1. Tropical Storm Cindy makes landfall in Louisiana

Tropical Storm Cindy has made landfall in southwestern Louisiana, bringing rain and the threat of flash flooding and tornadoes.

As of 4 a.m. Thursday, the storm was centered about 30 miles west-southwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana and moving at about 12 mph. The National Weather Service says Cindy's maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40 mph with continued weakening expected.

On Wednesday, the storm claimed the life of a 10-year-old boy when a huge wave came ashore and hit a log, which slammed into the boy's head. The boy's family was vacationing in Fort Morgan, Alabama.

2. Popular Charlotte barber among latest homicide victims

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said in a press conference Wednesday that city officials are doing everything they can to reduce violent crime after three people were murdered just minutes apart Tuesday night.

The city's homicide rate now sits at 46, and the Queen City is on pace to reach nearly 100 for the year. Putney said CMPD plans to increase officer hours over the summer with help from federal money, as well as overtime for officers in "specific hot spots."

"I don't want you to say, 'we're OK, because we're not," Putney said.

Among the victims during Tuesday's violence was popular barber David Lindsay. Lindsay worked at the No Grease Mosaic Village shop and was beloved by many in the community, including NBC Charlotte's own Fred Shropshire.

I'm devastated and heartbroken. 💔My friend and barber David Lindsay was found shot and killed in his car last night around 11 o'clock. My prayers go out to his loved ones and the #nogreasebarbershop family. I saw Dave at least twice a week. He'd often adjust his schedule to accommodate my hectic workflow. (He's the one who persuaded me to grow a beard) That flexibility and his unmatched skill set are why he had a stellar reputation among entertainers locally and nationally as a go-to personal barber. Because I saw him so often he became a good friend and confidant. I didn't think Monday would be my last time seeing @thedavidlindsay Had I known, I would've told him I really admired his creativity with his hands, his work ethic, sense of humor, dedication to his family and colleagues and his sense of personal style. I would've told him I loved him. I regret not telling him. Hug those close to you. Tell them you love them, and share with them why you love them as often as you can. I don't know why the world is too proud to be vulnerable and expressive. Tomorrow's not promised. Do it while you can. Let yourself feel.

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3. Amazon promises even faster delivery for Charlotte customers

In case the same-day delivery offered by Amazon Prime wasn't quite fast enough, the online retailer announced the debut of its Prime Now service in the Queen City.

With over 25,000 items available across 25 categories, including groceries, Prime customers within designated delivery areas can receive their shipment within a two-hour window. If that's not enough, some purchases will have an optional $7.99 one-hour delivery promise offered.

The news comes just a week after Amazon announced it was acquiring upscale grocery chain Whole Foods in a $13.7 billion deal.

4. Alligator rescued from the ocean off Oak Island

For the second time in about a week, an alligator was spotted swimming in the ocean off Oak Island.

"We've been coming here for years and we've seen all kinds of things in the ocean, but never an alligator," said Kelly Edwards of Lincolnton, who captured the moment with her phone.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission officials were called to rescue the gator, which was about four feet long. Experts say smaller alligators are simply moving to new territories to get away from bigger gators.

The alligator was relocated to another part of the island, where officials hope it stays put.

5. AP sources: Senate GOP would halt Obamacare penalties, taxes

Top Senate Republicans prepared Wednesday to release their plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law, a proposal that would cut and revamp Medicaid, end penalties on people not buying coverage and eliminate tax increases that financed the statute's expansion of coverage, lobbyists and congressional aides said.

Departing from the House-approved version of the legislation, the Senate plan would drop the House bill's waivers allowing states to let insurers boost premiums on some people with pre-existing conditions. It would also largely retain the subsidies Obama provided to help millions buy insurance, which are pegged mostly to people's incomes and the premiums they pay.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell planned to release the measure Thursday morning and hopes to push it through the Senate next week. Some of its provisions were described by people on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss them publicly.

"We believe we can do better than the Obamacare status quo, and we fully intend to do so," said McConnell.