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47-year-old Mari Jo Rudisill of 2nd Avenue SW in Hickory was arrested Thursday (December 3) by Long View Police Officers. Rudisill is charged with two felony counts apiece of sell or deliver schedule II controlled substance, and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver schedule II controlled substance. Rudisill is also charged with felony counts of selling meth, delivering meth, and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver meth along with a misdemeanor count of simple assault. Rudisill was locked up in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $250,500 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for December 18.

25-year-old Shawn Kevin Fitzgerald of Fish Hatchery Road in Morganton was arrested Thursday (December 3) by Caldwell County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony counts of breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods or property, and possession of a controlled substance on prison or jail premises. Fitzgerald was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $13,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Monday (December 7).

21-year-old Christopher Jay Lynch of North Main Avenue in Maiden was arrested in Catawba County on charges from Lincoln County. Lynch is charged with three counts apiece of selling heroin, delivering heroin, and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver heroin. Lynch was locked up this morning (Friday, December 4) in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $75,000 bond. A District Court date is set for next Monday (December 7).

Four defendants received active prison time after entering guilty pleas in Burke County Superior Court this week.

38-year-old Jeremiah Lane Hightower of Morganton was sentenced to five to seven years of active prison time following a guilty plea to two counts of felony breaking and entering, one count of felony larceny and his admission to being a habitual felon. Hightower entered a guilty plea on Tuesday (December 1).

The habitual felon status enhanced the sentence imposed on Hightower, who will serve his time in custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections.

Hightower committed the breaking and entering offense on November 19, 2014, at Big Daddy’s convenience store on Carbon City Road. When officers arrived at the scene they found the front door glass had been broken with a large rock. When an inventory of the store was conducted, officers discovered 42 cartons of cigarettes were missing.

Three days later, a second breaking and entering was reported at the Shop and Save on Bethel Road. Officers found the front door glass had been broken, just as in the previous crime. However, the perpetrator was not able to take any items before officers arrived.

Officer Ryan Stotts of the Morganton Department of Public Safety, along with assistance from Burke County Sheriff’s Office Det. Stephen Ritchie, developed Hightower as a suspect, and when officers interviewed him on January 4, 2015, he confessed to committing the crimes.

39-year-old Derrick Lane Woolridge of Morganton was given a sentence of five to seven years active prison time after pleading guilty to two counts of felony breaking and entering and two counts of felony larceny. That plea was entered on Wednesday (December 2).

Investigation by the Morganton Department of Public Safety revealed that on May 26, 2015, and again on June 2, 2015, Woolridge broke into the house of a neighbor working out of state, stealing a television and welding tools. He later pawned those items at a local pawn shop.

Woolridge had prior felony convictions in Burke County in 2013, 2010 and 2007.

28-year-old Jonathan Edward Barlow of Morganton pleaded guilty to two counts of habitual driving while impaired, felony hit and run and felony larceny. Barlow entered the guilty plea on Wednesday. He was sentenced to serve three to six years in prison.

Barlow was charged with driving while impaired by North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremy Allen on February 14, 2013, after driving a lawn mower along St. Paul Church Road. He rolled the lawn mower over while going down a hill, and witnesses noted he suffered injuries to a finger and his head in the crash. They also observed him holding a beer while operating the lawn mower. His blood alcohol level was .22, nearly three times the legal limit.

On May 10, 2015, Barlow stole a Chevrolet Blazer and a short time later struck another vehicle on Jamestown Road. He was apprehended after the collision and found to have a blood alcohol of .27, more than three times the legal limit.

41-year-old Jeremy Ryan Price of Swannanoa will serve at least five years in prison following his guilty plea to possession of methamphetamine and stolen goods, and his habitual felon status.

Price was sentenced to five to seven years after entering that guilty plea on Wednesday. Price’s sentence was enhanced by his status as a habitual felon as a result of felony convictions in Buncombe (2013, 2006), Burke (2007) and McDowell (1994) counties.

On Feb. 11, 2015, Price was caught stealing from Wal-Mart in Burke County and had methamphetamine in his pocket. Six weeks later, on March 24, 2015, a crossbow, two air rifles, a pellet pistol and binoculars were found in the basement of the home where Price was residing. Those items had been reported stolen from a neighbor’s home a day earlier.

Det. Steven Ritchie of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office identified footprints at the victim’s home that matched prints found at the defendant’s house. When Ritchie located Price, he was wearing the same shoes with the distinct tread that made the prints.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners meets Monday morning (December 7). The Board will hold its annual organizational meeting to select a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson for the next year, appoint a County Attorney and Counsel to the Board, and appoint commissioners to serve on Board subcommittees, the Public Health and Social Services Board, Catawba Valley Medical Center Board of Trustees and other community boards.

