The Highway Patrol wants everyone to make safety a top priority this Labor Day Weekend by driving carefully and obeying all traffic laws. The Highway Patrol will increase patrols on all North Carolina highways during the holiday weekend. Troopers are looking for impaired drivers, speeders and careless/reckless driver as well as assisting motorists in need. The Labor Day holiday begins at 6:00 p.m., Friday, Sept. 2, and ends at 11:59 p.m., Monday, Sept. 5. Last year in North Carolina, troopers investigated 10 fatal collisions and 365 injury collisions over the Labor Day weekend. Three (3) of those collisions were attributed to impaired driving. The Highway Patrol is asking motorists to do their part. If you observe someone who you believe to be driving while impaired or driving in a careless and reckless manner, please dial *HP or *47.
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Unemployment rates were released this week and the rates decreased in 90 of North Carolina’s counties in July, increased in two, and remained unchanged in eight. The Wilkes rate was one of those counties that remained the same. Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate at 9.0 percent, while Buncombe County had the lowest at 3.8 percent. The July not seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 5.0 percent. When compared to the same month last year, not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates decreased in all 100 counties. The Wilkes rate remained at 4.8 percent, but Wilkes' unemployment rate this month was much lower than one year ago when it was 6.3. Since July 2015, the number of workers employed statewide increased 103,448. The next unemployment update is scheduled for Tuesday, September 20, 2016 when the state unemployment rate for August 2016 will be released.
On Monday, the Wilkes Sheriff's Office received a call in reference to a possible Fraud of an elderly case that Wells Fargo had received. The caller, from Wells Fargo Elderly Abuse, stated that they had received a call from the victim who thought his bank account had been hacked. The Bank representative sent the information to the Wilkes Sheriff's Office. The amount of money taken from the account was not released to the press. That investigation is continuing.
The Sheriff's Department continues to receive a number of break-in and theft reports each week. A Millers Creek resident reported that his home was entered and prescription medication was taken. A North Wilkesboro property owner reported that a Stihl weed eater valued at 300 dollars was stolen from the basement of their home. No suspects were given with either report.
The Labor Day weekend marks traditional end of summer vacation and many North Carolinians will be traveling and gathering with family and friends. The Highway Patrol wants everyone to make safety a top priority this holiday weekend by encouraging motorists to drive carefully and obey all traffic laws. To ensure a safe driving environment for motorists, the Highway Patrol will increase patrols on all North Carolina highways during the holiday weekend. Troopers will be looking for impaired drivers, speeders and careless/reckless driver as well as assisting motorists in need. The Labor Day holiday period officially begins at 6:00 p.m., Friday, Sept. 2, and ends at 11:59 p.m., Monday, Sept. 5. If you observe someone who you believe to be driving while impaired or driving in a careless and reckless manner, please dial *HP or *47. The call is toll free and callers should be prepared to assist the dispatcher by giving a description of the vehicle, the license plate number, location, and direction of travel.
Governor Pat McCrory welcomed teachers and students across the state to a new school year during a visit to Newton-Conover High School this week. After touring several classrooms, the governor held a round-table meeting with teachers to discuss efforts to improve education and increase teacher pay. Since 2013, the McCrory administration has invested more than $1 billion in new funding for teacher pay, including the largest teacher pay raise in the nation. The most recent budget signed by Governor McCrory includes an average 4.7 percent raise that boosts the average teacher pay to more than $50,000 for the first time in state history. To ensure students have the resources they need to succeed, funding for textbooks and digital resources has tripled since Governor McCrory entered office in 2013. Additionally, increased funding for classroom connectivity will make North Carolina one of the first states in the nation to connect all classrooms to robust Wi-Fi by 2018. Since 2013, K-12 education funding has increased by 13 percent and education comprises 57 percent of the state’s $22.3 billion budget.
Over 600 dollars in property was stolen from a job site and someone stolen a motorcycle from a porch this week. In the first report, the Wilkes Sheriff's Office was called to investigate the theft at a logging site off Hwy 268 in Wilkesboro. During the overnight hours, a lock was cut off a trailer and several tools were stolen. Stolen tools were valued at about 600 dollars. Then in the second report, a property owner from the Pads Road, Wilkesboro called concerning a theft. This time, the theft happened during the day. Someone took a Suzuki JR50 dirt bike off the victim's front porch. There are no suspects at this time in either theft.
Warrants were obtained after the suspects were identified on video. Wilkesboro Police were called to Kohls regarding a theft. A white female and a white male were seen in the store concealing items and then leaving. The woman also removed an anti-theft device from the perfume she took. The two left the store before Police arrived. Video surveillance was viewed by Police, the two were identified from previous incarcerations, and warrants were issued for their arrests.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) in collaboration with the High Country Rural Planning Organization (RPO) will be holding a series of 4 public involvement workshops to obtain public input on the Wilkes County Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP). A CTP is a long range multi-modal transportation plan with a 25-30 year planning period. The public involvement workshop schedule is as follows: East Wilkes High School--September 26 from 5-7 PM; West Wilkes High School--September 27from 5-7 PM; North Wilkes High School--October 3 from 5-7 PM; and Wilkes Central High School--October 7 from 5-7 PM
If you are traveling to the NC Coast this weekend, Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge Manager Mike Hoff says that “Open Roads” days will be held daily from sunrise to sunset on September 3 - September 5, 2016. The public will be able to drive the roads normally closed to traffic around the refuge at the end of Mackay Island Road. Other activities may include hiking, bicycling, fishing, and wildlife observation and photography. The Open Roads area is located 6.2 miles south of the NC state line on Hwy. 615, Knotts Island, NC.