Friday, December 6th
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Hickory woman faces sex offense charges
A Catawba County woman faces multiple sex offense charges. 25-year-old Amanda Lynn Bell of Hickory was arrested by the Hickory Police Department and charged with three felony counts of indecent liberties with children and three felony counts of disseminating obscenity to a minor under the age of 13. Hickory Police reports say the victims in the incidents are six, seven, and 13 years old. Bell was reportedly employed to babysit the children and she was watching them in their Hickory home when the alleged incidents occurred. The children notified their parents about the alleged abuse and the parents contacted Hickory Police. Bell was arrested at her home on Thursday morning and was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $50,000 secured bond, a first court appearance is scheduled for today.
Burke resident charged with stolen vehicle offense
A Burke County resident is charged with a stolen vehicle offense following an arrest Thursday in Catawba County. According to records on file at the Catawba County Jail, 42-year-old Johnny Everette Setzer of Icard was arrested and charged with possession of a stolen vehicle. Following the arrest, Setzer was placed in the Catawba County Jail under no bond, he was scheduled to make a first court appearance Thursday.
Unemployment rates released
The county-by-county unemployment rates have been released and counties across the area saw their jobless percentages go down. The latest numbers reflect jobless percentages in October. In Burke County, the unemployment rate is 8.2 percent, down from 8.4 percent. Alexander County’s rate dipped to 7.6 percent from 7.8. Caldwell County saw it’s rate drop to 8.3 percent from 8.4 in September. In Catawba County, the unemployment rate is at 8.5 percent, down from 8.6. McDowell County saw it’s jobless rate dip from 8.5 percent to 8.4. Elsewhere, in Cleveland County, the unemployment rate dropped from 8.6 percent to 8.3 percent. In Rutherford County, unemployment is at 10 percent, down from 10.3 percent in the last report. Avery County’s unemployment rate is 7.8 percent, down from 7.9 percent. Watauga County’s jobless rate increased from 6.1 percent to 6.3 percent. Statewide, the unemployment rate is 7.5 percent, down from 7.6 percent in the last report.
Break-in, theft charges filed
Multiple break-in and theft charges have been filed against a Caldwell County resident arrested Thursday. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of 30-year-old Roy Jonathon Cook of Hudson. He’s charged with three counts of piece of breaking and entering, larceny, and possession of stolen property. Following the arrest, Cook was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $4,500 secured bond pending a court appearance.
Catawba County residents indicted on stolen property charges
Two Catawba County residents have been indicted in connection with the alleged sale of stolen property. The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrests of 20-year-old Brandon Lee Yarborough and 21-year-old Samantha Danielle Kirkland. The two suspects are brother and sister and their address is listed as being on Marlene Road. According to Sheriff’s Office reports, Yarbrough faces two counts of felony obtaining property by false pretense, one count of larceny of a firearm, one count of felony possession of a firearm by a felon, and misdemeanor counts of larceny and possession of stolen goods. Kirkland faces one felony count of obtaining property by false pretenses and one misdemeanor count of possession of stolen goods. The two suspects allegedly stole several items from a home on Love Road in Claremont in March. The items included guns, jewelry, and coins. Yarborough and Kirkland allegedly tried to sell the stolen items at pawn shops in Hickory. Yarborough is being held in the Catawba County Jail under no bond, Kirkland was released after posting $20,000 bond. Both suspects had court appearances Thursday.
Meth charge filed
An eastern Catawba County resident is charged with a methamphetamine offense. The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office arrested 25-year-old Kevin Matthew Cook of Catawba. He’s charged with one count manufacturing methamphetamine. Following the arrest, Cook was placed in the Catawba County Jail under no bond, a court appearance is scheduled for today.
Break-in, larceny charges lodged
Break-in and theft charges have been filed against a Caldwell County woman. 26-year-old Megan Leigh Nichols of Lenoir was arrested by the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office. She’s charged with breaking and entering, possession of stolen property, and larceny after breaking and entering. Following the arrest, Nichols was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $20,000 secured bond pending a court appearance.
