Thursday, May 03, 2007

Officials Want Hastings House Recognized As National Historic Landmark

The Hastings House in Smithfield is one of the most historic landmarks in Johnston County , yet it is not designed by the NC Department of Cultural Resources as a historic site. Town officials hope that will soon change. The Smithfield Historic Preservation Commission has submitted an application seeking to have the house, now located on Front Street , included in the National Register of Historic Places. This week, the Smithfield Town Council adopted their own ordinance declaring the property as having historic value. The building is currently being used by the Parks & Recreation Department but will be vacant later this year when rec workers move to a location on Buffalo Road . In March 1865, the Hastings House served as Confederate Headquarters of General Braxton Bragg and Joseph E. Johnston. It is also the oldest surviving Greek Revival home in Smithfield . The house was built in 1854 for William Hastings, his first wife Lucy Anne McCullers, and their daughters, Julia and Sarah. It was originally located at Second and Johnston Streets, but in 1941, in order to make room for Overby Funeral Home, the house was moved to Front Street . Except for the kitchen and dining rooms, which were removed in order to relocate the building, the Hastings House is still in its' original shape. Currently, no money is set aside for restoration or renovation work for the Hastings House, which was bought by the Town of Smithfield in 1965.

Bill Phillips Sworn In As Smithfield District 4 Councilman

W.O. “Bill” Phillips was officially sworn in as the newest member of the Smithfield Town Council this week. Phillips, who is 78, was surrounded by his family as he took the oath, administered by Clerk of Court Will Crocker. He will fill out the unexpired term of Tom Bell, in District 4, which expires in 2009. Bell stepped down in March saying his work and out-of-state travel prevented him from devoting the time and attention he felt was necessary to serve the citizens. Phillips has been a business owner in Smithfield for the past 47 years. Previously, he served two terms on the West Smithfield Sanitary District, and served several years on the Smithfield planning and zoning board. In 1998, Phillips also served on the Mayor’s Advisory Board.

Autopsy: Murder Victim Shot To Death

An autopsy has determined a man found alongside Contentnea Creek near Stantonsburg on Sunday died from gunshot wounds. Authorities have also been able to identify the victim as 33-year-old Salvardor Salinas. His next of kin in Mexico has been notified of his death. An off-duty state trooper and his family fishing in the Creek discovered his body around 3pm Sunday. On Thursday, Major John Farmer with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office said no arrests had been made but the murder investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office at 252-237-2118.

No Trace Of Woman Missing Two Months

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the publics help in finding a woman who has been missing for two months. Regina Dorette Herring was last seen on March 7 in the Goldsboro area. The 42-year-old woman has not been heard from since. Herring’s sister reported her missing on April 19. No vehicles are missing and detectives say the divorced woman was not on any known medication. Herring was arrested on drug and burglary charges in 2005 and spent 30 days in jail in 2006 for violating her probation, but she has not been in trouble in Wayne County since then. Herring is described as a white female, 5 foot 5, 120 pounds, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone who may have any information about the missing woman is asked to contact the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office at 919-731-1480

Driving Adjusting Dress Causes Collision

A section of Highway 42 near Interstate 40 was closed for an hour Thursday following a near head-on collision on a bridge crossing Swift Creek. The driver of one of the vehicles, Rachael Holley, 33, of Clayton, told troopers she was adjusting her dress, caught under her shoe, when she ran off the right side of the highway striking the bridge railing. Her Pontiac veered across the roadway and crashed into a Dodge truck. The truck drivers name and condition was not immediately released. Trooper D.L. Braswell charged Holley with reckless driving. The Department of Transportation inspected the bridge for damage before allowing it to be reopened to traffic. 50-210 EMS and Cleveland Fire also responded to the scene.

Middle School Soccer Game Cancelled After 3 Players Injured

A Smithfield EMS ambulance leaves the campus of Smithfield Middle School with one of three players injured during a soccer match on Tuesday. WMPM Photo A soccer game between Smithfield and Cleveland Middle schools was cancelled Tuesday after three players were sent to the hospital with injuries. One of the players sustained a broken collar bone. Another player was reportedly suffering from the heat, according to school officials. Smithfield EMS transported all three players to Johnston Memorial Hospital . Afterwards, the game was cancelled in part due to the three players’ injuries and because of the 90 degree weather.

2007 & Yam Court Crowned

Ham The new 2007 Smithfield Ham and Yam Court were crowned on April 21. The contestants raised $4,108 for the Me Fine Foundation. The winners will be kept very busy during the upcoming year. The will be donating their time at the Hope Thrift Store on Saturday. The young ladies plan to donate over 100 teddy bears to the Johnston County Sheriff's Office to give to children at crime scenes, work at the Kiwanis Club Ham-n-Yam Supper, participate in the Toys for Tots campaign, and volunteer during the Coats for Kids. Any civic or non-profit group that would like the young ladies to volunteer or help in any way should call 919-291-7344, according to Deborah Rosenberg, Director. These young ladies love to serve their community, Rosenburg said.

