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Archive for November, 2011

Classmates mourn 8-year-old boy killed in hunting accident

Monday, November 28th, 2011

CLINTON, NC (WWAY) — An eight-year-old boy died Friday after a hunting accident in Bladen County. Family and friends gathered in Clinton for James Ethan Bartley’s funeral today. Meanwhile, his friends at school mourned their classmate.

“He felt like a brother to me,” friend and classmate Taleb Thompson said. “He felt like a brother to me, because we always played football and soccer.”

An empty desk in Mrs. Wells’s homeroom class served as a reminder of the loss Butler Avenue School suffered over the long holiday weekend.

Bartley died Friday while hunting with two other boys off Soup Haire Road near Elizabethtown. One of the boys dropped a .22-caliber rifle, which went off and shot Bartley in the side. He was airlifted to Chapel Hill, where he later died.

“It has been an unfortunate tragedy for all of us,” principal Vanessa Brown said. “On Wednesday you tell the students, you know, they’re going to have a holiday and for them to have a safe holiday, and that you’ll see them on Monday. Then to have something of this magnitude to happen before you could even get back on Monday… One thing I can say about Ethan is that he was a student that always had a smile on his face. The children loved him. The staff loved him. Everyone loved him.”

As his family grieves, so does his elementary school. Students and teachers at Butler Avenue School wore green ribbons today in honor of Bartley. With the memories fresh in their minds, emotions were high.

“He’s going to be greatly missed,” teacher Karen Randleman said. “He was a true asset to both of our classes, and he is going to be very much missed by faculty, staff, as well as all of his friends and peers in his classroom.”

Bartley’s family did not want to talk Monday, and his friends at school understand why.

“I really am sorry for his family’s loss,” Thompson said.

The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office says the accident is still under investigation. The Bladen County Department of Social Services and North Carolina Wildlife officers are also investigating.

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Community Action head sparked latest Berger investigation

Monday, November 28th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s been one week since New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger attended a public meeting at his ex-girlfriend workplace. Berger’s actions led to his arrest for violating a protective order his ex Heather Blaylock filed. Tonight we finally know who first raised concerns about Berger being there.

We found an e-mail with a letter attached sent by Community Action’s Executive Director Cynthia Brown. In the documents sent to Community Action’s attorney and several others, Brown says she asked a sheriff’s deputy at last week’s meeting if it was appropriate for Berger to be there. Brown wrote that she questioned Berger’s presence because she was aware of the protective order against the commissioner filed by Blaylock, who works at the agency.

In a phone conversation Monday, Brown said she acted according to personnel rules. She said she was aware of Berger’s restraining order because Blaylock had provide Community Action with a copy of it.

Brown stressed several times during that her actions were not politically or personally motivated as some have implied.

In the e-mail and letter sent out last week Brown wrote, “My overarching concern is workplace safety for the staff, children and parents given the history of this individual and his relationship with our employee.”

We reached out to Berger’s colleagues on the County Commission. Many declined to comment. Chairman Jonathan Barfield briefly addressed Berger’s latest arrest saying, “It is what it is.” He also said that the commission has already expressed its thoughts and concerns about Berger in the past. Back in September the board made it clear that they feel Berger should resign as commissioner.

Since last week’s arrest Berger has said that he was just doing his job as a county commissioner by attending the meeting and had no idea that’s where Blaylock worked.

We reached out to Commissioner Berger as well today, but have not heard back. His next court date is scheduled for January.

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NC senate panel votes to repeal death row law

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A Senate panel has voted to essentially repeal a landmark state law allowing death row inmates to appeal their sentences based on statistical evidence showing racial bias.

The judiciary committee’s move Monday evening sent the bill to the full Senate chamber, which was scheduled to take it up later in the night.

House Majority Leader Paul Stam argued that the bill approved by the committee fixes flaws in the 2009 Racial Justice Act that threatened to clog up the courts. Supporters of the repeal also say the act is virtually a moratorium on the death penalty in North Carolina.

Opponents who spoke at a public hearing said the law has withstood court challenges and is necessary to ensure fairness in how the death penalty is administered.

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

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Medicaid changes hit area health care company

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Two entities will merge effective July 1 to comply with a change in state rules.

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Photos – ‘One Tree Hill’ basketball court removed

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The "One Tree Hill" basketball court at Battleship Park was removed Monday.

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