The Hoke County News - Established 1 928
Volume LXXV Number 1 RAEFORD, HOKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
LREMC Fray Continues ?m
The Hoke County Journal - Established 1905
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Thursday, April 28, 1983
Group Drops Action
By Sherry Matthews
A law suit Tiled against members
of the Lumbee River Electric
(LREMC) board of directors has
been dropped, a spokesman for a
I customer action group said Mon
The move comes on the heels of
a board decision last week to reject
a second recall petition effort by
the group and puts an end to a
restraining order slated for hearing
in Robeson County District Court
In a prepared statement, action
group members said Monday that
P they did not have the financial
resources to continue future legal
At last week's press conference,
coop attorney Steven A. Benholz
hinted that a compromise might be
reached between the membership
group's attorney Horace Stacy and
attorney's for the LREMC.
Apparently no such compromise
was met, but the action group
> decided to terminate the lawsuit
by Sam Morris
It seems as if the rain will never
stop. I haven't heard how much we
k received over the weekend, but it is
too wet to plow.
The forecast is for sunny
weather the remainder of the week
and if the wind keeps blowing this
should dry out the land.
Someone s^id on television the
other day that if this stream that is
now causing the flow of air out of
the North continues, that we could
continue to have cold and rainy
> weather into May and June. He
also said that there could be a
possibility of snow. Now this
seems far out to me!
* * *
In talking to a farmer Monday
about the wet conditions he had
the following to say. If the weather
stays as is the tractors should be in
^ the fields by Wednesday. Farmers
are now preparing tobacco land
and hope to plant right away.
Tobacco plants are not hurt so far
and the cold weather has kept their
size down and they should be
alright for planting. He stated that
cotton could wait until a week or
two into May, but not any longer.
So maybe the farmers will be
able to plant and still make a crop
, this year.
Corn that was up could be hurt,
but most folks are waiting, before
plowing up and replanting.
Yes, farming is a big gamble
An article in a daily paper Sun
day announced the election of
Eugene Smith, publisher of the
Havelock Progress, as the new
president of the Eastern North
Carolina Press Association. Smith
is a native of Hoke County and
finished high school here. He
worked at The News-Journal after
finishing college from ECU in
Congratulations Smith, and we
(See AROUND TOWN, page 12A)
According to the statement, the
termination of the suit does not
mean that the action group has
The group apparently will try to
obtain their goals through other
"alternatives" that are at present
being considered by the members.
"This whole mess, in my opi
nion, is corruption at its peak,"
action group spokesman Carl
Branch, who intends to now
resign as spokesman for the group,
said he would continue with his
own personal battle against the
"If necessary, I will pursue this
thing on my own. I will not settle
for anything less than 12 members
being ousted from this board,"
Branch said in an earlier interview
and re-confirmed on Monday.
"It behooves us all to keep
fighting for what we believe is
right," Branch said.
In the news release, action group
members have called on the board
to tighten their spending, vary the
location of annual meetings to pro
mote the "democratic process for
the election of the coop directors",
and hire a competent, experienced
"If we have accomplished
nothing more than moving people
out of complacency, I think the
battle was worth it, and the cost
was money well spent," Branch
The battle that has been brewing
for over three months started when
coop directors fired general
manager Deri Hinson in January.
At that time, Branch and other
consumer members of the action
group filed a petition with over
3,000 names, requesting a recall
meeting be held.
The grounds for the first peti
tion dealt with the dismissal of
Board members refused to call a
special meeting saying that the
grounds listed on the petition were
not sufficient reasons for allowing
A second petition was filed two
weeks ago listing three new charges
(See SUIT, page 12A)
The map showing (he target area , proposed for Raeford community block
grant funds, will be improved if the city is successful in its application at
tempt. Shown on the map are the improvements that will be made with
$ 662,500 in federal funds. The proposals include housing rehabilitation,
street improvements and the addition of a new road that will give residents
better access to Main Street.
Raeford , Hoke Co .
Seek HUD Bucks
By Sherry Matthews
Hoke County and the City of
Raeford will be competing against
each other this year for Communi
ty Block Grant Funds.
Both the city and the county
have unanimously voted to apply
for the funds which are sponsored
by the federal Department of
Housing and Urban Development
"We will be one of over 200 ap
plicants hoping to get funded,"
Matthews said, adding that the ci
ty's chances were about one in
Skip Green, spokesman for the
Lumberton engineering firm
Koonce, Noble, and Associates,
who represent both the city and the
county, said that last year 41 of
about 250 applicants were funded.
For the city, applying for these
funds could mean housing
rehabilitation for approximately
27 homes in the South Wooley
This area has been identified as
the "target area" in the applica
tion and would be where a lot of
the grant monies would be spent,
The city is applying for $662,500
that will go toward housing
rehabilitation, street im
provements, and corrective
drainage, Matthews said.
According to Matthews, these
improvements will affect more
than the South Wooley Street area.
Other areas that will benefit
from the grant are South Magnolia
Street and Maxwell Street, Mat
Rehabilitating the homes does
not mean beautifying them, Green
Funds will allow these homes to
be brought up to present housing
standards, Green told the coun
cilmen at Monday nights public
According to Matthews, bring
ing these homes up to minimum
standards would include repairs on
plumbing, electricity, heating and
allow for restructuring of some
In addition, street improvements
can also be made with the grant
"We want to widen the streets in
these areas and correct the
drainage problems," Matthews
Support has been exceptional in
the Wooley Street neighborhood,
"They want to see something
done," Matthews added.
Matthews also believes that im
proving those areas will benefit the
entire city of Raeford.
