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Archive for December, 2009

Analysis – Soles case adds to uncertainty for Senate Democrats

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

By Gareth McGrathGareth.McGrath@StarNewsOnline.com

He’s not been indicted, and he’s innocent until proven guilty.But the political landscape, already rocky considering what’s transpired this year, just got a whole lot more difficult for state Sen. R.C. Soles – and potentially for the Democrats in the Senate.

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Facebook users outspoken about new privacy settings

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

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Facebook administrators say they’re making changes to the site to give its members more control. But some members are upset a portion of their personal information is now visible to the entire web.

If you logged on to Facebook Thursday, you probably noticed a transition tool prompting you to change your privacy settings. In a likely attempt to keep up with Twitter, which has limited privacy settings, Facebook is asking its 350-million members to update theirs.

The problem is if you put your settings on default – recommended by Facebook administrators – you could be exposing your name, gender, picture, list of friends, fan pages, and status to the entire World Wide Web.

“This would be a point where I would say ‘you need to log onto Facebook and check and see what your privacy settings are,” said UNCW Communications Professor Jeanne Persuit. “And you go under settings and you go under privacy, and you see what you have available. There’s a preview button, where you can say this is how it looks to other users. So you can preview it for your friend, preview it for everyone, so you can really see what’s being shown.”

Facebook administrators say they’re making these changes to make people more searchable. But some users say they’re making personal lives way too public.

“I don’t want it to be out there for everybody to read, just my special friends that are on my list,” said Fran Greiner.

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Ivan Christo said “Originally it was a college-networking site, and I liked that about it. But now all these teachers and friends moms, and all these people I didn’t want on Facebook are on Facebook now, and they can sometimes see photos you don’t want them to see. I just deny all my relatives and friends’ parents to avoid that, but still these new settings are making it harder and harder to keep everything private.”

Facebook recently reached 350-million members; half of them log on to the site in any given day. More than 35-million Facebook users update their status every day.

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videoNew privacy settings on the social-networking site Facebook may actually be exposing your information, rather than protecting it.

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Associated poll

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No one injured after car slams into Wilmington bank

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Wilmington | A gray Ford Taurus plowed into a front window of the BB&T Bank on 17th Street on Thursday afternoon, causing an estimated $25,000 in damage, but no injuries.

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Fate of Nesbitt Courts still up in the air

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

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Nesbitt Courts has been empty since 2007, but plans to demolish the historic Wilmington housing project could be going up in smoke.

In April, Senator Kay Hagan came to Wilmington to award the Wilmington Housing Authority three million dollars in stimulus funding. Half of that money was budgeted for the demolition of Nesbitt Courts, but now a developer wants to buy that property, which means the housing authority can use the money on other shovel ready projects.

“Money that we had received wasn’t for any specific purpose. After receiving those funds, we have decided that we would budget a portion of those funds for the demolition of Nesbitt Courts,” said Mike Krause, Wilmington Housing Authority CEO.

Since Nesbitt Courts closed in 2007, the gray buildings and boarded up windows have created a bit of an eye soar for the neighborhood, but developer Walter Pancoe would like to renovate the buildings and add some color to the community.

“It would be our objective to make those people drive by and say, ‘wow I didn’t even know this was here’ and we think we can accomplish that,” said Walter Pancoe of Caper Corporation.

The Wilmington Housing Authority agreed to sell the nearly 12.5 acre lot to Pancoe’s company, the Caper Corporation. The agreed price is $3.1 million.

Pancoe says the project would also raise tax money for the city. “And it would not add to their infrastructure because it is already there. All the sewers, and water and roads and paving are pretty much in place.”

The Caper Corporation is currently in an examination period before the sale is finalized.

If the sale is goes through, the Wilmington Housing Authority plans to use the stimulus money to renovate homes at the Creekwood community.

The money from the sale would also be put to good use. “I think it provides us an opportunity to use the proceeds from the sale to do additional affordable housing development in the community which is something that not only fulfills our mission, but fulfills the need of the community as well,” Krause said.

The Nesbitt Courts is on a historic registry and the buildings were created in the 1930’s.

If the sale goes through it would be approved by March.

Pancoe plans to turn the housing complex into town homes and add amenities like an indoor pool to the community. He expects the homes to cost less than $250,000.

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videoNesbitt Courts has been empty since 2007, but plans to demolish the historic Wilmington housing project could be going up in smoke.

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Associated poll

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Debate rages on in Topsail Beach

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

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Some Topsail Beach residents worry their town is in danger; under attack from constant erosion. Even on the beach between low and high tide there’s still not much sand to work with. They have lost so much over the years that at high tide the beach is almost unusable.

Topsail Beach Mayor Howard Braxton said, “It doesn’t give us the beach, we don’t have a lot of beach at high tide now. And so, tourists coming in have nowhere to go when it’s a high tide. We have had some complaints there, what’s happened to your beach?”

The price tag on a proposal to replenish the shores of Topsail Beach, at least temporarily, is over $12 million. That proposal was dealt a blow at Wednesday night’s town meeting, when the Shoreline Protection Committee overseeing the project was dis-banded.

Even if the town eventually goes ahead with the renourishment project, not everyone is convinced it will help. Barrier islands are meant to move, but homes and condos are not. Cape Fear coastkeeper Mike Giles said renourishment is only a temporary fix.

“Building in areas near inlets is very, very dangerous. The public shouldn’t pay for those mistakes. The state and towns and local governments need to work together to develop a strategy to dissuade building on our high erosion beaches,” said Giles.

Whether bringing in more sand is the answer is still up for debate at many area beaches, and right now, it’s at top of mind on Topsail Beach.

“It is not dead. It’s at a standstill right now, and I think January 2nd, the roundtable discussion, will either make or break it,” added Braxton.

More than 8 of the $12 million needed for the project has already been raised by the town. If renourishment does get shot down; that money would sit in an account set aside specifically for beach nourishment. It can’t be used for any other purpose.

Those concerned about the project are encouraged to attend the next hearing on January 2nd, in Topsail Beach.

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videoA meeting that went late into the night dealt a blow to those hoping for more sand. Residents and homeowners at the beach are begging for more sand, but it comes at a heavy price.

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Associated poll

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