News Index

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Highway 268 Wreck
One person had to be airlifted from the scene of a wreck Saturday evening on Highway 268 near Aaron Call Road. Witnesses said it appeared to be a head-on collision between two vehicles. Traffic on 268 was detoured while rescuers pulled the people from the cars and the helicopter was brought in to airlift one victiom to Winston-Salem.

How Does Growth Affect Wilkes?
A nonpartisan group plans a meeting tomorrow to discuss the impact of growth on Wilkes County. The panel discussion will happen during the quarterly meeting of the Government Strategic Alliance, and is sponsored by the Government Foundation of Wilkes Vision 20/20. Several county offiicals are taking part in the panel discussion, and all local candidates and officeholders have been invited to attend.

Home Theater Projector Stolen
Whether a thief got away with taking a digital home theater projector from the Wilkesboro Radio Shack may depend completely on what they do with it. The projector, a Cinego D-1000 model that includes a DVD player and stereo speakers, is valued at one-thousand dollars. The store manager tells police he discovered the projector missing Thursday. Two employees told him they remembered seeing the projector on display just inside the front door of the store Tuesday night.

There is no security camera system at the store, and the projector was not alarmed. The manager says he has no idea who might have stolen it. But if someone tries to pawn it, they’ll likely be causght, because the projector has been entered on a statewide computer list of stolen items.

Arrest for Warrants Leads to Drug Charge
A 16-year old North Wilkesboro boy is in hot water, in more ways than one. Sheriff’s deputies caught up with Todd Eugene Wyatt at a Hays business on Thursday evening. They had been on the lookout for Wyatt to serve him with two feleony warrants. As they arrested him, a pat-down search turned up about half an ounce of marijuana in the pocket of his cargo pants. That’s enough for a felony charge of marijuana possesion.

Third Suspect Arrested in Stateville Kidnapping
Statesville police now have three teens in custoday for a kidnapping we told you about last week on 3WC news.

The third suspect, Dewayne Davis, was taken into custody Friday night after police responded to a stranded motorist call. Davis had run out of gas.

Police arrested Teonte Heller last Tuesday night. Joshua Collins was arrested at the scene. They had released photos of Davis on Wednesday.

The three are accused of kidnapping two Statesville teens, forcing them to drive to ATMs and withdraw money, then taking them to the female victim’s home, where they woke up her family, terroized them, and forced them to give up money and ATM cards. Collins was arrested after a long police chase that ended with him smacking the car into a fire hydrant. The other teen in the car with him, believed to be Heller, ran from the scene. The female victim was found stuffed in the trunk.

WCC to Get Multi-Campus Designation
Wilkes Community College is starting the process to be designated as a multi-campus college by the state of North Carolina. The state board of community colleges has to approve the designation of the Ashe Center as a second WCC campus, then the general assembly would have to approve funding to support the additional costs associated with multi-campus designation. WCC Trustees learned about the plan at their meeting last Thursday.

Also at that meeting, trustees learned WCC will use the proceeds from three state grants to help train the local workforce for biotechnology jobs. The grants are part of the state’s BioNetwork grant program. WCC will also receive grant money from the Northwest College Tech Prep Consortium, which will help the college bolster its program that prepares students for transfer to a four-year school.

Drunk, Again
Out of jail, and right back in. That’s what happened to a Miller’s Creek man early Friday. Sheriff deputies say 50-year old Christopher Church had been released from jail following a DWI charge, and was drunk again when they went to his house Firday because neighbors complained he was shooting off fireworks and riding a loud four-wheeler around the neighborhood around midnight.

It was the second time that night deputies had been to Church’s house. According tot their report, on this visit, they found several detonated fireworks cannisters that had not been on the property during their earlier visit. He was charged with disturbing the peace and hauled off to the pokey once again.

Thief Resorts to Bolt Cutters
One thing you usually expect when you put things in storage is that they’ll be secure. But that isn’t always the case, as a Boomer woman learned late last week. Nellie Katz discovered someone had used bolt cutters to cut the lock off her storage building. The theif took a black YardMan riding mower, valued at one-thousand dollars, along with a blakc boy’s bike. The break-in cuased about 100-dollars damage to the storage unit door. Deputies have no suspects.


Shoplifter Cusses Out Deputy
Once a shoplifter was confronted by deputies, she started dropping all the stuff she’d stolen. When that didn’t work, she tried dropping something else – names.

22-year old Heather Renee Brooks was arrested early yesterday for shoplifting at the Run In on Oakwoods Boulevard, and at Walgreens. Deputies responding to the 9-1-1 call from Run In arrived just as she was trying to leave the store. Brooks tried to duck back in the store and started dumping the stuff she’d hidden – pies, beanie-wienies, and other food items. They’d been stuffed in her purse and her pants.

