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The Hoke County News - Established 1928
Volume LXXIV Number 48 RAEFORD, HOKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
^7 I 25"
The Hoke County Journal - Established 1905
SI 0 PER YEAR Thursday, March 24. 1983
By Sherry Matthews
An apparent "domestic squab
ble" last May has ended with a
Hoke County man being found
guilty of voluntary manslaughter
^ in Superior Court last week.
John Lewis McNeill, 55, was
charged with the May shooting
death of Joyce Cunningharp,
woman who had, according to
McNeill's testimony, been "living
with him since before Christmas"
In testimony during the three
day trial, McNeill said he had been
drinking heavily the night before
# the shooting and apparently had a
couple of drinks the morning of
"Joyce snatched the bottle away
from me and began scratching me
and arguing with me," McNeill
"After 1 had two or three more
drinks of vodka, and we argued, 1
went to get the gun to scare her,"
^ McNeill claimed throughout the
trial that he only meant to scare the
deceased, not actually shoot her,
and that the safety mechanism on
the 12 gauge shotgun had not
"The gun went off while I was
fiddling with the safety," McNeill
"1 was just trying to stop her
from scratching and fighting. I just
wanted to scare her," McNeill kept
repeating during cross-exami
nation by Assistant District At
torney Jean Powell.
"Why did you load the gun if
you only wanted to scare her,"
McNeill's only answer was that
he "didn't recall".
Being unable to remember was a
major part of McNeill's testimony
as he continuously repeated "1
? don't recall" to Miss Powell's
The jury, after a short delibera
tion, found McNeill, who was
charged with second degree
(See SENTENCED, page 12A)
by Sam Morris
The rain last Friday was almost
three inches and on top of all the
other rain recently, the fields are
too wet to plow . It was nice Satur
day, Sunday and Monday with the
temperatures in the 70s. The rain
Sunday night didn't harm any out
I The forecast is for colder
weather Tuesday and Wednesday.
A warning has been issued to the
peach and apple growers of the
state. We hope that the
temperatures will stay above 30
degrees and not destroy these crops
again this year.
? ? ?
} Next week the Franzen Bros.
Circus will come to Raeford. There
will be two performances at Ar
mory Park Friday, April 1st. Time
for the shows will be at six and
Sponsor of the Circus is the
Raeford Kiwanis Club and all pro
ceeds will go to the Children's
Tickets can be purchased from
any Kiwanian and from some
business places in Raeford.
? ? *
Don't forget that the Easter
Sunrise Service will be held at a
new location this year. The new
site is the front steps of the
Raeford Presbyterian Church. The
service will be Sunday, April 3
beginning at 5:40 a.m.
If you get up too late for coffee,
don't stay home because the Senior
High Fellowship of the Church will
serve coffee and doughnuts after
1 don't know the weather
forecast for Easter, but maybe the
cool weather this week will be the
last of the season.
* * +
The victories by N.C. State re
mind me of the year Carolina won
(See AROUND TOWN, page 10A)
Although patient numbers are down, McCain Hospital maintains a clean, well maintained facility. State
Legislators are considering converting the 60-year-old TB sanitorium to a prison hospital.
Coop Board Shuns Court Order
By Sherry Matthews
During an executive session last
week, Lumbee River Electric
Membership Cooperative directors
withdrew their alleged support of a
court ruling earlier that day requir
ing them to hold a recall election if
10?fo of its customers signed a peti
tion asking for such a meeting.
"Being the tyrants that they are,
I expected something like this from
them," membership Action Group
leader Carl Branch said Tuesday.
The 12-member board of direc
tors voted last Tuesday not to go
along with the consent order
agreed to March 15 in Robeson
The vote apparently came at the
same time as Interim General
Manager Ronnie Hunt was holding
a press conference in the same
building and was saying that the
board had agreed to the order.
The board members were asked
to join the March 15 press con
ference, but refused, just minutes
before going into an executive ses
Hunt, who was asked why he
felt the board withdrew their sup
port of the agreement, refused to
"1 would be putting words in
their mouths if I attempted to
answer for them," Hunt said.
"We anticipated this kind of sil
ly maneuver from that bunch,"
"We are going full steam ahead
with this thing. We already have
By Sherry Matthews
No action was taken Monday
night by the Hoke County Com
missioners on whether to support a
new animal shelter proposed by a
study committee for a site at the
end of North Main Street.
Jack McGinnis, chairman of the
study committee, said the eight
member group reviewed several
sites before unanimously agreeing
on a 2.5-acre tract donated by Ray
Calloway of Elizabethtown.
