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City of Morganton Water Resources Department workers will shut off water to customers on Erwin Road by 5:30 p.m. today (February 19) to repair a break on a six-inch water main between York Street and Newland Street. About 30 homes will be affected by the water outage.  Crews expect the repairs to be completed in about four to six hours.

Ervin Road will be closed from York to Newland. Drivers can detour using the Morehead Street Extension and Wesley Drive or Tate Street to Newland Street.

Thursday, 19 February 2015 17:30

School Schedules Again Altered for Friday

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Extreme cold temperatures and icy roads continue to continue to force local school systems to adjust their schedules.

On Friday, February 20…

Catawba County Schools and Hickory Public Schools will be on a three-hour delay for students and staff.

Alexander County Schools will be closed Friday with an optional teacher workday beginning at 10 a.m.

Burke County Schools will operate on a two-hour delay for students and staff.

Caldwell County Schools will operate on a three-hour delay with limited bus routes. The WrapAround program in Caldwell County will begin at 9 a.m.

Newton-Conover City Schools are on a three-hour delay for students and 10 & 11-month employees. 12-month employees should report at 8:30 a.m. Kids Connection will begin at 9 a.m.

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance & Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government has chosen the Conover Station Redevelopment Project as part of the 2015 Bright Ideas program. The project is one of 124 nationwide from all levels of government that have been recognized for innovative government action.

The City of Conover purchased a vacant, downtown former factory site in 2005. Since that time, the city has transformed the once derelict site into an example of community-based revitalization for the future. By obtaining over $6.4 million dollars in grant funding, the city has completed a LEED certified rehabilitation of the 1924 mill building into a new public library and community space while constructing a new 6.8-acre environmentally educational public park.

Conover also partnered with the Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) to build a new facility to promote job creation. The MSC has worked for over two decades to assist industries through materials testing, streamlining design and manufacturing innovations.

Most recently, a new $4.4 million dollar commercial building and fitness center is under construction at the Conover Station site that will be the largest new building constructed in downtown Conover in decades.

For more information, call Daniel Harsha, the Ash Center’s Associate Director for Communications, at 617-495-4347 or City of Conover Planning Director Lance Hight at 828-464-1191. Additional information is available at ash.harvard.edu.

At about 8 p.m. on Friday, February 13, Lincolnton Police responded to reports of a stolen vehicle on the 900 block of Gaston Street in Lincolnton. Officers spoke to the victim, who said his blue 2002 Hyundai Accent was stolen from a residential driveway. The Hyundai had N.C. license tag number WPD-2630 and an ARMY plate on the front of the car. It may have a rear taillight or brake light out. The keys were left in the ignition when it was taken.

The following Wednesday, Lincolnton Police spoke to a victim whose vehicle had been taken from a commercial parking lot on the 300 block of East Sycamore Street in Lincolnton. The stolen vehicle taken was a silver 2000 Pontiac Sunfire with N.C. tag ABM-2069. The keys were left in the ignition.

Police say there are no suspects at this time.

Anyone with information regarding the vehicle thefts should call the Lincolnton Police Department at 704-736-8900 or call Lincolnton-Lincoln County Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. Crime Stoppers callers may remain anonymous. Information leading to an arrest could result in a cash reward of up to a $1,000.

A Caldwell County school bus was involved in an accident this morning (February 19). At approximately 10:17 a.m., a silver passenger car hit the bus at the intersection of Fairview Drive and Morganton Boulevard in Lenoir. Lenoir Police say the accident was not weather related.

The initial findings from the Lenoir Police Department’s investigation suggest that the passenger car failed to stop for a red light, striking the bus in the left rear area. The bus was occupied by the driver and six students.

Two students were taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure. The driver of the passenger car was also taken to a hospital for medical evaluation. Possible charges are pending.

School staff and the students’ parents have been contacted. No names have been released and no further information is available at this time.

