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Federal Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (N.T.S.B.) say the plane crash that killed James B. Thomas of Denver last month in Newton happened as Mr. Thomas was teaching himself stunts. The incident occurred on May 25. Mr. Thomas was the only person onboard the 1971 fixed-wing, single-engine plane.

N.T.S.B. Officials interviewed a flight instructor who had once given Mr. Thomas a lesson in turns, spins and other stunts. The instructor said the pilot’s skills weren’t adequate to perform such tricks, so he ended training early.

Witnesses also reported seeing the plane do some tricks before crashing in a wheat field near Balls Creek School Road.

Thursday, 12 June 2014 06:53

Bad Checks Passed in McDowell County

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The McDowell Co. Sheriff’s Office has issued an alert to area merchants. Merchants should be aware that stolen checks drawn on the account of Ross Skid Products are being passed in the area.

The checks should not be accepted. If anyone presents a check from Ross Skid Products, citizens should call the McDowell Co. Sheriff's Office at 828-652-2235.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 15:23

Two Busted for Drugs at Day's Inn in Lenoir

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40-year-old Jerry Lamont Lindsey of Old North Road and 40-year-old Urmil I. Patel of Blowing Rock Boulevard, both from Lenoir, were arrested by Lenoir Police yesterday (June 10) on charges of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute cocaine, trafficking in heroin or opium by possession, simple possession of a marijuana and maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for a controlled substance.

Just before four o’clock yesterday afternoon, Lenoir Police Narcotics Officers, along with the Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s I.C.E. Unit, served a search warrant at room 166 in the Day’s Inn on Blowing Rock Boulevard in Lenoir. As they approached, Officers saw Urmil Patel, the hotel manager, exiting the room. The room was searched, leading to the discovery of seven grams of crack cocaine, 12 grams of marijuana, nine Oxycodone pills and $2,000 in U.S. currency. The drugs have an estimated street value of $1,946.

Investigators learned that Lindsey had been renting the room and using it to sell narcotics. They also determined that Patel was involved in the sale of the narcotics. Lindsey was later located at his residence and taken into custody.

The investigation was a direct response to citizens’ complaints of drug activity taking place at the hotel.  

Lindsey was jailed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond. Patel was released on a written promise to appear. First appearances in District Court were set for tomorrow in Lenoir.

21-year-old Davon Malcom Woodard has been arrested by Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Officers on two counts of malicious conduct by a prisoner, four misdemeanor counts of injury to real property, four misdemeanor counts of communicating threats, two misdemeanor counts of resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer, two counts of damage to local government property and one count of assault on a government official.

He was arrested after Deputies were dispatched to a residence on the 3000 block of Beaver Dam Lane in Lincolnton at about 6:30 Monday night to investigate an incident in which a man was damaging property. When they arrived on the scene, Officers saw Davon Woodard throw a rock through a front window.

Woodard walked toward the Officers, threatening them as they placed him in handcuffs. While on the ground on his back, Woodard spit in an Officer’s face. He was then placed in the back of a patrol car with a cage where he kicked out the patrol car’s rear passenger window.

He was removed from that car and placed in the front seat of a different patrol car where he head-butted and broke the passenger side of the windshield.

Deputies transported Woodard to the CMC-Lincoln Emergency Room. While waiting at the nurse’s station, Woodard turned and head-butted the wall, damaging the drywall. He then refused medical treatment.

Damages were estimated at $600 for the vehicle windows, $700 for the windows in the home and $500 for the wall at the hospital.

Woodard was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $21,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today (June 11).

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 14:24

Sex Offender Charged with Secret Peeping in Boone

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39-year-old Linville Reagan Wiles of Brookhollow Road in Boone has been arrested by Boone Police and charged with misdemeanor secret peeping and one count of felony attempting to sell a food stamp card.

On Sunday (June 8), Boone Police were called to investigate a report of a suspicious person in the area of the College Place Apartments. Officers located the man, later identified as Linville Wiles, at a nearby bus stop. The complainant reported that Wiles had been caught peeping through two different windows at the apartment complex.

In the first incident, Wiles was seen by the resident making sexual gestures at her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. The suspect was confronted while looking through a second window. Wiles responded by trying to sell the person that confronted him a food stamp card.

Wiles was taken into custody and placed in the Watauga County Jail under a $15,000 secured bond. An appearance in Watauga County District court was set for July 7.

Wiles is on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry as the result of an out-of-state conviction. Boone Police Investigators are currently working with Watauga County Sheriff’s Investigators to determine if additional charges can be filed.

28-year-old William Lamar Rhew III of Winston-Salem has been arrested on a felony worthless check charge.

Events leading to his arrest began in December of 2013 when the Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Office received a report in reference to a worthless check. The victim reported that he had been given a check in the amount of $18,500 by William Rhew.

