37-year-old Elsie Leona Farris of Cemetery Loop in Hickory was arrested at about 1:30 yesterday afternoon (May 18) on one felony count of possession of cocaine and one misdemeanor count of shoplifting. She was taken into custody without incident at the Wal-Mart store on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $10,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for tomorrow in Newton.
30-year-old Aaron Lavito Linebarger of Eller Drive in Newton was arrested today (Tuesday, May 19) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with breaking or entering a building, injury to real property, injury to personal property, and violation of a court order. Following the arrest, Linebarger was locked up in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $35,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday (May 20).
The Valdese Town Council has announced that Seth Eckard will serve as the next Town Manager in Valdese, effective July 1. Current Town Manager Jeff Morse served for 35 years before announcing his retirement recently.
Mayor Chip Black and the Valdese Town Council conducted an extensive hiring process to select Morse’s successor. Eckard was chosen from a list of 43 applicants. Applicants from as far as New York, Florida and Kansas applied for the position, but in the end, the Council chose Eckard due to a combination of his education, experience and community engagement.
Eckard has served as the Town Administrator for the Town of Sawmills in Caldwell County since January 2011 where he supervised 14 employees and a $3 million budget. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Political Science and a Masters of Public Administration. He also graduated from the Municipal Administration Course & Public Executive Leadership Academy at the U.N.C. School of Government.
The Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) assisted the town with the search process.
31-year-old Lavar William Stroud-Dennis of Owens Street in Greensboro was arrested early Saturday morning (May 16) by Hickory Police on one felony count of possession of cocaine and one misdemeanor count of possession of a schedule VI controlled substance.
He was arrested when Police on foot patrol at the Sleep Inn on 13th Avenue Drive S.E. in Hickory detected the odor of marijuana coming from room number 222. The hotel desk clerk confirmed that Lavar Stroud-Dennis was the room’s only occupant. Police searched the room, leading to the discovery of 1.6 grams of marijuana and 0.5 grams of crack cocaine.
Stroud-Dennis was taken into custody and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $2,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled yesterday (May 18) in Newton. His next court date is coming up on June 8.
53-year-old Jonathan Ray Connelly of 9th Avenue S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 6:15 Saturday evening (May 16) on one felony count of possession of cocaine.
He was arrested when Officers on foot patrol on the 200 block of 9th Avenue Place S.W. spotted a suspicious male leaving a residence at the Blue Ridge Heights apartment complex. Officers approached the man and identified him as Jonathan Connelly. As they patted Connelly down for weapons, 0.2 grams of crack cocaine were found.
He was also charged by the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office on an outstanding warrant for non-support of a child.
Connelly was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $3,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court yesterday (May 18). Subsequent court dates were set for May 21 and June 8.
21-year-old Logan Eugene Whisnant of SW Walt Arney Road in Lenoir was arrested Monday (May 18) by Lenoir Police Officers. He’s charged with felony possession of heroin and felony larceny. Following the arrest, Whisnant was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $50,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Tuesday, May 19).
30-year-old Brandon Keith Dunning of West C Street in Newton was arrested Monday (May 18) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, breaking and or entering, larceny after breaking and entering, misdemeanor probation violation, possessing counterfeiting tools, felony probation violation, and misdemeanor probation violation out of county. Following the arrest, Dunning was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $128,000 bond. He’s scheduled to make District and Superior Court appearances Wednesday (May 20).
Catawba County Commissioners met Monday night at the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.
The Board adopted an updated Catawba County Parks Master Plan after hearing a report. These are recommended updates to the County’s 2007 Parks Master Plan, which was created in consultation with the County’s Parks Advisory Committee with input from the community through five public forums and a survey. The Plan provides a guideline for future development, subject to available resources. The mission of Catawba County Parks is to preserve Catawba County’s unique and diverse natural heritage through education and conservation while providing quality passive recreation and wellness opportunities.
In other action Monday, the Board approved a proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Plan for the Catawba County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC). The Plan includes the JCPC-recommended proposed funding plan. The JCPC is an organization established by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Division of Juvenile Justice. It exists to identify risks of youth in the community; prevent crime among at-risk youth; review court data; and identify needed programs to provide intervention and prevention. Funding is allocated by the State, distributed to the County and then to programs. Membership is determined mostly by the North Carolina General Statute that established the JCPC. Representatives on the Council are those involved with youth.
Also Monday, the Catawba County Board of Commissioners awarded a bid for construction of a retaining dike at the County Biofuels Facility to Moss-Marlow Building Co., Inc. of Hickory in the amount of $103,850; approval of a construction administration agreement with McGill Associates in the amount of $9,800; and approval of a budget revision to appropriate funding from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund in the amount of $124,035, which includes 10% contingency for the construction improvements, specifically the retaining dike at the Biodiesel Facility.
Coming up for commissioners, they'll hold budget hearings with departments Tuesday, May 26 and Thursday, May 28. Then at their next meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, June 1, they'll adopt the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year Budget.
A four-year-old child had to be airlifted to a Charlotte hospital after being bitten by a dog at a Catawba County home. According to a published report, the incident happened Monday afternoon in the back yard of a home on North McLin Creek Road in Conover. Police say three people, two adults and the four-year-old, were bitten by a family dog, which is reported to be a breed of shepherd.
According to the report, the child, who police said was bitten around the neck area, was initially transported to Catawba Valley Medical Center before being airlifted to Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte. The extent of the injuries has not been released, but officials believe the child will be okay.
In the report it says the dog is up-to-date with its vaccines, but was still taken to the animal shelter where it was placed under quarantine. It was not known at this time what will happen to the dog. No names have been released. As of Tuesday morning no charges had been filed.