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Archive for June, 2009

Rapid growth a factor in Cooperative Bank’s demise

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

By Wayne FaulknerWayne.Faulkner@StarNewsOnline.com

Why did Cooperative Bank fail and other institutions survive the debacle that befell Southeastern North Carolina’s real estate development industry?

More: continued here

Iran native hopeful for democracy in homeland

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

By Ana RibeiroAna.Ribeiro@StarNewsOnline.com

To Fred Nasseri, the unrest in his native Iran these days is deja vu, but one that makes him hopeful.

More: continued here

Brunswick County prostitution investigation continues

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

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The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office says half of those women caught in last week’s raid in south Brunswick County may be part of a larger prostitution ring that stretches beyond state lines.

Detectives say these women are thought to be traveling the country, engaging in illicit sexual activity in other states, most recently Georgia, and then moving on to allude police.

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office arrested 12 women, six of whom maybe connected to something larger, something detectives weren’t aware of during their six-month investigation.

“At least six of the women have moved about the country they will go to an establishment for two to three months and then they are transferred to another location through out the country,” said Sheriff John Ingram.

These women worked at Sun Spa and Smile Spa in Longwood. Detectives are unsure if these women are even citizens of the United States. Only one of the six has an active social security number.

Detectives investigated the idea of human trafficking.

“Initially it was one of our concerns but after interviews and background checks we have determined that none of the women that we arrested have been involved in human trafficking,” Ingram said.

Sheriff Ingram says this investigation is far from over.

Beyond trying to figure out whose running this traveling prostitution ring, investigators are trying to figure out where all the money from these operations was going.

In all more than $ 50,000 was seized.

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videoThe Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office says half of those women caught in last week’s raid in south Brunswick County may be part of a larger prostitution ring that stretches beyond state lines.

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Associated poll

More: continued here

Early birds gobble up the goods at Wrightsville Beach farmers market

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

By Patricia E. MatsonCitydesk@StarNewsOnline.Com

Three years after the seeds were first planted, the Wrightsville Beach farmers market has sprouted to life.

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County budget approved without a raise in property taxes

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

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Do you raise taxes in a tight economy? That was the question New Hanover County Commissioners had to answer Monday.

The Commission approved the county budget without raising property taxes, but the decision didn’t come easily.

The vote on a property tax rate for New Hanover County residents came down to three-against-two. In the end, those against raising the property tax rate won.

“The owners of real property are over taxed as it,” said NHC Commissioner Jason Thompson.

As a result of the vote, the property tax rate will remain at 45.25 cents.

That decision did not sit well with others.

Commissioner Jonathan Barfield says the tax increase would have been the only source of revenue to help the county survive troubling times. “We, as a board of commissioners, have no vision beyond tomorrow; no one is looking at the affect that this no tax increase is going to have on the citizens of the county and the employees of the county.”

It’s no secret the county is the midst of a major budget deficit. The county has cut operating expenses by eight percent, or $ 21 million, from last year.

The county is also having to dip into its fund balance, which acts as a savings account. There will be $1.8 million transferred to the general fund.

Barfield says without a property tax rate increase there will be more bad news to come. “What else can we cut but services, so therefore you are going to see county government closed even more and you are going to see your libraries indeed closed even more.”

As it is, county library hours will be reduced under the new budget.

The commissioners also voted to increase the fire district tax for unincorporated residents by one cent per 100 dollars of assessed property value. This will affect anyone who does not live in within the city limits or the three beach communities. Doing so will generate $ 1.2 million for the county.

“Anybody who is in a corporated area of New Hanover County is paying twice for fire service. They are paying for their fire service and then you are all paying a piece for these few people that live in the unincorporated areas, it’s not fair they should pay for their service,” Thompson said.

Budget cuts at the state level are on the way. How that will affect our county is still unknown.

“I can’t control federal government, and I can’t control the state government, but I can do something about what we spend here,” said Commissioner Bill Caster.

The tipping fee at the landfill will also go up to $55.65 per ton.

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Story summary

videoThe vote on a property tax rate for New Hanover County residents came down to three-against-two. In the end, those against raising the property tax rate won.

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nhc150.jpg

Associated poll

More: continued here

 

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