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The public is invited to a Meet the Artists Reception at Full Circle Arts (FCA) on Thursday, May 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. to celebrate the opening of Full Circle Arts Member Show.

The exhibition is an opportunity for associate and exhibiting members of Full Circle Arts to showcase their art while giving the public a chance to see FCA’s new location, next to McGuire’s Pub just off 1st Avenue N.W. in downtown Hickory.

The exhibition continues through June 29.

FCA is a non-profit artists’ cooperative. For more information call 828-322-7545, email info@fullcirclearts.org or visit www.fullcirclearts.org.

21-year-old Donovon Tyrell Lortz of 5th Avenue S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 10:15 last night (May 18) on one felony count of possessing, selling or buying a gun with an altered serial number. He was also charged with misdemeanor resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer and driving while license revoked.

The indictment comes in connection to an incident on November 15 of last year when Officers saw a Mitsubishi back into the parking lot at the Horseshoe apartments in Hickory. They approached the vehicle and detected the strong odor of marijuana.

The driver, Donovan Lortz, rolled the window up and acted as though he was going to put the vehicle in park, but then put it into gear and attempted to drive away. Officers were able to stop the vehicle in the parking lot.

A subsequent search turned up marijuana and a black Reuger handgun with the serial number scratched out.

He was taken into custody without incident last night at the Total Convenience store on Highway 70 S.W. Lortz was released at midnight after posting a $21,000 secured bond. He will appear in Superior Court on May 23 in Newton.

Hickory Police report an armed robbery that occurred just before midnight Saturday, May 17.

Events unfolded as Officers on patrol at the Blue Ridge Heights apartment complex on 2nd Street Place S.W. in Hickory were flagged down by a 24-year-old male victim from Claremont who told them that a black male was in an apartment robbing his friends at gunpoint.

Officers went to the apartment and spoke to the other persons present there who told them the suspect had fled on foot. The first man said he and a 29-year-old female resident of the apartment had just returned from the store and were on their way back out again when the suspect pushed them back into the apartment. He was armed with an AR-15 military-style rifle.

At some point during the incident, the male victim jumped out of a window and went to look for help while the others remained inside.

Another 24-year-old man who lives at the apartment and a 17-year-old female from Claremont were also listed on Police reports as victims.

The suspect is described as a black male with a dark complexion. He is 5’10” to 5’11” tall with a stocky build, in his late 20s or early 30s. He was wearing a gray long-sleeved shirt and a black short-sleeved shirt with a blue bandana pulled over his face.

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

Monday, 19 May 2014 10:42

Chemical Spill Last Week in Morganton

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Shortly after 8:40 last Thursday (May 16) evening, the Morganton Department of Public Safety was called to Sypris Technologies at 105 Wamsutta Mill Road for a reported chemical spill. The first units arrived on the scene to find that one employee had already been taken to CMC Morganton for chemical burns.

First responders on the scene verified that the plant was evacuated and determined that the spill was contained to the plant’s lab area. The spill was reported to be an acid of some type, which was later identified by HazMat personnel as Nitric Acid. The spill started a reaction with materials it contacted, including a synthetic floor mat. Employees in the area immediately left the area to get away from the fumes and corrosive material.

The Morganton Public Safety commander on the scene ordered all Public Safety personnel not to enter the plant and established a safe perimeter; then called for the Burke County HazMat Team. Other agencies responding included Burke County E.M.S., Burke County Rescue Squad and the Burke County Emergency Management Office.

A two-man HazMat team entered the plant and found a one-gallon glass container of 70% Nitric Acid had been dropped and broken on the floor. Another container of the same type was still in a box in the spill area but was not broken. The entry team used an acid neutralizer compound to make the area safe and contain the spill for clean-up crews to enter later. After the air was monitored and deemed safe for lab personnel and clean-up crews, the entry team left the building and was decontaminated on the scene before emergency units were released. The last Morganton Public Safety units cleared the scene at 11:47 p.m.

The victim of the chemical burn was treated and released.

