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News (668)

46-year-old George Randal Wilson, Sr. of Clearfield Place in Lenoir was arrested by Lenoir Police yesterday for three felony out-of-county probation violations. He was also charged with two counts of communicating threats and one count of cyberstalking. Wilson is on probation following a D.W.I. conviction in September of last year and convictions for discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle and possession of stolen goods or property in June of 2012, all in Columbus County.

Following his arrest, Wilson was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $45,000 secured. An appearance in District Court was scheduled for January 12 in Lenoir.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 13:41

City of Morganton Adjusts Holiday Schedule

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Morganton City Hall will be closed Thursday (January 1) for the New Year's Day holiday. The Collett Street Recreation Center will be closed as well. Garbage collection will also be affected by the New Year’s Day holiday. While pickups have remained on a normal schedule through today (December 31), Thursday’s route will be picked up on Friday.

41-year-old Alvaro “Pito” Iriarte, Jr. of North Grove Street in Lincolnton, 41-year-old Charles “Chucky” Danny Brown, Jr. with no listed address and 35-year-old Ty Fabian Lane of Louise Avenue in Lincolnton have all been arrested by Lincolnton Police. Iriarte was charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver methamphetamine and possession of marijuana. Brown was arrested on outstanding warrants for three counts of non-support and Lane was charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana and possession of a schedule II controlled substance. The arrests were made on Tuesday and early this morning, December 30 & 31.

The investigation centered around a residence on Louise Avenue and was the result of several complaints from citizens within the community. The Lincolnton Police Department narcotics division, patrol division and criminal investigations division all participated in the investigation, which utilized surveillance and heavy patrols in a coordinated effort during certain times throughout the day and night.

As a result of the investigation, Iriarte, Brown and Lane were arrested. All three suspects have substantial criminal histories with prior narcotics charges.

Iriarte was arrested at the Louise Avenue residence after Officers found him to be in possession of several individually packaged baggies of methamphetamine and a small amount of marijuana. The meth was packaged in a manner that shows it was prepared for sale and delivery. 18 grams of meth with a street value of approximately $1,500 were seized. Also seized were scales, baggies for packaging, U.S. currency, a cell phone and other drug paraphernalia.

Brown was also at the residence when Officers conducted their search. He was arrested on the outstanding non-support warrants.

Lane was arrested when Officers conducted a traffic stop on East Main Street in Lincolnton. Lane is the renter of the property on Louise Avenue. Lane’s vehicle was stopped as the result of a traffic violation. Officers then observed a controlled substance in plain view in the vehicle and conducted a search. The search turned up several small baggies of marijuana, individually packaged for sale. The also found a bottle of a liquid called Cheratussin, which is a schedule II controlled substance.

There were additional suspects at the residence and other illegal items such as marijuana, paraphernalia and weapons were seized. Additional charges are pending further investigation.    

All three suspects were placed in the Lincoln County Jail with a $10,000 secured bond for Iriarte; a $2,250 secured bond for Brown and a $10,000 secured bond for Lane. All three men were scheduled to make first appearances in District Court today (December 31).

The arresting Officers were Sgt. Dennis Harris, Officer Chuck McGinley and Officer Tiffany Cline.

A cash box was stolen from the CAST theater in Granite Falls recently after a performance of the musical “Annie.” The box contained all the ticket, concessions and raffle sales from the evening’s sold-out performance on Thursday, December 18.

Cathy Stallings, executive director, said a 14-year-old intern apparently left the cash box on the counter for one of the other two volunteers working at the theater that night. The cash box is unaccounted for after that time, despite a thorough search of the theater. Stallings estimated that the box contained up to $1,000.

The money made by ticket and concessions sales helps pay the bills and cover the next production staged by the theater. Raffle ticket sales pay for arts scholarships.

Stallings said there would be no questions asked if the cash box is returned. To return the cash box, call 828-493-2758 or email castingranite@gmail.com.

The cast of “Annie” has voted to stage an encore weekend January 9-11 to recoup funds lost when the cash box was taken. The Sunday performance is sold out.

The theater is located at 200 Timberbrook Lane in Granite Falls.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Detectives are investigating a break-in at American Tire Distributors on Finger Mill Road in Lincolnton. Tires were stolen and vehicles were damaged during the incident.

Company officials reported that sometime between 7:10 p.m. Sunday night (December 28) and 6 a.m. the next morning, suspects entered the business grounds by cutting through a chain link fence at numerous locations around the building. The suspects broke into several tractors and trailers parked at the business. 48 tires valued at $5,000 were stolen from one of the trailers. In an attempt to move a trailer, one of the 18-wheelers was wrecked in the parking lot after running over a pile of wooden pallets.

Detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying the occupants of a small van used in the break-in. The van may have been stolen from Finger’s Florist on Dave Warlick Drive in Lincolnton over the weekend. The vehicle made multiple trips carrying tires away from the business and could have been traveling the roads between Maiden and Lincolnton Sunday night and Monday morning.

Anyone with information regarding the van or the break-in should call the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909.

Crime Stoppers callers may remain anonymous. A tip leading to an arrest could result in a reward of up to $1,000.

