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Archive for March, 2009

Sin Tax and money for education highlight Perdue’s proposed budget

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

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Governor Bev Perdue unveiled her proposed state budget Tuesday. Creating jobs and stabilizing our state’s economy are a few of her top priorities.

Despite the state facing the worst budget crunch in decades, Perdue is hoping to close a multi-billion dollar gap in the state’s budget.

“The investments that I have strategically made in this budget document is important I believe to the core future success of this state.”

Some people call it a ‘Sin Tax.’

Perdue proposed a dollar-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax, moving it from $.35 per pack to $1.35. Her proposal would also increase the alcohol surcharge tax by five percent, as an attempt to stabilize the state’s economy.

Many seem in favor of the idea. “If it’s going to a good cause, I don’t mind paying extra taxes. It will cost me a little bit of money. I’ll smoke half a pack a day, I don’t mind,” said Mary Reisler.

There is good news on the education front. Perdue does not want tuition increases for community colleges or the state’s public universities. “Improving public education, keeping higher ed accessible and affordable, that’s community college, vocational schools, and the university.”

Perdue wants to spend money on improving programs for career training in community colleges.

“It is very important to put a value on education and training right now. With so many people out of work and looking for work, the more affordable job training is, the better off we will be in the long-run,” said CFCC spokesperson David Hardin.

With the help of federal stimulus money, the state would put more than $100 million toward schools; $64 million to increase salaries on an experience-basis for teachers, and more than $3 million for under-performing schools. Ten million dollars would also go to gang prevention programs.

In other arenas, infrastructure projects to help create jobs would get $50 million over the next two years even though the governor proposed eliminating more than one thousand state jobs and cutting more than 20 programs deemed inefficient.

Another $36 million will help with a tax break for small business owners, and $2 million will go toward to promote tourism in the state.

The legislature is expected to review Perdue’s budget plan and approve its own budget by this summer.

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videoGovernor Bev Perdue unveiled her proposed state budget Tuesday. Creating jobs and stabilizing our state’s economy are a few of her top priorities.

Despite the state facing the worst budget crunch in decades, Perdue is hoping to close a multi-billion dollar gap in the state’s budget.

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Associated poll

More: continued here

Residents escape fire at Wilmington halfway house

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

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Eight residents of a Wilmington halfway house escaped a fire Tuesday morning, thanks to an alert Wilmington police officer.

At around 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, Officer Robert Annette was driving to meet his supervisor when he noticed that the house at 1842 Carolina Beach Road was on fire.

Officer Annette and his supervisor, Sergeant Waymon Hyman, proceeded to bang on the doors until the residents woke up and evacuated.

No one was hurt, and the Wilmington Fire Department arrived soon afterwards and put the fire out.

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Eight residents of a Wilmington halfway house escaped a fire Tuesday morning, thanks to an alert Wilmington police officer.

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Associated poll

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Sexting is an issue parents should become aware of

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

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It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Jesse Logan sent a nude picture to her boyfriend and it cost her a lot more; her life. The photo ended up being forwarded to her classmates. The Ohio teenager was harassed. She was so miserable, she hung herself.

Jesse was the victim of a disturbing trend that is making it’s way through high school hallways. It is called sexting, or sending nude photos via cell phone. The typical sexting scenario involves a young couple who sends nude photos to each other as a special gift. But once they break up, those pictures can be used as leverage for revenge

“These images are being consensually sent out the first time around, but then there’s no way to put the genie back into the bottle,” said District Attorney Ben David.

What begins as a private gift can spiral into public mortification. Through the halls and into the hands of every high school student; posted on the internet for the whole world to see. “They are making decisions in some cases that they’re going to have to live with when they’re applying for that first job or when they’re trying to get into school,” said David. “Whatever image is out there of them might be coming back to haunt them.”

Humiliation is just the beginning. Teens may not realize the severity of their actions. Sending nude pictures of a minor, anyone under 18, fits the legal description of distributing child pornography – a felony. Even if the teen takes the picture of him or herself, it is considered manufacturing child porn. Everyone who the picture is forwarded to, can be charged with possessing child porn. They could also have to register as a sex offender.

A recent survey found that one in five teens sext. A few are getting caught.

Eighteen-year old Phillip Alpert of Orlando will be registered as a sex offender until he is 43, after forwarding nude photos of his ex-girlfriend. In Spotsylvania, Virginia two teenage boys are facing child pornography charges for cell phone pictures of five nude girls, one of whom is in elementary school.

So is sexting an issue locally?

Behavior Specialist Hannah Griesbauer said not in New Hanover County schools. “We don’t want to wait until it does come across our desk before we do something about it,” she said. “So we want to make sure that we’re staying on top of the technology and we’re kind of staying ahead of the game, which can sometimes be very difficult because technology moves at a fast pace.”

Ben David said sexting is a growing issue that should not be ignored. “That happens in both New Hanover and Pender County, wherever there’s young people, cell phones and the internet, which is to say everywhere.”

By simply pushing the send button, teens can cause life-altering consequences. David said, “Phases can last a short time, but images can last forever.”

Pender County law enforcement officers are dealing with several sexting cases involving middle and high school students. None of the families involved were willing to talk about sexting on camera.

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videoParents, you may want to take a closer look at your kids’ cell phones. Sexting is the act of sending nude or partially nude, pictures through cell phones. And it is becoming more prevalent among teens.

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Associated poll

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Another former dispatcher sues Oak Island; has connection with Ron Hewett case

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Another former Oak Island police dispatcher filed a lawsuit against the town Tuesday. Colleen Funston claims she was fired in September 2007 because she was subpoenaed to testify in front of a federal grand jury in connection with the investigation of former Brunswick County Sheriff Ronald Hewett.

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Former Oak Island police dispatcher is suing town

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

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In a lawsuit filed Monday, Leah Welch claims she was sexually harassed by her former Sergeant Paul Demello.

Demello resigned from the Oak Island Police force last summer when allegations of sexual harassment became public.

Town Attorney Brian Edes said he does not believe the allegations have any merit.

Welch is seeking damages of more than ten thousand dollars.

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In a lawsuit filed Monday, Leah Welch claims she was sexually harassed by her former Sergeant Paul Demello.

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Associated poll

More: continued here

 

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