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1090 AM ~ Smithfield, NC

9 Year-Old Girl Helps Clean Up Community

A nine-year-old Smithfield girl did a good deed for the Smithfield community recently by cleaning up a local walking trail.

Serenity Bean, who lives in the Eden Wood subdivision, contacted Smithfield Public Works Director Lenny Branch about doing a community service project, which could help her earn a scholarship to attend a summer camp next year in Wake Forest.

Branch said he's had the privilege of helping numerous youth through the years with community service projects.

Serenity’s goal was to clean the roadside from trash and debris. 

However, because of her young age, Branch said that couldn’t take place because of safety reasons.

After discussing the situation with Serenity’s mother, an alternative clean up project was agreed upon. 

Serena was allowed to clean up the Green Way walking trail and area community park area. It took her five hours and along the way she collected two bags of trash and recyclables. 

After completing the work, Serenity told her mother she wanted to do another cleanup project to make “Smithfield a greener place to live.”

Branch says he is keeping his fingers crossed that Serenity will win her scholarship to attend summer camp next year.  

“Smithfield is a great place to live and our citizens are some of the best people in the world, even the ones that come in small packages,” Branch told WTSB.  Contributed photo

Teens Charged In Middle School Break-In
Authorities have arrested two teenagers in connection with two break-ins at the same school.

On Tuesday, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and fire crews responded to a fire alarm at Norwayne Middle School.  Firemen alerted deputies who were responding to the scene the school had been broken into.

As deputies arrived in the area, they reportedly found the two teens with a large TV and other items from the school in their possession.

Stephen Michael Anderson, 19, of Corral Drive, Goldsboro and Trevor Briggs, 16, of Norwayne School Road, Fremont were arrested.

Deputies said the teens are also responsible for a July 20th break-in at the same school. 

Anderson was given an $8,000 bond on the charges and Briggs $16,000 bail.

Smithfield Police Investigating Armed Robbery

A Selma man was robbed at gunpoint Monday night while leaving a Smithfield business.

Around 7:30pm, Smithfield Police said the 38 year-old victim was leaving a business in the Centre Pointe Plaza on North Brightleaf Boulevard when he was approached in the parking lot at his vehicle. The victim said a black man pulled out a handgun and at gunpoint took the victims two cell phone, $70 in cash, and his car keys.

Police said the suspect left in a silver convertible Chrysler Sebring.

No injuries were reported.

Anyone who may have witnessed the robbery is asked to contact the Smithfield Police Department Tip Line at 919-989-8835. Callers can remain anonymous.

Three Charged In Paintball Gun Robbery

Dunn Police are investigating a robbery involving a paintball gun.

Willie Coxum, 37, of Dunn said he was picked up by three men who agreed to give him a ride. Once in the vehicle, a man in the backseat stuck a gun in Coxum’s side and demanded he give the men in the car his money. Coxum gave them between $60 and $70, according to reports. 

After police spoke with Mr. Coxum, an officer spotted a car matching the description Mr. Coxum gave. 

According to the police report, Officer David Boyette noticed a man matching the description given by Mr. Coxum get out of the vehicle. Officer Boyette stopped the car and was approached by the suspect. 

According to reports, the suspect said, “What is it bro, they ain’t done nothing,” and, “You ain’t got no reason to be doing him like this.”

The driver told Officer Boyette there was a paintball gun in the vehicle. The occupants of the car were detained as well as the man who exited the vehicle. Seventy dollars in cash was found between all three suspects. Mr. Coxum was contacted and identified the suspects as the men who had robbed him. 

The three men were arrested, Fredericus Smith, 30, of Erwin, Maurice Shuler, 34, of Benson and Brandon Williams, 20, of Benson were all charged with one count each of felony armed robbery and felong conspiracy to commit robbery. Mr. Smith and Mr. Shuler were also charged with parole violations. They are all being held on $50,000 bond. Courtesy The Daily Record

Pair Charged With Shoplifting At Wal-Mart
Two people were arrested Tuesday night for allegedly shoplifting merchandise from Wal-Mart in Smithfield.

Around 10pm, police were called to the business after a loss prevention officer reportedly spotted the suspects take numerous items including clothing, household goods, children’s toys, and dog treats.

Lizbeth Ann Roussey, 39, of Braswell Road, Smithfield and Barbara Ashley Cantrell, 30, of Whitley Oak Court, Smithfield were both charged with shoplifting and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Lt. R.K. Powell said officers discovered several items from Big Lots in Selma the suspects in which they could not provide receipts.  Those items were seized. 

Roussey was given a $1,500 bond and Cantrell a $1,000 bond.  Both were ordered to appear in district court on September 17th on the misdemeanor charges.

Arts Council Accepting Grant Applications 
The Johnston County Arts Council is now accepting applications for North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program subgrants through Thursday, August 14th.

Applications are available for non-profit organizations whose purpose is to promote and develop diverse cultural arts programming in Johnston County. Funding priority is given to qualified arts organizations (theaters, galleries, choral societies, festivals), arts in education programs conducted by qualified artists, and other community organizations that provide arts programs in the county.  Projects must occur between July 1st, 2014 and May 30th, 2015.

