progresses at Record Park
together for ChickenFest
Work is progressing on The Record Park, and plans for
ChickenFest, which will be held on Memorial Day weekend, are well underway.
The festival, which will be free to
the public, will offer an array of acoustic music, primarily performed by area
and regional acts. Chicken will be the theme of the festival with various civic
and church groups selling food for fundraisers.
So far, the musical acts will include: Skipper’s
Wheel; Mike Palmer, Billy Gee and Clay Lunsford; Melvin Roten and the Stone
Mountain Travelers; The Coffee Pickers; Rude Mood; David Johnson; Tut Taylor;
The Elkville String Band; R.G. Absher and the Grasshoppers; Linda Cabe; Darby
Road; Back Porch Bluegrass; Brushy Mountain Breakdown; Buddy Wright, Eric Ellis
and Friends; Lloyd Church and the Dixie Pals; and Clyde Holloway & Talk of
the Town. Other acts will be announced as they are added.
Over the past week, grading has been
completed on the property at the corner of E and Fourth streets in North Wilkesboro. The location is the former home of the
offices of The Record and Thursday
Printing, which was destroyed in a March 2004 fire.
Construction is expected to begin on
a 24-by-16 feet permanent covered stage in the next few days along with
landscaping of the park.
The festival is the brainchild of Record Publisher Ken Welborn
and Record Editor Jerry Lankford who are directors of ChickenFest. The
idea arose soon after the newspaper was relocated to its new offices at 911 Main Street in North Wilkesboro.
Welborn says the centralized location of the park,
which is three blocks off Main
Street, the availability of parking and the lush
view of the Brushy
Mountains was part of the
inspiration for the venue and the event.
“Plus, this will be a good thing for the community,”
Welborn said. “People can come and have a good time and not have to spend a
dime unless they want to.”
Lankford said the park and the festival will be
another way of establishing Wilkes
County as a showplace for
“We want to perpetuate the growing musical tradition
of our area, which was begun by MerleFest and continued by such venues as WKBC
Radio’s Hometown Opry, Meadowlark Landing and the Shepherd family’s Carolina in the Fall. We
want to help grow the idea, fostered by MerleFest organizers, that Wilkes County
is the home place for Americana
He added, “To feature chicken as the theme of the
festival pays homage to the important role the poultry industry has played in Wilkes County.”
Welborn added that the festival will be a family
Both Welborn and Lankford have spoken with town
officials to clear the idea of the park and the festival and have received
input from MerleFest organizers and others involved in promoting music venues.
Chief Parsons indicted
By JERRY LANKFORD
Wilkesboro Police Chief Gary
Parsons allegedly let his minor son dress up as a policeman, carry a gun and
ride with officers on official calls.
Parsons also allegedly took guns
from the police department, had officers do work for him on the clock and
ordered them to give his son rides from school while on duty.
Those are among the allegations
made in the 12-count indictment handed down by a grand jury on Monday afternoon
in Wilkes Superior Court. The indictments include embezzlement, willfully
failing to discharge duties, both which are felonies, and five counts each of
obtaining property by false pretense and using public vehicles for personal
Parsons has been suspended from
his duties for 30 days without pay in the wake of the indictments, according to
Wilkesboro Mayor Norman Call. A press release sent out Monday also stated there
would be no more discussion on the matter, until the town board’s next meeting
on Feb. 13.
Call also appointed Capt. Steve
Dowell and Capt. Robert Bowlin “to be in charge of the Wilkesboro Police
Department until such time the Town Board of Commissioners gives further
direction in the matter.”
The grand jury indictment accused Parsons, as
Wilkesboro police chief, of willfully failing to discharge duties on or about
January 2003 through December 2005 Wilkesboro by:
Directing police officers under
his command to do personal work for him unrelated to their official duties;
By outfitting his minor son in a
Wilkesboro police officer’s uniform and allowing him to ride in patrol
vehicles, attend official calls and to be armed with a handgun, thereby
endangering the minor, the public and police officers;
By using Wilkesboro Police
Department vehicles and officers for the private purpose of transporting his
minor son for personal services;
By improperly removing and
misapplying property in possession of the Wilkesboro Police Department held in
the property room entrusted to the chief.
The embezzlement indictment
involved Parsons allegedly taking a .45-caliber and .22-caliber handgun, which
were property of the Wilkesboro Police Department. This offense allegedly took
place around April 2, 2005, according to the indictment.
The obtaining property by false
pretense and private use of a publicly owned vehicle indictments involves
Parsons’ alleged use of police vehicles and officers to transport his son from Wilkes Central
High School to other locations outside
the town of Wilkesboro
as well as using a police officer and a town-owned vehicle for personal work.
