Thursday, October 30th
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Doctor facing trafficking charge makes court appearance
A Catawba County doctor charged with a felony drug offense made a first court appearance Wednesday in Newton. Dr. John Kessel is accused of drug trafficking after the Catawba County Sheriff's Office said they found more than 200 pills of Oxycodone in his car during a traffic stop. Kessel is charged with trafficking opium, the charge was filed after Deputies said they found those pills inside his car during a traffic stop less than a mile from the medical clinic and pharmacy where he worked in Hickory. WSOC reports that Kessel can no longer prescribe medication after surrendering his DEA registration number. Kessel’s probable cause hearing is scheduled for November 19.
Voter turnout reported to be steady
Voter turnout in Burke, Catawba, and Caldwell Counties has been very steady since the beginning of early voting last Thursday. As of Wednesday, 6,971 voters had cast ballots in Burke County, 5,482 in Caldwell, and 11,554 in Catawba. Early voting continues until 1 p.m. Saturday. In Catawba County, four of five early voting sites close at 7 p.m. Friday, the Newton Library location will remain open until 1 p.m. Saturday.
Heroin charge filed
A heroin charge has been filed against a Burke County woman arrested this morning in Catawba County. 24-year-old Angela Marie Grater of Morganton was arrested by the Hickory Police Department and charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following this morning's arrest, Grater was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $3,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for Friday.
Authorities warning residents to be aware of scam in neighboring county
Authorities are warning residents of an area county to be aware of a scam. McDowell County sheriff’s deputies are advising local residents to be aware of con artist callers posing as IRS employees. The culprits are telling folks that they have penalties against them, and they need to send a money order to the IRS. It’s a scam, and citizens shouldn’t fall for it. “The IRS does not call people and ask for money,” said Capt. Shanon Smith. “They will send any correspondence through the U.S. Postal Service.” A couple of cases have been reported in McDowell. If you have any questions or for more information, call the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office at 652-2235.
Wednesday, October 29th
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Doctor charged with drug trafficking
A Hickory doctor has been charged with drug trafficking. The Catawba County Sheriff's Office arrested Dr. John Kessel Monday night on charges of trafficking prescription drugs. According to the Sheriff's Office, Kessel was pulled over after detectives allegedly saw him involved in a drug deal not far from his office. Kessel was allegedly in possession of 24 grams of opiates, or 240 oxycodone pills. Detectives had been investigating Dr. Kessel for about three weeks. Kessel was released on a $10,000 bond. His first court appearance is today in Newton.
Man arrested on break-in charge
A Burke County man is charged with a break-in and theft in Caldwell County. The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office reports the Tuesday arrest of 30-year-old Jonathan Wayne Smart of Connelly Springs. He's charged with breaking and entering and larceny. Following Tuesday's arrest, Smart was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $33,000 secured bond.
Woman charged with stealing vehicle
A Catawba County woman arrested Tuesday is charged with stealing a vehicle. The Hickory Police Department reports the arrest of 35-year-old Chasity Marie Hicks of Hickory. She's charged with larceny of a motor vehicle and possession of stolen goods. Following the arrest, Hicks was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $6,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for Friday.
