Cook like an Italian — even if you’ve never seen ‘The Godfather.’ 7A
Warriors volleyball team is 9-0 in the SCC after win over Sun Valley 1B
October 7, 2009 • 50 cents
WEDNESDAY Storms likely
Your county• Your news•Your paper
Winners: Ashcraft, Desio, Gordon Low voter turnout ‘a shame’; margin of votes precludes runoff
High: 78 Low: 48 Complete report: Page 7A
BY ELISABETH ARRIERO
Catherine Blackmon Marilyn Hall Covington Aleane Hinson Judy Blucher Little Elsie Piller Ragin Sandra Rogers
Staff photo by Ed Cottingham
Diane Everett, center, watches election results in the Griffin Room at the Union County Public Library. Everett was supporting Margaret Desio, who won a seat on the Monroe City Council Tuesday night.
WHAT’S NEWS Habitat cancels chili cook-off
Habitat for Humanity will not have a chili cook-off this year. Habitat staged the cookoff the past two years to raise money for building homes in Union County. Office manager Valarie Belk said there is too much competition this year. “There are so many other chili cook-offs scheduled for the same time,” she said. “We were concerned that if we held it any later in the month, the weather wouldn’t cooperate with us.” Competing cook-offs were an obstacle for Habitat’s cook-off last year, she said, but there are even more of them this time. Fifteen groups participated in last year’s event, drawing around 200 people to the Fox Family Farm in Waxhaw. In lieu of the cook-off, Habitat will have an auction on Nov. 14. The auction will include trips, framed art, antiques and quilts. Previous cook-offs included an auction, which Belk said brought in the most money since there was no charge for admission. Last year’s event raised $10,000. While it is on hold this season, Belk said the cookoff might return next year. “We’re planning on holding it again in the future.” — Tiffany Lane
BIRTHDAYS Best wishes are extended to everyone who is celebrating a birthday today, especially Luke Eesine Fatih, Mike Payne, Keith Manus, Will Key, Randy Gajewski, Victoria L. Finch, and Ruby Baker. Call (704) 261-2278 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to add your names to the list.
4B 6A 7A 2A 4A 1B 7A
there were nine candidates running.” To calculate a majority, the Union County Board of Elections divides the total votes cast by the number of seats that must be filled and then divides again by two. Any number of votes for one candidate greater than that is considered a majority, and that candidate will be
See ELECTION / 3A
Hunter: ‘Strong enough to kill grandma’ SBI agent, jailer testify as D.A. wraps up case BY JASON deBRUYN
Staff photo by Rick Crider
Interior designer Betsy Smith, left, of Kannapolis, works up with Juanita Laughter, of ‘Shops At Nottingham,’ to finish decorating the new Hospice in-patient care facility that will open Friday in Monroe.
In-patient facility avoids hospital transfers BY TIFFANY LANE
MONROE Hospice of Union County now has the county’s first inpatient care facility for hospice patients. Hospice will host an open house on Friday to unveil its newest building, featuring six inpatient rooms and six residential rooms. Community relations coordinator Pamela Col-
lins’s voice rose with excitement when she described the new building on Monday. “It’s gorgeous,” she said. “It’s like a high-end hotel.” Hospice provides support for terminally ill patients and their families. The first building on its Monroe campus was built in 1992 as the state’s first hospice house. The second building came along in 1994. Com-
bined, the facilities serve Union, Mecklenburg, Anson, Cabarrus and Stanly counties. The new building, dubbed the Edward Carlton McWhorter Hospice House, is named after Carol Tyson’s brotherin-law, who died from cancer a couple of years ago. The care McWhorter received at Hospice made a big impression on the McWhorter family, as
well as Tyson and her husband Carlton Tyson. The Tysons helped head the capital campaign for the new facility. “We were just very pleased with his care,” Tyson said, but noted that having inpatient care would make the endof-life process easier. Offering an example, Collins said a patient
See HOSPICE / 5A
Fire marshal says smoke alarm could have prevented fire deaths Staff Writer
Classified Comics Food Obituaries Opinion Sports Stocks
MONROE They won the election, and they won’t even have to prove it with a runoff. Incumbent John Ashcraft and newcomers Margaret Desio and Freddie Gordon beat six other candidates vying for one of three seats on the Monroe City Council Tuesday. Mayor Bobby Kilgore, who ran unopposed, will
keep his duties for another two years. And considering that the unofficial majority is 602 and all three candidates received well over that amount of votes, it’s unlikely that the results will be appealed for a runoff election in November. “I’m happy with the results, and I’m happy with how it ended,” Ashcraft said. “I am very surprised there is no runoff since
A new option at Hospice
BY TIFFANY LANE
MONROE A house fire that left three people dead last weekend might have been avoided with a simple smoke detector, officials say. Mother and daughter Edna and Belinda Starnes, along with 4-year-old Steven Brent Merritt, died Saturday morning when their
home at 4605 Plyler Mill Road caught fire. “They had no working smoke detectors,” assistant fire marshal Zeb Mullis said. “That’s one thing that contributed to fatalities and injuries.” Three other adults were taken to Carolinas Medical Center-Union. Nicole Gastavo, Gus Gastavo, Frances Griffin and Kendall Wentz lived in the house with the
Starneses. Mullis said he cannot yet release the names of the people who were taken to CMCUnion, but confirmed that no children were hospitalized. Five juveniles under 16, including Merritt, also lived in the home. Eleven people were inside when the fire started in a kitchen trash can. “The official cause of the fire remains undeter-
mined,” Mullis said, but “it’s highly probable it’s discarded smoking material.” Although officials lack “the physical evidence to prove that it was a cigarette,” Mullis said all the adults in the house were smokers. The occupants went to bed shortly before the house filled with smoke,