"Any neighborhood the city
works on to bring housing up to
standards, will affect the entire
town," Matthews said.
"By improving the decaying
homes, we are improving the quali
ty of life for those people and of
course, it improves the total com
munity," Matthews added.
According to Matthews, one of
the reasons the Wooley Street area
was chosen dealt with its "high
"Improving that area will
enhance the whole city," Mat
"I hope that the city will be suc
cessful in their application, so that
in coming years we can go into
other areas and make im
provements," Matthews added.
The county, too, is hoping they
(See FUND, page 12A)
Interim general manager Ronnie Hunt offers coop attorney Steve Bernholz a little advice during last week 's press
conference in Red Springs.
Local Doctors Unimpressed
By Paramedic Unit Proposal
By Sherry Matthews
Although ambulance service
owner Jim Henley believes that
having his employees trained as
paramedics will save lives in Hoke
County, some area doctors
"Paramedic care is an ideal
thing, but I'm not sure we (Hoke
County) would have enough call
for it to be cost effective," Dr.
Robert Townsend said.
"In 20 years, I have had one pa
tient that could have used that sort
of care," Townsend added.
"I don't think we need people
who are that highly trained or the
expensive equipment that would be
used when there are three hospitals
near by," Dr. Ramnik Zota said.
"Ambulance prices would have
to go up to allow for that level of
care, and I don't think the people
of Hoke County can afford that,"
Dr. Townsend said.
According to both doctors, peo
ple who go into "full cardiac ar
rest" don't have a good chance of
survival regardless of what is done.
Henley does not agree.
"A full cardiac arrest patient
needs attention within eight
minutes, and we cannot transport
him in that length of time,"
"I think Hoke County residents
deserve and need the paramedic
care more than the surrounding
counties because we don't have a
hospital," Henley added.
"Paramedics can do a lot of
things we can't do," Henley said.
One thing paramedics can do
that intermediate level Emergency
Medical Technicians(EMT's) can't
do is aid a cardiac arrest patient,
"If we get into this program,
that would be our main concern,"
"Right now in Hoke County, if
a patient has a full cardiac arrest
their chances of survival are slim to
none," Henley said.
"We have not been able to save
one patient who has gone into full
cardiac arrest in this county,"
With paramedic training, a pa
tient's chances of surviving in
crease a great deal, Henley said.
At the April 18 county commis
sion meeting, Henley requested
Spring Rains Change
Local Farm Outlook
By Sherry Matthews
Bad weather conditions that
have plagued Hoke County and
the rest of the state for over a
month have taken its toll on some
According to Agricultural Ex
tension Agent Willie Featherstone,
farm production is about a month
behind schedule because of rain
The peach crop was hurt most
by the frost, Featherstone said.
"That crop has been virtually
destroyed by all the bad weather,"
For peach growers, this is the se
cond year that their crops have not
Corn production, too, has been
Over 100 acres of corn has been
killed because of the freezing
temperatures that have hit Hoke
"Because the weather has
prevented a lot of area growers
from planting corn, I would an
ticipate more soy beans being
planted," Featherstone said.
Tobacco seems to be the only
crop that still has a decent chance
of surviving the unpredictable
weather situation, and according
to Featherstone it is also behind
"There have been some water
(Sec FARMS, page 11 A)
that the commissioners support the
paramedic program which would
upgrade his service from an in
termediate level to a paramedic
level of care.
The commissioners unanimously
turned down the request because
of the further commitment that
might have to be made even after
the Hoke Ambulance Service con
tract expires in December.
"The element of cost (some
$50,000) in getting into the
paramedic program was a major
factor in the board's decision,"
County Manager James Martin
"I appreciate Jim's concern and
need to further his abilities, but
I'm not sure Hoke County, at this
point, is ready for that skill level,"
Despite opposition and a flat
refusal by the county commis
sioners, Henley intends to continue
his efforts to "educate the people
and the commissioners as to the
difference a paramedic program
will make to the area."
"If we save one life, then I think
the training was well worth it,"
Antioch Presbyterian Church
is celebrating its 150th birth
day, and we take a look at the
church's long Hoke County
history on page I of today's
Ft. Bragg Man Charged With Hoke Rape
B> Sherry Matthews
A Fort Bragg man remained in
jail Tuesday after being charged
two weeks earlier with the April 10
rape of a Hoke County woman.
Fort Bragg soldier Gary Joseph
Mayron, 19, is in the Hoke County
Jail under a $50,000 bond in con
nection with the rape of a 24-year
old Hoke County woman. Sheriff
Dave Barrington said.
According to reports Hied by the
arresting officers, Osie Finin a.nd
Ralph Tindall, the victim called the
sheriff's office and reported the
alleged crime around 3:30 a.m.
following the incident.
The suspect was found in the
victim's trailer, apparently passed
out on the bed, reports show.
The victim sustained several in
juries during the alleged assault.
Sheriff Barrington said, noting
that she was taken to Cape Fear
Valley Hospital. She was treated
The suspect allegedly assisted
the victim by giving her a ride
home from a Fayetteville night
spot , the report shows.
When he went into the
bathroom of the Hoke County
mobile home, the victim apparent
ly became nervous, the report
Mayron allegedly broke out the
window in the bathroom and re
entered the trailer by the front
door, the report shows.
Arresting officers reported that
a sawed off 12-gauge shotgun and
one 12-gauge shell were found on
the floor ot (he trailer.
Citing the need to avoid too
much pre-trial publicity, Barr
ington deferred comment on fur
ther details of the investigation.