A public meeting is scheduled for next week in Catawba County to discuss a road project proposed for a stretch of road running from Hickory to Lenoir. The meeting is scheduled to discuss the proposed widening of U.S. 321 from U.S. 70 in Hickory to Southwest Boulevard in Lenoir. The open-house public meeting will be held next Thursday, July 27, from 4-7 p.m. at the Western Piedmont Council of Governments offices at 1880 2nd Avenue NW in Hickory.
During the meeting, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and consultant staff will be available and interested citizens will be able to review maps, ask questions, and submit comments. The comment period runs until August 10.
Several segments of road as well as a majority of intersections along U.S. 321 between Hickory and Lenoir are experiencing congestion, and travel demands are not being satisfied in the area. These conditions are expected to worsen as traffic volumes increase in the next 20 years. To reduce congestion, the N.C. Department of Transportation plans to widen U.S. 321 in this area to six lanes.
Extending 13.9 miles – from just north of U.S. 70 in Hickory to Southwest Boulevard in Lenoir – the proposed project crosses through five municipalities– Hickory, Granite Falls, Sawmills, Hudson and Lenoir – and three counties –Catawba, Burke and Caldwell.
Based on an environmental assessment approved in February 2016, the project's proposed design would widen 13.9 miles of U.S. 321 to a six-lane divided road. For most of the length, it would have a 30-foot raised grass median. A superstreet (also referred to as a Synchronized Street) design would be used along U.S. 321. All at-grade intersections and driveways would be right-in/right-out only. Drivers would turn right and use new U-turn areas to travel in the desired direction.
Interchanges are proposed at the following locations: 13th Street SW, Clement Boulevard/Old Lenoir Road, Grace Chapel Road, and Falls Avenue. More information about the project can be found at www.ncdot.gov.
40-year-old Joshua Windfield Drummond of Greer, South Carolina, was arrested Tuesday (July 18) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering, along with a misdemeanor count of giving fictitious information to an officer. Drummond is also charged on a fugitive warrant from South Carolina where he's charged with attempted homicide.
On Tuesday, Deputies responded to 111 Bunny Lane in Harmony where a subject was seen on security camera breaking into an outbuilding on the property and removing items. When Deputies arrived they encountered a black male later identified as Joshua Winfield Drummond. Property that was stolen from the victim at 111 Bunny Lane was found in the bushes in front of Drummond’s residence.
More evidence was located in Drummond’s residence. He had initially given Deputies a fake name his real name was learned during the investigation and following an interview with the suspect. All stolen property was recovered and given back to the victim. A check of Drummond’s information found that he was wanted out of South Carolina for attempted homicide. A news release from the Iredell County Sheriff's Office says Drummond has an extensive history of attempted robbery, armed robbery, and other violent crimes.
Following Tuesday's arrest, Drummond was placed in jail under $760,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for August 7.
35-year-old Christopher Douglas Cook of 14th Avenue S.E. in Hickory and 40-year-old Jhilliaun Gay Osborne, who is listed a as a homeless person from Hickory, were both arrested early this morning (July 19) by Hickory Police Officers. They were each charged with first-degree burglary and larceny after breaking & entering. In addition, Cook was served bills of indictment on two counts of breaking & entering a motor vehicle, breaking & entering, larceny after breaking & entering, possession of stolen goods and fleeing to elude arrest with a motor vehicle.
On July 16, Officers responded to a B&E and larceny call at a residence on 9th Street Drive N.E. Christopher Cook was the previous resident. Cook and Osborne were identified as suspects. The indictments against Cook come in connection to motor vehicle break-ins at the Hickory Sand Company on South Center Street in November of last year.
Both suspects were incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility with bond for Cook set at $100,000, secured, while Osborne was given a $25,000 secured bond. District Court appearances were scheduled today (July 19). Cook was also scheduled to appear in Superior Court today.
31-year-old Claire Marie Thompson of 17th Street N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before nine o’clock last night on one felony count of larceny. She was also charged with failure to appear on felony counts of selling heroin and possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver heroin.
On April 7 of this year, Officers were dispatched to a larceny call at Trinity Ridge on Medical Park Drive in Mountain View. Investigators later learned that the stolen items were pawned by Claire Thompson. Other arrests have already been made in connection to the same case. The heroin charges come in connection to a 2016 case.
Thompson was taken into custody at a shopping center on Highway 70 S.W. She was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $25,000, secured. An appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton. A Superior Court date on the heroin charges was scheduled for September 5.
49-year-old Michael Allen Squire of 28th Street S.W. in Hickory was arrested at about 11:20 last night (July 18) on two felony counts each of breaking & entering and larceny after breaking & entering, plus one count each of habitual larceny and possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Squire was arrested in connection to two incidents, the first on June 27 at the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Highway 70 S.W. A shoplifting suspect was identified as Michael Squire, who had previously banned from the store. Warrants for his arrest were issued.
Yesterday, Officers responded to the same store where Squire was again identified as a shoplifting suspect. The suspect was also found to be in possession of one dosage unit of Clonazepam. He was arrested in connection to both incidents.
