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Ebola Scare At Johnston Health - Two False Alarms

By Shelah Ogletree for WTSB

Suited Up and Ready for Contagious Disease Control - Lori Giggey, charge nurse in the Emergency Department of Johnston Medical Center-Smithfield wears a Tyvek personal protective equipment category III suit the hospital is using currently. Ms. Giggey is heading up the disaster preparedness team for the emergency department. The suit zips in the front, and a flap covers the zipper. When in actual use a respirator with air filters would be attached to the shroud and hood to keep positive pressure. In a suspicious case, Ms. Giggey would wear three pairs of gloves, and booties both inside and outside the suit. On Wednesday, a state expert trained 24 members of the staff, who in turn will train the frontline clinical staff across the organization. Photo courtesy Johnston Medical Center-Smithfield.

Last Wednesday two patients arrived at the Johnston Medical Center-Smithfield Emergency Department with symptoms that were seemingly indicative of Ebola virus. Johnston Health Spokesperson Suzette Rodriguez said at least one of the two persons was transported to the hospital by EMS crews. She was unsure as to whether the EMS workers who did the transport suspected contagious disease and were suited accordingly. "I believe it was once they were in the ED (Emergency Department) and they started talking the patient mentioned travel," Ms. Rodriguez said. "That and some other symptoms are what set off the alarm and precautions were taken."

Fortunately, Ebola was quickly ruled out. Mrs. Rodriquez said she was unsure whether the other person was transported by EMS, but in both cases the suspicion of Ebola was a false alarm. "Such false alarms are becoming fairly common in hospital EDs across the country as the public becomes jittery about the threat of the virus," said Ms. Rodriguez.

Johnston Health Infection Preventionist Ronnie Syverson said via Ms. Rodriguez, the two separate cases had one thing in common - Both patients had traveled or been in contact with someone who had traveled outside of the U.S.  Neither of those destinations had been to a country affected by the Ebola outbreak.

Mr. Syverson and other members of the staff meet weekly with representatives from Johnston County agencies: EMS, the office of emergency management, the 911 emergency call center and the Johnston County Health Department. They also listen in to the daily teleconferences from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

“We’re doing everything we can to prepare,” he says. “We’re keeping each other informed, and we’re working and planning together.” asking the right questions is the key to determining if patients have contracted the virus. “We can’t be fearful. We have to stay focused. We have stick to the facts,” he says. “The risk of contracting the illness here in the U.S. is still very low. We all need to find peace in that.”

Here are the three questions first responders and medical staff are asking patients. Mr. Syverson describes the three questions as pertinent.

Have you traveled outside the U.S. to a country affected by the Ebola outbreak within in the last 30 days?

Have you come in contact with anyone having symptoms and diagnosed or suspected of having Ebola?

Do you have any of the follow symptoms: fever of greater than 100.4, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, unexplained bleeding or bruising?

“If the answer to two of the three questions is yes, then it’s reasonable to be suspicious,” Mr. Syverson says.
Ms. Rodriquez said "If this happened in a clinical setting the staff member would then give the patient a mask to wear and call the ED charge nurse right away.

Proper protocols and procedures were followed in both cases on Oct. 15, Mr. Syverson said.  This included isolating the patients and decontaminating EMS responders. “This was good practice,” he says. “It allowed us to identify areas that we need to improve.”

Over the past several days, Mr. Syverson said a committee of hospital directors, physicians and senior staff has met multiple times to put together a policy specifically for Ebola. As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention sends out new information daily, the committee makes changes.

As further preparation for an Ebola patient Ms. Rodriguez said the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) staffs have been practicing the putting on and taking off of personal protective equipment (PPE). The education department is coordinating training sessions for all frontline staff.


Woman Seriously Burned In House Fire
A Smithfield woman was severely burned inside her home Wednesday afternoon.

Emergency workers were called to a home in the 100 block of E Caroline Avenue after an apparent grease fire badly burned the woman who was in her 20’s.

A small child was also at the home. The child escaped injury and was picked up at the scene by relatives.

The burn victim was rushed to the UNC Burn Center in Chapel Hill.

Smithfield fire officials said the fire damage was confined to the kitchen.  Photo courtesy JoCoFire.com

Two Injured In US301 Crash
Both drivers were injured in a two vehicle accident at 12:40pm Wednesday on US301 near Thunder Road in Four Oaks.

Four Oaks Police said an SUV was in the turn lane on US301 attempting to turn into the parking lot of the Holiday Travel Mart when the driver, Teresa Browning, 55, of Four Oaks, pulled into the path of an oncoming Ford pickup operated by O’Neal Simmons, 69.

Both Browning and Simmons were transported to the hospital for treatment of their injuries. Their conditions were not immediately released.

Four Oaks Police Detective S. Anderson said the accident remains under investigation. WTSB Photo

Four Oaks Students Walk To School
A large group of students at Four Oaks Elementary School joined school officials and community leaders in a walk to school in support of a classmate before class began in the crisp early autumn air Tuesday morning.

Students at the school, led by principal David Pearce, walked the short distance down Main Street from the Four Oaks Baptist Church to their school as part of an observation of National Walk to School Day. Ambulances and law enforcement vehicles blocked traffic to make sure the trek was a safe one.

Several students on bikes, leading the group of walkers, also participated. The combined group of walkers and bikers arrived at the school to an atmosphere of support led by many staff members at the school.

Most of the students and adult participants wore fluorescent yellow T-shirts in honor of third grade student Jaylen Stanley who suffers from Batten’s disease. The disease is a nervous system disorder that is often fatal. It often starts in childhood, which is the case with Jaylen. He is now staying in a Ronald McDonald House as he continues treatment for the disease.

Mr. Pearce said he was excited his school was participating.

