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Archive for July, 2009

Tabor City teen arson victim says he’s afraid for his life

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

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Seventeen year old Allen Strickland says Senator Soles bought the house for him that went up in flames early Wednesday morning.

The State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to look at a suspected case of arson at the house on March Avenue in Tabor City. Allen Strickland, called “Frog” by his family and friends, was inside sleeping early Wednesday morning, and woke up to a bedroom full of smoke. He says he had to jump out of an upstairs window to escape with his life.

It appears the brand new house is a total loss. For now, Allen is staying with his grandmother who lives next door.

“My grandma, she’s worried to death that whoever done it might be wanted to go to her house and do it again because of me being there,” he said.

Even though there haven’t been any arrests for the suspected arson, fire investigators think this is an isolated incident. But people who live near the crime scene aren’t exactly resting easy.

“I just hope they catch the person that done it,” neighbor Sherry Nealey said. “That’s my main concern is they catch the person because if it’s someone trying to hurt him, they need to be caught.”

Another big element in this story – the benefactor of the house. Allen strickland is 17 years old and doesn’t have a job or parents active in his life. He says Senator RC Soles paid for his house, his corvette, a pair of 4 wheelers, on top of giving him a generous allowance if the boy agreed to finish school.

WWAY has been been trying to reach the Senator Soles to confirm that for weeks. Morning anchor Kevin Wuzzardo finally talked to the Senator on Tuesday, and this is what happened:

Kevin: “On another matter, a young man named Allen Strickland told us that you’ve given him tens of thousands of dollars to pay for his house and his car, as part of an arrangement that if he finishes school, you’ll buy him these things. Have you given him that money?:

Soles: “I cannot hear you.”

Kevin: (Louder) “A young man named Allen Strickland told us that you’ve given him tens of thousands of dollars to pay for his house and his car.”

Soles: “I cannot hear you, speak up.”

Kevin: (Louder) “A young man named Allen Strickland – “

Soles: “Speak up.”

Kevin: “Do you hear me, Senator?”

The phone then went dead.

Senator Soles had no problems hearing during the first 9 minutes of the interview about the state budget, and he wasn’t available when we called back after the line went dead.

Allen Strickland hasn’t talked to Senator Soles either.

“I’ve had no contact with him since saturday when we had a falling out.”

The entire Strickland family has been affected by the incident. His sister says she fears for his life.

“Who could have done this? Who would have that spite on a 17 year old child?,” asked Cheyanne Strickland.

Cheyenne Strickland says her brother and the Senator have had a rocky relationship for some time.

“He’s threatened his life many times, and told him if you do not get off my driveway, and leave me alone, you’re dead,” Cheyanne told WWAY.

We will continue to reach out to Senator Soles for comment.

If you’re wondering, Allen Strickland’s home was covered by insurance.

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The Columbus County town of Tabor City is buzzing with speculation over who may have burned down the home of a local teenager with connections to State Senator RC Soles.

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Volunteers rebuild home destroyed by tornado

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

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In March, a tornado touched down in Bladenboro. The Norris family home was in it’s path.
The two story home split in two.

“The power went out and my husband and my daughter ran to the back of the house for flashlights and you just heard it like a freight train like everyone says,” said homeowner Stephanie Norris.

Now a few months later, construction on a new home is underway.

A new roof, plumbing and electrical work is all going in with the help of volunteers.
Dozens of volunteers from the Baptist Men’s Association have been tirelessly working for days to help rebuild what a tornado took in minutes.

Some of these volunteers have travelled far and wide to help those in need, like volunteer Gary Pope.

“It’s the same as going to Mississippi after a storm or whatever, we just were able to do this at home.”

Stephanie Norris says her family has been through a lot. She was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. She won her battle with cancer, and believes she is once again a winner.

“You can dwell on what happened that night but it happened for a reason. All the people who have come into our lives and have blessed us from then and it has just been a gift, it’s been a blessing in disguise.”

This blessing just happens to be a new home.

While building their home the Norris family is also gearing up for back to school. Stephanie and Eddie Norris are both teachers. Incidentally, some of the volunteers happen to be a few of their former students.

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It’s amazing what a few nails, wood and some concrete can do. For one Bladen County family, it can change a case of bad luck into good fortune.

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Wilmington doctor sentenced in prescription drug plot

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

By Veronica GonzalezVeronica.Gonzalez@StarNewsOnline.com

A Wilmington doctor was sentenced this week in a Florida federal court to three years in prison for selling prescription drugs online.

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Man robbed at gunpoint while receiving oral sex

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

A man receiving oral sex was robbed at gunpoint Thursday morning.At 12:50 a.m. Thursday, the man was in his car at the 1200 block of North 26th Street and he was receiving oral sex when two men opened the doors and robbed him at gunpoint, according to a news release from Lucy Crockett with the Wilmington Police Department.

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Keeping man’s best friend safe in a storm

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

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Running a storm shelter for pets is no small task. That’s why on Thursday, New Hanover County employees and local volunteers practiced how to protect pets during a hurricane.

Volunteers gathered at Noble Middle School and practiced quickly putting together kennels, and tagging each animal if in fact pet owners have to bring their pets to a shelter. Noble is a pet-friendly emergency shelter during severe weather.

Trying to stay organized during a time of panic is the best way to ease stress.

“When the staff is already familiar with the procedures then we can be of more help to those coming in who may be at a high stress level,” said volunteer Sylvia Auten.

Auten lived through two hurricanes in our area, and says pets can be vulnerable in those storms.

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Noble is a pet-friendly emergency shelter during severe weather. Thursday, volunteers practiced for an emergency scenario.

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Associated poll

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