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Clayton Recognized For Public Power Excellence

Pictured left to right: Bob Ahlert, former Town Council member and Clayton’s current representative on the NC Eastern Municipal Power Agency Board, Mayor Jody McLeod, Ann Game, Customer Service Director, and Tim Tunis CFO for ElectriCities. WTSB Photo

The Town of Clayton has been recognized by ElectriCities.

Tim Tunis, CFO for ElectriCities presented Mayor Jody McLeod and the Town with the 2014 Public Power Award of Excellence in Financial Stability during Monday night’s council meeting.

Tunis said Clayton is has a financially stable electrical department, operates efficiently, offers outstanding customer service, and provides a number of customer assistance programs. Tunis said Clayton is a “model of public power in North Carolina.”

Clayton provides utility customers with a number of payment options including an equal pay plan, online payments, and the traditional pay at the counter service in the town hall. WTSB Photo

NC’s September Unemployment Rate 6.7%

September’s unemployment rate in North Carolina was at 6.7 percent, a slight drop from August’s revised rate of 6.8 percent. At the same time the US unemployment rate decreased 0.2 percent to 5.9 percent.

North Carolina’s September 2014 unemployment rate was 1.0 percent lower than a year ago, according to the NC Department of Commerce – Labor and Economic Analysis Division.

The number of people employed decreased 5,622 over the month to 4,335,408 and increased 18,205 over the year. The number of people unemployed decreased 4,563 over the month to 310,279 and declined 49,243 over the year.

The major industry with the largest increase over-the-month was Professional and Business Services which grew by 7,400 workers, followed by Education and Health Services adding 4700 employees. Financial Activities were up 4,000, Manufacturing 2,000, Information 700, and Trade Transportation & Utilities 500.

Major industries experiencing decreases were Government 2,700, Leisure & Hospitality Services 2,700, and Construction 100.   

Neuse Charter Student Takes Second Place At Golf Regionals
Neuse Charter School senior Makenna Hammer won second place at a regional competition and will moved on to represent her school as she competes in the State Championship at Foxfire Golf Club in Pinehurst on Monday and Tuesday.

Makenna Hammer had a good start to her round at Walnut Creek. A birdie on hole number 4 put her at one over and a tie for the lead after 9 holes with a 41. Makenna had a solid all around game and gave herself a chance to win. Makenna had 5 lip out putts on the day and fell back 3 shots with 3 holes to play. The tournament champion Leann Domotrovits from Newport, who was also last years champion, was not giving up the lead with a 1 over par finish and a winning score of 79. Makenna almost slipped back to 3rd with a series of risky shots the final 3 holes but held on to a 2nd place finish of 86 – one  shot ahead of last years runner up Lindsy Burton from Rosewood High in Goldsboro who finished at 87.

Last year Makenna did an amazing job on the course taking sixth place in the state.  This is Makenna’s third year playing golf for Neuse Charter School, but she has been playing golf since she was 9 years old. 

Town Of Smithfield Employee Suspended Following Shoplifting Arrest

A Town of Smithfield employee has been suspended without pay following his arrest Thursday.

Smithfield Police arrested 40 year-old Thomas Carroll Davis of Mt. Olive after being called to Wal-Mart for a shoplifting incident around 11:46am.

Police Chief Michael Scott said Davis entered the store, placed numerous items into a shopping cart, then pushed the cart outside the business without paying for the merchandise.

Among the items were 4 pair of jeans, 22 DVD’s, three baseball gloves, and a basketball. The items had a value of $571.38.

According to Tim Kerigan, Human Resource Director for the Town of Smithfield, Davis is employed with the Public Utilities Department as a water plant operator trainee. 

Kerigan said Davis was suspended without pay until further notice.

Davis posted a $700 bond at the Johnston County Jail and was released from custody, pending a November 18 court appearance, according to police arrest records.

Chief Scott said all the stolen items were recovered and returned to Wal-Mart.

Murder Suspect Is Also Fugitive From Ohio 
The man charged with murdering a Wayne County woman on October 13 was wanted at the time of the slaying for escaping from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.

Clifton Wayne Griffin, 49, of Leavie Drive, Pikeville is was arrested on murder charges by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office after deputies discovered the body of 49 year-old Donna Diane Simpson in the back bedroom of a home they shared.

On Friday, Wayne County authorities said Griffin was formally charged with a fugitive escape warrant from Ohio. He remains in the Wayne County Jail without bond on the murder charge. A $250,000 bond was set for the escape charge. 