Police Seize $11,788 In Cash, Pound Of Marijuana

Police recovered $11,788 and a pound of marijuana after being called to a home on Wilson ’s Mills Road on Wednesday. A woman told officers she found a diaper bag hidden behind her home. Inside, Police Detective Lt. Keith Powell said, there was a pound of marijuana and several rolls of money totaling $7,490 in cash. Shortly after police arrived, the woman’s grandson reportedly arrived and claimed ownership of the diaper bag. Daniel Allen Blan, 21, of Garner was searched by Smithfield Police and an additional $4,298 was seized, Lt. Powell said. Police said the woman saw a person hide the bag out behind her house and didn’t recognize the individual as her grandson. Blan is facing multiple charges.

Town To Sell House On Booker Dairy Road

The Smithfield Town Council has declared a house on a lot they recently purchased, at 406 Booker Dairy Road , as surplus property. The board voted unanimously Tuesday night to accept sealed bids on the house and outbuildings which are appraised at $25,390. Once sold, the new owner will have 60 days to remove the house and all debris from the lot. If relocated within the city limits, the owner will have a set period of time to have it repaired and occupied. Town Manager Pete Connet was authorized by the council to accepted sealed bids on the 908-square-foot house. The property was formerly owned by Cynthia Hamilton, but was purchased by the Town to expand Smithfield Community Park .

Ribbon Cutting Held At Newly Remodeled Golden Corral

Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held at the newly remodeled Golden Corral in Smithfield . Chamber and community leaders gathered on Thursday as Smithfield Mayor Norman Johnson cut the ceremonial red ribbon. The new pavilion-style prototype was opened to the public afterwards. The restaurant will feature new “stations” offering guests prepared selections from scratch, a “Greenhouse” fresh salad bar and the “Brass Bell” bakery-dessert cafe. The restaurant is managed by Eric Brownlee, District Manager, and Jerrel Carter, the General Manager. “ Smithfield and Golden Corral are a perfect match,” Brownlee said. “The folks here appreciate Golden Corral and our tradition of variety and quality food.” Golden Corral has been at its current location in Smithfield for the past 11 years. Raleigh based Golden Corral Corporation is privately held, and operates 480 company and franchise restaurants in 40

Charges Dropped Against Ex-Hotel Clerk

Prosecutors have dropped felony charges against a former Jameson Inn hotel clerk who was accused of stealing $3,000 last year. Darik Norris (pictured right) says his name has been tarnished because of the incident. Photo by The Daily Record The Harnett County District Attorney's Office has dismissed charges against a man accused of stealing $3,000 from the Jameson Inn hotel where he worked in Dunn. Darik James Norris, 37, has been cleared for felony counts of larceny by an employee and obtaining property by false pretenses. Investigators say the decision to drop charges was arrived at due to credibility issues with the person who filed the complaint against Norris. “Basically, I wanted to tell the city of Dunn that I did not do this,” Norris said. “My name has been tarnished with the hotels for the last nine months and I have not been able to get a job."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

West Smithfield Music Teacher Amanda Huerta Named First Year Teacher Of The Year

Amanda Huerta (center) has been named Johnston County Schools First Year Teacher of the Year. She is congratulated by Superintendent Dr. Tony Parker and Terri Sessoms, Lead Teacher with School Improvement.

Amanda Huerta is Johnston County Schools' new First Year Teacher of the Year for 2007-2008. A K-5 music teacher at West Smithfield , Huerta is hailed as a teacher who identifies her students' strengths and gifts and builds upon them, generating a "very positive and nurturing relationship with the student body." In fact, says her principal Todd Holmes, "Amanda Huerta represents all that is positive at West Smithfield Elementary." Huerta can be found routinely in her room working alongside students on the floor, at a music station, or demonstrating a dance or choreography step. Her focus is on success for every student rather than on being a great singer or musician. She is creative, consistently maintains positive, two-way communication with teachers, the administration, and parents, regularly participates in West Smithfield 's Manners Matter lunches to celebrate positive behavior, leads the school chorus Eagle Center Stage, and consistently generates new ideas on behalf of the students. Vanessa Watson, Media Coordinator for West Smithfield and Huerta's mentor, sums it up: "I am amazed at Ms. Huerta. I think she was a teacher in another life...I feel that I've won the mentor lottery because I'm blessed to have her as my mentee."

Funeral For Local Solider Killed In Iraq Set For Thursday

Funeral services for a Johnston County solider killed in Iraq on April 23 will be held Thursday in Benson. Staff Sgt. William Clint Moore was 27. Moore was one of nine paratroopers who died when two trucks filled with explosives blew up near a patrol base. Twenty others were injured in the suicide-bombers attack. One of the trucks exploded near the base of a building, causing the second floor of the building to collapse, resulting in most of the solider casualties, according to a US military statement. A 1998 graduate of South Johnston High, Moore enlisted in the Army after graduation, and was currently a member of the Bravo Troop 5th Squadron, 73rd Calvary Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division. Funeral services will be held at 11am Thursday at the Benson Grove Baptist Church . Burial will follow at the Banner Chapel Church Cemetery with full military honors. Staff Sgt. Moore is survived by his father Ronnie S. Moore, and his sister Leanne M. Moore. His mother, Gwen Baker Moore preceded him in death. The family of Staff Sgt. Moore will receive friends at Rose and Graham Funeral Home in Benson on Wednesday from 6pm until 9pm. Flowers are welcomed, however the family suggests memorials be made to Holly Grove Advent Christian Church, 2050 Holly Grove Road, Benson, NC 27504, or Pleasant Hill Christian Church, 4639 NC Highway 50 North, Benson, NC 27504. Condolences can also be emailed to the family. Photo courtesy The Daily Record

