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VOL. XXXXV1I NO. 14 USPS 162-860 KENANSV1LLE, NC 28349 16 PAGES THIS WEEK APRIL 5, 1984 10 CENTS PLUS TAX
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Latham Wiggins Looks Through Rubble Once His Office At Red H II Fixtures
Three Firms May Never Recover
The storm that destroyed many
homes in Southeastern North
? Carolina also took away some
P people's livelihoods.
Red Hill Fixture Co. and Modern
Grain Systems near Calypso were
smashed and Holt & Whitted Milling
Co. Inc. in Mount Olive was
The three firms may never re
cover', owners say. Other companies
were heavily damaged as were many
Dim >? in Duplin County was
estimated at S3 million Friday, but
^ the Mount Olive assessment was
"We had 28 houses destroyed and
damage to about 40," said Hiram
Brinson, Duplin County's civil pre
paredness director. Mount Olive
Civil Preparedness Director Bob
Kelly said 75 homes were destroyed
and another 150 damaged.
When the homeowners dig out
from under the rubble, however, -
some will be without work because
their employer is out of business. '
Holt & Whitted, which employed
nine people, may never recover, '
according to Leslie Ray Whitted. All '
five of the company's silos ? all '
partially filled with grain ? were 1
ruined; Three silos, including the
company's largest, were flattened.
Whitted could not estimate the
damage to the livestock feed manu- *
facturing firm. Asked if the company 1
would return to operation, he said, 1
"Hopefully. I don't know. We didn't 1
have enough insurance."
"It just about wiped us out," said 1
Lathan Wiggins, owner of Red Hill 1
Fixtures. The 12-employee firm 1
across N.C. 117 from East Pine |
Forest subidivision, is a pile of
Wiggins estimated the damage at
S250.000. The firm built desks and
similar furniture for schools. It had
been in business since 1957.
"The big thing that hurt me was I
bad some large orders ready to
deliver," Wiggins said. "We had
the trucks backed up to the loading
lock and ready to go with about
140,000 worth of furniture."
The twister overturned the truck
and winds and rain finished off the
Furniture. Tie said. He said the
company had another $25,000 worth
of materials in the building. He said
most were destroyed. "
The woodworking machinery and
tools were also damaged, but Wig
gins could not estimate his loss
there, either. He said the items were
oeing taken to a small building
'where we can sort through the
CM insurance, Wiggins said, "It'll
cpver about 20 percent. Our pre
miums weje high because we had a
hit of sawdust and flammable glues
and lacquers, so we carried a very
W iggins said he has had to cancel
several contracts and refuse a pur
chase order he received Friday for
$35,000 of goods.
At the Mount Olive FCX. damage
U $300.000 to $400,000, said
resistant manager Darrvl Moore.
The company largely depends on
manufacturing fertilizer for income.
That part of the firm on South
Chestnut Street was heavily
Moore said he hopes the firm can
be back in the fertilizer business by
this week. The other part of the
company is in business and all 18
employees are at work, Moore said.
Families Begin To Salvage Remains Of Home In Pine Forest
Winery Plans To Use Area Grapes
Wine wiii flow and North Carolina
grape output will grow if plans for a
Pi greatly expanded wine industry suc
ceed in Rose Hill.
Ground breaking ceremonies for
what is expected to become the
state's largest winery will be held on
the site just north of Rose Hill at 1
p.m. May 5.
David Fussell of Rose Hill, secre
tary-treasurer of the newly incor
porated Carolina Winery, said the
new winery will have juice storage
capacity of 300,000 gallons in 12
p 25,000-gallon tanks which he de
scribed as giant thermos bottles. The
tanks were obtained from the now
-IV." " *
closed- Joseph Schlitz brewery in
Milwaukee for $78,000.
In an average production year, the
grape harvest from 300 to 500 acres
would be needed to fill the tanks.
"If this operation succeeds it will
make grape production at least half
way economical for the farmers."
