Thursday, October 20th
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Investigation continues into fatal shooting of teenager
The investigation is continuing into an incident in which a teenager was shot and killed Friday night in eastern Catawba County. The incident occurred while the victim's father was driving on Hudson Chapel Road east of the Town of Catawba. Officials report Scotty Hedrick was at the wheel of his small Mazda pickup truck. His son, Austin Hedrick, had the window seat in the vehicle and a 15-year-old family friend was sitting between them. A "hunting-style" rifle was wedged between Austin Hedrick and his friend, according to the Catawba County Sheriff's Office. The three were driving near the intersection of Hudson Chapel Road and Brown Chapel Road at about midnight when the rifle went off. Austin Hedrick was shot in the head. He was taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The Sheriff's Office says the cause of the rifle's discharge is not known. The Sheriff's Office had not formed any conclusions about the case or whether any charges will be filed. The victim was a student at Bunker Hill High School, he’s the third Bunker Hill student to die in the past two weeks, two other students from the school were killed in a vehicle accident earlier this month.
Sex offense charge filed
A sex offense arrest was reported by the Morganton Department of Public Safety. According to a news release issued over the weekend, last month Morganton Department of Public Safety Investigators charged and arrested Christopher Phillip Smith for Second Degree Forcible Sexual Offense. Smith was placed in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $25,000 secured bond. Additional charges are pending.
Officials warn citizens about continuing scams
Local officials are warning citizens to be aware of scams that have been going on statewide. Across North Carolina, residents are once again reporting that scammers are calling their homes and threatening to disconnect their utility service. The scammers demand immediate payment over the phone, and some scammers are even using the names of City employees when they call. The City of Morganton does not call any electric or water customer by phone demanding payment by money order or pre-paid card. City of Morganton customers who may get behind on their payments will be notified via a City utility bill, and City staff will work with customers to set up payment arrangements if at all possible. If you receive a call, do not listen to the scammer's instructions. Please hang up immediately and contact the City Electric Department at 828-438-5277 or the Water Department at 828-438-5276. Please do not share any personal information with these scammers and do not return any phone calls. Several customers have lost hundreds of dollars in related scams. Public Safety Chief Ronnie Rector said that if residents receive a phone call from a scammer, they can report it to Public Safety via 828-437-1911. "If someone shows up to your house in person asking to get into your home, don't be afraid to ask for ID and don't be afraid to call City Hall to confirm the person is who they say they are," Rector said. "If you have any suspicions, then call 911 immediately.
Catawba Commissioners to meet
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on 1) a request to rezone four parcels totaling approximately 17.31 acres, located at 3023, 3054, 3056 and 3073 Botanical Drive in the St. Stephens/Oxford Small Area Planning District, from R-30 Residential to GI General Industrial District; and 2) on a request to amend the County Zoning Overlay Map to declassify the Maiden Creek and Allen Creek WS-II Watersheds, in response to the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission’s action to declassify those watershed areas, when the Board meets tonight at 7:00 at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. The Board will also consider adopting the proposed 2015 Schedule of Values, a set of standards and rules created following the study of the County’s current real estate market which, after final approval by the Board, will be used as an appraisal manual to set property values, effective on January 1, 2015. The Board will consider entering into an agreement with Burke County regarding the closing of the Burke-Catawba Regional Jail Facility that would set forth provisions for the termination of the Operating Agreement for the jail. The Board will consider using the sole source exemption, allowed under State law when a needed item is available from only one source, for the purchase of an access control system for the Justice Center/Public Safety expansion. The Board will also issue a report on the attainment of its goals for Fiscal Year 2013/2014, which ended on June 30, 2014. And the Board will observe as a team of county telecommunicators is presented with the National Emergency Number Association’s Communications Team of the Year Award.
Holocaust survivor speaks at library
At the Catawba County Library in Newton on Thursday, Mars Hill adjunct professor and holocaust survivor Dr. Walter Ziffer presented his lecture "Witness to the Holocaust” accounting his personal experiences during World War II. Dr. Ziffer shared with the crowd his harrowing journey from the occupation of his home town in Czechoslovakia to the Allied and Soviet liberation in 1945. In his speech Dr. Ziffer detailed the horrors of being conscripted into forced-labor camps and the struggle of enduring through the inhumane conditions crediting his survival to “luck and strength”. Dr. Ziffer's presentation was made possible by a grant from North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and through a partnership between the Catawba County Library and the Green Room Community Theater in Newton.
Friday, October 17th
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Vehicle theft arrest made
A Burke County man is charged with the theft of a vehicle. The Long View Police Department arrested 29-year-old Samuel Everette Young of Morganton. He's charged with felony larceny of a motor vehicle, breaking or entering, and first degree trespass. Following the Thursday arrest, Young was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $6,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for today.
Two break-in charges filed
A man arrested in Burke County is charged with two break-in counts. The Burke County Sheriff's Office Thursday arrested 24-year-old Courtney Justin William Pope and charged him with two counts of felony non-forced breaking and entering. Following Thursday's arrest, Pope was placed in jail under $30,000 secured bond, a court appearance is scheduled for December 1.
Health surveys to be conducted starting today
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will conduct health exams on randomly selected people in Catawba County starting today. According to a news release from the county, five-thousand residents across the nation are given the chance to participate each year in the survey that is conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. Health officials describe the study, 'NHANES', as the 'most comprehensive survey of the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population.' CDC Director Thomas Frieden says the study serves "as the nation's health check-up, going into communities to collect health information throughout the country." Frieden adds, "The survey is a unique resource for health information, and without it we would lack important knowledge about major health conditions."
Komen race scheduled for Saturday
The 15th Annual Susan G. Komen NC Foothills Race for the Cure will be held in Hickory Saturday. The One Mile Fun Run/Walk starts at 8:10 a.m. The 5k Race/Walk starts at 9 a.m. The events are being held at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Proceeds benefit continued efforts to fight breast cancer.