“This is a good thing and it is another example of the great community we live in,” Mr. Pearce said. “It is nice to get out here and walk and to enjoy the weather.”

Several elected officials participated in the early morning exercises. Those on hand included Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell, Johnston County Clerk of Court Will Crocker and Four Oaks Mayor Linwood Parker.

Sheriff Bizzell said the walk will be something to remember for the students. “Years from now they will be telling people about the day they walked to school with all their classmates,” Sheriff Bizzell said.

“This is a good thing for a great community,” Mr. Parker said.

Johnston County Schools Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Oliver Johnson was also one of the walkers at Tuesday’s event. “It reminds me of when I was in elementary school when we would walk to school,” Mr. Johnson said. “I think it is something the students enjoyed.”

Many students carried signs of different sizes advertising their support for Jaylen.  “I love walking to school and I love helping,” Luke Norris said.

International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Now schools pick different days in October to participate. Students at Harnett County’s Highland Elementary School participated in the movement earlier this month. Story and photo courtesy The Daily Record


Police: Woman Witnesses Her Own Rape On Social Media
Smithfield Police have issued felony charges against two men and are looking for a third suspect following the alleged rape of a local woman.

Police said the victim learned she had been sexually assaulted after seeing images of the assault on social media. 

The 26 year-old victim told investigators the rape occurred at a birthday party on September 5th.  The incident reportedly happened after everyone had left the party except for three men. She reported the incident three days later after finding images of the sexual assault on a social media site.

Lt. R.K. Powell said the victim in the case was intoxicated and did not realize the assault had occurred until she saw the images on the Internet.

Travis Graham, 28, (top right) of N. Alabama Street, Goldsboro and Juan Sanders, 23, (lower right) of Salem Church Road, Goldsboro have been arrested. Graham is charged with first degree rape. Sanders is charged with felony conspiracy to commit rape, according to Lt. Powell.

Both men were arrested by authorities in Wayne County.

The search has now focused on the third suspect in the case who is currently at large. Police did not release the suspects name.

Section Of NC 210 Near Smithfield To Close In Mid-November For Two Bridge Replacements
Detours Will Be In Place For Up To 8 Months

(Right) A Smithfield fire fighter examines a bridge on NC210 after it was struck by a car in March 2006. This is one of two bridges on NC210 scheduled for replacement starting in mid-November. Traffic will be detoured around NC210 near Cleveland Road for 8 months. WTSB 2006 Photo

Starting in mid-November, the N.C. Department of Transportation will close down a section of N.C. 210 in Johnston County for the replacement of two bridges just west of Smithfield. The road is scheduled to be closed for eight months.

The closure is necessary for crews with S.T. Wooten Corp. of Wilson to replace two bridges over Swift Creek and the Swift Creek overflow. Both bridges were constructed in 1934 and are classified as Functionally Obsolete, which means they were built to design standards that are no longer in use. The new bridges will be built to modern design standards.

NCDOT and S.T. Wooten Corp. are currently finalizing plans for the project, including narrowing down a start date for mid-November. The exact date is dependent upon the completion of utility work and will be announced once it is finalized.  

During the closure, through traffic on N.C. 210 will use US 70 Business/Market Street, Swift Creek Road and Cleveland Road as a detour route around the closure. Local traffic will be able to use N.C. 210, but will not be able to cross the bridges. Message boards will be put in place near the intersection of N.C. 210 and U.S. 70 Business/Market Street, and at the intersection of N.C. 210 and Swift Creek Road to alert traffic of the upcoming closure.

These replacements are part of a $10.4 million express design-build contract awarded to S.T. Wooten Corp. in 2013 to replace 12 bridges in Johnston County with new bridges by late 2015.

To date, eight of the 12 bridges in Johnston County have been replaced, including bridges on N.C. 96, Juniper Church Road, Benson-Hardee Road, Old Stage Road, Eldridge Road, Bizzell Grove Church Road, and two on Shoeheel Road. The bridge on Old Beulah Road is currently under construction and is expected to open in mid-November, weather permitting.

Express design-build allows construction to go from zero to completion in less time for each bridge. This is more efficient than traditional design-build for less complex projects. The express design-build method allows the design, environmental permitting, utility relocation and construction to take place at the same time, under one contract. This method reduces overall construction time, helps the department avoid cost inflation, allows the contractor to make innovations that save taxpayers money, lessen environmental impact and alleviate driving delays for motorists.

Motorists are advised to use caution while traveling in the area and to expect delays. NCDOT reminds motorists to watch signs for construction information, stay alert and obey the posted speed limit.

For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit the NCDOT traffic website or follow NCDOT on Twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type “m.ncdot.gov” into the browser of your smartphone. Then, bookmark it to save for future reference.


NC Largest Political Rally Coming To Smithfield on Friday
The largest political rally in North Carolina will be held in Smithfield this Friday with Texas Governor Rick Perry as guest speaker. The rally will be held at Central Marketing Tobacco Warehouse on Wal-Pat Road, just off Interstate 95 at Exit 93.

This is a family event including a free BBQ dinner and live music by Al Batten and the Bluegrass Reunion beginning at 6:00 pm. Sheriff Steve Bizzell has invited everyone to come out and mingle with friends and neighbors amidst the aroma of freshly cured tobacco.

“I am exited about this get-out-the-vote rally as we unite with conservatives to get America back on the right track!” said Sheriff Bizzell.

Also in attendance will be Governor Pat McCrory, US Senator Richard Burr, Speaker Thom Tillis, as well as other state and local candidates. WTSB's own Carl Lamm will be broadcasting live from the rally beginning at 5:00 pm. 

Social Security Announces 1.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2015
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 64 million Americans will increase 1.7 percent in 2015, the Social Security Administration has announced.

