SCAM THWARTED. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the county Economic Development Office and the state Department of Commerce thwarted an extensive scheme by California fugitives in January.
RALEIGH — Two California felony fugitives remain on the run after posing as high-rolling, multi-million-dollar investors to the Department of Commerce that had seven counties — including Franklin — vying for an industrial location earlier this year.
The courting — involving planned lavish hotel stays, state helicopter transports and catered meals on fine china — was intense statewide.
The fake investors’ demands and promises lasted about three weeks, leading up to Jan. 29, for a proposed, bogus $100-million gem processing plant that the now-believed-to-be con artists said would land between 1,300 and 1,500 jobs in the chosen county.
The state and seven counties were pulling out multitudes of incentives for The Pearl Project to locate a privately-owned, $100-million gem processing company, which turned out to be a scam in the making.
Franklin County offered up a competitive package for the project to be located at the airport/hubsite (Triangle North Franklin) including:
Industry leaders hope innovation and visibility ignite development in a four-county economic development initiative.
The innovation began years ago when Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren counties agreed to pool resources and share in the costs of developing industrial sites and the revenues generated from such a venture.
The visibility came Monday during a launch event at Vance-Granville Community College’s Henderson campus attended by area leaders and media.
Franklin County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Louisburg man charged with killing his wife — marking the first murder of the year and the first domestic homicide in almost two years.
Deputies say James Frederick Romine, 48, shot and killed his wife, Natalie Romine, after the two argued all day on Saturday.
Deputies and first responders arrived at 495 John Winstead Road at about 8:30 p.m. to find the 41-year-old woman suffering from a point-blank gunshot wound to the chest.
A Louisburg High School wrestling coach and auto mechanics teacher is ready to return to work after having time to reflect on an inappropriate comment he made in class.
The comment, made in late February, was not criminal and did not warrant significant school system action, Phil Mueller said on Tuesday.
The confidentiality afforded industry and the bend-over-backward moves by recruiters to secure industry in North Carolina is out of control.
It is ripe ground for fraud, as this outcome of “The Pearl Project” detailed in today’s edition has proven.
The state Department of Commerce certainly avoided a colossal embarrassment with the thwarting of “The Pearl Project” and should not miss this opportunity to at least review internally its screening methods, as should every economic development office and Board of Commissioners in this state.
GOOD MORNING: Wow! Times’ publisher Gary Cunard’s column “Let the sun shine in” Saturday along with my twice-weekly utterances, specifically those referring to FRMC relocation issues and parking fee increases, apparently struck some raw nerves.
Here are some samplings from our website illustrating what I’m talking about.
As a parent of four, I know.
I know that if something happens amongst them in a closed room, there are four different versions of the story.
And often, no one wants to take blame.
I also know that, naturally, their version of events might slightly differ from the whole truth if such disclosure makes them look bad or, most importantly, would get them in trouble.
Last Week’s Poll
Open for business?
Should the Town of Louisburg allow a tattoo parlor to open in the old Axis Computer building?
To help North Carolina consumers avoid getting fooled by frauds and scams, Attorney General Roy Cooper has shared a list of North Carolinians’ top consumer complaints to his office.
“April Fool’s Day is a popular time for tricks, but scammers work year-round to try to trick you out of your money,” Cooper said. “Making smart choices with your money is especially important in this economy. Protect yourself by learning about common consumer problems and how you can avoid them.”
No stimulus $$$ to companies that ship jobs offshore!
I was horrified to read in Business Week that IBM, which has just announced thousands of layoffs (including many right here in North Carolina), is planning to move many of those jobs offshore.
LOUISBURG - Dianne Moore Baker, 63, died Saturday, March 28, 2009 at Franklin Regional Medical Center. Funeral services were conducted Monday, March 30, in the chapel of Lancaster Funeral and Cremation Services in Louisburg, with Pastor Joe Ferguson and the Rev. Henry Stamper officiating.
KITTRELL - Funeral services for Mrs. Alveraies Kearney, 92, who died Thursday, March 26, 2009, will be conducted at 1 p.m. today (Wednesday, April 1) at Concord Missionary Baptist Church, with the Rev. Sam E. Blalock officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
WAKE FOREST - Norman L. “Ace” Jones, 81, died Monday morning, March 30, 2009 at Rex Hospital. A funeral service will be conducted at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 2, at Faith Baptist Church in Youngsville. He will be cremated following the service.
