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A Special Meeting of the Hickory City Council will be held on Sunday, February 8 at 4:00 p.m. City Council, City management and department heads will be leaving for Raleigh on Sunday. The meeting will resume on Monday, (February 10) and council will make several stops around Raleigh throughout the day. City Council will continue the meeting on Tuesday (February 10) and make several more stops during the day.

The purpose of this Special Meeting is to hold the Annual Council-Staff Planning Session. City Council will be attending “The Institute for Emerging Issues: 30th Annual Emerging Issues Forum: Innovation Reconstructed.” Discussions will include a presentation of Hickory Young Professionals survey results, a presentation of Neuse River Trail, transportation update, discussion with the Western Piedmont Council of Government’s (WPCOG) John Marshall, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Representatives, NC House Representatives Adams and Setzer, NC Senator Wells, budget discussion, and a walking tour of mixed use development with public parking deck. For additional information please contact the City Manager’s Office at (828) 323-7412.

85-year-old Fulton Walton Byrum has been found. The Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Office told WHKY Mr. Byrum was found safe in Yadkinville and his family was notified.

A statement released by the Sheriff’s Office states that they were able to track Mr. Byrum yesterday (February 5) as he purchased gas at several locations in central North Carolina. Law enforcement agencies in close proximity to those locations were alerted. Mr. Byrum was ultimately found by Yadkinville Police as he sat in his vehicle on the side of the road with the vehicle’s flashers on.

Mr. Byrum was reported missing on Tuesday (February 3) after he got lost on his way to meet a friend on Lake Wylie Road. Yesterday (February 5), information was released by the N.C. Center for Missing Persons stating that Mr. Byrum’s vehicle may have been spotted in the Garysburg area, near exit 174 on Interstate 95. Garysburg is in eastern N.C., near the Virginia state line.

Previously, Mr. Byrum had called his family at about 8:30 Tuesday night to let them know he was lost. That call pinged off a cell phone tower on West Shopton Road in Charlotte

Shortly after midnight today (February 6), the N.C. Center for Missing Persons cancelled the Silver Alert that had been issued yesterday.

Bryan Steen, Chairman of Burke Development, Inc. (BDI) announces the hiring of Alan D. Wood as President and CEO of the organization. Wood, an 11-year economic development veteran, was offered the position after an extensive search. In a news release from BDI, Steen said, "Alan brings significant economic development experience and a 'can do attitude' to the job. We look forward to working with him to assist existing industry growth, as well as the recruitment of new industries to Burke County for the benefit of our citizens."

Wood will join BDI on March 9, after completing his commitment as Director of Economic Development in Stokes County, where he led their development efforts for the past six years. Prior to that, he was Senior Development Director in Caldwell County. Wood is quoted in the news release saying "I don't believe that economic development is 'one size fits all. Each community has specific assets that make it unique. It is the job of our office to work with our board, local businesses and the elected officials across the county to develop the best strategy to create wealth and jobs in Burke County, and then execute that plan."

Wood has developed a reputation for being creative in his strategies for promoting local communities. He has worked on numerous projects, large and small, most notably the effort that recruited a Google Data Center to Caldwell County. John Cantrell, who served on the search committee said in the news release, "We're getting a person with a background in banking, manufacturing and economic development, which is a great background in my opinion,"

Burke Development, Inc. (BDI) is a nonprofit organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, government agencies and other entities to facilitate expansion strategies for existing businesses and recruit target industries to Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

Friday, 06 February 2015 06:22

Man Sentenced To Prison Time In Burglary Case

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31-year-old Ryan William Shambre of Morganton pleaded guilty of conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary and felony possession of stolen goods on Tuesday (February 3) in Burke County Superior Court. Shambre planned the burglary that David Bryan Dockery committed on May 19, 2013. He had been a friend of the victims and knew where they kept their money and medication. Dockery was also sentenced in connection with the case this week.