National Guard Unit Trains In Mississippi -

(Above) Battery A ,113th Field Artillery Paladin Howitzer moves into its firing point during annual training at Camp Shelby Miss. Battery A Guardsmen are based in Lincolnton and Statesville . (Below) Company C, 252 Combined Arms Battalion Tank Commander SSG Edward Strickland and his new Abrahams Tank on the gunnery range. Company C is based in Southern Pines. NG photos by Staff Sgt. Al Hunt and SPC Steve Chadduck, 30th HBCT PAO)Smithfield

The 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team is winding down three weeks of annual training at the Joint Forces Readiness Center where gunnery training was a key focus. The training provided an opportunity to test the 30th’s capability to mobilize its soldiers, deploy high mobility vehicles, and exercise its command and control elements. All these skills play a unique roll for Guardsmen since they are needed to respond to natural or manmade disasters and remain ready for federal service. The 780 mile convoy moved hundreds of vehicles, equipment and personnel to southeast Mississippi. Camp Shelby was chosen last year due to the wide variety of gunnery ranges to accommodate the 30th’s M1 Abrahams Tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and Paladin Howitzers. Although the 30th was the first National Guard Brigade Combat Team to deploy to Iraq , it has not been alerted for any future mobilization. Since their return from Iraq in early 2005, the 30th has been undergoing a massive transformation to the new “modular” formation dictated by the Army. This will make the 30th identical to Heavy Brigade Combat Teams in the active duty. This formation has realigned equipment, personnel and many different military occupational specialties. The 30th HBCT consists of about 3300 soldiers and about seventy percent are veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Forty-five of the solider who trained in Mississippi are based out of the National Guard Armory in Smithfield. The 30th includes combat and support units based throughout 42 other communities in North Carolina.

Over 1 Million Gallons Of Water Used To Extinguish Fire At Scrap Metal Plant

Firefighters used over 1 million gallons of water to extinguish a fire that burned hundreds of scrap cars that covered an area the size of three football fields. As much as 2,000 gallons of water a minute was being sprayed on the fire. What started the fire Monday afternoon at Atlantic Scrap & Processing on Wal-Pat Road remains under investigation, according to Smithfield Fire Marshal Paul Whitehurst. Officials speculate a piece of hot metal kicked out of a machine that grinds down the scrap cars started the inferno, the second major fire at the facility since October. Unlike the first fire that burned an area the size of a football field, the fire on Monday had an upper hand on fire crews. Smithfield Police said company employees were trying to put the fire out themselves instead of immediately calling for help. Because of the large amount of water used to fight the fire, Johnston County and the Town of Smithfield issued a mandatory water conservation advisory. On Wednesday, the water conservation measure was reduced to voluntary. “The voluntary water conservation notice simply asks residents to be mindful of any non-essential water use, according to Johnston County Manager Rick Hester. Atlantic Scrap is based in Kernersville , NC , and they operate several scrap metal recycling plants across the state. Photo by Carter Rabil

Girl Mauled By Pit Bull

A 7-year-old Harnett County girl suffered over 200 bites and required staples to close her wounds after she was viciously attacked by a pit bull. She was taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for treatment. Harnett Animal Control identified the victim as Kenlie Thomas. The girl’s stepfather, Tom Still, said the 1-year-old male dog named Chopper was apparently spooked by the sound of a battery-operated motor vehicle the girl was riding and attacked. The animal has been seized by animal control, where it will be quarantined and euthanized. No charges are expected to be filed.

Police File More Charges Against Reporter Arrested At Accident Scene

Photographer Carter Rabil was arrested April 26 by Smithfield Police Lt. Ryan Sheppard (left) and Captain Bruce Gentry (right) at an accident scene on US70. Police filed more charges against Rabil on Tuesday. Officers said he was interfering with the crime scene when he shot his photos (picture below), outside crime scene tape.

More charges have been filed against a reporter arrested at the scene of a fatal accident on Highway 70 in Smithfield last Thursday. Mitchell Carter Rabil, an independent photographer, was arrested at the scene for disorderly conduct and resisting a police officer. The charges were filed by Lt. Ryan Sheppard, although witnesses said the incident involved another officer, Captain Bruce Gentry. On Tuesday, Rabil was charged with a second count of resisting a police officer. Those charges were issued by Captain Gentry. Rabil was taking video of the accident scene when an alleged confrontation ensued with Captain Gentry. During the arrest by the two officers, police threatened to use their taser gun on Rabil unless he dropped his camera equipment. Police Lt. Keith Powell said the latest charges stem from the same incident, just from another officer. “He refused to back out of a crime scene,” Powell said. This is not the first time Rabil has been accused by police of being too close to a crime scene, but when Rabil was arrested he was clearly outside the boundary of the crime scene tape. Complaints have also been filed against Captain Gentry in the past by the media. Rabil is free on a

