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

Thursday
Sep282006

Right to Life Endorses Foxx
The National Right to Life and North Carolina Right to Life Political Action Committees are endorsing Congresswoman Virginia Foxx in her bid for re-election to North Carolina’s Fifth Congressional District.

National Right to Life PAC Executive Director David O'Steen commended Foxx for her 100 percent pro-life voting record during the entire 109th Congress.

North Carolina Right to Life Federal PAC Director Don Daugherty added, "We appreciate Virginia Foxx’s commitment to upholding the sanctity of human life from conception, including life created through cloning, to natural death.”

Car Stolen
Sheriff’s deputies are on the lookout for a stolen car. Ray Smith reported Monday afternoon someone had stolen his white 1986 Honda CRX from outside his house on High Rock Road in Boomer. He believes it might have been his ex-girlfriend, taking the car in revenge after their break-up. So far, deputies have not made any arrests.

Boom Lift Found
A boom lift reported stolen recently has been found. It’s been nearly a month since a Mooresville man reported the boom lift, which he’d rented for a job, had been stolen. It was found recently some distance from the job site in the woods off Highway 18. The 60-thousand dollar lift had been hot-wired, and sustained minor damage. The rental company and their insurance company are working out the details, and deputies list the case as closed.

Grief Therapy Sessions Offered
Hospice of Wilkes Regional Medical Center is beginning a five week series of classes on grief a week from Tuesday. The series is offered as a community service for those families who have had to deal with the death of a family member. According to Hospice, dealing with the grief is one of the greatest challenges of life. The classes will teach how to handle the feelings and thought that typically follow a person’s death. The class will meet on Tuesday nights. For more information, call 903-7700.

Home Break-In
A Florida woman tells sheriff deputies someone broke into her home in Wilkes County. Barbara Brooks reported the break-in at her house in McGrady around mid-day Tuesday. Deputies checking the house found a damaged window frame, but did not see any other damage to the house. Ms. Brooks will be in town over the weekend to inventory the house and see if the burglar took anything. A contractor working not far away recently reported a theft from his work site. Otherwise, no one reports seeing anything.

Regional News

3 Die in Yadkin Wreck
Authorities are continuing to investigate a wreck in Yadkin County that killed three people and injured two others.

The accident occurred at about 8:30 Tuesday night on U.S. 421 Highway South at Dinkins Bottom Road.

Investigators said 22-year old Jose Wilber Reyes was driving a Ford Escort north in the southbound lane when he collided head-on with a Mitsubishi. 26-year old Abelardo Hernandez Ramirez and 23-year old Jose Lopez Romero were in the Ford. All three died at the scene.

The injured people are both Appalachian State students, and are listed in fair condition at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. Both were in the Mitsubishi.

Alcohol was found in the Ford, but investigators haven’t determined if it played a role in the wreck.

Forsyth County Sheriff: We Dropped the Ball
The sheriff in Forsyth County says his office waited three months after allegations of sexual misconduct by a middle school teacher surfaced before the case was assigned to a detective.

Robert William Watson, a sixth-grade math and social studies teacher at Jefferson Middle School, faces a number of charges, including statutory sex offense and indecent liberty with a student by a teacher.

The district attorney's office said he's accused of abusing four boys, ages 11 to 15, at his house on three occasions last year.

Sheriff Bill Schatzman says a father reported in June an inappropriate online conversation between his seventh-grade son and a man investigators later identified as Watson, the boy's teacher.

Schatzman said the case wasn't assigned to a detective until early September. He said that was after school officials spoke with the father and got word of a second report of improper communication between Watson and another former student.

Planned Greensboro Jail Already Full
A new jail in Greensboro is already overcrowded, and it hasn’t even left the drawing board.
New figures from Moseley Architects, the firm charged with designing the new detention center, showed that the planned complex would be overcrowded as soon as it opened. Moseley pledged to present plans later this fall for 400 additional jail beds , drawing support from a group of county commissioners and other officials during a meeting Tuesday.

"It's stupid, just to put it bluntly," said Sheriff BJ Barnes, to build a jail "that's going to be obsolete the day you open the door."

The jail will be among the most important and controversial decisions facing the commissioners over the next year. Facilities in Greensboro and High Point are so crowded that some inmates sleep on the floor.

Commissioners have not decided how to pay for the project and are waiting for Moseley to come up with a price tag before making their decision. Initial estimates put the jail's cost at $55.5 million, but Moseley principal Dan Mace said adding hundreds of new beds to the plans could boost the price by $25 million or $30 million.

Tuesday
Sep262006

Make it 3
A third newspaper machine has been broken into in Wilkesboro this week. As we told you earlier on 3WC news, carriers reported two machines broken into early Monday morning, with at total of 50-dollars in quarters stolen. Late Monday, another broken machine was found, this time by a Charlotte Observer contractor. The damage was heavier on this machine, with the culprit breaking the coin box mechanism, as well as the padlock. The other two machines had had only the padlock broken. The theft discovered late Monday netted about 21-dollars in coins.

Wilkes Man Victimized, Again
A Wilkes man has suffered a home break-in, for the second time in recent months. Brian Yarbro returned home from Greensboro Sunday afternoon to find the back door broken open and an X-box stolen, along with two games. He told sheriff deputies he believes some former friends are behind both this break-in and the first one. There have been no arrests in the case.

Hays Burglary
A Hays man will arrive home from vacation to find his house has been broken into. A neighbor called sheriff’s deputies early Saturday, and they found signs that someone had broken in and ransacked the house. A number of drawers were standing open and closets had been gone through, according to a report filed in the case. The owner, who we are not identifying because he’s still out of town, will prepare a list of missing items when he returns from vacation.

Millers Creek Break-In
A thief broke into the home of a Millers Creek man Saturday, stealing an X-box, a Playstation, some games, and about 150 dollars in cash. Robert Long came home from work Saturday afternoon to find his back door had been jimmied. The stolen items were all on a coffee table in Long’s living room, and nothing else in the house had been touched. Long gave sheriff deputies the name of a Boomer man as a possible suspect. Neighbors confirm the man was in the area Saturday. The case remains under investigation.