The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 58 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2015.  Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2014. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages.  Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $118,500 from $117,000.  Of the estimated 168 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2015, about 10 million will pay higher taxes because of the increase in the taxable maximum. 

Information about Medicare changes for 2015 is available at www.Medicare.gov
The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated.  To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola

Benson Native Jimmy Capps Inducted Into NC Music Hall of Fame
By Shelah Ogletree

(Left to right) Benson native Jimmy Capps was inducted last week in the NC Music Hall of Fame. He is shown here with his wife, Michelle.

Benson native Jimmy Capps, who was inducted last week into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, got his start at the age of twelve proving that great music trumps age limits. He began by playing his guitar on WCKB Radio in Dunn and went on to play for greats such as Kenny Rogers and Ray Charles.

Mr. Robert Honeycutt of Sampson County said Mr. Capps is one of the best-known studio musicians ever. "He's played for just about everybody and he's still at it." Mr. Honeycutt said. He watches Mr. Capps play his acoustic guitar on the cable program Larry’s Country Kitchen channel RFD. "They call him the Sheriff because he dresses up like an old country sheriff - you can catch him on there about every weekend."

Jimmy came with his wife Michelle, who according to Mr. Honeycutt is a great singer. He also brought three fellow musicians along with him. They included a drummer, bass guitar, and electric guitar player.  "Mr. Jimmy himself played the acoustical guitar. Mr. Honeycutt said Mr. Capps came in early and they had time to chat. 

"He remembered Carl Lamm, Ira Tart and many others from the Johnston County area. He played a number he played with Kenny Rogers called The Gambler, and a song he did with George Jones called He Stopped Loving Her Today. He is just a nice, super, down to earth guy just like you'd expect somebody from Benson to be. Mr. Honeycutt encouraged everyone to visit the NC Music Hall of Fame at it's new location at the Mike Curb Nascar Museum on Dale Earnhart Boulevard in Kannapolis or visit the website northcarolinamusichalloffame.org. Photo courtesy NC Music Hall of Fame


Break-In Reported At Dunn Library
Dunn Police are investigating a Sunday break-in at the Dunn Public Library.

According to the report, library Director Mike Williams told police someone had used a letter opener to attempt to pry open a file cabinet containing personnel files and electronic equipment. The cabinet was damaged but the suspect was not able to gain access.

Police found a window on the east side of the building was broken out and blood stains left throughout the library, the report stated.

The case has been turned over to police investigators. Story and photo courtesy The Daily Record

D.A.’s Office Drops Murder Charge In Fatal Princeton Stabbing
Woman Acted In Self Defense After Being Assaulted, Burned

Two days after Princeton Police charged a woman with the small towns first homicide in more than 20 years, the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office announced late-Tuesday they were dropping those charges.

Crystal Turner, 27, was arrested following the Sunday morning stabbing death of her boyfriend, 25 year-old Julius Devon Crenshaw of 410 West Railroad Street, Princeton, outside Turner’s apartment on South Pearl Street.

Princeton Police Chief T. Sutton told WTSB News on Monday Crenshaw died at the scene from an apparent knife wound to his neck. Chief Sutton said witnesses reported the couple was engaged in a verbal, then physical altercation, before the stabbing.

Tuesday afternoon, the district attorney’s office issued a press release saying, “Upon a thorough review of the evidence Assistant District Attorney Paul Jackson has dismissed the charge of second degree murder against Crystal Turner.”

Jackson said the evidence in the case supported Turner’s claim of self-defense.

According to the press release, the incident happened at Turner’s residence after both had consumed alcohol. An argument took place and escalated when Crenshaw struck Turner in the face multiple times with a closed fist.

The altercation moved outside as Turner grabbed a knife and pleaded with Crenshaw to leave. He then reportedly threw a grill with hot coals at Turner resulting in burns on her skin.

Crenshaw then charged toward Turner, authorities said. Turner then stabbed Crenshaw. 

Crenshaw was convicted of assaulting Turner and breaking into her home on May 31st. 

“My heart goes out to the family of Julius Crenshaw and I am deeply sorry for their loss,” Jackson said in the release. “This is certainly a horrible situation for all parties. In this case the State has an affirmative duty to disprove any claim of self-defense, and the evidence in this case strongly supports Crystal Turner’s claim that she was defending herself. This tragedy should serve as a reminder to all of us that domestic violence is a persistent problem that must be taken seriously.”

Revamped Fields Will Help Clayton Little League

Field Re-vamp will benefit the Clayton Junior All Star Team 2013 as well as other Clayton Area teams. Back row, left to right:  Coach Lance Rhoades, Matthew Smigelski, Ezequiel Urias-Rivera, Luke Rhoades, Landon Leiser, Tanner Rhine, John Suarez, Coach Troy Harris, Coach Ronnie Jacobs. Front row:  Christopher Solomon, Omar Urias-Rivera, Connor Lane, Zach Jacobs, Jared Cox

Clayton Little League participants will soon have revamped fields to play on thanks to a $6,000 grant from Johnston County.

Mike Orlowski of Eventus Service said the fields at Clayton Middle School are in need of repairs due to safety issues and because of increased usage due to the growth of the league.

He said the League is grateful to the county for enabling the League to take on such a large project which will greatly improve the safety and playability of the fields at Clayton Middle School. An additional $5000 is needed to complete the project.

The league is a community-based program offering baseball for all youth ages 5-14 regardless of ability or socio-economic status.  As the the largest baseball program in the Clayton area and the only league sanctioned by Little League International (www.littleleague.org) Clayton Little League is a credit to Johnston County.  WTSB Radio listeners shared the excitement when the 2013 Junior League team won the North Carolina State Championship.

