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News Index
Thursday
Mar192009

Jobless Rate Up Statewide; Wilkes at 12.1%

Unemployment rates increased in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties in January, according to statistics released today by the state’s Employment Security Commission. Wilkes county is the second-worst in our immediate area, with a 12.1-percent unemployment rate. That's up by nearly a third from the December rate of 9.2-percent. Alleghany county had a 14.7-percent jobless rate in January. Seventy-two counties had a rate of 10 percent or higher for the month. “The Employment Security Commission is continuing to help our customers who come to us in this difficult time seeking jobs and unemployment benefits,” said ESC chairman Moses Carey Jr. “The ESC is paying record amounts of benefits to transitional workers and will distribute over $200 million in benefits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.”

Thursday
Mar192009

Bedroom Catches Fire, Woman Taken to the Hospital

It appears a smoldering cigarette is to blame for the fire that heavily damaged a home in rural Wilkes yesterday afternoon. Knottville and Mountain View firefighters were called to the mobile home at 496 Pennington Road about 2:30 yesterday afternoon. There was one person in the house, who needed extensive assistance from firefighters to get out; she was taken to the hospital to be checked out for possible smoke inhalation, but was not hurt. The fire started in a family member's bedroom sometime after the family member left about 9am. It appears the fire caused about 3-thousand or 4-thousand dollars in damage, and the Red Cross has been working to assist the family.

Thursday
Mar192009

"A Few Good Men" Opens Tonight

Wilkes Playmakers production of "A Few Good Men" opens tonight. The play became a movie by the same name, that starred Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Jack Nicholson. As usual for Playmakers productions,t he performances are nightly, Thursday through Sunday and on Sunday afternoon, for each of the next two weeks. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors and advanced tickets may be purchased online at www.wilkesplaymakers.com .

Thursday
Mar192009

Oakwoods to End Angel Food Dsitributions in Wilkes on Saturday

The controversy and allegations swirling around the national offices of Angel Food Ministries are leading a local church to end their association with the group. This Saturday will be the last time Oakwoods Baptist Church will distribute food in connection with the Angel Food program. Oakwoods has been affiliated with the Angel Food program for almost three years, according to John Jones, who tells the Record, "when I first heard and read about the Georgia-based Angel Food Ministry several years ago, my wife and I talked it over and I approached our pastor, Robby Duncan, suggesting our church become a distribution site. I felt that Angel Food was a wonderful way to help everyone, regardless of their income level, have a much easier way to feed our families while saving lots of money."Every month Jones and more than 30 church and community volunteers organize and oversee delivery of thousands of pounds of food to 1,200-plus families in Wilkes, Ashe, Surry, Alleghany and Watauga counties. Volunteers came from as far away as Winston Salem to help with the unloading, counting, and boxing the groceries from Wednesday through Friday before individual families and delivery trucks arrived at the church to pick up the bulk orders on Saturday mornings.The AFM program began in 1994, when pastors Joe and Linda Wingo decided to help local families in their home of Monroe, Ga, who had been financially affected by plant closings and other economic misfortunes. Before news of the investigation broke, there were upwards of 5,000 distribution sites nationwide. Within the last week some sites have abruptly ended their affiliations with AFM and others are expected to follow as the legal charges against the Wingo family mount.

Wednesday
Mar182009

Man Dies At Home, Following Release from Hospital After Injury Wreck

A man whose condition had improved so much since an injury crash last week that he had come home from the hospital died during the night after he got home. His fiance awoke yesterday to find 31-year old Ronnie Caudill dead in the bed next to her. Another woman in the house said Caudill had been acting strangely a little after midnight, when she had found him in the bathroom and a container of bath powder spilled on the floor. Caudill had been injured in a wreck Thursday on Baptist Home Church Road and had been hospitalized at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center over the weekend. He had been dismissed about 5 Monday evening. An autopsy has been ordered, and authorities kept hold of two bottles of prescription medicine that had been filled on Monday. It will be some time before the autopsy report is complete.

