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News Index
Wednesday
May062009

Crash Injures Two

A two-vehicle crash at a busy Wilkesboro intersection delayed traffic and ended with two people refusing EMS treatment. Tammy Caudill and Jennifer Hall were passengers in the vehicles that collided about mid-day Monday. It happened about 11:30am at the intersection of Curtis Bridge Road and Business 421. Police report that Floyd Love, from Warrensville,  was westbound on 421 in a 1992 Ford and turned left in front of the 1994 Toyota driven by Edward Church of Wilkesboro. Church was unable to stop and crashed into the passenger side of the Love vehicle. Witnesses say the eastbound vehicle had the green light, and Love was ticketed for making an unsafe movement. All four people involved, two in each vehicle, refused transport to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Wednesday
May062009

Foxx Sends Apology Note to Shepard's Mom

Fifth District Rep. Virginia Foxx has written a letter of apology to the mother of Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming man whose name is on a bill adding sexual orientation to federal hate-crimes legislation. During recent debate on the bill, Foxx, R-5th, called attempts to label Shepard's 1998 murder a hate crime "a hoax." She said that he was killed during a robbery and not because he was gay. Shepard, 21, was robbed, beaten and left to die on a prairie fence near Laramie, Wyo., in 1998. Two men pleaded guilty to killing him and testified that they singled him out because he was gay. Foxx's remarks caused an uproar, and she later issued a statement saying that her use of "hoax" was "a poor choice of words." In an interview with WXII-TV, Foxx said she was "speaking off the cuff, and I just simply chose a poor word." She said she is sorry she used the wrong word and expects that "people will accept that." She told WXII that she sent a handwritten note to Jane Shepard, Shepard's mother, saying that "if I said anything that offended her, I certainly apologize for it and know that she's hurting, and I would never do anything to add to that."  The Matthew Shepard Foundation confirmed that Judy Shepard received Foxx's note, but offered no comment on it.

Tuesday
May052009

Standoff Ends Peacefully

The Wilkes County Sheriff's Department has released information concerning the stand-off that took place a short distance from a Wilkes elementary school yesterday. Deputies were called to the intersection of Haymeadow Road and Mountain view Road in Hays about 4:15 yesterday afternoon, when a caller to 9-1-1 reported 38-year old John Dewayne Rhodes had left his home carrying a weapon and was walking toward Mountain view Elementary. Two deputies arrived on the scene initially and tried to get Rhodes to put down the gun, which he had already fired at least once. After repeated attempts to get him to lay down the weapon, deputies set up a perimeter around Rhodes and settled into what one of them calls "a long standoff." The report does not indicate what led to the disturbance, or whether deputies believed Rhodes was intoxicated at the time of the incident. He eventually did lay down the gun and was taken into custody without injury to himself or deputies. He's currently held on a charge of resisting arrest and one of going armed to the terror of the public.

Tuesday
May052009

Monday Crash Killes Wilkes Man

The North Carolina Highway Patrol has released preliminary information concerning a wreck last night that killed a Wilkes county man. It happened just before 10pm on Austin-Traphill Road, and involved only one vehicle, a 1997 Mitsubishi SUV. The man who died, 63-year old William Henry Joins, was a passenger in the southbound vehicle driven by LeBrant Russell Barnes of Mount Juliet, Tennessee. Barnes lost control and went off the road to the right, according to the preliminary report, hitting a road sign and going into the ditch before rolling over into a fence. The preliminary report does not indicate whether Joins was thrown from the vehicle or the severity of Barnes' injuries. The wreck remains under investigation.

Tuesday
May052009

NW Traffic Study Underway

The black tubes are stretching across several downtown North Wilkesboro streets, as traffic counters do their job in a survey of traffic patterns now underway. The study stems from a request last year from several downtown merchants and others to make Main Street a two-way thoroughfare, following several years of allowing only one-way traffic on the street. North Wilkesboro Town Manager Hank Perkins says Main Street is one of several downtown thoroughfares that are state-owned and state-maintained roads, so the state is paying all but a little over 9-thousand dollars of the study cost. "The study will look at possible ways to mitigate traffic problems," Perkins said, "while optimizing traffic flow and improving visibility for downtown businesses. The discussion on making Main Street two-way is what got it started, but that's just one aspect of the study." Perkins said the study will consist of several phases, and could take a long time to complete. He's not sure how long "a long time" might be.