To be eligible for funding, non-profit organizations must be located within Johnston County.  Programs will be evaluated for organizational stability, ability to generate 1:1 matching funds, audience development (size and cultural diversity), artistic quality, responsiveness to the community’s artistic needs and community outreach.

Application forms and grant guidelines are available on the Johnston County Arts Council website.  Applications must be received no later than Thursday, August 14, 2014 by 5:00pm.

For questions or more information, contact Darlene Williford at 919.938.0306.


School System To Review Policies Following Two Embezzlement Incidents
After a second Johnston County school system employee was charged with embezzlement in just over three months, Johnston County school officials announced Tuesday a review will take place of the way money is handled.

Nina Denise Adams, (top right) the head secretary/treasurer at West Johnston High School was arrested Saturday and accused of embezzling about  $3,700 from the school between April and June of this year.

Instead of taking funds and depositing them in the bank, Adams, 46, of Clayton, allegedly kept them for her own personal use.

Tracey Peedin Jones, Public Information Officer for Johnston County Schools, said Adams, who was first hired in August 2007, is no longer an employee.    

In April 2014, Kelly Jean Mills, 36, (lower right) of Smithfield, an employee at Princeton Elementary School was charged with embezzlement. Officials alleged that between October 2013 and March 2014, Mills allegedly took funds collected from students and teachers for field trips and other school funds.

Earlier this month, Mills appeared in court and received deferred prosecution on the charges. She was ordered to pay $1,482 in restitution to Johnston County Schools, perform 24 hours of community service, and is on 12 months supervised probation.  Mills is no longer with the school system.

In light of the two incidents, officials said Tuesday, “Johnston County Schools is constantly seeking ways to improve our performance and the service we provide to our customers. We will reflect on this situation to determine how to move forward in the future.”

Jones says it is standard practice to review every incident to see if improvements can be made. 
Smithfield, Clayton React To Duke/NCEMPA  Deal
One day after Duke Energy Progress and the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency reached an agreement to purchase the Power Agency's generating assets, local town officials are reacting.

The $1.2 billion transaction will lower wholesale electric rates for NCEMPA's 32 member communities, including Smithfield Clayton, Selma and Benson.

Smithfield Town Manager Paul Sabiston said Tuesday he hopes the new agreement will ubstantially reduce most of its electric rates.

Clayton Public Information Officer Stacy Beard said the Town is definitely excited that this deal with Duke could mean savings for Clayton Public Power customers but added that the Town can’t say at this point exactly how much savings it will see.

Beard said the agreement won't mean any change to Clayton's distribution of electricity to its customers – meaning, Clayton Public Power is not going away.  They’ll be no layoffs of linemen or staff that work for the Town's electric department

Sabiston said the deal will benefit Smithfield citizens hopefully as early as 2015.

The exact impact on retail rates will be different for each member. Sabiston said the Town will probably pursue a detailed rate study to help it apply the rate reduction.

NCEMPA accounts for nearly 40 percent of Smithfield's wholesale power costs. Selling our power generation assets will reduce the Town's debt by more than 70 percent and make its wholesale power costs more competitive, Sabiston said.

Sabiston said the Town will have a better idea of the potential rate reductions by early 2015 and will share those projections at that time.

Smithfield will continue to receive wholesale power from NCEMPA, just as it has for more than 30 years.

Clayton Town Manager Steve Biggs, said “It’s been very difficult to deal with the fact that we (the 32 public power towns) pay higher electric rates – it’s been very difficult, so to know that there is now light at the end of the tunnel is very good news.”

Elderly Man Robbed During Selma Home Invasion
Selma Police are looking for a suspect in a home invasion and robbery.

An 80 year-old man was inside his Webb Street home around 7pm Monday, July 21st, sitting at the kitchen table with a relative making out a grocery list.

Police said an unknown suspect entered the home and began waving a pocketknife demanding money.  When the suspect realized neither victim had any money, he grabbed a bottle of medication and fled.  The bottle contained about 212 Oxycodone pills.     

Witnesses said the suspect fled in a gray newer model Jeep Renegade. 

Police Warning Merchants About Bogus Payroll Checks
Smithfield Police are warning banks and merchants to be on the lookout for counterfeit payroll checks.

The counterfeit checks are from the Clayton Wendy’s fast food restaurant payroll account.

One check was successfully cashed at Compare Foods in Smithfield.  Someone tried to cash a second check but could not.

Officials said the suspect gave the clerk at Compare Foods a phone number to verify the check. The business called to and was told by someone who answere the check was valid.  It was later determined the phone number did not belong to Wendy’s and the check was a forgery.

Benson Area Convenience Store Robbed

Johnston County deputies are searching for a lone gunman who robbed the I-40 Super Gas convenience store Monday night.

Officers said the suspect entered the business, located on Highway 210 at I-40 outside of Benson, around 10:45pm. He produced a handgun and demanded lottery tickets and cash.

The suspect fled with about $100 worth of lottery tickets and $150 in cash.