Burke schools rank in top ten in graduation rate
Burke County's Public School's rank in the top ten in graduation rate in North Carolina. State Superintendent June Atkinson recognized Burke County Public Schools earlier this month for having one of the highest four-year cohort graduation rates among all districts in the state in 2013-14. With a graduation rate of 90.8, Burke County Public Schools is ranked ninth in North Carolina. Burke County Public Schools is second in the state for having the highest graduation rate among medium sized schools that have between 1,000 and 1,999 students in the cohort. Burke County Public Schools had 1,103 students in its 2013-14 cohort, and the graduation rate increased by 2.9 percentage points from 2012-13. “We are proud of all of our graduates from our six high schools who walked across that stage and received their diplomas in June,” said Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam. “Our graduates are to be commended for meeting the demands of a rigorous course of study and earning a valuable high school diploma.” Putnam attended a special recognition luncheon in Durham on Oct. 3 and received a plaque on behalf of the school system. The superintendent points to more opportunities, early intervention, technology and higher expectations as reasons why the graduation rate continues to improve. “Getting students excited about learning early on is key to keeping them on grade level. If a student is ready to start kindergarten, he or she is more likely to stay on grade level and make it to graduation,” Putnam said. The 2015 graduating class will be the first graduating class to have had access to the pre-kindergarten program. During the Oct. 20 Board of Education work session and again at Monday’s regular session, Putnam shared the news of BCPS’s state distinction with board members. He credited a supportive board of education, central office staff and community as well as dedicated teachers. School board members Buddy Armour and Sam Wilkinson were on the board in 2004 when talk of building two new high schools first surfaced. They said it is gratifying to see a 30-percent graduation rate increase as a “fruit of their labor.” “Since Patton and Draughn high schools opened,” Putnam said, “Burke County students have doubled their opportunities to get involved in and lead in not only the classroom, but also clubs, athletics, band and other electives.” The new high schools also drastically decreased the student population to closer to the state average, which is around 830 students, Putnam said, compared to the more than 2,200 that Freedom and East Burke high schools had before Patton and Draughn opened. Hallyburton Academy, which has one of the highest graduation rates in the state for alternative schools, and Burke Middle College, recognized by Atkinson on Oct. 3 for a 100 percent graduation rate, are also factors in BCPS graduating more students as both offer additional options to students. Putnam added, “With the opening of the STEAM Academy last school year and adding honors credits to Career and Technical Education classes, students now have even more opportunities and flexibility with their schedules.” Other recent BCPS initiatives designed to keep students in school and instill in them a desire for life-long learning include upgrades in technology and an emphasis on STEM learning at all grade levels as well as duel-enrollment partnerships with Western Piedmont Community College.
Man killed at Blowing Rock waterfall
Officials say a Florida man was killed Tuesday after falling from a waterfall in Blowing Rock. According to reports, the incident happened on Glen Burney Trail, which runs along New Years Creek at Glen Burney Falls, at approximately 2:30 p.m. According to reports, 54-year old Alberto Diaz from Florida was walking on the trail with his wife when he lost his footing and fell. The incident is under investigation.
Tuesday, October 28th
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Early morning fire destroys home in Caldwell County
Fire destroyed a home in Caldwell County during the early morning hours today. Firefighters arrived at the blaze on Horseshoe Bend Road near Hudson at approximately 4:00 this morning. According to reports, when firefighters arrived, flames were shooting from the house. Three fire departments assisted in extinguishing the blaze. Reports say the homeowner was staying with her parents next door and was not hurt. The Caldwell County fire marshal’s office is investigating the blaze.
Two sought in connection with armed robbery
Two men are wanted in connection with the armed robbery of a Morganton convenience store earlier this month. Warrants have been issued by the Burke County Sheriff's Office for 22-year-old Roger Joel Harper of 3789 Piney Road in Morganton, and 20-year-old Terrik Lovon Patterson of 1711 Poplar Street, Apartment one, in Lenoir. They’re wanted on warrants for felony robbery with a dangerous weapon, second-degree kidnapping, and discharging a firearm into occupied property. According to police reports, during the early morning hours of October 18, two masked men entered the Shop ‘n Save located at the intersection of NC 18/U.S. 64 and Hartland Road. The suspects assaulted both clerks and took an undisclosed amount of cash, then left the store on foot heading in the direction of Morganton. According to the Sheriff's Office, Harper may be driving a slate/dark gray Honda Accord EX-L, with tag number ALN-3886. Patterson’s aliases include “Tiko,” T.K.” and “Frank Mula,” and Harper’s alias is “Roger Rabbit.” Patterson is reported to be a validated gang member." If citizens spot either of the suspects, they should contact BCSO at 828-438-5500 or 828-438-5506. Their photos can be seen on the Burke County Sheriff's Office Facebook Page.