Items Stolen Through Unlocked Door
A North Wilkesboro man tells sheriff deputies whoever burglarized her home came in through an unlocked door. Vaughn Edward Key reported Saturday that he went into his basement and found someone had stolen a TV-DVD player combo and a bag of frozen chicken wings. The basement door had been left unlocked. Key told deputies the last time he’d been downstairs was Thursday night.

Burglary Foiled
A Ferguson man believes he scared off some thieves by arriving home just as they were burglarizing his house. Jason Hamby says he left home about 1pm last Thursday. When he came back a few hours later, he saw his front door had been kicked in, but when he went in the house, nothing was missing. He told deputies the names of two people and where he believed they were staying. Neighbors say the men had been in the neighborhood several times in the previous few days, trying to collect money. So far, there have been no arrests.

Another Unauthorized Debit card Use Case
Sheriff Deputies are investigating another case where someone’s debit card was used on the Internet without their permission. Late last week, a Wilkesboro woman reported unauthorized charges in June and September to a company called i-matchup.com. When police contacted the company, they were told whoever set up the account had posted a photo. Police are in the process of requesting a copy of the photo and getting documentation from the bank. The account is in the name of the woman and her daughter, who is a college student in Asheville.

Damage: $200
A West Wilkes High School student has an unexpected bill for repair on his pickup truck, after another student kicked a large dent in the driver’s side door. Steven Dancy reported the incident last Thursday. Sheriff’s deputies released the report yesterday, after charging 16-year old Derek Wyatt with causing the damage.

Trash Can Fire Investigation Fizzles
The investigation of an apparent arson fire at East Wilkes Middle School about two weeks ago has hit a dead end. An employee arriving for work September 12th found a melted trash can in the corner of the school cafeteria, and smoke damage to a nearby wall. School officials have been working with police to identify possible suspects, and have exhausted all the leads they have so far.

Both the principal, Jodi Weatherman, and the Assistant Principal, Sharon Shoupe, tell deputies they saw the custodian lock the door the night before the fire. There was an alarm on the monitoring system that showed the door being opened just before 9pm. That was just minutes before both administrators left, but they told deputies they heard no alarm. The Sheriff’s Department asks anyone with information on the case to call CrimeStoppers at 667-8900 or the Sheriff’s Office at 903-7600.

Voter Registration Closes in 2 Weeks
The deadline to get registered to vote in the November elections is fast approaching. The Wilkes
County election office tells 3WC news registrations for the November general lection will be taken only until the end of the day Friday, October 13th. Remember, if you have moved, you cannot vote without re-registering at your new address. If you need information about how or where to register, contact the election office at 651-73-38. A registration form is available on the Election Board’s web site, which you can find through our web site, at 1240-3wc.com.

Regional News

Deciding Who Will Get Treatment, Who Won't
North Carolina's medical professionals have been told to prepare for a flu pandemic and to focus on who will be treated and who won't if the illness overwhelms them.

The Task Force on Ethics and Pandemic Influenza Planning met recently to talk about a strong set of ethical guidelines for the state's doctors and nurses.

The list would help them decide who gets priority for medical care in the face of a wave of flu-stricken patients that would rapidly outstrip the supply of hospital beds, medicine and equipment.

Would You Like Fries With That?
A company that began by making alternative fuel from french fry grease is now ready to start major production of biodiesel.

Piedmont Biofuels plans to convert chicken fat into 1 million gallons of biodiesel per year at the factory, making a fuel that creates less pollution and provides an alternative to oil.

It's the first of three biodiesel production plants being built in North Carolina, which is among the nation's top consumers of biodiesel fuel.

Fake Checks More Frequent
Counterfeit check scams appear to be on the rise in North Carolina, says Attorney General Roy Cooper. As many as 30 consumers a day have called Cooper’s office about these scams in recent weeks.

Cooper’s office says in a news release that fake checks are most often sent in connection with phony lottery pitches and scams involving online sales. Victims are told that they’ve won a prize, as much as $950,000 in recent mailings, but must first wire money to cover taxes, insurance or other fees. In many cases, the scammers include a very real-looking counterfeit check or money order that is supposed to cover these fees. Victims who cash the check and wire the money learn later that the check was a fake.

If you believe you have received a counterfeit check such as this, call the Attorney General’s office toll-free at 877-5-NO-SCAM.

Maybe Kids Can Still Be Active
A new state rule this year that middle-school students do at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity prompted a common reaction from educators.

Fat chance.

Middle-school students typically take physical education, but the classes don't always meet each day. So how, teachers wondered, are we supposed to find time to boost heart rates, when it's hard enough to boost test scores?

But four weeks into the school year, students are shadow boxing in their classrooms, walking while taking notes, even taping together phone books for step aerobics.

And skepticism has begun to fade.

After desks are returned to rows, some teachers say what they initially feared would be a distraction has actually helped improve student behavior and learning.

Tuesday
Sep262006

Injury Wreck Monday
The Highway Patrol says a driver was extremely fortunate yesterday morning, after she drifted left of the center line on highway 115 and sideswiped a semi truck. The wreck happened near 115 and Hunting Creek Road about 8:25am yesterday. Troopers say the was southbound on 115 when she sideswiped the tractor-trailer, and forced another car into the ditch. She also hit an embankment and ended up in the ditch. The drivers of the two cars had some bumps and bruises, but all refused treatment by Wilkes County EMS. Traffic was backed up for a while as cars had to be directed around the wreck scene in one lane.

Embezzlement Investigated
A Wilkes business owner says an employee has been writing company checks to herself. Henry Williams of Purlear reported the embezzlement to sheriff’s deputies on Saturday. He says over a period of time, the employee wrote two-thousand dollars worth of checks on the company account, signing them by using a stamp bearing his name. The employee has not been arrested, and the investigation of the case continues.

Man Found Passed Out in Car
What started as a report of a car on the side of the road ended with a man being taken to jail. A passing motorist called 9-1-1 about 4:45 Saturday afternoon, saying there was a car on the shoulder at the Old Highway 16 junction with Highway 16 North. The deputy found Mark Darren Adams, a Wilkesboro resident, passed out behind the wheel of the car, with five open beers within his reach. A Highway patrol trooper administered a breath test on Adams, who blew a point-20. He was arrested for driving while impaired.

