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Thursday, 19 February 2015 08:58

Lenoir City Manager Leaving For Salisbury

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Lenoir's City Manager is leaving for Salisbury. W. Lane Bailey, will take over as Salisbury City Manger in March. Bailey, who has 25 years of experience in government work has been City Manager in Lenoir for 10-1/2 years. Bailey, who is 51-years-old was previously the president of the North Carolina City and County Management Association. Prior to taking the job in Lenoir, Bailey was the city manager in King, a community north of Winston-Salem. Bailey was manager of Polk County From 1993 to 2000. His government career started in Gaston County, where he was a budget analyst.

Bailey will take over in Salisbury in mid March. The decision to hire Bailey was finalized during a closed-session meeting council had Monday evening. Wednesday, council held the official vote to hire Bailey — it was unanimous. Bailey’s contract has not been finalized yet, but officials in Salisbury said in a published report that his annual salary will be $150,000, including a $500-a-month car allowance.

While in Lenoir, Bailey helped to recruit Google to build a data center in the community in 2007. The company announced a $600 million expansion of the center in 2013. Bailey grew up in Bryson City. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Appalachian State University, where he also earned a master’s degree in public administration.

Former Congressman Cass Ballenger has passed away at the age of 88. Mr. Ballenger had been in failing health for some time and had been in hospice care since last Friday. He died at 12:30 this afternoon (Wednesday, February 18) in Hickory. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 27, at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension.

Congressman Ballenger represented the 10th Congressional District of North Carolina from 1986-2005. He was also the founder and former Chairman of the Board of Plastic Packaging, Inc., a manufacturing company with plants in Hickory and Forest City, N.C.

He also served in the North Carolina Senate (1977-86), the North Carolina House of Representatives (1975-77) and on the Catawba County Board of Commissioners (1966-74). In 38 consecutive years in elective office, serving at the local, state and federal levels, Ballenger never lost an election.

As a Congressman, Mr. Ballenger was a member of the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as a Deputy Whip and as a member of the House Steering Committee. He was also a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on the Arts.

After graduating from Episcopal High School, Mr. Ballenger attended the University of North Carolina and later received a liberal arts degree from Amherst College, where he was initiated into the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. He served in the U.S. Naval Air Corps during World War II. Mr. Ballenger also volunteered as a Lay Reader for the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, traveling to lead services in parishes without rectors. He was a longtime active member of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Hickory.

Thursday, 19 February 2015 06:14

Newton Woman Faces Multiple Meth Charges

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38-year-old Hollie Michelle Harris of Mount Olive Church Road in Newton was arrested Wednesday (February 18) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. She’s charged with manufacture schedule II controlled substance, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute meth precursor. Following the arrest, Harris was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $100,000 bond. A court appearance is scheduled for Friday (February 20).

28-year-old David Phillip Harmon Jr. of Harbin Road in Zionville was arrested Wednesday (February 18) by Lenoir Police Officers. He’s charged with misdemeanor counts of simple possession of schedule II controlled substance, simple possession of schedule VI controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and larceny. Following the arrest, Harmon was detained at the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for March 19.

51-year-old Robert Franklin Martin of U.S. Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 12:40 this morning on one count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance. Martin is accused of possessing 0.2 grams of crack cocaine. He was taken into custody without incident at the Budget Inn, which is listed as his residence.

Martin was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $4,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for tomorrow in Newton.

Thursday, 19 February 2015 05:40

Ribbon Cutting Scheduled For New Farm Road Connector

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has scheduled a ribbon cutting for the New Farm Road Connector in Granite Falls at 4 p.m. today. The ribbon cutting will take place at the Granite Falls entrance to New Farm Road which is at the intersection of New Farm Road and River Bend Road at Wal-Mart. Expected to be present are representatives from MDI, Caldwell County, the Town of Granite Falls, the NCDOT and other local officials. For more information, contact Deborah Murray, Executive Director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission at 828-728-0768.

Thursday, 19 February 2015 05:40

Restructuring In Alexander County Planning Department

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The Alexander County Planning Department has undergone restructuring in an effort to better serve the public.

Jon Pilkenton, an employee of the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, has been contracted to assume the role of County Planner. Mr. Pilkenton, a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University, has worked for the WPCOG for thirteen years and will continue to work for that agency. Pilkenton has also served as the planner for the Town of Taylorsville for thirteen years. Pilkenton’s new responsibilities will include administering the Zoning, Subdivision, Watershed, and Flood Damage Prevention ordinances. He will also coordinate the activities of the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Board of Adjustment. All ordinance interpretation questions and questions concerning the aforementioned Boards should be directed to Mr. Pilkenton. Mr. Pilkenton will also be working on long range planning projects and ordinance amendments. The Planning Department Office is located in the lower level of the County Administration building located at 621 Liledoun Road.

Seth Harris, former County Planner and thirteen year employee of Alexander County, has assumed the role of Zoning Administrator. Harris’ new responsibilities include organization and management of permitting functions, and Zoning Code Enforcement. All questions concerning the issuance of zoning permits and zoning ordinance violations should be directed to Mr. Harris.

In addition, Harris will be available to answer Ordinance related questions when the County Planner is not available. The office of the Zoning Administrator is located at the Old Wittenburg School, 6125 NC Hwy 16S.

Winter weather and extreme cold temperatures continue to continue to force local school systems to adjust their schedules.

On Thursday, February 18…

Catawba County Schools and Hickory Public Schools will be on a three-hour delay for students and staff.

Alexander County Schools will be closed Thursday. It will be an annual leave day for ten-month employees and on optional teacher workday for 11 & 12-month employees. Those who choose to report to work should do so at 10 a.m.

Burke County Schools and Caldwell County Schools will operate on a three-hour delay for students and staff with limited bus routes. The WrapAround program in Caldwell County will begin at 9 a.m.

Newton-Conover City Schools are on a three-hour delay.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015 17:42

Former Congressman Ballenger Passes Away at 88

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Former Congressman Cass Ballenger has passed away at the age of 88. Mr. Ballenger had been in failing health for some time and had been in hospice care since last Friday. He died at 12:30 this afternoon (Wednesday, February 18) in Hickory. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 27, at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension.

Congressman Ballenger represented the 10th Congressional District of North Carolina from 1986-2005. He was also the founder and former Chairman of the Board of Plastic Packaging, Inc., a manufacturing company with plants in Hickory and Forest City, N.C.

He also served in the North Carolina Senate (1977-86), the North Carolina House of Representatives (1975-77) and on the Catawba County Board of Commissioners (1966-74). In 38 consecutive years in elective office, serving at the local, state and federal levels, Ballenger never lost an election.

As a Congressman, Mr. Ballenger was a member of the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as a Deputy Whip and as a member of the House Steering Committee. He was also a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on the Arts.

After graduating from Episcopal High School, Mr. Ballenger attended the University of North Carolina and later received a liberal arts degree from Amherst College, where he was initiated into the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. He served in the U.S. Naval Air Corps during World War II. Mr. Ballenger also volunteered as a Lay Reader for the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, traveling to lead services in parishes without rectors. He was a longtime active member of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Hickory.

21-year-old Hannah Jolynn Griffith and 27-year-old Bon Jod Xiong, both of the same Tuckaseegee Road address, were arrested today (Wednesday, February 18) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. They’re both charged with sale of methamphetamine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver meth, and conspire to sell meth. Following their arrests, both suspects were detained at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $20,000 bond apiece. They’re both scheduled to appear in court Friday (February 20).