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

Wednesday
Oct112006

Voter Registration Deadline Looms
If you’re new to Wilkes County, or you have moved within the county since the last election, your opportunity to get registered to vote next month is about over. Registration books close at the end of the day Friday, and new registrations will not be taken until after the November election.

New registrations are needed for anyone who is new to the county, who has changed address, changed name, or wishes to change party affiliation. According to a news release from the Wilkes County Board of Elections, mail-in forms are available at the public library, and forms can be filled out at the Board office in the county office building. If you are renewing your driver’s license you can also register to vote at that time.

Forms have to be received or postmarked by Friday.

Cold Air on the Way
It's time to get those fall and winter clothes out of the attic, if you haven't done so already. A real autumn cold air mass is headed toward the Carolinas and will arrive in time for the weekend.

Mild weather is expected to continue today and Thursday across the region, although a weak cold front will move through the area later today. The stronger of the two cold fronts will sweep across the region overnight Thursday.

Friday highs will be only in the middle 60s, despite bright sunshine.

Frost is likely in some parts of the region Friday night and early Saturday. Sub-freezing temperatures are forecast in the mountains, where a hard freeze could take place.

Will Low Gas Prices Stay?
Gas prices have been dropping over the past few months, but energy analysts say motorists shouldn’t get our hopes up that things are going to stay that way.

Prices at the pump have fallen about 90 cents since the beginning of August -- some North Carolina stations are offering regular unleaded at less than $2 a gallon -- but experts are unsure what to expect this winter. An extraordinarily cold winter or a decision by OPEC to cut oil production could drive prices back up.

Graffiti "Artists" Strike Wilkes Businesses
Two Wilkesboro businesses tell police they’ve been the victim of graffiti writers recently. Both incidents were reported Tuesday.

A Dumpster at Wilkesboro Laundromat was tagged Monday night, according to the employee who reported it Tuesday morning. According to police, the graffiti was spray-painted not only all over the Dumpster, but down the side of the building. The police report does not describe the graffiti.

Also Tuesday morning, the owner of Advantage Mini Storage reported finding graffiti on the front door of his business. In yellow, 12-inch letters, the vandal wrote the number 2 and the letters M-E-X. The same letters were also painted on a sign at the business. Other graffiti was spray-painted on a Pennzoil billboard on the property. Lee Black told officers he had seen similar markings painted on the garage doors at the Old Mulberry Fire Station.

So far, police have no suspects in either case.

Wilkes Businessman Accused of Scam
A homeowner believes he’s the victim of a scam at the hands of a Wilkes business, and sheriff’s deputies agree. Thomas Pratt, a retired Jonesville man, told deputies he paid Larry Dwayne Smith, who does business as Affordable Roofing, 18-hundred-50 dollars to re-roof his house. But he hasn’t heard from Smith since. According to the investigative report, Smith has faced similar charges several times. He has been served with a warrant charging him with failure to work after pay.

Law enforcement officers issue reminders several times a year, not to pay the whole bill for construction work before it’s done. Taking the money and not doing the work is a common scam worked by unscrupulous contractors. Usually, your only way of being sure the work is done is to pay the full bill only after the job is complete to your satisfaction. Of course, dealing with contractors you know also helps you to be assured the job will be completed.

Man, Woman Assaulted
A rural North Wilkesboro man and woman were beaten up after three men burst into their house Sunday night. Sheriff Deputies didn’t release the report on the assault until yesterday. 27-year old Louis Carver the Second suffered facial fractures, according to Sevina Greene, the 21-year old woman who called 9-1-1 after the men left. Carver told deputies the three men came to his house, and kicked in the front door, which was unlocked, after they knocked and he didn’t answer. According to Greene, the men were accusing Carver of breaking into their home. Deputies have names of the suspects, but have made no arrests yet.

The Horseshoe Pit is the Other Way!
A burglar used an odd implement to break into a car outside a Wilkes home this week. Rida Huffman tells sheriff deputies she heard a loud crash early Tuesday morning, and looked outside to see a man walking away from her pickup, which belongs to Tommy Call. The man had used a horseshoe to break out the window, then reached in and grabbed a toolbox from inside. Deputies arrested 46-year old Douglas Mark Wyatt later in the day and charged him with the break-in and theft.

Tuesday
Oct102006

Man Dies, Drugs Found
Sheriff Deputies are investigating the death of a man whose body was found yesterday afternoon. A Neighbor told deputies 48-year old Gregory Dean Dancy had been sick for about a day. When the neighbor went to check on him, he had to break into the house, and found Dancy dead. Deputies found marijuana, a roach clip and rolling papers in the house, but it won’t be clear what role the drugs may have played in Dancy’s death until the result of an autopsy are back. The autopsy was scheduled for today, but drug test results take several weeks. The death is presently listed as suspicious.

