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First responders in Iredell County recently rescued a swimmer in distress. At 8:49 last Saturday evening (October 11), Iredell County Communications took a call regarding a person swimming in the lake near Greyfriairs Road in Mooresville. Deputy Patrick Irwin from the county’s Community Oriented Police (COPS) unit responded and spoke with the caller who said a man swam up to him and asked which way did he need to go to swim to Denver.

The caller said the man then got back into the lake and swam away. Deputy John Fletcher and Deputy Justin Carroll arrived and all three Deputies began looking in the water, but were unable to see the swimmer from the shore. The Deputies went to surrounding houses on the waterfront in an attempt to locate the man, but were unsuccessful.

Lt. Doyle Summers arrived and contacted Lake Patrol Officer Matt Burleyson and Lake Norman Fire & Rescue. Two boats were launched and began to search the area. By that time, the swimmer had been in the water for over four hours.

As the search continued, Deputy Burleyson heard someone yelling. The Deputy went toward the voice and found the man in the middle of the lake, treading water. Lake Norman Fire & Rescue came to Deputy Burleyson's location and was able to secure the man on their boat. The swimmer was identified as 37-year-old Michael Allen Vercio of Denver.

Iredell County E.M.S. checked Vercio's vital signs and checked him for any injuries. Vercio's body temperature and dropped to dangerously low levels. E.M.S. personnel say if Vercio had stayed in the water any longer, he might not have survived.

After he was cleared by E.M.S., Deputy Irwin escorted Vercio to another location where he was released to his parents’ custody.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday (October 20) in the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.

The Board will hold a public hearing on a request to rezone four parcels totaling approximately 17.31 acres on Botanical Drive in the St. Stephens/Oxford Small Area Planning District from residential general industrial. A second hearing will be held on a request to amend the County Zoning Overlay Map to declassify the Maiden Creek and Allen Creek Watersheds in response to the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission’s action to declassify those watershed areas.

The Board will also consider adopting the proposed 2015 Schedule of Values, a set of standards and rules created following the study of the county’s current real estate market which, after final approval by the Board, will be used as an appraisal manual to set property values, effective January 1, 2015.

The Board will consider entering into an agreement with Burke County regarding the closing of the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility that would set forth provisions for the termination of the operating agreement for the jail.

The Board will consider using the sole source exemption, allowed under State law when a needed item is available from only one source, for the purchase of an access control system for the Justice Center/Public Safety expansion.

The Board will also issue a report on the attainment of its goals for fiscal year 2013/2014, which ended on June 30 of this year. In addition, a team of county telecommunicators will be presented with the National Emergency Number Association’s Communications Team of the Year Award.

24-year-old Brandon Andrew Norkett has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on charges of felony breaking & entering and larceny after breaking & entering.

On September 19, the Sheriff’s Office took a report regarding a B&E and larceny at a house on Elmwood Road. The home owner said approximately $2,100 in property was taken, including televisions, Sound Bars, a PlayStation 3, a Blu-ray player, various movies and PlayStation 3 games. Deputies processed the scene and spoke to neighbors in the area.

Det. Sgt. Wesley Gregory obtained information regarding a possible suspect, Brandon Norkett. The Detective was told that a TV had been sold to a family member for $500. He also learned that Norkett was staying on Kayla Lane in Statesville where some of the stolen items were stored in an outbuilding on the property.

Det. Sgt. Gregory recovered the TV, 126 movies and the sound bar, valued at approximately $1,350. Those items were returned to the owner. An attempt to locate Norkett was unsuccessful and warrants were issued for his arrest.

Norkett was found and arrested on October 13 at a home on Trailways Drive in Statesville. His bond was set at $5,000, secured. District Court appearances were set for today (October 17) and November 3 in Statesville.

Norkett is also a suspect in a financial transaction card theft case, currently under investigation by the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office. The investigations are ongoing with additional charges likely.

Friday, 17 October 2014 06:55

Rehabilitation to Begin on Conover Bridge

The N.C. Department of Transportation is working to extend the life of bridges throughout Division 12, and improvement work will begin in the coming week on a Catawba County bridge on Old N.C. 16 over U.S. 70.

Within the next week, motorists will begin to see crews from project contractor Astron General Contracting performing sandblasting and painting the bridge, located near Conover. The bridge was built in 1947.

Rehabilitating an existing bridge instead of replacing it helps to extend the life of the bridge while stretching taxpayer dollars and improving more bridges, faster.

The bridge rehabilitation work will require lane closures, at times, on Old N.C. 16 and U.S. 70.

The work will take several weeks to complete and is weather-dependent.

This rehabilitation project is part of a $4.4 million contract to improve 19 bridges in Division 12: four in Catawba County, seven in Cleveland County, three in Gaston County, three in Iredell County and two in Lincoln County.