See FIRE / 3A
MONROE The prosecution in the Jamez Hunter murder trial submitted what it portrayed as a clear confession to a killing. State Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Brandon Blackman testified that Jamez Dorjan Hunter, 27, formerly of 124 W. Union St. Marshville, in a May 17, 2007, interview told him, “I’m strong e n o u g h to kill my grandma, but I’m not strong Defense enough to counsel for kill my- Jamez self.” Hunter is Also, a expected to letter to The E n q u i r e r - call J o u r n a l witnesses in which today. H u n t e r asks for forgiveness for what he did, was admitted into evidence. Judge David Lee did not allow the letter on Tuesday, but permitted it after Union County jail detention officer Rachel Thompson showed a log with enough evidence for Lee to judge that Hunter wrote the letter. “I have lost the person I loved most at the hands of myself, and I felt for a while after the incident that I don’t deserve to live,” reads part of the letter, published in the letters to the editor section of the May 30, 2007, The Enquirer-Journal. Hunter is charged with first-degree murder in the
See HUNTER / 3A
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2A / Wednesday, October 7, 2009
DEATHS Catherine Blackmon
MONROE Catherine Blackmon, 87, died Tuesday (Oct. 6, 2009) at Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
Judy Blucher Little
WAXHAW Judy Little, known for her service to her church, friends and community, died after a short battle with cancer on Monday, September 28 at her home in Waxhaw, N.C. She was 71. Born on January 23rd, 1938, in Oshkosh, Wis., Mrs. Little came to Charlotte, N.C., when her father, the late Jerry Blucher was transferred there to sell doors and later Weyerhauser lumber products. Her mother was the late Jeanne Blucher. Growing up in Charlotte, Mrs. Little was proud that she was one of the first “candy stripers” at Presbyterian Hospital. She attended old Alexander Graham School and was a member of the first class to graduate from Myers Park High School. She later married the late Donald Jay Little of Charlotte. Always dedicated to service to others, Mrs. Little found a purpose for her service while attending Ascension Lutheran Church of Charlotte. She was active with the alter guild, the women’s circle, and church leadership. Mrs. Little was instrumental in helping the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system recognize dyslexia and hyperkinesis as teachable learning disabilities in children. She was the administrator the Association of Specific Learning Disabilities of N.C. and coordinated Saturday programs to help these children be successful in the mainstream school. Mrs. Little was also a former member of the Carolina Clowns, an organizer of The Heart Association fundraising Heart Balls, a former rally driver with Tarheel Auto Sports Club, a sales representative for Wrigley Gum and she always loved exploring the N.C. mountains with friends and family.
COMING EVENTS Grier Funeral Service is in charge.
MONROE Marilyn Hall Coving-
Mrs. Little was granted the honor of a lifetime membership in the Mecklenburg Hounds Hunt Club where she had been an active member since the late 1960s. She had served the club as secretary, historian, hunt whipper-in, junior hunt club advisor, horse show organizer and unofficial, but unceasing promoter. After moving to Waxhaw in the early-1980s, Mrs. Little, known for her love of Corgi and rescue dogs has also been taking care of older and injured horses by giving them care and love as they lived out their last years. Searching for a church family to call home, Mrs. Little found Amazing Grace Lutheran Church. She looked forward to each worship service, and was known for her flower arrangements in the church and prepared foods. A traditional person, Mrs. Little always wore hats to church. She had so many that she was affectionately known as “the hat lady”. Continuing the spirit of giving that Mrs. Little demonstrated in her life, she had asked that her remains be donated to Wake Forest University School of Medicine to further medical education. Mrs. Little is survived by her brother Steve and wife Phyllis; her four children Grayson Little and wife Mary K, Nevan Little and wife Lynne and Leslie Little Skinner and husband Paul of Charlotte, N.C., and Blaine Little Arnold and husband Chuck of Columbia, S.C. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Jay, Benjamin, Cameron and Carter. There will be a visitation and memorial service to celebrate the life of Mrs. Little at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, October 10 at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in Waxhaw, N.C. The family will visit with friends starting at 9 a.m. the same day. A reception will follow the service. In honor of “the hat lady,” all women (and anyone else who would like to) are requested to wear a hat (of any type!). Donations may be made in Mrs. Little’s name to the Amazing Grace Lutheran Church Building Fund, 416 W. North Main Street, Waxhaw, NC 28173, (704)-843-7411. PAID OBITUARY
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ton, 55, died Monday (Oct. 5, 2009) at home. Funeral will be 2 p.m. Thursday at Mount Calvary AME Zion Church, with burial in Hillcrest Cemetery. Born April 22, 1954, in Union County, she was a daughter of Robert and Dorothy Barrett Hall of Monroe. Survivors, in addition to her parents, include her husband, David Covington of Monroe; two sons, Patrick Sanders of Concord, Kenneth Covington of Columbia, S.C.; two daughters, Tonya Sanders of Monroe, LaToya Barrino of Matthews; two brothers, Robert Hall Jr., Johnny Hall, both of Monroe; five sisters, Sandra Barrett of Charlotte, Beverly Mumford, Crystal Sullivan, Darlene Thompson, all of Monroe, Yolanda Mason of Rockingham; 13 grandchildren; and two greatgrandchildren. Public viewing will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at Grier Funeral Service.
