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The Hoke County News - Established 1928 The Hoke County Journal - Established 1905
Volume LXXV Number 2 RAEFORD, HOKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA $10 PER YEAR Thursday, May 5, 1983
Legislative Committee Seals McCain Fate
By Sherry Matthews
A joint Legislative Base Budget
Subcommittee on Human
Resources voted Tuesday to close
McCain Hospital and requested
that it be reopened as a prison
| medical facility.
After months of debate, this
vote shuts the door to the last re
maining tuberculosis (TB) treat
ment center in North Carolina and
provides leadway for a request to
reopen the facility as a 300-bed
The request will be forwarded to
the Expansion Budget Subcommit
| tee, District 16 Rep. Daniel H.
DeVane said, adding that he was
optimistic about the prison unit
becoming a reality.
In a last ditch effort Tuesday,
District 30 Sen. David R. Parnell
made a motion to retain half the
hospital for use as a TB facility and
convert the other half for the
prisoner care unit, however, the
According to DeVane, around
20 votes were cast in favor of
Parnell's proposal, but there "just
wasn't enough to make the dif
McCain's future has been balan
cing on the edge for nearly four
A great deal of effort has been
put forth to keep McCain open,
Last month, a Hoke County
committee renewed its efforts to
keep McCain operating as a TB
sanitorium and succeeded in delay
ing the final vote.
"1 feel like their minds
(members of the subcomittee) were
made up a long time ago and
nothing was going to make them
re-consider," DeVane said.
"I think the vote was more for
the prison hospital than it was
against McCain," DeVane said.
Even with McCain's closing, the
present employees of the facility
will not be fired.
According to DeVane, all of the
present employees have been pro
vided for by state Director of the
Budget John A. Williams.
Employees will either be allowed
to retire or given other state jobs,
A letter from Williams backs up
According to the letter, the
employees of McCain will not have
to "bear the brunt of the conver
About 215 employees will be
needed in the prison hospital
following the conversion, and
qualified McCain employees will
have first option, the letter says.
Others will get first crack at
vacancies that may become
available at other state agencies in
For those who wish to relocate,
Williams is giving them (McCain
staff) "priority status" for any
positions open in state govern
Williams also said that he would
help seek legislation that would
provide early retirement benefits
for those who are approaching
eligibility for retirement.
Although DeVane feels the Mc
Cain staff's jobs won't be in
jeapordy, he still remains skep
"I know they won't be left out
in the cold, but 1 don't feel that
they will be looked after as well as
they were at McCain," DeVane
The TB patients, also, remain a
Although Department of
Human Resources Chief Sarah T.
Morrow has allocated $950,000 of
her budget for the care of TB pa
tients, many feel they will not
recieve the care given to them at
Morrow has provided $432,000
to local health departments for
treatment of the disease with the
remaining monies going to Cherry
Hospital in Goldsboro for care of
"This whole thing was done to
save money. It has been nothing
more than a shuffling and transfer
ring of budget," DeVane said.
In DeVane's opinion, the vote
will probably end up costing more
than can be saved.
"Closing McCain is a real
shame," DeVane said.
City Council Votes
To Move Jump Site
By Sherry Matthews
Members of the Raeford City
Council unanimously voted Mon
day night to accept recommenda
tions designed to "better" the ex
isting municipal airport.
A Blue Ribbon Study Commit
tee, appointed over a year ago to
study the Raeford Airport, handed
its final recommendations at a
regular council meeting Monday in
hopes that " something will soon
be done to make the facility more
attractive to future industry which
might come into this area."
"The recommendations are bas
ed on our desire to serve industry
and commerce in the town and the
county," committee Chairman
Tom Cameron said.
Immediate goals approved Mon
-Moving the present parachute
jumping target area a half mile east
Even ducks need a break from all the nice sunny weather we have been experiencing the past couple of weeks.