Man receives close to six years for robbery
A Catawba County man will spend a minimum of close to six years in prison after being convicted in a robbery case. The District Attorney’s Office announces the conviction of 23-year-old John David Rogers of Hickory for Felony Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon Monday in Catawba County Criminal Superior Court. The defendant was sentenced to no less than 70 months and no more than 96 months in the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction. The robbery occurred in April 2013 in the City of Hickory. The defendant robbed a local business threatening store personnel with the use of a handgun, though a firearm was never produced. The defendant stole $100.00 in cash and was apprehended after an investigation by the Hickory Police Department. The defendant subsequently confessed to the crime.
Man charged with stealing vehicle, arrested following chase
A Caldwell County man is charged with stealing a vehicle in Alexander County following a chase with officers. Members of the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office have arrested and charged 36-year-old Zebulon James Spurlock of Granite Falls with Felony Larceny of a Motor Vehicle. The Charge resulted from a call at approximately 10:15 a.m. Monday from Sipe Wholesale in Taylorsville in reference to a Truck that had just been stolen. A be on the lookout was given out by 911 Communications. Chief Dennis James with Taylorsville Police met the Stolen White Ford F Series truck on US 64-90 near the NC 16 interchange. Chief James gave pursuit to the stolen vehicle but lost sight US 64-90 West. Caldwell County and Lenoir Police were notified of the vehicle heading toward Caldwell County. Lenoir Police spotted the vehicle near Wilkesboro Boulevard. The suspect hit another vehicle in Lenoir and wrecked. The suspect jumped from the vehicle and was later taken into custody by Lenoir Police. Lenoir Police have charged Spurlock with Felony Possession of Stolen Property, reckless driving, hit and run, Driving on revoked license, and Injury to property. Bond was set for $25,000.00 on the Alexander Charges and $10,000.00 on the Lenoir Charges. A first appearance in Alexander County District court is scheduled for next Monday.
Report: Hickory's largest employer looking at possible location
According to reports, one of Hickory's biggest employers says it's beginning a two year analysis to decide if it should relocate. Corning Optical Communications employs more than 1,000 people in Catawba County. According to WSOC TV, the company is trying to see if there's a more cost-effective location for its corporate headquarters, which currently is on Highway 321.
Burke Board of Education meets
Students and were recognized for their achievements in the spelling bee and The News Herald presented their "Best of Burke" contest winners in Monday night's Burke County Board of Education regular meeting. Mrs. Rexanna Lowman presented the awards for winner and runner up for the spelling bee, held at Patton High School on October 6th. After 10 rounds, Joshua Bourgoin (Ber-goin) from East Burke Middle was named runner-up and Donald Pepka, of Table Rock Middle, was the top speller. Lowman also recognized Shane Mace of East Burke Middle as Principal of the year and Shane Gardner of Patton High School as Assistant Principal of the year. Gardner has been a Burke County Public School System employee for 17 years while Mace has been an educator for Burke County Schools for 20 years. The Assistant Principal's and Principal's Association members made these selections. The News Herald presented their "Best of Burke" contest winners in the category of Best Principal, Best Coach, and Best Teacher. Kathy Amos of Patton High School was Best Principal, Casey Rogers of Freedom High was voted Best Coach, and Table Rock's Heather Smith was voted as best Teacher. Winners were based on community votes. Superintendent, Mr. Larry Putnam, acknowledged Burke Middle College on their 5th year of having a 100% graduation rate for 2013-2014. He highlighted that Carolinas Healthcare System Blue Ridge will be a new partner in education and the official state graduation rates were 90.8%.
