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Archive for February, 2014

Historic homes help mark Black History Month in Wilmington

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s Black History Month, and the Historic Wilmington Foundation celebrated by marking two historic homes important to the city’s African-American history.

The Snipes-Taylor Home on McRae St. was built in 1911. It was the home of Robert Robinson Taylor, the first black graduate of MIT, who designed most of the buildings at Tuskeegee University.

The Moore-Davis House was built in 1898 as a rental home, and was owned by French Davis, Jr., the founder of French Davis Funeral Home. It has been in his family since 1970.

“Everything has changed, of course, throughout the years, but this is one factor that can be stable in this community, and it will remain,” homeowner Sadie Davis Graham said. “Knowing that this is a house that is still in the davis family is very important to me.”

The executive director of the Historic Wilmington Foundation says that homes like these mark our past, present and future one home a time.

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Preventable police-involved wrecks spike in Wilmington

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Last year, Wilmington police were involved in 29 car collisions they could have prevented – a more than 800 percent spike from 2012, according to a draft of the department's annual safety report.

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ONLY ON 3: Wilmington whacks injury leave for cops, firefighters and city workers

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A policy Wilmington City Council approved without discussion in November will limit the amount of benefits an employee can get if they are hurt on the job.

Some city workers are fired up, because they say nobody told them about the change.

“I don’t think we have done a very good job at all of explaining this to our employees,” city spokeswoman Malissa Talbert said.

Talbert says the city should have done more to notify workers about their change in benefits.

In November City Manager Sterling Cheatham drafted a letter to council members recommending they reconsider the city’s workers compensation policy.

“We had been providing benefits that were more generous than what was required under state law, and now we are providing what is required under state law,” Talbert said.

The new policy eliminates paying employees like firefighters and police 100 percent of their salaries if they are hurt on the job wile they wait to get workers compensation.

Chuck Bower is the president of the Professional Firefighters Association. He says he wishes somebody would have told him about this policy change before today.

“All employees of the City of Wilmington deserve to be treated fairly,” Bower said. “If you are injured in service to the city of wilmington then you should be able to not have to concern yourself with where your next pay check is going to come from.”

Talbert says the city is working on setting up meetings to talk about the benefits change, but Bower says more should have been done.

“I understand that it’s within the purview of the city manager and the council to do what’s necessary to mange the finances of the city, but this is a pretty significant change,” Bower said.

A change that now affects thousands of city employees.

In his proposal, which was adopted as part of council’s consent agenda Nov. 19, Cheatham said the move would save the city about $16,000 a year.

Cheatham told us he did not understand what we were asking about when we reached him by phone this morning. He also said he was too busy to do an interview.

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ONLY ON 3: State inspections confirm complaints about Bladen jail conditions

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A trip to jail is not a visit to a luxury hotel, but there is a basic expectation of safety and health conditions.

For months, though, we’ve heard complaints about problems inside the Bladen County Jail, and they’re not just from inmates. They’re also coming from state regulators.

The latest state inspection of the Bladen County Jail happened back in August. The Department of Health and Human Services Jails and Detention Unit found problems with overcrowding, jailers missing supervision rounds, unclean cells with mold and paint chipping, moldy showers in poor condition, AC units broken and leaking and no hot water among other issues.

The inspection confirms reports we’ve gotten from former and current inmates; complaints they say have fallen on deaf ears inside the jail.

“Every time we write a grievance for them, they take it and throw it away,” an inmate yelled to a reporter during a visit to the jail.

We’ve tried for month to talk with Sheriff Prentis Benston about these issues, but he refuses to talk and won’t let us see inside.

“It’s so nasty. That’s why they won’t let you come in,” another inmate told us from inside the jail. “There is mold all over the place. The heat don’t work. The AC don’t work in here.”

So in an effort to find out more, we contacted DHHS Legal Communications Coordinator Kevin Howell. He says if inspectors find a problem, the jail must respond with a plan of correction indicating how and when the issue will be fixed.

Records show Bladen County submitted a plan in September saying it had already fixed or was actively working on fixing the problems. But this is not the first time a plan of correction has been submitted. Problems were found in all four inspections over the past two years, and the problems seem to persist even after plans are submitted and inspections continued.

Howell says inspections are unannounced, but the next one is coming up soon.

County leaders have declined our requests for interviews. They responded only in a statement this month from the county attorney, who says they know there are problems with the jail, which the county hopes to fix or replace.

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Pair of UNCW players earn CAA honors

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Sophomore pitcher Nick Monroe and freshman Casey Golden were honored as Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher and Co-Rookie-of-the-Week, respectively, after a solid weekend for UNCW.

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