Unemployment Numbers Hide Shrinking Workforce
Wilkes County continues to lose workers, according to the latest figures from the state’s Employment Security Commission. While the unemployment rate was down in the latest figures from August, so too was the laborforce. At the end of July, 33217 people had jobs here in the county. By the end of August, that number had dropped to 32553, meaning that 664 people had either lost their job or left the county in search of work. With those lost workers, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8%, despite the fact fewer people have jobs now than in July.
Fees Going Up Tomorrow
Drivers here in Wilkes have one day before the fees increase at the local DMV. As part of the new state budget, lawmakers increased the amount of money people will be paying to get or renew their driver’s license, in addition to fees for tag, title or registration. At the local office, the current cost for a car tag is $20. Under the new plan that increases to $28. Also for trucks 4000 lbs. or less what used to be $21.50 is now also $28. All other vehicles vary based on size and weight. To get some more information you can call the DMW tag office anytime from 9am til 5pm. Their number is 903-1283.
Apple Festival Tomorrow & Apple Jam Tonight
The 27th annual Brushy Mountain Apple Festival will go on tomorrow but the celebration starts tonight over in North Wilkesboro. The Apple Jam kicks off at 6pm, offering three different bands along with food and drinks. The event is free to the public and will take place tonight at the corner of 10th and Main Street. As for the festival itself, over 400 arts and crafts vendors will be out in the streets of North Wilkesboro tomorrow along with plenty of music of all different types, from gospel, to folk, to blue grass and country. The event starts Saturday at 8am and stretches on til 5pm that afternoon. If you have any questions, you can contact the Brushy Mountain Ruitan Club at 984-3022.
Local Woman Falls Victim To Fraud
A Ferguson woman got a surprise when she went to a local bank to talk about getting a loan. It turns out that someone had already taken one out in her name almost four years ago and never paid it back. It would have been impossible for the woman herself to have done it, as she was a minor at that time. All the information was turned over to sheriff’s deputies and that investigation is ongoing.
Always Watch Where You're Going
A North Wilkesboro man totaled his car earlier this week in the Tyson parking lot. The man had been attempting to park the car, but didn’t see the guide wire for a nearby utility pole. He slammed into it, causing an estimated $2500 worth of damage to the vehicle. The car had to be towed away due to the damage.
Our House Coats For Kids
With the weather turning colder outside, it can be hard for some kids to stay warm. Not everyone in Wilkes County has a coat for when the weather turns cold or even the money to get one. That’s where Our House is stepping in, with their Coats for Kids drive. Beginning this coming Monday, October 3rd, the Child Abuse Prevention Team & Christmas in Wilkes will be holding a donation drive for any and all coats. They can be new or used, whatever you want to give will be appreciated. There are two dropoff locations, at Wilkesboro Cleaners and Hourglass Cleaners in North Wilkesboro. You can drop off donations any time between now and October 28th Monday through Wednesday from 11am til 7pm and then on Thursday and Friday from 9am til 5pm. For more information you can call Sherry Mabry at Our House. The number is 667-5555.
Make Sure Your Car Stays Locked
Lock up before you leave. A North Wilkesboro man found out why that’s a good idea on Wednesday. He parked at the Food Lion in Millers Creek and ran inside to get a few things, leaving behind several medications in the unlocked car. When he returned he found the pills had gone missing. Included in the theft was a bottle of nerve medicine and also a bottle of the painkiller oxycodine. That investigation is still ongoing.
Spots Still Available At Head Start
For any parent who wants to get their child started early on their education, Head Start has some available spots left. There are currently two openings in the program for new students, after that the kids will be put on a waiting list. Classes started in August for this year’s program and will run until May of 2006. Students can enroll at any time up until March of 2006. After that they’ll have to wait until the next term. The classes run from 8:30am until 2:30pm Monday through Thursday. The students are admitted based on their family income, as those in the lesser income bracket get taken first. For more information or to enroll your child, you can call Judy Mitchell at the Head Start office. Her number is 667-7174.
East Wilkes Students Toss Cups At Nearby People
Assault with a deadly cup. That’s what happened to some people in the eastern part of the county this week. On Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies were called out after several people were hit with cups thrown from a moving school bus. No one was injured, however the bus number was given to deputies and the students involved were quickly identified. One 16-yr-old boy and one 15-yr-old girl, both from East Wilkes High School, were identified as the ones who tossed the cups. The 16-yr-old was charged with assault and littering, while a juvenile petition was taken out on the 15 year old girl. As the suspects were under 18, their names were not announced.
Gate Ripped Off And Taken
Who would want to steal a gate? That’s what people on Hunting Creek Road are wondering today. On Tuesday of this week, someone cut the locks on the gate to a local man’s property, then picked up the gate itself and took it. Also missing were the locks that had been used to secure it. Over $400 worth of damage was done on the property and deputies are continuing the investigation.