In addition Monday, the board will hold three public hearings during Monday's session. One hearing is for the discussion of proposals for the purchase of Catawba County Home Health. Another public hearing is being held to discuss a proposed economic development agreement with GKN Sinter Metals, which will invest $1.8 million and create 55 new jobs through an expansion of its Conover facility. The third public hearing is for discussion on a proposed economic development agreement with Substance Incorporated.

Commissioners will also receive a report on the County’s Fiscal Year 2014-15 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and an independent audit of the County’s financial records for Fiscal Year 2014-15 which are expected to show the County continued to deliver services in a prudent fiscal manner. In addition, the Board will consider a revised funding plan for the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 and a set of funding priorities for the Council for Fiscal Year 2016-2017. The Board will consider a recommended set of budget outcome revisions for Catawba County Social Services for Fiscal Year 2015-2016.

Commissioners will consider appropriating $50,000 in federally-seized funds from past drug seizures to serve as special funds in support of new drug investigations. The Board will consider declaring a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria as surplus and donating it to the Claremont Rescue Squad. And Commissioners will consider declaring a 2005 Terex 390E waste compactor used at the Blackburn Resource Recovery Facility as surplus, and authorize its sale by electronic public auction.

Monday's Catawba County Board of Commissioners meeting gets underway at 9:30 a.m. on Monday at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.

17-year-old Christopher Roshon Burton of Statesville has been arrested by Statesville Police and charged with felony attempted breaking & entering, possession of burglary tools and misdemeanor larceny. Several other suspects remain at-large.

At 3 p.m. on Sunday (November 29), Police responded to an attempted B&E on the 1100 block of McLaughlin Street in Statesville. The victim reported damaged siding and a surveillance camera missing from the back of her residence. The victim retrieved video footage from her surveillance system, which showed a suspect attempting to break into the residence with an orange pry bar. The suspect then noticed the exterior camera and used the crow bar to break the camera and the mount. The suspect removed the camera, but did not make entry into the residence. Officers obtained a copy of the video footage.

At 1:20 the following afternoon, the victim contacted Statesville P.D. and reported seeing the suspect in the south Statesville area walking with other individuals. Officers responded to the area where a foot pursuit began. The suspect, Christopher Burton, was apprehended.

At the time of his arrest, Burton had a backpack in his possession containing an orange crowbar. He was wearing the same clothing seen in the surveillance video. Burton had also been identified as a member of the “Hot Boyz” gang that has been associated with several residential break-ins in the south Statesville area. He will next appear in District Court on December 15.  

The surveillance video also showed four additional suspects involved in the incident. Investigators are attempting to identify those individuals.

Anyone with information should contact the S.P.D. Criminal Investigations Division at 704-878-3515 or Iredell Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340.

Callers can remain anonymous and a cash reward is possible.

35-year-old Jeremiah Yang was arrested Wednesday (December 3) by Burke County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture schedule II controlled substance. Following the arrest, Yang was placed in jail in Morganton. His bond on the charge filed Wednesday and charges previously filed is $89,400 secured. A court appearance is scheduled for December 14.

28-year-old Jonathan Edward Barlow was arrested Wednesday (December 3) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with felony hit and run. Following the arrest, Barlow was placed in jail in Morganton under no bond. No court date was listed for the hit and run charge, he’s scheduled to appear in District Court on a traffic infraction on December 15.

Thursday, 03 December 2015 10:58

Hickory Woman Faces Felony Heroin Charge

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29-year-old Yvonne Nicole Engle of 13th Avenue Drive N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before noon yesterday on one felony count of possession of heroin and one misdemeanor count of failure to appear. The drug charge comes from a warrant issued by the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office, while the misdemeanor charge is from Iredell County.

Engle was taken into custody without incident at her residence. She was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $9,500 secured bond. A District Court date was set for today in Newton, with another court date coming up on January 4 in Iredell County.

Thursday, 03 December 2015 09:30

Alexander County School Receives $25,000 Grant

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Hiddenite Elementary School in Alexander County was recently named one of four public schools across the U.S. to receive a $25,000 grant from Lowe’s and its Charitable and Educational Foundation. According to the Taylorsville Times, the winning schools were announced after more than 4,000 students wrote Letters to Lowe’s as part of a campaign celebrating ten years of the company’s Toolbox for Education grants program.

The Times report says Lowe’s selected ten finalists from student letters from across the country and then invited the public to vote for the four schools they felt most needed improvements.

For ten years, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education has awarded grants that have benefited more than six-million K thru 12 public school students. Every spring and fall, teachers and school administrators across the country are awarded grants from Lowe’s towards projects including refurbishments and safety improvements.

According to the Times, Hiddenite Elementary fourth grader Callie Logan recently wrote to Lowe’s about the school's need for a playground refurbishment. In the letter, Logan described cracked slides, the need for handicap accessible equipment, and benches for kids to rest on, as some of the reasons her school should receive the grant.

A special assembly was held last month to announce the award to the students and staff at Hiddenite Elementary. Schools interested in applying for future Toolbox for Education grants can find more information on toolboxforeducation.com. The next spring grants cycle opens on December 18.