01/01/08 — 2007 - the winds of change

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2007 - the winds of change

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 1, 2008 1:50 PM

From staff reports


Jan. 1 -- Seven Springs native Lyndon Sutton appointed superintendent at the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park.

Jan. 3 -- The Eureka Town Board awarded $864,000 in contracts to repair its ailing sewer system.

Jan. 4 -- Work began on Paramount Theater on Center Street.

Jan. 12 -- Jewel Kilpatrick resigned as the mayor of Seven Springs, citing harassment from townspeople.

Jan. 17 -- John Henry Wooten Sr., the first black chairman of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, died at 82.

Jan. 19 -- Family and friends mourned the death of surgeon Dr. Jose Julio Guijarro Jr., a 50-year-old Goldsboro resident, who was killed in a one-vehicle accident in Nash County.

Jan. 23 -- Alvin Ward took the oath of office as Goldsboro fire chief.

Jan. 25 -- Property owners near the intersection of U.S. 70 and Beston Road continued to voice their opposition to a crossover being built by the state Department of Transportation at a meeting. They eventually lost their bid to stop the construction.

Jan. 29 -- Japanese snow monkey that escaped home of a Nahunta resident that was spotted at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is caught after 4th Fighter Wing Safety Director Tim Edwards set a trap baited with fruit.

Jan. 30 -- Century-old statues Liberty and Justice removed from atop original City Hall for a rehabilitation project expected to cost $190,000. The statues were returned in December.

Jan. 30 -- Goldsboro's 4th Fighter Wing received grade of "excellent" in an Operational Readiness Inspection, testing for skills in combat, support of missions and a general ability to survive and operate.


Feb. 4 -- Goldsboro High School graduate Brig. Gen. Al Aycock, a 26-year Army veteran, promoted to brigadier general in the United States Army.

Feb. 7 -- The North Carolina Supreme Court denied a petition for discretionary review of a case involving residents fighting annexation by the city of Goldsboro.

Feb. 8 -- Wayne County's Board of Commissioners appointed Justin Scally, 21, of Baltimore as the county's animal control director.

Feb. 12 -- Goldsboro City Attorney Tim Finan was chosen by Gov. Mike Easley to serve as a new District Court judge.

Feb. 19 -- James Richard Howell Jr., 27, of Talton Road, Princeton, was killed while horseplaying with his friend, James Larry Holder, 29. Howell was accidentally pinned between a house and a car, police said.

Feb. 20 -- Goldsboro City Council announced that James D. Womble Jr., a real estate attorney, will take post of city attorney.

Feb. 22 -- The Seven Springs Town Board of Commissioners elected Steve Potter as mayor. The Town of Fremont Board of Aldermen unanimously voted to name Ron Rawlings, a retired highway patrol first sergeant, as police chief.

Feb. 23 -- Robert Edward Dukes, 30, of East Ash Street charged with attempted first-degree after he allegedly assaulted Goldsboro police Officer Chris Crawford, grabbed a knife, snatched his gun and fired two rounds inside the copier room at the Wayne County Magistrate's Office.

Feb. 26 -- The Rev. Howard "Slim" Hunt, a fixture in Wayne County music and religious circles for decades, died at 72.

Feb. 27 -- More than 100 people from all across the state came to say goodbye to an identified infant abandoned on Chelly Street in Warsaw.


March 1 -- Mount Olive College president Dr. J. William Byrd resigned as president and became the college's chancellor.

March 1 -- After four years of waiting, Mount Olive's hopes for a large biodiesel facility were dashed as Atlantic BioEnergy announces that it will not be building a processing plant in the Mount Olive Industrial Park.

March 6 -- The Goldsboro City Council voted unanimously to not allow the construction of a mosque in the northern part of the city.

March 7 -- Goldsboro City Council gave up its planning and zoning authority over a 2.98-acre tract of land on the northwest side of Pecan Road between Arrington Bridge and Mitchell roads. The decision removed the land from Goldsboro's extraterritorial jurisdiction, which allowed Case Farms to add five more processing lines on land it purchased near its existing plant. The expansion was to create 500 jobs.

March 16 -- Neil Bartlett, former Goldsboro Parks and Recreation director, took over as the new general services director from retiring Joe Sawyer.

March 21 -- Wayne County Public Library Board of Trustees said Fremont branch, the system's smallest, must make changes and improvements or face closure at the end of June.

March 25 -- Randy Mills of Grantham announced plans to open Club 55, a Hispanic nightclub, in Lenoir County near the Wayne County line.

March 25 -- State Sen. Fred Smith, R-Johnston, ann-ounced he will run for governor in 2008. Smith, who is in his third term, represents a portion of Wayne County.