MONROE Mary Aleane Hinson, 76, died Sunday (Oct. 4, 2009) at the Brian Center. Funeral will be 3 p.m. today at Hillcrest Baptist Church, with burial in Lakeland Memorial Park. Born Feb. 27, 1933, in Union County, she was a daughter of the late James Palmer and Docie Brantley Rushing. Survivors include her husband, Duell Hinson of Monroe; two daughters, Wanda Medlin, Tammy Benton, both of Monroe; one son, Danny Hinson of Monroe; one brother, J.D. Rushing of Mint Hill; three sisters, Lillian Mosely of South Carolina, Pat Fowler, Kay Dean Faircloth, both of Monroe; seven grandchildren; and seven greatgrandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Brian Center, 204 Old Highway 74 East, Monroe, NC 28112. McEwen Funeral Home is in charge.
INDIAN TRAIL Elsie Lee Ragin, 74, died Saturday (Oct. 3, 2009) at Presbyterian Hospital in Matthews. Funeral will be 1 p.m. Thursday at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Indian Trail, with burial in Hillcrest Cemetery in Monroe. Born March 15, 1935, in Blythewood, S.C., she was a daughter of the late James and Sadie Green Piller. Survivors include one daughter, Renaa Covington of Indian Trail; seven grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. Public viewing will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at Grier Funeral Service. Visitation will be form noon to 1 p.m. Thursday at the church.
MONROE Sandra Sue Rogers, 58, died Monday (Oct. 5, 2009) at Carolinas Medical Center-Union. Arrangements will be announced by Good Shepherd Funeral Home of Indian Trail.
(Editor’s note: To list the event of your nonprofit civic, social or governmental organization, call 704261-2252.)
• RETIRED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ASSOCIATION, 7:30 a.m. Palace Restaurant. • MONROE-UNION BREAKFAST ROTARY, 7:30 a.m., Golden Corral. For details, call 704-5073956. • EXERCISE CLASS, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Ellen Fitzgerald Senior Center. Open to ages 55 and up. For details, call 704-282-4657. • COA UNION SENIORS PROGRAM, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Walkersville Presbyterian Church. Flu shots available. • TODDLER TIME, 9:30 a.m., Marshville Library, for children ages 12 months to 36 months. • STORY TIME, 10 a.m., 11 a.m., Waxhaw Library, for ages 3 to 5. For details, call 704-843-3131. • STORY TIME, 10 a.m., Marshville Library, for ages 3 to 5. For details, call 704-624-2828. • SENIOR FITNESS CLASS, 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., Bazemore Center, Winchester Avenue, Monroe. Free to all senior citizens. Details, 704-282-4654. • JOB SEARCH HELP, 10 a.m. to noon, Monroe Library. One-on-one assistance. Details, 704-283-8184, ext. 232. • TODDLER TIME, 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., Union West Regional Library. For ages 18 to 36 months. • BABY TIME, 11 a.m., Monroe Library. Details, 704-283-8184. • STORY TIME, 11:30 a.m., Union West Regional Library, for children ages 3 to 5. • MONROE BUSINESS ADVISORY COUNCIL, 1 p.m., Rolling Hills Country Club. For details, call 704-289-2543. • TURNING POINT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GROUP, 4 p.m. at the shelter. Details, 704-283-7233. • WHY ZORRO IS COOL, 4:30 p.m., Monroe Library. For ages 8 to 12. Details, 704-283-8184. • MICROSOFT WORD I/EXCEL I CLASS, 5:30 p.m., Edwards Library, Marshville. Free. Registration required; call 704624-2828. • RABIES CLINIC, 6 p.m., Union County Animal Shelter, 3340 Presson Road. Cost, $7. • ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Low Bottom group, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., old Belk building, 200 Stewart St., Monroe. Details, 704-332-4387; 704377-0244. • ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Sunset group, 6 p.m., 1010 McManus St., Monroe. Details, 704-219-6245. • CLASSIC CRUISERS, 7 p.m., Poplin Place shopping center, West Roosevelt Boulevard, Monroe. For information, contact Jim Collura at 704-289-6208 or classiccruisers@hotmail. com. • BINGO, 7:30 p.m., Vietnam Veterans Association Post No. 14, 620 Roosevelt Blvd., $2,500 program. Doors open at 5 p.m. For details, call 704-283-6165. • NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friendship Missionary Baptist Church administrative building, 501 Burke St. Details, 704-821-4256, 704-763-0784.
