Local News

  • Sunset Beach council puts itself in charge of state of emergency

    SUNSET BEACH—At the suggestion of Sunset Beach Mayor Pro Tem Lou De Vita, town council has approved a change granting authority to council, rather than the mayor, during a state of emergency in the town.

    Unanimous approval came at council’s monthly workshop July 17.

    Town ordinances 91.02 and 91.03 previously empowered the mayor to declare and issue restrictions in a state of emergency. Council approved changing wording in those sections to “town council” and “council” to replace “mayor.”

  • Charges dropped in case against visiting priest

    BOLIVIA—Prosecutors have dropped charges against a visiting Catholic priest who was arrested in Brunswick County in 2010.

    The Rev. Edgar Sepulveda, 49, was arrested in January 2010, charged with one count of second-degree sexual offense and one count of sexual battery. Sepulveda was suspended from the priesthood when he was arrested more than two years ago.

    According to a press release from the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, Bishop Michael Burbidge suspended Sepulveda on Jan. 8, 2010.

  • Jackson, Hewett re-appointed as chair, vice-chair of DSS board

    BOLIVIA—With the assistance of an attorney for the first time in more than a year and a half, members of the Brunswick County Board of Social Services appointed a chairman and vice-chairman at their meeting Tuesday.

    Tina Jackson was re-appointed as chair of the county’s DSS board, and Bernest Hewett was re-appointed as vice-chairman.

  • State unemployment remains at 9.4 percent in June

    RALEIGH—Unemployment in North Carolina was 9.4 percent in June.

    June marks the third consecutive month North Carolina’s unemployment rate was 9.4 percent, according to information released by the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division.

    June’s 9.4 percent unemployment tops the nation’s 9.1 percent rate for June. It’s more than a point lower from the same time last year. North Carolina’s unemployment rate in June 2011 was 10.6 percent.

  • No upset bids filed by Monday’s deadline for former hospital, land

    BOLIVIA—No upset bids were filed by Monday’s deadline to purchase what was once Brunswick Community Hospital.

    Debby Gore, clerk to the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners, said no one filed an upset bid to purchase the former 60-bed hospital and more than 30 acres of land by the 5 p.m. deadline Monday, July 23.

    At their meeting Monday, July 2, commissioners accepted the $1,575,050 bid from Jacobs Real Estate Advisors LLC and Katierich Asset Management LLC, restarting the clock on the upset bid process, which closed Monday.

  • Two Brunswick County men sentenced to federal prison for drug charges

    RALEIGH—Two Brunswick County men were recently sentenced to federal prison for narcotics charges.

    U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker recently announced U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan sentenced the two Brunswick defendants for their illegal activities in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force operation known as BuggSnatcher.

    Jay Avery Jenrette, 25, of Brunswick County, was sentenced to 92 months, or seven and a half years, in federal prison, for conspiring to distribute and possess more than 28 grams of crack cocaine.

  • Dispute over Sunset Beach surveys; councilwoman doesn't care what mayor says

    SUNSET BEACH—A heated exchange ensued over a town park survey at a town council workshop Tuesday.

    At the start of the monthly session, Sunset Beach Mayor Richard Cerrato and town councilwoman Carol Scott questioned the surveys that town staff has prepared to mail out to residents.

    Scott said the way it’s worded, the survey could spur people to check off items for the town park when they may actually prefer to have the site left in its natural state.

  • DHHS grant funds new mobile operations center for Brunswick County

     BOLIVIA—With its flat-screen TVs and refrigerated coolers to store cold drinks, it would seem that the 34-foot Winnebago parked outside Brunswick County Emergency Services Department is a toy. But it’s not.

    The state-of-the-art bus with its V-10, 362-horsepower engine is a mobile operations unit, allowing for first responders and other emergency officials to be completely self-sustainable in the most severe of disasters.

  • Second primary for five races draws little turnout in Brunswick

    BOLIVIA—Voter turnout for the second primary election was low.

    Only 1,263 of the county’s nearly 80,000 registered voters cast ballots on the second primary Tuesday, July 17, which was 1.62 percent, Brunswick County Elections Director Greg Bellamy estimated.

    Statewide 220,761 of North Carolina’s more than 6.1 million voters cast their ballots in last week’s contest, which was a 3.5 percent voter turnout.

  • Very Varnam: Produce producer sells only what she grows

    VARNAMTOWN—Esther Varnam’s produce-producing philosophy is pretty simple.

    “If we don’t grow it, we don’t sell it,” says the 80-year-old, standing next to her freshly harvested tomatoes, potatoes and other edible seasonal offerings at her outdoor produce stand on a muggy Friday the 13th last week.

    “We only sell what we grow here,” she said.

    She guesstimates she’s been running her homegrown produce stand in front of her house on Varnamtown Road for the past quarter-century.