A1 A1
Motorcyclist dies from injuries after collision

A man seriously injured in a motorcycle collision in Elizabeth City Tuesday evening has died, police said on Wednesday.

Luiz Leal, 39, died from his injuries at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, Officer Lamont Butts, a spokesman for the Elizabeth City Police Department, said.

According to Butts, Leal was traveling north on Halstead Boulevard about 6:23 p.m. Tuesday when his 2007 Triump motorcycle collided with a southbound 2006 Jeep Wrangler at the Walker Avenue intersection. The Wrangler, driven by Austin Clark, 26, was attempting a left turn onto Walker at the time, Butts said.

Leal, who suffered serious injuries in the collision, was transported by Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Medical Services to Sentara Albemarle where he later died, Butts said.

Clark was not injured in the collision, he said.

Witnesses, including Clark, said Leal was operating his motorcycle without any headlights, Butts said. Police officers investigating the collision found the headlights of Leal’s motorcycle completely covered with aluminum duct tape, he said.

Police do not know why the headlights of the motorcycle were covered with duct tape, he said.

No charges have been filed in the collision, Butts said.

Police are currently investigating to determine the factors that contributed to the collision, Butts said. He asked for any other witnesses to the incident to contact Officer E. Goodwin at the ECPD at 335-4321.

Ercmy Tillmon/The Daily ADvance  

Getting ready for early voting

Emma Tate (left), interim director of the Pasquotank Board of Elections, chats with Terry Gregory, an election judge, as they prepare Wednesday for today’s start of early voting in the March 3 primary election at the board of elections office at 1409 Parkview Drive, Elizabeth City. Early voting for the primary will be held at the office weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, Feb. 28. Early voting in Pasquotank will also be held on Saturday, Feb. 29, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Census job fair today at NC Works Career Center

With the start of the U.S. Census just a month away, the U.S. Census Bureau is looking to hire workers to help conduct the nation’s decennial headcount.

To help, the Census connect with potential workers, the NC Works Career Center is hosting a Census 2020 job fair event today in Elizabeth City.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the NC Works Career Center at 422 McArthur Drive.

Everett Towler of the U.S. Census Bureau will be on hand to answer questions about job opportunities with the 2020 Census and to take applications.

Edith Evans, NC Works Center business solutions career adviser, said Wednesday that various temporary positions with the Census will be available.

“The majority involve going door-to-door doing census-taking, Evans said, though she added some office positions are also available.

Some of the jobs start immediately but many will begin later in the year, according to Evans.

A half-dozen or so Census 2020 job fairs have already been held in the area, and another is slated for Feb. 25 at the NC Works Career Center in Edenton from 9 a.m. to noon.

Hundred of applicants are being sought, Evans said. Available positions include numerators and census takers.

There are positions available in Pasquotank County and in all surrounding counties, according to Evans.

The Census website states that in order to be eligible for a 2020 Census job applicants must be at least 18 and have a valid Social Security number.

In addition, applicants must be a U.S. citizen — though the website also states non-citizens may be hired in certain circumstances. Specifically, non-citizen translators who are legally entitled to work in the United States may be hired to assist with census-taking field operations “if there are no available citizens who can be hired with the necessary non-English language skills,” according to the website.

Other requirements include having a valid email address; completing an application and answering assessment questions; being able to speak, read, and write in English; and for males born after Dec. 31, 1959, being registered with the Selective Service System or having a qualifying exemption.

Applicants must also agree to be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check and submit to a review of criminal records performed by the Census Bureau. They must also commit to complete the Census training and be available to work flexible hours, which can include days, evenings and weekends.

Burst pipe closes ECSU cafeteria

Elizabeth City State University had to close its cafeteria for three days at the end of last month because of a hot water pipe failure in the building.

The maintenance issue resulted in the cafeteria having to be closed Jan. 28-30.

“The hot water pipes failed,” explained ECSU spokesman Robert Kelly-Goss. “We have put in place a temporary fix to make sure our dining facility is operational until we can get a permanent fix. Our student meals were served at the grill, located inside the Ridley Student Center.”

The dining facility is now operational, Kelly-Goss said.

The repairs cost a little more than $3,000 and were paid for with auxiliary funds.


Beaumont faces challenge from Innes in District 4

CURRITUCK — The flow of new residents into Currituck will likely only increase in coming years, requiring county officials to carefully manage the growth, say the two candidates for District 4 county commissioner.

Incumbent Paul Beaumont, a 58-year-old defense analyst, is seeking a second full term on the Currituck Board of Commissioners in the March 3 primary. He’s facing a challenge from fellow Republican Stuart Innes, 41, the director of a university criminal justice program.

Early voting for the primary begins today and ends Feb. 29.

Beaumont said commissioners spent considerable time talking about growth, especially in the northern part of the county, at their annual retreat last weekend at the county courthouse. He noted that state law prohibits Currituck from imposing a moratorium on growth.