He said that when he went to the bank to deposit the check, he found there were insufficient funds in the account to cover the check. Upon further investigation, after speaking with a bank employee, it was found that there was no money in the account and that the bank had closed the account shortly thereafter. Based on the information obtained from the bank, Detectives were able to charge Rhew.

He was arrested on June 5 at his home in Winston-Salem by Forsyth County Sheriff’s Deputies. Rhew was taken before a magistrate and given a $1,000 secured bond. He’ll appear in an Iredell County courtroom on June 23.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 11:40

39 Area Schools Recognized as Healthy Schools

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Catawba County Health Partners’ “Eat Smart, Move More” (ESMM) Catawba County coalition has recognized 39 Healthy Schools through the 2014 Healthy Schools Recognition Program. Now in its fourth year, the Healthy Schools Recognition Program has helped support healthier school environments for more than 22,000 students in public and private schools across the county, including 86% of the schools in all three local public school systems.

Created by the ESMM coalition and implemented in partnership with Catawba County Public Health’s School Health nurses, the Healthy Schools Recognition Program encourages healthy nutrition and physical activity policies that help create healthier environments in schools. Public and private schools serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to participate on a voluntary basis.

Local schools recognized as Healthy Schools for 2014 are: Balls Creek Elementary, Bandys High, Banoak Elementary, Blackburn Elementary, Bunker Hill High, Catawba Elementary, Challenger High, Claremont Elementary, Clyde Campbell Elementary, Discovery High, Fred T. Foard High, Grandview Middle, Hickory Career & Arts Magnet, Hickory High, Jenkins Elementary, Longview Elementary, Lyle Creek Elementary, Maiden Elementary, Maiden High, Maiden Middle, Montessori Sandy Ford, Mountain View Elementary, Newton-Conover High, Newton-Conover Middle, Northview Middle, Oakwood Elementary, Oxford Elementary, Sherrills Ford Elementary, Shuford Elementary, Snow Creek Elementary, South Newton Elementary, Southwest Elementary, St. Stephens Elementary, St. Stephens High, St. Stephens Lutheran, Startown Elementary, Thornton Elementary, Tuttle Elementary, and Viewmont Elementary.

39-year-old Christopher Shay Shufford, 44-year-old Kerri Elaine Giles and 46-year-old Timothy Scott Hildebran have all been arrested by Burke County Sheriff's Officers on charges of felony breaking & entering. Giles and Hildebran also face charges for felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. In addition, Giles was charged with simple possession of marijuana up to half an ounce.

Their arrests stem from an incident on June 5 at approximately 8:15 in the morning when Burke County Deputy David Stikeleather saw a suspicious vehicle at a vacant house in Connelly Springs. The unoccupied vehicle had Alabama license plates. Shufford, Giles and Hildebran were found in the yard. They told the Deputy that they were looking for a house to buy and saw the house, which appeared to be vacant.

Additional Officers arrived and learned that an adjacent garage had been broken into. There was evidence of larceny and attempted entry to the residence. During the investigation, Deputies found a small amount of marijuana and methamphetamine in Giles’ wallet. Meth was also found on Hildebran’s person.

All three subjects were taken into custody with bond for Shufford set at $10,000, secured. Giles was given a $20,000 secured bond and Hildebran was held under a $25,000 secured bond. All three will next appear in District Court on June 25 in Morganton.

29-year-old Garrett Allen Via of Perkins Avenue in Morganton, 44-year-old David Allen Pearson of Deep Cove Road in Lake James and 27-year-old Danielle Renee Hoosier of Roper Street in Morganton were all arrested yesterday (June 10) in connection to a shooting at the Budget Inn Express in Hickory. Via was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon. Hoosier and Pearson were each charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Events unfolded at about 10:05 yesterday morning as Hickory Police were called to the Budget Inn at 484 U.S. Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory in response to reports of an injured person. Upon arrival, Officers found an empty room containing evidence that someone had been bleeding.

After speaking to witnesses, Police determined that 45-year-old Randy McDonald had been shot in the face and robbed by known subjects. McDonald reportedly drove himself away from the scene after being shot. Police located McDonald at an address in Burke County. He was taken to Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory with non- life threatening injuries.

All three suspects were located in Burke County and were taken into custody by Burke Co. Sheriff’s Officers. They have been jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Via set at $150,000, secured, while Pearson and Hoosier were each held under a $75,000 secured bond. They are all due in court today.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information should contact Hickory Police at 828-328-5551.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 06:59

Microburst Reported in Burke County

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A line of severe storms late last night (June 10) and overnight caused power outages and damage from the Burke-McDowell county line through Caldwell County and east.

Several roads were closed and some homes were damaged by trees, including damage on Riverside Drive in Morganton. No injuries were reported.

Authorities say the storm in Burke County was a microburst and was not a tornado.