Thursday, October 8
The death of Cameron Anthony Smith Jr. that occurred near his residence on 7863 Baily Road, Connelly Springs, is being investigated by the Burke County Sheriff's Office and the SBI.
Deputies from the Burke County Sheriff's Office responded to a call at 5:41 a.m. on Wednesday and found Mr. Smith deceased at his residence from what appeared to be a stab wound. A neighbor was detained for questioning.
According to a press release from the Burke County Sheriff's Office, the initial investigation indicated that an altercation occurred at the neighbor's residence inside a work vehicle and Mr. Smith walked back to his residence where he died.
Witnesses are being interviewed and both the residence of Mr. Smith and the work vehicle where the incident allegedly occurred are being processed.
Law enforcement officers are working with the District Attorney's Office in this investigation as it is ongoing and the results of the investigation will be given to the DA.
Anyone will information regarding the death should call the Burke County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division at 828-764-9505 or 438-5500.
A 27-year-old Catawba man will spend 4-6 years in prison for manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of cocaine.
Kevin Matthew Cook was sentenced in Catawba County Superior Court to serve an active sentence in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections after pleading guilty to both charges.
According to a press release from the District Attorney's Office, a traffic stop by Maiden Police Department on June 16, 2012, led to the charge for possession of cocaine, and Cook was arrested for manufacturing methamphetamine in a metal building at a Maggie Street home in Catawba on Dec. 5, 2013. A report of a break-in at a nearby home on Dec. 5 actually initiated the investigation that led to the discovery of the methamphetamine laboratory when the victim followed a vehicle that later was located on the property where the lab was found.
Cody Weiss was sentenced in June to a prison term for his role in the manufacture of methamphetamine and co-defendant in the case. Other co-defendants are awaiting their cases.
At the Lenoir City Council meeting on Tuesday, Lenoir's City Council received positive news concerning the city's financial situation for the fiscal year 2014-2015 annual audit report. In the report, auditor Mr. Eric Bowman explained that Lenoir's General fund balance increased nearly half a million dollars bringing the city's total fund balance up to 6.2 million dollars. The audit report also yielded positive numbers for the city of Lenoir's unrestricted cash and unrestricted fund balances. Although the city's Utilities fund balance only broke even Mr. Bowman found that the city of Lenoir's financial situation was doing well overall
Hickory City Council met Tuesday night, and dealt with several items. First, a Special Presentation for Fire Prevention Week in Hickory - October 4 through October 10.
Next after routine matters including approval of minutes from September 15 and 16, and a Special meeting held on September 24, a nine item Consent Agenda also passed by a unanimous 6-0 vote of Hickory City Council, Alderman Brad Lail was absent and did not attend Tuesday's meeting.
Next, a recycling update was presented by Hickory staff member Chuck Hanson who explained the increase in Hickory citizens using recycling services, to the point that the total amount of recycling in Hickory has increased by 89%, while the percentage of Trash collected by the City of Hickory has decreased by about 11% from fiscal year 2014-2015 to the current fiscal year, 2015-2016.
Chuck Hanson told City Council members this demonstrates that recycling in Hickory works, and is getting closer to reducing the cost the City must pay to deliver trash to the County landfill.
In a final comment from Council members, Mayor Wright reminded everyone that this weekend was Oktoberfest in Hickory, and encouraged everyone to visit downtown Hickory, and tell your friends about Hickory's annual Oktoberfest.
With no additional items needing to be discussed, the regular meeting of Hickory City Council adjourned
A Hickory man pleaded guilty during Catawba County Superior Court on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, to beating his wife to death nearly two years ago.
Thirty-nine-year-old Marvin Antonio Hill entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder in front of the Honorable Gregory R. Hayes, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County.
Sentencing for Hill will take place at a later date when the victim's family can be present. The sentence for a second-degree murder conviction can vary widely depending on a defendant's criminal record, if any.
Neither Hill nor his attorney, Calvin Coleman, had anything to say when given an opportunity by Judge Hayes.
