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35-year-old Jody Dean Wilson of North Fairview Drive in Lenoir was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before ten o’clock last night (August 25) on one misdemeanor count of driving while impaired. He was charged in connection to a collision with a school bus.  The accident was reported at 9:27 p.m. Tuesday.

A 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse driven by Wilson reportedly rear-ended a Caldwell County school bus that had stopped at a railway crossing near the bridge over the Catawba River on Highway 321 North in Hickory. The bus was carrying 29 soccer players from South Caldwell High School.

One student and two coaches were “checked out” on the scene by E.M.S. personnel. No serious injuries were reported.

Following his arrest, Wilson was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $1,000 secured bond. He has since been released. Wilson will appear in District Court on October 29 in Newton.

39-year-old Shawn Maurice Gregory of McLaughlin Street in Statesville was arrested Monday (August 24) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with sex offender failing to notify change of address.

According to a news release from the Iredell County Sheriff's Office, on July 30, Deputy D.C. Price of the Special Victims Unit attempted to verify an address for Shawn Maurice Gregory, a registered sex offender. Deputy Price was unable to locate Gregory at his registered address on McLaughlin Street in Statesville.

After conducting witness interviews and further investigation, Deputy Price determined that Gregory had moved to another address and failed to notify the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office of his change of address.

Deputy Price obtained a warrant for Shawn Gregory for Failing to Notify Change of Address. Gregory was located and arrested Monday and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $40,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for September 15.   

A Burke County man is charged with armed robbery following an incident in Morganton in which a man reportedly had a knife held to his throat. 22-year-old Jerry Lee Duckworth III of Setzer Drive in Morganton was arrested Tuesday (August 25) by Morganton Public Safety Officers. He's charged with felony armed robbery.

According to a news release, Public Safety Officers responded to Setzer Drive for an investigation of a disturbance. During the investigation, officers concluded that an argument over paying rent had escalated into an armed robbery. The victim and other witnesses claimed that the suspect had punched the victim and demanded rent money. When the victim stated that he didn’t have any money, Duckworth allegedly held a knife to his throat, and again, demanded money.

The news release says the two struggled over the knife and the victim was able to wrestle it away from the suspect. Duckworth was arrested and taken to a magistrate where a $25,000 bond was ordered. Duckworth had a first appearance in court scheduled for today (Wednesday, August 26).

Wednesday, 26 August 2015 05:03

Morganton Park Closed Today For Paving

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Bethel Park in Morganton will be closed today (Wednesday, August 26) while contractors pave the parking lots. The park will be closed to all traffic. Bethel Park should reopen Thursday (August 27) barring any unforeseen problems.

The paving project is part of the City of Morganton's capital improvement plan for fiscal year 2015-2016. J.T. Russell & Sons is doing the work for the City.

Alden E. Starnes, the longest serving Caldwell County Commissioner and one of the longest serving County Commissioners in North Carolina, passed away Tuesday (August 25) at the age of 86. Starnes was known as a laid back “country boy” whose only priority in his official roles was serving the people of Caldwell County. He was elected and served 32 years as a County Commissioner. His terms were from 1968 to 1976, 1980 to 1992 and 1994 to 2006.

Starnes was life-long resident of Caldwell County. He was first elected County Commissioner and sworn in on December 17, 1968. Throughout his 32 years as Commissioner, Starnes was an integral part of the development of the County Water System, County ambulance Service, New Law Enforcement Center, and the Wilson Creek Wild & Scenic River Designation and Wilson Creek Visitor Center among others.

In November of 2006, the Caldwell County Commissioners voted to name the county office building the Alden E. Starnes County Office Plaza. A painting of Starnes, commissioned by his family, hangs in the lobby of the first floor.

The family will receive friends at Dudley Shoals Baptist Church beginning at 6 p.m., today, (Wednesday, August 26) with the funeral at the same church at 2 p.m., Thursday, (August 27).

The Statesville Police Department is currently investigating a breaking and entering which occurred at RJ’s Car Wash located at 1709 Wilkesboro Hwy. The suspects in the photo with this story gained entry into the office of the establishment by kicking open the door to the business. Upon entry to the office, the alrm was activated and the three suspects fled the scene on foot. No items were stolen.

The SPD Criminal Investigations Division is currently investigating the incident and anyone with information concerning the identity of the suspect can contact the Investigations Division at 704-878-3515, or Iredell Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340. Callers can remain anonymous and a cash reward is possible.

