a leader

remembered
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Today’s Headlines
Art by Isaiah Davis,
Winstead Avenue Elementary
storms today
High, 94; low, 72.
2A
CarolINa busINess sports
Gov. Bev
Perdue’s
political
fortunes
are tied
to her
newly
minted
image as a fghter.
6A
A local business has found
a niche market giving
facelifts to historic homes.
8A
A living legend was upset
by an unknown in the
Brickyard 400.
1B
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Check out the latest in
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Covering The Twin Counties For 100 Years
deBt deAl
HeAdwAy
White House, Congress
agree to a framework
nAtion 6A
www.rockymounttelegram.com Volume 101, no. 294 – 50 cents
7 0 00776 00050
50 cents
Telegram fle photos
Fred.turnage, who was a strong proponent for a UNC-Rocky Mount, died early Sunday morning at the age of 75. Below,.turnage throws out the
ceremonial frst pitch at the 2006 dedication of the Rocky Mount Sports Complex..turnage died after a months-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Turnage’s advocacy Helped, Healed ciTy
By Geoffrey Cooper
Staff Writer
Widely regarded by residents and community
leaders as a man who displayed benevolent and self-
less leadership, former mayor Fred Turnage passed
away at his home on Mockingbird Lane early Sun-
day morning after battling for months with pancre-
atic cancer. Turnage was 75 years old.
Turnage was elected as the city’s youngest mayor
at age 37 and served nine terms until retiring in De-
cember 2007.
Former governor and Nash County native Mike
Easley said he was shocked to learn of Turnage’s
death, saying Turnage sounded great when Easley
last spoke with him weeks ago.
Easley said he valued Turnage’s mentorship, es-
pecially during his early days of law school at N.C.
Community mourns
former mayor, friend
Event unites clergy, police
By Brie HAndGrAAf
Staff Writer
Community leaders are invit-
ing the public to attend an event
this month titled, “We believe. Do
you?”
“Bibles, Badges & Businesses is
coming together to do this event
to say to others that if we join
forces, we can unite today to make
people have hope for tomorrow,”
the Rev. Thomas Green said. “It is
just about trying to restore hope
in our community.”
Green said BBB organizers hope
waNt
to go?
Bibles,
Badges &
Businesses
is holding
an event at
6 p.m. Aug.
11 at Brown
Auditorium.
New hire in district central offce
to focus on school improvement
from Staff reports
Edgecombe County Public
Schools has hired a former Cra-
ven County principal to serve
as assistant superintendent of
educational program services
and continuous improvement ef-
forts.
Renee Franklin’s job title was
changed to include “continuous
improvement efforts” this year.
a photo
trIbute
For more
photos of the
former mayor
in action, visit
our website.

