Attention local farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a four-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signup, beginning on March 12 and ending on April 6. CRP has a 25-year legacy of successfully protecting the nation's natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant benefits to rural communities across the United States. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat. In return, USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Over the past 25 years, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts have made CRP the largest and one of the most important of the USDA's conservation efforts. For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit the Wilkes County FSA Service Center at 207 W Main Street, Room 108, Wilkesboro, NC or http://www.fsa.usda.gov/.
MerleFest – presented by Lowe’s and slated forApril 24-27, 2014 – is well-known for its celebration and encouragement of talented young performers. The Acoustic Kids Showcases, a performance platform for the next generation of pickers, singers and traditional-style artists, allows youth to highlight their talents for music fans at the four-day festival. This builds upon the momentum established by the Youth Showcases, which have been mainstays at MerleFest for the past ten years. Hosted by performer Andy May, these showcases will provide an opportunity for young performers through age 16, regardless of skill level, to perform in a supportive environment. Young pickers, singers and those with related talents are encouraged to apply before the April 1 deadline. Selected participants will be notified by April 15. Selection is not based on how advanced a child’s performance might be, but rather it is based on a child's confidence in performing at his or her level. In fact, beginners are encouraged to apply. An application for the Acoustic Kids Showcases – and additional instructions and details about the Showcases – may be found at http://merlefest.org/YouthShowcases/
A new statewide training program to help people who work with youth recognize the signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions is the result of some good work on the part of N.C. DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and Gov. Pat McCrory. But there is still much work to be done in providing treatment for those who suffer from mental illness. Wos on Friday recognized the first group of 32 instructors under the state's Youth Mental Health First Aid program. The group will train other adults in 95 counties who regularly deal with young people, according to a DHHS news release. The program is a positive step that appears to be in direct response to nationwide school safety awareness issues that intensified following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, in which a mentally ill young man fatally shot 20 school children and six adults. The Youth Mental Health First Aid program is part of the governor's N.C. Center for Safer Schools, which sponsored a series of public forums on school safety.
A group of governors representing the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Governors Coalition met today with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and senior officials at the Interior Department to discuss the thoughtful expansion of offshore energy development. The participating governors – Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina (newly named chair of the Governors Coalition), Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi and Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama– urged Secretary Jewell to grant greater access to offshore resources and to move forward now with responsible oil, natural gas and wind energy development. Since its formation in 2011, the coalition of coastal governors has advocated for energy expansion through safe and responsible resource development, and has supported proactive offshore energy production as part of a comprehensive national energy policy. The coalition provides a discussion and policy platform for offshore energy issues shared by the coastal states and the federal government. The governors of Alaska, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina are members.
Firearms continues to be one of the most preferred things to steal by home break-in thieves. The Wilkes Sheriff's Office was called recently to a residence on Flint Hill Road. The homeowner reported a home break-in. It looks like someone entered the home by removing the air conditioning unit from the window. The only thing reported stolen was a single-shot 12 gauge Savage shotgun. There is a suspect and charges are pending.
Two went shoplifting, and two got caught. Wilkesboro Police were called to the local Kohls over the weekend regarding a couple of 30-year-old females being detained at the store. Store personnel told Police that they observed one woman take a sterling silver bracelet valued at 100 dollars, and they saw the other woman take a sterling silver ring valued at 50 dollars. The two women were stopped after they left the store and were detained until Police arrived. The stolen property was recovered and returned to the store and the two females were given citations for shoplifting. Then Police were called to Walmart regarding another female shopper being detained for stealing. This time, the woman was observed removing the anti-theft device off some makeup and putting the cosmetics in her pocketbook. She then proceeded to put 7 articles of clothing in her pocketbook before leaving the store. The woman, Lisa Hodges, was arrested for felony removal of anti-theft device and misdemeanor larceny.
The Wilkes Sheriff's Office made several arrests over the weekend. Of the nearly 40 arrests, 6 were assaults, 2 were arrested and charged with armed robbery, 1 arrest for breaking and entering, 3 deadbeat parents were arrested, 4 were taken to jail for fraud, forgery, or ID Theft, several charged with traffic violations, and 2 arrested for vandalism.
A film about slavery in our time is being presented this week in North Wilkesboro. Did you know that small towns like Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro are exactly the kind of area human traffickers are looking for? Traffickers enslave human beings for the purpose of sexual or commercial exploitation. Many traffickers are choosing to move their business beyond big cities into unsuspecting rural communities. In an effort to promote awareness of the perils of human trafficking, Erin and Jessy Mitchell will be providing a free screening of the documentary "Not My Life" at Talia's Expresso Cafe on Main Street in North Wilkesboro. You are asked to come see this human trafficking documentary and see how this affects you, your children, your grandchildren, and what you can do to prevent it. Again the presentation is free and will be Friday at 7:30 at Talia's.
The Wilkes Education Foundation (WEF) is making a difference in the lives of students it supports via its scholarship programs. Among the scholarships awarded annually is the $10,000 Wilkes Education Foundation Scholarship. Recipients are chosen by the scholarship committee, which is chaired by Vaughn Hayes. Following a review of applications and interviews of leading applicants, selection is based on academic performance and financial need. The Wilkes Education Foundation is a private, nonprofit, tax-exempt endowment corporation dedicated to promoting excellence in education in the Wilkes County Schools. For information about making a donation to the WEF, contact Jody Hamby at 309 9th Street, North Wilkesboro, N.C., 28659, or call 336-667-1121.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a health advisory related to acetyl fentanyl, following at least three deaths related to the synthetic drug. Toxicologists at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner detected acetyl fentanyl in specimens associated with deaths that occurred in January in Sampson, Person and Transylvania counties. The final death certifications in these cases are still pending. "It is important for law enforcement, medical professionals and our citizens to be aware that this dangerous drug is in North Carolina," said Acting State Health Director Robin Gary Cummings. Acetyl fentanyl is an opioid analgesic drug that is up to five times more potent than heroin and is not available as a prescription drug in the United States. Last June, the CDC issued an alert to public health agencies, state laboratories, medical examiners, coroners, and emergency departments to be on the lookout for acetyl fentanyl. The CDC also advised emergency departments and emergency medical services to ensure that they have adequate supply of naloxone, an emergency antidote to opioid overdose. The alert came after Rhode Island officials reported that 14 overdose deaths from acetyl fentanyl between March and June 2013. Since then, the drug has been linked to additional deaths in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and now North Carolina.