Man charged in break-in
An Alexander County man is charged in connection with a break-in. According to a news release issued Monday, Investigators with the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office arrested 37-year-old Derick Aaron Owens of Hiddenite. Owens was charged with 2 counts of Breaking and Entering of a residence and 2 counts of Larceny after Breaking and Entering. He was placed under a $3,000 secured bond. He's already made a first court appearance.
Monday, October 27th
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Man killed in weekend accident
A Burke County man was killed in a single-vehicle accident over the weekend. Saturday at approximately 5:12 a.m. the Morganton Department of Public Safety responded to a single vehicle accident near the 200 block of Reep Drive. Upon arrival, officers found that a 2001 Pontiac driven by 29-year-old William Heath Lathrop of Morganton collided into a tree on the right side of the roadway. It appeared that the vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway then over-corrected to the left side before going off the right side of the road again, striking a tree approximately 10 feet off the roadway. Lathrop died at the scene as a result of injuries sustained from the collision. Speed was a contributing factor in the collision. The accident is still under investigation.
Man charged with false imprisonment
A man arrested Sunday in Hickory is charged with assault and false imprisonment. The Hickory Police Department reports the arrest of 22-year-old Tyree Dorian Rhinehardt of Hickory. He's charged with assault inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment, and communicating threats. Following the arrest, Rhinehardt was placed in the Catawba County Jail under no bond, a court appearance is scheduled for November 17.
Burke man charged with several offenses in Catawba County
A Burke County man is charged with several offenses following an arrest Sunday in Catawba County. The Hickory Police Department arrested 27-year-old Daniel Allen Hoffman of Connelly Springs. He's charged with misdemeanor larceny, resisting a public officer, simple possession of schedule four controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia, and larceny by defeating an anti-theft device. Following Sunday's arrest, Hoffman was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $10,625 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for today.
Stolen goods charge filed
A stolen goods charge was filed against a woman arrested this morning in Catawba County. The Hickory Police Department reports the arrest this morning of 52-year-old Terry Lynn McDermott of Hickory. The charge filed is possession of stolen goods or property. Following the arrest, McDermott was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $1,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for December 8.
Child attacked by pit bull
A young child was attacked by a neighbor’s pit bull in an incident that occurred late last week in Caldwell County. According to WSOC, witnesses say the dog broke through a window screen to get to the child. The TV station reports T.J. Blake’s two-year-old grandson Eli has a bandage on his leg covering up the scars left behind after she says a pit bull attacked him last Thursday. Blake was also scratched on her arm. Blake said she and her grandson had seen the dog as they walked through the neighbor’s yard in Hudson on the way to play with friends. When they were walking back home she said the dog lunged through a screened window. She grabbed the child, but said the dog was able to latch on. Blake said she was trying to use her body to shield the child, but the dog pulled the toddler from underneath her. Thirteen-year-old Colton Hartley saw what was happening and tackled the dog, knocking it off the two-year-old, Hartley then sat on them until it was safe enough to go in the house. Eli has been released from the hospital but has to go back to the doctor next week. According to WSOC, Caldwell County Animal Control said the dog is quarantined now and considered potentially dangerous. The dog's owner says the pit bull has never been aggressive before.
Friday, October 24th
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Man charged with sex offense, allegedly held "sleep overs" with underage child
An Alexander County man faces a sex offense charge. The Alexander County Sheriff's Office says a Taylorsville man held "sleep overs" with at least one underage girl in a shed behind his home. 38-year-old Michael Day Crouch of Taylorsville, is charged with indecent liberties with a child. According to the Sheriff's Office, Crouch, who lived in a home with his father, held "sleep overs" with kids in a shed behind his house. The Sheriff's Office says the ongoing investigation involves an eight-year-old girl, and that there may be other victims. Crouch has no relation to the victim, he does know the girl's parents
Assistance sought in finding break-in suspect
The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office is Seeking assistance from the public. Thursday at approximately 12:04 p.m. the 911 Center received a call about a Breaking and Entering that had just occurred in the area of 5145 US 64-90 West. Officers responded and found that a glass door had been broken out of a residence. Shortly afterward 911 received other calls in the Ellendale community regarding more break-ins. Officers gathered some information on the Suspect in these cases. The Suspect is described as a white male, medium build, 30-35 years old wearing a black toboggan and white gloves. The suspect vehicle is described as black in color, possibly a Chevy Impala or Nissan Maxima. If you have information on this vehicle or suspect please contact the Alexander County Crime stoppers at 828-632-8555 or the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office 828-632-1111. Photos of the suspect vehicle can be seen on the Unifournews.com Facebook page.
