01/01/09 — A look back at 2008

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A look back at 2008

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on January 1, 2009 1:46 PM


Jan. 1 -- Wayne County was in the exceptional drought category, the highest and most dangerous category on the U.S. Drought Monitor scale.

Jan. 7 -- Duplin County Commissioner L.S. Guy announced he would not seek re-election.

Jan. 7 -- Duplin commissioners agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Johnston Ambulance Service for $25,000 and made a promise not to enter the nonprofit emergency transport business. The suit was filed after a county employee and former JAS employee took proprietary information from JAS.

Jan. 9 -- City officials said they would condemn the Days Inn on Wayne Memorial Drive that was severely damaged during an August 2007 wind storm.

Jan. 9 -- Goldsboro native Johnny Grant, 84 -- the "honorary mayor" of Hollywood -- died in California.

Jan. 10 -- Seymour Johnson Air Force Base announced it would not hold an air show in 2008.

Jan. 10 -- Local businessman David Weil was honored by the Chamber of Commerce with its Cornerstone Award for his many contributions to the community.

Jan. 13 -- The Pikeville town board voted to demolish the old school building.

Jan. 14 -- Wayne Community College officials announced a record spring enrollment.

Jan. 14 -- GAF closed its Wayne County plant, putting more than 100 people out of work.

Jan. 15 -- Blair Mozingo of Duplin County reached the third round of American Idol.

Jan. 15 -- A judge ruled that a verdict in Goldsboro's favor on annexation should stand.

Jan. 15 -- Commissioners voted unanimously to place a one-quarter cent sales tax referendum on the May primary ballot.

Jan. 15 -- AT&T received a $100,000 incentive for a call center in the Mar-Mac community, which opened later in the summer.

Jan. 21 -- More than 300 airmen returned from an overseas deployment.

Jan. 23 -- Dwayne Dail was awarded $368,493 in compensation from the state for 18 years of wrongful imprisonment after being exonerated in connection with a rape accusation.

Jan. 24 -- A fire at the Gov. Charles B. Aycock Birthplace near Fremont was ruled suspicious.

Jan. 25 -- Rodney Levon Williams, 36, was sentenced to 95 years in prison for attacks on women.

Jan. 28 -- Duplin County Commissioner Cary Turner went to Cambodia in hopes of finding the remains of his cousin, Lance Cpl. Joseph Hargrove, one of three Marines left behind on Koh Tang Island in 1975.

Jan. 30 -- Good Neighbors United, a group fighting the city's annexation of its community, appealed to the state Supreme Court after losing a court appeal of a verdict in favor of the city.

Jan. 31 -- Dr. Kay Albertson became the first woman president of Wayne Community College.


Feb. 2 -- The Record Rack closed after 35 years in downtown Goldsboro.

Feb. 3 -- Basher Elijah Baker was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2006 slaying of Octavious Manley of Mount Olive.

Feb. 4 -- At-large Board of Education member Pete Gurley announced that he would not seek re-election.

Feb. 8 -- At-large Commissioner Atlas Price announced he would not seek another term.

Feb. 16 -- The Paramount Theatre re-opened just under three years after the former structure burned.

Feb. 19 -- Former Goldsboro Police Capt. J.D. Cogdell was sentenced in connection with shooting his wife.

Feb. 22 -- Dr. T. J. Arfant was appointed as provost at Mount Olive College.

Feb. 23 -- Grant Williams, 20, and Jonathan Peedin, 18, died in a single-vehicle wreck after their SUV hit a culvert and overturned on Rosewood Road.

Feb. 28 -- Glenn Martin Jr., 55, was sentenced to up to five years in prison on a decade-old sex offense.


March 1 -- Robert "Bobby" Leach, 36, of Mount Olive, pled guilty to second-degree murder of a Goldsboro man and was sentenced to at least 20 years.

March 3 -- Silvia Bonitez Morals, 28, was found shot to death at home in Fremont.

March 6 -- N.C. Wesleyan President Dr. Ian D.C. Newbould announced his resignation after being offered a post at a London university.