March 28 -- The Wayne Community College Board of Trustees tapped Dr. Kay Albertson to be the college's fourth president, replacing the retiring Dr. Ed Wilson. Mrs. Albertson has served as vice president of academic affairs and student services since July 2005. She was the unanimous selection.


April 3 -- Goldsboro City Council approved rezoning request from Wayne County to allow construction of an animal shelter inside city limits on Clingman Street. Only the Rev. Charles Williams voted in opposition. Others said they felt the county had proven that construction and operation of the state-of-the-art facility would not create a nuisance for neighbors and businesses in the area.

April 3 -- Gaspar R. Gonzalez, 74, leader of the Hispanic Cultural Center and chairman of the county Democratic Party was chosen to join the ranks of Wayne County's Magistrate Office.

April 8 -- Assistant Goldsboro Finance Director Kaye Scott said financing for the $4 million renovation and restoration of the original City Hall has been approved by the Local Government Commission and that work is expected to begin in May. The project was awarded to contracting company Daniels and Daniels of Goldsboro.

April 10 -- Anmer Uliser Salas Zunun, 25, of Doug Drive was arrested after members of the FBI and Wayne County Sheriff's Office SWAT team raid his home and allegedly find 30 illegal immigrants. Zunun was charged with one count of kidnapping for ransom and placed in the county jail in lieu of a $50,000 bond.

April 11 -- The City of Goldsboro worked to lay sidewalks down along Berkeley Boulevard. General Services Director Joe Sawyer says they will go as far as the state Department of Transportation's $50,000 allocation will allow.

April 12 -- Duplin County Commissioner Cary Turner began a high-profile effort to bring Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Hargrove's body home after he was left behind and killed on Koh Tang Island in Cambodia in 1975 during the last official action of the Vietnam War.

April 12 -- The Seven Springs Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to ask the Wayne County Board of Elections to place a beer sales referendum on the November ballot. The motion, which was made by Rodolph Adams and seconded by Allen Cash, passed when town commissioner Ann Pate tipped the balance to the "yes" column.

April 17 -- Gene Roberts, a Pikeville native and former News-Argus reporter won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, written in collaboration with Hank Klibanoff, "The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation." He spent much of his career at the Philadelphia Inquirer where his staff won 17 Pulitzers.

April 19 -- StageStruck, which also lost its space during the downtown fire that destroyed the Paramount Theater, decided to build a scaled-down replacement because of increases in construction costs. It will build a new 5,000-square-foot theater and will donate another 2,000-square-feet to the Paramount.

April 19 -- Legislation introduced by state Sen. Charlie Albertson, D-Duplin, made permanent the 10-year moratorium on new hog farm lagoon and spray field systems.

April 20 -- Demolition of the old Wayne Community College administration building on U.S. 70 began. It is expected to be complete by mid-July.

April 23 -- Deana Marie Ormsby of LaGrange drowned when she drove her car into the Neuse River.

April 23 -- The Neuse River was declared the nation's eighth most endangered river by national conservation group American Rivers.

April 26 -- The Wayne County Board of Education approved a $105.1 million facilities plan ($120 million including operations) during a work session. Officials said it's the same list of construction needs first proposed in 2005, only now, the cost was about $15 million more.

April 27 -- Sharon Nichole Sheppard, 28, of Courtyard Circle was gunned down in her car after the memorial service for her boyfriend, 23-year-old Raheim Kornegay of Olivia Lane, who also was shot to death. Sheppard, who was called a "person of interest" in his death, was shot seven times, officials said. Kelvin Buffalo Jr., 18, of Goldsboro was later arrested in connection with the shooting.


May 2 -- Area ministers gathered to discuss initiative targeting recent violence, on heels of Nichole Sheppard being gunned down outside funeral home on George Street.

May 8 -- Elderly woman and granddaughter died in fire in Nahunta community, after dryer caught fire. Mayola Waddell, 77, and Shannon Minshew, 36, of Memorial Church Road did not survive the blaze, which drew four area fire companies.

May 11 -- Wings Over Wayne airshow, headlined by the Navy Blue Angels, held at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. The event was marred by the recent fatal Angels crash that occurred previous month in Beaufort, S.C.

May 13 -- Class of 2007 at WCC received 489 diplomas, while 370 graduated from MOC.

May 19 -- Relay for Life kicked off for 14th year, drawing thousands of county residents and raising more than $719,000 for cancer research.


June 1 -- Village of Walnut Creek dedicated new municipal building. The 3,850-square-foot facility cost $750,000.

June 5 -- Drought concerns prompted City Council to debate possible mandatory ban on water if river water levels don't go up.

June 10 -- Across Wayne County, 1,150 seniors graduated from Wayne County Public Schools.

