News Index

Your Hometown Christian Radio Station. WWWC Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Wednesday
Aug302006

Tuesday Wreck Sends Three to Hospital
Three people were taken by EMS to Wilkes Regional Medical Center yesterday after a two-vehicle accident on US-421 at Dancy Road. Wilkesboro police say the two drivers give somewhat different versions of what happened.

Brian Bare says he was turning onto 421 from the Belk access road when the car driven by Pamela Walker pulled from the inside westbound lane in front of him in the turn lane. He tells police that caused him to slam on his brakes, but not in time to avoid hitting Walker’s car.

Walker says she was in the turn lane, stopped to turn into Crossroads Harley, when bare hit her from behind. When police got there, Bare had moved his vehicle in front of Walker.

Walker and two other in the car, Jennifer Staley and her infant daughter Haley, were transported to Wilkes Regional for treatment of their injuries. Police have not issued any tickets in relation to the wreck.

EMS Hopping Due to Second Multi-Injury Wreck in an Hour
A chain-reaction wreck less than an hour later kept Wilkes County EMS busy, as people from all three cars involved asked to be checked out. Police say 28-year old Laura Shepherd turned off Collegiate Drive onto Highway 268 eastbound, and wrecked into another eastbound car just in front of Burger King. The second car rammed into a third, which was stopped waiting for traffic to clear for a left turn.

Shepherd was ticketed for failing to slow to avoid an accident, and for not carrying her driver’s license. A passenger in her car and the driver of each of the other cars asked to be checked out by EMS, and refused further medical treatment.

Teen Drunkenness -- To the Extreme
A Wilkes County teen was airlifted to Baptist Hospital after sheriff deputies found him passed out in the middle of Old Highway 60 in Millers Creek early this morning. When they found the boy, who is not being identified because he’s 15, his mouth was bleeding and he had several cuts on his head. Deputies say he reeked of alcohol. As EMS arrived to treat the boy, they nearly hit a 17-year old boy who was literally stumbling drunk, and walked out on the road in front of the ambulance.

The 17-year old admitted both boys had been drinking. He has been arrested for underage drinking and for public drunkenness.

Boy Attacked in Ronda Park, Hospitalized
An 18-year old Elkin boy has potentially life-threatening injuries, after witnesses say he was jumped by four men and two women in Ronda Park last night. His father says the Ryan Sizemore had gone to the park to meet his ex-girlfriend, to retrieve some things he’d given her. His father went to the park a short time later to check on the boy, and says he saw a green Explorer speeding out of the park and Ryan struggling to get up from the parking lot. As he was calling 9-1-1 on his cell phone, an older woman that had been waling on the nearby track described the attack. The father, Robert Bodenhamer, loaded his stepson into the pickup and took him to Hugh Chatham Hospital. Doctors treated his head and facial injures, and transferred him to Baptist. Deputies have a name of a possible suspect, but have so far made no arrests in the case.

WRMC Fate to Be Decided September 5
North Wilkesboro Town Board members are scheduled to decide the future of Wilkes Regional Medical Center at their Tuesday night meeting. Three offers are on the table for a 30-year lease. The current operating board offers 350-thousand dollars a year, plus one-half percent of revenues over 70 million dollars a year, along with a partnership with two of North Carolina’s five teaching hospitals. Community Health Systems has offered a 51-million dollar up-front payment, and Novant Health Care has offered one million dollars a year to North Wilkesboro. Four recent public hearings were held on the leases; one by each of the entities, and one as a listening session where local residents could tell North Wilkesboro town board members their thoughts on the subject.

The meeting Tuesday starts at 7pm in the North Wilkesboro Town Hall.

Regional News

Ernesto to Hit N.C. as Tropical Depression
Tropical Storm Ernesto surprised forecasters by not strengthening into a hurricane as it moved into Florida, bringing lots of rain but not a lot of wind, and state climate experts hoped for the same outcome in North Carolina.

``We're going to be able to take the water that may or may not come with Ernesto,'' said state climatologist Ryan Boyles. ``The flip side of the coin with these storms is the wind, which can cause a lot of problems, but right now it's looking to be more of a beneficial event rather than a detrimental one.''

The path predicted by the National Hurricane Center showed the storm passing northward through central North Carolina early Friday. But the range of possible paths forecast by the center could take the storm as far east as the Outer Banks and as far west as the Charlotte area.

It was expected to exit the state by Friday evening.

Number 1 Storm Killer: Lightning
The coroner lists lightning as the cause of death for a York county man who died Tuesday. 36-year old Mitchell Dixon was getting his mail after he got home from work when the lightning struck. He was rushed to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, where he died about an hour later.

Hurt Firefighters Home from Hospital
The five firefighters injured Tuesday afternoon in a Matthews house blaze have been released from the hospital. The five were hurt while battling a blaze at a house that had been sold and was scheduled for a real estate closing this afternoon. Two firefighters were hurt when a part of the roof collapsed when they were inside the house. The other three were treated and released after complaining of heat-related problems.

Company Says Proposed Fines Aren't Legal
An agricultural company accused of 369 pesticide-related violations has asked a judge to dismiss most of the charges and to reduce its fine to $500 from more than $184,000.

Lawyers for Ag-Mart, a multinational tomato grower, argued that the nearly three-quarters of the alleged violations were based on misinterpreted records.

After an investigation, North Carolina's Agriculture Department levied a $184,500 fine the largest in state history against the Florida-based company. The agency said Ag-Mart endangered workers by exposing them to harmful pesticides and that the company often harvested tomatoes too soon after spraying.

Shots Fired at Hillsborough's Orange High School, Two Hurt
A drive-by shooting in a high school parking lot in Hillsborough this afternoon has resulted in injures for two students. Raleigh media are reporting police have arrested one suspect, and that the injuries consist of a gunshot wound to one student’s shoulder and another student being hit by breaking glass.

Tuesday
Aug292006

He Was There, But He Has No Idea What Happened
Sheriff Deputies are looking for suspects after a man showed up at Wilkes Regional Medical Center over the weekend with several bumps, cuts and bruises. Someone dropped the man off at the hospital about 2 Sunday afternoon, and he told deputies he had been swimming with several other people on Saturday afternoon when he received the injuries. According to the victim, he was walking through the water near Reddies River when someone knocked him unconscious. He says he doesn’t remember anything until he woke up at someone’s house early Sunday morning. It was still another nearly 12 hours before he was taken to the hospital. A CAT scan showed nothing abnormal, and he was treated and released. The investigation is ongoing.

