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Four Oaks Man Killed In Head On Collision
A Four Oaks man was killed Friday in a head on collision on Highway 301.

The accident happened at 11:51am on Highway 301 about a mile north of Dunn in Harnett County.

Richard Eric Bordner, 68, of Four Oaks crossed the centerline in his pickup truck, slamming head-on into another pickup driven by Harvey Pope of Dunn.

Bordner died after arriving at Betsy Johnson Hospital.  Pope was transported to Wake Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. There were no passengers in either vehicle.

State Trooper C.S. Carter said officials have not determined what caused Bordner to veer across the centerline. Both drivers were wearing seat belts. Speed was also not a contributing factor. Trooper Carter said both vehicles were traveling at the posted speed limit of 45mph when they collided.    

SJHS Automotive Program Among Top 20 In The Nation

A group of South Johnston High School automotive students stand with their red 1994 biodiesel (converted from gas) Chevy S-10 pickup, which gets approximately 51 miles to the gallon. The automotive program was recently named one of the Top 20 in the US.

South Johnston High School’s automotive program has been named one of the Top 20 in the nation by Tomorrow Tech magazine.

Educator James Cox and his students were recognized for the green initiatives in converting gasoline trucks into vehicles that can use biodiesel technology.  

“We are extremely proud of Mr. Cox and the SJHS automotive program on receiving this national recognition,” said Principal Eddie Price. 

According to Price, Mr. Cox, working with South Johnston High School and Johnston County School staff as well as community partners, has developed a tremendous learning environment where students are able to collaborate and apply knowledge learned in real-world work experience projects.

“It is a testament to the entire community's support of South Johnston High School that Mr. Cox and his students have been recognized nationally for their excellent work,” said Price.

The “School of the Year” competition had 150 entrants from across the county, and each school had to submit a video highlighting its tech program.

As a Top 20 school South Johnston received national recognition on the Tomorrow’s Tech Magazine website, as well as through the publication’s social media outlets.

This year’s competition marked the seventh annual search to find the best technical training school in the U.S. The program is open to high schools or post-secondary schools that have a subscription to Tomorrow’s Tech.

Wilson’s Mills Police Searching For Missing Teen
Wilson’s Mills Police need help finding a missing teenager.

Sixteen year-old Dayani Lezama was last seen by relatives on October 19th.  She was reported missing by a family member on October 29th, according to Police Chief David Hess.

Dayani is a Hispanic female, 5 foot 6, 150 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink t-shirt, white shorts, and pink shoes. She is known to also use the name Kathlen Jadar.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Wilson’s Mills Police Department at 919-938-4448 or their nearest law enforcement agencies. 

Sex Offender Arrested Following Manhunt Near Selma
A Henderson man on the NC Sex Offender Registry in Vance County was arrested near Selma Thursday after a brief manhunt.

Michael Willis Pounds, 27, was wanted by the Vance County Sheriff’s Office for failure to register his current address with authorities, a condition of his release. Pounds was convicted in September 2007 for taking indecent liberties with a minor.   

Johnston County deputies received a tip Pounds was at a location in the 3000 block of Rains Crossroads Road. When deputies went to the address, Pounds reportedly fled on foot into a wooded area.

Additional law enforcement officers responded to the scene along with a K-9. A short time later Pounds was taken into custody without further incident.

He was charged with resisting arrest and failure to report his address as a sex offender.  He was booked into the Johnston County Jail under a $66,000 bond. 

Second Arrest Made In Selma-Area Meth Lab

A second person has been arrested in connection with a search warrant Tuesday that led to the discovery of an active meth lab in a barn in the 2600 block of Bizzell Grove Church Road.

Claude Edward Beal Jr., 29, of Highway 39 North, Selma was arrested Wednesday and charged with manufacturing meth, possess-distribute meth precursors, and felony conspiracy. 

Johnston County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Tammy Amaon said Beal was not present when deputies and narcotics agents executed a search warrant at the property on Tuesday. However, he was located Wednesday and arrested.

Danielle Lea Medlin, 29, was arrested Tuesday. Agents allege she had been living in the barn and manufacturing meth for an extended period of time.

Medlin was also wanted by Kenly Police at the time on felony drug charges stemming from a meth lab found by Kenly Police earlier this year, according to Amaon.

Medlin was charged with several felony offenses including manufacturing methamphetamine. Her bond was set at $151,500 on her charges. Beal was given a $250,000 bond.

Two Arrested Following 14 Month Drug Investigation
Two people have been arrested on drug trafficking charges following a 14-month investigation.

On August 13, 2013, deputies said Christopher Hilliard, of 1551 Massengill Pond Road, Angier was shot several times. At the time, deputies said Hilliard reported that he and his girlfriend had returned home around 1 o’clock in the morning to find three people waiting for them. During an altercation Hilliard was shot several times.

During a search of Hilliard’s home last year, Narcotics Captain A.C. Fish said approximately 11 pounds of “high grade marijuana” were found in the residence along with a firearm.

On Wednesday, deputies went to arrest Hilliard and a second person, Ashley Jordan Shoaf, 24, at his address. When they arrived they detected a strong odor of marijuana. Deputies secured the residence, obtained a search warrant, and during a search reportedly located an additional one pound of marijuana, officials said.

Both Hilliard and Shoaf were arrested on eight drug offenses each.  Both suspects were incarcerated in the Johnston County Jail under a $202,500 bond each.

Captain Fish told WTSB News last year, “People say marijuana doesn’t lead to violence but this proves them wrong.”