Thursday, 19 February 2015 10:26

Teenager Arrested In Burke On Stolen Vehicle Charge

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18-year-old Ray Allen Sites was arrested Wednesday (February 18) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Following the arrest, Sites was placed in jail under $25,000 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for Monday (February 23).

Thursday, 19 February 2015 09:56

Former Viewmont Baptist Pastor Passes Away

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The Rev. Albert Alba Young of Hickory has passed away at the age of 97. Rev. Young died Tuesday (February 17) at his residence.

He was born in Mitchell County and graduated from Alexander High School, Mars Hill College and Furman University. Rev. Young had seminary training at Southern and Southeastern Seminaries and at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s School of Pastoral Care. He was ordained to the Ministry in 1940 at the Clinchfield Baptist Church in Marion. His pastorates included student pastorates at Mars Hill and Furman and at Oaklawn Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

Rev. Young came to Viewmont Baptist Church in Hickory in December of 1951, retiring in December of 1978. His mission work took him to Europe, the Holy Land, Asia, Alaska, Jamaica and various locations in the United States. After his retirement, Rev. Young served ten congregations as an interim pastor.

A funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, February 22, at Viewmont Baptist Church. Burial will follow in Oakwood Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the church from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. Sunday prior to the funeral service.

Bass-Smith Funeral Home is serving the family.

Thursday, 19 February 2015 08:58

Lenoir City Manager Leaving For Salisbury

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Lenoir's City Manager is leaving for Salisbury. W. Lane Bailey, will take over as Salisbury City Manger in March. Bailey, who has 25 years of experience in government work has been City Manager in Lenoir for 10-1/2 years. Bailey, who is 51-years-old was previously the president of the North Carolina City and County Management Association. Prior to taking the job in Lenoir, Bailey was the city manager in King, a community north of Winston-Salem. Bailey was manager of Polk County From 1993 to 2000. His government career started in Gaston County, where he was a budget analyst.

Bailey will take over in Salisbury in mid March. The decision to hire Bailey was finalized during a closed-session meeting council had Monday evening. Wednesday, council held the official vote to hire Bailey — it was unanimous. Bailey’s contract has not been finalized yet, but officials in Salisbury said in a published report that his annual salary will be $150,000, including a $500-a-month car allowance.

While in Lenoir, Bailey helped to recruit Google to build a data center in the community in 2007. The company announced a $600 million expansion of the center in 2013. Bailey grew up in Bryson City. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Appalachian State University, where he also earned a master’s degree in public administration.

Former Congressman Cass Ballenger has passed away at the age of 88. Mr. Ballenger had been in failing health for some time and had been in hospice care since last Friday. He died at 12:30 this afternoon (Wednesday, February 18) in Hickory. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 27, at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension.

Congressman Ballenger represented the 10th Congressional District of North Carolina from 1986-2005. He was also the founder and former Chairman of the Board of Plastic Packaging, Inc., a manufacturing company with plants in Hickory and Forest City, N.C.

He also served in the North Carolina Senate (1977-86), the North Carolina House of Representatives (1975-77) and on the Catawba County Board of Commissioners (1966-74). In 38 consecutive years in elective office, serving at the local, state and federal levels, Ballenger never lost an election.

As a Congressman, Mr. Ballenger was a member of the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as a Deputy Whip and as a member of the House Steering Committee. He was also a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on the Arts.

After graduating from Episcopal High School, Mr. Ballenger attended the University of North Carolina and later received a liberal arts degree from Amherst College, where he was initiated into the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. He served in the U.S. Naval Air Corps during World War II. Mr. Ballenger also volunteered as a Lay Reader for the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, traveling to lead services in parishes without rectors. He was a longtime active member of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Hickory.

Thursday, 19 February 2015 06:14

Newton Woman Faces Multiple Meth Charges

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38-year-old Hollie Michelle Harris of Mount Olive Church Road in Newton was arrested Wednesday (February 18) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. She’s charged with manufacture schedule II controlled substance, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute meth precursor. Following the arrest, Harris was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $100,000 bond. A court appearance is scheduled for Friday (February 20).