The suspect was described as a white male, 5 foot 9, 160 pounds. He was wearing a mask, dark clothing, and carrying a duffle bag.

No injuries were reported.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office at 919-989-5000.   

3 Shot Outside Convenience Store
Three people were shot Monday afternoon outside a Harnett County convenience store.

Deputies were called to the Kangaroo Store on Highway 87 near Cameron around 4:45pm. 

Officers said three people were shot in the parking lot, then rushed by personal vehicles to the hospital. They were: Raquan Shynell Hooker, 18, of Sanford, Maurice Shaquan Williams, 23, of Sanford, and Maurice Kollis Cox, 27, whose address is not known. 

Two of the victims were treated and released at Central Carolina Hospital. The third was taken to UNC Hospitals and is in stable condition.

The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office is looking for 6 persons of interest in connection with the shooting.  Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Detective B. Abate at the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office at 910-893-9111.  

Police Arrest Driver For DWI, Child Abuse

A 24 year-old woman is facing drunk driving and child abuse charges after Selma Police were called to investigate a minor hit and run accident in the parking lot of the La Gloria Bar on West Noble Street.

Officers responded to the club’s parking lot around 2:23am Saturday after a pickup allegedly hit a parked car and left. While police were on the scene the truck returned.

Police allege the driver, Amanda Maria Tant of Cypress Court, Selma had been consuming alcohol and had a 4 year-old child in the truck that was not in a child seat.

Tant later registered 0.12 on the Breathalyzer, above the legal limit of 0.08, according to police reports.

She was charged with DWI and misdemeanor child abuse. Tant was given a $4,000 bond on the charges at the Johnston County Jail and a court date of October 30th.   

Camels Picked 7th In PFL Preseason Football Poll

Buies Creek – Campbell has been picked seventh in the 2014 Pioneer Football League preseason coaches poll.

For the third consecutive year, San Diego was predicted to win the PFL regular-season race.

The upcoming 2014 season marks the 22nd year for the PFL – the nation’s only non-scholarship, football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. The league will feature 11 teams each playing an eight-game schedule to determine the league champion and recipient of the automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA FCS Championship.
Last season, the PFL race ended with Butler and Marist each claiming a share of the league title with 7-1 records, Butler earning the league’s automatic bid due to a tiebreaker.

San Diego received five of a possible 10 first-place votes and 90 of a maximum 100 points as coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team in the poll. Dayton was ranked second with 82 points despite not receiving a first-place vote. Jacksonville received three first-place votes and was ranked third with 80 points. Butler rounds out the league’s top four with two first-place votes and 77 points.
Drake picked up one first-place vote and was picked fifth with 73 total points. Marist, a league co-champion just eight months ago, fell to sixth in the preseason poll with 61 points.

Campbell (7th, 38 points), Morehead State (8th, 35), Stetson (9th, 30), Davidson (10th, 20) and Valparaiso (11th, 19) round out the league’s 11-team poll.
The Camels welcome back 10 defensive and eight offensive starters from last season with 59 total lettermen making a return.

Five Camels, including Dalton Brown and Matt Farris taking second team honors, have been named preseason All-American by USA College Football.

Brown was named second team offensive line while Farris joined him on the second team at linebacker. Three Camels were also named to the USA Football third team with Will Sawyer on the offensive line, Ugonna Awuruonye on the defensive line and Adam Lutz at punter.

Lutz is also one of three Camels to earn a spot on one of the College Football Performance Awards' 2014 watch lists. CU teammate Isaac Scott was named to the CFPA's initial list for defensive linemen, while Austin Fleming has been added to the CFPA's tight end watch list.

Campbell will kickoff the 2014 season Thursday night, August 28, at 7 p.m. against Charlotte.

The Camels went 3-9 overall in 2013, finishing the year with a 47-14 win at Davidson. Campbell set 21 offensive team records in Mike Minter's first season as head coach, including rushing yards (2,800), passing yards (2,436), and total offense (5,236), four defensive, including sacks (27), and three on special teams.

Senior Kurt Odom became Campbell's first football All-America selection, earning Third Team honors from the Sports Network. Odom was also named First Team All-PFL while seven Camels took home honorable mention nods. Odom, along with Adam Lutz, Ben Bolling and Hunter Somerville were also First Team Academic All-PFL. Michael Rudisill and Lucas Smith both earned Second Team honors.


Dollar Tree Buys Family Dollar For $8.5 Billion
Discount store chain Dollar Tree will buy rival Family Dollar Stores for about $8.5 billion. Both companies have stores in Johnston County.
The purchase will create North America's largest discount retailer.

Dollar Tree will have about 13,000 stores across the United States and Canada once the deal closes.

Family Dollar is based in North Carolina, while Dollar Tree is based in Virginia. The merger is likely to increase competition for Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart Express stores across the US and Canada. 

Farmer Made Famous By “Pearl & Earl” Has Died

John E. Massengill poses with his chickens, Pearl and Earl, during this 2005 photo. Massengill died Saturday at the age of 86. Dunn Daily Record photo

A Johnston County farmer who gained national and international fame in 2005, died Saturday in a farm tractor accident.

