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The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will consider adopting a Fiscal Year 2015/2016 County budget at their meeting this morning (Monday, June 1). The Board meets at 9:30 a.m. at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.  According to a news release from the county, the budget would invest in maintaining the Board’s goals of an average eight minute EMS response time; long-planned expansion of the Jail facility to meet an increasing jail population; restoring six day a week operation in the County parks; an additional Sheriff’s investigator; and increased investment in public education.

The Board will consider a proposed County application for a 2015 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG), which would be used to purchase equipment for specialized training to meet a JAG priority to reduce gun violence by providing active shooter response training to officers. The Board will also consider a request to appropriate $35,000 in existing fund balance of the Oxford Fire Department to the Department, which would use the funds to replace a brush truck.

And the Board will issue a proclamation declaring the third week of June 2015 as “Eat, Drink and Be Local Week”, which focuses annually on raising awareness of the importance of locally grown foods, both to the county economy and toward providing citizens with fresh, nutritious food options.

A Cleveland County man was arrested in Morganton after evading police for almost two hours Friday afternoon.

29-year-old Michael Devron Christian II of Hause Road in Shelby was arrested Friday according to the Morganton Department of Public Safety website. He's charged with felony possession of a stolen vehicle, misdemeanor driving while license revoked, hit and run with property damage, and resisting arrest.

According to published reports, Christian was involved in an accident with another vehicle on Highway 18 at approximately 2:00 Friday afternoon. There were no injuries in the crash, however Christian fled on foot before the responding North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper became aware the vehicle Christian was driving had been stolen from Shelby.

Public Safety officers, including a K-9 unit, assisted the Highway Patrol in the search for Christian. They were unable to find him initially. Just before 4 p.m. Friday, officers responded to a report of a suspicious person, who was later identified as Christian, near Waffle House in Morganton. Christian fled through the woods to the highway, and then after a 20-minute chase, state troopers and Public Safety officers were able to stop Christian on Interstate 40 near Exit 106.

The Shelby Police Department will charge Christian with felony larceny of a motor vehicle. He was being held in Morganton under $15,000 secured bond, reports say Christian is under a hold until the larceny charge is served.

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