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52 North Carolina State Highway Patrol employees have been promoted and will be recognized at a ceremony in Raleigh on Monday afternoon, July 14.

The promotions include 12 civilian and 40 sworn members from various sections within the organization, including several from the Unifour and surrounding counties.

Lieutenant A. E. Eastwood, Jr., currently stationed at Troop F Headquarters in Newton has been promoted to Captain and will be assigned to Troop G Headquarters in Asheville.
 
First Sergeant D. B. Amos of Morganton has been promoted to Lieutenant and will be assigned to Troop F Headquarters.
 
First Sergeant S. L. Mclaughlin of Conover has been promoted to Lieutenant and will work in Field Operations in Raleigh.

Sergeant B. T. Owenby of Taylorsville has been promoted to First Sergeant and will work with the Technical Services Unit in Raleigh.
 
Sergeant K.B. Joines of Lincolnton has been promoted to First Sergeant and will be stationed in Morganton.

The Catawba County Tax Office is scheduled to mail more than 97,000 property tax notices by the end of the week of July 18.

The notices will be mailed with a return envelope for taxpayers to use to return payments to the Catawba County Tax Collector. Taxes will be due on September 1 and delinquent after Monday, January 5, 2015. Payment arrangements may be made prior to September 1. Delinquent taxes will be subject to a 2% interest penalty for the month of January 2015 and three quarters of 1% penalty for each following month.

Taxpayers with an internet connection will find the amount of tax due online at www.catawbacountync.gov/tax. A taxpayer should look for and click on a link on the left side of the page labeled “Tax Bill Search.” Search by “Owner Name” and enter a last and first name. Click on “GO” and then “Bill #” to see tax bill details.

Property owners may pay their taxes online, if they wish. They will need to use an abstract number, shown on the actual tax bill or the bill number on the Tax Bill Search page online, to make payments through the Pay Taxes Online link on the left hand side of the page at www.catawbacountync.gov/tax. A non-refundable convenience fee will be charged on all electronic transactions.

The value of the property is shown on the middle part of the property tax notice. Just below the value of the property, the tax rate for Catawba County (which remains at 53 cents per $100 of property valuation for fiscal year 2014-2015) and for a municipality, if the property lies in a town or city, is shown. Fire district tax rates, if they apply, are also noted. The amount due to both the County and a municipality is specified, and the total amount due clearly indicated. Notices provide taxpayers with a complete record of payment.

For more information, contact the Catawba County Tax Office at 828-465-8414 or visit the county’s web site at www.catawbacountync.gov/tax.

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 11:36

Congressman McHenry Names New District Director

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Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry, who represents North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District, announced a change to his district staff as former Regional Director J. Brett Keeter has been named District Director. The change will take effect immediately.

Keeter will manage McHenry’s three district offices located in Hickory, Gastonia and Black Mountain. He will oversee the seven-person district staff responsible for assisting 10th District constituents with issues with federal agencies. Additionally, he will serve as McHenry's main contact to local governments throughout the seven counties that make up the 10th District.

Keeter is the longest-tenured member of McHenry's staff having worked in the Congressman's district office since he was first sworn in as a Member of Congress in January of 2005. Prior to McHenry's election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Keeter served as a Legislative Director during McHenry's time in the N.C. House of Representatives.

Keeter is a Gaston County native. He was raised in Mount Holly and graduated from East Gaston High School in 1994. He graduated from UNC Charlotte in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and later served as the President of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association from 2012-2013. Keeter currently lives in Gastonia with his wife Madeline.    

Keeter replaces Mark Fleming who served as McHenry's District Director from January of 2008 to March of 2014. Fleming left to become the President and CEO of Conservatives for Clean Energy.

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 11:28

Catawba Man Faces Felony Drug Charges

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25-year-old Ryan Eugene Farley of 5th Street N.W. in Catawba was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (July 9) on one felony count each of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver schedule II and schedule III controlled substances. He was also charged with misdemeanor counts for possession of marijuana up to half an ounce and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Farley was taken into custody without incident at Thee Playhouse on Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $20,000, secured. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was set for today in Newton.

The Caldwell Arts Council, in partnership with the Tri-State Sculptors Association, will hold its 29th Annual Sculpture Celebration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 6 at the T.H. Broyhill Walking Park, 945 Lakewood Circle in Lenoir.