Clayton Chamber Honors River Dell Teacher

(Left to right): Tony Brown, Clayton Chamber Board;  Ben Williams, River Dell Principal;  Martha Stovall, Clayton Chamber Ambassador;  Jenny Hudson, Super Star Teacher;  Joyce Blackley, Blackley’s Printing;  Donna White, Johnston County School Board

The Clayton Chamber of Commerce has recognize Jenny Hudson, as their Super Star teacher of the month for October.  Super Star teachers demonstrate excellence and leadership in their classroom, creativity and motivation of their students and show a high level of commitment to our community.

The Chamber said Ms Hudson creates the ideal classroom atmosphere at River Dell where students learn to take risks and the importance of helping others.  Ms Hudson uses jingles, phrases, prompts, and cues to signal students and help them maintain focus on her lessons. 

Hudson serves as co-chair for the faculty council and is a mentor for a beginning teacher.  She also invites community members into her classroom as speakers and also uses the latest technology to teach her students.

The Super Star Classroom Goodie Bag was sponsored by Blackley’s Printing.

Ebola - Dreaded Virus Scares Some NC Voters
The most recent Civitas Poll shows that while most North Carolina voters aren’t terrified of catching the Ebola virus, a sizable number are worried they or family members will catch the virus.

More than half of the people polled (54%) were not too worried, or worried at all, that they or their family members would catch the virus, but 45 percent of people were somewhat or very worried about the disease.

While most are not worried about catching the virus, more disapprove of the Obama administration’s handling of the threat posed by the Ebola outbreak than approve of its handling of the outbreak. 44% disapproved of the President’s handling of Ebola, while 40% approved.

Teen Charged In Break-In, Firearm Theft

A teenager is facing felony charges stemming from a break-in October 22 on Thornton Road outside of Newton Grove, in southern Johnston County.

On that date, a resident reported while they were away, someone had entered through a back door. Once inside, two rifles were taken.

Trisdan Lee Parker, 16, of Thornton Road, Newton Grove, was arrested later that day and charged with felony breaking and entering and felony larceny of a firearm.  Bail was set at $24,000.

A spokesperson for the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said both rifles were recovered.


Johnston Regional Airport Opens New Facility
An open house and ribbon cutting for the new Johnston Regional Airport near Smithfield was held Thursday.

The new 8,600 square foot terminal building replaces an older facility on Swift Creek Road. 

Airport officials said vision and leadership by the Airport Authority and county leaders were the reason “we are here today.”

“Johnston County has a long history of aviation dating back to the 1917 Johnston County Fair when world-famous aviator Carl Mather performed aerial stunts,” said Ray Blackmon, airport manager.   “Visionaries dreamed and the Johnston County Airport opened in 1978. Since then the airport runway distance was extended twice and the 36-year-old building no longer served the needs of aviation connectivity.”

Blackmon noted that the airport has grown significantly over the years and aviation technology has changed dramatically. The new facility matches the needs of corporate and private pilots alike. Johnston Regional Airport provides a 5,500 ft  runway. The airport is also equipped with an instrument landing system. Additionally, there are eight corporate lease sites available for construction.

One hundred airplanes are stationed at the airport, which has 99 hanger spaces. 

Several vintage airplanes were on display Thursday for the open house including a P-51 Mustang and a Spartan executive airplane built in the 1930’s.

A Look Back To 1865 – A Johnston County Ghost Story
Many of North Carolina's ghost stories have roots that are deeply embedded in the state's rich history. Since many of the battles of the Civil War were fought right here, it's no wonder that some of the souls that were lost on the battlefields have never left. Such is the case of the Marauders of Hannah Creek Swamp.

As the Union soldiers continued their march through North Carolina heading south they were allowed to plunder both homes and individuals, but were given strict orders to leave enough food and supplies for families to survive, and not to cause harm to unarmed civilians.

Most of the Union soldiers followed their orders, but a group of rogue soldiers took it upon themselves to make up their own rules of war. Ignoring the strict instructions, this group pillaged and plundered homes and families, leaving a trail of death, destruction and burning buildings in their wake.

These men were led by none other than Colonel David Fanning of the Union Army. Among the families that Col. Fanning and his men terrorized was that of Confederate Colonel John Saunders and his wife at their home near Smithfield. He killed the man and his wife, not realizing that his actions would come back to haunt him.

Col. John Saunders's son, Confederate Lieutenant John Saunders Jr., vowed revenge on those responsible for the death of his parents. Lieutenant Saunders and his men searched for weeks for the marauders with nothing to show for it. Eventually Col. Saunders Jr. got wind of a group of Union soldiers who were encamped at Hannah Creek Swamp in Johnston County.

A plan was devised and residents of the town loaned the soldiers civilian clothing, and dressed in their disguises, they rowed to the small island in the middle of the swamp where the men were holed up.

By the time the rogue soldiers realized that they had been victims of treachery it was too late; they were completely surrounded by Saunder's Confederate soldiers. Col. Saunders ordered the Yankees searched and even searched Col. Fanning himself. When he found the small gold crucifix that had belonged to his mother, rage engulfed him and punishment was swift.

A gun was held to the back of Col. Fanning's head, making him watch as his men were hung to their death from the trees on the island.

Col. Saunders then marched Col. Fanning back to his parent's home in Smithfield where he mercilessly hung Fanning in the family graveyard right above his mother and father's grave.

Almost a century and a half has passed since the end of The War Between the States, but the ghosts of Colonel Fanning's men seem to linger on. Visitors to Hannah Creek Swamp have claimed to experience cold spots and unexplained feelings of dread. Some have reported hearing men's voices begging for their lives to be spared. Still others have reported hearing the creaking of the ropes as the bodies still swing from trees.

What really happened at the Island of Hannah Creek? No one knows for sure. What is known though, is that the Marauders never left alive. Contributed by Carter Rabil

Democrats, Women Turning Out For Early Voting

Turnout remains steady at the five one-stop early voting sites across Johnston County.

