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Monday, 10 August 2009 15:16

Halifax County Sheriff’s roundup

The Halifax County Sheriff’s Office reported the following over the weekend:

• Deputy G.H. Teal arrested a Northampton County man for drug related charges and outstanding warrants. Teal stopped a vehicle traveling on MLK Avenue in Enfield for a seat belt violation, Detective Jonathan Merritt said in a press release.

Teal asked the passenger to provide identification but he could not, giving a name the officer felt was false.

After asking the passenger to exit the vehicle, the passenger produced ID, identifying him as Devon Michael Everette, 18, of Seaboard.

Everette was taken into custody for giving a false name. During a subsequent search, three small bags of marijuana were located as well as two blunt cigars. After transporting Everette to the sheriff’s office, Teal found out Everette was listed as a wanted person by Probation and Parole in Northampton County.

Everette was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, resist, delay and obstruct an officer and the probation violation from Northampton. He was held in the Halifax County Jail under no bond due to the probation violation and has a Sept. 2 court date.

• On Saturday Detective Doug Pilgreen said deputies arrested 52-year-old Bradley Walker Wilson from Monroe for misuse of a 911 system. Wilson made several non-emergency calls to Halifax County 911. During the investigation it was discovered Wilson had an outstanding order for arrest from Mecklenburg County for failure to appear on charges of misuse of 911 systems.

 Wilson was placed under a $1,750 bond and has a court date in Halifax County on Aug. 26 and a court date in Mecklenburg County on Sept. 2.

Monday, 10 August 2009 15:16

City will lose beer and wine revenues

The city will lose two-thirds of its beer and wine revenues after the state approved its budget last week, Roanoke Rapids Finance Director MeLinda Hite said today.

That equals $44,646.

“The municipal share, distributed in May 2010, will be reduced by two-thirds, and cities and towns should reduce their expected beer and wine tax revenues by two–thirds for 2009-2010 to reflect this reduction,” she wrote in a memo for department heads. “The distribution formula for beer and wine tax revenue distribution will be adjusted for 2010-2011, and the funding level will be restored for the May 2011 distribution.”

The state took away those funds to help combat its own budget deficit.

“That hurts,” Hite told The Spin. That was money already budgeted that must now be pulled from the city’s budget.

The city must also try to make up that money, Hite said. She said the city will wait for new City Manager Paul Sabiston to come onboard before investigating how to make up that money.
The city has made significant strides in improving its fund balance since the end of last fiscal year.

Measures taken by council when the city learned in February it faced a $664,000 shortfall mean when it closed the books at the end of June, its fund balance increased 8.9 percent for a total of 17.2 percent. That represents a $1.9 million unreserved fund balance. Fund revenues for the year are expected to increase by more than $900,000.

The money is revenues which come from the sale of beer and wine in the city.

Monday, 10 August 2009 15:15

Arrest warrant issued in home invasion

An arrest warrant has been issued in a home invasion that occurred Thursday on Collins Avenue in Meadowbrook Trailer Park, Roanoke Rapids Police Chief Jeff Hinton said.

Salil Naimo, 20, of Weldon, is wanted for damage to property and felonious breaking and entering after he allegedly kicked a door in at 160 Collins Ave around 2 p.m.

The house was occupied. Once he saw people were inside he fled, Hinton said.

Monday, 10 August 2009 15:15

Man with cocaine in mouth arrested

The Roanoke Rapids Police Department reported the following:

• On Aug. 5, officers stopped Quinton Lee, 21, a passenger in a car which was stopped for a traffic violation at 4th Street and Starke Avenue.

Lee, of Pleasant Hill, would not answer questions and when he opened his mouth officers discovered he had two small bags of cocaine under tongue, Chief Jeff Hinton said.

Lee was arrested for possession of cocaine and jailed on $7,500 bond.

• On Friday, Capt. Andy Jackson and Detective Jeff Baggett charged Daryl Johnson of 318 Madison St. with possession of drug paraphernalia after receiving complaints of drug activity in that neighborhood

Saturday, 08 August 2009 15:14

Day for Dylan will be reality

Now that it’s official, Anthony Finney is anxious. His actions snowballed and turned into an avalanche of support — 964 people on the social networking Web site Facebook who believe Dylan Moore’s memory should be honored with a special day.

The support began when Finney posted the page soon after the child died from a rare blood disease on July 26.

On Tuesday night at its 7 p.m. meeting at the Lloyd Andrews City Meeting Hall on Jackson Street, city council will vote on a resolution declaring Sept. 18 Dylan Moore Day.

