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Starting on Sunday morning (June 22), some City of Morganton electric customers will temporarily lose power while the city Electric Department replaces equipment at an electrical substation.

The Electric Department needs to replace damaged components at a substation on Rand Street, behind Case Farms. Due to the nature of the work and the electrical hazards involved, it is not feasible to provide customers with power from other substations. Some customers will temporarily lose power while the equipment is replaced.

Starting at 1 a.m. Sunday morning, city work crews, working in conjunction with Duke Energy, will disable the substation and cut off power service. Weather permitting, the work should be completed within several hours and power service restored.

For more information, contact the Morganton Electric Department at 828-438-5277 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

58-year-old Abrham Shaki of Cranberry Springs Road in Fleetwood has been arrested by Watauga Co. Sheriff’s Officers on charges of trafficking in marijuana by manufacture, trafficking in marijuana by possession, manufacturing marijuana, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute marijuana, maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance and possession drug paraphernalia.

On June 10, Watauga Co. Narcotics Detectives executed a search warrant on a suspected marijuana growing operation after Detectives learned that large amounts of marijuana were being cultivated in Deep Gap. The search was conducted at a large factory building on Joe Greer Road. Officers found that half of the factory was used as a business and the other half was used to cultivate marijuana.

Detectives seized a total of 93 marijuana plants from the indoor grow operation. 32 plants were fully mature and ready for harvest. 61 plants were at different stages of growth, ranging from three inches to four feet. The marijuana was cultivated through a sophisticated system using grow lamps, ballasts to regulate the power, timers to control the amount of heat the plants were using, fans to circulate the air and air filters to mask the smell of the plants.

The seized marijuana plants had a total weight of 31 pounds. A fully mature marijuana plant can produce anywhere from half a pound to one pound of marijuana bud. The operation could potentially have yielded approximately 46 to 93 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of $207,000 to $418,500.

Shaki was taken to the Watauga County Detention Facility under a $10,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in District Court on July 30 in Boone.

44-year-old David Alan Jennings, who is listed as a homeless person from Hickory, was arrested by Hickory Police at about ten o’clock last night (June 16) on one felony count of manufacturing methamphetamine. He was also charged with misdemeanor failure to appear.

Events leading to his arrest began at about 7 p.m. as Officers were called to the 300 block of Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard in response to reports of drug violations in a wooded area. Investigating Officers found Jennings, who appeared to be making meth in a 20-ounce bottle.

Hickory Police secured the scene until the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation could arrive for proper disposal of the potentially hazardous materials.

Jennings was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility where he is being held without bond. An appearance in District Court was set for June 23 in Newton.

A trailer carrying cattle overturned yesterday on the eastbound ramp to Interstate 40 (exit 126) from the McDonald Parkway. Six animals were quickly corralled near the trailer, but one bull led authorities on a chase that lasted approximately two-and-a-half hours.

The incident occurred as the trailer was headed to a beef market. The driver reportedly said it overturned when the brakes failed.

Hickory Police, the N.C. State Highway Patrol, the Maiden Rescue Squad and several volunteers were among those responding. Two H.P.D. Officers were treated for heat exhaustion, but were later reported to be O.K.

The bull, estimated at 800 pounds, was brought under control after it was lassoed by Earl Rogers, one of three volunteers on horseback from Southfork Quarter Horses. The exhausted animal was led back onto a trailer where it was to have been returned to its owner.

A juvenile was hit by a Subaru station wagon at about 10:20 Friday night (June 13) near the Old Courthouse Square in downtown Morganton. The victim was with friends and was hit as he attempted to cross the street.

The victim was on the corner of East Union Street and South Green Street when he attempted to cross South Green Street in the crosswalk, going toward the Marquee Cinema. The juvenile entered the crosswalk, causing a red S.U.V. to brake hard to avoid contact. The juvenile stopped in front of the S.U.V. A Subaru wagon directly behind the S.U.V. moved to the right when the S.U.V. stopped in order to avoid a collision. As the Subaru wagon was almost parallel to the S.U.V., the juvenile began to run toward the movie theater and into the path of the Subaru. The Subaru hit the juvenile in leg.

