The Chestnut Knob wildfire at South Mountains State Park in Burke County expanded in acreage over the weekend as firefighters battled low humidity and windy conditions.
According to the latest update from Inciweb, the fire has expanded to 6,424 acres and 40% of the perimeter is contained. There are 330 personnel fighting the wildfire.
Today's (Monday, November 21) planned activities include continue to mop up and hold the fire line in all divisions in preparation for strong winds and low humidity along with structure protection and triage.
43-year-old Sabrina Suzanne Starnes was arrested today (Friday, November 18) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony possession of a weapon by a felon. Starnes was jailed in Morganton under $50,000 bond. A court date is set for January 3.
45-year-old Kurt Allen Corey was arrested today (Friday, November 18) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with indecent liberties with a child. Corey was placed in jail in Morganton, his bond was set at $600,000 secured. A court appearance is scheduled for November 28.
36-year-old Randy Keith Long and 16-year-old David Wesley Ikerd, both of the same Mary Kate Drive address in Conover, were arrested by Hickory Police late last night (November 17). They were each charged with felony breaking & entering and felony larceny. Ikerd was also charged with felony larceny of a firearm and misdemeanor speeding to elude arrest.
Events leading to the arrests began when Police responded to a break-in in progress at Gold Town USA on 16th Street N.E. in Hickory. As Officers arrived, they saw one subject getting into a silver Dodge truck. The truck pulled out of the parking lot and Police activated their blue lights and siren.
The truck initially did not stop and continued traveling south on 16th Street N.E. Eventually, the truck stopped in the parking lot at the Cupboard Express at 954 16th Street N.E. Ikard was the driver, Long was a passenger and an unnamed male juvenile was a passenger in the rear seat. In the truck, Officers found a number of items stolen from Gold Town USA, including a shotgun, a razor, a box of miscellaneous jewelry, a gift card and two handgun magazines.
Long and Ikerd were taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility. The juvenile subject was not charged. Long’s bond was set at $16,000, secured, and Ikerd was given a $15,000 secured bond. Both were scheduled to make first appearances in District Court today in Newton.
22-year-old Shyheim Fitzhugh Millsaps of the Muellers Circle Apartments in Statesville has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on four felony counts of possession with intent to sell and deliver heroin, plus one felony count each of maintaining a place to sell heroin, possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana and possession of a stolen firearm. He was also charged with misdemeanor possession of a schedule III controlled substance.
Millsaps was arrested yesterday (November 17) when Iredell County Narcotics Officers and the Special Emergency Response Team executed a search warrant at an address on Kite Lane in western Iredell County. The arrest was the culmination of a month-long investigation into the possession and sale of “China White” heroin in Stony Point and west Statesville.
Narcotics Investigators gathered information regarding the suspect, Shyheim Fitzhugh Millsaps, who allegedly sold heroin somewhere on Midway Road. Surveillance operations soon identified the house on Kite Lane, which the suspect was using to sell heroin. Purchases of heroin were made from Millsaps at the Kite Lane location.
Officers executed the search warrant yesterday and seized heroin, money and a handgun. The handgun had been reported stolen from a location off of Newton Drive.
At the time of his arrest, Millsaps was out of jail under a $300,000 bond on prior drug-related charges filed by the Statesville Police Department. He is scheduled to appear in court in early 2017 on those charges.
Following his arrest yesterday, Millsaps was placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $300,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for today. The Sheriff’s Office has asked the District Attorney to consider revoking the prior $300,000 bond from the earlier charges.
Along with agencies across the State, the City of Hickory Fire Department wants to remind the public that open burning is not allowed. A burning ban has been implemented and covers all open burning, including the burning of leaves, recreational fires, bonfires and the use of outdoor fireplaces and fire-pits. The burn ban does not apply to cooking fires such as grills or outdoor cookers.
Due to the conditions of drought and low humidity, the situation is dangerous for any open burning. Under the current weather conditions brush fires spread faster, are harder to contain, and are far more dangerous than usual and can have the potential to cause large property loss.
Failure to observe this ban will result in fines or penalties. Persons who observe open burning should call 911 to report incidents.
23-year-old Antonio Shaquille Williams of 16th Street SW in Hickory was arrested today (Friday, November 18) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged on bills of indictment with selling cocaine and manufacture, sell, deliver, or possess controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a park. In addition, Williams is charged with two counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver schedule II controlled substance, and single counts of sell or deliver schedule II controlled substance, manufacture, sell, deliver, or possess controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a park, child care center, and school. He's also charged with failure to appear.
Williams was confined in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $366,500 bond. District and Superior Court appearances are scheduled for Monday (November 21).