Spartacraft Custom WoodWorks in Connelly Springs has received a $200,000 Building Reuse grant from the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority. According to Burke Development Incorporated, or BDI, new jobs will be added as a result of this grant. Spartacraft, which conducts finishing work on furniture and doors, as well as other furniture manufacturing endeavors, will add a minimum of 20 jobs as a result of the building reuse project. This is the fourth grant of this type received by a Burke County industry this year.

The grant will support Spartacraft in various additions to their facility in Connelly Springs. Original construction of buildings on the property dates back to 1932. The grant funds will be used to install a dust collection system and spray booths, new lighting and a new air conditioning system.

Spatacraft underwent an expansion in August 2012 as a result of an 85 percent increase in sales. The company added manufacturing space during that time and added 12 jobs. The company has completed the requirements associated with that project and, as evidenced by this project, is continuing to expand.

The Building Reuse Program provides grants and loans to local governments to renovate vacant buildings, renovate and/or expand a building occupied by an existing North Carolina company, and/or renovate, expand or construct health care facilities that lead to the creation of new, full-time jobs.

Burke County provided the required local match for the grant, which was announced last Friday (August 21) by North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III and Assistance Secretary for Rural Development Dr. Patricia Mitchell. The Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) and Burke Development, Inc. (BDI) assisted with the grant.

Burke Development, Inc. (BDI) is a nonprofit organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, government agencies and other entities to facilitate expansion strategies for existing businesses and recruit target industries to Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015 17:28

More Info Released in Caldwell County Shooting

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The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office has released more information regarding a fatal shooting Tuesday morning in Lenoir.

At 8:31 a.m. on August 25, Caldwell County Deputies responded to a report of gunshots at 1630 Wheeler Hollow Place in Lenoir. Officers found the body of 26-year-old Heidi Lyn Hamilton in a white Ford truck in the driveway. 33-year-old Edward Lee Price, Jr. was also found in the driveway in close proximity to the truck.

Both individuals suffered from apparent gunshot wounds. Price was airlifted to Mission Memorial Hospital. He was last reported to be in critical condition.  

According to the Sheriff’s statement, the incident appears to be domestic-related and is being viewed as a murder and attempted suicide.

33-year-old Romel Barta McDonald of Statesville has been arrested by Statesville Police on charges of breaking & entering a business and breaking & entering a motor vehicle, as well as two counts of larceny and first-degree trespass.

Yesterday morning (August 24), Statesville Police responded to two separate break-ins at C&M Used Tires & Wheels on Newton Drive and LaFamilia Mexican Restaurant on West Front Street. Officers first responded to LaFamilia, where someone had thrown a car stereo through a glass door to gain entry. The suspect stole two iPods and some groceries from inside the establishment.

Officers reviewed video surveillance footage and obtained images of the suspect entering the building at 5 a.m. The suspect was a black male with a beard, wearing gray sweatpants and a white t-shirt.

Officers were then dispatched to a vehicle break in and larceny at C&M Used Tires & Wheels. The owner said that the suspect entered his fenced-in parking area and broke into a truck. The suspect stole a car stereo and two toolboxes containing various tools.

Video surveillance confirmed that the suspect entered the lot at 3:57 a.m. and that the suspect was the same person who had committed the break in at La Familia. Officers also confirmed that the stolen car stereo was the same item used to break the glass at LaFamilia.

Officers found the suspect, later identified as Romel McDonald, at a location on West Front Street. The suspect was still wearing the same clothing from both incidents. Officers found the two stolen iPods in McDonald’s pants pocket.

McDonald was arrested at about 10 a.m. and placed in the Iredell County Jail under a $5,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today (August 25).

47-year-old Karen Dauler Holleman of Bethlehem, 38-year-old Daniel Shane Russell of Hiddenite and 34-year-old Tanya Gail Hoke of Hiddenite have all been arrested by Alexander County Sheriff’s Officers on drug charges. Assisting in the arrests were the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Team, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

Holleman was charged with four counts each for sale & delivery of Methamphetamine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver meth and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance. She was also charged with two counts each for simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance and for simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, as well as one count of simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance.

Russell faces charges for possession of a schedule II controlled substance, maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance and possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver meth, while Hoke was charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance.

The charges come after a two-month undercover narcotics investigation into the sale and delivery of illegal narcotics from Holleman’s residence. At the conclusion of the investigation, a search warrant was executed at the residence, resulting in the discovery and seizure of a large amount of prescription medication, along with over a half ounce of methamphetamine.

All three suspects were placed in the Alexander County Detention Center with Holleman’s bond set at $10,000, secured. Russell was given a $4,000 secured bond, while Hoke was held under a $2,500 secured bond.

The investigation is ongoing and more charges are pending.