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Archive for June, 2009

Cape Fear Memorial Bridge inspection will mean lane closures, delays this week

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Another inspection of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge will require temporary lane closures later this week and all of next week, so motorists should prepare for delays on either side of the span.

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Demotion of Pender County sheriff’s deputy

Monday, June 8th, 2009

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Pender County leaders plan to release information about the demotion of a sheriff’s deputy.

Sheriff Carson Smith demoted Sergeant Michael Lewis last month to deputy in connection with Lewis’s role in helping rescue malnourished horses in the Hampstead area.

Because of state laws governing personnel issues, the sheriff’s office has been unable to release the details of the suspension. Sheriff Smith and the county manager are outlining their position on the matter. They are expected to release more detailed information about the demotion Monday.

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Pender County leaders plan to release information about the demotion of a sheriff’s deputy. Sheriff Carson Smith demoted Sergeant Michael Lewis last month to deputy in connection with Lewis’s role in helping rescue malnourished horses in the Hampstead area.

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Associated poll

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Fundraiser a big hit for Stewart Willard

Monday, June 8th, 2009

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Musicians, artists, family and friends attended a fundraiser Sunday night to help a 14-year-old boy battling cancer. Wilmington teen, Stewart Willard, wanted to attend his own fundraiser, but he was not physically up to the challenge, though he joined in by computer from his hospital bed at Duke Cancer Center in Durham.

Doctors diagnosed Stewart with lymphoma in April. “So now he’s undergoing chemotherapy, intensive for about 6 months and there’s about an 80% chance we can get rid of the cancer. It could come back eventually and it’s tough, for an adult, but for a 14 year old kid it’s real tough,” said dad, Hap Willard.

Members of the Wilmington Hammerheads pro soccer squad attended the fundraiser at St. Thomas Preservation Hall. They autographed a ball for Stewart who loves soccer. Doctors are optimistic he will beat the cancer.

He has his own website, StewartWillard.org, where you can see what he wants to do when he gets better. You can even make a donation.

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Musicians, artists, family and friends attended a fundraiser Sunday night to help a 14-year-old boy battling cancer.

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Associated poll

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Wilmington landmark checks out

Monday, June 8th, 2009

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Checkout time Sunday morning made it official. Whitey’s El Berta Motor Inn is closing it’s doors. It has been a fixture on Market Street for the past 55 years. When it was built back in 1953 it had only 18 rooms. Ownership of the property changed hands about 30 years ago when Whitey took it over and added more rooms.

Whitey owns the restaurant next door; that is where you can always find him. He said there are plenty of reasons behind closing down El Berta, from the economy to maintenance costs. “Now is the time to make a change, we feel like if we spend a lot of money on the motel, we’ll still have an old motel,” said Horace “Whitey” Prevatte.

El Berta employs between 10 and 12 workers like Holly Dawes and Olga Costillo who said they couldn’t believe the news. “I can’t really imagine what it is going to be like without this being here,” said Dawes.

Dawes added that it is clear people consider El Berta a true Wilmington landmark after hearing some odd requests from the public. “People want part of the history. We’ve got people who want bricks. It’s going to be really interesting to see what happens as we start to disassemble,” she said.

The El Berta Motor Inn is quite unique, the entire motel is just one story. Another thing you won’t find these days, every room still opens with a key.

The 83-room, one story building sits on some prime real estate along Market Street. Though the motel will eventually be torn down, Whitey will continue to own the property where shops or a new hotel will one day replace El Berta. “It’s kind of sweet and kind of sour. I hate to see it go but we know it has to be done and we are looking for the future.”

Whitey and his sons own two other hotels in the area. Some employees from the El Berta will be absorbed into those businesses.

The next step for the El Berta is clearing out all the rooms. The bedding and furniture will be donated to area charities.

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videoWilmington waved goodbye to a local landmark Sunday. We’re not talking about a major corporation or a bank; it was Whitey’s El Berta Motor Inn on Market Street. After more than 50 years in business, the vacancy sign is off for good.

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Associated poll

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New director has seen United Way evolve over 33 years

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Chris Nelson has seen changes in United Way during his 33 years with the organization. The onetime “community chest” has evolved into an agency that seeks innovative ways to tackle local problems.

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