March 6 -- StageStruck's "Oklahoma!" became the first performance at the newly reconstructed Paramount Theatre.

March 9 -- Pikeville police Chief Ken Barrett announced his resignation.

March 9 -- Chief District Court Judge Joe Setzer announced he would retire from his post.

March 11 -- Charles B. Aycock Birthplace reopened for tours after suspected arson.

March 11 -- Mamie Katlyn Bell, an 18-year-old Princeton High School student, died in a car crash near Smithfield.

March 12 -- Wayne County Sheriff deputies raided an alleged illegal lottery ring at Mount Olive's Murphy's Place.

March 13 -- Johnny Ray Lee, 40, a Wisconsin man who moved to Goldsboro in 2004, was sentenced to 35 years in jail for child pornography.

March 14 -- Three cousins entered a plea for their role in plotting the death of Mount Olive resident Russell Lee Nickelson.

March 18 -- Public was invited for first tour of renovated City Hall.

March 19 -- 4th Fighter Wing Staff Sgt. Daniel Spencer was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism in battle.

March 26 -- Georgia-Pacific blast rocked neighborhood, but no one was hurt.

March 27 -- Seymour Johnson Air Force Base locked down after an abandoned car was spotted at the visitor's center.

March 30 -- Lisa Mace won Miss Goldsboro 2008.

March 31 -- Goldsboro Planning Commission approved 60,000-square-foot recreation center.


April 3 -- Shine Fire Chief Tully Layden died after falling from the roof of a Mulberry Street building.

April 3 -- Air Force officials confirmed that 4th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Steve Kwast would be reassigned to Langley Air Force Base. Col. Thomas Bergeson was named Kwast's replacement.

April 6 -- Durwood Eugene Smith III, 18, was charged in the Charles B. Aycock birthplace fire.

April 8 -- News reached Duplin County that Wallace police officer Emanuel Pickett, 34, died in Iraq when his National Guard unit took heavy mortar fire in Baghdad.

April 10 -- Another man, James Sean Suggs, 37, was charged in connection with the Charles B. Aycock Birthplace fire.

April 12 -- President Bill Clinton stumped for his wife, Hilary, at Eastern Wayne High School.

April 14 -- A fight between two Wayne County men over a piece of chicken led to a stabbing that left one of them hospitalized.

April 23 -- Anthony Jerome Lee, of Dudley, was arrested in connection with string of armed robberies throughout the county.


May 5 -- Wayne County Grand Jury indicted William J. Neal, 52, on charges in connection with the rape that wrongfully imprisoned Dayne Dail for 18 years.

May 6 -- Wayne County voters rejected a proposed one-quarter cent sales tax increase.

May 9 -- Three hundred more airmen returned home from war.

May 31 -- The Mount Olive College Trojans claimed the Division II CWS baseball crown, their first-ever national championship in any sport, with a 6-2 victory over Ouachita, Ark.


June 15 -- Brandon Lee Williams of Fremont jailed as a suspect in the murder of neighbor Silvia Benitez Morales, mother of two.

June 16 -- Duplin County commissioners voted 5-1 to adopt a $47.5 million general fund budget, but not before two of their members criticized it as being tainted by misinformed politics and personality squabbles.

June 17 -- Wayne County Board of Commissioners approved $162 million budget complete with a 2.3-percent across-the-board pay increase for county employees, additional deputies for the Sheriff's Office, higher landfill fees and funding for a summer school program.

June 17 -- The Wayne County Board of Commissioners took option on a 104-acre tract of land off the U.S. 117 Bypass near the Wayne-Duplin county line for use as a potential industrial site.

June 18 -- Wayne County Development Alliance announced president, Joanna Thompson, was named 2008 North Carolina Economic Developer of the Year.

June 18 -- Duplin County school officials set proceedings in motion to sue county over the level of county funding for school system after receiving nearly $7 million of the $13.2 million they requested.

June 23 -- Goldsboro City Council approved the city's $49.3 million budget with no property tax increase but with an increase in water and refuse rates.

June 25 -- Walnut Creek Village Council approved the village's $878, 504 budget with no property tax or water rate increases.