As of Wednesday, 11,199 people had voted. The majority have been Democrats.  4,515 Democrats have cast a ballot compared to 4,447 registered as a Republican, 2,213 unaffiliated, and 25 Libertarian.  

African-Americans are also turning out in large numbers.  2,340 blacks have voted as of Wednesday, and 8515 whites.

Women are also casting more ballots that men. 5,811 females have voted versus 5307 males.

2014 early voting numbers in the County may not surpass the turnout in 2012 when 40,746 cast ballots before Election Day. In 2010, 14,604 people voted. 

Early voting sites will remain open until Saturday, November 1st.

Poll: NC Voters Taking Dimmer View of Hagan, Tillis Holding Steady
Raleigh – The most recent Civitas Poll sheds light on voters’ sentiments leading up to the Nov. 4 elections.
Voters’ views of Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan virtually flipped in the last month. In the Civitas September poll, 48 percent viewed her favorably and 42 percent unfavorably. In October, however, her favorability rating had flipped to 40 percent approving, with her unfavorability rating at 49 percent.

As Civitas recently reported in the October poll, in the U.S. Senate race 40 percent picked Republican challenger Thom 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.

Among those polled, 55% believe things in North Carolina had gotten off on the wrong track, while 31% felt the Tarheel state was headed in the right direction.

Asked who they would vote for in the election for NC state legislators, 42% chose the Republican candidate, 42% said they would vote for the Democrat, while 12% said they didn’t know.

53% disapproved of the job Barack Obama was doing as president, and 48% disapproved of the job Kay Hagan was doing as a US Senator.

47% viewed Thom Tillis unfavorably, and 49% viewed Hagan unfavorably.

Asked about the statement President Obama said recently that he isn’t on the ballot this year, but his policies are.  54% said their vote will be based in part on the President’s policies, while 28% said it was all about the people running. 

The poll has a margin of error of 4 percent.

Boil Water Advisory Lifted
On Thursday, the Johnston County Department of Utilities lifted a boil water advisory that had been in place since Wednesday for the Meadow and Ingrams Water District.

These districts are in the southern area of the County's water distribution system.

A water main break caused a portion of the system to experience low or no water pressure prompting the 24 hour boil water notice.  

Four Oaks Living History Festival Postponed To Nov. 8th

Because of cold rainy weather that’s forecast for this Saturday, the second annual Four Oaks Living History Festival in Downtown Four Oaks will be postponed until the following Saturday, November 8th.

The event will take place from 10am until 4pm and feature live music, food, vendors, face painting, displays, and raffles. All the activities take place at Barbour’s Grove Park on North Baker Street, across from the Four Oaks Post Office. A Car Show will also take place along Main Street.


Relative Charged In Theft
A 26 year-old woman has been arrested on charges she stole jewelry and other items belonging to a family member.

Stephanie Paige Peacock of Perkins Road, Pikeville was charged this week by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office with felony larceny.

Authorities said Peacock had been cooperative throughout their investigation.

She was released from custody on a $3,000 unsecured bond.

Clayton High Assistant Principal Receives Honor

N.C. Scholastic Media Association’s  Administrator of the Year Award recipient Cora Godwin (left) stands with Clayton High’s Janet Cooke, who nominated Godwin for the award.

The North Carolina Scholastic Media Association recently awarded Clayton High School Assistant Principal Cora Godwin their Administrator of the Year Award.  

The award was given at UNC-Chapel Hill during a luncheon ceremony. She was nominated by Clayton High School Newspaper Adviser Janet Cooke. 

Godwin has been involved with High School Media for approximately 28 years. Previously she served as a teacher at South Johnston High School, where she was the adviser for The Oracle and The Palladium, the school's newspaper and yearbook. Both publications won numerous state awards within several publication associations. 

Godwin was also previously the Literary Magazine Adviser at Cape Fear High School as well as Editor of The Campbell University Prospect while she was Director of Public Information at Campbell University. 

Godwin and her husband James Godwin reside in Benson. They have five children and twin grandchildren. She is the daughter of Robert and Vena Jones of Newton Grove. 

West View Students Learn Fire Safety

West View students learn fire safety from the Cleveland Fire Department. On the front row (from left) are Shelby Reynolds, Patrick Hoolan, Jamie Seperack, Julia Garcia, Ryan Scott, Joseph Waltman, Chealsea Antunez, Carson Philbrick, Braxton Lowe, Ayden Eason, and Reagan Madden. On the back row are Jonathan Flores, Haily Garcia-Bernardez, Elizabeth Short, Mackenzie Plante, Lars Rodelander, Jacob Hall, Aubrey Hopkins, Crosby Barnette, Rogelio Antunez, Abigail Flores-Guzman, and Jorga Cook.

The Cleveland Fire Department recently visitied kindergarten and first grade students at West View Elementary School. Sparky their fire dog tagged along to teach and entertain students while they learned personal fire safety. 

Students were able to see a Cleveland fire truck, learn the different components of the fire truck, and how they are used to fight a fire. They were very interested in how fire trucks operateed. Students were also taught when to change smoke detector batteries and how to get smoke detectors if they did not have them in their home.   

Several students said they felt smart because they learned new things and learning proper fire safety is important to everyone.

Johnston Health Recruits Neurologist, Internist To Medical Staff

He’s a neurologist; she’s an internist.

Drs. James MacDonald and Jarmella Russell are a married couple and new parents, and they are now practicing at Johnston Health.

“It’s a nice package deal,” says MacDonald, who has offices in the Medical Arts Pavilion in Smithfield and the Johnston Professional Plaza in Clayton. Russell, who recently completed her residency, has joined Drs. Nicole Collins and Mai Trang Nguyen at Johnston Medical Associates—Internal Medicine, which is in the Johnston Medical Mall.

