The City of Hickory and its project partners have received the North Carolina Main Street program’s Award of Merit for Best Historic Rehabilitation Project.  The city was recognized for the transformation of the Lyerly Full-Fashioned Mill into Transportation Insight’s corporate campus.  Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland and Executive Director of Economic Development Susan Fleetwood presented awards last week to 15 program participants.

The former hosiery mill was vacant since the mid-1990s before Transportation Insight acquired the property in 2014 and successfully adapted 17,942 square feet of the mill and surrounding property into its corporate headquarters.  Lyerly Mill was constructed in 1930.  It is Hickory’s only remaining two-story hosiery mill from that era.  It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in August 2007.  

The property owner is OHM Holdings LLC, which developed the site to create the corporate campus.  The building contractor was Neill Grading & Construction Company.  The City of Hickory played a key role by developing a public parking area to serve the company’s employees.  

Transportation Insight president and founder Paul Thompson said the company’s goal is to create North America’s largest and most reputable provider of value-based logistics services by January 1, 2020.  The company employs more than 400 people at its Hickory location.  Transportation Insight previously occupied several buildings in downtown Hickory.  

This year’s Main Street award winners were chosen by a panel of judges from dozens of applications submitted by program participants from across the state.

32-year-old David Robert Masten and 25-year-old Sierra Elizabeth Barnette, both of Pea Ridge Road in Morganton, were arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (March 24).  They are each charged with one felony count of obtaining property by false pretense.  The warrants for their arrests were issued on March 20 in Burke County.

Btoh subjects were taken into custody without incident at about 3:10 a.m. on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory.  Masten was given a $2,500 secured bond and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility.  Barnette was processed and released under a $1,500 unsecured bond.  They were both scheduled to appear in court today in Newton.

A delegation from the City of Hickory is in Washington, D.C. today as the city prepares to file its application for a TIGER Discretionary Grant (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery).  The group from Hickory includes Mayor Rudy Wright, Councilman Hank Guess, Councilman David Zagaroli, Interim City Manager Andrea Surratt and Staff Liaison Yaidee Fox.

The city is seeking a $13.5-million grant, an amount that would cover approximately one-third of the city’s $40-million bond projects.  Those bond projects include the Citywalk, Riverwalk, Streetscapes & Gateways and Park 1764.  This year’s application will mark the city’s third attempt to win a TIGER Grant.

The Hickory delegation has had the chance to meet briefly with U.S. Senator Thom Tillis and U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx, and has also met with staff members from the offices of U.S. Senator Richard Burr and U.S. Representative Patrick McHenry.  They have also met with the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, seeking feedback on last year’s application.

The city’s grant application will be filed near the end of May or early June.  Grants will be awarded in late July or early August of this year.

28-year-old Dominique Terrell Stinson of 1st Street S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 1:45 yesterday afternoon (March 22) on one felony count of possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine and one misdemeanor count of resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer. He’s accused of possessing two grams of crack cocaine.

Stinson was taken into custody on the 100 block of 9th Avenue S.E. and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $27,500 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for today in Newton.

31-year-old Michael Anthony Pizza has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers and charged with five counts as an adult offender committing a sexual offense with a child and five counts of indecent liberties with a child.

Events leading to his arrest began on January 22 of this year when a report was filed regarding a child who was assaulted by an acquaintance.  The case was assigned to Detective Patrick Dixson of the Special Victim’s Unit and the child was interviewed at the Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center.  Several additional witnesses were identified and interviewed.

As a result of the investigation, Michael Anthony Pizza was arrested and taken to the Iredell County Detention Center where he was processed and given a $1,000,000 secured bond.  He’ll appear in District Court on April 10.

Pizza has a criminal history including assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree trespass, injury to personal property, assault on a female and violation of a domestic violence protective order.

30-year-old Aaron L. Johnson of Charlesvoix Avenue in Lincolnton was arrested by Lincolnton Police Monday (March 20) on charges of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver marijuana, maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance and possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

At about eleven o’clock Monday night, patrol units responded to Johnson’s residence as part of an active investigation.  The investigation was the result of information provided by a concerned citizen.  

