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Archive for April, 2009

Should a political party decide New Hanover County’s next sheriff?

Monday, April 20th, 2009

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When Sheriff Sid Causey announced in February he would take early retirement from New Hanover County, it triggered a process to replace him that gives power not to the people, but to his political party.

“There is rationale behind the idea that since the sheriff was elected in a partisan election, then perhaps the party should have a strong voice in deciding who the successor would be,” said Democratic Party Chair Jim Morgan.

State law calls for commissioners in 55 of the state’s counties to select a successor if a sheriff leaves office mid-term. But in the other 45 counties, including Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender, state law says “if the sheriff were elected as a nominee of a political party before filling the vacancy, the Board of Commissioners shall consult the county executive committee of that political party… and shall elect the person recommended by the county executive committee of that party.”

But county Democratic Party Chair Jim Morgan admits the process to find a new sheriff is not ideal. “Our role is to simply name the successor to complete the term. And ideally, the people should select the sheriff, and they will at the general election.”

Morgan’s Republican counterpart, though, said it makes practical sense. “It would be too difficult and too time consuming to have a full election every time an elected official steps out of office,” Alex Dale said.

But some state lawmakers want some sort of change. Bills in the legislature would require the political party to submit three nominees to a county commission for a replacement sheriff. “I think it would be nice if the county commissioners had some discretion, because it would give some oversight to the process,” Dale said.

Current Chief Deputy Ed McMahon and former sheriff’s Major David Smithey are the two people under consideration to replace Sid Causey.

The Executive Committee of the New Hanover County Democratic Party meets tonight at 5:30 to interview and discuss the two candidates. The meeting at the El Berta Motel Assembly Room at 4504 Market Street is open to the public.

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videoMonday night, the New Hanover County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee will meet to choose who it will nominate to be the county’s next sheriff. But should that power be left in the hand of a political party?

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Associated poll

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Alcohol plays a factor in car crashing into a house

Monday, April 20th, 2009

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Residents of a home on Hillside Drive in Wilmington got a surprise Sunday morning when a car crashed into their house.

Police told us the accident happened around 9:30 a.m. when a 17-year-old girl lost consciousness behind the wheel.

Someone who lives in the house said he is a friend of the girl. He said she hit a mailbox, then went over the curb and smacked into his house. No one was seriously injured.

Highway Patrol said alcohol played a factor in the accident. The girl is charged with driving while impaired.

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Residents of a home on Hillside Drive in Wilmington got a surprise Sunday morning when a car crashed into their house.

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Associated poll

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Coalition urges Wilmington residents to support sick leave effort

Monday, April 20th, 2009

The N.C. Paid Sick Days Coalition invites Wilmington residents to come out Tuesday and support the group’s push to mandate paid sick leave as it makes its way through the General Assembly.

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Police say 5 die in western NC wreck, 3 survive

Monday, April 20th, 2009

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ASHEVILLE — Police say five people died in a head-on collision between a sedan and a pickup truck in western North Carolina.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that the wreck occurred Sunday afternoon on U.S. 64 in Transylvania County. Highway Patrol Sgt. C.R. Jones said a pickup truck crossed the center line and collided with a car carrying seven people.

Drivers of both vehicles were killed as well as an adult and two children in the sedan. Three children survived the crash. Police say no one was wearing a seat belt.

Jim Byrd lives near the scene and said he’d seen many wrecks on the curvy and steep section of road, but this was the worst.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Police say five people died in a head-on collision between a sedan and a pickup truck in western North Carolina.

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Associated poll

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From courtroom to classroom: Superior Court Judge Howard Manning

Monday, April 20th, 2009

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He is one of the loudest champions of public education, though not a teacher, principal or superintendent. He is Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, who presided over the Leandro lawsuit, a landmark case that changed public education in North Carolina.

“It started out about money, all about money, just like everybody was suing everywhere else in the US looking for equality of funding between school districts in the state,” said Judge Manning.

But it turned into more than that. Judge Manning began looking at the quality of education students were receiving and saw it was sub-par. The school system was failing, and the students who struggled often times ended up in front of him.

“I got sick and tired of seeing, taking, guilty pleas from mostly white and black males,” said Judge Manning. “It didn’t matter what color they were, you would take the plea, look down on plea transcript and see last grade they completed was nine.”

Judge Manning’s rulings set a new quality standard for every school in the state, making it clear that all children were entitled to an equal opportunity to receive a sound basic education. That includes competent, certified teachers, principals, and resources available to help at-risk children. But to this judge, it’s still not enough. “I’m not satisfied. I’m happy, I’m pleased we have come this far,” he said.

What keeps him going is knowing children will benefit from his perseverance. “North Carolina is doing extremely well in lots of schools, but I’ve got to worry about the ones on the bottom,” Judge Manning said.

All of this year’s Razor Walker Award recipients will be honored at a banquet Monday night at UNCW.

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videoOne Superior Court judge got tired of seeing a connection between felons and poor schools. That is why Howard Manning used everything within his power to effect change; and when you are a judge, that’s a lot of power.

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Associated poll

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