John E. Massengill of Gum Swamp Road died on his farm at the age of 86.

Massengill became famous 9 years ago when one of his chickens, Pearl, got lose in Downtown Four Oaks and perched in a pear tree. She was soon joined by a rooster named Earl.

The chickens drew more than 1,000 visitors to Downtown Four Oaks, some from out of state. But as the publicity grew, town officials asked Massengill to take Pearl and Earl back to his farm.

Three years after the fame, in a 2008 WRAL-TV Tarheel Traveler story, Massengill said Pearl had died from unknown causes. Earl was stuffed and kept in his home. 

The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said Massengill was on his farm tractor Saturday when he fell off.  He was pulled about 300 feet by the tractor before it came to a stop.  Officials said Monday they have not determined if Massengill’s death was due to a medical condition or from the tractor accident.

“Everyone in our community is saddened by the loss of John E,” said Four Oaks Mayor Linwood Parker. “He was a man who lived with basic values, was hard working, supported the community, and added to the flavor of life in Four Oaks.”  

Florida Man Killed In I-95 Crash
A Florida man was killed in a two car crash on Interstate 95 near Benson Sunday afternoon.

Around 2pm, Jason Hite, 28, of Cape Coral, Florida had stopped his car on the shoulder of I-95 just south of I-40.  While standing outside his vehicle, Hite was hit by a car which then slammed into the back of his car.

Hite died at the scene from his injuries. Three people in his vehicle, including his fiancée and two children were taken to WakeMed for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Troopers charged Dana Rodgers Jr., 77, of Virginia with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to maintain lane control.  Rodgers and a passenger in his car both escaped without injury. Photo courtesy JoCoFire.com

Fire Damages Four Oaks Home
The Johnston County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating a weekend fire that heavily damaged a Four Oaks home.

Around 9pm Saturday, fire crews were called to a doublewide mobile home in the 700 block of Lee Public Road. 

Firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the home. The fire was quickly brought under control.

The resident was not at home at the time, but was called and told about the fire. When they arrived, they were treated at the scene for a medical emergency, according to JoCoFire.com

The Four Oaks, Elevation, and Smithfield Fire Department’s responded to the fire along with Four Oaks and Johnston County EMS. Contributed photo

School System Employee Charged With Embezzlement
A Johnston County Schools employee has been arrested on embezzlement charges.

Nina Denise Adams, an employee at West Johnston High School, was arrested Saturday following a six week investigation by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities tell WTSB News that Adams allegedly embezzled about $3,700 from the school while she worked as a bookkeeper. The alleged thefts occurred between April and June of this year.

Adams was reportedly in charge of making deposits for West Johnston High. She is accused of taking the money and not depositing it in the bank.

Adams, 36, of Norris Road, Clayton was charged with three felony counts of embezzlement.  Her bond was set at $25,000.

Teen Charged With Statutory Rape
A Johnston County man has been arrested for statutory rape.

Michael Omaris Chapman, 19, of Lake Wendell Road, Wendell was arrested Friday afternoon.

Chapman had been under investigation by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office after an incident involving a 15 year-old female was reported to investigators on May 3rd.

Sheriff’s officials did not release any additional details about the case because the victim is a juvenile.

Chapman was booked into the Johnston County Jail under a $50,000 bond.

Johnston Couple Accused Of Growing Marijuana

Two Bentonville residents have been charged with growing marijuana at their home.

David Scott Adams, 30, and Megan Danielle Baker, 23, both of the 8200 block of Harper House Road, Newton Grove, were arrested Friday.

Three days earlier, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division went to their home and reportedly seized 8 marijuana plants and a small amount of suspected moonshine.

Both were charged with manufacturing marijuana, maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for a controlled substance, possess/sell of non-tax paid alcohol, possess/sell non-tax paid alcohol without a permit, possession of equipment or ingredients intended for manufacture, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Both Adams and Baker were given $6,000 bonds each on the two felony and four misdemeanor charges.

Cash Taken During Store Break-In
Cash was taken during a break-in discovered just before 6am Saturday morning at D.R. Wells Store at 9005 Cleveland Road, Clayton.

The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said someone made forcible entry into the business and stole $5,840 in money, according to a report filed. 

A window and safe were also damaged during the break-in.

Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to contact the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office at 919-989-5000. Callers with information can remain anonymous.

Four Oaks Junior Golfer Earns Spot In USGA Amateur Championship

Patrick Stephenson, a rising South Johnston High School junior, will play in the 114th U.S. Men’s Amateur Championship on August 11th and 12th at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

Patrick qualified for a spot in the USGA Men’s Amateur by finishing among the Top 3 in the USGA Men’s Amateur Championship qualifier at Keith Hills golf course in Buies Creek last week.

At the Buies Creek qualifier, there was a very strong field of 74 players made up of elite junior players, college players and former college golfers. The course was playing 6700 and par 72.

The Atlanta event will be a two round stroke play qualifier and then the field will be cut to the top 64 players for the match play portion of the event.

Patrick’s goal is to make the field of 64 and advance to match play.

