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Tuesday, 16 May 2017 23:01

New Mayor Appointed In Hickory

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During their Tuesday (May 16) meeting, Hickory City Council voted unanimously to appoint Jeff Cline as Mayor of the City of Hickory.

With Mayor Rudy Wright’s unexpected passing, City Council had to appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of the unexpired mayoral term, as detailed by North Carolina State Statute 160A-63. 

Mayor Pro-Tempore Vernon Tarlton will continue all roles and responsibilities of the Office of Mayor until Cline is sworn in at the June 6 City Council meeting. 

Cline, a Hickory native, is a Senior Vice-President for BB&T Insurance Services.  With a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Business Administration from Wake Forest University, Cline joined the family business as a commercial insurance agent at Cline Southern Insurance agency, which later sold to BB&T.

An active community member, Cline served on the Hickory City Council from 1995 to 1999.  He has also served as the President of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Economic Development Corporation, and Chairman of the Board for Catawba Memorial Hospital, which is now Catawba Valley Medical Center.

“This is a solemn and surreal time for our community and I want to reassure our citizens that the work of Mayor Wright goes forth and continues,” said Cline.  “He was my friend and we worked closely together on the bond referendum.  His vision for the city was thrilling and we will work to implement that vision.”

Cline and his wife, Joy, are members of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, parents to three married daughters, and the proud grandparents of one baby granddaughter.

Bond has been increased for a teacher charged with sex offenses and records showed he was being held in jail. 28-year-old Jeb Stuart Bass of Conley Street in Newton was arrested Monday (May 15) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of statutory rape and sexual offense with a student.

According to a news release from the Catawba County School System, the system originally contracted with Bass to teach one social studies class for two hours a day from August 25, 2014, through January 27, 2015 at Fred T. Foard High School. On January 28, 2015, Bass was hired as a full-time social studies teacher at Fred T. Foard High School and has remained in that position until May 15, 2017. In addition to his teaching duties at Foard, Bass served as an assistant boys’ basketball coach and assistant football coach.

On Monday, the superintendent of Catawba County Schools, Dr. Matthew Stover, suspended Bass with pay pending the outcome of the investigation. The news release said as soon as possible, Dr. Stover was going to notify Bass, as required by N.C. state law, that he intends to recommend to the Catawba County Board of Education that Bass be dismissed and suspended. This would be without pay until such time as the board rules on Dr. Stover’s recommendation.

Bass was taken into custody at approximately 6 p.m. Monday. He was initially released after bond was set at $36,000. The Catawba County Detention Facility records show that Bass was in custody as of this afternoon (May 16) under $75,000 bond. He was scheduled to appear in District Court today. The investigation is continuing and the Sheriff's Office is working with the Catawba County Schools Administrative team in an effort to conclude the probe as quickly as possible.

A missing Lincoln County teenager who ran away from home on May 9 has been located and turned over to the Lincoln County Department of Social Services.

According to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, 15-year-old Justin Ryan Shoemake of Vale was located at a Maiden residence and returned to Lincoln County where DSS took custody of the teen.

Shoemake was reported missing on May 9 after he told friends he was running away from home. He has been cleared from NCIC as missing.

Statesville Police are investigating a break-in and larceny at Michaels Gold Mine on North Center Street in Statesville. At about 1:50 Saturday morning (May 13), Officers responded to an alarm at the store. They found the front glass broken out and tire tracks in front of the window.

Video showed that the suspect drove a dark-colored passenger car, possibly a 2005-2008 Buick Lecerne, into the front glass. The suspect got out, ran in and grabbed jewelry from the display cases. The suspect was inside the store for less than a minute. He got back in the car and fled. Approximately $20,000 in merchandise was taken.

The suspect appeared to be a white male wearing a black & red jacket and a light-colored hat.

Anyone with information about the case should contact Statesville Police at 704-878-3406 or Iredell Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340. Callers can remain anonymous.

A criminal indictment was recently unsealed in federal court, charging 53-year-old Robert M. Boston and 50-year-old Robert S. LaBarge, both of Hickory, with conspiracy relating to a fraud totaling at least $25 million, to include wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. The announcement was made earlier this month by Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

The indictment charges Boston and LaBarge each with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud; one count of wire fraud; one count of securities fraud; one count of bank fraud; and one count of money-laundering conspiracy. LaBarge is also charged with false writing in connection with an FBI investigation.

According to allegations contained in the indictment, Boston and LaBarge defrauded franchisees, investors, and lenders of their company, Zloop. The indictment alleges that, through their fraud, the defendants obtained millions of dollars, much of which was spent on expensive personal real estate, a private plane, and the racing career of Boston’s son.

The conspiracy charge and bank fraud charge each carry a maximum prison term of 30 years. The wire fraud charge and the securities fraud charge each carry a maximum prison term of 20 years. The maximum penalty for the money-laundering conspiracy charge is 10 years in prison, and the maximum prison term for false writing is five years in years in prison.

