The shootings at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater that killed 12 and injured more than 50 have understandably riled up the gun debate again. Here are nearly 20 letters we've received.
Friday morning , N&O reporter Mandy Locke was at the Wake County Courthouse with the grim task of covering the ongoing Cooper murder-case saga. She called to say that out-of-state TV crews were also there, but to cover a different case -- a hearing for Latino singer Jenni Rivera, charged with assault for allegedy hitting a man in the head with a microphone in Raleigh last month.
I must confess I'd never even heard of Rivera. But in certain parallel pop-culture universes, "La Diva de la Banda" is as big as big gets -- big enough for a mundane court hearing to attract national media attention, even though Rivera herself was not in attendance.
"Oh yeah, she's huge," said Univision reporter Carina Garcia, who had flown in from New York to cover the hearing. While we talked on the sidewalk outside the courthouse, more than one passer-by asked if Garcia and her cameraman were there for the Cooper case. "No, here for Jenni Rivera," she answered, drawing mystified looks that said, Who?
The case itself is Raleigh's oddest celebrity dust-up since last year's Uncle Kracker unpleasantness. You can read more particulars about the Rivera case here (written by me, although I didn't get a byline). At Friday's hearing, the case was continued to Sept. 19. Down the road, there will probably be civil action over this. The alleged victim has already hired an attorney.
Cary parent Derry Schmidt has returned to work as an engineer with the state Department of Transportation. As you may recall, Schmidt made headlines in 2007 after a heated confrontation between him and Wake schools' bus driver Jametta Farrar when he was dropping his daughter off at school at Cary Elementary.
According to testimony in January, Farrar said she was verbally and physically abused by Schmidt. Schmidt was convicted of one misdemeanor count of assault on a female. During his testimony, he admitted he uttered a racial slur as he was trying to defend himself from arrar's aggressive behavior.
As noted in today's online story, Schmidt had challenged his firing with the state Office of Administrative Hearings. He dropped his appeal after reaching a settlement with DOT.
"The settlement terms are confidential, but he has returned to work in the position he held before he was dismissed," Campion said.