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Archive for August, 2012

ONLY ON 3: Ballpark backers commission phone poll

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — There is a new poll in the field asking Wilmington voters how they feel about the proposed ballpark. Today, a member of our staff got a phone call poll asking what he thinks about the ballpark.

Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling is conducting the survey commissioned by supporters of of the proposed ballpark, including the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, which is trying to find out what voters think about a plan for a ballpark in the Port City.

An automated phone survey conducted by PPP asks several questions, most focusing on the ballpark and what it would be used for.

The poll starts by asking if the caller will vote for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney for president this fall. Then questions about baseball step to the plate.

Callers are asked if they support a bond referendum on the November ballot to pay for the stadium, and later if the $37 million price tag and multiple uses for the facility would affect how they feel about the referendum. They are also asked if they think there is enough affordable family entertainment in Wilmington.

Capstrat, the PR firm hired to represent the ballpark and its supporters, says the the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce is responsible for the poll. We tried to contact the Chamber by phone. The Chamber responded with an e-mail reading, “The campaign in support of the November bond referendum is coming together. And we are certainly conducting initial research. We do not, at this time, have polling numbers or information to release.”

City leaders told us they did not know about the poll. Capstrat says no public money is being used to conduct it.

Until now, the only scientific polls on the ballpark conducted were two by WWAY, The Big Talker FM and the Civitas Institute. Those polls showed most Wilmington voters like the idea of a ballpark in the city, but are strongly opposed to using tax money to pay for it.

More: continued here

Ballree, Gore surrender after indictments

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Former Brunswick County District Attorney Rex Gore and a former assistant turned themselves in today, a day after being indicted. Former Boiling Spring Lakes Police Chief Emmett Ballree also surrendered after he was indicted in an unrelated case. All quickly bonded out of jail.

A Grand Jury yesterday indicted Gore and one his assistants Elaine Kelley for allegations Kelley submitted false expense reports netting her more than $14,000 over several years. Gore has denied any wrongdoing. Today he declined to answer questions about whether or when he will surrender to face the charge against him. Kelley has not returned a call for comment. District Attorney Jon David says the Attorney General’s office is handling the case.

Also yesterday, a Grand Jury indicted former Boiling Spring Lakes Police Chief Emmett Ballree and his son Michael. The indictments claim the former chief helped his son get a firearm even though Michael has been convicted of possessing a stolen firearm. That felony conviction precludes him from having a gun. Neither Ballree would comment on the charges when reached by phone yesterday.

More: continued here

Wilmington considers whether to fold Water Street Parking Deck

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — At tonight’s meeting, Wilmington City Council will discuss the future of a downtown fixture that could soon be history.

Wilmington has spent millions of taxpayer dollars on the Water Street Parking Deck, yet the structure faces an uncertain future.

For more than 50 years the deck has been a fixture in Downtown Wilmington, but for some in city hall it has become an eyesore.

“We haven’t decided as a council what we ought to use that piece of property for,” City Councilwoman Laura Padgett said.

At the August 6 City Council meeting, Andrews Consulting engineers presented three options for the future of the deck: Demolish it for $625,000; keep the deck running for three to five years for $675,00; or for use it for ten years at an estimated cost of $730,000.

Meanwhile City Manager Sterling Cheatham is asking for $3.3 million for the project to cover the cost of the purchase and whatever council decides to do with the deck. This despite the fact that city leaders agree that the long term future of the deck is bleak.

“I think with the right plan we could convert it to something really different immediately with the right plan,” Mayor Bill Saffo said.

Two developers have come forward to try and buy the property from the city, but at a cost lower than what the city paid for it.

“We are not going to sell that piece of property for less than we purchased it for,” Saffo said. “Obviously part of that piece of property was purchased for about $2.6 million in 2007. That piece of property was purchased specifically for open space.”

More: continued here

Baseball stadium supporters doing their own polling

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce has commissioned a telephone poll to gauge the level of support for a baseball stadium.

More: continued here

Expected ad onslaught begins in congress race

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Party committees pour money early into 7th District contest

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News provided by WWAY NewsChannel 3 and the StarNewsOnline

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