Across the US approximately 6800 players turned in applications to play at a qualifier and try to earn a spot in Atlanta and only 312 would advance.

The USGA Men’s Amateur is one of the biggest and most prestigious Amateur events in the world.

Patrick thanked his swing coach, Ryan Daley, from Keith Hills for all his help over the past three years.

Patrick will also be among more than 470 of golf’s top young players who will compete in the July 24-29 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

He will compete in the Boys 16-18 age division.

Patrick qualified by shooting a 72 for a first-place win in a qualifying tournament hosted by the Optimist NC East District on June 14 at Wedgewood Golf Course in Wilson.

He was sponsored by the South Johnston Optimist Club of Benson.  Patrick is the son of Mike and Anita C. Stephenson of Four Oaks.

Unemployment Rate Unchanged

North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 6.4 percent, which was unchanged from May’s revised rate of 6.4 percent.  The national jobless rate decreased from 6.3 in May to 6.1 percent in June, according to the NC Department of Commerce - Labor and Economic Analysis Division.

North Carolina’s June 2014 unemployment rate is 1.9 percentage points lower than a year ago. The number of people employed decreased 8,577 over the month to 4,389,167, and increased 77,054 over the year. The number of people unemployed decreased 2,142 over the month to 299,313 and declined 89,007 over the year.

Since June 2013, non-farm jobs gained 74,800 with the total private sector growing 82,300 and government jobs declining by 7,500 workers.

The largest increase in jobs over the past 12 months was in the Professional & Business Services sector adding 31,900, followed by Trade, Transportation & Utilities adding 19,800 workers, and Leisure & Hospitality Services 8,200.

The only major industry experiencing a drop over the last year was Government.

$262,500 Worth Of Marijuana Plants Seized
On Friday, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office seized 105 marijuana plants. The plants had a potential street value of $262,500.

Authorities would not disclose the exact location the plants were found, only that it was in the central part of Wayne County.
Investigators said combined efforts from the patrol division, aviation unit, and ACE Team led to the marijuana find.

No arrests have been made.   

Sex Offender Arrested
A Johnston County man on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry has been arrested.

Johnston County deputies arrested Johnny Franklin Thornton, 65, of Newton Grove Thursday night.
Authorities said Thornton registered his address on Thornton Road, in southern Johnston County. However, his probation officer reportedly went to that location several times and could not locate Thornton. Officials said they later learned he was not living at the address.

According to court and prison records, Thornton was convicted in August 2012 for taking indecent liberties with a minor. He received no active jail time, instead was sentenced to 30 months probation, and placed on the sex offender registry.

Thornton was charged Thursday with failing to register his address as a sex offender and probation violation.  He was confined in the Johnston County Jail under a $50,000 bond. 

Clayton Woman Charged With Child Abuse

Clayton Police arrested a woman Wednesday night for misdemeanor child abuse.

Officers were called to an address on South Moore Street around 9pm for a domestic disturbance.

Police allege Rosaland Antionette Hardy, 41, had assaulted her juvenile stepdaughter during the incident.

Hardy was released from the Johnston County Jail after posting a $1,000 bond.

Clayton Police Charge Suspect With Prescription Fraud
A woman who allegedly passed a forged prescription at a local pharmacy has been arrested.

Clayton Police arrested Jeana Nunney Muster, 35, on Wednesday.

A spokesperson said Muster passed a forged prescription at the CVS Pharmacy.

Muster was charged with obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or forgery. 

Next Music For The Lunch Bunch July 30th
The next performance scheduled for the 30th season of Music for the Lunch Bunch series is Wednesday, July 30th at 12:15pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Smithfield.  Tori Howell will be performing on the flute and Catherine Hamner will be performing on the piano.

Tori Howell, 21, (left photo ) lives in Clayton. She graduated in 2011 from Clayton High School and is now studying Music Education at Campbell University. She will be a junior this fall.  

Tori has been playing the flute for 10 years, and is currently studying with Catherine LeGrand at Campbell. She aspires to be an elementary school music teacher. Tori is a member of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program. She is also a member of the Campbell University Band Staff. She loves to perform and is grateful to her parents, Les and Jennifer Howell, for supporting her in her development as a flute player.

Catherine Hamner (right photo) received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at UNC-Chapel Hill, with additional study at Florida State University and in Europe.

Upon completion of her master’s degree, she was invited to perform a Mozart piano concerto with the NC Symphony on tour.  Years later, she conducted two operas with the NC Symphony: Cosi fan tutte, by Mozart and La Perichole, by Offenbach.  Mrs. Hamner spent a summer Music Directing the Cleveland Lyric Opera Company’s apprentice program and playing in the main stage pit orchestra under the baton of Benton Hess.

For 13 years she toured 35 states with the National Opera Company, performing opera in English to both child and adult audiences.  First as Accompanist and then as Music Director/Tour Director, she took opera into the heartland of America.  She studied opera conducting under the late Georg Tintner in Opava, Czech Republic.  Catherine has accompanied for master classes for Nico Castel (Metropolitan Opera diction coach/character tenor), renowned baritone William Stone, mezzo-soprano Judith Christen, and the late acting teacher Wesley Balk.  She also accompanied scenes programs directed by both Nico and Carol Castel.