Officers from the Catawba County Sheriff's Office responded to a call on Miami Street in Hickory on Nov. 10, 2013, finding 36-year-old Louver Hill deceased in the back bedroom of the home after noticing both the kitchen and bedroom areas to be in disarray.
Marvin Hill initially admitted to pushing his wife, causing her to fall. He later told officers that he had returned from the store and engaged in a verbal argument with Louver that escalated into a physical altercation. He then claimed that she slipped, fell and hit her head, which knocked her unconscious.
However, EMS personnel advised Brian Kelly, lead investigator in the case for CCSO, that Louver Hill had cuts on her arms, orbital bruising, dried blood in and around her nose and bruising to the trunk of her body. During the investigation, Kelly determined that Louver Hill had been beaten severely in various parts of the home before being dragged into the bedroom. There also was evidence that showed someone had tried to clean the scene of the altercation.
An autopsy of Louver Hill's body at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem revealed a circular indentation in her forehead along with numerous defensive wounds on her arms. She also suffered at least three distinct blows to the head, ruling out accidental death from a fall. Her cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma.
During another interview, Kelly noted the defendant's right hand was swollen about twice the size of his left, and he admitted to fighting with his wife though he did not say how many times he struck her.
Lance Sigmon handled prosecution of the case for the District Attorney's Office.
The 13th annual Oyster and Shrimp festival returns to Morganton Saturday October 17th with a fanfare of seafood temptations including both fried and steamed oysters, fried and boiled shrimp, clam chowder; and more traditional food items like BBQ and burgers.
Hosted by the Burke Arts Council, the event will be held from 1 till 8 pm on the Historic Burke Courthouse Square and on the council's property at 115 East Meeting Street.
Event organizers state that although the annual festival is unique for western NC, it's a highly anticipated community day.
The Burke Arts Council gallery will be open during the event, with the works of NC photographers on display.
Admission to the gallery and to the festival is free; while food and drinks will be available for purchase.
Festival proceeds support local art programming.
Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation arrested a Burke County man Thursday for making threats aimed at the Sheriff and other members of the Burke County Sheriffs Office.
John Anthony Reeves, 33, of Hickory was charged with one felony count of threats against executive, legislative, or court officers. Reeves was arrested and taken into custody a short distance from his residence in Hickory. U.S. Homeland Security Investigations task force officers assisted with the arrest of Reeves.
Reeves was given a $35,000 bond before being taken into custody at the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility. Reeves was scheduled to have an initial court appearance today.
On Wednesday, District Attorney David Learner, of the 25th Judicial District made a request for the SBI to investigate the threats made against Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant and others associated with the Sheriff. The 25th Judicial District serves the counties of Burke, Caldwell and Catawba.
During 2015, Reeves had threatened Sheriff Whisenant and other officers employed by the Burke County Sheriffâ€s Office on numerous occasions.
ACT (American College Testing) Inc., and The College Board have released test scored for the 2015 graduating class.
According to a press release from Burke County Public Schools, Following state trends, Burke County Public Schools' average ACT score rose slightly in 2015 to a countywide composite score of 18.8. The ACT tests English, reading, math and science, measures college readiness and is used for college admissions. The highest possible score is 36.
Results for the SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test) show Burke County students averaged an aggregate score of 1504 on the test, higher than state and national scores. The North Carolina 2015 student average is 1478 compared to a national average of 1490. The scores represent the average of 12th grade students' final SAT scores from 2015.
McGalliard Falls Park and the Meytre Grist Mill are iconic and beloved landmarks to the town of Valdese, and to western North Carolina.
During this past summer however; a downed tree prompted by a severe thunderstorm unfortunately crushed the waterwheel and mill race at the mill.
The Meytre Grist Mill was originally built in 1906 to serve the Waldensian community.
A large flood in 1916 destroyed the water wheel forcing the mill to transition to turbine power.
Insufficient staffing due to WWII brought about the mill's closing in the early 1940's.
The mill was reconstructed in 1982 when McGalliard Falls Park was created.
