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The December unemployment rates were released Wednesday (February 3) by the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division. Unemployment rates went down across the Greater Hickory Metro Area.

Catawba County’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.1percent in December from 5.3 in November. In Alexander County, the jobless rate dipped to 4.7 percent from 4.8 in the previous report. Burke County’s unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent from 5.6 in November. Caldwell County’s jobless rate dropped to 5.7 percent from 5.9 percent in the November report.

The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA has an unemployment rate of 5.3 percent according to the December statistics. That’s down from 5.4 percent in November. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton is tied for the 7th lowest unemployment rate among 15 MSAs in the state.

The statewide unemployment rate is 5.3 percent, down from 5.4 in the previous report. Unemployment rates decreased in 70 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, increased in 21, and remained unchanged in nine. Graham County had the highest unemployment rate at 12 percent, Buncombe County had the lowest at 3.9 percent.

Thursday, 04 February 2016 05:17

Hickory Woman Charged With Pair Of Felony Offenses

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31-year-old Catherine Huffman Brown of 14th Street NE in Hickory was arrested Wednesday (February 3) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony counts of larceny and break or enter a motor vehicle. Brown was locked up in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $15,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for today (Thursday, February 4).

47-year-old Jeffrey Brian Walker of West School Street in Maiden was arrested Tuesday (February 2) by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with four felony counts of Sell and Deliver schedule I Controlled Substance, two felony counts of  Sell and Deliver a Controlled Substance within 1000 feet of School Property, and two felony counts of  Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver Schedule I Controlled Substance.

According to a news release, on Tuesday, Walker was arrested by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Unit for selling heroin to an undercover detective. Detectives say the man made prearranged meetings with the undercover officer at a public location in Lincoln County where he sold various amounts of heroin.   

According to detectives, the investigation was conducted over the past several months. Detectives say the man sold heroin to an undercover officer within 1000 feet of a preschool leading to additional charges.  

Narcotics Lt. Jon Propst said that the preschool was in no way related to the case and no children were ever in any danger. Propst added that the suspect, however, did prearrange the deal and sold at a public place close to a school.

A Lincoln County magistrate set bond for Walker at $15,000 secured.  He was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center. A District Court appearance is scheduled for February 22.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 14:48

Hickory Woman Arrested for Crack Cocaine

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44-year-old Christina Denise Powell of 17th Street Drive N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about nine o’clock last night (February 2) on one felony count of possession of cocaine and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

She was arrested after Officers stopped a vehicle for an expired tag at 11th Avenue S.W. and Highway 70 S.W. Powell was the driver. A K-9 Officer alerted to the presence of narcotics. A search turned up 0.4 grams of crack cocaine on Powell’s person. 0.8 grams of marijuana were found in the possession of a male passenger. The passenger was issued a citation.

Powell was processed and then released about two-and-a-half hours later under a $1,000 unsecured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for today in Newton.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 14:12

Granite Falls Woman Faces Felony Cocaine Charge

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35-year-old Misty Thomas Crisp of Brads Lane in Granite Falls was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 6:30 last night (February 2) on one felony count of possession of cocaine.

She was arrested following a traffic stop on 2nd Street N.E., just north of 8th Avenue N.E. Crisp was a passenger in the vehicle. According to Police, 0.2 grams of crack cocaine were found on her person. The driver was issued a citation for making an unsafe movement.

Crisp was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $1,000 secured bond. She has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was set for today in Newton.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 13:32

Flooding Results In Closure Of Park In Hickory

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Flooding continues to cause closures. Rotary/Geitner Park in Hickory was closed at approximately 1:30 p.m. today due to flooding in the driveway. City officials were going to notify residents when the park reopened.

44-year-old Allan Clint Whitesides of Oak Knoll Drive in Statesville was arrested Tuesday (February 2) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and assault on a female.

Tuesday at 8:37 p.m. Deputies responded to 204 Oak Knoll Dr to a domestic dispute. When Deputies arrived on the scene they found a woman with a head injury. Iredell County EMS was called to the scene to attend to the victim. According to a news release, while investigating, Deputies learned that Allan Whitesides had assaulted his wife with a bedside lamp and left the scene. Deputies learned that Whitesides had gone to his brother’s house in Alexander County.  

Deputy Weston Parks obtained warrants for Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury and Assault on a Female. Officers With the Iredell and Alexander County Sheriff's Offices went to 35 Little Round Top Drive to serve the warrants on Whitesides. Deputies found him inside the residence and took him into custody. Whitesides was placed in jail under no bond on a domestic hold. A District Court appearance is scheduled for February 23.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 13:26

Additional Road Closure In Caldwell County

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Another road closing is announced due to flooding in Caldwell County.

Cottrell Hill Road at the intersection of Severt Circle is closed to the flooding of Lower Creek. Residents can access the western end of Cottrell Road by the Zacks Fork Road and the eastern end by Wildwood Road.

The Indian Grave Road at the intersection of highway 321 north of Lenoir in Caldwell County remains closed due to flooding. Residents driving in the area are advised to use the northern entrance to Indian Grave Road at either Steele Town Road or Highway 268.  

There are unofficial reports that up to three inches of rain has fallen around Caldwell County. Citizens are advised to use extreme caution while driving.

25-year-old Gideon Adedotun Aderounmu of Winterberry Ridge Court in Winston Salem has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers for felony first-degree kidnapping. He also faces charges for D.W.I., driving while license revoked and an open container violation.

He was arrested at about 10:45 Monday morning (February 1) after Deputies were notified of a domestic dispute in a vehicle traveling eastbound on Interstate 40. Deputy W.H. Goforth stopped the vehicle at mile-marker 157.

Dep. Goforth spoke to the vehicle’s two occupants, who were ex-boyfriend and girlfriend. The female was from Asheville and the male was from Winston-Salem. The female told Deputies that she and the male, Gideon Aderounmu, had gotten into an argument and pulled to the side of the interstate. When the woman got out of the vehicle, Aderounmu locked her out and got into the driver’s seat.

After a brief time, the suspect unlocked the vehicle. The woman said that as she was getting into the vehicle, Aderounmu accelerated quickly while her legs were still outside. The woman said she repeatedly told the suspect to stop the vehicle, but he refused.

Aderounmu was arrested and charged accordingly. He was placed in the Iredell County jail without bond on the kidnapping charge, with bond for the D.W.I. set at $1,000, secured. He will appear in District Court on February 15.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 13:19

Flooding Causes Dismissal At Caldwell County School

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Due to heavy rainfall and flooding along the Old Johns River Road in Collettsville, some students living in that area are being released early from school. Approximately four families are affected by the increase in water levels.

Students living in this area will be released from school early and transported safely home. Parents have been contacted by the school and are aware of the early dismissal.

The district is in close communication with Caldwell Emergency Services for advisement on other releases and modifications to bus transportation.

The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning for Caldwell County that is in effect until 4:45 pm. Caldwell County Emergency Services reported that approximately two inches of rain has fallen in the area since early morning.

Citizens are advised to use extreme caution while driving.