GARNER - Robin Louis “Poodle” McGhee, 49, died Saturday, March 28, 2009 at Wake Medical Center. Funeral services were conducted Tuesday, March 31, in the chapel of Bright Funeral Home in Wake Forest. Burial followed in the Wake Forest Cemetery.
YOUNGSVILLE - Josephine Hendricks Woodard, 89, died Friday, March 27, 2009 at her son’s home. Funeral services were Sunday, March 29, at Flat Rock Baptist Church, with the Rev. Gary McNair officiating. Burial followed in the church cemetery.
LOUISBURG -- Rarely is there a dull moment when Louisburg College and Pitt Community College renew their annual Region X baseball rivalry.
This year would prove to be no different.
Last weekend’s series featured a little bit of everything -- plenty of offensive heroics, some standout pitching, to-the-wire outcomes, disputes with umpires and weather issues.
WILSON -- Sportsmanship has always been the main component of The Brittany For The Girls Soccer Showcase, which is held annually at Gillette Park in Wilson.
The event is named after former Wilson Hunt High School player Brittany Willis, who was killed in 2005.
Willis loved playing soccer, and she loved playing in a fair and honorable fashion. When the showcase was formed in her honor, organizers made sure that sportsmanship would be the main theme of the gathering.
FRANKLINTON -- Add more highlights to the already-storied soccer career of Franklinton High School junior standout Amanda Knapp.
Already a holder of several school records, Knapp added another Monday during the Lady Rams’ 9-0 home victory over Northern Carolina Conference rival Southern Vance.
LOUISBURG -- Terrell Lane Middle School’s annual Softball and Baseball Fish Fry will be held this Friday at the Rite-Aid parking lot on Bickett Boulevard in Louisburg.
The event will begin at 11 a.m. Plates are $7 each. The cost includes fish, cole slaw, string beans, hush puppies and dessert.
Delivery is also available by advance reservation.
LOUISBURG -- It’s still early in the season, but the Louisburg High School golf squad has already clinched the championship in the Tar-Roanoke Athletic Conference.
LHS, under the direction of first-year coach Chris Lee, wrapped up the crown last Tuesday with a 330-451 decision against an overmatched squad from Northampton East.
LYNCHBURG, VA. -- Senior Justin Batts went 3-for-5 with an RBI last Friday afternoon to help lead his Battling Bishop baseball team to a 7-4 win on the road at Lynchburg College.
Down 3-0 in the eighth inning, Batts’ lone RBI capped a seven-run Wesleyan rally that proved to be the difference in the game. Having won 12 of their last 14 contests, the Bishops are now 15-11 on the season, while Lynchburg stands at 14-8 overall.
CHARLESTON, W.V. -- Thor Meeks three-run home run highlighted a five-run fourth inning as Marshall took game three of the Conference USA series from No. 19 East Carolina, 6-2 at the Appalachian Power Park Sunday afternoon.
Marshall improves to 11-14, 3-3 in league play, while the Pirates drop their first game since March 13 to fall to 20-5 overall and 5-1 in conference action.
It’s safe to say careers in education run in Genie Faulkner’s family.
Faulkner, Principal of Laurel Mill Elementary School, grew up in a family of educators. Her father, Tommy Riggan, was a life-long educator and spent 18 years as Principal of Louisburg High School. Her mother, Martha, also a lifetime educator, spent her career that spanned more than three decades as a teacher at Louisburg Elementary School.
“I basically grew up at Louisburg High School,” Faulkner said. “It was natural for me to pursue a career in education.”
FRANKLINTON —Police arrested two people who tried to pull a switcheroo after trying to elude a traffic stop.
According to a report by Officer Terry Pearce, he, Sgt. W.B. Bulloch and Officer B.D. Smith were conducting a driver’s license check point at N.C. 56 and Chavis Street when they saw a late-model Oldsmobile approach from the west.
The driver, according to Pearce, did not stop during the early morning hours of March 22.
The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has named state Rep. Lucy Allen from the 49th House District to its Advisory Panel.
Members of the Advisory Panel serve a three-year term. The panel members help the Foundation better understand issues affecting North Carolina and opportunities for more effective grantmaking. They also help identify major new initiatives of the Foundation.
The Franklin County Tourism Development Authority recommended funding four new and old events expected to bring in new tourists or continue a trend of return visits.
During the authority’s March 23 meeting, the group recommended providing:
The Franklin County Board of Education voted Monday night to uphold an earlier decision to terminate a former Louisburg High School lab facilitator.
Louisburg High Principal Freda Clifton recommended dismissing Neecie Clifton after placing the teacher on administrative leave on Nov. 19.