Not All State Employees Are Checked
Not all state employees here in North Carolina have to undergo background checks. That was revealed this week after two wanted felons were discovered working for the state’s Health and Human Services Department. One woman is currently wanted in Georgia on theft charges, while another employee is connected to a sales scam on Ebay. The department has the power to do background checks, but hasn’t extended the practice to all workers because they are “dealing with other issues”. Most other state agencies perform the checks, but now lawmakers are calling for a change. During the next session, a bill could be presented making it illegal not to do a background check on any person who works for the state.
Child Death Rate Up In North Carolina
Children are more at risk of dying in North Carolina, according to a new study. The state’s Center for Child Health Statistics released the 2004 figures, which are up 6% from the same time in 2003. For every 100,000 kids here in the state, 77 died before they reached the age of 18. Out of that number 77% were under the age of four. Officials believe the increase is due to a climb in unemployment and poverty.
Bowles Nominated For UNC President
Less than a year after losing the election to Richard Burr, Erskine Bowles finds himself with a new job offer. The selection committee nominated Bowles this week to be the new president of the University system here in North Carolina. 80 candidates were interviewed for the position before Bowles received the nomination. The board is expected to confirm and vote him in on Monday.
Lawsuit Over Bible In North Carolina Courts
North Carolina is being sued today, in a case with no actual backing. The ACLU has filed suit based on a perceived problem that hasn’t actually been brought up. The organization is suing to force the state to allow the Muslim Quran and Jewish Torah used along with the Bible when people take an oath in court. This comes after a ruling earlier this year in Guilford County, where two judges determined that it wasn’t legal for a Muslim to take the oath with a Quran. The office of the court has since announced they would uphold the ruling unless a change came from state lawmakers. Meanwhile the State Attorney General’s office has asked that the case be dismissed, since the ACLU has no client to represent.
Easley Throws Out Teacher Licensing Bill
Governor Easley vetoed a bill this week dealing with teacher licensing. Under the plan, a teacher from any other state could be hired here in the state, regardless of their qualifications. Easley said that while North Carolina needs more teachers, he couldn’t lower the standards any more. If North Carolina’s standards dropped any more, they would be one of the lowest in the nation. Both the State Board of Education and the NC Association of Educators supported Easley in his veto. State lawmakers however are planning to gather for a special session and overturn the veto.
Friday Night Football
Now coming up tonight, the varsity football teams will be in action, as Wilkes Central plays host to Starmount and North Wilkes gets set to take on Forbush at home. Then in our 3WC Game of the Week, it’ll be the East Wilkes Cardinals marching up the road to Blackhawk County, as they take on West in a Northwest 1A conference battle. Kickoff of all three games is set for 7:30 with the McDonalds pregame show going on the air at 7:15pm. All this on your home for local sports, 1240 3WC.
UNC Charlotte Loses Member Of Basketball Team
In college basketball, UNC Charlotte will be one man short when the season begins this year. Mitch Mullis, an incoming freshman from Thomasville, announced this week that he was withdrawing from the school. The former star at East Davidson High was dealing with some personal issues, according to the coaching staff.
Bobcats Rookie Undergoes Surgery
Around the senior circuit, some bad news for the Charlotte Bobcats as rookie forward Alan Anderson went under the knife. Arthroscopic surgery was performed on Wednesday, as the 6-6 Anderson had some damaged cartilage in his right knee that had to be cleaned up. Team doctors expect Anderson to miss the preseason, but he should be ready to go by the time Opening Day rolls around. Fellow rookie Sean May had the same procedure done last month, but he’s already up and around, jogging and shooting with the team. As a result, doctors believe May could be back before the end of the preseason in October.
Steve Smith On Track To Tie Record
In the NFL, while the Carolina Panthers haven’t had a great start to the season, wide receiver Steve Smith is on pace to tie a record. With 23 receptions in the first three games, Smith is on pace to tie the NFC record for most catches. That’s 123, which was set by Herman Moore of the Lions in 1995. The NFL record is 143, which was set back in 2002 by Marvin Harrison of the Colts.
Hurricanes Trying To Reach Limit
The Carolina Hurricanes find themselves up against the clock, with only a few days to go before rosters have to be finalized. Currently the team has 26 players and they have to cut that down to 23 before Tuesday of next week. The three players selected won’t be released, but instead sent down to the minor leagues. Opening day for the Hurricanes will be October 7th against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hall Of Fame Racing Gets Underway
In NASCAR, Hall of Fame Racing is finally starting to put the pieces together. The new team, owned by former NFL quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, named a crew chief for its’ first car this week, with Philippe Lopez taking control. Lopez had previously worked with Richard Childress Racing as a member of the research and development team. A driver for the team’s car won’t be announced until after the season, but they do plan to be on the track and ready to go for the Daytona 500 next season.