Ham & Yam Goes High Tech In Battle Against Rain Legend

Leave it once again to the creative minds at the Ham & Yam Festival to come up with another way to put an end to the perception that it always rains at the Ham & Yam. It has rained on 11 of the past 21 festival weekends. Several years ago, the Ham & Yam Festival constructed a large rain gauge to ward off the dark clouds during the weekend festivities. This year, officials have added an official Ham & Yam Rainmaker. “If you can’t beat mother-nature, you might as well join her,” chuckles Chris Johnson, Executive Director of the nonprofit organization. “I stated that I wasn’t going to get all wrapped up in looking at the extended forecast for the weekend. Well, after completing the Rainmaker, I have been told by everyone in the town that it looks like we are going to have perfect weather. Maybe the sun will shine on this pig’s tail after all!” The Rainmaker is currently positioned on Market Street in front of the DSDC offices at 222 East Market and will be set up in the middle of the festival area during the weekend. Well-wishers are encouraged to stop by, have their photos taken with it and throw as many coins in the pool as they would like. As for keeping his word on jumping into the Neuse , Johnson claims he will hold true to his challenge that he will jump into the river as soon as the festival is over on Sunday, provided that it doesn’t rain during the festival. “As I said before, it just wouldn’t be a Ham & Yam Festival if I wasn’t wet,” claims Johnson. “I have had a ton of people approach me to ask if I was going to jump from the bridge. Listen, I may be crazy but I am not that crazy. With the river being as low as it is, it will be from the banks or from a boat.” The Ham & Yam Festival takes place this Saturday and Sunday.

Driver Hurt After Car Lands In Creek

Selma Fire Chief Joe Price (left) and Officer A.G. McLamb survey a wreck scene Tuesday on Oak Street. A car ran off the roadway into a creek, briefly entrapping the driver. WMPM Photo A Selma man received minor injuries after his car ran off West Oak Street and landed in a creek. It happened Tuesday afternoon. Selma Fire and EMS workers had to remove Sellam El Gani, 32, of North Sumner Street , from his convertible Saab. Gani told eyewitnesses to the crash he passed out moments before the accident, according to Officer A.G. McLamb.

Radiography Students Earn Top Scores

Pictured from left are Lindsey Simmons, Patricia Vidal, Elizabeth Jones, and Lisa Marie Thrower. Students in the radiography program at Johnston Community College recently participated in the North Carolina Society of Radiologic Technologist annual mock registry and four seniors produced four of the top five scores among students from across the state. Elizabeth Jones of Goldsboro had the highest score and received the Winslow Cup, a trophy given in honor of Betty Winslow, director of Wilkes Regional Medical Center ’s radiography program. Patricia Vidal of Middlesex earned the second highest score and Lindsey Simmons of Apex and Lisa Marie Thrower of Raleigh tied for the third highest scores.

Will They Be Our Next Superstars?

From left, Wee Wan, Jeff Enoch and James Capps, of Benson.

James Capps, of Benson, Wee Wan, and Jeff Enoch don’t have million dollar contracts or stretch limos yet, but it’s only a matter of time, according to Miriam Anderson, adjunct professor of voice at Campbell University . Extremely enthusiastic about the talent of these students, Anderson is eager to let the rest of the world in on it. “These guys certainly have star quality,” she said. “All three are really putting Campbell out there.” Wee Wan, a senior mass communications major from Ipoh , Malaysia , is a budding pop star in his country. He just cut a demo CD, and a song he composed for a Malaysian talent competition similar to “American Idol” not only won the competition but was recorded by famous Malaysian pop singer Michael Wong. Lanky James Capps, who lives in Benson, and is the son of WMPM DJ Robert Capps, could pass for a younger version of country music artist George Straight. Capps’ clean-cut appearance and “Aw shucks” style make him a natural for the country music stage. A junior mass communications major who grew up singing and playing acoustic guitar with his dad and brothers’ country /blue grass band, Capps is a traditionalist who likes the melodies and lyrics of artists Randy Travis, Johnny Cash and Alan Jackson. “I’ve been playing and singing since high school,” he said. “It’s been more of a hobby than anything else.” Within the past two years, Capps’ uncomplicated style and mellow voice have gained regional notoriety, however. He has been a featured performer on the “Country Music Showcase,” sponsored by Johnston Community College , and has made dozens of appearances at community events such as Harnett County Relay for Life. “If I could make a living making music, that’s what I’d love to do,” he said. “Just making people feel good, that’s what I really enjoy.” The father of two small children, senior theatre major Jeff Enoch plans to move his young family to Orlando, Fla., where he has just been signed to a six-month contract with Walt Disney World. Enoch will play “Bloat the Blowfish” in “Finding Nemo,” the new Disney musical eventually headed for Broadway. “My six-year-old daughter is in a great school in Apex,” Enoch said. “I hate to uproot them for such a short time.” The job could lead to roles in Disney productions in New York , however. Once Enoch works professionally, he can receive his Actors Equity card and possible entré into New York theatre. “It’s a great stepping stone,” he said. “I love acting.”

Teens Charged After Firing Paintballs At Home

Three teenagers are in trouble after reportedly being caught firing red paintball pellets at a home on Campground Road near Selma Tuesday night. Alex Garcia, 17, and Samuel Gomez, 16, were arrested by a Johnston County sheriff’s deputy who spotted their car near the scene of the incident. A witnessed who phoned 911 helped authorities make a quick arrest. A 13-year-old was also charged with the incident. Detective Lt. Chris Strickland said several other homes outside of Selma , in the Revell Road area, were also vandalized Tuesday after being shot with paintball pellets. Strickland said those cases remain under investigation.

