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Berardino “Dino” DiBernardi III has been named Caldwell County Emergency Services Director. DiBernardi will replace Robbie Wilkie, who is retiring effective October 1.

A North Carolina certified paramedic who has been with Caldwell County since 2005, DiBernardi has served as Division Chief for Caldwell County Emergency Medical Services (E.M.S.) since February of 2014.

After graduating from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Health Promotions & Psychology in 2005, DiBernardi began his career as a field paramedic before transferring to the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management divisions as a Certified Fire Investigator and N.C. Type I Emergency Management Coordinator. DiBernardi then returned to the E.M.S. Division to serve as the Operations Chief prior to his promotion to E.M.S. Chief.

DiBernardi has earned a number of certifications throughout his career and presently serves as a Firefighter and Paramedic for the North Catawba Fire & Rescue Department.

DiBernardi lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their daughter, Kinley, in Hudson.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 13:35

APICS Merger to be Discussed at Sept. 10 Meeting

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In a meeting set for September 10, Doug Bell, Southeast District Business Development Manager for APICS, will discuss APICS’ (the Association for Operations Management) recent mergers with the Supply Chain Council and the American Society of Transportation & Logistics, and current marketing and business development initiatives being launched at the national and district levels.

Mr. Bell has worked in business, primarily in the computer industry, for more than 25 years with a range of companies from the Fortune 50 to small business firms.

Mr. Bell holds a bachelor's degree in Human Resources Management from Southern Wesleyan University and an MBA from University of Phoenix. He has continued his education by participating in both company sponsored executive training and programs such as the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

The meeting will be held at the Catawba Valley Country Club from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For more information, visit apics254-foothills.org.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 11:18

Active Outdoor Space Coming to Granite Falls

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The Town of Granite Falls Parks & Recreation Department recently received a grant to transform a public area into an imaginative space for families to play and be active outdoors. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) and the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association (NCRPA) are supporting healthier communities by installing PlayPrints across the state.

PlayPrints are ground markings or colorful shapes and games that are painted on existing pavement. The bright colors and interactive designs are meant to encourage visitors to take part in more physical activity.

PlayPrints will be located beside a playground facility at the Granite Falls Recreation Center on a newly resurfaced asphalt area. The location is currently not being used and was previously used as an outdoor basketball and volleyball court.

The Granite Falls Recreation Center will be the only facility in Caldwell County to have PlayPrints. It is intended to open the door for new and innovative ways for all residents in the area to stay healthy and fit.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 10:42

Oregon Man Arrested on Sex Offense Charges in Boone

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28-year-old J.P. Thrower of Lakeshore Drive in Selma, Oregon was arrested by Boone Police Friday (August 28). He was charged with one felony count each of attempted first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, soliciting a child by computer and dissemination of obscenity.

Thrower’s arrest was the result of a joint operation involving Boone Police, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (S.B.I.), North Carolina Probation & Parole, the Watauga County Sheriff's Office and the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce.

The ICAC is a partnership of shared information and resources to combat the growing problem of crimes against children using the internet. The ICAC Task Force is led by the S.B.I. and consists of approximately 140 law enforcement agencies.

In Thrower’s case, a Boone Police Detective posed as a 14-year-old girl on a popular social media web site. Thrower sought out the Investigator and an online encounter began. The Detective maintained his undercover role as a child throughout the entirety of the investigation.

Thrower indicated that he was in Oregon, but was about to travel to the Boone area to visit a family member. Thrower requested a rendezvous for sexual purposes in Boone at a local hotel on a specific date and time. When Thrower arrived at the pre-arranged location, he was arrested by a Boone Police Detective and an S.B.I. Special Agent.

Thrower also indicated that he worked on a legal marijuana farm in Oregon and said he had mailed a package containing marijuana to a residence in Watauga County’s Foscoe community. Detectives learned that the resident in Foscoe was on probation in Watauga County. Officers from multiple agencies searched the residence and seized approximately one pound of marijuana during this search. No charges have been filed for the marijuana at this time.