For more details about North Carolina's bridges, visit the NCDOT's bridge information website.

The 15th Annual Susan G. Komen N.C. Foothills Race for the Cure will be held in Hickory tomorrow (October 18). The One Mile Fun Run & Walk is set to begin at 8:10 a.m. The 5K Race & Walk will start at 9 a.m.

The event will take place at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Registration is still open. Those wishing to participate may register online or in person on the day of the event. For more information, visit www.komenncfoothills.org.

Proceeds benefit the fight against breast cancer.

High Country Crime Stoppers and Boone Police are seeking the public’s assistance regarding a larceny at the Wal-Mart store in Boone.

At about 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 16, Boone Police responded to the Wal-Mart store at 200 Watauga Village Drive. A male suspect ran into the parking lot after he was confronted by management. He left the area in a blue Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by Crystal Gail Taylor, who was charged with misdemeanor aiding & abetting larceny. Taylor would say only that the suspect’s first name is Tim. The suspect is thought to frequent the Hunger Coalition.

Anyone with information regarding the larceny should call Crime Stoppers at 828-268-6959 or 828-737-0125 or call Boone Police at 828-268-6900. Tips may also be submitted here or by texting "NCTIP” plus the tip to 274637 (CRIMES). All information will be kept confidential.

Information leading to arrests, recovery of stolen property, seizure of drugs or the location of wanted persons could result in a cash reward.

Thursday, 16 October 2014 15:28

Hickory Man Indicted for Habitual Assault

29-year-old Demetric Adair Campbell of 1st Avenue N.E. in Hickory was served a felony indictment by Hickory Police at about 11 a.m. yesterday (October 15) for habitual misdemeanor assault. The indictment comes in connection to a domestic assault in November 2013. Campbell was taken into custody yesterday and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $30,000, secured. He will appear in Superior Court tomorrow in Newton.

55-year-old Mary Handy Davis of 4th Avenue N.E. in Hickory was served an indictment by Hickory Police at about 3 p.m. yesterday (October 15) on one felony count of accessory after the fact. The indictment comes in connection to an armed robbery in February of this year at the Kangaroo Express store on North Center Street in Hickory. After her arrest yesterday, Davis was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $25,000 secured bond. She will appear in Superior Court tomorrow in Newton.

Thursday, 16 October 2014 15:12

Woman Robbed on the Roadside Near Crouse

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputies are investigating a purse snatching that occurred Tuesday (October 14) around 11 a.m. north of the Crouse community.

A 50-year-old female victim told Deputies she stopped near the intersection of Pleasant Grove Church Road and Dave Heafner Road when she noticed a large box of tomatoes that had apparently been dropped from a truck and landed on the side of the roadway.

The woman got out of her car to pick up some of the tomatoes when a silver four-door sedan pulled in and parked near the woman’s car. She told Officers a black male got out of the vehicle and tried to open the passenger side door on the woman’s car, which was locked. The man went around to the driver’s side door, which was open at the time.

The woman ran back to her car and tried to pull the man out of the vehicle, but the man pushed her away, grabbed her purse and ran toward his vehicle. She tried to stop him again, but the man pushed her down on the pavement and got into his vehicle. He left the scene at a high rate of speed in the direction of Highway 150 in Crouse. The woman tried to follow, but lost track of the suspect at Highway 150. The victim sustained some minor abrasions to her hands when she fell.

The suspect is described as a black male in his late 20s or early 30s, about 5’10” tall with a stocky build. He had short hair and no facial hair. He was wearing a medium-gray t-shirt with tomato stains on the back and blue jeans. The suspect vehicle was described as a bright silver four-door car.

Sheriff’s Deputies and the State Highway Patrol searched the surrounding area but could not locate the vehicle. Law Enforcement in other nearby jurisdictions was notified.

Detective Matt Burgess secured fingerprints from the victim’s vehicle. Those will be processed by Gaston County Police.

Anyone with information regarding the incident or the suspect should call the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. A Crime Stoppers tip leading to an arrest could result in a reward of up to $1,000.

This year’s recipient of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Western Public Transportation Recognition Award is Camille Sterling. Sterling currently serves Burke, Caldwell, Catawba and Alexander counties as the Executive Director of Greenway Transportation for the Western Piedmont Regional Transportation Authority.

Sterling has worked in public transportation systems across the eastern and western parts of the state for the past 12 years. As an active member of the N.C. Public Transportation Association, Sterling is on the executive committee and serves as a board member.

Nominated by NCDOT Public Transportation Division staff and selected as a recipient by the division’s management staff, Sterling is the third recipient of the award since its creation in 2012. The Transportation Recognition Award was created to recognize the unsung heroes of public transportation systems across North Carolina.