News from Roanoke Rapids, Weldon and Halifax County

News from Roanoke Rapids, Weldon and Halifax County (7411)

The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue — Edward R Murrow

Saturday, 20 March 2010 15:12

A day to train, a day to help town

This week Weldon got rid of two buildings the town considers eyesores — the Dickens Hux building by heavy machinery and today the old funeral home by fire.

Saturday, 20 March 2010 15:10

A day to drop off drugs

They call them Skittle parties, multicolored pills strewn on a table and you choose your favorite color and take them to see what happens.

Friday, 19 March 2010 15:09

27 to life for Zamora

A North Carolina man was sentenced today to 27 years to life in state prison for murdering an Orange County fortune teller and her daughter. Phillipe Zamora, 55, Roanoke Rapids, NC, pleaded guilty April 14, 2009, to two felony counts of first degree murder.

Friday, 19 March 2010 15:04

Correction letter from city

It was called to my attention that the number I gave at our City Council Retreat was low for Health Insurance for the year 2006. 

Pete Luter III, a 68-year-old Roanoke Rapids skydiver and owner of Countryside Chimney Sweeps, died after having a problem with his parachute in Florida.

Complaints of drug and prostitution activity in south Weldon have led to several arrests following a six-month long investigation.

Friday, 19 March 2010 14:57

Scotland Neck results stand thus far

Thus far results from Tuesday’s special election in Scotland Neck look good, Halifax County Board of Elections Supervisor Kristin Smith said.

The board of elections will meet Tuesday at 11 a.m. to canvass the votes and no one has sent in paperwork challenging the outcome. Candidates in the special mayoral race have until Thursday to do so.

Raymond Watson collected 51 percent of the votes to become Scotland Neck’s new mayor, according to unofficial results.

Watson got 448 votes to incumbent James Mills’ 434.

Watson swept Mills in Precinct 2 voting by an 89 percent margin while the incumbent won in Precinct 1, collecting 86 percent of the votes.

Fifty-one percent of the town’s voters came out for the special election.

A new election was ordered after irregularities were found in the November mayoral election.

Thursday, 18 March 2010 14:57

Fishing Club cabin burns to the ground

A part of Halifax’s history burned to the ground this morning when one of the cabins of the Halifax Fishing Club caught fire.

The fire was called in around 1 a.m. when a neighbor awoke to find their power was out and the building was on fire, Halifax Fire Chief Ed Johnson said.

When firefighters arrived — 13 from Halifax on three trucks and five from Weldon on one truck — the cabin was engulfed and past saving.

Former Halifax County District Attorney Bob Caudle, who could not be reached for comment, owned the building.

Johnson said the building dates to 1947 and was built by Caudle’s uncle. “There’s a lot memories and history for all the community.”

Assistant Chief John White said in an email correspondence with the two-story cabin was one of the oldest, if not the oldest, structure on the site.

Johnson said the cause of the fire remains under investigation although foul play is not suspected. Power was connected to the structure. “It’s possible with the warm weather rats or mice could have got in and started gnawing something.”

Randy Birdsong, president of the club, said, “It’s a big loss and a bigger loss to Bob.”

He said the club used that cabin for its meetings. “We’ll have to make different arrangements.”

Thursday, 18 March 2010 14:55

Planners send Internet cafe regs to council

Planning board members tonight recommended sending proposed regulations on Internet cafes to city council for consideration.

Carl Garner voted against the recommendation because he believed it was unfair to allow the establishments to close at midnight while bingo halls can stay open until 2 a.m.

“How can you penalize one business?” he asked. “You can’t tame this animal so you close at 12.”

No one from the public spoke for or against the proposals at a public hearing on the matter.

Mayor Emery Doughtie did ask whether the seven Internet cafes operating in Roanoke Rapids would be under a grandfather clause.

“It’s a gray area because it’s such a new use,” Planning and Development Director Amanda Jarratt said. “There are localities retroactively enforcing. We wouldn’t make them close because their too close (to schools and churches).”

That wouldn’t mean the city wouldn’t regulate hours of operation and the number of machines for existing businesses, she said, which is something city council would have to decide.

Doughtie also asked about a moratorium on any new businesses coming coming to town. “My thought would be until we get a handle on them we don’t want to have so many in town.”

Jarratt said there are ways to enact moratoriums in cities but the matter was not discussed further.

Council will consider making the establishments a conditional use in the B-4 and I-1 districts.

Jarratt presented two minor changes to council, one putting language in the proposal for hours of operation — 8 a.m. to midnight — making it clear all games cease at midnight. The other change clarifies there shall be no more than 20 machines in a business including video poker machines.

Other proposed regulations remained unchanged:

• 500 feet from any residence or residential zoning district.

• 1,000 feet from any church, religious institution, day care center, public or private schools, public park or playground, public library, cemetery, video arcade or theater which shows G or PG movies regularly.

• 1,000 feet away from any existing electronic gaming operation, tattoo and body piercing establishment or adult and sexually oriented business.

• The machines or terminals must not be prohibited by state or federal law and must have applicable licenses and permits.

• No alcoholic beverages may be served or consumed on the premises.

The proposal also addresses parking with a requirement of 1.5 parking spaces for every two electronic gaming machines plus one space for each employee on shift of greatest employment.

There are currently seven establishments in the city. They are located at the following:

• 1114 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway

• 1740 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway

• 1308 East Tenth Street

• 112 East Tenth Street

• 1052 East Tenth Street

• 291 Premier Boulevard

• Second floor of Jackpot Bingo

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