Unifour man faces stolen property charge in SC
A Catawba County man who was convicted in connection with a multi-state crime spree is now facing a stolen property charge in South Carolina. According to the Hickory Daily Record, 50-year-old Frederick Charles Washburn of Hickory was arrested Tuesday in connection with an outstanding warrant out of South Carolina for receiving stolen property. The newspaper report says that Washburn signed a waiver agreeing to return to South Carolina to face the charge there. Washburn was previously convicted in December of 2012 of 32 counts of felony possession of stolen goods and one count of felony larceny. Those charges were connected to the theft of numerous items including trailers, boats, jet-skis, and cars.
Thursday, December 5th
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Suspect charged in connection with convenience store theft
A suspect has been arrested in connection with a theft at a convenience store in Burke County. 33-year-old Jacob Patrick Lowman is charged with felony larceny in connection with the crime. On Wednesday, November 13, Deputies with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office received a call in reference to a Larceny at the Shop-n-Save off Hwy 18 North in Chesterfield. When Deputies arrived on scene, the victim told them he had left his wallet on the checkout counter and his wallet had over $1,000.00 dollars inside of it. Detectives were assigned the case and recovered the store video surveillance. The Burke County Sheriff’s Office posted two pictures of the male and female suspects from the surveillance video to its Facebook page on December 2, that same day an anonymous caller informed the Investigators of the two suspect’s identities. Investigators interviewed Jacob Lowman (pictured) and Amanda Silver, both of whom confessed to the crime. Jacob Lowman was arrested and charged with Felony Larceny. A warrant for Felony Larceny was issued for Silvers and she has not been arrested as of this time.
Jewelry store break-in under investigation
The Hickory Police Department is investigating a break-in that occurred early Wednesday morning at Bisanar’s Jewelers off of Union Square. The incident occurred between 4:30 and 5 a.m. Wednesday. The suspect entered through a rear door and stole an undisclosed amount of jewelry from the business. The door sustained damage during the break-in. Police say they are looking for a newer model silver Chrysler 200 that was seen circling the area multiple times and was then seen speeding off after the crime occurred. There is no suspect description at this time. Anyone with information regarding the break-in is asked to call the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551.
Fire that destroyed home under investigation
A fire that destroyed a home in Caldwell County is under investigation. The Caldwell County Fire Marshal’s Office says the early Wednesday morning fire at a Lenoir home is not suspicious and they are currently investigating to determine a cause. The fire occurred at 3234 Deerbrook Road, it was called in by the occupants of the home prior to 2 a.m. A father, his son and a friend were at the home and they were able to escape safely after one of the residents saw flames in a room next to her bedroom. The Fire Marshal’s Office says the one-story; wood-frame home was destroyed. Reports say the home was owned by a relative of the family. The damage estimate is approximately $60,000. According to reports, the family was heating with a wood stove, but investigators say that was not related to the cause of the fire. Responding to the scene in addition to the Fire Marshal’s Office, were the Gamewell and Collettsville fire departments. The American Red Cross is assisting the family.
Annual J. Iverson Riddle Christmas Parade today
The 39th Annual J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center Christmas Parade will be held today at the center in Morganton. The parade gets underway at 3 p.m. and will feature numerous floats and vehicles representing organizations across the area. For those who are participating in this year's parade, you must be on the J. Iverson Riddle campus by no later than 1:30 p.m., you can arrive as early as 11 a.m.
