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Thursday, 20 August 2015 05:57

Hickory River-Walk Subcommittee To Meet Next Week

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A Special Meeting of the City of Hickory River-walk Subcommittee of the Bond Implementation Commission will be held on Monday (August 24) at 8:30 a.m. at the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library 375 3rd Street NE. The meeting will be held in the Community Meeting Room.

The purpose of this Special Meeting is to discuss the Bond Project Update, Tiger Grant Update, meetings with Norfolk Southern, Budget Estimate, Supplemental Funding, Subcommittee Member Discussion, Review of the Calendar and Upcoming Task, and Community Outreach.

Thursday, 20 August 2015 05:38

Woman Charged With Stealing From Her Employer

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52-year-old Debra Brown Ferguson of Hickory was arrested Tuesday (August 18) by Hickory Police Officers. She's charged with felony larceny by employee.

According to Hickory Police, the suspect’s manager at Top Express on 16th Street NE in Hickory contacted police after discovering that the suspect was taking money from the business.

According to information from HPD, the suspect was responsible for handling money at night and taking it to the safe. The amount of money taken was not revealed.

Ferguson's bond was set at $5,000 secured. She's scheduled to make a District Court appearance Friday (August 21).

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will receive a County Government Partnership Award from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Foundation later this week. The award is one of five given regionally across North Carolina each year. The Catawba County Board won the award for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s South Central District.

The county was nominated for the award by George Place, the Executive Director of the North Carolinia Cooperative Extension-Catawba Center. He said he nominated the Catawba County Board of Commissioners for this award because they've been incredibly supportive of the Cooperative Extension Service. He said the board has helped them tremendously to access needed resources and maintain departmental capacity in a time of state cutbacks and position losses in their organization.

The award will be presented at the annual North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Awards Luncheon in Greenville, North Carolina on Saturday (August 22).

20-year-old Summer Mae Echols was arrested Wednesday (August 19) by authorities in Burke County. She’s charged with felony probation violation. Following the arrest, Echols was placed in jail in Morganton under $17,500 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for September 2.

Thursday, 20 August 2015 05:02

Caldwell Town Names New Administrator

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The Caldwell County Town of Sawmills announced Wednesday (August 19) that Christopher Todd will serve as the next Town Administrator, effective September 14. Todd was selected from a list of 53 applicants from across the region, state and country. Applicants from as far as California, Florida and Ohio applied for the position, but in the end, the Council chose Todd due to a combination of his education, experience, and community engagement.

Todd's most recent government position was as a planner for Henderson County. In this position, he engaged directly with land use planning, community development activities, and historic resources. Mr. Todd has also served with the nearby Town of Wilkesboro as a management intern working directly under the Town Manager. While working with the Town of Wilkesboro, he assisted with a multitude of projects ranging from grant applications to managing a town operated farmers market.

Mr. Todd is a graduate of Appalachian State University, where he earned his undergraduate degrees and more recently earned both a Master of Public Administration, and a Master of Geography with a concentration in Planning degree. Mr. Todd is excited to get to know the people of Sawmills and become a member of the community. He looks forward to working with the Town Council and staff to help Sawmills achieve its goals.

Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) assisted the Town with the search process. WPCOG is regional planning and economic development agency that is owned by the 28 local governments in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties.

We have more information on drug arrests reported earlier this week in Burke County. According to a news release issued Wednesday (August 19) by the Morganton Department of Public Safety, officers executed a Search Warrant on a residence at 160 West Parker Road, Apartment C, in Morganton. During the search of the residence, which occurred last Saturday (August 15), officers found approximately eight dosage units of Alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax, one dosage unit of Opana, approximately one gram of marijuana, a small amount of crack cocaine, and numerous items described as drug paraphrenalia.

46-year-old Lloyd Pittman, whose address is listed as the residence searched, was charged with one count of maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances and one count of possession with intent to sell/deliver schedule II controlled substance

21-year-old Destiny Estelle Good of East Shores Drive in Morganton was charged with one count of possession with intent to sell/deliver schedule II, IV, and VI controlled substance, and two counts each of possession of drug paraphrenalia.

36-year-old Billy Lamour Jones of Vinearden Road in Morganton was charged with several outstanding warrants for his arrest. The specific charges are not listed on the news release, however records with the Morganton Department of Public Safety list counts of possession of schedule III controlled substance and failure to appear against Jones.

All three suspects were detained in the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility. Pittman's bond was set at $25,000 secured. Good's bond was set at $27,000 secured. Jones was confined under $109,000 secured bond. Pittman and Good are scheduled to appear in District Court September 2. Jones has a District Court date September 15.

Three have been arrested in Caldwell County for allegedly soliciting minors online. According to a news release issued Wednesday (August 19) by the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office, the three suspects were arrested in connection with investigations into incidents of Solicitation of a Minor to Commit Unlawful Sex Acts by Computer. In each of the cases the men contacted minor children and solicited the children via social media sites to meet for sexual acts. In each of the cases the men arrived at a location to actually meet with the minor child and were arrested by Investigators.

The Sheriff's Office says the investigations were conducted as a part of a measure to combat the growing trend of abuse towards minors through social media and to act as a preventative of future potential sexual assaults on minors. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office is a part of the ICAC or Internet Crimes against Children Taskforce which includes numerous Local, State, and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.