To ensure the completion of the project they are asking the community for support.  Listed below are labor and materials needed to complete the project:

If you would like to donate any of the items, or for more information, contact Mike Orlowski at 919-763-2421 or email him at info@claytonlittleleague.org.


Clayton Rejects Video Sweepstakes Business
In a unanimous vote, the Clayton Town Council on Monday night rejected a request for a sweepstakes café to operate.

RNC Entertainment has requested a special use permit from the Town to operate in the former Blockbuster Video location at 12809 US 70 Business West.  They had requested permission to operate 80 video gaming machines.

No one with RNC Entertainment appeared during Monday night’s public hearing, but a representative with the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office was present and was sworn in to testify.  That wasn’t necessary as the board ruled the business failed to conform to sound business use and could injury the value of adjoining properties.  

The Johnston County District Attorney’s Office has notified existing sweepstakes businesses in the county, including Clayton, their businesses are illegal under state law and should be shut down no later than November 1st.

Smithfield Plans To Do Better Job Of Notifying Customers During Next Power Outage

Officials plan to do a better job of notifying the public in the event of another major power outage in Smithfield, after the majority of the Town of Smithfield was without electrical service for several hours Sunday.

All town customers, with the exception of about 1,000 customers, were without power after a squirrel shorted out an electrical switch on Hospital Road at North Seventh Street.  The switch burned out and had to be replaced. 

The high amount of fault current so close to a power substation tripped Duke Energy’s substation that fed breakers on Hospital Road. 

Power was restored shortly before 1 o’clock Sunday afternoon.  Officials said the cost of the repairs and labor was about $5,300.

Many residents expressed frustration the town did not notify them about the cause of the outage or when power would be restored. Many churches held services without the benefit of electricity Sunday morning.

According to town officials they did not notify the general public or the media.  Only the Smithfield public information officer, police chief, police sergeant on duty, fire chief, 911 center, town manager, and water plant received notifications.

During the next outage, officials will record a message on the town emergency line and on the utility departments main phone line. In the near future, Smithfield hopes to send out messages via the Internet and smart phones to customers who sign up to be notified.  

Princeton High Among Top 20 In Safe Driving Contest

All Johnston County High Schools are participating in a contest to win prize money and to promote safe teen driving education.

The contest is a national contest sponsored by State Farm Insurance.

Currently, all county high schools are doing well, but Princeton High School is in the top twenty, and has a chance to win considerable prize money if the Johnston County community will get behind them to vote.

Go to www.celebratemydrive.com to cast your vote. Follow the prompts and put in the name of your preferred high school. You can only vote once per day, and the last day to vote is Friday, October 24.

Let’s help our local schools win! The top schools will win $25,000 to $100,000.

Benson Woman’s Apple Slaw Wins 1st Place In NC Apple Recipe Contest

Raleigh – Donna Barefoot of Benson took first place and $200 for her NC Apple Slaw in the N.C. Apple Growers Association’s Apple Recipe Contest held at the NC State Fair.

Makayla Jones of Raleigh earned second place and $150 for her Apple Caramel recipe. Third place and $75 went to Gail Fuller of Raleigh for her Cheesecake Baked Apples. Jenny Wagoner of Raleigh received honorable mention and $25 for her Apple Cake recipe.

All entries had to include at least two cups of apples. Entries were judged on taste, appearance and creative use of apples in the recipe. The winning recipe for NC Apple slaw included:

1 Gala apple (thinly sliced),1 Golden Delicious apple (thinly sliced), 1 Granny Smith Apple (thinly sliced), ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons honey, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons seeded and minced Jalapeno pepper, 8 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage,1 red bell pepper (seeded and cut in thin slices), ½ cucumber (cut in thin slices),    ¼ cup of cilantro, 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, and 1 ounce of radish sprouts.

Slice apples and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper. Add apples and toss to coat. Add remaining ingredients except sprouts and toss to coat. Just before serving scatter sprouts over top of slaw. Serves 8.


Break-In’s At Wal-Mart, Lowes Could Be Linked
Smithfield Police suspect break-ins at Wal-Mart on October 15 and Lowe’s Home Improvement on October 17 may be connected. In the early morning hours, thieves cut holes in chain link fences at the businesses and removed push lawn mowers. In addition to the mowers, a $299 edger was also taken from Lowes.

Police Lt. R.K. Powell said due to similarities in the cases the break-ins could be connected.

Anyone who saw suspicious activity around the businesses last Wednesday and Friday mornings between 1am and 7am is asked to contact the Smithfield Police Tip Line at 919-989-8835.

Police: Man Beaten, Robbed Of Beer 

Smithfield Police are searching for two to three suspects who allegedly assaulted a man then stole his beer. It happened around 9:42pm Friday in the 600 block of East Rose Street.

The 57 year-old victim, who was about two blocks away from his house, said he was walking home from the store when some individuals approached him and struck him several times with their fists.  The victim was taken by EMS to Johnston Medical Center in Smithfield for treatment of minor injuries. 

The victim told police the suspects made away with a 40-ounce bottle of Natural Lite beer worth about $2.50.

Stolen Car Crushed At Salvage Yard

A Wake County man has been charged with stealing a car that was later sold to a Raleigh salvage company and turned into scrap metal.

The victim, who lives on Highway 210 outside of Angier in western Johnston County, reported the theft on September 29.

Johnston County Sheriff’s Captain A.C. Strickland said the victim’s Mercury Cougar had broken down at a friends home. When he went to retrieve the vehicle it was missing.

Shane Michael Diuguid, 25, of Rainwood Lane, Raleigh was charged with felony larceny of a motor vehicle.  He was confined in the Johnston County Jail under a $25,000 bond.

