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Archive for October, 2011

Tony Blair tells Greensboro audience America needs to stop self-doubt

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — The British leader who led his country
to war in Iraq and peace in Northern Ireland has told a North
Carolina audience that the United States is experiencing
self-doubt, not decline.

Tony Blair said Tuesday in Greensboro that Americans should stop
wanting the world to love them. He urged the U.S. to keep a stiff
upper lip and remember that its values of freedom, democracy and
rule of law are what the rest of the world wants.

Blair is the leading peace envoy representing the U.S., European
Union, United Nations and Russia as they work for a settlement
between Israel and the Palestinians. Blair says the details of a
peace deal can be worked out, but the hard part will be getting the
two sides comfortable living side by side.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Wilmington City Council suspends sign ordinance enforcement for 30 days

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington sign ordinance has drawn a lot of attention recently as violation notifications have started hitting businesses. Now some Wilmington City Council members are rethinking their positions on that ordinance.

City Council voted Tuesday night to suspend enforcement of its sign ordinance for 30 days.

That will give business owners time to voice their complaints and council time to make any changes to the ordinance if necessary.

“We’re listening to the citizens,” said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo. “We want to hear what they have to say. We’re going to go back out there and take a look at this thing and hopefully come up with something that makes sense.”

The ordinance was adopted in 2008 but many retailers just became aware of it after receiving tickets.

“A lot of people were very upset when they received violation notices,” said Chris Andrews, a representative of the Downtown Business Alliance. “(Business owners) realized the impact that it could potentially have on their business, being able to promote their business.”

For merchants the big issue with the ordinance is that only 10% of their windows can be covered. Many of them argue that hurts the effectiveness of store advertising.

If after 30 days time the council deems it necessary, they could alter the ordinance and up that percentage.

Mayor Bill Saffo says they will revisit the issue but that downtown does have an improved look.

“There was a lot of old posters, there was a lot of old signs that had been up in some windows for quite some time according to what some of our staff had shared with us, but it does look better,” said Saffo.

Some members of City Council were concerned that downtown will have a cluttered look if too many posters are allowed.

In the end they decided they will need to hear more from stake holders before anything in the ordinance is changed.

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Sink or swim for Crystal Pier

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — It’s sink or swim for a pier at Wrightsville Beach. The Crystal Pier off the Oceanic Restaurant faces a dilemma: be repaired or be demolished.

“We’ve had a few concerns over the past few years, especially when a storm would be near, and they have been working with us, the owner and the engineers, so we feel like this problem will be resolved one way or the other,” Wrightsville Beach Director of Planning and Parks Tony Wilson said.

The Crystal Pier already has a section that is closed to the public. That section is either going to be removed or repaired after a report by Andrew Consulting engineers.

“I hate to see it come down, but if it’s a safety issue then we certainly wouldn’t want anybody hurt,” beach visitor Vicki Shaw said.

The decision is not in the hands of the town of Wrightsville Beach. Instead it will come from the owner of the pier.

Lou Moshakos, president and owner of LM Restaurants, owns the Oceanic Restaurant, but leases the property from Monica Watson. Moshakos says that they are reviewing the engineering report now and should have a decision in the next few days.

For people who like going to the restaurant, they just hope it wont affect their view.

“I enjoy going to the restaurant there at the Oceanic and sitting outside,” Donald Shaw said.

The Town of Wrightsville Beach has not discussed a time frame for when the decision must be made.

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JUST ADD HOPE: The Love Project

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We often hear from viewers who want to see more coverage of the good going on in our community. In an effort to do that, we’re showcasing the Love Project. It’s the product of three women’s desire to serve up real relationships to homeless men and women over breakfast.

“It’s not our job to determine why they are in the situations they are in,” co-founder Rachel Rowell said. “It’s our job to show them that someone cares and that they are human, and we’re all human. It’s our job to pick each other up, and that’s what we wanted to do is just say, ‘Hey, you guys, you’re not forgotten. We can’t fix your situation, but we definitely want to show you that someone cares.'”

