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Big Dawg News

Friday, August 28

Grace Ridge and Treat were both recognized with certificates of merit for their valuable contributions to the appearance and beauty of the City of Morganton.

Chairman of the City of Morganton Community Appearance Advisory Commission (CAAC), Bill Allman, presented the awards on Tuesday to Brenda Yost, Executive Director of Grace Ridge, as well as the owners of Treat, Jenny Sparrow and Sabrina Hurt.

The contributions from Grace Ridge include renovations creating a new entryway into the building and lavish landscaping. Treat added new awnings, outdoor seating and planters on N. Sterling Street. Treat opened a small plates restaurant in Downtown Morganton last year and bar in early 2015.


The Roses Creek Road(Forest Service Road #210), will be closed for construction through October 30th. This will limit public access to the Table Rock Picnic Area to just the northern route through Ginger Cake Road(State Road 1265) to Table Rock Road. For more info call the Nebo Ranger Office at 652-2144.


The City of Morganton has hired an Assistant City Manager. Sonja Marston was chosen from a list of more than 50 applicants from around the country. Marston has served as the Dean of Workforce Innovations and Economic Development for Southwestern Community College in Sylva for the past four years. She previously served for eight years as Director of Advancement for SCC. Marston grew up in Burke County has lived in the Sylva area since she was a teenager.


A Burke County teenager faces multiple felony charges, including Armed Robbery, Larceny By Trick, and Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle. Morganton Public Safety Thursday, arrested 18 year old Robert Calvin Coffey of Morganton. He was placed in the Burke Catawba Detention Confinement Facility under $75,000 bond, with a District Court appearance scheduled for today.


A McDowell County resident is accused of stealing vehicles from two acquaintances. On Wednesday, the McDowell County Sheriff's Office charged

19 year old Kimberly Dawn Lail of Marion, with two counts of felony larceny of a motor vehicle. She is charged with stealing an SUV and a truck June 16th and

17th from two individuals in Old Fort. Both vehicles have have been recovered.


Numerous drug charges are filed on a Catawba County resident. 26 year old Emma Leigh Harrington of Hickory was arrested Wednesday, by the Catawba County Sheriff's Office. Harrington was charged with 4 Methamphetamine offenses,

2 Marijuana charges, 2 charges of Maintain a Place for Controlled Substance plus other charges. Bond was set at $110,000 with a court appearance set for today.


One of the longest serving commissioners in North Carolina and the longest serving Caldwell County Commisioner passed away on Tuesday.

Alden E. Starnes was elected and served as a County Commissioner for 32 years. His terms were from 1968 to 1976, 1980 to 1992 and 1994 to 2006.

Dr. John W. Thuss, who served as a Commissioner for 16 years with Starnes said, "Because of Alden, Caldwell County citizens have a water system to be prod of, a county wide zoning, a good school system, getting better by the minute; all because of him and what he fought for."

In addition to serving as County Commissioner, Starnes was active in numerous local, state and national committees including Chairman of the Caldwell County Board of Health, Chairman of the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Agricultural Committee and the National Association of County Commissioners Agricultural Committee.


A Morganton man is charged with Armed Robbery. Morganton Public Safety served a warrant Tuesday night on 22 year old Jerry Lee Duckworth III. He was placed in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $25,000 secured bond with a District Court appearance scheduled today.


A Tuesday morning shooting in Caldwell County results in a woman killed and a man critically injured. According to WSOC-TV, the shooting occurred on Wheeler Hollow Place near Lenoir. Deputies stated that they believe the incident was a murder-attempted suicide.


One person was injured after a school bus was rear ended by a car. Hickory police are investigating the accident, which occurred Tuesday night near the Catawba River bridge. WSOC-TV reports that the school bus was stopped at a railroad crossing. There were 29 soccer players on the bus and one person was treated for a neck injury.


A Catawba County man functioning as a leader within a newly opened church facility was arrested for sex offender employment violation and sex offender premises violation on Sunday.

According to a press release from the Burke County Sheriff's Office, the Burke County Criminal Investigations Division monitored the activities of registered sex offender, Kenneth Lee Cagle, for 2 months. Sources indicated Cagle had maintained a church in his home in Catawba County and raised funds to open a church in Burke County's jurisdiction.

Cagle was arrested after Investigators discovered Cagle was functioning as a leader within a new church, which violates state law.


A Conover man was sentenced after being found guilty of felony child abuse inflicting serious physical injury in Catawba County Superior Court on Monday.

A jury found Luis Alberto Villa-Campos guilty in May of offenses that left a 3-month old female child with two broken arms and a broken leg. Villa-Campos was sentenced to five to seven years in the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections. The mother of the child, 27-year-old Ruby Hoard of Conover is also facing similar charges.

Hoard's trial will be held at a later date.


The cost of activity bus mileage for Burke County Public Schools was lowered and for the first time cafeteria staff receive free lunch.