“I am anxious for Tuesday night to get here,” Finney said in e-mail correspondence with The Spin Friday. “I cannot wait to see how many people will come out and support this and watch this take place. I wouldn't miss it for anything.”

More important, Finney said, “I am just glad that the Mayor and City Council and citizens of Roanoke Rapids agree that Dylan was a special young man that deserves this honor. And I hope someone will help me in planning the first Dylan Moore Day on September 18, Dylan's birthday. I am not sure what I would like to do at this point, but I was thinking of maybe just a candlelight gathering at his gravesite or the family home. A way to say thank you without having to say anything at all. Because that's how Dylan helped me, by saying nothing at all. He was just Dylan.”

Finney has discussed the movement with Dylan’s family. “I went to visit with the Moore Family as soon as I heard that Mayor Beale would be signing the proclamation at the next council meeting. It was the first time I had met them, and we had a wonderful time talking. They shared stories about Dylan with me, and I shared with them how Dylan had inspired me to pick my head up and live again.”

Finney, a strapping 6 feet, 2 inches tall man weighing 275, a graying goatee and two large pierces in each ear along with a small one in his eyebrow, wasn’t sure how the family would react to him visiting.

His fears were allayed. “They are an amazing family to be around. The presence of strength in them is astounding. Betsy spoke softly, and fondly of her late son. Though I could hear the hurt at times, she never shed a tear,” Finney said. “I knew they were at peace with their son’s passing. I choked up as I talked about the young man whose pictures really said a thousand words to me time and time again. It was amazing and entertaining, especially to hear about Dylan and his $5 million check from the doctor in Norfolk.

“As I said my good-byes, I stood to leave the home, and was met with the open arms of Betsy Moore. The hour or so we had shared talking had made me feel warm even after the chilling rain, but now I felt like family. Honestly, I cried as I left, and drove past Dylan’s gravesite. He had a strong family. And for an hour I got to share some time with that family.”

Mayor D.N. Beale said the city was glad to do this. “When I attended the service I never met Dylan Moore. Once I walked out of the service I thought I knew him. It really was amazing how he touched so many hearts. You could almost picture him with hat and guitar standing on stage. He was definitely a showman.”

Friday, 07 August 2009 15:14

Mayor: New city manager ready for work

Newly hired City Manager Paul Sabiston is ready to start his job Aug. 17, Mayor D.N. Beale said this morning.

Sabiston has acquired housing in the city and has been keeping up with the budget process. “He knows how we’ve increased the fund balance. He’s been excited about that,” Beale told The Spin.

Measures taken by council when the city learned in February it faced a $664,000 shortfall mean when it closed the books at the end of June, its fund balance increased 8.9 percent for a total of 17.2 percent. That represents a $1.9 million unreserved fund balance. Fund revenues for the year are expected to increase by more than $900,000.

While the city would like to restore some of the services lost during the cuts, Beale said, “We’re still not out of this crisis. Unemployment is still up. That’s why it’s important to maintain what we’re doing.”

That’s where Sabiston, town manager of Shallotte, will play an important role, the mayor said. “He’s going to do his job and we’re going to do ours.”

Beale said Sabiston is not expected to make many changes at first. “He will meet with department heads and go over their duties and take a look at the budget to see if there’s anything that can be improved.”

Sabiston is also expected to appoint a new planning director, the mayor said.

The city manager will earn $95,000 a year and will receive a monthly car allowance of $350 and 35 cents per mile for business travel outside Halifax County. He will receive a PDA/Blackberry device from the city and will be reimbursed up to $9,000 for moving expenses with the understanding he gets two estimates.

The city will pay temporary living expenses of $500 per month until he obtains a sale and closes on his existing home not to exceed six months. He is required to obtain permanent residency within the city limits within six months.

Sabiston has been in Shallotte nearly five years and was town administrator in Mexico Beach, Fla., before that.

The state of California is seeking the death penalty against a former Roanoke Rapids boutique  owner later this month in the 2005 murder of a popular Vietnamese fortuneteller and her daughter. Her alleged accomplice has already pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said today.

A spokesperson for the office said Phillipe Zamora, 38 at the time, would most likely be sentenced to life in prison for the April 21, 2005, killings of Ha Jade Smith, 52, and her daughter, Anita Nho Vo, 23.

Zamora’s sentencing date, Aug. 14, is expected to be continued, the spokesperson told The Spin.

