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Local News

  • Accuser recants, says 'I was high'

    Whispers became accusations against state Sen. R.C. Soles Jr. during the past week.

    Just as a state probe into allegations of sexual misconduct had time to pick up steam, Soles’ accuser on Monday recanted his entire story, calling it a drug-induced falsehood pushed on him by a family member who was unhappy with the senator.

    ‘I was high’

  • Johnson pleads guilty to 2008 murder

    Norris Johnson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last week for the February 2008 murder of 26-year-old Jerome Echlos.

    Johnson, 28, was sentenced to 15 years and two months in the North Carolina Department of Corrections.

    According to the sheriff’s office at the time of the arrest, Johnson arrived at a home on Brandon Drive in Leland around 3 a.m. Feb. 8, 2008, and began shooting inside the home where five people slept—including his father, his niece, a family friend, his sister and Echlos, who was his sister’s boyfriend.

  • 'More at Four' to serve 30 fewer students

    Smart Start of Brunswick County will see a cut in its state funding, including a decrease in funding for the More at Four program, but it was not unexpected.

    Director Linda Gironda said this week she is relieved the N.C. General Assembly passed the state budget, and although she doesn’t have the specific numbers yet for her agency, she has already prepared for cuts.

  • Real estate numbers drop from last year, up from last month

    Existing home sales in Brunswick County dropped 2 percent between June 2008 and June 2009, according to the latest statistics from the N.C. Association of Realtors.

    Brunswick County Realtors sold 214 houses this past June, compared to 218 a year ago. The number was up 26 percent higher than May 2009, however, which some agents are saying is a good sign.

    At Cooke Realtors on Ocean Isle Beach, Realtor Sarah Harris said mainland and island property sales in her office are higher than last year.

  • Last year’s winner back for upcoming ‘Dancing with the Brunswick County Stars’

    After winning last year’s “Dancing with the Brunswick County Stars”, Dinah Gore is back for a second round and is ready to defend her title.

    After being asked to participate in last year’s event, a fundraiser for scholarships for future Brunswick Community College students, Gore began practicing twice a week for the competition with her professional partner, Paul McTaggart.

    At first, Gore admitted dancing did not come easy.

  • Convocation celebrates start of new school year

    In celebration of the upcoming school year, Brunswick County Schools had convocation Tuesday afternoon at the Odell Williamson Auditorium.

    Teachers, administrators and staff from all 20 county schools filled the auditorium listening to various guest speakers and watching student performances.

    Daniel Richardson, the event’s first guest speaker and the 2008-2009 Brunswick County Schools teacher of the year, drew many laughs as he told several jokes about “real teachers.”

  • Planning board tackling development, landscaping ordinances

    The Shallotte Planning Board is recommending town aldermen adopt ordinance changes to avoid future situations like that of the San Rio development off Gray Bridge Road.

    At last week’s planning board meeting, planning director Allen Serkin asked the board to recommend denial of any final plat in a subdivision if the infrastructure in the other phases of the projects is not installed.

    “It’s limiting the number of outstanding bonds,” Serkin explained. “If the improvements are installed, then the final plats can be approved.”

  • Sheriff’s office searching for armed robbery suspects

    Brunswick County Sheriff’s detectives are searching for two suspects they say robbed the Cyber Express on Southport-Supply Road early Tuesday morning.

    Detectives have identified one suspect. The second suspect is an unknown black male.

    The first suspect is Shamus Alexander Bland, 26, of 610 Tryon Road, Shallotte.

    Bland is wanted for one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, according to a sheriff’s office press release.

  • Oak Island man convicted for prescription pill trafficking

    A Brunswick County jury has convicted an Oak Island man of trafficking and selling prescription pills after a weeklong trial.

    Timothy Ray Dobbs was convicted of two counts of trafficking in hydrocodone, one count of possession with intent to sell and deliver hydrocodone and one count of sell or deliver hydrocodone on Monday.

    According to a sheriff’s office press release, Dobbs was the target of a months-long investigation during 2008, which ended with his arrest in October 2008.

  • Commissioners OK financing for Calabash, Sunset Beach sewer projects

    BOLIVIA—County commissioners approved a financing agreement for the construction of the Calabash and Sunset Beach sewer systems on Monday that will save more than $2 million in interest payments.

    In addition to the town of Sunset Beach receiving $3 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in July for the construction of the town’s sewer system, both towns will benefit from a financing agreement approved by commissioners, which will save about $2.3 million in interest during the 12-year life of the financing agreement.