Thursday, February 29
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Investigative

How Safe are School Buses? – A Look at the Data

How Safe are School Buses? – A Look at the Data

Investigative
Vehicle crash involving a school bus on Hwy 64 in Asheboro in 2019. [Acme News Archive Photo] ASHEBORO N.C. - Two separate school bus crashes on October 12th, 2023, raised questions online about the safety of school buses, so we decided to look at the data to see just how safe children who ride the bus to school are on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) school bus accidents account for less than 1% of all traffic fatalities. While that 'less than 1%' is a national figure, here in NC, the data backs up that number. Using crash report numbers from the N.C. Department of Transportation's annual traffic facts publication for 2015 through 2022, we analyzed the numbers for school bus accidents for North Carolina.  In the eight years we ...
How Safe Are Bridges in Randolph County?

How Safe Are Bridges in Randolph County?

Investigative
US Hwy 64/49 bridge over US I-73/74 in Asheboro, NC [Scott Pelkey | North State Journal] ASHEBORO N.C. - We drive over them every day without a second thought, but last year one reader contacted us to ask just how safe are bridges in Randolph County? Randolph County is the 11th largest county in North Carolina, containing interstates, country roads, forests, lakes, rivers, and creeks. Zigzagging across the county’s 790 square miles are 266 bridges, all maintained by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT).  NC DOT is responsible for inspecting and taking care of about 18,000 bridge structures state-wide, including 13,500 bridges and 4,500 culverts and pipes that are twenty feet or longer, which means they fit the federal definition of a bridge. About 9,00...
9-1-1 Answers 128,580 Calls in 2022 |  Breakdown

9-1-1 Answers 128,580 Calls in 2022 | Breakdown

Investigative
A 9-1-1 Telecomunicator sits at a station at the Randolph County Emergency Services Headquarters. (Stock Photo / Scott Pelkey / Acme News) ASHEBORO N.C. - Last year Randolph County Emergency Services’ 9-1-1 operators answered 128,580 calls. We reviewed records to find out the where and why. Of those thousands of calls, the most recorded call type at 11% (14,089) were 9-1-1 hang-up, misdials, or open lines (aka butt-dials), followed by 11,186 calls (8.7%) which were marked as duplicate calls where several people called in to report the same incident. Theft was responsible for the largest number of 9-1-1 calls reporting crime in 2022 (when larceny and burglaries are combined) with a total of 4,145 or 3.2% of all calls. Retail stores are usually among the places that keep local p...
Quik Chek Employees Say New Owners Dismissive of Safety Concerns, Even After Death of Cashier

Quik Chek Employees Say New Owners Dismissive of Safety Concerns, Even After Death of Cashier

Investigative
ASHEBORO N.C. - A local woman was killed while working at a convenience store in Star, NC. Now, we are hearing from current and former employees of that chain of stores who say they have been bringing up worker safety concerns for months. Laura Whitman was a graduate of Randleman High School. At 53-years-old she had worked at several local gas stations in Randolph County, but on the night of June 25th, 2022, Whitman was working at the Quik Chek in Star, NC. Around an hour before closing, and on one of her first shifts at the location, Whitman was shot to death by a robbery suspect. Chief David Kime with the Star Police Department told reporters that the suspect was the only other person in the store when he entered just after 10pm, and that after Whitman opened the cash drawe...
Current & Former Patients Speak Out Against Atrium Mental Health Clinic

Current & Former Patients Speak Out Against Atrium Mental Health Clinic

Health, Investigative
Emerywood Behavioral Health Clinic (Google Street View) ASHEBORO N.C. - Current and former patients of a local mental health clinic spoke with our reporters about their concerns regarding the staff, the care they received, and Atrium / Wake Forest Health Network’s failure to address these concerns over the last several years. EDITOR'S NOTEDue to the sensitive nature of the topic of this article all patients who spoken with news staff were promised confidentiality. Names in this article have been changed to protect the identity of those involved. Readers who may be triggered by topics of mental health should use their discretion when deciding to read further. Almost a dozen current and former patients who all went to the clinic over the last 5 years spoke with our reporters. What ...
Former Motel 6 Aims To Address Problems With Changes