The grist mill has served as a favorite backdrop for family photos and a reminder of yesteryear.
The Historic Valdese Foundation is partnering with the town of Valdese in reaching out to the community for help in repairing the storm's damage and to restore this historical treasure to its original beauty.
Valdese Town Council recently approved $3,000 for cleanup of the wheel and an additional 15-hundred dollar roofing allowance. The Town of Valdese will also provide approximately 10-thousand-dollars of in-kind funds.
A $25-thousand-dollar goal has been set for the project's private contributions.
For more information about the Meytre Grist Mill project and to donate, go to townofvaldese.com or call 828-879-2129.
At the Burke County Board of Education meeting Monday night, Burke County's Board of Education was presented with a 3,000 dollar check from the Continental Corporation in order to support Burke County's annual "Middle School Science Fair". In honor of this sponsorship, this year's science fair will be titled the "Burke County Public Schools Continental Science Fair", and is scheduled to take place at Patton High School on Tuesday, November the 17th. Also at Monday night's meeting, Burke County's Board of Education unanimously agreed to dedicate Freedom High School's press box after Reverend W. Flemon McIntosh Jr. Reverend McIntosh, or sometimes just "Coach Mac", is a highly respected resident of Burke County and is well known for his educational and spiritual commitment to the community. Burke County's Board of Education was delighted at the opportunity to dedicate Freedom High-School's press box after such an inspirational figure.
Helping to find a cure for childhood cancer – that's the purpose of the third annual Carolina Cycle Challenge to be held Sunday October 4th.
The bicycle ride begins at 9 am and starts and finishes at the Hickory Foundation YMCA Teen Center at 701 1st Street NW Hickory.
The yearly ride, which began as Brett's Ride in 2004, has raised more than 1-point-1 million dollars in the last 10 years.
Cyclists can participate in a 10 mile, 32 mile, or in the Kid Zone.
Registration information is available online at www.carolinacyclechallenge.org.
Challenge organizers say (quote) "We must all work together to fight cancer, and fight even harder for the children in our community with pediatric cancer, and that is the purpose of the Carolina Cycle Challenge – raising awareness and money to find a cure for pediatric cancer."
A pair of students in Western Piedmont Community College's interpreter education program recently volunteered as support service providers at the 2015 NC Deaf Blind Associates weekend at Camp Dogwood in Sherrills Ford.
Dara Fox and David Yarbrough took part in the annual event to advocate for the needs and rights of those who are deaf blind and to further assist those individuals in becoming independent and productive.
Camp Dogwood serves hearing and visually impaired citizens of cities and towns throughout NC, by offering individuals an environment that is uniquely designed for their needs.
Call 828-448-6028 to learn more about Western Piedmont's Interpreter Education program.
Paving at the Catawba River Greenway is nearly complete and the majority of the trail is now open to the public.
A fresh layer of asphalt was put down by contractors working through the city at the Greenlee Ford access at Judge's Restaurant to Catawba Meadows Park. As of Thursday afternoon, contractors had a small section to pave between the footbridge at NC 181 and Catawba Meadows Park.
According to a press release from the City of Morganton Public Information Officer, The Morganton City Council awarded a $139,418 contract in June to Johnson Paving & Crushing Co., Inc., of Marion. The contractor paved 1.4 miles of the oldest section of the greenway that ranges from 18 to 24 years old.
An Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (ICAA) was recently signed which better defines transfer options for students between North Carolina Community College Systems and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.
The agreement was signed by Presidents of the North Carolina Community College System and the North Carolina independent Colleges and Universities and could result in potentially shortened time for students from Western Piedmont Community College to reach degree attainment.
According to a press release from WPCC, the revised ICAA was approved in March 2015, and the State Board of Community Colleges officially adopted the revised articulation agreement in May 2015. Since that adoption, 22 of the state's 36 independent colleges and universities have signed the agreement.
The ICAA helps move community college students towards their four-year degree goals by defining transfer pathways and how earned credit hours fit into the requirements of signatory institutions.
