News from Roanoke Rapids, Weldon and Halifax County

News from Roanoke Rapids, Weldon and Halifax County

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

Monday, 08 March 2010 12:39

Demolition cost rises to $17,500

Weldon will have to spend $13,600 more than originally planned to have lead paint removed from the Dickens Hux Awning building, Code Enforcement Officer Richard Brown told town commissioners tonight.

The building was set to be demolished because it is beyond repair. The original estimate was $3,900, however, because the building has lead paint which must be removed first it will cost $17,500.

The building is condemned, the bricks are deteriorating and the roof has fallen in, Brown told the board.

“It’s been an eyesore for a long time,” Mayor Julia Meacham said. “I feel like we need to add the $13,600 to get rid of it.”

Meacham said the town is trying to promote Weldon. “That sets a poor example,” she said of the building on Second Street. “We have to invest in the town before others invest.”

The mayor said the town has the money but former Mayor Johnny Draper asked from the audience where the money was.

“The money is in the budget,” Meacham responded.

Walter Clarke made the motion to approve the appropriation and Martha Alford cast the second.

Following the meeting Draper said the money was not in the line item.

Meacham countered the money was in the general fund, coming from a salary which is no longer paid late part time Town Administrator Neal Phillips and from money left by the unfilled position of the former town clerk who retired.

“It’s an eyesore to the town,” she said.

In another matter tonight, police Chief Mark Macon requested a traffic study to put a stop sign at Prince Street to encourage normal traffic flow along Woodruff Street.

Macon requested the study, which the board approved, after town resident Gary Danek spoke to the panel.

Macon said he wanted to observe traffic patterns and record the number of crashes there before making a decision.

“I think that’s a waste of the town’s money,” said Danek. “I can’t see why there would be a discussion of a survey. If the signs are placed improperly why not place them properly?”

Macon told the board, “The signs have been there for 11 years. We need to take the path of least resistance. You should do what I ask.”

The Halifax County Sheriff’s Office reports several people were arrested over the weekend with drugs and weapons charges.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 09:35

DSS notified of shooting


Parker, left, and Mayo

The Halifax County Sheriff’s Office has notified the department of Social Services about the four-year-old who was killed Monday night when an improperly stored gun was accidentally discharged by another child.

DSC_01331It was supposed to be an all-day training event, a duplex in poor condition used for firefighter training and then allowed to burn to the ground. When fire hit the attic a few hours into the session on Rapids Street today, commanding officers gave the order to halt the training and let the house burn. It was something Roanoke Rapids Fire Department Chief Gary Corbet and Halifax Community College fire and EMS instructor Kevin Kupietz prepared for. “That’s why we have all the lines on the ground,” Corbet said.

Kupietz said because the fire hit the attic early, there was no reason to continue the training and risk injury to a firefighter. Had it been a real fire, firefighters would have attacked it, Corbet said, instead, firefighters stayed on both sides of the building to keep the radiant heat from melting vinyl on neighboring property. The fire department notified people in the neighborhood of the live burn several weeks in advance, handing out flyers They also removed windows from the structure, stabilized the floor and cleared bushes. Many people from the neighborhood came out to watch, many bringing lawn chairs and taking photos of the event. Dean Van Dyke, who just moved in across the street, had coffee and doughnuts ready for the firefighters.

“I have an appreciation for anyone who works for a living,” he said. Corbet explained the owner of the duplex requested the fire department burn the building. “It was run down,” he said. “The flooring was collapsed and the joists were rotting.” For the fire department, it was chance to do several types of training. “We do like the opportunity,” Corbet said. “We have several new firefighters who haven’t had the chance for live training.” With assistance from the Davie Volunteer Fire Department, which supplied tankers, the fire departments and the Roanoke Valley Rescue Squad were ready for a full day of training. They planned rapid intervention drills simulating situations where firefighters were trapped.

“We’re trying to help the fire department with rapid intervention and getting firefighting experience,” said Brian Hux of Roanoke Valley. Thus far there have been no situations calling for the rapid intervention team, Hux said. “Roanoke Rapids has been quiet. They haven’t had any structure fires that required an internal attack. It’s been quiet, which is a good thing.” They were able to get some training in before the fire reached the attic and compromised the safety of the house for training. During one session, one firefighter sustained a mild burn to the back of his neck when overhead flames licked his neck. The firefighter, Richard Cooke was OK and was treated at the scene. Soon after, the fire reached the attic and the training was called off. “We expected it,” Corbet said, “Because of the condition of the house."

