We Are Improving!

We hope that you'll find our new look appealing and the site easier to navigate than before. Please pardon any 404's that you may see, we're trying to tidy those up!  Should you find yourself on a 404 page please use the search feature in the navigation bar.  

Now comes the waiting.

Today officials from the Roanoke Avenue Business Alliance gave Liz Parham and Teresa Watts a tour of Roanoke Avenue and then had lunch with them.

Parham is director of Urban Development for the North Carolina Department of Commerce and Watts is the director of the North Carolina Main Street Program,

Together, they will make recommendations to Gov. Beverly Perdue which could ultimately land Roanoke Rapids in the Main Street program. Inclusion in the North Carolina Main Street Program  could help improve the business district through local and business participation, volunteer efforts, grant and state funding.

The bus tour of the Avenue, led by businessman Phil Hux, took the state representatives and other officials sightseeing on the avenue. Hux showed them several historic buildings, including the train depot at the intersection of Julian R. Allsbrook Highway and the Avenue.

Hux told the state officials there is a movement to buy the depot where passenger trains once stopped “and work something out with the (Halifax County) arts council.”

He talked about the Rosemary mill, part of it being demolished. There is interest in finding someone who can do something with the plant, he said.

The tour also included peeks at some of the kit homes in the city along with a stop at the Roanoke Canal Trail and Museum.

The banquet room at david’s restaurant on the Avenue was nearly packed for lunch and a brief talk from Parham and Watts.

Parham explained the Main Street program deals with economic development with a historical perspective, focusing on culture, environment and heritage. “The human resources you bring to the table is exciting,” she said.

Kim Simpson, president of the alliance, said officials now know the city is competing with Garner, Kings Mountain, Davidson. and another city. “We’re the only one in the east,” she said. At least two of the cities will be selected.

Simpson said she didn’t know how being the only city in the east would bode for Roanoke Rapids. “When you look at the map, there’s a big hole in the east. They were impressed with the town and the involvement of a number of people.”

A final decision will be made by the middle of October.

A 3-year-old child is in critical condition after she was shot last night, according to the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office.

Few details are available right now. Maj. Bruce Temple called it a tragic event. He said it was reported as an accident. It occurred in the Myrick Estate subdivision in the Littleton area.

The Roanoke Rapids Police Department reported the following:

  1. On Friday at 8 a.m. a break-in was reported at First Pentecostal Holiness Church at 736 Vance St. Police Chief Jeff Hinton said entry was gained through the back door. It appeared some of the food at the church was eaten and offices were ransacked. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the police department at 252-533-2810 or Halifax County Crimestoppers at 252-583-4444.

  2. Kelvin Ivey, 41, of Washington Street, was arrested on Vine Street following a traffic stop around 9 p.m. Saturday. He was charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia after officers found 21.6 grams of marijuana packaged for individual sale, Hinton said. He was jailed on $5,000 bond.

Monday, 24 August 2009 20:01

Security guard at mill shot

A security guard watching over the former Rosemary mill was shot in the arm during a robbery attempt, Roanoke Rapids Police Chief Jeff Hinton said.

Around 11 p.m. Saturday, Michael Proctor was working when a person described as a black male on a bicycle approached him and demanded his wallet.

When the man showed him his security officer badge, the person on the bike pulled out a gun and shot Proctor, hitting him in left arm.

Proctor, who was treated and released from the hospital, walked to the intersection of Roanoke Avenue and 13th Street to use a cell phone.

A search of the area was done and the case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the police department at 252-533-2810 or Halifax County Crimestoppers at 252-583-4444.

A woman who served time with three others for stabbing her grandparents in 1995 was charged early yesterday morning for allegedly stabbing her boyfriend, the Roanoke Rapids Police Department said this morning.

Police Chief Jeff Hinton said Stephanie Childers was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, assaulting an EMS worker, assaulting a government official and damage to property. She was jailed under no bond under state domestic violence laws.

Michael Spruill, 33, of Pine Drive, reported he was stabbed in the right arm with a kitchen knife after he and Childers, 29, got in an argument.

Hinton said after Spruill was stabbed, Childers went walking and was apprehended by police. She assaulted an EMS worker and police officer at the scene, Hinton said.

Childers was a member of the Blackhearts, a loosely organized gang at Roanoke Rapids High School students known for wearing black when she and three other people stabbed and robbed her grandparents in 1995.

She was convicted in 1997 and was released in 2001.

Charles King’s family thinks he’s crazy. He doesn’t think so. He just loves Roanoke Avenue.