Morganton's newest celebrity 'Tyra the Serval Cat' is celebrating her sixth birthday with a "Meet and Greet" this afternoon at Burke County Friends for Animals.
The public is invited to today's event at the adoption center at 417 Kirksey Drive in Morganton from 4 to 6 pm.
In lieu of gifts, those wishing to meet Tyra are required to make a monetary donation to Burke County Friends for Animals, or donate much needed supplies to the adoption center.
Reports say Tyra's birthday wish is to help other animals less fortunate than she.
Morganton will gain 76 affordable family apartments on Monday.
A frame-raising ceremony will be held on Monday for Sienna, a new 76-apartment family housing development in Morganton. The community is being developed by Workforce Homestead Inc., of Tyron, and Align Development, LLC of Wake Forest using Housing Credits awarded through the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.
Sienna will feature 12-one bedroom, 40 two-bedroom, and 24 three-bedroom apartments. The apartments will be available for households that earn no more than 60 percent of the median income for Burke County. Currently, that is $31,380 for a family of four. The development is 100% smoke free and is located next to Mountain Crest Elementary School.
At a special meetingAt the Catawba County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night, Catawba County Commissioners held a public hearing in order to discuss the rezoning of approximately 63 acres of land from a Residential classification to a Planned Development-Conditional District Zone. This reclassification will help developers create "Blackstone Bay", a mixed-residential housing development located on the north-western shores of Lake Norman in the Sherills Ford community. Despite local residents concerns about congested traffic and overpopulated schools that may arise because of the proposed development, Catawba County Commissioners felt that rezoning the land would ultimately be beneficial for the County. The decision to rezone the 63 acres of land west of Sharing Bridge Road, passed unanimously. Also on Monday night, Catawba County Manager J. Thomas Lundy publicly announced his resignation from office after 4 decades of dedicated service to the County. Mr. Lundy said that his retirement will become effective starting August 1st 2016, which should allow Catawba County's Board of Commissioners enough time to recruit and transition to a new County Manager. Chairman Randy Isenhower stated that "Catawba County has certainly benefited from Tom Lundy's professionalism, good planning, steady leadership, intelligence, and positive attitude
.Carolinas Healthcare System Blue Ridge – Morganton is expanding its surgery department to include nearly doubling square footage from 400 square feet to an estimated 700 feet.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion will be held at the South Sterling Street facility Wednesday afternoon September 23rd.
Carolinas Healthcare System Blue Ridge provides advanced health care and wellness services from more than 35 locations across a three-county region in western North Carolina.
Blue Ridge officials state the surgical expansion will better serve Burke and surrounding counties.
of the Burke County Board of Commissioners on Friday, County Commissioners examined possible designs for the proposed Burke County Justice Center, which if built, is expected to be located on Government Drive in Morganton. At this time no official decisions regarding the proposed courthouse and jail facility have yet been made, Burke County officials will still need to discuss the matter further until a consensus is reached. To reinforce this idea, Chairman for Burke County's Board of Commissioners, Johnny Carswell, made this statement to the crowd: (CLIP)
Also on Friday, Burke County Commissioners approved a request to transfer 150,000 dollars in budget funds to assist Burke County's Waste Management with the installation of a geo-synthetic clay liner for the old "municipal solid waste" area of the Burke County landfill, in Morganton. Waste Management officials state that the liner is necessary in order to keep the ground water in that area from being contaminated after the waste is buried.
The N.C. General Assembly is set to vote on a budget that includes the Historic Tax Credits Program on Friday.
Thanks to months of lobbying by North Carolina Governor Pat McCroy, Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz and many others, the latest proposed state budget includes the Historic Tax Credits Program. According to a press release from the City of Morganton, Mayor Mel Cohen hopes the program does not come under threat again in the future.
The Historic Tax Credit Program has been used in Morganton and other communities across the state to renovate historic buildings. In Morganton, the program was used to renovate the old Premier Hosiery Mill into the Morganton Trading Company, restore 100-1008 N. Sterling St that is now Benjamin's, and the current development of the old Drexel Plant #7.
