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News Index

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


Getting a Tyson Job Can Mean an Overnight Wait

Only 20 Tyson job applications are being given out at a time, and yet there's a line outside the state Employment Security Office the night before each batch is due to be handed out -- a line that starts even before the office closes the previous day. ESC local manager Ann Bowlin says people have waited overnight on three occasions within the last three or four weeks. She calls it a highly visible indicator of the county's loss of thousands of traditional manufacturing jobs in recent years, particularly in the furniture and textile industries.

"We'll see people sitting out there in chairs as we leave work for the day," she tells the Journal-Patriot. ESC staff will then spend the first half of the next day assisting people seeking Tyson jobs. The number of people waiting in line has gradually dropped to not much more than 20 because job seekers have come to realize the ESC hands out only 20 Tyson job applications at a time, she said. That's the number of applicants sought by Tyson each time. Tyson has added about 135 jobs at the processing complex in Wilkesboro since the first of May, bringing the company's total employment in Wilkes to about 2,800.


Dr. Laws Comments on School Calendar, Teacher Jobs

Wilkes County Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Laws says district officials have had to take a hard look at finances, with the state budget still not completed and the start of school looming in about a month. In an interview with 3WC's Angela Henley on last week's Focus on the Foothills, Laws said the focus has been on retaining as many teacher jobs as possible:

Teaching Assistants will work ten-percent fewer hours this school year, a fact Laws acknowledges hurts their families quite a bit. He believes the action is preferable to having to get rid of several teaching assistants or teachers. Laws says he doesn't want people to get the wrong idea: he's not a supporter of shortening the school year:

The calendar approved by the school board, which is awaiting Legislative approval as a pilot project, shortens the school calendar by 18 days by lengthening the school days by 45 minutes. You can hear the full interview with Dr. Laws on our podcast page at, and we'll have more excepts in upcoming 3WC newscasts.


ESC has Line of People for Tyson Jobs

They're lined up, waiting to apply for jobs at Tyson.

But they're not at Tyson, they're at the N.C. Employment Security Commission office in North Wilkesboro. People who are out of work are in the line to be the first to apply for jobs at the chicken processing complex in Wilkesboro. Ann Bowlin is the manager at the ESC office at Midtown Plaza and says on several different occasions over the past several weeks, people have waited overnight to put in applications. Bowlin says ESC only hands out 20 Tyson applications at a time, so the number of those in line as gone down over the past few weeks.


SSA News Release: New Number for Wilkes Office

The Wilkesboro office of the Social Security Administration is no using new telephone numbers. Callers will need to use this new number to contact the Wilkesboro office. The new phone number is (866) 331-2298 and will operate from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. This number should be used by residents of Alleghany, Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes Counties who would like to speak with a representative in the Wilkesboro SSA field office. The fax number will remain the same 336-667-3392 and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Dr. Laws: District Could Save $900,000 by Calendar Change

If the proposed pilot project the lengthen school days and reduce the number of days a child goes to school each year works out as school officials anticipate, the savings will be nothing to sneeze at. In an interview on 3WC's Focus on the Foothills yesterday, Wilkes School Superintendent Steve Laws explained to 3WC's Angela Henley how the district would save:

A calendar with fewer, longer days has already been passed by the Wilkes Board of Education. But it needs legislative approval to put the calendar into effect, because state law requires a 180-day calendar currently. Local legislators are pushing to have the adaptation tried this year as an official state pilot project. You can hear the entire interview on our podcast page at, and we'll have additional excerpts in upcoming 3WC newscasts.


Dr. Laws Explains Proposal for Longer School Days

Will there be a new school calendar this fall, featuring longer school days? If school officials in Wilkes get their wish, the answer is yes. In a Focus on the Foothills interview today with 3WC's Angela Henley, Wilkes County Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Laws explained what's up:

We'll have more explanation of the plans and the potential money saving if this pilot project is allowed by the Legislature, coming up in future 3WC newscasts. You can also hear the entire interview on our podcast page at


Crowds Expected For Capt. Garner's Funeral; Special Arrangements Announced

Because of the expectation of large crowds for the visitation and funeral service for Captain Mark Garner, Hodges Funeral Home has announced additional arrangements to help accomodate the mourners. Garner's body will be available for viewing from 8am to 3pm tomorrow and from 8 to noon on Saturday at Hodges Funeral Home. Family visitiation is tomorrow night, and shuttle service will be offered from several locations:

Chatham parking lot, Town parking lot(across from Chamber), Post office/library parking lot, Smith Phillips parking lot and Combs/old Brendles parking lots. Services will start at 6pm.

On Saturday, the Shuttle service will be available, but from Chatham parking only. Additional seating with audio and video will be provided in the church chapel and fellowship hall. Hollywood Cemetery will be closed to all vehicles not in the funeral procession. The cemetery will be open to pedestrian traffic.


Wilkes Teacher Assistants to Work 10% Fewer Hours

Teacher assistants in Wilkes County Schools will be taking home 10-percent less money this year, according to a letter this week from Superintendent Steve Laws. The pay cut is because they will work fewer hours, and no benefits changes are being made. The Wilkes County Board of Education approved the reduction in salary for teacher assistants at its June 30 session.

The N.C. General Assembly still has not passed a spending plan for the current fiscal year, but it is expected to have less money for teacher assistants this fall. The salary cut for teacher assistants will remain in effect regardless of the calendar for the school year, Laws said. "We still don't know whether our calendar will be approved," he said. "But we remain optimistic that it will be."

At the June 30 session, the school board also approved a calendar with 162 days in the school year instead of the current 180 days, but it requires students to attend school 45 minutes longer each day. The shorter calendar for Wilkes County is designed to reduce the school system's daily operating costs. The calendar change also needs approval from the state legislature, and the provision is being considered along with the state budget.


Wilkesboro to Take Water Treatment Plant Project Bids Soon

Bids will be opened September 1st for the wastewater treatment project in Wilkesboro that's expected to cost over 8-million dollars. City leaders have been planning the project for a decade. It includes $6-million in repairs and upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant and over $2-million to replace the main feeder line and do other line upgrade work.

The town's wastewater treatment plant was opened 44 years ago, and much of the main equipment installed then is still in use. Officials expect as many as eight "very competitive bids," according to the Journal-Patriot, since the economy has slowed down and contractors are vying for projects. A consultant that is preparing the bid packet says the bids could bring the cost of the entire project in right at the budget for the treatment plant work alone.

The project has been delayed as plans were modified several times, and while the town sought funding. Tyson Foods had agreed, at one point, to give the town its pre-treatment basins near the main plant, as well as its main feeder line while also paying for over half of the cost. The estimated cost of the project six years ago, when Tyson was involved, was $3.5 million for plant expansion. As the project costs grew, Tyson withdrew from the agreement. The town expects to receive a $1 million grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce to apply toward the cost of the project. Also, the state has reserved $7.2 million for the town to use for the project. That money will probably carry with it a 2.5 percent interest charge.


Earp Charged with Stabbling of Wheeling on Saturday

Authorities have now charged the man sought shortly after a stabbing Saturday night that seriously injured a Purlear man. According to deputies, 30-year old Terry Earp of Moravian Falls faces possible charges of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury in connection with the incident. Earp was jailed late Monday under a 15-thousand dollar bond.

As we've reported earlier, David Wheeling was the victim of the incident. He was reported by the sheriff's department to have non life-threatening injuries and to still be a patient at Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. The hospital will not confirm that. Deputies are not releasing any accounts of what led to the stabbing.