Burke Commissioners resume meeting
Resuming a recessed meeting Wednesday, Burke County Commissioners adopted a FEMA Resolution to gain reimbursement for damage to county facilities during July flooding. In pre-agenda, the board set the agenda for the December 17 regular meeting. County Fire Marshal Mike Long reported to Commissioners that the county is eligible for a public assistance grant following the federally declared disaster from flooding between July 3 and July 13. The Avery Avenue building parking lot, basement, floor and walls received damage. Reimbursement for damage not covered by the county’s insurance provider will be funded 75 percent federal and 25 percent state. Long said reimbursement will be 100 percent and will have no impact on the county’s budget. The Resolution adopted by the Board authorizes Long and his Deputy Fire Marshal Cecil Huffman to represent and act for the commissioners in all dealings with the state and FEMA on all matters related to the disaster assistance. The Resolution was approved 4-0 as Commissioner Wayne Abele was absent because of injuries sustained in a fall. In Pre-Agenda proceedings, the Board set the budget for December 17 which will include organizational matters of electing chairman, vice chairman and appointing the county attorney and tax attorney. The agenda will include two presentations, three public hearings, a 16-item Consent Agenda, and five items for decision. The Public Hearings will be for a zoning map amendment, and two Western Piedmont Council of Governments close-outs. One close-out is on Scattered-Site Housing and the other is a Community Development Block Grant Project. Wednesday’s meeting included a 25-minute closed session for personnel matters. No action was taken after the closed session.
New CIO named in Catawba County
A new Chief Information Officer has been named in Catawba County. Randy Cress, a Certified Government Chief Information Officer with more than a decade of local government management experience, has been named CIO. He will begin his new duties on January 2. Cress, who is 37-years-old, succeeds Terry Bledsoe, who retired on November 1, after more than seven years of service to Catawba County. As Catawba County's CIO, Cress will serve as department director for Information Technology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the 911 Communications Center, supervising 56 employees. He will oversee development of new technologies and identify, plan and implement strategies to improve access to information and efficiency of service delivery to the citizens of Catawba County. Cress will also manage several existing technology-related partnerships between the County and the municipalities in Catawba County. Cress has served since January 2001 as Systems and Network Manager for Rowan County, North Carolina. In that capacity, he recommended and implemented technology solutions for all Rowan County departments, managed a team providing technology support to 750 county staff, and engineered and implemented a network of over 200 virtual servers across two data centers. Cress identified and implemented cost-saving measures such as county-wide application and desktop virtualization projects, provided contract management for a wide array of service contracts, and nurtured relationships with outside partners and municipalities. Cress earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Catawba College in 2006 and then a Masters of Public Administration from Appalachian State University in 2012. In 2007, he graduated from the Certified Government Chief Information Officer’s School at the University of North Carolina’s School of Government in Chapel Hill
Wednesday, December 4th
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Fire burns Catawba County home, two escape blaze
Two were able to escape from a home that burned Tuesday in Catawba County. The residence is located in the Forest Ridge subdivision south of Hickory. According to fire department reports, flames burned a large portion of the garage and also spread to the roof, resulting in heavy damage to the home. According to reports, the homeowner said she and her son were watching TV when they noticed a light flicker and then saw the flames. Several fire departments responded worked to bring the blaze under control. There were no injuries.
Burke woman charged in stabbing
A Burke County woman is charged in connection with a stabbing in Morganton. According to a news release issued on Tuesday, on November 29 just before 1 a.m., Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to 401 Lenoir Rd, Apartment 212 in response to a report of a stabbing. On arrival, officers found Dwayne Davis, a resident of Apartment 213 in the parking lot of the complex with multiple stab wounds to his back. As initial Public Safety Officers were tending to Davis, additional officers went upstairs to where the stabbing had occurred. Upon entry into the apartment, officers found the suspect, 21-year-old Jessica Marie Osgood, a resident of Apartment 212 and several other individuals. The investigation of the stabbing led to the arrest of Osgood. The news release says apparently, Osgood's boyfriend, Ashley Sylvester Butler, and Davis became involved in a heated argument that led to a physical altercation. Osgood, in an attempt to stop the fighting, found a pocket knife and began stabbing Davis in his back. Davis was able to run from the apartment and Morganton Public Safety was notified. Osgood (pictured) is being held under a $25,000 secured bond. Her first appearance in court was scheduled for Monday.
The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office is seeking assistance in finding the person responsible for several thefts in Hudson. This surveillance photograph was released that was taken on the Drag Strip Road area East of Hudson. If you have any information please contact Detective Doug Dupell or to remain anonymous please contact the Caldwell County Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300.
Hickory woman faces meth charge in Caldwell
A Catawba County woman faces a meth charge filed in Caldwell County. 34-year-old Shannon Marie Williams Greene of Hickory was arrested by the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Greene was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $25,000 secured bond. A first court appearance was scheduled for Tuesday.