Golf Clubs Used in Assault
A rural Wilkesboro man was beaten with a golf club last (Monday) night, after three men broke into his home. Pau Bowman tells deputies the men kicked in his front door just before 11:30 last (Monday) night. When he tried to ward them off, one hit him in the head with a golf club, causing a cut to his right eye. He refused medical treatment.

The men then proceeded to kick holes in doors and break glass panes and windows, causing about 1-thousand dollars damage. Bowman was able to give deputies two of the three men’s names, but they have been unable to locate the third man so far.

Cocaine the Focus of Weekend Drug Busts
Deputies report three arrests over the weekend for cocaine use and trafficking.

Friday night, they arrested 40-year old Billy Ray McGuire for possession of 16 grams of cocaine, after going to his home to serve a search warrant. McGuire told deputies the cocaine was his, and admitted that a sum of cash found in his home was from selling the drug.

A traffic stop led to another drug arrest Sunday afternoon. Deputies pulled over a car after seeing the driver turn onto an exit ramp without signaling first, then noticing the car had a broken headlight. Two men in the car looked to deputies like they were trying to hide things in the car as they pulled over. Deputies found a gun and drugs, and while they were trying to interview the men, one of them bolted. He didn’t get far, though, because he was handcuffed and a deputy quickly pepper sprayed him. He was able to run because he was so large the deputy had to cuff him in front instead of in back.

Mario Demond Carlton was arrested on weapons, possession and trafficking charges. Eric Carlton, the other occupant of the car, was released after both men confirmed he did not know about either the gun or the drugs.

The third arrest came during a license check lane at the Yadkinville Firehouse. Deputies chased down a man after he drove through the check lane without stopping. 35-year old Scottie Jay Holloway was arrested after deputies found four rocks of crack cocaine in the car.

Leave It Out and It May Disappear
Three times in the past few days, a Wilkes resident has had property stolen from an unlocked or open vehicle.

On Sunday, the same man is suspected of stealing nearly 900-dollars worth of tools, electronics, CD’s and a dome tent, along with causing 300-dollars damage to the trunk of a car trying to break in and steal more stuff. The car was unlocked; the tools were stolen from the back of a small pickup truck. Both were parked outside a home in Ferguson. Deputies are looking for a 36-year old man, who is not a resident of Wilkes County.

A broken lock on the driver’s door is how someone was able to get into a car parked outside a home on McNeil Road. The 20-year old woman who reports the theft says she spent the night Friday at her boyfriend’s house. During her stay, another man asked to borrow ten dollars. When she went out to her car Saturday afternoon, her wallet was missing. Deputies have interviewed the boyfriend, who denies knowing anything about it. They have the name of the other man believed to be involved.

Regional News

Tropical Storm Ernesto Headed Our Way
One thing seems certain: Rain will fall late this week in North Carolina, whether it's from tropical weather, a cold front or a combination of the two.

Depending on its track, Tropical Storm Ernesto could run into a cold front and dump several inches of rain on the state, said Mike Strickler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

Strickler said two inches of rain are possible in the mountains, while up to 10 inches could fall along the Outer Banks. Parts of the state could get 1 to 2 inches just from the front. Ernesto could reach the Carolina coast as early as tomorrow.

In addition to possible storm damage, there's also the possibility of economic damage. North Carolina tourism officials fear just the possibility of a storm hitting on Labor Day weekend will severely hurt their industry for the season's final holiday, especially at the coast. About 150,000 tourists typically visit the Outer Banks on Labor Day weekend.

US 321 Widening Delayed
Construction work on the US 321 widening project between Lenoir and Blowing Rock is behind schedule. Unstable rock in two areas is causing a delay in the 63-million dollar project to widen 321 to four lanes, according to contractor W.C. English Company. Twenty months into the project, it’s 35-percent complete, which is a bit behind schedule. Enough so, in fact, that the scheduled completion date two years from now probably not going to happen The NCDOT Regional Engineer says he’s confident the road will be open by the end of 2008. Wide Load traffic from 321 is using Highway 421 as a detour.

Charlotte-Area Firefighters Hurt in Big Blaze
Two firefighters were hurt while battling a major blaze yesterday afternoon near Independence Boulevard and Interstate 485 in Matthews.

At one time, flames leaped from the roof of the house. Butler High School is nearby, but school officials said all the students had left for the day and were in no danger.

SAT Scores Drop; Not So Much in NC
The high school class of 2006 recorded the sharpest drop in SAT scores in 31 years, a decline that the exam's owner, the College Board, said was partly due to some students taking the newly lengthened test only once instead of twice.

In North Carolina, the average combined scores for the critical reading and math sections dropped two points, but moved eight points closer to the national average for the two traditional sections of the test.

Fatigue wasn't to blame, the College Board insisted, even though this year's class was the first to take a new version of the exam which added an essay. It now takes an average of three hours and 45 minutes to complete the test, not counting breaks.

The results come several months after numerous colleges reported surprisingly low SAT scores for this year's incoming college freshmen. The nonprofit College Board, which had said scores would be down this year, released figures Tuesday showing combined critical reading and math skills fell seven points on average to 1021.

In North Carolina, the average combined score dropped from 1010 to 1008.

Coal Power: The Fight is On
Duke Energy's first new Carolinas coal-fired power plants in three decades, to be built 55 miles west of Charlotte, promise cheap energy. And a debate: What are such plants doing to the environment?

Duke meets its public today in Charlotte, with a hearing on the plants before the N.C. Utilities Commission.

An abundant fuel, coal generates more than half the state's electricity. Duke says coal is a key to supplying "least cost" power for the 50,000 new Carolinas customers it adds each year.

Coal is also a leading source of the pollutants that form ozone, the irritating gas that's tormented Charlotte for years. Coal emissions help shroud skies in haze and warm the planet.

Duke plans to retire four 1940s-era power units and build two new ones at its Cliffside plant in Rutherford and Cleveland counties. The plant dumped 3.9 million tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere last year.

Monday
Aug282006

Retired Wilkes Central Coach Dies
Friends and family members of the popular retired Wilkes Central High School football coach, Jerry Minton, raised 27-hundred dollars in his memory at Friday night’s Wilkes Central – West Wilkes football game.

Coach Minton died on Friday at Wilkes Regional Medical Center. His family will receive visitors tonight from 6 until 8 at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church’s new Reach Center. His funeral service is tomorrow at 2 at the same location.

