The Hoke County News - Established 1928 The Hoke County Journal - Established 1905
Volume LXXV Number 22 RAEFORD, HOKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
.Commission OK's Airport Merger
By Sherry Matthews
County officials unanimously
voted Monday night to take joint
responsibility for "improving"
and "bettering" the existing
City Manager Roil Matthews
and Councilman Vardell Hedgpeth
. and Benny McLeod were on hand
* Monday night to ask the county
for its "cooperation" in
establishing an airport authority
and financially backing a "joint
facility" that would benefit the
Monday's request was the first
time the county has been formally
asked to support the airport.
"1 think we need to participate
in this. It is a part of the communi
ty. I think we ought to be actively
involved with it," Commissioner
Wyatt Upchurch said.
"We would like to work towards
getting a Raeford-Hoke airport
that would benefit the entire com
munity," Matthews said.
According to Matthews, the air
port is a "million dollar" facility,
that "could" work to bring "need
ed industry" into the area.
"I think the airport will help
develop the community and bring
industry into the area," Commis
sioner Cleo Bratcher said.
"We need to become a part of
it," Bratcher added.
Commissioner Neill McPhatter
noted thai being a part of the air
port would be a "big help" to the
"I think we should join together
in this thing," Commission Chair
man John Balfour said.
Balfour agreed with Matthews
that an airport could be the "front
door" to the community.
"There is no doubt in my mind
that the first thing industry looks
at is facilities, and the airport will
probably be the first one they see,"
Balfour said, noting that the facili
ty should be appealing.
Commissioners agreed to par
ticipate with the city in getting the
"airport venture" off the ground
and voted to financially back the
facility on a 50-50 basis.
"We are ready to work with you
in any way," Balfour said.
"I think this is a giant step for
the communtiy," Upchurch add
The "giant step" taken at Mon
day night's meeting comes on the
heels of the city's acceptance in
May of recommendations by a
Blue Ribbon Study Committee
designed to improve conditions at
the Raeford airport.
One of the committee's recom
mendations was that city and
county officials participate on a
50-50 basis in operating the air
The issue of improving the
Raeford Airport came to a head a
year ago after the study committee
was established. Some of the prob
lems surrounding the operation of
the facility stem from an existing
parachute jump school located at
Committee members have said
that the present jump landing zone
is dangerous and should be moved
further from runways.
Parachute Jump School owner
Gene Thacker denies that safety
problems exist with the present
parchute landing site, and has re
jected the idea of moving the loca
Aerial photos, taken in 1979, in
dicate that the parachute landing
zone is only 650 feet away from the
runway. Thacker claims the jump
zone is over 1,200 feet away from
the actual runway.
A format for the joint operation
of the facility will be developed by
City Attorney Palmer Willcox and
County Attorney Duncan McFad
Both city and county officials
are expected to establish an airport
commission to oversee the opera
tion of the facility. That move
should come in November.
In other business, commis
sioners voted to take "no action"
(See COUN I Y. page 2A)
'Hunt Incarcerated ,
Misses Co, Meetings
By Sherry Matthews
Hoke County Commissioner
I James A. Hunt was spending his
sixth day in jail Wednesday after
being arrested by Scotland County
authorities Friday on 20 new "bad
This is the fifth and longest jail
stint the nine-year commission
veteran has faced since early June
when financial and legal problems
began mounting against him.
Apparently because of the in
carceration, Hunt missed both
k Monday and Tuesday night's com
mission meetings. He had missed
one other meeting earlier because
of a Columbus County arrest.
Hunt was arrested and taken
away by Scotland County officers
Friday, just minutes after he
received three suspended sentences
in Hoke District Court for other
worthless check charges.
Hunt missed a regular county
| commission meeting Monday night
and a joint meeting between the
county and the Board of Educa
tion Tuesday night.
