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The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, December 1, in the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.

The Board will receive a report on the county’s fiscal year 2013-14 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and an independent audit of the county’s financial records for FY 2013-14. The Board will also consider adopting a set of goals for fiscal year 2015-2016.

The Board will observe as newly elected County Commissioner Sherry Butler and re-elected County Commissioners Kitty Barnes and Randy Isenhower take their Oaths of Office for four-year terms and re-elected Sheriff Coy Reid takes his Oath of Office for a second four-year term. The Board will hold its annual organizational meeting to select a chairperson and vice-chairperson for the coming year and appoint commissioners to serve on board subcommittees.

The Board will consider a resolution regarding its partnership with Catawba Valley Medical Center, Frye Regional Medical Center, the City of Hickory and the Catawba County EDC’s Committee of 100 in support of Lenoir-Rhyne University’s planned Health Sciences Center. The county’s support would include funding in the amount of $20,000 per year for five years for a total of $100,000.

The Commissioners will also consider proposed risk and needs priorities for fiscal year 2015-16 for the Catawba County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.

The Board will consider the use of the sole source exemption, allowed under state law when a needed item is available from only one source, for the purchase of position console equipment for the E-911 Center in the Justice Center/Public Safety Center Expansion. In addition, the Board will consider awarding a bid for construction of the Old Shelby Road waterline extension.

Finally, the Board will recognize the county budget staff, which has won the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for a 26th consecutive year, and the Board will recognize retiring Western Piedmont Council of Governments Executive Director Dee Blackwell for his contributions to the county and region during his 40-year career.

34-year-old David Lee Sheffield, Jr. of Southfork Avenue N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 5:15 this morning on charges out of Caldwell County for felony obtaining property by false pretense, as well as misdemeanor counts of larceny and possession of stolen property.

Sheffield was taken into custody at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on 6th Street N.W. in Hickory and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $10,000 secured bond. He is currently scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Lenoir on January 5 on a number of other felony charges. He also has a Superior Court date set for December 1 in Morganton on a charge of felony larceny.

46-year-old Thomas Black of Regency Square in Newport News, Virginia was arrested in Newport News on burglary charges from a December 2007 incident in Lincoln County. Black was picked up by Lincoln County Detectives on November 25 and returned to Lincoln County to face charges. He was wanted on felony charges of second-degree burglary and larceny after breaking & entering. He was also served with two misdemeanor warrants for driving on a revoked license.

On December 3, 2007, Black’s ex-girlfriend returned to her Oakwood Circle home and found Black running out of the house. He fled with an estimated $10,000 worth of jewelry and $650 in cash. Entry to the home was gained by prying open a back bedroom window.

Detective Sally Dellinger spoke with Black by phone on December 19, 2007 and he agreed to come to the Sheriff’s Office and speak to her about the case. He didn’t show up for the meeting.

Following his arrest, Black was placed in the Lincoln Co. Detention Center under a $28,000 secured bond. No court date is currently listed.

42-year-old Dana Wilson Johnson of Loomis Street in Lincolnton has been arrested by Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Detectives on one felony count each of breaking & entering a building, larceny after breaking & entering and possession of stolen goods, as well as one misdemeanor count of injury to real property.

Johnson is accused of taking electrical wiring from a vacant home on Loomis Street and causing thousands of dollars in damage to the residence. Deputies were dispatched to the house after the owner, who now lives in Massachusetts, reported someone had broken into the home. The interior was severely damaged as the wiring was stolen. A new kitchen sink valued at $2,300 was also taken. Damage to the residence was estimated at $8,000.

During a search of the home, Deputies found two toolboxes that did not belong to the owner. In one of the toolboxes, they found a Green Dot card in the name of Dana Johnson. In the other toolbox were some papers, one of which had a work schedule from a local grocery store where Johnson’s husband works. Neighbors reported seeing the suspect at the residence on a number of occasions.

Johnson was arrested by Detective Kelly Paris and placed in the Lincoln Co. Detention Center under a $7,500 secured bond. No court date is currently listed.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014 13:21

More Details Released in Arrest of Charlotte Man

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More details have been released in the arrest of 54-year-old Gary David Hinson of Norwood Drive in Charlotte. Hinson was arrested by Hickory Police at about 1:45 Tuesday morning (November 25) on one felony count of breaking & entering a motor vehicle and one misdemeanor count each of larceny and possession of stolen goods or property. He was also charged on a November 21 misdemeanor warrant from Mecklenburg County for failure to appear on a charge of assault on a female.

At 1:45 a.m. Tuesday, Police were called regarding a man who left the Olde Hickory Taproom without paying his bill. The manager at the Taproom gave Officers a description of the suspect and told them he saw the man heading toward Randolph Billiards.

Police found the suspect at Randolph Billiards. He was in possession of a laptop computer. The manager at the pool hall told Officers the laptop was stolen from a customer’s vehicle that was parked near the front of the business. Police contacted the customer, who verified that the laptop was the same one stolen earlier.

Hinson was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $10,000 secured bond. He will appear in District Court on December 1 in Newton and on January 12 in Charlotte.