Car Wrecks, Rolls into Moravian Creek
Two people were taken to the hospital Monday evening after a roll-over accident at Highway 268 and School Street. Wilkesboro police say the car was westbound on 268 and lost control, striking a utility pole guide wire and rolling down the embankment into the Moravian Creek. The car nearly flipped over as it rolled down the slope, and firefighters had to peel back the roof of the car to get the people inside out of the wreckage. 53-year old Phyllis Foster and 33-year old Nora Johnson, both of North Wilkesboro, were taken to Wilkes Regional Medical Center by Wilkes EMS. A six-year old boy in the car was not injured.

Jeep Stolen While Man is in Hospital
A Wilkes man came home from the hospital yesterday to find his Jeep had been stolen. Kenneth Spears told deputies early Monday afternoon he returned from a five-day stay in the hospital to find someone had taken his 1996 Jeep Cherokee Laredo. He admitted that he’d left the jeep unlocked, and it had a spare ignition key hidden inside it. Deputies say the jeep is red and silver. Spears also said a wood stove that was being kept in a storage building on his property had been stolen. It’s valued at 400-dollars. No suspects have been identified.

Shooting: Accidental?
Sheriff Deputies are looking for a Moravian Falls man who showed up at Wilkes Surgical Offices Monday with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. A nurse practitioner at the facility told deputies James Hawn had been shot in the palm of his left hand, with the bullet exiting through the back of his hand. He told the medical staff he was loading the 22-caliber gun to put it away and accidentally shot himself with a hollow-point round. He was treated and released. So far, deputies have been unable to find Hawn to verify the account, and in fact they’ve found his house padlocked front and back from the outside, both times they’ve visited since the shooting was reported Monday morning. The case is listed as still under investigation.

Dole Staffer to Visit
If you have concerns to share with U-S Senator Elizabeth Dole, your opportunity to do so is coming up soon. A member of Dole’s staff will be at the North Wilkesboro Town Hall a week from Friday. A news release from Dole’s office says the time is meant for individual meetings with constituents to discuss their concerns with federal agencies, case work, or issues pending before Congress. Appointments are not needed. The staffer will be in town only one hour, from 9 to 10 am next Friday, October 20th.

The Break-in Cost More than the Stolen Stuff
A rural North Wilkesboro man says someone broke into his basement wile he was at work Monday. Turns out the damage to the basement door and a screen door was worth more than what was taken. Keith Cheshire reported the break-in about 6:30 Monday night. Damage to the doors was estimated at 500-dollars, while the value of the 25–inch TV and two bath faucet sets that were stolen is listed as totaling about 135-dollars. The property was taken from the living room and an upstairs bedroom. Deputies say there are no suspects at this time.

More Charges in Check Copying Case
Two more people have been charged in relation to a forged check from the court system last month. 33-year old Christopher Landrum has admitted he took the check in question and made a computer copy of it using his scanner. Then he and 30-year old Matthew Triplett took the check to Traphill Grocery and cashed it. Two other men were charged earlier, after the duplicate check turned up at another Wilkes business.

Might Want to Find a Better Storage Place
The side pocket of a recliner is probably not the most secure place to store a handgun. A Wilkes man found that out the hard way over the weekend. 49-year old William Jeffery Shaw tells sheriff deputies that sometime between Friday and Monday, the gun disappeared from the recliner side pocket. No suspects have been identified.

Monday
Oct092006

Miller's Creek Home Broken Into
A Miller’s Creek woman was the victim of a break-in Sunday morning. Teresa Smithey reported
the burglary about 1:30 yesterday afternoon, when she came home to find the back door pried open. She says someone stole about 12-hundred dollars worth of jewelry. The thief walked into the master bedroom and picked up a jewelry box, leaving several other valuables behind. The missing jewelry includes 20 sets of 14-karat gold earrings, three bracelets, several necklaces and pendants, and a gold Bulova ladies’ watch.

A neighbor told sheriff deputies they’d heard a motorcycle in the area while Smithey was gone, and there appeared to be motorcycle tracks in the yard. Other than the neighbor who heard the motorcycle, no one heard or saw anything out of place. Deputies are continuing their investigation.

Another Sunday Jewelry Theft
A rural Wilkesboro woman reports a thief broke into her house this weekend and stole 600-dollars worth of jewelry. Nicolette Barber tells sheriff deputies she came home late Sunday afternoon and found her door kicked open. Once inside, the burglar had stolen a 300-dollar value gold necklace and two bracelets, one worth 200-dollars, the other one worth 100-dollars. Barber says she has no idea who might have broken in between early Sunday and late in the afternoon. Damage to the door and frame was valued at 300-dollars. The case remains under investigation.

