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by Keith T. Barber and Jordan Green

‘­Items from across the Triad and beyond 

Candidate for sheriff acquitted of assaulting deputy

Scott Jones, who was defeated in the Republican primary for Guilford County Sheriff by incumbent BJ Barnes, was found not guilty of assaulting a deputy, a misdemeanor, in a Guilford County district court hearing on Sept. 20. A related misdemeanor charge of making a threatening phone call was dismissed.

The 38-year-old Jones, of Pleasant Garden, is a small business owner.

The charges stemmed from a Jan. 9, 2009 incident involving Guilford County Sheriff’s Deputy AB Martin. Jones was accused in a magistrate’s order of assaulting Martin “by stepping back, reaching for his gun in the holster and stating to the officer, ‘Don’t piss me off,’” while Martin was trying to discharge his duties by serving a civil paper on Jones’ wife. The other charge stemmed an accusation articulated in a magistrate’s order that Jones told dispatcher C. Moore: “You’ve got a deputy out here getting ready to get his hind end in trouble.”

A press release issued by Jones describes him as a candidate and represents that he “vows to continue campaigning” until the Nov. 2 election, but Jones’ name is not on the ballot. North Carolina election law provides the opportunity for voters to write in the name of candidates that are not on the ballot.

Barnes has held the position of sheriff since 1995. He is opposed by Democrat Phil Wadsworth.

Jones said in his press release that he plans to “seek” a civil lawsuit against the sheriff’s office “for ethical and constitutional rights violations after slanderous e-mail was sent to deputies and other members of the sheriff’s department endangering the lives of Mr. Jones’ family and employees of Mr. Jones’ company.” — JG

Arrest of Parkland High School teacher prompted SBI probe

The arrest of Steven Kennard Waddell, a former teacher at Parkland High School in Winston-Salem, in April appears to have triggered Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill’s decision to ask the State Bureau of Investigation to investigate the personnel files of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ employees in early September.

In an e-mail sent by O’Neill to Superintendent Donald Martin on Sept. 3, O’Neill stated, “As you know, I am deeply troubled by what we discovered this week in the Waddell case, coupled with what we were already looking at in the Wiley case.”

O’Neill went on to say that after consulting with law enforcement officials, he decided to ask the SBI to review school personnel files.

Last month, the Winston-Salem Police Department announced that Jason Ford, a teacher at Wiley Middle School, had been cleared of any wrongdoing after five students alleged that Ford had touched them inappropriately. The police department began looking into the matter only after Ford spoke with the school resource officer assigned to Wiley Middle School on May 27 to inquire about the status of his case.

In a press release, the police department stated that school officials had failed to report the criminal allegations made by the Wiley students.

On April 23, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Deputy P. Gargiulo arrested Waddell and charged him with two counts of taking indecent liberties with a student.

In a Sept. 4 e-mail sent to Martin, O’Neill stated that the school system did not need to immediately suspend Ford. — KTB

Effort to mobilize young people to vote takes place on Saturday

Meanwhile, Face to Face, a Greensboro organization geared towards getting young people engaged in civic affairs, is encouraging Greensboro young people to demonstrate their political clout by voting together in coordinated fashion on Saturday “with the principal goal of building and sustaining political influence among young people.” To learn more about Face to Face’s 500 to Vote on Oct. 23 campaign, visit www.facetofacegso.com/voting or the initiative’s Facebook page. To learn about early voting visit the Guilford County Board of Elections website at www.co.guilford.nc.us/ elections_cms. — JG

Downtown Greensboro ice rink costs questioned

Greensboro City Council members Zack Matheny and Trudy Wade have asked about the cost of installing an ice rink at Festival Park this winter. City Manager Rashad Young disclosed in a recent memo that the city plans to contract with Renovo Designs, a local company, to install and operate the ice rink. Young has said that the city’s financial commitment would be cover the one-time cost of $23,000 to install a transformer to operate ice-rink chillers, and $20,000 for electricity and water. — JG

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