They met each other at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. He was completing a fellowship in neuro-rehabilitation, and she was in medical school. Since getting married two years ago, they have enjoyed being able to talk shop with each other.

MacDonald has a special interest in headaches and traumatic brain injury. Before coming to Johnston Health, he was the medical director of rehabilitation at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. He received his medical degree and completed his fellowship at Wake Forest. He finished residencies at Boston and Virginia Commonwealth universities.

Dr. MacDonald decided to pursue a medical career in neurology after his grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In his practice, he will treat degenerative diseases as well as stroke and movement disorders. “I’m looking forward to establishing a rapport with patients and treating their illnesses and injuries,” he says.

Dr. Russell completed her internal medicine residency in June. “My goal is to keep patients healthy so that they don’t need to go to the hospital,” she says. “I like focusing on preventive care, particularly smoking cessation.”

Russell lost her father to asthma when she was 9 years old. From that experience, she set her sights at a young age on becoming a pulmonologist. In medical school, she found that she enjoyed internal medicine and the variety and challenges that come with diagnosing illnesses.

MacDonald grew up in Wilmington, and Russell in Detroit. The couple and their son, Aiden, who was born June 10, live in Clayton.


Annual Festival Of Trees Being Discontinued
After holding the Festival of Trees for 10 years at the Johnston Medical Mall, Keep Johnston County Beautiful, the organization behind the annual holiday event, announced Wednesday the festival would not take place this year.

The organization released a press release saying, “After 10 successful years of giving this ‘Gift to the County’, Keep Johnston County Beautiful has decided to focus its efforts on other community projects.  A special appreciation goes out to all the Entertainers who gave of their time and talent, the Decorators who shared their artistic message, the Volunteers who sacrificed their time and energy, the Municipalities in the county for a cohesive presence, the Schools who provided entertainment, art and labor, the Civic and Non-Profit Groups who shared their community message and most of all, our Tree Sponsors, without which the Festival of Trees would not have been made possible.  A ‘Thank You’ goes out to all whom attended the ‘Festival of Trees’ and shared in the giving of the Christmas spirit.”

The annual event drew thousands of people to Smithfield to see dozens of Christmas tree uniquely decorated.

Suspicious Fire Destroys Smithfield Business
Police are treating a fire that destroyed a Smithfield nightclub as arson.

Around 3:10am Tuesday, a passing motorist called 911 after seeing smoke coming from R City, a club located at 388 Venture Drive.

Smithfield Police Lt. R.K. Powell said after fire crews extinguished the flames the Johnston County Fire Marshal determined the blaze had been intentionally set in various locations inside the business. An official said there were signs of forcible entry into the business. According to county tax records, the building is owned by Mohamed and Sons Inc. of Smithfield.    

Damage to the building and its contents was placed at $100,000.

A representative from Nationwide Insurance was on hand at the business Wednesday.  

Anyone with information about the fire, or saw suspicious activity around the business early-Tuesday is asked to contact Smithfield Police Detective Sgt. R.D. Wood at 919-934-2121 or the Smithfield Police Tip Line at 919-989-8835.

JCSO: Woman Living In A Barn Arrested For Operating Meth Lab 
A Selma woman was arrested Tuesday on charges she was operating a meth lab in a barn she was living in.

Narcotics agents with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant in the 2600 block of Bizzell Grove Church Road.

Officers reportedly found an active meth lab and evidence the suspect, Danielle Lea Medlin, 29, had been manufacturing meth in the barn for an extended period of time.

Medlin was wanted by Kenly Police on felony drug charges at the time of her arrest, stemming from a meth lab found by Kenly Police earlier this year, according to Tammy Amaon, Public Information Officer for the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.

Medlin was charged with several felony offenses including manufacturing methamphetamine. Bail was set at $151,500 on her charges.

Ex-Employee Charged With Embezzlement

A former employee at a Johnston County business has been arrested on embezzlement charges.

Timothy Carl Collier, 56, of Dullis Circle, Garner formerly worked at GR Motor Company at 16272 NC 50 North, Garner, in Johnston County.

A representative with the company reported to the sheriff’s office on October 3rd that Collier had used a company credit card to make $440 in charges for personal use.

Collier was charged with one felony count of embezzlement. He was given a $4,000 bond. 

Selma Police Investigating Robbery At Meadows Apartments
Selma Police are looking for two suspects following an armed robbery at the Meadows Apartments on Ricks Road.

A 46 year-old man said he was inside his apartment around 8:30pm Saturday when two young black males, wearing dark clothing, entered through an unlocked front door.

Once inside, one of the suspects produced a black semi-automatic handgun.

The victim startled the intruders by yelling for his roommates. The suspects then fled on foot.

The victim was not injured. 

Over 1,500 Attend Benson’s Harvest Festival

The Town of Benson hosted its annual Harvest Festival on Saturday in the Benson Singing Grove. Organizers said more than 1,500 people attend the festival throughout the day.

The Harvest Festival included a 1-mile Cupcake Walk for cancer, a 5K run, free health screenings, live music, food, a car show, arts and craft vendors, kid’s art and a pie eating contest.

Folks didn’t miss the opportunity to stomp out cancer by taking part in the 1-mile Cupcake Walk. Nearly 60 walkers participated in the no fee walk. $114 was raised at the Cupcake Walk and will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

The 5K run was the largest yet. Over 160 people registered to participate. A list of the winners can be found at www.bensonharvestfestival.com.

Many folks were able to shop at the arts and craft vendors and take advantage of the free health care screenings and exams that were available in the Grove. Jordan Hines, Tina Seldin-Cash and the Eric Strickland Band performed on the Grove stage and entertained attendees as they visited the different booths.