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• UNION WEST ROTARY, 7:30 a.m., civic building behind Indian Trail Town Hall. For details, call Sean Helms, 704-849-9332. • WAXHAW-WEDDINGTON SUNRISE ROTARY CLUB, 7:30 a.m., Rippington’s Restaurant, 109 W. South Main St., Waxhaw. Details, Jerry Simpson, 704-363-2173. • BASIC INTERNET CLASS, 10 a.m., Union West Library. Free. Registration required; call 704821-7475. • BABY TIME, 10:30 a.m., Union West Library. Details, 704-821-7475. • KIWANIS CLUB OF MONROE, noon to 1 p.m., Rolling Hills Country Club. For details, call Fran Dandridge at 704-289-9429. • SENIOR CITIZENS CANASTA, 12:30 p.m. , Ellen Fitzgerald Center. For information, call Ellen Fitzgerald Senior Center at 704-282-4657. • MICROSOFT WORD BASICS CLASS, 3 p.m., Waxhaw Library. Free. Registration required; call 704-843-3131. • HOMEWORK HELP NIGHT, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monroe Library. For grades one through eight. Details, Kim, 704-283-8184, ext. 238. • THURSDAY TALES, 5 p.m., Monroe Library. For ages 5 and up and their caregivers. Details, 704-283-8184. • UNION COUNTY CRIMINAL JUSTICE PARTNERSHIP BOARD, 5:30 p.m., Department of Social Services Auditorium, 1212 W. Roosevelt Blvd. • PILOT CLUB OF MONROE, executive board meeting, 6 p.m., David Tucker Construction. • ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Low Bottom group, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., old Belk building, 200 Stewart St., Monroe. Details, 704-332-4387; 704377-0244. • TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), 6 p.m. weigh-in, 6:20 meeting, Love Baptist Church, 707 Deese Road, Monroe. Details, 704-225-1720. • WAXHAW TOPS #613 (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Waxhaw Bible Church, 6810 Pleasant Grove Road. For details, call 704-8435518 or 704-254-3880. • ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Sunset group, 6 p.m., 1010 McManus St., Monroe. Details, 704-219-6245. • ECLECTIC NONFICTION BOOK CLUB, 6 p.m., Edwards Library, Marshville. Topic, “Generation Kill” by Evan Wright. Details, 704-6242828. • UNION COUNTY CRUISERS, 6:30 p.m., Monroe Mall, next to Pizza Hut. Custom and classic cars. Details, 704-238-1600. • SENIOR DANCE, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., Ellen Fitzgerald Center, Line dancing and ballroom dancing. Details, 704-282-4657. • BINGO, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Indian Trail VFW, 100 VFW Lane, Indian Trail; $500 jackpot. For details, call 704-821-9753. • PARENTS WITH LD/ ADD SUPPORT GROUP, 7 p.m., First Presbyterian, 302 Windsor St. Details, Carol Murray, 704-283-4740. • WEDDINGTON OPTIMIST CLUB, 7 p.m., Weddington Optimist Park, state Route 84. For details, call Aubrey Moore, 704-283-1805 or Ron Stamey, 704-846-1754. • BOY SCOUT TROOP 98, 7 p.m., Hemby Bridge Church, 6010 Mill Grove Road. For details, call 704882-3482. • AUTISM SOCIETY OF NORTH CAROLINA, Union County chapter family support meeting, 7 p.m., Walter Bickett Education Center, 501 Lancaster Ave., Monroe. Details, 704-724-0855.
• MARSHVILLE RESEARCH CLUB, 7 p.m., First Baptist Church library, Marshville. Details, 704-624-5289. • AMERICAN LEGION POST NO. 27, 7:30 p.m., Sutherland Avenue post. • COCAINE ANONYMOUS meeting, 7:30 p.m., at the Friendship Home, 2111 Stafford St. Ext., Monroe. • AL-ANON, 8 p.m., First Step Recovery Center, 1623 Sunset Drive, Monroe. Details, 704-2830944, 704-764-7651.
• EXERCISE CLASS, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Ellen Fitzgerald Senior Center. Open to ages 55 and up. For details, call 704-282-2657. • MOMS CLUB INDIAN TRAIL AREA, 9:30 a.m., Indian Trail Presbyterian Church. Details, Kristen, momsclubita@ yahoo.com or Kelly, 704846-6737. • SENIOR FITNESS CLASS, 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., Bazemore Center, Winchester Avenue, Monroe. Free to all senior citizens. Details, 704-282-4654. • MORNING BOOK CLUB, 10 a.m., Union West Library. Topic, “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Details, 704-821-7475. • BABY TIME, 10:30 a.m., Edwards Library, Marshville. Details, 704624-2828. • TURNING POINT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GROUP, 4 p.m. at the shelter. Details, 704-283-7233. • MONROE CRUISEIN, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., downtown Monroe. Details, 704292-1705; www.monroenc. org. • ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Low Bottom group, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., old Belk building, 200 Stewart St., Monroe. Details, 704-332-4387; 704377-0244. • ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Sunset group, 6 p.m., 1010 McManus St., Monroe. Details, 704-219-6245.
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LOCAL BRIEFS Union Seniors to have flu clinics
MONROE The Council on Aging’s Union Seniors will have flu-shot clinics from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the following dates and sites: • Today, Walkersville Presbyterian Church • Tuesday, Langford Chapel, 113 Johnson St., Monroe • Oct. 26, Indian Trail United Methodist Church • Oct. 27, Emmanuel Baptist Church and Wingate United Methodist Church Bring a Medicare or Medicaid card for payment. Those who have a Medicare Advantage Plan will need to pay $30 at time of service.
