Hickory City Council met in regular session last night (April 3). Minutes, second readings, and consent agenda were approved. The consent agenda included the approval of a construction contract with Neill Grading & Construction Company in the amount of $994,602 for construction services related to the entrance road and landscaping for Trivium Corporate Center, formerly known as Park 1764.
The consent agenda also included the approval of a contract in the amount of $60,000 for the purchase of approximately .63 acres of property adjacent to the Public Services Complex on 15th Street NE. Over the years the city has purchased adjacent property as both a buffer from surrounding residential neighborhoods and space for potential expansion.
A public hearing was held and City Council approved a street improvement project to install curb and gutter along the property at 4858 Elmhurst Drive NE. Hickory Parks and Recreation Director Mack McLeod and Jon Wood of Alfred Benesch & Company presented the Sandy Pines Park Master Plan. City Council unanimously approved the plan.
Deputy Chief of Police Reed Baer presented information on the L.E.A.D. or Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program. City Council also appointed members to boards and commissions.
Also at last night's meeting, Mayor Hank Guess presented a special proclamation for Fair Housing Month to Cory Klassett of the Catawba Valley Association of Realtors. Lindsay Keisler, the President and CEO of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, presented information on the Veteran Recruitment Initiative.
57-year-old Donald Eugene Hilton of 12th Street NE in Hickory was arrested Tuesday (April 3) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with indecent liberties with a child. Hilton was also charged by Probation and Parole with parole violation. Hilton was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under no bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Thursday (April 5).
27-year-old Benny Dale Laney Jr. of Windsong Circle in Lenoir was arrested Tuesday (April 3) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with two felony counts of breaking and entering to a motor vehicle and one felony count of possession of methamphetamine. Laney is also charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen goods, possession of schedule IV controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, preparation to break or enter a motor vehicle by possession and two counts of misdemeanor larceny. Laney was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Thursday (April 5).
29-year-old Candy Lynn Kiziah of Shady Valley Lane in Claremont was arrested Tuesday (April 3) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule II controlled substance. Kiziah was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $15,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (April 4).
50-year-old Johnathan Chad Ward of 1st Street NW in Hickory was arrested today (April 3) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance, possession of methamphetamine, possession with intent to sell and deliver meth, possession of marijuana, felony possession of marijuana, and possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana. Probation and Parole also charged Ward with two counts of felony probation violation. Following the arrest, Ward was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $90,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for April 9, a District Court date is April 16.
The City of Hickory has provided an update on storm cleanup at city parks. As a result of the October 2017 tornados, the following City parks received anywhere from minor to extensive damage: Henry Fork River Regional Park, Hickory City Park, Hickory Optimist Park, Hilton Park, Jaycee Park, Neill Clark Park, Rotary-Geitner Park, Taft Broome Park, West Hickory Park, Westmont Recreation Center, and Winkler Park/L.P. Frans Stadium.
The Hickory Parks and Recreation Department has completed storm damage cleanup and fully re-opened Henry Fork River Regional Park, Hickory Optimist Park, Jaycee Park, Neill Clark Park, Taft Broome Park, and West Hickory Park.
Cleanup is continuing for several parks sustaining severe damage. These parks have been partially re-opened, with storm damage cleanup still ongoing:
The boardwalk at Hilton Park remains closed. A contractor has removed all downed trees from Horseford Creek and the boardwalk structure. City staff have started repairs to the boardwalk, with completion contingent upon weather conditions. The goal is to repair sections of the boardwalk at a time, so those areas can then be re-opened. Sections of the disc golf course remain closed with no timetable yet for re-opening.
Storm debris cleanup at Rotary-Geitner Park continues, with several trails remaining closed. Repairs still need to be made to the Boy Scout Cabin due to tree damage. The paved bikeway, beginner mountain bike loop, and pump track have been re-opened.
Repairs to the tennis court fence at Westmont Recreation Center, which was damaged by downed trees, still needs to be completed. At Winkler Park and L.P. Frans Stadium one hiking trail has been cleared of downed trees and re-opened, with one trail still remaining closed. All repairs have been completed at L.P. Frans Stadium. Hickory City Park remains closed due to previously planned renovations that are still underway.
36-year-old Stacy Lynn Erickson of Hallyburton Road in Morganton was charged by Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Officers yesterday (April 2) on a felony warrant as a fugitive awaiting extradition to another state. She has been in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility since March 9 on three counts of failure to appear. Erickson failed to appear in court on charges of breaking & entering, larceny after breaking & entering and possession of stolen goods or property.
She is wanted by the Wythe Co. Sheriff’s Office in Wytheville, Virginia for a probation violation in connection to charges of credit card theft and receiving stolen goods.
Erickson is being held under a $20,000 secured bond. An appearance in District Court on the fugitive warrant was scheduled today. A Superior Court date on the failure to appear charges was set for May 7 in Newton.