Mr. Minton was head coach of the Wilkes Central football program from 1994 to 1999, and assistant coach at Wilkes Central for two years before that. He also served as assistant coach for West Wilkes from 1999 to 2003.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the Humane Society of Wilkes, Samaritans Kitchen of Wilkes or Hospice of Wilkes.

Stolen Stereo Equipment Recovered, Thief Arrested
Sheriff Deputies have recovered the three-thousand dollars worth of stolen stereo equipment we told you about earlier on 3WC News. They arrested one man and have issued a warrant for another in connection with the case.

Friday night, deputies received a tip about possible drug activity and stolen property at the Lowes Motel. They found a vehicle matching the description that was given them by Lindsay Knight, the Wilkesboro woman the stereo equipment was stolen from. They saw what looked like the speakers inside. Larry McCurdy, the vehicle owner, was arrested after admitting he knew the equipment was stolen when another man brought it to him at his motel room. Deputies also found two rocks of crack cocaine in a pill bottle in the car.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the other man, Daniel Richter. The stereo equipment has been returned to Ms. Knight.

Convenience Store Break-Ins
Deputies are investigating two convenience store break-ins in the past several days, and they have a video tape of one of the crimes.

The first break-in was reported early Thursday at Linnie’s Gas Station on Statesville Road. A surveillance video shows a white man breaking in the front door of the convenience store, jumping the counter, and grabbing several packs of cigarettes. He then jumped the counter again and ran from the store. Deputies give the following description of the thief from the video: white male, about 5-8 or 5-9, average weight and build with short brown or black hair. He was wearing a black shirt and blue jeans. So far, they have not made any arrests

Sunday morning, Ralph Johnson reported his Citgo station on West Highway 421 was broken into. This thief broke out a side window and grabbed 80 cartons of cigarettes, five rolls of chewing tobacco, a case containing 25 knives, and 800 dollars in coins. Total value of the loss is over 41-hundred dollars. There are no suspects.

Stolen Car
Sheriff Deputies are on the lookout for a stolen car. Late last (Sunday) night, a Moravina Falls man told deputies he came home to find his car missing. It’s a white, 1996 Nissan Altima, 4-dour, with North Carolina tag T-Z-K 7399. A neighbor identified a possible suspect, but no arrests have been made yet, and the car is still missing.

TV Theft Solved
The Sheriff’s department today released the report of a theft of items worth 500-dollars last Wednesday from a home on Poplar Grove Road. They arrested Rondell Lee Sweet Junior for the theft, after he admitted breaking into the home and taking two of the three items. He told them the TV’s had been pawned at two local pawn shops. The victim said a VCR was also stolen; Sweet denied that was so. Deputies are searching for another man in connection with the crime.

Deputies Roughed Up, Man Arrested
Two deputies were roughed up early Friday, and ended up having to use pepper spray to bring a man under control. It happened at a home in Millers Creek about 4:15 Friday morning. The deputies were there to calm a domestic disturbance that had been reported to 9-1-1. As they arrived, a man ran out the back of the house, and a woman approached the officers, saying she had been assaulted. When deputies found the man hiding behind an outbuilding, the man shoved one deputy and took a swing at the other. He was sprayed with pepper spray after continuing to refuse to do what he was told.

Randall Lynn Hines was arrested and taken to WRMC for treatment of a broken wrist he said he had sustained in another fight. He faces charges for the assault on his wife, as well as battery of a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.

Regional News

Yadkinville Historic House Burned
The historic preservation debate rages on in Yadkinville, even after the latest fire to burn down an historic property has been put out. The 126-year old Mackie-Dobbins house was set on fire Saturday as practice for about 45 area firefighters.

The six-hour exercise drew a large crowd, some who came to lament the loss of another sliver of Yadkinville's past for the sake of more open space downtown – others just wanted to see what all the fuss was about - a belated attempt made by Preservation Yadkin County Inc. to keep the building intact in hopes of converting it into a heritage center.

The Jackson Street house, owned by Yadkin County, had been used for storage in recent years. Preservationists said the house was important because it fit into the county's historical landscape. Its fate was sealed Monday when the county commissioners voted 3-2 to permit the burning.

Hickory Murder Case Dropped
A murder case that looked like it was open-and-shut has been dropped, and a man is free because of mistakes by the Catawba county Sheriff Department and the state crime lab. That’s what District Attorney Jay Gaither says about a four-year old case that was dismissed last week.

As the case in Hickory has progressed, a judge has thrown out the core evidence – first saying a jury could not hear the most important statements made by Francisco Laboy the day he was arrested for killing of his wife Kimberly. Then the judge threw out blood evidence after the state crime lab lost or destroyed enough of it in testing that defense attorneys could not do their own testing.

Laboy was convicted of assaulting his Kimberly in 1997. She filed for divorce just two days before her death. Laboy’s attorney says he believes the real killer has not been found. Police say the case is still open.

Too Many Hospices? Some Say Yes
Established hospice providers say at least 17 new hospices in North Carolina were built late last year even though they weren’t needed. During the last half of 2005, there were 130 new hospices opened across the state, in spite of projections showing they would not fill up. A new law that went into effect January first requires non-profit agencies and for-profit companies to get a certificate of need from the state before they open new branches. The established providers say the state made a mistake when it didn’t require the certificate for 17 new branches.

Beef Packing Plant Planned for Lenoir
Soon, you’ll be able to buy beef packed just down the road from Wilkes County. Officials in Lenoir say Hickory-based Alex Lee will open a meat cutting and processing center in Lenoir by late May. The plant is expected to bring over 200 jobs to Caldwell county. It will be operated by a Canadian company, Vantage Foods. The facility will become the major supplier of fresh meat for Lowes Foods, the food service customers of Institution Food House, and the independent retailers of Merchants Distributors.

Surry County Death Investigation
Preliminary autopsy results have not brought Surry county investigators any closer to understanding how a Pilot Mountain woman died last week. 36-year old Dawn Thompson, a caregiver, was found dead Thursday morning in the apartment she shared with the people she assisted. Investigators say there were signs Thompson was assaulted before she died, and are calling the death suspicious. But one of the other people who live in the apartment says he found her next to several empty prescription bottles. Results of drug screens typically take two to three weeks.