Following his arrest, Thrower was jailed under a $150,000 secured bond with a court appearance scheduled for September 17.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 10:39

HPD K-9 Passes Away

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The Hickory Police Department has announced that one of their K-9 Officers, Barry, has died. Barry, whose handler, Sgt. Jeff Medley, called him Sgt. Bear, passed away on Friday, August 28. He was 12.5 years old. K-9 Barry retired a few years ago after several years of dedicated service to the citizens of Hickory.

26-year-old Jessica Noelle Hamilton was arrested Monday (August 31) by Burke County Sheriff’s Officers. She’s charged with felony obtaining property by false pretense. Following the arrest, Hamilton was placed in jail in Morganton under $11,500 secured bond. She’s scheduled to appear in District Court September 29.

Hickory Optimist Park at 751 2nd Avenue, SW is open once again. Following phase one of improvements to the park, it re-opened last Friday (August 28) at 7 a.m.

Phase one improvements to Hickory Optimist Park included a replacement of the existing storm drainage system, construction of an approximately 0.2 mile, paved, walking trail, construction of a new park entrance on 2nd Avenue, SW and the installation of an outdoor fitness zone.

The need for park improvements was first identified in the 1998 Green Park Neighborhood Association’s Neighborhood Plan, which specifically identified the need for a paved walking trail within this park. The storm drainage system that runs through the park had begun to fail, so the Parks and Recreation Department felt it was important to replace it at the same time as the walking trail was being constructed over the deteriorating areas of the storm drainage pipe.

The outdoor fitness zone consists of six different pieces of fitness equipment specifically designed for outdoor use, which include an accessible chest press, recumbent bike, lat pull down and vertical press, three person static combo, four person pendulum, abs and dip station and a four person leg press that will be installed on a 30 foot diameter circular concrete pad. The outdoor fitness zone is located near the park’s existing playground.

Phase two of the park renovation is in the design phase now and is to be completed by early spring. This phase includes renovations to the exterior and interior of the building restrooms and a community room, as well as a renovation to the tennis courts.

Because Hickory Optimist Park is located within the area eligible for Community Development Block Grant funds, federal monies were used for this project in lieu of local public dollars.

26-year-old Caleb Gene Rogers of Drag Strip Road in Hudson was arrested Monday (August 31) by Caldwell County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with failure to appear on felony counts of breaking and or entering, larceny, and possession of stolen goods or property. Following the arrest, Rogers was confined in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. A Superior Court date is set for November 2.

City of Lenoir officials want the North Carolina Department of Transportation to drop long-term plans to radically remake Smith Crossroads into a broad interchange that would eliminate approximately 20 existing businesses. According to a published report, Lenoir City Manager Scott Hildebran plans to write a letter of appeal to the NCDOT to ask that the state's road-widening plan for U.S. 321 be amended so that the widening stops at the Southwest Loop. That would separate the plans for Smith Crossroads from the rest of the multi-part project. The road widening plan currently covers all of the highway from U.S. 70 in Hickory north to the crossroads in Lenoir.

According to the report, the state unveiled its proposal last summer to replace the intersection with what is called a divergent diamond interchange. The interchange would improve the flow of traffic along U.S. 321, but its overpass and ramps, as well as a realignment of the nearby intersection of Morganton Boulevard, would require the acquisition of land that currently now houses many active businesses, from the Lenoir Crossing Shopping Center east to Aldi and up both sides of U.S. 321 from Wilkesboro Boulevard to Pennton Avenue.

Planning Director Jenny Wheelock said in the report that the high impact the design would have on the business corridor caused at least one business to stop pursuing a development.

The report says although the crossroads work could be more than 20 years away, and no funding has been allocated to widen U.S. 321 from Hickory to Lenoir, the project includes a bridge replacement over the Catawba River, which reportedly puts it higher on the priority list for the NCDOT.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 03:49

Woman Arrested In Catawba County On String Of Charges

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35-year-old Chrystal Jones Hubbard whose address was not listed was arrested Monday (August 31) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. She’s charged with two counts of forgery of an instrument, two counts of uttering a forged instrument, two counts of obtaining property by false pretense, felony larceny, assault and battery, and six counts of failure to appear in court. Following the arrest, Hubbard was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $93,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday (September 2).

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