It was good news for the county according to the Financial Report the Wilkes Commissioners received this week. Wilkes Finance Officer Jerry Shepherd told Commissioners that Standard and Poor's Rating Services has raised the credit rating for Wilkes. Recently, Wilkes went from an A+ up one notch on the rating to a AA-. Also the SPUR rating increased from an A to an A+. The rating increases reflect the county's financial stability at this time. Also Shepherd said that while the bad news in July was that the expenses exceeded revenue, the good news for August was that the revenues exceeded expenses by 6.9 million dollars. Commissioners also discussed the November 1 opening of the New Detention Center or New Jail thus ending the inmate housing costs to other facilities. In fact, the Dedication of the new Wilkes County Detention Center will be held on Wednesday, October 22 at 3:00 pm.
The Wilkes Sheriff's Office has received yet another report of a stolen heat pump. The victim reported that a Trane 3 ton heat and air unit was stolen from a house on Wagon Ridge Road in Roaring River. The stolen heat pump is valued at 2300 dollars. No suspects were listed; the investigation is continuing.
Billed at an Abstinence Rally and an alternative to the Shine to Wine, a special event is happening this weekend at Calvary Baptist Church in North Wilkesboro. Event organizer Bro Larry Key says the Abstinence Rally is "Telling the Other Side of the Story" concerning alcohol. AIR Pastor Barry Spears from South Carolina is a former Hell's Angel biker but now is a Pastor, and he will be speaking. If you are struggling with addiction or know someone who is you need to come or bring them to this meeting. There will also be refreshments and special singing by the Calvary Youth Choir. The Rally begins at 4pm and former Hell's Angel Pastor Barry Spears will be speaking at 6pm at the Family Life Center of Calvary Baptist Church on Pads Road in North Wilkesboro.
MerleFest, presented by Lowe’s, will again host the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Beginning October 1, aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using the online entry form (www.merlefest.org/ChrisAustinSongwritingContest/) or by mailing entries to: MerleFest/CASC, PO Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC 28697. Early birds take note: during the month of October and November, all entries for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (CASC) will receive an early entry discount price of $25 per entry. Submissions received in December and January will require a $30 fee per entry. The deadline to enter the CASC will be February 1, 2015. Beginning this year, applicants should make note that all lyrics must be written in English and no instrumentals will be accepted. Now in its 23rd year, the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals. Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception the scholarship has awarded over $38,000 to 79 deserving students.
This year marks several notable anniversaries of hurricanes that have impacted North Carolina: Hurricane Hazel (60th anniversary, 1954); Hurricane Hugo (25th anniversary, 1989); Hurricane Floyd (15th anniversary, 1999); and Hurricanes Frances and Ivan (10thanniversary, 2004). Hurricane Floyd was the costliest disaster to impact North Carolina as it devastated two-thirds of the state. During North Carolina Preparedness Month, it’s important to remind residents that preparedness begins at home. Everyone can take the steps necessary to be ready for any type of emergency. To help North Carolinians better prepare themselves for emergencies, NCEM earlier this year launched the ReadyNC mobile application. Available free for both iPhone and Droid devices, the app provides real-time information to help individuals and families prepare themselves for most any type of emergency. The app, along with its sister website (ReadyNC.org), provide up-to-date weather and traffic conditions as well as specific ways to plan and prepare, including instructions for creating an emergency supplies kit.
Yesterday, Governor Pat McCrory and Transportation Secretary Tony Tata unveiled the Governor’s 25-Year Vision for transportation in North Carolina as they embarked on a cross-state tour that included stops in Wilmington, Greenville, Winston-Salem and Asheville to detail the challenges faced by and solutions proposed for each of the state’s four major regions: coastal, eastern, central and western, as well as comprehensive solutions for the whole state. This 25-year vision builds on the foundation established by the Strategic Transportation Investments law passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor McCrory last summer. The law changes the way North Carolina funds and prioritizes major transportation projects over a 10-year period. For our region, the Western Solutions include: Improving interstate connections; Strengthening highway connectivity from the mountains to the coast; Improving intrastate connections; and Enhancing industrial rail to support freight movement. For more information and to view the Governor’s 25-Year Vision, visit www.ncvision25.gov.
The theft of possible meth pre-cursor was stopped, but the suspect got away. Wilkesboro Police were called to Walmart regarding a possible shoplifting. Store staff reported watching a white male come in the store and fill a shopping cart with Coleman camp fuel, drain cleaner, a 20 ounce cola, and two boxes of beer. When he pushed the cart passed the last point of sale, he was stopped by store personnel. The man left the shopping cart, walked across the parking lot, and left in a white van. The fuel, drain cleaner, and plastic coke bottle are all used for making methamphetamine. Police have the suspect on video surveillance and have a tag number of the van. Charges are pending further investigation.
He used three different cards and that's illegal. The Department of Social Services has asked for the help of the Wilkesboro Police Department in tracking down a man who has illegally used EBT cards. Electronic Benefit Transfer or EBT is an electronic system that replaced paper food stamp coupons with a card similar to a credit or bank card. North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) recipients use EBT cards to access Food and Nutrition Service benefits. Ironically, EBT cards instead of paper food stamps were created to reduce the incidence of fraud, theft, and abuse. The Wilkes DSS contacted Wilkesboro Police when they received information that an EBT card was illegally used locally. A suspect used the 3 different cards belonging to 3 different victims at 4 Brothers and at Food Lion. There is surveillance video of the suspect using the cards. Police have identified the suspect and charges of fraud are pending.
The daylong meeting is scheduled for tomorrow and is open to the public. Plans for any collaboration between the towns of Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro is the topic of discussion at a meeting Thursday which includes elected officials from both towns. On the agenda for tomorrow is to hear the results of a study conducted to determine the future needs of the Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro fire departments. Reportedly, only needs for the two fire departments are being considered, and the combining of the two departments is not being considered. The meeting is slated for 10:30 am Thursday at the Oakwoods Country Club.
Got birds? North Carolina poultry growers who want to join the National Poultry Improvement Plan and receive a registration number will have to pay a $50 registration fee plus 10 cents per bird tested beginning October 1. Growers with an existing registration number will need to pay a $10 annual recertification fee and pay 10 cents per bird tested to maintain their status. The fees were set by the General Assembly this summer to help cover costs incurred by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to administer the program. Growers who sell live baby poultry or hatching eggs must be compliant with basic NPIP testing requirements, though they are not required to join the NPIP. The NPIP was established in the 1930s to improve poultry and poultry products on a national level and to eliminate Salmonella. The program was later extended to include testing for more diseases – including, avian influenza – in commercial poultry, turkeys, waterfowl, exhibition poultry, backyard poultry and game birds. Last year, the NCDA&CS Veterinary Division registered 596 new flocks, of which 497 were non-commercial. Overall, North Carolina has more than 8,100 registered flocks.