June 12 -- Commission said it will ask for 3 cents instead of 5 for property tax rate. Current county tax rate was 73.5 cents per $100 value. With revised budget, rate would increase to 76.4 cents.

June 17 -- Wayne Community College celebrated 50th anniversary.

June 20 -- Search called off for Brent Smith, 24, of Goldsboro, believed to have fallen from a cruise ship while vacationing.

June 21 -- Group of teens actively pursued a place of their own to gather, calling it "The Boot" and hoped the city would support it. The proposal was later stymied because of concerns with the location and security.

June 26 -- Bear led officials on city chase during morning, was tranquilized in early afternoon.

June 27 -- Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 in favor of $107.6 million budget for coming year.


July 1 -- Wayne County Development Alliance began a study of northern Wayne County, including Fremont, Pikeville and Eureka to determine what strengths and weaknesses the region has in terms of attracting industry and how it can work better cooperatively.

July 8 -- More than 300 Goldsboro residents marched through downtown July 7 to protest recent shootings and drug problems. It was part of several "Stop the Funeral" activities organized by the Goldsboro-Wayne Chapter of the NAACP. It was spurred by the April murders of 23-year-old Raheim Kornegay and his girlfriend, 28-year-old Sharon Sheppard.

July 15 -- Col. Fritz Linsenmeyer took over the command of the 916th Air Refueling Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. He replaced Col. Paul Sykes, who was commander for the last three years. Linsenmeyer came to Seymour from Grissom Air Force Base in Indiana where he served as Operations Group Commander for the 434th Air Refueling Wing.

July 15 -- Lt. Col. Bernie Williford took over command of the U.S. Army National Guard 230th Brigade Support Battalion from Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bain, who had been in the battalion for 20 years, leading it since October 2005. Williford has served since 1987.

July 20 -- Goldsboro city officials got their first look at the conceptual drawings for the proposed $10 million, 55,000-square-foot recreation facility. Concerns were raised about how well the mostly glass building would fit in the historic downtown.

July 22 -- 4th Fighter Wing Vice Commander Col. Chuck Duke retired after a 30-year career. Earlier in his career he spent four years at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base as commander of the 335th Fighter Squadron "Chiefs."

July 27 -- Dr. Robert Carl Owens, 53, acting medical director at Cherry Hospital, was suspended pending a probe into his criminal history that lists a felony conviction for inappropriately touching a 9-year-old girl in 1989 in Burke County. He was hired four years later at Cherry, two years before receiving a clear license to practice medicine.

July 27 -- Dale Hayden of Lucama was featured on CMT's "Trick My Truck" TV show.


Aug. 1 -- Carol Lane, 72, of LaGrange, was ordered to surrender her driver's license, pay $360 in fines and court costs and serve five years probation after pleading guilty to a hit-and-run accident that killed 47-year-old Andy Anderson of Goldsboro on Election Day 2006. The accident occurred as Anderson tried to cross U.S. 70 near the Elroy Fire Department. Ms. Lane said she did not know she had hit the man. Anderson's blood alcohol level at the time was .20, more than twice the legal limit of .08

Aug. 10 -- Butterball announced that its executive offices will move to Garner in early 2008, but that local operations would still continue as normal.

Aug. 12 -- Goldsboro was hit by a windstorm on Aug. 10 that rips the roof off Days Inn on Wayne Memorial Drive. The structure was declared a total loss. Also damaged were Wal-Mart, Holiday Inn Express, Country Inn & Suites and Captain D's. Trees and downed power lines made local streets difficult to navigate for hours.

Aug. 17 -- North Carolina Department of Transportation announced that it bought Goldsboro's Union Station as part of its Historic Station Restoration and Preservation Program and will be working to renovate it with the goal of bringing passenger and commuter rail service back to Goldsboro. Renovations are expected to cost up to $8 million. Once complete, it will serve as a multimodal transportation center, including housing GATEWAY. The station first opened in 1909. It was closed in 1968.

Aug. 22 -- Wayne County Commissioners gave the go ahead for a new animal shelter to be built on Clingman Street. It was estimated to cost $1.8 million, but donations and pledges from individuals and the Wayne County Humane Society are expected to offset approximately $500,000 of that total.

Aug. 23 -- Controversial Hispanic nightclub, Club 55, received its alcohol permit and then lost it.

Aug. 27 -- Freight train derailed between Goldsboro and Pikeville, with 22 cars affected. No injuries were reported.

Aug. 28 -- Dwayne Dail was released from prison after being wrongfully convicted in 1989 of the 1987 rape of a 12-year old girl in Goldsboro. Dail spent 18 years in prison. He was exonerated after the Goldsboro Police Department found DNA evidence, long thought to have been destroyed, in the bottom of a locker. Once tested, officials worked with the N.C. Center for Actual Innocence to quickly secure his release.