Former Motel 6 Aims To Address Problems With Changes

Investigative
Back in October the location covered up its Motel 6 branding and put up new signs with the name “Rodeway Inn.”[Sky Emerson / RNN] ASHEBORO N.C. - The company behind the now former Motel 6 in Asheboro is making changes not just to the name but with new policies that they hope will help address the issues the business has had over the last 2 years. Randolph News Now had previously reported on issues like excessive numbers of 911 calls from the business, fatal overdoses, and drug busts which local officials said placed a burden on local emergency services. [Scott Pelkey / RNN] Back in October of 2021, the location covered up its Motel 6 branding and put up new signs with the name “Rodeway Inn.” A spokesperson with Motel 6 Media Relations confirmed that the location has not been ...
What Led To Chase & Crash On 64 Bypass [Video Investigation]

What Led To Chase & Crash On 64 Bypass [Video Investigation]

Investigative
https://youtu.be/ovejs2srRkc By: Scott Pelkey ASHEBORO N.C. (ACME NEWS) — On December 2nd 2021 a vehicle chase ended in a fiery head on crash on the new 64 Bypass that sent 3 people to the hospital. Acme News gathered 911 radio traffic, dispatch notes, police and crash reports, ans poke with witnesses and experts to create a min by min breakdown of the events that led up to that crash. Timeline Dec 1st 2021 (Time Unknown) - According to a police report from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, A blue Mazda was stolen from a home on Davis Country Rd. Dec 2nd 2021 2:00 p.m. - the Criminal Apprehension Team with the Randolph County Sheriff’s office is conducting surveillance on a wanted suspect on 64 West. That suspect Larry Land was driving the same Blue Mazda stolen t...
Concealed Transparency | How NC Body Camera Law Hurts Public Trust

Concealed Transparency | How NC Body Camera Law Hurts Public Trust

Investigative
Close-up of police body camera (Adobe Stock) ASHEBORO N.C. — As an increasing number of police departments get body cameras, footage from incidents both heartwarming and infuriating has made its way into the public consciousness. It's common to see body camera footage of officers committing incredible acts of bravery and compassion as well as gross infringements of people's rights and violent unjustified uses of force on the nightly news. If you pay attention to the clips that make the news and appear in tv shows and on the internet, you’ll notice a trend, very, very few of them are from N.C. When a police officer shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant on April 20th, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio, police body-worn camera footage was released within just a few hours. That footage showe...
Overwhelmed – 911 Faces Increasing Calls And Staffing Shortage

Overwhelmed – 911 Faces Increasing Calls And Staffing Shortage

Investigative
ASHEBORO NC – Recently the Randolph Hub highlighted how the state wide paramedic shortage, increased call volume, and trouble hiring and retaining staff is overwhelming Randolph County EMS. It’s an article that is worth reading. The headline read “Time for EMS to call 911?”, but perhaps the next headline should read “911: Don’t call us, we’re busy too.” The Randolph County 9-1-1 center is also overwhelmed as they take on an ever increasing number of calls. That increase is not just COVID-19 calls says Director of Randolph County Emergency Services Donovan Davis in an email, “we’ve seen an increase in fire service, law enforcement, EMS, and rescue calls. These include burglary, suspicious persons/vehicles, larceny, assault, chest pain, strokes, seizure, motor vehicle accidents, over...
Customers Frustrated At Spectrum’s  Handling Of Discount

Customers Frustrated At Spectrum’s Handling Of Discount

Investigative
Photo by blackday / Adobe Stock ASHEBORO NC - Spectrum customers are speaking out after they say the internet provider is giving them the run around and taking months to apply a federal discount they have been approved for. On December 27th, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act was passed into law and created the Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund with $3.2 billion in funding The FCC established the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program), so that eligible low-income households could apply and receive a discount off the cost of broadband internet service. The program provides: Up to a $50/month discount on your broadband service and associated equipment rentalsUp to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal landsA one-time discount of up ...