21-year-old Jerelle Antwone Hackett of Arlington Circle in Lenoir was arrested by Lenoir Police Friday (May 16). He is charged with the rape of a child, indecent liberties with a child and resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer. Hackett was also charged with two counts of failure to appear.

He was jailed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $217,500 secured bond. Hackett will appear in Superior Court on the felony charges on July 14. He has District Court dates on May 27 and June 3.

Monday, 19 May 2014 06:55

Lincolnton Man Wanted for Rape of a Child

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25-year-old Jose Manuel Palafox Vasquez of South Flint Street in Lincolnton is wanted by Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Detectives on one felony count of rape or sex act with a person 13,14 or 15 years old by a defendant at least six years older than the victim. Vasquez also goes by the alias of Cristian Aponte Rivera.

He was charged after a 14-year-old female's parents came to the Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, May 13, to report a February 28 incident that occurred at their residence, southwest of Lincolnton. Vasquez is known by the family through their church.

Vasquez was last seen on Monday, May 12, at the RSI plant in Maiden where he is employed. He was last seen driving a green 1995 four-door Toyota Corolla with North Carolina license tag ADS-5194.

Additional charges are pending.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Jose Manuel Palafox Vasquez, a.k.a. Cristian Aponte Rivera, should call Detectives Sally Dellinger or Dan Renn at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln Co. Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909.

Monday, 19 May 2014 06:49

Morganton Receives 11 Safety Awards

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The City of Morganton received several safety awards from the N.C. Department of Labor last Tuesday night (May 13) during the 56th Annual Western North Carolina Safety Awards Banquet, held at the Morganton Community House.

To win a safety award companies cannot have any fatal accidents at their business.  To win a Silver Award, the rate of days employees miss from work must be at least 50% below the industry average and to win a Gold Award, the rate of days away from work, job transfers and restrictions all must be at least 50% below the industry average.

In all, 11 city departments won safety awards.


  • The Water Treatment Plant received a 15th Consecutive Year Gold Award.
  • CoMPAS Cable received a Fifth Consecutive Year Gold Award.
  • The Wastewater Treatment Plant received a Fourth Consecutive Year Gold Award.
  • CoMMA received a Second Consecutive Year Gold Award.
  • The Administration Department received a First Year Gold Award.
  • The Public Safety Department received a First Year Gold Award.


  • The Parks & Recreation Department received a Second Consecutive Year Silver Award.
  • The Cemetery & Grounds Division of the Public Works Department received a Second Consecutive Year Silver Award.
  • The Development and Design Department received a First Year Silver Award.
  • The Electric Department received a First Year Silver Award.
  • The Sanitation Division of the Public Works Department received a First Year Silver Award. 

48-year-old Michael Douglas Isaiah Perkins of Piney Road in Morganton was arrested by Lenoir Police yesterday on charges of larceny, driving while license revoked and resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer, as well as one count of failure to appear. Perkins was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $17,500 secured bond. No court date is currently listed.

Friday, 16 May 2014 14:04

"Coffee with a Cop" in Downtown Morganton

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The “Coffee with a Cop” program will come to Morganton on Monday, June 2. Officers from the Morganton Department of Public Safety and community members will come together in an informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, build relationships and drink coffee.

All community members are invited to attend. The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. June 2 at the Grind Café, 136 West Union Street in downtown Morganton.

“Coffee with a Cop” provides an opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the department's work in Morganton's neighborhoods.

“Coffee with a Cop” is a national initiative supported by the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

For more information, contact Public Safety Officer Joey Belanger at 828-437-1211 or e-mail jbelanger@morgantonps.org.

Friday, 16 May 2014 13:51

Nebo Man Accused of Stealing Firearms

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24-year-old Jonas Ethan Lee Smith of Macedonia Church Loop in Nebo has been arrested by McDowell County Sheriff’s Officers on one felony count each of breaking & entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods.

The arrest stems from an incident on April 21 when a woman from Gloria Way in Nebo reported that someone broke into her house and took two handguns, valued at $1,057.44. An investigation conducted by Detective Andy Manis led to Smith, who is the victim’s nephew.

The guns were recovered.

Smith was given a $5,000 secured bond.  An appearance in District Court was set for May 21.