Officer Could Smell the Booze Ten Feet Away
A Wilkesboro man must not have seen the police car parked in front when he stopped for gas at the Run-In on Oakwoods Road Sunday morning. When 27-year old Brandon Cothern went in to pay, the police officer said he smelled alcohol on his breath from over ten feet away. The officer stopped Cothern before he got back in the car, and he blew a .10 on a breath test. A search of his car found an open vodka bottle, a set of digital scales with a white residue on it, and a piece of copper mesh on the console. No one riding in the car would admit to the stuff being theirs, so as the driver, Cothern was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. The car was impounded.

Wilkes Break-In Nets Property Worth $3,000
Sheriff’s Deputies are investigating a break-in at a Wilkes home that ended with nearly three-thousand dollars worth of electronics and other items. Roger Queen called in the theft at his home on Boone Trail Friday afternoon. He told deputies someone backed up to his home, pried open a door with a crowbar, and stole items ranging from a computer to several credit cards. The case remains under investigation, with deputies still interviewing several people Queen identified as possible suspects.

Newspaper Racks Broken Into
Wilkesboro police say there were two newspaper vending machines broken into early yesterday. The carriers filling the machines reported the break-ins within about an hour of each other. The Charlotte Observer machine in the 18-hundred block of Winkler had about 30 dollars in quarters stolen, while the Winston-Salem Journal machine aw Wilco West was missing about 20-dollars in quarters.

Coats For Kids: Keep 'Em Coming!
Officials with the Coats for Kids campaign say this year has already been so successful, they don’t want it to stop! Tim Murphy tells 3WC news more than 250 coats. Plus quite a few pairs of mittens, scarves and toboggans, were donated to the program. Many of them went right out the door as Christmas in Wilkes registration started yesterday morning. Because of the program’s success so far, Murphy says they are extending it for a few more days. So there’s still time to drop off gently-used coats, hats and mittens to Wilkesboro Cleaners or to either Hourglass Cleaners location.

Regional News

DNA Test Won't Help Death Row Inmate
A judge ruled Monday that results of a DNA test for convicted murderer Jerry Wayne Conner won't help him stay out of the death chamber, and defense lawyers said they would appeal the ruling.

Gates County Superior Court Judge Richard Parker ruled that results of the new test were unfavorable to Conner. The decision came after an hour-long hearing, during which the judge said he would hear only evidence related to DNA.

District Attorney Frank Parrish said Parker must sign a formal order before prosecutors ask that the stay of execution be dissolved, which would allow the Department of Corrections to set another execution date.

Parrish said there was enough evidence without DNA to convict and execute the 40-year-old Conner. That evidence included a confession and a bloody footprint.

No Bond for Nurse Accused of Murder
A nurse accused of killing a patient recovering from plastic surgery was denied bond Monday morning, despite the pleas of friends who went to church with the murder suspect.

About a dozen members of Sally Hill's church, Good News Ministries Church, stood before a judge as a team, and left the courthouse as a team.

They say Hill, who is 50, is innocent. She is accused of killing former high school classmate Sandra Joyner.

Hill was the post-op nurse when Joyner got a face-lift five years ago. Joyner went into respiratory arrest after the surgery and died. Authorities said Hill gave Joyner a fatal dose of Fentanyl, a pain medication that is 80 times more potent than morphine.

Teacher Admits Sex Crimes
A 66-year-old former teacher accused of molesting children pleaded guilty yesterday to a dozen federal charges that could keep him in prison the rest of his life.

Jimmie Grubbs, a former language arts teacher at Bradley Middle School in Huntersville, did not have a deal with prosecutors when he entered the pleas in U.S. District Court. Federal prosecutors have said the charges carry maximum punishments totaling 360 years in prison.

The charges were made by a grand jury indictment handed up in July. Jurors said Grubbs with taking a minor from North Carolina to Columbia, S.C., for sex and with traveling there himself to engage in illicit sexual conduct in 2002 and 2004.

Sunday
Sep242006

Two New Assistant D-A's Serving Wilkes
Two new assistant district attorneys, recently hired in the 23rd Judicial District, are ready to meet the challenges ahead.

Matthew Levchuk was hired Aug. 1 and Brooke Webster was hired on Sept. 1.

Levchuk replaces Graham Greene who went to work for the U.S. Attorney’s office, while Webster filled a new position funded by the state.

Suspicious Death Remains Under Investigation
Sheriff deputies continue their investigation of the death of a Wilkes woman who had been missing since 2004, and whose body was found late last month. Family members laid Ocelia Renee Bridges to rest last week, after state medical examiners did what they could to determine how she died. The sheriff’s office says the autopsy report isn’t back yet – it takes much longer to determine facts about death when technicians have only bones to work with.

Regional News

Statesville Man Hit, Killed By Train
A man was hit and killed by a train in Statesville late Friday evening.
Police say Roy Imes was sitting on the railroad tracks on South Center Street around 10:00 p.m. Friday.

Officials say the conductor tried to stop the train by slamming on the brakes, but said the train’s momentum kept him from stopping in time.

Imes was in his early 50’s.

Officer's Shots Saved Lives
A Hickory police officer saved the lives of several people when she shot and killed a man who
was coming toward her, the man's girlfriend said.

``She saved my life, my kids' life, the three kids out here and about six other people,'' said Linda Andrews. ``If it wasn't for her, we'd be dead.''

Officer Melissa Hildebrand shot and killed Garry Wayne McCloud, 51, on Thursday night. McCloud was screaming and flailing his arms when he was outside Andrews' apartment, said Hickory Police Maj. Tom Adkins.

Hildebrand fired several shots at McCloud when he didn't respond to her order to calm down. Adkins didn't say how many times McCloud was shot.

State Bureau of Investigation agents are trying to determine if McCloud had a weapon, Adkins said. After the SBI completes its investigation, the Hickory Police Department will conduct an internal investigation, he said.

