WITN News

Rocky Mount Police: Man with a knife prompts Walmart evacuation

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WITN) -Rocky Mount police say the Walmart on Benvenue Road had to be evacuated Tuesday afternoon when a man with a knife became combative and threatened employees as he tried to leave with a cart full of unpaid merchandise.

Police say 51-year-old David Wilkins was attempting to exit through the automotive side of the store when the confrontation with employees occurred.

Police say Wilkins suffered a self-inflicted cut to the hand before throwing the knife at employees. No citizens or employees were injured in the incident.

Wilkins was taken to UNC Nash Healthcare for treatment and is charged with armed robbery.

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Trenton man charged with sex offenses, authorities believe there are more victims

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office says a Trenton man has been charged with sexually assaulting two juveniles over the course of two years and they believe there are more victims.

Investigators say 40-year-old Brandon Lanier is charged with a total of eleven offenses involving the girls who they say were under the age of 14 when the incidents occurred.

Lanier is charged with three counts of statutory rape of a person 15 years of age or younger, three counts of statutory sex offense with a child under the age of 15, two counts of a sex act by a substitute parent, and three counts of indecent liberties with a child.

The investigation began in June when the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit received a report from the Onslow County Department of Social Services that two juveniles were possibly being sexually assaulted.

Lanier is currently in the Onslow County Detention Center under a $215,000 secured bond.

This investigation continues and anyone with information can contact Detective Zimmer at 910-455-3113 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.

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Safety an emphasis ahead of Kinston Christmas Parade

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - Christmas is supposed to be a time of happiness, not a time of fear.

However, it was exactly that at the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade when a pickup truck drove, hit, and killed 11-year-old Hailey Brooks.

The tragic incident has raised safety concerns for other Christmas parades happening, including in Kinston.

“We’re doing everything we can to let people know if they can’t behave, they need to stay home,” said Leon Steele, Downtown Kinston Revitalization Director.

Saturday, Kinston will hold its annual Christmas parade downtown, however, things will be different this year.

For instance, all vehicles in the parade must have updated insurance and inspection stickers. The city also urges people not to go into the street at any point during the parade.

Safety is now heavily at the forefront more than ever and Steele said law enforcement understands that.

“We also have a lot of police in the department who are in the parade, on the ground, in uniform, not in uniform,” Steele said. “Who are aware that safety is a real issue.”

Four shootings have happened in Kinston over the past three days with one being deadly, which may scare some away from the parade.

However, Kinston Mayor Don Hardy said residents shouldn’t worry because they are well protected.

“The incidents that have occurred here in the past were isolated incidents,” Hardy said. “This is probably going to be one of the safest places you can be.”

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San Francisco will allow police to deploy robots that kill

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Supervisors in San Francisco voted Tuesday to give city police the ability to use potentially lethal, remote-controlled robots in emergency situations -- following an emotionally charged debate that reflected divisions on the politically liberal board over support for law enforcement.

The vote was 8-3, with the majority agreeing to grant police the option despite strong objections from civil liberties and other police oversight groups. Opponents said the authority would lead to the further militarization of a police force already too aggressive with poor and minority communities.

Supervisor Connie Chan, a member of the committee that forwarded the proposal to the full board, said she understood concerns over use of force but that “according to state law, we are required to approve the use of these equipments. So here we are, and it’s definitely not a easy discussion.”

The San Francisco Police Department said it does not have pre-armed robots and has no plans to arm robots with guns. But the department could deploy robots equipped with explosive charges “to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspect” when lives are at stake, SFPD spokesperson Allison Maxie said in a statement.

“Robots equipped in this manner would only be used in extreme circumstances to save or prevent further loss of innocent lives,” she said.

Supervisors amended the proposal Tuesday to specify that officers could use robots only after using alternative force or de-escalation tactics, or concluding they would not be able to subdue the suspect through those alternative means. Only a limited number of high-ranking officers could authorize use of robots as a deadly force option.

