News (839)

Caldwell County Public Health learned Monday (May 11) about the first confirmed death in the county associated with COVID-19. The patient was under the age of 65 and had no reported underlying conditions. Four new positive coronavirus cases were reported Monday in Caldwell County, increasing the total to 64. 1,896 tests had been completed with 1,712 negative results. 26 patients had recovered.

Burke County Public Health was notified Monday about the 12th and 13th COVID-19 associated deaths in Burke County. The individuals in their 60s and 80s were not hospitalized but died from complications associated with their underlying medical conditions. Seven new coronavirus cases were reported Monday in Burke County, increasing the total to 145 positive cases.

One new case of COVID-19 was confirmed Monday in Catawba County, increasing the total to 83, with two deaths. There had been 1,104 negative test results in Catawba County, 45 patients had recovered, and five people were hospitalized.

Alexander County reported three new confirmed cases of coronavirus, increasing the total to 13. Five of the nine active cases work at Tyson Foods in Wilkes County, one is a contact of a Tyson employee, one was tested at a local medical office, and two are still under investigation. Eight of the active cases are recovering at home, one was still in the hospital, and all are under quarantine. The other four cases have fully recovered.

In accordance with Phase 1 of Governor Roy Cooper’s easing of stay-at-home restrictions, the City of Newton has resumed public access to City Hall. Access to other City buildings and facilities remains modified or suspended.

Regular hours for Newton City Hall are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday until further notice. All customers are encouraged to avoid paying bills in person at City Hall and to use alternate payment methods, including the drop box outside City Hall, by mail, through the online portal at, or by calling 888-272-9829.

One new case of COVID-19 has been confirmed today (May 11) in Catawba County, increasing the total to 83, with two deaths. The most recent coronavirus-related death in Catawba County occurred Sunday (May 10). The individual, in their early 70s, had underlying medical conditions. There have been 1,104 negative test results in Catawba County, 45 patients have recovered, and five people are hospitalized. Get more details at

Catawba County Manager Mick Berry has recommended a budget of $242M for Fiscal Year 2021, which maintains the current property tax rate of $0.575 per $100 of valuation. The recommendation represents a 4.1 percent decrease in the total budget and $3.3M less revenue than anticipated.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on revenues from sales tax, property tax and building services, revenue projections have been downsized but still reflect modest growth. The General Fund, which is $210.85M of the total recommended budget, represents a 1.5 percent increase in revenue over the current year.

The Manager’s recommendation focuses on maintaining core services and long-term investments in economic growth in line with the Board of Commissioners’ strategic plan. The budget scales back several planned expenditures and defers a series of spending decisions to later in the year when the fiscal impact of COVID-19 may be more fully known.

The full budget recommendation may be viewed here

Monday, 11 May 2020 11:43

Hickory Man Jailed on Felony Assault Charge

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51-year-old Andre Lamonte Derr of 30th Avenue Court N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 10:40 last night (May 10) on one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and misdemeanor counts of D.W.I. level 5 (North Carolina's lowest level) and failure to appear on a charge of driving while license revoked.

He was arrested after Police responded to a disturbance call at an apartment on 10th Street Boulevard N.W. Officers then heard a disturbance at a different address, a few blocks away on 10th Street Boulevard N.W. After further investigation, Andre Derr was found with a knife and was taken into custody. The victim was transported to Frye Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Derr was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $16,015 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today in Newton with another court date coming up on June 1.

34-year-old Christopher Rashad Gibbs of 12th Street N.E. in Hickory and 37-year-old Kelly Elizabeth Dula of 32nd Street Drive N.E. in Conover were arrested by Hickory Police at about 1:25 Friday afternoon (May 8) on drug charges. Both suspects were charged with felony possession of a schedule II controlled substance. Gibbs was also served grand jury indictments for trafficking, opium or heroin (two counts) and possession of a firearm by a felon. In addition, he was charged with possession of firearm by felon, trafficking opium or heroin, and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver heroin. He was also charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

They were arrested after Police stopped a 2016 Hyundai Elantra on 11th Street N.E. in Hickory. Police found 11.8 grams of heroin, 3.96 grams of methamphetamine, 3.61 grams of marijuana, $3,207 in cash, a .38 Taurus pistol, and drug paraphernalia.