McCloud had been found guilty Monday of assault on a female in Catawba County court on Monday. He received unsupervised probation and was ordered not to harass, threaten or assault Andrews, his girlfriend of two years.

Following police policy, Hildebrand has been placed on administrative leave with pay until the investigation is complete.

Friday
Sep222006

Christmas In Wilkes
It’s almost time to start spreading the Christmas cheer to less fortunate children in Wilkes County. It’s the 12th year for Christmas in Wilkes, and the organization will start taking applications for this Christmas season on Monday. Those who meet the program guidelines are then matched with volunteers who pick their name off angel trees placed throughout Wilkes.

Christmas in Wilkes board member Judi Mitchell says applications will be taken from 11 to 7 Monday through Thursday and from 11 to 5 on Friday, all next week and Monday through Thursday of the following week. Last year Christmas in Wilkes served 17-hundred-22 children. For information on applying, call the Christmas in Wilkes office at 927-29-69.

Prostate Screening a Success
Piedmont Urology’s free prostate screening clinic appears to be a success. In the first hour and a half, more than 40 men were given the blood test that detects problems with the prostate – especially prostate cancer. This is the third year for the screening clinic, and they hoped to screen more than 100 men today.

DWI Crash Injures One
A chain-reaction crash in Wilkesboro Wednesday afternoon resulted in one person going to the hospital, and the driver that caused it being ticketed with DWI. Police say 49-year old Mary Ruth Bledsoe of Miller’s Creek slammed into the back of a group of cars waiting for the red light at Main Street and Oakwoods to change. The impact sent the other three cars into one another, injuring a passenger in the first car she hit. 16-year old Alma Erica Sandoval was taken by ambulance to Wilkes Regional. The other drivers were looked at by EMS, but did not receive any medical treatment.

Radiator Thief
Sheriff Deputies are looking for the person who stole several radiators out of a junkyard near Purlear. Wayne Phillips told deputies Wednesday that someone came onto his lot and stole radiators from thirteen old cars. This is the second time something like this happened. The first time, deputies say the thief also stole aluminum roofing, and water hoses, along with damaging a locked grainery and a house trailer. A 16 by 9 foot trailer and a car were also stolen previously. The case remains under investigation.

North Wilkesboro to Explain CDBG Proposal
North Wilkesboro Town Board members have scheduled a public hearing for next Tuesday, in connection with the city’s pending application for Community Development Block Grant money. The money is available through the state, and would be used for water and sewer system extension. At a special meeting yesterday, town board members set the public hearing for the proposal for 7pm Tuesday. It will be part of their regular monthly board meeting.

Regional News

Hickory Officer Kills Man
A Hickory police officer shot and killed a man during a domestic dispute last night. Police have
yet to release the name of the officer or of the man who died. The shooting happened shortly after 6 p.m. when the officer responded to a domestic dispute at the Ridgecrest public housing complex.

The man, who had left the scene, returned and slammed his pickup truck into the car that belonged to the woman involved in the argument. The officer shot the man when he left the truck and wouldn't back down. Major Tom Adkins says officers are trying to determine if the man had a weapon.

The officer, who will be placed on administrative leave with pay, has been with the department for a year as a patrol officer and about 10 years as a civilian employee.

Child Abuse Deaths Increase, Most Under
North Carolina a set a grim record last year as 37 children died at the hands of their parents or caregivers. That’s according to research released by Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina.
North Carolina child abuse homicides were up 20% over 2004 and hit the highest rate in 10 years.

Jennifer Tolle Whiteside is the CEO of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina and co-chair of the N.C. Child Fatality Task Force. In a news release, Tolle said, “In 2005, a child died every nine days as a result of child abuse. Nearly 90% of these children were under four years of age.”

Forsyth County Teacher Accused of Sex Crimes
A former middle school teacher of the year in Forsyth County stands with 18 sex-related crimes.

43 year-old Robert William Watson, a sixth-grade math and social studies teacher at Jefferson Middle School, was charged with six counts of statutory sex offense, nine counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor and three counts of indecent liberty with a student by a teacher, according to the sheriff's office.

School leaders suspended Watson with pay Monday after two former Clemmons Middle School students presented inappropriate e-mails and chat messages they say were sent by Watson.

Wednesday
Sep202006

Laptop Reported Stolen; No Leads
Sheriff Deputies report no leads on the weekend theft of a laptop computer from a Wilkes home. Clayton Porter told deputies Sunday afternoon someone had kicked in the back door of his house on Ruritan Road and stolen the Dell Laptop, valued at 34-hundred dollars. The investigating deputy confirmed there appeared to be damage to the back door.

Home Break-In, Neighbors Saw a Pickup
There are some leads on another home break-in over the weekend. A North Wilkesboro man reported Friday that someone broke into the home he is renovating in Moravian Falls and took a window air conditioner valued at about 2-hunred dollars. A neighbor said he saw a 90’s model red Chevy pickup pull into the driveway while the homeowner was making a trip to the landfill. Unfortunately, the neighbor did not get a tag number, and couldn’t see the driver or passenger clearly enough to make an I-D.

Report of Laptop Theft Delayed A Week
Another laptop computer was stolen recently, but not reported to sheriff deputies until a week later. Some office equipment including a Dell laptop computer was moved into an employee’s office at Carolina West back on September 8th, a Friday. When the employee returned to work the following Monday, the laptop, valued at 12-hundred dollars, was gone. Security staff at Carolina West have gone over the video tapes from that weekend, and did not see anyone take the computer. So far, there are no suspects.

No Video of This Week's Service
A Miller’s Creek church family will have to dig a little deeper when the collection plate goes around Sunday, to replace a video camera and tripod stolen earlier this week. Someone broke into Oak Grove Baptist Church between Monday morning and Tuesday evening, by breaking a bathroom window. Once inside, the thief or thieves forced open two metal interior doors, breaking the latches in the process. Then they left with the video camera, valued at 400-dollars, and the tripod, which is worth about 300-dollars. According to deputies, several ladies from the church were in the building Tuesday afternoon, but did not see the forced window or doors. The theft remains under investigation.

