73-year-old Grady Samuel Hicks of Damascus Church Road in Statesville has been arrested on 16 counts of felony first-degree sex offense with a child and two counts of sexual offense with a child by an adult offender.
On December 30, 2014, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office took a report from the victim’s father stating that his child had recently disclosed that he had been sexually abused by a family friend in the past.
The case was assigned to Detective Sergeant Mike Benfield of the Special Victims Unit. The victim, now 17 years of age, was taken to the Dove House for a forensic interview. During the interview, the victim said that while staying with Grady Hicks, a family friend, Hicks performed sexual acts on the victim.
The incidents allegedly began when the child was five years old and continued until he was 11. Hicks and additional witnesses were interviewed and Hicks was arrested.
Hicks was arrested and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $750,000 secured bond. He will appear in District Court on February 6.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information should contact the Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Office at 704-878-3180.
27-year-old Joshua Alan Fenstermacher of Shelton Avenue in Statesville has been charged as a sex offender unlawfully on school premises.
On January 13, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Special Victims Unit was notified by Probation & Parole that Fenstermacher had been seen in the parking lot at Statesville High School.
Fenstermacher is currently a registered sex offender in Iredell County. He registered in July 2014 after moving to Iredell County from New York. N.C. state law states that certain sex offenders are not allowed to be on the premises of a place primarily for the use of children, such as a school or day care.
Deputies from the Special Victims Unit investigated the incident and obtained a felony warrant for Fenstermacher’s arrest. He was taken into custody on January 14 and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $15,000 secured bond. An appearance in District Court on January 26.
The City of Newton welcomed a new business to the city with a ribbon cutting ceremony last Friday (January 16). Liberty Tax Service is located at The Market Place shopping center, 2725 Northwest Boulevard, Suite H1, between Bi-Lo and Big Lots. Newton Mayor Anne P. Stedman, as well as representatives from Newton City Council, the Newton Business Advisory Committee, the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce and First Citizens Bank, were all on-hand for the ceremony.
The business employs about 10 people and offers preparation and filing of tax returns, Affordable Care Act enrollment assistance and accounting services focusing on small businesses.
Husband-and-wife team Drew and Jacki Collins chose Newton as the location for their venture late last year. His work will focus on the accounting end of the business, while she will serve as Liberty Tax Service’s Affordable Care Act specialist. The Collinses, who have a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter, plan to finish the 2015 tax season before relocating their family to a home near Newton.
For more information, call Liberty Tax Service at 828-348-0986.
Morganton City Council approved making upgrades to the Morganton Community House infrastructure and kitchen Tuesday afternoon (January 20), taking the first steps in a public/private renovation project to overhaul the facility to meet the needs and expectations of today's guests. The Council approved spending $313,820 for infrastructure improvements and $152,568 for new kitchen equipment and installation for a total of $466,388 for these upgrades. The Council budgeted $160,000 for the 2014-2015 fiscal year toward the project; $300,000 will come from the recent sale of City property; and the remaining $6,388 will be appropriated from City fund balance.
Private residents have donated $165,000 to be used for these improvements to the Community House, thanks to a fundraising campaign led by the Morganton Pilot Club, and the City also received a $75,000 grant to upgrade the kitchen. The combined gifts and grants total $240,000 and that money will offset the cost of the project.
The plan to renovate the Morganton Community House started back in 2013, when members of the Morganton Pilot Club approached City staff about making some upgrades. City staff and a group of local citizens then met with Patti Glazer, an architect from Asheville with experience in renovating older buildings, to discuss what changes and upgrades were necessary and also what improvements are desirable in a meeting/banquet facility today. During several meetings over several months, the group developed a renovation plan estimated to cost $1.5 million, and identified citizens to serve on a fundraising committee to assist in raising private funds for this project. To date, $246,222 has been pledged toward the project, $165,000 of which will be used for this first phase.
The infrastructure upgrades includes improvements to plumbing, electrical service, HVAC, basement entry and access, air conditioning to the kitchen, and noise reduction around the kitchen. The upgrades will bring the facility up to code and reduce kitchen noise in the club rooms to allow to for more meetings and to allow kitchen staff to continue working during meetings. Currently, kitchen staff have to stop working during meetings simply because it is too loud. The kitchen equipment includes new work tables, refrigerators, equipment stands, prep tables, hand sinks, hot food serving counter, refrigerated work top, bakery prep table, a 6-burner gas range with char broiler, new exhaust hood, convection steamer, walk-in freezer, and more.
City Manager Sally Sandy said that the Morganton Community House has been a prominent local institution since it was first opened in the 1930s and she imagines that the Council and local residents want the Community House to succeed and continue to serve the Morganton community. Sandy said that all the of the infrastructure improvements and about half of the cost of the kitchen equipment is needed to bring the facility up to code and to address comments and concerns made during recent safety and health inspections.