SPCC offering renewal courses
MONROE South Piedmont Community College has scheduled several popular continuing education license renewal and initial licensing courses for the coming months. Renewal courses meet requirements for licensed professionals to renew their license and continue offering services in North Carolina. Both a plumbing continuing education course and a heating, fire sprinkler and mechanical (HVAC) continuing education course will be held on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Lockhart-Taylor Center, 514 N. Washington St. in Wadesboro. The wastewater operator renewal course is scheduled for Thursday and the independent auto dealer renewal for Tuesday. Both courses will meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lockhart-Taylor Center. A course to become licensed as an independent “pre-owned” auto dealer will be offered Nov. 16-17. The Wastewater Operator I & II licensing courses will begin in February. Registration and payment of fees is required before the first class meeting. Students should bring official code books to class. Students may register in person at eitehr campus, or telephone 704-272-5456 to register with a credit card.
IT intersection to be improved
INDIAN TRAIL The N.C. Department of Transportation will begin improvements at the intersection of Unionville-Indian Trail Road (State Road 1367) and Faith Church Road (S.R. 1518) beginning Monday, weather permitting. The NCDOT awarded the $400,000 project to Boggs Paving of Monroe on Sept. 4, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Improvements include resurfacing, grading, paving and pavement markings on 1.3 miles of UnionvilleIndian Trail Road from east of Younts Road (S.R. 1519) to west of Sardis Church Road (S.R. 1515). Turn lanes to Faith Church Road will be added on Unionville-Indian Trail Road, and a new signal will be installed at the intersection. The targeted completion date is Dec. 11. For more information, call 704-289-1330.
Election Continued from 1A
elected.If no one gets a majority, the top six vote getters could be entered into a runoff. Candidates Rick Alexander, Ashcraft, Joe Clough, Desio and Bengie Mullis all watched the returns from the Griffin Room at the Union County Public Library. Gordon is on vacation but Desio called him soon after the results were announced. Clough said he learned a lot during the campaign and was happy just to get some votes. “I think I will run again someday,” he said. “This was just getting my feet wet.”
But despite the celebration that filled the room after all 15 precincts were reported, many candidates and their workers expressed disappointment at 8.57 percent voter turnout. Alluding to soldiers fighting overseas, Desio campaign worker Libby Morrison said, “It’s a shame that we have this freedom and people don’t get out and vote.”
he said; “the fire smoldered for about an hour before it went to open flame.” If it wasn’t for one occupant who was sleeping on the couch and smelled the smoke, everyone might have died, he said. The occupant helped others get out of the house. The house had no
May 6, 2007, death of his grandmother, Rosia Lee Hunter, who was found stabbed to death and with a golf-club handle protruding from her neck. Blackman testified that sometime between May 6, 2007, and May 17, 2007, Jamez Hunter drove his grandmother’s 1996 teal Pontiac Grand Prix, license plate VTM-3516, to Lancaster, S.C., where he was taken into custody by police. Witnesses in Lancaster saw Jamez Hunter get out of the car, Blackman testified. SBI agents Blackman and Christie Hearne interviewed Hunter at the police station and took a 10-page statement from him, during which Black-
2009 Monroe Election Results
I think the three of us will be able to work well as a team with the rest of the council. — Monroe Councilman John Ashcraft
Fire Continued from 1A
Hunter Continued from 1A
Wednesday, October 7, 2009 / 3A
Union County Board of Elections director John Whitley said it is the lowest voter turnout since 2005, which had about a 17 percent turnout. Still, there was plenty of reason to celebrate Tuesday. “I think the three of us will be able to work well as a team with the rest of the council,” Ashcraft said.
Until everyone installs (a smoke detector) in their home, it’s bound to happen again. — Assistant Fire Marshal Zeb Mullis
Mayor Bobby Kilgore Write-in
Total votes 1,138 31
Percent 97.35 2.65
Monroe City Council John Ashcraft Jr. Margaret Desio Freddie Gordon
Total votes 755 697 686
Percent 20.7 19.11 18.81
417 372 303 188 111 74 40 4
11.43 10.2 8.31 5.15 3.04 2.03 1.1 .11
Surluta Anthony Bonnie Rushing Bob Curry Rick Alexander Bengie Mullis Joe Clough Lee Little Write-in Total
Source: Union County Board of Elections (unofficial results)
He recommends that owners install them as soon as possible. Some smoke detectors cost less than $10, many less than $20. “It’s the cheapest insurance you can buy,” assistant fire marshal Wyatte McBride said. Mullis recommends checking smoke detectors twice a year, suggesting New Year’s Day and July 4 or the beginning and end of daylight saving time to make it easy
to remember. Fresh batteries should be kept in the detectors, he added. Not much was left from the Monroe home, Mullis said, calling it “a total loss.” “I hope it never happens again,” he said, “but I’m sure it will. Somewhere it will. Until everyone installs (a smoke detector) in their home, it’s bound to happen again.” — Tiffany Lane can be reached at 704-261-2229.
smoke detectors, Mullis said, as is often the case in older homes. Records show that the house was built in 1951. Homes were not required to have
smoke detectors until June 1999. Many other old homes in the county are also without smoke detectors, Mullis said.