June 29 -- Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders announced that a body that was found behind a church in November was identified as that of Genesis Bruce Lewis, who had been missing since 2004.


July 8 -- Wayne County approved four-day workweek for local government offices, effective Aug. 4.

July 14 -- Mount Olive Police reported rash of counterfeit bills being passed in Wayne County.

July 19 -- Two recent Southern Wayne High School graduates -- Andrew Britt and Carlisle Purvis -- died in a car crash after colliding with a Progress Energy bucket truck.

July 23 -- Herman Phillip Best, 45, of Dudley turned himself in to police for the murder of his girlfriend, Martha Cook Carter, 45. He had allegedly beaten her to death.

July 25 -- Reuel Inc. underwent a $30 million expansion, which was planned to create up to 50 jobs.

July 30 -- Wayne County Sheriff's Office added a felony charge against Shawn Harris, 38, of Dudley, who allegedly set a wooden cross on fire on the lawn of neighbors, a bi-racial couple.


Aug. 3 -- A recent graduate of Charles B. Aycock High School, Thomas "Bo" Goff, 18, of Pikeville was killed when the car he was driving ran off the left side of South Hillcrest Drive in Goldsboro and struck a tree.

Aug. 6 -- Four family members were arraigned in Wayne County Superior Court for drug trafficking. Since December, the Sheriff's Office had conducted three raids on the same family household, the Spruill residence on Dollard Town Road.

Aug. 12 -- For the second time in two years, Cherry Hospital was threatened with the loss of its federal funding because of incidents involving patient care. It was ordered by the state to submit a plan of correction within three weeks or face losing funding.

Aug. 14 -- Col. Mark Kelly, an F-15E pilot stationed in Afghanistan, was named the 4th Fighter Wing commander to replace Col. Steve Kwast.

Aug. 18 -- The Wayne County Historical Association inducted four new members to the Wall of Fame, including Linda Burroughs of Fordham House; the late William Milas Reinhardt, educator; the late Dr. Deleon Edward Best; and the late John Allen Farfour, a member of the N.C. Tennis Hall of Fame.

Aug. 22 -- A ward at Cherry Hospital was shut down and several staff reassignments were made as the investigation continued into the recent death of a 50-year-old patient. Meanwhile, two staff workers were arrested two health care technicians at the hospital, charging them with assaulting a patient.

Aug. 22 -- Wayne County unemployment rate hit a 17-year high of 6.9 percent.

Aug. 24 -- Fluctuating gas prices prompted Wayne County Public Schools to redirect bus routes for middle and high school students, a move expected to save the district up to $382,000 in fuel costs.

Aug. 27 -- Three Cherry Hospital workers were fired and another told not to return to work, stemming from the beating of a patient the previous week. Two of the fired workers were arrested on charges of simple assault.

Aug. 28 -- A state Department of Justice committee unanimously ruled that there was no probable cause to continue the case against former Mount Olive Police Chief Emmett Ballree. Ballree resigned as chief of police in Mount Olive last year after town officials confronted him over allegations that he used a town gas card to purchase gas for his private vehicles.

Aug. 28 -- Col. Steve Kwast, 4th Fighter Wing commander, took his final flight as commander of the wing before passing the flag to Col. Mark Kelly, a former commander of the 333rd Fighter Squadron.

Aug. 28 -- The sole male candidate for Wayne County Teacher of the Year won the honor. George L. Mewborn III has been an English and composition teacher at Spring Creek High School since 2001.


Sept. 1 -- Cherry Hospital had its certification as a Medicare and Medicaid provider revoked, which meant the loss of approximately $800,000 a month.

Sept. 5 -- Wayne County commissioners appropriated $500,000 for the county schools that allowed the county Board of Education to proceed with preliminary engineering costs associated with its schools facilities plan.

Sept. 6 -- Tropical Storm Hanna swept through Wayne County early in the morning but left little damage.

Sept. 7 -- Craig Doubt III, 18, of Clingman Street, was found with a gunshot wound to the head behind a home in the 1700 block of East Maple and later died at Pitt Memorial Hospital. Monterio Devon Newsome, 20, of Goldsboro, was wanted for an open count of murder.