Aug. 29 -- Cathy Best, a business education teacher at Rosewood High School was named Wayne County Public Schools 2007-08 Teacher of the Year.

Aug. 31 -- Home invasion ended in man's death. Three armed men entered an Old Mount Olive Highway home in Dudley and were holding the six occupants hostage when one opened fire. The man held hostage then opened fire with his own handgun, killing Antione Logan Chestnut, 19, of Dudley.

Aug. 31 -- August ended as year's driest, hottest month with a high of 104 degrees reached, three days over 100 degrees, 24 days in the high 90s, an average temperature of 93 degrees and only 1.36 inches of rain as compared to a normal of 5.70.


Sept. 5 -- Mount Olive Police Department swore in new chief, Maj. Ralph Schroeder.

Sept. 10 -- Three drowned after car crashes into creek off N.C. 55 near Mount Olive. Responders made an unsuccessful attempt at a rescue.

Sept. 12 -- More than 150 members of the 4th Fighter Wing's Equipment Mainten-ance Squadron deployed.

Sept. 14 -- Families and friends gathered on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base at 3 a.m. to say goodbye to members of the 336th Fighter Squadron "Rocketeers." Then, they watched as more than a dozen F-15E Strike Eagles took off and headed to Afghanistan.

Sept. 27 -- Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair opened.

Sept. 28 -- Whitney Gran-tham named Queen of the Fair.


Oct. 2 -- Mount Olive Town Board members set new rules on horses inside town limits. No "rough" riding or "riding in packs" is allowed. Horse owners also will be responsible for cleaning up after their animals.

Oct. 4 -- Local construction firm, Daniels and Daniels, awarded a multi-million dollar contract to build hangar and other buildings on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Oct. 7 --Several alleged drug dealers, users and illegal arms dealers were arrested near Mount Olive. Local officers and federal agents arrested multiple suspects on charges of manufacturing and trafficking.

Oct. 9 -- Cherry Hospital earned clear state review.

Oct. 9 -- One of Wayne County's newest industrial residents, AAR Cargo Systems, announced that it plans to add more than 350 jobs.

Oct. 11 -- Nearly a month and a half after being released from prison after serving 18 years for a crime he didn't commit, Dwayne Dail received a full pardon from Gov. Mike Easley.

Oct. 13 -- Former child star Barry Williams, who played Greg on "The Brady Bunch," got an F-15E flight and an honorary induction into 4th Fighter Wing's 335th Fighter Squadron "Chiefs."


Nov. 1 -- Wal-Mart announced it will open a new supercenter store at the intersection of U.S. 70 West and N.C. 581.

Nov. 5 -- City of Goldsboro forbid outside watering as part of continuing efforts to manage a months-long, statewide drought.

Nov. 6 -- The Air Force, in a "precautionary measure," called for all non-critical F-15 flight operations to be suspended in the wake of an F-15C crash in a wooded area about 120 miles southwest of St. Louis.

Nov. 13 -- More than a week after Air Force officials ground all non-critical F-15 flights, 4th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Steve Kwast said the E models housed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base were safe and ready to fly again.

Nov. 28 -- Patrica Herring's body was found buried in a back yard on Selah Church Road, and the resident there, David William Best, was charged with her murder.


Dec. 7 -- Officials inside the U.S. District Attorney's Office confirmed that LaGrange native Preston Garris lied about his military record. Garris never won the Silver Star and was never the commissioned officer he claimed to be. In a pre-trial diversion that kept Garris out the courts -- and, potentially, prison -- the onetime Marine was forced to send a letter of apology to veterans and serve probation.

Dec. 7 -- A state trooper made a $1 million traffic stop by pulling over an SUV for speeding, and an electronic compartment was found filled with about 30 pounds of cocaine, resulting in the arrest of two nervous Hispanic men from Trenton.

Dec. 10 -- Former Wayne Community College President Ed Wilson announced he will run for the District 5 seat in the state Senate held by longtime incumbent John Kerr.

Dec. 11 -- AT&T announced the opening of a new call center in the Neuse River Shopping Center, a move that is expected to bring 350 new jobs to the county.

Dec. 13 -- The Cooperative Extension Service's agriculture agent reported crop losses in 2007, that reduced expected farm income by $35 million.

Dec. 17 -- Former Sen. Tony Moore of Pitt County announced his run for the 5th District N.C. Senate seat.

Dec. 20 -- State Board of Education member Kathy Taft also announced her intention to run.

Dec. 26 -- Former state Rep. Charles Johnson of Greenville also filed for Kerr's seat.

Dec. 27 -- State Rep. Louis Pate, R-Wayne, joined 5th District race.