A deputy cuffed Brooks and put her in his patrol car, then searched her car, where he found about 70-dollars worth of makeup and no receipt. Turns out that had been stolen from Walgreens.

On the way to jail, Brooks cussed out the deputy repeatedly, threatening him with his job because her grandma grew up with Sheriff Dane Mastin. She claimed he had no right to cuff her or take her to jail. The verbal abuse continued when she got to jail, as she went on a tirade against the intake personnel. So far, no charges have been filed relating to the verbal abuse, only in regards to the shoplifting.

Two Mailboxes Damaged
Two Wilkes homeowners say vandals stuck their mailboxes recently – and one of the cases has an interesting twist.

Brenda Pruitt reported waking up Monday and finding damage to a mailbox outside one of her rental properties. Deputies say someone used a blunt object to hit the box. There are no leads or suspects in the case.

The report on the second case was released yesterday, a few days after it happened. A man who lives in the 21-hundred block of Arbor Grove Church Road told deputies sometime Thursday night or Friday morning, somebody knocked down his mailbox using a large pumpkin. The crime report says the mailbox post was broken…but there’s no word on what might have happened to the pumpkin. No suspects in this case, either.

Absentee Voting Underway
One-stop absentee voting starts today for the November 7th General Election. The location for one-stop will be the County Commissioners’ Room first floor of the Wilkes County Office Building in Wilkesboro. The hours for one-stop absentee voting will be from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday beginning October 19th and ending November 3rd and Saturday, November 4th beginning at 8:30 am and ending at 1:00 pm. Please note that November 4th is the only Saturday one-stop voting will be available.

Surry County Girl Dies from Wreck Injuries
A Surry County high school student has died from injuries suffered in an automobile accident.

Jessica Michelle Sykes, 17, of Mount Airy, died at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, according to a statement released Wednesday by Surry County Schools.

She was a student at North Surry High School.

Wilkesboro Crash Hurts Two
A two-car crash Tuesday resulted in injuries to both drivers. Police say 23-year old Carolyn Layell was eastbound on Winkler Mill Road about 12:30 Tuesday afternoon, and was on the way through the intersection at Winkle Street. The driver of the other car, 32-year old Jeffery Triplett, says he did not see Layell, so he pulled into the intersection. He pulled in front of Layell, and her Nissan hit his Kia in the passenger door.

Witnesses told police Layell appeared to be speeding. Both drivers were taken to Wilkes Regional Medical Center by Wilkes County paramedics. So far, there have been no citations issued in relation to the wreck.

Radiators Stolen
A Wilkes auto shop owner says a thief took some time to commit a crime at his shop. The Hays shop owner reported the theft Tuesday evening. He said the last time he’d been in the shop was on Saturday afternoon.

The radiators were removed from seven cars, both inside and outside Mr. Wiles’ shop. He tells sheriff deputies someone stole about 30 junk radiators from outside his shop in mid-summer. While he doesn’t have any idea who might have done this, he says the thief not only had to take a decent amount of time during the burglary, but had to have tools and know how to take out a radiator. However, the shop was unlocked, according to the crime report.

Attorney General: No Duke Power Rate Hike
State officials are lining up to fight the electric rate increase proposal by Duke Energy we told you about last week on 3WC News.

Duke wants to increase rates now, before it builds several nuclear power plants. In its request to the Public Utiliteis Commission, Duke said it needs to pay more than 125-million dollars in licensing and development costs for the plants htrough next year.

Attorney General Roy Cooper has joined the Public Staff, the commission's consumer advocacy arm, in opposing the plan. The request is also opposed by private environmental and consumer groups.

"Such a ruling would seem to create an open-ended, preapproved nuclear development expense account," Cooper's office wrote in a filing responding to the request.

Under North Carolina law, utilities can't recover upfront investment in power plants that aren't built, Public Staff director Robert Gruber has said.

Duke Energy says it will take its appeal to the General Assembly and seek a change in the law if the rate request is rejected by the Utilities Commission.

There’s no knowing how much the proposal might affect your electric rate, because Duke has yet to ask for a specific rate increase – only for authority to file an increase request later.

Woman Dies, Drugs Found
Sheriff deputies are investigating the death of a 30-year old Wilkes woman yesterday. Lisa Shelton was found by a friend late Tuesday, passed out on her porch. The friend tells deputies he helped her inside and put her to bed. Later he heard her snoring loudly, and became concerned she had overdosed. He called 9-1-1 when he found her unresponsive.

Paramedics pronounced Shelton dead at the scene, and an autopsy is scheduled. Deputies recovered several items related to illegal drugs. The death remains under investigation.