Saturday, 19 September 2009 09:08

A birthday party for Dylan

DSC_00471It was a birthday party, only the guest of honor was not there. He was on the minds of everyone who attended, however, from shirts with his photo on it, to a cowboy motif, to his friends and family being there. This was Dylan Moore Day and the man who pushed for this day to honor the boy who died on July 26 after a battle with a rare blood disorder was pleased. “It tickles me to see kids running around,” said Anthony Finney at the American Legion building Friday. “Really, this is what it’s all about. It’s a birthday party for Dylan.” Finney used the social networking website Facebook to draw attention to his belief there should be a day honoring the 8-year-old. Today there are 1,146 members of that page. The strapping Finney said there will always be a place in his heart for the youngster who touched his life although he never knew him. “Dylan’s impact on me is something I’ll carry for the rest of my life.” He said just by seeing photos of the boy he learned that while life ends for all, it doesn’t mean you go around moping. “He helped me to hold my chin up and keep my head forward.” To rally for the day, Finney said, was special for him. “It’s something I have personally done to make a difference the way he made a difference for me.” Paula Elias, who served as the master of ceremonies for the event, called Dylan “a strong little cowboy.” Roanoke Rapids Mayor D.N. Beale, who read the proclamation city council approved last month, told the audience, “Sometimes our plans don’t coincide with God’s plans. God knew what he was doing. He knew it was time for Dylan to come sit by his right side.” Louise Bailey, the mayor pro-tem of Gaston, where the Moore family lives, also read a proclamation from her town. “Today is a special day for all of us,” she said, recalling serving with the boy’s father, Peanut, on what was then the Gaston Volunteer Rescue Squad. “We were all saddened by his passing.”
DSC_00181The owner of an animal rescue store on Roanoke Avenue has been charged in a fraudulent computer-buying scheme allegedly using bogus state purchase orders, the Roanoke Rapids Police Department reported this afternoon. Deputy Chief Adam Bondarek said in a news release that on Thursday search warrants were executed at 1330 Hamilton Street and the Second Chance Animal Rescue Store located in the 300 block of Roanoke Avenue, which is run by Rose Nicholson Cohen, 54. Police were investigating a fraud case that was forwarded by the State Capitol Police.  Bondarek, who declined to comment beyond the news release, said 16 stolen computers and other electronic devices had been sent to the residence with fraudulent purchase orders mimicking state purchase orders.  The fraudulent purchase orders were in the name of an employee at the state Office of Information and Technology Services and were sent to Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Company. The items were being shipped to 1330 Hamilton Street in Roanoke Rapids. Bondarek said a search of the house led police to recover six stolen Dell laptops and five HP laptops valued at $16,169.  Further investigation led Detective Sergeant Jeff Baggett to discover Cohen already mailed five additional HP laptops to the African country of Ghana and that two IPAQ business messengers had been sold on eBay earlier. At the time the stolen laptops were recovered, some of those items were currently posted on eBay for sale. A total of $25,122 worth of computer equipment had been fraudulently obtained and sent to 1330 Hamilton Street since July, Bondarek said. Today Baggett arrested Cohen, charging her with three counts of felony obtaining property by false pretense, two counts of felony possession of stolen goods and two counts of felony conspiracy. Cohen was placed in the Halifax County Jail under a $25,000 secured bond.    The investigation continues between Roanoke Rapids and the State Capitol police.

Friday, September 18, 2009 (This is an archived file, this is not recent news)