King, who lives in Midlothian, Va., owns five buildings on the Avenue, from Java Junction to the Halifax County Arts Council.

Today he spoke to members of the Roanoke Avenue Business Alliance about his passion for the Avenue and his buildings.

“It’s been in my prayers Roanoke Rapids would see a new day, a revival in business,” King told the gathering at the Lloyd Andrews City Meeting Hall. “Lord, just let me see it happen before I die. I don’t think I’m ready to go yet. At one time I felt like I was crying in the wilderness.”

The buildings were the legacy of his grandfather, he said. “My grandfather was really a strong businessman. It seems like he was gifted with business skills.”

The Great Depression, however, affected his health and he eventually died, leaving the buildings to King’s father.

After carving his own life as a minister and raising a family, King became reacquainted with the buildings in the 80s. “I really was not involved with the property at all.”

As his father’s health failed in the 90s, it became his time to get deeply involved with the property. “If something broke, it was don’t repair it, fix it. In 20 years we’ve never had a leak.”

The only problem King ever encountered through his ownership was from naysayers in the city, he said. “Why are you putting awnings up?” He said people asked. “They said it wouldn’t help the buildings. Maybe not, but it helped me because I have pride in the buildings.”

He remains proud of his property, he told the audience. “That’s why I’m so hopeful this effort will succeed. Let’s do everything we can to make it successful.”

King would like to see the Avenue business district be like the one in the mountain town of Waynesville. “Even if a building is vacant,” he said, “You don’t know it’s vacant. There’s no parking on the street because they’re full. You have to use the lots in the back. It’s just unique.”

He likes the businesses he has in his buildings. “I have five of the best tenants in the city,” he said.

King gave the alliance a $1,000 check. “I did it because I want to do it.”

In other matters at the meeting today it was announced:

• The Design Shop will be holding a contest where it will design windows for the monthly winner. City hall will get the first window makeover.

• A new travel agency will be coming to the Avenue in November.

• The alliance received $1,296 from the city which was money left over from a previous business district association.

• There will be a festival Nov. 7 with a chili cook-off featuring recipes made by firefighters, EMS and police, band performances by groups currently competing in the Battle of the Bands every Friday at Java Junction and either a turkey trot of turkey walk race.

• The next roast is Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at david’s. The guest of honor is tentatively slated to be Gene Minton.

Another man was arrested today in a Sunday pistol whipping, bringing the total to three, the Halifax County Sheriff’s said.

Detective Rich Somogyi said in a press release Brock Eugene Sampson, 29, of Roanoke Rapids, was arrested for first-degree burglary, assault inflicting serious injury, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, felony conspiracy and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. 

The sheriff’s office said yesterday it arrested a second person in the case and served more warrants to the man originally charged, Kendrell Robinson.

The case goes beyond the pistol whipping. It is also linked to an armed robbery of two citizens in the Littleton community and a stolen gun which was used in both crimes.

An officer from the Littleton Police Department was investigating the larceny of the firearm at the time of the investigation of the assault.

Officer Dwayne Daniels from the Roanoke Rapids Police Department located Robinson and turned him over to Cpl. Chris Scott of the sheriff’s office.

Somogyi charged Robinson, 21, of Roanoke Rapids, with assault inflicting serious injury, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, first-degree burglary, felon in possession of a firearm and felony conspiracy.

Littleton Police Chief Mike Suggs charged Robinson with felony conspiracy, robbery with a deadly weapon, felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of communicating threats and larceny of a firearm.

Robinson was wanted in an assault on Justice Branch Road in Littleton where he and Sampson allegedly struck the victim several times with a handgun causing severe damage to the victim’s head and face. The beating was allegedly over something the victim did not want his assailants to touch, Somogyi told The Spin today.

Further investigation led Lt. Bobby Martin to serve outstanding warrants on Crashawn Montay Vincent for his involvement in the crime spree. 

Somogyi charged Vincent, 23, of Littleton, with first-degree burglary, felony conspiracy, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and assault inflicting serious injury.

Suggs charged Vincent with felony conspiracy and two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon. Vincent was secured in the Halifax County Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond.

Sampson was jailed on a $20,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 9. The investigation is continuing and additional arrests are expected.

Friday, 21 August 2009 19:58

Domestic violence: A survivor's story

Pamela Bryant lived to tell her story. If the three bullets had went anywhere else or her parents didn’t insist on quality medical care, she would have been dead, murdered by a gun fired by her abusive boyfriend on April 24, 2007, outside Scotland Neck.

Bryant spent seven years in a hellish relationship, beatings, in and out of the police station and the courthouse and finally in a hospital bed where she was in a coma for four days.