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners meets in regular session Monday night (November 21).
There are two public hearings on Monday's agenda. One is to discuss a rezoning request of 2.3 acres from R-40 Residential to RC Rural Commercial District. The property is on Bethany Church Road in the Balls Creek Small Area Planning District. The other public hearing is to discuss a request to rezone 1.69 acres from R-40 Residential to Highway Commercial, or HC District. That property is on Smyre Farm Road in the Balls Creek Small Area Planning District.
In addition Monday night, the Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hear an update on the water and sewer strategic planning from Utilities and Engineering Director Barry Edwards. There will also be a presentation related to a proclamation for Farm City Week, which is November 21-28.
Commissioners will also vote on appointments and on the consent agenda, which contains five items including the approval of the 2017 Board of Commissioners Meeting Schedule. Monday's Catawba County Board of Commissioners meeting gets underway at 7 p.m. in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
58-year-old Michael Patrick Lind of Greenville, South Carolina, was arrested Thursday (November 17) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with felony soliciting a child under the age of 16 by computer. Lind was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $20,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Monday (November 21).
42-year-old Kevin Allan Mcelroy of 26th Street SW in Hickory was arrested by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with five counts of trafficking opium or heroin, four counts apiece of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver heroin, sale of heroin, and delivery of heroin, single counts of maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance, conspire to sell heroin, conspire to deliver heroin, flee to elude arrest with a motor vehicle, reckless driving to endanger, and assault with a deadly weapon on a government official. Mcelroy is also charged with four counts of failure to appear.
Following the arrest, Mcelroy was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility this morning (Friday, November 18) under one-million, 550-thousand dollars (1,550,000) total bond. A District court appearance is scheduled for Monday (November 21), a Superior Court appearance is scheduled for December 5.
The Burke County Sheriff’s Office, Burke County Narcotics Task Force and Morganton Public Safety held a one day warrant roundup on Tuesday (November 15).
Among those charged during the roundup was 22-year-old Destiny Estelle Good of East Shores Drive in Morganton. She's charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Good was jailed under $50,000 secured bond. A court date is set for December 12.
36-year-old Austin Charles Davis of Pete Brittain Road in Morganton is charged with felony possession of schedule I controlled substance. In addition, Davis is charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana paraphernalia, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of synthetic cannabinoid, and possession of marijuana up to one-half ounce. Davis was placed in jail under $21,000 secured bond, he has court dates November 29 and December 12.
29-year-old Joey Lee Canterberry of Icard School Road in Connelly Springs is charged with felony counts of breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods. Canterberry was jailed under $15,000 secured bond, his next District Court appearance is scheduled for December 6.
A total of 27 warrants were served on 21 individuals.
The Chestnut Knob wildfire burning at South Mountains State Park in Burke County has burned close to 6,000 acres according to the latest update. It's one of several wildfires burning in western North Carolina.
According to Inciweb, the fire is at 5,929 acres and is 29% contained. Today's plans are to mop up and hold the line in several divisions. Firefighters will also continue burnout operations and also continue to protect structures.
Governor Pat McCrory announced Thursday (November 17) that the state is offering a reward of up to $10,000 to be issued to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who are responsible for setting wildfires in western North Carolina. More than 46,000 acres have been burned by wildfires throughout the region, many of which are believed to have been man-made.
Speaking from the Bat Cave Volunteer Fire Department in Henderson County, Governor McCrory stressed that while wildfires may have been started by people, dry conditions are causing fires to spread so people throughout western North Carolina need to continue taking steps to prevent wildfires. He also expressed concern about air quality throughout western and central North Carolina.
Anyone having information concerning these wildfires should contact Macon County Crimestoppers at 828-349-2600 or Jackson County Crimestoppers at 828-631-1125.
The cases against two people accused of the deaths of two men in Burke County in September 2016 will proceed as capital matters.
Prosecutors for the State announced this week in Burke County Superior Court that they will pursue the death penalty in the double homicide cases against 26-year-old Icey Chennell Gooden of Morganton and 33-year-old Brian Jerome Robinson of Connelly Springs.
Gooden and Robinson are each charged with two counts of murder for the September 17 deaths of Spencer Murray and Albert Austin, whose bodies were found in the trunk of a burned vehicle.
The case remains under investigation by the Burke County Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
38-year-old Patricia Celess Ferrell of East Pine Street in Lincolnton was arrested by Hickory Police at about 7:20 last night (November 16) on two counts of felony larceny. One of the charges originated in Rowan County.
Ferrell was taken into custody without incident at Hickory’s Valley Hills Mall. She was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $7,000 secured bond. She was scheduled to appear in District Court today in Newton and on November 28 in Salisbury.