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January
January
• The NETSTAR scandal made headlines in the first edition of 2006, with Ben Barrick set to face manslaughter charges in the death of Franklin County deputy Ted Horton.

Barrick was the pilot in the helicopter that was brought to the county fraudulently with the assistance of Sheriff Jerry Jones and Horton through an Internet connection.

In a secret buy/lease agreement, the trio hoped to secure Homeland Security money to operate the helicopter program, while all along getting a loan from a Tennessee bank, under the guise of county approval, to create an existing program — which was the only way to secure the federal dollars.

The loan for $81,250 was obtained by using false information, which also topped the Jan. 4 news.

The bank sued and recovered its loss in an undisclosed amount through a mediation settlement through an insurance carrier.

The loan dollars were never recovered.

• Business woman Charlotte Thomas passed away after a prolonged illness, remembered as a civic-minded, generous person.

Thomas was very active in the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club.

• A state gas tax debate was heating up.

Both state Rep. Lucy Allen and state Sen. Doug Berger served on a joint-select committee to hear comment about the rising costs of energy.

• The Franklin County United Way surpassed its $110,000 goal.

• The Franklin County Schools’ system presented to county commissioners a plan that outlined $87 million in facilities needs over the next 10 years.

• Times publisher Gary Cunard announced the sale of one of his publications — The Roanoke Beacon in Plymouth.

• Richard Weaver of Franklinton was killed in a fiery crash on N.C. Highway 96 at Pocomoke Road, where a stop light had been pursued from the Department of Transportation. The DOT pledged to reconsider the light.

• The Board of Education agreed to ask commissioners to call for a $45-million bond to fund a new high school in Franklinton, to complete funding for a new elementary school and to complete projects at Bunn and Louisburg high schools that ran short with 2004 bond dollars.

• Franklin Regional Medical Center received healthcare accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

• A Bunn High School student was tasered by a resource officer. The student was zapped twice; she was being removed from a scene of two other students who were arguing.

• Community efforts to get the Riverside Campus Porch Building renovated were stirring, with the Board of Education kicking around the idea to preserve the historic place, the last-standing addition of the original all-black high school campus. Renovation was estimated at $250,000, with the work going as high as possibly $500,000.

• Franklinton commissioners were struggling with a personnel policy to allow a commissioner to serve at the same time his wife was employed as town clerk. The board later in the month OK’d the couple’s roles.

• Former House Speaker Dan Blue spoke to a crowd at St. Paul Presbyterian Church in Louisburg during a celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The speech followed a community march from the courthouse to the church.

• Commissioners OK’d pursuit of a $45-million school bond for May 2.

• Health Department Director Sandra Wood was honored by commissioners for her work; she retired after 35 year of service.

• Representatives from the state Department of Transportation came to Franklin County to hear public concern about the delays in funding for four-laning of U.S. Highway 401.

• After months of trying to improve conditions at the county animal shelter, hours for adoption were increased.

• Officials continued to ework on a flawed 911 system, with some areas of the county not able to pick up pages. The system was overhauled in 2003, but issues in transmissions persisted.

• New voting equipment for just more than $600,000 was approved by commissioners for the Board of Elections as part of mandatory state improvements.

• The Franklin County Airport Authority decided to hire a manager and continue to phase out the management of First in Flight.

• Bunn kicked off a community policing program through the efforts of Police Chief Kent Winstead.

• Rosemary Champion was elected to head the Chamber of Commerce for the year as the new board chairman.

• Coaching legend J. Enid Drake retired from Louisburg College after 41 years of directing the basketball program.

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