In the News - Sept. 15

Article Published: Sep. 15, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 15, 2011

Labor Day Booze It & Lose It nets 2,957 arrests

N.C. Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti has announced that state and local law enforcement officers cited 2,957 motorists for driving while impaired during the “Booze It & Lose It” Labor Day campaign, which ran Aug. 19-Sept. 5.

A total of 96,827 traffic and criminal citations were issued statewide.

“It is important to educate motorists about the dangers of drinking and driving,” Conti said. “The Governor’s Highway Safety Program, along with state and local law enforcement officers, worked hard during this Labor Day to remove drunk drivers from our great state’s highways. Removing violators makes our roadways safer, and safety is our top priority.”

During the Governor’s Highway Safety Program campaign, officers statewide conducted 8,081 sobriety checkpoints and dedicated patrols.

Counties with the highest number of DWI citations were Mecklenburg (217), Wake (203), New Hanover (133) and Guilford (113).

Officers also issued 6,774 safety belt and 1,180 child passenger safety violations, 28,242 speeding violations and 2,182 drug charges.

In addition, they apprehended 1,353 fugitives from justice and recovered 139 stolen vehicles.
For more information regarding county-by-county citation totals or other “Booze It & Lose It” activities, visit the GHSP website.

Bentley named Principal of the Year

Randy Bentley of Bethel Elementary was named Watauga County Principal of the Year in a surprise announcement Monday.

He was approached at 8:30 a.m. at the school by Watauga County Schools superintendent Marty Hemric and other WCS administrators and presented with a framed award, balloons and gift certificate in front of a crowd of students.

Bentley has led the school for five years and has previous experience as an assistant principal and teacher.

This is the latest of several accolades for the school, where teacher Darcy Grimes was named 2010-11 Watauga County Teacher of the Year in May.

Bentley takes the title from Watauga High School Principal Michael Wyant.

ASU Solar Homestead capital-bound

After about two years of planning, building and showcasing the Solar Homestead, Appalachian State University students and faculty have taken their carefully prepared structure on the road.

The crew prepared the innovative house for departure last Thursday, separating it into pieces and shrink-wrapping the building to transport it on several tractor-trailers.

Because the oversized parts may only travel in daylight, the team took a couple of days to move those before setting up on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park.

There they will compete against 18 other teams from across the globe in contests designed to test the efficiency and design of their solar-powered creations. The houses will be open to the public Sept. 23 through Oct. 2, and winners will be named Oct. 1.

The project has enjoyed tremendous support from the community, but it still needs your help by voting online for the People’s Choice Award.

Voting information will be available at during the 10 days of competition.Visit for more photos of the departure preparation.

Fall Litter Sweep Sept. 17-Oct. 1

The N.C. Department of Transportation is urging North Carolinians to turn their attention to local roadways with a two-week long litter-prevention celebration.

Litter Sweep is scheduled for Sept. 17 to Oct. 1 and encourages volunteers to clean up North Carolina roadsides, working toward a litter-free state. Volunteers were essential to the 2011 spring Litter Sweep, responsible for removing more than 1.6 million pounds of roadside litter.

“Volunteers provide a critical service by donating their time to make North Carolina a more beautiful place for everyone, and NCDOT commends them for the essential role they play in cleaning up our roadsides,” transportation secretary Gene Conti said.

Litter Sweep volunteers will be joined by NCDOT maintenance crews, Adopt-A-Highway groups, N.C. Department of Correction inmate crews and community service workers during fall Litter Sweep.
Additionally, the N.C. State Highway Patrol will be on alert and policing the roadways for motorists with unsecured loads and others that intentionally and unintentionally litter.

The town of Boone joins the Sept. 17 kickoff with its Cleanup Day on Saturday. Interested parties should report to Boone Public Works, located at 321 E. King St., to collect cleaning supplies, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. For more information, call (828) 268-6230.

Town revisits noise ordinance

A special meeting Thursday night has one agenda item: Boone’s new noise ordinance. It’s a measure detractors fear will kill live music in Boone by penalizing venues with “unreasonable” volumes of noise.

At the last Boone Town Council meeting, more than 100 members of Boone’s downtown music scene came to speak out against the measure. This Thursday, those same business owners have the opportunity to work with the town council to amend the ordinance at a work session.

The new measure has been interpreted differently by both the town attorney and the police department and has been a subject of frequent confusion for venue owners since it was enacted in July.

The latest interpretation, given by town attorney Sam Furgiuele at the August town council meeting, was that town-issued permits could protect venues from being fined for noise ordinance violations, but that they were not required.

“You don’t actually have to have a permit to have live music,” Furgiuele said. “They can still have live music, they just can’t have it outdoors after 10 at night… They’re treated the same way as if they were your next-door neighbor.”

The way the ordinance is currently drafted, businesses are allowed to have music indoors and outdoors until 10 p.m. With a permit, businesses can play outdoor music until 11 p.m. and indoor music until 2 a.m. Businesses without permits do not get warnings before being fined, Furgiuele confirmed. Businesses with permits are given an opportunity to correct the problem. Continued violations result in fines and can mean revocation of the permit. Violations are at an officer’s discretion, and no decibel limits are set.

Community members took issue with the idea that one bothered neighbor could cause a show with more than a hundred paying ticket holders to be shut down.

“A very small minority get to rule disproportionately over a lot of people,” Boone Saloon owner Skip Sinanian said last month.

Boone Saloon received 16 such complaints and was fined through the new ordinance.
The town later dismissed the fines and instituted a grace period on business district noise ordinance complaints until business owners could meet with the town council to further work out details of the ordinance.

That promised work session on amendments to the ordinance takes place Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Boone Town Council chambers, located at 1500 Blowing Rock Road.

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