Currently Catherine enjoys spending much of her time as a Staff Accompanist at Campbell University, and she is in demand throughout the area as a collaborative pianist.

The Music for the Lunch Bunch is a series of summer concerts held every Wednesday, at 12:15 pm, featuring local artists performing a variety of music, with particular emphasis on classical music.  The concert series is grassroots funded by the Johnston County Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council.  There is no admission charge but donations are accepted.    For additional information on upcoming performances, please contact

the Johnston County Arts Council at 919-938-0306.

Andrews Appointed To JCC Board Of Trustees

W.E. Bud Andrews is the newest member of the JCC Board of Trustees. Pictured (left to right) Andrews receives his oath of office from Johnston Clerk of Court Will R. Crocker.

W.E. Bud Andrews has been appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory to serve a four-year term on the Johnston Community College Board of Trustees.

A retired colonel in the National Guard, Andrews is also a retired senior vice president with First Citizens Bank. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Campbell College, now Campbell University. He continued his studies and graduated from the U.S. Army War College.

An Eagle Scout, Andrews is a lifetime Jaycee, a life member of the Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Central Johnston County Rotary, the American Legion, and the Loyal Order of the Moose. He also serves as a trustee of Goldsboro Friends Meeting, where he attends church. Some of his accolades include being named the Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen and Citizen of the Year, a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International, and receiving the Governor’s Award for Volunteerism and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

“The community college is where the rubber hits the road to people who need retraining and the younger people who want to go to college and stay in the area,” Andrews said. “I am looking forward and am excited about the opportunity to add gas to their fire.”

Andrews and his wife, Dianne, live in Smithfield. They have two grown children and three grandchildren.

Andrews replaces Robert W. “Bob” Bryant, Jr. whose term ended in 2014. Bryant served as a college trustee for 15 years. Andrews was officially welcomed and received his oath of office July 10 at the regular board meeting.

Autopsy: Fuquay Varina Men Died From Gunshot Wounds

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office is treating the shooting deaths of two Fuquay Varina residents as a double homicide.

Around 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon, deputies responded to a call on Howard Road, outside of Fuquay Varina. Deputies found the bodies of 66 year-old David Eugene McKoy and 78 year-old Arthur Lee Brown, both residents at that address, dead inside the home.

A preliminary autopsy from the State Medical Examiner’s Office indicated both McKoy and Brown died from gunshot wounds.

Sheriff’s investigators have not released any additional information about the possible suspect or suspects in the case. Photo courtesy JoCoFire.com

Fugitive From Pennsylvania Arrested In Clayton

Following a tip from Pennsylvania State Police, a Clayton woman was arrested on a fugitive warrant Wednesday.

Clayton Police received a tip Frances Minelle Bracer Comulada was at an address on Commodore Street.  Comulada was wanted by Pennsylvania authorities for grand larceny.

Police checked the address on Commodore Street Tuesday but could not find the 36 year-old woman. Police returned to the residence on Wednesday and located Comulada, according to Town of Clayton Public Information Officer Stacy Beard.

She was transported to the Johnston County Jail and held without bond on the fugitive warrant pending extradition to Pennsylvania.

Johnston Man Charged In Cary Fraud Case

A Johnston County man has been arrested by Cary Police on a fraud charge.

Shaun Michael Hickey, 26, of Dixie Drive, Selma was arrested Saturday by Selma Police. 

According to Cary Police, Hickey went to Lowes Home Improvement on Walnut Street in Cary on June 30 or July 1.  He reportedly purchased two power washers, valued at $450 and $713, through the business account of a company he no longer worked for, according to Captain Don Hamilton with the Cary Police Criminal Investigations Division.     

Captain Hamilton said one of the two power washers was later recovered.

Hickey was charged with one felony count of obtaining property by false pretenses.  He was given a $20,000 bond on the charge and ordered to appear in Wake County District Court

Police: Man Doing Jumping Jacks, Push-Ups In Roadway Arrested On Meth Charges
Selma police officers responded to an unusual 911 call on July 8. A person called 911 reportedly claiming they witnessed a man had stopped his vehicle in the middle of the highway, got out, and started doing jumping jacks and push-ups.  The man then got back into his car, traveled a short distance, got out of his car again, and continued doing more jumping jacks and push-ups.

Selma Police said they located Danny Ray Hodge, 42, of John Street, Goldsboro on his hands and knees beside Jones Street. 

Officers said once Jones spotted police he ran back to his car and got in the drivers seat.

During a search of his vehicle, Detective S.C. Richardson said a jewelry box was located. Inside the box were 6 small baggies, each containing suspected methamphetamines.

Detective Richardson said Hodge was currently on probation and wearing a GPS tracking device, and had been out of prison about 3 years.

Richardson said the suspect had a lengthy criminal history for rape, kidnapping, larceny, and drug possession.

Hodge was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver meth, and maintaining a vehicle to keep a controlled substance. He was confined in the Johnston County Jail under a $40,000 bond.