Gibbs and Dula were taken into custody without incident. They were both jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility. Gibbs was given a $36,000 secured bond. Dula, who was no longer listed as an inmate as of this morning (May 11), was given a $1,200 secured bond. Both suspects were scheduled to appear in District Court today in Newton. Gibbs also had a Superior Court appearance scheduled today.

22-year-old Alexander Chase Doolittle of Dennis Drive in Vale was arrested by Hickory Police at about 2:45 Sunday afternoon (May 10) on one felony count each of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, plus one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was arrested after Police were called to perform a health check on a man in a vehicle at a grocery store on Highway 127 South in Mountain View. After E.M.S. personnel assessed Mr. Doolittle's health, Officers found 0.4 grams of heroin, one dosage unit of Xanax, and drug paraphernalia.

Doolittle was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under an unspecified bond. Doolittle was no longer listed as an inmate as of Monday morning (May 11). No court date is currently listed.

Monday, 11 May 2020 10:46

Missing Man Found Safe

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The Silver Alert issued for 24-year-old Jacob Nathaniel McCray has been canceled. Mr. McCray was found in Asheville Saturday afternoon (May 9). According to the Hickory Police Department, he is safe. The Silver Alert was canceled shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday. No additional information was released.

The Silver Alert was issued after Mr. McCray went missing from a residence on Jinny Lane in Claremont. He was last seen at the Julian G. Whitener Municipal Building (city hall), 76 North Center Street in Hickory.

The Hickory Police Department is investigating a double murder. On Sunday (May 10), at approximately 10:40 p.m., Hickory Police Officers responded to the Save More Convenience Store at 1665 1st Avenue SW, after receiving a 911 call from a bystander who said that two men had been shot.

The caller told police that a black male with a handgun, wearing a gray hooded jacket and black pants, walked up and fired several shots into a vehicle where the two men were sitting. The suspect then fled on foot running south toward 2nd Avenue SW.

Upon arrival, officers found 20-year-old Xzavion Rashawn Watts and 16-year-old Damarion Isaiah Sharpe in the rear seat of a silver 2008 Chevrolet Malibu with gunshot wounds. Catawba County EMS responded and pronounced Sharpe dead at the scene and Watts was transported to Frye Regional Medical Center for treatment where he died as a result of his injuries.

It appears that the suspect was familiar with the victims and targeted them. Anyone with information regarding this on-going investigation is encouraged to call the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551 or contact Investigator Carlos De Los Santos at (828) 261-2621 or

25-year-old Kobe Jay Whittington of Blue Creek Road in Lenoir was arrested Friday (May 8) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods. Whittington was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (May 11).

30-year-old Courtney Michelle Crowder of St. James Church Road in Newton and 39-year-old Joshua Jacob Earl Cole of Buck's Garage Road in Maiden, were arrested Sunday (May 10) by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers. Both suspects were charged with two felony counts of trafficking methamphetamine and one felony count apiece of possession with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine and maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for a controlled substance. Crowder and Cole are also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

A Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputy was observing traffic near High Shoals just after midnight Sunday morning when he spotted a vehicle with an equipment violation. The officer stopped the car near the intersection of Salem Church Road and Pressley Drive south of Lincolnton.

The vehicle was occupied by two people and the passenger told the deputy they picked up some money in Lincolnton and went a residence in Gastonia where drugs were purchased. Deputies were given consent to search the vehicle and seized 33 grams of methamphetamine, along with drug paraphernalia and a used hypodermic needle.

Crowder, the driver, was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $200,000 secured bond. Cole was jailed under a $175,000 secured bond. They were both scheduled to appear in District Court today (May 11).

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The individuals depicted have been arrested but not convicted at the time of story postings. This information does not infer or imply guilt of any actions or activity other than their arrest. We make no warranty or guaranty as to the accuracy of this data.

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