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Archive for April, 2012

White House announces Obama visit to NC

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

RALEIGH, NC (AP) – The White House says President Barack Obama is planning another visit to North Carolina.

A White House official said Wednesday that the trip is scheduled for April 24 to the Research Triangle area.

The official said more details will be released as they become available.

Last September, Obama visited a small business in Apex and spoke at North Carolina State University to drum up support for his jobs proposal. One month later, he returned to the state for a bus tour that stopped in Asheville, Wilkes County and the Triad.

Next week’s scheduled visit will be Obama’s fourth to the state since last June. North Carolina is considered a key state in Obama’s bid for re-election in November.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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THE RANT: When did Mandalay Baseball start running the City of Wilmington?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY’S “THE RANT”) — First, let me be absolutely clear, the WWAY NewsChannel 3 Newsroom is neither pro nor anti baseball or ballpark. It’s our ultimate goal to just cover the story as it progresses and keep Cape Fear residents, as well as the taxpayers of Wilmington, informed.

However, it’s also our job to ask tough questions of our leaders and last night’s city council meeting left me with a list of them.

The five attending council members discussed hiring Ripken Design to help them conduct a feasibility study to see if building a baseball stadium in Wilmington makes any sense. The Assistant City Manager told council no one on the city staff was qualified to do the study in-house, and felt Ripken was the best choice of the six viable companies that applied for the job.

After the presentation, Councilman Charlie Rivenbark nipped at the staff, insinuating they had taken too long to make this proposal. He then rhetorically mused that it was a waste of time hiring a firm in the first place. He said the city already had enough information, it should just hire someone to sift through it and make a recommendation. Charlie, where did that “information” come from if the city has done no due diligence to date? Mandalay Entertainment perhaps? Isn’t that the company that wants to BUILD the stadium here? Do you really think their research would be an unbiased resource for you to make an informed decision? I also thought you all promised that nothing would be done without thorough research that would be presented to the public? Did Mandalay’s self-imposed deadline for an agreement to get done trump that promise?

Then Councilman Kevin O’Grady spoke up, saying Mandalay didn’t like Ripken because some proprietary information might have to be shared. You see, both Mandalay and Ripken run minor league baseball teams. He said he’d talked to Mandalay that very morning, and they were insistent that they didn’t want to work with Ripken. So he suggested going with the second group on the city staff’s list so they wouldn’t rock the boat with Mandalay so soon in the relationship. Kevin, who’s selling who here? Which are you more concerned about, your relationship with a company that’s trying to get you to buy in to building and buying a new ballpark (whether short-term or long-term, you can bet that even with “private financiers,” the taxpayers of Wilmington will end up owning that stadium eventually) – or making an informed and educated decision that’s in the best interest of the people of Wilmington? And didn’t city staff say Ripken was THE BEST firm that applied to do the job?

Councilwoman Margaret Haynes then had a suggestion that sounded pretty good for about 30 seconds. She thinks Mandalay and The Atlanta Braves should pay for the due diligence study. They’ve got the money and brain power all lined up already, why shouldn’t they just do this too? Margaret, have you ever been to a department store, tried something on, and then asked the clerk if she thought it looked good on you? Have you ever bought a used car and asked the salesman if it runs good? OF COURSE IT DOES!!! So what do you think the answer’s going to be if Mandalay does your feasibility study to answer the question, “Is baseball in Wilmington a good idea?” OF COURSE IT IS!

Finally, a tough question for all seven members of our beloved council. Is the prospect of a single A ball team associated with the glamorous Atlanta Braves playing in a glitzy brand new stadium so sexy and cool that it could potentially cloud your judgment? Or do you feel that, despite being courted, wined and dined by big leaguers, you can still make a rational, informed and educated decision that’s in the best interest of this city? I’m sure the taxpayers would like to know the answer.

More: continued here

Firefighters watch for flare-ups in Pine Valley area

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

More: continued here

THE RANT: When did Mandalay Entertainment start running the City of Wilmington?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY’S “THE RANT”) — First, let me be absolutely clear, the WWAY NewsChannel 3 Newsroom is neither pro nor anti baseball or ballpark. It’s our ultimate goal to just cover the story as it progresses and keep Cape Fear residents, as well as the taxpayers of Wilmington, informed.