“Methamphetamine has became an epidemic in the United States and this drug effects communities, big and small, including towns like Selma,” Detective Richardson told WTSB News. “Until regulations can be made to control pseudophedrine, which is the main ingredient in making of methamphetamine, the methamphetamine epidemic is going to turn catastrophic.”

Richardson said citizens should not hesitate to call 911 if you suspect or know someone that is cooking or selling methamphetamine. “Coming together as a community is one way to combat this methamphetamine epidemic.”

Clayton Considers Its Options Regarding County Recreation Grant
The Town of Clayton is weighing its options regarding its application for a Johnston County recreation grant.

Parks and Recreation Director Larry Bailey (pictured left) told the Town Council this week that Johnston County Commissioners has set aside $17,113 in Open Space funds for the Clayton High School district.

In addition to municipalities, the County will also consider awarding grant funds to public schools, and rural athletic associations.

Those who receive grant funds from the county must contribute at 5% match.

The Open Space Funds may be used to purchase, develop, or improve existing or new properties for recreational use.
Bailey proposed the Town to either consider applying for funds to expand the parking lot at the Sam’s Branch Greenway on North O’Neill Street or the development of additional pickleball courts.

Bailey said pickleball is popular especially among senior adults who are no longer able to play tennis.

Pickleball is a racquet sport, which combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis.

According to the USA Pickleball Association, there are now over 100,000 players actively playing pickleball. 

Johnston 4-H Youth Participates In State Livestock Judging Contest

Top Right (Left ro right) Deborah Johnson, CEO of the NC Pork Council, Johnston 4-H Junior team members Justin Wood, Brittany Beasley, MaKayla Byrd and Katelyn Brewer, and Johnston County Livestock Agent, Dan Wells. (Lower right) Deborah Johnson CEO of the NC Pork Council, and Johnston 4-H Senior team members , Macy Massengill, Joy Leigh Hinnant, Kelsey Bentley, and Johnston County Livestock Agent Dan Wells.

The Johnston County 4-H Livestock Judging Team recently participated in the state 4-H Livestock Judging Contest at North Carolina State University.

Junior participants (ages 9-13) from Johnston County included Kaleb and MaKayla Byrd of Smithfield, Brittany Beasley and Taylor Rhodes of Four Oaks, Justin and Mary Elaine Wood of Willow Springs, Kadence Overby of Selma, and Katelyn Brewer of Wendell.

In the Senior division (ages 14-18,) Macy Massengill of Princeton, Joy Leigh Hinnant and Kelsey Bentley of Kenly, and Travis Anderson, Rachel Murphy and Sarah Allen of Four Oaks represented Johnston County.

The Junior A Team consisting of MaKayla Byrd, Justin Wood, Brittany Beasley and Katelyn Brewer ranked fifth in Sheep, third in Meat Goats, and first in Beef, Swine and Reasons on their way to a first Overall finish. The Junior B Team of Kaleb Byrd, Mary Elaine Wood, Kadence Overby and Taylor Rhodes ranked fifth in Swine and fourth in Oral Reasons. In individual Overall rankings, Kadence Overby was ninth, Brittany Beasley fifth, and MaKayla Byrd was first.

The Senior A Team of Joy Leigh Hinnant, Kelsey Bentley and Macy Massengill was second in Meat Goats and Swine, and first in every other category for a decisive first place Overall Team finish. 

In a nearly unprecedented showing, the Senior A Team members ranked first through third in individual Overall rankings, with Joy Leigh Hinnant first, Kelsey Bentley second and Macy Massengill third, respectively. The Senior B Team of Travis Anderson, Sarah Allen and Rachel Murphy won fifth in Sheep and fourth in Swine and Oral Reasons.

Wiley Graduates From Infantry Training
Army Pvt. Matthew B. Wiley has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier received training in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army history, core values and traditions. Additional training included development of basic combat skills and battlefield operations and tactics, and experiencing use of various weapons and weapons defenses available to the infantry crewman.

Wiley is the son of Roosevelt and husband of Shaunisha Wiley of Selma. He is a 2008 graduate of Hugh M. Cummings High School in Burlington.

Suspect Suffers Heart Attack After Being Detained By Police
A man who went inside the West Smithfield McDonald’s Tuesday night causing a disturbance is now in the hospital in intensive care.

Smithfield Police have not released the name of the suspect but say he was a wanted felon from Dunn.

Around 9pm, Smithfield Police were called to the fast food restaurant after the suspect reportedly went inside and became extremely belligerent. Before officers arrived, the suspect took a cane from an elderly man then threatened employees.

Officers arrived and said after the suspect refused to obey their commands, he was tasered and pepper sprayed with no effect.

Police were finally able to subdue the man and taken him to Johnston Medical Center in Smithfield for evaluation. While in the Emergency Department, Police Lt. R.K. Powell said the man continued being combative with medical personnel and a short time later suffered a heart attack.

The man is now in intensive care in serious but stable condition.

Lt. Powell said the suspect appeared to have been intoxicated or on some form of narcotics. 