Sept. 8 -- Mount Olive College President Dr. J. William Byrd anounced he would step down from the position to become chancellor at the college, as soon as a replacement could be found.

Sept. 9 -- The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission granted Club 55 El Abuelo its license to serve beer, despite the protests of neighbors.

Sept. 10 -- Hilex Poly plant in Mount Olive closed its doors, putting about 170 people out of work.

Sept. 11 -- Wayne Memorial Hospital announced its rates would go up 9.5 percent in 2009 as a result of continuing concerns over bad debt, increasing levels of charity care and lower reimbursement levels from Medicare/Medicaid.

Sept. 11 -- A jury decided that the Duplin County commissioners had to provide an additional $4,795,784 in local current expense funding to the county's schools, which could mean a 16-cent increase in local property taxes.

Sept. 16 -- Wayne County commissioners unanimously agreed to a $9.7 million loan to finance construction of a new countywide emergency communications system.

Sept. 17 -- A two-car accident killed one current Princeton High School student and a former student, Matthew Brandon Woodside Stewart, 17, and Brandon Lee Baker, 21.

Sept. 18 -- A Mount Olive police officer shot and killed a resident's dog, saying it was vicious.

Sept. 18 -- The Wayne County Board of Education approved architectural design proposals for facilities renovation projects, which will start with five area schools and are part of a $23 million construction plan.

Sept. 24 -- Triangle Spring, a division of Triangle Suspension Systems, announced it would open a manufacturing plant in Mount Olive to make heavy-duty truck suspension springs.

Sept. 26 -- Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair opened a day later than scheduled because of soggy weather.

Sept. 26 -- Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. held its Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony and honored Rodney Swink, former director of the North Carolina Main Street Center, with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Also at the dinner, Mayor Al King announced that state Department of Transportation officials found $900,000 in funds to be used for Union Station with the city matching with $100,000.

Sept. 26 -- Holly Jones was named Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair Queen.

Sept. 30 -- Darryl Best, 43, a senior planner with the city Planning Department and a city employee since 1999, was arrested on drug charges at City Hall.

Sept. 30 -- AT&T hosted a grand opening for call center in Mar Mac.

Sept. 30 -- Goldsboro's annexaction of the Buck Swamp and Salem Church road areas became effective.


Oct. 3 -- Medical examiner said local attorney Bruce Hulse died of natural causes.

Oct. 6 -- Patsy Faison, Tommy's Road Elementary School principal, was named Wachovia Principal of the Year for 2008-09. Diane Watts, assistant principal at Norwayne Middle School, was recognized as Wayne County Public Schools assistant principal of the year.

Oct. 8 -- A Grantham School Road woman, Forrest K. "Kaye" Meadows, 56, who ran Texas Connection Transport, was charged with 77 counts of animal cruelty, relating to dogs, cats and horses.

Oct. 8 -- Five nurses from Wayne Memorial Hospital were named to the "Great 100 Nurses of North Carolina for 2008."

Oct. 9 -- A groundbreaking was held for the first section of the U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass.

Oct. 10 -- The Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Board of Directors approved a business incentive program to bring more new businesses to the downtown area.

Oct. 15 -- Air Force officials set the weekend of April 25, 2009, for the date for the latest installment of Wings Over Wayne, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's typically annual air show.

Oct. 15 -- A Mount Olive man, Richard Swinson, 30, formerly of Hillsboro Street, pleaded guilty in the death of Jennifer Louise McArthur, and received 15 years in prison for the crime.

Oct. 16 -- Nearly 2,000 Wayne County voters cast ballots on the first day of one-stop early voting.

Oct. 17 -- Thurman Joseph Bradford Jr., 58, killed his girlfriend, Barbara Baker Pitts, 51, then himself, following a string of arguments between the two at her Old Smithfield Road home.

Oct. 17 -- A Dudley man, Dixon R. Steward, 38, pleaded guilty in Wayne Superior Court to burning a makeshift wooden cross in the driveway of an interracial couple with whom he was feuding, and was sentenced to supervised probation, with a suspended sentence of 6 to 8 months.