After Short Chase, Suspect Vanishes
A car stop on Friday afternoon led to a short foot chase, but ended with a sheriff deputy losing track of both suspects. A deputy on routine patrol stopped a 1995 Jeep Wrangler on Zion Hill Road just before 5 Friday afternoon, because the tag on the Jeep was registered to a 1991 Chevrolet pickup. When the deputy walked up to the Jeep, he recognized the driver and his passenger, and knew the passenger was wanted on a felony theft warrant. When the deputy went around the car to arrest David Spears, the man took off running. The deputy gave chase, until he lost Spears in the woods near Zion Hill church. In the meantime, the driver, Jessie Spears, had taken off in the jeep.

Later, the Jeep was found at a house on Suncrest Orchard Road. The deput seized it and charged Jessie Spears with driving on a revoked license, displaying the wrong tag, and driving without insurance. David Spears has not been seen since.

Tools Stolen This Weekend
Sheriff Deputies are investigating two thefts of tools over the weekend.

The first was reported Friday morning by Randall Johnson. He came out of the house to go to work Friday, and found the side door of his work van standing open slightly. He called deputies after looking through the van and finding two bags of tools were missing. According to Johnson, one of the bags was black, and contained tools worth about 600 dollars. The second one was brown, and the tools inside it were worth about 500 dollars. Johnson says he didn’t hear or sea anything strange during the night, but his wife said she thought she heard a door slam about 2 a-m. She didn’t think anything of it because she assumed it was the neighbors.

The second tool theft was reported Saturday morning. Danny Bell says sometime within the last month, an assortment of tools was stolen from his auto repair business on Mountain View Road. He’s still going through his remaining tools to find out what’s missing. Deputies say there were no signs of forced entry.

Minor Injuries from US 421 Wreck
Two people suffered minor injuries in a two-car collision at US-421 and Winkler Mill Road. Wilkesboro Police say it isn’t clear who caused the wreck Saturday afternoon. 84-year old Warren Brown was westbound on Highway 421 in the center lane, and had the green light. 18-year old Brooke Mallory says she had the green light, as she turned off Winkler Mill Extension onto Westbound 421. She hit Brown’s car in the driver’s side, just in front of the front door. Although both Brown and Mallory were hurt in the crash, both declined treatment by Wilkes County EMS paramedics.

Gas Drive-Off at Uncle Kenny's
A Hays convenience store clerk says two men in a Cadillac with out-of-state plates drove off without paying for gas this weekend. The clerk at Uncle Kenny’s Gas and Grill described one of the men as white, in his 30’s, with graying hair. She did not get a good look at the other one. She said the white four-door Cadillac had either a Florida or a Georgia tag, but when deputies ran the number she gave, the tag was not found in either Florida or Georgia. According to the clerk, the men stopped, asked for directions to North Wilkesboro, and then left without paying for about 25-dollars in gas.

Regenerative Medicine Institute Receives Grant
A ground-breaking effort to grow new organs and limbs using cells from a person’s own body got a financial shot in the arm recently, with the help of 5th District Representative Virginia Foxx. A grant worth one-million dollars is on the way to the Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The grant is part of the Defense Department budget recently approved by Congress. In an exclusive interview with 3WC News, Representative Foxx said not only is the Institute one of the leaders in research into organ regeneration, they are doing work now that helps U-S soldiers who lose extremities.

Medical experts say the most exciting thing about organ and limb regeneration is that because the replacement body part comes from the person it’s being transplanted into, issues of organ rejection vanish.

Sunday
Oct082006

505th Eng Bn: Welcome Home!
The 505th Engineer Battalion has returned home after a 14-month deployment which included nearly a year stay in Iraq.

The soldiers returned home recently, and an official home coming ceremony was held for one of the units in Wilkesboro yesterday.

The battalion spent their year in Iraq attempting to rebuild the warn-torn country. Although for many, the most important measure of their success is that they all came home
Despite its role as an engineering unit, the 505th saw plenty of action.

“We had 62 IED detonations during the tour and well over a hundred other engagements,” said Captain Christopher Blais. Five members of the battalion were seriously injured during their tour of duty in Iraq, but all made it home.

United Way Campaign Sponsors Noted
A number of Wilkes businesses and individuals are on board as Sponsors of the annual United Way Campaign this year. A news release from United Way says to earn sponsor status a business or person must pledge at least 500-dollars more to United Way this year than they have in past years.

