Category Archives: AWARD

CarolinaEast earns five stars!

Upper echelon of nation’s hospitals

NEW BERN — In the second round of ratings by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CarolinaEast Medical Center is the only hospital in North Carolina to retain five stars. One of only four in the state following the initial ratings, CarolinaEast now emerges into an elite group – the 1.81 percent of the nation’s hospitals to receive a coveted five stars!

According to the federal government website,
“The overall rating summarizes up to 57 quality measures on Hospital Compare reflecting common conditions that hospitals treat, such as heart attacks or pneumonia. Hospitals may perform more complex services or procedures not reflected in the measures on Hospital Compare. The overall rating shows how well each hospital performed, on average, compared to other hospitals in the U.S. The overall rating ranges from one to five stars. The more stars, the better a hospital performed on the available quality measures. The most common overall rating is 3 stars.”

Hospitals are rated in several areas: Patient safety, clinical outcomes, death rates, core measures including infection rates, readmission rates, timeliness of care and the patient experience.

The information is gathered through mandated patient satisfaction surveys and publicly reported on the Hospital Compare website.

Ray Leggett, who leads CarolinaEast, credits the staff, physicians, and volunteers for the facility’s superior rating.

“This is indeed a milestone in CarolinaEast’s 53 year history,” said Ray Leggett, President and CEO of the organization. “We were very proud of our five star rating with the initial ratings release, but, to retain that level and now be the only hospital in the entire state of North Carolina – one of only 83 hospitals in the country – to receive five stars is quite the accomplishment.”

Of the 106 hospitals in the state evaluated for the star rating, CarolinaEast was the only one to receive five stars. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that 24 hospitals achieved four stars; 53 were rated three stars; and, 16 received two stars. There are no one-star hospitals in North Carolina.

Pamlico County Athletic Club launches fourth year


GRANTSBORO – Maurice King, executive director of the Pamlico County Athletic Club, and three of the store’s staffers, are seen here in the ‘Trophy Corner’ of the Grantsboro Piggly Wiggly. The spot is a showcase for awards, medals, and other recognition received by local youth basketball teams.

The teams, which play and practice almost year-round, are open to students in Grades 3 through 12. In addition to Piggly Wiggly, the other sponsors for Pamlico County Athletic Club include Beasley’s Bail Bonds, Garland Fulcher Seafood, Big M Equipment, and Bojangles’.

King and his volunteer coaches work with at-risk youngsters, and also serve as mentors and role models.

“I really want to challenge the fathers and older brothers in our community to step up this year,” said King. “We are really in need of donations, and the valuable time and effort of volunteers, to take this effort to the next level.”

Last year, Pamlico County Athletic Club enrolled approximately 90 girls and boys among five different age divisions: Third & Fourth; Fifth & Sixth; Seventh & Eighth; Ninth & Tenth; and, Eleventh & Twelfth.

Sign up this year begins Saturday, Nov. 21, at the gymnasium of Pamlico Middle School in Stonewall from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, call King at (252) 626-3261.

Marina at River Dunes nets two major boating awards


ORIENTAL — River Dunes has been voted one of the Top Ten Best All-Around Marinas in the world, according to, a top ranked website with over 5.5 million visitors annually.

The survey allowed voters to select their favorites from over 16,000 marinas in the categories of Best All-Around, Transient, Home Port, Resort, Family-Oriented, and Boat Service Yards. Other winners ranged from as far as Portugal, the British Virgin Islands and Canada.

Deaton’s Yacht Service, located in Oriental, was voted one of the Top Five Boat Service Providers in the survey.

Marinalife, a combination magazine / website also announced winners of the 2015 Best Marina Contest. This year, votes were submitted based on two categories: Best Large Marina (over 100 slips) and Best Small Marina (under 100 slips).


River Dunes in Oriental, NC won Best Large Marina. South Jersey Marina in Cape May, NJ took honors for Best Small Marina.  

River Dunes is located along the Intracoastal Waterway just north of Oriental. Featuring a well-protected harbor, the marina is equipped with 120 slips. Guests have access to high-class amenities including steam showers and laundry, courtesy car, fine and casual dining, pool, spa, cabanas and fitness facility. The state-of-the-art marina offers floating docks within a protected 28-acre inland basin harbor. One popular feature is high speed fuel, along with other conveniences. Transient and leased slips are available.

“It is a great honor for us that River Dunes has been voted the Best Large Marina. Every member of the staff at the Marina and Harbor Club takes pride in providing the best customer service, maintaining our beautiful facilities, and ensuring that all our guests have the best possible experience,” said Ed Mitchell, President of River Dunes. “We appreciate the support of all our boating friends and thank them and Marinalife for this recognition.” 

Located at Mile Marker 173, River Dunes is also rated a five-star marina by readers of and sports a ‘2015 Best Southern Destination’ awarded by Marinalife readers.