Forsyth Quake: More to Come?
The “micro” earthquake which rumbled through Winston-Salem early Tuesday morning was the fourth tremor to rock the Carolinas in recent months.

Officials said the epicenter of Tuesday’s earthquake was just north of the Forsyth County city and measured 2.6 on the Richter scale. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

Winston-Salem police said they received more than 150 phone calls from anxious residents shortly after the 4:56 a.m. tremors.

Scientists said they were not certain if the tremors have any connection to other recent earthquakes in the region.

Two tremors were felt near the Upstate South Carolina town of Blemins in September. An earthquake shook Bryson City, N.C. in June. A minor quake also rumbled through Burnsville, about 100 miles northwest of Charlotte, in December 2005.

None of the recent earthquakes registered above 4.0 on the Richter scale, but scientists said the tremors show the Carolinas are vulnerable to seismic activity.

Dr. Andy Bobyarchick said the area, including Wilkes County, is close to several active fault lines which are monitored closely by researchers. He said “within 30 to 50 years, we're likely to have a large earthquake on the east coast, somewhere between Charleston and New York City, that would probably be between 7 and 8 in magnitude and that will be an extensive earthquake.”

A tremor measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale leveled much of Charleston in 1886. Damage from the earthquake was reported in Charlotte. Bobyarchick said earthquakes are difficult to predict in the Carolinas, although he does not believe the recent rumblings are an indication of more severe tremors in the near future.

Winston-Salem Guard Unit Returns from Iraq
Soldiers of an Army National Guard unit headquartered in Winston-Salem are returning to North Carolina from duty in Iraq today.
The nearly 170 Soldiers were mobilized Aug. 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Battery B, from Winston-Salem deployed to Balad, located some 80 kilometers north of Baghdad, in November 2005. The Soldiers completed force protection missions and combat escort recovery patrols in support of forces operating at Logistics Support Area Anaconda.

Fake Bens Circulating
Wilkes merchants are being asked to keep an eye out for counterfeit money. Northwestern Bank reported Friday they had received a fake 100-dollar bill from one of their business customers. It wasn’t clear at the time of the report which business had taken the fake bill, so sheriff deputies are cautioning businesses to be extra-cautious when they take large bills. No one has been arrested in the case.

DUI Arrest
Sheriff Deputies arrested a Wilkesboro man this weekend, after watching him cross the center line and nearly hit another car. Deputies were originally called to Boone Trail for a disturbance, but dispatchers told them to be on the lookout for a car being driven by one of the people in the fight. One of the deputies saw the man, and turned around to stop him in the 19-hundred block of Boone Trail. 30-year old Jamie Lynn Wyatt was arrested for D-U-I, after he blew a .18 and a .17 on successive breath tests. After the stop, Wyatt refused to obey deputies’ commands, so they also charged him with resisting arrest.


Police Chases
Police chases seemed almost the order of the day this weekend, as two criminals tried to get away from officers or deputies.

The first chase happened Friday morning. It started in Alexander County, after a 2001 Buick LeSabre was reported stolen. The driver led Alexander county deputies on a chase, and as the car approached Wilkes County, local deputies joined in. The woman ran a Wilkes sheriff detective off the side of Treadway Road, damaging his county car. She kept on trying to get away, and the remaining deputy pursued her to Moore Mountain Road, where she ran into the ditch and stopped.

But it wasn’t over.

The woman threw the car into reverse and rammed the deputy’s crusier, then took off again. This time, an Alexander county deputy led the pursuit, with the Wilkes county deputy right behind. Again, the woman pulled over and the deputies stopped. Again, she rammed the Wilkes patrol car. For good measure, she tried to run again, but found she was boxed in by the deputies. So she slammed into the Wilkes patrol car a third time. Deputies were finally able to pull her from the car and subdue her.

The 30-year old woman, who was not identified by Wilkes county authorities, is charged locally with assault using a deadly weapon and damage to county property. She’s charged in Alexander County with the original car theft, fleeing to avoid arrest, and assault on law officers. Damage to the Wilkes County patrol car is valued at 600-dollars. All the woman ever hit was the pusher bumper on the front of the cruiser.

The second chase was much shorter, only a couple of miles. It happened first thing yesterday morning. Wilkesboro police received a report of a stolen 1988 GMC Jimmy. John Eller Junior said a man approached him at the Citgo station at Highway 421 and 16, asking for a ride up 16. Eller refused, and went inside, leaving the Jimmy running outside. The man followed him inside, asked again, and when he was refused again, he went outside, climbed in the running S-U-V, and sped off.

