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The Newton Police Department on Monday (June 9) held a graduation ceremony for the participants who completed the 2014 Citizens Police Academy.

12 members of the Newton community graduated from the seven-week program, which provides insight into the daily operations of the police department. The purpose of the academy is to open lines of communication to help the public better understand why Police Officers follow certain procedures.

The group met each Monday beginning April 29 for a two-hour class taught by members of the Police Department. The academy explored the areas of administration, support services, vehicle stops, criminal & narcotics investigations, code enforcement, animal control and firearms.

Mayor Anne Stedman, Mayor Pro Tem Mary Bess Lawing, Council Member John Stiver and City Manager Todd Clark joined Police in recognizing the participants and expressing appreciation for the group’s interest in local government.

This year’s participants were Beth Cline, W.E. Coates Jr., Richard Painchaud, Steven Painchaud, Pamela Paxton, Darlene Pitman, Brenda Pritchard, Donald Pritchard, David Shugart, Joshua Smith, Walter Smith and Alexandria Snyder.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 16, in the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.

The Board will consider a set of proposed amendments to Chapter 6 of the Catawba County Code, which pertains to animals. The amendments follow a thorough review and update of Chapter 6 to incorporate current animal control practices and clarify certain language in the current ordinance, which was adopted in 2007.

The Board will also receive an update on the “Eat, Drink and Be Local” event that took place May 18-24. The event included a farm tour, gardening & cooking classes, a local beer & wine tasting and a local foods feast, as well as area restaurants featuring local foods.

Yesterday (June 11), the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) and the Belk Foundation awarded a total of $17,500 in grants to three teams to support efforts to enhance teacher effectiveness in local communities.

School system teams from Catawba, Greene, and Lee counties received grants to address different needs of educators in those communities. The IEI evaluated a total of 32 applications from across the state. Each plan was judged on competitive criteria including clarity & feasibility, collaboration among educators, budget and impact on North Carolina. All proposals were required to include at least one classroom educator, one school administrator and one community member.

Locally, Dr. Carol Moore and the team from Catawba County Schools received $4,500 for “Real Life Issues: Project & Problem-Based Learning Development.” The program will enable five teachers to spend time shadowing local STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals. The teachers will then build curriculum tied to local STEM activities to help meet local workforce needs. Dr. Moore is the K-12 Science Curriculum Specialist for Catawba County Schools.

For more information, click here.

Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Detectives are warning residents of a scam in which a man posed as a utility worker to get inside a western Lincoln County residence. The man posed as an electrical worker to get into an elderly woman’s home on the 1400 block of Shoal Road Tuesday afternoon (June 10).

The 90-year-old woman told Deputies that a red pickup truck pulled into the driveway and a white male came to the door. He told the woman that they had been working on power lines down the road and needed to check to see if she had power.

The man came inside where he looked at the coffee pot in the kitchen, walked down a hallway and into her bedroom. The woman asked what he was doing and he grabbed a jewelry box containing costume jewelry. He pushed her out of the way and into her oxygen tank and left. The man got back into his truck and fled the scene traveling north on Shoal Road.

The suspect is described as a white male, 5’5” to 5’7” tall. He is middle-aged and clean-shaven with short hair. The suspect was wearing a faded gray or green ball cap and an old traffic vest with two stripes down the front.

He was driving a red, full-sized pickup, possibly a Dodge, with chrome on the bottom and black plastic in the bed of the truck.

Anyone with information should contact 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.

Federal Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (N.T.S.B.) say the plane crash that killed James B. Thomas of Denver last month in Newton happened as Mr. Thomas was teaching himself stunts. The incident occurred on May 25. Mr. Thomas was the only person onboard the 1971 fixed-wing, single-engine plane.

N.T.S.B. Officials interviewed a flight instructor who had once given Mr. Thomas a lesson in turns, spins and other stunts. The instructor said the pilot’s skills weren’t adequate to perform such tricks, so he ended training early.

Witnesses also reported seeing the plane do some tricks before crashing in a wheat field near Balls Creek School Road.

Thursday, 12 June 2014 06:53

Bad Checks Passed in McDowell County

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The McDowell Co. Sheriff’s Office has issued an alert to area merchants. Merchants should be aware that stolen checks drawn on the account of Ross Skid Products are being passed in the area.