Moped Driver Killed In Clayton-Area Crash

A Raleigh man died after his moped collided with a car on East Garner Road at Pine Hollow Drive near Clayton.

The fatal accident happened around 11:30pm Friday.

Hector Matos, 52, died from his injuries.

Troopers believe Matos was operating his moped when he veered across the centerline and collided head-on with an approaching car.

The driver of the car was not injured. No charges were filed. Photo courtesy JoCoFire.com 

Johnston County Schools Graduation Rate Increases, Remains Above State Average

Good news from Johnston County Schools for the 2013-2014 year. Their graduation rate of 85.4% is a 2.9% increase from the 2012-2013 school year.  This rate is also above the state average of 83.8%.

In addition to the 4-year cohort graduation rate, JCS also reports a 5-year cohort graduation rate.  The five-year cohort graduation rate for 2014 is 85.9% compared to the state average of 84.9%.

Hard Work and Effort

Dr. Rodney Peterson, Chief Academic Officer for Johnston County Schools stated “The JCS Board of Education and Administration have made the graduation rate a priority throughout our school system. "

“With the assistance of our At-Rick Counselors, Graduation Coaches, teachers, and staff, our graduation rate of 85.4% is a testament to the hard work and effort that have gone into this endeavor," Dr. Peterson said.  “JCS students should also be commended as their graduation rates have increased despite more challenging standards and assessments and increased graduation requirements.”

Johnston County School Students are required to earn a minimum of 28 course credits to meet the graduation requirement, in comparison to the state, which requires 22 course credits.  In addition, students today are expected to complete mathematics through Math III, or the equivalent of Algebra II, as a minimum.

Taxpayers Spend $150K Per High School Diploma
Are We Getting Our Money’s Worth?
Raleigh – A new analysis by the Civitas Institute indicates North Carolina spends about $150,000 for each high school diploma it hands out.

And that amount doesn’t even include capital costs. Some may say the expense is worthwhile, but this new study also shows there’s very little connection between spending and student achievement.

“We looked at the total expenditures, adjusted for inflation and then factored in the percentage of students who actually graduate from high school,” said Civitas Senior Policy Analyst Dr. Robert Luebke. “After all, today a high school diploma is the goal of K-12 education. We found the average cost of each diploma to be about $150,000. And that doesn’t include capital and other maintenance costs, expenses that in some cases can push up the cost an additional 20 percent.

“Our analysis also found little connection between spending and educational achievement,” he added. “For example, only two of the 20 highest-spending Local Education Associations exceeded state averages on some key measures of student progress. We hope this study prompts debate on how to make our schools more efficient and how to improve student performance.”

Student Charged With Assaulting Assistant Principal

A Cleveland High student was arrested on campus Friday after she allegedly assaulted an assistant principal.

That assistant principal, Anthony Whitaker, told a school resource officer he was breaking up an altercation between two female students when one of the students struck him in the chest with a closed fist, according to Johnston County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Tammy Amaon.  Whitaker was not injured, Amaon said.

Diamond Tomorow Washington, 17, of Long Needle Drive, Clayton was charged with assault on a school employee. She was later released from custody after posting a $500 bond at the Johnston County Jail.

Man Accused Of Stealing Disabled Sister’s Identity
Following a three month investigation, a Clayton man was arrested Friday for allegedly using the identity of his disabled sister to open three credit card accounts.

Joshua Jeffrey Lanier, 23, of Rock Pillar Road, Clayton was charged with felony identity theft by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.

According to officials, Lanier opened three credit card accounts and charged $865, $835, and $816.

Lanier was booked into the Johnston County Jail under a $25,000 bond.

Bouton Completes Basic Training
Air Force Airman 1st Class Frederick K. Bouton has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.
Bouton is the son of Vicki K. Bouton of Wendell.

He is a 2010 graduate of Smithfield-Selma High School

Ackley Named Law Enforcement Officer Of The Month
Each month, Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle recognizes a law enforcement officer for their hard work and dedication to the citizens of Johnston County.

Doyle presented the October 2014 Johnston County Officer of the Month Award to Randy Ackley, a detective with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. 

“Detective Ackley’s investigative skills are superior because of his dedication to victims of crime along with his perseverance to see a case through to the end,” Doyle said. “My staff commends Detective Ackley for always completing his investigations in a timely manner, his willingness to drive to pick up a witness for court if necessary, his commitment to staying late or coming in early to get extra work done and consistently having a positive attitude.   Detective Ackley is a true professional and values the team approach between law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office.”

Ackley has worked with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office for five years.  He began his career as a patrol deputy and was promoted to detective in 2012.  He is currently a detective in the major crimes division.  Ackley resides in the Clayton area with his wife and two children.


McIntyre Recognized As Least Partisan Member of Congress
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Mike McIntyre has recently been named the least partisan Member of Congress by the Washingtonian Magazine.

The distinction reflects Congressman McIntyre’s strong legacy of bipartisanship and ability to work across the aisle to address our nation’s challenges.

Congressman McIntyre, a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, was also ranked as one of the most moderate Members of the 113th Congress by the National Journal.

McIntyre is retiring from Congress this year. He represents the Seventh Congressional District in North Carolina, which includes Johnston County. 


Granville County Loopers Tie Up 3rd Straight N.C. State Fair Tobacco-Stringing Title
RaleighFor the third year in a row, the Granville County Loopers took top honors in the N.C. State Fair Tobacco Stringing Contest. The team of Joy and Eugene Blackwell of Oxford and Ruth Coats of Garner won $250 and a plaque. They beat out 16 other teams to make a claim as a tobacco-tying dynasty.

Second-place honors and $150 went to the Looping Fools, made up of Sandy Jones of Maple Hill and Michael and Annie Sunday of Holly Ridge.