A short time later, sheriff deputies saw the S-U-V and gave chase. A deputy clocked the driver at 65 miles an hour in a 35 zone, as the driver sped up Highway 16 North. The deputy also says the driver swerved across the center line several times during the chase.

It came to an end at Canterbury Estates, where the driver was arrested without incident. Police officers arrested 19-year old Anthony Wayne Sheppard of Moravian Falls and charged him with stealing the Jimmy, along with damage to personal property. That’s because he drover the Jimmy so hard that when Eller was taken to pick it up, it wouldn’t start because the engine was seized.

Jail Jumpsuit for Halloween?
From the stupid criminals file: it was bad enough that a jail inmate chose to take a couple of jumpsuits when he was released. Then he had to go and wear them out to the Fast Track in Miller’s Creek Saturday morning, where he walked up to a deputy. The story goes downhill from there.

The quick-thinking thief admitted where he’d gotten the jumpsuit pants when the deputy asked. When questioned further, Adam Nichols told the deputy the jail had lost the clothes staff members had taken when Nichols was arrested for another crime, so they told him he could keep the jumpsuits until Monday.

After being arrested for stealing the jumpsuit, Nichol’s story changed. He admitted taking the jumpsuit because he planned to wear it trick-or-treating on Halloween. Best guess is, he won’t be doing much trick-or-treating this year.

Identity Theft
As we reported yesterday on 3WC News, identity theft is one of the fastest-growing areas of crime in Wilkes. A local woman filed an identity theft report Friday, so her bank would reimburse her the 35-hundred dollars she lost. She says the thief got her account information, and used it to write themselves a check via her online bill-pay service. The suspect is in Seattle, Washington.

Excavator Wiring Harness Cut Out
A North Wilkesboro business found out the hard way this weekend that it’s a good idea to make sure equipment on a job site is secure. Sheriff Deputies say someone cut the wiring harness out of an excavator belonging to Holly Mountain Hauling, which was on a job site in rural Wilkes County. The site is in a wooded area, far enough from the road that the equipment can’t be seen by passing traffic. The incident, which happened sometime Thursday night or early Friday, will set Holly Mountain back about two thousand dollars, much of the expense due to the fact that someone has to come to the job site to make the repair.

Friday Shooting
Gang ties are blamed for a shooting incident in Wilkes County late Friday. Julio Cabrera says three men from a New York gang shot up his house, a car and a pickup, but fortunately didn’t hit any people. One of the shots fired penetrated the walls of the mobile home, crossed a hallway, and lodged in a child’s closet wall. Another lodged in an unoccupied room. Cabrera tells sheriff deputies the men were from a New York gang, and were looking for his cousin. He told deputies the names of the men, but so far there have been no arrests.

Forsyth County Earthquake
Residents of Forsyth County woke up today to an earthquake. It was a 2-point-6 quake on the Richter scale, according to the U-S Geological Survey. That fits in the category of a “micro” quake – one weak enough that it’s unlikely to have caused any significant damage, and no injuries have been reported. Heavy sleepers might not even have noticed, as the quake happened about 5 a-m. The epicenter is calculated to be three miles east-northeast of Winston-Salem.

Egg Salad Recall
If you have a container of Ballard’s Farm egg salad, authorities say you should get rid of it or return it to where you bought it. Listeria contamination was found in a container of the egg salad tested recently at a Wal-mart in Wake county, prompting state and federal health officials to issue a recall notice. The egg salad of concern is sold at Wal-mart and other retailers, and has a “Best if used by 11/07/06” label on it.

While listeria causes flu-like symptoms in healthy adults, the bacterium can cause fatal illness in children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.


Operation Stop Arm
Officials with the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety announced today a crackdown on those who don’t stop for school busses unloading children. Operation Stop Arm will be conducted across the state this week. Troopers plan extra patrols in school zones, and other troopers will follow school busses. They will use both marked and unmarked cars along with motorcycles.

The Stop Arm law was tightened just over a year ago, taking away much of the leniency judges had been showing those written tickets for stop arm violations. No longer can a judge dismiss a valid ticket.

Came Home, Found Break-In
The couple that travels together, sometimes returns home to find a break-in. That’s what happened to a Wilkes woman recently. Penny Walker of Hays came home from a business trip with her husband to find someone had broken the latch on a shed attached to her house, and stolen several items worth more than six thousand dollars. The stolen items include a variety of tools and accessories, including a Makita route and bits, an 18-volt DeWalt drill and saw combo, two chain saws, window air conditioner, and a six thousand watt generator. The list runs to nearly a full handwritten page. Sheriff Deputies say there are currently no suspects, and that it could have happened any time between September 25th and October 2nd. Mrs. Walker waited ten days to file the report.