www.rockymount
telegram.com
“i was
strongly
encouraged
by his
tireless
work ethic,
and I knew
he would do
a good job.”
bIll batChelor
Ex-city manager
“no one
has given
more time,
effort and
sweat in
helping
the people
of Rocky
Mount.”
roy Cooper
N.C. attorney
general
See MAYOR, 3A
See SCHOOL, 3A See POLICE, 3A
Fred Turnage | 1935-2011
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ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA
O
MONdAY, AUgUsT 1, 2011
Community
Sandra Jones previ-
ously held the position
since 2002 before her
retirement this year.
“We are looking
forward to having
(Franklin),” Wayne
Talley, Edgecombe
County Public Schools
superintendent, said.
“(Franklin) brings a
great deal of experi-
ence and has worked
in central offces in ad-
dition to being a prin-
cipal. She is known in
Craven County for go-
ing in to low-perform-
ing schools and bring-
ing them back up.”
A principal in Cra-
ven County Schools for
seven years, Franklin
has worked in edu-
cation for the last 28
years, with 20 years’
experience in school
administration.
In her new role,
Franklin will oversee
such departments as
technology, account-
ability, exceptional
children programs and
curriculum.
Franklin will as-
sume her new duties
Aug. 8.
School
From Page 1A
to encourage business
owners to give people a
second chance.
“We’ve got to fnd
a way to give people
another chance,” he
said. “Our community
is losing hope because
they think they are un-
employable, so they are
turning to the streets,
drugs and to crime.”
The event will be
held at 6 p.m. Aug. 11
in Brown Auditorium
at Nash Community
College.
“It is a community
event, so any and ev-
eryone is invited to
come,” Green said.
BBB has been meet-
ing for about two
years.
Police
From Page 1A
Central University.
“We stayed in contact
through the years, and
he was a great adviser to
me,” Easley said, adding
that Turnage was a close
confdante during his
pursuits of the offces of
state attorney general
and governor.
“It’s a great loss, not
just because of the pub-
lic service he rendered
for so many years, but
also having his institu-
tional knowledge there
for everybody else that’s
serving now.”
Former City Manger
Bill Batchelor said Tur-
nage’s life was etched
with humility and com-
munity service. Batch-
elor – who served two
long stints as city man-
ager, from 1960 to 1970
and from 1976 to 1994
– said when Turnage
frst expressed interest
in pursuing the mayoral
seat, Batchelor had a gut
feeling it would be the
right move.
“I was strongly en-
couraged by his tireless
work ethic, and I knew
he would do a good job if
he was elected,” Batch-
elor said.
The longtime mayor
of Rocky Mount started
his political career as a
Ward 1 city councilman
in 1971. Two years later,
he sought the mayor’s
seat when John T. Min-
ges declined to run after
serving 10 years in that
offce.
Citing Turnage’s no-
nonsense attitude when
it came time to conduct
city business, Batchelor
said Turnage’s leader-
ship was even more
magnifed when the area
was undergoing a strong
economic shift during
the 1980s.
“When Fred came
along, everyone was
benefting from the work
John Minges did prior.
We were in the depths
of a depression, but
still, he did all he could
to promote economic de-
velopment,” Batchelor
said. “He was always
cool, calm and collected
in any situation. His
even-keeled nature was
what kept a lot of things
together.”
Throughout his ten-
ure, Turnage presided
over many transforma-
tions and frsts in the
area’s political scene
– including the election
of the frst black woman
to the City Council and
ending with a major-
ity black City Council in
2003.
Former Councilwom-
an Helen P. Gay said in a
telephone interview that
Turnage’s death means
the loss of a prominent
fgurehead for the Twin
Counties and, most im-
portant, a close friend.
Upon her election to of-
fce in 1983, Gay said
Turnage went to great
lengths to ensure that
she was treated fairly on
the all-male City Coun-
cil.
“I just get so choked
up thinking about this,”
Gay said. “He was a fair
man, a great friend, and
he respected people no
matter what they looked
like. That’s one person
I’m going to certainly
miss.”
A politicAl
Adviser
N.C. Attorney General
and Nash County native
Roy Cooper said in a tele-
phone interview Sunday
that his interactions
with Turnage stretch
back to 1982, when he re-
turned to Rocky Mount
from law school to prac-
tice as an attorney.
Along with legal ad-
vice he has sought from
Turnage over the years,
Cooper said his last con-
versation with Turnage
was about the emphasis
of economic develop-
ment and ways to bring
jobs to the struggling
area.
Cooper called Turnage
a “steady ship’s captain
in sometimes stormy
seas” and said he con-
sidered Turnage’s life of
political service to the
Twin Counties a “labor
of love.”
“No one has given
more time, effort and
sweat in helping the
people of Rocky Mount
than Fred Turnage,”
Cooper said. “He lived
a life of persistent dedi-
cation to the cause of
Rocky Mount and his
people. It’s a sad day for
all of Rocky Mount and
the people of North Car-
olina. ... At this time we
should all join together
to continue to carry on
his vision for Rocky
Mount.”
In his 34 years as may-
or, Turnage faced head
on big challenges that
threatened the city’s so-
cial and economic fab-
ric. From intense battles
with city and Nash
and Edgecombe coun-
ties school leaders over
merging school systems,
to fnding ways to bring
to the area jobs not de-
pendent on tobacco and
textiles, Turnage was
there to lead the city
through some rocky
transitions.
“Fred’s a signifcant
piece of where we are
economically,” said May-
or David Combs.
Combs was elected as
mayor in 2007.
Combs said Turnage
could never truly fnd
the will to leave the area
of public service, adding
that Turnage always be-
lieved there was more
work to be done.
“He might have been
ready to retire before
that, but I think he felt
he needed to continue to
fght,” Combs said. “Any
initiative that happened
in Rocky Mount that
needed leadership, Fred
was always a part of it.
“He was a wonderful
statesman and someone
that deeply cared about
Rocky Mount,” Combs
said.
A leAder
in trAgedy
Community offcials
point to the city’s Sep-
tember 1999 food – cour-
tesy of Hurricane Floyd
– as a tumultuous period
that tested Turnage’s
leadership. Floyd’s food-
waters destroyed a sub-
stantial portion of the
city’s homes and busi-
nesses, leaving many to
wonder if the city could
make a comeback.
During the initial days
of the food, Turnage
was a permanent fxture
in the city’s emergency
operations center, as-
sisting with search and
rescue efforts and with
obtaining more than
$115 million in relief aid
for the area.
City Manager Charles
Penny, who at the time of
the food was assistant
city manager, said he
recalled days during the
recovery when Turnage
became worried about
the outcome, knowing it
would take years to re-
build the area.
“There were some
days where he just didn’t
feel like getting up in the
morning, but he did be-
cause he knew so many
people were depending
on the city for help,”
Penny said.
“Building back better
together” was Turnage’s
slogan during the post-
Floyd era, Penny said.
Turnage helped spear-
head revitalization ef-
forts of water damaged
infrastructure and
launch capital projects
that brought about a new
Imperial Centre, Rocky
Mount Sports Complex,
YMCA, Braswell Memo-
rial Library, a downtown
train station and several
parks.
“If we could demon-
strate the love for our
community like Tur-
nage epitomized, our
region could be better,”
Penny said. “The sky
would be the limit for
our city.”
Turnage is survived
by his wife of 51 years,
Norma Faye; his son,
John, and daughter,
Trevor; and fve grand-
children, Olivia, Rob,
John Graham, Elizabeth
and Charlie. Arrange-
ments are being handled
by Wheeler & Woodlief
Funeral Home.
Mayor
From Page 1A
Telegram fle photo
The late Fred Turnage was a mentor to aspiring politicians, including Mike
Easley. Turnage and Easley attended a 2005 gathering at the Carolinas Gateway
Partnership offce to announce the Ford’s Colony at Rocky Mount project.
“He was a great
adviser to me.”
mike easley
Former governor and
Nash County native
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Rocky Mount Telegram n Monday, August 1, 2011 A www.rockymounttelegram.com

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