WILKESBORO — On April 16, Judge William “Bill” Brooks was suspended by the North Carolina Supreme Court following a violation of judicial rules, according to a NC Supreme Court order. Brooks served as an executor for the estates of two former family friends, prompting his suspension. He will receive no pay during the 30 day suspension, according to the court order.
After following through with the violation, Brooks was reportedly paid $90,000 for his work. The former family friends have been identified as Robert and Mary Grace Crawford, who are residents of Wilkes County. The execution of estates took place after Brooks was appointed a district court judge.
Brooks was appointed by former Gov. Pat McCrory in September 2013 following the death of district court Judge Mitchell L. McLean. After practicing law in in Wilkes County for 33 years, he now covers court in Ashe, Alleghany and Yadkin counties.
The suspension comes after violation of four portions of the Code of Judicial Conduct which state that sitting judges are forbid from serving as executors of estates except for those of family members. Brooks also failed to identify the “extra-judicial-income” on economic disclosure forms in 2016, according to his lawyer.
The court order states that “he engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute and willful misconduct in office.”
The order also reported that the extra-judicial was failed to be reported in excess of $2,000.
ELKIN — The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument has made its way to full fruition and will be erected along with a dedication celebration on May 30 at Elkin City Park.
The event will take place where the monument will stand, at 2 p.m. on Memorial Day. Twenty to 40 Gold Star Families, families which experienced the death of a service member while serving in a time of conflict, are expected to be present, about 125 Rolling Thunder Riders, who ride across the state for MIA/POW, will come on Harley Davidson bikes.
Also in attendance will be Herschel “Woody” Williams, 97, the last surviving recipient of Medal of Honor WWII and Harold Frank, Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, 95, a survivor from D-Day at Utah Beach, where he was shot and captured by Germans. Frank still wears the bullet the doctors removed to this day. The foundation has also requested an Army band and a helicopter fly-over.
This celebration and monument will represent Northwest NC and Southwest Virginia.
Jon Garing, committee chair for the project and wealth management advisor for Northwestern Mutual, is a Vietnam Veteran who will also be in attendance. Garing said this event is going to spark a wave of emotions throughout the community.
“It brings me chills,” Garing said. “I was a helicopter pilot and like all of us say, even the people like Woody Willaims, ‘The real heroes of our country are the ones that didn’t come home.’ This is what this is for; their moms and dads and loved ones who think that we’ve forgotten them. We’re going to show them that they’re not. It’s going to be quite a sight.”
The monument is a six-foot-tall and 12-foot-long black granite monument consisting of two sides. One is completely black with gold lettering presenting the title and purpose of the monument; “Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Families and Relatives who sacrificed a Loved One for our Freedom.” The other side tells a story: Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice. At the center of the tribute is a silhouette of a saluting service member.
It has taken two-and-a-half years to complete and Garing is gearing up for the installation.
“I’m so pleased we’re getting it done. It’s going to be huge,” Garing said.
The Woody Williams Foundation has installed 79 monuments throughout the states and 80 are currently in progress.
To learn more about the foundation and monuments, visit https://woodywilliams.org/index.html.
The Ashe Post & Times will continue to update on this event.
ASHE COUNTY — An Ashe County Sheriff’s Office investigation developed after reports of gun shots around 6 p.m. at Rodie’s Parkway Restaurant on April 18.Rodie’s Parkway Restaurant posted on its Facebook page that it would be closed for the remainder of April 18.
On the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Sheriff B. Phil Howell said the social media reports were not true and he released a statement:
“In an effort to quell some confusion and concern going around on social media regarding an alleged ‘shooting’ in Ashe County this afternoon (April 18), please note that there has been no shooting.
“Shortly after 5 p.m on Sunday, April 18, 2021, a third part caller called 911 dispatch advising that a known and named adult subject had been shot by another known and named adult suspect at a commercial property in the Glendale Springs community. Deputies arriving on the scene found no evidence of a shooting.
JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Board of Commissioners met in a regular session on April 19 at 9 a.m. to discuss monthly updates, upcoming programs and restoration possibilities.
In attendance were Chair Todd McNeill, Chuck Olive, Jonathan Jordan, Jerry Powers and Vice Chair William Sands.
DSS Director Tracie Downer began the meeting with presentations of budget amendments and a monthly departmental update. The commissioners approved Downer’s budget amendments, including funds distributed towards replacing a totaled vehicle.
She then presented a Child Advocacy Center video distributed by Southmountain Children and Family Services and gave background on the current facilities and partnerships that are being used. Downer asked the commissioners to approve plans for the CAC to have a satellite office just off NC 163. This would allow less transportation expenses for families around the county. The commissioners agreed to further discuss plans along with Downer and County Manager Adam Stumb.
The Todd Island Park Restoration Project was then presented by Todd Community Preservation Organization Treasurer Rick Weavil and Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Council Executive Director Jonathan Hartsell.
The Todd Island Park, standing on 10 acres of land, has been looked into for restoration purposes but over time, the park has seen a significant amount of erosion, causing dangerous river access and property to be lost.
Weavil and Hartsell said that the current fix will include grading, planting trees, shrubs and greenery and adding in-stream structures to ensure stability and efficiency.
The project has secured over $126,000 in funding and is still pending funds from both Watauga and Ashe Counties.
The commissioners expressed their delight and excitement for the project as it will become a focal point in Ashe County.
Melodie Shepherd, director of medical staff and grant administrator for Ashe Memorial Hospital then requested approval of a fund request of $160,811 from the county for a paramedic program, which will continue over an additional year.
Jefferson Police Chief David Witherspoon and town manager Dan McMillan then requested a waiver for landfill fees and demolition of the old Jefferson Police Department, to be conducted by Padco. This was approved.
Stumb then presented the amended Family Central Frontier Gas Line easement, as the previous projection raised caution for the commissioners. The board further discussed the details and will continue to move forward with the project.