It became aware there were record numbers in tourism over the summer and Continental Automotive passed a GM quality audit in Tuesday's Burke County Board of Commissioner's regular meeting.
Director of Tourism, Ed Phillips, gave a 2015 Tourism Update revealing record numbers in tourism over the summer. According to the report, over 600 visitors were reported in the Visitor Center in August as well as a 40% and 45% increase in June and July. According to Phillips reports, by the end of the third quarter of this year we will surpass all the tourism numbers from last year. The total payroll generated from tourism in Burke County in 2014 was $13.01 million.
Continental Automotive Manager, David Jones, gave a summary of activities making it clear the manufacturing plant is doing well. Continental makes Electronic Breaking Systems and Electronic Suspension Systems in its Morganton plants for GM and nearly all other major car and truck companies using "state of the art manufacturing with state of the art processes," according to Jones.
Continental recently passed a new audit process from GM's corporate review.
At the Lenoir City Council meeting on Tuesday, Lenoir City Council members received an update regarding Caldwell County drought conditions as presented by Mr. Radford Thomas, director for Lenoir's Public Utilities. According to director Thomas, Caldwell County is still under a "level 1 - moderate drought" advisory but could soon be entering into a "level 2 - severe drought" advisory if the hot weather and lack of rain persists. At this time Caldwell County and Lenoir residents are being advised to voluntarily minimize all nonessential uses of water, mandatory water restrictions and fines are currently not being enforced. Also on Tuesday, Lenoir City council unanimously passed an amendment for Lenoir's Code of Ordinances which could to allow homeless persons caught sleeping in a public area an opportunity not to get arrested for vagrancy.
HICKORY CITY COUNCIL MET IN REGULAR SESSION TUESDAY NIGHT - ONE SPECIAL PRESENTATION
BY ALAN BARNHARDT ON THE CATAWBA SCIENCE CENTER AND PROJECTS UNDERWAY WAS HEARD
A 14-ITEM CONSENT AGENDA WAS HEARD AND PASSED BY A UNANIMOUS 7-0 VOTE OF CITY COUNCIL
FOLLOWED BY ONE PUBLIC HEARING TO INFORM HUD THE US DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN
DEVELOPMENT ABOUT MONIES SPENT IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR TO EVALUATE THE EFFECTIVENESS
OF THE USE OF RESOURCES DURING FISCAL YEAR 2014-2015 PASSED BY A VOTE OF 7-0 TUESDAY
NIGHT WITH NO ONE IN ATTENDANCE SPEAKING FOR OR AGAINST THE PUBLIC HEARING - NEXT TWO
DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS WERE HEARD BOTH OF WHICH STAFF RECOMMENDED APPROVAL FOR
BIDS AND APPROPRIATION OF MONEY BY CITY COUNCIL - THEY PASSED BY 7-0 UNANIMOUS VOTES
TUESDAY NIGHT - THREE APPOINTMENTS TO TWO BOARDS IN HICKORY WERE HEARD AND PASSED
BY A 7-0 VOTE OF CITY COUNCIL - FOLLOWED BY A REMINDER FROM MAYOR WRIGHT THAT HICKORY
CITY COUNCIL WILL HOLD A SPECIAL CALLED MEETING WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT 5:30 PM IN CITY HALL
The eviction of a Serval cat was dismissed and Grace Ridge and Treat were recognized with the 2015 Community Appearance Award in Monday's regular Morganton City Council meeting.
Jon and Vivian Freed, the parents of the Serval cat named Tyra, were given a letter from Morganton Department of Public Safety in August saying they had to be rid of Tyra before September 28th, due to an ordinance prohibiting exotic animals within the city limits. During the public comment portion of the City Council meeting, both Jon and Vivian Freed spoke on Tyra's behalf as well as five friends and neighbors, claiming Tyra is gentle, sweet, and docile.
The council passed a motion to have the ordinance revised at the October meeting.
