This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, more commonly known as the “GI Bill.”
The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency is marking the anniversary by offering financial mortgage prevention help to veterans attending school under the GI Bill. It is a second step in less than a year to make the Agency’s N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund more user-friendly for the state’s military population. Earlier, the agency ensured that returning veterans enrolled in vocational training or rehabilitation programs would be eligible.
Designed to help North Carolina homeowners recover from job loss and other temporary hardships, the Fund has made mortgage payments for more than 16,000 homeowners while they look for employment or retrain. Funds are available to assist an additional 4,000.
Funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund makes mortgage payments for up to 36 months ($36,000) while the homeowner looks for work or completes a job search or training program. It was created in North Carolina in 2010 because of high unemployment, which continues to exceed the national average in three-quarters of North Carolina counties.
The assistance is offered as a zero-interest, deferred loan, with no payments due as long as the homeowner lives in the home.
Veterans who study on the GI Bill or participate in a VA-approved vocational training program are eligible for the maximum 36 months of assistance, as long as their mortgage payments exceed 25% of their household income.
To qualify for assistance through the Fund, a veteran must be separated from service on or after January 1, 2008; provide a DD214; have a VA-issued Certificate of Eligibility for the GI Bill; and provide proof of enrollment in school or a vocational retraining program. Homeowners do not have to be delinquent on mortgage payments to qualify.
Veterans and civilians can apply for assistance from the Fund through more than 40 HUD-approved counseling agencies including the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, which can be reached by calling 828-485- 4226.
Interested persons may also visit www.NCForeclosurePrevention.gov or call 888-623-8631.
The Asheville Savings Bank at 5 Olde Eastwood Village Boulevard on U.S. Highway 74 East in Asheville was robbed at about 3:20 yesterday afternoon (July 17).
The North Carolina Bankers Association is offering a reward through its Robbery Reward Program for information leading to the arrest and indictment of any individuals who were involved. Anyone with information concerning the robbery should contact the FBI, confidentially and toll-free, at 800-209-2293 or submit a tip through the https://bankrobbers.fbi.gov website.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday (July 21) in the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will hold a public hearing on a request by several property owners and the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation to rezone approximately 174 acres between Robinwood Road and Startown Road from R-20 Residential to Planned Development-Industrial Park-Conditional District for the new purpose of a creating the 1764 Business Park. That park has been opposed by members of a group called Concerned Startown Residents.
The Board will consider a request to approve an interest cap on variable interest rate bonds for Catawba Valley Medical Center. The Board will consider whether to pursue “electing county” status for another year for the Department of Social Services, which gives the department greater control over local welfare policies and available funding.
The Commissioners will consider accepting three state grants awarded to the County Library, which would be used to implement a long-range strategic plan for the library, new technology to improve tracking of library inventory and development of a robotics camp for young adults to promote science, technology, engineering and math career paths.
The Board will consider declaring two Ford Crown Victoria automobiles as surplus and donating one to the Newton-Conover Rescue Squad and one to the Propst Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department. The Board will consider amending the County Personnel Code to allow County employees to appeal a written warning to the County Manager. The Board will consider a proposed travel policy for the Catawba County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and they’ll consider waiving normally charged permit fees applicable to the 2014 Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn.
Finally, the Board will recognize two National Association of Counties Achievement Awards presented to the County’s Department of Utilities and Engineering for its Commercial Recycling Program and Rapid Access Permit Terminal and they will honor retiring Sheriff’s Deputy Tammy Johnson with the traditional presentation of her badge and service weapon.
36-year-old April Jean Anderson of Winston-Salem was convicted this week in Catawba Co. Criminal Superior Court on two felony counts of obstruction of justice. She was convicted after a two-day trial and sentenced to no less than 12 months and no more than 34 months in the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction. The jury deliberated for approximately two-and-a-half hours prior to returning the guilty verdicts.
The crimes occurred in December 2011 and January 2013 in Catawba County. Anderson attempted to coerce a victim under the age of 12 to change her statement regarding the sexual abuse that had been committed by the defendant’s husband and co-defendant, Nicky Lee Anderson. Nicky Lee Anderson was previously convicted on May 20 of this year on two felony counts each for the rape of a child, first-degree sex offense with a child and indecent liberties with a child. He was sentenced to no less than 240 months and no more than 348 months.
Investigator Marcella McCombs from the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office handled the investigation with assistance from the Children’s Advocacy & Protection Center of Catawba County and the Catawba Co. Department of Social Services. Assistant District Attorney Michael Van Buren prosecuted the case and the Honorable Linwood O. Foust presided over the trial.
April Jean Anderson will be transported to the Division of Adult Correction for processing.
