U.S. 321 is open once again in northern Caldwell County. The road was closed early this morning from Richlands Road to the Caldwell County/Watauga County line in Blowing Rock. Snow and ice accumulated, causing vehicles to slide off the road. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol has since re-opened the roadway.
27-year-old Jeffrey Scott Ohmer of Putnam Street in Morganton was arrested Thursday (December 29) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with possession of methamphetamine. Ohmer was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 secured bond. A District Court date is set for January 19.
The completion of work at two interstate exits in Burke County highlight the accomplishments of workers in Division 13 of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, those accomplishments are listed in a news release issued by NCDOT. Division 13 includes Burke, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford and Yancey counties.
During the past year, crews from Division 13 paved old roads, built new bridges, developed new bike and pedestrian paths and continued to take steps in an effort to increase the safety of residents and visitors in their eight counties.
Division Construction Engineer Rick Tipton cited the completion of several large interstate interchange projects as being among the accomplishments in 2016, including work at Exits 104 and 105 on I-40 in Burke County.
Transportation crews began the year by removing snow that reached heights of more than a foot. They kept Interstate 40 open from the Tennessee state line all the way through Burke County.
The 2016 holiday began season with devastating wildfires throughout Western North Carolina., which scored more than 70,000 acres across the state. Despite the devastation, only four major highways needed to be closed including N.C. 80 in McDowell County and U.S. 64/74A in Rutherford County. Transportation officials worked with various state and federal agencies to organize the closures and establish marked detours.
In the coming year, the news release from NCDOT says the department will open the bidding for contactors for two different paving projects on I-40 — down Old Fort Mountain from the Buncombe county line to Exit 73 and from Exit 86 in McDowell County to the Burke County line.
33-year-old Samantha Jean Moore and 43-year-old Stacy Heatley, both of the same address on Pete Brittain Road in Morganton, and 57-year-old Patricia Wellborn Hunley, of 13th Street Place NW in Hickory, were all arrested by McDowell County Sheriff's Officers. They're all charged with with attempted murder, burglary and robbery with a dangerous weapon.
According to a news release issued Thursday (December 29) by the McDowell County Sheriff's Office, Henery Parker, of Falling Waters Drive in Old Fort, reported at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 8 that a man and two women came to his home, where they beat him with a sledgehammer and robbed him of his money. Parker was taken to McDowell Hospital for treatment of head and other injuries.
The Sheriff's Office says that Hunley and the victim are acquainted. Heatley and Hunley are currently being held in the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility. Burke deputies charged both last week with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, first-degree kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon, larceny of a firearm, larceny of a motor vehicle and conspiracy to commit felony larceny.
On Friday, Dec. 16, Burke authorities responded to a mobile home park in the Salem area in reference to a man who had been beaten with a claw hammer. The victim in that case, 72-year-old Ronald Moody, of Octave Heights in Marion, sustained serious head injuries.
No information was released regarding Moore's incarceration and no court dates are listed for any of the suspects.
40-year-old Eric Scott Hefner of Clark Loop in Conover was arrested Thursday (December 29) by Troopers with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. He's charged with speed to elude arrest, forgery of an instrument, and misdemeanor larceny. Hefner was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $11,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Friday, December 30).
Unemployment rates increased slightly across the Greater Hickory Metro according to the latest report, which was issued this week. The latest unemployment numbers were released Thursday (December 29) by the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division. The statistics reflect November jobless rates.
Alexander County's unemployment rate is 4 percent even, up from 3.9 percent in October. Burke County's jobless rate jumped to 4.8 percent, up from 4.7 in the last report. Caldwell County has an unemployment rate of 5 percent even, up from 4.9 in October. Catawba County's jobless rate is 4.6 percent, that's up slightly from 4.5 percent in the last report.
The unemployment rate for the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA is 4.7 percent, up from 4.6 percent in the October report. The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton MSA has the 8th lowest unemployment rate among 15 MSAs in the state.
