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News Index
Monday
Jun082009

Foxx Honored by ACU

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx has been honored by the American Conservative Union. According to Foxx’ spokesperson, Aaron Groen, the congresswoman was named “Defender of Liberty” for her conservative voting record. ACU’s chairman, David Keene, said Foxx was named the 2008 Defender of Liberty for her support for conservative principles on a wide variety of issues. The ACU is the oldest conservative lobbying organization in the country.

In an interview on 3WC's Focus on the Foothills, Foxx responded to the honor:

We'll have additional comments from 5th District Representative Virginia Foxx on upcoming 3WC Newscasts. You can also hear the entire interview on our podcast page at 12403wc.com.

Friday
Jun052009

Flooding Victims Get Victimized Again

It's bad enough that there has been a general increase in the number of burglaries of homes in Wilkes county recently. But the targeting of flooded mobile homes by burglars is just icing on the cake of bad fortune for those who are having to start over. Since the flooding a week ago Tuesday, five of the six mobile homes that were flooded out when the Moravian Creek went out of its banks have been broken into. There are no suspects in the cases, according to a series of reports on the incidents, which all happened since the flooding. Items valued at about $10,500 were reported stolen in the break-ins. "These folks are having to start all over. They lost about everything, from toothbrushes to cars," Wilkes United Way's Rick Stegall tells the Journal-Patriot. "And then they find that some low life went in and stole" what they might have salvaged. "Someone even jacked up one of the cars and took the wheels, tires and brakes."

Friday
Jun052009

Relay for Life Delayed Until (??)

Rain, rain, go away, some folks would really like to have their relay....the on-again, off-again thunderstorms have once again forced the postponement of the Wilkes Relay for Life. The Relay, originally set for last weekend and delayed when rain caused floods a week ago Tuesday at the site on the Wilkes Community College Campus, had been scheduled to be done tonight. Once again, conditions are not the best for a walking event, and there's been too much rain to put out the luminaries that usually surround the track. So, officials have postponed the event until -- well, either the field dries out or Noah is able to break free and give 'em an ark to do the Relay in.

Friday
Jun052009

County Budget Approved

In spite of a warning that budget proposals in the N.C. General Assembly related to housing inmates could cost Wilkes County government at least $500,000, county commissioners have approved a budget designating no additional funds to cover the burden. Commissioners on Tuesday passed a $75.83 million county budget for fiscal 2009-10. The new county budget includes no tax rate hike and is nearly 3 percent smaller than in fiscal 2008-09 due to numerous spending cuts implemented amid declining sales tax revenue and virtually no growth in the county's property tax base.

County Manager John Yates told commissioners that the increased jail costs discussed by Sheriff Dane Mastin could be drawn from $1.4 million in the new budget for expenses associated with a proposed new county jail and law enforcement center. The $1.4 million initially was included as either the county's first loan payment for the new facilities or to pay Knoxville, Tenn.-based Cope Associates Inc. for the project's architectural plans. Commissioners have discussed building the jail and related administrative facilities in phases instead of taking on the entire project at once due to declining county revenues. No money has been borrowed yet and no other action taken, except to put the project on hold by rejecting general contractor bids.

Friday
Jun052009

NW Budget Approved

North Wilkesboro Commissioners have approved a budget which holds the line on property taxes but increases utility rates for the town's largest water and sewer customers. The budget totals $8.3 million, which represents a decrease of about 9 percent in the general fund and about 1 percent in the water and sewer fund over the current year's budget. The general fund budget totals $5.85 million, wwhile the water and sewer fund totals nearly $2.4 million. "The customers that use 10,000 gallons or less in a month's time will see virtually no increase to their month's bill that is a water-related increase," Town Manager Hank Perkins says. "Statistically, close to 98 percent of all our customers in town are within the first 10,000 gallons (per month) for a water customer." However, industries and other large customers will see increases in their water bills from North Wilkesboro. "Fairly significant increases will not appear on someone's bill until somewhere in the realm of 300,000 gallons a month," Perkins told commissioners. "That's when it starts to become evident. I would say we have about a half-dozen businesses like that." All customers will see sewer bills increase by $1 on the sewer bill, plus an additional 10 percent per 1,000 gallons of sewer use.

Friday
Jun052009

Tomorrow is Graduation Day in Wilkes

Graduation day in Wilkes County is tomorrow. All five Wilkes County high schools will hold their graduation ceremonies on the same day. Earlier this year, the Wilkes County Board of Education agreed to have all high school graduations during the daylight hours on Saturday, so that students would have more time to spend with their families after the ceremonies and more out-of-town guests would be able to attend.