Each of the sponsors are recognized on the t-shirts given out to pledge-makers during the drive: Adam Minton of American Drew; Lea, Arnold and Becky Lakey of Associated Heating and Air Conditioning; B B & T; Bank of Granite, Brushy Mountain Smokehouse and Creamery; Carolina West Wireless; Cassie Stone Photography; Cubic Engineering and Construction; Duke Energy; Edward Jones Investments; Embarq; Fred & Jean Ellen Graf of James River Equipment; L P Building Products; Lowes Home Improvement Warehouse; P C Source; PFS Distribution; Screen Printers Unlimited; Tyson; Wachovia; WalMart; Wilkes Regional Medical Center and Wilkes Telecommunications.

Foxx On Immigration
Fifth-district representative Virginia Foxx says a recently-passed border security bill she co-sponsored addresses one of the top issues in her district:

In an exclusive interview with 3WC, 5th District Congresswoman Virginia Foxx said recent passage of the Secure Fences Act is one step toward getting one of the key issues in her district resolved.

The Secure Fences Act requires building of a 700-mile, two-layer fence on the southern U-S Border, and gives border patrol agents the legal authority to chase fleeing suspects…something they haven’t been able to do so far. Still, Foxx says, it’s only part of the solution to the overall issue of illegal immigration.

Foxx and all members of the House will stand for re-election in November.

Friday
Oct062006

Four Area Stores Cited for Underage Sales
Four area stores were among the 23 cited last month for selling tobacco to underage children. North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement agents checked 99 stores in Wilkes, Forsyth and Catawba County last month, and in each of the 23 cases cited, a clerk sold cigarettes to someone younger than 18. The four stores cited locally for underage cigarette sales are: FastTrack, 19-41 Statesville Road in North Wilkesboro, Walgreens in North Wilkesboro, Porters Grocery in Roaring River, and Neighbors in Elkin. Fifteen other Wilkes stores were checked, and none of them sold cigarettes when the buyer was underage.

Welcome Dove Air
A new business specializing in used airplanes is expanding in Wilkes County. Dove Air Incorporated is adding to its presence at Wilkes County Airport. Dove Air specializes in Cessna Citations. The company’s website says owner Joe Duncan has been selling airplanes since 1971. He has owned more Citations than anyone in the world, says the company, and has had over 1 Billion dollars worth of Business ranging from the sale of Single Engine Planes to Private Jets.

505th Welcome Home Event
A series of official welcome home events are being held over the weekend for the members of the 505th Engineer Battalion, an Army National Guard unit with numerous Wilkes county members that recently returned form a year in Iraq. The 505th Engineer Battalion was mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom Aug. 2005. The Soldiers conducted combat engineer operations, road clearing, and repairing and force protection construction. This deployment is part of a long history of serving North Carolina, recent mobilizations include; response to ice storms, construction projects across the state and homeland defense missions at Ft. Meade during Operation Noble Eagle, in 2002. Each company of the unit is hosting their own official welcome back ceremonies. “A” Company’s celebration is at the Walker Center at 10 Sunday morning.

Tyson Donates to Local Food Banks
Tyson Foods has donated more than 18 tons of food to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.

The donation will help reach an estimated 134,000 people served through emergency food assistance agencies.

Tyson delivered the truckload to the food bank and then moved on to deliver about 2,000 pounds of frozen food to Celebration Baptist Church on Monday afternoon. This food will go to for Samaritan Christian Ministries, Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission and Wilkes Cares.

The donation is part of a three-year commitment from Tyson Foods to America's Second Harvest. As part of the initiative, Tyson has pledged at least 10 million pounds of protein to the nationwide food bank network and charitable domestic hunger-relief organization. Second Harvest Food Bank Deputy Director Nan Griswald says perishable donations account for about 40 percent of product donated to the food bank.

More Than Enough Flu Shots This Year
Health officials say there will be plenty of flu vaccine to go around this year. State Health Director Dr. Leah Devlin says the Centers for Disease Control estimates a record 100 million doses of the vaccine will be distributed across the country. That’s about 20-percent more than has ever been used in a single year.

"There will be plenty of vaccine for everyone," she said. "We should even have a little cushion."

About 75 percent of the vaccine shots should be in health care facilities by the end of the month, Devlin said. Officials hoped to vaccinate 80 percent of the state's health care workers. Nationwide, only 40 percent are vaccinated.

Flu season begins in October, though flu is most active in late December and January in North Carolina.

Break-In Discovered
A Miller’s Creek woman realized a number of items had been stolen from her home, when sheriff deputies contacted her in relation to another theft case. Melissa Johnson says about 750-dollars worth of video games, cash, poker chips, knives and other items were taken from her house sometime between September 23rd and late last week. She realized the items had been stolen, after a neighbor’s son admitted receiving some of the property from Daniel Richter, who was arrested late last week for a series of other Wilkes break-ins.

