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Archive for November, 2011

FIRST ON 3: Elementary school on lockdown after robbery nearby

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Forest Hills Elementary School is on lockdown because of a robbery nearby. A New Hanover County Sheriff’s spokesman says the school was locked down as a precaution after someone robbed the Wrightsville Country Store on Wrightsville Avenue.

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Local Coldwell Banker merging with Raleigh and Fayetteville offices

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — Two of the top-selling Coldwell Banker franchises in North Carolina have joined forces, creating the state’s third-largest residential real estate brokerage company.

The merger of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty of Wilmington and Coldwell Banker Advantage of Raleigh and Fayetteville creates a regional powerhouse with a sales team of more than 600 agents and 26 sales offices in Raleigh, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Jacksonville and other Eastern North Carolina markets.

The two companies combined to generate more than $1.3 billion in sales volume from 6,500 real estate transactions in 2010, which would have ranked the merged company as the state’s third-largest brokerage, according to REAL Trends, a real estate industry trade magazine.

Those totals would also have ranked among the top 55 brokerages in the country in sales volume and among the top 75 in transactions, according to the magazine.

The two companies are on track to surpass last year’s sales and transactions totals in 2011, having already exceeded $1 billion in sales and 6,000 transactions through October, according to statistics provided by local offices of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The merger was announced by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation CEO Jim Gillespie on Thursday, November 17th in separate news conferences in Raleigh and Wilmington.

“Today’s merger creates the fifth largest Coldwell Banker affiliated company in North America and the number one Coldwell Banker affiliate in North Carolina,” Gillespie said.

“Coldwell Banker Advantage and Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty have been long-time members of the Coldwell Banker Chairman’s Circle, representing the best-of-the-best of our great brand,” he said.

The new company will be led by co-CEOs Tim Milam of Sea Coast Realty and Gary Rabon of Advantage. In Wilmington, it will be called Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, while in Raleigh and Fayetteville it will continue to operate under the Advantage name.

“This is a true merger of equals,” Milam said. “It is not an acquisition. I want to emphasize that in the strongest possible terms. All owners of both companies will remain owners with the new company. Neither company is buying the other. Instead we’re joining forces to compete more effectively in today’s challenging marketplace.

“Gary and I have been friends for years,” he added. “Our companies have been built on similar values and culture. We’ve talked about merging for at least the last five years, and finally decided this summer the time was right to get it done.”

Rabon added: “This is a merger where both companies are strengthened. It builds our regional footprint and enables us to do an even better job of supporting our team of brokers and agents in the field. It also creates a lot of synergies in terms of marketing, training and technology.”

The merger brings together two companies that have dominated their respective markets. SeaCoast Realty is currently the number one brokerage in Wilmington, Brunswick County, Topsail and Jacksonville with over 23 percent of the market.

Advantage, meanwhile, ranks number four in Raleigh and number one in Fayetteville, according to MLS statistics.

Both have emerged as leaders in North Carolina’s fast-growing military market, with strong positions among military families in Fayetteville and Jacksonville – home of Fort Bragg and Camp LeJeune, respectively.

The merged companies will also have an advantage in serving the two-way traffic between the Raleigh/Research Triangle and the Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach markets, Rabon said.

“There’s a lot of cross-pollination on I-40 in both directions,” he said. “Triangle families are looking in Wilmington area for second-home opportunities, while a lot of Wilmington area families are looking to move to the Triangle for job opportunities.

“The merger gives us an even better connection to this growing segment of the market, one that we are both going to capitalize on.”

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FIRST ON 3: SBI, Attorney General investigating Leland Police Department

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Department of Justice confirms there is an active investigation into criminal allegations made against the Leland Police Department. DOJ spokeswoman Noelle Talley says the SBI opened the investigation November 1.

In early October, Leland Town Council directed Police Chief Tim Jayne to send a letter to the SBI requesting its assistance looking “into all allegations of criminal conduct by the Leland Police Department.”

Talley says the SBI investigation is a result of that request. She also says the investigation is being supervised by the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Unit. That request, she says, came from District Attorney Jon David “to oversee that investigation and serve as prosecutor for any charges that may result.”

In late September David told WWAY he asked the Attorney General to appoint another attorney to be the point person for anyone who wanted to come forward with allegations about the Leland Police Department. At the time, though, the AG’s office said it was available to answer any questions brought forward by law enforcement agencies investigating allegations about Leland, but not the general public like David said.

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Census finds reaching age 90 more likely than ever

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Associated Press

WASHINGTON, DC (AP) — Americans are more likely than ever to reach age 90. First-ever census figures on the 90-plus population show it’s nearly tripled in size since 1980, to 1.9 million.

One of the nation’s fastest growing groups, the 90-plus population is projected to reach 8 million by midcentury, representing 2 percent of the U.S. population. That’s a big change from over a century ago, when fewer than 100,000 people reached age 90.

The numbers show the majority of those age 90 or older had one or more disabilities. They also were much more likely than those ages 65-89 to live in poverty.

The report also noted the unique challenges created by people living longer, including added costs to the already-strained Medicare and Social Security programs.

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

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Kate Voegele concert draws ‘One Tree Hill’ fans sad to see show wrap

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

WILMINGTON NC (WWAY) — A big crowd downtown Wednesday night at the Soapbox to see Kate Voegele in concert. The singer has another tie to our community. She appeared on “One Tree Hill” as Mia.

Most of the crowd were big fans of the TV show, and they saw this concert as a way to come together for some closure as “One Tree Hill” wrapped up its final day of shooting.

Chris Vickery is a student at UNCW who got some behind the scenes work on the show. He feels it is part of Wilmington’s production legacy.

“It’s definitely our claim to fame,” Vickery said. “I think when people talk about Wilmington they know Screen Gems, and they know ‘One Tree Hill,’ and we have ‘Iron Man’ coming to the area, so that will be a new thing, which is great that we got that now, but it was kind of Wilmington’s stamp as far as entertainment and media are concerned, so it’s a big part of our culture.”

People waiting for the show shared their feelings and memories of “One Tree Hill.” They all said they will miss it.

Voegele apparently appreciated the timing of her concert. Earlier in the day she Tweeted: “Can’t believe I’m playing wilmy on the last day of @RealOneTreeHill! So proud of my #OTHfamily! Ive spent 4 amazing seasons w/ amazing ppl!”

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