These ducks have decided that an afternoon stroll across the pond will be nicc.
by Sam Morris
The weather for the past week
has been perfect. The days have
been hot and no rain. This is sup
posed to continue for a few more
days. It seems as if the winter turn
ed to summer and just skipped
The tractor, disk and planters
* have been in the fields for the past
few days and if things remain the
same, most farmers should have
their land in good shape. A few
places are still too wet to plow but,
this is in the heavier land of the
Maybe we will be able to have
home-grown vegetables after all
From all reports the Hoke
County Democratic convention
was very quiet. About 100 people
were in attendance and everything
went smooth. Harold Gillis was
reelected chairman and we think
that he deserved another term. He
has done a very good job and has
kept peace in the party.
^ It was not the same way in every
' county in the state as delegates
were split on candidates and on
The convention in Lumberton
lasted for four hours and from
reports everyone was not on the
best of terms when they left the
We hope that the in-fighting will
be over after the primary and all
will join forces to get the
^ Democrats back in office.
? ? ?
I understand that the new
superintendent of the Hoke Coun
ty schools was at work Monday
morning. He might have been by
the newspaper office, but as of this
time I haven't had the pleasure of
$ (See AROUND TOWN, page 11 A)
Hoke County Democratic Party
Chairman Harold Gillis stressed
unity in his address to members of
the Democratic Convention held
here Saturday. Gillis was re-elected
to the chairmanship by acclama
Despite earlier rumors of disuni
ty, members of the Hoke County
Democratic Party voted Saturday
to re-elected Chairman Harold
Gillis and four other officers by ac
Only two of the seven offices up
for grabs this year were contested.
Prior to the convention, it was
rumored that at least two hopefuls
were seeking Gillis's party chair
Speculation had been fueled by
the change in precinct leadership
during the March 3 meetings in
which 10 of 13 chairman lost their
jobs and numerous new conven
tion delegates were elected.
However, fences were apparent
ly mended prior to Saturday, and
no evidence of disunity surfaced
during the convention.
After his re-election, Gillis vow
ed to work during the two-year
term for unity and for countywide
involvement by all party members.
"The next two years are going to
(See UNITY, page 11 A)
By Sherry Matthews
Hoke County Commissioners
gave the nod Monday to the sale of
the first industrial revenue bonds
in the county.
The sale opens the door for JRA
Industries, an elastic yarn firm
from Asheboro, to buy the Tex
Elastic plant in Raeford for $3.2
Although JRA Industries Presi
dent Edward R. Askew would not
confirm it Monday, the sale will
apparently save the local plant
from shutting its doors.
If the plant had closed, some 170
people would have been out of
work, County Attorney Duncan
The approval of the bonds, the
first since the Industrial Pollution
Control and Financing Authority
was formed four years ago, will
allow JRA Industries to purchase
the area plant at low interest rates.
According to Askew, it will also
allow the Asheboro based firm to
double its size.
Askew hopes to run the Raeford
plant at "full capacity" and an
ticipates keeping most of the plants
At present, only eight employees
have been layed off since JRA
took over the operation of the
facility in April.
County Commissioners also
agreed to exempt JRA from paying
the county's average manufactur
ing wages to its employees.
JRA intends to maintain the
wage scale that was being paid by
the Tex-Elastic company, Askew
According to Askew the average
machine operator's wage will be
about $4.80 an hour with more
skilled workers receiving higher
Those salaries will be somewhat
lower than the average hourly
wages for other Hoke manufactur
ing which is somewhere in the
vacinity of $5.75 an hour.
County OK's Bonds
Under the bond plan, taxpayers
will not suffer, and the county will
benefit from the continual employ
ment that the industry will pro
The bonds will also cover the
purchase cost of the 65,000 square
foot facility and the 6.2 acre site
located on North Bethel Street in
According to Askew, purchasing
the plant was a good move.