Fuel Oil Drained
It happened sometime in the past month. That’s all a disabled Wilkesboro woman was able to tell sheriff deputies, after discovering someone had stolen 200-dollars worth of fuel oil. Mary Frances Cardwell reported the theft late last week, saying she had paid to have the tank filled around September 15th. In preparation for the cold snap that arrived late last week, Cardwell says she checked the fuel level in the tank to find it almost empty. Deputies are continuing their investigation.

President to Visit
President Bush is scheduled to visit Greensboro on Wednesday. It will be his third visit to North Carolina this year.

Children will take center stage during Bush's visit as he travels to an elementary school in Greensboro and, later, the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman. He will also attend a reception and, later, a fundraiser in a private home.

Wilkes Man Honored by SGMA
A Wilkes resident now has an honor from the Southern Gospel Music Association that he’s been politely declining for a number of years. Maurice Templeton was honored at the SGMA annual meeting last week at Dollywood. According to an SGMA news release, Mr. Templeton was instrumental in the formation of the SGMA Hall of Fame. He has been nominated for the Hall of Fame multiple times, but each time, he asked to be removed from the nomination list.

This year, though, the Board of Directors voted to enshrine Mr. Templeton without his knowledge. He joins ten other inductees to the Hall this year.


Fire Displaces Family
A house fire overnight has displaced 8 Wilkes residents. The house near Brushy Mountain Road and Sleepy Hollow was reported on fire in the wee hours of the morning, and firefighters from Broadway, Moravian Falls, and Boomer were called to get it under control. Broadway firefighters remained on scene past 7am to check for hot spots. It will be some time before a determination is made as to cause. Later in the day, we hope to find out the name of the family, and what help they might need in the way of clothes and so forth.


Coats for Kids 2006 had Great Response
The final numbers are in, and the Child Abuse Prevention Team says donations were up tremendously for this year’s Coats for Kids drive. 552 coats were donated during this year’s drive, an increase of 26-percent over 2005. Coats have already been distributed through Christmas in Wilkes, the community’s annual holiday assistance program. Families selected winter garments as they signed up for Christmas in Wilkes September 25-October 5 at the Rotary Fairgrounds in North Wilkesboro.
Garments received after October 5th are being be made available to the county’s foster children.
The coats were donated by local churches, civic organizations and individuals.

Child Abuse Prevention Team executive director Sharry Mabry said in a news release, “Wilkes County came through in a big way to help keep our kids warm this winter, and we are very thankful.”

The campaign’s top donor was Hexie Minton of Moravian Falls. The retired school cafeteria worker crocheted 100 toboggans for the 2006 “Coats for Kids” campaign. Mrs. Minton is already crocheting caps for the 2007 drive.

WRMC Battle Rages On
The infighting among North Wilkesboro Town Board members over what will happen with management of Wilkes Regional Medical Center appears to be continuing. Commissioner Debbie Ferguson, who was the swing vote in the decision a week ago to let the current hospital operating board keep managing WRMC, was removed the next day from the group negotiating a 30-year lease with the board. According to Ferguson, Mayor George Church told her just before a negotiating meeting last Wednesday she was off the committee and Dr. Leo Baugham, who proposed both failed votes to award the contract to other entities, was on. Church supported Community Health Systems, which would have paid the city 51-million dollars up front, and made no annual payment for the 30-year lease.

Soldier Celebration Slated
A local church is planning an early December celebration to honor local guardsmen. Tom Bartlett, pastor of Celebration Baptist Church, says they’ve been planning the celebration for more than a year, ever since members of the 505th Engineer Battalion were called up for duty in Iraq. The church is seeking donations of money or items that can be given away in drawings that night. Call 838-11-40 for more information.

This is the Weekend to Enjoy Fall Color
When we live so close, it can be hard to remember that some people travel long distances to come see the fall color. Experts say this should be the peak weekend for fall color western North Carolina.

Crae Morton, the president of Grandfather Mountain, says visitors would see some particularly vibrant yellows and rich maroons. He calls it a ``real pretty leaf season.''

Appalachian State University biology professor Gary Walker says a cold and dry spell in September helped create particularly good colors. He says that's because it stresses the trees to shut down early before all the sugars are transported out of the leaves.

Walker says cool weather now will help lock in the colors while pushing those leaves that are still green to move into their colors. He says it's the best fall leaf colors he's seen in years.

Wilkes Firefighters Receive Grant
Wilkesboro firefighters will receive part of more than 91-million dollars in federal grants issued this week through the Department of Homeland Security. 860 departments nationwide received the grants, which are funded through the department’s 2006 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. This is one phase of the program, which will result in about five thousand fire departments and first responder organizations receiving a total of 485-million dollars. Wilkesboro Fire Department was one of 29 departments statewide to receive grants in this round. The 43-thousand dollar grant will be used for operations and safety items.

