NHCS: Request Denied

Ms. Casey Roman



Dear Ms. Roman:


This is an official response to your request to NHCS for the employment records of Jessica Wishnask.


Based on the provisions of General Statute 115C-321, Superintendent Dr.Alfred H. Lerch, Jr., has decided not to release the personnel file of Ms. Wishnask at this time.



Valita Quattlebaum


Need Your Input: Medical Insurance Headaches

I never check my mail unless I know that Netflix has sent me something…but yesterday I was less than thrilled to find a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield in my mailbox along with “The Gladiator.” 

I spent a good amount of time in the Emergency Room last week. The second my body felt better…a new nagging pain set in…thinking about how much it would all COST.

That’s a shame because the priority should be on getting well…not getting worried. I hate paying high premiums for my health insurance but I was happy to have it when I knew that my stay would be racking up an astronomical bill that I would not be able to pay myself.

I was SHOCKED to open the letter and find a note saying they did not think that my situation warranted “acute care”…and they will not be covering a DIME of my medical care. I’ll spare you the details…but there was no other way to describe my situation last week other than, “emergency.” If Blue Cross thought there was a wiser option for me…during an emergency…OTHER than the EMERGENCY ROOM…I would have loved to hear it.

I’ve spoken with some local care givers who told me that they are seeing more and more of this same situation…rejected claims. We talked at length about the impact that’s having on patients AND on doctors.

Personally…I’m now scared to go back to the E.R., even in an emergency, because I can hardly fathom getting stuck with ANOTHER huge bill.

I’m wondering if any of YOU have had a similar situation? Rejected claims with no explanation…

GET IN TOUCH: croman@wect.com.


Laura Sinacori is headed out to the schools to learn more about the H1N1 outbreak. We can’t call it swine flue anymore…I guess that was hurting the swine industry. That will be her story tonight…so far they are telling us that about 100 kids have called out today.

We just had a newsroom debate over whether or not we would keep our own kids out if it was our school. My vote doesn’t really count…along with hospital bills, I *also* can’t fathom having kids…but considering how contagious the flu is, I voted ‘yes.’

I also just called to request the personnel records of Jessica Wishnask from New Hanover Schools. We have questions about any previous suspensions or incidences that may highlight some holes in the employment screening process. The second I get that…I’ll be passing it on to all of you.

If you remember the “Getting In” story from the fall where I began following a group of Seniors from Laney High as they go through the college admissions process…the big ‘reveal’ is coming up soon. I’m meeting with them this afternoon to get the final shots.

They’ve changed so much in just these months! Its been fun to watch their interviews from September and compare them to now. A lot has changed…their goals…their plans…their financial situations. They’ve jumped through so many hurdles…its been exhausting for them…and for ME! They pack more into one day them most people pack into a week…capturing all those moments has been quite a ride.

The results are in…look for that story next week.

And be safe this weekend. The “Click It Or Ticket” program is on in full force in the area…put ‘cher belts on!

Updates…and some free stuff….

First…some good news….

I received an email this morning…today only at your local Wilmington Arby’s you can get a free roast beef sandwich w/ the purchase of a soft drink. I think you will need to print off the little flyer I have and bring it in…so if you want it…just send me an email and I’ll forward it on to you…croman@wect.com.

I spent a large part of yesterday afternoon out in Leland at the former home of Jessica Bailey Wishnask…the teacher who took “indecent liberties” with a 15 year old this past weekend. There wasn’t much in the police report…I still dont think we are sure what “indecent liberties” means…exactly. One can hypothesize…but in reality that could cover a variety of…’liberties.’

Lynda Figueredo will be following up with that today. We have a lot of questions about her teaching history. I tried to meet up with her husband (they are separated) yesterday…but he did not come home. Stay tuned…

Max was going to put a story together today about a group whose forming a MADD organization (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving)…but we just called and they said they’ve changed their minds…there is already an organization just like it here.

But really…today is going to be all Ms. USA, all day, all the time. The media gods here are constructing a jam-packed schedule to capture every moment. Fran will be doing a live interview and Claire will be there too.

I’ll be back with more later…but right now its time to caffinate…

Saudia Arabia Says $200 Oil In 2 Years…(palm goes to forehead)

From Reuters

OPEC Saudi Arabia was warning that oil prices could spike beyond the $150 record high we saw in 2008 due to the “blow to investment in expanding capacity”…the culprit…the financial crisis. (Note: “financial crisis” seems to be the culprit to every giant money-making entity on the planet whose looking for funds…).

Oil prices are at a 6-month high of $60/barrel…anyone else getting peeved at seeing +$2.30/gallon?!  Yesterday “energy ministers” (sounds scary) met in Rome to discuss their dismay. They say producers need $75/barrel to get investment going again.

Remember last summer when we were all being warned to cut back on our consumption…ease demand to improve prices? Well…we did…but I guess too much to keep OPEC happy? Can we really ever win at this?!

The International Energy Agency predicts investment in oil and gas exploration and production will fall 21 percent in 2009. Paolo Scaroni, CEO of Italy’s Eni said one solution might be to create a global oil agency representing producers and consumers that would combat price volatility and ensure investments keep flowing into the energy sector. Hmmm…another big “regulatory” agency….

Again….palm goes to forehead….But talking about oil…is often a colorful talk…here are some of my favorite comments from that article..

Henry Blodget said: Just shows how preposterous our current energy “policy” is….scrimping and saving waiting for oil to go to 75…Then all the new exploration fuels fears of over-supply and it drops back to 50 and then stop new production because it’s no longer viable…We need to put incentives in place that make new production investment feasible at much lower levels. And we need a gas tax, so the economic rationale for consumers will stay stable as well. If oil goes to 200 it will kill the global economy again. Then we’ll be back in this stupid sputtering loop.