San Francisco police currently have a dozen functioning ground robots used to assess bombs or provide eyes in low visibility situations, the department says. They were acquired between 2010 and 2017, and not once have they been used to deliver an explosive device, police officials said.

But explicit authorization was required after a new California law went into effect this year requiring police and sheriffs departments to inventory military-grade equipment and seek approval for their use.

The state law was authored last year by San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu while he was an assembly member. It is aimed at giving the public a forum and voice in the acquisition and use of military-grade weapons that have a negative effect on communities, according to the legislation.

A federal program has long dispensed grenade launchers, camouflage uniforms, bayonets, armored vehicles and other surplus military equipment to help local law enforcement.

In 2017, then-President Donald Trump signed an order reviving the Pentagon program after his predecessor, Barack Obama, curtailed it in 2015, triggered in part by outrage over the use of military gear during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting death of Michael Brown.

San Francisco police said late Tuesday that no robots were obtained from military surplus, but some were purchased with federal grant money.

Like many places around the U.S., San Francisco is trying to balance public safety with treasured civilian rights such as privacy and the ability to live free of excessive police oversight. In September, supervisors agreed to a trial run allowing police to access in real time private surveillance camera feeds in certain circumstances.

Debate on Tuesday ran more than two hours with members on both sides accusing the other of reckless fear mongering.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who voted in favor of the policy authorization, said he was troubled by rhetoric painting the police department as untrustworthy and dangerous.

“I think there’s larger questions raised when progressives and progressive policies start looking to the public like they are anti-police,” he said. “I think that is bad for progressives. I think it’s bad for this Board of Supervisors. I think it’s bad for Democrats nationally.”

Board President Shamann Walton, who voted against the proposal, pushed back, saying it made him not anti-police, but “pro people of color.”

“We continuously are being asked to do things in the name of increasing weaponry and opportunities for negative interaction between the police department and people of color,” he said. “This is just one of those things.”

The San Francisco Public Defender’s office sent a letter Monday to the board saying that granting police “the ability to kill community members remotely” goes against the city’s progressive values. The office wanted the board to reinstate language barring police from using robots against any person in an act of force.

On the other side of the San Francisco Bay, the Oakland Police Department has dropped a similar proposal after public backlash.

The first time a robot was used to deliver explosives in the U.S. was in 2016, when Dallas police sent in an armed robot that killed a holed-up sniper who had killed five officers in an ambush.

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Big Rock donates $1 million for the second year in a row

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WITN) - For the second year in a row, the Big Rock Foundation has contributed $1 million to charity several charities.

Recipients gathered at Big Rock Landing for a Giving Tuesday ceremony, announcing the grand contribution.

The Big Rock Foundation continued to support Carteret County Schools this year with a contribution of $376,000 to various schools. The Carteret County School System has received over $1.3 million in funding over the past 35 years.

The Big Rock Foundation designates $140,000 to a group of core charities and encourages other organizations to apply for grants for higher-impact projects.

Here’s a look at this year’s recipients:

BIG ROCK CORE CHARITIES

-Broad Street Clinic, $7,500

-Crystal Coast Hospice House, $7,500

-East Carolina Boys Scout Council, $7,500

-The History Place, $7,500

-Hope Mission, $7,500

-Martha’s Mission, $7,500

-North Carolina State University Research, $10,000

-North Carolina Symphony-Carteret County, $17,000

-Station Club/Easter Seals UPC, $7,500

-The Big Rock Kids Billfish Tournament – Boys and Girls Club, $35,000

-The Keli Wagner Lady Angler Tournament – Carteret Healthcare, $25,000

2022 BIG ROCK DONATIONS

-Arts Council of Carteret County, $10,000

-Beaufort Elementary School, $50,000

-Beaufort Middle School, $65,000

-Bogue Sound Elementary School, $78,000

-Bridge Down East, $60,000

-Carteret Preschool, $20,000

-Croatan High School Track and Field, $18,000

-Crystal Coast Cancer Rehabilitation, $10,000

-Delta Health Foundation, $10,000

-East Carteret High School Band, $50,000

-Gramercy Christian School, $30,000

-Hope is Alive Ministries, $50,000

-Mile of Hope Foundation, $5,000

-Military Appreciation Day, $10,000

-Misplaced Mutts, $5,000

-Morehead City Fire/EMS, $12,000

-Morehead City Little League, $47,000

-Morehead City Primary Schools, $55,000

-Newport Middle School, $40,000

-Tag-A-Giant- Tag Bluefin Tuna, $65,000

-The History Place, $143,000

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Landmark same-sex marriage bill wins Senate passage

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate passed bipartisan legislation Tuesday to protect same-sex marriages, an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide.

The bill, which would ensure that same-sex and interracial marriages are enshrined in federal law, was approved 61-36 on Tuesday, including support from 12 Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation was “a long time coming” and part of America’s “difficult but inexorable march towards greater equality.”

Democrats are moving quickly, while the party still holds the majority in both chambers of Congress. The legislation now moves to the House for a final vote.

President Joe Biden praised the bipartisan vote and said he will sign the bill “promptly and proudly” if it is passed by the House. He said it will ensure that LGBTQ youth “will grow up knowing that they, too, can lead full, happy lives and build families of their own.”

The bill has gained steady momentum since the Supreme Court’s June decision that overturned the federal right to an abortion, a ruling that included a concurring opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas that suggested same-sex marriage could also come under threat. Bipartisan Senate negotiations got a kick-start this summer when 47 Republicans unexpectedly voted for a House bill and gave supporters new optimism.

The legislation would not force any state to allow same-sex couples to marry. But it would require states to recognize all marriages that were legal where they were performed, and protect current same-sex unions, if the court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision were to be overturned. It’s a stunning bipartisan endorsement, and evidence of societal change, after years of bitter divisiveness on the issue.

A new law protecting same-sex marriages would also be a major victory for Democrats as they relinquish their two years of consolidated power in Washington, and a massive win for advocates who have been pushing for decades for federal legislation. It comes as the LGBTQ community has faced violent attacks, such as the shooting last weekend at a gay nightclub in Colorado that killed five people and injured at least 17.

“Our community really needs a win, we have been through a lot,” said Kelley Robinson, the incoming president of Human Rights Campaign, which advocates on LGBTQ issues. “As a queer person who is married, I feel a sense of relief right now. I know my family is safe.”

Robinson was in the Senate chamber for the vote with her wife, Becky, and toddler son. “It was more emotional than I expected,” she said.

The vote was personal for many senators, too. Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat who is the first openly gay senator and was the lead sponsor of the bill, tearfully hugged Schumer and others as the final vote was called. Baldwin, who has been working on gay rights issues for almost four decades, tweeted thanks to the same-sex and interracial couples who she said made the moment possible.

“By living as your true selves, you changed the hearts and minds of people around you,” she wrote.

Schumer said on Tuesday that he was wearing the tie he wore at his daughter’s wedding, “one of the happiest moments of my life.” He also recalled the “harrowing conversation” he had with his daughter and her wife in September 2020 when they heard that liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away. “Could our right to marry be undone?” they asked at the time.

With conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett replacing Ginsburg, the court has now overturned Roe v. Wade and the federal right to an abortion, stoking fears about Obergefell and other rights protected by the court. But sentiment has shifted on same-sex marriage, with more than two-thirds of the public now in support.

Still, Schumer said it was notable that the Senate was even having the debate after years of Republican opposition. “A decade ago, it would have strained all of our imaginations to envision both sides talking about protecting the rights of same-sex married couples,” he said.