Friday
Aug252006

Second Burglar Arrested
Sheriff Deputies have arrested the second person involved in a break-in on Maple Street near
Byrd Ridge Road Wednesday. As we told you earlier on 3WC News, two teen-aged boys were seen by arriving deputies Wednesday morning coming out of a home with a bag of loot. The boys ran in to the woods, and deputies eventually lost sight of them. One, though, lost his shoes at the edge of the woods. He was arrested a bit later at a nearby convenience store after the deputy recognized him.

The second boy, whose name we are not releasing because he is 16, was arrested yesterday. He was a runaway from the boy’s home on Old Highway 60. A deputy saw him not too far from the home that had been broken into, and detained him on an existing warrant for forgery. Now the boy faces the same charges as his alleged accomplice, 19-year old Brad Little. Those charges include Breaking and Entering, Theft, and running from police. Little’s bond was set at 10-thousand dollars; the other boy’s was set at 20-thousand dollars.

All this over 18 pairs of socks.

Underage Drinking Arrests
Two teen-aged girls were hauled to jail early this morning, after breath tests showed both had been drinking. Sheriff Deputies were called to a home on Town & Country Circle, after another girl told 9-1-1 dispatchers she had received several harassing phone calls from the pair. 19-year old Melissa Ann Church tested with a blood alcohol of point-1-2, and 19-year old Crystal Darlene Roten blew a pont-0-7. Both were arrested and charged with underage drinking.

Regional News:

Suspicious Surry County Death
Surry County detectives are investigating the death of an 36-year-old Pinnacle woman. Dawn Thompson was discovered dead in her apartment yesterday morning. Surry County investigators are calling her death "suspicious.” The results of a preliminary autopsy are back; doctors were unable to determine the cause of Thompson’s death.

Y'all Don't Come to the Yadkin County Jail
Yadkin County's sheriff says the prisoners in his jail won't be coming back because the facility is too decrepit to house them safely.

The jail's 29 inmates were transferred to other county lockups on August third when some showed signs of heat stroke as temperatures reached more than 100 degrees.

Sheriff Mike Cain says the jail, more than 40 years old, lacks air conditioning and has deteriorating pipes and broken toilets. Cain says he recently learned that the drinking water is unsafe due to corroding pipes. He says with all the problems, he doesn't see how the county can reopen the jail.

This week, a grand jury inspected the jail and urged county officials to build a one new, citing an outdated security system and hazards such as exposed wiring. The grand jury forewoman calls the jail a liability and a disgrace.

Former Landis Police Chief Out on Bond
After a week in jail, the police chief busted on Internet porn charges is home. The now former police chief of Landis, North Carolina posted his $50,000 bond and left jail for his China Grove home.

State investigators accused Childers of sending sexually explicit messages to someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl. That girl turned out to be an undercover agent.

If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.

Thursday
Aug242006

Arrests in Gun Theft Case
Sheriff Deputies investigating the theft of a couple of guns last week have made some arrests. Stephen Ryan Little and Terry Nicole Little, both age 26, were arrested Tuesday night, after they told deputies they had sold the guns to another man, Christopher Volpi, in exchange for some drugs. Volpi told deputies initially he did not buy the guns, because he is a convicted felon who cannot possess a gun.

A search warrant executed early yesterday (Wednesday) at Volpi’s house did not locate either gun. However, a search of Volpi did find marijuana and six .357 bullets in his pocket. One of the stolen guns was a .357 revolver. Neither gun has been found yet.

According to a police report, the Littles have admitted stealing the guns, then trading them for drugs – the shotgun for some crack and the handgun for some marijuana. The Littles are charged with stealing the guns, while Volpi is facing a drug possession charge at this time.

All This, And For What?
Two criminals certainly got into more than they bargained for during an encounter with sheriff deputies Wednesday morning. Deputies were called to the area of Maple Street and Byrd Ridge road about 10:20 am, when someone told them two men were breaking into a home. When they pulled up, deputies saw the men coming out of the house, and the burglars ran. At the edge of the woods, one of the men dropped a sack containing their loot, and he lost his shoes. Deputies lost track of the pair in the woods.

Later, a deputy spotted a young man that looked like one of the burglars at the Country Market Deli – right down to the fact that he was wearing no shoes. 17-year old Bradley Little was arrested, and later admitted to the theft. The other teen hasn’t been found yet, but deputies believe they know who he is.

Brad Little is charged with Felony Breaking and Entering, Felony Larceny after a breaking, and with running from police.

And what did Little admit stealing to cause all this? Eighteen pairs of socks, valued at about 70 dollars.

Domestic Violence
Two domestic situations in the past week have resulted in arrests.

On Friday night, sheriff deputies arrested a Wilkesboro man and his girlfriend after a fight. The argument was because the man had not come home from work on time, and would not answer his cell phone during the time he was away. Both suffered injuries during the attack – the woman had a bloody lip and a mark on the side of her face, while the man had several eviden scratches on his back, some of which were bleeding. Both admitted to the violence against the other, and investigators could not establish who hit whom first. They charged both Javier Buese and Sara Rosales with Assault.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of another man, after a passerby saw his girlfriend walking on the side of Upper Darby Creek Road on Tuesday morning. She told deputies she had been thrown in the creek by the man, Daniel Hartley. She said they had been arguing over medication one of them takes. Deputies saw a small bruise on her back, and issued a warrant for Hartley.

Estranged Husband Charged with Kidnapping
A custody battle has resulted in kidnapping and assault with the intent to kill charges against a 38-year old North Wilkesboro man. Gary Scott Sebastian has not been seen since the incident Tuesday evening.

Sebastian’s ex-wife Betty says she brought the couple’s daughter to Mr. Sebastian’s home Tuesday night, and as the girl got out of the car, he got in. Mrs, Sebastian says he pulled a gun from his waistband and began beating her with it, then pointed it at her, forcing her to drive to her house, saying he planned to kill her and the man she lives with.

She jumped out of the car near Liberty Grove Church, and ran to a nearby house to get help. The car wrecked, and Gary Sebastian disappeared. Deputies did find the gun in the car.

Regional News:

Forecloseure "Help" Company Shuttered
A Charlotte company that has claimed to be helping consumers faced with home foreclosure has been forced to stop operating until North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper’s lawsuit against them is complete.

In a news release today, Cooper said Mortgage Assistance of the Carolinas, Inc., its predecessor, Carolina Mortgage Relief, Inc., and owner and president Alan Steve Seabolt of Charlotte have been told by a Wake County Superior Court judge to cease operations.

Cooper said, “This outfit took money from desperate homeowners, promised to help them avoid foreclosure and then left them in the lurch.”

