It’s difficult to describe any one year with one adjective or even one sentence; each year brings stories affecting people from all walks of life in many different ways.
For Elkin and Jonesville, 2012 was no different. There was a sense of anguish and grief for the community when two children died of carbon monoxide poisoning in October. There was perhaps a sense of closure to the family of Jonesville police officer Sgt. Gregory Martin, when an arrest was made in October, almost exactly 16 years after he was murdered. There was likely a renewed sense of optimism for several families while plans for Pittsburgh Glass Works continued, as the new manufacturer to Elkin began hiring.
The list here of stories in the Elkin-Jonesville area is not exhaustive, but it does capture some of the key moments in 2012 that got the attention from the community.
Arrest made in Sgt. Martin Case
Sgt. Gregory Keith Martin was murdered under mysterious circumstances on Oct. 5, 1996. Martin was shot after pulling over a red Dodge Ram pickup truck on I-77 about a mile south of Jonesville at about 2:30 a.m. Almost exactly 16 years later, police arrested Scott Vincent Sica and charged him with first degree murder.
“Our family is full of emotions. A lot of emotions are coming back: anger, sadness, frustration. But we’re on the right path,” Melissa Blakely, Martin’s sister, was quoted in an Oct. 8 edition of The Tribune.
Sica pleaded not guilty. His attorney said that Sica was “shocked” at the arrest and hadn’t previously heard of the murder.
Sica had been convicted of robbing two banks and a Home Depot store in the same general time frame as Martin’s murder.
Pittsburgh Glass Works moves forward
Although Pittsburgh Glass Works isn’t scheduled to officially open until later in 2013, it did begin hiring for some positions. The business plans to bring about 260 jobs to the area. It was chosen over about 300 other possible sites.
Candle Wyck Lane, located off CC Camp Road, was renamed PGW Drive. The sign was replaced late in August.
High marks for Elkin City Schools
Elkin City Schools typically gets high marks in several areas, and 2012 was no exception. The school district met all 37 Annual Measurable Objectives in its annual report card. The report card for 2011-‘12 was released to the public in October.
“Our test scores and data comparisons reflect our focus on ‘excellence’ in academic achievement for every child,” ECS Superintendent Randy Bledsoe was quoted as saying in an Oct. 29 Tribune article.
That wasn’t the only good news Elkin City Schools received in 2012.
Earlier in the year, Bledsoe was selected as the 2012 North West Regional’s Regional 7 Superintendent of the Year. The award was given by the North West Regional Educational Service Alliance, which includes Elkin City Schools and 12 other districts.
Also, a report showed that Elkin City Schools has the lowest teacher turnover in the state of North Carolina. The turnover rate for the 2011-‘12 school year was 2 percent.
Christian Hurt surgery postponed
Starmount standout quarterback Christian Hurt spent much of 2012 preparing for a rare neck surgery in Germany. Hurt was injured in the Rams’ state playoff game in November 2011.
When he was born, Hurt was missing the back half of his C1 vertebra, a fact that doctors say later saved his life.
“I was actually only born with half of my C1 vertebrae, and that’s the bone I broke. I was born without the back of it, and the doctors said that the part I was missing would have actually been the part that sliced through my nerves and arteries,” Christian Hurt was quoted as saying in an article in an April 18 edition of The Tribune.
But then the C1 vertebra that broke in 2011 began to heal unexpectedly, delaying the recovery process. The neck surgery was therefore postponed.
Two children die of carbon monoxide poisoning
A 7-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl died due to apparent carbon monoxide poisoning in their Elkin home. The children and two animals were found dead at the house located at 211 Elk Spur St. on Oct. 3. Their mother was transported to Duke University Hospital.
Investigators said a running generator in the house caused the carbon monoxide poisoning.
Community mourns death of Meme Brown
A standout volleyball player and popular Starmount High School graduate, Meme Brown had been battling ovarian cancer for four years. She died on Oct. 15.
The community had just banded together to raise about $5,000 toward her medical expenses before she died.
“It’s unreal to see the lives that she has touched,” head volleyball coach Jon Symons was quoted as saying in an Oct. 17 edition of The Tribune.
Symons also said that no one else will ever wear No. 32 at Starmount.
“That’s Meme’s jersey. She deserves it; she deserves to have her jersey retired. For me, it’s the least I could do for that kid,” he said.
Brown graduated from Starmount in 2009 with high honors and both academic and athletic scholarships to Lees-McRae College, where she played for two consecutive seasons. She later transferred to Appalachian State and changed her major from education to nursing.
Deputies injured, five-hour standoff
Two Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office deputies received minor injuries after a Jonesville man allegedly shot at them in December. The incident occurred at America’s Home Value Inn off U.S. 21 near Jonesville.
John Trenton Smith, 37, was charged with attempted first degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon on a government officer, one count of assault on law enforcement officer with a firearm, one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of injury to real property and two counts of injury to personal property.
Officials said the Jonesville Police Department received a call at 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 7 from Smith’s mother informing the authorities that Smith had stolen at least one gun from her home. Authorities learned that Smith was staying at America’s Best Value Inn in Jonesville. They arrived at the inn at about 5 a.m., and Smith gave himself up at about 9:45 a.m.
Royall’s Soda Shoppe is a historic place for many in the Elkin community. Many were concerned when Royall’s closed briefly after Suzanne Puckett left.
However, it reopened in February under the management of Rebecca Wood.
John Van Hoy, owner of Van Hoy Jewelers and owner of the Royall’s building, approached Wood about running the business. Wood had previously been an assistant manager at Golden Corral for about 25 years.
William Frederick Cosby, Jr. sentenced
State Road resident William Frederick Cosby, Jr. was sentences in March with 235 months in prison and a lifetime supervision on release. Cosby was arrested and charged two and a half years ago with statutory sex offense with a 14-year-old and solicitation of a child by computer to commit a sex act.
Town purchases former Smith Phillips building
The town of Elkin purchased the former Smith Phillips building, located on Standard Street. In December the town began hosting some redevelopment workshops, in part to receive input from the community about the future of the property.
During the workshops, in which about 50 members from the community attended, they discussed linking the site for vehicle and pedestrian access and the features that would be shown on the outside of the building.
Town of Elkin Economic Development Director Leslie Schlender said the workshops should help the town remember that “supporting the history, stories and business of Elkin” is vital for the town’s long-term sustainability.
When the town first purchased the property, Schlender said the town’s main focus is to explore using the building as a “cultural and heritage center.”
Due to redistricting, Elkin was shuffled out of the Fifth Congressional District and into the Sixth Congressional District. Rep. Virginia Foxx will no longer represent Elkin, but she will continue to represent Jonesville and the rest of Yadkin County. Foxx represents the Fifth Congressional District, and Rep. Howard Coble represents the Sixth Congressional District. Both are Republicans, and both were reelected this year.
The Republican Party picked Shirley Randleman to replace state Sen. Don East, who died just a few weeks before the election. East died due to complications following back surgery. Randleman defeated Democrat opponent Ric Marshall in the general election.
Surry County Register of Deeds Carolyn Comer was re-elected, defeating her opponent Todd Harris.