The Community Appearance Advisory Commission recognized Grace Ridge and Treat as winners of the 2015 Community Appearance Award. Grace Ridge for their visual improvements to the property including landscaping and Treat Restaurant & Bar for their community involvement and impact to downtown tourism.
The Catawba County Library was awarded with a 2015 Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU) Excellence in Innovation Award for its Community Garden Program that converted a vacant parking lot into a community garden.
The objective of the Community Garden Program is to provide fresh produce for meal production and distribution to local food assistance programs. According to a press release from the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, the library worked in collaboration with the Catawba County Cooperative Extension in hosting gardening days and workshops that promote a healthy, knowledgeable and engaged community. Girl and Boy Scout troops worked in the garden to learn about planting vegetables, increased their physical activity and helped grow food for people at the soup kitchen.
The harvested produce from the community garden is donated to The Corner Table in Newton.
A Hudson man was found guilty of manufacturing methamphetamine in Caldwell County.
36-year-old, James Wallace Jernigan III was sentenced to serve 5-7 years in custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections after entering a guilty plea in Caldwell County Superior Court September 3.
According to a press release from the 25th District Attorney's Office, the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office ICE Unit received a tip from an informant that Jernigan was planning to cook methamphetamine.
A search warrant was issued and items were recovered leading to Jernigan's arrest.
A Lenoir man pleaded guilty to indecent liberties with a child and was served an active prison term in Caldwell County Superior Court last week.
35-year-old, Barry Clifton Buie was sentenced to serve 20-24 months in custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections. According to a press release from the 25th District Attorney's Office, in May 2011 Buie sexually assaulted his girlfriend's then 10-year-old daughter.
Buie was declared to be a recidivist, a person who relapses or returns to criminal behavior, due to a prior sex conviction in Onslow County.
The Burke County Sheriff's Office is seeking a missing/runaway girl. 15 year old Ashli Deann Bailey is described as a white female, 5'4", 140 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seen August 25th leaving the residence on Hildebran Mtn. Avenue in Connelly Springs. Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt.John Huffman with the Burke County Sheriff's Department at 828-438-5500.
The first death in North Carolina due to the West Nile virus has been confirmed for 2015.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Public Health confirmed the first death of the mosquito-borne illness and urge residents to take precautions to prevent future deaths from the West Nile virus. Due to patient confidentiality, details on the deceased were not released.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who become infected with the West Nile virus show no signs or symptoms. The West Nile virus is also one of several mosquito-borne illnesses in North Carolina.
There have been 13 reported cases of West Nile virus from 2010 through 2014
A Hickory man will spend time in prison after pleading guilty to multiple charges in Catawba County Superior County. 39 year old Jay J. Bliss, formerly known
as Johnny Franklin Lipps III entered his guily plea in connection with a November 2014 shooting that left his 19 year old cousin hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the head. On Thursday, The Honorable Gregory R.Hayes, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, sentenced Bliss to serve 45 to 75 months in the custody of the N.C.Department of Corrections. Senior Investigator Rick Younger led the investigation for the Catawba County Sheriff's Office and Lance Sigmon handled prosecution for the District Attorney's Office.
Western Piedmont Community College recently inducted two new appointments to the WPCC Board of Trustees, William E. Lennon and R.Scott Mulwee. Lennon, appointed by Governor McCrory, will serve a four-year term replacing outgoing trustee Robert Denton. Mulwee, appointed by the Burke County Board of Education, will serve a four-year term replacing Judge Claude Sitton. The oath was also administered to Charles Taylor, who was reappointed to a new four-year term by the Burke County Board of Commissioners. The WPCC Board, in addition recognized Robert Denton for his service on the board for the past 3 years.
At a special "Town Hall Meeting" held at West Caldwell High school in Lenoir Thursday night, North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows met with constituents in order to address concerns voters had regarding issues they thought to be most relevant. Questions for Congressman Meadows included concerns about ISIS, his stance on the Iran Nuclear Accord, immigration reform, Benghazi, and his situation with House Speaker John Boehner. Although the Congressman was reluctant to speak about Representative Boehner, Congressman Meadows did emphasize the importance of social media and the role of the American people.