According to JoEllen Smith, with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections Office of Communications, Griffin was serving time for burglary and theft. On November 25, 2007 he was declared at large and a warrant was issued. 

He was arrested on April 8, 2008 and charged with escape, specifically failure to report, changing residence without permission and failure to notify and keeping his whereabouts unknown.


ALE, Knightdale Police Raid Two Businesses
Nine individuals face drug and alcohol charges following a three-month investigation into two ABC-licensed establishments in Knightdale. Special Agents with the Alcohol Law Enforcement Branch of the State Bureau of Investigation and Knightdale Police partnered on the investigation.

Search warrants were executed on Thursday at Rudinos Pizza, located at 4022 Village Park Drive, as well as Sports Page, located at 835 North Smithfield Road. ALE began the investigation after receiving information from the Knightdale Police Department, as well as concerned citizens, that illegal activity was occurring at these businesses. The investigation revealed that numerous criminal violations, specifically of drug and alcohol laws, were occurring at the business on a regular basis.

“Criminal activity within ABC-licensed establishments such as these creates an unsafe environment for patrons as well as the community as a whole,” said B.W. Collier, acting director of the State Bureau of Investigation. “Disregard for such illegal activity allows the criminal element in our communities to use these businesses as a haven for criminal acts. We are proud to partner with outstanding local agencies, such as the Knightdale Police Department, to thwart such behavior.”

Arrested and charged at Sports Page were the owner William Joseph McGee, 52, who was charged with conspiring to sell cocaine, and allowing controlled substance violations to occur on the licensed premises;  Manager Brian Keith Davis, 38, who was charged with possession with the intent to sell and deliver a counterfeit controlled substance; sale of a counterfeit controlled substance; and allowing controlled substance violations to occur on the licensed premises;  Employee Jonathan Williford, 30, who was arrested on an outstanding warrant; and Adrian Obrien Bobo, 27, who was charged with possession of cocaine.

Arrested and charged at Rudinos Pizza were the manager Daphne Lee Turner, 38, who was charged with conspiring to sell Valium/Diazepam: allowing controlled substance violations to occur on the licensed premises; possession with the intent to sell and deliver cocaine; conspiring to sell cocaine; and sale of cocaine; employee Joseph Frank Currin III, 39, was charged with possession with the intent to sell and deliver codeine; and sale of Tylenol with codeine; Jennifer Caroline Brown, 37, was charged with possession with the intent to sell and deliver cocaine; sale of cocaine; possession with the intent to sell and deliver hydrocodone; and sale of hydrocodone; Shawn Bunce, 43, was charged with possession with the intent to sell and deliver Valium/Diazepam; sale of Valium/Diazepam; and conspiring to sell Valium/Diazepam; and Wesley Cesnik, 32, who was charged with conspiring to sell Valium/Diazepam; and possession with the intent to sell and deliver Valium/Diazepam.

Clayton Police Arrest Break-In Suspects
Two people have been charged with breaking into a home in the 200 block of Dogwood Avenue in Clayton on Wednesday, taking several items.

Clayton Police located several pieces of evidence that led officers to a nearby car, which in turn led them to the suspects, according to Town of Clayton Public Information Officer Stacy Beard.

Within a few hours, police had identified the two suspects, Cedrick Jermaine Williams, 21, of Randolph Drive, Clayton and Jeremy Darnell Banks, 19, of Herndon Court, Clayton. Williams was arrested Wednesday and Banks was arrested on Thursday. They are both charged with felony breaking and entering, larceny, possession of stolen property, and conspiracy. 

Thieves Steal $14,269 In Electronics From Wal-Mart

Smithfield Police are looking for three suspects following the theft of $14,269 in electronics from Wal-Mart.

The theft was discovered around 6am Monday. 

Police Chief Michael Scott said the suspects removed numerous computer tablets and cell phones from the business and left undetected.

The theft was captured on the stores video surveillance system.

Two of the suspects were black males, 20-40 years of age, medium build, both wearing dark colored baseball hats. One suspect was wearing a baggy gray hooded sweatshirt and dark pants. The other was wearing a dark colored t-shirt with the partial words “Hustle Gang Over”

Accompanying the two men was a black female (pictured above), 20-30 years of age, with a heavy build, wearing her hair in a ponytail. She was wearing black coat with pink lining and a pink hood, a white shirt, and blue jeans. She was also carrying a large black purse.

Anyone with information about the theft or the suspects is asked to contact Detective Ronald Johnson at 919-989-1072 or the Smithfield Police Department Tip Line at 919-989-8835.  Callers can remain anonymous.

