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Archive for August, 2011

Evangelous disputes Berger’s accusations against WPD

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous is defending his department against accusations from New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger.

“We don’t mischaracterize, and we don’t lie,” Evangelous said in a statement. “We’re here to serve and protect the community.”

Evangelous released the statement after Berger claimed police lied on a report about their response to the commissioner’s home Monday night. Berger says the police lied about him having injuries from a razor, a handgun and that drugs or alcohol were involved in the incident.

Police responded to Berger’s home late Monday night after getting a request to assist EMS responding a medical call from Berger’s girlfriend. Sources close to Berger have said the commissioner tried to kill himself, but Berger says that is not true.

According a police report, officers seized a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson and ammunition from Berger’s home. However, Berger says he does not own a pistol, though he admits he does have a rifle. Berger also says he has not had a drink in weeks and was not on drugs. He did concede during a radio interview Tuesday that police may have been referring to legal prescription drugs. Berger also says he did not have injuries from a razor. On the radio, he said, if anything, he may have had minor injuries from yard work.

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Police chief denies mischaracterization of Berger suicide attempt

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger accused the Wilmington Police Department Tuesday of mischaracterizing his suicide attempt and providing false information in the police report.In an email to Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous, Berger said the police report was "full of false information" and he added that "nobody was in any danger at any time."Evangelous issued a statement Wednesday in response to Berger’s claims."We don’t mischaracterize and we don’t lie," he said. "We’re here to serve and protect the community."

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Water Quality Swimming Alert issued in Surf City

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

MOREHEAD CITY (NCDENR) -– State officials today are notifying the public that testing at an ocean-side site in Pender County showed levels of bacteria exceeding the state and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality swimming standards.

State officials will test the site again today, and the results of the sampling will dictate further action. If the new samples also show elevated bacteria counts, state officials will post a swimming advisory sign and issue a swimming advisory.

The alert affects waters at the public beach access at South Shore Drive and Kinston Avenue in Surf City. Samples collected yesterday show test results of 238 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water, which exceeds the state and federal single-sample standard of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters for Tier 1 high usage sites. Swimming areas are classified based on recreational use and are referred to as tiers.

The NC Division of Marine Fisheries tests water quality at ocean and sound beaches in accordance with federal and state laws.

Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it does not cause illness, scientific studies indicate that enterococci may indicate the presence of other disease-causing organisms. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standards have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.

The Recreational Water Quality Program samples 240 sites throughout the coastal region, most of them on a weekly basis from April to October. Testing continues on a reduced schedule during the rest of the year, when the waters are colder.

To find out more about North Carolina’s beach water quality, visit the NC Recreational Water Quality Program website at: http://www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/shellfish/Water_Monitoring/RWQweb/index.h… or on Twitter.com @ncrecprgm.

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Brunswick County waives fee for some hurricane debris

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

To help people cleaning up from Hurricane Irene, Brunswick County will begin accepting vegetative debris – which includes tree limbs and branches – for free at its landfill.

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AGs concerned about human trafficking ads on website

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

RALEIGH, NC (NCDOJ) — Backpage.com needs to step up efforts to remove advertising for human trafficking, especially ads that could involve children, say Attorney General Roy Cooper and 45 other state attorneys general.

“Websites must not to turn a blind eye to those who profit from the abuse of children,” Cooper said.

Backpage.com lists online classified advertisements for a fee of $1 and up. The site has localized pages for cities across the country, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Asheville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Wilmington and other North Carolina locations.

“While Backpage.com professes to have undertaken efforts to limit advertisements for prostitution on its website, particularly those soliciting sex with children, such efforts have proven ineffective,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter sent to the website’s attorney today.

The attorneys general are concerned that Backpage.com is a hub for human trafficking, and especially the trafficking of minors.

“We have tracked more than 50 instances, in 22 states over three years, of charges filed against those trafficking or attempting to traffic minors on Backpage.com,” the attorneys general say in their letter. “These are only the stories that made it into the news; many more instances likely exist.”

The attorneys general want to know how Backpage.com scrutinizes adult services ads for possible illegal activities, how many ads it has rejected and/or removed, and how many ads it has reported to law enforcement or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The letter asks Backpage.com to turn over detailed information to the states by September 14.

Backpage.com is the top provider of adult services advertisements and is owned by Village Voice Media, LLC, which also owns 13 weekly newspapers across the United States. Industry analysts suggest that Village Voice earns about $22.7 million in annual revenue from ads for adult services. Attorneys general have previously asked Backpage.com to take down the adult services portion of its site.

In 2008, 42 attorneys general including Cooper reached an agreement with Craigslist to crack down on illegal listings, in an effort to reduce crimes like human trafficking. Craigslist ultimately removed its erotic services section altogether in May 2009.

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