Freeman sentenced to death in child murders

A Hoke County jury Tuesday sentenced Tillman Freeman III to death after finding him guilty of fatally stabbing his two young daughters in the backseat of a car. A Hoke County jury deliberated for about 40 minutes before returning the verdict, Hoke and Moore County District Attorney Mike Hardin said Tuesday evening. Freeman, of Fayetteville, was found guilty on two...

Early voting will start April 28

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Next Thursday, April 28 will kick off the one-stop early voting period for the 2022 statewide primary partisan elections in North Carolina. During one-stop early voting, citizens can come out to the one-stop early voting site in Hoke County to cast a ballot before Election Day. The one-stop period is 17 days and...

Park with pond on to-do list as city prepares to update parks plan

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • A new city park centered around a pond, and more space for sports fields at Robbin Heights Park could be part of discussions as Raeford prepares to update its master parks plan. The city of Raeford will work with consultants, an advisory committee and seek input from citizens to update the plan for...

Two students, driver checked at hospital after car rear-ends Hoke County school bus

Two Hoke County students were taken to the hospital Thursday morning to be checked out after a driver rear-ended a school bus on Aberdeen Road. Bus 137 was carrying SandHoke Early College High School students this morning when a car rear-ended the bus, according to school system public relations director Meredith Bounds. “There appear to be no major injuries; however,...

Bakery’s reception is icing on the cake

Bakery’s reception is icing on the cake

[Photo: The staff at Kayla Renee Cakes showed off their creations between customers Tuesday. From left, Elydia Dilena, Kayla Lowery and Saleiya Lowery. (Ken MacDonald photo)] By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Big things are baking at a little shop on Main Street: Kayla Renee Cakes celebrated its grand opening last month and has already seen booming business. Cupcakes,...

Memorial gathering honors WWII veteran Wendell Young’s service to Children’s Developmental Center

Memorial gathering honors WWII veteran Wendell Young’s service to Children’s Developmental Center

[Photo: The Children’s Developmental Center board and leadership staff and family of Wendell Young met for a gathering last week in his honor. They plan to plant a tree and place the stone marker on the grounds of the Center in his memory.] By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • On Wendell Young’s 90th birthday, he asked that instead of...

Part of $3.5 million donation to Habitat for Humanity will help families in Hoke County

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Part of a $3.5 million donation to Habitat for Humanity from a famous philanthropist will be put to good use in Hoke County as part of efforts to make safe, affordable housing available to local families. Habitat for Humanity of the North Carolina Sandhills announced last week that writer and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott...

Former incarcerated get a second chance with reentry events

April 2022 is designated Second Chance Month for justice involved people by Gov. Roy Cooper for all of North Carolina, and the Hoke County Local Reentry Council plans to hold several events to support those who are reentering society after being incarcerated. The Hoke Local Reentry Council under the leadership of Ophelia Ray, intermediary agent, provides resources and assistance for...

Prom donations will help students celebrate in style

Prom donations will help students celebrate in style

[Photo: Hoke High teacher Kristin Khan is busy organizing donated prom clothes for a “Cinderella closet.” The school also has a year-round clothes closet to assist students with a variety of needs.] By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • A special closet tucked away in one of the classroom buildings on the MacDonald side of Hoke High is collecting a...

County partnership plans to expand broadband internet service

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • After several years of planning, a project to bring affordable broadband internet access to underserved areas of Hoke County has gotten the green light from commissioners. County staff members have worked with the Shallotte-based Focus Broadband, formerly known as Atlantic Telephone Membership Cooperative, to create a partnership that will see the county and...

Court ruling leads to shutdown notice for sweepstakes businesses

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • After a ruling from the North Carolina Supreme Court, any business operating prohibited sweepstakes machines in Hoke County or elsewhere in the state can face prosecution. Hoke County Sheriff Roderick Virgil issued a final warning to sweepstakes operators this week, after the sheriff’s office issued a 30-day notice to the gaming parlors last...