Passage came after the Senate rejected three Republican amendments to protect the rights of religious institutions and others to still oppose such marriages. Supporters of the legislation argued those amendments were unnecessary because the bill had already been amended to clarify that it does not affect rights of private individuals or businesses that are currently enshrined in law. The bill would also make clear that a marriage is between two people, an effort to ward off some far-right criticism that the legislation could endorse polygamy.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who has been lobbying his fellow GOP senators to support the legislation for months, pointed to the number of religious groups supporting the bill, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of those groups were part of negotiations on the bipartisan amendment.

“They see this as a step forward for religious freedom,” Tillis says.

The nearly 17-million member, Utah-based faith said in a statement this month that church doctrine would continue to consider same-sex relationships to be against God’s commandments.

Most Republicans still oppose the legislation, saying it is unnecessary and citing concerns about religious liberty. And some conservative groups stepped up opposition in recent weeks, lobbying Republican supporters to switch their votes.

“Marriage is the exclusive, lifelong, conjugal union between one man and one woman, and any departure from that design hurts the indispensable goal of having every child raised in a stable home by the mom and dad who conceived him,” the Heritage Foundation’s Roger Severino, vice president of domestic policy, wrote in a recent blog post arguing against the bill.

In an effort to win the 10 Republican votes necessary to overcome a filibuster in the 50-50 Senate, Democrats delayed consideration until after the midterm elections, hoping that would relieve political pressure on GOP senators who might be wavering.

Eventual support from 12 Republicans gave Democrats the votes they needed.

Along with Tillis, Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman supported the bill early on and have lobbied their GOP colleagues to support it. Also voting for the legislation were Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Todd Young of Indiana, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Mitt Romney of Utah, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska.

Just before passage, Collins thanked her fellow Republicans who supported it. “I know it has not been easy, but they have done the right thing,” Collins said.

Lummis, one of the more conservative members of the Senate, spoke ahead of the final vote about her “fairly brutal self soul searching” before supporting the bill. She said that she accepts her church’s beliefs that a marriage is between a man and a woman, but noted that the country was founded on the separation of church and state.

“We do well by taking this step, not embracing or validating each other’s devoutly held views, but by the simple act of tolerating them,” Lummis said.

Baldwin said earlier this month that the newfound openness from many Republicans on the subject reminds her “of the arc of the LBGTQ movement to begin with, in the early days when people weren’t out and people knew gay people by myths and stereotypes.”

“And slowly laws have followed,” she said. “It is history.”

___

Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

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ECU hosts Defense Alliance of North Carolina research showcase

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - ECU hosted a science and technology forum today partnering with the Defense Alliance of North Carolina for a Department of Defense research showcase.

The showcase included ECU researchers focused on human performance, biomechanics, biochemical/biomedical, overwater acoustics, database optimization, spiritual/mental readiness, prolonged casualty care, neurocognition, and unmanned underwater vehicles.

The forum took place from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at ECU’s Main Campus Student Center at 501 East Tenth Street.

Dennis Mcgurk, DOD Strategic Accountant Executive for RTI, and one attendee says, “It’s important because we have great minds here at places like ECU and across the UNC system and across the United States in academia. We have great folks who are working in industry and they don’t always talk to each other.”

The showcase gave researchers who are looking to link academia, industry, and Department of Defense partners to perform health and performance solutions to the DOD, a chance to collaborate on their unique findings.

“The people we brought together today are actually involved in saving lives with technology and/or in the field or deployed,” said Phil Williams, Defense Alliance of North Carolina, Science and Technology Committee Chair.

For many like ECU National Security and Industry Initiatives Executive Director, Keith Wheeler, collaborating and getting to know more researchers in the field was one of the most beneficial parts of the whole showcase.

“We are doing, around the world, our under-water archeology program is surveying World War II wreckage sites to particularly find one of the 80-thousand service members who still are missing,” Wheeler told WITN.

This particular showcase was only one of 137 other forums and the Defense Alliance of North Carolina also provided lunch for those who were in attendance.