man said Hunter cried. After the interview, Hunter was charged with the murder. During the interview, Blackman testified that Hunter said that he blacked out from crack cocaine in the evening of May 6, 2007. When he regained consciousness, he told them, he saw his grandmother dead. Hunter told Blackman details about what he did after coming to, like trying to clean the blood off the walls and floor. “He was very specific of the events leading up to (the killing) and he was very specific about the events after (the killing),” Blackman testified. Defense attorney Norman Butler argued that Hunter was under the influence of cocaine during the interview; Hunter
had smoked crack co- to a struggle and told Lee, Hunter said it and also caine at about 1 p.m. that “I hate to be surprised on that any reference to a struggle between Hunter afternoon and the inter- the battlefield.” District Attorney John and his grandmother view started just before midnight. Blackman said Snyder countered that, be stricken as well. Lee that based on his train- “Mr. Butler feigned sur- agreed and instructed ing and experience with prise at the most conve- the jury to not consider others who were under nient point,” and said the that testimony. Snyder brought blood the influence of drugs, he reference to a struggle and fingerprint experts was confident that Hunt- should be admitted. Butler made a motion to the witness stand er was lucid during the afternoon interview. Furthermore, to strike any reference to Wednesday he said, Hunter remem- the broken nose because and plans to rest his case bered a time in the late there was no evidence late Thursday morning. 1990s when Blackman broke his nose in a basketball game that Hunter attended. Both Blackman and Hunter played basNeed a New Roof? ketball for Union County We offer free estimates! schools. WaynCo Roofing Company Blackman also testified that Hunter told him that 40 + years of experience cuts on his hands and Locally owned and operated by Wayne Cooke chest were from a strugwww.wayncoroofing.com gle with his grandmother. Butler said Blackman’s 704-814-9566 NC licensed & insured testimony was the first he heard of an admission 1300 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd., Matthews, NC 28105
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4A Wednesday, October 7, 2009
“How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.”
Editor: Stan Hojnacki / email@example.com
Since 1873, a heritage of commitment and involvement
Publisher: Marvin Enderle Managing Editor: Stan Hojnacki News Editor: Jim Muldrow City Editor: Betsy O’Donovan
A CAROLINA VIEW
Tight budgets will be the rule North Carolina’s final spending numbers for the last fiscal year are in, and they do not bode well for state programs in the future. The recession forced a real reduction in state spending, not just a statistically manipulated one, according to figures released by the N.C. Office of State Controller. The state spent $724 million less last year than it spent in the previous year. Spending amounted to $1.7 billion less than the actual state budget for the year. Across the state, many services have been cut. Schools, the university system, mental-health facilities and even law-enforcement agencies have been told to do their best with fewer resources. With many economists predicting only a mild economic recovery in the near future, two figures in the controller’s final numbers are bothersome. Gov. Bev Perdue and the General Assembly managed to plug much the huge budget shortfall with what is known as “non-recurring money.” This is the equivalent of a family using its savings or going to a generous uncle for a one-time cash gift. In January, Perdue faced a $3.2 billion shortfall as she looked ahead to this fiscal year’s budget. (Fiscal years begin on July 1.) She closed half of that shortfall from two sources: state reserves and federal stimulus money. She took $802 million from state reserves and trusts, and another $680 million from Uncle Sam. Here’s the problem: The reserves are now dangerously depleted, and the federal government will not continue providing the stimulus money indefinitely. Considering the size of the federal deficit, it is likely that federal aid will quickly recede. The recession hit state-tax collections especially hard. Of the approximate $11 billion in revenue from personal income taxes expected last year, $2 billion never materialized. And sales-tax receipts declined by $304 million from an anticipated $5 billion-plus. Almost 30 years ago, former House Speaker Liston Ramsey expressed his concern that North Carolina was becoming too dependent on personal-income-tax collections. They now comprise almost 58 percent of annual state-tax revenue. The sales tax comprises another 27 percent. State leaders have steadfastly refused to reform the tax system in ways that would reduce that concentrated dependence. Jobs for middle-class workers are expected to rebound slowly, a dire sign for growth, in the near future, of both personal income taxes and sales-tax collections in this state. North Carolinians, therefore, should plan on tight state budgets and reduced services for at least the next several years. Winston-Salem Journal
YOUR VIEW No law supports the county’s position Unnamed county government workers told Pinky Marsh to expect legal documents. Marsh received 22 pages by certified mail on Thursday October 1, 2009. After review of the document, it became apparent that this was not a citation since no law was broken, just an effort to manipulate a judge into issuing an injunction against the Marsh farm. Union County can’t construct a new law to fit this situation enabling them to issue a citation since he would be protected under the “grandfather clause” due to preexisting facts. The county attorneys will not jeopardize their financial well being by writing a citation with no law to back their actions. This is how the Marsh situation evolved: Marsh in an attempt to comply with county rules went to Lee Jenson (Land Use Administrator.) Jenson told Marsh that his situation fell under an agriculture heading in which the county had no authority. Marsh expected this to be true since this is Jenson’s area of expertise. The information sent to Marsh, which is listed on the filed document “Verified Complaint and Motion for a Preliminary and Permanent Injunction,” filed in the Union County Clerk of Superior Court office on September 30, 2009. Quote: 5. In the fall of 2006, Marsh went to Lee Jenson, the Land Use Administrator for Union County, and described his idea to operate a “saddle club” and “rodeo” on his land located in Union County. Marsh inquired whether there were any regulations governing the use of his property and whether Marsh
