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The City of Morganton’s water distribution crew will make a repair on the eight-inch waterline in the area of 319 West Union Street. Work is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning (June 25) at eight o’clock and could take up to 24 hours to complete. Some customers may be without water service during that time.

Motorists traveling in the vicinity should be alert for possible traffic congestion. Customers may experience discolored water caused by the opening and closing of water valves. Crews will flush mains to minimize any water discoloration; however, customers may need to flush their own lines until the water becomes clear. City officials say the water will remain safe to drink.

For more information, contact Morganton’s Water Resources Department at 828-438-5276.

54-year-old Willie Jeff Maddox of Hickory was convicted yesterday (June 23) in Catawba Co. criminal superior court on felony counts of possession of cocaine and the sale of cocaine. He was also convicted as an habitual felon. Maddox was sentenced to no less than 146 months and no more than 188 months in the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction.

The crimes occurred in January 2014 and December 2012 in the City of Hickory.

Officers from the Hickory Police Department conducted both investigations and Assistant District Attorney Kyle Smith prosecuted the cases. The Honorable Eric Levinson presided over the convictions.

Maddox will be transported to the Division of Adult Correction for processing.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 11:03

Lenoir Man Charged with Murder

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62-year-old Bobby Dean Sparks of Bradford Street in Lenoir was arrested by Lenoir Police today (June 24) on one felony count of murder.

Police responded to Sparks’ residence at 12:58 this morning. Officers found the suspect, Bobby Dean Sparks, and located Sammy William Sturgill, who was pronounced dead at the scene by Caldwell County E.M.S. Sparks was later taken into custody and charged with killing Sturgill.

Sparks was placed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center where he is being held without bond. A first appearance in a Lenoir courtroom was scheduled for today.

Anyone with information relating to the murder of Sammy Sturgill should contact Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300 or Lenoir Police at 828-757-2100.

The Newton-Conover Auditorium has announced the hiring of Ingrid Keller as its New Development Coordinator.

Ms. Keller returns to her hometown of Conover from London after earning a Master of Arts in Arts Administration & Cultural Policy. While living in London, she worked for the Donmar Warehouse and Handel House Museum in their development departments.

She has appeared onstage at The Green Room Community Theater and most recently in “Les Miserables” at the Hickory Community Theatre.

Ms. Keller can be reached by e-mail at ikeller@newton-conoverauditorium.org. The Newton-Conover Auditorium is located at 60 West 6th Street in Newton.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 06:54

Fugitive from Newton Captured in Boone

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35-year-old James “Josh” Brandon Smith of Phoenix Drive in Newton has been arrested by Boone Police. Smith was involved in a standoff with Hickory Police on May 21 & 22 in which shots were fired. In another incident last Wednesday (June 18), he led Officers on a 20-mile chase before fleeing on foot.

He was taken into custody at about eight o’clock last night (June 23) at the Red Carpet Inn on U.S. Highway 321 in Boone. Smith was wanted on numerous felony warrants from multiple law enforcement agencies.

He currently has Catawba County court dates scheduled for July 24 and August 4.

No further details are available at this time.

23-year-old Mark Vue of Hickory was convicted yesterday (June 23) in Catawba Co. Criminal Superior Court of felony attempted statutory rape of a child. Vue was sentenced to no less than 94 months and no more than 173 months in the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction. Upon his release from prison, Vue will be required to register with the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry for a period of 30 years.

The crime occurred in November 2012 in Catawba County. The victim was under the age of 14.

Investigator Rick Younger from the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office handled the investigation, with assistance from the Children’s Advocacy & Protection Center of Catawba County. Assistant District Attorney Michael Van Buren prosecuted the case and the Honorable Eric Levinson presided over the conviction.

Vue will be transported to the Division of Adult Correction for processing.

Monday, 23 June 2014 14:53

Dollar General in Hickory Robbed Friday

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Hickory Police report an armed robbery at the Dollar General store on Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard S.E. in Hickory.

The incident occurred at about 6:45 Friday evening (June 20) as a black male came into the store, robbed a 23-year-old male employee from Lenoir at gunpoint and took money from the cash register. The suspect fled on foot, disappearing from view behind the store.

A 26-year-old female employee from Hickory was also present at the time of the incident. No one was injured. Property loss was estimated at $413.

The suspect was described as a black male, about 5’0” tall. He was said to be 24-26 years old with facial hair.

Anyone with information regarding the robbery should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551.

Monday, 23 June 2014 14:25

Motorcycle Stolen in McDowell County

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Investigators are asking for the public’s help in locating a stolen dirt bike.

Last Monday (June 16), the victim, who lives on Huskins Branch Road in Marion, reported that someone removed a red & white 2003 Honda CRF 230F3 dirt bike from his property. The bike, valued at $2,000, was stolen sometime between June 4 & 16.

Anyone with information concerning the theft or the whereabouts of the motorcycle is asked to call McDowell Co. Sheriff’s Detective Andy Manis at 828-652-2237 or McDowell County Crime Stoppers at 828-65-CRIME (828-652-7463). Crime Stoppers callers may remain anonymous and could receive a cash reward.

Monday, 23 June 2014 13:57

Authorities Seek Missing Catawba County Teen

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The Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating 19-year-old Erek Damien Uron Barnes, who was last seen at 7:45 p.m. last Wednesday (June 18) at the intersection of Highway 16 South and Bethany Church Road in Catawba County.

Erek Barnes is a black male, 5’8” tall, weighing 175 pounds. He was last seen wearing a teal t-shirt (possibly Aeropostale brand), blue jean shorts and a red, white & black hat with “Chicago” written on the front.

Mr. Barnes left his residence on Highway 16 South in Catawba County after informing family he was walking to the Citgo station at the intersection of Highway 16 South and Bethany Church Road. Mr. Barnes was last seen on camera at the Citgo station, purchasing cigars. He left on foot traveling in an unknown direction.

Barnes’ family has not heard from or seen him since he left the home on June 18.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Erek Damien Uron Barnes should contact Investigator T. Whisenant with the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office at 828-466-7229 or call Catawba County Communications at 82

24-year-old Phillip Mark Holsclaw of N.W. Warren Place in Lenoir was arrested Friday (June 20) on felony counts of breaking & entering, larceny after breaking & entering, possession of stolen goods and obtaining property by false pretense.

Holsclaw was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today (June 23) in Lenoir.