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Archive for December, 2011

Woman charged with Southport bank robbery

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Tracking dog, notes at home lead police to suspect

More: continued here

FIRST ON 3: Berger removed from most community boards

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioners have removed Commissioner Brian Berger from most of the community boards he sits on. The Commission made the decision at its Agenda Briefing this afternoon. It’s still pending an official vote at Monday’s County Commission meeting.

Berger remains on the Legion Sports Complex Commission and the Transportation Advisory Committee.

Berger was clearly upset that he was removed from most of the boards he was part of, including CFPUA, DSS and Wilmington Downtown Inc. and Smart Start of New Hanover County.

Chairman Ted Davis asked Berger if he planned to challenge the unofficial decisions at Monday night’s meeting. Berger said he didn’t know why he should bother if the other commissioners were just going to vote against him. Davis decided that for now the assignments would be places on the commission’s consent agenda Monday as originally planned.

The move comes a few weeks after Berger was arrested for a second time this year.

We have reported that Berger is consistently late to most board meetings or doesn’t show at all. Berger arrived just after the today’s started, but in time for the discussion and vote about representation on commissions and boards.

Berger was arrested just before Thanksgiving for a second time this year when he attended a Community Action Inc. meeting, which violated a protective order his ex-girlfriend took out on him. Heather Blaylock is a Head Start teacher and works at the Community Action Inc. building.

More: continued here

Suspect arrested for fire at Independence Mall

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police arrest a suspect after they say a fire was intentionally set at Independence Mall.

Police arrested William Peacock, 48, who they say started the fire at Belk that caused it to be closed Saturday afternoon.

Peacock is charged with burning personal property and is being held on a one-thousand dollar secured bond.

Fire investigators say the fire was set in a trash compactor. Multiple fire crews responded to the scene.
There were no injuries.

More: continued here

ONLY ON 3: What prompts SABLE to take flight?

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Law enforcement says the SABLE helicopter is a very effective tool to track down suspects or missing persons. This morning, though, Wilmington Police called in SABLE after a vehicle was broken into.

Was that a good call?

Police called in SABLE to help search for the suspect after he ran into the woods nearby. The burglary happened in the parking lot of the Mill Creek Spartments off of South Kerr Ave.

Some feel calling in sable was unnecessary.

“A minor break-in? I think that’s a little excessive,” Jessie Sullivan of Wilmington said.

Wilmington Police say there is no level of crime needed in order to use SABLE. They say if a supervisor feels it is needed, they can call it in for assistance.

“Property crime is something that we take very seriously, and certainly someone breaking into a car to steal something is a felony,” WPD spokesman Det. Kevin Smith said.

But what about the cost?

“It’s not good for the cost, especially for minor incidents,” Sullivan said.

Det. Smith, though, says using SABLE does not use tax payer dollars.

“The SABLE budget in total is actually funded by federal dollars from drug seizure programs,” he said.

Despite the help from SABLE, investigators could not find Thursday morning’s suspect. Still smith says SABLE is very effective.

Last week officers used SABLE and its thermal imaging technology to find a 73-year-old man with dementia who had wandered off.

“SABLE was actually able to direct the deputies exactly to where the subject was in a heavy wooded area,” Det. Smith said.

Just one of many ways law enforcement uses this eye in the sky.

SABLE is a joint effort by Wilmington Police, the New Hanover and Pender County Sheriff’s Offices and Leland Police.

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Despite better national numbers, local job market still tough

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New data from the US Labor Department show signs of hope for the job market. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits nationally dropped to its lowest since 2008. But is the Cape Fear seeing a similar situation?

For many the numbers don’t lie, which is why many economists across the nation say the job market is looking better. New data says the number of people applying for benefits fell last week to 366,000. This is the lowest this number has been since may 2008.

“We’re kind of not hitting what the national trend is so much here, ’cause we’re still seeing some business shutting down, we’re seeing some business hiring. We got kind of a mixed bag right now,” said Walker Biggs, director of the Division of Employment Security office in Wilmington

Biggs says while many are happy to see this recent data, the reality here in the Cape Fear is that the area continues to struggle.

“It’s hard to put your finger on what really is going on, ’cause you got somebody that is doing some hiring, then we got somebody that is laying off. Probably a net gain right now, but that’s up and down,” Biggs said.

For those who have become all to familiar with the Employment Security office on Market Street, they shake their head at the reports of a brighter national job market.

“It may be going up in some places, in bigger cities, but not here” Debra Chadwick of Wilmington said. “I think it’s pretty much the same here. I haven’t seen any difference or heard of any difference myself.”

While the Cape Fear may not be on par with the rest of the nation, there are some expectations that things will get better.

“It’s tough right now, but it’s going to get better,” Biggs said. “We’ve got a lot of different things to offer in this area for businesses to come in so we will continue to see growth.”

State data from the first week of December shows that North Carolina ranked second for the biggest increase in applications with more than 15,000.

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