A Burke County woman will spend nearly six years in prison after pleading guilty to drug charges during Catawba County Superior Court on Monday (May 15).

45-year-old Kerri Elaine Giles was sentenced to an active prison term of 70 to 93 months by the Honorable W. Todd Pomeroy, Superior Court Judge from Lincoln County, following her plea to trafficking methamphetamine and the sale of methamphetamine. She will serve her prison sentence in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections. Judge Pomeroy also imposed a mandatory $50,000 fine as part of Giles’ judgment.

Undercover officers with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force arranged and made a purchase of methamphetamine from Giles on August 17, 2015. A day later, officers again made contact with Giles for another controlled substance purchase. After receiving payment, Giles went to her source’s location, picked up the methamphetamine and had a third person deliver it to officers.

The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force handled the investigation. Sean Baetjer prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office.

28-year-old Jeb Stuart Bass of Conley Street in Newton was arrested Monday (May 15) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of statutory rape and sexual offense with a student.

According to a news release from the Catawba County School System, the system originally contracted with Bass to teach one social studies class for two hours a day from August 25, 2014, through January 27, 2015 at Fred T. Foard High School.  On January 28, 2015, Bass was hired as a full-time social studies teacher at Fred T. Foard High School and has remained in that position until May 15, 2017.  In addition to his teaching duties at Foard, Bass served as an assistant boys’ basketball coach and assistant football coach.

On May 15, 2017, the superintendent of Catawba County Schools, Dr. Matthew Stover, suspended Bass with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.  As soon as possible, Dr. Stover will be notifying Bass, as required by N.C. state law, that he intends to recommend to the Catawba County Board of Education that Bass be dismissed and suspended without pay until such time as the board rules on Dr. Stover’s recommendation.

Bass was taken into custody at approximately 6 p.m. Monday. His bond was set at $36,000 secured. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (May 16). As of this morning, Bass was not listed as an inmate in Catawba County. The investigation is continuing and the Sheriff's Office is working with the Catawba County Schools Administrative team in an effort to conclude the probe as quickly as possible.

The Iredell County Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate the murder of Hugh Lee Moose earlier this year. The crime occurred on January 10 in his home at 577 Shiloh Road in Statesville. Information regarding a vehicle that could have a connection to the case has been released.

As previously reported several witnesses saw a white male in the area prior to the initial report. He was wearing Carhartt style bibs and a toboggan while carrying a backpack. During the investigation a witness was located who, on the day of the homicide, observed a full size SUV believed to be a Lincoln Navigator/Ford Expedition style vehicle.

The Vehicle was parked off the side of the road at the Third Creek Bridge on Shiloh Road at approximately 4:30 to 4:45 p.m. The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office is attempting to locate the vehicle and/or the person who was in the vehicle. It’s unknown at this time if the vehicle is connected to the investigation. If anyone who was on Shiloh Road on January 10 has information about the vehicle you are asked to call the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office Homicide line at (704) 928-9804.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners appointed 11 individuals to serve on the K-64 governing board, which was established to provide practical, executive leadership to the K-64 education initiative. The full board will be comprised of 12 members representing K-64’s founding partners and the local business sector.

The following individuals were appointed during last night's (May 15) Catawba County Board of Commissioners’ meeting.

Larry Aiello, Jr., retired Corning Cable Systems LLC President & CEO, representing the Catawba Valley Community College Board of Trustees.

David Brittain, IRS Enrolled Agent/Manager, and Rita S. Brittain CPA, PA, representing the Catawba County Board of Education.

Sherry Butler, Executive Director of The Green Room Community Theatre, representing the Catawba County Board of Commissioners.

Mike Ellwanger, Director, Global Cable Product Development, Corning Optical Communications.

Kimberly George, Vice President, Communications and Corporate Citizenship, Alex Lee, Inc.

Reginald Hamilton, Department of Corrections, representing the Hickory Board of Education.

Jeanne Jarrett, Assistant Chief Financial Officer, Catawba County, representing the Newton-Conover Board of Education.

Robyn Mingle, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, CommScope.

Tony Rose, President & CEO, Catawba Valley Medical Center.

Stephen Shuford, CEO, Shurtape Technologies LLC, representing the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors.

Sheree Watson, CEO, Graystone Eye, representing the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

The Commissioners expect to make the final board appointment in the near future.

The K-64 board is responsible for establishing a long-term vision for K-64, which includes securing continuous financial support, transparency and accountability for the effective use of public funds; implementation of concrete plans with both tangible and timely goals and outcomes; direction to executive staff hired in conjunction with, and overseen by, the K-64 board; and communication and engagement resulting in continued buy-in by partner organizations and the community at large.

27-year-old Antonio Carnell White of 11th Street SW in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, felony possession of cocaine, resisting a public officer, and driving while license revoked. White was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility this morning (Tuesday, May 16) under $35,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today

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