Drug charge filed in Thursday arrest
A woman arrested Thursday in Burke County faces a felony drug charge. 31-year-old Amber Michelle Newton was arrested and charged with one count of felony possession with intent to manufacture schedule three controlled substance. Following the arrest, Newton was placed in jail under $5,000 secured bond, a court appearance is scheduled for December 1.
City council invited to meeting, quorum expected
Morganton City Council has been invited to attend the monthly meeting of the City of Morganton's Human Relations Commission. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 5:15 p.m. in Conference Room 4 of Morganton City Hall, 305 East Union Street, A100. It is possible a quorum of City Council may attend; however no action by Council will be taken. For more information, you may contact Sally Sandy, City Manager, at 438-5230 or Kelly Russell, Assistant City Clerk, at 438-5228.
Thursday, October 23rd
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Early voting starts today across Unifour, state
Early voting starts today. In Burke County there will be four locations, the Burke County Board of Elections Office, Rutherford College Town Hall, Burke Senior Center, and Hildebran Depot Park. In Catawba County, five one-stop voting locations will be open at varying times and dates. New for this election is a one-stop site at 403 Conover Station in Conover NC. Other one-stop sites will Include: the Newton Main Library at 115 West C Street, the Highland Recreation Center at 1451 8th St. Dr. NE, Hickory, the Southwest Branch Library at 2944 Highway 127 South in Mountain View, and the Sherrills Ford Fire and Rescue headquarters at 4011 Slanting Bridge Road in Sherrills Ford. In Caldwell County voters can cast their ballots early in the City/County Chambers at the Alden Starnes County Building in Lenoir, at the Public Library in Lenoir, and at the Shuford Recreation Center in Granite Falls. In Alexander County early voting is taking place at the Alexander County Board of Elections in Taylorsville. For specific times and dates you can contact your local Board of Elections. The final day of early voting will be Saturday, November 1. Election Day is Tuesday, November 4.
Man charged with failing to register as sex offender
A Catawba County man is charged with failing to register. The Hickory Police Department Wednesday arrested 23-year-old Joshua Stephen Moriarty of Hickory. He's charged with fail to register as a sex offender and second degree trespass. Following the arrest, Moriarty was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $50,500 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for Monday.
Stolen goods charge filed
A Catawba County man arrested Wednesday in Caldwell County faces a stolen goods charge. The Lenoir Police Department arrested 21-year-old Bradley O'Neil Caldwell Jr. of Hickory. He's charged with possession of stolen goods or property, misdemeanor larceny, and shoplifting with concealment of goods. Following the arrest, the suspect was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $2,500 secured bond.
Healthy Places Forum held in Burke County
Residents of Burke County had the opportunity to spark conversation about what can promote wellness throughout the county during the Healthy Places NC forum at the Community House on Wednesday afternoon. Discussed during the forum were what individuals, organizations, and the community can do to make Burke County a healthier place to live, learn, work, and play as a County initiative. Statistics were given to show the County's Health Rankings which look at a variety of measures that affect health, such as high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, rates of smoking, obesity, and teen births. Burke County is ranked 77 out of 100 which is in the bottom quartile. 17% of people don't have access to healthy foods, 29% of people have a BMI over 30, and 30% of people in the county say they are physically inactive. The Kate B. Reynolds Trust plans to invest $100 million dollars in 10-15 counties over the next decade and Burke County is the fifth county to get involved with the initiative. Ideas discussed were having community exercise groups, raising awareness about HIV/Aids, having better transport around the county, more information on Diabetes prevention, and having information more accessible to the community. Some of those working with the Healthy Places Burke County initiative and Kate B. Reynolds Trust who were present at the forum were Abena Asante, Senior Program Officer of Health Care Division for the Kate B. Reynolds Trust, Community Coach, Jan O'Neill, and Nancy Taylor, Executive Director of Community Foundation of Burke County. For more information about Healthy Places NC, contact Abena Asante by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 336-972-1564.
