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Local News

  • Principal, parent return to court in December

    BOLIVIA—The principal of Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary School and a parent of former students will appear in court once more following a continuance to their individual cases.

    Patricia Rourk and Tracey Danka each received a continuance on their court dates last Wednesday because the docket contained more than 300 cases. The two will return to the Brunswick County Courthouse on Friday, Dec. 12, on two separate charges.

  • N.C. Oyster Festival at Ocean Isle Beach

    This weekend marked the N.C. Oyster Festival at Ocean Isle Beach. For the full story, more photos and the winners of the oyster stew cook-off, the oyster shucking contest and the road race, pick up next week's issue of the Beacon.

  • Dee Hill's fumbled futureVideo included

    West Brunswick High School football coach Jimmy Fletcher had no idea why the sheriff and three deputies showed up at school, demanding to see Dee Hill, a then 18-year-old known student athlete, on Monday, Dec. 18, 2006.

    Fletcher was even more confused when he saw a deputy place Hill in handcuffs and escort him off school grounds in the back of a squad car.

    Hill had been arrested and charged with burglary, kidnapping and larceny.

  • Former Holden Beach police officer sues town

    A former Holden Beach police officer has sued the town of Holden Beach.

    Terri Oxford filed a lawsuit in Brunswick County Superior Court on Oct. 8 for gender discrimination and wrongful termination, violations of the N.C. Wage and Hour Act and for common-law violations of negligent infliction of emotional distress.

    Oxford, who worked for the police department from 1999 until 2008, claims in her lawsuit she was denied a promotion and wages because she is a female. She further claims she was harassed and retaliated against for complaining about discriminatory treatment.

  • Former sheriff pleads guilty to state embezzlement chargesVideo included

    BOLIVIA—For a man of so many words, Ronald Hewett had few Monday morning, when he pleaded guilty to three state charges of embezzlement by a public official.

    Hewett entered a no-contest plea to a fourth state charge—obstruction of justice.

    As part of a plea agreement, Hewett’s charges were consolidated. He was sentenced to 15 to 18 months, which were suspended in lieu of 36 months of supervised probation.

  • Life inside prison walls: Trying to survive to keep the dream aliveVideo included

    “I have never seen anything like this before. It was crazy at first,” Dee Hill said of serving time in a state prison. “Besides that night [he was arrested and charged], it’s probably the scariest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

    Events that take place inside prison walls are unlike anything he’s ever seen.

  • Victim now ‘at peace’

    As part of his plea agreement, Dee Hill cannot have any contact with the victim of the crime, Lillian Hickman. But if he had the chance to tell her anything, it would be he regrets the situation ever happened.

    “I apologize for everything,” he said.

    Hickman said since the incident, she keeps doors and windows locked and is more conscious of her surroundings.

    “There was a lot on my mind,” Hickman said. “But I’m fine now.”

  • Organization aims to take kids off the streets, out of trouble Video included

    After Dee Hill’s arrest, his mother, Brenda Hazel, was motivated to find a way to reach out to the youth of Brunswick County.

    Speak-N-Out was formed as a way for at-risk students to get involved in arts and entertainment activities while building life skills. SPEAK—Successful, Positive Expressions of Arts and Knowledge—is a nonprofit program for students ages 8-18.

  • Prosecution, defense spar over the man behind the badge

    Who is Ronald Hewett?

    His attorney says the man who served Brunswick County as sheriff for 14 years is a family man—a man of character and integrity.

    But assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Duffy argued in federal court Monday there are two Ronald Hewetts—the public persona, who shook everyone’s hands and never shied from a TV camera—and the man who existed within the walls of the sheriff’s office.

    The U.S. Attorney’s Office argued Hewett used deputies as his personal work force, stifled investigations and harassed employees.

  • Attorney: Substance abuse treatment needed

    Ronald Hewett is on the road to recovery, and his attorney wants him to stay on that path while serving his 16-month prison sentence.

    After being sentenced in federal court Monday afternoon, Hewett’s attorney Douglas Parsons asked that U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt recommend Hewett serve his time in a federal facility in Butner, and specifically, that Hewett participate in an intense substance abuse program, “so that he may continue on the course he’s on.”