19-year-old Trevon Antonio Simpson of 20th Avenue Drive N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 1:45 p.m. yesterday (April 2) on one felony count of robbery with firearms or other dangerous weapons.
Simpson was taken into custody at his residence after he was identified by the victim. He was armed with a handgun at the time of his arrest.
Simpson was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $15,000, secured. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.
41-year-old Chuck Allen Church, Jr. of Morganton and 54-year-old Jeffrey Brent Church of Connelly Springs were both given lengthy prison terms yesterday (April 2) for their involvement in separate methamphetamine trafficking conspiracies. Chuck Church was sentenced to 240 months, followed by five years of supervised release. Jeffrey Church was sentenced to 169 months in prison. The sentences were handed down by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Voorhees.
In September 2017, Chuck Church pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic meth, possession with intent to distribute meth and possession of a firearm by a felon. According to court records, from 2016 to 2017, Church was part a meth trafficking ring operating in and around Caldwell County. Over the course of the investigation, Officers seized meth, digital scales, drug paraphernalia, a sawed-off shotgun and $15,158 in cash.
Chuck Church has prior felony convictions, including abduction of a child (2010) and possession of a firearm by a felon (2012 & 2014). He is prohibited from carrying a firearm.
From 2014 to 2017, Jeffrey Church was responsible for trafficking meth in Caldwell and Catawba counties and elsewhere. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement recovered narcotics, $9,569 in cash, stolen handguns and other firearms, including two AR-15 rifles. In December of last year, Church pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic meth. In addition his prison term, Judge Voorhees ordered Church to serve five years under court supervision upon completion of his sentence.
Both defendants were charged as part of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. According to court documents, since 2015, more than 200 individuals have been prosecuted as a result of the OCDETF investigation. Over the course of the investigation, Officers have seized more than 20 kilograms of crystal meth, $500,000 in U.S. currency and other assets and dozens of firearms.
R. Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, announced the sentences yesterday and thanked a long list of law enforcement agencies for their investigative efforts. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is in charge of the prosecution.
During the next several months, firefighters will implement the annual hydrant inspection and maintenance program throughout the City of Hickory service area. During this process, firefighters and public utilities personnel will be working very close to busy streets while actually flowing water from hydrants. For the safety of all, motorists are encouraged to reduce their speed and exercise extreme caution when recognizing their path of travel will pass nearby hydrants being operated.
A news release from the Hickory Fire Department says sometimes this operation causes brief discoloration. If this should occur, call the City of Hickory at 828-323-7500 to flush the main line. After the main line is cleared of discoloration, homeowners should turn on an outside spigot to clear up the water inside the residence. Refrain from using hot water as soon as possible after experiencing discoloration to prevent the Hot Water Heater from getting discolored.
Since there are greater than two thousand hydrants located in the city, this process will take several months to complete. Although checking these hydrants will take place on weekdays from 8:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m., occasionally, firefighters may have to make various checks during weekends and after-hours when it is impractical or not feasible to do so during the weekday. If residents have questions or concerns, they are encouraged to call the Hickory Fire Department at 828-323-7420 or City of Hickory Public Utilities at 828-323-7427.
47-year-old Charles Lynn Bentley of Sigmon Drive in Granite Falls was arrested Monday (April 2) by authorities in Watauga County on charges from Catawba County. Bentley is charged with felony counts of breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering. He was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $7,500 bond. A Superior Court date is April 16.
29-year-old Logan Nathaniel Brown of Holly Drive in Granite Falls was arrested Monday (April 2) by Granite Falls Police Officers. He's charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule III controlled substance. Brown was confined in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $30,000 secured bond. A first court appearance was scheduled today (April 3) in Lenoir.
20-year-old Gunner Deyton Fleenor of Stone Mountain Road in Lenoir was arrested Sunday (April 1) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony disseminate obscenity and misdemeanor failure to appear. Fleenor was released after posting $10,500 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for April 30, a District Court date is June 5.
There's a new name on Iredell County's most wanted list.
33-year-old Hannah Hawkins was recently added to the most wanted list. She's wanted on felony charges of selling schedule II controlled substance and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule II controlled substance. Hawkins' last known address was 108 Mayhew Park Road in Mooresville.
55-year-old Freddie L. Daye Jr. remains on the most wanted list. He's wanted on a charge of failing to comply with a court order. Daye's last known address was 1150 Mohogany Road in Statesville.
52-year-old Tonya Yvette Turner also remains on the Iredell County most wanted list. She's charged with failure to appear on counts of selling cocaine and conspire to sell cocaine. Turner's last known address was 1104 Absher Road in Statesville.
You can see the entire list of wanted suspects with their photos at www.iredellsheriff.com. If you have any information on any of the suspects on the list you can e-mail email@example.com. You can also call any tips into the Iredell County Sheriff's Office at their Statesville location, 704-878-3180, or the Mooresville office, 704-664-7500.