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Albemarle Tradewinds March 2018 Web OPT

March Edition of the Albemarle Tradewinds Magazine

ALLEGED SECRET SOCIETY

ALLEGED SECRET SOCIETY ENDANGERS OUR PRISONS (Special to the Albemarle Tradewinds) Many of us who live in rural North Carolina understand the importance of our state prisons to our economy. Most are located here. They employ a signifi cant number of people responsible for keeping us safe by maintaining security within these facilities. In fact, hardly a day goes by when we don’t see a correction offi cer at the grocery store, or waiting in line at the drugstore to have a prescription fi lled. Some are friends and neighbors we know, while others can only be identifi ed by the patch on the sleeves of their gray or blue shirts. Other than a friendly hello or nod, we hardly gave them another thought, until April 26, 2017. That was the day that 29-year-old correction offi cer Sergeant Megan Callahan was brutally murdered by an inmate at the Bertie Correctional Institute. Megan was a more than competent correction offi cer who loved her job. Her cold-blooded murder stunned everyone. When her family came to Raleigh, where Megan was honored by the state House and Senate, I said on the House fl oor that I truly hoped and prayed that her death would lead to reforms that would help reduce the chance of something like this ever happening again. Most assumed that would indeed be the case. As we learned six short months later, it wasn’t. On October 12, 2017 at the Pasquotank Correctional Institute, a prison breakout attempt resulted in the ultimate deaths of four more correction employees by inmates. The victims: Veronica Darden, Justin Smith, Wendy Shannon and Geoffrey Howe. I suggested a legislative commission be established that would review prison management and conditions from top to bottom, including the operations of Correction Enterprises. The next day the Department of Corrections stated they were going to have an independent investigation conducted at both Bertie and Pasquotank. In my view, too little too late. Any investigation needs to be system wide. The problems are systemic. By: Representative Bob Steinburg, NC House District 1 For the last many months I have been speaking with corrections personnel from many of the 55 correction facilities across the state. They have been sharing information with me about what amounts to a “Secret Society” that exists within a closed circle of management. It protects the misdeeds of those in power from ever being reported. This includes inmates. Employees at lower levels are told by management that, “Not a word will be spoken about what goes on within these walls or it will be trouble for you; even your job!” There is little or no trust by correction offi cers in management. Correction offi cers and other prison staff are beyond frustrated by the continuing downward spiral within the system including the lack of adequate security and support for them to do their jobs properly as well as a lack of training for newly recruited offi cers. They are being forced to put up with rampant gang activity. In addition, on almost any confrontation between a correction offi cer and an inmate, allegedly management sides with inmates. Offi cers are disrespected and demoralized, while putting their lives on the line every day. And for what? Seasoned personnel know much of what is wrong within the system. They see it every day. The problem is no one in management listens, or seems to even care. As for those who will talk; they realize it will likely mean their jobs. This should no longer be tolerated. The folks on the inside are fed up! Unless things change for the better and soon, we will continue to see more correction offi cers heading for the exits and their exits to date have been unprecedented. The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety, of which I am a member, is scheduled to meet again in Raleigh on March 15 on the sixth fl oor of the Legislative Offi ce from 1-5 PM. We will be discussing the recent 78-page NIC (National Institute of Corrections) report, a damning indictment of the Pasquotank Correctional Institute’s safety procedures or lack thereof on October 12th, 2017, the day the murders occurred. Representative Ted Davis, chairman, has invited someone from NIC to present its fi ndings in detail to the committee and to answer all questions posed. I am in hopes that this will begin to further expand the discussion as to how we can begin to really fi x our prison system which, in my view, remains clearly out of control. I am hopeful a complete investigation, including recommendations for overall reform by a subcommittee will be forthcoming. There are still hundreds of questions that remain unanswered that will likely require bringing employees out of the shadows, by subpoena if necessary, to tell us what they know. Only then will we learn for certain if this “Secret Society” exists, and the extent to which their existence is contributing to the continuing downward spiral of our state prison system. Free Prom 2018 T he Free Kids Prom is an event that is held annually by Scott Collins. It was started as Mr. Collins, a single father knew fi rst hand the fi nancial diffi culties of raising kids today. Raising two girls himself he went through the experience, scraping to ensure that they didn’t miss out on a School memory that would look back on throughout their lives. that don’t get the chance to experience their prom as the kids that attend regular schools do. There are also the kids that are just out of school, and for one reason or another, didn’t get to attend. The Free Kids Prom, is the chance for those kids to get that experience, that memory, that place to go dance, have fun with old friends and make new ones even. will be treated to a Limousine ride from their drop-off location, to the prom. Security will be at the event to ensure the kids safety, and help the parents to feel more comfortable about their kids attending. We’d like to thank the Albemarle Tradewinds for always being there for us and the community, no matter what the event. The date is April 7th. 7-10pm Prom has become a very expensive event and though most offer some form of hors d’oeuvre s, most don’t offer even that. There is the expense of dresses, and Tuxes, not to mention the hairdo’s, nails and today, the makeup. The dinner beforehand at a local posh restaurant for most couples is now the norm, which is very expensive to boot. The opportunity to attend prom should be available to every child, not just the ones who’s parents can afford it. There are so many kids that are home schooled today There are little to no events available in our area for the teens/school age kids to attend where they can be in a safe and supervised environment yet still have a great time. And unfortunately, In this day and time, there aren’t many people willing to give up their time and their services to help out. We hope to have more sponsors this year as we feel there will be several more kids that will want to attend the event. The Free Kids Prom offers Dresses, Tuxedos, Shoes, Jewelry, Makeup, Hair, Photos, Dinner and memory bags. The kids Last years sponsors include: Central Insurance Agency Allstar heating and cooling 4th ward city councilman Darious Horton Virginia Dare Apartments Cypress Creek Grill Mildreds fl orist Taz 2 productions ECPD PASQUOTANK County Sheriffs Department Andys Pancake and Steak House And several private citizens 22 Albemarle Tradewinds March 2018 albemarletradewinds.com

