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News Index

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


Guns, Cash Stolen

Deputies are working with limited information concerning the disappearance of about 33-hundred dollars worth of cash and firearms from a Wilkes home this week. Roaring River resident Marie Albea called deputies Wednesday to file the report. She told them she realized about 6 that evening that there were two guns and quite a bit of cash missing from her house. The guns are hers, and she described them as a 9-mm Glock and a .28-gage New England shotgun, valued together at 890-dollars. The cash, she said, belonged to her daughter, and it totaled 24-hundred dollars. There was no sign of a break-in, and Albea was unable to identify any possible suspects. The case is listed as under investigation.


Governor Inks Firefighting Assistance Pact with FEMA

Gov. Mike Easley has signed an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that enables North Carolina to seek federal assistance to help pay costs incurred while fighting major fires. Easley said the agreement with FEMA is a pro-active step to get federal assistance in the event the state has an active fire season this spring.

“North Carolina has a strong emergency response system with dedicated firefighters and other personnel who are ready, but if we face a substantial fire that threatens lives and critical facilities, we can ask FEMA for funding assistance,” Easley said. “This agreement fast tracks that paperwork process.”

This is the first time North Carolina has participated in the FEMA fire grant program. It is regularly used by states, such as those in the western part of the United States, where wildfires are more common.


Local Officials Make Burn Ban Total

An update on the state-wide burn ban, which went into effect at noon today: local officials say they are also implementing a ban on all burning. Originally, the state ban had covered all areas more than 100 feet from an occupied dwelling, but Nick Hamby with the Wilkes Fire Marshal's office tells me local officials are also banning fire within the 100 foot circle. So, until further notice, all burning of any kind is banned, with the sole exception of a charcoal grill within the 100 foot circle that is continuously attended.

Of course, the main reason for the ban is the continued drought, and there's an updated report out today on the extent of the drought. The drought areas are largely unchanged from last week. The effect of rainfall Tuesday and Wednesday won't be seen until next week because the drought monitor reports cut of at 7am Tuesday morning for the report which is released each Thursday. 49-percent of North Carolina is still in D-4, or Exceptional Drought, the most severe status. the northern extent of that area follows the south Wilkes county line. All of Wilkes but the northeast corner is in D-3 or Extreme drought conditions, with the northeast corner being in D-2, or severe drought. 100-percent of North Carolina is experiencing one of those three stages of drought.

As a multitude of fires statewide over the weekend, including two large ones in Wilkes, proved, fires can spread quickly when grass and timber is as dry as it has become.


Mt. Airy Plane Crash Initial Report Released

The initial report has been released from federal investigators looking into the plane crash near Mount Airy almost two weeks ago that killed six people. Investigators said there is no evidence of mechanical problems or fire in the twin-engine plane. It came in too high and missed its initial approach. Radar data showed the plane making its final approach at an altitude of 2,000 feet and over a mile from the airport. Two minutes later, radar showed the plane left of the runway at 2,300 feet.
Investigators said the aircraft continued banking to the left and started climbing again before nose-diving out of the clouds and crashing into a back yard near the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport. The wreckage fell in a neighborhood of at least 40 to 50 homes; however, no one on the ground was injured. The Feb. 1 crash killed all six people on board.
The final report on the crash is expected in about a year.


State Burn Ban Returns

Starting at noon today, the state wide burn ban is back. In a news release yesterday, Governor Easley said, "I know the burn ban is an imposition and creates hardship but we have no choice until conditions improve." Regulators lifted the ban in early January after a batch of rains made it safe for controlled fires. Those controlled burns were used to help reduce built-up underbrush that could lead to larger and more intense wildfires later in the year. The temporary easing of restrictions also allowed firefighters and state forestry officials, who must respond to every report of smoke while a ban is in place, to focus on other responsibilities.
Last week's report from the U.S. Drought Monitor found that the entire state is under exceptional, extreme or severe drought. More than 49 percent of the state is under exceptional drought - the most severe category - and those conditions extend across the middle of the state, from Rocky Mount to Asheville to Charlotte. Rain that fell Tuesday and Wednesday brought up to 2 inches to some parts of the state.
But climate forecasters with the National Weather Service still expect the next three months to be dryer than normal as the La Nina phenomenon continues to influence weather patterns across the Southeast.
The state burn ban affects all burning outside a 100-foot radius of any occupied stucuture. Local and county officials have not indiciated so far they intend to implent the ban within their area of control, the first 100-feet out from buildings.


Employee Admits Thievery

A Wilkesboro woman has been arrested for stealing from her employer. Police arrested 24-year old Jessica Blankenship after she was detained by Wal-Mart loss prevention personnel as she left work Monday morning. They had noticed a pattern of items coming up missing during third shift, and had started making spot checks of third-shift employees as they left work. On Monday morning, Blankenship was found to be concealing several items in her purse, valued together at about 93-dollars. When asked by the officer what she had to say, Blankenship admitted she had taken the merchandise. She was formally charged with larceny by an employee and released after posting a 1-thousand dollar secured bond.


Wilkeboro Authorities Investigate Shaken Baby Allegation

Wilkesboro police are investigating allegations of child abuse made against a 22-year old Wilkesboro man after doctors at Baptist Medical Center examined the three-month old boy. Because the man has not been arrested on the charges, we are withholding his name and the name of his child. Doctors at Baptist Medical Center say the boy, who will be three months old Friday, showed up at the hospital with injuries doctors believe are consistent with shaken baby syndrome. The doctors were concerned enough to contact local DSS worker Cindy Coffey, who went to Winston-Salem to talk with the doctors. Neither parent would speak with her about how the baby received the injuries. Wilkesboro Police and the State Bureau of Investigation have joined the case, and the District Attorney's office is awaiting the results of their investigation before filing charges.


Wilkes County Family Arrested

A Wilkes County man and three family memebers are being held on a variety of breaking and entering and larceny charges in Iredell county after deputies recovered a truckload of merchandise stolen from a hardware store early Monday. Authorities then got a warrant to search the family’s home near Millers Creek, which revealed a couple of safes, a complete living-room set and hundreds of boxes bearing the eBay logo. The Statesville Record reports 45-year old Jerry Randall Greene, his wife, 44-year old Sheila Higgins Greene; son, 22-year old Jerry Randall Greene III; and daughter, 24-year old Ashley Greene, have each been charged with breaking and entering and larceny. Investigators said that charges against others could be filed.


Update: Details of Morning Wreck Released

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says southbound traffic on US 421 was rerouted for much of the day, following a semi-truck wreck this morning:

Trooper Grogan tells me the 2007 Peterbilt was pulling a trailer full of waste liquid from the Tyson plan here in Wilkesboro. The wreck happened about 7:30 this morning just south of Red White and Blue Road, and closed the southbound lanes until about 2:15 this afternoon. That was so another truck could be brought in to pump the waste out of the overturned trailer, then heavy equipment could be used to right the semi and trailer. Hospital officials have not released the driver's condition, and Grogan says it's not clear what caused the man to drift off the inside edge of the road.


Truck Crash Injures Driver

The North Carolina Highway Patrol has not released much information yet concerning a wreck that caused traffic to be rerouted on a part of highway 421 in Wilkes this morning. We have been able to learn that a Tyson waste truck crashed a little after 7:30, and the driver was pinned in teh wreckage for a time. He was airlifted to Baptist Medical Center. The wreck did close both southbound lanes of 421 between Clingman Road and Red White and Blue Road, and traffic was rerouted for a time.