The group decided on the
Calloway property because the
land is close to the city, yet isolated
enough to pose no nuisance and
has been donated to the cause for
no cost, McGinnis said.
McGinnis presented the commis
sioners with drawings of the pro
posed site and a complete rundown
of what could be included in the
The committee's proposal also
included a "ballpark" estimate of
the cost, which according to
McGinnis should be less than
According to the recommenda
tions, the building would be 1,924
square feet, and would include; 20
dog runs, an office facility, inter
nal parking for vehicles, two half
baths, a treatment room for a
veterinarian's use, a quarantine
room for dogs, a facility for cats
with seperate cubby holes and a
1,600 signatures on the petition
and expect to have about 5,000
when we are finished," Branch
If the recall meeting is denied
once again. Branch says the action
group will consider boycotting.
think we are
serious, but we
believe it is bet
ter to go without
electricity for a
week than pay
out our nose for the rest of our
lives," Branch said.
Another matter that has Branch
and group members upset is the
board's recent change of the by
laws of the 40-year-old coopera
"I know they are making
changes, and it is unbelievable for
them to do so," Branch said.
According to Branch, the board
changed the by-laws around March
10, allowing the board to select the
time, dale and place of the recall
"It is a real thorn in their side
that we want the meeting held in
Fayetteville," Branch said.
"To them it is blasphemy to
hold the meeting anywhere but
Pembroke," he added.
"There has never been any
dignity to that bunch and there is
even less now," Branch said.
If the board refuses to hold the
recall election after lO^o of the
membership has signed the peti
tion, a contempt of court ruling
will be sought, Horace Stacy,
lawyer for the action group said.
If held, the election could give
the membership a chance to oust
the present directors.
The recall election has been
pushed from the start by Carl
Branch and the action group
because of alleged expense account
privilege abuse by the coop direc
tors, and the firing of the coop's
general manager wiThout explain
ing the reason for the dismissal to
Two weeks ago another group
was formed by the Rev. Grover
Oxendine in support of the board
"If they (the group for the
board) present the 10<)ro, honest
to-God truth, we'll accept this
group or any group with open
arms," Branch said.
"We are not fighting any group:
we are fighting one outfit, and that
is the tyrannical board," Branch
An attempt was made to try and
reach Lumbee board members, but
none were available for comment
at press time.
According to Hunt, some of the
board members are in Florida at
the 1983 Directors Conference.
Branch said his group was going
to do everything possible to insure
that the April 28 recall meeting is
"We are pulling out all the stops
and moving full steam ahead, no
matter what," Branch said.
Reviews Pound Report
room for puppies and pregnant
The commissioners made no
commitment despite the commit
tee's quick action in making the
recommendations and McGinnis's
own plea to get something done
before "winter rolls around
Hoke County Commission
Chairman John Balfour said that
the commissioners next move
would be to study the recommen
dations and look over the
In other action, a public hearing
was held to discuss the commis
sioner's decision to apply to the
North Carolina Department of
Natural Resources and Communi
ty Development(NRCD) for a
Community Development Block
The grant would supply funds
for the construction of a elevated
water tank, which would be part of
a proposed county water system.
Skip Green, of the Lumberton
engineering firm Koonce, Noble
and Associates, presented to the
board and the audience a plan on
how to cut cost.
High "cost per unit" played a
vital role in the rejection of the
county's 1982 application.
Green suggested that Tylertown
be used as the target area for the
That area has an existing water
system and could decrease the cost
per unit while serving the same
number of people that last year's
target area. South Hoke, would
The commissioner's main con
cern over the new application
seemed to deal with the amount of
local funds put into the project.
The $47,500 in local funds is the
same amount used in last year's
application but is going towards a
smaller amount of grant money,
County Manager James Martin
The commissioners decided to
hold off on committing those local
funds until the next public hearing
which is scheduled for April 1 8 at 7
In other matters, the board:
?Approved the 1908 right-of
way dedication for State Road
1312 and requested that the
Department of Transportation do
the survey work required so that
improvements can be made to the
?OK'd a petition signed by eight
Hoke County property owners
along a rural dirt road east of State
Road 1455 and south of S.R 1458
(See COMMISSION, page 12A>
NC Prison Hospital
Proposed F or McCain
By Warren Johnston
A state General Assembly ap
propriations committee studying
McCain Hospital will probably
recommend that the facility be
funded during the next fiscal year
under the North Carolina Depart
ment of Corrections as a medical
care unit, members of the local
Legislative Delegation said this
However, also included in the
recommendation will be the provi
sion that the 200 employees of the
present facility be placed in other
state jobs and that appropriate in
stitutional space be provided for
"hard core" tuberculosis patients,
District 30 Sen. David R. Parnell
McCain, as North Carolina's
last tuberculosis sanitorium, has
been under fire from the state
Department of Human Resources
and has been in a funding limbo
status for several years.