needed to obtain any permits. 6. Based on the terms of the Union County Land Use Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) and its Table of Uses, Jenson determined that a Special Use Permit (“SUP”) for special events would be required and informed Marsh of his decision in the fall of 2006. Marsh did not appeal Jenson’s determination that a SUP would be required. 7. On January 30, 2007, Marsh filed an Application for a SUP (“Application”) with Union County. The Application stated that the affected property was located at “1625 Landsford Rd., Marshville, NC 28103” and that the nature of the request was a “Saddle Club/Rodeo and horse events; train horses & kids in the events of rodeos; trail riding.” 8. The application did not mention the bona fide farm exemption to a County’s zoning authority pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 153A-340, and did not contend that a SUP should not be required because the use for a bona fide farm purpose. This is totally different from facts stated by Jenson in the beginning that Marsh’s situation fell under agriculture and the county had no governing control over agricultural property. Note that either Jenson provided the attorneys with an untrue statement; or conveniently forgot to mention the facts that he told Marsh in the beginning. The law is written in statute form and is the responsibility of Union County’s governing body and their attorneys to interpret the laws meaning and application. It is not the responsibility of a Union County citizen to know these laws. However, in Section 8 they state that Marsh never mentioned in his application he was using a bona fide farm definition as an exemption from county gov-
erning authority. Total responsibility of defining law and how it applies is up to county governing authority through guidance of their attorneys. The citizen’s responsibility is to ask county government for their help and guidance, then depend on what they are instructed to be truthful and according to law. In section 38 of the document is another interesting statement. Quote: 38. Marsh’s refusal to comply with the Ordinance exposes Union County to immediate and irreparable harm that cannot be resolved adequately by law. Moreover, Union County is entitled to enforce its Ordinance, as a matter of law, by injunctive relief in order to preserve the health, safety, and welfare of all Union County residents, which outweighs whatever damage, if any, the injunction would cause Marsh. Had Union County been worried about irreparable harm, this issue would have been long resolved. Possibly they feel if this goes into a court of law and testimonies are made under oath, information revealed would damage political careers and cause job losses. Reid Phifer Marshville
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Sausage was a heck of a dog; he practically raised me
he Old Man’s mom and dad, Granny and D.D. we called them, were quite found of dachs-
hunds. Their first one was a black and tan male they appropriately named Sausage. A car killed him the day I was born so I never met him. By this time though Granny and D.D. were so found of dachshunds they immediately bought another one that looked just like him and named him Sausage too. Him I did know. That second Sausage was a heck of a dog who practically raised me. The fact that I thought I was a dog myself until I was almost 4 years old helped me bond with him on a dog to dog level. We’d sit on the davenport in Granny’s den for hours peeping out my Granny’s back window barking at people and cars as they went down the street. Then if were good Granny would give us one of the red hot dogs she used for our special dog treat- mostly for Sausage’s because I myself preferred the green dog biscuits that came of
Bill Melton Good Ol’ Boy
the Milk Bone box. Afterward we’d both curl in Sausage’s dog bed and take a nap. Sausage did have one tick though. He didn’t like anybody staring at him in the eye. And if you didn’t he’d go from happily wagging his tail to exploding like a stick of dynamite. D.D. being the great aggravator he was used this to his advantage. And you could bet that anytime Sausage was sitting next to you, D.D. would stare at him until he exploded. Which could invariably cause children at certain ages in their development to soil their britches. For a few years he had a red male dachshund buddy named
Honey that D.D. won in a poker game. The only tick he had was owing to the fact he was blind in one eye if you patted him on that side of his head he’d do his best to try and bite your hand off. Other than that he was a pretty good dog too. I just didn’t know him as well as Sausage. Honey and Saus were such good dogs they never got in trouble and were so well trained they knew that anytime D.D. reached for his trademark black Dobb’s he kept on top of the china cabinet they went crazy. They knew that meant D.D. was either going out in the yard or off somewhere in his car. Either way they were going. Honey went to that Big Wicker Dog Bed in the Sky when I was only 3 or 4 years old. Sausage lived to a ripe old age but in his declining years he had difficulty negotiating the front stomp at Granny and D.D.’s house. That’s where they’d chain him to let him outside. Those steps got a might hard to climb after a while, especially when his fat belly started dragging so low it dragged the
“ ... if you patted him on that side of his head he’d do his best to try and bite your hand off. Other than that he was a pretty good dog too.”
ground and bumped on those steps going and coming. So my daddy built him a carpet covered ramp that Granny’d use to wheel barrel him up when he was ready to come inside. I miss those two dogs. Especially Sausage. So much so that a couple weeks back we decided to buy us a black and tan Dachshund too. So we got the Sunday want ads and found a litter for
sale in Rock Hill, SC. I contacted the breeder, loaded everybody in the Jeep, and we took off down there to buy one. The plan was to buy a black and tan female. But when we got there and met the dogs we couldn’t make up our mind, which one we liked best. A red male or the female. I said, “Let’s just buy ‘em both”. To which the lady selling them added, “I’ll give you a discount on the second one if you do.” “Sold!!” said I and the rest is Melton family dog history in a déjà vu fashion. Now we’re the proud owners of a black and tan female named Annabelle, Bella for short, and a red male, Oscar, our very own Weiner Dog.” Bella is wide open. Oscar likes to curl up under something and take a tap. He and I will get along just fine. • William S. Melton Jr. is a Southern humorist, an author and a good ol’ boy. Visit him at www.wsmelton.com
Wednesday, October 7, 2009 / 5A
Indian Trail candidates skewer mayor Aspiring council members unite over need for accord; divide over law enforcement BY JASON deBRUYN
INDIAN TRAIL Candidates voiced their stance on issues and most took a shot at the current mayor during a League of Women Voters-sponsored forum in Indian Trail Tuesday night. â€œIf I conducted myself like that, my mother would have jerked my tail in a minute,â€? council candidate Robert Allen said of sitting Mayor John Quinn. Other candidates agreed that bickering and infighting between council members, the mayor and staff needs to be curtailed. The main topic of conversation surround the need to start a police department versus con-
Hospice Continued from 1A might have both cancer and diabetes. Before the new building was built, that patient would live in a hospice house but be transferred to a hospital if there was a diabetic emergency. A constant change of rooms, facilities and medical staff is â€œa whole lot of stress that a family at that time just doesnâ€™t need,â€? she said, and â€œthe opposite of Hospice philosophy.â€? By that stage, â€œpeople are ready for some peace and some comfort.â€?