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UPDATE: Troopers identify body pulled from Neuse River, search continues for second person

CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - The Highway Patrol has identified the body of a woman pulled from the Neuse River along with a car on Monday.

Sgt. Heather Johnson tells WITN that the body of Shenethia Daniels, 40, of Greenville was recovered.

Troopers responded on Monday to the Spring Garden Boat Ramp on Northwest Craven Middle School Road on Monday after a car was found in the Neuse River. The car as well as Daniels were both removed that same day.

The Highway Patrol said that family of Daniels reached out to law enforcement after she and another person had not returned to Greenville from a trip to New Bern. Troopers believe that the two had left a New Bern bar prior to the discovery of Daniels’ body and the vehicle in the Neuse River.

A search continues at the boat ramp for a second person.

Troopers said the investigation is ongoing but tell WITN that no foul play is suspected at this time.

Previous Story:

An investigation is underway in Craven County after a car and a body are pulled from the Neuse River.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol said that it responded on Monday to the Spring Garden Boat Ramp on Northwest Craven Middle School Road to assist emergency management with a vehicle found in the river.

Troopers said that a car as well as a body were pulled from the water.

Crews are currently at the the boat ramp continuing to search the water. A drone operator could be seen looking over the waterway.

We’re told that the family of that person has been notified and that a search for a possible second person is still ongoing.

We asked who the investigating agency is for this case, but the Highway Patrol said that is still being determined.

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Soccer is more than a sport for the USA and Iran

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - People gathered at Kick Back Jack’s restaurant Tuesday to watch Team USA take on Iran in the World Cup.

Iran and the U.S. have been facing off on a world stage for many years and more recently in relation to Iran’s nationwide protests, the expanding nuclear program and international attacks.

For retired Marine, Randy Krank, there may have been some added significance. He had a friend who was one of the hostages held in Iran back in 1979.

“Every team up there plays for their country and their people and they play for their nation. They are not just playing for a flag. They are playing for the spirit of their nation,” said Krank.

East Carolina University Assistant Professor of Political Science and Security Studies, Dr. Hanna Kassab, says in order for the regime to survive especially an authoritative regime, they need a bad to point to.

“The United States is that bad guy. At the same time, the United States has labeled Iran a sponsor of terror. Which is true and part of the axis of evil,” said Dr. Kassab.

Drone strikes, targeted killings and sabotages have been affecting the Middle East for years amid a withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2015. More recently the women’s rights protests and even threatening the team representing them.

“The regime has threatened to torture the families of these soccer players for not singing the national anthem - not showing some sort of patriotism,” said Kassab.

While the love of the country may be why some here in the U.S. are watching, it’s about the game.

Krank got into the sport of soccer when his daughters started playing.

“I, actually, had to get a soccer book because I didn’t know what offside was. I was the parent that kept yelling at the ref every time they called offsides,” said Krank.

So, while the two teams met on the field, what has been happening between the two countries off the field was also on their minds.

“I think [soccer] touches the whole world,” said Krank.

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Kinston police investigating attempted murder

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - An Eastern Carolina man is in the hospital after being shot multiple times.

Kinston Police say they were called about a man being shot near the 1200 block of North Independence Street around 8:00 p.m. Monday.

Officers say they found a man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

He was taken to ECU Health Medical Center where police say he is in fair condition.

Detectives are investigating the shooting as an attempted murder and are looking for the shooter(s) responsible.

Kinston resident, Judenia Ruffin, lives near Independence Street. She says she heard several gunshots, a sound she’s never heard in her neighborhood.

“You never hear a lot noise like that here,” Ruffin said. “It’s very peaceful in this neighborhood.”

The shooting happened just two houses down from Bobbie Williams. She says she didn’t hear the gunfire but police blocked off her street.

“As I was coming home, I recognized that they had the streets blocked so I had to drive all around and come up the end of the street to come home,’' Williams said.