State Officals: Three Wilkes High Schools Make AYP
State education officials say one of Wilkes County’s high schools has exceeded expected student achievement scores last school year. West Wilkes High School students showed an average growth of .23, according to results of the ABCs of Public Education scoring system. Wilkes Central earned the second-highest distinction, the “Met Expected” rating, with an average growth of .04. The other two high schools did not meet the higher expectations implemented last hear.

However, three of the four high schools did meet the No Child Left Behind Act’s definition of adequate yearly progress. Only East Wilkes missed that mark.

Teachers at West Wilkes and Wilkes Central will receive bonuses based on the status of their schools, according to state officials.

Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson says the results can't be compared to previous years because the state has adopted new formulas that measure test results.

According to Atkinson, the new standards are higher and reflect expectations North Carolina schools should have this century.

The 2005-2006 test results for elementary and middle school students will be released next month.

Wednesday
Oct042006

29th Apple Festival This Weekend
Just two more days remain until the 29th Annual Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, one of the largest tourist events of the year in North Wilkesboro. The “Apple Jam” live music event, which has been held the evening before the festival for the past five years, starts at 6pm tomorrow at the Festival Park, which is at 10th and Main in North Wilkesboro.

Saturday, the streets of North Wilkesboro will come alive with over 350 crafts, 75 food booths, and music playing on four stages. It gets underway with opening ceremonies at 9am. The annual event is sponsored by the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club. Parking is available at West Park Medical Park on Business 421, with regular shuttle service to the festival.

Task Force Stops Drug Traffic
Recent efforts of the Wilkes County Sheriff’s office and deputies from neighboring counties, plus the federal government, have resulted in numerous drug-related arrests and charges. During September, intensified patrol efforts along I-77 and US-421 have resulted in the seizure of eight pounds of cocaine, a mobile marijuana growing operation, 63-thousand dollars in cash and several autos. Seven people are facing numerous felony charges in connection with the cases, each of which started as a routine traffic stop along one of the two highways. A news release form Wilkes County Sheriff Dane Mastin says the efforts to curb drug trafficking along the US-421 and I-77 corridors will continue.

Two Wilkes Women Assaulted
Sheriff Deputies arrested a Millers Creek man early yesterday and charged him with assaulting his wife. The woman called 9-1-1 about 2 a-m yesterday and told dispatchers she had been hit in the face and her husband had clawed at her chest during an argument. When deputies arrived they arrested 40-year old Everett Tilley after his wife showed them the marks from the alleged assault. He said the two had been arguing, but he denied hitting her.

A Wilkes man is on the lam, while his girlfriend went to the SAFE Shelter, after she reported being punched in the right temple. The fight happened just after midnight yesterday morning, at a home in Traphill. Although the woman suffered visible injury to her head and said she’d been kicked in the side, she refused medical help. The victim said she and the man had been “sort of” dating. Deputies said he was gone when they arrived. Charges are pending against the man, who has not been found yet.

Mower Theft...and This One Isn't Cheap!
Mowers have been stolen regularly this summer across Wilkes County, but few of the reports have involved mowers this valuable. A North Wilkesboro man called 9-1-1 about 7:30 Tuesday evening, after discovering someone had stolen a nearly-new Cub Cadet riding mower and bagging attachment valued at a total of two thousand dollars. Johnathan Shaw told deputies the mower had disappeared sometime between Saturday morning and Tuesday evening, and that whoever had taken it from an out building at his home had to push the mower up a pretty steep hill. Further investigation showed the mower may have been loaded on a pickup truck. When that fact surfaced, Shaw remembered he had seen an older Ford pickup in the neighborhood a few days before. Later that evening, a neighbor gave Shaw the name of a possible suspect, which he passed on to the investigators. So far, that man has not been arrested.

Four Wheeler Seat Slashed, Victim Blames Hunters
A Millers Creek woman blames hunters using land leased next door to her may be responsible for slashing the seat of her Honda four-wheeler. JoAnn Terrell found the damage Tuesday afternoon. She said her son sometimes rides the four-wheeler in the nearby woods, and apparently had a confrontation with some hunters recently, because he was riding in an area that adjoined the land where they were hunting. Mrs. Terrell told deputies she had talked to the land owner, who was going to talk to the hunters. The investigating deputy told Mrs. Terrell that if she felt she was being harassed by hunters, she could also take the matter to North Carolina Wildlife officials. So far, no charges have been filed in the case.

Business' Truck Peppered by Pellet Gun
A Wilkes business was apparently the victim of a bit more malicious form of hunting. The Welding Company reported someone used a pellet rifle to shoot out a window on the passenger side of one of their trucks sometime Tuesday or early yesterday. The shooter apparently took two other shots at the truck, as well. There are no suspects.