Jewelry Stolen
Over 25-hundred dollars worth of silver jewelry was stolen from a Ferguson woman Tuesday, and she believes she knows who did it. Vena Bowman gave deputies the name of a woman who visited her Tuesday evening. She said the woman asked to go to the bathroom, and a few minutes later, Bowman found the jewelry ahd been taken from a lockbox in her bedroom. She told deputies she lost 18 silver rings, 40 silver earrings, 20 silver bracelets, 40 silver charms, and an 18-inch silver necklace. No arrestes in the case yet.

Borrowed or Stolen? Deputies Aren't Sure
Deputies are investigating the theft of an air compressor from a Wilkes construction site. At least that’s what it looks like right now. An Emglo compressor worth 800-dollars was taken from the tool shed at a job site on Highway 268 West sometime over the weekend. The man who reported the compressor missing told deputies the shed had been unlocked, the compressor taken, and several other expensive tools left in the shed, untouched. Then the key was put back in its hiding place. He thinks an employee on another work crew may have borrowed the compressor without telling anyone, but until he can confirm that, deputies are treating the case as a theft.

Disturbance, Yes . . . Violence, No
In spite of significant damage to a car and a house, a judge told sheriff deputies Monday the domestic situation that prompted the damage would not qualify for a warrant for domestic violence. Deputies were called for shots fire at a house in Purlear Monday night. When they arrived, they found a 2002 Toyota 4-Runner crashed into the sun deck. They went into the house cautiously, after also seeing an open window that appeared to have blood on the curtains. They found the man of the house inside and handcuffed him while they searched for his wife. She was in the woods. Both denied that the other had assaulted them, and refused medical treatment. A deputy says other than some briar scratches on the woman, they appeared unhurt. The couple, who are both 60, are both charged with Domestic Disturbance and Damage to Property. Deputies say alcohol played a role in the incident.

Regional News

Geddings: I'm Not Guilty
Prosecutors have dropped one of the wire fraud charges against former state lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings.

Geddings still faces five counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday as his trial began in federal court in Raleigh.
Gov. Mike Easley is listed as one of the possible witnesses in the case, but he said he hasn't been subpoenaed yet.

Duke Hospital Honored
Duke University Hospital has received a 2006 North Carolina Award for Excellence, made by the state to recognize outstanding organizational performance.

The award was presented today at Duke University Medical Center.

Duke University Hospital is one of seven organizations to be honored this year. Only two hospitals have previously been recognized with the award in the program's 15 year history.

Elkin Soldiers Coming Home
Troops with area ties will be coming home this weekend.

Soldiers with the 505th Engineer Battalion, with troops from Mocksville and Elkin, have been in Iraq since August 2005.

One of those soldiers is 22-year old Devin Longworth, who has been away from his family for 13 months. He left for training camp 10 days after his wedding. Family members have made posters, banners, signs and even his favorite bread to greet him when he arrives at Fort Bragg on Monday.

Top Legislative Issue: Immigration Reform
Immigration reform will be a top issue for the Legislature next year, according to a Senate panel leader looking at changing laws targeting illegal immigrants.

It's ``one of the highest priorities of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the General Assembly,'' Sen. Jim Ritchie, R-Spartanburg, said Tuesday during a panel meeting.

The panel, considering laws like those recently passed in Georgia, heard testimony from people who want something done now and those who say this is an area for the federal government.

The panel is considering legislation that would:

• Require all public agencies, their contractors and subcontractors to verify an employee's citizenship by participating in a federal program that compares employee forms to certain databases, such as one maintained by Social Security.

• Screen jails for illegal immigrants

• Allow state prosecutors to go after the crimes of sexual or labor servitude and regulate immigration service companies.

The panel also was interested in federal law allowing local law enforcement agencies to sign an agreement with Homeland Security, which houses immigration enforcement efforts, and become trained in identifying and detaining illegal immigrants.

Tuesday
Sep192006

Fatal Crash Near Ferguson
A Wilkes woman is dead, and two family members were airlifted to Baptist Hospital, after a wreck on Highway 268 near Ferguson. Highway Patrol Trooper Brent Morgan tells me the wreck happened yesterday morning, when 22-year old Jennifer Lynn Hamby turned left out of the Ferguson Fire Department parking lot into the path of a dump truck. Morgan says she died at the scene. A 21-year old man, James Hudson, was airlifted from the scene to Winston-Salem, and a 4-year old boy, who was not in a child seat, was thrown from the car – he was taken by ambulance to Wilkes Regional and then airlifted to Baptist. Trooper Morgan says he does not believe the injuries are life-threatening.

Long-Haul Trucker Comes Home to Theft
A long-haul truck driver who hails from Wilkes County arrived home from his latest run Friday to find his house had been broken into. Well, technically – actually, the back door was unlocked. William Bounds tells sheriff deputies a generator and two tool sets were taken, with a total value of about 600-dollars. Neighbors say they didn’t see anyone.

Bucket-wielding Burglar
Another Wilkes homeowner was the victim of a break-in over the weekend – this time at the hands of someone wielding a bucket. Bobby Poplin says he had been moving items into a new home, and arrived on one trip Friday evening to find a bucket had been thrown through his front window and more than 800-dollars worth of items were missing. The stolen items included bed linens, 20 stuffed animals and 10 Beanie Babies, plus porcelain dolls and a lamp. Deputies list the case as under investigation, but have no suspects.

It May Be the Memories More THan the Money
A Greensboro man’s car was broken into as it sat outside a Wilkes business Monday. James Parkhurst told sheriff deputies he’d been parked outside ABTCO in Roaring River, and as he was on the way home, he realized several items were missing form the car. One may have had as much sentimental value as monetary value – a 14-Karat yellow gold wedding ring values at over 62-hundred dollars. Parkhurst also reported ten CD’s and about 10 dollars worth of change had been stolen form the car. Detectives are still investigating.

Laptop Computer Stolen
Sheriff Deputies report no leads on the weekend theft of a laptop computer from a Wilkes home. Clayton Porter told deputies Sunday afternoon someone had kicked in the back door of his house on Ruritan Road and stolen the Dell Laptop, valued at 34-hundred dollars. The investigating deputy confirmed there appeared to be damage to the back door.

