NEWS ROUNDUP: Agents seize 926 gallons of moonshine

Article Published: Oct. 19, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Agents seize 926 gallons of moonshine
Agents of the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement seized 926 gallons of non-tax paid liquor, commonly known as moonshine, Wednesday.

ALE agent Bobby Crumpler said the bust was the culmination of a two-month operation including surveillance involving the N.C. Highway Patrol and the Wilkes County Sheriff's Office.

The officers executed a search warrant on a residence at 1117 Shew Ridge Mission Road in Wilkesboro Wednesday. Large amounts of sugar, 926 gallons of non-tax liquor and other equipment were seized. A distillery was not located on the property.

The resident, Roger Lee Nance, 63, was issued citations for possession of non-tax liquor, possession of non-tax liquor for the purpose of selling, and possession of equipment and ingredients intended for the use of manufacturing of an alcoholic beverage. The charges are misdemeanors.

Crumpler said, if found guilty, Nance could be liable to pay taxes on the seized liquor to the N.C. Department of Revenue.

"Purchasing non-tax paid liquor is like playing Russian roulette," Crumpler said.

"You don't know under what conditions it has been made. I have seen truck radiators used in the distilling process."

The safety risks for homemake liquor consumption include lead content from the equipment used in the manufacturing process, and bacteria growth in the ingredients.

"Most illegal distillery operations are out in the woods or outbuildings, without regulation. It is a health issue," Crumpler said.

- Melanie Marshall

New homes starts up
September saw an increase in single-family home permits, part of an overall growth trend dating back to the early part of the year, though construction is still lagging 2008 rates.

Last month, the Watauga County Planning & Inspections Department issued 72 permits, including 17 for single-family detached homes. In August, only five new home permits were issued.

The average estimated value of the new homes was $280,000, a little lower than last year's average of $293,000. Overall construction value, including two modular homes and remodeling jobs, was $6.1 million, down about a third from the $9 million worth of permits issued in September 2008.

Planning director Joe Furman said while building has gradually picked up since spring, it's hard to predict longer-term trends. "The builders I've talked to are getting some work," he said. "Others haven't had much. It's obviously down, and new development is virtually non-existent."

Last year, 217 new home permits were issued in Watauga County, an average of 19 per month.
- Scott Nicholson

Two Watauga stores robbed
A Mountain City man is in custody following two convenience-store robberies Monday afternoon.

The B & B Mini Mart in Zionville and the Citgo station on Blowing Rock Road, near Applebee's Neighborhood Grill, fell victim to armed robbery.

Police say a man used a rifle and robbed both the Zionville store followed by the Boone store around 5 p.m. Following the Boone robbery, Watauga County Sheriff deputies saw the vehicle on Wilson Ridge Road and when they attempted to stop it, the driver refused.

Deputies and Boone Police officers chased the suspect until the pursuit ended on Charlie Hollar Road.

The man fled his vehicle on foot with a rifle and crossed the New River headed towards Bamboo Road, where he ran directly into a perimeter of officers that had been set up previously. After a brief struggle, the suspect, later identified as Matthew David Tester, 19 of Mountain City, was taken into custody.

Before being booked, Tester was taken to Watauga Medical Center where he was treated and released for minor injuries.

An unidentified Boone Police officer was also treated and released for minor injuries.

Tester was charged with two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault by pointing a gun, fleeing to elude arrest with a motor vehicle, failure to heed blue lights and siren, aggressive driving, failure to stop at a stop sign, left of center, no operator's license, speeding, failure to stop for a stop light, resist a public officer.

Tester was taken before a Watauga County magistrate where bail was set at $100,000 with a Nov. 5 court date.
- Melanie Marshall

Boone recognized for financial reporting

A certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting has been awarded to the town of Boone by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

The recognition was for the town's comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).

The certificate of achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management, a spokesperson for GFOA said.

An Award of Financial Reporting Achievement has been awarded to the town's finance department as primarily responsible for preparing the award-winning CAFR.

The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, including demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR, the spokesperson said.

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago, Ill., and Washington, D.C.

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