Flu claims three lives in NC
Three North Carolina residents have died as a result of seasonal influenza accordint to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The patients were from eastern North Carolina, the Triad region, and the Charlotte area. All three patients were middle aged adults who were at increased risk for complications due to underlying medical conditions and all three passed away during the past two weeks. They had tested positive for Influenza A. According to public health officials, cases of flu in the state have been relatively low this season but are beginning to trend upward. The flu season usually peaks during January and February.
Tuesday, December 3rd
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Authorities learn more details in fatal home-invasion shooting
The investigation is continuing into a fatal shooting during a home invasion in Burke County in November. According to broadcast reports Monday, there are new details that have been released in the case. The incident occurred on November 10 at a home on Bridgewater Road in western Burke County. 70-year-old Johnnie Leroy Presnell died as a result of complications from his injuries sustained from being shot. His son, 35-year-old Jonathan Orion Presnell was released from Mission Hospital after being treated for his injuries. According to broadcast reports Monday, Janie Presnell asked the 911 dispatcher to get help to the home where the shooting had occurred just minutes earlier. According to the reports, during the five-minute call, Presnell interrupted the 911 operator trying to get the name of the shooter from her husband who had life-threatening injuries after being shot near the mouth. Deputies said they are looking into names given during the call. No motive is known yet, authorities have learned that in the days leading up to the shooting the family says medication for the father was stolen from their mailbox. The Sheriff's Office is offering a $1,000 reward in the case through the Crimestoppers program. If you have any information you are asked to call 828-437-3333.
Alexander woman charged in connection with vehicle theft
An Alexander County woman is charged in connection with a vehicle theft in Catawba County. 28-year-old Candice Marie Mayne of Hiddenite was arrested by the Hickory Police Department. She's charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and simple possession of schedule three controlled substance. Following the arrest, Mayne was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $1,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.
Suspects still being sought in theft at store
Suspects are still being sought in connection with a theft at a local convenience store. On Wednesday, November 13, Deputies with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a felony larceny at the Shop-n-Save off Hwy 18N in Chesterfield. The Burke County Sheriff’s Office needs the help of the public in identifying the two individuals who are pictured on the Burke County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. The story was posted on that page on Monday. If you have any information please contact the Burke County Sheriff’s Office Criminal investigations Division 828-438-5506.
Caldwell woman charged with having drugs in jail
A Caldwell County woman is charged with having drugs in jail. 29-year-old Amber Lashai Harris of Lenoir was arrested in Catawba County and charged with possession of schedule three controlled substance in prison or jail. Following the arrest, Harris was detained at the Catawba County Jail under no bond pending a court appearance, which was scheduled for Monday.
Catawba Commissioners meet, hold organizational meeting
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners met on Monday. The Board held its annual organizational meeting and elected Katherine (Kitty) W. Barnes as its Chairperson and C. Randall (Randy) Isenhower as Vice-Chairperson for the next year; appointed Debra Bechtel to serve at County Attorney and appointed David Hood of Patrick, Harper & Dixon as Counsel to the Board; appointed Barbara Beatty to serve on the Hospital Board of Trustees, as the Western Piedmont Council of Governments Policy Board Alternate and on the Finance and Personnel Subcommittee; Dan Hunsucker to serve on the Public Health Board and Finance and Personnel Subcommittee; Randy Isenhower to serve on the Partners Behavioral Health Management Board and the Policy and Public Works Subcommittee; Lynn Lail to serve on the Social Services Board, the Community Service Block Grant Advisory Board, and the Policy and Public Works Subcommittee, and Kitty Barnes to serve as the Western Piedmont Council of Governments Policy Board Delegate. The Board presented the 2013 Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association to Budget Manager Jennifer Mace and Budget Analysts Paul Murray and Barron Monroe. The award is given to local governments that prepare and publish a budget document judged to be both informative and understandable. Catawba County has won this award for 25 consecutive years.
