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Archive for February, 2009

Volunteer rates increase as unemployment rates go up

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

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For the last five years Rory Platow has volunteered through the Cape Fear Volunteer Center. He lost his job three weeks ago, and is now looking for a new one, but that hasn’t limited his volunteer hours.

“Six hours working with trying to find a job, working with everything I need to do there, I still have quite a few hours to work with the volunteer center,” Platow said. In fact, Platow now volunteers 10 to 15 hours each week with the volunteer center’s Big Buddy Program, which pairs kids with adult mentors. Executive Director Annie Anthony said he’s not alone.

“People that are unemployed, who are trying to make sure that their resumes don’t have a gap in time from when they become unemployed until they get that new job. So they are filling that time with volunteering opportunities,” Anthony said.

The volunteer increase is not limited to our area. Last month, the national unemployment rate reached 7.6 percent, while volunteer service increased as much as 16 percent. And with more people volunteering, places like Vintage Values on Castle Street have more of a say on the people they choose to fill their positions.

Billie Blackwell of Vintage Values said, “We have become a little more selective. We’ve been afforded that advantage. We’ve had more people to volunteer so we can be a little more selective.”

The proceeds from Vintage Values support domestic violence victims so Blackwell looks for volunteers that share the same values, but she said there’s no such thing as too much volunteering. Whether he is employed or not, Platow agrees. “It just feels like something you should do.”

Anthony said 99 percent of Cape Fear Volunteer Center volunteers sign up on the internet through websites like 1-800-volunteers.com.

If you would like to donate your time, you can browse through nearly 300 organizations that have partnered with the Cape Fear Volunteer Center.

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videoFor the last five years Rory Platow has volunteered through the Cape Fear Volunteer Center. He lost his job three weeks ago, and is now looking for a new one, but that hasn’t limited his volunteer hours.

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Associated poll

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One Wilmington bank may be in trouble

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

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Federal regulators say one Wilmington bank is in trouble. The exact words they use about Cooperative Bank are “troubled condition”, which means the bank is now subject to restrictions on its asset growth, capital distributions and management fees.

Cooperative interim CEO Todd Sammons said the classification is mostly administrative and means almost nothing to customers.

He said customers will still have access to their money and be able to conduct business as usual.

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The exact words they use about Cooperative Bank are “troubled condition”, which means the bank is now subject to restrictions on its asset growth, capital distributions and management fees.

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Associated poll

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Friends, colleagues remember police officer killed in crash

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

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A Wilmington Police officer died in a car crash early Wednesday morning.

Officer Richard Matthews died after losing control of his patrol car around the 3900 block of Shipyard Blvd. at 1:18 a.m. He was heading east on Shipyard to back up another officer when he apparently lost control, crossed the median and hit a tree. Crews took him to New Hanover Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Officer Matthews was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Long-time friend Sue Gallagher got a phone call at 3 in the morning, informing her of her dear friend’s death.

“He was very proud,” Gallagher said. “He used to tell my daughter a lot that he would be out there catching the bad guys, and he would.”

Officer Matthews was recently issued a commendation for his acts of bravery, courage and professionalism on the job. He and several of his co-workers were honored for their work during a structure fire on Park Avenue. Officer Matthews, and four other officers, awakened and evacuated residents of the complex as the fire was spreading quickly. Their actions included taking a 96-year-old woman to safety.

“He volunteered for everything and he was a hard, hard worker,” says Police Chief Ralph Evangelous.

Officer Matthews was 28 years old. He had been part of the Wilmington Police Department since December, 2006. He came to WPD after serving with the New York City Police Department from January 2004 until December 2006.

In Wilmington, Officer Matthews spent time at the Port City Community Church. Pastor Mike Ashcraft remembers him fondly. “His close friends began coming here, and that’s how we got to know him,” he said.

Officer Matthews was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Matthews of Bethlehem, PA. His funeral service will be held in his hometown early next week. A memorial service will most likely take place in Wilmington the following week.

Donations in memory of Officer Matthews may be directed to the Wilmington Police Recreation Association, c/o Lt. Matt Hinson, 615 Bess Street, Wilmington, NC 28401.

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videoA Wilmington Police officer died in a car crash early Wednesday morning after losing control of his patrol car around the 3900 block of Shipyard Blvd.

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Associated poll

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Troubled Cooperative Bank has deep local roots

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Frederick Willetts Sr. took the reins of what was then Cooperative Building and Loan Association in 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression.

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Wilmington Police Department postpones opening of new headquarters

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

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Because of Wednesday’s tragedy, the WPD has postponed the official opening of their new Southeast Division headquarters.

The new facility is located at 2451 South College Road, across from Longleaf Mall.

The headquarters will provide a variety of services to citizens in the southern and eastern parts of the city.

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Because of Wednesday’s tragedy, the WPD has postponed the official opening of their new Southeast Division headquarters.

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Associated poll

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