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40-year-old Zachary Hayes Mitchell of Springdale Drive in Newton was arrested Wednesday (July 6) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with trafficking, opium or heroin. Mitchell was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $80,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Thursday, July 7).

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will hold two public hearings for the proposed widening of U.S. 321 from a four-lane, median divided roadway to a six-lane, median divided roadway. The first meeting will be held next Monday, July 11 at the Winkler Activity Center at 2500 Clement Boulevard NW in Hickory. The second meeting will be held next Tuesday, July 12 at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center at 1913 Hickory Boulevard SE in Lenoir. An informal pre-hearing open house will precede each public hearing and will be held from 4:00 to 6:30 PM. The Public Hearings will begin with a formal presentation on the project at 7:00 PM each evening.

Between Hickory and Lenoir, several roadway segments and a majority of intersections along U.S. 321 are currently experiencing congestion. These conditions are anticipated to worsen as traffic volumes increase in the next 20 years. The purpose of the project is to reduce existing and future congestion on U.S. 321. The project is 13.9 miles in length. The project originally ended at the U.S. 64 intersection in Lenoir, but has been shortened to end at Southwest Boulevard. The section of U.S. 321 from Southwest Boulevard to U.S. 64 may be studied as a separate project in the future.

Citizens will be able to speak, ask questions and/or submit comments following the formal presentation. The presentation and all public comments will be recorded and a written transcript prepared. Written and verbal comments carry the same weight.
Public Hearing Maps are available online at www.ncdot.gov, go to "projects".   

Maps are also available for viewing at the following locations:
Town of Granite Falls Planning Department at 4 South Main Street in Granite Falls, the City of Lenoir Planning Department at 901 West Avenue NW in Lenoir, the City of Hickory Planning Department at 76 North Center Street in Hickory, the Town of Hudson Planning Department at 550 Central Street in Hudson and the Town of Sawmills Planning Department at 4076 U.S. Highway 321-A in Sawmills.

According to published reports, a “person of interest” is being questioned in connection to the large number of bomb threats that have been called in to local businesses in Catawba, Caldwell, and Burke Counties over the past two weeks.

Reports say that Hickory Police Department Captain Reed Baer confirmed they have a man in custody on unrelated charges, and that person may have information related to the recent string of bomb threats.

More than 300 bomb threats have been called in to businesses in the three-county area.

Thursday, 07 July 2016 05:05

Vehicle Crashes Into Caldwell County Church

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A vehicle crashed into Gamewell United Methodist Church on Highway 18 in the Gamewell section of Caldwell County late Wednesday afternoon (July 6). According to a news release from the Caldwell County Government Offices, both lanes of Highway 18 were temporarily closed due to the accident. All traffic was re-routed.

According to published reports, the vehicle went through the church and several people were trapped as a result. One person was reportedly transported to the hospital with back pain. Two other people involved went to the hospital in a personal vehicle.

It was not known what caused the accident or if any charges would be filed.

Wednesday, 06 July 2016 15:10

Hickory Man Jailed as Fugitive from SC

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42-year-old Greg Brandon Cogburn of 2nd Avenue S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday (July 3) on a felony warrant as a fugitive awaiting extradition to another state. He was also charged with misdemeanor larceny.

He was arrested after Police responded to a shoplifting call at Lowe’s Foods on 14th Avenue N.E. in Hickory. An assistant manager saw the suspect take a shirt past the last point of sale without paying. He was detained until Police arrived.

As Cogburn was processed, the fugitive warrant was found. He was wanted in Richland County, South Carolina for a probation violation.

Following his arrest, Cogburn was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $20,000 secured bond. An appearance on the fugitive warrant was scheduled yesterday (July 5) with a court date on the larceny charge coming up on August 24.

Two adults and two young children were transported to the hospital as a result of an accident earlier today in Caldwell County. The accident occurred at 9:38 a.m. today at 2788 Ellerwood Road which is a Hudson address but is actually in the city limits of Lenoir. A silver Impala being driven by a 59-year-old man crossed the center line and struck a pickup truck being driven by a 29-year-old woman. There were also two young children in the pickup truck, their ages were believed to be three and six-years-old.

All of the people involved in the crash were conscious immediately after the accident. It took an hour and ten minutes to extricate the man from his vehicle and 20 minutes to extricate the occupants of the truck. The adults were both airlifted to CMC Charlotte. The man was last reported to be in serious condition and the woman was reported to be in critical condition. The children were transported by ambulance to UNC Healthcare in Lenoir, their conditions were not known. No names had been released.

The North carolina State Highway Patrol responded initially, they were later assisted by local law enforcement agencies and rescue workers. 

25-year-old Billy Joe Hahn was arrested Tuesday (July 5) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony larceny by employee. Following the arrest, Hahn was jailed in Morganton under $12,000 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for July 18.

36-year-old Melvin Franklin Mull of 3rd Street S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 7:20 p.m. yesterday (July 5) on one felony count each for the sale of cocaine and possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, plus misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana up to half an ounce and failure to appear.

He was arrested when Officers saw Mull driving a vehicle northbound on South Center Street. Police knew that Mull had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear, issued late last month. They confirmed that the warrant was valid and watched as Mull pulled into the parking lot at the Ridgeview Plaza on South Center Street.

A short time later, Officers pulled into the parking lot and took Mull into custody as he exited a store in the shopping center. A subsequent search turned up 5.7 grams of crack cocaine, 1.2 grams of marijuana, 4.5 Alprazolam tablets and $583 in cash.

Following his arrest, Mull was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $9,000 secured bond. He has since been released. He’ll appear in District Court tomorrow in Newton.

63-year-old Daniel Ussery was arrested Tuesday (July 5) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering to an automobile and larceny from an automobile. Ussery also faces two additional counts of larceny and one count of habitual larceny. He was jailed in Morganton under $32,000 total secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for Friday (July 8).

The North Carolina Department of Justice issued a warning Tuesday (July 5) regarding a pair of scams being perpetrated on citizens of the state and across the country. One North Carolina resident was bilked out of $10,000. According to the NCDOJ news release, for years, crooks have charged victims to repair nonexistent problems on their computers in order to gain access to sensitive personal and financial information stored inside. Now, according to DOJ, they’ve added a new scam: trying to talk you into long-term technical support that is actually just an excuse to swindle you out of thousands of dollars.

It starts when you agree to charge the tech support membership to your credit card. The scammers call back a few days later to say the company is closing and needs your bank account information so they can to refund money directly into your checking account. To get the so-called refund, they take a large cash advance from your own credit card and deposit it into your account. Next, the con artists claim that they’ve accidentally overpaid you by thousands of dollars and need you to wire the extra funds back to them, usually in China, India or the Philippines.  

The scammers have been known to take out another credit card advance, put those funds into the victim’s account, and then claim that the first wire transfer didn’t go through. Victims have been convinced this way to send multiple wire transfers to the scammers. One elderly North Carolina woman ran up $10,000 in credit card debt when she fell for this scam.

NCDOJ reminds citizens that you can avoid tech support scams by learning more about phony tech support from Microsoft and the FTC. In addition, be very skeptical if anyone asks you to wire money overseas. Once you’ve wired money it’s nearly impossible to get it back. If you receive one of these calls, report it to the Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or online at www.ncdoj.gov.