An agreement with a company bringing jobs to Catawba County has been amended, which increases the amount of positions that will be created. In 2016, the Prysmian Group announced an expansion in Claremont with an investment of $20 million along with the addition of 50 new jobs.
In October of 2017, Prysmian officially announced an expansion with the investment of another $53.48 million and another 50 new jobs. Given the scope of the project, the county felt it warranted additional consideration for incentives by the City of Conover and Catawba County.
Since the company had yet to receive any incentives stemming from that first 2016 project, officials felt it would be much easier administratively to manage these expansions if they fell under just one contract. Monday night (March 19) Commissioners approved amending the original agreement with the following changes:
Increasing the company’s minimum investment to $73.48 million for incentive consideration, increasing the company’s job creation to 100, 50 from the first project and 50 from the second project, giving the company one additional year to meet these minimums, maintaining the same 50% grant on only the new investments, increasing the grant from a maximum of five years to now a maximum of six years, and raising the maximum ceiling for incentive consideration to $93.48 million – in case the local facility has the ability to go after additional growth opportunities.
N.C. Department of Transportation officials closed a two-lane bridge on Abington Road in Lenoir as a safety precaution. According to the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, the bridge is near West Lenoir Baptist Church.
NCDOT crews established a marked detour around the closure utilizing Fairview Drive Northwest, Harper Avenue North West, U.S. 64 and Beecher Anderson Road.
An inspection on Tuesday (March 20) revealed irregular flexing in the beams, which weakened the overall integrity of the bridge. All 18,000 NCDOT bridges are inspected at least every other year. This bridge had been on a list to be replaced in the next two years.
The bridge was built in 1972. It has wood supporting steel beams, a steel floor and an asphalt top. An average of 4,600 cars traveled that road as of the last count in 2015. Caldwell EDC says in their news release that the bridge will be closed indefinitely but the hope is that it will be re-opened to car traffic within two weeks.
43-year-old Marvin William Glenn of Trojan Lane in Hudson was arrested Tuesday (March 20) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of larceny of a motor vehicle and possession of a stolen motor vehicle along with misdemeanor counts of breaking and entering and failure to appear. Glenn was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $21,000 secured bond. A District Court date is set for Thursday (March 22).
26-year-old Jordan Adam Shook of Herman Road in Claremont was arrested Tuesday (March 20) on charges filed by the Catawba County Sheriff's Office and Conover Police Department. The Sheriff's Office charged Shook with felony flee to elude arrest with a motor vehicle and driving while license revoked. Conover Police charged him with reckless driving to endanger and hit and run fail to stop with property damage. Shook was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $10,000 bond. A District Court date was scheduled today (March 21).
Unemployment rates were mostly unchanged in the Hickory Metro area, according to the latest report from the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division. The report was issued late last week. The statistics reflect January unemployment rates.
Alexander County's unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, the same as in the December report. Burke County's jobless rate increased slightly, to 4.3 percent from 4.2. Caldwell County's unemployment rate remained steady at 4.5 percent. Catawba County's jobless percentage also remained the same as in the December report, it's 4.1 percent.
The unemployment rate for the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA is 4.2 percent, the same as in the December report. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton has the fourth lowest unemployment rate among 15 MSAs in the state.
The statewide unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, up from 4.4 percent in the December report. Unemployment rates increased in 93 of North Carolina's counties, decreased in one, and remained unchanged in six. Hyde County has the state's highest jobless rate at 14.6 percent, while Buncombe County has North Carolina's lowest unemployment rate at 3.6 percent.
39-year-old April Estep Weatherford of North Davis Avenue in Newton was arrested Tuesday (March 20) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with two felony counts apiece of the sale of schedule I controlled substance and delivery of schedule I controlled substance. She's also charged with single felony counts of the sale of schedule II controlled substance and delivery of schedule II controlled substance. Weatherford was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $30,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (March 21).
42-year-old Charles Quintin Mclean of Union Baptist Road in Lenoir was arrested Tuesday (March 20) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule II controlled substance, maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance, and manufacturing schedule II controlled substance. Mclean was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $50,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled Tuesday.
19-year-old Gabriel Alexandra Husarenko of 15th Avenue Circle Southeast in Hickory was arrested Tuesday (March 20) in Hickory on charges filed by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. She's charged with felony disclosure of private images by an adult. According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, the charge is commonly known as “Revenge Porn.”
On March 16, 24-year-old Alex Steven Santana of Highland Bluff Court in Lincolnton, filed a report with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office that a former girlfriend had posted nude pictures of him on Facebook and made comments about him online. Lead Detective Dan Renn contacted Husarenko Tuesday and took her into custody at her residence without incident. Her bond was set at $5,000 secured. Husarenko was scheduled to appear in District Court today (March 21).