Fussell is head of'Duplin Wine
Cellars of Rose Hill, now the major
wine producer in the state. The firm
is a cooperative, owned by several
vineyard owners including the
The new company also is owned by
area vineyard owners. Burl William
son of Clinton is president.
Among the investors in it a.e
Charles Daughtry of Newton Grove,
Gerald Simmons of Kinston. Willard
Hinnant of Goldsboro and Carlvle
Clayton of Candor.
Duplin Wine Cellars is supplying
office and laboratory facilities and
bottling facilities. It will receive
stock in payment for services to the
new company, Fussell said.
He said he expects Carolina
Winery's plant can be built in time to
begin production this fall. Fussell
estimated the new plant would cost
Fussell said the new company's
projection calls for purchase of about
2.000 tons of grapes this fall, 2,400
tons in 1985, 2,800 tons in 1986 and
3,400 tons by 1987.
The new winery, like Duplin Wine
Cellars, plans to use the Muscadine
type grapes favored in this area.
Competition for these grapes has
been limited, primarily to one wine
producer, Canandaigua of New York.
which has a winery at Patrick, S.C.
Duplin Wine Cellars used about
500 tons of grapes last year and
expects to use about the same
amount this year, Fussell said.
Pussell said about 1,500 acres of
muscadine type grape vineyards are
in a 50-mile radius of Rose Hill.
Tornadoes roared through several
central and eastern North Carolina
towns Wednesday night, killing at
least four people and injuring dozens
more while knocking out power and
razing buildings, houses and mobile
homes, authorities said.
The first tornado in Duplin County
was reported at 8:37 p.m., according
to the National Weather Service.
"All the ambulances we've got in
the county are up there (at the
Faison-Calypso area)," said a dis
patcher at the Duplin County
"It blew some houses completely
away." said the dispatcher. She said
Goshen Medical Center at Faison
was opened to treat some of the
injured while others were taken to
Duplin General Hospital and Samp
son Memorial Hospital.
The dispatcher said rescue squads
from Faison, Kenansville, Mount
Olive and several Sampson County
towns were ferrying injured people
to medical centers.
"All we know is we've got a lot of
them." said the dispatcher. "We're
trying to get people with chainsaws
to cut people out of houses and poles
of stuff that fell on them.M
An emergency room nurse at
Duplin General Hospital in Kenans
ville said at 10:30 p.m., "They're
bringing them in. It's kind of chaos
Duplin General Hospital treated
29 county residents injured from the
Wednesday night tornadoes. An
additional 43 Duplin residents of the
tornado-struck area ujpre sent to
Wayne Memorial Hospital in Golds
boro. Tornado victims were also sent
to Sampson Memorial in Clinton.
The numbers are still being added
up. But the toll of Wednesday s
killer tornadoes in North Carolina
already includes 44 dead, 803 in
jured, 2,279 homeless and more than
100 million in damage, most of it to
President Reagan on Friday de
clared a major disaster for the states
of North Carolina and South Carolina
in the aftermath of the tornadoes.
The action will permit federal money
to be used in relief and recovery
efforts in designated areas of the
Federal assistance from the presi
dent's Disaster Relief Fund can
include^ temporary housing assis
tance for eligible disaster victims.
Paul E. Hall will be designated the
federal coordinating officer to work
with the state of North Carolina in
providing federal assistance under
the Disaster Relief Act of 1974.
Damage estimates to farm homes,
outbuildings, forests, machinery,
supplies and livestock and from
Wednesday's night's killer
tornadoes are approaching S80 mil
lion, state agricultural officials said
Non-farm damage brought the
total damage to an estimated S101./
million. Martha Waters of the North
Carolina Insurance News Service
said 6,600 insurance claims for
buildings and personal property
amounted to 130 million and that the
figure was expected to double.
The state Division of Emergency
Management said 44 people were
killed. 803 were injured and 2,279
were homeless along the path the
storms took through the state.
South Carolina Governor Dick
Riley estimated damage in his state
at $25.7 million. The death toll there
was 17. ?