The Celebration will feature sculptural artwork by artists from across the eastern United States who will compete for cash prizes totaling $11,000. Realistic and abstract, traditional and contemporary, movable and stationary, indoor and outdoor – sculptures of all types will be on display. The juror for this year’s event is Asheville artist Randy Shull.

Lenoir’s Annual Sculpture Celebration is recognized as the longest-running sculpture competition in the southeast and a driving force in the area's sculptor-friendly environment. The event started small but now attracts artists and visitors from across the United States.

Food vendors, children’s art activities and live music from the Sylvio Martinat Swing Band and Strictly Clean & Decent will be featured throughout the day.

Registration for the Sculpture Celebration is open to any 3-D artist up to the day of the event and each sculptor may present up to three sculptures. Cost to register on the day of the Sculpture Celebration is $80; significant discounts are available for early registration.

Details are posted at www.caldwellarts.com.

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 06:33

Fire Destroys Mountain View Home

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Fire destroyed a home on Deerfield Lane in Mountain View yesterday (July 8).

Firefighters responded to the fire shortly after three o’clock Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters arrived to find that flames had already burned through the roof. As the result of temperatures in excess of 90 degrees yesterday and high humidity, seven different area fire departments were called in battle the blaze.

No injuries were reported. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire. The house was completely destroyed.

Newton Police continue to investigate the death of former Newton Conover City Schools employee, Margaret Elizabeth “Maggie” Daniels.

According to a release from the Police Department, Investigators worked yesterday (July 8) putting together information gathered from the previous day’s tips and leads. Investigators worked on a plan to move the investigation forward.

Yesterday, Police also released a photo of Maggie Daniels leaving the Wal-Mart store in Conover on Friday, June 27. Her body was found in her apartment the following day. Newton Police announced two days later that the investigation into her death is a homicide investigation.

Authorities are asking anyone who may have seen Ms. Daniels at Wal-Mart on the afternoon of June 27 to contact the Newton Police Department at 828-465-7430.

23-year-old Michael Thomas Woods of Carver Street in Newton was arrested by Hickory Police at about 4:40 Sunday afternoon (July 6) on one felony count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and misdemeanor counts of assault by pointing a gun and larceny.

He was arrested after a 17-year-old victim from Newton got off work at the Jack-in-the-Box restaurant when he was approached by a man, later identified as Michael Woods, who wanted to borrow his phone. The victim handed Woods the phone. Woods then got into a Chevy van driven by 20-year-old Lanikqua Chaneise Caldwell from the same Newton address. The van sped away.

The victim followed, but Woods pointed a revolver at the victim several times as both vehicle were in motion. No shots were fired. The victim called 9-1-1 and continued to follow at a safe distance.

Claremont Police then spotted and stopped the van on Interstate 40, Exit 138 near Claremont. Catawba Police and the Highway Patrol were also on the scene when Hickory Police arrived and arrested both subjects without further incident. Caldwell was charged with misdemeanor larceny and careless & reckless driving.

Woods and Caldwell were taken to the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Woods set at $37,500, secured, while Caldwell was given a $1,500 secured bond. She has since been released. They were both scheduled to make first appearances in District Court yesterday (July 7) in Newton. Woods has another court date coming up on July 24.

25-year-old Jason Charles Bryant of Stamey Road in Hudson was arrested yesterday (July 7) by Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on felony warrants out of Guilford County for obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or forgery and trafficking in heroin or opium. He was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $7,500, secured. Bryant will appear in a Guilford County courtroom on July 10.

High Country Crime Stoppers and the Watauga County Sheriff's Office are seeking the public’s assistance in solving a break-in at Mack Brown Chevrolet, 2705 U.S. Highway 421 South in Boone.

The incident took place on June 30 at approximately 3 a.m. The suspect gained entry by climbing a fence at the rear of the building. Video footage shows the suspect dressed in a t-shirt and jeans with a brace on his or her left arm. The suspect stole an older model truck, along with car rims.

Anyone with information regarding the break-in should call Crime Stoppers at 828-268-6959 or 828-737-0125 or call the Watauga County Sheriff's Office at 828-264-3761.

A reward may be available for information leading to an arrest or to the recovery of stolen property.