The Love Project is an effort by three friends to help the people they see as the most misunderstood group in our society.

Rowell said while tackling the problem of poverty may seem like a daunting task, all it takes is for everyone to do something.

Pete Davis has been without a home of his own for three years. He’s a regular at the weekly home-cooked breakfasts.

“They talk to people with respect,” Davis said. “They bring the love. They show they care, so it makes everybody happy. It’s not just to bring stuff here without talking and communicating. It’s doing a lot for the whole community.”

Volunteer Pam Teague has been cooking and serving for three weeks. She ran across the Love Project’s page on Facebook and just knew she wanted to spread the love.

“If you want to give back, you can give back,” Teague said. “All you have to do is make the time. You make time for everything else, you can make time to do this, too. It’s so rewarding. These are not just faces. These are people. They’re down on their luck, and I don’t know, I’ve just been blessed with so much, I feel like I need to give back.”

In an effort to tangibly teach compassion, the ladies of love often bring their children to help serve. Sam Jones, 12, says helping is fun, and getting to know the men and women certainly has perks.

“They’re really nice,” Jones said. “If you watch out for them, then they’ll watch out for you.”

Hot, balanced breakfasts are served every Thursday morning in the parking lot of the Mercy House in downtown Wilmington, and homeless men and women can also pick up basic supplies the last Thursday of each month.

You can volunteer with whatever time you have or simply donate backpacks, clothing and food like milk, eggs, cheese and biscuits. Rowell says the idea is to break down social and economic barriers over breakfast.

“We get more out of this than they do,” Rowell said. “We’ve just fallen in love with these guys, fallen in love with their stories. It’s more than just coming and giving away to them. We get to know them; we get to build relationships with them. Everybody has a story. Sometimes, I just sit and listen to them, and it is amazing to know that we have been connected with this group of people and that we get to love on them.”

The Love Project adds hope by providing the basic necessities of hot food and warn friendships to the homeless and hurting in our community.

Rowell said the goal is put together more teams to serve each day of the week. The ladies also want the idea to be easily reproduced so people can take the love project to their communities all over the nation.

For more information on how you can get involved, visit The Love Project on Facebook or e-mail theloveproject@live.com.

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FIRST ON 3: Ambulance driver charged in deadly wreck has long list of traffic violations

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A family is grieving and an ambulance driver is charged a day after a deadly traffic crash in Brunswick County.

Sarah Allen was just a month away from her 20th birthday. She died yesterday after investigators say an ambulance ran a red light near Shallotte.

“She was a beautiful child. Very sweet,” Sarah’s mother Deborah Allen said.

Allen says her 19-year-old daughter was headed to class at Brunswick Community College Monday morning, but she never made it.

Allen spoke to her daughter moments before she was hit by an ambulance troopers say ran a red light.

“she told me good bye around 8:45 yesterday morning,” Allen said. “I had asked if she had any breakfast. She said she was going to stop along the way and get something. We told each other we love her like we always do, always tell her to be safe like we always do.”

Allen says Sarah was in her first year of cosmetology school and was looking forward to her future.

“She would have wanted to get married one day and have children,” her mother said.

But while this Oak Island family grieves, many ask questions about the crash.

Investigators say the ambulance did not have its lights on and did not yield the right of way at the stop light. The ambulance was taking a non-emergency case to the hospital when it slammed into the teen’s sedan.

The driver of the ambulance, Joseph David Fancher, has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

This is not the first time the 45-year-old has been in trouble behind the wheel. Fancher’s list of traffic violations include driving without a license, expired inspection, no seat belt, no insurance, and speeding.

The Allen family did not want to say much about the details of the crash, but did want to share some advice with parents.

“Hold your family tight and close to you,” Allen said.

We contacted Amera-Tech, the company that owns the ambulance, for a comment, but we have not heard back.

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