Wednesday
Oct042006

Visitors Steal Items from Disabled Woman
A disabled Boomer woman has spent much of the past several weeks trying to figure out all the items two people who stayed with her recently have apparently stolen. A report on the theft at Barbara Staley’s home was filed yesterday by sheriff’s deputies. It lists almost 25-hundred dollars worth of missing property, including a portable wheelchair ramp. Staley told deputies the pair had also taken two string trimmers, one electric and one gas-powered, various tools and a 22-caliber semi-automatic pistol. She said she noticed the items missing after the suspected thieves stayed with her for a few days early last month. So far there have been no arrests.

Go-Cart Theft
A Wilkesboro man reports someone took a go-cart from under his carport, but chose not to steal a second go-cart sitting right next to it. Jody Wall told police neither cart was locked up when he and his wife left for work yesterday. When they came home last night, one of the carts was gone. He gave police a detailed description of the cart: black with yellow marks on it, single wheel drive with a pulley-to-pulley torque converter, slick tires, puncture-resistant inner tubes, no seat pad, and an improvised throttle hook-up. Although it was designed to have a roll cage, Wall said the cage was not mounted to the go-cart. The other cart, which was similar but did have a roll cage, was still in the carport. The stolen cart also had a brand-new Tecumseh 6-and-a-half horsepower motor. Both cars were visible from the street. There are no suspects.

Break-In at Wilkes ATV, Cycle Shop
A Wilkesboro ATV and motorcycle dealer suffered a break-in Sunday, but he’s not sure yet if anything was stolen. An employee of Brushy Mountain Motorsports called police after finding the plate glass window at the front of the store shattered. Until the owners and police review a videotape and inventory the merchandise, it’s unclear if any of the motorcycles or ATVs on display were taken. According to the employee, the store security camera should have caught the burglary attempt on tape.

Shoplifter Reported, Possible Accomplice Found
On Monday, a different Wilkesboro merchant reported a shoplifter to police. A woman working at Burlington Shoes called 9-1-1 to say a man had just come into the store and left without paying for a pair of Adidas shoes valued at 30 dollars. The thief was described as a white male wearing a red shirt and blue jeans. Police officers searching the area did not find the man, but they did find a woman sitting behind the wheel of the car he was reported to have come to the shoe store in. Turned out the car had a false license plate, and the woman, Nicole Nickens, was driving on a revoked license. She was ticketed and the car seized after it was discovered the vehicle I-D numbers were no longer on the car. She told officers she did not know the man accused of stealing the shoes. He has not been found.

Weed Trimmer Stolen from Unattended Trailer
A local lawn care business is without one of the pieces of equipment used to do the job, after a thief stole a weed eater from his work trailer. Jeffery Wagoner told sheriff deputies he was mowing for J & J Lawn Care around the Food Lion store in Millers’ Creek. The deputy investigating the case looked at security videos from the nearby FasTrak station and the Miller’s Creek Market, and neither was aimed at the area where Wagoner had parked the trailer. So far, no leads or suspects have turned up.

Christmas In Wilkes Applications Close Thursday
This is the last week to apply for this year’s Christmas in Wilkes assistance program. The annual program, now in its 12th year, will accept applications for help this Christmas season today and tomorrow from 11 am to 7pm each day. Eligibility for each child is based on family size and income, and parents need to bring verification of both, along with a picture ID, original social security cards for each family member, and verification of state benefits, if the family applying is on a state assistance program. Those still needing to apply should come by the North Wilkesboro Rotary Club’s Worth Tomlinson Fairgrounds Building near West Park today or tomorrow. NO late applications are accepted. When the application period opened a week ago Monday, more than 250 coats and other items were distributed to people applying for Christmas in Wilkes, after they had been donated at two Wilkes Dry Cleaning businesses.

Foxx Honored by Tax Hike Opponents
A national group that opposes all tax increases has recognized fifth district Congresswoman Virginia Foxx as a “Hero of the Taxpayer.” The honor was given last week by the group Americans for Tax Reform. In a statement released yesterday announcing the honor, Foxx, who is running for another term in next month’s general election, said tax cuts have bolstered the economy and lowered unemployment to levels not seen in thirty years. She said work remains to be done on the estate tax, and she supports additional tax cuts proposed by the Bush administration.

Monday
Oct022006

North Wilkesboro Town Board to Meet
Town Board members in North Wilkesboro will also discuss paying a consultant to help in the negotiation process for a new lease on Wilkes Regional Medical Center. Negotiating the final lease terms is the next step, after board members name the winning entity of the three competing for a 30-year lease. As we reported on 3WC news last week, they are scheduled to announce their choice on Tuesday night. Once that announcement is made, the board will discuss a contract with Cambridge Management Consultants to assist in the negotiations of the exact lease terms, which are expected to be finalized before the end of the year.