Man Charged With Helping Teen Run Away

An 18-year-old Sampson County man has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he allegedly helped his 16-year-old girlfriend run away from home and hide from her parents. Jonathan Price was taken into custody in Lauren County, South Carolina, Friday after he and his girlfriend, Desirae Davis, allegedly hid in the woods for eight hours to elude the girl's stepfather. Both teens attended Midway High School in Sampson County . Price quit school and moved to South Carolina after he and Davis allegedly got into trouble for inappropriate behavior at the school. Davis ran away two weeks ago to meet Price in South Carolina .

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fire At Smithfield Scrap Metal Plant Contained -

Smithfield firemen watch over a fire at Atlantic Scrap & Processing that continued to burn Tuesday. Eighteen departments battled the fire, first reported at 5:12pm Monday, that burned the size of three football fields of crushed cars. WMPM Photo Fire At Smithfield Scrap Metal Plant Contained - A massive fire that erupted Monday afternoon at Atlantic Scrap & Processing on Wal-Pat Road in Smithfield was contained on Tuesday, but Smithfield Fire Chief Patrick Harris said smoke from the blaze will likely billow for a couple more days. A total of 18 departments and more than 100 personnel battled burning piles of hundreds of crushed cars at the facility between US301 and Interstate 95. Chief Harris said the first call came in at 5:12pm Monday. When crews arrived on the scene, heavy fire was already showing. A police officer said company workers were trying to contain the blaze with on-site firefighting apparatus, but the flames were too intense. Unlike the last fire at the same plant in October, Chief Harris said the fire had a big jump on firefighters. In October, Harris said a pile of junked cars about the size of a football field burned, taking 20 hours and 11 departments to contain. This time, the fire burned an area the size of three football fields. Johnston County emergency management and state air quality officials monitored the fire, testing air quality levels in Smithfield and Selma for several hours. The public was never in any danger from the thick black smoke. Due to the large amount of water used to contain the fire, Johnston County and the Town of Smithfield have issued a mandatory water conservation advisory until further notice. Chief Harris said after October’s fire, the Smithfield fire marshal had started working with the Atlantic Scrap to prevent another massive blaze. “We’re going to set down again and assess the lessons learned and look at what we can do different,” Chief Harris told WMPM on Tuesday. Harris went on to say there is a certain amount of risk in the process of grinding metal. However, Smithfield fire investigators want to know how the blaze spread so rapidly this time. “It had a tremendous head start,” Harris added. No injuries were reported.

Fire At Selma Home Being Treated As Arson

A fire that heavily damaged a home just before midnight Monday in Selma is being treated as arson. Flames were already showing when fire crews arrived at the home at 522 Millbrook Street . Four people lived in the home, but no one was injured. A witness reported seeing a woman inside the residence set the fire, but the person named as the suspect was talking with a police officer on another matter at the time of the suspicious blaze. The house that burned Monday night is located adjacent to the old Selma Cotton Mill that burned last year. The rental house was owned by Ricky Lee Klein of Selma . The Johnston County Fire Marshal and Selma Police are still investigating the set fire.

Selma Police Investigating Second Home Invasion Within A Week

Selma Police are investigating their second home invasion within a week. On Monday night, two robbers armed with a shotgun burst into a house on East Lizzie Street . One of the two persons inside the home fought back, struggling with one of the robbers before they fled. Police recovered a black and white bandana and black toboggan left behind at the scene. On April 24, three victims were robbed during a home invasion on West Oak Street . The getaway vehicle used in the robbery was later recovered in Wilson ’s Mills. In the latest incident, police think the suspects fled in a white Ford pickup.

3 Injured In Collision On US70 Near Pine Level

Three people were injured in a two-car collision Monday evening on Highway 70 at Steven’s Chapel Road . Rosa Irma Tejero-Gudierrez, 56, of Highway 301, Selma , reportedly disregarded a stop sign on Steven’s Chapel Road and pulled into the path of a car, driven by Amber Shae Wood, 16, of Princeton , which was traveling westbound on US70. Tejero-Guiderrez had to be cut from her car, which was struck in the driver’s side door. Both drivers were taken to Johnston Memorial Hospital , along with a 15-year-old passenger in Wood’s car. Tejero-Guiderrez was charged by Trooper J.M. Dorsey with failing to yield. Selma EMS and Pine Level Fire responded to the scene, which shut down one lane of US70 in each direction for one hour.

Store Clerk Accused Of Giving Away Merchandise

A convenience store employee is accused of giving away merchandise. Managers at Handee Hugo on Highway 70 in Selma called police after reviewing a video surveillance tape that allegedly showed an employee give items away to several customers. In one incident, the clerk allegedly charged a customer for a cup of ice when he purchased a six pack of beer. Tiffany Marvett Bradshaw, 32, of Smithfield was charged with felonious larceny by an employee

Man Beaten, Cut, Robbed

A Dunn man walking home from a local convenience store was attacked by three men, beaten and cut with a knife, and robbed of about $80, according to police. Ronnie Wayne Barefoot, 53, was walking home from McLamb's Party Beverage store about 11 p.m. Monday when the attack occurred. Barefoot suffered a laceration to his wrist, puncture wound over his left eye and lacerations to his elbow. He was treated at Betsy Johnson Hospital . Dunn Police are asking for anyone with information to call 910-892-2222.