A case of swine flu was confirmed in Halifax County Thursday, the health department said today. County Health Director Lynda Smith there was no reason for alarm. “We don’t have a pandemic,” she said. Sharon Arquilla, TB program coordinator and H1N1 clinical liaison for the health department said in an email to The Spin, “Whether or not we have ‘confirmed’ cases in Halifax county is really not so much the issue. “I say this because we fully expect to have H1N1 activity in our county, and have had some suspect and probable activity during the summer. Also the confirmation of those cases will be public info on the sites you may already be monitoring.” Arquilla said for the most part, laboratory confirmed cases of H1N1 will not represent the number of actual cases, as the state recommended testing protocol recommends testing in very limited situations, such as a hospitalized patient. This is because of the number of cases throughout the country and the world for that matter. “Once it was determined that there was sustained human-to-human transmission back in the spring, testing became less of an issue and more of a logistical problem — too many tests and the widespread nature of the illness.” The presumption became that a person with "influenza like illness" — sudden onset of fever, cough, sore throat during the time of year which was not "seasonal flu" season, would be "clinically" diagnosed with having "probable" H1N1 flu. “This is satisfactory and is the guidance from the CDC, as the treatment is the same for both H1N1 and regular seasonal flu,” she said. “Which is actually very little medical treatment unless there are complications, as influenza is viral and thus has no cure but the body heals itself.” Arquilla said people who become ill with these symptoms need to stay at home, drink plenty of fluids, rest, and may take a product such a Tylenol for fever if they normally take such a medication. Children should never be given aspirin for fever. People should monitor sick children for trouble breathing or looking blue or gray, refusing all fluids, or not urinating as normal. Monitor for changes in activity also, sick children may be quieter than normal, but seek help if a child is lethargic or highly irritable. If the child has a known medical condition that puts them at high risk for complications, contact the child's doctor for further guidance or seek emergency help as needed. Basically the same advice for adults. There is no special recommendations for contacts to sick people, and normal hygiene measures such as good hand washing and use of hand sanitizers, covering cough with tissues and keeping personal objects clean and not sharing such items. “Just all the good old fashioned advice we always give to prevent the transmission of any illness such as seasonal flu. Contacts should monitor themselves closely for the development of symptoms and self isolate in the home as well. “Anti-viral medications are not being recommended for contacts unless they are at high risk for complications, but people should consult their own physicians for exact recommendations, and those with significant underlying medical conditions would have a provider with whom they are familiar.” It is also recommended that children stay home from school and adults away from their work place until at least 24 hours after fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medication. Arquilla said she has personally spoken with many local school officials and nurses and is confident in their level of preparedness and vigilance for influenza-like illness in local schools both public and private. 

Thursday, 17 September 2009 08:57

Search for runaway continues

The Halifax County Sheriff’s Office continues to search for a runaway girl, Lt. Bobby Martin said this morning. Jessica Kathleen Driver was last seen Monday at approximately 2:25 p.m. running away from the Halifax County Courthouse. Martin said the sheriff’s office has sent out news releases, missing person notices and contacted law enforcement agencies. The sheriff’s office has no information that someone might have picked her up. Jessica is 5-feet, 6-inches to 5-feet, 7-inches tall and weighs between 112 to 115 pounds. She has brown eyes, a slim build and has long, brown hair below the shoulders. She was last seen wearing a purple shirt, blue shorts with “Duke” written on it and white tennis shoes. She has family in the Roanoke Rapids and Halifax area and in the Louisa, Va., area. Anyone with information on her whereabouts should contact the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office at 252-583-8521 or Halifax County Crimestoppers at 252-583-4444
On Monday opportunity comes knocking — literally. That’s when public works and the police department begin knocking on doors in the city’s Opportunity Clean Sweep campaign to tell people about violations and give them a chance to remove abandoned vehicles; clean up trash, junk and debris and clear noxious vegetation and other non-vegetation code enforcement issues such as dilapidated fencing and storage buildings. “It’s been very positive,” Public Works Director Richard Parnell said Wednesday while taking The Spin on a tour to show the news website examples of what the city hopes to get people to voluntarily clean up without facing fines. “A lot of people have called in about pickups and how to get on the list. Several people have said, ‘I want to thank you.’” On Monday public works and the police department go door-to-door throughout the city to let people know they have violations, Parnell said. “We’re here to inform them this is a violation and we’re here to assist them.” If they return and find the problems aren’t taken care of then they will face warning tickets or fines, Parnell said. Opportunity Clean Sweep is an idea by City Manager Paul Sabiston and was endorsed by city council at its Sept. 8 meeting. Since then, public works and the police department have been canvassing the city making lists of violations and the two biggest things the departments have seen are dilapidated storage buildings and fencing. The initiative has already been successful, Parnell said, commenting on a landlord in the 200 block of Monroe Street who had their tenants remove six vehicles from the yard. There is plenty more work to do, Parnell said. During the tour there was a hot tub sitting in the yard, one yard with four boats, places with debris scattered in the yard, a refrigerator propped up against the house and wildly growing vegetation encroaching on the city’s back alleys. While Opportunity Clean Sweep officially ends Oct. 18, Parnell said the effort will most likely extend beyond that. “We’ve got our hands full,” he said, stating earlier in the tour, “I know we’re in for a long process.” Sabiston has been pleased with the early efforts in the initiative, he said in an email earlier this week. “The activity by police and public works has been very high since the end of last week. Initially, it seems like the response by the residents that have received a visit from the police department or code enforcement has been very quick to resolve the problem. It will take some time to cover on foot and car the total area that needs to be covered.” Code enforcement can explain details of the program to the public Tuesday through Thursday and can be reached at 252-533-2844. Public works can also address questions on matters such as the grass cutting and can be reached by calling 252-533-2846.
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