The Hoke County News - Established 1928
VOLUME LX1X NUMBER 32 RAEFORD, HOKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
The Hoke County Journal - Established 1905
$8 PER YEAR THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 1977
BY SAM C. MORRIS I
The publisher walked in the
office Monday morning and stated
that by Wednesday it would be
freezing here and would extend into
Florida. So when you read this
column the north wind should be
As has been stated in this column
many times it seems to always rain
on Wednesday, but this week it
seems the rains came on Monday
and that we will be in for winter
weather by Wednesday.
* * *
" The annual Raeford Kiwanis
Club pancake supper will be held
Thursday night, December 8th at
the Gibson cafeteria beginning at
five o'clock. Plans have been
? completed to start serving at that
time and according to Avery
Connell, chief cook and bottle
washer, everything should run
The proceeds from this event will
be used for the various projects the
club sponsors. This supper and the
softball tournament are the two
main sources of revenue for the
Robert Gatlin. a club member,
was by the office last week and was
telling me some of the things the
club did with its money in 1977.
The amount that Gatlin had was
S2.709.67. Included in this amount
were the following projects:
Boy Scouts. Troop 401, $534.84;
Boy Scouts, Troop 438, $198.73;
Emergency Fuel Fund, $100.00;
Hoke High Key Club, $335.00; A.J.
Lundy Fund, $100.00; Hoke
County Recreation Department,
$500.00; Special Olympics.
$100.00; North Carolina Sym
i phony, $100.00; Woman's Club
Summer Camp Program, $50.00;
Pembroke State Wrestling Team.
*$50.00; Hoke Civic Center.
$500.00; Scholarship Savings
Bonds. $75.00; N.C. Arts Council.
$25.00; and Special Student
Carowinds Trip, $41.10.
So you can see by these figures
that the club puts the money to
good use. So come out, and besides
helping a worthy cause, join in the
fellowship and fun at the annual
Maybe the writer can serve you!
? ? ?
Mrs. Eleanor S. Gentry, a
teacher at Hoke High, came down
to the office last Friday with her
ninth grade English class. They
had been studying newspapers as
part of their course and wanted to
see how a paper was put together.
Eleanor had worked here several
years ago and the place was not new
to her. Of course a few changes had
been made, but some of the people
that worked with her were still
around. It was good to have her
and her class visit.
Monday this writer received the
Thank you very much tor al
? lowing my students to visit The
News-Journal today. Connie and
the other members of your staff
were very adept at explaining the
operating of a newspaper office. I
think the students learned a great
deal. _. .
Eleanor S. Gentry
* * *
Last week I mentioned Leo
Fuller and the 1929 high school
baseball team in this column. Last
Friday while I was out of the office,
someone, who I think was Mrs.
Lula Eubanks nee Lula Hall,
brought a picture of that team by
the office. Becky said that the lady
said she was a member of the 1929
If anyone would like to see this
picture it is on my desk and you are
welcome to look at it. The members
of the team, may of them now
deceased, are as follows: Charlie
Howard, James Veasey, George
Bethune. Gaston McBryde, Jimmy
Matheson, Clovis Falk, also Mal
colm Campbell, T.B. Lester, Jr.,
Leo Fuller, John Dunk McNeill,
Howard Rogers and Albert Aikens.
In the picture also were Jake
Austin, Fred Culbreth, W.E. Pell
and Coach Willie Hodgin.
* Thanks for the picture and if I
have guessed wrong about who
brought the picture in, please let
? ? *
Last week Chief Leonard Wig
gins brought me a copy of The
(See AROUND TOWN. Page 1 5)
In Special Session
Council Votes For Second FBO
AIRPORT CONTROVERSY ?? The Raeford Municipal Airport has been a source of controversy in recent weeks.
Some local citizens disagreed with the city council's decision to sign a 12-year lease with Gene Thacker for airport
facilities. A special session of the hoard was held last week to discuss the lease.
County Approves Ordinance
An insulation ordinance affect
ing new hemes in Hoke County was
approved by the Board of Comrnis
sioners at its regular meeting
According to state law, no new
houses may be occupied after Jan. 1
unless they have been certified to be
in compliance with new minimum
insulation standards for residential
construction established by the
State Building Code.
There was a good turn ? out
Sunday afternoon for an open
house at the Hoke County Mental
Health Clinic on Campus Avenue
in Raeford. George Barbour,
director and psychologist, said that
a mural painted by local high
school students was a particular hit
The mental Health Clinic opened
in August. Among those who
attended the open house was Steve
Dingfelder, new area director of the
Sandhills Mental Health Center.
The Hoke County Mental Health
Clinic is one of five county based
programs at Sandhills Mental
Health Center. Services are sup
ported by county, state, and federal
funds as well as fees and con
Anyone may schedule an ap
pointment by calling the Raeford
office. All contacts are confiden
Included among services offered
by the clinic are: Mental Health
Outpatient. Alcoholism Services,
Drug Abuse Services, School
Mental Health. Mental Retarda
tion Services. Early Childhood
Intervention Program, and Consul
tation and Education.
