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Tenth District Congressman Patrick McHenry will be in Catawba County today (Monday, June 29) for two visits across the county. Congressman McHenry will begin the day visiting the Newton Fire Department at 8:30 a.m. Following that stop he will tour Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory beginning at 10 a.m.

Congressman McHenry's first stop will be at the Newton Fire Department's new building. While there, Congressman McHenry will tour the new facility and meet with members of the department. Leading the tour will be Newton Fire Chief Kevin Yoder. Also joining for the tour will be Newton Mayor Anne Stedman and City Manager Todd Clark. The Newton Fire Department is located at 119 South Brady Avenue in Newton.

Congressman McHenry's second stop of the day will be at Frye Regional Medical Center. Congressman McHenry will begin his visit by touring the emergency room. Following his tour, Congressman McHenry will meet with the hospital's physicians and staff. Frye Regional Medical Center is located at 420 North Center Street in Hickory.

Neither appearance is open to the general public.

A 26-year-old Lenoir woman who was the subject of a Silver Alert issued on Friday (June 26) was found safe. This was confirmed by Lenoir Police Saturday (June 27). Brandy Boling Skelton had been missing since June 18. The news release issued Friday said it was believed that Skelton was suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment. The Silver Alert was cancelled late Friday night. No other details were available.

A Catawba County man was jailed under a large bond amount after he was apprehended by authorities over the weekend, reportedly in possession of thousands of dollars in meth. 29-year-old Rodolfo Gutierrez of Herman Sipe Road in Conover was arrested Saturday (June 27) by the Catawba Valley Drug Task Force. He's charged with two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine, maintaining a place to keep controlled substance, misdemeanor child abuse, and driving while license revoked.

According to reports from law enforcement, a bag stuffed with approximately three ounces of crystal-clear methamphetamine, which is reported to be the type typically produced in Mexican superlabs, was seized during the Saturday afternoon bust. Reports say the three ounces of meth was worth up to $4,500 in bulk or up to $12,000 if it’s separated into individual units and sold on the streets. During the arrest, officers also seized $3,900 in cash, said Lt. Jason Reid of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office.

According to reports, the investigation began when local law enforcement began receiving numerous complaints about large amounts of methamphetamine being sold in and around the Dogwood Hills Mobile Home Park. The Catawba Valley Drug Task Force conducted the operation.

Saturday afternoon officers spotted Gutierrez behind the wheel of a Lincoln Navigator. They were aware that he did not have a valid North Carolina drivers license and pursued. Officers watched Gutierrez go through the Wendy’s drive-thru on Fairgrove Church Road and make a purchase. Reports say he then went around the building and meet another person in a second vehicle. When officers saw the cash, meth and drug paraphernalia they moved in and made the arrest.

Gutierrez was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $225,000 secured bond. His first court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, June 29). The Catawba Valley Drug Task Force is a combined unit composed of officers from the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Maiden Police Department and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Monday, 29 June 2015 04:07

Teenager Drowns In Burke County

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A Burke County teenager drowned late last week while swimming in a reservoir. According to the Burke County Sheriff's Office the victim is 17-year-old Rayden Lynn Biddix of Morris Loop in Morganton.

Last Thursday (June 25) at approximately 4:30 p.m. the Burke County 911 Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call reporting a possible drowning at the reservoir on Branstrom Orchard Road in Burke County. Investigators from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office requested the use of North Catawba Fire and Rescue Department’s search and rescue boat that is equipped with sonar to aid in the search.

Rescue crews and law enforcement from several agencies responded and searched the reservoir. Emergency personnel searched where the victim was last seen swimming late into the night Thursday. Search crews resumed the operation Friday morning and at approximately 11 a.m. they found the victim.

An investigation into the events that led up to the drowning of Mr. Biddix revealed that the victim and a friend were at the reservoir swimming Thursday afternoon and Mr. Biddix swam out some distance from the shore and over exerted himself, panicked and was unable to make it back to the shore. The other individual attempted to aid Mr. Biddix but was unable to help.

Hickory City Council met twice during the past week to discuss two projects, the proposed Deidra Lackey Memorial Park legal agreements and Blue Bloodhound Economic Development Incentives.

On Monday (June 22) City Council held a special called meeting to discuss the legal agreements of the proposed Deidra Lackey Memorial Park, including construction easements, burial sites, and other projects, like the canopy walk that is planned for the park.