These offenses allegedly took place between 2000 and 2005, according to the
Wilkes District Attorney Tom
Horner said the investigation began in September after Wilkesboro officers
approached him. Professional standards
division in Asheville
Agents with the State Bureau of
Investigation conducted the probe. SBI Toby
Hayes, who is assigned with the Professional Standards Division in the
Asheville District, signed the indictment. Hayes, however, could not be reached
by press time.
“The investigation was prompted after officers
came to my office and indicated there may be some criminal wrongdoing which
triggered the investigation,” Horner said during a Monday afternoon interview.
He declined to commit on the
evidence of the case since it is pending trial.
Parsons began working for the
Wilkesboro Police Department as a patrol officer in 1980. He was appointed
chief of police in 1983.
Commissioner Ferguson resigns from job
By JERRY LANKFORD
Wilkesboro Commissioner Debbie Ferguson has resigned her job at Wilkes Regional
Ferguson cited possible perceptions of conflicts in making
decisions regarding the hospital and wanting to devote more time to her elected
post as her reasons to quitting.
has worked at WRMC for about five years.
Ferguson, who was elected to the town board in November, told The Record that she announced her
decision to hospital staff about a week ago. There she worked as a part-time
dietitian and part-time in the Dialysis
new job as commissioner is demanding more time than I thought,” Ferguson said. “I thought
I should just devote as much time as I could to being a commissioner. All along
through my campaign, people had concerns if I could be objective in making
decisions regarding the hospital if I was a hospital employee. This just takes
that out of the equation.”
Ferguson added, “I feel good about the decision. I’m a
gardener and like to make sure I have plenty of time to garden and to travel
with my husband. I am really enjoying being a commissioner. I want to learn
everything I can about and devote myself to it right now.”
plans to leave her work at the hospital toward the end of the month.
“I wanted to complete the tasks I would
ordinarily handle during the month and give them time to find someone,” Ferguson said, adding, “I
really like to do a good job at what I do. I have really been feeling torn.”
Report shows that hospital is
By JERRY LANKFORD
With a $2.1 million excess in revenues, Wilkes Regional
is no longing financially lagging behind hospitals of similar size.
According to an audit report, released last week, the
town-owned WRMC has posted the excess since 2004. The report was presented by
representatives from the Boone-based firm Dixon
and Hughes, a large regional accounting firm.
“I’m very happy. Everyone has worked hard for a strong
financial turnaround,” said WRMC Chief Financial Officer Tony Rispoli. “The
report shows we’ve achieved that.”
Explaining how the excess in revenues was
accomplished, Rispoli said accounts receivable is down $2.5 million compared to
2004. “We’ve been working very diligently over past 18 months on improving some
of our procedures,” Rispoli said. “We also have better payment arrangements
with some of the larger insurance companies.”
He added, “In addition we increased our fixed asset,
(building land and equipment) over $2 million.” He said the hospital used a
combination of profits, additional collections on accounts receivable and
contributions to make the improvements.
The income statement shows net revenues up about 16
percent, Rispoli said. “That was due to a volume increase (in usage) of 6.3
percent. That’s very exciting. That’s coming from more people seeking care at
our hospital than going to other facilities.”
When asked to compare WRMC to other hospitals of
similar size, Rispoli said, “We’re probably right in the mid range of
comparable hospitals. In 2004, we were behind. We’d like to stay in this middle
range. What we need to do is increase our volume (of patients). We foresee
additional needs to invest in equipment and building, but we think we have a
good future. We presently have a high degree of cooperation with the hospital
board, employees and the medical staff.”
WRMC CEO and President Ted Chapin said he is also
pleased with the audit report.
“Last year’s financial performance was due to the hard
work of a diligent management team and board,” he said. “We’re real pleased
with the results and look forward to continue moving our hospital in a positive
Bert Hall, a North Wilkesboro
commissioner and chairman of the WRMC Operating Board, said, “I think overall
it was a good report. We have some areas of the hospital we need to improve the
bottom line on, but these are services provided to the community that aren’t
always profitable. Overall I think the administration did a great job.”
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Appointed for Freedom Women’s Ministry presents: “Love”, Tuesday,
February 7, 7:00 p.m. Location: The
Bassment at Talia’s in North Wilkesboro. Speakers: Paul Hugger, Director of Pastoral
Care at Wilkes Community Health Council.
Debra Ortiz, President Telcor Consulting, Inc. February is the month we celebrate
relationships with our spouses. Husbands
are not only invited to attend with their wives, but we encourage you to join them
for a night out!
HOSPICE of Wilkes
Center Hospice Volunteer
Training Program – Grief and End of Life Care.