Underwater memorial planned for long-time Reef Coordinator

Jim Francesconi

Jim Francesconi

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is moving forward with plans to construct an underwater memorial in honor of the division’s former Artificial Reef Coordinator Jim Francesconi.

The vessel originally identified for sinking in Francesconi’s name is no longer available. An alternative vessel has been found, and efforts to contract for purchase, cleaning, towing and sinking the ship are underway.

The division will oversee sinking of the vessel on the Howard Chapin Reef (AR-330), about 12 miles outside of Beaufort Inlet. The vessel will be sunk near the wreck of the USS Indra, a 330-foot landing craft repair ship sunk on the reef site in 1992.

This reef is very popular with fishermen and divers, and the addition of another vessel will provide greater access and opportunity to both of these user groups.

Francesconi, who began working for the division in 1987, headed the Artificial Reef Program for 14 years before losing a battle with leukemia on July 18, 2014. In recent years, he worked closely with officials in the Town of Oriental to rehabilitate and expand an existing reef, which is just a few hundred yards off the town’s Neuse River shoreline.

Francesconi oversaw the deployment and sinking of several reef vessels including the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Spar, the tug Titan, the Captain Greg Mickey, the tug Pawtucket, the Captain Charlie and two Coast Guard Falcon Aircraft.

The project will cost about $120,000. About $70,000 will come from a special fund that receives money from the sale of SCUBA license plates.

For more information about the Artificial Reef Program or details of the ship’s sinking, contact division Habitat and Enhancement Section Chief Steve Murphey at 252-808-8046 or

High School principal gets nod for Superintendent’s post


BAYBORO – Lisa Jackson, principal of Pamlico County High School, receives congratulations from John Prescott, Chairman of the Pamlico County Board of Education. After current Superintendent Wanda Dawson announced earlier this month that she would step down from her post effective July 1, the elected seven-member board resolved, if possible, to hire from within. Insiders familiar with Jackson’s appointment describe her as a strong, capable leader. Over the past decade, the four-campus school system has experienced dwindling enrollment – a high-priority challenge the new superintendent is expected to tackle.

Ballroom dancers excel in Raleigh


RALEIGH — John and Penny DeFino of Pamlico County are known locally as National Ballroom champions, but now a number of their students are making the news. Thirteen dancers recently competed at the Triangle Open Dancesport Championships in Raleigh – the 17th annual episode of this ballroom competition at NC State!

All of the group placed in a great number of events that included American Style and International Style dancing in Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing and Quickstep. Proving that it is never too late to start, the students range in age from 20s to those well over 70.

The competitors included Joy and Dan Baker, Bernie Mallon, Candace Grove, Margaret Ryan, Tyler Pollock, Paul & Gayle Hager, Calvin & Ruth Long, Nic Retz, Carolyn Pollock and Stacey Klein.  John and Penny DeFino have been coaching the dancers and preparing them for this Dancesport event in their Sunday competitive technique workshops which are open to all.

John & Penny also served as part of the competition staff. John was the Master of Ceremonies while Penny served as Deck Captain. The Triangle Open is hosted by the NC State University “Dances with Wolves” dance team. It is a USA Dance sponsored Ballroom competition.

For more information and photos, see the website

Banquet rocks as Chamber celebrates 112 years!

Awards read like ‘Who’s Who’ of Washington businesses


WASHINGTON, N.C. – Members of the Chamber of Commerce for Washington / Beaufort County turned out in droves last Thursday, Jan. 29, for the group’s annual banquet at the downtown Civic Center. Always a highlight, this year’s sellout event came packed with extra wow power. Award recipients, from left: Bragg Dawson of Coca Cola Bottling Co., joint winner with Glen and Gennia Weatherington of Down on Mainstreet Restaurant for Business of the Year; Nonprofit of the Year, Eagle’s Wings Food Pantry, represented by executive director Ann-Marie Montague; Entrepreneur of the Year, Brad Horton, owner of Athletic Edge; the legendary Billy Jefferson, 81, owner for more than 50 years of Big Bargain Furniture, with an incomparable 71-year track record as a downtown businessman; and, last but not least, Community Leader of the Year, F. Ray Moore, who praised the employees of his family-owned company for affording him the opportunity to serve his beloved hometown.

PotashCorp donates $30K to Boy Scouts

From left to right, Harry Sanders, Chocowinity; Norm Belmore, Council Commissioner, Jacksonville; Ray Franks, Scout Executive Greenville, receives a $30,000 check from Ray McKeithan of PotashCorp to support the PotashCorp ECO Lodge and Boy Scouts of America STEM Multicultural programs at the PotashCorp ECO Lodge Sunday.

