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News Index

Your Hometown Christian Radio Station. WWWC Wilkesboro, North Carolina.


Municipal Elections Tomorrow

Voters in three Wilkes towns will elect a mayor, five commissioners and two council members in municpal balloting tomorrow. As always, the polls will open at 6:30 a.m. and remain open until 7:30 p.m.

In North Wilkesboro, the seats of the mayor and two commissioners are at stake. Wilkesboro voters will select two town council members, and three commissioners will be elected in Ronda. All of the winners will be seated for four-year terms. The three municipal elections are non-partisan. All absentee ballots must be returned to the board of elections office, either by mail or in person by the voter or a near relative, by 5 p.m. today.

Since all of the races are non-partisan, there were no primaries. The ballots in the three towns include space for write-ins. No spending reports have been filed for this election as none of the candidates in the municipal elections exceeded the $3,000 threshold for spending prior to the deadline for reports last week.


What Prison Ministry's All About

Prison Ministry -- it's an area of ministry you don't hear about often, but one that can help form an important bridge from a life of crime to a productive, crime-free life. Chaplain Jerry Pinkerton serves with Wilkes Prison Ministry, and recently described what the ministry is about:

The comments came during a recent 3WC Focus on the Foothills program. You can her the entire interview on our podcast page at


Racing to Return to North WIlkesboro -- For Real

A group of race-industry veterans has signed a 3-year lease of the North Wilkesboro Speedway with an exclusive option to buy the track. Principals in the deal tell the Winston-Salem Journal racing will return next October 3rd with the USARacing Pro Cup Championship Series. The USARacing's schedule for next season, with the date in North Wilkesboro, was announced in a drivers' meeting at the current season's last race Saturday night in South Boston, Va.

Speedway Associates' president, Alton McBride Jr. tells the paper they have been working quietly on the deal for three years. "We're in this for the right reasons," McBride said. "We're in this because our life is motorsports." Bruton Smith, the billionaire owner of North Wilkesboro Speedway, has said a number of times that he would take $12 million for the track, which closed in 1996.

The Journal reports the principals had not planned to make an announcement yet, but when the new USARacing schedule was released Saturday and included North Wilkesboro, word started spreading fast. McBride said they will announce more detailed plans within the next couple of weeks.


School Report Cards Released

Education officials have released the latest School Report Cards mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind program for schools statewide. They show improved results for public schools in Wilkes County, according to the state. Three high schools, two middle schools and two elementary schools-failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress in standard NCLB testing last spring, an improvement from last year when nine schools in Wilkes failed to reach the AYP benchmark.

According to the state reports, Wilkes Central and West Wilkes high schools failed to make all their performance goals for the previous school year, with Wilkes Central failing in one goal of its 13 required and West Wilkes failing in two of its required 13 goals.

East Wilkes Middle School failed to make one of its 13 AYP performance goals, and Central Wilkes Middle School failed to make one of its 29 performance goals in the AYP program.

C.C. Wright Elementary School failed to make one of its 13 performance goals, and Moravian Falls Elementary School failed to make one of its 19 performance goals for the previous school year.

The Journal-Patriot reports a significant turnaround came at North Wilkes High, which met only nine of its 13 target goals in the 2007-08 school year, but met all of them in the most recent round of testing. The School Report Cards also show most schools in Wilkes County performing well on the percentage of students passing the NCLB tests, while a few are failing to reach that standard. Seven Wilkes schools received the "school of distinction" designation, meaning 80-percent to 90-percent of their students are scoring at grade level. They are Mount Pleasant Elementary, Mulberry Elementary, Traphill Elementary, Wilkesboro Elementary, East Wilkes Middle, East Wilkes High and North Wilkes High schools.


Four Shot Dead in Mt Airy

Four people are dead in Mount Airy today as police search for their killer.

The shooting happened outside the Woods TV store on Worth Street in downtown Mt. Airy on Sunday at about 2:30 p.m. and police say the gunman and his victims were there for a reason. Mount Airy Police Chief dale Watson said that police do not thing the shootings were a random act. He said police are looking for 29 year old Marcos Gonzalez who Watson said was last seen driving a green 2003 Ford F-350 truck with brown trim. Gonzalez is considered armed and dangerous and Watson said he could be carrying an assault rifle. Surry County emergency officials said two of the victims died at the scene and two more died at Northern Surry County Hospital.