Hospice presents a spring training program for potential
volunteers. Being a Hospice volunteer is
a great way to become involved and give back to others in our community. Dates: February 7, 9, 14, 16, 21 and 23. Location: The Wellness Center of WRMC,
West Park Drive, North
Wilkesboro, NC. Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. For more information or to register, contact
Hospice at 903-7700. Please register by
Friday, February 3. Class size is
limited. *This program meets the
national 18-hour training requirement for Hospice volunteers.
Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission, Inc. (BROC) will hold its BROC
Full Board Meeting on Thursday, February 9, 2006, at 7:00 p.m. at BROC
Alleghany Office in Sparta. Please call Wilkes Office at 667-7174, Ashe
Office at 384-4543 or Alleghany Office at 372-7284 for additional information.
There will be a Valentine Spaghetti Supper at the Austin Community
Center on Saturday, February 11, 2006 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The plates will be $5 each and includes
spaghetti, Salad, Dessert, and Drink.
Proceeds will go to “Miss CAG Contestant”. For to-go orders, please call 957-8651.
Fun Times @ Ronda-Clingman
Elementary School. Ronda-Clingman Elementary
School will be having our first Kindergarten Fun
Times on February 16 at 6:00 p.m. This
will be for the up-coming kindergarten child who will be 5 on or before October
16, 2006. We encourage you to attend if
you have a child who will enter kindergarten this fall. For more information please contact the
school at 984-220. 1st Run
Times: Feb. 16, 6:00 p.m.; 2nd Fun Times: March 16, 9:00 a.m.;
Screening March 31, Time TBA.
“Fresh Start” Free Smoking
Cessation at The Wellness
Center. February 21, 23, 28, and March 2; Tuesday
& Thursday 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. The Wellness Center Classroom. Call to register. 903-7840.
This class must have a minimum of 10 participants.
The Wilkes County Parks & Recreation Department is now
accepting registrations for 2006 youth baseball, tee-ball, and softball. Registration forms are available at the
Recreation Department office, Cook’s, and online at www.wilkescounty.net. Registration deadline is February 17,
2006. For more information, call
Christian Motorcycle Association is forming a ride group in
Wilkesboro. If interested, call David at
New Traffic Pattern for Mountain
View School: Car riders will continue to be dropped
off in the mornings at the entrance to the main building. In the afternoon, Car riders in grades K-2
along with any brothers and/or sisters in grade 3-5 will be picked up in front
of the main office. In the afternoon,
car riders in grades 3-5 without brothers and sisters in grades K-2 will be
picked up at the lower entrance to the new building. Adults using the K-2 pickup area should use
the same driveway as last year. Adults
using the 3-5 pickup area should use the new driveway. Traffic using the new driveway should enter
the new driveway from the road beside the medical center and exit near the gym.
Keeping in Touch, Breast Cancer Support Group meeting the 4th Monday of each
month. No July meeting. Meetings will pick up in August.
For Community and School Events Section: The
Wilkes Central High School Interact Club is currently sponsoring a book drive
to expand the school’s existing library and to benefit WCHS students for many
years to come. The Interact Club will
gladly accept donations of new or used books or money to this very worthy
cause. Any classic literary work or
current bestseller that is appropriate for a high school audience will be
accepted. Donations may be made in honor
or memory of a special Wilkes Central student or faculty member. Bookplates will be placed in the front of
books to recognize these very special donations. Books/Donations may be sent to: Wilkes
Central Interact Club Book Drive/1179 Moravian Falls Road/Wilkesboro/NC 28677.
Donations will also be accepted at the front office of the school.
Foothills Al-Anon will meet on Thursdays at 12 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Call 903-8545 for more details.
High Country First in Families helps people that have developmental
disabilities. We are in need of 2
computers. Please call Donna Prevette or
Heather Mull at 800-471-7931 or 336-838-8540 for more information on our
program or make arrangements to donate a computer or discuss sale. We assist families in Ashe, Alleghany, Avery,
Wilkes and Watauga from our office in Wilkesboro. We can offer a tax donation form for those willing
Domestic Violence Support
Group. Sheltered Aid to Families in
Emergencies S.A.F.E Inc. would like to invite you to come and join our support
group for Victims and Survivors of Domestic Violence. This group meets on Thursday nights from 6:30
p.m. – 8:00 p.m. If you are interested
please contact SAFE Options at 336-838-9169.
This is an opportunity to come out, share and gain strength from others
who are working through the same thing.
A child passenger safety seat
check by Certified child safety technicians takes place the third Wednesday
of each month between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. at the Wilkes County Health
Department. No appointment is necessary. You must check in with the front desk
receptionist. For more information, call 651-7478.