Cooper alleges that both companies and their owner broke state laws against unfair business practices and debt adjusting.

Cooper is seeking to permanently prohibit Seabolt and his companies from continuing their illegal foreclosure assistance services and to require them to cancel all contracts with consumers and pay refunds and penalties.

Weyerhauser Merges with Canadian Company
Forest products giant Weyerhaeuser Co. is combining its fine-paper business with Canadian paper maker Domtar Inc., in a deal the companies valued at about $3.3 billion.

The agreement allows Weyerhaeuser, with operations in the Carolinas, to focus on areas that could have more growth potential, and gives Domtar the heft it could need to be more competitive.

"The new Domtar is in a better position to compete than either company could on its own," Steven Rogel, Weyerhaeuser's chairman, president and CEO, said Wednesday in a conference call with analysts.

The new company is expected to be the largest fine-paper company in North America.

Fine paper, typically used for items such as books, brochures, laser printers and fax machines, is still a familiar sight in most businesses and homes. But as more documents -- such as legal rulings and financial reports -- have gone electronic, analysts have begun to think of it as a sector in decline.

The new company will have 14,000 employees and will be led by Raymond Royer, Domtar's president and chief executive officer.

Lowes: Exclusive Supplier of "Katrina Cottages"
As next week's one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, Lowe's Companies Inc. is getting into the "hurricane home" business.

The home-improvement retailer announced Wednesday that it will be the exclusive retailer of plans and materials needed to build Katrina Cottages -- small, easy-to-construct permanent homes. The Katrina Cottages, designed by Marianne Cusato and a host of architects, including well-known town planner Andres Duany, will be sold through 30 Gulf Coast stores starting in the fall.

"We have a large presence of stores in the impacted area and a lot of our own people were very much impacted by the storm. The need is certainly very clear to see," said David Steed, senior vice president for lumber and building materials for Lowe's. "We also see it as a business opportunity."

Wednesday
Aug232006

Wreck Leads to Recovery of Stolen Item
Wilkesboro Police say a hit and run accident Tuesday led to the arrest of three men and the recovery of a stolen air compressor. A red truck sped off from an accident Tuesday evening at the Arctic Grill, and was stopped a short time later by a sheriff’s deputy in front of Wilkesboro Elementary School.

The tree men inside the truck told officer the compressor in the back belonged to their boss. Turned out it was stolen during a recent burglary in Pensacola, Florida. According to the police report, the driver of the pickup was also intoxicated, and a passenger was holding an open beer. All tree men were arrested.

32-year old Javier Cavillo, who lists a Silas Creek Parkway address, faces charges of driving while intoxicated, after blowing a point-1-7 on the intoxilizer. He also faces charges for the hit and run accident, driving on a revoked license, and displaying a fictitious tag.

21-year old Jeonel Castro was charged with carrying an open container. 31-year old Mario Reyes faces a single charge of possession of stolen goods, a charge that is added to the list against the other two men.

All three remain in the Wilkes County Detention Center.

Identity Theft
The experience of a Miller’s Creek woman this week shows why it is important to check your bank records frequently. The 33-year old woman, who works at Lowe’s office in Wilkesboro, reported Tuesday that sometime in the past week, two charges she hadn’t made, totaling 225-dollars, had shown up on her bank account. One was for an AOL account; the other was for a Wlamart.com purchase totaling 200-dollars. Both purchases were made using her debit card number. The woman told police she had already closed the bank account and was not being held responsible for the charges by the bank. She doesn’t know where someone may have gotten hold of her debit card number.

Sheriff Deputies have completed their investigation of an identity theft case that involves family members. A 19-year old rural Wilkesboro man told deputies his father has been using his social security number to obtain credit for some time. The older man has bought a 26-thousand dollar pickup truck and a number of other items using his son’s social security number, according to documents the 19-year old showed investigators. He didn’t know this was going on until he turned 18 and tried to buy a car on his own and all these credit accounts showed up. The son did not press charges against the father, but he is getting his social security number changed, so it can’t happen any more.

A rural Wilkesboro man tells sheriff deputies he has been receiving bills addressed to two people he doesn’t know. When the bills started showing up, the man checked his credit report and found a number of accounts opened by the two men using his information. Though deputies have names of the men, they do not have current addresses, so at this time the suspects have not been arrested.

Drug Sale Leads to Arrest
A call to the sheriff’s office about drug activity ended with a deputy having to spray a man with pepper spray as he tried to flee the scene. Deputies were called to a location on Reynolds Avenue Northwest at midday Tuesday, by someone who said they’d witnessed a drug buy. The suspected buyer, 26-year old Quinton Parsons, had walked away from the scene before deputies arrived, but one of them located him a short distance away. As the deputy was doing a pat-down of Parsons before putting him in the cruiser, Parsons tried to run off, at which time another deputy tackled Parsons and the first deputy unloaded his pepper spray can onto the man. Parsons was found to be carrying a prescription bottle with 13 grams of crack cocaine. He was arrested and jailed on a 15-thousand dollar bond.

Gone Fishin' -- But Not For This!
A Forsyth County EMS worker who had come to Wilkes County for some fishing relaxation instead became part of a theft case. He reported to the sheriff’s office that a large safe was underwater along the shore of his favorite fishing area, near old Highway 16 North and Tumbling Shoals Road. Deputies found the 150-pound safe in several feet of water, ripped open and damaged beyond repair. Because it is so large and heavy, it has been left where it was found.

Regional News:

Baxter: 2 Months in Jail
Former Charlotte Bobcats player Lonny Baxter was sentenced Wednesday to two months in jail after pleading guilty to charges of carrying a gun a few blocks from the White House.

Baxter, who played with the Bobcats last season, has been in jail since his arrest on Aug. 16, when uniformed Secret Service officers responded to reports of shots being fired from a white sport utility vehicle.

Officers found a gun and spent shell casings in the SUV that Baxter was driving. Baxter, 27, and his passenger, Irvin Martin, 35, were charged with carrying a handgun without a license and other firearms charges.

Baxter, who appeared Wednesday before District of Columbia Superior Court judge Craig Iscoe, apologized for the "careless, stupid, selfish act that I committed."

Only English Spoken Here?
A pair of North Carolina towns are weighing whether to join dozens of cities across the country proposing to make English the official language.

Mint Hill, in Mecklenburg County, and Landis, a town in Rowan County, are reviewing making clear that English is the dominant language.