Benson Is A Rocking Public Art To Be Removed Saturday

After three months of display the 14 rocking chairs of the “Benson Is A Rocking” public art campaign will be removed. Each chair was painted by a local artist and displayed in Downtown Benson. The last time to see the chairs will be at the Benson Harvest Festival on October 25th from 9am-2pm in the Benson Singing Grove. Those interested can also see the chairs online at www.bensonisarocking.com

The “Benson Is A Rocking” public art campaign was a program initiated by the Benson Small Town Main Street Committee. The campaign was designed to bring attention to the Downtown Benson while highlighting great local artist's talents. Each of the 14 chairs were designed by different artists and showcase their unique talents.

“This public art campaign has been a great way for us to infuse locally created artwork in our downtown. Bringing local area artists, sponsors and store owners together to work on a project has been rewarding and show the great sense of community that exists there in Benson.” said, Joe Stallings, Economic Development and Media Coordinator.

After the Benson Harvest Festival those chairs that were purchased by their sponsors will go back to the purchasers. The remaining seven chairs will be auctioned off at the Benson Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet on January 22nd. If you are interested in bidding on a rocking chair please contract Joe Stallings at 919-894-1606. All proceeds from the chairs will go towards economic development and beautification efforts in Benson's Downtown District. Special thanks to our sponsors: Benton Card Company, Benson Museum of Local History, Benson Parks and Recreation Department, First Citizens Bank, Frugal Peacock, Hannah Creek Veterinary Hospital, Johnston County Visitor Bureau, Ken Tart Photography, Mary Duncan Public Library, Neighbor and Associates, Small World Travel, Sylvia Herring and Will and Elaine Massengill.

Teen Accused Of Fleeing On Bicycle From Cops

A Smithfield teenager was arrested Monday night after police said he tried to flee from them on his bicycle.

Around 9:30pm, a Smithfield police officer spotted a person operating his bicycle without a headlamp and attempted to stop and speak with him, according to Lt. R.K. Powell.

The teen, identified as 19 year-old Donnie Austin Powell, fled from officers and didn’t stop until he reached his home on Strickland Drive, Lt. Powell told WTSB News.

Powell was charged with failure to stop for a light and siren and resist, delay and obstruct.  Powell was released on a $2,500 bond pending a December 10th court appearance, according to police reports.

Police: Marijuana Found During Traffic Stop

A Selma man was arrested Monday night for allegedly having marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his possession during a traffic stop.

Smithfield Police said they stopped a vehicle on Blount Street driven by Jimmy Donnell Harvey, 36, of Crystal Boulevard, Selma.

During the traffic stop, police learned Harvey was wanted for failing to appear in court in March for marijuana possession and a charge of driving on a revoked license.

After Harvey was handcuffed, police conducted a search and reportedly found a small amount of marijuana in his pocket, according to police spokesperson Lt. R.K. Powell. Drug paraphernalia was also allegedly found.

Harvey was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and for failing to appear in court. Bond was set at $1,000 pending a December 2 court appearance.

IRS Announces 2015 Pension Plan Limitations; Taxpayers May Contribute up to $18,000 to their 401(k) plans in 2015
The Internal Revenue Service has announced cost‑of‑living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2015.  Many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2015 because the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment.  However, other limitations will remain unchanged because the increase in the index did not meet the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment.  Highlights include the following:

Willow Spring Resident Promoted To NCNG Major General

(Top right) Beth Austin and her husband Mike, a retired colonel from the N.C. National Guard have over 69 years of combined service to North Carolina and the nation. (Lower right) Capt. Beth Austin with her two daughters, Balinda (left) and Julie and her husband Mike pose for a picture prior to her deployment to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Photos courtesy of the Austin family

On Friday, the North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) promoted Willow Spring resident and career Army officer Elizabeth D. Austin to the rank of Major General. She was already the organization's first female general and once again made history Friday when she became the first female Major General in the NCNG.

Austin was promoted to the Assistant Deputy Commanding General, Army National Guard, Army Material Command. Her duties will include assisting the executive leadership of the Army Material Command in its mission as the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness – technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment – to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations.

Austin has more than 36 years of service as a North Carolina National Guard Soldier.  A career logistics officer, Austin received her officer's commission in 1980 after completing Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. 

She commanded troops at the platoon, company and battalion levels prior to assuming command of the 113th Sustainment Brigade headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., in 2008.  Her career also includes combat deployments in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990 and a return to active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.