North Carolina has an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent, same as in the last report. Unemployment increased in 66 of North Carolina's 100 counties in November, decreased in 23, and remained unchanged in 11. Hyde County had the highest unemployment rate at 9.4 percent, Buncombe and Orange County tied for the lowest jobless rate at 3.7 percent.
Caldwell County Emergency Services in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the North Carolina Highway Patrol have temporarily closed parts of U.S. 321 due to snow and ice.
Highway 321 is temporarily closed from Richlands Road to the Caldwell County/Watauga County line in Blowing Rock until further notice. Snow and ice accumulating is causing vehicles to slide off the roadway.
For more information about the Caldwell County closure and any further closures in other counties, contact the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
21-year-old Fantazia Iesha Weeks of Morrow, Georgia, was arrested today (Thursday, December 29) by Hickory Police Officers. She's charged with two counts of attempt to obtain controlled substance by forgery or fraud. Weeks was locked up in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $10,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Friday (December 30).
It was announced today (December 29) that Kaco USA Inc. will expand its production facility in Lincoln County. The company will hire an additional 100 workers over the next three years as it invests nearly $8.4 million there.
Kaco USA manufactures high-precision sealing solutions for the automotive industry. The company is part a German-based privately held manufacturer founded in 1914. Its Lincolnton plant is one of nine locations worldwide.
Kaco will add production, accounting and management personnel at its Lincolnton facility. Salaries will vary by position, but will average $34,580 per year.
Kaco USA’s expansion in North Carolina was made possible in part by a performance-based grant of up to $100,000 from the One North Carolina Fund. In addition to North Carolina Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C., other partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, Gaston College, Lincoln County and the Lincoln Economic Development Association.
19-year-old Marcus Brown of Dogwood Court in Taylorsville was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before 11 a.m. yesterday (December 28) on felony count of attempted robbery with firearms or other dangerous weapons.
Brown was arrested in connection to an incident at the LifeWay Christian Store at 1714 Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory. On H.P.D.’s arrest report, Brown is listed as an employee at the store.
At about 9:40 Wednesday morning, Brown allegedly entered the store holding a knife. He was identified during the attempted robbery and subsequently left the store without taking anything.
Police spotted the suspect vehicle and the suspect at Corinth Reformed United Church on 16th Avenue N.W. in Hickory. He did have a knife in his possession at the time of his arrest. Brown was taken into custody without incident.
He was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $15,000, secured. An appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.
32-year-old Jessica Dawn Compton was arrested Wednesday (December 28) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. She was charged with felony breaking and entering to a motor vehicle. Compton was placed in jail in Morganton under $15,000 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for February 13.
65-year-old Joseph Anthony Weatherford of Ridge Street in Lenoir was arrested Wednesday (December 28) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with felony obtaining property by false pretense. Weatherford was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 secured bond. No court date was listed.
31-year-old Michael Brandon Beane of Cross Street in Granite Falls was arrested Wednesday (December 28) by Hudson Police Officers. He's charged with felony larceny of a motor vehicle. Beane was confined in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $40,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports that significant progress was made in 2016 throughout Division 12, which includes Alexander, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell and Lincoln counties. A news release from NCDOT says several projects reached important milestones toward meeting the goals outlined in Governor Pat McCrory’s 25-Year Vision for transportation, such as reducing congestion, enhancing mobility and improving safety.
One of the major projects to be awarded in the region is a contract to widen N.C. 16 in Catawba County from north of Caldwell Road to Tower Road. This is the last section of N.C. 16 to be widened between I-40 and Charlotte.
In addition, the department opened a diverging diamond interchange at the intersection of U.S. 21 and Interstate 40 in Statesville, as part of the I-40/I-77 interchange project. This type of design is becoming more prevalent in North Carolina because it moves large volumes of traffic safely and efficiently.
Also in Iredell County, construction crews made significant progress on a new rest area facility just south of the Tomlin Mill Road interchange. This 5,000 square foot facility is being built in the median of the interstate, which will allow motorists to enter the rest area by exiting left from either direction of I-77. Once the facility opens in the fall of 2018, four rest areas along I-77 will close – two at the Iredell/Yadkin county line, and two north of Mooresville.