On Tuesday, North Carolina's second annual school performance grades were presented to the State Board of Education. In the Burke County Public School System, all schools eligible for a grade received a letter grade of C or higher.
According to press releases from Burke County and Caldwell County Public Schools, the 4-year cohort graduation rate is above 90 percent. Burke County remains at 90.1% and Caldwell County at 90.7%.
As required by state legislation, the School Performance Grades are based 80 percent on the school's achievement score and 20 percent on students' academic growth.
The graduation rate for the 2014-2015 year in North Carolina is 85.4%.
The Viewmont Business Association presented their new logo at the recent quarterly business meeting.
The new logo was funded by the City of Hickory and designed by Matt Pfahlert of Pfahlert Creative Labs. According to a press release from the Viewmont Business Association, the new mark represents people working together. Pfahlert said the shape of the figures was in a "V" for "Viewmont" and the colors were chosen based on the City's color guide for branding.
With the new logo came a new tagline approved by the Association's executive body. The new tagline, simply stated as, "Businesses. Community. Together." Will appear beneath the new logo on letterhead stationary, banners, sights and promotional literature.
A 37-year old Newton man was given additional prison time after being found guilty of multiple charges in Catawba County Superior Court on Wednesday.
Lamar Rashad Lineberger was sentenced to serve 12 to 17 years of active prison time for being found guilty of breaking/entering a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, larceny and possession of stolen goods. According to a press release from the 25th District Attorney's Office, Linberger was determined to be a habitual felon that enhanced his sentence.
Currently, Lineberger is serving consecutive prison sentences for breaking/entering motor vehicles and larceny dating back to March 2014.
A husband, wife and son were arrested after assaulting two men in a Dollar General Store parking lot in Morganton.
Burke County Sheriff's Office and Burke County E.M.S. responded to an assault on Hartland Road in Morganton on August 27th. 38-year-old Alice Coffey, 59-year-old Christopher Coffey and 23-year-old Allen Coffey reportedly pepper sprayed and physically attacked two men leaving the store. According to a press release from the Burke County Sheriff's Office, one of the victims stated that during the assault, the female came from behind and stabbed him in the back.
The victim identified the three suspects as Christopher Allen Coffey, Allen Davis Coffey and Alice Marie Coffey and they were taken into custody on Sept. 1st.
At the Lenoir City Council meeting on Tuesday, Lenoir City Council members agreed to observe September as "Hunger Action Month" throughout the city of Lenoir and all of Caldwell County. Residents are encouraged to wear the color orange on Thursday, September the 3rd, "Hunger Action Day", in order help support the city of Lenoir in its efforts to achieve and maintain a hunger free community. Also on Tuesday, Lenoir's City Council agreed to Aiken Development's offer to purchase property located on 1020 West Avenue in Lenoir, provided that the City of Lenoir could still use the parking lot subject to a lease agreement and a promise of improvement.
A Burke County man pled guilty to multiple drug charges in Burke County Superior Court on Tuesday.
50-year-old Randy Scott Benton of Morganton pleaded guilty to attempted trafficking opiates, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a Schedule II Controlled Substance and Schedule IV Controlled Substance, as well as possession of methamphetamine and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.
According to a press release from the 25th District Attorney's Office, Benton was sentenced to serve 8-11 years in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections. His sentence was enhanced by his habitual felon status; his most recent felony conviction was for possession of a firearm by a felon in October 2013.
The community is asked to continue conserving water as the Catawba-Wateree River Basin remains in Stage 1 of drought protocol.
According to a news release from the Catawba-Wateree Drought Management Advisory Group, the river basin remains in Stage 1 of the Low Inflow Protocol due to low rainfall and continued hot weather.
Residents are encouraged to continue following specific recommendations suggested by their local water provider.
Caldwell County has named Berardino "Dino" DiBernardi III as the new Emergency Services Directory.