Third place and $100 went to Rachel’s Team (pictured right) , made up of Patricia Johnson of Troutman, Rebecca Johnson of Harmony and Debbie Barber of Benson with NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler (second from right).

Judging was based on a combination of stringing time and stick quality, including bundle size, evenness of leaf heads in bundles, 36-38 bundles on a stick, tightness of bundles, the evenness of bundle heights on the stick, neatness and holding ability.

The Granville County Loopers strung a full stick of tobacco in 1 minute, 7 and a half seconds, and earned top marks in five of the seven categories judged. The Looping Fools strung a full stick in 59.9 seconds, and got top marks in four of the seven categories. Rachel’s Team finished its stick in 1 minute, 18 and a half seconds, and received top marks in four categories.

The finished sticks of tobacco from the competition, plus others tied Friday afternoon, went into the tobacco barn to be flue-cured during the fair. Once the tobacco is cured, the tobacco will come off the sticks and be put on burlap sheets to be part of the mock tobacco auction at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, in the Expo Center. The contest was sponsored by the John Deere Ice Cream Boys.


Driver Rescued From Fiery Crash
Emergency workers rescued a driver trapped inside his burning car Thursday night on Highway 70 Business near South Rodgers Drive in West Smithfield.

Sherwood Anthony Bailey, 55, of Robin Lane, Clayton was traveling eastbound when he ran off the roadway and traveling 161 feet before colliding with a group of mailboxes then another 678 feet before striking and breaking into a utility pole. Bailey’s 2000 Toyota SUV then overturned and caught on fire.

A Johnston Ambulance Service crew happened upon the crash and assisted the patient until the Smithfield Fire Department and Johnston County EMS arrived on the scene. 

The fire was extinguished and fire crews used the jaws of life to cut the driver from the wreckage.

Police said they believe Bailey suffered a medical condition prior to the accident. He will not face any charges.

Bailey was taken to WakeMed for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Photos courtesy JoCoFire.com


Selma Police: Driver Was Traveling 82MPH At Time Of Deadly Crash
Selma Police Charged Emerion Dixon On Thursday With Death By Motor Vehicle

After consulting with the NC Highway Patrol and Johnston County District Attorney’s Office this week, Selma Police Chief R.A. Cooper said officers charged a 22 year-old man with death by motor vehicle in connection with a July 19th crash on US70.

Dana Edwards Dale, 46, of Bugshop Road, Princeton was traveling westbound in her car when she attempted to turn across two eastbound travel lanes into the parking lot of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Her 1999 Mercury was struck in the passenger side by a 1997 Jeep driven by Emerion Jevante Dixon, 22, of East Jones Street, Selma.

Dale, the only occupant in her car, died from her injuries.

After the crash, Dixon reportedly told Selma Police he started into the nearby intersection of US70 and Ricks Road/Industrial Park Drive as the traffic light was turning yellow. He reportedly told police, ““As I went under the light, it was red. I realized that I was going to hit her and let off the brakes and let it happen.”         

Dixon also told them he was traveling between 30 and 35mph at the time of the crash. The speed limit was 45mph.

Chief Cooper said a Highway Patrol Accident Reconstruction Team determined Dixon (pictured lower left) was traveling at 82mph at the time of the crash, well above the posted speed limit. Dale was traveling at about 10mph when her car was struck.  Police said the interviewed three witnesses to the crash.  

Cooper said that any driver, like Dale, turning across traffic in the middle of the day would never anticipate a vehicle would be approaching them at such a high rate of speed. 

On Thursday, Dixon was charged with death by motor vehicle. As of Friday, he was still in the Johnston County Jail being held under a $40,250 secured bond.

Selma Man Critically Injured In Alcohol-Related Crash

A 46 year-old man was critically injured in an accident Thursday night in Downtown Selma.  It happened around 10pm on North Raiford Street near East Anderson Street.

According to Selma Police, Gary Allen Phillips of Bailey Boykin Road, Selma was at the Station Bar and was obviously intoxicated. Several people reportedly told Phillips not to drive and even offered him a ride home.

However, Phillips reportedly left the club driving his scooter.

A few blocks away, Phillips, while traveling at an estimated 35mph, veered off the street and into the back of a parked SUV.  Police said Phillips sustained a serious head injury. He was transported by Selma EMS to WakeMed for treatment of critical injuries.

Police suspect alcohol was a contributing factor in the crash and his injuries were likely made worse because he wasn’t wearing a helmet.  Officers said they found a bottle of vodka in Phillips possession. They also spoke with at least two witnesses to the crash.

Damage to the parked SUV owned by Virginio Velasco of Smithfield was placed at $1,800. Damage to the scooter was estimated at $3,000.

The accident remains under investigation by Selma Police.

6 Convicted On Sex Crimes In Sampson County
One Suspect Posed As Face Painting Artist To Lure Victim
Six people were convicted on sex offenses in Sampson County Court this week. 

Samuel Roberson (right) was sentenced to 25 to 35 years in the NC Department of Corrections for sex offense of a child.  Roberson had three prior sex-related convictions prior to this incident. Prosecutors said he would serve as a “face painting artist” at various events and would identify potential child victims during the events. The victim was identified at a flea market in a neighboring county, however the sex offense occurred in Sampson County.

George VanderMerwe (left) was sentenced to serve 50 to 90 in prison for raping a child and for the sexual exploitation of a minor.  Authorities said he had over 1400 items of child-related pornography when he was arrested.

Johnny Linquist was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison for taking indecent liberties with a minor.

Richard Cashwell was sentenced to 44 to 113 months active time in prison for second-degree sexual offense. 

All four men were ordered by a judge to register as sex offenders upon their release from prison and enroll in satellite based monintoring when they are released from prison.  All the cases were investigation by the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted  by Sampson County District Attorney Ernie Lee.  