Austin is married to Mike Austin, who retired as a colonel from the North Carolina Army National Guard. Together they have 69 years of service.  The couple has three children; the youngest, Julie, is an Army Captain and a Military Police Officer.

Austin attributed much of her success to the support from her family. “My husband is a great supporter of my career. He was 100 percent supportive of my decision to join the ARCENT G4 team and is now so very supportive of me going to Army Material Command.”

NC State Program Addresses Shortage of Mental Health Professionals
North Carolina State University’s Department of Social Work is launching a new workforce program to recruit and train graduate students for careers in mental health and substance abuse treatment. The program is supported by a three-year, $1.1 million grant from the federal Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) and is aimed at preparing graduates to work in the mental health field with underserved young people, ages 16 to 25.

“The United States has a shortage of people who can provide mental health and addiction treatment services to young adults – particularly in rural areas,” says Dr. Jodi Hall, assistant professor and director of field education in the Department of Social Work at NC State and principal investigator of the research. “We’re creating the Behavioral Health Scholars Education and Training (BHSET) initiative to address that need, with a focus on integrating mental health care and physical health care.”

Dr. Karen Bullock, co-investigator of the research, says the initiative has already established partnerships with NC State Counseling Center, Holly Hill Hospital, Duke University Medical Center, WakeMed Hospital and a host of other healthcare providers to serve as practicum sites to provide high-impact learning experiences for NC State students.

Early Voting Underway At 5 Locations In Johnston County

Supporters for candidates LeVonda Wood, Michelle Denning, and Joy Jones hold signs and distribute literature outside the Smithfield early voting precinct on Thursday. Turnout was steady all day. WTSB Photo

One stop early voting got underway today (Thursday) at five different locations in Johnston County. For the first time, an early voting site is now located in Benson.

Turnout was steady as the five early voting precincts opened across the county.  Those polling places will remain open various hours now through Saturday, November 1st.

In Johnston County, there are approximately 111,747 people eligible to vote this year. Of that number the majority are Republicans (42,475) followed by Democrats (38,536), Unaffiliated (30,265), and Libertarian (471).

In the Smithfield-Selma area, voters can cast ballots early at the First Baptist Church Ministry Center (former Smithfield Herald building), 125 South Fourth Street, Smithfield. They will be open October 23-24 and October 27-31 from 9am until 5pm, and on Saturday, October 25 and Saturday, November 1 from 9am until 1pm.

Hours are slightly different at the other four early voting sites. They include the Church at Clayton Crossing, 11407 US Highway 70 West, Clayton, Johnston Community College Cleveland Campus, 9046 Cleveland Road, Clayton, Archer Lodge Community Building, 14009 Buffalo Road, Clayton, and the Benson American Legion Building, 605 North Wall Street, Benson.

Those four locations will each be open October 23-24 and October 27-31 from 11am until 7pm, and on October 25 and November 1 from 9am until 1pm.     

According to the NC Board of Elections, voters may change their name or address at a one-stop voting site, but persons who are not registered in a county may not register to vote during early voting.

The General Elections take place on Tuesday, November 4th. 

Civitas Poll Shows Slender Edge For Tillis
Raleigh – The newest Civitas Poll released Thursday showed state House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican, with a slight edge over Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in voters’ views of the U.S. Senate candidates.

When we asked 600 North Carolina registered voters who they’d vote for if the election were today, 40 percent picked Tillis, 39 percent Hagan and 5 percent Libertarian Sean Haugh. Fourteen percent were undecided. Asked about their choices without Haugh, Tillis again led Hagan by 1 point, 42 to 41, with 15 percent undecided.

“This is the first time since June that our polls showed Tillis in the lead,” Civitas President Francis De Luca said. “The November 4th outcome will depend on whether the Democrats’ vaunted ground game can turn out their base, especially those who voted only in the 2012 presidential year but are less likely to say they are certain to vote this year.”

The survey was taken Oct. 15-18, and had a margin of error of 4 percent.


133 Pounds Of Marijuana Found Inside Clayton Home
Marijuana with a street value of $798,000 was seized during a drug raid at a home near Clayton on Tuesday.

WTSB News has learned a multi-agency undercover investigation led narcotics agents with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office to a home in the 2900 block of Little Creek Church Road.

Inside the home, 133 pounds of marijuana, packaged in one pound bags were located, according to Narcotics Captain A.C. Fish.

