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Archive for February, 2009

Authorities search for man who robbed Monkey Junction tax service

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Authorities are looking for a man who held up Liberty Tax Service near Monkey Junction on Wednesday night and also assaulted an employee.

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Titan says N.C. needs its cement operation

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Titan America says North Carolina needs a cement plant to keep up with growth and demand, and the site in Castle Hayne is the most viable location.

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Container ships to double at Port of Wilmington

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

The number of container ships calling at the Port of Wilmington is set to double, with word that vessels from the Danish company Maersk Line and Virginia-based Independent Container Line Ltd. soon will do business here.

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Who should get help voting?

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

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A bill introduced in Raleigh this week is stirring up some controversy.

Right now, state law allows folks who are blind, illiterate, or physically unable to fill out a ballot to have help inside the voting booth, as long as they explain their problem to poll workers.

However, State Senator RC Soles wants to change the law to allow anybody to bring anyone with them into the voting booth, no questions asked.

“This merely says that if you want somebody to go into the polling place with you that you can have assistance and they can go with you, it doesn’t make you have it, it doesn’t make you tell a reason why you want to have it, it’s just merely to encourage people to come on out and vote,” Soles said.

While Soles said if you have a disability, or if you can’t read, it can be embarrassing to have to explain that to a poll worker.

But not everyone is on board with his proposed changes to the law. “It would be a flood gate of problems of they were to pass the law,” said poll worker Dorris Strickland.

Strickland has volunteered as a poll worker in Columbus County in the past. She said even with the current restrictions, people try to manipulate the system, and influence votes by jumping in to help people that may not want or need it. “You would have the mentally handicapped that would be taken advantage of, you would have people that can’t read that would be taken advantage of. This is not right. They should be able to vote for who they want to vote for, and not have someone else vote their ballot for them.”

Members of the Columbus County Board of Elections say these types of things have happened, as recently as the November election. “This precinct here, several people drug a man up to the door and he was telling them he did not want to vote, they drug him up and finally he fell on the ground, and at the time, Carla went out and told them they couldn’t force the man to vote,” said Margaret Roland.

Board of elections members insist precinct judges are very discreet when verifying people need assistance, and she says the proposed changes could do more harm than good.

A spokesperson for the ACLU agrees that the current law may keep the disabled from voting if they don’t want to explain their disability to a poll worker.

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videoRight now, state law allows folks who are blind, illiterate, or physically unable to fill out a ballot to have help inside the voting booth, as long as they explain their problem to poll workers.

However, State Senator RC Soles wants to change the law to allow anybody to bring anyone with them into the voting booth, no questions asked.

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soles150.jpg

Associated poll

More: continued here

Altman accused of brutal murder after serving 13 years for robbery

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

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Amid an applauding group of onlookers, New Hanover County sheriff’s deputies arrested 33-year-old Gerard Altman for the murders of Laura and Jim Gallagher on Thursday.

The 911 call came in Wednesday morning.
Caller: We’ve been trying to contact these people for two weeks. We’re friends and we’ve decided to come over. We looked in the back window and we saw pill bottles.
Dispatcher: OK. What’s the name of the people you’re looking for?
Caller: Laura Gallagher and Jim Gallagher. And there may be a third party involved. We don’t know because we can’t reach her son. We’ve been trying to track him down too.

It was that call that set the search for the Gallaghers’ killer in motion.

Detectives’ prime suspect, 33-year-old Gerard Altman, was taken in to custody a little more than 24 hours after the Gallaghers’ bodies were found.

“It appears to be a very brutal and cold blooded murder,” said Dep. Charles Smith of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.

Altman was staying with a friend at the Reserve Apartments. His friend apparently didn’t know about the warrants for his arrest, but after seeing Altman’s picture was all over the TV and papers, that friend called 911.

The Wilmington Police Department and Sheriff’s Office worked together to get Altman in to custody.

Lindsey Caldwell witnessed the arrest.

“There was a SWAT team a whole mess of them, surrounding the whole building guns and all,” Caldwell said.

Investigators still haven’t disclosed a motive for the murder and haven’t officially released the Gallaghers’ cause of death. Friends of the Gallaghers said Jim was battling cancer and was a retired New York police officer. Both he and Laura were well-loved by many people in the community.

Altman served 13 years in a New York state prison for 2nd-degree robbery. He was released in 2007. He is expected to go before a judge Friday morning. The bodies of the victims are being sent to Chapel Hill for autopsy.

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Amid an applauding group of onlookers, New Hanover County sheriff’s deputies arrested 33-year-old Gerard Altman for the murders of Laura and Jim Gallagher. Investigators still haven’t disclosed a motive for the murder and haven’t officially released the Gallaghers’ cause of death.

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Associated poll

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