DBDA gets contract extension
The Boone Town Council extended the Downtown Boone Development Association's (DBDA) interim contract, two months after the council voted to cancel a longstanding agreement with the DBDA.
The council extended a contract proposal through the end of the calendar year, continuing an agreement to oversee downtown funds that expired July 1.
Town attorney Sam Furgiuele said the contract was based on standard contracts with other outside agencies funded by the town. Council member Lynne Mason said she was aware problems existed between the DBDA and the town and said in the past year she had seen progress on addressing concerns.
She said the council had been complacent in addressing the DBDA and said the contract helped her see things the council should work for.
Mason added the DBDA had been serving the Main Street program since 1993 and had kept a positive attitude while the council considered how to handle its downtown administration.
She said she was encouraged by business owners expressing their support for the DBDA last month.
Property owners in the downtown district are subject to an additional tax that totals more than $100,000 total per year and is used for spending and improvements in the designated district.
Mason said a window of only six months would leave the council rushing to find a replacement program.
Doctors suspended by state board
The North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) has taken action against two area physicians, indefinitely suspending one medical license and issuing a six-month suspension against a second.
Dr. Juan Carlos DeVirgiilis and Dr. Benjamin Bradley Fann, both of Total Health Integrated Services (T.H.I.S.), were before the board in June to face allegations regarding the issuance of prescriptions considered controlled substances, such as a variety of pain medications.
Physicians and nurse practitioners are authorized through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to prescribe schedule II, III and IV controlled substances.
According to documents filed with the NCMB, DeVirgiilis lost his DEA authorization to prescribe schedule II and III in 2005, and authority to prescribe schedule IV in 2008 in separate DEA actions.
The current action, during which DeVirgiilis' license to practice medicine has been suspended indefinitely, pertains to actions between he and Fann beginning in January 2009.
Fann joined T.H.I.S., a practice owned by DeVirgiilis, about this time.
The board documents state Fann had full DEA authorization to prescribe controlled substances.
Fuel spill clean-up continues
Clean-up of a kerosene spill last Wednesday continues and monitoring of the area is expected to last a month.
An accident at Mountain Oil last Wednesday morning caused a spill of approximately 400 gallons of kerosene. The spill occurred during transfer to a storage tank by a delivery driver.
Owner Arthur Lankford said 90 to 95 percent of the fuel was contained on-site by dikes in place around the storage facilities. The remainder, estimated between 20 and 40 gallons, escaped into a nearby waterway.
Mountain Oil reported the spill to authorities after it left the containment dikes.
The creek runs along East King Street, under the roadway and through the Perkinsville community to the South Fork of the New River. The creek is not identified on flood maps, but many refer to the waterway as Hardin Creek or Boone Creek.
The Boone Fire Department responded to the spill at approximately 9 a.m. to begin containment efforts. The firefighters began downstream near the South Fork outlet and worked their way upstream to prevent the kerosene from reaching the New River.
Their containment efforts were successful and the fuel was stopped in the area below Watauga High School, along the Greenway Trail.
Boone will pay for some upgrades
The town of Boone's Transportation Committee has been helping make recommendations for King Street improvements in connection with the state-funded widening.
Boone public works director Blake Brown said the town will pay for some of the upgrades, such as sign structures and traffic signals being powder-coated black and the center median being brick-colored, stamped concrete.
The town is also funding fencing along the tops of retaining walls and 30 percent of some sidewalk costs, though the North Carolina Department of Transportation is funding any sidewalk replacement needed as a result of the U.S. 421 widening.
"The town will pay for installation of streetlights for illuminating the road," Brown said.
A planned connector between Chestnut Drive and New Market Boulevard has four different proposals, with two property owners involved in the connector.
Motorists had been cutting through the Modern Toyota parking lot and creating safety hazards, and the widened highway will have a median that will limit left turns.
"We have a verbal commitment from the DOT that they're going to help us on that, but we don't have a written agreement, so it's still up in the air," Brown said.
Tax holiday approaches
The annual state sales-tax holiday weekend is coming up, designed to stimulate back-to-school shopping.
The holiday starts at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 6 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 8. To help encourage people to stock up for the school year, shoppers will not have to pay the sales tax on clothing, school supplies and computers during this period.
The sales tax holiday was created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2001 and went into effect on January 1, 2002. During the sales tax holiday, consumers will not pay sales tax on clothing, footwear, and school supplies of $100 or less per item; school instructional materials of $300 or less per item; sports and recreation equipment of $50 or less per item, computers of $3,500 or less per item; and computer supplies of $250 or less per item.
Clothing accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, protective equipment, wallets, furniture, items used in a trade or business, and rentals are not covered by the exemption and will be subject to the applicable tax. For more information on the sales tax holiday, lists of exempt items, and instructions for retailers on collecting tax, go to http://www.dor.state.nc.us/taxes/sales/.