Jeremy Bryan Smith, 39, of Little Creek Church Road, Clayton and James Spencer Nagel, 43, of Southpark Drive, High Point were arrested on felony charges of trafficking and manufacturing marijuana, maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for a controlled substance, and conspiracy to traffic marijuana. 

Agents described the drugs as high-grade hydroponic marijuana. At the time of the drug bust, no marijuana was being grown at the residence, Captain Fish told WTSB News, however items used to grow marijuana were located and seized.

Bond was set at $305,000 for both suspects. 

Fire Damages Selma Home

Firefighters quickly extinguished a house fire in Selma Wednesday night. 

Flames were spotted at a vacant home in the 900 block of South Raiford Street shortly before 11pm.

The Selma and Smithfield Fire Departments contained the fire to a front room.  Officials said there was no power connected to the home.

The Selma Police Department is assisting with the investigation into the origin of the fire. Photo courtesy JoCoFire.com


Siblings Win Championships At State Fair
Brother and sister, Daniel and Brittany Beasley from Four Oaks are winners at the NC State Fair.

Daniel won Reserve Champion Showman in the Novice Division while Brittany won the Reserve Champion in the Junior Division.

Daniel is 9 and is in the fourth grade at Four Oaks Elementary.

Brittany is 13 and is in the eighth grade at Four Oaks Middle School.

Their proud parents are Brian and Tracy Beasley of Four Oaks.

Suspect In Smithield Armed Robbery Captured In Hoke County
Smithfield Police have identified the man they say robbed the Smithfield Business Center on Sunday. 

A man armed with a gun entered the business and fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.  Police said the man was Robert Dewayne Lewis, 43, of Raeford, NC.

Officers arrived at the North Brightleaf Boulevard business just as Lewis was fleeing out of the parking lot in his vehicle, according to Lt. R.K. Powell.  Lewis managed to elude apprehension.

One of the officers who responded to the armed robbery recognized Lewis as a man he saw acting suspicious two weeks earlier and had gotten his personal and vehicle information. 

He wasn’t arrested two weeks earlier but the officer had kept the information on him.

Lewis is also a person of interest in several Dollar General robberies in the Hoke County area.

Suspects Sought In Business Break-In
The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a break-in discovered Friday night at Springhill Outfitters on Seafood House Road near Micro.

Around 11:50pm, three to four suspects wearing dark clothing with hoods broke out the front glass door and made entry. 

The suspects fled without taking any items.

Surveillance video caught the suspects leaving in a white late-80’s to early-90’s Chevy S-10 pickup truck, according to Sheriff’s Captain A.C. Strickland.

Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to contact detectives at 919-989-5000.

Naked Teen Arrested After Jumping On Deputy
A Clayton High school student has posted bail after his arrest Sunday morning after law enforcement officers were called to an address near Clayton for a disturbance.

When officers arrived, they reportedly spotted a nude teenager screaming “weed” and “acid” while running up and down the stairs of his home, according to Johnston County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Tammy Amaon.

As a deputy attempted to talk to the individual, identified as 16 year-old Michael James House Jr., he began laughing at the officer and then ran towards him, according to Amaon.

The deputy attempted to detain House but he reportedly ran past the officer and outside into the yard.

House the jumped off the porch onto the officer. Amaon said the deputy had to taser House twice before he could be subdued.

Amaon said deputies suspect House was under the influence of narcotics. Five grams of suspected marijuana was located in a bag belonging to the teen, officials said.

An EMS crew was called to the scene and transported House to the hospital for treatment. After his release, he was charged with assault on a government official, resisting a public officer, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The deputy involved in the incident was not injured. 

Tracey Peedin Jones, Public Information Officer with Johnston County Schools, confirmed that House was enrolled at Clayton High School.

Jones said if during the investigation it is discovered the incident was in anyway related to the school, school officials would follow the Student Code of Conduct.  Jones said student discipline is part of a students record and is not public record.

Benson Man Charged In Three Thefts
A Benson man has been charged with committing three crimes in a 5-day period in Johnston County.

Timothy John Bates, 24, of Benson-Hardee Road, was arrested Tuesday by sheriff’s deputies after he was allegedly caught shoplifting a backpack from Wal-Mart on Highway 42 in the Cleveland community.

On Monday, Bates allegedly stole $2,000 worth of metal from a location on Cornwallis Road, Garner.

And last Thursday, authorities said he stole two air conditioning units, a tow dolly, and aluminum from the 4600 block of Highway 50 North, Benson.

Bates charges include larceny, obtaining property by false pretenses, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into the Johnston County Jail under a $145,000 bond.

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.

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.

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.