Teen Pregnancy Numbers Released

Wilkes County nearly escaped the top 50 in North Carolina in a measure officials would just as soon they bee ranked lower in: teen pregnancy. In figures announced yesterday, Wilkes ranked 48th statewide with 128 teenage pregnancies. In comparison, teen pregnancies have decreased significantly in Ashe County over the past year and that number has hit a 30-year low statewide. Ashe county dropped from 11th place in 2007 in teen pregnancies to 66th out of 100 counties this past year. Watauga County had the next to lowest teen pregnancy rate in North Carolina. Alleghany County finished 17th in the state’s results.


Jail Proposal Detailed

More details this morning on the discussions taking place on what should happen with the Wilkes County Jail's overcrowding problem. As we told you earlier in the week, commissioners were formally presented a plan for a dormitory-style jail that would cost about $4 million. That's a far cry from the 20-some odd million a regular jail and administrative complex would cost, but the new facility would only house lower-risk inmates.

The plan calls for the closing of the women's jail in North Wilkesboro. Female inmates would be housed in a 40-bed section of the new building. The current men's jail would remain open, and the new jail would house overflow inmates who are serving time for convictions.

Wilkes County Sheriff Dane Mastin tells the Winston-Salem Journal that the new plan doesn't make sense economically, given the construction costs and operating the new building and the old jail at the same time. Mastin said that the idea for a temporary jail started as a way to build a small structure for about $30,000 to $40,000 to buy some time until officials could decide what to do about a new, long-term jail. Things snowballed from there, he said, with the plans getting larger and more expensive.

Mastin said that one consideration is to reduce the size of the building and use it as a work camp, housing inmates who would do tasks such as picking up trash or caring for animals at the shelter, while still moving forward with a permanent jail. The dormitory-style building would consist primarily of five large rooms. Among ideas floated during the work session was to use it until a permanent jail was built, and then adapt it for use as a new base for emergency medical services or as additional space for the animal shelter.

The work session included a lot of back-and-forth discussion as commissioners talked about reducing the size of the building, and getting more financial information. No decision was made, and one isn't expected for some time.


Man Dies Days After Truck Crashes Into Building

The man who drove his car into a house in Newton died this week.

Police say Mines Cauthen Jr.was driving south on North Ashe Avenue Tuesday afternoon when he crossed the center line, drove over the curb and crashed into a home. Police say he was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown partially through his windshield. He was taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition. Cauthen was then taken to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte on Tuesday evening and died Wednesday morning.


Census Names Officials to Manage Area Count from Hickory Office

The U.S. Census Bureau named the group of people who will manage the counting effort next year for the region that includes Wilkes county. The Census office will handle the count for Wilkes county and six others: Alexander, Alleghany, Catawba, Iredell, Surry, and Yadkin

According to a census bureau news release, the new managers, all area residents, are:

• Edgar Burleson, local census office manager;
• Joseph Mooney, assistant manager for field operations;
• Joseph Forness, assistant manager for quality assurance;
• Mindy Hyland, assistant manager for administration;
• Wakenda Steed, assistant manager for recruiting;
• Harold Smith, assistant manager for technology.

Five offices opened in 2008 to carry out operations to prepare for the census in the state. They are located in Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greenville and Greensboro. The Hickory office is one of 10 new local census offices in North Carolina, bringing the total number to 15.


WIlkes Steel Expands

Wilkes Steel is expanding. Owner Bert Hall tells the Journal Patriot the North Wilkesboro-based company is reaching out to more customers than ever before. One of the factors in the increase is the recent move of the steel and fabrication and distribution center operation to the old Lowe’s Millwork building on River Road. The 62,000 square feet metal and concrete building allows for inside storage of steel beams and other materials. With the expansion, Wilkes Steel now has locations on both Maple Street and River Road in North Wilkesboro. The Maple Street operation still deals with scrap metal and recycled metals. The new space focuses on fabrication and distribution. Hall told the paper about 90 percent of his company’s steel inventory is now housed indoors.