Officers made contact with Johnson and a search was conducted.  In the residence, Officers found 164 grams of high-grade marijuana, packaged for sale.  Also found were a set of digital scales, baggies, a marijuana grinder and $7,000 in cash.  The marijuana seized has an estimated value of $2,100.  

Johnson was arrested and placed in the Lincoln County Jail under a $3,000 secured bond.  He was scheduled to make a first appearance in court date of yesterday (March 21).

Hickory Police are investigating a robbery at Family Video on 29th Avenue N.E. in Hickory.

The incident occurred just before ten o’clock last night (March 21).  A 16-year-old male employee was robbed by a suspect armed with a handgun.  The suspect fled with a substantial amount of cash.  The clerk was not injured.

No description of the suspect and no video of the incident are available at this time.

Anyone with information regarding the robbery should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551.

32-year-old Amy Canterbury Blackburn of 10th Avenue Drive N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police just before 6 p.m. yesterday on one felony count of embezzlement.  The warrant for her arrest was issued in August of 2015 by the Granite Falls Police Department.

Blackburn was taken into custody at her residence.  She was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $1,000 secured bond.  She has since been released.  An appearance in Superior Court was scheduled for May 1 in Lenoir.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017 10:04

Statesville Man Reported Missing

Authorities are looking for a missing person, 26-year-old Darwin Lewis “D.J.” Turner, Jr. of Statesville.  Mr. Turner was last seen on Thursday, March 16, in Hickory near Highway 127.  At that time, he was with friends in a gold Ford Explorer.

Mr. Turner is a black male.  He is about six feet tall and weighs approximately 200 pounds.  He has tattoos on his right arm.

Mr. Turner’s loved ones are concerned that he may be injured or in trouble.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Darwin Lewis “D.J.” Turner, Jr. should call the Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Office at 828-878-3180.

The District Attorney’s Office for the 25th Judicial District announced today (March 21) that a Catawba County Narcotics Investigator acted lawfully in the fatal shooting of 41-year-old Irecas Rayshion Valentine.  The incident occurred on November 28, 2016 during a Catawba County drug investigation.  The shooting took place in Hickory; however, the Hickory Police Department was not involved.

The D.A.’s Office reviewed the case to determine whether the shooting was lawful or unlawful.  The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (S.B.I.) also conducted an investigation.  The S.B.I. interviewed witnesses, photographed the scene and collected physical evidence.  No video is known to exist of the actual shooting; however, body camera footage from Officers arriving after the incident was collected and examined.  

All information obtained during the S.B.I. investigation was shared with the D.A.’s Office.  The S.B.I. presented its findings to a team of experienced prosecutors, including three Chief Assistant District Attorneys, four prosecutors in the D.A.’s Office, the D.A.’s Chief Investigator (who is a retired U.S. Marshal) and a Victim Witness Legal Assistant (who is a retired Captain from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office with 26 years of law enforcement experience).

Valentine fled from law enforcement officers about three years earlier, resulting in a confrontation that he survived after being shot multiple times.  Officers approaching a Porsche Cayenne automobile on November 28, 2016 were unsure of the driver’s identity, but had information that it might be Valentine.  

According to the D.A.’s statement, all evidence indicates that Valentine's driver side window was completely rolled down and the radio was off.  Valentine looked directly at the Officers and could hear their commands.

Officers immediately identified themselves and commanded Valentine to put the car in park and turn it off.  Valentine then put the car in reverse and began backing up, slowly.  According to witness statements, Officers again loudly commanded Valentine to stop and put the car in park.  Valentine refused to comply.  He accelerated abruptly and rammed two Sheriff’s Office vehicles, one of which was occupied by an Investigator.

Only one Sheriff’s Investigator fired his weapon.  The entire sequence of events unfolded in what was described as “just a few seconds”.

Based upon applicable law and the facts as reported by eyewitness accounts, corroborated by photographs and other physical evidence, the D.A. concluded that the Investigator acted lawfully.

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