Monday
May042009

Man Dies in ATV Crash

The Wilkes county sheriff's office has released the details of the death of a man riding an ATV this weekend. It's the second time in a week an ATV wreck has claimed a life. According to a friend, 46-year old Tyler Testerman had been riding the four-wheeler late Saturday afternoon, and had been trading off driving. During the course of the afternoon, the friend says Testerman drank a number of beers. He says as they were on the way home he saw Testerman on the ATV, steering with only one hand. He watched him go off the edge of Memory Lane and down about a 30-degree incline. As he rolled down the incline Testerman was thrown from the four-wheeler and into a tree. A medical examiner later said he had died nearly instantly from hitting the tree with his forehead. he was not wearing a helmet at the time. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Monday
May042009

One of Two Local H1N1 "Suspect" Cases is Negative

Two "suspect" cases of the H1N1 virus have been reported in Wilkes County. According to local health officials, one of the samples has been found to be negative for the H1N1 virus, while test results on the second are still pending. The people have been staying at home to isolate themselves from others while they recuperate. Neither was hospitalized, according to health Director Beth Lovette. Lovette told the Journal-Patriot Friday that the county was placed on a 12- to 24-hour standby to receive drugs and masks if and when distribution is recommended to the state by the CDC. Those supplies would be divided between the hospital and the health department.

Monday
May042009

Wanted Wilkes Man Collared in West Jefferson

A man facing charges in Wilkes County was apprehended after leading authorities on a foot pursuit through downtown West Jefferson Thursday. 25-year-old Tony Edward Minton is now facing felony methamphetamine charges and resisting public officer charges after he attempted to elude authorities on foot. The event’s leading up to Minton’s arrest began after he became a suspect in a crime that he allegedly committed in the adjacent town of Jefferson.  Jefferson Police say surveillance footage from cameras at Ashe Memorial Hospital caught Minton wandering around the hallways of the hospital last weekend, trying to get into various rooms. He was seen on Monday stealing 12-hundred dollars form a bank bag at a nearby medical clinic. Police say they learned from Wilkes County authorities that he had committed similar crimes in Wilkes County and was facing a total of five outstanding warrants. After he was seen in the hospital again Thursday, authorities were able to get a description of his vehicle. When they tried to pull it over, he ran off, prompting the foot chase. Moments before his capture, authorities said that Minton swallowed a gram of methamphetamine. He remains hospitalized from the effects of that, and will face additional charges upon his release.

Friday
May012009

Gov't Says: It's H1N1, not Swine, Flu

No one really paid attention early this week when Muslims and Jews objected to the name of the so-called "swine" flu on religious grounds. But let pork producers start to see an economic impact because of the Tv-hyped "crisis," and federal officials quickly change their minds. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack:

Some facts about the flu: more people have died in (pick any two days between Jan1 and April 1) from *regular* flu than have died worldwide so far from H1N1. Regular flu deaths so far this year in the US alone: 13,000. Typical flu deaths from the regular flu each year worldwide: 40,000. Total worldwide deaths from this stuff so far -- what, a couple hundred?

Friday
May012009

More Vendiing Machine Burglaries Reported

Sheriff's deputies have been questioning suspects in the recent rash of vending machine break-ins throughout Wilkes county, and Wilkesboro police believe one recently reported in town is related. A sheriff's department report released this morning does not disclose the names of the suspects, but says two people were being questioned concerning the recent rash of vending machine burglaries when they admitted to breaking into a machine at Hambys' Music and Pawn. That machine, which dispenses Gatorade, belongs to Triangle Vending. The people being questioned were unable to remember exactly when they'd done the crime, except that it was sometime since the first of the year. Wilkesboro police also received a delayed report. Coca-Cola called police yesterday to get a report filled out on a break-in that had happened back the first week of this month at Food Lion on Westwood Lane. Store employees had called Coke directly and had not reported the break-in, which netted the burglar about 75-dollars in change, rather than calling the police. As in the other break-ins, someone used a pry tool to get into the machine and either damage or remove the coin box.