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Friday, January 28, 2011 | 50¢ City: Two out at fire department GOVERNOR IN ROWAN No details offered as investigation continues into improper conduct BY EMILY FORD KArissA miNN/SALISBURY POST Gov. Bev Perdue told reporters and transportation officials Thursday that a contract for phase two of the I-85 Corridor Improvement Project has been awarded and construction will begin soon. Perdue says cost for second phase of I-85 project half what was originally projected BY KARISSA MINN The second phase of the Interstate 85 Corridor Improvement Project will cost half what the state thought it would and finish five months sooner, Gov. Beverly Perdue announced Thursday. The N.C. Department of Transportation awarded a $65.5 million contract Wednesday after originally estimating the construction would cost $120 million- $130 million. “I’ve been involved in a lot of big road projects in the last decade, but I have never, ever seen a project come in at half the cost,” Perdue said Thursday, standing at the work site for the new Yadkin River bridges. “That’s super news, not just for the people in this area, but for the people of North Carolina.” The project is the first to be funded through the new N.C. Mobility Fund developed by Perdue to pay for regional transportation needs. Now, Perdue said, some of the money that would have paid for this project can be used to fund others across the state. Phase two will widen 3.8 miles of I85 from four lanes to eight lanes in Davidson County. It also will reconstruct the interchange of I-85 at Belmont Road. See I-85, 2A Two Salisbury firefighters are no longer employed with the department and another has been suspended in connection with an investigation into improper conduct. City officials on Thursday would not discuss the nature of the ongoing investigation, but the mother of firefighter Courtney Brown said her daughter felt she was sexually harassed by other firefighters for two years. A city official said Brown and Capt. Baxter “Buddy” Miller are no longer employed with the Salisbury Fire Departand ment firefighter Castleman “ C h e t ” Hedrick has MILLER susbeen pended without pay. On Jan. 17 and 18, the city placed Miller and Hedrick on paid administrative leave while considering possible disciplinary action, according to Zach Kyle, the city’s director of human resources. Thursday night, Kyle said Miller is no longer employed with the department but would not say if Miller resigned or was fired. State law requires the city to provide the date and type of an employee’s separation. JON C. LAKEY/SALISBURY POST FILE Fire Control Specialist I Courtney Brown takes part in a training exercise in October. When an employee is fired, a new public records law that went into effect in October requires the city to provide a written notice explaining the reasons for dismissal. On Tuesday, Hedrick’s job status was moved from administraHEDRICK tive leave to suspension without pay for misconduct, Kyle said. Kyle would not say how long the suspension will last. Hedrick did not return a See FIRE, 7A Glass from 100th winery joining collection BY SHAVONNE POTTS Gov. Bev Perdue has a collection of wine glasses from across North Carolina. Now she will add one from Cauble Creek Vineyard, which she recognized Thursday as the 100th winery in the state. The governor joined winemakers and growers, local dignitaries and representatives from several state wine publications in Rowan County. Cauble Creek owners William “Biff” Yost, his wife Anita and their son Alex basked in the event. “It’s very exciting,” Anita said. At first the family didn’t Driver survives crash that mangles minivan quite understand the impact or the honor of being named 100th winery in the state. “This is a big day for an emerging industry in North Carolina. It’s something people didn’t think about 50 years ago,” Perdue told those gathered. North Carolina ranks in the top five state destinations for wine and culinary tourism in the United States. “Who could’ve thought,” Perdue said. Many North Carolina farmers are rethinking how they use their land and have chosen to plant and harvest BY SHELLEY SMITH gErriE bLACKwELdEr/FOR ThE SALISBURY POST Gov. Bev Perdue shares a laugh with Biff and Anita Yost, See WINERY, 7A owners of Cauble Creek Vineyard, during a visit Thursday. A 35-year-old man is in stable condition at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center after a collision early Thursday morning on the Exit 81 ramp at Interstate 85. The driver of a Ford Windstar van, Michael Scott Butler, of Leonard Road in Salisbury, has a serious head injury, N.C. Trooper K.G. Barringer said, and was intoxicated when his van collided with a tractor-trailer that was parked on the right shoulder of the ramp, about five feet from the line. Barringer said the tractortrailer was not running, but lights were on inside, and the driver was winding down for the night when the crash happened. Barringer found no skid marks on the road, so it was hard to determine how fast Butler was driving, and if he See DRIVER, 5A One of McDonald’s finest manages in Rockwell BY MARK WINEKA mArK wiNEKA/SALISBURY POST Sissy Cooper, center, celebrates being named a Ray Kroc award winner for McDonald’s with her husband Bobby, right, and Rockwell owner-operator Bill Austin, left. [|xbIAHD y0 0 1rzu Today’s forecast 52º/27º Partly cloudy ROCKWELL — Sissy Cooper was in a crisis mode. Not long after getting off her shift as store manager at the Rockwell McDonald’s, Cooper received a panicked call from fellow employee Martha Miller. Get back to the restaurant quickly, Miller said. The McDonald’s field service manager was in the restaurant, and he wasn’t happy, Miller told her. “I thought I was in so much trouble,” Cooper said. “... I was shaking.” But Miller’s call was only a ruse. While Cooper was gone, staff members decorated the McDonald’s and made room for Please recycle this newspaper Deaths friends and family to surprise Cooper with the news that she had won the restaurant chain’s prestigious Ray Kroc Award for store managers. She’s part of an elite group. Only 1 percent of the McDonald’s managers in the country earn the Ray Kroc Award each year. In the Raleigh region of 736 stores, she is one of seven recipients. Named for the late founder of McDonald’s, the award comes with a $2,500 check, trophy, pin and a trip to Chicago for a banquet and a chance to share some of her front-line experiences with top management officials in the company. Cooper could hardly speak after she entered the restaurant Thursday afternoon to the applause and cheers. Charles E. Eller Lillian Jones West Bobbie R. Cranford Betty Kendrick Contents Bridge Classifieds Comics Crossword “She’s figured it out by now,” husband Bobby Cooper said, moving toward her for a hug. “You’ve won the Ray Kroc Award, dear.” Bobby Cooper is a longtime area supervisor for McDonald’s. The couple have been married for 10 years. “I’m in shock,” Sissy said. A friend walked up, removed Cooper’s McDonald’s cap and placed a tiara on her head. Bill Austin, owner-operator of the Rockwell McDonald’s, nominated Cooper for the Kroc Award, which measures both store performance and community involvement. He said Cooper, who has been the 11B 6B 10B 10B See MCDONALD’S, 2A Deaths Horoscope Opinion Home & Garden 4A 11B 12A 10A Second Front 3A Sports 1B Television 11B Weather 12B


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