Even as she stood before a group of social workers, mental health providers, law enforcement officers and judicial officials, Bryant carried the wounds of domestic violence. She’s deaf on one side and she has to take medicine to prevent blood clots because some of the bullets couldn’t be removed.

“He tried to take my life but the Lord was not ready,” she said during a Lunch and Learn sponsored by Making Abusers Accountable for Intentional Actions in Halifax yesterday. “He shot me three times and I’m still here.”

From what she thought was love came jealousy, she said. “He became jealous. He didn’t want me to go out with my friends.”

The first time, the man, Douglas Jamal Pender, who is serving a 15- to 19-year sentence for attempted first-degree murder, knocked out her teeth. In six months she had a black eye. “He said he didn’t mean it, he’s sorry.”

There was still that jealously and during one argument he told her if she left he would kill her. Even after she took out a restraining order, he wanted to make up. “We ended up together again,” she said.

The couple had a son together and she knew she had to work, Pender all but unable to hold a good job because of a previous criminal record. “He wanted me to sit at the house. If I was not at the house he would accuse me of cheating.”

Even while she worked, Pender would call her job, telling supervisors she was selling drugs. “He was to the point he didn’t want me to work,” she said.

Then came April 24 and a set up by Pender as her parents tried to persuade her to leave the man. “I felt in my heart I should listen to my parents,” she said.

He called her to come to his parents’ house on Winslow Road. He would eventually come to the house with a gun in his hand, his son sitting in his girlfriend’s lap. Then he fired, a shot to the ear, a shot to the neck and a shot to the breast.

As she lay there bleeding — she would eventually lose 5 pints of blood — she could hear him still fussing. He took off with his son and then fired shots when he was outside. He remained on the lam for seven days before his parents took him to Halifax to turn himself in.

She was airlifted to Duke University Medical Center where she fell into a four-day coma. She was in intensive care at Duke for 48 days and had two aneurysms while there.

“The next couple of months I felt I was losing vision in my left eye,” she calmly said. “They found another aneurysm.”

Bryant believes Pender should have got more time. “I’ll never know why he did it,” she said. “He was mean, hateful and jealous.”

Halifax County District Attorney Melissa Pelfrey clearly remembers the case, starting Bryant’s case, but leaving for another job before it got to court and a plea was accepted. Still, the DAs office became close to Bryant. “My office wanted to be here when they found out she was speaking,” she said.

 

Available resources

 

The MAAFIA task force works with community agencies which include the Halifax Department of Social Services, District Attorney’s Office, law enforcement, Hannah’s Place and the judicial system, along with the community to enhance safety in domestic violence situations. It is the group’s goal to promote unity, heighten domestic violence awareness, facilitate domestic violence prevention and locate service delivery models to help victims of domestic violence.

The group meets the third Thursday of every month at 1 p.m., usually in the Grand Jury room of the Halifax County Courthouse. For more information contact Arnethia Nicholson at 252-536-6553 or Michele Braswell at 252-536-6559.

The following are numbers to call when these situations arise:

  1.  Hannah’s Place crisis line at 252-535-5946.

  2.  Halifax County DSS at 252-536-2511.

  3. Five County Mental Health Authority at 1-877-619-3761.

  4. Halifax County DAs Office at 252-583-4801.

  5. Legal Aide at 1-800-682-0010.

  6. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

  7. North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence at 1-888-232-9124.

While Roanoke Rapids School Superintendent Dennis Sawyer got a contract extension Tuesday, he also got a 10 percent bonus, minutes from the school board meeting show.

The minutes confirm after meeting in closed session, the school board came back into open session and board member Fred Wier made a motion to give Sawyer a bonus equal to 10 percent of his salary. Five members voted for the bonus while three voted against it, according to the minutes.

School board Chairman Vernon Bryant told The Spin today the board had the option to give the superintendent anywhere from no bonus up to 10 percent. Last year the superintendent got between a 5 to 7 percent bonus, Bryant said.

The majority board members believed the superintendent has done an excellent job, with three of the four schools in the system meeting Adequate Yearly Progress and the requirement of the ABCs of Education, Bryant said.

The only school which did not meet those requirements was Roanoke Rapids High School, barely missing the marks by slightly less than one percentage point, Bryant said.

Even the three casting dissenting votes, Bryant said, “Felt he was entitled to the bonus. The amount they didn’t feel would set well.”

The bonus is equal to between $8,500 to $10,000, Bryant said.

Sawyer had more than a year left on his contract and the school board extended it three years for the superintendent who is beginning the fourth year of his first contract.