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Archive for December, 2009

Thompson new New Hanover County Board of Commissioners chairman

Monday, December 7th, 2009

By Chris MazzoliniChris.Mazzolini@StarNewsOnline.com

The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will have a new face at chairman for the first time since 1992.

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Locals remember Pearl Harbor

Monday, December 7th, 2009

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Local historians say December 7, 1941 in Wilmington began just like December 7, 2009, cold and gray. Thousands of miles away that day, Japanese forces attacked the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Six men who survived the attack took part in a memorial service Monday at the Battleship North Carolina.

Pender County native Homer Henderson was a 20-year-old seaman aboard the U.S.S. California.

“We were proud of our ship,” he said. “We loved our ship. The attack came as a complete surprise. The dive-bombers came first out of the sun. I was on turret 2, 14-inch turrets, and I was the firing pointer, and the chief gunner’s mate came out and took us out of the turret to help pass the ammunition from down below, ’cause the power was knocked out when we got torpedoed. And we passed ammunition by hand, and then we formed a bucket brigade when we caught on fire.”

“We were torpedoed, we were bombed and we were strafed by ammunition from the planes, and to tell you the truth, I don’t know how I survived, because I was busy putting the wounded and the dead into boats alongside. So we were either fighting fire, we were putting the wounded and dead in the boats to take to the hospital, so I don’t know how I survived. I was just fortunate. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t, you know, enter my mind. It have me a thankfulness that I’ll never forget, because I survived it. I had a lot of friends, 197 on my ship, that didn’t make it.”

At least three men from the Wilmington area were among the more than 2,400 U.S. servicemen killed in the attack at Pearl Harbor.

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videoOn this date in 1941, Japanese forces attacked the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Six men who survived the attack took part in a memorial service Monday at the Battleship North Carolina.

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Associated poll

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Mullen answers questions as Lejeune Marines get orders to head to Afghanistan

Monday, December 7th, 2009

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The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff addressed hundreds of Camp Lejeune Marines who will soon head off to war. A total of 8,000 got their marching orders today, part of President Obama’s plan to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan over the next six months.

“Well it’s about time. I’ve been waiting for it for a long time, finally getting to use what i was trained for,” said Sgt. Derrick McPherson.

Admiral Mike Mullen spoke to hundreds of Camp Lejeune Marines who will soon head off to war in Afghanistan.

For some of the marines, it will be their first deployment ever. For most, it will be their first trip to Afghanistan.

“I expect to kind of hit the ground running,” said Sgt. Nixon Jean.

Mullen said the key to success will be understanding the Afghan culture and minimizing civilian casualties. “We could have an operation that was a great success tactically, but we kill one or two civilians, or more than that and it’s a strategic failure.”

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke about leadership as the United States changes it’s focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, but the main topic of discussion was a timeline for withdrawal in July 2011.

“There was a lot of confusion amongst Marines as to what that date actually meant,” Sgt. Jean said. “Whether it means all American forces were going to be home or that they’re going to start sending people home by then.”

Mullen said, “The focus there is to get Afghan security forces into a point to start to transition. There’s no deadline, there’s no end date, there’s no exit strategy associated with that other than we know in the long run that success is and the strategy is to turn their own security over to them.”

“Who knows, maybe we’ll get there and everything will just fall into place,” said Sgt. McPherson.

About 8,000 troops from Camp Lejeune received their deployment orders to Afghanistan. The first 1,500 will leave before Christmas. When asked if he thought 30,000 troops would make a difference in Afghanistan, admiral Mullen responded, “Honestly, I do.”

To help support President Obama’s increase of U.S. troops, NATO has agreed to send 7,000 additional forces to Afghanistan.

Mullen says troops need to turn around the war effort in the next 18 to 24 months to be successful.

Congressman Mike McIntyre says the President’s plan for Afghanistan has a lot of support on Capitol Hill, and he told WWAY it probably the best way to handle the situation.

“To make sure we get the show of strength that we need so our troops can get their job done and so that we can reach the goal of stability in Afghanistan and making sure the Taliban is brought under control so that Al-Qaeda doesn’t get the stronghold that they’ve had, that that can be removed and weakened and that we can be in a better situation, then, for our own security here at home.”

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videoThe Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff addressed hundreds of Camp Lejeune Marines who will soon head off to war. A total of 8,000 got their marching orders today, part of President Obama’s plan to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan over the next six months.

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Associated poll

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Car-breakins on the rise in New Hanover County

Monday, December 7th, 2009

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An increase in car break-ins has the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office warning drivers. Over the weekend, nine car break-ins were reported in New Hanover County alone.

Law enforcement said not only is that up from last month, but it is also up significantly over last year. According to the sheriff’s office, so far this month, thirteen car break-ins have been reported. Compare that to nine in November during the same time period.

What may be more concerning, looking at the numbers from this year to last, car breaking and entering is up more than seventy percent. Law enforcement said many of the victims left valuables in plain sight, and didn’t lock their doors.

“It is a crime of opportunity, and this is the season for it,” said New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon. “Add that to the downturn in the economy, and that is a recipe for disaster, so lets not make it easy.”

Sheriff’s deputies are warning drivers, especially during the rush of the holidays, to take an extra second to secure their cars.

According to Sheriff McMahon, thieves are mostly taking things like GPS devices, satellite radios, and loose change.

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An increase in car break-ins has the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office warning drivers. Over the weekend, nine car break-ins were reported in New Hanover County alone.

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Associated poll

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Update in the case against former middle school teacher Jessica Wishnask

Monday, December 7th, 2009

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