Gaston man charged with offenses in Unifour
A Gaston County man is charged with being a habitual offender following a drug arrest in Catawba County. Records on file at the Catawba County Jail show the arrest of 23-year-old Marlin Jermarl Rogers of Gastonia. He's charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, habitual drug offender, possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Rogers was placed in the Catawba County Jail under no bond pending a court appearance.
New board members sworn in at Burke School Board meeting
Three newly elected incumbents of the Burke School Board were sworn in by Judge Robert Ervin Monday evening and a new chairman and vice chairman were elected. Other matters included student and staff recognitions, an hour-long closed session, and a lengthy work session to set the December 16 agenda. Judge Ervin conducted the swearing-in ceremony for three incumbent members elected in the November School board election. Sworn were Catherine Thomas, Buddy Armour and Sam Wilkinson. Immediately following the ceremony, the board elected Randy Burns as chair and Sam Wilkinson as vice chair. Wilkinson had served as this year’s chair. Middle School Science Fair Winners were announced in biology A and B, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Physics and Astronomy, and Technology and Engineering. Freedom High school Math teacher and Math Team Coach Ken Thwing was named State Outstanding Math Coach of the Year by the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Title I Elementary Reward Schools were Forest Hill, Glen Alpine, Hildebran, Icard, Oak Hill, Rutherford College, and Valdese. Outgoing School Board Chair Sam Wilkinson was recognized for the North Carolina School Board Association’s School Board Leadership Award. Of the award, Wilkinson said it was “Not for me, but for these guys, pointing to the board members.After the recognitions, the board heard updates from the superintendent, Auxiliary Services, Exceptional Children Services, proposed revisions to a grading policy, reports on public schools and Middle College calendars for 2014-15, and 2015-16, and a report on Hallyburton Academy local option goals. A five-item consent agenda also was approved for the December 16 board meeting. No action was taken after the one-hour closed session.
Christmas parade tonight
Morganton's Christmas parade is this evening. The 2013 Downtown Morganton Christmas Parade will start at 6 p.m., rain or shine. This year's theme is "Christmas Carols." The parade is sponsored by the Morganton Downtown Development Association. It will begin at the corner of Meeting Street and Green Street, by the Community One Bank. The parade will then go down Green Street, makes a left onto Collett Street, then a left onto Sterling Street. It runs all the way down Sterling Street past the Old Burke County Courthouse to Concord Street. The parade ends as it makes the left turn onto Concord Street.
Blue RIdge Electric presents funds to Exela
Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation recently presented the proceeds from a $1 million economic development loan to Exela Pharma Sciences, LLC. The funds were made available through the federal government's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG). The REDLG loan program, which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), enables electric cooperatives to be involved in economic development projects in their service areas by providing zero-interest loan funds to qualified businesses that are creating or retaining jobs in rural areas. Blue Ridge Electric was one of only 26 not-for-profit utilities in 11 states selected by the USDA for this cycle of REDLG funds. Exela is a pharmaceutical manufacturing company and has operated in Caldwell County since 2008. They are expanding their operations through the acquisition and renovation of the former Broyhill Furniture headquarters building on Blowing Rock Blvd in Lenoir, NC. Exela also has manufacturing facilities in Lenoir off Nuway Circle. In a county recovering from the loss of furniture manufacturing jobs, this expansion is viewed as a critical economic development achievement that is creating additional employment opportunities for Caldwell County. "We are grateful to the leadership at Blue Ridge Electric, as well as the partnership with Deborah Murray at the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission and also the City of Lenoir for their continuing support", said Dr. Phanesh Koneru, president and chief executive officer of Exela. "This public-private partnership with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is exactly what's needed to jump start our economy, and help Exela achieve its vision and plans." "Helping retain jobs and creating new and diversified job opportunities for our service area is a key strategy for Blue Ridge Electric", said Doug Johnson, chief executive officer of Blue Ridge Electric. "We have a strategic partnership with many different entities like Caldwell 2020 and the Caldwell EDC to support initiatives that improve the quality of life for the communities and people we serve," he explained. "That's why we're very excited to provide this REDLG loan to help Exela grow and provide well paying jobs in our community."