tinuing contracting with the Sheriff â€™s Office. Most members mentioned it in their opening remarks and the majority of resident questions dealt with an aspect of policing the town. Beyond that candidates expressed varying reasons why they would make Indian Trail a better place to live.
On making Indian Trail better: â€œItâ€™s not good to have four members of the council from the same neighborhood (Brandon Oaks)â€? On police: â€œI do think we should keep our contract with the Sheriff â€™s Office. It will increase your taxes if we
The cost for residential patients is $155 per day. Inpatient costs vary by need. Collins said the average stay is about two months. â€œSometimes people need to get stabilized on their medications,â€? she said. â€œSometimes thereâ€™s not enough people at home to care for them, ... or the family is out of state. ... Sometimes patients are alone.â€? Hospice patients have a variety of diseases or terminal illnesses, including cancer, Alzheimerâ€™s, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, AIDS, congestive heart failure and liver failure.
go with our own police department.â€?
On making Indian Trail better: Improve existing roads, but â€œdonâ€™t take over state roads,â€? as that would put too much of a burden on the taxpayers of Indian Trail. On police: It would actually be more cost effective to have a police department. â€œI just canâ€™t see where we are getting the bang for our buck,â€? from the Sheriff.
On making Indian Trail better: Also wanted to prevent Brandon Oaks from be-
The new facility brings the total number of hospice rooms to 26. Hospice currently has 14 patients on its campus, but cares for 45 total, many in nursing homes, their own homes or a family memberâ€™s home. Each patient receives his or her own room and receives three homecooked meals a day. Two certified nursing assistants and one licensed practical nurse are on staff in each house and ready to offer their services, even if it is to help brush a patientâ€™s teeth. A doctor will be on hand each day to make rounds to the inpatient rooms.
coming too powerful and would work toward road improvements. On police â€œI fully and completely support the Union County Sheriff â€™s Office.â€?
On making Indian Trail better â€œIâ€™m concerned with what is going on with our property values,â€? saying that there needs to be a â€œbeautification that spreads all the way through town.â€? On police Did not advocate a police department but was not overly supportive of the Sheriff. â€œI can see flaws in the (University of North Carolina at Charlotte policing) study. ... The math just does not
â€œThis is something that Union County has needed for so long,â€? Tyson said. â€œItâ€™s a new dimension in health care.â€? Like the other two buildings, the third addition gives each patient his or her own room. Unlike the other two, each room in the new one has a wall of glass to let more light in. â€œItâ€™s just a bright, cheerful place,â€? Tyson said. The rooms also include adjoining family rooms for family members to congregate and avoid disrupting others. â€œTo be able to be together as a family when that time comes, I think, has a very reassuring aspect to it,â€?
On making Indian Trail better â€œIâ€™m a visionary. I envision Indian Trail with a robust economy not dependent on Charlotte. ... We need ordinances that are more business friendly.â€? On police Supports the Sheriff, but should â€œdo the right study and base it on the right data.â€?
On making Indian Trail better People moved to Indian Trail because it has affordable housing and low taxes and the council should make sure it stays
she added. If families do want to mingle, two sunrooms offer that opportunity. Sometimes it helps to talk to others in the same situation, Tyson said. Collins has had her own share of family deaths, starting at the age of 5. She missed 40 days of school between first and fourth grades to attend funerals, including one for her third-grade cousin who was her age. â€œIâ€™ve had a whole lifetime of those experiences,â€? she said, and the same goes for many of the staff members. â€œHospice workers are not hired, they are called.â€?
that way. On police â€œI donâ€™t support a police department. We simply canâ€™t afford it. ... Itâ€™s a very accurate study, and remember, if Sheriff (Eddie) Cathey doesnâ€™t do his job, we can vote him out. We canâ€™t do that with a police department.â€?
On making Indian Trail better â€œWe need to improve transportation,â€? especially on main thoroughfares. On police â€œEstablishing our own police department will have an extremely high start-up cost and I donâ€™t know how we can do that. ... We have a good contract with the Sheriff â€™s Office.â€?
The third building, built in a year, came to $4.3 million, including costs to refit the first two houses to get up to par with the third. Those changes will be made over the next couple of months. Much of the building was paid for through grants and donations, although Collins pointed out that donated time, labor and materials were just as important. Open house will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 700 W. Roosevelt Blvd in Monroe. Staff will be on hand to give a tour and answer questions. For more information, call Hospice at 704-292-2100.
BREAKFAST AT FAIRVIEW