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News Index

Large Copper Wire Stolen from WIlkes Work Site

It's been a while since we've reported on a copper wire or pipe theft, because they are way down from a year ago this time. But a fairly significant amount of copper wire was stolen earlier this week from a work site off Plum Ridge Road. The wire had been on a spool being used by Wilkes telecommunications in that area, and when workers arrived at the site Monday morning, they realized more than 260 feet of wire had been taken over the weekend. The wholesale value of the wire, which is a fifty-pair cable used to wire neighborhoods, is almost 400-dollars. Copper wire theft has declined from year-ago levels because prices of precious metals have returned to lower levels as the economy has declined.


Hidden Key Opens Shop, Tools Stolen

The how is pretty clear, but the who may be less so, in relation to a burglary discovered yesterday at a workshop in Milllers Creek. William Nichols called sheriff deputies shortly after noon yesterday when he discovered a number of tools taken from the shop, which is on Green Acres Mill Rd. They include a 24-hundred watt generator, a 3/8" cordless drill set, a twin-tank portable air compressor, two nail guns and several boxes of finishing nails. The total value of the stolen items is about 900-dollars. Nichols said he had a key hidden outside the shop, and the door showed no signs of being forced, so he believes either someone who knew about the key took the items or someone found the hiding spot -- it was a fairly common location. But he was unable to assist in identifying a suspect beyond that information. The theft happened sometime in the past two weeks.


Vehicle Reported Stolen, Might Not Have Been

It's not 100-percent sure that a Ford Pickup reported stolen yesterday was actually taken, as deputies have yet to be able to contact the owner. The report was made yesterday morning by Joshua Hall of Boomer. He had borrowed the pickup, a green 1197 Ford Ranger, and tells deputies he had left the keys in the pickup and left it unlocked when he parked it outside his home on Stillwater Road. The truck, valued at 25-hundred dollars, has not turned up, and neither Hall nor the sheriff's department has been able to contact the owner, Crystal Dolinger of Moravian Falls. For the time being, the information concerning the truck has been entered in the national crime database in case it turns up somewhere else, and wasn't simply retrieved by Dolinger.


NW to Start Curbside Recycling

The Town of North Wilkesboro is boosting its recycling efforts with a new curbside collection program that starts in November. The town is one of two in the state that received $40,000 grants this year for the program through the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Most of the grant will be spent to buy 1,200 95-gallon plastic containers for citizens who decide to participate. The program is to be free for citizens. A three-year agreement is in place between North Wilkesboro and Foothills Sanitation and Recycling. Town Manager Hank Perkins tells the Journal-Patriot that town solid waste staff would use a retrofitted town garbage truck to collect recyclables along curbs and then haul it to Foothills, where recyclables would be separated by Foothills staff. He said that under the agreement, Foothills would retain proceeds from selling recyclables and not charge the town anything. A full list of what is and is not accepted is in yesterday's Journal-Patriot.


Speeder Pegged with Third DWI Charge

Speeding is at least partly to blame for the incident that ended with a Purlear man behind bars for DWI and other crimes. It happened Saturday evening at the River and Elm intersection in Wilkesboro. Police say 22-year old Sean Craig Peters sped by a patrol car that was running radar, and was clocked at 52 mph in a 35 zone. Peters admitted to the officer after he was stopped near the Run-In that he did not have a valid driver's license -- it had been suspended for two earlier DWI convictions. Peters, according to the officer, appeared intoxicated and had a slight odor of alcohol about him. he admitted to having too much to drink to be behind the wheel, and a roadside breath test pegged his blood alcohol at .15. A North Wilkesboro officer administered an official breath test, finding a concentration of .15 also. The passenger in the car, Andrew Goetz, was ticketed for aiding and abetting, as the car belonged to him and he had Peters drive because he couldn't handle the manual transmission. The car was seized due to Peters having previous DWI convictions.


Mar. 19 Fire was Set

The official cause of a fire we reported on earlier this month has been determined. Fire investigators have determined that the blaze the evening of March 19th at a mobile home in the 2700 block of Mountain Valley Church Road was set. A report released today says someone set a bed in the west bedroom on fire, causing heavy damage to that room and smoke damage throughout the house. The mobile home was unoccupied, and the utilities had been shut off since late last spring, according to the owners. Investigators estimate the fire damage at 5-thousand dollars, and say the owners did not have insurance on the property. The investigation into who set the fire is ongoing.


Speed Enforcement Effort Starts Today

If you feel the need to speed, you might squelch it -- at least for a while. Highway Patrol troopers and local law enforcement agencies are teaming together through April 12 to encourage drivers to slow down and follow the speed limit. “North Carolina law enforcement will be going after speeders who recklessly endanger our citizens,” said Governor Bev Perdue. “Speed is the leading cause of crashes on our highways. I urge motorists to slow down and obey the speed limit. ” Stepped-up enforcement will be conducted across the state, focusing on motorists speeding.


Benefit of Notification System Seen Over the Weekend

North Wilkesboro leaders say their telephone notification system saved a full-scale emergency from happening over the weekend. When lightning damaged both pumps at the north Wilkesboro water plant, the town immediately put water restrictions in place and notified residents using the telephone notification service. With both pumps out, the normal water stored in the system is about 9 hours' use, says town manager Hank Perkins, and the usage dropped significantly after the calls went out -- to where there was about 13 hours' capacity. Still, for the first time ever, water flowed through the emergency pipeline under the Yadkin River toward North Wilkesboro. That pipeline has been used on occasion to supply water from North Wilkesboro to Wilkesboro, but leaders on both sides say it's the first time water has flowed to the North. That pipeline supplied water to the low side of town, while water from the storage tanks supplied the high side of town. After a crane lifted the electric-powered pumps clear yesterday, a set of diesel-powered pumps was brought in and is now pulling water from the Reddies River to supply North Wilkesboro through the regular treatment and supply system. By the time everyone got up this morning, service was back to normal. The repaired pumps should be back in place tomorrow.


If It's Over Money...

Since it's a promise of economic development money that's leading La-Z-Boy officials to consider shutting down the American Drew plant in North Wilkesboro to move its operations to Lenoir, local officials are scrambling to put together a package the company might consider. Tim Solesbee, Kincaid director of human resources, tells the Journal-Patriot La-Z-Boy officials would listen to "something better or a better opportunity if Wilkes county leaders wanted to pull together a proposal." County officials tell the paper, "we want to see if they would consider a counter proposal." The Lenoir News-Topic quoted Caldwell County Manager Bobby White as saying that according to his conversations with Kincaid and La-Z-Boy officials, consolidation is a foregone conclusion. "They are either going to do it here or in Wilkes County," he said. Caldwell county has offered half a million dollars if the plant consolidates there.


State Unemployment Rate Sets Record

We told you early last week that unemployment had skyrocketed in Wilkes county; now state officials have released the numbers for North Carolina as a whole. The state unemployment rate has hit its highest recorded level, rising to 10.7 percent in February. The Employment Security Commission said Friday the rate increased from 9.7 percent in January. The state's highest previous jobless rate was 10.2 percent in February 1983. The national unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in February. As we reported last week, Wilkes reported 12.1 percent unemployment in February.