"I am very pleased that these individuals have been sentenced to substantial active sentences. This will serve to protect other potential victims. I appreciate the hard work of the Sheriff’s Office in investigating these cases.", stated District Attorney Ernie Lee.

Sheriff Jimmy Thornton also echoed his satisfaction with the convictions. "Hopefully, these convictions will bring some comfort to the victims of these horrendous crimes. I am thankful that we have a District Attorney’s Office that is aggressive in pursuing convictions. My investigators and the District Attorney’s staff have worked closely together to ensure that justice was served. I’m thankful that we were able to get these folks off the street in order to keep them from victimizing someone else,” stated Thornton.
Two other persons were convicted on sex offense charges in Sampson County this week based on investigations by the Newton Grove and Clinton Police Departments.

Dewayne Watkins (right) was sentenced to serve up to 213 months in prison for second-degree sex offense and taking indecent liberties with a minor following an investigation and charges from Clinton Police. 

Christopher Caceres (left) was sentenced to serve up to 106 months for second-degree sex offense following his arrest by Newton Grove Police. Both Waktins and Caceres must register as sex offenders when released from prison. Wakins must also enroll in satellite based monitoring. 

JCSO: Heroin Found In Suspects Shoe, Car Seat
A Vance County man ended up in the Johnston County Jail Thursday afternoon after Johnston County deputies reportedly found heroin concealed inside his shoe and in a car seat.

Aaron Lee Haines, 25, of Henderson was arrested at a SAFE Team license checkpoint around 12:45pm on the 1300 block of Pierce Road.

Deputies said Haines had a suspended license and they noticed a syringe on the back seat of his car. Following a search, 30 baggies of suspected heroin were found in his shoe and 2 baggies were allegedly found in a car seat.

The 32 baggies of heroin weighed approximately 9 grams.

Haines was arrested on six drug charges, five of those being felonies. He was incarcerated in the Johnston County Jail under a $150,000 bond.  

JoCo Marines Thank Business For Flying The American Flag
Thanks for flying the US flag! 

The Johnston County Marine Corps League Carry-On Detachment #1236 this week presented the October Good Business Award to Sheetz convenience store on Highway 210 at NC50 at McGee’s Crossroads.

The Johnston County Marines, among many other community service programs they provide, award local businesses across Johnston County on a monthly basis the Good Business Award in appreciation for their patriotism for flying Old Glory prominently and displaying the American flag with respect.

Pictured from left to right: Marine “Willie” Williams, Adjutant/Paymaster Ken Parker, Commandant Devell Durham, and Past Commandant Timothy Daniel present the Good Business Award to a store representative. Contributed photo   

Police Impound DWI Suspects Car
Smithfield Police arrested a Wake County woman for driving while impaired midday Thursday.

Around 12:49pm, Lt. R.K. Powell said officers received several reports of a car driving erratically on North Brightleaf Boulevard.  The vehicle was located by officers and after observing the erratic driving stopped the car in the 1200 block of North Brightleaf Boulevard.

Police said the driver, Jeanette Chrise Egerer, 54, of Leonard Street, Raleigh registered 0.27 on the Breathalyzer more than three times above the legal limit of 0.08.  Police also impounded the 1992 Toyota she was operating.

Egerer was given a $1,500 bond and a court date of December 2nd, according to a police report.

Customer Accused Of Shoplifting Greeting Card, Other Items
A Wake County man was arrested for allegedly shoplifting $94.79 in merchandise from Wal-Mart on Highway 42 in Cleveland Thursday afternoon.

An employee allegedly observed William Jesse Gregory, 20, of Jordan Woods Drive, Raleigh place items in his pocket.

Among the items were electronics, a tape measurer, and a greeting card.  

Deputies arrived on the scene and arrested Gregory on a misdemeanor count of shoplifting by concealment of goods. He was released on a $500 bond.


Groundbreaking Held For New Princeton Gym

(Top right) From left are Chad Stewart, County Commissioner; Tony Braswell, Vice Chair - County Commissioner; Mike Rose, Princeton Town Council; Mike Wooten, Board of Education; Larry Strickland, Chairman Board of Education; Rick Hester, County Manager; Kirk Denning, Principal of Princeton High School; Dr. Ed Croom, Superintendent; Fred Bartholomew, Former Board of Education Member and Former Principal of Princeton High School; Ted Godwin, County Commissioner; Senator Brent Jackson, North Carolina General Assembly.

(Lower right) From left are Princeton High School student ambassadors Megan Evans, Tyler Ricks, R.J. Heller, Austin Chanmanivone, Austin Sullivan, and Cameron Parker.

About 50 people attended the Johnston County Schools groundbreaking ceremony to show their support for the new Princeton School gymnasium on Tuesday.

The event was held  at the construction site of the new facility, located behind the school just off Bartholomew Avenue in Princeton. 

“The existing gym was built in 1957 and has been an integral part of the Princeton community,” said Johnston County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ed Croom. “The new gym will touch the lives of current and future students through the educational learning opportunities provided through this multipurpose facility.”

Dr. Croom provided opening remarks at the event, and Dorothy Johnson, Vice Chair for the Johnston County Board of Education, led the invocation. Other special speakers included Board of Education Chairman Larry Strickland, Board of Education member Mike Wooten, Princeton Mayor Don Rains, and Johnston County Board of Commissioners Vice Chairman Tony Braswell.