The Grant and Construction Easement agreement governs the development and construction of a waterfront memorial park to memorialize the late Deidra Lackey. The Burial Site Agreement governs the construction and maintenance of burial sites located within the Conservatory and certain adjacent Gardens. The burial sites are for designated for the sole use of the Lackey family. The last agreement discussed was the Conservancy Agreement, which outlines the City’s and Conservancy’s rights and responsibilities in developing and managing the waterfront memorial park. The Conservancy is the group that will be responsible for the Conservatory at the park.

Council did not approve the agreements at this meeting, as these agreements will be presented at a regular City Council meeting in the future for Council’s approval.

On Thursday (June 25) City Council held a second special called meeting to consider approval of the economic development agreement between the City and Blue Bloodhound, LP the related resolution, and for the Mayor to execute these, along with other needed documents.

Blue Bloodhound, LP announced on Tuesday (June 23) that they will create 191 office and e-commerce jobs in Hickory at the recently renovated Moretz Mills. The company plans to create the jobs over three years and will pay above the average wage for Catawba County.

The resolution, stating the desire to enter into agreement, and the agreement itself, were both voted on, and passed, unanimously, on a first and second reading by the Hickory City Council at Thursday's special called meeting. Councilman Hank Guess and Councilwoman Jill Patton were not present. City Council did vote to provide $800 per job, based upon the criteria that is in the agreement.

Tenth District Congressman Patrick McHenry will be in Catawba County on Monday (June 29) for two visits across the county. Congressman McHenry will begin the day visiting the Newton Fire Department at 8:30 a.m. Following that stop he will tour Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory beginning at 10 a.m.

Congressman McHenry's first stop will be at the Newton Fire Department's new building. While there, Congressman McHenry will tour the new facility and meet with members of the department. Leading the tour will be Newton Fire Chief Kevin Yoder. Also joining for the tour will be Newton Mayor Anne Stedman and City Manager Todd Clark. The Newton Fire Department is located at 119 South Brady Avenue in Newton.

Congressman McHenry's second stop of the day will be at Frye Regional Medical Center. Congressman McHenry will begin his visit by touring the emergency room. Following his tour, Congressman McHenry will meet with the hospital's physicians and staff. Frye Regional Medical Center is located at 420 North Center Street in Hickory.

Neither appearance is open to the general public.

Friday, 26 June 2015 13:06

Silver Alert Issued For Missing Lenoir Woman

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The N.C. Center for Missing Persons has issued a Silver Alert for a missing endangered woman from Lenoir, 26-year-old Brandy Boling Skelton. Citizens are asked to be on the lookout for Brandy Boling Skelton, who is believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment.

She's described as a white female, 5'5", 110 pounds with brown shoulder length hair and hazel eyes. Skelton was last seen wearing a grey and purple t-shirt, jeans, and black tennis shoes. She was last seen at 247 Commercial Court in Lenoir, her direction of travel is unknown.

Anyone with information about Brandy Boling Skelton should call the Lenoir Police Department at 828-757-2100.

29-year-old Bradley Wayne Miller of Lackey Mountain Road and 54-year-old Glendine Crum of Fence Road, both from Stony Point, have been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on drug charges. They were both charged with possession with intent to sell & deliver a schedule II controlled substance.

While conducting surveillance in western Iredell County on an unrelated matter, an undercover Narcotics Investigator saw two vehicles meet at a business on Highway 90. Both vehicles then moved to a location on Tarlton Road.

The two vehicles met again and the drivers spoke briefly. The Investigator then observed a hand-to-hand exchange. A vehicle stop was then executed and -- after speaking with both drivers and obtaining consent to search -- controlled substances were located in both vehicles.

Both suspects were taken to the Iredell County Detention Center where Miller was given a $5,000 secured bond. Miller was out on bond on other felony charges at time of his arrest. Crum’s bond was set at $2,500, secured. Both suspects were scheduled to appear in District Court today (June 26) in Mooresville.

30-year-old Savannah Helene Underwood of Fallview Drive in Boone was arrested Thursday (June 25) by Lenoir Police Officers. She’s charged with possession of stolen goods or property, injury to personal property, second-degree trespassing, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Underwood was confined at the Caldwell County Detention Center under $80,000 secured bond. A District Court date is set for July 7.

32-year-old Maurice Lavone Chambers of SW British Woods Drive in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (June 25) by Lenoir Police Officers. He’s charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver cocaine, possession of cocaine, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, driving while license revoked, possession of an open container/consuming alcohol in the passenger area, two counts of resisting a public officer, and operate a vehicle with no insurance. Following the arrest, Chambers was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $50,000 secured bond. He made a first appearance in District Court Thursday.