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Archive for November, 2009

County commissioners approve permit for cell tower on school property

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

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County commissioners approved a special use permit for a 90-foot cell tower on Murrayville Elementary property. Parents and nearby residents were upset and frustrated with the decision.

Parents said they only found out about the school board’s decision to lease the property to AT&T five days ago from neighboring property owners. Some property owners got letters in the mail, only a little before that.

Concerned homeowner Kim Harrell said, “Nobody is going to want to buy my house that we’ve maintained for 24 years, very nicely, with a big cell tower in the background. When you take a picture of the house, you’re going to see a big cell tower. I mean, there’s just no getting around it.”

It is not just declining property values, but also health concerns that are at the heart of the argument against a cell phone tower on school property.

“There are studies out there to go both ways and because of that, I’d rather err on the side of caution for the safety of my child,” said Murrayville Elementary PTA vice president Angela Peterson.

County commissioners heard from representatives for the American Tower Corporation, as well as the opposing sides. Federal law limits municipalities from evaluating health concerns when approving or denying permits, since there is no concrete evidence linking health problems to cell towers.

In the end, only Commissioner Greer voted against the permit, saying he would not want it in his neighborhood.

The Murrayville PTA and property owners are still hopeful that there is some sort of recourse against the county commission’s decision.

The money from the lease of the land for the tower will go back to the New Hanover County School Board.

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videoIt was a disappointing night for a group of New Hanover County parents and property owners. Despite some residents efforts to fight it, county commissioners approved a special use permit for a cell phone tower on Murrayville Elementary School property.

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Associated poll

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Latino food, entertainment on tap Saturday at Hugh MacRae Park

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

By John Staton,John.Staton@StarNewsOnline.com

It’s the 11th year for Festival Latino, the celebration of food, music, art and culture that will be held Saturday among the pine trees of Hugh MacRae Park.

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Holden Beach hopes to avoid the growing number of internet cafes

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

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Instead of venturing to Vegas, many people are gambling right in their backyards at internet cafes. As you might imagine, controversy is brewing.

Brunswick County has several of these internet cafes, but they are not necessarily welcomed. Mayor Alan Holden said, “They’re popping up like mushrooms all over Brunswick County.”

But they are not popping up in Holden Beach, at least not yet. Holden Beach is one of the only towns in southern Brunswick County where you will not find sweepstakes cafes, which are homes to online gambling.

“This is a family beach and most of the people who live here are not interested in the gambling-type facilities at Holden Beach,” said Mayor Holden. “We do have the accommodations for our zoning but we are re-evaluating that at this time.”

Because Holden Beach cannot prohibit someone from opening a sweepstakes café in town, Mayor Holden said the town plans to tighten ordinances, like limiting the number of electronic machines and whether a sweepstakes café can be built near a school or church, in hopes owners will choose to do business elsewhere.

Gina Caserma opened Gold Strike Internet Sweepstakes a month ago just outside of Holden Beach in Supply. She is worried about what new regulations will mean for her.

“Just what the county’s going to do, what the state’s going to do – that’s my biggest (concern). The regulations and stuff, they can make their limits we can follow that, but the biggest worry I have is getting shut down,” Caserma said.

But for Mayor Holden, the hope is to keep the cafes out of town to begin with. “I’m sure all the people involved in that business are good people and the people who do it are good people, we just hope they enjoy other places more than they would Holden Beach.”

Ocean Isle Beach, Shallotte and Calabash are also in the process of changing their ordinances to regulate sweepstakes cafes.

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videoInstead of venturing to Vegas, many people are gambling right in their backyards at internet cafes. As you might imagine, controversy is brewing.

Brunswick County has several of these internet cafes, but they are not necessarily welcomed.

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sweepstakes150.jpg

Associated poll

More: continued here

Lawmakers return to NC capital to talk sales tax

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

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RALEIGH — The House and Senate are getting back to work on whether they can agree to an overhaul of North Carolina’s tax structure next year.

Members of the finance committees in both chambers scheduled to hold a joint meeting Tuesday.

Democratic leaders at the General Assembly worked unsuccessfully during this year’s legislative session to fashion a plan to lower tax rates and increase the number of items subject to taxation.

Instead, they raised about $1 billion in new taxes to close a new revenue gap.

Proponents of sales tax changes contend an overhaul would ultimately tap into North Carolina’s shifting service-oriented economy.

An agreement isn’t immediately on the horizon. Lawmakers will hear presentations Tuesday on the history of the sales tax and current exemptions.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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The House and Senate are getting back to work on whether they can agree to an overhaul of North Carolina’s tax structure next year.

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Associated poll

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Update – N.C. court upholds Thomas Wright’s conviction

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

By Veronica GonzalezVeronica.Gonzalez@StarNewsOnline.com

Wright isn’t done appealing his convictions though. On Nov. 16, he will be heard by a three-judge N.C. Court of Appeals panel on why his conviction for obstruction of justice should be tossed out.

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