Hickory City Council Meets in regular session Tuesday night (November 15).
Among the items on the agenda is the reaffirmation and ratification of second readings. They include the approval of the Community Relations Council's Fall 2016 grant recommendations. The approval to award the contract to Buckeye Bridge LLC for the construction of the Random Woods Sewer Project. The approval of a change order for engineering services for sanitary sewer in multiple subdivisions. And a budget revision. All of these items were approved unanimously on first reading.
Among the items on the consent agenda Tuesday is the approval of a resolution for a Building Reuse Grant Application for Project Little Rock for the former Regal Manufacturing Building on 3rd Avenue SE. Also on the consent agenda is the Citizens' Advisory Committee recommendations for assistance through the City of Hickory's housing programs.
Under new business, Hickory City Council will vote on the acceptance of the bid and award of the contract with Hickory Sand Company totaling more than $4.5 million for sanitary sewer improvements for the Central Business District Rehabilitation Project.
Tuesday's Hickory City Council meeting gets underway at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Julian G. Whitener Municipal Building at 76 North Center Street in Hickory.
32-year-old Mario Javon Johnson of Stanley was arrested last Thursday (November 10) by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with one felony count each of trafficking opiates by possession, possession with intent to sell and deliver schedule II controlled substance, possession with intent to sell and deliver schedule IV controlled substance, and maintaining a dwelling for controlled substance. Johnson was also charged with one misdemeanor count each of simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The arrest came after Narcotics Investigators concluded a three month long investigation into drug activity at a residence near the 6900 block of Old Plank Road in Stanley. With assistance from Charlie District patrol deputies and CID detectives, Narcotics investigators executed a search warrant for the residence.
According to Narcotics investigators, several types of drugs were believed to have been being sold at the residence including cocaine and marijuana. Investigators seized cocaine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a trafficking amount of opioid based pills from the residence on Thursday.
Johnson's bond was set at $75,000 secured. He was scheduled to appear in District Court today (Monday, November 14).
Wildfires continue to burn in western North Carolina with the smell of smoke in the air for miles around. The fire at South Mountains State Park in Burke County reportedly grew to more than 3,000 acres by midday Sunday. The smoke was noticeable across the Greater Hickory Metro area, causing hazy conditions in multiple counties.
There was some progress reported in fighting wildfires Sunday, according the National Forest Service. They're reporting that higher humidity assisted teams in their efforts to suppress some of the fires.
By midday Sunday, the Boteler Fire, located east of Hayesville, was at 8,180 acres and was 23 percent contained. Clay County evacuations associated with that fire were lifted on Sunday.
The Tellico Fire, three miles south of Almond, was at 9,965 acres and 33 percent contained on Sunday afternoon. It closed a ten mile section of U.S. 19/74 in the Nantahala Gorge because of rocks and debris falling onto the roadway, the Forest Service said in a release. The closure starts at N.C. 129 on the south end and N.C. 28 to the north. The N.C. Department of Transportation said that the road will be closed to all traffic until officials determine it is safe for residents and visitors. There is a detour in place.
According to the North Carolina Forest Service, The Party Rock Fire, near Lake Lure, remained at 2,883 acres in size and was 15 percent contained, as of late Sunday afternoon. The North Carolina Forest Service and U.S. Forest Service websites have been providing daily updates.
The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation announced today (November 11) that several state parks in western North Carolina have been closed to allow additional staff and resources to be deployed to fight wildfires in South Mountains State Park and in and around Chimney Rock State Park.
In addition to those parks, where fires have burned approximately 1,000 acres in both locations, the division has closed the New River, Gorges, Elk Knob, Lake James and Mount Mitchell state parks and Mount Jefferson State Natural Area. Citizens planning to visit other state parks in the western part of the state are advised to check the division's web site at www.ncparks.gov before making the trip. The parks will reopen when the fires are contained or extinguished and staff are able to return to their assigned parks. A handful of staff will remain on duty in the closed parks for security purposes.
The division has also expanded its burning ban on all fire, including charcoal, to all parks west of Interstate 95.
A grand opening and ribbon cutting will be held tomorrow (Saturday, November 12) for Plush Kutz at 523 Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory. David Williams is Plush Kutz’ owner-operator.
The ribbon cutting will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday. Food and drinks will be served until 3 p.m., free of charge. Prizes will be given away throughout the day. Everyone who comes by will be entered into a drawing for free haircuts for a year.
The new Plush Kutz facility replaces the previous location on South Center Street. For more information, call Mr. Williams at 828-322-9825.
54-year-old Michael Curtis Hallyburton was arrested Thursday (November 10) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony non-forced breaking and entering. Hallyburton was placed in jail in Morganton under $10,000 secured bond. A court date is set for December 12.
31-year-old Jeremiah Aaron Wylie of Lenoir was arrested Thursday (November 10) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony larceny of a motor vehicle. Wylie was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $100,000 secured bond. A District Court date is set for next Monday (November 14).
