment system seamless and faster.
If approved, the 16-year-old system on all 320 buses would be overhauled and the light rail would also get new technology to match.
“It would save us time, save them time and make it more convenient and also keep them using the system,” Kinard said. 
Some payment ideas include mobile payments using a barcode on your smartphone and contact less cards that you can keep in your pocket that signals payment when you get on.
CATS officials believe faster payments will cut down on lag time, getting people on and off at stops for more on time, efficient service.
Cortez Johnson relies on public transportation every day.
“It gets difficult at times,” Johnson said.
He'll take anything that will make the ride easier.
“It's always good where you can go and handle your tickets via different ways so I say, ‘Go for it,’ Johnson said.
Transportation officials said they should find out this summer if they get grants for the $7.5 million project.
If they get it, new systems could be in place in 2014.

To see more local news stories, click here.

Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:44:42 -0400

Ruling in favor of registered sex offender raises questions

Marjorie Carroll believes that once someone is on the sex offender register, that person should be listed there for life.

“They're not going to change," Carroll said.  "You have to protect the children."

However, a South Carolina sex offender won a major court battle Wednesday that will remove his name and picture from the life-long public registry.  The state Supreme Court ruled in favor of John Johnson of Florence, who argued the registry wasn't equitable.

The decision raises questions for many about the online sex offender registry, who should be listed there, and for how long.

There are 235 names and pictures on the registry in Rock Hill alone.  On Wednesday, Channel 9 spoke to a Rock Hill man, who's on that list and didn't want to be identified.

"Everyone wants to be forgiven," he said. "No one wants to be reminded of their past all your life."

He spent 10 years in prison for having sex with a minor.  He told Channel 9 he's not that person anymore, and shouldn't be listed as a sex offender now.

"I believe God is a God of second chances, and I believe everybody else should have a second chance," he said.

Currently, anyone on the registry is there for life, unless their conviction is overturned, or if they are pardoned.

Many offenders are listed, even though they are not considered sexual predators.  Some are there for having sex with minors, when they were teens themselves.  Other cases involve people charged with indecent exposure.

16th circuit solicitor Kevin Brackett said for some of those cases, a change could make sense.

"I don't know that there shouldn't be some mechanism for people that have been sort of caught in the web of the registry, that are not truly sexual predators," Brackett said. 

However, he also said the registry is an important tool for public safety.
"Clearly I think the public interest is very strong in alerting the public to individuals who are repeat or sexually violent predators," he said.
Shirley James of York said she feels like some of the people listed on the registry don't belong there. 

"That happened to a friend of mine, even though the case wasn't right, and it ruined his life," she said.

A spokesman for the South Carolina Attorney General's office said they are reviewing the Supreme Court's ruling, and have 10 days to appeal it.

Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:59:42 -0400

Police: Couples sold $137,000 worth of pot

Smokey’s Barbeque restaurant owner Donnie Wooten walked out of jail Wednesday after he was accused of selling more than $100,000 worth of marijuana from his Gaston County business.

Health inspectors have visited the restaurant five times since it opened last January.
Eyewitness News reporter Ken Lemon found out those reports turned up spotless, even though Wooten said his business was not doing well.

The health inspector told Channel 9 the restaurant’s last inspection was in February, and Wooten told him business was poor and that he would probably close down soon.
“Something wasn’t exactly right,” said neighbor Bill Walters.

Walters says he did not eat at the restaurant and rarely saw customers.

Wooten is facing 30 charges related to drug sales in and around his restaurant in Dallas.

Investigators say Wooten, his cook Michael Huffman, and their girlfriends Tausha Mixon and Jessica Plummer worked together to sell drugs to undercover officers.

“It’s just not good for any neighborhood. We didn’t want that around,” said neighbor Susan Wilson.

The restaurant was also across the street from Daycare at Faith Assembly.

Lemon tried to track down the suspects who are not in jail. Tausha Mixon was not at her house. Her mother told Lemon Mixon gave her boyfriend Michael Huffman rides to work, but she had nothing to do with the sale of drugs.

Jussica Plummer is with family in Florida, but Lemon was told she’ll be coming back to face the charges.

Police said the two couples sold $137,000 worth of marijuana.

Officers started their undercover operation in November. The restaurant closed three weeks ago as defendants learned police planned to charge them.

Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:57:31 -0400

News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories

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