The checks should not be accepted. If anyone presents a check from Ross Skid Products, citizens should call the McDowell Co. Sheriff's Office at 828-652-2235.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 15:23

Two Busted for Drugs at Day's Inn in Lenoir

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40-year-old Jerry Lamont Lindsey of Old North Road and 40-year-old Urmil I. Patel of Blowing Rock Boulevard, both from Lenoir, were arrested by Lenoir Police yesterday (June 10) on charges of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute cocaine, trafficking in heroin or opium by possession, simple possession of a marijuana and maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for a controlled substance.

Just before four o’clock yesterday afternoon, Lenoir Police Narcotics Officers, along with the Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s I.C.E. Unit, served a search warrant at room 166 in the Day’s Inn on Blowing Rock Boulevard in Lenoir. As they approached, Officers saw Urmil Patel, the hotel manager, exiting the room. The room was searched, leading to the discovery of seven grams of crack cocaine, 12 grams of marijuana, nine Oxycodone pills and $2,000 in U.S. currency. The drugs have an estimated street value of $1,946.

Investigators learned that Lindsey had been renting the room and using it to sell narcotics. They also determined that Patel was involved in the sale of the narcotics. Lindsey was later located at his residence and taken into custody.

The investigation was a direct response to citizens’ complaints of drug activity taking place at the hotel.  

Lindsey was jailed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond. Patel was released on a written promise to appear. First appearances in District Court were set for tomorrow in Lenoir.

21-year-old Davon Malcom Woodard has been arrested by Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Officers on two counts of malicious conduct by a prisoner, four misdemeanor counts of injury to real property, four misdemeanor counts of communicating threats, two misdemeanor counts of resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer, two counts of damage to local government property and one count of assault on a government official.

He was arrested after Deputies were dispatched to a residence on the 3000 block of Beaver Dam Lane in Lincolnton at about 6:30 Monday night to investigate an incident in which a man was damaging property. When they arrived on the scene, Officers saw Davon Woodard throw a rock through a front window.

Woodard walked toward the Officers, threatening them as they placed him in handcuffs. While on the ground on his back, Woodard spit in an Officer’s face. He was then placed in the back of a patrol car with a cage where he kicked out the patrol car’s rear passenger window.

He was removed from that car and placed in the front seat of a different patrol car where he head-butted and broke the passenger side of the windshield.

Deputies transported Woodard to the CMC-Lincoln Emergency Room. While waiting at the nurse’s station, Woodard turned and head-butted the wall, damaging the drywall. He then refused medical treatment.

Damages were estimated at $600 for the vehicle windows, $700 for the windows in the home and $500 for the wall at the hospital.

Woodard was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $21,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today (June 11).

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 14:24

Sex Offender Charged with Secret Peeping in Boone

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39-year-old Linville Reagan Wiles of Brookhollow Road in Boone has been arrested by Boone Police and charged with misdemeanor secret peeping and one count of felony attempting to sell a food stamp card.

On Sunday (June 8), Boone Police were called to investigate a report of a suspicious person in the area of the College Place Apartments. Officers located the man, later identified as Linville Wiles, at a nearby bus stop. The complainant reported that Wiles had been caught peeping through two different windows at the apartment complex.

In the first incident, Wiles was seen by the resident making sexual gestures at her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. The suspect was confronted while looking through a second window. Wiles responded by trying to sell the person that confronted him a food stamp card.

Wiles was taken into custody and placed in the Watauga County Jail under a $15,000 secured bond. An appearance in Watauga County District court was set for July 7.

Wiles is on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry as the result of an out-of-state conviction. Boone Police Investigators are currently working with Watauga County Sheriff’s Investigators to determine if additional charges can be filed.

28-year-old William Lamar Rhew III of Winston-Salem has been arrested on a felony worthless check charge.

Events leading to his arrest began in December of 2013 when the Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Office received a report in reference to a worthless check. The victim reported that he had been given a check in the amount of $18,500 by William Rhew.

He said that when he went to the bank to deposit the check, he found there were insufficient funds in the account to cover the check. Upon further investigation, after speaking with a bank employee, it was found that there was no money in the account and that the bank had closed the account shortly thereafter. Based on the information obtained from the bank, Detectives were able to charge Rhew.

He was arrested on June 5 at his home in Winston-Salem by Forsyth County Sheriff’s Deputies. Rhew was taken before a magistrate and given a $1,000 secured bond. He’ll appear in an Iredell County courtroom on June 23.