Also helping to commemorate the event were Johnston County Board of Education members Keith Branch, Dr. Peggy Smith, Donna White, and Butler Hall; Chad Stewart, County Commissioner; Mike Rose, Princeton Town Council; Rick Hester, County Manager; Kirk Denning, Principal of Princeton High School; Fred Bartholomew, Former Board of Education Member and Former Principal of Princeton High School; Ted Godwin, County Commissioner; Senator Brent Jackson, North Carolina General Assembly; Princeton High School Student Ambassadors; and several other members of the Princeton community.

The new 22,224 square-foot facility is expected to be completed in time for the start of next school year’s basketball season. The gymnasium project is budgeted for $4.2 million that has been allocated from the 2013 Bond Referendum monies.

Johnston Early College Joins NC 100% Graduation Club

Assistant Superintendent for JCS Student Services Dr. Oliver Johnson (left), N.C. State Superintendent June Atkinson (center) and Johnston County Early College Academy Principal Brandon Garland (right) attend the Graduation Achievement Award Recognition and Luncheon in Durham where Johnston County Early College Academy was recognized for a 100-percent graduation rate.

State Superintendent June Atkinson recently recognized Johnston County Early College Academy for having a graduation rate of 100. Johnston County Early College Academy was one of 43 high schools from across the state honored for a perfect rate.

Assistant Superintendent for JCS Student Services Dr. Oliver Johnson and Johnston County Early College Academy Principal Brandon Garland attended the Graduation Achievement Award Recognition and Luncheon in Durham on Oct. 3 where they were presented a plaque for the accomplishment.

According to Principal Brandon Garland, the school is extremely proud of the efforts of the students and faculty.

“The Class of 2014 set a standard of high achievement and success at Johnston County Early College Academy,” said Garland. “Through their hard work and the combined efforts of the faculty of Johnston County Early College Academy and Johnston Community College all of these students graduated with diplomas and associates degrees. Their success will serve as an inspiration and a goal for all of our students.”

In May, 38 students graduated from Johnston County Early College Academy, located on the campus of Johnston Community College in Smithfield. A joint effort of Johnston County Schools and the community college, JCECA offers students the opportunity to graduate with a high school diploma while simultaneously earn a two-year associate’s degree.

In addition to celebrating the schools with 100-percent graduation rates, Atkinson also applauded the state’s overall rate. 

“Our statewide graduation rate has climbed from 68 percent in 2006 to reach a record high of 83.9 percent in 2013-14,” said Atkinson. “This progress is the direct result of the work done in many of these districts and schools to ensure that nearly every student who enters high school leaves with a diploma. I applaud the superintendents, principals and teachers for their commitment to their students’ success. Our ultimate goal is to reach a statewide rate of 100 percent in the near future and their work brings us even closer to making that goal a reality.”

Also recognized at the event was Johnston County Middle College High School for achieving 95 percent or greater 4-year cohort graduation rate.


Children’s Author Visits McGee's Crossroads Elementary

Author Louise Majeski (back row) presents copies of her book to McGee’s Crossroads Elementary students. On the front row (from left) are Miguel Casas (holding Amanda the Panda), Yoselyn Apolinar, Erick Guillen, and Destiny Pavon.

Former Johnston County Schools employee, Louise Majeski, has fulfilled her life-long dream of becoming a children's author.  

Majeski loves all children but has a special place in her heart for students with limited English. During her visit to McGee’s Crossroads Elementary she stressed to the students the importance of reading, writing and spelling proficiently in school and dreaming about their future.  

“You need to read and find an interest in a topic that is special to you.” Majeski said. “Practicing reading will make you a better reader and student.”

She read her book “Amanda the Panda” to the students, and the students all were surprised when they received their own signed copy.

Carreiro Promoted At Marine Air Station In Japan
Marine Lt. Col. Michael J. Carreiro has been appointed to the office of executive officer for Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan. Before being appointed to his current position, Carreiro was the personnel officer for the Air Station. He has served in the military for 26 years.

Carreiro is the son of J. Michael Carreiro III and Frances M. Carreiro of Tiverton, R.I. He is also the husband of Myia Carreiro and son-in-law of Chadwick and Sarah Allen of Selma, N.C.

He is a 1988 graduate of Tiverton High School, Tiverton, R.I. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1996 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C. and a master's degree in 2007 from the Naval War College, Newport, R.I.   


JCC Brings Health Education To Cleveland Center

Nursing assistant students Hannah Bullins, left, and Brittani Cline practice taking blood pressure.

Johnston Community College is bringing health education classes to its Cleveland Center.

In an effort to meet the demand for more certified nursing assistants and phlebotomists, the College spent the summer upgrading the location as a certified training site.

Because of the new location, JCC is able to offer nine additional nursing assistant classes this upcoming year.

“We were seeing an increased need for additional health education classes so we are very excited to offer nursing assistant and phlebotomy training at our Cleveland Center,” says Linda Smith, dean of health, wellness, and human services at JCC. “This is a very convenient location for our students and our instructors, and it’s also allowing us to serve more individuals for health-care related jobs in the area.”

“Employers in the county are very happy we’ve done this because they need additional staff,” adds Connie Grady, director of health education and nursing assistant programs.

Thanks to donations from Johnston Health and Johnston Medical and Surgical Supply Company, JCC spent the summer equipping the location with appropriate lab space.

Current student Marcus Reynolds said a friend recommended nursing assistant classes at JCC and he says the Cleveland location is convenient since he lives in Clayton.

“I’ve learned a ton, and I feel confident in my skills,” Reynolds says. “I feel like I’ve been well prepared.”

Nicole Ryals agreed. “The class is seven minutes from my house,” she said. “The people here are awesome, and the teachers are great. They take extra time out to make sure you know what you need to know.”

Spring registration for health education classes will be Nov. 19 and Dec. 4 at the Public Safety Services Building on the main campus in Smithfield. Registration for classes at the Cleveland Center will be held Dec. 2 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Cleveland Center.