Mint Hill's proposal also would punish businesses that employ, rent to or provide goods and social services to illegal immigrants. A proposal in Landis would require that all written or spoken government business must be in English even if it means people bring their own interpreter.

Father Leaves Children in Burning Home
The father of two children killed Tuesday afternoon in a house fire left them inside the house while he sought treatment for a burn, a neighbor said.

"He had grease all over him," said Dorothy Coleman. "He rang my bell and told me he had got burned from a grease fire and needed to go to the hospital. He said the fire was out and asked if I could watch the children."

Coleman said black smoke was billowing from the home as she crossed the street toward Nagayle Carroll's house.

The house was fully engulfed in flames and smoke when firefighters arrived a few minutes later.

Firefighters found the girl, Sannia Carroll, 3, and boy, Nasean Carroll, 7 months, inside the burning house and rushed them to Thomasville Medical Center. Attempts to resuscitate them were unsuccessful.

Tuesday
Aug222006

Skeletal Remains Identified
It may be some time before authorities know how Othelia Bridges died. Bridges is the woman who had been missing since May, 2004, and whose remains were found last week by a Duke Power line crew. Sheriff Dane Mastin tells 3WC News dental and medical records form the county’s missing person cases were submitted to the state last week, after Bridges’ remains were taken to Chapel Hill for investigation. While those records can be matched, or ruled out, very quickly, it can take much longer to determine a cause of death – and in some deaths, that cannot be determined after so much time has elapsed. Should Bridges death turn out to be of a criminal nature, investigators then have to reopen a case that’s been inactive for about two years – a case in which important witnesses may have moved or died, and in which those who are still around have had a lot of time for their memories to change.

New Jobs in the Area
Ninety-six new jobs are on the way to Elkin, according to the office of Governor Mike Easley. Ottenwiler Company, a company based in Fort Wayne, Indiana that supplies precision machined and custom fabricated welded parts, will invest almost 5-million dollars for a new plant in Surry County. The new jobs will pay about 25-percent more than the county’s average hourly wage, according to Easley’s office – with the average Ottenwiler Company wage falling about 600-dollars a week, plus benefits.

The announcement was made possible in part by a $75,000 One North Carolina Fund grant. The One North Carolina Fund assists the state in industry recruitment and expansion by providing financial assistance through local governments to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. One North Carolina Fund grants require and are contingent upon a local match. Through the use of this Fund, more than 19,000 jobs and $3 billion in investment have been created since 2001.

Wilkes Drug Arrests
In their ongoing efforts to combat drugs in Wilkes County, the sheriff’s office made three arrests over the weekend.

They executed a search warrant on Friday night on a suspected drug house in North Wilkesboro. While they didn’t find any drugs, deputies did find a man wanted for failure to appear in court. Melvin Bumpus was arrested once deputies learned of the warrant.

Another warrant was served on a different house in North Wilkesboro early Saturday afternoon. This time, deputies did locate a baggie of cocaine in the refrigerator and a baggie of Xanax in a woman’s purse. They arrested 26-year old Lloyd Pegrum for felony cocaine possession and other charges. Because the woman had a small child with her and o one to take care of the child, she was told to turn herself in to face charges of illegal drug possession once she had made arrangements for the child.

Marijuana was the drug of choice at another home raided by deputies just before 8 Saturday evening. During this search, over 40 grams of marijuana – enough to justify charges of possession with intent to sell marijuana – was found. Deputies arrested 41-year old Terry Anderson and 53-year old Brenda Anderson on that charge and several drug paraphernalia charges. Each is now free on a bond of five-thousand dollars.

Attempted Strangulation
A North Wilkesboro man is behind bars, charged with trying to strangle his girlfriend. 19-year old Jordan Daniel Eldridge was arrested Saturday after his girlfriend reported the incident, which she said happened last Tuesday. She told deputies he had pinned her to the bed during a confrontation, holding her across the neck with his arm and threatening her and saying this time he wouldn’t leave any marks.

Some in Wilkes Report Being Harrassed
Two residents of Wilkes County have recently reported quite different types of harassment to police.

In a case reported Sunday morning, a Wilkesboro-area resident said she had found an envelope attached to her gate when she woke up that morning. She believed the envelope, which contained an un-signed letter and some cash, was the latest in a series of harassing letters written by an ex-boyfriend. Sheriff deputies say the man had not been seen in the area or around the home during the time in question.

A 22-year old North Wilkesboro woman reported earlier in the weekend a pattern of harassment she believes started over a month ago. Back about July 9th, according to the woman, someone started calling her at all hours of the night in early July. She reports the calls have continued to get worse. Police don’t have a suspect at this time, but the case remains under investigation.

In Regional News:

Charges in Marine Killings
Two Marines at Camp Lejeune have been charged in the killings of fellow Marines last week.

20-year old Pfc. Jondre Andrew Lowemincey, who served in the same unit as the victims, has been charged with two counts of murder, Jacksonville Police Chief Mike Yaniero said Tuesday. Pfc. Tharon Javon Johnson, 19, was charged with accessory after the fact to felony murder, Yaniero said.

Lowemincey was being held without bail Tuesday. Johnson was in the Onslow County Jail with bond set at $350,000.

The charges stem from the slayings of Lance Cpl. Amanda L. Carrithers, 19, and Lance Cpl. Jordan Barrow, 19. Both were from the Chicago area and like Lowemincey were assigned to the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, 2nd Supply Battalion.

Police found the bodies just after midnight Aug. 15 after being called to a home the victims shared in Jacksonville. It was the city's first double homicide in at least 20 years.

Infant Who Swallowed Cocaine Improving
The condition of a 9-month-old boy who ate cocaine over the weekend was upgraded to stable, Monroe police said Tuesday.

Authorities said the boy had been left alone in a room at his father's home in northwest Monroe on Saturday. The father and two friends returned to the room and found the child had swallowed some of the cocaine. Police have not said how much.

The three men took the baby to a local hospital, where doctors sent the child via helicopter to the main Charlotte branch of Carolinas Medical Center. The boy had been in critical condition for the past two days.

Brandon Scott Lewis, 22, the child's father, was charged with possession of cocaine, authorities said.

Jonathan Lawrence Henderson, 37, and David Autry, 19, both of Matthews, were charged with possession and delivery of the drug, authorities said. Both men also face charges of assault inflicting serious bodily injury.

