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If it happened^ it's news to us
No. 11 Vol. 96
Wednesday, June 4, 2003
No tax inaease in proposed county budget
By Vktoriana Summers
No tax hike was included in the proposed $20.66
million county budget, and the “temptation” to use
the reserved fund balance was also avoided, ac
cording to County Manager Mike Wood.
Wood presented his annual budget proposal to
county commissioners Monday night.
According to Wood, county employees will
benefit from a pay raise this year “across the
boards,” costing the county approximately
$300,000 if approved by the board. However,
Wood recommended a substantial decrease in the
school board’s proposed budget of $4.3 million.
The Board of Education had requested an in
crease of $754,000 for 2003-2004 above last
year’s operating budget of $3.6 million.
“The recommended school current expense re
mains unchanged at $3.06 million,” Wood said.
“This figure includes the additional $100,000 cur
rent expense increase approved mid-year by the
However, School Board Chairman Russell Smith
said indications are that Wood’s proposal is about
$500,000 less than the $3.6 million that commis
sioners funded for the school system in the 2002-
2003 fiscal year.
“It is more than a million less than we asked
for,” Smith said. “It would seem to be a pretty
drastic cut to me.
(See COUNTY BUDGET, page 6A)
no tax hike
Council passes budget
By Pvr Aii.en Wilson
It took the Racford City Council less than 20
minutes Monday night to unanimously pass a
budget that keeps the tax rate at 47 cents per
After reviewing the budget for two weeks,
councilmcn approved changes by City Manager
Mike McNeill that pared $45,000 from the $5
million budget he proposed May 19.
McNeil 1 el im i nated $23,000 for the purchase
of a new police car: $2,000 was taken from a
$10,000 fire supplement; the hiring of a cus
tomer service position was changed from full
time to part-time with a savings of $14,250 in
wages and benefits; and $5,750 was taken from
contributions. The Literacy Council contribu
tion was eliminated. Councilmen agreed with
Mayor Bob Gentry’s contention that Literacy’s
funding .should fall under public education.
National Guard’s contribution was also elimi
nated; it was pointed out the National Guard is
no longer located in the city limits. The Rescue
Squad picked up some funds from the National
Guard with a contribution of $7,750 ($10,000
(See cm BL DGET, pageSA)
Members of the Golden Knights Parachute Team help Upchurch Elementary School celebrate its accomplishments in the Accelerated Reader Program. Fourth
grader Julie Sem (in center with trophy) won first place in the school with the most Accelerated Reader points. Standing behind the Golden Knights are Monica
Moore, Principal Hank Richards and part of the student body at Upchurch.
of the Year
baseball camp set
in shooting case
Public Record 10A
Hoke’s top stories
are on the web;
send us stories,
Sheriff turns up heat on investigation into chilli’s murder
By Pat Allen Wilson
By VicTORiANA Summers
The unknown killer of five-year-old
Brittany Locklear is still at large after
more than five years, but now a renewed
hunt for his identity is underway, accord
ing to Sheriff Hubert Peterkin.
Peterkin said Brittany’s murder still
captures the concern of law agencies in
the high profile case that shocked the
Hoke community, it was the first time a
Hoke child was slain after being sexually
molested, and people are still very upset,
“We are escalating the investigation
into the unsolved murder of young Brit
tany,” Peterkin said. “We are planning to
increase the reward for the apprehension
of the murderer from $25,000 to $30,000-
“The Sheriff’s Office and the State
Bureau of Investigation are still jointly
investigating the case.”
by taking a fresh
case is being
worked “like it
was never” in
fore. A team of
vised by Chief
McDuffie is making sure anything that
should have been done was not left un
done, Peterkin added.
“Because of the sensitivity of this young
girl’s murder and the time that haselapsed,
we are using every available resource and
volunteers from other law agencies,”
Peterkin said. “People are really digging
now to find out who killed her. We visited
the sites of her kidnapping and murder
yesterday,” he said.
“We still have a killer on the loose that
took the life of this precious child, and that
person needs to be brought to justice for
(See BRITTANY, page 9A)
james "Candy Rose” Stevens, grandfather of Brittany, shakes hands with Sheriff Peterkin,
wishing him success in finding her killer.
By Ken MacDonald
Thanks for the letters, phone calls, cas
seroles and the spare bedroom offers
(okay, slight exaggeration), but I am NOT
getting a divorce. Apparently the intro
duction 1 wrote to the article by Grettir
Asmundarson about his divorce was so
poor many folks thought the article was
about me. At least the whole debacle was
a great source of amusement for friends
and family as they looked on while I
received emails and phone calls, and no
ticed people not making eye contact with
Anyway, to keep from actually getting
divorced I had to promise tocorrect things
at the very beginning of this week's drivel.
(See OTHER STUFF, page lOA)
Nj photographer Hal Nunn took this photo three
days before an injured eagle was found; markings
indicate it is older than the injured eagle. Danny
Walters’ eagle eye spotted the raptor dining in a field
at the intersection of Arabia and Upchurch roads.
Injured eagle found at Rockfish,
sent to raptor center in Charlotte
By Pat Allen Wilson
A bald eagle found in eastern Hoke last Friday will probably not recover
enough to be released into the wild.
The emaciated raptor, blind in both eyes and with a broken wing, was
found by construction workers building a home at a site on Rockfish Road.
The construction workers — with Regency Home Development G)rp.
— showed compassion, said animal rehabilitator Jasmine Russell. The
workers called 9-1-1 and watched after the bird until she and her husband,
Mark Russell, also a rehabilitator, arrived, she added.
A dark sheet was thrown over the bi rd, and Mark picked it up and placed
it in a carrier. Keeping the bird in the dark fooled it into thinking it was
night, she explained. “They are pretty ferocious when they are threat
ened,” Jasmine said. “We are a predator to them.”
There was, however, no fight in the bird that was near death.
The bird, thought to be a male, was taken to Cross Creek Animal
Hospital in Fayetteville, where triage work was done on him. Later he was
taken to the Charlotte Raptor Center, where he receiving nioie inteiti>iv c
(See EAGLE, page 8A)