Gov. Jim Hunt declared 16 coun
ties, including Columbus. Sampson
and Duplin disaster areas. The
others are Beaufort. Bertie, Chowan,
Cumberland, Gates, Greene, Hert
ford, Lenoir. Perquimans, Pitt,
Robeson. Scotland and Wayne.
Reports from county agricultural
officials showed that Greene County
had perhaps the most agricultural
damage, with losses of $20.5 million.
It was followed bv $12.3 million in
damage in Sampson County and
$11.5 million in Robeson County.
Timber losses were valued at $3
million in Greene a"d Bertie, $1.3
million in Sampson. $1 million in
Gates and $20,000 in Hertford
County. Scotland County reported a
75 percent loss of timber on up to
Other serious losses came when
turkey and chicken houses were
demolished. Poultry was the hardest
hit. Sampson County reported the
loss of 160.000 chickens and turkeys.
Lenoir 80.000, Wayne 10.000 and
Greene County 5,000. About 2,000
hogs were Idst in Greene County
Crops did not suffer an outright
loss because they are not planted
this time of year.
Destruction of tobacco plant beds,
however, is causing concern.
Farmers may be forced to bring in
plants frotv oth& areas and that
could hurt leaf qualitv.
Farmers face hidden costs, said
WorJh Gurkin, Sampson County
extension chairman. Fields are lit
tered with debris that must be
removed before farmers can get on
with normal spring field work and
planting. Cost of this clean-up in
money, time and planting delays is
difficult to determine, but a con
servative guess is $300,000, Gurkin
The storm did about $2 million
worth of damage in Duplin County,
including about $1 million in a
development where 28 homes were
destroyed between Calypso and
Mount Olive, said county extension
Chairman Lois Britt.
One Duplin farmer. Nelson Lane,
lost his home, hog houses, bulk
tobacco barns, car, truck and some
farm equipment, Britt said. Ten farm
homes were demolished or
damaged, along with 15 other farm
buildings, she said..
Mount Olive's FCX Farm &
Garden Supplies should be manu
facturing fertilizer again this week,
according to assistant manager
On Friday, insurance adjusters
estimated damage to the firm on
South Chestnut Street at $300,000 to
The loading elevators at the ferti
lizer blend plant were twisted,
industrial scales were blown down,
the doors were blown off the ferti
lizer ingredient bins and the contents
damaged, a 2,000-square-foot shop
building and a 20.000-square-foot
warehouse were blown down and two
72,000-bushel grain bins were
A Duplin County man who pleaded
guilty to involuntary manslaughter
last week was given a six-month
active prison term in "Onslow
Superior Court last Thursday.
Judge Bradford Tillery sentenced
Richard Earl Raynor, 19, of Beu
laville, to serve six months of a
three-year sentence in prison. Tillery
placed the young farm hand on a
special five-year probation following
the six months and recor...nended
Raynor for immediate work release.
Raynor was arrested a-id charged
with second-degree murder the
morning after the Dec. 16, 1983
shotgun slaying of Jesse Ray Davis
Jr., 22, of Beulaville. On Monday,
the day his trial was to begin. Raynor
pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of
Raynor told Tillery in a sentencing
hearing Thursday afternoon he had
not meant to shoot Davis. Mje said
the gun went off accidentally and he
didn't know Davis, who was standing
behind him, had been hit.
Tillery ordered Raynor to pay
$1,000 in restitution to Davis' family
for the victim's funeral expenses.
Tax Collector Takes Office
Faye Peterson was sworn in as
town tax collector during a special
meeting of the Wallace Board ot
Commissioners last week.
A public hearing was also held on
rezoning a tract of land on the
southern edge of the city for com
mercial use to allow Wallace Medical
Village to bui'd a permanent center.
The board also considered an agree
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ment with the state to repave
portions of the runway at Henderson
Field, the Wallace airport.
Mrs. Peterson has been employed
by the town for several years. She
replaced Elizabeth Knowles who
retired. In her new position, Mrs.
Peterson will be paid S13.317.17 a