49-year-old Ronald Dean Henson of Hickory was arrested July 22. 45-year-old Kenneth Summey Welch of Conover was arrested August 7. And 25-year-old Matthew Lawrence Rich of Lenoir, whose arrest we first reported in yesterday's news, was arrested Monday (August 17). All three are charged with Solicitation of a Minor by Computer to Commit an Unlawful Sexual Act and Appear at a Meeting Location.

All three suspects were locked up in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 apiece following their arrests. Welch is scheduled to appear in District Court August 31. Rich will make his next District Court appearance September 8. Henson's next court date was not listed with the North Carolina Court System or at the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office is urging parents to monitor your children's activities while they are online. They offer several suggestions to do so.

Know the passwords to your child’s email and social media accounts and regularly review the content.

Become familiar with your Childs contact lists connected with your child’s phone, email account or social media accounts.

Review content stored on your child’s phone and personal computer such as text or photographs.

If your child is allowed to have a social media profile limit the amount of personal information that your child attaches to the profile.

Follow the guide that all information placed on a social media profile can be seen by everyone regardless of privacy settings for the account.

Report every incident of inappropriate conduct toward your child to Law Enforcement

Become Familiar the various applications that your child may be using on their smartphone, tablet, or computer (Tango, Instagram, Facebook, KiK, Snapchat, Meet Me, Tagged)

Make use of the Parental Controls that are programmed in to many of the devices.

One of the two suspects arrested Tuesday in connection with a burglary at Bestway Rent to Own in Hickory is now connected to break-ins to two additional businesses.

28-year-old Thomas Dean Griffin of 12th Street NE in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police Officers early yesterday morning. He’s charged with two felony counts apiece of breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods. Griffin and 25-year-old Lauren Ann O’Connor who is listed as a homeless person from Hickory, were both arrested in connection with a break-in at Bestway Rent to Own on 16th Street NE. According to police reports, the suspects were apprehended with the stolen property, four laptops and a tablet, at a nearby mobile home park.

Hickory Police told us today that Griffin is connected to two other break-ins to businesses. The string of crimes reportedly started at Divine Consignment Shop on 16th Street NE, then continued to S & C Body Shop on 12th Street NE, where tools were stolen. After that Bestway was broken into and robbed.

In addition to Griffin and O’Connor, 55-year-old Harry Bernard Harrison Jr. of 12th Street NE in Hickory was arrested on a single count of possession of stolen goods in connection with the consignment shop robbery. Griffin was reportedly found in possession of the cash register from Divine Consignment. The body shop tools were found with the suspects after they were apprehended at the mobile home park.

Griffin is the only one of the three suspects connected to all three crimes. As of this afternoon, they were all being held in the Catawba County Detention Facility under various bond amounts. O’Connor and Griffin were scheduled to make court appearances today. Harrison has a District Court date September 23.

Catawba County’s three parks, Baker’s Mountain, Riverbend and St. Stephens Parks, will return to a six day per week operating schedule beginning Tuesday, September 1. The parks will be closed only on Wednesdays and on three holidays.

Funding for the return to a six-day schedule was included in the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Catawba County Budget. Resumption of six day a week operations had been a frequent request of citizens and was identified as a top priority in the 2015 Parks Master Plan, approved by the Catawba County Board of Commissioners on June 15.

Park operating hours and staffing were cut in the County’s Fiscal Year 2010-11 budget, as the County struggled with continuously increasing economic challenges resulting from the 2008 recession.

Beginning on September 1, the parks will be open every day except Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from April through September; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in March and October; and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from November through February. The parks are also closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Riverbend Park is located off Highway 16 just south of the Alexander County-Catawba County line. Among its features are one mile of shoreline and a 3/4 acre pond for fishing; a 2 acre fenced dog park (permit required); canoe/kayak access to the Catawba River; 12 miles of hiking trails; 7.8 miles of mountain biking trails; picnic areas; a meeting/educational facility; a 20 x 45 foot open picnic shelter near the river; wildlife habitat viewing areas and a bird feeding station.

Baker’s Mountain Park is located in southwestern Catawba County. The park entrance is on Bakers Mountain Road just off Old Shelby Road. It offers six miles of hiking trails; an observation platform and gazebo at the mountain top; picnic areas and grills; two covered shelters; leashed dog walking; a quarter mile, ADA accessible paved trail; and a bird feeding station.

St. Stephens Park is located at 2247 36th Ave NE in Hickory behind Clyde Campbell Elementary School. It features a one-acre dog park (permit required); 1/3 mile gravel surfaced walking trail; educational landscaping; playground; horseshoe pits; picnic shelter; and a bird feeding station.

Plans are also continuing for the development of a Mountain Creek Park on land off Little Mountain Road near Lake Norman, another recommendation of the 2015 Parks Master Plan.

Catawba County Parks have a very active social media presence, particularly demonstrated by four Facebook sites; one for each of the three parks and one for the Parks System. The Facebook sites are full of colorful photos of the many activities and natural beauty to be seen in the parks. Visitors are invited to post their own photos and share their experiences in any of Catawba County’s parks. The public may also use photos found on the Parks sites provided credit is given to Catawba County Parks.

28-year-old Matthew Robert Stewart of 27th Street Drive NE in Hickory was arrested this morning (Wednesday, August 19) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony larceny, failure to appear on a count of driving while license revoked, and fail to return rental property. Following the arrest, Stewart was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $9,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today.