The car show by Full Throttle Car Club grew again this year. 79 vehicles and 15 motorcycles were on display. The car club raised over $1,000 for the American Autism Society at the car show.

This was the second year for the N.C. Sweet Potato Commission Pie Eating Contest. Six participants braved the no-hands pie eating challenge. Michael Johnson of Dunn took home the $500 grand prize this year.


Ebola - Knowledge is Key
By Shelah Ogletree for WTSB Radio

Photo from left: Communicable Disease Nurse Susan Hales shows some of the Personal Protective Equipment PPE the Johnston County Department of Public Health has been using for training of staff. Dr. Marilyn Pearson, right, looks on. Dr. Pearson said her department has ordered six newer and more advanced suits in an abundance of caution. She said the suits are hard to get now that everyone is ordering them so they want to be prepared.               

The world is now experiencing the largest Ebola epidemic in history. Left untreated Ebola is deadly. There is no readily available cure. While some spend their time tamping down the Ebola story, Johnston County Public Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson is calmly and diligently preparing to treat patients and protect first responders in the event of an occurrence in our county. "We have had no cases thus far, however, we need to maintain a high index of suspicion when encountering any person who may have contracted Ebola or traveled to a country where the virus is active," said Dr. Pearson.

Ask ten persons-in-charge. Could the same Ebola virus that practically shut down Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas affect North Carolinians? Nine of them will likely begin by telling you there is no reason to panic. The virus is very hard to catch. There have been no local cases and furthermore, no reason to expect the virus will travel to North Carolina much less Johnston County. 
Dr. Pearson gets right to the point. "The risk is low at this time," she said, "but yes, we could see cases of the Ebola virus here in Johnston County."

She said recognizing the virus early is the best method for stopping it in its tracks, but somewhat difficult as the early symptoms of Ebola mimic that of other less innocuous diseases such as flu.

Ebola is a severe, contagious, hemorrhagic febrile virus that essentially turns human and primate organs into slush.  Ebola virus symptoms include: severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, bruising and bleeding from body orifices (such as eyes). The virus was first identified  in 1973 in two separate outbreaks in Southern Sudan and Northern Zaire and named for the Ebola River, which was located near the outbreak.

In preparation Dr. Pearson said her staff is following CDC guidelines and getting regular updates from the Division of Public Health Preparedness Branch. "The guidelines and protocols are changing frequently," she said. "We are staying on top of the changes with weekly conference calls - that started two weeks ago and generally occur on Fridays."

NC Has 12th Largest West African Population
"One of the things we need to realize is that we are a very mobile population," she said. "People travel internationally all the time. Also, many people don't realize that North Carolina has the twelfth largest West African immigrant population in the United States."

In fact, Thomas Eric Duncan the Liberian national who died recently in a Texas hospital was memorialized at Rowan International Church in Salisbury, where his sister, mother and nephew are said to worship. This points to the probability that visitors from Western Africa have and will continue to visit our state.  According to Dr. Pearson these immigrants are spread out all over the state so there is not any one location to target with information.

"We are doing our best," she said. "We also have many other populations that travel regularly to do missionary work and for other reasons. I have many organizations, churches and even vets on my contact list." (Veterinarians are contacted due to the claim that pets may become carriers when in close contact with Ebola victims.)

"Just because a person may be infected with Ebola doesn't mean they will always present at the emergency room." Dr. Pearson said she delivers new information as she receives it from DPH (Division of North Carolina Public Health). "The information is always changing," she said. "We have never dealt with this virus on a large-scale before." For current information access the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/ebola. Dr. Pearson also has on-going and planned meetings with Health Department Employees, Environmental Health Staff, the Johnston Medical Center ER Team, Johnston County Law Enforcement, as well as other organizations.

So what should the general public do to protect themselves?  Dr. Pearson recommends that the general public use good hygiene practices as promoted by the CDC.

Protect yourself from Ebola:
-Do wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
-Do not touch the blood or body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of people who are sick.
-Do not handle items that may have come in contact with a sick person's blood or body fluids, like clothes, bedding, needles, or medical equipment.
-Do not touch the body of someone who has died of Ebola or of an unknown illness.

Dr. Pearson also recommends not touching our faces, particularly eyes, nose, and mouth as the Ebola virus as well as other viruses may easily enter the body through mucus membranes. Also, since Ebola symptoms mimic those of influenza getting a flu shot is particularly important this year.
Walk Through Scenario
Dr. Pearson met earlier this week with members of an Epidemioloy Response Team to walk through scenarios of what should happen if a person with a highly contagious disease presents at the Department of Public Health. In short, the patient would be masked for the safety of others and transported quickly by safety-suited staff to an isolation unit. Depending upon the severity of the symptoms and other factors such as the number of patients in the clinic the infected patient could be transported to the hospital through a connecting hallway. The CDC has indicated they will send a Rapid Response Team to help the local hospital as soon as a case of Ebola is diagnosed

The Johnston County EPI Team is not new to responding to infectious disease - they have handled many cases of Hepatitis A (the one that generally comes from restaurants). The EPI Team responded to cases of the NORA Virus that was in the news last year.  Johnston County Communicable Disease Nurse Susan Hales RN has experience contacting patients and families have been diagnosed with other serious, communicable diseases like Tuberculosis. When asked if people deny being in close contact with TB patients she answered, "In most cases these people have already seen doctors and are relieved to know what they have and how it will be treated."

