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Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | 50¢ Voice of NASCAR calls Salisbury home Too late to halt property tax update? Council hears process is likely too far along to stop BY EMILY FORD Rowan County’s planned revaluation could mean higher taxes for those who can least afford it, city officials said. In opposition to the 2011 county revaluation, Salisbury City Council voted Tuesday to ask the Rowan County Board of Commissioners to delay the revaluation process because falling values of expensive homes will shift the tax burden to lower- FORD income homeowners. Council’s request may have come too late. The county’s revaluation notices are at the printer, and the Dec. 31 deadline to rescind the process is well past. Now, the only way to defer reval- JON C. LAKEY/SALISBURY POST Salisbury’s Doug Rice is at home behind the microphones at Performance Racing Network (PRN) at Charlotte Motor Speedway. See TAXES, 11A Born and raised in Rowan, Doug Rice calls races for PRN ONCORD — Doug Rice’s office at the Charlotte Motor Speedway doesn’t have the usual trappings of a broadcast executive in the world of NASCAR. There are no die-cast models of race cars. Instead, he showcases Civil War chess pieces on the top of a corner shelf. Rather than a numbered car fender hanging from the wall, Rice features a MARK framed, original WINEKA poster from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album. A life-size cutout of Star Trek’s Dr. Spock stands behind the door going into Rice’s office — homage to his fascination with science-fiction. His football allegiances are C obvious, from the Atlanta Falcons helmet to all the items connected to Appalachian State University, including a framed tribute to the Mountaineers’ historic victory over Michigan in 2007. But there are two NASCARrelated things in Rice’s office worth noting. On one wall is a large photograph of Rice interviewing Dale Earnhardt at the Atlanta speedway. On another wall, Rice has placed his marked ballot from the first class inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Rice says voting for the Hall of Fame members each year is a great honor. As great of a honor, he adds, is co-anchoring Sprint Cup radio broadcasts for Performance Racing Network. Rice, president and general manager of PRN, has been in the booth call- Cyclist airlifted after collision BY MARK WINEKA Rice is also a fan of science fiction. His office is marked by bits and pieces of memorabilia, including a model of the USS Enterprise. See RICE, 12A The Doug Rice file Age: 55 Positions: President and general manager of Performance Racing Network; co-anchor on PRN radio broadcasts of Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races; host of “Fast Talk,” an interview, call-in NASCAR show airing Monday nights. Education: West Rowan High School (1973); Appalachian State University (1977). A driver told Salisbury Police he failed to see two men riding their bicycles in the dark Tuesday night along South Main Street moments before his pickup hit one of the cyclists. Shawn Sexton, 23, was reported in stable condition but unresponsive as he was airlifted by helicopter to Wake Forest University Baptist just after 8 p.m. Tuesday. The other cyclist was not hurt. Emergency personnel were first dispatched at 7:24 p.m. to the collision, which happened near the Dollie Circle entrance to a mobile home park, just north of Cedar Springs Salisbury connection: Current resident. For 11 years, program director, morning show host, evening DJ and play-by-play voice for high school and Catawba College football at WSTP/WRDX in Salisbury. Honors: Co-winner of 2007 National Motorsports Press Association’s Broadcaster of the Year. Winner of several NMPA awards for live-event broadcasts. Family: Wife, Penny; daughter, Amy. See CYCLIST, 2A Victims in financial scam get compensation for losses BY SHAVONNE POTTS Nearly six years after a Rowan County couple duped multiple people out of money through an Internet investment scam, all of the victims have gotten their money back. Sammy and Sheila Biggerstaff were recently ordered to pay more than $56,000 in restitution and court costs stemming from a 2005 scheme in which people gave the couple thousands of dollars to invest. Danny “Sparky” Simmons Jr. of Salisbury was one of the investors. He invested $5,025, all of his savings at the time. In 2005, court documents showed 10 people had given the couple $33,960 as individual investors. Some people gave as much as $12,000. [|xbIAHD y0 0 1rzu The Biggerstaffs told investors their investment in the PIPS program could earn interest at a rate of 2.5 percent per day to be compounded daily. The PIPS scheme went under several names including People in Profit Systems, Private Investment Profit System or Pureinvestor and PIPS Financial Services. “I heard about it through my father. There were all these people I knew who said they had made all this kind of money. If my father trusted it, then I trusted it,” he said. Simmons took about three months before he invested his money. Once he did, he soon found out something wasn’t right. “I contacted Sheila. All of a sudden the website went down about August 2005,” he Today’s forecast 58º/38º Partly cloudy Deaths said. The couple made excuses, saying there was a fire and there were problems with the website. He approached the Biggerstaffs. “They said, ‘You can’t prove anything.’ That’s when I knew then and there it was one big scam,” Simmons said. Investors in the program had no way of withdrawing their money, court documents showed. In 2005, Sheila Biggerstaff told investigators records were set up electronically through her computer and there were no receipts. Doug McCullum of Union County invested one of the largest amounts, $10,000. He spoke to friend Danny Simmons about getting involved. Willie Glover Joseph L. Smith Raymond B. Coggins McCulreceipts, he lum had said, for the wanted to inmoney he’d vest his moninvested. ey following “ T h e y the sale of said they his home. didn’t take McCullum credit cards said he was or checks c o n v i n c e d DANNY ‘SPARKY’ SIMMONS JR. because of victim the program people comwas legitimitting mate espefraud,” Mccially after the elaborate plan Cullum said. he saw while at the BiggerSix weeks after meeting staffs’ home. with Sammy and Sheila BigHe said the couple purport- gerstaff, McCullum tried to ed to be Christians and told access the program’s website him the PIPS program had in- to “follow my investment.” vested money to help pay for When he couldn’t gain acChristian children’s funds. cess, McCullum called the McCullum said he felt as if Biggerstaffs, who claimed he were doing something they didn’t know who he was good. and hung up the phone. The couple gave McCullum The next phone call he Glenn D. Hill Richard Schiemann Chasity R. Polk “They said, ‘You can’t prove anything.’ That’s when I knew then and there it was one big scam.” Estelle P. Brackett Bobby E. Reynolds Robert C. Engblom Contents Bridge Classifieds Comics Crossword 11B 5B 10B 10B made was to his attorney. The case languished in the court system until mid-2010 when Assistant District Attorney Tom King met with the 11 identified victims. “The victims all agreed if we could assist them in getting their principal amount of money back at the time a plea agreement was entered,” King said. King told the victims they had two options, if he tried the case and the couple were convicted the court could order restitution and a payment schedule would’ve been set up through the probation system. The alternative was if the couple accepted a plea, the money would be paid the day the agreement was reached. Deaths Horoscope Opinion Food See REPAID, 2A 4A 11B 10A 8A Second Front 3A Sports 1B Television 11B Weather 12B


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