JCC Foundation Announces CMS Scholars

JCC Foundation Announces CMS Scholars - The Johnston Community College Foundation recognized the spring semester scholarship donors and recipients at a breakfast held recently in the lobby of the Paul A. Johnston Auditorium. Debbie Elam, associate director of performing arts, center, congratulates Amy Grady of Garner, left, and Sharon Griffin of Clayton on being the recipients of the Country Music Showcase Endowment Scholarships. Grady is a student in the nursing program and Griffin is studying medical office administration. In the fall, the College Foundation plans to award more than 220 scholarships compared to 137 scholarships presented in fall 2006. With assets over 3.4 million, the College Foundation has created and manages 78 named endowment funds and 25 named annual scholarship funds.

Candace Tynes Named North Johnston High Student Of The Month

Left to right: Phil Smith, Market Street Advisors; Candace Tynes, Student of the Month; Brent Walston, Nominator.- Congratulations to Candace Tynes, a student at North Johnston High School . Candace has been named the Student of the Month for April. She was nominated for the award by her teacher, Brent Watson. Candace will receive a saving bond and a trophy. Students are selected for the monthly award for expressing a positive attitude, striving to achieve their fullest potential, being cooperative and respectful, and being reliable.

Doctors Office Employee Charged With Prescription Fraud

An employee at a Wake County doctor’s office is charged with prescription fraud and trafficking controlled substances. A pharmacy worker at CVS on Highway 42 at I-40 called a Cary physician after Jill Whitfield tried to get a prescription for hydrocodone filled a day early. A doctor reportedly told the pharmacist the prescription was counterfeit. Whitfield, who worked as a medical assistant for the same doctor, was arrested at the pharmacy on multiple charges including obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, maintaining a vehicle to keep a controlled substance, and two counts of trafficking a controlled substance. Johnston County deputies said they seized 117 hydrocodone tablets and a bottle of hydrocodone cough syrup from the 35-year-old woman. Whitfield, of Garner, was jailed under a $100,000 bond.

Activity Bus Stolen From Four Oaks Middle Campus

If you see a large white school activity bus in a place that it shouldn’t be, you’re asked to contact Four Oaks Police. A Johnston County Schools activity bus was stolen overnight Monday from the campus at Four Oaks Middle School . Police Chief Danny Toppings said there are no suspects in the theft. The full-size white bus has Johnston County Schools marked on the side. Anyone with any information about the stolen bus is asked to contact Four Oaks Police at 919-963-3112. WMPM File Photo

13-Year-Old Won't Be Charged For Bringing Knife Onto Campus

A Four Oaks Middle student won’t face any criminal charges for allegedly bringing a knife onto school grounds. The incident happened April 20. School officials said the 13-year-old student had a four inch pocket knife in his possession, which he reportedly had been showing to other students in his class. Administrators asked the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office not to file any charges against the youth.

Milk Truck Driver Cited In Accident

A milk truck driver has been charged with causing an accident Monday near Four Oaks Middle School that blocked a section of Boyette Road for several hours. The Highway Patrol said Jason Lee Edwards, 40, of Clinton was operating a Pet milk truck, when he ran off the roadway, overcorrected, and overturned in the roadway. He received minor injuries in the accident. The truck, owned by Dean Transportation Corporation of Indiana , was loaded with milk products. Trooper D.W. Green charged Edwards with failing to maintain lane control and a registration violation.

Firemen Battle Blaze At Smithfield Recycling Facility

A massive fire erupted at a scrap metal recycling facility in Smithfield late-Monday and it continues to burn today (Tuesday). More than a dozen fire departments, along with emergency management officials, responded to Atlantic Scrap & Processing on Wal-Pat Road . Smithfield firemen used a ladder truck to try and contain the initial blaze, but it spread too rapidly, forcing crews to pull back. Smoke from the burning piles of crushed cars could be seen for miles away. The fire did not create any air quality concerns, although state air quality officials were closely monitoring the situation. Due to the large amount of water being used to fight the fire, mandatory water conservation measures have been put into place for customers served by the Smithfield and Johnston County water plants. Residents are being asked to limit non-essential water use until further notice, according to County Manager Rick Hester. Smithfield Police temporarily shut down traffic on US301 Monday night, between Packing Plant and Brogden Road, but that section of US301 has now reopened. The Highway Patrol and DOT are still monitored traffic on Interstate 95 for any possible problems. Monday’s fire at Atlantic Scrap is the second major fire at the same business in six months. Last October, eleven departments battled a similar fire that took 20 hours to contain. The exact cause of Monday’s fire has not been determined. Atlantic Scrap & Processing is based in Kernersville , NC , but has several metal recycling facilities like the one in Smithfield , scattered across the state.