North Wilkesboro Town Board members are in the final stages of applying for a grant to extend sewer service to the Damascus Church Road area. The agenda for their Tuesday night meeting lists a public hearing on the project, which has been requested by homeowners in the area. The grant being applied for is through the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Community Development Bock Grant program.

Cyclists Riding Across N.C. Visit Wilkes
More than one thousand cyclists were in town over the weekend, as part of the Cycle North Carolina bike tour. They stayed the night in the large field near Watson Stage and at local hotels, after riding in all afternoon at the finish of a 70-mile ride from Banner Elk. They’re leaving through downtown Wilkesboro this morning, on their way to Clemmons, Burlington, and other points between here and the coast. The will take them a week, and they’ll bike a total of 430 miles.

Caution: Deer Crossing
Now that October’s here, it’s time for the annual fall reminder to be extra alert for deer along area roads. More than 15,000 animal-related crashes are reported across the state each year — 90 percent involving deer. Since 2003, the incidents have resulted in 2,909 human injuries, of which 19 were fatal, and nearly $104 million in property damage.

While a crash involving a deer can happen at any time, the majority of deer-vehicle collisions occur between the months of October and December, when deer activity increases due to the mating and hunting seasons. Incidents are most common during the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., when deer movement increases and limited lighting makes it more difficult for motorists to see them on or near roads.

Friday
Sep292006

Adult Business Vote Tuesday
Wilkes County Commissioners will be putting finishing touches on their ordinance regulating sexually-oriented businesses, before an expected vote at Tuesday’s meeting. Commissioners extended the year-long moratorium by one month at their September meeting, after they were told by county Attorney Gary Triplett there were some small changes that would make the ordinance easier to enforce, and more likely to stand up in court.

The ordinance limits adult clubs and other sexually-oriented businesses to four areas of the county, all located near the county lines. That’s because it restricts such businesses to areas more than one-half mile from any home, church or school. The issue came up because a club owner asked for permission to build such a business a little over a year ago. Except for the moratorium, which is in effect until next week, there has been no regulation of sexually-oriented businesses in Wilkes county before now.

The county commission meeting is at 5 Tuesday evening.

Thief Steals Washing Machine
A Wilkes woman says a thief stole more than 3-thosuand dollars worth of property from the basement of her former home. Betsy Elledge reported the burglary Wednesday evening. She told sheriff’s deputies the thief pried open a basement window and stole a Hotpoint washing machine, wrought iron patio set, an oak coffee table, and three books of checks – along with a light blue 1970 Ford LTD parked outside. As deputies looked further into the crime, they discovered the items were of potential interest to her ex-husband, who is having a legal battle with her over ownership of the house and property.

Elledge told deputies the house was being sold, and she will remove anything else that’s hers from it. Until then, they are provind extra patrols of the area, to prevent a new break-in.

Gas Drive-Off
A local convenience store clerk called 9-1-1, after someone sped off without paying for about six gallons of gas. Sheriff deputies say it happened Wednesday at the Rock Creek BP station on Highway 268 in North Wilkesboro. According to the clerk, someone pulled up in a silver Nissan, pumped six gallons of gas, and sped off without paying. Deputies have the tag number, and are following up with the registered owner.

Recent Fire Ruled Arson
Other than saying it was an arson fire, authorities aren’t releasing much information concerning the blaze that demolished an abandoned house on Elledge Mill Road earlier this month. A neighbor called in the fire the afternoon of September 18th. Fire Marshall Niki Hamby says there were no utilities at the house, and all accidental causes of fire have been ruled out. As is typical in arson investigations, the exact cause and manner of spread of the fire are being withheld until a suspect is questioned.

Stolen Generator: No More Leads
It appears the leads have run out in the case of a generator stolen from a Wilkes homeowner a month ago. The victim found the generator at a local pawn shop last week. But staff members say the generator she identified as hers was actually traded for another item in the store early this year. This pawn shop does not keep computer records of trades in the same way the do pawns, so the identity of the person making the trade in April is unknown. At this point, the case has been closed for lack of leads.

Thursday
Sep282006

Man Critically Hurt in Construction Fall
A Lenoir man is in critical condition today after falling at a Wilkes construction site yesterday
fternoon. The 45-year old man, identified by Baptist Hospital officials as Marvin Anderson, was working in the attic of a house on Michaels Way in Moravian Falls. Paramedics say he fell 20 to 30 feet, striking a stair landing at the bottom. EMS Director Gregg Hendren tells 3WC News Anderson was rushed to Wilkes Regional Medical Center, where he was airlifted directly to Baptist.