East Wilkes High School will hold its graduation at 10 a.m. at the Ebb Tharpe Field, if weather permits, or in the school's gym, if necessary. North Wilkes High School will hold its graduation at 10 a.m. in the high school gym. West Wilkes High School will hold its graduation ceremonies at 1 p.m. at the John A. Walker Community Center in Wilkesboro. Wilkes Central High School will hold its graduation at 10 a.m. on the high school campus. The Career and Technical Education Magnet School of Wilkes will hold its graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. in the Stone Family Center for the Performing Arts in North Wilkesboro.

Thursday
Jun042009

Flood Watch Extended to Friday

...ANOTHER ROUND OF MODERATE TO HEAVY RAIN EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING...

.A FRONTAL BOUNDARY WILL BE LOCATED ACROSS OUR AREA AND WILL BE THE FOCUS FOR ANOTHER ROUND OF MODERATE TO HEAVY SHOWERS AGAIN THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING. THE GROUND IS SATURATED IN MANY SPOTS AND AN ADDITIONAL ONE...TO AS MUCH AS THREE INCHES OF RAIN DURING THIS TIME WILL SET THE STAGE FOR THE POTENTIAL FLOODING OF STREAMS AND EVEN MAIN STEM RIVERS.

...FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING...

* AN ADDITIONAL ONE TO AS MUCH AS THREE INCHES OF RAIN DURING THIS TIME WILL CREATE THE POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING ALONG THE CREEKS AND STREAMS IN THE AREA...AND POSSIBLY LEAD TO FLOODING OF MAIN STEM RIVERS LATER ON.

Thursday
Jun042009

Couple to Face Capital Murder Charge in Death of Her Ex-Husband

The state will seek the death penalty against a man and wife from Thurmond charged with first-degree murder in the May 2002 death of a man from the Speedway Road. Margaret Diane Miller Johnson and Robert Wayne Johnson have been charged in the death of Ms. Johnson's ex-husband, Kenny Ray Miller. Though Miller was killed in 2002, his remains weren't found until last July. The remains were located about 75 yards from the Royal family cemetery off Sheets Gap Road in a remote area of northwestern Wilkes County.

Special Agent Chris Laws of the State Bureau of Investigation, summarizing evidence during a hearing this week, said Margaret Johnson beat Miller at a location on River Road in North Wilkesboro. Miller was taken to the Sheets Gap Road location by Margaret and Robert Johnson, where he was stabbed-including stab wounds to the eyes-and then buried alive. Robert Johnson helped Margaret Johnson bury Miller, according to prosecutors. The motive for the killing was related to a domestic incident, Wilkes Sheriff Dane Mastin said after Miller's body was discovered. Robert Johnson was arrested on July 11, 2008 and Margaret Johnson was arrested on July 17. Both Margaret and Robert Johnson have since been held at the Wilkes County Jail without bond. A trial date has not been set, but is likely to be more than a year from now.

Thursday
Jun042009

Rain Brings Flooding Chance

...FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT THROUGH THURSDAY AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BLACKSBURG HAS EXPANDED THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH TO INCLUDE PORTIONS OF NORTH CENTRAL NORTH CAROLINA AND NORTHWEST NORTH CAROLINA...SURRY, ALLEGHANY, ASHE, WATAUGA, WILKES AND YADKIN COUNTIES ARE INCLUDED.

NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED THROUGH MUCH OF THURSDAY. THIS WILL BRING REPEATED BOUTS OF HEAVY RAIN TO SOME AREAS...AND THE POSSIBILITY OF FLASH FLOODING.

Wednesday
Jun032009

Farmers Markets Can Now Take Food Stamp Cards

A statewide initiative is making it possible for farmers markets in 12 North Carolina counties to accept Electronic Benefits Transfer card payments from consumers who are in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. The 21st Century Farmers’ Markets Program is a partnership between the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Leaflight Inc., a Chapel Hill non-profit agency that promotes community development.

“This program will provide citizens with increased access to North Carolina’s abundance of nutritious, farm-fresh seasonal produce,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler in a news release yesterday. “Customers will have added convenience at local farmers markets, and farmers can look forward to providing this convenience while gaining new customers.”

Leaflight is providing participating markets with free wireless card processing terminals and supplies, education, training, promotional materials, bookkeeping and accounting services.

Until now, many small farmers markets weren’t set up to accept EBT cards, which nutrition-assistance recipients use to pay for food. The cards, which are issued in North Carolina by the Division of Social Services, replaced paper food stamp coupons nationwide in 2002. The lack of EBT technology at farmers markets limited nutrition-assistance recipients’ access to fresh seasonal produce grown in North Carolina and hindered sales by N.C. farmers.