34-year-old Mitchell Dewayne Hines of Statesville will spend at least four years in prison following a guilty plea earlier this week. Hines pleaded guilty to felony larceny and admitted his status as a habitual felon during Catawba County Superior Court on Tuesday (November 8).
The Honorable Gregory R. Hayes, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, issued a prison term of four to six years for Hines following his guilty plea. His sentence was enhanced by habitual felon status stemming from prior felony convictions in Iredell County for breaking or entering (March 2003), possession of stolen goods (October 2003) and larceny after breaking or entering (September 2009).
The defendant entered the Jewelry Exchange in Hickory with his girlfriend on February 25, 2016, and asked to see some diamonds. When the diamonds were displayed, Hines grabbed them and ran out of the store.
Video surveillance, an anonymous tip and an ankle monitor on the defendant helped investigators apprehend him less than a week later, and he confessed to the crime.
John Patterson investigated the case for Hickory Police Department. Kyle Smith handled prosecution for the District Attorney’s Office.
21-year-old Jason Rashon Tenor of Treeline Drive in Statesville was arrested by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with involuntary manslaughter, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Tenor is charged in connection with a deadly shooting Monday night (November 7). On that date, Deputies and Detectives responded to 132 Treeline Drive in Statesville to a reported shooting. The initial calls came in at approximately 9:45pm. The callers reported a woman had been shot inside a residence. One of the 911 callers was the victim’s boyfriend who told Telecommunications that he had accidentally shot his girlfriend. Deputies arrived on scene along with Emergency Medical Personnel and found the female victim in the bedroom floor with a gunshot wound. Deputies and First Responders attempted CPR on the victim, but were unsuccessful. The victim, Cortney Smith, was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS.
Detectives interviewed Jason Rashon Tenor, the boyfriend of the victim, who cooperated with Investigators and gave a full statement. According to a news release from the Iredell County Sheriff's Office, in his statement, Tenor admitted that he was handling a firearm that had been left there a few days prior by a third party. He admitted that he was handling the gun in a reckless fashion but indicated that he believed the gun was unloaded because the magazine was taken out. In addition, Tenor admitted that Marijuana and Paraphernalia found in the bedroom belonged to him.
Tenor's bond was set at $15,000.00 Unsecured. He made his first court appearance on Wednesday (November 9). His next appearance is scheduled for December 5 in District Court.
The Greater Hickory Metro Area remains very dry, those conditions have contributed to wildfires currently burning in western North Carolina. A burning ban remains in effect for 25 western counties which includes the Hickory Metro area.
According to the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council, Catawba, Alexander, and Caldwell Counties are all in the D-1 category, which is moderate drought. Burke County is considered to be in the D-2 category, which is severe drought. These classifications are based on the advisory released Thursday (November 10), which reflects drought conditions as of Tuesday (November 8).
All of western North Carolina is considered to be in one of the drought categories which includes the two already mentioned along with the more severe categories of extreme drought and exceptional drought, and the less severe category of abnormally dry. There are counties in all of the drought categories, with Cherokee and Clay in the far western corner of the state being the only two in the exceptional drought classification.
According to the extended weather forecast, there does not appear to be any relief coming in the immediate future. The next chance for any significant rain is next Friday, and at this point most of the extended forecast for the next two weeks shows little chance for precipitation.
Precautions are suggested for counties in the severe and moderate drought categories. You can see an entire list of precautions at the website www.ncdrought.org.
Today is Veterans Day and the Elks Lodge in Hickory will again be hosting their annual Greater Hickory Metropolitan Community Veterans Day ceremony. This event will be held on the ground floor of the lodge at 6 p.m. All members and the public are invited to attend.
Lenoir will hold a Veterans Day Memorial Service on the Square downtown. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 12 Noon. The Alexander County Veterans Day Celebration will take place in the Alexander Central High School auditorium at 11 a.m.
Due to continued dry conditions and wildfires currently burning, a burning ban remains in effect for 25 counties in western North Carolina. Those counties include Catawba, Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Lincoln, and Watauga.
The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests are implementing a Total Fire Ban due to the extremely dry conditions, high fire danger, and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast.
More than 20 wildfires are burning on over 17,000 acres across the Nantahala National Forest. All fires are being investigated for suspected arson. If you have any information on how these fires were set, call the National Forests of North Carolina at 828-257-4200.
Advance Auto Parts, in conjunction with Select Tire Pros, is offering a free oil change to all U.S. Military Veterans tomorrow (November 11). The oil changes will be offered from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Select Tire Pros, 115 Conover Boulevard East in Conover (not far from the YMCA).
In addition to the free oil change, barbecue, hamburgers, hotdogs and drinks will be available. Veterans are requested to show a valid I.D., if possible.
For more information, contact Shawn at 828-261-5157 or Eric at 828-465-7484.
38-year-old Amy Veronica Craig of Pea Ridge Road in Lawndale was arrested by Hickory Police at about 10:15 last night (November 9) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance. She is accused of possessing methamphetamine.
Craig was taken into custody without incident in the vicinity of the Budget Inn on Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory. She was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $4,000 secured bond with a first appearance in District Court scheduled today in Newton.