In cases of Ebola known contacts would be isolated to keep the virus from spreading to others and monitored for signs of active virus.  The patient also isolated would be kept comfortable and hydrated. Antibiotics might be administered not to combat the Ebola Virus, but to fight other complications that might arise like pneumonia. Several researchers are working to find a vaccine, but none are readily available to the public at this time.
McIntyre Honored In Ceremony On USS North Carolina Battleship

(Right photo) Congressman McIntyre accepts a special recognition plaque on the USS North Carolina Battleship.  Standing with Congressman McIntyre are (from left to right) Dave Echevarria, Past President of the Navy League Wilmington Council; Frank Roberts, Current President; Rosalie Calarco, Rep. McIntyre’s Director of Veteran Services; and Beth Dawson, Vice Chair of the New Hanover County Commission.

Wilmington – Congressman Mike McIntyre was recently honored in a ceremony on the USS North Carolina Battleship for his work on behalf of veterans, by the Navy League.

The Navy League, a national association of nearly 50,000 members who support the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard, and U.S. Merchant Marine, recognized McIntyre for his tireless advocacy and commitment to veterans. During the ceremony, McIntyre was given a special recognition plaque, and received a prayer of blessing from the Navy League Chaplain with the League’s officers standing beside him.

Frank Roberts, President of the Navy League Wilmington Council, said, “Congressman McIntyre’s 18 years of exemplary leadership has touched many veterans’ lives in countless ways. As a family man, son of a sailor, inspirational leader, and true public servant, we are grateful for his sacrifice on behalf of our men and women of the sea services, as well as the Army, and the Air Force, both active and retired.”

Congressman McIntyre is also a recipient of the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest civilian honor awarded by the Navy. A senior Member of the Armed Services Committee, McIntyre helped coordinate two commissioning services for two naval war ships in the Wilmington Harbor: the USS North Carolina attack submarine and the USS Gravely destroyer. McIntyre was also instrumental in securing the establishment of the new VA Super Regional Clinic in Wilmington, as well as two additional outpatient clinics in Brunswick and Robeson Counties.

Robeson County Man Killed In I-95 Crash
The Highway Patrol has released the name of the man killed in a fiery crash on Interstate 95 Monday afternoon.

Troopers said 60 year-old James Raymond Blackwood of St. Pauls, NC died in the single vehicle accident just after noontime.

Blackwood was traveling southbound in his Nissan SUV, near the 84-mile marker between Four Oaks and Benson, when troopers said he ran off the roadway to the left and struck a guardrail. He then drove off the right side of the roadway striking a guardrail on the shoulder, before crashing into a group of trees.  After impact his car burst into flames. 

Blackwood was unconscious and trapped inside the burning vehicle, officials said. He died at the scene.

Officials said Blackwood was wearing a seat belt and speed did not appear to be a factor. The NC Medical Examiner’s Office is assisting with the crash investigation to see if a medical problem may have played a contributing role. Photo courtesy JoCoFire.com

Motorcyclist Killed In Accident

A Fuquay Varina man died Monday afternoon a few hours after he was involved in a motorcycle accident in Johnston County.

Derek Edward McClellan, 24, was operating a green Kawasaki motorcycle southbound on Old Fairground Road around 2:14pm Monday when he crossed the centerline, overcorrected, and ran off the rural roadway striking a pole. 

McClellan was taken to Wake Med but died as a result of his injuries, according to the NC Highway Patrol.

Troopers said no other vehicles were involved in the accident. 


NC Voters Overwhelmingly Support Traditional Marriage
The newest Civitas Poll shows North Carolina voters strongly support the traditional view of marriage.

Seventy-two percent said they agreed, "Marriage is the union of one man and one woman." Fifty-nine percent said that a decision to legalize same-sex marriage should be decided by voters, not by a federal judge.

The poll questioned 600 registered voters was taken Oct. 15-18, and had a margin of error of 4 percent.

31% said same sex couples should have the right to marry and the judge was right in ruling the way he did.

Students Safer At Corinth-Holders Elementary School

The Archer Lodge Masonic Lodge presents an AED device to Corinth-Holders Elementary School. From left are Archer Lodge Masonic Lodge representatives Gregg Wall and Roy Parker, Principal Melissa Hubbard, and school nurse Tammy Franklin.

On site cardiac defibrillators have meant the difference between life and death of students since their appearance in schools and sports-related programs. Now the Archer Lodge Masonic Lodge has made Johnston County School Students safer by donating an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to Corinth-Holders Elementary School.

Defibrillators are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest.  All schools are encouraged to purchase a machine to have on site.  The Masonic Lodge of Archer Lodge worked with Corinth-Holders Elementary and school nurse, Tammy Franklin, to provide this device.  

The Masonic Lodge is known for giving back to the community. Gregg Wall and Roy Parker presented Melissa Hubbard and Tammy Franklin with the AED.  

“It is always a privilege to accept donations from our community,” said Tammy Franklin. “We are truly grateful to Archer Lodge Masonic Lodge for assisting us in this endeavor.”

Arrest Made In August Shooting, Robbery
Wayne County deputies, with the assistance of Goldsboro Police, have arrested a suspect they say was responsible for a kidnapping, robbery, and shooting.

Braddock Bernard Gross III, 23, of Franklin Street, Goldsboro has been arrested in connection with the August 24 crime spree.

Gross allegedly kidnapping Justin Edward Kornegay at gunpoint and forced him to drive to various locations in Wayne County. Kornegay was also shot in the leg and beaten.  During the incident, authorities said Gross took the victim’s bank card and at gunpoint forced him to make withdrawals from ATM’s at two locations in Mt. Olive.

Gross is now charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and discharging a firearm with intent to incite fear.  He was booked into the Wayne County Jail under an $800,000 bond.

Man Arrested After Calling 911 Five Times
Clayton Police arrested a 52 year-old man Monday night for allegedly calling 911 five times in a little more than 3 hours.

Carl Glenn Brady of Clayton lived in a home on West Second Street and was having a disagreement with a woman who also lived at the address.  Her husband was also present.