Wednesday, October 22nd
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Truck passes school bus, student's foot run over
A garbage truck ran over the foot of a 16-year-old while he was trying to get to his stopped school bus in Caldwell County. The truck driver faces a felony charge in connection with the incident. The accident happened Tuesday morning on Connelly Springs Road south of Lenoir. According to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, the bus driver, who was already stopped in the opposite direction, began blowing his horn trying to get the attention of the teenagers. Reports say a Blue Ridge sanitation truck heading in the opposite direction came right at them. The driver of the garbage truck, Larry Shew, is charged with passing a stopped school bus and willfully striking a student. The Highway Patrol said the bus did have all its lights on and its stop-arm extended for nearly 10 seconds before the accident. The 16-year-old was treated and released from the hospital. The accident ironically occurred during the Highway Patrol's "Operation Stop-arm Week." The school district has cameras on the outside of some of its buses trying to catch drivers who break the law.
Sheriff's Office seeking assistance in finding suspect
The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office is seeking assistance identifying an individual captured in video surveillance footage that's been posted online. The footage is of a white male taking the surveillance camera from a closed business on the Abington Road in Lenoir. Additional footage shows that he subject appears to be driving a light colored Pontiac Grand Am. If you know the identity of the individual in the video please contact the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at 828-759-1554 or to remain anonymous please contact the Caldwell County Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300. You can see the footage on the Unifournews.com Facebook Page. The story was posted this morning.
Hickory City Council meets, financial reports presented
At the Hickory City Council meeting on Tuesday, City Council members approved a proclamation to declare November 1st as “Extra Mile Day”. Inaugurated in 2009, Extra Mile Day is a nation wide effort that acknowledges volunteers and charities for their hard work and dedication towards community enrichment and development. Also During the meeting, Hickory City Council members were presented with a set of financial reports detailing a positive outlook concerning the city's recent audit and current fiscal standing. Following the findings Mayor Wright noted that “This year's audit went very well and that “there were no huge issues to worry about”. The council also heard from “the Friends of Hickory”, who sought the council's approval to continue with their project of designing a new park. If the project is fully realized, the park is expected to be located in the downtown area, equipped with state-of-the art amenities and attractions.
Ebola precautions presented at Burke Commissioners meeting
The Burke County Board of Commissioner's were presented with Ebola precautions and October 5th-11th was declared as National 4-H week in Tuesday night's regular meeting. Four presentations were given. The first by Keith Lawson, Burke County Public Schools Finance Officer, on the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year and the first quarter of the 2014-2015 fiscal year. According to Lawson, state funding was reduced and the budget would be more precise after the second quarter. Sandy Hoilman, Chief Financial Officer for Western Piedmont Community College, also presented on the financial data for the period of July 1st through September 30 of 2014. This year, WPCC received the Duke Energy Grant of $185,000 for equipment for mega-tronics. A Cooperative Extension presentation was given by Extension Agent, John Davis, along with youth from the county's 4-H club. The youth elaborated on the projects they have been involved in and the Commissioner's adopted a proclamation naming October 5th-11th National 4-H week in Burke County. Rebecca McLeod, Health Director of the Burke County Health Department, presented on what rural areas like Burke County are doing to prepare for Ebola focusing on Contact Tracing, for it is essential to the successful containment of the Ebola Virus. There were three items for decision. Funding for the 2014-2015 fiscal year to support Lake James Loop Trail Implementation efforts asking for $7,500 was approved 3-1, an intercampus Transport Service Agreement between Blue Ridge Healthcare and Burke County was approved 3-1, and the creation of four Child Protective Services Social Work Investigative/Assessment and Treatment Positions and one Income Maintenance Case worker position at no cost to the county was approved 4-0. Seven items on the consent agenda were approved 4-0.
