News Index

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Monday
Oct292007

NWHS Boys Basketball Coach Steps Down

North Wilkes boys basketball Mark Shumate has resigned for family and personal reasons, according to school officials. Athletic director Mike Greene told the Elkin Tribune that Lance Everett, who was the JV boys coach last season, will move in to the varsity role for 2007-08. Basketball practice begins today at North Wilkes and schools all over the state.Shumate stepped down after only a year as North Wilkes boy's coach. Everett will be the program's fifth head coach in the past five years.

"Coach Shumate did a good job with our men's basketball program," Greene told the paper. "He brought some stability to it. He had a great work ethic and did a wonderful job with our players. He's helped North Wilkes in many ways. He's an assistant football coach. He coached basketball and he does things like raking pits at track meets."

Shumate has a daughter, Blake Shumate, who will be a senior on North Wilkes' girls basketball team this season.

Monday
Oct292007

Last Week's Rain Not A Drought-Buster

If you're one of the hundreds or thousands of people who have been actively praying for rain the past several months, no doubt you're feeling the prayer was answered by last week's soaking rainfalls. Between 4 and 6 inches of rain fell on much of the state. There was even minor flooding in the mountains and foothills.
Though the rain was a big relief for officials worried about diminishing public-water supplies, it didn’t end the state’s drought woes.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction and is helping bring our reservoirs up a little,” Mike Strickler, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, told the Winston-Salem Journal. “But by no means does it solve our drought problems. We don’t want people to get a false sense that they can now stop thinking about saving water.”
This week, the state will hold meetings about the drought and the water supply. The questions probably won’t be restricted to when it’s going to rain, but whether North Carolina has a plan in place to ensure there is enough water for everyone. “We’ve kind of taken for granted that water is here, water is abundant, and it’s not something that needs to be closely managed,” said Michelle Nowlin, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “That’s obviously going to change. I think what has typically been done is that we grow first and ask questions later.”
In most cases, the rain that fell last week around Wilkes was about one-third of what was needed to get back up to average rainfall for the year. Nonetheless, it was enough to prompt local officials to ease the restriction imposed a week earlier in a statewide burning ban. Currently, it is allowed for homeowners to burn grass and leaves within 100 feet of a home or outbuilding. But campfires and other open burning is still prohibited.

Monday
Oct292007

Wreck on 421 Friday Night Kills 3

Three people are dead, after a tractor-trailer wreck on Highway 421 just after 6 Friday night. The Highway Patrol says 62-year-old Thomas Cameron Simon, 65-year-old George Wesley Wiggins and 63-year-old Mary E. Wiggins, who had addresses both in Ashe County and Sarasota Florida, were killed. Simon’s wife, Cheryle Cotter Simon was taken to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and is listed in critical condition.
Troopers say a tractor-trailer heading south crossed the centerline, overturned and slid into a northbound Chevrolet Avalanche pickup driven by Thomas Simon. The incident happened about 12 miles west of Wilkesboro on N.C. Highway 421. The tractor-trailer driver, 47-year-old Curtis Isaac Mondy of St. Petersburg, Florida, was treated and released from Baptist Hospital. Mondy was charged with three counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle and one count of reckless driving. He was held on a $6,000 bond. The Wilkes County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case for possible additional charges.

Monday
Oct292007

Local Man Dies in Sunday Wreck

Alcohol is listed as the primary factor in a single-vehicle wreck yesterday on Suncrest Orchard Road. Dispatchers for the North Carolina Highway Patrol say 37-year old Victor Manuel Chilel, who lived on Suncrest Orchard Road, was alone in the car:

The wreck was reported about 1:30 yesterday afternoon, and happened about a mile and a half west of North Wilkesboro on Suncrest Orchard Road.

Friday
Oct262007

Recent Rains: Good News, Bad News -- But Mostly Good

The recent rainfall, while bringing the risk of flash flooding and river flooding to some locations, is also responsible for some good news. As of earlier today, the level of Kerr Scott Reservoir was measured two feet above the drought-lowered levels earlier in the week. The Corps of Engineers says water running downstream into the lake will fill it at least two feet more. While it's good news for all the communities that rely on the reservoir for water, the several inches of rain are far from a drought-buster. It would take a week or more of continuous rainfall such as we've had in the past few days to even come close to catching up the water deficit. However, the rain has come at just the right time to give a few days' respite in the fire season, which is just under way.

We've just been told by the Wilkes County Fire Marshall's Office that the burn ban has been lifted here, on a limited basis. Here's what you can do: within 100 feet of a home or other building, it is now okay to burn leaves, grass clippings, and other yard waste. You have to monitor the fire continuously, and have a water hose close by to put it out if it starts to go out of control. It is still illegal to start a campfire or any other fire in open areas, as the statewide burn ban still applies in those cases.

