Wednesday, May 23, 2007

News from around the district

From the Mitchell News, Soldiers home from Iraq:
Soldiers from the 1451st Transportation Company out of Boone came home after spending almost a year at the Tallil Airbase in Southern Iraq.

Sgt. Michael Artalejo, Sgt. Nick Haskell, Sgt. Jody Ledford, Sgt. Jeff Rice, Spc. Jeremy Bickel, Sgt. Jeff Byrd, and Spc. Justin Wilson were at the base performing convoy security missions. They helped deliver supplies like food and fuel to the units in Iraq.

The 1451st arrived in Iraq on May 9, 2006 and returned to the United States on May 2. They made it back to Mitchell County on May 5 and 6.

Sgt. Byrd, a native of Yancey County was glad to be home. He has four daughters, ages 9, 8, 7, and 6, he was looking forward to seeing.

"It's going to be a wide-eyed experience," he said in anticipation of his first meeting in over a year.
Great piece on the homeless in the Shelby Star:
L.J. said he’s a truck driver out of work.

“I’ve been down on my luck for five weeks since I lost my job,” he said.

He’s a Vietnam War veteran who suffers from blood pressure problems, he said. Without medication, he can’t drive. He said medication is too expensive.

He said he’s been told he might qualify for veteran’s benefits but hasn’t been able to figure out how to go about getting help.

“They make it so hard for you,” said L.J.

Jim Martin, a manager at the homeless shelter, said most of the people he meets are in similar situations. He said they need direction and a place to work.
. . .
Brad Hopkins walked the streets of Denver, Colo., and witnessed several panhandlers holding up signs begging for work, money or food.

One day he stumbled upon a homeless man standing on a corner holding up a sign with an unusual request: “I admit it. I need a beer.”

Hopkins, the director of Denver Rescue Mission’s Family and Senior Homeless Initiative, said alcoholics and people with mental disabilities make up a small portion of the homeless population. He said most are families or individuals falling on hard times.
. . .
Hopkins said many of the homeless families don’t have extended family or friends to lend a hand.

“They have no healthy, supportive community to walk alongside them,” said Hopkins. “It’s that relationship that’s missing. It’s all about the social connection.”
Big haul of dope in Gaston County. From the Gaston Gazette:
When Ferguson and Trooper W.T. Davis arrived on the scene, the driver was refusing treatment from emergency personnel, Ferguson said.

Stilwell approached Ferguson and said the man had put the bags in her van.

“I said, ‘How about showing me what you’re talking about,’” Ferguson said.

He found vacuum-packed, one-pound packages of marijuana, packed individually in both of the bags.

“You don’t see that much very often,” he said.

“It was a big old block of marijuana,” Stilwell said. “It looked like bricks.”

Four hours later, the two women were still waiting in the median for troopers to finish their investigation.

“I can’t believe all this when all we did was pull over to make sure everyone was OK,” Queen said.
South Mountains state park officials looking for input. From the Morganton News Herald:
MORGANTON - Officials at South Mountains State Park say it's time to rewrite the park's master plan. And they are asking for your help.

It's been 28 years since the park updated its plan.

Since then the natural haven has nearly doubled in size to become North Carolina's largest state park.
Four 10th district community colleges to join to create bio-friendly manufacturing projects. From the Hickory Daily Record:
HICKORY -- Four colleges in three counties are partnering together, and the payoff might be more industries and jobs in the area.

Catawba Valley Community College President Garrett Hinshaw said he became interested in the emerging green manufacturing industry after talking to some of the area’s furniture manufacturers.

“I was doing a tour with furniture executives, and there’s a real focus on the green aspect, and bio-friendly materials. There’s also corn socks that are starting to be made, and a lot of new resources that are being made available, so we wanted to start this new research center,” he said. “We’re looking after the best interests of the whole region.”

CVCC is partnering with Western Piedmont Community College, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute and Lenoir-Rhyne College. They’re hoping to start working on the new project July 1.