That Zamora pleaded guilty is most likely a sign he will testify against Tanya Jaime Nelson, who was 42 at the time, law enforcement sources said.

Nelson is scheduled for a jury trial on Aug. 31, the spokesperson said, adding the state is seeking the death penalty.

Some of the evidence in the case was discovered in Roanoke Rapids following searches a few months after the murders, local investigators said at the time.

An entry on a calendar in Nelson's house could not be determined whether it was an indication the murders had been planned in advance or whether the notation was done after the fact.

Nelson was at some point a customer of Smith's, a noted fortuneteller.

Nelson and Zamora are both Vietnamese and it is common practice in Vietnamese culture to consult with psychics. They consult with them for counseling like Americans consult with counselors.

White paint was found on the victims' hands and faces, it was unclear if it was done to ward off spirits or done to conceal stab wounds.

It was the May 28, 2005, purchase of an airline ticket from North Carolina to Orange County which steered Westminster, Calif., investigators to Roanoke Rapids, where  investigators found identification and credit cards belonging to the victims.

Nelson apparently bought tickets for herself and one of her children using the dead women's names.

The Orange County Register newspaper reported at the time Lt. Derek Marsh said Nelson was arrested after 20 officers on a surveillance detail watched her use Smith's and Vo's credit cards in Westminster area stores over the Memorial Day weekend.

Robbery is the apparent motive in the case because it was well-established Smith made a good living as a fortune teller.

Police and community sources in Westminster told the Register she was known to get up to $15,000 in a cash-only, in a word-of-mouth business she ran from her modest home.

Nelson was the owner of Angelique Belle, a boutique selling fragrances and Oriental gifts on 10th Street since 1999.

Zamora, who was employed at Patch Rubber for several years, allegedly gave a confession implicating himself and Nelson in the homicides at Smith's Westminster home

Zamora and Nelson knew each other as a result of their heritage. They both have friends and family in Westminster, a city of 90,000.

During their search of Nelson's house, officers did uncover evidence linking her to other identity theft crimes that were not local.

They also found evidence that linked her to an escort service she allegedly was running out of her business.

Wednesday, 05 August 2009 15:13

City man shot at beach improving

A Roanoke Rapids man shot at a North Myrtle Beach car wash late last month is improving, sources tell The Spin, his condition upgraded to stable.

As the condition of 54-year-old James Humphries improves, the North Myrtle Beach Police Department continues to look for clues, The Sun News newspaper reported in its July 29 Web edition.

Humphries, who works at KapStone, was shot on July 20 at 12:41 a.m. while he was washing his vehicle at the Jiffy Car Wash on 15th Avenue South and U.S. 17. He sustained gunshot wounds to his upper right torso, according to a police report. Officers reported hearing four to six shots in the area.

Sources told The Spin today Humphries was washing salt off his vehicle when a man approached him and demanded money. Humphries, who is apparently hard of hearing in one ear, did not hear the demand and was shot.

Humphries was reportedly conscious when police arrived and told officers the shooter was wearing a white mask, the report states.

Most candidates in the Roanoke Rapids city council election state they will spend no more than $3,000 on their campaigns, according to records filed at the Halifax County Board of Elections.

Spending more than $3,000 requires candidates to fill out routine finance reports, although board of elections Supervisor Kristin Smith said it is a good idea for candidates not exceeding the threshold to do the same.

The only candidate who has indicated he will spend more than $3,000 is incumbent Jon Baker, who is being challenged by Greg Lawson in the Nov. 3 elections.

While initially he didn’t file his election form indicating so, Mayor D.N. Beale, who is using a consultant, said this morning he will probably spend more than $3,000 on his campaign and will file the addenda as his campaign progresses.

Baker has already itemized his early contributions and expenditures, listing a $300 donation from developer Michael Dunlow and a $200 donation from businessman Phillip Moncure. He also listed as expenses $132 in postage for a kickoff event in June.

Baker will give his unspent funds to the American Red Cross, the documents say.

Lawson indicated in the documents he will not spend more than $3,000, with residuals going to campaign debt.

In the mayor’s race, Beale has already done a telephone survey asking who would make a better mayor, himself or his challenger, city businessman Emery Doughtie, who serves on the city school board. Doughtie indicated in the documents he will not spend more than $3,000. Residuals in both those races will go to campaign debt.

Meanwhile, in the race between incumbent Ed Deese and challenger Suetta Scarborough, both candidates indicated they would not spend more than $3,000 on their campaigns, with residuals going to pay for campaign debt.