Squire was taken into custody without incident at a nearby bank on 4th Street Drive S.W. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $40,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.
26-year-old Samuel Antonio Hernandez was arrested today (July 19) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony possession of schedule I controlled substance. In addition, Hernandez is charged with failure to appear on a felony, failure to appear, and resisting arrest. Hernandez was placed in jail in Morganton under $102,000 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for next Monday (July 24).
26-year-old Buddy Ray Cook was arrested today (July 19) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony counts of larceny of a motor vehicle and obtaining property by false pretense. Cook was placed in jail in Morganton under $15,000 secured bond. He's scheduled to appear in court Friday (July 21).
50-year-old Patrick Neal Bates of 23rd Avenue N.E. in Hickory has been arrested by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with possession of heroin, trafficking in methamphetamine; altering, stealing or destroying criminal evidence; maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place to keep a controlled substance; and possession of drug paraphernalia. The warrants for his arrest were issued on July 10.
Bates was taken into custody without incident at about 2:40 a.m. Wednesday (July 19) at a hotel on 13th Avenue Drive S.E. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $25,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in District Court Wednesday in Newton.
28-year-old Brandon Sherad Harbison of Hallman Mill Road in Vale was arrested Tuesday (July 18) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession with intent to sell and deliver schedule II controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a felon, along with a misdemeanor count of maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance. Harbison was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $15,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (July 19).
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper who was caught on video driving the wrong way on U.S. 321 in Catawba County has resigned. According to a news release issued by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Trooper T.J. Williamson submitted his resignation effective Tuesday (July 18).
The video, which has gone viral and was shown on last night's edition of WHKY-TV News, shows a state trooper speeding down Highway 321 Sunday (July 16), heading the wrong way into oncoming traffic.
The trooper was reportedly heading to a street-racing bust, previously reported on WHKY. Williamson exited the highway at the River Road exit, crossed the bridge, and then started heading south in the northbound lanes. You can see the full report filed by Fentress Chestnut Fountain on last night's WHKY-TV News at our website, whky.com, and on our YouTube channel.
32-year-old Christina Marie Phillips of Silvermere Drive in Statesville was arrested Monday (July 17) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with with possession of schedule II controlled substance (hydrocodone), two counts of possession of schedule III controlled substance (subutex and suboxone), possession of schedule IV controlled substance (diazepam), possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting a public officer, and driving while license revoked.
On Monday, Sgt. C.W. Bentley of the Aggressive Criminal Enforcement Team conducted a traffic stop on a 1998 Pontiac on Salisbury Road due to a traffic violation. While speaking with the driver, Christina Phillips, Sgt. Bentley discovered that she was in possession of a syringe. Further investigation resulted in the discovery of a metal pill container and a syringe, which was inside the Phillips’s purse. The pill container contained multiple pills including hydrocodone, subutex, suboxone, and diazepam.
During the time that Deputies were attempting to take Phillips into custody, she reportedly became combative. Sgt. Bentley transported Phillips to the Iredell County Jail where bond was set at $5,000 secured. A news release from the Iredell County Sheriff's Office states that Phillips has a history of criminal charges including multiple narcotics related offenses.
She had a District Court appearance scheduled for Tuesday (July 18), her next appearance on these charges is scheduled for July 26, also in District Court.
32-year-old Ricky Lee Watson of Warrior Road in Lenoir was arrested Tuesday (July 18) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule II controlled substance and maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for controlled substance. Watson was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $50,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Thursday (July 20).
Hickory City Council met in regular session Tuesday night (July 18).
Minutes, second readings, and the consent agenda with the exception of one item, were approved unanimously. Clarification was requested for one item on the consent agenda. That item was the purchase of a new fire truck. After clarification, the purchase was also approved unanimously.
Planning Director Brian Frazier presented the proposed plan for the "Southside Project Area." The area covers the north and south of U.S. 70 between South Center Street and U.S. 321. The plan was created using a $200,000 Brownfields Area-wide Planning Grant. Several public meetings were held to receive feedback to help in the creation of the plan. City Council approved the plan unanimously. The plan can be viewed at the city's website, www.hickorync.gov/sites/default/
Also during last night's session the Community Development Block Grant 2017 Annual Action Plan was presented. A public hearing was held to receive comments on the plan, there were no speakers in opposition, a representative of Safe Harbor and two citizens spoke in favor of the proposal. City Council approved the plan unanimously.
In addition, an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation was presented. The agreement allocates $11,280,000 in federal funds to the City Walk project. The city will have a required 20% match, which is #2,820,000. Council passed the agreement unanimously.
Communications and Marketing Manager Dana Kaminske presented a new quality of life video, highlighting Hickory's location. The video will be posted online, it was expected that would be done sometime today (July 19).
30-year-old Mineka Tanyell Gibson was arrested Sunday (July 16) by authorities in Lincoln County. She's charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and two counts of second degree trespassing. Gibson was arrested at an address on Wandering Trail in Lincolnton just before 8 p.m. Sunday. She was placed in jail under $22,000 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for August 10.