Hoke NAACP candidate forum is March 29

The Hoke County NAACP will host a question and answer “Meet the Candidates” forum this month. The candidate forum is set for Tuesday, March 29 from 6-8:30 p.m. at Turlington School auditorium, located at 116 West Prospect Avenue in Raeford. The public is invited to attend. The moderator for the question and answer forum will be Dr. William Munn, Senior...

Data entry error caused problem with county tax revaluation

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Data entry errors made by a company assisting with the county property revaluation resulted in some Hoke property owners receiving letters with a wrong value for their property, according to county officials. Mandi Davis, Hoke County tax assessor, explained in an email last week that the data entry errors happened in the computer...

Field of 10 seeking commission seats

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • The candidate filing period that reopened February 24, closed Friday March 4 with the final filings on the books ahead of the upcoming primary election. A large field of candidates will seek election to three seats up for contest this year on the Hoke County Board of Commissioners. A total of 10 candidates,...

Election filing resumes ahead of May primary

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Filing has resumed ahead of the May 17 primary, and several more candidates have signed to run in this year’s election. The North Carolina State Board of Elections last week reopened the filing period after a temporary closing. The filing period is only open for a short time. It reopened February 24 and...

Masks optional for Hoke County Schools students and staff starting Thursday, still required on buses

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Hoke County Schools students and teachers won’t be required to wear masks indoors starting Thursday, after the school board voted to make masks optional. The Hoke County school board held a special called meeting Tuesday night to revisit its policy requiring students and staff members to wear face coverings. School officials chose to...

Authorities seeking info in carjacking

A woman was robbed at gunpoint and her car stolen in the Walmart parking lot late last month, according to the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators are still searching for information that could lead to an arrest in the case. The victim, a 27-year-old woman, had her black 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan stolen at gunpoint, authorities said. The thieves also...

New subdivision developments to bring 579 houses

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • The Hoke County Board of Commissioners approved two major subdivision requests Monday night that will bring upwards of 579 new homes to the county in the coming years. The board unanimously approved two separate preliminary plat requests submitted by Double D Engineering for subdivision developments in the works. The first subdivision, Woodhaven, will...

Hoke High wind ensemble to perform in California

Hoke High wind ensemble to perform in California

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • The evening practice last Thursday for the Hoke High School wind ensemble was like any other after-school rehearsal for the group, until band director Devon Pickett teased a special announcement by playing a video clip. The largest gathering of school boards in the United States is coming up soon, the first such conference...

Detectives investigating “Isolated incident” at Walmart

Hoke County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded Wednesday morning to Walmart on Fayetteville Road just outside of Raeford, in reference to what officials called an “isolated incident.”  The incident was reported about 9:20 a.m. Law enforcement officers have already made arrests in the case, and the store is open for customers.  “The appropriate individuals are in custody and the scene is...

World War II veteran Wendell Young dies at age 99

World War II veteran Wendell Young dies at age 99

[Photo: Wendell Young autographed a Jeep at a veterans parade held in Raeford last year. He died last week at the age of 99. (Contributed photo)] Wendell Young, a World War II veteran and beloved member of the Hoke County community, died Tuesday, January 25 at the age of 99. Besides serving his country, he continued to serve the community...

Election date set for primary, no date for filing yet

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • As things currently stand, North Carolina voters will go to the polls for the primary election Tuesday, May 17. After a flurry of litigation regarding the most recent round of redistricting, lawmakers in Raleigh voted to push the date for the primary election to May. It was originally scheduled for March. Another proposed...

County seeks new utilities director as department restructures

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Hoke County is seeking a candidate to serve as utilities director. The county posted the job on the county’s website January 10. Hoke local government is currently “restructuring the Utilities department due to recent retirements,” County Manager Letitia Edens said Monday. Former utilities director Hilton Villines is still employed with the county and...

Harris Avenue gas leak found, service restoration expected soon

Some businesses on Harris Avenue had to be evacuated Tuesday due to a natural gas leak, Raeford city officials said. The gas was still shut off Wednesday morning, impacting some businesses in the area that use natural gas in their operations. The gas leak started around noon Tuesday in the area of the barber shop on Harris Avenue in Raeford....