Williams is worried to let her grandchildren play outside, especially after four shootings occurred in the past three days on Herbert Drive, Stadiem Drive and Vernon Avenue.

As the city of Kinston endures a rise in shootings, Williams has one message for the community.

“We need to be watchful and prayerful and look out for one another and watch your surroundings,” Williams said.

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Greenville police talk mall safety measures following shooting

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Greenville police want people to feel safe while shopping in the city after two men were shot inside Greenville Mall Friday. Today WITN talked to Chief Ted Sauls about the investigation as well as shoppers about how they feel when heading out to stores.

“I’ve been in that mall many times over the years,” said shopper Jerry Rhodes. He, like many others, was surprised to hear two people were shot at the Greenville Mall Friday. “I can’t recall there were any times when there were any significant issue there,” he said.

Police said 19-year-old De’quazious Isaiah Pollard of Winslow Pointe Drive is in custody and facing charges for what happened.

As shoppers continue to head out for the holiday season, Rhodes said he’ll apply the same method he always does.

“Just be aware of your surroundings and if anything looks unusual or out of place,” he said.

That’s advice Tiffany Freeman is also taking to heart.

“I try to stay aware of my surroundings, so like if anything does happen I can, you know, if I have to, do what I gotta do,” she said, adding that she has a concealed carry permit and carries a gun as often as she can to feel protected. Freeman feels it could help to add extra security measures to monitor what people bring into the mall.

“Why [aren’t] there metal detectors at the main entrances of the mall to keep people from going in with their guns?” she said.

That’s one of the many possibilities Greenville Police Chief Ted Sauls said they will be considering.

“It’s important that the management at any big box retailer like a Walmart, Best Buy, mall, that they take every action to ensure that their visitors are safe. That can include a lot of things,” he said. “Lighting, lots of good lighting - cameras, armed security, private armed security.”

He added that metal detectors may have an undesired effect on visitors.

“The introduction of metal detectors at a retail establishment, it may prevent weapons being brought in, but how does it present to the shopper? Are people going to want to shop anywhere where they have to go through that hassle?” he said.

A gun was recovered from Pollard’s home. Sauls said he could not reveal if that gun was purchased legally or if it was the same gun used in the shooting. He said those details could become available later in the investigation. His big message to shoppers is that his department is working on solutions.

“We know what’s occurred, and there’s no way to rewind the clock on that,” he said. “So let’s move forward and see what we can do.”

Police will be focusing more patrols in shopping areas during busy hours in response to the shooting as well.

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State Board of Elections certifies 2022 general election

RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - The State Board of Elections has voted unanimously to certify the 2022 election in North Carolina.

The board voted 5-0 Tuesday to canvass the votes cast in all ballot items in its jurisdiction as well as authenticate the count in every ballot item for the the November 8th general election.

The certification is culmination of 100 county boards of elections certifying their results after a series of post-election audits to verify the counts.

“After extremely hard work by county elections offices across North Carolina, today we made sure that the votes of 3.8 million North Carolinians counted in 2022,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections, in a press release.

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Beaufort Wine and Food celebrates $1 million in donations to charity

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Beaufort Wine and Food is thrilled to announce a milestone achievement of surpassing $1 million in donations to charity.

Some of the charitable beneficiaries include Boys and Girls Club of the Coastal Plains- Beaufort Club, Carteret County Public Schools Foundation, SECU Crystal Coast Hospice House, and Austin Veterinary Outreach & Rescue. In addition to supporting these charities, they were able to provide $20,000 to create the Beaufort Wine and Food Annual Scholarship for the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Program at Carteret Community College.

Beaufort Food and Wine would like to thank their charitable beneficiaries and supporters.

WITN is a proud broadcast partner of the Beaufort Wine and Food Festival.