City Councilman John Cantrell said he supports the improvements and looks forward to seeing the Community House progress in the coming years. Cantrell said that he remembers delivering groceries to the Community House when he was a boy and braving the steep steps into the basement. He said he remembers going to birthday parties, taking dance lessons, and attending Christmas parties all at the Community House.
Council unanimously approved the following motions: A motion to approve FY 2014/2015 budget amendment in the amount of $306,388 to appropriate funds for the Community House Renovation and equipment purchase. A motion to award contract to Wilkie Construction Company, Inc. for not to exceed $313,820 for Community House Renovation Project Phase 1A. And a motion to award contract to TriMark-Strategic Equipment for $148,068 for kitchen equipment for Community House.
Banner Elk Man Charged With Multiple Charges Including Strangulation and False Imprisonment In Catawba CountyWritten by Rob Eastwood
37-year-old Christopher Jeff Clopton of Sugarcreek Lane in Banner Elk was arrested Wednesday (January 21) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with intentional child abuse with serious physical injury, assault by strangulation, and false imprisonment. Following the arrest, Clopton was incarcerated at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $24,750 bond. A court appearance is scheduled for February 16.
44-year-old Terry David Shew of Granite Falls pleaded guilty to felony obtaining property by false pretense during Caldwell County Superior Court on Jan. 13, 2015. According to a news release issued Wednesday, Shew was given a prison sentence of 8-10 years by the Honorable Gary M. Gavenus, Superior Court Judge from Madison County, and placed in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections.
Shew cashed eight worthless checks totaling $1,723 on closed accounts from two different banks at the Market Basket convenience store on Cajah’s Mountain Road in Caldwell County from March 16-21, 2014. He then tried to pay his bill on April 5, 2014, with a worthless check in the amount of $1,900 from a third bank account that also had been cancelled. Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department Det. Stephen Raby and Lt. Aaron Barlowe investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Andrew Jennings.
21-year-old Robert Speight Felton of Satterwhite Circle in Lenoir was arrested Wednesday (January 21) by Caldwell County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance, two counts of possession of marijuana paraphernalia, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver marijuana, and felony maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance. Following the arrest, Felton was incarcerated at the Caldwell County Detention Center under $50,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for today (Thursday, January 22).
33-year-old Jessie Alan Clark of Spainhour Road in Morganton was arrested Wednesday (January 21) by authorities in Catawba County. He’s charged on warrants from Burke County with possession of schedule II controlled substance, and carrying a concealed weapon. Following the arrest, Clark was detained at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $32,000 bond. A Burke County District Court appearance is scheduled for Friday (January 23).
29-year-old Jessica Renee Pendleton of Love Road in Claremont was arrested by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers this morning (Thursday, January 22). She’s charged with breaking and or entering, possession of burglary tools, two counts of possession of schedule IV controlled substance, four counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of misdemeanor larceny, simple possession of schedule II controlled substance, resisting a public officer, and four counts of driving while license revoked. Following the arrest, Pendleton was detained at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $100,000 bond. A court appearance was scheduled for today.
39-year-old Jeremy Ozais Carswell of George Hildebran School Road in Connelly Springs was arrested by Burke County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony larceny and felony possession of stolen goods. According to a news release issued Wednesday (January 21) on December 24, 2014, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office deputies took a report on the larceny of a 4-wheeler (ATV) from a residence on Buzz Lowman Street in the George Hildebran. The victim reported that someone had stolen his Honda ATV from the property sometime during the previous night.
The case was forwarded to the Burke County Criminal Investigations Division. During the investigation, detectives followed up on multiple tips and leads and searched several locations for the stolen ATV; however, the ATV was not located. On January 11 of this year, detectives received information that witnesses had seen and identified the stolen ATV. The witnesses stated they had spotted a white male riding the ATV on Jacob’s Fork River Road in Catawba County and were able to capture a photograph of the subject just before he fled on the ATV to a nearby wooded area.
The witnesses contacted the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office and deputies responded to the area. Deputies along with the victim and witnesses searched the area and the ATV was located by the victim in a wooded area close to where the suspect was last seen; however, the suspect could not be located. On January 12, Detectives with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office posted the photograph taken by the witnesses and requested assistance from the public in identifying the suspect. Tips and information immediately began to pour in from the public regarding the identity of the suspect.
Multiple tips identified the suspect as Jeremy Ozias Carswell. On January 13, detectives located Carswell at an address in the George Hildebran. He was interviewed by detectives and provided a confession. Warrants were obtained on Carswell. He turned himself in on January 15 at the Burke County Magistrate’s Office and was served with his warrants. Carswell received a written promise to appear and was released from custody. Carswell’s first appearance was last Friday (January 16) in Burke County District Court.