"Visitors said that they were
favorably impressed with the
clinic," Barbour said. "Many said
they were pleased that Hoke
County has a full time Mental
Local artists displayed their work
at the clinic for the day. Minnie
Harell and Betty Gill both donated
paintings to the clinic, Barbour
said. Jimmy James, band director
at Hoke High had about a dozen
paintings on display. Art teacher
Clyde Jacobs also brought some of
his work for the showing.
But the main attraction was a
large mural that will remain in the
clinic's waiting room. The mural
was painted by high school students
Richard Jones. Leaza Atkinson,
Bob Lancaster, and Darrell Dees.
Raeford Lumber Co. and Mc
Lauchlin Hardware donated ma
terials for the mural. Barbour
said. He also thanked several local
businesses who donated flowers for
the open house. They were.
Raeford Oil Co., Southern Na
tional Bank, The Bank of Raeford,
(Sec CLINIC. Page 15)
It was incorrectly reported last
week that the ordinance would
apply to every home in the county.
Only new construction is involved,
Building inspector Jack Ellis told
the board that the ordinance will
also apply to home additions built
after the first of the year. It will not
apply to homes that are moved into
the county, he said.
Contractors will have to have a
S24-permit for installing insula
tion, according to the ordinance.
This was designed to protect con
sumers who may be defrauded by
sellers or installers of insulation.
County Attorney Charles Hostet
ler said that contractors working
under a licensed engineer or archi
tect would not have to have the
permit. He said a homeowner who
wanted to install his own insulation
won't need it either.
In addition to the $24-permit, a
S10 inspection fee per job will be
charged, according to the ordi
nance. Board chairman John Bal
four pointed out that the building
inspectors are paid from money
collected from fees.
In other business at Monday's
meeting, Balfour was re-elected by
acclamation to chair the board of
Acting County Manager Lester
Simpson was instructed by the
board to place the county's Com
munity Development investment
funds in the bank which offered the
highest interest rates. According to
figures compiled by Simpson, The
Bank of Raeford offers the higher
The board was told that the
Council of Governments overpaid
Hoke County 51,158.90 in the
Older Adults Program and has
requested to be reimbursed for that
amount. The board instructed that
the money be paid out of the
The board voted to sign a
contract with the N.C. Department
of Corrections that will increase
from $8 to S 10 the daily amount the
state will pay the county for the
support of prisoners in the jail.
Sheriff D.M. Harrington told the
board the state will also pay the
inmates' medical expenses in excess
The board heard a report on a
new telephone system that has been
proposed for the county office
building and decided to wait until
July before considering the system.
If it is approved at that time, the
new system could be worked into
the new budget, it was noted.
The board went into executive
session around 1 1 a.m. to review 24
( applications that have been re
ceived for the position of account
ing clerk. No action was expected,
chairman Balfour said.
The next scheduled meeting of
the board is set for Dec. 19.
Cable TV Rate
The Raeford City Council voted
at its regular monthly meeting
Monday night to increase the rates
of N.C. Cable TV Co. only after it
has added two channels to the
system that serves Raeford's 61 1
James F. Collins, president of the
company, told the board that plans
call for Channel 18 from Charlotte
and Channel 10 from Columbia,
S.C. to be added to the system by
The company has asked for a $1
increase in rates. Collins said the
company is losing money every
month. Subscribers are currently
charged $6 a month for cable
The rate increase will have to
weather a second vote before it will
be official . The council is expected
to vote again on the matter at its
Collins said that a lot of prob
lems with the system are caused by
the fact that the company is losing
money. He said the company could
not keep up with technology with
out the rate increase.
Eventually, he said, the company
hopes to hook-up with a satellite
system that would brfng in stations
17 from Atlanta. 27 from Ports
mouth. Va.. 11 from Chicago, and
2 from San Francisco. The satellite
system would also broadcast 265
events from Madison Square Gar
den every year, he said.
In other business, the mayor and
members of the council were sworn
in during the meeting Monday
night. Vardell Hedgpeth was the
only newcomer to the board. He
joins councilmen Graham Clark.
James McLeod, Bobby Gentry, and
Sam Morris. Mayor J.K. McNeill,
Jr. ran unopposed in the municipal
election held Nov. 8.
The council voted to deposit the
city's money in a central depository
account with Southern National
The board instructed City
Manager Robert Drumwright to
work with area plumbers on prob
lems they have encountered in
unstopping sewers here. On several
occasions, a plumber said that,
after working two or three hours,
he has discovered that the problem
lies in the city's pipe beneath the
street and not in the homeowner's
Plumbers are not allowed to
tamper with city lines. The city has
to be notified, and sometimes the
plumbers are not paid for the time
they put in locating the problem, it
was pointed out.
Drumwright was instructed to
(See CABLE TV. Page 14)
At a lively special session Nov. 30. the Raeford City Council voted
to make room for a second fixed base operator who will service
aircraft at the municipal airport.
