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Archive for June, 2013

Severe thunderstorm warning issued for W. Columbus Co.

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Western Columbus County until 7:15 p.m. Tuesday evening.

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State superintendent pushes income tax exemption for public school teachers

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The state’s top educator wants to take some of the financial burden off North Carolina teachers.

State Superintendent June Atkinson is urging lawmakers to consider exempting public school teachers from personal state income taxes.

North Carolina ranks 46th in teacher pay. Atkinson says something must change to make the state more competitive in attracting good teachers.

“The single most important resource in schools that helps kids to be successful is a classroom teacher,” Brunswick County Teacher of the Year Laura Hunter. “That should be the place that we pour resources and support in every way we possibly can. Right now we’re not doing it.”

Hunter says state budget plans show state leaders do not value the work of teachers.

“In our society, we pay what we recognize as valuable,” she said. “The way we are paying teachers in north carolina says that we don’t value what they do in their classrooms.”

She says teachers, including herself, often have to work two and sometimes even three jobs away from school, just to make ends meet. She says this is the reason the turnover rate for teachers is so high.

“Teachers come in, they’re invested in the process, but after five years of seeing no pay increase, they leave to other professions and to other states,” Hunter said. “Our kids cant afford that..”

Shallotte Middle School teacher Martie Arrowood says better pay or money saved through an income tax exemption could help teachers focus on only one job.

“Which means they’ve got more time for the classroom, time for preparation, or just more time for family,” Arrowood said.

Atkinson fears that if nothing is done, the future of our school systems may be grim.

“I believe that we will be in trouble as we go forward if we do not have competitive wages for our teachers,” she said. “And we need to keep the talent, the expertise and the confidence in our public schools.”

We tried to contact local legislators to see what they thought of Atkinson’s idea, but they were either in meetings, or we did not hear back.

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ONLY ON 3: Residents ask for fallen tree removal, WHA tears down basketball goal

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — What would you do if a tree limb fell on your roof, and blocked the front door of your house? Residents of Wilmington’s Vesta Village community tried to get help with the clean-up, but they claim the Wilmington Housing Authority did more harm than good.

Residents say they may not have much, but they take pride in what they do have, especially their homes.

After a June 8 thunderstorm dropped a limb on a home, many residents called the WHA to come clean it up.

A resident who asked that we not put her on camera for fear of retaliation described the scene.

“Emergency maintenance came out and broke a limb for me to walk out of my front door,” she said. “When they broke it off they told me they would be back, because they had to get a contractor to do it, and I’m still waiting on the contractor to come.”

For close to two weeks, residents have been forced to walk around and even climb through the tree while trying to get in and out of their home. After contacting the Wilmington Housing Authority to try and get the situation cleaned up, they were shocked at the Housing Authority’s response.

“Housing came out here, and instead of cleaning up the tree, they busted down the basketball goal,” neighbor Terry Faulk said.

Since there are no swing sets or other play places inside of Vesta Village, residents pooled their money to purchase a basketball goal for the kids. That investment in the community was shattered when residents claim WHA workers sheered the bolts on the goal sending it crashing to the ground and shattering the backboard and the spirit on looking kids.

“It’s breaking the kids’ spirit,” Faulk said. “Look at all of the kids that are standing around. This is what they love doing and how they get along. Here we are trying to stop crime and everything and you come and take the one thing that the kids have to play with, the basketball goal, and instead of removing the tree that’s a hazard to the whole community.”

A spokesman for the Wilmington Housing Authority says that the basketball goal was taken down because it opened the organization up to a liability lawsuit.

He said contractors will remove the fallen tree tomorrow.

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UPDATE: Businessman steps up to support July 4 fireworks

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council heard an emotional tribute tonight that thousands will eventually enjoy.

Council voted whether to accept a $15,000 donation from a Wilmington businessman to make up for losing a title sponsor for the 4th of July fireworks.

Earlier this year, the future of the fireworks show was unclear. But now thanks to a generous donation the show will go on. The Wilmington City Council have decided to approve the donation.

Henry Johnston and his wife Lorene were married for nearly 50 years before she died in March. Johnston says they always enjoyed the 4th of July fireworks downtown, so when he heard there was a financial shortfall, he thought this would be a great way to honor his late wife.

“I remembered how much my wife, recently deceased wife, always enjoyed the fireworks,” Johnston said. “If we weren’t in Wilmington, wherever we were we always went to the fireworks, and I thought it was just a wonderful opportunity to sort of give back something to the community.”

Because of Johnston’s gift, the city will only pay its usual $10,000 for the Battleship Blast show, which draws more than 50,000 people downtown. The Battleship North Carolina pays another $5,000.

The City Council has asked Henry Johnston to press the button to kick off the fireworks show.

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NC highway money changes near final passage

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

RALEIGH, NC (AP) – Gov. Pat McCrory is just one vote away from receiving from getting the new distribution method he sought for transportation funds across North Carolina.

The House gave by a wide margin approval Tuesday to a new funding model that focuses more upon projects of statewide and regional importance that relieve congestion and encourage economic growth. The House only needs to again agree formally Wednesday to changes by the Senate before the bill goes to McCrory’s desk.

McCrory and legislative leaders announced in April proposed changes to the current Highway Trust Fund formula that distributes money equally among the state’s 14 transportation divisions.

The proposed formula distributes 40 percent of trust fund and federal aid money to statewide projects and 30 percent each to regional and division projects.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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