State and federal disaster recovery officials caution North Carolina residents to be on the alert for scam artists using old and new tricks to take advantage of homeowners or to obtain vital information. The Rockingham Sheriff’s Office has reported thieves who pose as FEMA agents in order to rob residents. According to news reports, the Sheriff’s Office states that while one thief distracts a homeowner, another enters the home to rob it. Last month, Governor Pat McCrory applied for and received federal financial assistance to help nine central North Carolina counties recover some of the costs associated with the March winter storm. People may pretend to be employed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or other government agencies or public utilities. By going door-to-door or by phone or on the internet, con artists may try to obtain personal information such as Social Security and bank account numbers, or, as in the Rockingham County reports, to rob a homeowner. Remember: a FEMA shirt or jacket is not absolute proof of someone’s affiliation with the agency.
The Highway Patrol ended its Operation Slow Down campaign on Sunday, April 20th. The campaign which began on Monday, April 14th, was focused on reducing speed related collisions on North Carolina highways. The campaign was conducted in combination with the Governor’s Highway Safety Program No Need to Speed campaign. Speed remains the leading cause of traffic collisions and fatalities in North Carolina and across the country. Last year, the Highway Patrol investigated 815 fatal collisions on North Carolina highways statewide. Of those, 208 deaths were contributed to speed. In 2012, 242 deaths were reported. During the week long campaign, troopers issued over 16,608 citations for numerous traffic violations to include 7,359 speed-related charges. Despite the end of the campaign, troopers will continue to aggressively enforce the speed limits on North Carolina highways. In Fact Drive to Live began on Monday. With the beginning of prom season scheduled beginning late April and early May, the North Carolina Highway Patrol launched Operation Drive to Live for this week through April 25. The operation will be conducted from 6:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. each day with the primary purpose of reducing the number of teenage related traffic collisions and deaths.
On April 16, Governor McCrory announced a plan that would address coal ash ponds and strengthen environmental and health regulations. The initiative would result in the conversion or closure of all the state’s coal ash ponds, close loopholes in state law to strengthen the state’s ability to regulate coal ash ponds, eliminate special exemptions for utilities and increase regulatory authority to ensure dam safety and protect water quality. “Since taking office in January 2013, my administration has discovered a number of long-standing shortcomings in state law that hamper our ability to adequately protect public health and the environment in addition to dealing with emergencies when they happen,” said Governor McCrory. The plan focuses on three main areas: the conversion or closure of coal ash ponds in North Carolina; increasing pond and dam safety; and protecting drinking and groundwater quality. The governor’s proposed budget for FY2014-15 will also include funding for 19 additional positions to help enforce environmental protections.
Governor Pat McCrory released the following statement after North Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent in March, adding over 10,000 jobs in the past month and 56,000 over the last year: “The March jobs report is more welcome news, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Governor McCrory. “The continued progress that we have made over the last 15 months is evidence that the policy changes we made are working,” continued Governor McCrory. The number of people employed increased by 10,277 over the month and increased by 56,211 over the past year. North Carolina saw the second largest year-over-year drop in the unemployment rate – a 2.2 percentage point decrease to 6.3 percent. The last time the North Carolina unemployment rate was at or below 6.3% was in June of 2008.
She was impaired when Police encountered her at Walmart, and she had a two-month-old baby with her. Police were flagged down in the parking lot of the store and told about an impaired woman. The Police questioned the woman. They asked for and received consent to search her. Some loaded syringes and pills were found in her purse. The woman was initially charged with drug charges, but since she was so impaired at the time of her arrest, the woman was also charged with child abuse as the 2 month old baby was with her at the time.
Wilkes Community College held its 17th Annual Student Awards Reception last week. The program was hosted in the John A. Walker Community Center, and students received a variety of academic, club and leadership awards. Dr. Gordon Burns, president of Wilkes Community College said, “The Student Awards Program provides an opportunity for us to recognize the hard work and talent of students…” During his closing remarks, Thurman Padgett, president of the WCC Student Government Association, recognized Dr. Burns for his commitment to the students of the college during his 18-year tenure as president. The North Carolina Comprehensive Community College Student Government Association presented Wilkes Community College Student Government Association an award in recognition for its continued support and activity in the Western Division and for its outstanding service and achievements for the 2012-2013 year. Wilkes Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System.
Wilkesboro Police are looking for a black female who got away with over 500 dollars in property from Walmart. According to store staff, the woman entered the store and tried to return several items at Customer Service. The woman did not have a receipt for the items and only received a refund for one item totaling 49 dollars. The woman then continued shopping in the store for about an hour. She selected several things and went to the checkout where she attempted to pay for the purchase with an out of town check. The check was denied, so the woman took the items that were already bagged up and left the store. The items she stole including a camera totaled over 500 dollars. The Police do have surveillance video of the woman and have a possible local suspect in this theft. Charges are pending further investigation.
With the beginning of prom season, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol will conduct Operation “Drive to Live” this week. The operation will be conducted from 6:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., beginning today, Monday, and ending on Friday. “Drive to Live” is an initiative by the Highway Patrol to reduce the number of teenage related traffic collisions and deaths. According to National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, young drivers, ages 15- to 20-years old, are more vulnerable to death and injury on our roadways. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in North Carolina and the U.S. Each year, more than 5,000 teens (ages 16-20) are killed in passenger vehicle crashes. And, 16-year-olds are 3 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than the average of all drivers. Troopers will be enforcing all traffic laws around the state’s schools and conducting traffic safety education programs at the high schools prior to the school year ending.
The victims of North Carolina’s 1933 Eugenics Board (sterilization) Program have until June 30, 2014 to submit a completed claim form to the Office for Justice of Sterilization Victims to be eligible to receive compensation under the Eugenics Compensation Program. As of March 31, 2014, the Office has received 376 claim forms from potential Eugenics Board sterilization victims. 199 of those claim forms have been forwarded to the NC Industrial Commission to determine whether the claimants are eligible for compensation. In Wilkes County, 100 sterilizations were performed, but to date, only 3 victims have been verified. For more information, including claim forms, please visit the Office for Justice of Sterilization Victims online or call 919-807-4270.
Governor Pat McCrory announced last week that the budget he will present to the General Assembly will call for in-state tuition for veterans attending North Carolina’s 58 community colleges. With some 60,000 service men and women expected to separate from the armed services in North Carolina during next five years, Governor McCrory said. "...we want more veterans to make North Carolina their home. We want their skills to help build our economy and their leadership to strengthen our communities and state.” The governor made the announcement at the inaugural Women Veterans Summit and Expo held at the North Carolina National Guard Joint Force Headquarters. More than 500 female veterans from across the state representing every military service attended the summit where the governor signed a proclamation declaring April 17, 2014, Women Veterans Day in North Carolina.