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Food Lion Feeds hosting holiday food drive to help those in need

Food Lion Feeds hosting holiday food drive to help those in need

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Food Lion Feeds, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, WITN and Curtis Media Group are teaming up for a Holiday Food Drive! This year, we’re asking you to help us provide hope for the holidays.

We all know the feeling of warmth, security, and belonging that comes from being around a meal with family. Holidays are usually a reprieve from day-to-day worries and struggles, and a time to come together.

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina at Greenville and New Bern together serve 10 counties – Edgecombe, Greene, Lenior, Pitt, Wilson, Carteret, Craven, Jones, Onslow, and Pamlico.

From 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on December 7, 2022, Food Lion Feeds and WITN will come together to host a food drive in support of our neighbors in Greenville and surrounding areas. Stop by the WITN Studio on Arlington to donate that day! Click here to see a list of the Food Bank’s most needed items.

If you can’t make it to the food drive, click here or scan the QR code below to donate online. For every $1 donated, the Food Bank can generally provide 5 meals.

WITN and Food Lion Food Drive: Provide Hope for the Holidays. Scan the QR Code to donate. ... Continue Reading

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse gets National Park Service approval for extensive repairs

CAPE HATTERAS, N.C. (WITN) - The National Park Service has put its seal of approval on a plan to repair the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Dubbed the “Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Repair and Landscape Improvement Project”, South Atlantic-Gulf Regional NPS Director Mark Foust signed off on Monday on a finding of “no significant impact” for the plan to move forward.

The park service said that the purpose of the project includes rehabilitating the interior and restoring the exterior of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, repairing or replacing deteriorated materials and finishes, and selectively reversing non-sympathetic treatments added to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Oil House after 1920.

“Our team will now proceed expeditiously with finalizing design documents, awarding a contract and beginning work in 2023,” said David Hallac, superintendent, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, in a press release.

The park service detailed other extensive actions to be taken at the lighthouse:

• Rehabilitate the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse interior and restore its exterior.

• Reverse some modern, non-sympathetic treatments, materials and finishes.

• Repair and repoint masonry, remove corrosion and repair metal elements.

• Remove the metal weight track from the lighthouse.

• Install new railing and balustrade using a non-corrosive metal on lantern balcony.

• Remove existing rotating light beacon and metal platform from the lantern and replace with a replica of the original First-Order Fresnel Lens. The replica lens will be the same size and overall appearance as the original, but a modern light source, such as an LED source, will be used inside the lens.

• Rehabilitate and repair the Oil House to ensure its structural stability.

• Remove the existing vinyl perimeter fence around the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. A replica of the original (pre-1920) decorative metal octagonal fence with granite bases will be constructed.

• Produce and install a replica stockade fence around both the Principal Keeper’s Quarters and Double Keepers’ Quarters (Museum of the Sea) to match the look and feel of the original landscape of the early historic period (1870-1890s).

• Improve pedestrian circulation, wayfinding, interpretation and the visitor experience at the Cape Hatteras Light Station. A new visitor entrance and walkways will be created to the north of the existing bookstore to foster a one-way pedestrian circulation pattern.

• Add educational panels in key locations throughout the landscape to convey the history of changes to the buildings and landscape that occurred during and after the period of restoration (1870-1920).

• Disassemble Keepers of the Light Amphitheater and relocate blocks to perimeter of the proposed western walkway.

• Construct a new shade pavilion to accommodate visitors waiting near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

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Body & car pulled from Neuse River, search ongoing for second person

CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - An investigation is underway in Craven County after a car and a body are pulled from the Neuse River.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol said that it responded on Monday to the Spring Garden Boat Ramp on Northwest Craven Middle School Road to assist emergency management with a vehicle found in the river.

Troopers said that a car as well as a body were pulled from the water.

Crews are currently at the the boat ramp continuing to search the water. A drone operator could be seen looking over the waterway.

We’re told that the family of that person has been notified and that a search for a possible second person is still ongoing.