Wednesday
Mar182009

Goss: Summer Work Opportunities

45th District State Senator Steve Goss says the Federal Stimulus is expected to provide funding for summer work opportunities for youth ages 16-24 in the region. Goss urged potential employers to consider proposing a summer work program for youth in their communities. “This opportunity is a win-win opportunity for employers, young people and our communities,” Goss said in a news release. “We know that many young people will have difficulty finding a job and that many businesses and non-profit organizations would not have the resources to hire without this program”, he concluded.

Wednesday
Mar182009

Jail Proposal Moves Forward -- A Bit

The proposal to build a new Wilkes county jail is moving forward. Wilkes County commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to take the next step in pursuing approval to build a new law-enforcement center and jail, but they stopped short of awarding a bid that would commit the county to the project. The county opened 17 bids last week for construction that includes a 298-bed jail. The low bid was $22.5 million from Hickory Construction Inc. The county will apply to the Local Government Commission for permission to borrow the money. The county will also negotiate with the low bidder to lower the bid, and will also pursue proposals for financing packages from lenders. The poor economy means that the county is getting a bargain on the price, but it also faces the difficult prospect of authorizing such a large project during bad economic times. With companies eager for work, the low bid came in at $187 a square foot, compared to past projects that have had bids at $250 to $300 a square foot. On June 30, the county will finish paying off its new courthouse and public library, freeing up $1.2 million in debt payment that could then be applied to the new jail. The Winston-Salem Journal calculates that borrowing an estimated $26 million -- which includes the construction costs and additional costs for such things as furnishings -- for 20 years would require an annual payment closer to $2 million.

Tuesday
Mar172009

Official Report Concerning Weekend Death Released

Authorities have released the report of a man's death that had earlier been characterized as a possible accidental overdose. A friend arrived home and found 22-year old Thomas Edward Rhodes unresponsive on the living room floor Sunday afternoon. EMS crews pronounced Rhodes dead at the scene, and his body was sent for an autopsy to confirm the cause of death. According to the report released today, Rhodes had been assaulted March 12th and was scheduled for surgery to repair a broken jaw Monday. The report also states, "victim had already taken all his pain medication," though it does not indicate the amount that had been prescribed. Results of lab tests done on the blood of the deceased often takes several weeks, and at this point, the cause and manner of death has not been officially classified. Services are pending with Miller Funeral Service.

Tuesday
Mar172009

Foxx: Social Security-Related Letter is Deceptive

Fifth District Representative Virginia Foxx has asked North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to investigate a highly misleading fund raising letter sent to households in North Carolina. The letter falsely asserts that the Mexican government is receiving U.S. Social Security funds and solicits the letter recipients for a donation. “This letter is simply not true," Foxx said. "During this time of considerable economic uncertainty, misleading our state’s senior citizens—many living on fixed incomes—into making a donation to ‘save’ their future Social Security is not only morally abhorrent, but it also seems legally suspect." Foxx also released a short web video discussing the misleading letter and urging constituents not to donate to groups making unfounded claims. She asked constituents with concerns about the federal government or legislation to directly contact her office. The group that sent the Social Security letter, Council of Seniors, was recently cited by the Indiana Attorney General for sending deceptive fund raising appeals to households in Indiana.

Tuesday
Mar172009

Accidental Overdose Deaths Are Spiking in WIlkes

Health officials in Wilkes are issuing what they call a health "watch alert" because of a startling increase in drug overdose deaths this year. The most recent death, the county's 10th since the first of the year, apparently happened over the weekend. Sheriff deputies have not released the report describing the circumstances surrounding the death of a 22-year old man, whose name has been mentioned on the GoWilkes forum, but has not been confirmed by authoritiesThe Rev. Fred Brason, chairman of the Wilkes Healthy Carolinians Council's Substance Abuse Task Force, told the Journal-Patriot yesterday the goal of the alert is to help health providers be more diligent spotting "doctor shopping" and other activities by people seeking prescription medication for other than legitimate reasons. He said the other nine people who have died so far this year were in different age groups, but all resulted from apparent accidental overdosage of prescription pain killers. No other similar patterns have been identified, said Brason. The paper reports autopsy results are pending in most of the deaths.