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Archive for May, 2012

CFPUA recommends $750K in employee raises, critics a no-show for public hearing

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has had its fair share of critics since its conception, but the critics aren’t showing up at meetings to voice their concerns. The authority’s board held a budget workshop and public hearing Wednesday night, but no one signed up to ask questions.

The board discussed more than $750,000 dollars in raises for 285 CFPUA employees, a topic that typically gets people fired up. Two did speak about personal billing issues, but neither asked questions about the budget or potential employee raises.

“We moved this to the evening time, starting at six, with the whole idea that maybe people could come out after they got off work or something like that, because this is something that affects everyone,” said Charlie Rivenbark, a CFPUA board member and Wilmington City Councilman.

A recommended $36.7 million operating budget for the authority’s fiscal year 2013 was suggested, which adds up to about $300,000 less than last year.

“We’re trimming and getting this budget as lean as we can, trying to hold any rate increase to the bare bones minimum,” Rivenbark said.

The proposed budget also includes adding two staffing positions and a nearly 5 percent employee salary increase from last year. Board chairman Jim Quinn says added compensation is something the board has thought about for months, despite another possible rate hike.

“Several of the surrounding governments had given their employees bonuses and [we] recognized that they hadn’t had raises in a number of years,” Quinn said.

Board members say they hope more people will start showing up to the meetings and voicing their questions and concerns.

“I understand how hard it is,” Rivenbark said. “People going home with children and supper and they’re tired. And you know, we’re tired. We all work other jobs.”

The board will vote on the budget June 13th. The new fiscal year will begin July first.

More: continued here

Car inspection exemption idea rejected by NC panel

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A legislative panel has declined to recommend to the full General Assembly that late-model automobiles be exempted from annual North Carolina safety inspections.

The Joint Transportation Oversight Committee voted 7-5 Wednesday against putting the proposal on its final list of recommendations. The idea is less likely to get heard this year without the committee’s formal recommendation. The short session began later Wednesday.

The proposal would have exempted the first three newest model years from the safety inspections, which cost $13.60 per vehicle.

Some lawmakers argue the inspections on newer vehicles are unnecessary because they have better technology and equipment and travel on smoother roads.

Committee co-chairman Sen. Bill Rabon of Brunswick County said he voted against the exemption in part because inspections can help point out problems to older drivers.

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

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Authorities say murder suspect has gang ties

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Guerrero faces one count of first-degree murder in the killing of 22-year-old David McPhatter.

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Former detective guilty of sex charge

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

A former Brunswick County sheriff’s sergeant was sentenced to prison earlier this month for molesting a juvenile under 16.

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Cooking competition heats up Wrightsville Beach

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Fire on the Dock was the hot ticket again this week. The weekly cooking competition has captured a loyal audience.

The real battle is in the kitchen where chefs go head to head with three separate dishes. A secret ingredient is announced that chefs must include. This time it was beef.

Wednesday night’s chefs were Kirsten Mitchell from Cameo 1900 here in Wilmington and Gerry Fong from Persimmons in New Bern.

The diners have voted, and the winner is Gerry Fong, Persimmons, New Bern.

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