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Archive for March, 2012

CFPUA officials say most upgrade projects can’t be delayed

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Officials flagged just one project for removal from budget

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ONLY ON 3: Prank call costs Leland hotel thousands of dollars in damage, lost business

Monday, March 26th, 2012

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — It’s not your everyday prank. A string of phone calls across the nation where pranksters pretend to be working the front desk of a hotel and talk a guest into doing something drastic.

It happened this weekend at a hotel in Leland. A guest set off the sprinkler system, triggering two hours of flooding.

“It’s changed my outlook on everything,” Douglas Bartalone. “Like I said, I’m just speechless right now.”

Bartalone was in Leland over the weekend visiting his son and granddaughter. About 1:30 a.m. Saturday he got a call in his room at the Best Western.

“‘We’ve got an emergency situation. This is Stan from the front desk,'” Bartalone said the caller told him. “Emergency situation? I said, ‘It’s 1:30 in the morning.’ He said, ‘Well we’ve got a gas leak. We need you to disengage the water sprinkler system in your room. This is a very serious matter. It’s a gas leak.'”

Bartalone says the prankster gave him very specific directions on how to pull the pins on a sprinkler. As soon as this was done the sprinklers came on, flooding the first two floors of the Best Western for about two hours, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

“Here we are getting ready to go into our busy time in the area that’s driven by tourism with Easter weekend, Azalea Festival, and we’ve gone from a 100-room hotel to 63,” Best Western Director of Sales and Marketing Haven Holsinger said.

Bartalone says he’s learned a valuable lesson through all this: to not trust anybody just because they say they are in authority. He also says that everyone can learn from this accident.

“My advice would be to hang up the damn phone and go downstairs or go wherever it is and find out what the heck the deal is,” he said.

It’s a prank that Best Western management says the hotel business nationwide needs to be wary of.

Although police on scene told Bartalone that he would not be charged, he is still worried he might face some kind of civil suit from the hotel. A hotel representative said they are not sure if they’ll sue.

More: continued here

Economy forces Bladen business to close after 67 years

Monday, March 26th, 2012

ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) — After nearly seven decades, a family-owned business in Elizabethtown is closing its doors. It’s a victim of the down economy and high gas prices.

Ted Rogers, 74, learned about steaming, pressing and folding at a young age. He was just a kid when his parents opened Ideal Cleaners in 1945.

“At the time, World War II, we couldn’t get fuel oil or coal, so we were using slab wood, feeding the boiler. That was one of my first jobs,” Rogers said.

Back then, he earned 13.5 cents an hour.

“I was a happy camper till I found that out,” Rogers laughed.

Times changed. Work got a little easier. Then Rogers bought the cleaners from his father in 1971.

The business went through a tough time in the ’70s when polyester became popular, but they pressed on. Now this latest economic downturn has taken its toll.

“Naturally, when you have a downturn like this, one of the first things you can do without is dry cleaning,” Rogers said. “If it wasn’t for bachelors and those in public jobs it would probably be worse.”

Plus, the price of fuel has gone up dramatically.

“I was paying anywhere between $400-600 a month before things started jumping, now this past month $1,500,” Rogers said.

Staying open is no longer an option.

“I can’t. Can’t make it,” Rogers said.

Rogers is ready to retire, but he gets choked up thinking of those he’s leaving behind.

“The people, my help, the employees, the customers. They… they”ve been real good,” he said.

Employees like Tomeka Chapple, who has managed the cleaners for the past five years.

“I cried. I cried. I did,” Chapple said. “We’ve become a family here. That’s why it’s kinda hard seeing the business go.

The machines at Ideal Cleaners will run for the final time April 6. The business officially closes the following day. Customers will need to have their clothes picked up by April 7.

As for rogers, he hopes to do some traveling with this wife.

More: continued here

Pender commissioner’s DWI case delayed

Monday, March 26th, 2012

David Williams’ DWI case has been continued for a fourth time.

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Studies: Surgery can put diabetes into remission

Monday, March 26th, 2012

AP Chief Medical Writer

CHICAGO (AP) — New research provides clear proof that weight-loss surgery can reverse and possibly cure diabetes. Doctors say it should be offered sooner to more people with the disease – not just as a last resort.

Two studies compared stomach-reducing operations with medicines alone for obese people with Type 2 diabetes. Millions of Americans have this and can’t make enough insulin or effectively use what they do make.

The studies found that surgery helped far more patients achieve normal blood-sugar levels than drugs alone did. Some people were able to stop taking insulin as soon as three days after their operations.

The studies were published online by the New England Journal of Medicine and one was presented Monday at a cardiology conference in Chicago.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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