Air Conditioner Stolen
There are some leads on another home break-in over the weekend. A North Wilkesboro man reported Friday that someone broke into the home he is renovating in Moravian Falls and took a window air conditioner valued at about 2-hunred dollars. A neighbor said he saw a 90’s model red Chevy pickup pull into the driveway while the homeowner was making a trip to the landfill. Unfortunately, the neighbor did not get a tag number, and couldn’t see the driver or passenger clearly enough to make an I-D.

Regional News

N.C.'s Punxsutawney Phil Dies
The furry ambassador of the North Carolina Zoo has died.

"Murphy" was a groundhog who visited schools and events across the state, as well as predicting the return of spring on Groundhog Day.

Zoo officials said Murphy suddenly became ill and died on Sunday. More tests are needed to determine exactly what happened.

Murphy was just 2 months old when he was found on the road side and brought to the zoo's wildlife rehabilitation center in 2002. The staff there discovered he was unafraid of people, which meant he couldn't survive in the wild.

Geddings Jury Picks Start Wednesday
Were omissions on former lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings' state ethics form merely paperwork errors, or a deliberate fraud worthy of a federal felony conviction?

It could be that simple a question for jurors as Geddings, a former Charlotte public relations executive and South Carolina political aide, stands trial this week on nine counts of corruption-related mail and wire fraud.

Prosecutors argue Geddings's mistake was hardly a paperwork mix-up, but rather a conscious effort to hide from state ethics officials the nearly $229,000 he received while working for a for-profit lottery contractor.

Geddings, who faces up to five years in prison and $250,000 fines on each count, said the U.S. Attorney's Office has made some plea offers, which he's rejected. Jury selection for his trial is scheduled to start today.

Easley to N.C. Reps: No Guard Federalization
Governor Mike Easley has asked North Carolina's congressional delegation to reject efforts to put the state's National Guard under federal control during disasters.

In a letter sent Monday to the delegation, Easley said the proposal would make it difficult for North Carolina and other states to respond quickly to crises such as hurricanes.

Proposed language in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act allowing a president to federalize state guards without governors' consent in the event of a ``serious natural or manmade disaster, accident or catastrophe'' would confuse the chain of command as well, Easley said

Tuesday
Sep192006

Drugs Play a Role in Odd Events
It probably isn’t the best idea to steal things from a house, then show up and confront the victims when they arrive home. But that’s what sheriff deputies say a North Wilkesboro man did Saturday.

It’s kind of an odd sequence of events. 38-year old Barry Wayne Whitley is accused of stealing several video games, and x-box and other items from an apartment in North Wilkesboro Saturday afternoon. The victims say they got home to find the stuff missing, and then Whitley pulled up, video games in plain sight in the front seat. After a short confrontation, Whitley drove off, crashing into the victims’ car in the process.

A short time later, he turned up at Wilkes Regional Medical Center, sporting a broken nose. He told deputies at the hospital he found the stolen property simply laying in the front yard. It gets weirder, or things start to make sense, depending on how you look at it.

Whitley’s girlfriend, Michelle Diane Church, took deputies back to the couple’s home, where they found marijuana, illegal alcohol, hashish, and drug paraphernalia, along with a box of tools deputies believe may also be stolen. She was arrested on drug-related charges, while Whitley was arrested for the break-in and theft, along with drug-related charges. Deputies anticipate other charges may be filed in the coming days.

Don't Drink And Drive -- No, Really, We Mean It
It’s usually a good idea to listen to a deputy when he tells you not to drive because you’ve been drinking. Not following that advice landed a Wilkes man in jail briefly this weekend. Deputies were called Saturday afternoon to calm a disturbance at the home of Radford Ray Hendrix. His wife told deputies Hendrix had been drinking all day, and was driving back and forth on Old Highway 60. After warning him not to drive, deputies left, and parked about a mile down the road.

About five minutes later, here came Whitley, driving half over the center line. When he was pulled over, he failed a roadside sobriety test and blew a .17 – more than double the legal limit – on the Intoxilyzer. Deputies arrested Hendrix, who admitted to having had at least a 12-pack over the last couple of hours.

A Hitch in His Get-Along
Impatience ended up getting another drunk driver this weekend. Deputies say 32-year old Francis Thomas Schubert tried to go around a construction vehicle that was blocking traffic on Highway 268 East so a dump truck could get backed in. The deputy smelled booze when he walked up to Schubert’s car, and a breath test measured his blood alcohol at .16 – twice the legal limit.

Stolen Car Recovered Within Hours
Sheriff deputies recovered a stolen car Friday night within two hours of it being reported stolen. Of course, it was within a couple of miles. Dennis Higgins reported the car, along with some tools, a cell phone and a police scanner, were stolen from his home in the 34-hundred block of Elledge Mill Road about 9:45pm Friday. Just before midnight, someone in the 27-hundred block called and said a car they didn’t recognize had been abandoned at the end of their driveway. Higgins told deputies three people had been at his house earlier in the evening, and when he woke up from a short nap, he found the car and other items gone. Charges are pending in the case.

Bond Check Cashed Twice
Apparently being in jail once wasn’t enough for one Wilkes criminal to learn their lesson. Deputies are investigating two people, after a bond refund check from the county court clerk’s office was cashed twice. Investigation showed the check had been scanned and copied using a computer. It was written to one of the suspects, who had posted bond for the other suspect to get out of jail on another crime. Their names haven’t been released yet pending formal charges.

Another Weekend, Another Blown Up Mailbox
Deputies are investigating yet another mailbox pipe-bombing. Several neighbors called 9-1-1 after hearing an explosion at the home of Lewis Miles late Saturday night. His mailbox had been destroyed, and deputies saw powder burns on the aluminum shards scattered around. The next morning, Miles found what appeared to be pipe bomb shrapnel and turned it in to the Sheriff’s Office. There are no suspects.