Effective today (Wednesday, December 31), Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge is restricting visitors under the age of 12 at both hospital locations in Morganton and Valdese, unless they are being seen as a patient. The tighter restrictions are a result of the growing prevalence of seasonal flu cases in the region.

Joseph Mazzola, chief medical officer for Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge says visitation restrictions help keep patients safe by reducing the spread of the flu.

Carolinas HealthCare is continuing to ask individuals of all ages who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to help control the spread of the illness by not visiting patients in the hospital. Symptoms include: fever, headaches, body aches, pain, cough or sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

If extraordinary circumstances require an individual with flu-like symptoms to visit a hospital patient, the visitor will be asked to wear a surgical mask to protect themselves and others. Masks are available to anyone upon request.

To reduce the odds of getting the flu, health care professionals recommend frequent hand washing with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, covering a cough, not touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands and getting a flu shot.

If experiencing symptoms of the flu, people should stay home to prevent its spread. Flu sufferers should rest, drink fluids and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce minor pain or fever.

North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker and Assistant Secretary for Rural Development Dr. Pat Mitchell have announced that Alexander County is one of 13 recipients of grants announced by the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). The grants were announced on December 18 and total more than $5.1 million with 299 new jobs committed.

Alexander County was awarded $150,000 in the Building Reuse Program to support an expansion project being undertaken by Precision Materials. The project will assist with the construction of an additional 15,000 square feet to their existing facility. Precision Materials has also committed to create 15 new, full-time jobs.

Precision Materials will invest approximately $310,000 for the project, of which $150,000 will be reimbursed through the grant. The grant amount is based on an allowance of $10,000 for each new job pledged. If the company creates at least 15 new full time jobs, they will receive the full grant amount. Local government will provide $7,500 for grant administration.

Located on N.C. Highway 16 South, Precision Materials currently occupies a 88,000 square foot facility where they have been in operation for six years. Precision Materials designs and produces a wide variety of parts from wood, plastic, fiberglass and composite materials and is currently producing furniture for IKEA and Ashley Furniture.

Company President Scott McHugh thanked Alexander County government and the Alexander County Economic Development Corporation for their assistance in the project.

The Building Reuse Grant Program offers companies the opportunity to apply, through local government, for grant funds based on a pledge to create new jobs. The grant can pay up to 50 percent of the cost of a project with a maximum of $500,000.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 11:01

Two Charged in Connection to Two Hickory Break-Ins

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28-year-old Jeremy David Klutz, who is listed as a homeless person from Hickory, and 24-year-old Alexandria Nicole Hurd of 25th Avenue N.E. in Hickory were both arrested by Hickory Police shortly before 5 p.m. yesterday (December 30). Klutz was charged with three felony counts each of breaking & entering and larceny after breaking & entering and two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense. Hurd faces five felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense.

They were charged in connection to incidents on October 30 and November 23, both on the 1000 block of 25th Avenue N.E. In October, lawn equipment and gold coins were stolen from an outbuilding and a residence. In the second incident, a residence was broken into and tools, pistol cases and ammunition were taken. No estimate on the value of the stolen items was available.

Investigators gathered information from area pawnshops, leading to the arrests. Both suspects were taken into custody without incident at Hurd’s residence.

Following their arrests, Klutz and Hurd were placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Klutz set at $35,000, secured, while Hurd was given a $10,000 secured bond. First appearances in District Court were scheduled for January 5 in Newton.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 07:44

Unemployment Rates Drop Across the Region

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Unemployment is down across the area according to the latest numbers released by the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division. All four counties in the Greater Hickory Metro saw decreases in their jobless percentages. The numbers released this week reflect the November 2014 unemployment rates.

In Catawba County the unemployment rate is 5.4 percent, down from 5.7 percent in October. In Alexander County the jobless rate dropped to 4.6 percent from 4.7 in the previous report. Burke County’s unemployment rate is down to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent. In Caldwell County, unemployment is also at 6.1 percent, also down from 6.3 percent.

The Hickory region’s jobless rate in November was 5.6 percent, down from 5.9 percent in the last report. Among the 14 metropolitan statistical areas in North Carolina, the Hickory region tied with Jacksonville for the fourth highest unemployment rate. Statewide, unemployment dropped to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent in the last report, and nationwide unemployment stayed the same as in the November report, 5.8 percent.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 06:59

McDowell Man Charged With Murder of Unborn Child

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A McDowell County man has been charged in connection with the death of an unborn child. According to a published report, Sgt. Rick Gutierrez, of the Marion Police Department, has charged 41-year-old Jackie Taron Agnew of Marion, with one count of murder of an unborn child. He has also been charged with assault by strangulation, assault by pointing a gun, assault on a female, assault in the presence of a minor and interfering with emergency communications. According to the report, warrants were taken out on Agnew after hospital personnel alerted police of an assault on 26-year-old Monikia Credle, who was 17 weeks pregnant.

The incident occurred at the couple’s home shortly after midnight on Monday. Credle’s eight-year-old daughter was in the home at the time of the assault. They were able to escape from the residence and Credle’s mother brought her to the hospital. Police say she lost her unborn child as a result of the assault. Agnew turned himself in at the McDowell County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon where he was placed under arrest and jailed under $175,000 bond. His next court date is scheduled for January 9.

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