Since 2001, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program has provided 2.4 billion dollars in grants to fire departments and first responder organizations for response equipment, personal protective equipment, vehicles and fire prevention activities. The program awards grants to firefighters, emergency response personnel and first responders throughout the country to enhance response capabilities and to more effectively protect the health and safety of first responders and citizens in their communities. AFG grants provide resources for training, first responder health and safety programs, and response equipment and vehicles.

Duke Energy Wants to Raise Rates
The electric utility that serves most of Wilkes wants to raise rates to cover the risk of building new nuclear plants. The hikes would ratepayers even if the plants aren't built.

Duke Energy has asked state regulators to let it boost rates on its 1.6 million customers in North Carolina. The plan is to recover the more than 87 million dollars it expects to spend in laying the groundwork for two new reactors in South Carolina.

Duke Energy customers in South Carolina also could see a rate hike because the proposed nuclear plant in North Carolina's Cherokee County would provide electricity to customers in both states.


Voter Registration Deadline Looms
If you’re new to Wilkes County, or you have moved within the county since the last election, your opportunity to get registered to vote next month is about over. Registration books close at the end of the day Friday, and new registrations will not be taken until after the November election.

New registrations are needed for anyone who is new to the county, who has changed address, changed name, or wishes to change party affiliation. According to a news release from the Wilkes County Board of Elections, mail-in forms are available at the public library, and forms can be filled out at the Board office in the county office building. If you are renewing your driver’s license you can also register to vote at that time.

Forms have to be received or postmarked by Friday.

Cold Air on the Way
It's time to get those fall and winter clothes out of the attic, if you haven't done so already. A real autumn cold air mass is headed toward the Carolinas and will arrive in time for the weekend.

Mild weather is expected to continue today and Thursday across the region, although a weak cold front will move through the area later today. The stronger of the two cold fronts will sweep across the region overnight Thursday.

Friday highs will be only in the middle 60s, despite bright sunshine.

Frost is likely in some parts of the region Friday night and early Saturday. Sub-freezing temperatures are forecast in the mountains, where a hard freeze could take place.

Will Low Gas Prices Stay?
Gas prices have been dropping over the past few months, but energy analysts say motorists shouldn’t get our hopes up that things are going to stay that way.

Prices at the pump have fallen about 90 cents since the beginning of August -- some North Carolina stations are offering regular unleaded at less than $2 a gallon -- but experts are unsure what to expect this winter. An extraordinarily cold winter or a decision by OPEC to cut oil production could drive prices back up.

Graffiti "Artists" Strike Wilkes Businesses
Two Wilkesboro businesses tell police they’ve been the victim of graffiti writers recently. Both incidents were reported Tuesday.

A Dumpster at Wilkesboro Laundromat was tagged Monday night, according to the employee who reported it Tuesday morning. According to police, the graffiti was spray-painted not only all over the Dumpster, but down the side of the building. The police report does not describe the graffiti.

Also Tuesday morning, the owner of Advantage Mini Storage reported finding graffiti on the front door of his business. In yellow, 12-inch letters, the vandal wrote the number 2 and the letters M-E-X. The same letters were also painted on a sign at the business. Other graffiti was spray-painted on a Pennzoil billboard on the property. Lee Black told officers he had seen similar markings painted on the garage doors at the Old Mulberry Fire Station.

So far, police have no suspects in either case.

Wilkes Businessman Accused of Scam
A homeowner believes he’s the victim of a scam at the hands of a Wilkes business, and sheriff’s deputies agree. Thomas Pratt, a retired Jonesville man, told deputies he paid Larry Dwayne Smith, who does business as Affordable Roofing, 18-hundred-50 dollars to re-roof his house. But he hasn’t heard from Smith since. According to the investigative report, Smith has faced similar charges several times. He has been served with a warrant charging him with failure to work after pay.

Law enforcement officers issue reminders several times a year, not to pay the whole bill for construction work before it’s done. Taking the money and not doing the work is a common scam worked by unscrupulous contractors. Usually, your only way of being sure the work is done is to pay the full bill only after the job is complete to your satisfaction. Of course, dealing with contractors you know also helps you to be assured the job will be completed.

Man, Woman Assaulted
A rural North Wilkesboro man and woman were beaten up after three men burst into their house Sunday night. Sheriff Deputies didn’t release the report on the assault until yesterday. 27-year old Louis Carver the Second suffered facial fractures, according to Sevina Greene, the 21-year old woman who called 9-1-1 after the men left. Carver told deputies the three men came to his house, and kicked in the front door, which was unlocked, after they knocked and he didn’t answer. According to Greene, the men were accusing Carver of breaking into their home. Deputies have names of the suspects, but have made no arrests yet.