From left to right, Harry Sanders, Chocowinity; Norm Belmore, Council Commissioner, Jacksonville; Ray Franks, Scout Executive Greenville, receives a $30,000 check from Ray McKeithan of PotashCorp to support the PotashCorp ECO Lodge and Boy Scouts of America STEM Multicultural programs at the PotashCorp ECO Lodge Sunday.

Special to the County Compass

BLOUNTS CREEK — On Sunday at the Community Field Day at East Carolina Scout Reservation sponsored by PotashCorp Aurora, Ray McKeithan, government and community affairs manager for PotashCorp Aurora, presented East Carolina Council, BSA with a check for $30,000.

The first Community Field Day, held by East Carolina Council, BSA  to demonstrate its 2,000 acres of camping facilities was attended by 92 people. Ray Franks, Scout Executive for East Carolina Council stated, “East Carolina Council, BSA is committed to making the resources owned by the council available to the community as a way of building character, citizenship and total fitness not only in the youth membership of Boy Scouts but in all youth in eastern North Carolina.”

Firefighters honored

Photo credit: Ben Casey, Pamlico Community College

Photo credit: Ben Casey, Pamlico Community College

Special to the County Compass

GRANTSBORO — From left, Chris Murray, Fire Marshal for Pamlico County; Jeremy Lee, Lieutenant for Arapahoe Fire/Rescue; Jeff Sanders, Firefighter Triangle Volunteer Fire Department; Curtis Grant, Firefighter Reelsboro Volunteer Fire Department, and Daniel Suggs, Chief, Grantsboro Volunteer Fire Department were recognized last month with a ceremony at Pamlico Community College.

During a fire earlier this year — where a fatality occurred — each of the men risked their lives by entering the burning building in a rescue attempt.

A statement released by the Fire Marshal’s office describes the effort:

From five different agencies, these firefighters worked together to accomplish a task like a well-oiled machine. Often due to locations of respective Fire Departments, we do not get to work as close together as desired. On this certain night, the group was given an order; and it didn’t matter what jurisdiction they were from. They went to work and handled business as one. This goes to show that no matter what the situation may be, we can band together as a team and put forth a great effort to accomplish any given task.

Organizers of the ceremony also expressed appreciation to the evening’s Guest Speaker, Chief Matthew Poole with the Garner, N.C. Fire-Rescue Department – a third generation firefighter.

Local woman wins N.C. Senior Pageant

From left, third runner-up Joyce Ledbetter; queen Flora Moorman; first runner-up Debbie Lewis; and, second runner-up Patti Meese.
Special to the County Compass
Flora Moorman

Flora Moorman

PINEHURST – A Pamlico County resident, Flora Moorman, is ‘Ms. North Carolina Senior America for 2014’ after being crowned Saturday afternoon during the annual pageant, held this year at Owens Auditorium on the campus of Sandhills Community College.

Beautiful and talented senior ladies from throughout the state participated.  Debbie Lewis of Fayetteville was chosen as first runner-up; Patti Meese of Sherrills Ford, second runner-up; and Joyce Ledbetter of Thomasville, third runner-up.

Moorman and 49 other state queens will travel to Atlantic City in late October to compete for the National Title of ‘Ms. Senior America for 2014-15.’

A panel of five judges interviewed each of the contestants Saturday morning. In the afternoon, a large audience of friends, family members, and well-wishers watched as the ladies competed in the categories of evening gown, talent, and brief ‘Philosophy of Life’ presentations.

From left, third runner-up Joyce Ledbetter; queen Flora Moorman; first runner-up Debbie Lewis; and, second runner-up Patti Meese.

From left, third runner-up Joyce Ledbetter; queen Flora Moorman; first runner-up Debbie Lewis; and, second runner-up Patti Meese.

Observers found the two-hour event to be thoroughly entertaining. One highlight (of many) featured 77-year-old Shirley Jones Byrd performing as legendary musical artist Michael Jackson – doing the icon’s famous Moonwalk Strut from the music video Thriller.

One insider hinted that pageant contestants might have collaborated to ensure that each wore a different color during the evening gown competition, which was resplendent with plenty of rhinestones, sequins, diamonds, and assorted ‘bling.’

The North Carolina Senior America Pageant is a non-profit organization, which seeks to enhance the image of women who have reached the “Age of Elegance” — 60 years or better.  The Pageant honors the gracious woman who best exemplifies dignity, maturity, and inner beauty.  For further information on becoming a candidate or sponsor for next year’s Pageant, call State Co-Directors Bev Wetherbie 910-944-8171,  Judy Kelley 910-328-3671, Sarah Daffron 336-549-7249, or visit Senior America’s website at

Hostesses for this year’s state pageant were: Beverly A. Wetherbie, Ms Virginia Senior America 2005; Judy Kelley, Ms North Carolina Senior America 2000; and Sarah Daffron, Ms North Carolina Senior America 2010. Entertainment during the pageant was provided by “The Sassy Tappers.”