In Scotland County, where Hunt
was confined Wednesday under a
$17,400 cash bond, 20 worthless
check arrest orders have been serv
ed against the veteran commis
sioner. The checks total $4,585.79
and were all written to Three Guys
Grocery in Laurinburg. All the
checks were written in May and
Hunt is also facing a failure to
comply warrant in Scotland Coun
ty, where he has failed to meet pay
ment deadlines on 22 worthless
checks for which he has already
Those checks totaled over
Before Hunt was arrested by
Scotland officials Friday, he ap
peared in Hoke District Court on
three worthless check charges
Hunt plead not guilty to all three
charges, but District Court Judge
Joseph Dupree found Hunt guilty
on each of the charges.
Hunt was charged with writing a
$1,528.74 check to Raeford Oil
Company in May and was given a
six-month suspended sentence for
(See HUNT, page 2A)
Readying for changeover
Ambulance Service EMT Jimmy Stewart washes one of the am
bulances which was to be taken over by the county Wednesday. Hoke
County will operate the service under the name of Hoke County
Emergency Medical Services and persons wishing an ambulance
should call the Hoke County Sheriff's Office at 875-5111. Persons
calling the old Hoke Ambulance Service number will be directed by an
operator to the new number.
County T akes Over
By Sherry Matthews
Hoke County Commissioners
decided Monday night to maintain
two fulltime ambulance crews, as
the county prepares for the
Wednesday emergency services
The decision, which will cost
county taxpayers an estimated
$52,000 more than the $163,852
originally anticipated, came after
Cape Fear Valley Medical Center
announced that it would not spon
sor the county ambulance service if
it failed to operate below a two
The county had voted last week
to operate with one crew on duty
and one on call.
In a letter written by Cape Fear's
acting medical director, Dr. Mort
Meltzor, the commissioners were
informed that anything "below"
adequate coverage for the county
would not be acceptable.
"Our support is for a two
vehicle ambulance service opera
tional at all times," the letter in
Without Cape Fear's support,
the county could not operate at the
same intermediate emergency
technician level as was maintained
by the Hoke Amublance Service.
The county needs the in
termediate care, County Emergen
cy Management Director Bill
"I'm for a intermediate level of
care, but when you throw more
dollars into it this quick, it is
something to think about," Com
missioner Wyatt Upchurch said.
"1 don't see any other choices,"
Chairman John Balfour said.
In addition to manning two
crews instead of one, the county
opted to raise ambulance service
pickup fees by 57 and mileage
fees by 33 ?7o .
Under the new rates, which
became effective Wednesday, a
person using a county ambulance
would be charged S55 for pickup
services and $1.50 per mile.
Under the present contractor,
$35 is charged for pickup and a $1
Also under the package rate
charges, proposed by County
Manager James Martin and
(See KA IT'S, pane 2A)
One-third Of Hoke Residents Are Illiterate
^ By Sherry Matthews
Of Hoke County's nearly 22,000
residents, 33% are considered il
Those are shocking but accurate
figures, Hoke Reading-Literacy
Council Director Barbara Buie
Buie, with the help of the
literacy council, is trying to correct
the rising figures.
% "There are a lot of people in this
county who are not aware of the
literacy council or the literacy pro
blem," Buie said.
According to Buie, those most
directly involved with the problem
are the least aware of the solutions.
By Sam Morris
The weather is somewhat cooler
than it was a couple of weeks ago
and this is the way the season
should come and go each year. It
was still too hot for football last
weekend, but it was better than the
week before. About 10 to 12
a degrees better. We still could use
some rain but the need, as far as
our water supply is concerned, is
not as bad as some other parts of
The forecast is for the
temperatures to be in the 70s the
last part of the week. Now this
sounds good to me.
"Many people who need help
learning to read don't realize that
there is a place that can help them
achieve their goals," Buie said.
The Literacy Council is the place
people can come to for help, ac
cording to Buie.
From June 1982 until May 1983,
there were 27 students in the
literacy program. Two of those
students spoke a foreign language,
five were children 12 and under,
but the bulk of the class, 20
students, were adults, 18 or older.