Misdemeanor charges are pending from the McDonald’s incident. 

Police said the man was wanted by Harnett County authorities for breaking and entering, common law robbery, possession of stolen property, robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm by a felon.  

Lt. Powell said police are temporarily withholding the man’s name so relatives can be notified of his whereabouts and medical condition.

Repaving Project To Impact Downtown Smithfield Traffic
Motorists who travel along Market Street through Downtown Smithfield may want to find an alternate route of travel due to a repaving project.

Weather permitting, highway crews will resurface Market Street from Brightleaf Boulevard (US301) to the Neuse River Bridge.

The work will take place beginning Thursday between 7pm until 7am and continue for the next 5 nights, or until completed.

During the nighttime work, Market Street will remain open to traffic, but cars will not be able to park in on-street parking.  Drivers can also expect to experience some delays and should use an alternate route if possible. 2012 File Photo

Clayton Honors Retired Firefighter

(L to R) Retired Clayton firefighter Jason Barbour receives a proclamation from Mayor Jody McLeod thanking Barbour for over 22 years of service to the Town. WTSB Photo

The Clayton Town Council honored retired firefighter Jason Barbour on Monday night. Barbour retired in April after over 22 years of service.

Barbour began his career with the Town of Clayton Fire Department in November 1991 and served in various officer positions within the department.

In its proclamation presented to Barbour, the Town Council said “Jason’s dedication to our community and devotion to duty has had a valuable effect on the efficiency and morale of his colleagues.”

Mayor Jody McLeod said he wished to extend to Barbour “his sincere appreciation for his outstanding performance of duty.”

Barbour is also the Johnston County 911 Director.

Benson Woman Charged With Obstructing Justice
A Johnston County woman has been charged with obstructing justice after reporting her motorcycle stolen.

In October 2013, Sharon Sells Goodwin, 48, of Noah Road, Benson reported to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office her 2000 Harley Davidson had been stolen.  A week later, deputies charged a 37 year-old man from Newton, NC with the theft.

During a February 2014 probably cause hearing, Goodwin reportedly recanted her story and testified the suspect did have permission to have the motorcycle.

A felony larceny charge against the suspect was dropped.

Goodwin was charged Tuesday with obstructing justice, a felony offense. She was given a $10,000 secured bond on the charge.

Suspect Charged In Baseball Bat Assault
A 42 year-old man was arrested Tuesday night charged with attacking a woman with a baseball bat during a domestic altercation.

Johnston County deputies were called to a home on Carrington Drive, Garner around 10:20pm after a 43 year-old woman reported she was struck in the head with a baseball bat during a dispute with Roderick Andre McKoy of Carrington Drive.

McKoy was arrested at the scene and charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. 


Clayton Town Clerk Resigns
Clayton Town Clerk Sherry Scoggins has resigned to become the new Cary Town Clerk.

Mayor Jody McLeod announced Scoggins’ resignation Monday night at a Clayton Town Council work session.

Scoggins has served as Clayton’s Town Clerk for 11 years, since January 21, 2003.

Mayor McLeod presented Scoggins with a proclamation approved by the Town Council and a plaque. Scoggins said she has been fortunate as Clayton’s Town Clerk to serve with dedicated elected officials.

The Town’s proclamation said, “Mrs. Scoggins made a lasting contribution to the Town of Clayton by performing all the many tasks required of a municipal clerk. During her time at the Town of Clayton, Mrs. Scoggins did whatever was necessary to assure that the Town of Clayton was just the way it should be for the benefit of all. She showed exemplary pride in every aspect of her job.”

Scoggins, age 47, was selected from a pool of 159 candidates from across the country for the Cary Town Clerk position and will assume her new duties on July 28th

The Town of Clayton has posted the Town Clerk vacancy on its website. The salary range is $46,000 to $73,000 with a typical starting salary from $46,000 to $48,500 per year. The closing date is August 1st.

Clayton Considering Bow Hunting Ordinance

(Top Left) NC Wildlife Resource Commission Sgt. Kelly Brantley told the Clayton Town Council how the urban archery program works. Clayton resident Jay Hall (Lower left) has requested town officials consider bow hunting as a way to control the growing deer popualation in the Clayton city limits. WTSB Photos

The Clayton Town Council is considering allowing bow hunting within their town limits, and with specific safety guidelines to protect residents. 

At Monday nights Town Council meeting, Mayor Jody McLeod and the council heard a presentation from Sgt. Kelly Brantley of the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission.

Brantley said urban archery is a good way to allow hunters to put deer to good use. He said urban archery is safe and that in over 23 years he’s never had to investigate a bow-related hunting accident.

Clayton resident Jay Hall, who asked the Town Council in May to study the possibility of urban deer bow-hunting within the Town of Clayton to thin the deer population. He thanked the council for inviting Brantley and for considering the idea.

More than 40 towns across North Carolina, including Archer Lodge and Smithfield, allow the special season regulated by the state Wildlife Resources Commission.
In North Carolina, according to the state Department of Transportation, there are 20,000 animal related car accidents every year, and 90 percent of those involve deer.