We asked who the investigating agency is for this case, but the Highway Patrol said that is still being determined.

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ECU to host Defense Alliance of North Carolina research showcase

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A university here in the East will be hosting a science and technology forum today.

ECU will partner with the Defense Alliance of North Carolina for a Department of Defense research showcase.

The showcase will include ECU researchers focused on human performance, biomechanics, biochemical/biomedical, overwater acoustics, database optimization, spiritual/mental readiness, prolonged casualty care, neurocognition, and unmanned underwater vehicles.

The forum will run from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at ECU’s Main Campus Student Center at 501 East Tenth Street.

There is no cost to attend but registration is required.

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Pitt County seeking public input for new land use plan

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A new land use plan will be up for discussion during two public input meetings.

Pitt County staff are asking for input on “Envision Pitt County 2045″ which is a new comprehensive land use plan that will guide future growth and development within the county’s planning jurisdiction.

The meetings will be an opportunity for members of the public to review the draft recommendations in the plan and give their opinions on topics including land use, transportation, housing, community character, economic development, recreation, and natural assets within Pitt County.

The meetings will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on November 29th at the Community Schools and Recreation Building and December 1st at North Pitt High School.

The planning process for the new plan is expected to continue into early 2023.

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Kinston Mayor and police chief react to string of weekend shootings

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) -Frustration is one of many feelings throughout Kinston, in the wake of three shootings that happened this past weekend.

The first shooting happened Saturday night at 800 Herbert Drive, where police arrested and charged 40-year-old Christopher Gordon with attempted murder after police say he shot a woman.

The second shooting happened after a party at 1609 West Vernon Avenue early Sunday morning, leaving two people suffering from gunshot wounds.

A third shooting Sunday afternoon at the intersection of Nobles Lane and Stadiem Drive left a man dead. Police arrested the alleged gunman 18-year-old Taquan Darden Monday afternoon in Georgia.

Residents are now worried, and Kinston Interim Police Chief Keith Goyette said city leaders understand.

“We feel their sense of urgency as well, it’s a part of the job for us but it’s unfortunate,” Goyette said. “We want to provide the safest city and community for our citizens, our elderly and our youth.”

While police say the shootings aren’t connected, Kinston Mayor Don Hardy believes it goes back to people speaking up.

“Thing is if you see something say something and this is where we are,” Hardy said. “Trying to figure out how to implement things to help reduce crime.”

And despite the weekend’s shootings, Goyette said he wants residents to know they’re working hard to keep them safe day by day.

“This year alone as of today we’ve seized over 240 illegal firearms,” Goyette said. “Last year for the whole year of 2021, we seized just shy of 190 so our officers are extremely proactive.”

All three weekend shootings remain under investigation.

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Greenville police arrest suspect in mall shooting

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Greenville police say the man suspected of shooting two people after an altercation at the Greenville Mall on Friday was arrested Monday night after he jumped out of a second story window at his home.

Police say 19-year-old De’quazious Isaiah Pollard of Winslow Pointe Drive is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and going armed to the terror of the people.

A search warrant was executed at the residence and police say a gun was recovered.

The arrest was a joint effort by members of the Greenville Police Department and SBI Fugitive Task Force.

Pollard is in the Pitt County Detention Center under a $3 million bond.

Police say Theodore Dunn Junior, 21, and Irashamire Perkins, 22, were shot near American Eagle in the Greenville Mall and were taken to ECU Health Medical Center.

Officials say Perkins is receiving treatment for a gunshot wound and Dunn’s injuries were considered non-life threatening.

WITN is told that one of the men told police that the shooting occurred after he got into a fight with someone whom he had previous issues with.

Greenville Police say that an officer hired by “Belk” for Black Friday security heard the shots and was able to respond immediately, preventing further injuries.

WITN is told that officers have already started their annual holiday patrols of stores and to expect an increased police presence when shoppers are out and about.

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