She was stopped for shoplifting and then taken to jail for drugs. Wilkesboro Police were called to Walmart this week regarding a shoplifter being detained. According to store personnel, they saw Melanie Jones of West Jefferson price switch some items, stole other items, and defeated an anti-theft device on a flat iron valued at 96 dollars. While Jones was searching her pocketbook for her ID, Police saw drug related items. A detailed search of Jones found a filled syringe, pills, meth, and drug paraphernalia. Officers also found a concealed knife on Jones. Some of the drugs were field tested and proved to be meth and opiates; other drugs were sent to the SBI lab for analysis. Jones was arrested and charged with multiple counts of larceny, multiple drug charges, and carrying a concealed weapon. She was taken to the Wilkes County Jail. Her bond was set at 15,000 dollars.
It's tax season, but whatever the time of year, ID theft and scams seem to pop up even here in Wilkes. The Wilkes Sheriff's Office is currently investigating a report of tax fraud and obtaining money by false pretense. The Millers Creek victim filed the report this week after filing her taxes and then being notified that some of her information was used on someone else's tax form. There is a suspect and charges are pending. Tax fraud through the use of identity theft tops this year’s Dirty Dozen list. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number (SSN) or other identifying information, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In many cases, an identity thief uses a legitimate taxpayer’s identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund. Combating identity theft and refund fraud is a top priority for the IRS, and we are taking special steps to assist victims. The IRS continues to increase its efforts against refund fraud, which includes identity theft. During 2012, the IRS prevented the issuance of $20 billion of fraudulent refunds, including those related to identity theft. For more information on fraud and scams related to taxes, go to www.irs.gov.
Attention local farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a four-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signup, beginning on March 12 and ending on April 6. CRP has a 25-year legacy of successfully protecting the nation's natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant benefits to rural communities across the United States. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat. In return, USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Over the past 25 years, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts have made CRP the largest and one of the most important of the USDA's conservation efforts. For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit the Wilkes County FSA Service Center at 207 W Main Street, Room 108, Wilkesboro, NC or http://www.fsa.usda.gov/.
MerleFest – presented by Lowe’s and slated forApril 24-27, 2014 – is well-known for its celebration and encouragement of talented young performers. The Acoustic Kids Showcases, a performance platform for the next generation of pickers, singers and traditional-style artists, allows youth to highlight their talents for music fans at the four-day festival. This builds upon the momentum established by the Youth Showcases, which have been mainstays at MerleFest for the past ten years. Hosted by performer Andy May, these showcases will provide an opportunity for young performers through age 16, regardless of skill level, to perform in a supportive environment. Young pickers, singers and those with related talents are encouraged to apply before the April 1 deadline. Selected participants will be notified by April 15. Selection is not based on how advanced a child’s performance might be, but rather it is based on a child's confidence in performing at his or her level. In fact, beginners are encouraged to apply. An application for the Acoustic Kids Showcases – and additional instructions and details about the Showcases – may be found at http://merlefest.org/YouthShowcases/
A new statewide training program to help people who work with youth recognize the signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions is the result of some good work on the part of N.C. DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and Gov. Pat McCrory. But there is still much work to be done in providing treatment for those who suffer from mental illness. Wos on Friday recognized the first group of 32 instructors under the state's Youth Mental Health First Aid program. The group will train other adults in 95 counties who regularly deal with young people, according to a DHHS news release. The program is a positive step that appears to be in direct response to nationwide school safety awareness issues that intensified following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, in which a mentally ill young man fatally shot 20 school children and six adults. The Youth Mental Health First Aid program is part of the governor's N.C. Center for Safer Schools, which sponsored a series of public forums on school safety.
A group of governors representing the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Governors Coalition met today with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and senior officials at the Interior Department to discuss the thoughtful expansion of offshore energy development. The participating governors – Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina (newly named chair of the Governors Coalition), Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi and Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama– urged Secretary Jewell to grant greater access to offshore resources and to move forward now with responsible oil, natural gas and wind energy development. Since its formation in 2011, the coalition of coastal governors has advocated for energy expansion through safe and responsible resource development, and has supported proactive offshore energy production as part of a comprehensive national energy policy. The coalition provides a discussion and policy platform for offshore energy issues shared by the coastal states and the federal government. The governors of Alaska, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina are members.
Firearms continues to be one of the most preferred things to steal by home break-in thieves. The Wilkes Sheriff's Office was called recently to a residence on Flint Hill Road. The homeowner reported a home break-in. It looks like someone entered the home by removing the air conditioning unit from the window. The only thing reported stolen was a single-shot 12 gauge Savage shotgun. There is a suspect and charges are pending.
Two went shoplifting, and two got caught. Wilkesboro Police were called to the local Kohls over the weekend regarding a couple of 30-year-old females being detained at the store. Store personnel told Police that they observed one woman take a sterling silver bracelet valued at 100 dollars, and they saw the other woman take a sterling silver ring valued at 50 dollars. The two women were stopped after they left the store and were detained until Police arrived. The stolen property was recovered and returned to the store and the two females were given citations for shoplifting. Then Police were called to Walmart regarding another female shopper being detained for stealing. This time, the woman was observed removing the anti-theft device off some makeup and putting the cosmetics in her pocketbook. She then proceeded to put 7 articles of clothing in her pocketbook before leaving the store. The woman, Lisa Hodges, was arrested for felony removal of anti-theft device and misdemeanor larceny.
The Wilkes Sheriff's Office made several arrests over the weekend. Of the nearly 40 arrests, 6 were assaults, 2 were arrested and charged with armed robbery, 1 arrest for breaking and entering, 3 deadbeat parents were arrested, 4 were taken to jail for fraud, forgery, or ID Theft, several charged with traffic violations, and 2 arrested for vandalism.
A film about slavery in our time is being presented this week in North Wilkesboro. Did you know that small towns like Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro are exactly the kind of area human traffickers are looking for? Traffickers enslave human beings for the purpose of sexual or commercial exploitation. Many traffickers are choosing to move their business beyond big cities into unsuspecting rural communities. In an effort to promote awareness of the perils of human trafficking, Erin and Jessy Mitchell will be providing a free screening of the documentary "Not My Life" at Talia's Expresso Cafe on Main Street in North Wilkesboro. You are asked to come see this human trafficking documentary and see how this affects you, your children, your grandchildren, and what you can do to prevent it. Again the presentation is free and will be Friday at 7:30 at Talia's.