Friday
Oct262007

Bomb Hoax Earns Man 18 Felony Charges

What apparently started out as one man's attempt to protect his home while out of state ended up with him being charged with 18 felony crimes. Deputies have not released the name of the man charged after they had to call the hazardous devices team to a home in the 200 block of Arbor Grove Church Road on Sunday night. Their report on the crime was not released until this morning.

A deputy had gone to the home to serve a warrant on the man and to serve him a copy of a domestic violence protection order. But when the deputy pulled up, he was greeted by a warning sign that the house was booby-trapped and would explode if anyone tried to enter. A quick look at several windows confirmed what the sign said, as there were small blaze-orange pipes in each window that resembled pipe bombs. At that point the deputy called the bomb squad.

After confirming what the first deputy saw, a member of the bomb disposal team tried to contact the man, who was out of state on a job, according to his mother. When the man called dispatchers and was patched in to the deputy, he assured them the pipe bombs were fakes and had been placed in the windows to scare off anyone who might have wanted to break in. After receiving his permission to enter the house, the team went in and verified the bomb look-alikes were fakes, collected them as evidence, and locked up the house. When he returns from California, the man faces 18 felony counts of perpetrating a hoax by use of a false bomb.

Friday
Oct262007

More Bad Check Charges Against Local Woman

Sheriff's deputies are looking for a North Wilkesboro woman who is accused of writing multiple bad checks around the county, written on a number of accounts and using at least two names. New charges were filed this week against Josefina Hernandez, who is also known as Karla Membrano. These charges allege she wrote two checks totaling a bit over 100 dollars at the Food Lion in Millers Creek. Deputies say she has several other pending cases for the same activity, and we've reported at least one of those previously.

Thursday
Oct252007

Wilkes Woman Banned form Wal-Mart for Stealing

A history of shoplifting has earned a Wilkes woman banishment from Wal-Mart. 26-year old Angela Renee Griffith of Purlear was banned from the store Wednesday after she was allegedly caught shoplifting again. She had been seen by a Wal-mart employee sticking items in her purse in the Home Decor section of the store. When she was confronted by loss prevention personnel, she said she was just trying to color-match some items. The security employee watched her walk to the end of an aisle, tear open a package, and stuff the merchandise in her purse, at which time Griffith was detained and the police were called. When an officer searched her purse,he found there was nothing in it but the stolen merchandise -- several draperies worth about 32-dollars. After walking Griffith to her card to retrieve her ID, the officer wrote a citation for shoplifting, and she was served the form from Wal-Mart saying if she was seen back on the property, the police would be called.

Thursday
Oct252007

Flu Shot Clinic Next Week

With all the talk of MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant staph infection, that's been going on recently, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that it's a relatively routine thing. The spread of nearly any infection can be controlled by simple things such as proper hand washing. But what's getting lost in the MRSA hype is a fact pointed out by state health officials yesterday. Another common medical occurrence -- the flu -- kills more than twice as many people each year as MRSA -- and that's including the people who die from MRSA in hospitals, where the bacteria is much stronger.

Already, cases of influenza have been reported in California, Florida, Minnesota, Indiana and several other states. Is North Carolina ready? Vaccination rates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that too few in the state have been vaccinated against the disease. Many Americans recommended by the CDC for flu vaccinations do not even realize they are at risk. Of those that do, a good percentage do not know where to turn to receive this year’s vaccine, which fortunately is in abundant supply.

The American Lung Association has just introduced a valuable new and potentially life-saving online resource for anyway with questions or concerns about influenza and its side effects, which together killed some 36,000 Americans last year.

Faces of Influenza (www.facesofinfluenza.org) not only will help visitors determine whether they are in a risk category, e.g., older Americans, health care workers, parents, teachers, children, etc, but the site features a “flu clinic locator” that will direct them to a local clinic in your area where they can be vaccinated.

Wilkes County will host another clinic, following the successful clinics at the four high schools last weekend. Beginning Monday, and running through Halloween Day, Wilkes County Health Department will be holding a “Walk-In Flu Clinic” for the public. The clinic will be held in the Health Department’s waiting room from 9:00 - 11:30 am and 1:00 - 4:00 pm each day.

The cost is $25 -- or for those on various public assistance programs, it's free if you bring y our ID card. Call the Health Department at 651-7450 for more information regarding this clinic.

Thursday
Oct252007

More Electricity Available

One of the utilities that serves WIlkes has increased its power generation capacity by 50-percent. Blue Ridge Electric yesterday dedicated a $20 million modernization project that includes a new substation in West Jefferson, upgrades to the Beaver Creek and Horse Gap substations, and eight miles of upgraded or new high-capacity power- transmission lines. The project increased the cooperative’s capacity by 50 percent for Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes and Avery counties. Blue Ridge Electric is a member-owned cooperative that serves about 70,000 members.