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Archive for May, 2009

Local man talks about his Band of Brothers

Monday, May 25th, 2009

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You’ve most likely heard of the Band of Brothers. For many soldiers, memories from the battlefield are something they’d rather forget, but one Oak Island man, who was part of that group, is now sharing his stories from World War II.

“I am not a hero, but I fought with a company of heroes,” said Band of Brothers soldier Henry Zimmerman. “My hope is that my story and those of others will encourage today’s youth to carry on a legacy of freedom for all.”

For Henry Zimmerman, the sounds of gunfire and mortar attacks have long been replaced by the quiet hum of an oxygen machine. That hasn’t stopped him from breathing new life into old memories he once tried to block.

“When you go into a battle like that you want to forget it as quick as you can. You got hurt too many times loosing your friends and buddies,” said the veteran of WWII.

Zimmerman was only 17 when the U.S. joined WWII, too young to fight for his country.

But a year later he was off to the army, a teenager on his way to war. “You have to learn a lot of things before you go into combat,” Zimmerman said. The most important thing he learned? “Stay alive!”

Despite fighting the Germans and temperatures dropping to 30 below zero at the Battle of the Bulge, he did just that.

Many of his brothers weren’t as lucky. “My buddy got killed and that’s hard to take, that’s the hardest part of war.”

When Stephen Ambrose wrote Band of Brothers, Zimmerman wasn’t ready to share what he had seen. Several years later when HBO contacted him about the television show, Zimmerman changed his mind. “I felt alright because it’s been quite a while and I figured people should know about what went on.”

Zimmerman has once again opened up to speak about the war. His thoughts are captured in Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers.

For his wife Millie of 58 years, it’s the first time she’s heard many of the stories, and there’s only one thing she can say to her solider, “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

But Zimmerman said he can’t take all the credit. “It’s not just my stories, it’s all of our stories.” After all, he had a band of brothers behind him.

Zimmerman was awarded several medals, including the Bronze Star, for his service during World War II. He still keeps in contact with many of the men who fought beside him in the war.

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videoYou’ve most likely heard of the Band of Brothers. For many soldiers, memories from the battlefield are something they’d rather forget, but one Oak Island man, who was part of that group, is now sharing his stories from World War II.

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Associated poll

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Southport locals think something’s fishy about Easley and marina

Monday, May 25th, 2009

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A federal investigation into alleged misdeeds by former governor Mike Easley are stirring hard feelings again in Southport. In 2006, Easley pushed to lease the state-owned Southport Marina to a Cary-based developer. It raised a lot of questions about his personal connections to people involved in the deal, questions that are now resurfacing.

For Woody Wilson and Bill Duke, protecting the Southport Marina and keeping it open to the public is a priority, but their effort to do that a few years ago led to a battle with, and ethics complaint against, then-governor Mike Easley.

“We knew when we filed this ethics complaint that there was smoke. We just couldn’t build the fire,” said Bill Duke.

Three years later, a federal probe is again looking at smoke from relationships between Easley and some of his donors.

In 2006, Wilson, Duke and other members of Save Southport Marina questioned Easley’s relationship with a developer whose name was connected with the marina lease deal.

The State Ethics Board, appointed by Easley, threw out the complaint.

“You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this was a whitewash of the accusations that we made,” Wilson said.

After lots of work by the leaseholders, both Wilson and Duke admit they are pleased with the progress of the marina, where Wilson rents a slip.

But they still say something is fishy about the deal.

What also frustrates supporters of the marina is that this is not a governor from some other part of the state with no connections to the town. After all, Mike Easley has called Southport home for about 30 years.

“It aggravates the livin’ devil out of ya. You don’t expect this to happen,” Wilson said.

Easley was not at his Southport home to answer that question when WWAY stopped by and he has not returned a call to his Raleigh law office for comment.

Neighbors on the other side of town hope if Easley did do something wrong here or elsewhere in the state he will have to answer for that.

“During the Easley administration, I think we had enough of the sleazy politicians and just the undisciplined I’m-above-the-law attitude that we seem to find so prevalent,” Wilson said.

Woody Wilson and Bill Duke said they hope federal investigators will come back to re-examine their allegations against Easley. In the meantime, they just hope the State Port Authority does not try to sell the marina to help pay for the international port in Southport proposed during the Easley administration.

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A federal investigation into alleged misdeeds by former governor Mike Easley are stirring hard feelings again in Southport. In 2006, Easley pushed to lease the state-owned Southport Marina to a Cary-based developer. It raised a lot of questions about his personal connections to people involved in the deal, questions that are now resurfacing.

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Associated poll

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New regulations won’t keep pools from opening

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Summer swim season is here, but some area pools might not be compliant with new federal laws intended to make pool drains safer.

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Woman charged with taking indecent liberties with a minor

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Jessica Bailey Wishnask, 27, of Oak City, was charged with indecent liberties with a minor, said Wilmington police spokeswoman Lucy Crockett.

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Wilmington woman dies after crashing motorcycle near Belville

Monday, May 25th, 2009

A 34-year-old woman died after crashing her motorcycle near Belville Sunday night.

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