Monday
Aug212006

NWHS Teacher, Coach Dies
Students and staff members at North Wilkes Middle and High Schools are mourning the loss of a teacher over the weekend. Former North Wilkes Middle School Coach Steven Kennedy was found dead yesterday morning, apparently having committed suicide. The 26-year old Kennedy had recently moved from being the wrestling coach at North Wilkes Middle School to being an assistant coach at North Wilkes High School. He was found by his mother.

Pistol, Other Items Stolen
Sheriff deputies have no suspects in the theft of a VCR, a camera and a pistol from a Wilkes county home. Frank Billings told deputies he arrived home Wednesday about sunset, and found the front door broken in and the items missing. Neighbors say they didn’t see anyone around the house.

More Thefts from Job Sites
Someone has taken tools and some items for house building form another Wilkes county site. Sheriff Deputies say this case happened last Wednesday at a site on Grace Point Drive near Boomer. The worker making the report said an air compressor and some faucets were stolen; a list that may grow longer when the builder makes a full report. It’s the latest in a series of thefts from homes being built in Wilkes County.

DWI...Again
Sheriff’s deputies say a Hickory man they took to jail for DWI this weekend was driving without a license – because he’d lost it due to a prior under the influence conviction. 24-year old Stephen Taylor was stopped at a license check on old 421 early yesterday (Sunday) with a beer in the front seat, and according to deputies, reeking of alcohol. When he was tested at the roadside stop, his blood alcohol was point-1-3, or five points above the legal limit. He was jailed on a charge of driving with a revoked license, and police seized his car.

Car/Foot Chase
A Wilkes County Sheriff deputy had to subdue a man using pepper spray Friday night, following a short car and foot chase. On routine patrol, the deputy noticed a car withone headlight out. He turned around to pull the car over, and it sped up, leading the deputy on a half-mile chase down River Road and onto a gravel side road. When the deputy caught up with him, the driver bolted, and ran about 50 yards before the deputy shot him with pepper spray and subdued him. 29-year old William Brian Bounds was treated at Wilkes Regional then sent to Baptist Hospital for re-setting his wrist, which he says was broken when he fell during the foot chase. Bounds was told to appear on the charges within three weeks, or there would be a warrant issued for his arrest. Besides the charges stemming form the chase, Bounds was also charged with driving on a revoked license.

In Regional News:

Unemployment Rate Up a Bit
The unemployment rate in North Carolina increased in July after holding steady for two months. State officials said the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 4.8 percent, the same as the national average. It's a slight increase from 4.6 percent in June, but a substantial drop from July of last year, when the rate was 5.4 percent.

Judge: Progress on Poor Schools
The judge who is overseeing a long-running court case on school quality said he's pleased with the progress North Carolina has made in reforming its poor schools. Judge Howard Manning warned in March that he might close 19 of the state's poor-performing high schools unless state officials made changes to improve them, including firing the principals. At a hearing Friday in Raleigh, Manning said he's happy with the work so far but could still close schools if he sees inadequate improvement. Manning has warned state leaders for about two years that dozens of high schools fall short of a state constitutional requirement that all students receive adequate educational opportunities. There are no Wilkes county schools on that list.

Friday
Aug182006

Wilkes Regional Medical Center Meeting #4
Tonight is the last of four public hearings North Wilkesboro town board members are holding related to the future lease of Wilkes Regional Medical Center. It’ll be a time for public comment on the three plans offered, which have been discussed Tuesday, Wednesday and last night.

Here are the basics of the proposals. First, on the subject of payments to North Wilkesboro during the proposed 30-year lease:

  • Community Health Services offers 51-million dollars up front, and no annual lease payment.
  • Novant offers a 1-million dollar annual lease, totaling 30-million dollars over the live of the contract.
  • The current operating board offers a guaranteed 350-thousand dollars a year, and once hospital net revenues are over 70-million dollars a year, one-half of one percent of those revenues. In five years, they project the annual payment would be worth 500-thousand dollars.
Concerning capital improvements:
  • Novant makes a 70-million dollar commitment to capital improvements in the first ten years of the lease.
  • CHS proposes to make 25-million dollars in upgrades, including a new emergency room, in the first five years. Some of that money would go toward recruiting new doctors.
  • The current operating board makes no guarantees concerning capital improvements, but plans partnership with two of the state’s largest hospitals as a way of making improvements.
Each of the groups says the hospital will keep local control. However, CHS says the local board would make strategic decisions, while day-to-day management would be in the hands of company employees. Novant is similar, saying the local board would make “key” decisions. The current board says it is the only entity that would keep WRMC under truly local control. A decision is expected on the lease next month.

Identity Theft: Spyware?
A North Wilkesboro woman believes computer spyware may have led to her being the victim of identity theft. The 30-year old woman told sheriffs deputies she was checking her bank account online Wednesday and saw someone had withdrawn nearly 110-dollars that she knew nothing about. Her bank identified the withdrawal as being made using her debit card number, by a company known as Bombay Boxes. Deputies and the woman have been unsuccessful reaching to company, which is run through an Internet company based in Bath, England. The woman believes she may have spyware on her computer, and as she paid bills last Friday morning, it recorded her personal information. The investigation continues.

Crab Dip Recall
If you happen to be a person who eats crab dip, you’ll want to be aware of a recall issued yesterday. Listeria has been found in crab dip that distributed in North Carolina and several other states. It’s manufactured by a Texas company, and has the use-by date of August 23rd. It’s marketed under the brand names Salads of the Sea, Hen House, Southern Home and Fisherman's Market.

Listeria can cause serious, sometimes fatal, illness in children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. To a healthy adult, symptoms would appear like a bad case of stomach illness.

Here is the complete recall notice from the FDA:
“Future Food Ltd, Dallas, TX, is expanding its August 11, 2006 recall of Krab Dip Supreme and Supreme Krab Dip to include the following additional products that bear either the use-by date of 8/23/06 and the lot code 06186 or the use-by date of 8/23/06 and the marking A4, B4 or C4: Krab Log, Cajun Smoked Salmon Flavored Spread, Krab Artichoke Spinach Dip, Krab Dip, Cajun Krab Dip, Jalapeno Krab Dip, Cajun Crawfish Salad, and Smoked Salmon Flavored Spread. These products were sold under the brand names of Salads of the Sea, Hen House, Southern Home and Fisherman's Market.

The recall is being expanded because these products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria Monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing revealed that a package of Krab Dip Supreme, which was recalled on August 11, 2006, contained Listeria Monocytogenes.

Future Food has no evidence that the products in this expanded recall are contaminated; however, because all of the products in this expanded recall were produced by the same manufacturer, on the same day and on the same equipment as the products recalled on August 11, Future Food is expanding the recall as a precaution.

