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Archive for December, 2011

Bottoms up! New Hanover booze sales fifth highest in state

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Sales of some things are down in this economy. Alcohol is not one of them.

A new report from the NC Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission reveals a rise in alcohol sales across the state.

Liquor, beer and wine. It’s all a cash cow for the state.

From July 2010 until June 2011, North Carolina raked in more than $746 million in alcohol sales. That’s a nearly three-percent increase over the previous year.

Helping add to that increase: New Hanover County. The smallest county in the state brought in $31,566,000.

“It’s not surprising,” Tim Smith said while sitting a Wilmington bar Tuesday afternoon. “With the amount of DUI-cycles you see running around on the roads and there’s a couple colleges in town, there’s a lot of college kids going out.”

Out of 100 counties, New Hanover falls fifth in alcohol sales behind Mecklenberg, Wake, Guilford and Forsyth.

“The first reaction is wow, but when you really think about it, it’s a transit military town with Jacksonville not too far away and then you have the university,” bar patron Brandon Johnson said. “This is a place known for tourism and nightlife, so when you think about it the numbers aren’t surprising compared to other places.”

New Hanover County ABC Board CEO Dan Sykes agrees.

“We have a lot of good restaurants. People come from all around really to visit downtown. They like the beaches, so it’s a big drawing card,” Sykes said.

The report also shows sales in New Hanover County went up 3.6 percent. These numbers encompass everything from sales at ABC stores, bars, restaurants and convenience stores.

“It’s about 30 percent for bars, restaurants, hotels and, of course, the other 70 percent is from ABC stores,” Sykes said.

And so far this year, sales are forecast to shoot up even more when the numbers are tallied again next summer.

The report also showed that ten North Carolina establishments either permanently or temporarily lost their ABC permits last year. Two of those included bars in Wilmington: The Rhino Club and Club 609.

More: continued here

CEO of PPD resigns

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

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PPD CEO resigns after three months on job

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Just weeks after going private PPD is looking for a new CEO.

Raymond Hill resigned effective yesterday. He came to the wilmington-based pharmaceutical research firm in september.

“I have enjoyed my time here and am grateful to have had the opportunity to assist Dr. Eshelman and the senior leadership team with such an important milestone in the life of this great company,” Hill said in a statement. “I am certain PPD is positioned for future success.”

A PPD spokesman says the search for a new CEO is underway, and the company hopes to have the person in place in the near future. In the meantime, an executive committee of four members of senior leadership will be in charge of day-to-day management and operations.

Founder Fred Eshelman has also agreed to serve as senior advisor to the new board of directors through next year.

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SECU presents $1 Million challenge grant to Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — SECU Foundation, funded solely by State Employees’ Credit Union members, recently announced a challenge grant of $1 million to the Lower Cape Fear Hospice Foundation Closer to Home SECU Hospice House Capital Campaign to build an inpatient hospice facility in Brunswick County. This is the largest gift to date for the campaign. A check presentation ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. December 19 at the construction site* off Old Hwy. 17 in Bolivia.

“We are overjoyed at the news,” said Sibyl and WJ McLamb, chairs of the Closer to Home Capital Campaign. “We are thrilled to receive such a generous gift from the members of SECU. A gift of this magnitude demonstrates the need our community has for the inpatient hospice facility.”

“Hospice houses have become a standard of care that is available to most residents in North Carolina and around the country,” said Laurie Bystrom, President and CEO of Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter. “It will be wonderful for our neighbors, families and friends in Brunswick County to have this facility closer to home.” she said. “This gift brings us so much closer to our campaign goal of $3.5 million.”

The seven-bed SECU Hospice House will serve patients and families of Brunswick County in North Carolina. It will offer medical and respite care in a comfortable, homelike environment. Patients will be admitted for around-the-clock pain and symptom monitoring, for family members to gain caregiving skills or receive rest from caregiving, and if home care is not possible during the last days of life.

“Many of our members have been touched by hospice care, so this project is in line with the goals of the SECU Foundation,” said Clay Hughes, Vice President and SECU City Executive for Shallotte. “This pledge to Brunswick County will keep our families closer to home.”

“My heartfelt thanks to SECU’s local Brunswick County advisory board for its support and to the SECU Foundation and its members for their generous gift,” said Cindy Cheatham, Development Manager. “Their commitment to their community and their members will help us in our plans to succeed, to serve our neighbors closer to home.”

“The SECU Foundation is pleased to partner with Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter to fill the obvious need for an inpatient hospice facility in the Brunswick community,” commented SECU Foundation Board Chair Shirley Bell.

The SECU Foundation challenge stipulates Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter must raise an additional $500,000 to receive the SECU funding. The McLambs extend their invitation to everyone in Brunswick County to join them and SECU in support of this project. They say, “If everyone gave a gift that they are proud of, we will meet our goal, maybe even exceed it. Wouldn’t that just be something?”

Donations to the Closer to Home Capital Campaign may be sent to Lower Cape Fear Hospice Foundation, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401 or made safely and securely online at www.BrunswickClosertoHome.org. For more information, contact Lower Cape Fear Hospice Foundation at 910-796-7900.

The SECU Foundation, a 501c (3) charitable organization funded solely by the contributions of SECU members, promotes local community development in North Carolina primarily through high impact projects in the areas of education, health, housing, and human services.

Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter is a nonprofit agency that provides professional health care and comfort to people with life-limiting illness and offers hope, support, and education to patients, families, and communities in Bladen, Columbus, Brunswick, Pender, and New Hanover counties.

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ONLY ON 3: Former band teacher pleads guilty, relationship with student detailed

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — It’s been nearly a year since a former North Brunswick High School band director was accused of sexting a student. Today Mark Riel pleaded guilty.

WWAY was the only media outlet in the courtroom as Riel entered his plea.

Riel pleaded guilty to two charges as part of deal that would not make him register as a sex offender. During today’s hearing we also found out just what led to the former band teachers charges.

Back in January Riel was charged with one count of indecent liberties with a student. Tuesday he pleaded guilty to two charges of disseminating obscenity as part of a plea deal.

Under the obscenity charges riel will not have to register as a sex offender. Had he pleaded guilty to the indecent liberties charge he would have had to register for ten to 30 years. During Monday’s hearing we also learned more about what led to Riel’s charges.

The former band director started texting the victim, identified as a band student, back in May 2010. He was arrested eight months later. During that time the two had conversations via text, and on occasion the victim would send riel picture messages. The pictures did not include any nudity.

This all came to light when a friend of the victim saw her phone had a text conversation with Riel on it. In this text Riel told the victim, “You’re soo sexy. If you really want me to react send me a pic of your legs.” Later in this conversation Riel even told the student, “I want to kiss every inch of you.”

Soon after seeing this conversation the victim’s friend alerted teachers, leading to Riel’s arrest and Tuesday’s guilty plea.

With Riel’s admission of guilt comes a sentence of eight to ten years in jail, which was suspended due to his short criminal record. He will be placed on five years supervised probation and 120 hours of community service.

Even though Riel and this student had a text relationship, the prosecution said it never got physical.

We tried to talk with Riel after court. He respectfully declined, and said he needed time, and would try to contact us in 24 hours.

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