The identity theft landscape is constantly changing, as identity thieves continue to create new ways of stealing personal information and using it for their gain. One of the main ways during tax season is stealing someone's identity to file a false claim and get a refund. This form of ID Theft was reported to the Wilkes Sheriff's Office this week. A Moravian Falls woman went to her tax preparer to get her taxes filed. When they tried to e-File, they were informed that a tax return had already been filed this year using the Wilkes victim's Social Security number. That investigation is still underway. Over the past several years, the IRS has taken numerous steps to combat identity theft and protect taxpayers. The IRS has designed various new identity theft screening filters that will improve our ability to spot false returns before they are processed. Once a tax return is flagged, we will correspond with the sender before further processing the tax return to make sure we have the right taxpayer. For more information, go to www.irs.gov
He said first and foremost, he wanted to thank his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving him the ability and the opportunity to work and serve the people of Wilkesboro as a member of the Wilkesboro Police Dept. Deputy Chief Major Steve Dowell is retiring from the Wilkesboro Police Dept. According to Wilkesboro Town Manager Ken Nolan, Major Dowell is the first to retire with 30 years of service from the Police Dept and only the 6th person with 30 years to retire from the Town. Nolan also said that Dowell was a perfect example of a public servant. Many of Maj Dowells peers praised his loyalty, kindness, and service. We asked Major Dowell about his 30 years with the department. AIR: As for what he plans to do now, the Major says he has a new grand baby that he wants to spend time with and he has plans to go fishing.
One from Wilkes and 14 other student-athletes from North Carolina High School Athletic Association member schools have been honored for their outstanding sportsmanship as winners of “Heart of a Champion” recognition. Each of the NCHSAA member schools had the opportunity to nominate student-athletes for the recognition. The students must have participated in at least one varsity sport or activity, including cheerleading, during the 2013-14 school year, have not been ejected from any contest, and must have demonstrated outstanding citizenship and sportsmanship during their high school careers. The students filled out an application questionnaire and then a school official, such as the principal or athletic director, also provided an evaluation. Maria Meyer of North Wilkes was one of the 15 students honored at a luncheon on Saturday at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Durham.
The Office of Governor Pat McCrory announced appointments yesterday including one from Wilkes County. Appointed to the State Community Corrections Advisory Board--Phillip Redmond (Iredell County) – Redmond is the sheriff of Iredell County and Scott Cunningham (Forsyth County) – Dr. Cunningham is the chief of the Kernersville Police Department. The board reviews the criteria for monitoring and evaluating community-based corrections programs, among other duties. The term length is three years. Appointed to the North Carolina State Council for Interstate Adult Offender Supervision--Tom Horner (Wilkes County) – Horner is the district attorney in Prosecutorial District 23. The council adopts the provisions of the revised Interstate Compact for the Supervision of Adult Offenders. It also provides for the state to participate in the international prisoner transfer program administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. Each term is three years.
U.S. Senators Kay Hagan (NC) and Patrick Leahy (VT) are urging Senate Appropriations Committee leaders to prioritize funding for the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program in their federal spending bill for FY2015. Hagan and Leahy led a group of 19 Senators in sending a letter requesting $30 million for the program, which helped provide more than 2,130 lifesaving vests to law enforcement officers in North Carolina last year. “With state and local law enforcement already struggling under significant budget constraints, and the demand for vests continuing to increase, it is imperative that Congress continue to invest in this lifesaving program,” Hagan and her colleagues wrote. Since its inception in 1999, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program has made over a million life-saving vests available to law enforcement officers nationwide by providing matching federal grants to state and local authorities. According to the Government Accountability Office, the lives of over 3,000 law enforcement officers have been saved by armored vests since 1987. The Senators’ letter is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association and the Major County Sheriffs’ Association.
Recently, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) voted in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 96, the Republican “Path to Prosperity” budget sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan. Rep. Foxx delivered the following remarks as part of a floor speech in support of the legislation: “For the first time in American history, we may bequeath to our children and grandchildren a less prosperous country with limited opportunities to pursue their American dream." Congresswoman Foxx also said, “Over the next decade, the U.S. government will spend $5.8 trillion dollars servicing debt. $5 trillion dollars, simply to make interest payments to our creditors! Those dollars could be put to work at home strengthening our military, caring for our veterans, and improving the lives of all Americans – but instead it will go to pay for the inability of those who came before to responsibly manage the nation’s treasury. We need to stop spending money we don’t have.” The legislation--“Path to Prosperity” budget-- passed the House of Representatives on a 219 to 205 vote. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is currently in her fifth term as the Representative of North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and is the elected Republican Conference Secretary.