According to a release from Caldwell County, DiBernadi graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Health Promotions and Psychology in 2005, earned a NC EMT-Paramedic Certification from Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute in 2007 and completed the EMS Management Institute Certification Program from the University of NC- Charlotte in 2015. He has certifications in Fire, Rescue, EMS Leadership and Management.
DiBernadi will replace Robbie Wilkie on October 1st.
HICKORY CITY COUNCIL HELD A REGULAR MEETING TUESDAY NIGHT - FIRST AT TONIGHT'S MEETING
WAS A PRESENTATION BY STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS AT THE HICKORY PUBLIC LIBRARY DETAILING
AN EIGHT WEEK SUMMER READING PROGRAM IN WHICH KIDS READ ALMOST 20,000 HOURS WORTH
OF BOOKS AS THEY ENJOYED THEIR SUMMER VACATION - THE PRESENTATION POINTED OUT HOW
YOUNG STUDENTS LOSE THEIR ABILITY TO MAINTAIN GRADE LEVEL WHEN THEY DON'T READ FOR
TWO OR THREE MONTHS OVER SUMMER VACATION - NEXT A SPECIAL PRESENTATION WAS GIVEN
TO HICKORY CITY CLERK DEBBIE MILLER - SHE WAS AWARDED THE MUNICIPAL CLERK AWARD AT
TUESDAY'S MEETING - THE AWARD IS GIVEN IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE NORTH CAROLINA LEAGUE
OF MUNICIPALITIES AND THE NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT - CITY CLERK MILLER WAS
SURPRISED IN BEING RECOGNIZED AND HAD NO IDEA THE AWARD WAS GOING TO BE PRESENTED -
NEXT SEVERAL CITIZENS WHO ATTENDED AN EARLIER MEETING AT CITY HALL REQUESTED TO SPEAK
ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF A BRIDGE THAT WOULD DISRUPT A NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE FUTURE -
AFTER MUCH DISCUSSION AND FIVE CITIZENS SPEAKING ABOUT THE ISSUE - JOHN MARSHALL OF
THE WESTERN PIEDMONT COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENT SPOKE AND ANSWERED QUESTIONS - AND
MAYOR WRIGHT CALLED A MOTION PASSED BY A 7-0 VOTE TO ALLOW A PREVIOUS SPEAKER TO
RETURN AND CLARIFY ISSUES OFFERED IN HIS EARLIER COMMENTS THEN HICKORY CITY COUNCIL
A MOTION TO ASK CALDWELL COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO RESPOND BY SENDING A LETTER TO
ASK THEM IF HICKORY COULD MAKE CHANGES THAT WOULD AFFECT CALDWELL COUNTY - IN OTHER
BUSINESS - HICKORY POLICE CHIEF TOM ADKINS ADDRESSED CITY COUNCIL ON A PROPOSED
CHANGE TO HICKORY'S CITY CODE ORDINANCE TO RESTRICT AND NOT ALLOW ANIMALS AT SPECIAL
EVENTS DOWNTOWN - REASONS FOR THE CHANGE INCLUDE THE POSSIBILITY SOMEONE COULD BE
BITTEN OR INJURED IN OR AROUND CROWDED AREAS - NO ONE SPOKE FOR OR AGAINST IN THE
PUBLIC HEARING AND CITY COUNCIL VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ACCEPT THE PROPOSED CHANGES
CITY MANAGER MICK BERRY ANNOUNCED THE NEED FOR HICKORY CITY COUNCIL TO GO INTO A
CLOSED SESSION TO DISCUSSED A POTENTIAL LEGAL MATTER AND ABOUT 45 MINUTES LATER CITY
COUNCIL RETURNED AND BY A UNANIMOUS VOTE AGREED TO APPROVE A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
AND TO AUTHORIZE SPENDING MONEY FROM THE BUDGET TO FIX SOME DOWNTOWN PROPERTY
ISSUES WITH OTHER PROPERTY OWNERS - THE BUDGETED AMOUNT TO AUTHORIZE WAS $ 10,000.00.
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.