Clayton Man Charged With Trying To Kill Girlfriend

- On April 15, a 40-year-old Clayton woman was rushed to Johnston Memorial Hospital with a gapping stab wound to her chest. The victim told medical workers she was walking up the steps when she fell forward on a steak knife. Doctors told Johnston County deputies her injuries were not consistent with her story. Her injuries were so severe she was transferred to Pitt Memorial in Greenville for further treatment. Following an investigation into the incident, Lyle Bernard Parrish, 49, of Matthews Road , Clayton was arrested Sunday and charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and first-degree kidnapping. Parrish was the victim’s boyfriend, according to Tammy Amaon, a spokesperson for the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. This is not the first time Parrish has been arrested. In 1987, he was convicted for assaulting a woman and in 1991, he was found guilty on drug charges. Following his latest arrest, Parrish was jailed under a $100,000 bond.

Murder Victim Found Near Wilson County Creek

Wilson County sheriff's investigators converge on a wooded area beside Contentnea Creek outside of Stantonsburg on Sunday after the body of a Hispanic male, who reportedly had been murdered, was found by an off-duty state trooper and his family who were fishing nearby. Photo by Carter Rabil - The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office is trying to identify a man who was found murdered in a wooded area near the Contentnea Creek near Stantonsburg on Sunday. An off duty state trooper and his family were fishing in the creek around 3pm Sunday when they found the body of the unidentified Hispanic male. Authorities are treating his death as a homicide. Detectives don’t believe the victim was a legal resident of the United States and investigators are seeking to identify him and where he lived. Anyone who may have any information about the victim or the homicide is asked to contact the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office at 252-237-2118.

Person Of Interest In String Of ATM Thefts Apprehended

A man considered to be a person of interest in ATM machine thefts in Selma, Princeton, Raleigh, Fuquay-Varina, Clayton, and Garner in the past several weeks has been arrested. Robert Blake Strother was taken into custody by Clayton and Wilson ’s Mills Police on Monday at a location on Fire Department Road . Strother has been formally charged with stealing an entire ATM machine from Bojangles on South Wilmington Street in Raleigh last Wednesday. Strother allegedly backed a Dodge pickup truck up to the window, broke out the glass, and then wrapped a chain around the ATM, which he drug outside with the truck. News coverage of the surveillance photos from the crime scene led to the suspect’s identification, according to Raleigh Police. Clayton Police Chief Glen Allen said Strother was a suspect in the theft of an ATM machine on April 26 at 2:45am Howard’s Mini Mart. The 20-year-old man is also a person of interest in similar ATM thefts in several other cities across Johnston and Wake counties . Additional charges and arrests are anticipated, according to Chief Allen. This is not Strother’s first brush with the law. In January, he was charged by Wilson ’s Mills Police with using his older brother’s identity during a traffic stop. His brother has been in the military for the past four years, and at the time of his younger brothers arrest, hadn’t been in North Carolina in two years, police said at the time.

West Johnston High Open Guard Places Seventh In Nation In World Championship Finals

West Johnston High Guard Members (front row L to R) Katie Nyberg, Ashley Lovejoy, Mindy Pleasants, Amanda Smith, Taylor Jarrett (2nd row L to R) Amy Broderick, Christy Lee, Katie, Dicicco, Amber Hewko, Jesse Walker, Amber Workman (Top row L to R) Courtney Jones, Lily Hurr, Phillip Franklin, Taylor Hewitt, Stuart Morgan, Javion Echols, Brandi Suggs. Photo by Elizabeth Tenzca
- West Johnston Open Guard placed seventh in WGI World Championships Finals on April 14th in Dayton , Ohio following three spectacular performances. Eighteen West students performed their show “J. Edgar Hoover” and brought the house down. The directors and kids were stopped throughout the 3-day competition and in Dayton to receive personal congratulations and praise. 193 units were competing from all over the country and Japan , Canada , Great Britain and France . The Clayton High Winterguard was a semifinalist. West Johnston has been WGI regional finalists or champions in all WGI regional competitions since 2004. West Johnston Open Guard has also been AIA (Atlantic Indoor Association) gold medallists in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. David Duffy, assistant director of bands at West Johnston said, “The kids were simply amazing. I’m so proud of them. They came together as a team and provided the audience with great entertainment during 3 phenomenal performances.” Lance Britt, director of bands at West Johnston said, “These 18 students are shining examples of our youth and that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. Their commitment and dedication to this activity is remarkable and once again they have represented our school, county and state with pride and dignity.”

Johnston County Hires New Clerk To The Board

Paula Woodard is the new clerk to the board for Johnston County . The Board of County Commissioners hired Ms. Woodard last week to replace April Byrd, who resigned earlier this month. “We are so excited to have Paula as our new clerk. She has done a great job in the Economic Development Office for 13 years. Her skills and understanding of our county will be a great asset,” stated Cookie Pope, chairperson of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. Ms. Woodard has worked in the Johnston County Economic Development Office since March 1, 1994. She is a graduate of Johnston Community College , and is married to Tommy Woodard. They have a three-year old son, Cameron.

