12/02/04 — Briefly

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By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on December 2, 2004 1:58 PM

Smith elected chairman

Lehman Smith is the new chairman of the Board of Education.

He has been the board's vice chairman for the past year and was nominated Wednesday night to move into the leadership role to replace outgoing Chairman Pete Gurley.

John P. Grantham will serve as the board's vice chairman. He was nominated by board member George Moye.

Board member Rick Pridgen also nominated Shirley Sims, but she quickly asked that her name be withdrawn.

Later in the meeting, she thanked Pridgen for the vote of confidence but said, "If ever I am vice chairman or chairman, I would certainly like it to be without opposition."

Byrd gets new job

A former principal in the school system will return to Wayne County after the holidays.

Eugene Byrd has been named assistant principal at Tommy's Road Elementary School.

Byrd was principal at Spring Creek High School for two years before becoming principal at Southern Wayne High School from 2003-2004.

During the school system's reorganization at the end of the school year, he was named principal at Eastern Wayne Middle but then took a position as assistant principal at Princeton High School in August.

Olivia Pierce, executive director for community relations, said Byrd is scheduled to begin his new duties on Jan. 3, when school resumes after the Christmas break.

Ceremony for Robinson

The Charles B. Aycock Hall of Fame induction of former football standout Shelton Robinson will be held at 6 p.m. Friday in the school cafeteria.

A meal of barbecue chicken will be served with induction to follow. Robinson will be recognized before the boys' basketball game Friday.

The cost is $5.

Robinson is a 1978 graduate of Aycock, played for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and for Seattle and Detroit in the National Football League.

In November, four people were inducted into the school's Hall of Fame. They were Chris Brown, Dean Sauls, Herman Croom and the late Hardy Talton. Robinson was unable to attend that ceremony, so a special presentation was planned for Friday.

A picture of the other Hall of Fame inductees can be found on page 2A.

Unemployment rate

up in Wayne County

The unemployment rate rose in Wayne County in October.

Around 2,179 county residents, or about 4.3 percent of the workforce, were unemployed, according to the Employment Security Commission.

That's an increase of about 239 people from September, when the county's unemployment rate was 3.9 percent.

The statewide rate in October was 4.6 percent, which was up from 4.4 percent.

The unemployment rate in surrounding counties was Duplin, 5.2 percent; Johnston, 3.3 percent; Sampson, 4.7 percent; Lenoir, 4.4 percent; and Wilson, 7.5 percent.

For the eighth consecutive month, Vance County had the state's highest unemployment rate in October, at 11.2 percent. Watauga County had the state's lowest unemployment rate at 1.5 percent.


The Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross will hold a Bloodmobile on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Wayne Memorial Hospital. Donors will receive a special Christmas gift.