"It was here, and we needed it,"
In other business, the commis
sioners accepted a resolution ask
ing that the paperwork re
quirements placed on the Depart
ment of Social Services (DSS) by
the Federal and State governments
At present, food stamp reci
pients must fill out a five-page
form before recieving their
Hoke DSS Director Ken
Witherspoon said that the increas
ed paperwork is demanding more
staff than the department presently
Chairman John Balfour not on
ly supported the resolution, but
said that writing to the officials in
Washington might help.
Balfour said that most of the
commissioners in the 100 North
Carolina counties were opposed to
the increased workload.
If all the county commissioners
opposed to this paperwork in
crease wrote to Washington of
ficials, the pressure might be on to
change the requirements, Balfour
Even if the pressure is put on,
Witherspoon anticipates six
months to a year before a change
in the workload will even be notic
At present, Witherspoon has re
quested that the food stamp
budget include the hiring of five
more employees to meet the de
mand of the increased paperwork.
of the airport 12 months after the
regulations become effective.
?Sharing the cost of the "total
operation" with the county on a
50-50 basis, if the county agrees.
?Appointing a commission with
full authority to control the airport
?Continuing management of the
airport by the city.
-Requiring all landing and
departing aircraft use a right hand
ed pattern on runway 22 and left
handed pattern on runway 4.
Another recommendation, re
quiring that a radio be monitored
while parachute jumping is in pro
gress, was approved at the March
That decision caused some ver
bal fireworks and re-opened a long
standing disagreement between
parchute jump school operator
Gene Thacker and the city.
Thacker has said that he would
fight any effort to relocate the
parachute landing zone.
"Moving the jump site is a
necessity," Cameron said.
"We need to separate
parachutists from airplane traffic,
and moving the landing site is the
answer," Cameron added.
Parachutists landing a half mile
away from the airport is safer for
everyone, than the present landing
site which is only 100 yards away,
"This is something we feel is ab
solutely necessary for safely
operating this airport," Cameron
"The airport is the front door to
our community, and we need to do
everything possible to make it a
positive reflection on our town,"
(See POUND, page 11 A)
The last sign
With the closing of McCain, a
lot of things will change. The
state will be losing their last
TB hospital and the staff will
be losing many years of
dedicated service. We take a
look at McCain's employees
and " last glimmers of hope"
for the future of the hospital
on page one of Section B in to
Hoke Retail Sales
In the first three months follow
ing the opening of a new shopping
center in Raeford, retail sales
jumped almost 5900,000 in Hoke
County over figures recorded dur
ing the same period a year earlier.
During December, January and
February, retail sales here increas
ed $892,354 over the previous year.
The Raeford-Hoke Village
Shopping Center opened in
November and got into full swing
In December, sales were the
highest during the period, reaching
$4.26 million. Sales during that
month were up over $450,000 from
$3.8 million the year before.
According to the State Depart
ment of Revenue, January sales
here were up $253,093, and
February increased $188,894.
March and April sales figures
have not been compiled.
By Sherry Matthews
Although recommendations ap
proved by the city council Monday
require that a parachute jump site
at the municipal airport be moved,
jump school owner Gene Thacker
says he will not re-locate.
According to the approved
recommendations, the jump site
must be moved one-half mile east
within 12 months after the regula
tions take effect.
"The jump site is on my land,
and I'm not moving," Thacker
Thacker, who owns 16 acres for
the jumping school alone, says that
his parachuting is not effecting the
operation of the airport.
"There's no hazard out here,
and there never has been,"
The closest jump target is about
1,300 ft. from the airport and ac
cording to Thacker that is a safe
"Some federally funded airports
have parachuting closcr to their
facilities than 1 do," Thacker add
What it boils down to, says
Thacker, is some people in Hoke
County don't want to see
parachuting activity in the area.
"It's there to serve the com
munity, not harm them," Thacker
When the regulations become ef
fective, Thacker says he will be
ready to deal with the problem.
"Nobody wants to fight City
Hall, but I will, if they back me in
a corner," Thacker said.
"If I'm pushed, then I will take
it to court," Thacker said, adding
that he hoped it would not come to
a court battle.
"But, if that's the way they are
going to want to play, I'm ready,"