As we ended Stalking Month here in North Carolina, there were more stalking arrests in Wilkes. A 33-year-old white male was charged with publishing obscene material and stalking. According to the Wilkes Sheriff's Office, the arrest was made over the weekend. Also this past weekend, Wilkesboro Police arrested a 28-year-old man from Wilkesboro for cyber-stalking. Earlier this month, a Wilkes woman was issued a criminal summons for cyber-stalking. Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation declaring January Stalking Awareness Month in North Carolina. “Stalking is too often the precursor of more serious crime,” Governor McCrory said. Data shows stalking affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Some Stalking Facts: 7.5 million people are stalked every year in the United States; The majority of victims are stalked by someone they know; About half of all victims of stalking indicated that they were stalked before age 25, with 14 percent of female victims and 16 percent of male victims experiencing stalking between ages 11 and 17; and Data also shows that many victims of murders or domestic violence were also victims of stalking.
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North Carolina has been included in GED® changes. Wilkes Community College test takers post-Jan. 1, 2014, may be eligible for High School Equivalency Diploma. GED Testing Service announced revisions to the “cut” or passing scores, as well as performance levels for its high school equivalency test, and is making those revisions retroactive to January 1, 2014, when the 2014 GED Test series was first released. North Carolina will join 32 states in recognizing these changes immediately, possibly resulting in as many as 700 new high school equivalency diploma holders in the state. Other states may require additional approval or rule changes to implement the new recommended revisions. Debbie Woodard, dean of the College Readiness and Basic Skills Division, said, “These revisions will impact past and current students enrolled in the GED program. In many cases, this will benefit students by allowing them to move forward with their college and career goals.” GED Testing Service is contacting those affected by the changes via email; however, test takers with questions can log into their MyGED.com account or contact Wilkes Community.
Columbus area residents were the first in the state to experience North Carolina’s new mobile DMV office. The office, which carries two driver license examiner stations, is part of Governor Pat McCrory’s initiative to improve customer service and reduce wait times at the DMV. The mobile office debuted Thursday, January 28, at the Polk County License Plate Agency at 51 Walker St. in Columbus. The new mobile office mirrors the driver license services that are offered in brick-and-mortar offices. DMV plans to add three more mobile offices and make 70 stops throughout the state. The new mobile offices are part of Governor McCrory’s Driving Change initiatives at DMV. The agency is also now offering online driver license renewals statewide.
The Internal Revenue Service joins partners across the country in promoting the Earned Income Tax Credit on EITC Awareness Day, Friday, January 29, 2016. This is the 10thanniversary of the EITC Awareness Day campaign, a nationwide effort to alert millions of low and moderate-income workers who may be missing out on this significant tax credit. Millions of taxpayers who earned $53,267 or less last year may qualify for EITC for the first time in 2016, making awareness critical. Workers, self-employed people and farmers who earned $53,267 or less last year could receive larger refunds if they qualify for the EITC. Eligible families with three or more qualifying children could get a maximum credit of up to $6,242. The IRS encourages everyone to use the EITC Assistant, an interactive tool on IRS.gov/eitc, to find out if they are eligible for the credit. The IRS website also provides helpful information on the health care law and how it may affect tax returns at IRS.gov/aca.
They called to ask about the delivery of an order that they never made. It's a case of financial card fraud that Wilkesboro Police are investigating. The victims, who live in Grassy Creek, North Carolina, reported that they received a call from the Lowes Home Improvement Store in Wilkesboro. The store asked if the victims' order had been delivered, but the victims had not ordered anything. The store said a microwave valued at $696 was purchased with the victim's debit card and was to be delivered to an address in Charlotte. There is a suspect and charges are pending.
As 3WC News announced Friday, it was a Special Meeting of the Wilkes Board of Education. The purpose of the special meeting was to name the new Superintendent of Wilkes County Schools. At Noon Friday, the Wilkes County Board of Education named Mark Byrd as the new Superintendent for Wilkes County Schools. From start to finish, the Special Meeting and announcement lasted less than 5 minutes. Mark Byrd was the Assistant Superintendent when Dr. Marty Hemric retired. Byrd was named by the Board as Interim to fill out the remainder of this school year. The Board unanimously approved Byrd to a 4 year term as School Superintendent. Byrd said that he was humbled , honored, and excited. Byrd told those attending the special meeting that he was really excited about the direction the Wilkes School System was going. He also said that they owe it to the kids in the county to make the system the best it can be...and he believed the people were in place here to make that happen. Byrd begins his full-time position as Wilkes School Superintendent on July 1.
You can still adopt a pet through the Wilkes Animal Shelter which is undergoing some painting and improvements to the building. State Regulations requires chipped paint on walls and floors to be fixed to prevent the spread of animal viruses. The Wilkes Animal Shelter will shut down half of the shelter building at a time to paint and apply sealer. The animals will be housed in the half of the shelter not being worked on and at area veterinarian offices. Work to the Animal Shelter is expected to be completed in a couple of weeks at the cost of $5000 which was already in the budget.
NC Senator Shirley Randleman is one of the hosts for a Governor McCrory event at the college. The NC Governor will be with his economic team for an NC Competes for Jobs event on Thursday, February 11 at 1pm at The Walker Center on the campus of Wilkes Community College. Governor McCrory and NC Commerce, working with the North Carolina General Assembly recently enhanced the state's economic development tools. At the NC Competes for Business Tour, those in attendance can learn how to apply NC Commerce's resources and experts in the local community. Topics include: grants, loans, infrastructure assistance, regulatory reform, tax rate changes, and contacting the right people in Raleigh.
Three Wilkes County non-profit agencies recently announced plans for a multi-year community initiative to prevent child sexual abuse. Communities In Schools of Wilkes County, Wilkes Community Partnership for Children and SAFE Spot Child Advocacy Center plan to train 5 percent of the adult population of Wilkes County in Stewards of Children, a child sexual abuse prevention program. The agencies announced the effort at a meeting at the Kulynych Family Life Center in Wilkesboro Wednesday. Stewards of Children is a free two-hour training that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The next Stewards training is February 17th from 1 until 3 p.m. at the Wilkes County Public Library. More information about upcoming trainings and online registration is available on the Stewards page at www.safespotwilkes.org. 3WC Radio will also be talking with representatives from these agencies about the plan at a Focus on the Foothills later this month.
More military veterans are choosing to make North Carolina their home. “They’re leaders, they know how to get a job done and they are disciplined...,” Governor McCrory said. North Carolina now has the 8th largest veteran population in the country according to statistics in a new report released by the new Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The increase in veterans is also a boom to the state’s economy. Federal expenditures on North Carolina veterans grew 12 percent in 2014 to $8.2 billion, an increase of $1 billion compared to 2013. These expenditures include direct compensation and pension payments, medical care and education, training and employment. Now at approximately 775,000, North Carolina’s veteran population is growing again, reversing a decline from 2000-2011.