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A ribbon cutting ceremony for Lenoir-Rhyne University's Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia, S.C. was held last Thursday, August 21. The ceremony recognized the opening of LRU's newest graduate center, which shares a space with the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. The opening of the center launched two of the Columbia region's premier master's programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Human Services.

For more information, visit http://columbia.lr.edu.

50-year-old Mark Anthony Fountain of 9th Avenue Drive S.E. in Hickory was arrested at about 12:40 yesterday afternoon (August 24) on one count of felony habitual shoplifting and two counts of felony larceny by anti-inventory device. He was also arrested on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for assault on a female.

Fountain was arrested after Hickory Police were called to the Rugged Warehouse on Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory. A manager there notified Police after he allegedly saw Fountain conceal Nike shoes and a backpack. The manager detained Fountain until Police arrived. The merchandise was recovered.

Fountain was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in a Hickory courtroom today with another court date coming up on September 3.

55-year-old Lisa Dietz of Hickory has reportedly passed away as the result of an accident Tuesday morning, August 12, in Wilmington. Ms. Dietz was walking in the cross walk at the intersection of 3rd Street and Castle Street when a Volvo ran the red light.

A second car swerved to miss the Volvo and struck Ms. Dietz. She was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center with a serious head injury.

Authorities said they planned to file charges against the driver of the Volvo.

No further details are available at this time.

36-year-old Lamar Rashad Lineberger of Laffon Road in Newton was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 7 a.m. yesterday (August 24) on six felony counts of breaking & entering a motor vehicle, four misdemeanor counts of larceny and two misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen goods or property.

He was arrested as Police were conducting a property check on the 900 block of 2nd Street S.W. when they saw a white Toyota Camry at a stop sign and noticed the driver acting in a suspicious manner. Officers ran the registration and saw that the driver was clearly not the person to whom the vehicle was registered.

They stopped the Camry and the driver got out. Police recognized him as Lamar Lineberger.

Officers contacted the vehicle owner, a 54-year-old man from 34th Avenue N.W. in Hickory. Only then did the victim realize his Toyota, which had been parked outside his residence, had been stolen. The victim also found that another of his vehicles had been broken into. Among the items taken were sunglasses, cell phones, cash, a G.P.S. unit, a fishing license and a wallet.

Lineberger was also identified as the suspect in at least two other vehicle break-ins in which a wallet, a driver’s license, cash, a bankcard and some thyroid pills were among the items stolen. The Camry owner’s wallet and some of the other stolen property was recovered.

After his arrest, Lineberger was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $55,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today in Newton.

Monday, 25 August 2014 10:56

Arrest Made in Taylorsville Homicide Case

47-year-old Roy Reuban Morgan, Jr. of Iredell County has been arrested by Alexander Co. Sheriff’s Officers on a charge of murder.

On Friday (August 22) Investigators responded to a death investigation on Sipe Road in Taylorsville. After investigating the death and interviewing witnesses, Investigators determined the death was a homicide. The victim has been identified as 44-year-old Nathalie Sipe Murphy.

Morgan was the victim’s boyfriend. He was arrested at the scene.

Morgan is currently being held without bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for today (August 25).  

Monday, 25 August 2014 06:58

Escaped Alexander County Inmate Captured

Inmate Michael Brown, who escaped from a work assignment in Taylorsville Friday afternoon (August 22), was captured in a wooded area off of N.C. Highway 16 just north of the Alexander-Catawba county line shortly after seven o’clock Friday night.

A citizen reported seeing the inmate in the area and a N.C. Dept. of Public Safety Fugitive Officer with a canine tracked and located Brown in the woods. Brown has been returned to Alexander Correctional Institution and will be charged with escape and with the theft of a truck.

He left his work assignment at the Alexander County Animal Shelter sometime after 2:30 Friday afternoon. He allegedly stole a county-owned pickup truck from the shelter. That truck was located along Edd Burgess Road in Taylorsville.

Brown is serving at least six and a half years after convictions for breaking & entering and as an habitual felon.

59-year-old William Robert "Bob" Gibbs III of Duff Drive in Hudson has been indicted on 12 felony counts of forgery & uttering. Gibbs is the mayor of the Town of Sawmills in Caldwell County.

Gibbs turned himself in to Hudson Police last Monday (August 18). He is accused of forging his father’s signature on 12 checks between April 5 and July 9. The indictments were issued by a Caldwell County grand jury on August 11. $11,285 was drawn from his father's account.

Bob Gibbs and his brother, Mark Gibbs, jointly held power of attorney over the account. Bob Gibbs said the checks were used to pay personal bills.

Gibbs served as mayor pro-tem from December 2005. He became Mayor in December 2009 and was re-elected in November 2013. His term is set to expire in December 2017.

Gibbs was released last Monday on a written promise to appear. A date in Superior Court was set for September 8 in Lenoir.

Monday, 25 August 2014 06:48

Man Drowns in Lake Rhodhiss

A 40-year-old man reportedly drowned in Lake Rhodhiss Sunday morning (August 24). The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office says the man drowned near the Lake Rhodhiss dam. The man apparently slipped off some rocks and fell into the water.

The victim’s identity has not been released. His body was recovered.

No further details are available.

Corrections and law enforcement Officers are seeking minimum-custody inmate Michael Brown who escaped from a work assignment in Taylorsville this afternoon (August 22). Brown was serving at least six and a half years after convictions for breaking & entering and as a habitual felon.

He left his work assignment at the Alexander County Animal Shelter sometime after 2:30 this afternoon and is believed to have stolen a county-owned pickup truck from the shelter. That truck has been located along Burgess Road in Taylorsville. The inmate may still be in that area.

Anyone who has information on inmate Michael Brown or his whereabouts is asked to call 9-1-1 or the Alexander Correctional Institution at 828-632-1331.

Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation and North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are giving local teachers the opportunity to win grants for innovative classroom learning projects under the Bright Ideas program.

Up to $19,000 may be awarded to teachers across the Blue Ridge Electric service area for the 2014-2015 school year. Winning grants will help educators implement creative, hands-on classroom academic projects for students that would not otherwise be funded by local school budgets. Grants of up to $1,500 are available. Teachers may apply anytime through September 30.

Teachers can learn more about the program and apply online at www.ncbrightideas.com.

Also available on the website is a 20th anniversary video featuring two Caldwell County Bright Ideas advocates speaking about past grant success.

Last year, Blue Ridge Electric funded 19 grants totaling over $19,000. Since 1994, Blue Ridge Electric has awarded more than $363,000 to 449 classrooms.