3rd annual Operation North State Wounded Warriors Fishing Festival in Historic denton Saturday, April 7th WILL NEVER BACK DOWN. Paid for by Elect Bob Steinburg Edenton, NC – Operation North State and the Edenton Community will be hosting 50 Wounded Warriors and Disabled Veterans to a great day of fi shing and fellowship. According to Operational North State’s Founder/Volunteer, Terry Snyder, “the event is being held at the request of the Wounded Warriors and Disabled Veterans that have fi shed ONS’ Top shelf Fishin’ Festivals the past fi ve years. They request that ONS host Fishin’ Festivals in Eastern North Carolina and Edenton is pleased and excited to host their 3rd annual at Bayside Marina & Grill, 802 W. Queen Street, on Saturday, April 7th (rain or shine). The American Legion Post 40 will host a dinner after the 3 PM weigh-in. The 3rd annual Edenton Top Shelf Fishin’ Festival is FREE to Wounded Warriors and Disabled Veterans; and, their respective caregivers may join them on the boats too if needed. There is no entry fee for our fi shing hosts/boaters. “Operation North State is grateful to these expert fi shermen for providing their time, expertise and equipment” Snyder said. To register, send an email to mailbox@operationnorthstate.com or call 336.764.5967. Provide your name, email address, telephone number and what North Carolina town you call home. Note: neighboring Wounded Warriors and Disabled Veterans from Virginia are welcome to participate. ONS and the Edenton Community are requesting assistance and participation as follows: • Register a Wounded Warrior / Disabled Veteran • Register as a host boater • Volunteer • Donate product, services and/or cash for the dinner, snacks, beverages and prizes. • Provide a covered dish for the breakfast or dinner (covered dishes are a favorite) • And, come out to the weigh-in on Saturday, April 7tht at 3PM and cheer on these Special Americans. Join us in whatever capacity that can work best for you as we celebrate the 350th anniversary of Chowan County and the Albemarle Region – the perfect year to host the men and women that have served our country for our FREEDOM. For additional information and/or to show your support, contact Terry Snyder, ONS Founder/Volunteer at mailbox@operationnorthstate.com or call 336.764.5967 and the American Legion Post 40 at 252-482- 4057 E C Toppin and Fred Morrow. facebook.com/AlbemarleTradingPost Albemarle Tradewinds March 2018 23