The Walk-In's A Bit Warm This Morning
Sometime after closing Saturday, police officers say someone cut apart refrigeration compressors behind the Wilkesboro Run-In. An employee arriving for work Sunday found the two units standing open, wires cut and the coils missing. Three beer cans were found close by, and the employee said they appeared to come from the Run-In, because they had price tags like the ones they use. So far, no suspects have been identified.

Regional News

Fatal Fire, No Smoke Detector
There was no working smoke detector inside the apartment where three young sisters died Thursday in a fire, according to investigators in Watauga County.

Killed in the blaze were 5-year-old Luz Clarita Sid Flores, 6-year-old Anadacy Flores, and Liliana Flores, who was 8. Boone fire Capt. James Isaacs said the cause of the fire remains unknown.

Sheriff's deputies found the building burning at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday.
The deputies were able to help the girls' father, Lazaro Rodriguez, out of the house. The mother, Lorena Flores, broke the front bedroom window with her elbow and escaped with the couple's infant son.

The sisters were trapped in a back bedroom and rescuers couldn't reach it because of the heat and smoke.

$4-million Dollar Wake School Fraud Nets 4 Prison Terms
Four people were sentenced to prison Monday for their parts in defrauding the Wake County school system of $4 million.

Former transportation department budget analyst Carol Finch, considered to be the central figure in the scam, received a prison term of roughly 6 to 8 years and was fined $100,000.

Prosecutors said Finch orchestrated a scheme that allowed employees of the school district's transportation department and workers at Barnes Motor Parts Co., a Wilson-based automotive parts supplier, to exchange fake invoices.

Officials allegedly used the money sent to the parts company to buy boats, big-screen televisions and other expensive items.

Strictly Below Average
Civil engineers said North Carolina's roads, dams and airports aren't good enough to support expected population growth.

The first statewide infrastructure report card was released Monday by the state chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. It gives the state a C-minus and said improvements will cost billions of dollars.

Dams and roads in the state received Ds from the report card and airports got D-pluses. Poor roads mean motorists have to spend $1.7 billion in vehicle repairs.

Fall Color to Burst Forth Soon
It's going to be a colorful autumn in the mountains.

Experts say the autumn colors should be much more vivid than last year, when a warm fall led to late and muted color and many leaves turned brown.

Kathy Mathews is an assistant professor of biology at Western Carolina University.

She says the elements appear more on track this year to result in a more colorful autumn, which begins this week.

She says leaves should really begin changing color in early October and peak in the middle of the month.

Thursday
Sep142006

Brown Charges: 30+
Yet more charges have been filed against the Wilkes man who crashed at Highway 268 and School early this week, as he was trying to speed away from a crime scene. 20-year old Paul Ronald Brown Junior was served with charges Wednesday stemming from a series of car break-ins and thefts he admitted to, early Monday at the Red Carpet Inn and at Wilkes Telecommunications. The break-ins at Wilkes Phone were what he was trying to get away from when he ran a red light and smashed into another car. The charges served Wednesday include 5 counts of breaking into vehicles, and four counts of stealing something out of vehicles. They bring the count of total charges against Brown to more than 30.

New Charges Against Accused Lowes Thief
New charges have been filed against a man accused of stealing items from Lowes Home center in July. 51-year old Ronnie Lee Moore is now charged with an additional count of felonious larceny, which alleges he took more than 26-hundred dollars worth of tools and construction equipment from Lowes.

Security personnel at Lowes say after the original charges were filed, they did a detailed review of the past several months of security video from the store, and found three occasions where Moore and an unidentified white woman removed expensive items from the store without paying. The alleged thefts happened June 6th, June 9th, and July 20th. The theft with which Moore was originally charged happened July 28th. The woman, who was with Moore on each of the three earlier incidents, has not been identified or found.

Shaw Energy Hand-Held Radios Stolen
An employee of Shaw Energy arriving for work in Ferguson Wednesday found one of the company’s work trucks had been broken into, and items were stolen from inside. According to sheriff deputies, the side window of the pickup was smashed, and two Motorola two-way radios were stolen, along with some other equipment, with total value of 25-hundred dollars.

A man who lives across the street said he saw a person in a white t-shirt messing around the pickup Tuesday night, but he doesn’t know whether it was a man or a woman, and he doesn’t have any more description. The case remains under investigation.

Wilkes Art Gallery Silent Auction Saturday
Original art and other items from 150 local and regional donors will be sold at silent auction tomorrow night to support the Wilkes Art Gallery.

The Color of Money silent auction includes a cash drawdown, silent auction, pub-themed games and food and drink.

Many local artists have donated works to be auctioned including Ward Nichols, Betty Powell, Kim Lewis, Lyle Wheeler, Sylvia Coppola, Kirk Gulden, Cindy Breden, King's Pottery and many more.

It starts at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Wilkes Art Gallery.

Regional News

UNCC Fined in Fatal Fire
The state Department of Labor has fined the University of North Carolina at Charlotte $12,250 for violations found after a fire and explosion in April that killed one worker and injured four others.

The state Occupational Safety and Health Division cited the university for nine serious violations. Six of them were part of the state code for electrical power generation, transmission and distribution.

UNCC spokesman Tony Hoppa said School officials didn't realize those rules applied to the school because the university doesn't transmit or generate power.

Emergency crews were responding to a power outage on campus in April when a flash-fire and explosion occurred on the east part of campus.

Electrician Ed Seamon died from his injuries August 16tn at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill.

Black, Staffers Subpoenaed
House Speaker Jim Black and three of his staff members have been subpoenaed to testify in the trial of a former state lottery commissioner accused of hiding his ties to a lottery company. The trial of former commissioner Kevin Geddings is scheduled to begin Wednesday in Raleigh federal court. A grand jury indicted him in May on nine counts of mail and wire fraud.

Besides Black, prosecutors have asked general counsel Dianna Jessup, communications director Julie Robinson and policy and member relations analyst Angie Whitener to testify during the trial

Prosecutors accuse Geddings, a Black appointee, of misleading state officials by not reporting that his consulting firm received nearly $230,000 between 2001 and 2005 either from Scientific Games International or a company it later acquired.

Geddings resigned from the commission in November, hours before Scientific Games disclosed his financial relationship with the firm.

