News Briefs: Jan. 26

January 24, 2014 

Smithfield man hit, killed by car

A 25-year-old Smithfield man was hit by a car and killed while walking on U.S. 70 last Sunday morning, the State Highway Patrol said.

Thomas David Dudley IV of Smithfield was on the eastbound side of the highway about 3 miles southeast of Clayton shortly before 3 a.m., troopers reported.

Kelsey Brown of Smithfield was driving a Toyota Corolla east when she saw a man standing in the road and was unable to avoid hitting him even though she slammed on her brakes and swerved to try to avoid him, troopers said.

Dudley had been in an argument with his girlfriend earlier, and she had dropped him off along the road, the report said.

No charges were filed. From staff reports

Bureau publishes Visitors Guide

The Johnston County Visitors Bureau has announced the arrival of the 2014 Johnston County Visitors Guide.

This year’s guide has a new concept as a “destination planner” that offers visitors suggested itineraries, feature stories on area businesses and travel deals. The guide features several themed sections with editorial copy introducing visitors to the destination. In the center is a map of Carolina Premium Outlets, by far the largest attraction in the county.

The cover highlights Bentonville Battlefield’s 150th anniversary reenactment, which will take place March 21-22, 2015.

“That may seem far away, but this guide will be on the shelf for the next 12 months, and we will use this guide in many upcoming advertising campaigns to promote the event,” said Donna Bailey-Taylor, executive director of the Visitors Bureau.

The Visitors Bureau prints 90,000 Visitors Guides each year to promote the county. Money for the guide comes from the county’s 3-percent tax on room stay. The Visitors Bureau places the guide in all N.C. welcome centers, Raleigh-Durham International Airport, AAA offices along the Eastern Seaboard and along Interstate 40. Also, the guide is available in visitor centers across North Carolina and in more than 100 Johnston locations, including hotels and stores.

McCrory promises teacher pay raise

Gov. Pat McCrory made a pledge to teachers Jan. 21: A pay increase is coming.

The Republican governor lamented the state’s near-bottom average teacher salary, noting that educators received just one raise in the past five years.

“That is unacceptable to me, unacceptable to the legislature and unacceptable to the people of North Carolina,” McCrory said. “And that’s why we will get teacher raises done this year.”

McCrory offered no details about his proposal and did not say whether all state workers would see a pay bump.

The promise was one of a lengthy list of priorities McCrory outlined at a news conference at the Executive Mansion. Surrounded by his Cabinet, he talked about:

•  Opening the state to fracking and offshore drilling as a way to boost the economy.

•  Fixing the state’s troubled health agency.

•  Revamping a costly Medicaid system.

Much of the list rehashed his 2013 goals, an acknowledgment that a host of controversies and an icy relationship with top state lawmakers contributed to an incomplete first year in office.

Insurance applicants in limbo

Missing policies, lost policies, multiple policies and general confusion are plaguing legions of North Carolina residents who had rushed to sign up for health insurance by a Christmas Eve deadline.

About 99,000 people in North Carolina signed up for health insurance in December, requiring insurers to process the applications within days and clogging networks with a crush of virtual paperwork.

Even insurance agents aren’t exempt from the chaos. One Asheville agent, who sells policies for Coventry Healthcare of the Carolinas, waited more than a month for his proof-of-insurance number, then pleaded with the company to find his policy when his wife fell ill with a sinus infection and needed antibiotics.

“I was furious, of course,” said the agent, Ron Miller. “I read them the riot act, told them my wife needed her medication. ‘She’s sick in bed, and you’re playing with peoples’ lives.’”

The mass applications prompted insurers nationwide to push back payment deadlines several times in a bid to buy much-needed time for processing. But it’s anybody’s guess how many policies will actually clear and how many customers will have nothing to show for their first month’s payment. Coventry’s payment deadline for health insurance effective in January came and went Jan. 17.


In “Tax chief goes to work,” the News-Star incorrectly stated that Sheila Garner, Johnston County’s new tax chief, graduated from Mount Olive College. Garner graduated from Johnston Community College and later attended Mount Olive College.

In “I-40 rest stops reopen,” the News-Star incorrectly stated that the number of restrooms at the new rest stops had remained the same. The number of restrooms increased.

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