Governor Pat McCrory announced $119 million in loans and grants that will help towns across North Carolina pay for 50 much-needed drinking water and wastewater projects. More than $500 million in projects have been funded since January 2014 through the state’s water infrastructure authority. Among the recipients of monies from the state were Elkin 1.7 million dollars for a Raw Water Line Emergency Replacement and Sparta 602,000 for Crestview Booster Pump Station and Water System. “Clean water and reliable infrastructure are essential to health, quality of life, and economic growth,” Governor McCrory said. “With this funding, towns can protect their water quality and become more economically competitive.”
Your Hometown Christian Radio Station. WWWC Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
After investigation by the Sheriff's Department, it is believed the death was an accident. The body of 46-year-old Kevin Wayne Pardue was found this week in Fish Dam Creek. Sheriff's Officials say it appears that Pardue slipped on some rocks and fell down a bank hitting his head on some rocks. The body of Pardue was found Monday afternoon. The Medical Examiner said that Pardue's injuries and death were consistent with a fall and from exposure. An autopsy has been ordered, but again, it is believed Pardue's death was an accident.
Wilkes Public Health Dental Clinic will be hosting the annual Give Kids a Smile free dental day on today, Friday, February 5th, 2016. This event will provide free dental services to children ages 5-17 in Wilkes County, who have NO dental coverage/insurance. An appointment must be made for your child to be seen. If you have children or know of a child who might benefit from this opportunity, please call: 336-903-7303 English or 336-903-7304 Spanish, for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Since the grant has expired, additional funding from the Town is needed. During the Wilkesboro Town Council meeting this week, there was a discussion and recommendation concerning the expiration of a 1.5 million dollar FEMA SAFER grant that paid for recruitment, training, and equipment for firefighters. Wilkesboro Fire Chief Jason Smithey recommended maintaining the current level of staff with a few changes to save money; however, an additional $700,000 to $750,000 would need to be budgeted for the fire department. Council Members discussed that for safety reasons the current level of staffing needed to be maintained and looked at saving money in the budget in other areas. A final decision will be made later, but all Council Members agreed with the Fire Chief's recommendations.
According to Wilkes DSS Director John Blevins, there is a small amount of funding left for those needing heating assistance. For many of North Carolina’s most vulnerable citizens, meeting the expense of household heating during the cold of winter may be a challenge. County Social Services Departments including Wilkes DSS have been accepting applications for the state's Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP), which provides federal payment assistance for one month of heating to those who qualify. Again, a small amount of funding remains for Wilkes residents. For more information or to apply for the Energy Assistance Program, go to Wilkes Dept of Social Services
Wilkes Community College has announced scholarships are available through a grant made by the Golden LEAF Foundation to the North Carolina Community College System. Curriculum students may apply for up to $750 per semester, including summer term, and occupational education students are eligible for up to $250 per term. Eligible students must demonstrate financial need and reside in rural counties that are tobacco-dependent and/or economically distressed. Scholarships are awarded during the fall, spring and summer semesters. The deadline for applications for the Spring 2016 semester is one week from today, Friday, February 12, 2016. Students interested in applying for a Golden LEAF Scholarship should contact the Wilkes Community College Financial Aid Office at 336-838-6146 or toll free at 866-222-1548 (ask for financial aid).
Wilkes Community College will host the high school Region 7 SkillsUSA Conference and Career Showcase on February 29, 2016. This annual educational and professional development activity is open to all SkillsUSA members and advisors, Career and Technical Education (CTE) students, business and industry partners and educational partners. The 2015 regional event included over 400 high school student competitors and 300 career showcase participants from high schools in the 21 counties that make up Region 7. Last year over 75 business and industry representatives were on site to participate in or view the contests. Additionally, elected officials from the local, regional and state level came to see the event. For more information about the SkillsUSA program, contact WCC at 336-838-6219
The State Board of Elections has designated a special filing period for qualified candidates to file for election to the unexpired term of two judicial offices in which vacancies recently occurred, including: Superior Court, District 10C, seat formerly held by Paul G. Gessner, term expiring in 2018 and Superior Court, District 20B, seat formerly held by W. David Lee, term expiring in 2018. Qualified candidates may file during this special period running from noon on Monday, February 8 to noon on Friday, February 12 at the State Board of Elections office at 441 North Harrington Street in Raleigh. The candidate filing form is available from the State Board of Elections and the filing fee for this office is $1,269. The North Carolina State Board of Elections is the state agency charged with overall responsibility for administration of the elections process and campaign finance disclosure in North Carolina. The office of the State Board of Elections works in conjunction with County Board of Elections offices to ensure that elections are conducted lawfully and fairly. For additional information visit North Carolina State Board of Elections website at www.ncsbe.gov.
Wilkes County ended the year with unemployment rates decreasing slightly for two consecutive months. Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in 70 of North Carolina’s counties in December, increased in 21, and remained unchanged in nine. Graham County had the highest unemployment rate at 12.0 percent, while Buncombe County had the lowest at 3.9 percent. Wilkes County's unemployment rate went from 5.5 in October and 5.4 in November to 5.3 by December. When compared to the same month last year, not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates increased in 81 counties, decreased in 12, and remained unchanged in seven. Wilkes County was one of the counties with an increase. In December 2014, the unemployment rate was at 5.1 percent. The next unemployment update is scheduled for Monday, March 14, 2016 when the state unemployment rate for January 2016 will be released.
An extensive audit of the finances and an in-depth investigation has led to the arrest of a former local high school employee for embezzlement. The former bookkeeper at Wilkes Central High School, Martha Lynn Lester, was arrested this week and charged with embezzling over $100,000 in athletic ticket proceeds from the school. The theft of money happened over a period of time between January1, 2010 and March 31, 2013. The 52-year-old former bookkeeper was charged with felony embezzlement. Lester's bond was set at $15,000.