North Carolina Gov. James B.
Hunt Jr., after meeting last fall
with a Hoke County task force,
decided to leave the future of the
hospital up to the General
Both Parnell and 16th District
Rep. Daniel H. DeVane said the
Legislature would "definitely"
make a decision on the hospital
during this year's session.
Because of sweeping state
budget cuts, the once 700-patiertt
sanitorium was not likely to be
funded for more than a 75-bed TB
treatment facility, and had Human
Resources Chief Dr. Sarah T. Mor
row had her way, McCain would
have been closed.
"Under the circumstances, I
think the prison unit is going to be
about the best we can do,"
Members of McCain task force,
representing city and county
government and the Chamber of
Commerce, were briefed about the
proposals last week in a Raleigh
meeting with the delegation.
Two proposals are under con
sideration for McCain, but Parnell
and DeVane believe the prison
hospital is the most likely to be
The other proposal would be to
upgrade McCain as a 75-bed facili
ty and to use the remainder of the
facility as a privately leased rest
"We have been doing everything
that we could do to make sure the
hard core TB patients were taken "
care of and to make sure those 200
jobs were saved," Parnell said.
"This way the jobs won't be
lost, and a Department of Correc
tions hospital might grow to be
something good for Hoke
County," the Senator added.
Tuberculosis patients, who are
drug resistant, will be cared for in
(See McCAIN . page 3A)
By Warren Johnston
A sale of S3. 25 million in in
dustrial revenue bonds, which will
allow an Asheboro firm to purchase
the Tex-Elastic Corporation plant
here, was approved Tuesday night
by a Hoke County financing
If the deal is consumated be
tween JRA Industries and Tex
Elastic, about 90 employees of the
firm's present 180 workforce will
be assured of retaining their jobs.
Although JRA President Ed
ward R. Askew would not confirm
it Tuesday night, the sale will ap
parently save the local elastic yarn
plant from closing.
According to state and federal
regulations in order for the low
interests, county-sponsored, bonds
to be issued, the use must be to
save or create jobs.
Askew said he could not speak
for Tex-Elastic, but he was sure
that the purchase would meet the
criteria of saving jobs.
Tex-Elastic was not represented
at the Tuesday night meeting of the
Hoke County Industrial Facilities
and Pollution Control Financing
JRA, which is a subsidiary of
the national firm Jung Incor
porated, plans to continue making
fine elastic yarn for the use in
women's support hose. Askew
The mill will be operated at full
capacity, and Askew said the com
pany's conservative figures show
that at least 90 employees will be
JRA also plans to maintain the
wage scale which is being paid at
Tex-Elastic, he added.
"If we can run all the machines
on a consistant basis, our
employee level would hit what it is
now (180)," Askew said.
However, the Asheboro Firm's
president said he was unsure why
Tex-Elastic's employment was so
high because current production
levels did not justify the number of
workers at the plant.
"We can't see going below the
level of 90 fulltime employees," he
Machines will be run for three
shifts on a seven-day-a-week basis.
The nature of the nylon elastic
weaving process requires machines
be operated constantly.
If the machines go off, "you
don't hear nice expressions,"
Under the bond plan, taxpayers
have no liability, and the county
will benefit from the continuous
"We have no plans to move the
plant and no interests in moving
equipment out of the county,"
The bonds will cover the costs of
the purchase of the 65,000 square
foot manufacturing facility and
the 6.2-acre site located on North
Bethel Street in Raeford.
There is enough room on the site
for future expansions, and the
Raeford plant is better suited for
building than the firm's Asheboro
location. Askew said.
The only disadvantage of the
Raeford plant, is that electrical
power has to be purchased from
Carolina Power and Light
(CP&L), he said.
CP&l. charges higher rates than
Duke Power, hut Askew said he
believes prices will level off in the
The low-interest bonds and the
better expansion site, outweigh the
advantage of moving the plant to a
Duke Power service area. Askew
(See TEX ELASTIC page 4A)
Spring Is Here
With spring officially arriving
on March 21, trees are
bursting into bloom and plan
ting time is drawing to a clou
for spring gardening. We take
a look at gardening today on
page I B.