Originally created 02/29/04

Across the southeast



Residents protest Navy field project

PLYMOUTH, N.C. - Martha Askew's lips trembled when the first F/A-18 Super Hornet jets flew over fields Saturday near the home she and her husband hacked out of Washington County woodland decades ago.

The 80-year-old woman said she never thought she would have to learn about Navy jets, afterburners and politics after her husband, Chester, died 25 years ago. She was prepared to leave her 710 acres to her son and four daughters. Now she is doing her part to fight a Navy proposal that would take her land in a 30,000-acre purchase for a jet practice field.

Mrs. Askew and her children were among about 200 opponents of the plan who stood in and around a farm field under bright blue skies to listen to the jets as they flew over in a demonstration by the Navy.

The Southern Environmental Law Center and two counties have filed federal lawsuits trying to stop the Washington County field project.

Freezing weather creates road hazards

RALEIGH, N.C. - Freezing overnight temperatures - the parting shot of two days of nasty weather - made risky conditions for drivers across North Carolina early Saturday.

The Highway Patrol responded to nearly 200 calls - mostly ice-related - between midnight and 8 a.m. Saturday, 1st Sgt. Everett Clendenin said.

Forecasters said warm temperatures during the weekend should melt away much of the evidence of a massive storm that dumped nearly a foot or more of snow in some areas.

Guard deployment increases work hours

CLINTON, N.C. - Co-workers of a North Carolina-based National Guard unit face long hours on the job to fill the gaps left by the citizen soldiers who have shipped off to Iraq.

Thousands of their co-workers might have to work nights and weekends, or take on more tasks, possibly for a couple of years. It depends on how long Uncle Sam needs the 5,000-member 30th Heavy Separate Brigade.

"This is a sacrifice all of us have to make," said Theodis Beck, the secretary of the N.C. Department of Correction, which lost 104 employees when the 30th got its orders Oct. 1.

About 3,500 members of the brigade live in North Carolina. The first troops left last week.

The Clinton-headquartered 30th comprises units based from Wilmington to Charlotte.