The products were distributed in FL, SC, AL, KS, NC, VA, TN, OK, FL, MI, MO, AZ, NM, OH, WA, OR, CO, CA, and LA.

Products are packaged in a variety of sizes, including plastic 7-oz. and 12-oz. round and rectangular containers, 16-oz. round packaging, and plastic 5 lb tubs.

No illnesses have been reported to date. This recall is being made with the knowledge of the U. S. Food and Drug Administration. Consumers who have purchased packages of these products either with lot code 06186 or a use-by date of 8/23/06 are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund or they may discard it. Consumers with questions can call the company at 1-800-318-7229.”

Regional news

Single Judge for Duke Lacrosse Rape Case
The chief justice of the state Supreme Court has appointed a judge to handle all aspects of the Duke Lacrosse rape case. A Durham court official said today that Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III will handle the case through trial, which is not expected to begin until next spring. Two judges have presided over pretrial hearings for the three lacrosse players, who are accused of raping a woman hired to dance at a team party. Chief Justice Sarah Parker declared the case "exceptional," which means one judge can be named to handle every aspect of the case until it's over.

Flippen Put to Death
North Carolina executed death row inmate Samuel Flippen early Friday for the beating death of his 2-year-old stepdaughter 12 years ago. Flippen was pronounced dead at 2:11 a.m., according to Corrections Department spokesman Keith Acree. Flippen was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1994 beating death of Britnie Nichole Hutton. Prosecutors said the toddler had extensive bruising and died after Flippen hit her in the abdomen. Flippen said the child fell from a chair. Neither Flippen nor his parents, who witnessed the execution from an adjoining room, made any final statement.

Police Chief Arrested for Kidde Porn
The police chief of a Rowan County town is facing felony child pornography charges. Federal and state authorities said Charles Childers used the Internet to distribute the kiddie porn, and tried to initiate sexual activity with an undercover investigator in Michigan who he believed was an underage girl. Childers is police chief in Landis and lives in China Grove. He's in federal custody until a detention hearing next week. If he's is convicted, Childers could be sentenced to as much as 30 years in prison, and remain under court supervision for the rest of his life.

Thursday
Aug172006

Wilkes Regional Medical Center Meeting #3
Tonight is the last public presentation for the competing plans concerning the future of Wilkes Regional Medical Center. Novant officials pledge that local governance would remain strong if North Wilkesboro commissioners pick them to lease Wilkes Regional Medical Center. After all, the non-profit group managed the hospital up until last January, and regional president Greg Beyer has been attending the hospital board meetings for the past three years.

Novant is offering North Wilkesboro 1-million dollars a year for the 30-year life of the proposed lease, and committing to 70-million dollars worth of capital improvements in the first ten years. Novant says it has a good history of increasing employment and keeping health care local. Beyer told a local newspaper recently Novant’s facility in Thomasville has increased employment 15-percent since taking over, and their hospital in Brunswick County has added 50 jobs in the past six months.

The Novant proposal will be described in detail at the public meeting tonight at 6 in the board meeting room at the new Wilkes County Schools complex on Cherry Street in North Wilkesboro. North Wilkesboro Town Board members are meeting in a committee session at 5pm, before the hearing. They will also take public comment and questions at a meeting in the same location tomorrow night.

Inspection Costs Increase
The costs for having the county inspect buildings and other items they’re required to inspect will be going up. County commissioners voted Tuesday night to increase those inspection fees. According to Commissioner Fay Byrd, this was done to bring the fees in Wilkes County more in line with those of surrounding counties, and because the county has been spending more to do inspections than it has been taking in through fees.

North Wilkesboro Doctor to Screen Academy Applicants
A North Wilkesboro doctor is one of seven people named by U-S Representative Virginia Foxx to her Service Academy Nominating Board. Dr. Irene Parsons joins Colonel Donald Belle of Mount Airy, Colonel Terry Hales of Advance, Colonel Joe Cansler of Statesville, Rick Bagley of Kernersville, Betsy Reeves of Jefferson, and Todd Poole of Winson-Salem.

The board reviews the applications made by high school seniors seeking appointment by Representative Foxx to one of the service academies. Members also interview the student and make recommendations of who should be accepted. Students wishing to apply for a service academy appointment should contact Representative Foxx’s office at 336-778-0211, or visit her web site at www.foxx.house.gov. Deadline is November 1st.

More Stolen Saws, Mowers
For the second time this week, someone has broken into a Wilkes County garage and stolen a chain saw. The Sheriff’s office says David Paak reported the saw and a battery charger missing from his property on Walshtown Road in Boomer Wednesday. Paak lives in Florida, and says the items were stolen from his garage in Boomer sometime in the past three weeks. There are no suspects.

This is also the second time in a week an expensive lawn mower has been reported stolen. An elderly Miller’s Creek resident told deputies a neighbor saw one of her relatives take the mower, worth 920-dollars, while she was gone between 6:30 and 7 last night. The male relative has not been seen since.

Someone else broke into a garage in on Appletree Lane in North Wilkesboro and got away with another mower – along with a 25-hunred dollar Jenn-Air range and over 1-thousand dollars worth of other items. This is the fourth break-in in several days at this home, which is under construction, and neighbors tell sheriff deputies that two white men in their 30’s have been asking around the neighborhood in the past few days about a home they were supposed to clean. The men were in a full-sized white van.

Regional News

NC School Official Part of Alleged Meth Conspiracy
The United States Department of Justice, the FBI, and state and local law enforcement agencies have identified a drug trafficking ring which includes members in Alexander County and other western North Carolina counties.

One of these includes Taylorsville resident Craig Leviner, who is principal at the Alternative Learning Program (ALP) for Alexander County Schools. Superintendent Jack Hoke noted that dismissal proceedings have begun against Leviner. Indictments allege that the thirteen defendants were involved in a meth conspiracy which began about September 2004 and continued through last month.

Baxter Arrested for Shooting Near the White House
Former Charlotte Bobcats forward Lonny Baxter was arrested by uniformed Secret Service officers on Wednesday after shots were fired from a vehicle about two blocks from the White House. Baxter was taken into custody around 2:30 a.m. after a witness flagged down a Secret Service officer and reported shots fired from a white sport-utility vehicle, said Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren. The S-U-V, with Baxter behind the wheel, was stopped several blocks away, and Zahren said there were spent shell casings clearly visible in the vehicle.