The Burke County Board of Education met Monday evening for their regular session and to discuss the first day of school. Board members visited schools in the district to see teachers and eat lunch. Eleven items were approved on the consent agenda including lowering the cost of activity bus mileage.

Superintendent Mr. Larry Putnam shared positive feedback regarding the new cafeteria food from Chartwells. Last Friday Putnam announced this is the first time cafeteria staff receive a free lunch everyday.


A Morganton man was sentenced to serve 5 to 11 years in prison following his guilty plea in Burke County Superior Counrt Wednesday. The Honorable Jessie B.Caldwell III, Superior Counrt Judge from Gaston County, sentenced 36 year old James Ralph Boyd Jr., after he entered a plea on two counts of possession of a firearm by felon, possession of stolen goods, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver methamphetamine and Ecstasy. Tyler Gantt with the Burke County Sheriff's Office, Tom Hester of the Burke County Narcotics Task Force and Felicia Ennis with Morganton Publc Safety led the investigation, which was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Frank Webster.


A Burke County company receives a grant to aid in expansion. Spartacraft Custom Woodworks of Connelly Springs was given a $200,000 Building Reuse grant from the N.C.Rural Infrastructure Authority. The company will add 20 new jobs as a result of the project. This is the fourth grant of this type received by a Burke County industry this year. The grant will support Spartacraft in various additions to their facility.


The Burke County Public Schools began the 2015-2016 calendar year today. They have a new logo and tagline. The logo features Table Rock Mountain, the shape of Burke County, flames and industrial gears, with the new design colors featuring vibrant teals, oranges and yellows. 2015 Patton grad Chad Guzman helped with the logo design. Burke County Public Schools is also partnering with Chartwells K12 for a variety of new menus and programs, with student-focused dining spaces, menu apps and fresh, local produce on the menu.


11 arrests were made on Thursday after a warrant service day was conducted by the Burke County Sheriff's Office and the US Marshals Violent Offender Task Force.

The warrant service day was conducted specifically attempting to locate individuals with warrants issued against them. According to a release from the Burke County Sheriff's Office, 11 arrests were made on warrants for probation, simple possession, assault, misdemeanor larceny, trespassing, failure to appear in court, cyber stalking, possession of drug paraphernalia and unauthorized vehicle.

Those arrested include Larry Wayne Dennis, Summer Mae Echols, Loretta Welborn Holsclaw, Shuelong Vang, Raidel Monzote, Jason Edward Shuford, Michael Anthony Standish, Kerry Andrew Teague, Abraham Leng Thor, Christopher Wayne Ward and Lue Vang.


A rising Draughn student went to Harvard University this summer as part of the National Student Leadership Conference on Medicine and Healthcare.

Avery Rogers, who is interested in a career in the medical field, witnessed a bypass surgery, practice suture and laparoscopic techniques from medical professionals at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Each summer, the NSLC invites high school students from the United States and 70 countries around the world to partake in a learning environment unlike any they have experienced, giving them abilities to engage in critical analysis and communicate effectively.


Draughn and Patton High Schools will be offering a firefighter academy when school starts next week.

Students who enroll in the fire academy class must first take a prerequisite public safety class the first semester to gain an overview of the emergency services field. During the second semester, students are referred to as recruits partake in firefighting classes while wearing uniforms and receiving rank. Recruits who complete 340 hours in the academy become eligible to receive their state firefighter certification.

Wes Lail is the instructor at Patton and Shane Calaway is the instructor at Draughn. Both men have over 25 years of experience as firefighters and in the public service sector.

The academy is open to students at Freedom and East Burke, as well.


The Burke County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution in support of an indoor firing range and voted not to reimburse expenses for the recent Big League/Little League All-Star World Series trip in Tuesday night's regular meeting.

County Manager, Bryan Steen, presented on the states interest in placing a firing range in Burke County. Steen provided a resolution in support of an indoor firing range since both outdoor locations the state looked at were opposed. Board members agreed the idea of an open range should still be a possibility but an indoor range would be the best option for citizens at this time. The board approved the resolution 4-1.

The decision to reimburse the Recreation Department for expenses in the recent trip for Big League/Little League All-Star World Series became an ethical one. The Morganton Department of Recreation funded the $15,000 trip and Maynard Taylor shared that the Morganton Department of Recreation has a budget of nearly $5 million. Burke County's budget for Parks and recreation is ten times less. Taylor included there is a statutory rule that says the county cannot yield tax dollars from another entity. Other members were concerned about there not being a policy for these types of situations. The reimbursement was opposed 3-1.


A woman and two children were rescued off the roof from a house fire in Hickory Tuesday morning.

According to a release from the Hickory Fire Education Coordinator, Hickory firefighters responded to a structure fire located at 1705 9th Ave NE with 2 engines, 1 ladder truck, 1 rescue truck, and 2 command units. Upon arrival, firefighters found a woman and two children on the roof.

A ladder was used to remove the occupants from the roof and no injuries were reported after the occupants were examined by EMS. Damages to the house were considered minor and the cause of the fire considered accidental, determined to be a candle too close to combustible material.