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Archive for August, 2013

McCrory DHHS official paid more than industry norm

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The big salary North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration is paying one of the young Republicans who worked on his election campaign last year outpaces what private employers pay for similar work.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that the $85,000 paid to top state Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Ricky Diaz exceeds the $56,000 salary a PR Week survey this year found as the industry average for professionals with less than five years of experience.

The CEO of the Raleigh-based public relations firm French West Vaughan said the 24-year-old Diaz is making about twice what someone with his experience would earn at a private company.

McCrory’s spokeswoman Kim Genardo said Diaz does more than PR for the health agency, including managing a staff.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Beach tents delay emergency response times

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Rescue workers in Sunset Beach say they're having trouble responding to emergency calls in the ocean due to clutter on the beach.

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Topsail Beach gets ready to celebrate 50th birthday

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

TOPSAIL BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Topsail Beach is celebrating a milestone birthday.

The town turned 50 in March, but locals are celebrating next week.

Those who have lived on the island since day one say a lot has changed since 1963.

“You come across that bridge, it’s like the weight of the world has just stayed over there,” Pat Braxton said.

Braxton has been crossing the bridge to Topsail Beach since before the town incorporated. Her parents built a home on the island in 1949. Fourteen years later, Topsail Beach became a town.

From the expansion of roads to the home development she’s witnessed the last 60-odd years. Braxton says one principle of the community has gone unchanged.

“The basic process of Topsail Beach has stayed the same. It is still a family beach,” she said.

A family beach that Brad Pierson and his loved ones have made ritual of visiting decades. His grandmother started the tradition in the 1920s.

“It means a lot to my family, because it reminds me of my grandmother,” Pierson said. “You know, the way things used to be.”

With a retreat so tranquil, locals say it gives a person time to forget the rest of the world.

“You do puzzles, you play cards, and you make friends that are long life-time lasting,” Braxton said.

Resident Lawrence Valerio said, “I think this is the best place as far as friendly people.”

Some say the 50th anniversary celebration is all about those people and the community they create.

“We feel like we have a gem down here,” Braxton said.

August 31 there will be a celebration for everyone. It includes live entertainment, food and fireworks.

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Search for artifacts from Queen Anne’s Revenge begin again

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

After being on another project for the month of July, marine archaeologists have returned to an area off the North Carolina coast to recover more items from the flagship of the pirate Blackbeard.

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ONLY ON 3: Fired firefighter, friends fight to get his job back

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — He was fired not for being a bad employee, but for being locked up.

But now, after being cleared of all charges against him, former Wilmington firefighter Robert Hester is back home. Now he and other firefighters are working their way up the ladder to try and get his job back.

The city fired Hester in April because he’d missed too many days of work while being held without bond in Virginia. During his trial many of his former colleagues continued to stand by his side.

“The DA’s office decided to drop the remaining charge, because there was no credible evidence that ANYTHING happened, and their one witness perjured herself, and is no longer credible,” Master firefighter Michael Bannon wrote in an email to all of WFD shortly after the verdict. “He will be home tonight if anyone wants to come up to Elizabethtown to welcome him home… Anyone is welcome to go, and show him that this department did not abandon him.”

The following day Wilmington Fire Chief Buddy Martinette started the push to get Hester his old job back.

“At this point I would like to request that we reinstate Robert to his previous position and pay him retroactively to the day he was terminated,” Martinette wrote in an e-mail to City Attorney Bill Wolak. “As most of you know, I was vehemently opposed to the way this situation was handled, however I carried out my duties as chief to terminate this employee.”

Until Hester can either have his civil servant hearing or is reinstated many of his colleagues have vowed to stand beside him and fan the flames of hope.

We tried to contact Hester for comment on this story and on his pending appeal, but we have not heard back. Chief Martinette was also not available for comment this afternoon.

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