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News Index

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


Men Arrested in Jonesville Metal Thenfts Have Wilkes Ties

Two men from Wilkes and one from Elkin are charged with stealing large amounts of metal from local utility companies and selling it at area scrap yards for what police estimate to be thousands of dollars. Randall Darron Pruitt of Elkin, Daniel Hayes Billings of Traphill and Casey Wade Schumate of North Wilkesboro were arrested by Jonesville police Friday and face over a dozen counts apiece.

The three are accused of stealing metal from Duke Energy Co. and Embarq on several occasions during first three weeks of this month. Police said that in one incident they apparently used one of Duke Energy’s forklifts to place a 1,000-pound roll of metal onto the truck they were using. They are accused of stealing 13 rolls of metal wire from Embarq and at least 1,000 pounds from Duke Energy.

Pruitt remains in jail with secured bond set at $25,000, while Schumate and Billings were released under $25,000 unsecured bond.


C.C. Wright PTA President Arrested for Stealing from the Organization

Police arrested the president of the C-C Wright Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization Monday, and charged her with the theft of more than $6-thousand dollars from the organization. North Wilkesboro police say 33-year old Tesha Witherspoon Johnson used an organization debit card for personal purchases such as groceries, meals, clothing and other items during a spending spree that started in June and continued through Oct. 8.

The school's annual fundraiser, the Tiger Walk that has schoolchildren walking around the track, raised $14,700 last year from students' families and business donations, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. Court records indicate Johnson is set to appear Jan. 20 in Wilkes District Court.


No One Hurt When House Blows Up

There isn't much left of a house that was on Lake Hickory after and explosion blew it to bits on Sunday.

The Catawba County Fire Marshal's office has not released much about what could have caused the explosion, but the Hickory Daily Record says there is only the brick frame of the garage and a couple of brick supports for the house after the 3:30 a.m. Sunday blast. No one was hurt in the explosion as the homeowner was in Charlotte for the weekend. Steve Bryant said there isn't even so much as a picture left that might have been inside the house. The investigation into what caused the blast is continuing.


Industrial Park to Get City Water

City water service will soon be coming to the Wilkes Industrial Park. North Wilkesboro commissioners have approved extending an eight-inch water line nearly a mile to reach the industrial park on River Road. It will cost a bit less than 200-thousand dollars. Funding for the water line extension will come from an N.C. Rural Economic Development Center grant with a 50-50 match from the town. The water line will extend over three-quarters of a mile, from the Lowe's Companies warehouse on River Road in North Wilkesboro to the entrance of Wilkes Industrial Park, where park clients Powersports Grafx and LifeSpan will both connect for water service as a part of the grant.


Sewer Line Replacement to Close Cub Creek Park for the WInter

Work to replace a new sewer line from Bridge Street to the wastewater treatment plant will close Cub Creek Park this week, a closure that's expected to last the winter. Wilkesboro Town Manager Ken Noland tells the Journal-Patriot all access to parking areas will be closed, and there will be no access to the main walking trail. Park facilities on the west side of Bridge Street (including the Hidden Oaks Dog Park) will not be affected. "There will be a lot of large, cumbersome equipment in there as well as open trenches," Noland said, "so the decision was made to close the entire park for the safety of the public."

The work will involve removing the old sewer main and replacing it with the new pipe in the same trench. The contractor will install temporary lines and pumps for a "pump around" operation between manholes while the work is under way. Also, the town plans to divert some of the wastewater to the Tyson Foods main, which runs parallel to the town line. The work is part of an $8.3 million wastewater system improvement project that includes work at the wastewater plant as well as to the feeder lines. The cost for the replacement of the 30-inch main is about half a million dollars.


Signs of Narcotic Overdose

Like so many things in life, narcotic painkillers are a tremendous benefit when used by those who need them, for the purpose they were meant -- pain control. Statistics show Wilkes has one of the highest death rates due to narcotic overdose in the country, and Fred Brason with Project Lazarus says one of the things that may help reduce that is people becoming more aware of just what an overdose looks like -- it's different than you might expect:

The comments cane during a recent interview on 3WC's Focus on the Foothills. You can hear the complete interview on our podcast page at


Unemployment in Wilkes Remains at 12.9%

The unemployment situation in Wilkes county continues to be a good news-bad news situation. The good news: it didn't get any worse, according to numbers released Friday by the state. The bad news: it didn't get any better. Officially, the unemployment rate in Wilkes for September remained at 12-point-9 percent, or just over 1 out of every 8 people in the county.

Overall, the latest report from the Employment Security Commission contains more bad than good news for Wilkes, since ESC jobless figures also don't show the large number of people in Wilkes still employed but with reduced work time. There are others who were unemployed and now have taken part-time jobs. Local ESC Manager Anne Bowlin tells the Journal-Patriot some good news may be coming 'round the bend. "We actually are seeing a few glimmers of jobs. We have received a few job orders just recently. Some are part-time, but it is more than we have had," Bowlin said, "It gives me a little bit of encouragement."

High Country Workforce Development Director Carole Coates said jobless rates dropped in several northwestern North Carolina counties in September partly due to the number of people who have exhausted their Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.


Morning House Fire in North Wilkesboro INjures Two

A fire sparked in the utility room this morning left a North Wilkesboro couple injured. Officials say William and Linda Call, who live in the house in the 600 block of Peden that caught fire, were taken by ambulance to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. North Wilkesboro Fire Chief Niki Hamby tells the Journal-Patriot the fire was reported about 7am, and firefighter arrived to find the two had been gotten out of the house. Hamby said he was told a neighbor helped the two, who are physically impaired, from the home. Hamby said that the fire was extinguished but he would consider the small, frame rental home damaged beyond repair. Firefighters remained on the scene for about 4 hours. The current condition of the Calls is not being released.


Man Now Missing for a Year

Today is the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of a North Wilkesboro man. In spite of numerous interviews regarding the case, Wilkes Coutny Sheriffs Department officials say they have not made much progress. Jeffery Lynn Combs was reported missing to the sheriff's department on Oct. 26, 2008, by his mother, Lucy.

"We have some information about different individuals who may have had contact with the missing person, but so far no information of substance," Sheriff Investigations Captain Steve Cabe tells the Journal-Patriot. Combs left home on Oct. 23 to look for his scooter after it was taken from his residence. Combs' mother said he left a note saying he "was tracking the scooter down."

Wilkes Sheriff Dane Mastin said the fact that Combs wasn't reported missing until three days after he left home has made the investigation more challenging. Combs' scooter, a 1997 Eclipse, was found along the east side of the Reddies River, about a half mile upstream from the Suncrest Orchard Road bridge, about a week after he went missing. Cabe said investigators checked numerous locations in the Reddies River and Suncrest Orchard Road area, including where homeless people were camping along the river just upstream from the Suncrest Orchard Road bridge over the Reddies.


Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Efforts

Wilkes county's death rate from prescription drug overdose is the second-highest in the nation. Local health officials have been concerned about prescription drug -- especially narcotic -- overdose for some time. Wilkes County Health Department's Donna Shumate explained on a recent Focus on the Foothills interview the concern is there from the public, too:

House of Hope's Fred Brason says that while the death rate doesn't show it yet, local officials feel their education efforts are working:

We'll have further excerpts from the Focus on the Foothills interview with the Substance Abuse Task force in upcoming 3WC newscasts. You can alto hear the full interview on our podcast page at