Police said Brady made multiple calls about a disturbance between the three of them.  All were instructed about possible charges that could be filed but no one wanted to press charges. 

After the fifth call, officers returned and placed Brady under arrest for misusing 911. Brady, who works as a cook at a local fast food restaurant, was transported to the Johnston County Jail and given a $2,500 bond. 

WJHS Student Charged With Campus Assault

A West Johnston High student was arrested on campus Monday after he allegedly assaulted another student.

The incident happened in a hallway around 10am, according to Tammy Amaon, Public Information Officer, with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. 

A deputy assigned to the school arrested Amador Garcia, 16, of Switch Cane Lane, Benson for simple assault after he allegedly attacked another student.

Garcia was released from custody on a $1,000 bond.

Southern Wayne Student Arrested Following Disturbance
A Southern Wayne High student was arrested Monday for allegedly causing a disturbance on campus.

A Wayne County deputy said he was investigating a disturbance when Tykare Mikyl Washington, 18, of Dudley confronted the officer and began cursing at the officer and then a teacher.

As the officer tried to detain the student, Washington reported attempted to pull away.

The teen was charged with disorderly conduct and resist, delay, and obstructing an officer.  He was later released from the Wayne County Detention Center pending a court appearance on the two misdemeanor charges.         

Four Oaks Man Arrested For DWI
An early morning traffic led to the arrest of a Four Oaks man for driving while impaired.

Around 2:20am Tuesday, a deputy sheriff stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation on Highway 210 near I-40.

The driver, Trevor Aaron Ulrich, 24, of Skylar Lane, Four Oaks was arrested for DWI. He registered 0.16 on the Breathalyzer, double the legal limit of 0.08, according to Tammy Amaon, Public Information Officer, with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.

Ulrich was booked into the Johnston County Jail on a $2,000 bond.

Coast Guard Seeks Assistance Identifying Hoax Caller

Coast Guard Sector North Carolina personnel are requesting assistance from the public in identifying a suspected hoax caller who is suspected to have made seven false distress calls during the past two years in the vicinity of New Bern.

During the months of September through December of 2012-2013 and September through October of 2014, a similar male voice broadcast similar distress calls to Sector North Carolina personnel from the area surrounding the junction of the Neuse and Trent Rivers near New Bern on seven different occasions, with the most recent call on Oct. 16.

The Coast Guard issued urgent marine information broadcasts and launched response boat crews, helicopter crews or both in each instance. The combined response efforts to the calls is estimated to have cost the Coast Guard more than $150,000. That cost does not include the expense of local fire department crews or Marine Corps rescue helicopter crews who also responded as a result of the calls.

Making a false distress call to the Coast Guard is a federal felony offense with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, an $8,000 civil penalty and mandatory reimbursement to the Coast Guard for the cost of performing the search.

"When the Coast Guard dispatches vessels and aircraft for false distress broadcasts, it obligates limited resources to unnecessary searches and puts additional costs on the Coast Guard and the taxpayer," said Lt. Lane Munroe, command center chief and public affairs officer at Sector North Carolina. "Above all else, it puts the lives of our personnel at risk. We are asking anyone with information about this caller to please come forward."

The Coast Guard is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the individual responsible for making a false distress call to the U.S. Coast Guard.

One North Carolina resident was recently sentenced and two others were indicted on making false distress calls. Brandon Garner and Charles Dowd Jr., both of Beaufort, were indicted on Oct. 14, by a federal grand jury for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Greenville for hoax distress calls they allegedly made to the Coast Guard in 2013. Both men are facing five years in federal prison and $18,000 in restitution.

Homer Blackburn of Atlantic Beach was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and required to pay more than $288,000 in restitution after making a hoax distress call in October 2013.

Anyone with information that can identify the hoax caller is requested to call 910-343-3880.  Click here to listen to audio of hoax call


Thousands Attended Conservative Rally

Approximately 5,000 people turned out for the Johnston County Republican Party Conservative Rally in Smithfield on Friday night.

Billed as the largest political rally in North Carolina this year, thousands of people turned out for barbecue, bluegrass, and a chance to meet candidates running for local, state, and federal offices.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, US Senate candidate Thom Tillis, and US House candidate David Rouzer were among those attending.

Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said the event was a big success.

National media outlets compared the rally to the one held by Hillary Clinton in Charlotte on Saturday, who was campaigning to Tillis’ opponent Senator Kay Hagan.

Clinton drew 1,800 people to the rally in a city of more than 800,000 people, while in Smithfield 5,000 people turned out to see Tillis in a city with the population of 12,000, the report stated. WTSB Photos

West Johnston High Student Charged With Sexual Assault

A West Johnston High School student is being held under a half million-dollar bond after being charged with the sexual assault of a 9 year-old child.

WTSB News has learned the incident was first reported to investigators with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) on September 16th.

On Friday, Nay Fuller, 18, of Church Road, Benson was arrested on two felony counts of sex offense with a child.

The alleged incident occurred when the young female victim was spending the night with a friend, according to Tammy Amaon, Public Information Officer, with the JCSO.  Fuller allegedly went into the room where the girl was sleeping and on two different occasions inappropriately touched the child.

School officials confirmed Monday Fuller is a student at West Johnston High.

Four Oaks Man Catches Burglars Fleeing From His Home
A Four Oaks man helped deputies catch two thieves Saturday afternoon.

Around 2:30pm, authorities said Clifford Dwain Allen was returning to his home in the 4500 block of Highway 96 South. As he turned into his driveway he saw a vehicle trying to leave.

Authorities said Allen blocked the suspicious vehicle from leaving.

Inside, authorities said were two people who had broken into Allen’s home while he was away stealing $2,325 in property, which was later located in their vehicle.