34-year-old Tina Louise Farr of Olive Street in Hudson was arrested by Hudson Police yesterday (July 16) for possession of methamphetamine. She was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond. No court date is currently listed.
A two-year-old boy in Lincoln County was injured Tuesday night (July 15) when he was struck by a water bottle thrown from a passing vehicle.
Deputies responded to a call on the 2700 block of Coral Drive in Lincolnton around 8 p.m. Tuesday night. The boy’s father told Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Deputies that he and his son were walking on the side of the roadway when someone threw a water bottle from a late model white Chevrolet Malibu, striking the toddler in the nose and causing a one-and-a half-inch cut.
The suspect vehicle continued traveling north toward Springs East Road. Deputies searched the area for the vehicle, but could not locate it.
The child was taken to CMC Lincoln for treatment. He was treated and released.
The driver was described as a white male believed to be in his early 20s with dark hair. He was wearing a light gray or white tee shirt. The driver was the vehicle’s only occupant.
The water bottle was taken as evidence and will be fingerprinted.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln Co. Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. A Crime Stoppers tip leading to an arrest could result in a reward of up to $1,000.
Catawba County’s first confirmed case of rabies in 2014 has been recorded after a fox attacked a citizen in northeast Hickory on July 6.
Hickory Animal Control Officers were dispatched to the scene of the incident in the Springs Road area shortly after 11 p.m. on July 6. The fox was collected by Officers and its remains were sent to the North Carolina Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing.
The lab notified county personnel on July 9 that the fox tested positive for rabies. The victim was advised to seek medical attention for possible exposure to the disease.
Animal Services reminds pet owners that rabies is still present in the local wild animal population and is a threat to pets and humans, year-round. The best way to protect pets from rabies is to have them properly vaccinated for rabies. Humans should avoid contact with wild animals and be aware that one form of rabies may cause a wild animal to lose its normal fear of humans and approach or attack.
For more information on rabies or rabies vaccinations, call Catawba County Animal Services at 828-464-7686.
34-year-old James Jaron Moore of 9th Avenue Drive N.E. in Hickory was arrested at about 11:20 last night (July 16) by Hickory Police on one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
He was arrested after Police responded to reports of an assault at Moore’s apartment. Officers arrived to find E.M.S. personnel in the process of taking the victim, a 25-year-old man, to Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory for treatment of cuts and scratches to his hands, fingers, forearm, head and stomach. He was treated at the hospital and released.
The victim and James Moore were roommates since last month. Moore was present at the apartment when Police arrived and was taken into custody without incident. He did not suffer any apparent injuries. The nature of the altercation between the two men is unclear. The weapon allegedly used by Moore was a pocketknife.
Moore was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $20,000 secured bond. He will appear in District Court tomorrow in Newton.
31-year-old Kelli Elizabeth Ledford of the Hickory-Lincolnton Highway in Newton has been served a felony indictment by Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Officers for child abuse inflicting serious injury and involuntary manslaughter.
Ledford was charged in connection to the death of her four-year-old son, Logan Putnam. The boy died after he was underwater for ten minutes in Lookout Shoals Lake, just north of I-40 and east of Highway 16, on May 24. Someone on the scene attempted to perform CPR, but he died in the hospital two days later.
She was jailed Monday (July 14) in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $100,000 secured bond. Ledford will appear in Superior Court tomorrow (July 18) in Newton.
In an unrelated matter, Ledford also faces felony charges in Burke County for robbery with a dangerous weapon and accessory after the fact, as well as misdemeanor charges for larceny and possession of stolen goods or property. A District Court date was set for August 20 with a Superior Court date on September 8, both in Morganton.
Hickory Police have released more information in the arrest of 41-year-old Crisoforo Parra Casareal of 16th Avenue N.W. in Hickory, who was taken into custody last Friday (July 11). He was charged with indecent liberties with a child and first-degree sexual assault. In addition, Casareal faces a pending charge of operating an unlicensed daycare. Also arrested yesterday (July 16) was 32-year-old Tonya Lynn Casareal of the same address on a felony warrant for operating an unlicensed daycare.
On July 9, Hickory Police responded to 135 16th Avenue N.W. in Hickory in reference to a report of a sexual assault on a child. Upon arrival, Officers discovered an unlicensed in-home daycare facility. An investigation was started resulting in the two arrests.
Crisoforo Casareal was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $200,000 secured bond. He had a first appearance in District Court Monday (July 14) with another court date coming up on July 31. Tonya Casareal is not in custody at this time. She has a court date scheduled for July 18.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with knowledge of children who were taken to that address should contact the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551.
The investigation is still in the early stages. No further information will be released at this time.