No charges were filed in connection to the dine & dash incident at the Taproom.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014 13:11

Two Break-Ins Reported at Same Burke County Store

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The Burke County Sheriff’s Office is investigating two break-ins at the Country Crossroads store, located at 4049 Highway 64 in Morganton. The incidents occurred in the early morning hours on November 22 and November 24. The suspect or suspects broke out glass doors and stole cigarettes each time. A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office says Investigators believe the same suspects were involved both times. Anyone with information regarding the break-ins should call 828-438-5506.

The Catawba County Tax Office is preparing to mail notices of new property values determined through the 2015 property revaluation. Owners of property in Catawba County should begin receiving notices during the week of December 1. The new property values go into effect on January 1, 2015.

According to Catawba County Tax Administrator Mark Logan, new property values are established by citizens who buy and sell real estate in the open market. They are not set by the county’s appraisers or the Tax Office. Appraisers research and analyze real estate sales in the local market to determine an estimate of market value for all properties, as required by North Carolina law.

Catawba County’s last revaluation went into effect January 1, 2011. The revaluation process takes about two and a half years to complete. New values determined by the 2015 revaluation of all property classes - including residential, commercial and industrial - are on average around 5.4% less than values from the previous 2011 revaluation. Residential properties went down 3.3% on average. Commercial properties went down 9.52% on average and industrial properties went down 14.33% on average.

Property owners who wish to appeal the new value of their property have several avenues for appeal available to them under county procedures and state law. Informal appeals will be handled by Catawba County revaluation staff beginning in early December 2014. To schedule an informal appeal, property owners may call 828-465-8436 or may complete and return a tear-off form included with the notice of new value.

For more information, call 828-465-8436.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014 10:59

Local Offices & Agencies Close for Thanksgiving Holiday

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The City of Hickory will close its offices on Thursday and Friday, November 27 & 28, but garbage and recycling pick-up, as well as leaf collection, will continue. City of Hickory offices will re-open on Monday, December 1 at 8:30 a.m.

Hickory’s Patrick Beaver Memorial Library and the Ridgeview Branch Library will also be closed November 27 & 28. The libraries will reopen at their regular hours on Saturday, November 30.

The Hickory Parks & Recreation Department administrative offices, all recreation centers and the skate park will be closed on the 27th and 28th. Recreation centers that typically operate on a Saturday schedule will be reopened on Saturday, November 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. City parks are open 365 days a year.

Catawba County Offices will close for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and Friday. Baker’s Mountain, Riverbend and St. Stephens parks will be open on Friday, November 28.

The Catawba County Library System will observe the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and Friday. Library materials may be picked up before or after those dates.

All library facilities will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and resume regular business hours on Saturday. Materials may be left in book drops at any library location when facilities are closed.

For more information on the county’s library system, visit www.catawbacountync.gov/library or log on to the library’s Facebook site.

Morganton City Hall will be closed this Thursday and Friday in celebration of Thanksgiving Day. The Collett Street Recreation Center, the Mountain View Recreation Center and the Aquatics Center will also be closed Thursday. The Collett Street Recreation Center and the Mountain View Recreation Center will be open on Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Aquatics Center will also be open Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In Morganton, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday's garbage collection routes will be run on the regular schedule. Thursday's route will be picked up a day early on Wednesday.

All Caldwell County offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, in observance of Thanksgiving. Caldwell County offices will re-open for regular business Monday, December 1. For more information, contact Caldwell County Public Information Officer LouAnne

Kincaid at lkincaid@caldwellcountync.org or 828-759-7879.

53-year-old Ralph Scott Benfield of Marian Lane in Statesville has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on charges of domestic assault on a female and assault by pointing a firearm.

At 5:34 p.m. Monday (November 24), the Sheriff’s Office took a call regarding a domestic situation with an armed suspect. The suspect allegedly pointed a firearm at the victim and fired a shot after the female victim left the home. As Deputies approached the residence, another shot was fired from the house.

The suspect come outside from the garage and was placed under arrest. A .22 Magnum revolver was found in the suspect’s pocket. The suspect was identified as Ralph Scott Benfield. Deputies also learned that the suspect had fired a shot through a wooden garage door at the home.

Deputies interviewed the victim and numerous witnesses in the area and learned that Benfield had been drinking and had called the victim and told her not to come home. The victim said that when she came home, she found Benfield’s truck parked at the end of the driveway, blocking it. The victim said when she got into Benfield’s truck to move it, he pointed a shotgun at her and told her to never move his vehicle again. The victim said she got out of the truck and a verbal argument began. Benfield allegedly grabbed the victim by her wrist and threw her to the ground. The victim then got into her vehicle to leave the premises and called the Sheriff’s Office.

Following his arrest, Benfield was jailed without bond due to the domestic violence involved. An appearance in District Court was scheduled for January 13.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014 06:58

Vale Teen Killed in Accident Monday Night

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19-year-old Michael Richards of Vale was killed at about 10:45 Monday night (November 24) in a single-car accident near Maiden.

Mr. Richards was driving a 1996 Nissan Altima on Salem Church Road after leaving a home where he had been visiting with his girlfriend. He reportedly crossed left of the centerline and ran off the left side of the road, overcorrected to the right and drove off the opposite side of the roadway before crashing into a tree.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says speed was a factor, though they did not release an estimate of the speed at which the Nissan was traveling. There is no evidence that alcohol was involved.

Mr. Richards died less than two weeks after his nineteenth birthday.

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