Judge: Shacking Up Okay
A Superior Court judge says the state's law barring unmarried couples from living together is unconstitutional and he has blocked state officials from enforcing it.

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said the decision puts an end statewide to a law that many believe is outdated and intrusive, while legal experts had varying opinions about who would have to comply with the judge's order, issued Wednesday.

Neither the state Attorney General's office nor Attorney General Roy Cooper, a defendant in the case, would comment.

The ACLU sued last year to overturn the law on behalf of Debora Hobbs, a former Pender County sheriff's dispatcher who said Sheriff Carson Smith told her to get married, move out or find another job after he found out she and her boyfriend had been living together for three years. The couple did not want to get married, so Hobbs quit in 2004.

Wednesday
Sep132006

Brown Charged with More Crimes
It looks like the crime spree that was broken with an arrest Monday was longer than just a few days. Ronald Paul Brown Junior faced more than twenty charges when he was booked into jail after crashing while he was trying to get away from a crime scene Monday morning. He now faces at least three more charges, for crimes dating back nearly two months. In written statements, Brown admitted to breaking into a store and taking cash and cigarettes, and being scared off from another store by an alarm system that went off when he broke in. Officers continue to interview him, and other charges may be forthcoming.

Stealing Pop Machine Money -- With a Key
Last week, someone broke into two vending machines to steal money. This week a thief simply used a key. Sheriff Deputies say it appears someone has obtained a copy of a Pepsi machine master key, because security tapes from Lackey’s Market in Boomer clearly show a man opening the machine about 3:45 a.m. Monday to steal the money box. About 55-dollars in change was taken. The thief is reported to be a white male, about 6-4, 250 pounds, with thinning short hair. He was seen leaving in a small 2-door car. So far, deputies have no other suspect information.

ATV Trailer Theft
An ATV trailer has been stolen from Lowes in Wilkesboro, perhaps to go along with the ATV stolen in the county over the weekend. In spite of the theft of the trailer happening Sunday night, Lowes employees didn’t report it to police until yesterday (Tuesday). Employees do a count of all the outside merchandise each night at closing, and again the next morning. Monday morning’s count showed the trailer was missing, and closer inspection revealed someone had cut the three-quarter inch cable that tied it to the other trailers nearby. A broken tail light lens was found on the ground, leading employees to believe whoever stole the ATV trailer whacked it into the next trailer as they drove off. The missing trailer is described as a 6-by-12 ATV trailer with ramps on the back and right side for loading.

Wilkes Homes Broken Into
Two Wilkes residents report suffering break-ins over the last couple of days, and both have provided sheriff deputies with possible suspects.

The first happened Sunday afternoon, but wasn’t reported until yesterday (Tuesday). Over two-thousand dollars worth of home items were stolen from a Millers Creek resident, who arrived home to find his front door standing wide open. Deputies have spoken to a suspect in the case, but have not made any arrests so far.

Someone broke into a house outside Elkin home early this morning and stole over one-thousand dollars worth of property, then grabbed the keys to a Firebird sitting outside and stole the car, too. Misty Smoot told deputies she believes she knows who did it, because only certain people know where some of the items were hidden. The stolen car is a burgundy 1985 Firebird. The incident report does not list a tag number.

Plastic Trash Can Burned at Local High School
An employee at East Wilkes High School arrived at work yesterday to find a melted trash can in the corner of the school cafeteria. Someone apparently set the can on fire, as the top had melted away and the aluminum cans inside were smoky, as was the nearby wall. The can is located next to a rear exit, which is presumably how the firebug got in and out, because there was no evidence that the building was broken into. No fire alarms were set off. Deputies do not have a suspect yet.

Drug Charges after Traffic Stop
Two Wilkes residents are cooling their heels behind bars, after being arrested early today at a roadside traffic check. 55-year old Edward James Woodie and 23-year old Amanda Shay Barfield face cocaine possession and drug paraphernalia charges.

Regional News

Winston-Salem Pastor Indicted
The pastor of a Winston-Salem church has been indicted by a Burke County grand jury on charges of sexually assaulting a 15-year old girl, according to Burke County authorities.

45-year old Gregory Michael Butler Sr., 45, of Winston-Salem, was arrested in Forsyth County and returned to Burke County on Tuesday afternoon. Butler is the pastor of Emmanuel Apostolic Church in Winston-Salem.

Butler was charged on the indictments with two counts of felony statutory rape, two counts of felony statutory sexual offenses, and two counts of felony indecent liberties with a minor. He was jailed under a $100,000 secured bond. He was assigned a court date of Oct. 23.

Yadkin County: Yes and No on Liquor
Voters in two Yadkin County communities were split Tuesday on the sale of beer and mixed drinks and the presence of liquor stores.

In Yadkinville, voters approved liquor stores, malt beverages, and mixed drinks. In Jonesville, voters turned down all three.

Wayne County Deputy Fired for DWI
A Wayne County sheriff's deputy was fired after the state Highway Patrol said he got drunk and smashed his patrol car into a guardrail in neighboring Johnston County.

22-year old Deputy Matthew Sasser was fired Tuesday within hours of being charged with driving while impaired, Wayne County Sheriff Carey Aaron Winders said. A blood sample drawn from Sasser five hours after the crash found a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the level at which drivers in North Carolina are considered impaired.

A passer-by spotted the deputy's wrecked patrol car about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. Sasser suffered scratches and bruises in the accident.

Child Appeals Murder Conviction
The South Carolina Supreme Court will hear arguments next month in Christopher Pittman's appeal of his murder conviction for killing his grandparents in 2001 in their Chester County home.

During a trial last year in Charleston that attracted nationwide attention, Pittman's defense maintained that Pittman, who was 12 at the time of the killings, was involuntarily intoxicated by the antidepressant Zoloft and didn't know right from wrong.

Andy Vickery, Pittman's attorney, has appealed saying that there were errors in the trial and that sentencing a juvenile to 30 years amounts to unconstitutional punishment.

The appeal also contends that Pittman, now 17, did not have the capacity to form criminal intent and was denied a speedy trial.

The justices are scheduled to hear arguments Oct. 5.