Oct. 19 -- Mark Floyd Farwell, 38, of Larchmont Circle -- a Seymour Johnson Air Force Base firefighter -- was charged with five counts of prohibited use of computer services and one count of traveling to meet a minor by the Lake County, Fla., Sheriff's Office, after allegedly showing up for an arranged sexual encounter with a woman and her 7-year-old daughter.

Oct. 21 -- The Goldsboro Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission prioritized the repairs needed at the city's parks and recreation facilities and put W.A. Foster at the top of the list.

Oct. 22 -- School officials confirmed that Charles B. Aycock High School teacher Lee Person had been placed on paid administrative leave following the opening of an investigation at the school by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and the State Bureau of Investigation.

Oct. 23 -- Two Wayne County men, Fredi Bartolon Angel, 24, Neely Drive, Goldsboro, and Carlos Roblero Angel, 19, Mitchell Road, Dudley, died when their car ran off the edge of Outlaw Road and wrapped around a tree.

Oct. 29 -- Former Goldsboro Fire Chief Alvin Ward's employment with the city ends. City officials refused to say if he was fired or resigned.

Oct. 29 -- Walnut Creek said goodbye to Police Chief Delisa Staps and hello to Police Chief Ken Barrett.

Oct. 30 -- Mt. Olive Pickle Co. was named the Wayne County Industry of the Year for the second time in 20 years because of its contributions back to the community.


Nov. 3 -- Almost half of all registered Wayne County voters cast their ballots before Election Day, setting a new record for early voting.

Nov. 3 -- Monterio Devon Newsome, 20, of Powell Road, a suspect in the Sept. 7 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Craig Doubt III, turned himself in at the Wayne County Magistrate's office.

Nov. 4 -- Bev Perdue carried 52 percent of the Wayne County vote and went on to become North Carolina's first female governor. More than 54 percent of Wayne County voters chose Republican John McCain for president, but Barack Obama carried the day nationally.

Nov. 7 -- Nearly half of Wayne County's 31 public schools did not make Adequate Yearly Progress.

Nov. 11 -- Goldsboro's "most-wanted" man, Devon Dejatorian Jones-Waters, 29, was indicted by the Wayne County grand jury.

Nov. 13 -- Gasoline prices dropped to under $2 a gallon for the first time in years.

Nov. 14 -- William Allen Fritz was convicted on four counts of first-degree sexual offense with a child and four counts of indecent liberties with a child.

Nov. 17 -- A tornado tracked through Johnston and Wilson counties, killing a woman in Kenly and a 10-year-old boy in Johnston County and damaging and destroying many homes.

Nov. 18 -- Aldo Cesar Ruiz, a former 4th Fighter Wing airman, pleaded guilty to taking nude pictures of a 9-year-old girl and was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.

Nov. 20 -- The state department of Health and Human Services fired three Cherry Hospital employees involved in the negligent care of patient Steven Sabock.

Nov. 20 -- Terreakus Antionia Davis, 25, of Mount Olive accepted a plea bargain of 30 years' jail time for killing one man and injuring another in 2007.

Nov. 20 -- Wayne County came off of U.S. Drought Monitor list after being listed in abnormally dry since Sept. 30.

Nov. 21 -- Wayne County Public Schools were asked to return $759,977 to the state to help address the budget shortfall.

Nov. 23 -- Volunteer Wayne director Barbara Stiles announced state budget cuts would force the organization to close Dec. 31.

Nov. 25 -- Larry Gene Garner Jr., accused of sexual assaults against two children, was arrested by sheriff's deputies in Princeton after a six-hour manhunt.

Nov. 25 -- Wayne County commissioners approved a $100,000 local match for a state grant used to attract Triangle Suspension System Inc., which will share a building with its sister company, IMPulse NC Inc. on the Old Mount Olive Highway.

Nov. 25 -- Former Cherry Hospital workers Taniko Dominique Upton, 33, and William Kenneth Johnson, 52, were found guilty of misdemeanor assault on a handicapped person.