Judge Archie sentenced Shambre to an active sentence of 26-44 months, and he was placed in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections. Lt. Jody Price and Lt. David Kiser of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Frank Webster.

28-year-old James Thomas Willis of Valley Field Road in Hickory was arrested this morning (Friday, February 6) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance and simple possession of controlled substance. Following the arrest, Willis was detained at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $5,000 bond. A first court appearance was scheduled for today.

Friday, 06 February 2015 06:02

Morganton Man Sentenced In Burglary Case

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29-year-old David Bryan Dockery of Morganton pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and felony larceny in Burke County Superior Court on Tuesday (February 3). He was given an active sentence of 44-65 months by the Honorable Carla Archie, Superior Court Judge from Charlotte, and placed in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections.

Mr. Dockery broke into a home on the night of May 19, 2013, stealing the victim’s pocketbook and prescription medication. He pushed and hit the victims as he went out the door.

50-year-old Lewis Jones Arney II of Morganton, was given an active sentence of 18-24 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree kidnapping and two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon during Burke County Superior Court on Wednesday (February 4). The Honorable Carla Archie, Superior Court Judge from Charlotte, sentenced Arney, who was placed in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections.

Arney robbed a local church on August 5, 2014, taking a victim and his car captive. The victim was able to escape when Arney pulled into a bank in an attempt to have that victim withdraw more money. Later that day, the defendant stole another vehicle at knife point. Officer Brian Thompson and Investigator Roger Tate, both with the Morganton Department of Public Safety, investigated the case, and Chris Back prosecuted for the District Attorney’s Office.

The State Board of Education Thursday unveiled grades for more than 2,400 public schools. This year's grading curve means more than 70 percent of the state's schools got a grade of "C'' or better. About one out of 20 North Carolina public schools received an "A'' while approximately 6 percent brought home an "F'' on new statewide school report cards. Schools could only receive an "F'' if they score below 40 out of 100 points. Students themselves receive an "F'' grade if they score below 63. Eighty percent of the school grades are based on how students performed on standardized tests. All schools receiving a "D'' or "F'' must send letters to students' parents informing them of the grade.

In the Greater Hickory Metro school systems performed as follows. In the Catawba County Schools 16 schools received a C grade, 8 schools received a B grade, 2 schools received a D grade, and 1 school received an A grade. In the Hickory City Schools 4 schools received a D grade, 3 schools received a C grade, and 2 schools received a B grade. In the Newton-Conover City Schools 4 schools received a C grade, 1 school received a B grade and 1 school received a D grade.

In the Alexander County Schools 8 schools received a C grade, 1 school received a B grade, and one school received a D grade. In the Burke County Schools 17 schools received a C grade, 6 schools received a B grade, and 2 schools received an A grade. In the Caldwell County Schools 15 schools received a C grade, 6 schools received a B grade, 2 schools received a D grade and one received an A.

For more information, click here.

Unemployment rates were released for North Carolina’s counties. According to the Division of Employment Security, the unemployment rate in Alexander County in December was 4.7 percent, up from 4.6 percent in November. The Burke County unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent from 6.1. In Caldwell County, unemployment also dropped to 5.9 percent from 6.1. Catawba County’s jobless rate fell to 5.4 percent in December, down from 5.5 percent in November. The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area was at 5.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in November. That places the area tenth out of fourteen MSAs, just four Metropolitan Areas finished with higher unemployment rates. The statewide unemployment rate is 5.2 percent, down from 5.4 in November.

A portion of 2nd Avenue, NW will be closed this morning. The Hickory Public Works Street Division will be closing a portion of 2nd Avenue, NW between 2nd Street, NW and North Center Street for tree trimming.  The road closure will begin at 9 a.m. and the road should reopen by 11 a.m.  There is a detour route in place, during that time, from 2nd Street, NW to 1st Avenue, NW to North Center Street.  There will be signs directing traffic through the detour.