“I’m a little cautious about slowing the growth, I refer to it as ‘managing it,’” Beaumont said. “There are only so many things you can do to control growth. The reality is, Currituck County is a great place to live. If they are coming, they are going to come one way or another. Part of managing that growth is reducing, or minimizing impact on current residents while managing how and why and where growth continues to occur.”

Innes said that protecting property rights should be part of any plan of managing growth and that property owners should have a say in the development process. He also said that correcting drainage issues and addressing school overcrowding in certain schools are also top concerns that need to be “addressed head on.”

“I don’t think the county government should be in the business of telling landowners what they should do with their property,” Innes said. “That is what we are seeing up here at the Moyock mega-site (Currituck Station), and they don’t agree with it. The funny thing about the Moyock mega-site: it is 3,000 acres and there isn’t a single acre of it for sale. I don’t know how the county is planning to get these people to sell their property.”

Innes said he decided to run for commissioner because he has “concerns about the way some things are being done.”

“Our schools are an issue and our drainage is a absolute major issue. I will absolutely mandate smart growth,” he said.

Beaumont said the county needs to look at promoting growth in some areas of the county noting that schools in lower Currituck have seen a net loss of students the past few years.

“You want to be more restrictive where we have the explosive growth,” Beaumont said. “I don’t think we need to do anything to discourage growth in lower Currituck. That is where we have the most capacity in schools, that’s where we would like to see more business stimulation, and more jobs created.’’

Innes also said that encouraging growth, including attracting new businesses, in the southern part of the county is important. Innes described lower Currituck as a bedroom community for Dare County. He said good-paying jobs are needed in lower Currituck to allow people to live and work there.

“I’m excited to be running because I think we have some great things that need to be done,” Innes said. “The southern part of our county is often forgotten. That is something I want to explore with the other commissioners.”

Beaumont said he has been an advocate of attracting jobs to the county. He points to his work getting a maritime training academy to relocate near the airport, noting it will bring dozens of good jobs to Currituck. BEI Maritime is slated to break ground on a 25-acre tract at Maple Commerce Park this summer for an indoor offshore survival training facility.

“BEI is a company the county has been working with, I have been working with, for a few years now,” Beaumont said. “BEI, and industries like that, are great for the commercial airpark.’’

Currituck election complaint to be heard after primary

BARCO — The Currituck Board of Elections decided against holding preliminary hearings Tuesday on two complaints challenging the residency of a candidate for the Currituck Board of Commissioners.

The election board did not hear Moyock Steven Shawgo’s protest of Stuart Innes’ candidacy for the District 4 seat on the commission board, noting the complaint was filed after ballots for the March 3 primary election had already been printed.

The elections board will instead hear Shawgo’s protest of Innes’ candidacy after the primary election.

On the advice of County Attorney Ike McRee, the elections board took no action on Shawgo’s request for a preliminary hearing on his second complaint. McRee pointed out that there is a federal injunction in place against the North Carolina law on which the second complaint is based.

Shawgo filed the two complaints — an election protest and a voter challenge — on Feb. 6 against Innes, who is challenging incumbent Paul Beaumont for the District 4 commissioner’s seat in next month’s Republican primary. The winner of the primary faces no opposition in November.

Shawgo’s election protest alleges that Innes “fraudulently registered and voted in Currituck County for several years” while he primarily resided in Chesapeake, Virginia.

McRee told the elections board that it shouldn’t conduct a preliminary hearing on Shawgo’s protest because there is a “statutory automatic stay” on such hearings because the protest was filed after ballots for the primary election had been printed.

If the board had conducted a preliminary hearing, the burden of proof would have been on Shawgo to prove Innes had fraudulently voted. The elections board then would have determined if there was probable cause to move forward with a formal hearing in the matter.

“My recommendation to the board is that you take no action today and do not hold a preliminary hearing,” McRee said. “This matter will come back before you, first for preliminary hearing, to determine if there is probable cause to proceed forward with a full hearing on the merits of the protest following the election.’’

Shawgo’s voter challenge alleges that Innes is not a resident of North Carolina. But based on McRee’s advice, the elections board decided not to hold a preliminary hearing on it either.

“You are unable to do that because of a federal injunction that was entered in August of 2018 in which a federal judge for the (U.S.) Middle District of North Carolina has determined in a order that our statue for challenging a voter registration violates the National Voter Registration Act,” McRee said. “It appears on the face of this challenge that it is a challenge to a change of residency and therefore it would be affected by this federal injunction.’’

Innes’ attorney, L. Phillip Hornthal of Elizabeth City, described the charges against his client as “frivolous and malicious.” He noted that Shawgo did not attend the Currituck Board of Elections meeting on Tuesday.

“The gentleman (Shawgo) did not even bother to show up for the hearing today,” Hornthal said. “The (elections) board, and their attorney, acted appropriately on both issues.”

Shawgo could not be reached for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.