1 Killed, 2 Seriously Hurt After SUV Flips On I-95

One person was killed, and two others, including a small child, were badly hurt after their SUV overturned on Interstate 95 near Benson early Sunday morning. The Highway Patrol said the driver, Carlos Torres, of Pennsylvania, was killed. Two passengers, Alexis Leiva, who is 2-1/2 years old, and Rosa Leiva, 20, were seriously hurt. Two others in the SUV were not injured. Trooper C.J. Bell said it appeared the SUV ran off the roadway, overcorrected, then overturned, striking the median guardrail. Torres, was wearing a seat belt, but was still ejected and fatally injured. Troopers believe speed played a factor in the accident. Benson Fire and EMS , along with Four Oaks EMS, responded to the scene. Photo by Carter Rabil

Truck Loaded With Milk Overturns

No one was injured after a milk truck overturned Monday morning on Boyette Road near Four Oaks Middle School . The driver apparently ran off the roadway and overcorrected, causing the fully loaded Pet milk truck to topple onto its’ side. One lane of Boyette Road was closed for several hours while the wreckage was cleared. Four Oaks Police, Fire, EMS responded to the scene. The NC Highway Patrol is still investigating the 10:05am accident.

Father And Son Accused Of Growing Marijuana

A Princeton father and his son are accused of growing marijuana in their home. Deputies were summoned to the residence of William Rowdy “Button” Hill Jr., 44, on Old Rock Quarry Road Saturday for a domestic incident. When officers arrived, they reportedly saw a marijuana plant growing on the kitchen table. Hill and his son, Adam Corey Hill, 16, are accused of trying to flush the plant down the toilet before being arrested by officers. Authorities also recovered a stolen utility trailer from behind the residence and additional charges are possible. The father was jailed under a $51,000 bond, while his son was incarcerated under a $10,000 bond.

Johnson To Jump In Neuse If It Doesn't Rain On Ham & Yam Festival

Perception or reality, there is a growing local legend that lives along the banks of the Neuse River in Downtown Smithfield. And just like clockwork, around this time every year the tale seems to grow bigger. The bizarre tale that will send chills down any outdoor event planner is that it always rains the weekend of the Ham & Yam Festival. To save the 2007 Ham & Yam Festival from washing down the drain, Chris Johnson, Executive Director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation and host organization of the annual town celebration, is offering up his body as a way to ward off the evil spirits. At the conclusion of the Festival, as soon as the Relay for Life Duck Race is over at 5:00PM on Sunday afternoon, Johnson will jump from the banks of the Town Commons into the Neuse River if it doesn't rain during the Ham & Yam. "You cannot imagine how many people come up to me and joke that they'll be sure to not wash their car this week, or that they'll plan to cut their lawn on Wednesday, cause it will surely rain during the weekend of festival," states Johnson. "I was eating at Zack’s Char-grill last week and over heard the next booth state something to the effect…"well, Ham & Yam is next weekend, so I had better plant my garden next week." I first thought they were having a little fun at my expense, but then I realized, they didn't know who I was, or that my organization put on the event!" To educate the public, the Ham & Yam Festival turned to Wingate Lassiter, Director of the Johnston County Heritage Center , and one of the founding event organizers in 1985, to help dispel the persistent rumor. According to Lassiter, here are the facts from official records kept in the Heritage Center: Since 1985, when the first festival was held, through last year's event: measurable precipitation was recorded at Smithfield on 14 of 38 days when outdoor Ham & Yam activities were scheduled; 11 of 21 festival weekends had at least one day of rainfall – ranging from 3.5 to 0.02 inches within a 24-hour period; and 4 of 21 weekends had measurable rainfall every day outdoor events were scheduled. "When the festival was held on the third weekend April, everyone was begging us to move it to May because it always seemed to rain," states a perplexed Lassiter. "Five years ago, during the Town’s 225 Birthday Celebration, we moved the Festival to May. Since then, the original April weekend has had prefect weather, and we have had measurable precipitation on the May date!" Johnson states he is unaware if the bookies in Vegas are putting any odds on the "splash spectacle" and avoids looking at any long range weather forecast. "After doing this for 7 years, the way I figure it, it just wouldn't be a Ham & Yam Festival if I wasn't wet," Johnson quickly jokes. "Two years ago we built a big 10 foot tall rain gauge and set it up in the middle of the festival area to poke a little fun at ourselves. This year we hope to have a more up to date model. Stranger things have happened. I can always hire myself out to Midwest farmers during their drought season. I've been told I could make a lot of money!"

Children's Lending Library Now Open In Clayton

Dawn Winn-Burdo, Resource Librarian at the Children’s Lending Library, explains to Clayton Downtown Development Coordinator, Bruce Naegelen how developmentally appropriate, hands-on learning toys like this color sorting kit help a child learn and grow. The Partnership for Children’s Lending Library is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8am – 3pm in the offices of Clayton Counseling, 9921 Olde Town Square on Hwy. 70. Call the Children’s Lending Library for more information at 919-631-4807.

JCC Foundation Awards Early Childhood Scholarship

The Johnston Community College Foundation recognized the spring semester scholarship donors and recipients at a breakfast recently in the lobby of the Paul A. Johnston Auditorium. Joe and Shirley Whitley congratulate Heather Dicus on being named the recipient of the Whitley Early Childhood Annual Scholarship. Dicus of Clayton is a student in the early childhood education program. In the fall, the College Foundation plans to award more than 220 scholarships compared to 137 scholarships presented in fall 2006. With assets over 3.4 million, the College Foundation has created and manages 78 named endowment funds and 25 named annual scholarship funds.