On March 15, Husarenko filed a report with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office claiming that Santana struck her in the chest. A criminal summons was issued charging Santana with assault on a female by a male at least 18 years old. He has a court date in Catawba County on April 17 on that charge.
At Tuesday evening’s (March 20) Hickory City Council meeting, Charlotte Williams officially took her oath of office and was sworn in as the new Ward 2 Alderwoman. A reception to honor Williams was held in the City Hall Atrium prior to the Council meeting.
Williams fills the Ward 2 seat that became vacant with the passing of Councilman Vernon Tarlton in January 2018. The term of the position expires December 2019. Given the length of time remaining on the term, Hickory City Council chose to utilize an open application process to make the appointment.
Williams was among eight qualified candidates who applied for the Ward 2 vacancy. After voting for the appointment on March 6 resulted in a tie between Williams and fellow candidate S. Ryan Edwards, City Council held a special meeting on March 14 to interview Williams and Edwards again. The two candidates were asked six questions and scored using point system developed by City Staff and approved by City Council. Williams’ cumulative score of 317 edged out Edwards’ score of 304, earning her the appointment by City Council.
Originally from the Chicago area, Williams graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana and earned a Master of Arts in Social Work from the University of Chicago. Williams and her family moved to Hickory in the mid-1990’s. She began teaching at Lenoir-Rhyne University shortly thereafter, where she now serves as the inaugural Associate Dean of Engaged and Global Learning and as the Program Coordinator for the Human and Community Service major.
Due to the possibility of winter weather, the following school systems are delayed Wednesday (March 21)
Alexander County Schools: two hour delay
Catawba County Schools: two hour delay
Hickory Public Schools: two hour delay
34-year-old Michael Dean Hawley of 4th Street N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (March 20) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance.
He was arrested in connection to an investigation conducted by Hickory Police on March 11 at a residence on 11th Street N.W. That investigation led to Hawley’s arrest today.
Hawley was taken into custody without incident at about 1:40 a.m. today at a fast-food restaurant on 2nd Street N.E. where he is employed. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $2,000, secured. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.
The Catawba County Budget & Management Office has won the 2017 Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). This is the 29th consecutive year the county has earned this honor.
Received for the County’s Fiscal Year 2017-2018 budget, the award recognizes government entities for producing a budget document which is easy to read and understand. According to the GFOA, this recognition “reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.” Receipt of the award was formally recognized at Monday's (March 19) meeting of the Catawba County Board of Commissioners.
To earn GFOA recognition, Catawba County’s Budget & Management Office had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well a government's budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide, and a communications device. Budget documents must be rated "proficient" in all four of these categories to receive the award.
Catawba County's budget is created through a year-long planning process involving department heads, Budget & Management staff, the County Manager, and the Board of Commissioners. Budget & Management staff members recognized for this budget included Mace, former County budget & management analysts Barron Monroe and Paarth Mehta, and the County’s former ICMA Fellow Danielle Verwahren.
The Government Finance Officers Association is a non-profit professional association serving nearly 19,000 government finance professionals throughout North America.
36-year-old Janie Marie Thompson of Woodridge Court in Lenoir was arrested Monday (March 19) by Lenoir Police Officers. She's charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule II controlled substance. Thompson was released on $25,000 secured bond, she was scheduled to appear in District Court Monday. No additional court dates were listed.
According to a report on the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission website, the North Carolina Department of Transportation says that Castle Bridge may not have to close for repairs after all. Castle Bridge crosses the Catawba River via Connelly Springs Road.
The article says that new options from NCDOT for the bridge leave open the possibility that only one lane at a time will have to be closed during construction. Officials previously said this was not going to be possible. Another possibility mentioned in the article was leaving the bridge open and building an entirely new bridge alongside it.
The original plan, which was announced in January, was to close the bridge to all traffic for 14 months to replace the top deck and deteriorating steel beams. NCDOT reduced the projected closure time to eight months following a public outcry.
At a recent meeting, three more options were proposed for officials to consider: The bridge could be closed for six to eight months; one lane at a time could be closed for 18 months; or the bridge could get minor repairs while a new bridge is planned. According to the article on the EDC website, state and local officials from Caldwell and Burke counties who were attending the meeting overwhelmingly backed making minor repairs to the bridge and building a brand new bridge.
The article says that minor repairs would cost about $1 million to $2 million. The cost of a new bridge would be about $20 million. The minor repairs would close the bridge for approximately a week, and make the bridge last about five more years, just enough time to study, plan and find funding for a new two-lane bridge, although the plan is still tentative.
Making full repairs to Castle Bridge would extend its life another 50 years, but an entirely new bridge could last 100 years. You can read more at www.caldwelledc.org, the article was posted Sunday (March 18).