The North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro Police Departments have announced the arrests of 29 drug offenders resulting from joint undercover drug investigations between the two towns. The arrests are the result of both narcotics units working together to investigate the sale and distribution of various drugs in the community. The majority of the investigations were conducted using undercover officers to make purchases of cocaine, crack cocaine, prescription pills, crystal methamphetamine and marijuana. Many of the cases started with complaints from citizens about drug activity in their neighborhoods. One investigation which has been ongoing for the past eight months was the sale and distribution of crack cocaine in both towns. The investigation started with a citizen complaint and continued from there. During the investigation investigators discovered that several individuals were bringing both crack cocaine and powder cocaine in large quantities into town from other jurisdictions outside of Wilkes County. Once the cocaine was in town the individuals would distribute the cocaine to other individuals for sale. As a result of this one investigation six suspects were charged. Investigators also worked with the other jurisdictions which have resulted in suppliers being arrested and charged and others being investigated currently. In all, 26 individuals were arrested on charges related to cocaine, prescription pills, marijuana, and methamphetamine. Both agencies were also assisted during several investigations by the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office, Mooresville Police Department the State Bureau of Investigations and the North Carolina Highway Patrol. Chief Rankin stated that “these arrests are the result of many hours of investigative work. They reflect the results achieved by our two Departments working together. These arrests should send a strong message that Chief Bowlin and I are committed to use every resource available to us to deter this type of activity and protect our citizens. We will continue to make this one of our top priorities”. Chief Bowlin stated that “we are not going to tolerate illegal drugs being used, bought or sold in our two towns. The fact that these two departments come together to identify and arrest these suspects should put others on notice. We consider it a privilege to be able to work with the fine officers of the North Wilkesboro Police Department to keep both our towns safe.”
The Wilkes County Commissioners met this week for their regular meeting. Jack Hemphill of Hemphill Randall Associates, the architects of the new Wilkes Detention Center; and Chris Little of Vannoy Construction were at the meeting to give an update on the progress of the new jail. Hemphill told Commissioners that they had reached four milestones: 1) the roof is on and inside work is proceeding rapidly, 2) the brick is going up on the outside, 3) they have hit the 75 percent completion mark, and 4) all the special state inspections have been done and approved up to this point. Mr. Little told Commissioners that even though the weather had put them a couple of weeks behind, the work is still progressing on target. Chairman Gary D Blevins said he and the other Commissioners would be by soon for another tour of the construction site. Chairman Blevins also asked the architect how many counties actually got to build a jail on adjacent property to their courthouse. Mr. Hemphill said that most counties wanted their jail near the courthouse but could not due to zoning or no land available. Commissioners agreed that the former County Commissioners should be commended for their foresight in selecting a location suitable for the construction of both buildings.
The Wilkes County Commissioners had their regular meeting this week. They got an update on the construction of the new jail which is progressing well despite bad weather at times. Also Finance Officer Jerry Shepherd gave a financial report for the month. Tax collections for March were over 291,000 dollars more than the same time last year with a total overall collection of over 500,000 dollars more than last year. The Wilkes County Sales Tax are over 148,000 dollars than the same time last year. County Commissioners commented that they were pleased to hear of the growth being shown by these numbers. Commissioners also approved the Window World Lease Agreement Resolution. Then a date was set for a public hearing concerning an Interflex Economic Incentive Agreement. The Public Hearing will be before the next Commissioners' meeting on May 5th at 10am.
North Carolina ranks sixth in the 2014 economic outlook competitiveness ranking, according to the newest edition of the Rich States, Poor States report released by the American Legislative Exchange Council. North Carolina's 2013 tax reform significantly improved its national ranking, jumping 16 spots from 22nd place last year to sixth place this year. The report also reveals that big reforms significantly helped Indiana, Michigan and North Carolina improve their national rankings this year. “This is a monumental one-year leap in economic competitiveness, but unsurprising due to the tremendous tax reform the state accomplished in 2013,” said Jonathan Williams, director of the American Legislative Exchange Council Center for State Fiscal Reform.