Career fair scheduled to hire for new restaurant
WorkSource West/VR will be hosting a Career Fair from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Nov. 5 – 7 to hire workers for the new Applebee's in Morganton. Interested applicants must first apply online at www.MyApplebeesJob.com and then come to the Career Fair professionally dressed and prepared to interview. WorkSource West / VR is located at 200 Enola Road, Morganton.
Tuesday, October 21st
Today's headlines from www.unifournews.com
Suspects sought in armed robbery, shot fired during incident
A shot was reportedly fired during an armed robbery. Two suspects are being sought by the Burke County Sheriff’s Office in connection with a robbery that occurred over the weekend. According to the Sheriff's Office, two armed men reported to be wearing black toboggans entered the Shop ‘n Save Number 3 at 1999 N.C. 18/U.S. 64 just before 2 a.m. Saturday and robbed the two store clerks. According to reports, surveillance video shows one gunman leaping over the counter and grabbing one of the clerks and holding a pistol to his head. Another camera showed the second gunman pushing another clerk into display cases before forcing him to the register area. While the clerks were struggling with the gunman, one of the suspects fired a shot. The video then shows a clerk raising his hands up right after the shot was fired. The offenders then grabbed some cash and fled. Authorities say the only description is two black males, both wearing masks and gloves Police reports say the suspects then left on foot heading south toward the recently re-opened Chesterfield Family Restaurant. There were no injuries in the incident. The investigation is continuing.
SWAT Team called when patient barricades self in home
A SWAT Team was called out by the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office to get to a barricaded subject who authorities report suffers from mental illness. According to police reports, at approximately 2:40 Monday afternoon, Caldwell County Sheriff's deputies responded to a home on Upton Road to assist a social worker with a patient who had turned violent and barricaded himself inside a bedroom. The Sheriff's Office says negotiations and efforts to calm the patient were unsuccessful, and the SWAT team was called to the scene to gain entry into the bedroom. Nobody involved was injured in the incident. The patient was taken to a hospital to undergo a mental evaluation. Authorities have not said if charges will be filed.
Catawba Commissioners approve amendment to map, rezoning
During their meeting last night, the Catawba County Board of Commissioners approved a proposed amendment to the Catawba County Official Zoning Overlay Map to remove the Maiden and Allen Creek WS-II Critical and Balance Area Watersheds. Commissioners also approved a rezoning request at Monday’s Catawba County Board of Commissioners meeting. The request was from Catawba Management LLC to rezone four parcels totaling 17.31 acres from R-30 Residential to General Industrial District. In other activity last night, commissioners approved the consent agenda which included the closing agreement for the Burke-Catawba Regional Jail Facility. The Board also adopted the proposed schedule of values, standards and rules, including the present-use value manual for agricultural, horticultural, and forestland for the Catawba County 2015 revaluation. The Board also presented the Goals Attainment Report for the Fiscal Year 2013-14.
Identity theft charge filed
A Catawba County woman is charged with identity theft in Caldwell County. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office Monday arrested 39-year-old April Dawn Humbree of Hickory. She’s charged with identity theft and possession of marijuana. Following the arrest, Humbree was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $6,000 secured bond.
Conspiracy count filed in meth case
A Catawba County woman is charged with a conspiracy count in a meth case. The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office arrested 34-year-old Betty Renee Parrish of Maiden. She’s charged with one count of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. Following the arrest, Parrish was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $75,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for October 31.
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.