News Briefs

December 28, 2013 

Johnston man held in murder, robbery

A Four Oaks-area man has been charged with robbery and murder in the death of a man found shot and lying along the side of Hannah Creek Road.

Sheriff’s detectives have charged Anthony Edward “Andy” Messer, 31, with first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

They said Messer, of Stewart Road near Four Oaks, was the person who robbed and shot 62-year-old Billy Watson Strickland of U.S. 701 South, Four Oaks.

Sheriff Steve Bizzell did not say whether Messer and Strickland knew each other.

Messer was being held without bail in the Johnston County Jail.

Natural gas on meeting agenda

The East Smithfield Improvement Organization has scheduled a community meeting with representatives of Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and the Town of Smithfield.

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Mitchener Memorial Baptist Church, 911 Blount St., Smithfield.

Landfill accepting Christmas trees

Johnston County residents may take their Christmas trees to the landfill at 680 County Home Road.

Residents with a solid-waste decal may discard their old trees at no charge. For all others, the fee is $5.

Ornaments, lights and other decorations must be removed before discarding. The county will grind the trees into mulch.

Jobless rate falls

Johnston County’s jobless rate fell to 6.5 percent in October from 6.6 percent in September, according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

In October, when the county’s labor force stood at 81,635, the number of jobless Johnstonians was 5,298.

Here are the October jobless rates in counties surrounding Johnston: Harnett, 8.6 percent; Nash, 9.8 percent; Sampson, 6.8 percent; Wake, 5.9 percent; Wayne, 7.6 percent; and Wilson, 10.4 percent.

Blood drive nets 42 pints

A Dec. 4 blood drive in Benson collected 42 pints for the American Red Cross.

John Parker received his 15-gallon pin. Katie Greutman was a first-time donor.

Prize winners were Vickie Grimes, Jerry Stevens and Vickie Horne.

Holiday trash

The Johnston County landfill and solid waste convenience centers will be closed Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day.

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