However, it’s also our job to ask tough questions of our leaders and last night’s city council meeting left me with a list of them.

The five attending council members discussed hiring Ripkin Design to help them conduct a feasibility study to see if building a baseball stadium in Wilmington makes any sense. The Assistant City Manager told council no one on the city staff was qualified to do the study in-house, and felt Ripkin was the best choice of the six viable companies that applied for the job.

After the presentation, Councilman Charlie Rivenbark nipped at the staff, insinuating they had taken too long to make this proposal. He then rhetorically mused that it was a waste of time hiring a firm in the first place. He said the city already had enough information, it should just hire someone to sift through it and make a recommendation. Charlie, where did that “information” come from if the city has done no due diligence to date? Mandalay Entertainment perhaps? Isn’t that the company that wants to BUILD the stadium here? Do you really think their research would be an unbiased resource for you to make an informed decision? I also thought you all promised that nothing would be done without thorough research that would be presented to the public? Did Mandalay’s self-imposed deadline for an agreement to get done trump that promise?

Then Councilman Kevin O’Grady spoke up, saying Mandalay didn’t like Ripkin because some proprietary information might have to be shared. You see, both Mandalay and Ripkin run minor league baseball teams. He said he’d talked to Mandalay that very morning, and they were insistent that they didn’t want to work with Ripkin. So he suggested going with the second group on the city staff’s list so they wouldn’t rock the boat with Mandalay so soon in the relationship. Kevin, who’s selling who here? Which are you more concerned about, your relationship with a company that’s trying to get you to buy in to building and buying a new ballpark (whether short-term or long-term, you can bet that even with “private financiers,” the taxpayers of Wilmington will end up owning that stadium eventually) – or making an informed and educated decision that’s in the best interest of the people of Wilmington? Did city staff say Ripkin was THE BEST firm that applied to do the job?

Councilwoman Margaret Haynes then had a suggestion that sounded pretty good for about 30 seconds. She thinks Mandalay and The Atlanta Braves should pay for the due diligence study. They’ve got the money and brain power all lined up already, why shouldn’t they just do this too? Margaret, have you ever been to a department store, tried something on, and then asked the clerk if she thought it looked good on you? Have you ever bought a used car and asked the salesman if it runs good? OF COURSE IT DOES!!! So what do you think the answer’s going to be if Mandalay does your feasibility study to answer the question, “Is baseball in Wilmington a good idea?” OF COURSE IT IS!

Finally, a tough question for all seven members of our beloved council. Is the prospect of a single A ballteam associated with the glamorous Atlanta Braves playing in a glitzy brand new stadium so sexy and cool that it could potentially cloud your judgment? Or do you feel that, despite being courted, wined and dined by big leaguers, you can still make a rational, informed and educated decision that’s in the best interest of this city? I’m sure the taxpayers would like to know the answer.

More: continued here

ONLY ON 3: Mom says work for airline led to quick action in bus fire

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Brunswick County bus driver was called a hero after everyone escape unharmed from a bus fire yesterday. Today, some people say there were other heroes on board who helped get everyone to safety.

The quick thinking of one parent chaperone may have saved a busload of children after she realized the bus they were riding on was on fire.

“We couldn’t have evacuated the bus more perfectly, and we got the kids off of there very fast,” Kathy Hardie said.

Video Hardie shot Tuesday of the activity bus she and 40 children and adults from Leland Middle School were riding to a field trip shows just how bad the fire was.

She Hardie says she heard a loud pop and then smelled smoke on board. The bus stopped, and she looked underneath spotting flames.

Hardie says she thinks she was meant to be on the bus with her daughter to help with the evacuation.

“I’m sure that they would have gotten the kids off safely, but I was definitely put in the right place at the right time,” Hardie said. “I just worry if I had not been there to see the fire what could have happened. I’m sure they would have discovered there was fire, but the fire came on so quickly.”

Hardie says she instantly went into rescue mode, and she says she knows why that was her first instinct.

“I work with an airline at Wilmington International Airport, and all the training that I’ve had with my airline experience is how to evacuate people, how to assess an emergency situation, and truthfully it just all kicked in.”

Hardie says other chaperones and teachers moved quickly to make sure every student was safe.

The students were on their way to the Paw’s Place animal shelter. They had collected blankets, food and toys for the dogs there. Most of it was lost in the fire.

More: continued here

 

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