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Archive for May, 2009

Case against Brian Reavis underway

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

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Jurors were sworn in Tuesday and state prosecutors began to call their witnesses. Among those called, the now 96-year-old victim who took the stand to face her accused attacker, Brian Reavis.

Twelve jurors took their seats, nine women and three men. Among the witnesses called to the stand, the elderly victim herself.

In a firm voice, she told the jury she was attacked on April 12th of last year as she walked outside to get the morning paper.

She said her attacker demanded money, but when twenty dollars was not enough, that’s when the victim said she was forced upstairs and was brutally beaten and raped.

She went on to say she begged her attacker to stop, telling him she was 95-years-old. But he just kept hitting her.

She said she thought it would never stop.

Despite being blinded in her right eye from the attack, the victim, who was poised, faced her accused attacker. Reavis sat quietly, hunched over in his seat with no reaction.

The jury also had a chance to hear from a neighbor, the 911 operator who took the victim’s call and the first responding officer.

Prosecutors played the 911 tape for the jury, some of who were obviously shaken.

In cross-examination of the victim, Reavis’ attorney focused on the composite sketch, which forensic artists drew from the victim’s description.

Some question the likeness of that sketch, to Brian Reavis.

Reavis’ attorney asked the victim to only qualify the description she gave for the composite sketch.

Tomorrow, Reavis’ attorney will have the opportunity to present his case.

With an insanity claim for the attack already on the books, the defense will weigh heavily on Reavis’ history of mental illness.

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videoJurors were sworn in Tuesday and state prosecutors began to call their witnesses. Among those called, the now 96-year-old victim who took the stand to face her accused attacker, Brian Reavis.

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Associated poll

More: continued here

Transportation officials take a watch and wait approach

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

With a watchful eye trained on the latest news about swine flu, the region’s transportation institutions are continuing business as usual.

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Budget proposal and annexation on tap for Wilmington City Council

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

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Tuesday is the night when Wilmington City Council members will vote on the Monkey Junction annexation and will take a look at the budget for the upcoming year.

A nearly 2 million dollar projected decrease in sales tax and more than half-a-million dollars less in property taxes are two main reasons the city is facing a 6.5 million dollar budget deficit.

Tuesday night, City Manager Sterling Cheatham will present the 2009-2010 budget proposal to City Council.

Property taxes won’t be going up and no layoffs will be needed under the budget proposal, but there will be cuts.

The city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year is 122.5 million dollars, that’s nearly a 4.5 percent decrease from this year.

The city will eliminate 36 positions across several departments; most of the positions are vacant, so no one will lose their job.

These cuts are in addition to millions of dollars the city has already trimmed.

“You’re talking about 10 million dollars worth of reductions that we’ve had to take in a one year budget. That’s a big hit and we’ve done that without laying off employees or raising taxes,” said Wilmington spokesperson Malissa Talbert.

No layoffs, but city employees will be impacted. They’ll see higher health insurance costs, a decrease in retirement contributions, and no raises.

The city will also offer early retirement to 100 employees they don’t plan to replace, combine certain departments, and reduce capital projects.

As far as departments losing people, the Wilmington Police Department will be hardest hit; they will lose 11 positions.

Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said the reduction in force wouldn’t affect the department’s core mission. “We are moving people into patrol from other units within the department. The traffic unit will be down and some of our traffic enforcement initiatives will have to be picked up by our patrol.”

Of course the new budget will impact Wilmington residents. They’ll see a two percent increase in storm water fees.

Captital improvements like roads and sidewalks will only be done if absolutely necessary. Many residents said they’ll deal with bad roads, if it means people can keep their jobs. “Yeah I would be good with that. I’d keep all the guys that have jobs working and I’d do the roads and capital improvements later,” said Wilmingtonian Brad Biron.

The Wilmington Fire Department will also begin charging for inspections they currently provide for free. Also, there will be a charge for law enforcement to respond to a false alarm at a business or home.

Officials said the city can only cut services and positions so far before they need to find more revenue.

One way the city is hoping to generate more revenue is through more property taxes. They’ll be generated through the annexation that council will vote on tonight, it’s expected to pass.

The area is about 950 acres and will affect about 3,300 people.

There has been a lot of opposition to this topic, but annexation supporters say this will keep tax rates low for city residents and have people who use city services pay for them.

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videoTuesday is the night when Wilmington City Council members will vote on the Monkey Junction annexation and will take a look at the budget for the upcoming year.

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Associated poll

More: continued here

Hurricane Hunter plan will offer tours at ILM

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

One of the world-famous “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft that fly into tropical storms with high-tech instruments to gauge their strength and potential track is coming to the Wilmington International Airport.

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How to beware when buying on craigslist

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

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Craigslist has of course been in the news recently. A Boston man has been dubbed the “Craigslist Killer”, accused in the death of a woman he met through the site.

Yesterday, we told you how people selling goods and services can protect themselves, today some advice for buyers.

You can find just about anything you’re looking for on craigslist. Barbara Duff found a puppy, Brian Edwards found a new employee.

Brian owns Trademark Investments in Wilmington. Craigslist is a lifeline for his business. “We use it to buy all kinds of photography equipment, we buy and sell homes on there, automobiles, it’s an everyday thing for us.”

More than 50 million people use craigslist each month. With this much traffic, it’s hard to police, so it’s important to keep your guard up when using the site.

Sheriff’s Detective Vincent Saponaro recommends checking out someone’s background before you hire them off of craigslist. “Don’t be afraid to ask for references and insist on getting them from someone that is going to come to your house. If they’re legitimate and they’re in good standing with other clients, they’re going to have those references readily available for you to contact.”

As a frequent craigslist user, Brian has caught on to scams he commonly comes across on the site. “They will bombard you with sales offers and make one hundred dollars an hour stuffing envelopes, there’s a lot of those things out there you get hit with. But pretty much the buying and selling is local people trying to sell things in their garage.”

Detective Saponaro said the most common scam he sees on craigslist involves a deal made overseas. The scammer sends a check for more than the item listed is worth, then tries to con the person into cashing the check and wiring back the balance owed.

“Of course the check is no good, the person cashes it at their bank and wires it, the bank tells them it’s no good and ultimately, they’re responsible to pay it back, even though they become a victim of the scam,” Saponaro said.

Barbara and Brian both said they’ve had good experiences with craigslist, but they take extra precautions just in case.

“I did bring somebody with me though, just to make sure. You just never know in this world,” stated Barbara.

A local website similar to craigslist is wilmingtonyardsales.com.

Many members of the community prefer this site over craigslist because they say they feel safer.

Every Tuesday, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., hundreds of people meet at the empty Bruce Cavanaugh parking lot on Market Street to exchange prearranged deals. This way, the transactions are public and many feel safer about this type of exchange.

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videoYesterday, we told you how people selling goods and services can protect themselves, today some advice for buyers.

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craigs150.jpg

Associated poll

More: continued here

 

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