The Horseshoe Pit is the Other Way!
A burglar used an odd implement to break into a car outside a Wilkes home this week. Rida Huffman tells sheriff deputies she heard a loud crash early Tuesday morning, and looked outside to see a man walking away from her pickup, which belongs to Tommy Call. The man had used a horseshoe to break out the window, then reached in and grabbed a toolbox from inside. Deputies arrested 46-year old Douglas Mark Wyatt later in the day and charged him with the break-in and theft.


Man Dies, Drugs Found
Sheriff Deputies are investigating the death of a man whose body was found yesterday afternoon. A Neighbor told deputies 48-year old Gregory Dean Dancy had been sick for about a day. When the neighbor went to check on him, he had to break into the house, and found Dancy dead. Deputies found marijuana, a roach clip and rolling papers in the house, but it won’t be clear what role the drugs may have played in Dancy’s death until the result of an autopsy are back. The autopsy was scheduled for today, but drug test results take several weeks. The death is presently listed as suspicious.

Car Wrecks, Rolls into Moravian Creek
Two people were taken to the hospital Monday evening after a roll-over accident at Highway 268 and School Street. Wilkesboro police say the car was westbound on 268 and lost control, striking a utility pole guide wire and rolling down the embankment into the Moravian Creek. The car nearly flipped over as it rolled down the slope, and firefighters had to peel back the roof of the car to get the people inside out of the wreckage. 53-year old Phyllis Foster and 33-year old Nora Johnson, both of North Wilkesboro, were taken to Wilkes Regional Medical Center by Wilkes EMS. A six-year old boy in the car was not injured.

Jeep Stolen While Man is in Hospital
A Wilkes man came home from the hospital yesterday to find his Jeep had been stolen. Kenneth Spears told deputies early Monday afternoon he returned from a five-day stay in the hospital to find someone had taken his 1996 Jeep Cherokee Laredo. He admitted that he’d left the jeep unlocked, and it had a spare ignition key hidden inside it. Deputies say the jeep is red and silver. Spears also said a wood stove that was being kept in a storage building on his property had been stolen. It’s valued at 400-dollars. No suspects have been identified.

Shooting: Accidental?
Sheriff Deputies are looking for a Moravian Falls man who showed up at Wilkes Surgical Offices Monday with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. A nurse practitioner at the facility told deputies James Hawn had been shot in the palm of his left hand, with the bullet exiting through the back of his hand. He told the medical staff he was loading the 22-caliber gun to put it away and accidentally shot himself with a hollow-point round. He was treated and released. So far, deputies have been unable to find Hawn to verify the account, and in fact they’ve found his house padlocked front and back from the outside, both times they’ve visited since the shooting was reported Monday morning. The case is listed as still under investigation.

Dole Staffer to Visit
If you have concerns to share with U-S Senator Elizabeth Dole, your opportunity to do so is coming up soon. A member of Dole’s staff will be at the North Wilkesboro Town Hall a week from Friday. A news release from Dole’s office says the time is meant for individual meetings with constituents to discuss their concerns with federal agencies, case work, or issues pending before Congress. Appointments are not needed. The staffer will be in town only one hour, from 9 to 10 am next Friday, October 20th.

The Break-in Cost More than the Stolen Stuff
A rural North Wilkesboro man says someone broke into his basement wile he was at work Monday. Turns out the damage to the basement door and a screen door was worth more than what was taken. Keith Cheshire reported the break-in about 6:30 Monday night. Damage to the doors was estimated at 500-dollars, while the value of the 25–inch TV and two bath faucet sets that were stolen is listed as totaling about 135-dollars. The property was taken from the living room and an upstairs bedroom. Deputies say there are no suspects at this time.

More Charges in Check Copying Case
Two more people have been charged in relation to a forged check from the court system last month. 33-year old Christopher Landrum has admitted he took the check in question and made a computer copy of it using his scanner. Then he and 30-year old Matthew Triplett took the check to Traphill Grocery and cashed it. Two other men were charged earlier, after the duplicate check turned up at another Wilkes business.

Might Want to Find a Better Storage Place
The side pocket of a recliner is probably not the most secure place to store a handgun. A Wilkes man found that out the hard way over the weekend. 49-year old William Jeffery Shaw tells sheriff deputies that sometime between Friday and Monday, the gun disappeared from the recliner side pocket. No suspects have been identified.