Jay said: … the true rulers of the universe. People won’t give a shit after we just boycott it all together.

Frank Saffold said: When will the US Energy Department pull its head our of the sand and seriously assess the recent projections by several eminently-qualified world-class petroleum geologists that world crude oil production is peaking if it has not already done so?

Kenneth said: It sounds like a threat from a group of idiots. You either toe the line or else.

Eric said: Does no one realize that the spike in oil last year partially contributed to the financial crisis we’re experiencing? When prices went up it depressed demand for goods via a trickle down effect, affecting the whole economy.

Deano said: More scare tactics from the boys in S.A. They are doing what they can to talk the price up because they know the end of big oil’s reign is coming soon. They should have thought of that before allowing oil to hit $140/barrel last summer, resulting in the “waking” of the sleeping giant (the U.S). Now hybrids and other fuel efficient vehicles abound and the demand for fuel is heading south fast.

lala said:…we are awash in oil – currently. Global oil consumption is forecast to fall the fastest in 28 years (IEA stat). There are literally boatloads of the brown stuff floating around. ..The biggest Saudi oilfield and the biggest Mexican oilfield are have both been experiencing major declines in the last 3 years. We may not be at Peak Oil but we have passed the peak for “Cheap Peak Oil”. Last year at this time we were looking @ $100 boe/d on its way to $140 boe/d crude prices. The U.S was screaming for more energy infastructure (from refining capacity to more actual oil). Fast forward a year and as a country the U.S has decided to spend (waste) billions on failing industry (see GM and Chrysler). While failing to add anything other, than a push for green technology, in energy infastructure. Whether it takes 1 year or 4 years, oil will again be over $100. You can count on it . The issue is whether the U.S government chooses to do anything to mitigate this or continues to just push “green solutions”?

There were many more beyond that…but I’m running out of space…

Post YOUR comments below…Do you think OPEC is really in such a bind? How do YOU feel when you fill up now that we are creeping back up to $3/gallon??

Dirty, Dirty Diaper….company

Just got an email from Kathy Graham…chief Better Business Bureau guru…she sends a warning of a company that they’re getting a lot of complaints on.

Just wanted to give you a “heads up” on a company we have received a TON of complaints on – and so far they aren’t responding to us…..


 They promise a personalized diaper service of your favorite brands. You visit the web site each month and place your order for what brand and size you want in the shipment.Kathy says that complaints started 4/27/09. She says that people are saying they had great service until about April. 



Here’s their address:

PO Box 12574, Wilmington, NC 28405-0130

Phone: 910 399-1368 (I just called…no answer…no surprise)

 Kathy says they’re getting no where with this issue.

Get in touch…let me know if you’ve been affected.

SAT Prep:Worthless

First…a few updates on the day so far…

Received an email from Lucy Crockett at the WPD. Wilmington has reached late May without a murder. That might be a morbid thing to send in an email, but its pretty great news for a city. Lucy says it’s a credit to the new programs they’ve started. I know *I’m* happy to hear it…despite what some people may think…reporters don’t actually enjoy covering gruesome crime scenes. Good news for Wilmington!

Laura Sinacori is out prowling our college campuses today. No…she’s not looking for a date…she’s scoping out the new Sea Hawks statue at UNCW…then to a luncheon at CFCC. Apparently UNCW is applying to the Guinness Book of World Records for the title of Largest Sea Hawk Statue. I wonder how many contenders there are in THAT category….

The picture she sent looks pretty cool.

I’m writing the next piece of “Getting In” about the 4 Laney High Seniors I’ve been following all year as they charge through the college admissions process. The results are in…

While I’m thinking about college…here is an interesting new study that says that SAT Coaching…(brace yourselves…)…may NOT work…(world gasps).

Parents spend oodles of money every year on SAT prep courses in hopes of raising their kiddies score…even if just a smidge…in the effort to breach the ambiguous admissions walls at American universities.

 I know *I* shelled out…a whole **$50** for a course in someone’s basement!

 The National Association for College Admissions Counseling (=11,000 college admissions officers + high school guidance counselors) says prep companies inflate the value of these courses. At best…you might gain 30 points (out of 2,400).

 Here’s my illustration: Lets say you spent $1,100 on a SAT Classroom Prep course with Kaplan (that’s the cost in our area…it goes beyond $3,000 for private sessions) and you buy 2 prep books for $40. (Lets not consider the opportunity cost of time here or expense in travel or other fancy accessories like calculators.) You spend $1,140 for those 30 golden points…that’s $38 PER point.

 The test prep business is a $4 BILLION dollar industry. It sells everything from free online practice tests to personal tutoring that goes upwards of $200 per hour. If you’ve got the dough…you can shell out for the latter…and enjoy whatever benefits that may provide.

 Size and selling power are not what makes companies like The Princeton Review and Kaplan so interesting. Its that these companies can sell a product that has NO specific guarantee of outcome…for a high price…and in high volume.

 If you look at the benefit per point in my example…$38 would be the marginal benefit of each additional point. But at what point do you experience diminishing returns with SAT testing? At what price tag is there no additional benefit to more classes, more studying, more tests, more books, more tutors, more, more, more? No one can ever measure that. Which could be reason why SAT preps are such a great sell despite their lack of outcome.  Both parents and students are hoping that “one more” will hit the jackpot.

And ‘hope’…is expensive.

Casey Roman is Indisposed

Hi everyone,

I’m posting on behalf of Casey. She has fallen ill and is currently unable to participate in the blog. Feel free to leave your comments regarding her most recent report, “Privacy On The Line”. Casey will rejoin WECT Investigates as soon as she is able. In the meantime, let’s wish her a speedy recovery.. and let’s hope her personal information doesn’t end up online.

Get well Casey.