It was one of the best attended council meetings in some time,
with standing room only. And those who were there were not shy
about voicing their opinions.
The airport controversy arose after the council voted on Nov. 7 to
sign a 12-year lease with Gene Thacker for airport facilities.
Thacker, the present fixed base operator, runs a sport parachute
school at the field.
In that lease, which has not yet been signed, the city agreed to
trade hangars with Thacker in order to protect a federal grant that
will be used to pave and light the parallel taxiways at the airport.
According to the lease, the city would rent both airport hangars to
Thacker. The city holds the deed to one of the hangars; Thacker
owns the other one. The lease requires Thacker to deed his hangar to
City Manager Robert Drumwright explained that the city must
hold the deeds to both hangars in order to get the federal grant for
The mayor was authorized to sign the lease in an executive session
on Nov. 7. Earlier that evening. Gene Vance, owner of Vance
Aircraft Sales, Inc., requested that the city give him a permanent
lease so he could expand his business at the airport. He asked that
the council allow him to be the airport's second fixed base operator
and also allow him to rent the hangar owned by the city. He said he
intended to spend $100,000 in expansion.
Vance sent a letter to the Raeford-Hoke Chamber of Commerce
protesting the city's decision to rent both hangars to Thacker. The
letter was endorsed by 16 prominent citizens and formed the basis
for the Chamber's interest in the matter.
Several members of the group said last week that they felt the city
was giving Thacker a virtual monopoly on airport facilities.
The special meeting was called after the Chamber of Commerce
presented Mayor J.K. McNeill with a petition calling for the session.
The petition was signed by four councilmen.
Chamber Manager Earl Fowler presented a prepared statement to
the board at that meeting. After much discussion, the board voted
2-1 to see if Thacker will sell his hangar to the city. If he will agree to
that, the city will lease the hangar back to him and rent the other one
The motion included the stipulation that, should Thacker refuse
to sell, the city will go ahead with the lease as planned and offer
Vance the opportunity to locate elsewhere at the airport as its second
fixed base operator.
As of press time this week, no lease had been signed concerning
the airport. Thacker had not yet been contacted, city officials said.
The letter from Gene Vance protesting the city's proposal lease
with Thacker was given to the council by Fowler at last week's
meeting. It was signed by 16 local citizens, including: Julian S.
Johnson, III, Bill Boyles, Gene Carter, T.B. Upchurch, Jr., William
L. Pate, Jr., William Moses, and William Niven.
It reads as follows:
"Approximately 24 months ago we approached the City of
Raeford about locating an aircraft sales and services office on the
Raeford Municipal Airport. Raeford at the time was one of several
locations being considered.
"After talking with the City Manager, his reaction was that the
city would like for us to locate here. He discussed our request with
other operators on the airport, and the agreement was made that we
would occupy our present facility until a permanent location was
"As time passed one of the operator's lease was canceled and the
business closed. VASI then requested from the City Manager
permission to operate a fixed base operation -- full service -- flight
instruction, maintenance, sales, etc. He asked for some time to think
it over and to try to clear up some of the legal problems with the
"Mr. Drumwright (the city manager) came to me some time later; '
we discussed the FBO again. Mr. Drumwright said, quote, 'You will
be the FBO.' About two months ago Mr. Drumwright informed us
we would not be the FBO; he had changed his mind.
"We asked for permission to give flight instruction so the interest
at the airport would not diminish. The City Manager disapproved.
He went as far as to say. 'I do not want an increase of activity at the
airport, I want to keep it small.'
"Later we learned that action was being taken by the city to lease
all city property (owned at present) to one operator (Thacker). VASI
again asked the City Manager for permission to offer some services
that are not being offered at present -- flight instruction, etc. The
reply was that VASI could sell airplanes but was not to do anything
"We asked for and did get an opportunity to request from the City
Council permission to lease property to build new facilities or to add
on to present facilities, for a full - service operation. This was done at
the last council meeting. 7 November 1977. The council was also
informed that buildings and improvements requested were to be
built at VASI expense. The council voted "no" to all these requests.
"The City of Raeford has an unlimited potential for growth, and
the airport can be very vital to that growth. Another operation even
has expressed an interest in building a facility on the airport for their
company headquarters and maintenance of their fleet of aircraft.
"We ask the Chamber of Commerce: Do you endorse the council's
decision to hamper growth for your city and county? Do we have the
support of the community for growth? We cannot believe the lack of
concern shown by your city government is shared by all."
A letter from Sampson A. Starling, vice - president of
Summerfield Industries, Inc., was also included with the Chamber
of Commerce statement. It speaks in favor of letting Vance become a
fixed base operator at the airport.
The prepared statement presented to the board by Chamber of
Commerce Manager Earl Fowler reads as follows:
"A letter (11-10-77) was directed to the Chamber of Commerce
--'Does the Chamber of Commerce endorse the council's decision to
hamper growth for your city and county?'
"The Chamber management and Board of Directors cannot
(Sec COUNCIL. Papc 15)