Miller's Creek Home Broken Into
A Miller’s Creek woman was the victim of a break-in Sunday morning. Teresa Smithey reported
the burglary about 1:30 yesterday afternoon, when she came home to find the back door pried open. She says someone stole about 12-hundred dollars worth of jewelry. The thief walked into the master bedroom and picked up a jewelry box, leaving several other valuables behind. The missing jewelry includes 20 sets of 14-karat gold earrings, three bracelets, several necklaces and pendants, and a gold Bulova ladies’ watch.

A neighbor told sheriff deputies they’d heard a motorcycle in the area while Smithey was gone, and there appeared to be motorcycle tracks in the yard. Other than the neighbor who heard the motorcycle, no one heard or saw anything out of place. Deputies are continuing their investigation.

Another Sunday Jewelry Theft
A rural Wilkesboro woman reports a thief broke into her house this weekend and stole 600-dollars worth of jewelry. Nicolette Barber tells sheriff deputies she came home late Sunday afternoon and found her door kicked open. Once inside, the burglar had stolen a 300-dollar value gold necklace and two bracelets, one worth 200-dollars, the other one worth 100-dollars. Barber says she has no idea who might have broken in between early Sunday and late in the afternoon. Damage to the door and frame was valued at 300-dollars. The case remains under investigation.

After Short Chase, Suspect Vanishes
A car stop on Friday afternoon led to a short foot chase, but ended with a sheriff deputy losing track of both suspects. A deputy on routine patrol stopped a 1995 Jeep Wrangler on Zion Hill Road just before 5 Friday afternoon, because the tag on the Jeep was registered to a 1991 Chevrolet pickup. When the deputy walked up to the Jeep, he recognized the driver and his passenger, and knew the passenger was wanted on a felony theft warrant. When the deputy went around the car to arrest David Spears, the man took off running. The deputy gave chase, until he lost Spears in the woods near Zion Hill church. In the meantime, the driver, Jessie Spears, had taken off in the jeep.

Later, the Jeep was found at a house on Suncrest Orchard Road. The deput seized it and charged Jessie Spears with driving on a revoked license, displaying the wrong tag, and driving without insurance. David Spears has not been seen since.

Tools Stolen This Weekend
Sheriff Deputies are investigating two thefts of tools over the weekend.

The first was reported Friday morning by Randall Johnson. He came out of the house to go to work Friday, and found the side door of his work van standing open slightly. He called deputies after looking through the van and finding two bags of tools were missing. According to Johnson, one of the bags was black, and contained tools worth about 600 dollars. The second one was brown, and the tools inside it were worth about 500 dollars. Johnson says he didn’t hear or sea anything strange during the night, but his wife said she thought she heard a door slam about 2 a-m. She didn’t think anything of it because she assumed it was the neighbors.

The second tool theft was reported Saturday morning. Danny Bell says sometime within the last month, an assortment of tools was stolen from his auto repair business on Mountain View Road. He’s still going through his remaining tools to find out what’s missing. Deputies say there were no signs of forced entry.

Minor Injuries from US 421 Wreck
Two people suffered minor injuries in a two-car collision at US-421 and Winkler Mill Road. Wilkesboro Police say it isn’t clear who caused the wreck Saturday afternoon. 84-year old Warren Brown was westbound on Highway 421 in the center lane, and had the green light. 18-year old Brooke Mallory says she had the green light, as she turned off Winkler Mill Extension onto Westbound 421. She hit Brown’s car in the driver’s side, just in front of the front door. Although both Brown and Mallory were hurt in the crash, both declined treatment by Wilkes County EMS paramedics.

Gas Drive-Off at Uncle Kenny's
A Hays convenience store clerk says two men in a Cadillac with out-of-state plates drove off without paying for gas this weekend. The clerk at Uncle Kenny’s Gas and Grill described one of the men as white, in his 30’s, with graying hair. She did not get a good look at the other one. She said the white four-door Cadillac had either a Florida or a Georgia tag, but when deputies ran the number she gave, the tag was not found in either Florida or Georgia. According to the clerk, the men stopped, asked for directions to North Wilkesboro, and then left without paying for about 25-dollars in gas.

Regenerative Medicine Institute Receives Grant
A ground-breaking effort to grow new organs and limbs using cells from a person’s own body got a financial shot in the arm recently, with the help of 5th District Representative Virginia Foxx. A grant worth one-million dollars is on the way to the Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The grant is part of the Defense Department budget recently approved by Congress. In an exclusive interview with 3WC News, Representative Foxx said not only is the Institute one of the leaders in research into organ regeneration, they are doing work now that helps U-S soldiers who lose extremities.

Medical experts say the most exciting thing about organ and limb regeneration is that because the replacement body part comes from the person it’s being transplanted into, issues of organ rejection vanish.