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Archive for May, 2009

City pools open Saturday, but Northside one to remain closed

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

This summer, because of budget cuts, only two pools – the Legion Stadium and Robert Strange pools — will open to the public. The Northside pool will remain empty.

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Leland man arrested for allegedly trafficking cocaine

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

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The Pender County Sheriff Narcotics Unit arrested a man Thursday for allegedly trafficking crack cocaine.

During a two month investigation, officers were able to seize multiple ounces of crack cocaine from Timothy Ballard of northeast Leland.

The Pender County Sheriff’s Department said Ballard has a history of drug convictions. He is being held in the Pender County Jail on a million dollar-plus bond.

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The Pender County Sheriff Narcotics Unit arrested a man Thursday for allegedly trafficking crack cocaine.

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Associated poll

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Brunswick sheriff’s captain’s house burns to ground

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Brunswick County Sheriff’s Capt. Keith Smith had just returned from Bike Week in Myrtle Beach, parked his 2008 Harley Davidson in his garage and gone to his mom’s house for lunch. Twenty minutes later, his house was in flames.

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Strawberry farms hit by economy and weather

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

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Columbus County is home to North Carolina’s Strawberry Festival, and while the strawberries are as sweet as ever, sales have gone sour. “They once had customers come in and buy 2 to 3 flats of strawberries, which equals out to be about 6 to 12 quarts of strawberries a week, and now they’re only buying 2 to 3 quarts per month,” said Howard Wallace of Columbus County Cooperative Extension.

The county is home to 12 strawberry farms, bringing in about $30,000 per acre each year. The total impact on the local economy is more than $350,000. At Edmund Farms in Chadbourn sales are down about 33 percent or $10,000 from last year.

“Given the economy, the way it is, our biggest downfall this year has been the weather in general,” said Joe Edmund of Edmund Farms.

Farmers say the ideal season for harvesting strawberries is mild temperatures, with a little bit of rain. But this year more extreme temperatures, and greater than expected rain fall, meant many of the berries rotted on the vine, which means fewer weeks of harvesting and less money for the farmers. “It’s such an expensive crop to grow and are such a demanding crop, the cost for strawberries is kind of limiting,” added Wallace.

Wallace said farmers have to charge at least 3 dollars per quart to make a profit, but local farmers are slashing prices to try and stay competitive. “Well we hope the economy turns around and everyone can buy their strawberries. We’re going to hang in there,” said Edmund.

Farmers usually have about 8 weeks to harvest their strawberry crop, the first 4 help cover their costs leaving 4 weeks of profit. But this year the rain and extreme weather swings has cut the harvest down to six weeks. Edmund said next week could be the last harvest week of the season.

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videoColumbus County is well known throughout North Carolina for it’s strawberry farms. But with people buying less of the locally grown fruit, farmers are starting to question if they’ll really have their strawberry fields forever.

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Associated poll

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UPDATE: Police investigating Southport woman’s death as possible homicide

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

The death of a woman found Friday afternoon in her Southport home is being treated as a suspicious death, possibly a homicide, Police Chief J.V. Dove said.If the death is a homicide, it would be the first in Southport since 2001, Dove said.

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