Triston Alan Hinson, 42, and Amanda Ellen Ayscue, 30, both of the 11000 block of Highway 42 East, Middlesex were arrested at the scene.

Both were charged with felony breaking and entering, larceny, possession of burglary tools, felony conspiracy, larceny of a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a felon. 

Hinson and Ayscue were booked into the Johnston County Jail under a $175,000 bond each.  All the stolen property, ranging from fishing rods, knifes, catalytic converters, US coins, 32 caliber revolver, weed eaters, and a mandolin were recovered.

Johnston County 911 Receives Prestigious International Re-Accreditation Status
Johnston County E911 Communications is taking center stage in recognition of achieving one of the highest distinctions in 9-1-1 emergency communication services. On October 3rd, the communication center achieved re-accreditation status from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch®(IAED™) as an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) with the medical, fire, and police protocols. Johnson County 911 also holds the tremendous honor of being only the third emergency dispatch center in the world to attain the Academy’s tri-ACE status in all three protocols in August of 2011

Jason Barbour, the agency’s Director, who spearheaded the tri-ACE re-accreditation process, is delighted by the accolade. As he explained, the distinction took several months to achieve, with plenty of hands pitching in to support the accomplishment.

“I am very proud of our staff for the hard work they put forth to make sure that we are helping the citizens of Johnston County to the best of our ability when they call 9-1-1,” Barbour said. “It is truly an honor to be the first 9-1-1 center in North Carolina to become accredited and re-accredited in all three protocols. I would like to thank the commissioners for their support in allowing us to have the best 9-1-1 center possible for our citizens.”

“There’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into gaining ACE re accreditation status, a feat obviously exponentially more challenging to re-accredit as a tri-ACE,” said IAED President Scott Freitag. “We’re certainly proud of Johnston County 911’s accomplishment.” There are more than 133 communications centers throughout the world carrying the ACE distinction among the 3,000 centers worldwide using the Academy’s fire, police medical, and nurse triage protocols for safe and efficient response to emergency situations.

Johnston Health Taps Nurse As Ambassador Of The Year

Brian Gold of Garner was recently named the Johnston Health Ambassador of the Year.

He is among 12 employees previously honored by their peers as Johnston Health Ambassadors of the Month. The hospital’s administrators chose him for the top award.

“I’m humbled and honored,” Gold says. “I enjoy helping people and saving lives.”

Gold has been a nurse at Johnston Health Clayton for the past three years. He is a preceptor, a member of the chest pain committee and chairman of the customer service committee.

During his previous career in technology and broadcast sales, Gold says he felt isolated behind the computer. So at age 44, he went back to school to become a nurse. And in two years, he went from being a CNA to an LPN to an RN.

Since coming on board in October 2010, Gold has made good things happen in Clayton. Known as a good listener, his insights have helped improve processes and the overall patient experience, says Daniel Register, director of the emergency department.

“He’s quiet and reserved. But when he speaks, everyone listens because what he says is spot on,” Register adds. “He understands that
making a good impression on patients and families is the key to bringing them back.”

Gold says he enjoys working in emergency departments because of the diversity of patients and the opportunity to save lives. His first nursing job out of school in 2008 was in the ED at Duke-Raleigh Hospital.

Gold grew up in High Point. He lives in Garner and has a grown daughter and two grandchildren, ages 11 and 13. When he’s not working, he enjoys outdoor activities including snow skiing.

The selection of the Ambassador of the Year is based on exemplary actions and commitment to the goals of Johnston Health. They live by the organization’s ideals, mission and vision, and strive to better themselves and the organization.

NCS Elementary School Teacher Receives $3,000 Grant

Leah Williams, an elementary school music teacher at Neuse Charter School, has been awarded a “Bright Ideas Grant” called the Brain Based Music Integration. 

Mrs. Williams will receive a check for $3,000, which she intends to use to purchase 25 guitars for her class. 

Dr. Julie Jailall, Neuse Charter Executive Director, stated that working on writing a proposal for this grant was one of the first things Mrs. Williams did when she joined Neuse Charter School’s teaching team this fall. Going above and beyond the norm is the “norm” for teachers at Neuse Charter School, Jailall said.

The competitive grant project is designed to show how children at the elementary level improve in their brain development and behavioral performance when they are involved in a music program. Specific musical instruments (xylophones and guitars) will be integrated with technology to produce student-created podcasts, plays, and concerts. Wake Electric funded the entire $3,000 Brain Based Music Integration Grant.

Smithfield Convenience Store Robbed

Smithfield Police are searching for a lone gunman who robbed a West Smithfield business Friday night.

Just before midnight, a man armed with a handgun entered the Star Market, at the intersection on West Market Street and Wilson’s Mills Road. 

Police said the suspect produced the weapon and demanded money. The robber then fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. No injuries were reported. 


Teen Arrested For Firing Gun Outside Smithfield Nightclub
A Smithfield teen was arrested Sunday on several charges including going armed to the terror of the public. 

Smithfield Police said they were called to a report of shots being fired in the parking lot of Twister’s, a nightclub located at 1300 South Brightleaf Boulevard, around 2:22am Sunday.

Lt. R.K. Powell said a disturbance occurred inside the bar, which escalated in the parking lot.  Pedro Ibanez Alberez, 18, of the 2000 block of South Brightleaf Boulevard, allegedly pulled out a handgun and fired several shots in the air.  A number of people in the parking lot fled for cover, but no one was injured.

Police arrested Alverez on charges of discharging a firearm in the city limits, going armed to the terror of the public, and possession of a gun in violation of a domestic violence protection order. 

Alverez was confined in the Johnston County Jail under a $25,000 bond.    

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

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.