Burke County E.M.S. transported the juvenile to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The traffic signal for the S.U.V. and Subaru wagon was green and the “do not cross” signal for pedestrians was displayed. No charges were filed.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014 06:51

H.P.D. Welcomes Four New Officers

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On June 6, four new Officers were formally sworn in to the Hickory Police Department.

Nathaniel Earl Bechtol is a native of Ft. Myers, Florida and a graduate of Appalachian State University. He served in the U.S. Army where he received a number of awards. Officer Bechtol will work in H.P.D.’s Adam PACT. He has a wife and three children.

Mason Daniel Eastwood is a native of Morganton and a graduate of Appalachian State University. Officer Eastwood is an Eagle Scout. He will serve in H.P.D.’s David PACT.

Robert Eugene Helton is a native of Hildebran and a graduate of Appalachian State University. Helton served in the U.S. Army where he earned a number of awards. He will work in the Baker PACT. Officer Helton has a wife and daughter.

Chase Arthur Johnson is a native of West Texas and a graduate of Appalachian State University. He has served in the United States Marine Corps. Officer Johnson will serve in H.P.D.’s Charles PACT. He has a wife and daughter.

Monday, 16 June 2014 15:48

Lenoir Woman Faces Felony Meth Charge

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26-year-old Cassandra Yvonne Crowe of S.W. Delwood Drive in Lenoir was arrested by Hudson Police Friday (June 13) for felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug parpaphernalia. She was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $13,000, secured. Crowe will appear in District Court on July 3 in Lenoir.

Monday, 16 June 2014 15:39

Taylorsville Man Busted for Heroin

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29-year-old Ryan Scott Whitson of Cove Crest Drive in Taylorsville was arrested by Hickory Police just before nine o’clock last night (June 15) for possession of heroin.

He was arrested after Police were dispatched to Wal-Mart to assist Catawba County E.M.S. with an unconscious subject. Whitson was in the back of the ambulance when E.M.S. saw a needle in his pocket. A search was conducted, leading to the discovery of 0.01 grams of heroin.

Whitson was transported to Frye Regional Medical for treatment. He was later incarcerated in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $5,000, secured. Whitson was also charged by the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office with failure to appear on a non-support charge for which he was given an additional $2,000 secured bond. Court dates were scheduled for June 23 and June 26.

Monday, 16 June 2014 15:31

Lenoir Man Faces Variety of Felony Charges

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20-year-old Logan Eugene Whisnant of Hickory Heights Circle in Lenoir was arrested by Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Officers Friday (June 13) on charges of felony larceny, felony possession of stolen goods or property, felony breaking & entering. He was also served a bill of indictment on felony charges of obtaining property by false pretense and possession with intent to sell or deliver a schedule II controlled substance.

Whisnant was placed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $35,000 secured bond. He will appear in District Court on July 3 and in Superior Court on the drug charges on July 14, both in Lenoir.

42-year-old Charles Lewis Abernethy, Jr. of 11th Street S.W. in Hickory was arrested at about 4 p.m. yesterday on a charge of felony habitual shoplifting. 19-year-old Skylar Mercedes Allen of 2nd Street S.E. in Hickory was also charged with misdemeanor larceny.

They were arrested after Police received reports of a larceny at the Family Dollar store on Highway 70 S.W. Officers arrived and saw a black male and a white female on foot. Police stopped them in a nearby parking lot. A consent search was conducted, leading to the discovery of clothing and shoes, as well as DVDs on the ground near where the two were walking. The items were taken from Family Dollar, Shoe Show and Roses.

Abernethy was jailed under a $30,000 secured bond. Allen’s bond was set at $1,500. Abernethy has a court date on June 23 while Allen will appear in court on July 16.