WRMC Lease Decision to be Made Tuesday
Next Tuesday is when North Wilkesboro Town Commissioners plan to make their official choice of the entity that will operate Wilkes Regional Medical Center for the next 30 years.

They have three choices:

• The non-profit Wilkes Regional Medical Center Operating Board, which currently leases the hospital from the town for 250-thousand dollars, offers 350-thousand as a minimum yearly payment. The payment after that will be based on half a percent of net revenues. Hospital board officials hope to be at $100 million in net revenues in five years, which would make the lease payment $500,000 annually.

The Operating Board would also partner with Carolinas Healthcare System and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (North Carolina Baptist Hospital), which could offer more resources and development at WRMC according to hospital officials.

• Novant Health, also a non-profit, whose largest facilities are Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem and Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, offers 1-million dollars a year.

• Community Health Systems, a for-profit healthcare conglomerate based in Tennessee, offers a one time, upfront payment of 51-million dollars.After a tentative pick is made, then negotiations of a final contract will begin. A deal is expected to be finalized in December.

Next Tuesday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. at North Wilkesboro Town Hall.

Rose Glen Village Nearing Completion
Construction is nearing completion on Rose Glen Village, which is expected to be ready for residents in December. The 11-and-a-half million dollar community for senior citizens gave a public preview last week.
The complex features 100 units in a resort-style setting. Prices range from $1,295 for a 430 square feet single to $2,545 for a 845 square feet, two bedroom apartment. The apartments include kitchen and living room areasNearly 20 future residents have already committed to moving in once Rose Glen opens.
Aside from the apartments, the three-story, 96,000 square feet facility will offer a 45-seat, surround-sound movie theater, several communal spaces such as sitting areas, a library and game room. There will also be rooms for computer classes, art exhibitions along with a beauty parlor and a barber shop.

Battle of the Bands on Saturday
Eighteen bands from across the area are slated to perform Saturday in the annual Battle of the Bands. The invitation-only competition is sponsored by Tiffany’s Place Teen Center and Historic Downtown North Wilkesboro.

More than 40 bands apply each year for a chance to perform, and a committee of volunteers determine which bands to invite to the Battle based on submitted music samples. The eighteen bands chosen represent a variety of musical styles.

The event gates open at 3, and performances start at 4.

Regional News

Mount Airy Plants to Close
Two Gildan Activewear sock plants in Mount Airy are closing. Gildan says closings will be complete by early next year. About 335 jobs will be lost.

BofA Settles Money Laundering Case
Bank of America will pay more than $7 million to settle a money laundering probe. Prosecutors say some of the money may have financed terrorist cells in the Mideast.

Investigators say Bank of America allowed more than $3 billion through an account operated by companies controlled by an illegal Brazilian money service.
The settlement ends a nearly three-year investigation into illegal banking transactions.

DMV Computer Taken, 16,000 People Affected
Thieves have taken a computer containing the sensitive personal information of thousands of North Carolina motorists. The computer was stolen from the DMV’s office in Louisburg office earlier this month. It contained personal information including Social Security numbers, birth dates and driver’s license numbers for some motorists who received new licenses between March of last year and early this month.

The DMV is mailing notice to 16-thousand drivers this week. Most vulnerable motorists are residents of Franklin County, where Louisburg is located, according to DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell.

Howell said the personal information is not easily accessible and there is no evidence that it has been used for identity theft.

Water Plan Riles Politicians
Two high-profile politicians are sparring over the plan to transfer water from the Catawba River Basin to the Rocky River Basin. House Member Patrick McHenry mailed a strongly-worded letter to Governor Easley on Tuesday, challenging the Governor to “show some spine.” Easley said Wednesday that McHenry should quit “political grandstanding” and “get his facts straight.”

McHenry issued a news release Tuesday regarding what he called Easley’s refusal to meet with McHenry’s task force formed to look at the proposed daily transfer of water from the Catawba River to the Rocky River basin. The proposal calls for an average daily transfer of 22 million gallons of water -- with a maximum of 36 million gallons a day.

According to McHenry, Easley directed his senior assistant, Franklin Freeman, to meet with the group of 10 local elected leaders that make up his task force. McHenry urged Easley to “show some spine and take the meeting,” in a harsh news release. Easley’s office responded that state law prohibits the governor’s intervention in the matter.

The state’s 19-member Environmental Management Commission is expected to decide the issue in January. A decision was recently postponed to allow more time for public comment. The issue created two hotly debated public meetings in recent weeks in Charlotte and Valdese.

The transfer is needed to address a projected shortfall of water by the cities of Concord and Kannapolis by the year 2035.