Eight tutors spent 746 "work
ing" hours trying to help those 27
students achieve their goals.
} It was good to see Fred
Culbreth, who now lives irt
Durham, at the Carolina-Miami of
Ohio football game at Chapel Hill
last Saturday. Fred was in a
wheelchair, but he looked good
and was in high spirits. He was ac
companied by his daughter
Carolyn and her husband.
I guess the saying, "Tar Heel
I (See AROUND, page 3A)
"We need more tutors to really
get things going," Buie said.
Buie and others actively search
for tutors, but funding only allows
them to go so far.
"Our budget simply does not
allow for going out and finding
those who need help or those who
wish to volunteer their services,"
Buie said, noting that "it's a real
Coupled with an "extremely"
tight budget, is the problem of
"Right now there is not an over
whelming response from volunteer
tutors," Buie said.
Buie credits this problem to lack
of knowledge and lack of time.
A tutor first has to know a pro
blem exists and then have the time
to devote to the problem, Buie
According to Buie, the Literacy
Council does not even have the
money to compensate for mileage.
The council is presently funded
by both the city and county
governments, the United Way
Fund and the Youth Task Force.
Together those organizations
contribute about $7, OCX) to the
"We are never guaranteed these
funds," Buie said.
"We don't know from one year
to the next what monies we can
count on," Buie added.
The council also sponsors fund
raisers to help boost their "dwindl
Money seems to be a key factor
in decreasing the number of il
literate county residents.
"With more money, we could
provide transportation to those
students who can't get here, fur
nish more textbooks and supplies
and entice more volunteers into the
program," Buie said.
"We operate on about a $20,000
budget. That helps us keep pace,
but it does not allow for any
growth," Buie said.
Cotton crop almost ready
Although the drought and hot weather will probably affect the yield and
price of cotton, the crop is opening "on schedule", according to Hoke
County Extension Agent Willie Featherstone. According to Featherstone,
this year ' s cotton yield will be lower than usual. " The grade of cotton may
also be low because the bolls opened before they really matured, "
School T ask F orce
Given Green Light
Greensboro Woman Tapped
As Associate Superintendent
By Warren Johnston
In a joint meeting, members of
the Hoke County Commission and
the Board of Education agreed
Tuesday night to establish a "Blue
Ribbon" task force to study the
condition of the schools.
The 21-member committee will
be chosen from taxpayers in the
county and will have the job of
determining what physical im
provements need to be made to the
schools and how to pay for them.
In an unrelated move following
the joint session, school board
members unanimously approved a
Greensboro woman as the new
Dr. Ginny B. Hayes, who is cur
rently the Director of Elementary
Education in the Alamance Coun
ty Schools, will begin her duties
here by mid-October, Superinten
dent Dr. Robert Nelson said.
Hayes will replace John
McAllister who retired in June.
Nelson worked with Hayes while
he served as Superintendent of the
"I've known her and worked
with her for five years, and 1 think
she is one of the strongest instruc
tional leaders in the state," Nelson
The new associate superinten
dent has expertise in many areas of
school work, and is expected to use
those skills working in the local
system, Nelson said.
Hayes received her Doctorate
Degree in Education Administra
tion and Supervision from the
University of North Carolina at
Greensboro. She has taught and
supervised music, elementary
education and reading.
The search for the new associate
began in early July, Nelson said,
(See TASK, page 11 A)
"It is difficult at best to get
things going with that type of
budget," Buie said.
Despite money troubles, Buie
and her staff make every effort to
meet the reeds of their students.
"The students set their own
goals to meet their satisfaction,
and we try to help them achieve
those goals," Buie said.
Although many Hoke residents
fall into the "functionally il
literate" category, where reading
skills are below or just at an eighth
grade level, Buie continues to plug
"We will manage somehow,"
I Inside Today
Aged and new gravestones are
lying side by side in two of
Hoke County's oldest chur
ches. He take a look at the
two churches, located on the
Ft. Bragg Reservation in this
week 's B-Section of The