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Archive for August, 2009

Teen in custody after standoff at Empie Park

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

By David ReynoldsDave.Reynolds@StarNewsOnline.com

Wilmington | An 18-year-old man was “safely” in custody about 10:55 p.m. Wednesday after a standoff of more than an hour at Empie Park, police said.Police had Empie Park surrounded late Wednesday while they looked for a man who might be armed with a gun, Sgt. Carl Strawn of the Wilmington Police Department said.

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Officials investigate possible concealed birth, death in Leland

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Leland | The Leland Police Department and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation are investigating possible violations of state laws concerning the concealment of the birth of a child and the concealment of death, according to a statement Wednesday afternoon from Leland Police Chief Timothy Jayne.

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Three sent to hospital after collision on Pine Grove Drive

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

A two-car crash shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday at Pine Grove Drive and Beasley Road sent three people to a hospital.

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Fatal shooting in Columbus County points to growing gang violence

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

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There is evidence of growing gang violence in Columbus County. The sheriff’s department has a line on several suspects in a fatal shooting over the weekend. It happened in the parking lot of an un-licensed club just south of the Boardman community.

Shots were fired early Saturday morning; one person was killed and five others were wounded. Now, neighbors are concerned for their safety.

Peggy Bass had a hard time sleeping Saturday morning, after shots were fired just feet from her house. “I heard gunshots, lots of them, and they really scared me,” she said.

Bass has been living along a stretch of the Boardman community for at least twenty years. Hearing gunshots outside her house has become a common occurrence. “I’ve been here a long time,” she said. “I’m 68 years old, my husband is almost ninety years old – so you see our concern.”

Neighbors say large groups usually congregate at Ball’s Club late night on the weekends. They say the groups are usually violent, and it makes them afraid to leave their house at night.

“When they close up at night, they have a habit of shooting up in the air, and it goes across,” Bass said.

The man who allegedly runs the un-licensed club lives in a house situated between the club and Bass’s home.

“I don’t go over there, and they don’t come over here,” she said.

The sheriff’s department suspects the incident traces back to some sort of gang activity. Although they say organized crime has not been a concern recently in the area, just two weeks ago, Bladen and Columbus County received a grant as part of their Project Safe Neighborhood initiative, to target gang violence.

The gang initiative will attempt to break up any groups that exist in Bladen and Columbus counties, but specifically in this case, no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information is asked to call Columbus County Sheriff’s Department at 642-6551.

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videoThere is evidence of growing gang violence in Columbus County. The sheriff’s department has a line on several suspects in a fatal shooting over the weekend. It happened in the parking lot of an un-licensed club just south of the Boardman community.

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Associated poll

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Schools still not sure how budget will impact classrooms

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

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The figures are in. Across the board, school districts will be losing out on state funding needed for our schools. How great is the impact? School districts still don’t know.

“They have given us specifics in categories for the state but what does that mean specifically for Brunswick County Schools? We don’t have those numbers yet,” said Brunswick County finance officer Freyja Cahill.

What school officials do know; there will be a reduction in transportation funding, class sizes will increase by two students, and the topic on everyone’s mind – what will happen to teachers.

In Brunswick and New Hanover Counties, teachers and teacher assistant positions will remain. As for Pender and Columbus Counties, no word yet on how teachers will be affected. The only saving grace is how districts will use federal stimulus money to offset the loss in state funding.

“Because of the stimulus money, we were able to create positions with the federal dollars and bring those teachers back into a position,” said Murray Middle School Principal Patrick McCarty.

Nineteen-hundred positions have been spared in Brunswick County with the help of stimulus money, but there is a catch – the money will run out within two years. If the economy does not turn around by then, there could be more bad news to come for our schools.

We spoke with finance officers from each school district throughout our area. They are all working feverously to prepare a final budget before teachers and kids are expected to head back to school.

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videoThe beginning of school is just around the corner. Area school districts still continue to hash out what cuts to make after the state reduced millions in their funding. Millions of dollars won’t be reaching our area schools, but there is no word yet on how it will impact the classroom.

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Associated poll

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