Nov. 27 -- Catherine Guy, 99, of Burgaw died in a car wreck on U.S. 117 Bypass North when the car she was in, driven by her son James Guy, 79, ran off the road.

Nov. 30 -- Public power co-operative ElectriCities announced it would raise electric rates for citizens of Pikeville and Fremont by an average of 4 percent.


Dec. 1 -- Dr. Sandra McCullen of the Sleepy Creek community near Dudley and Steve Keen of Rosewood took the oath of office as new members of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

Dec. 1 -- Goldsboro City Council lifted voluntary water restrictions.

Dec. 2 -- The state Department of Commerce moved Wayne County up in its 2009 economic development rankings, from a Tier 1 to a Tier 2 -- making it one of four counties to move to a higher ranking designation.

Dec. 2 -- Goldsboro City Council members learned that the city might see budget shortfalls of more than $2.2 million at the end of this fiscal year.

Dec. 3 -- Cherry Hospital worker Perry J. Butler was charged with felony sexual offense for allegedly having sex with a patient.

Dec. 4 -- Joseph Wiggs, 54, and Hilda Allen, 64, died in a Dakota Street House fire in the early morning hours, and local officials asked state investigators to determine the cause of the blaze.

Dec. 5 -- United Way of Wayne County's 2008 campaign chairman David Perry announced that the organization met 94 percent of its $1.42 million goal.

Dec. 7 -- Four years after their first tour, members of the 230th Brigade Support Battalion of the National Guard learned they would be going back to Iraq to serve with the Army's 1st Infantry Division in a few months.

Dec. 8 -- The Wayne County Sheriff's Office caught double-murder suspect and former Pikeville resident Atiba Spellman, 33, in Pikeville.

Dec. 9 -- The 4th Fighter Wing confirmed that the Blue Angels will perform in the 2009 Wings Over Wayne air show the weekend of April 25. The event will also feature the Army's Golden Knights parachute team.

Dec. 9 -- It is announced that Goldsboro will get its own VA clinic in 2010 with some aspects becoming operational in 2009.

Dec. 9 -- The Goldsboro City Council said the proposed Community Recreation Center could require a tax increase of between 5 and 12 cents in July, and improving Stoney Creek Park might have to be funded by private donations.

Dec. 9 -- Javonnie Langston, 33, of North Carolina Street, was shot dead at 126 Lee's Country Club Road in Mount Olive. Michael Lee Shipman, 26, of South Breazeale Avenue, Mount Olive, was taken to the Wayne County Jail and held without bond on a charge of first-degree murder.

Dec. 11 -- An exceptional children's teacher at Southern Wayne High School was under investigation for "improper conduct" with a student, but investigators with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office would not say whether the misconduct was of a sexual nature.

Dec. 12 -- Dr. Jack St. Clair, director of Cherry Hospital, announced he would step down from his post on Dec. 31.

Dec. 12 -- Mount Olive Police were called to a busy North Breazeale Avenue shopping center to investigate the fatal shooting of Santos Anton Lopez, 42, of 104 Dotsie Lane, victim of the town's second murder in three days.

Dec. 16 -- David William Best took a plea bargain in the 2006 murder of Patricia Herring and was sentenced to 14 to 17 1/2 years in prison.

Dec. 17 -- Carl Fitch, a Compass Group consultant on site at Cherry Hospital since October, was named interim director of the hospital effective Jan. 1.

Dec. 17 -- City officials projected a $1.8 million revenue shortfall instead of the $2.2 million shortfall proposed earlier in the month.

Dec. 20 -- Police arrested Cesar Becorril Romero, 23, of Whispering Lane, Dudley, in connection to the murder of a 23-year-old resident of the Carolina Pines trailer court.

Dec. 23 -- One of the deadliest days in Wayne County highway history, with four people killed in three separate accidents within a two-hour span. Those lost included Tammy Lynn Sullivan, 40, of Pikeville; Christopher Anthony Ream, 23, of Fremont; Ada Williams Jones, 78, of Wilson; and Darrell Lynn Houck, 51, of LaGrange.

Dec. 30 -- Goldsboro Chrysler Dodge Jeep closed its doors.