Tuesday, 20 December 2016 14:03

GKN Driveline to Expand in Maiden

GKN Driveline announced today (December 20) that it intends to expand its Catawba County manufacturing facility again. The company plans to create at least 143 new jobs by the end of 2019 and invest more than $110 million in its Maiden location, marking the company’s second major expansion at the facility in two years. In 2014, GKN Driveline expanded the facility by committing to invest $122 million and creating 228 new jobs.

GKN Driveline’s expansion in Maiden is facilitated, in part, by an award to the company from North Carolina’s Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program that was approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee and announced today. Local incentives will be considered by both the Town of Maiden and Catawba County at their regularly scheduled meetings in January.

GKN Driveline, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GKN plc with U.S. headquarters in Michigan, is expanding several locations within North Carolina, including its Catawba County facility. Due to additional business volume, the expansion will include material flow improvements and the addition of new equipment for innovative processes.

The company currently employs 1,097 in its Catawba County facility. GKN employs an additional 1,534 people at companies in other counties in North Carolina, making North Carolina the state with the largest GKN presence in the country.

GKN Driveline is a leading supplier of automotive driveline components and systems. As a global company serving the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers, GKN Driveline develops, builds and supplies an extensive range of automotive driveline technologies. GKN Driveline operates in 23 countries at 46 locations, employing approximately 25,500 people.

For more information about GKN Driveline including job opportunities, visit gkn.com/Careers.

26-year-old Benjamin Lee Crews of 1st Street N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 7:30 this morning on felony counts of breaking & entering and larceny after breaking & entering. He was also charged with misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana paraphernalia and resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer.

Crews was taken into custody without incident at his residence. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $30,000 secured bond. Appearances in District Court were scheduled for December 22 and February 8 in Newton.

47-year-old Michael Gene Miller of 1st Street N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 7:30 this morning (December 20) on a felony warrant as a fugitive awaiting extradition to another state.

Miller was wanted by the Sheriff’s Office in Greenville County, South Carolina for failure to register as a sex offender. He is on South Carolina’s sex offender registry as the result of a July 1993 conviction for indecent liberties with a minor or sexual arousal with a child.

Miller was taken into custody without incident at his residence in Hickory. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $200,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for December 22 in Newton.

48-year-old Timothy Glenn Hart of Shelton Mission Road in Greeneville, Tennessee has been arrested by Boone Police on one felony count each of soliciting a child by computer and appearing at the meeting place, dissemination of obscenity, attempted first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and indecent liberties with a child.

On Saturday, December 17, Boone Police and Agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (S.B.I.) concluded an Internet Crimes Against Children (I.C.A.C.) operation, resulting in Hart’s arrest. Hart had arranged a meeting in Boone with the intent of having a sexual encounter with a minor female. Hart traveled to Boone and Officers watched as he arrived at the meeting location. Investigators approached the suspect and conducted an interview. Hart was then taken into custody before he had any physical contact with a minor.

Hart was placed in the Watauga Detention Center under a $125,000 secured bond. An appearance in District Court was set for January 17.

The Boone Police Department and the S.B.I. are members of the North Carolina I.C.A.C. Task Force, which is continually engaged in proactive and reactive investigations and prosecutions of persons involved in child abuse and the exploitation of children involving the internet.

Monday, 19 December 2016 17:59

"Booze It & Lose It" Campaign Underway

The state’s “Booze It & Lose It” campaign is underway as the NCDOT and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) are working to keep the holidays joyful and prevent drunk driving accidents on North Carolina’s roadways.

Friday, December 9, the City of Hickory welcomed North Carolina Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson, GHSP Director Don Nail and Hickory Police Chief Thurman Whisnant, as well as many local law enforcement Officers, to L.P. Frans Stadium for the “Booze It & Lose It” kick-off event.

The campaign is intended to remind partygoers to have a designated driver and make plans for a safe drive home. Taxicabs and app services are also encouraged as a means for safe travel. Law enforcement Officers will be watching closely for impaired drivers and numerous checkpoints will be set throughout the state.

Law enforcement will increase the number of saturation patrols and checkpoints. Impaired drivers could face jail time, fines, loss of driver’s license, towing fees and other expenses, totaling $10,000 on average.

This year, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety prison system saw a three-fold increase in the number of facilities growing and donating produce to local food banks, community pantries and social service organizations. The 20 facilities more than doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables sent to help fight hunger and improve health in their communities. Among the institutions participating in the program are detention centers in Morganton, Lenoir and Lincolnton.

20 North Carolina state facilities provided about 36,313 pounds of fresh produce to local food banks and anti-hunger organizations. The “Combating Hunger” project is in its second year, in conjunction with Harvest Now, a national non-profit that works with several state prison systems.

In the first growing season last year, inmates grew and donated 16,250 pounds of fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables grown include squash, winter cabbage, collards, onions, tomatoes, watermelon, bell peppers and cucumbers.

Harvest Now donates $7,000 worth of seeds to the participating institutions and the facilities work with local community colleges or agricultural extension offices for expertise and advice on planting and tending their gardens.

More information about Harvest Now is available at Harvest-Now.net.

39-year-old Mandy Mikeal Austin of Cube Drive in Valdese was arrested by Hickory Police at about 7:15 Saturday evening (December 17) on one felony count of failure to appear and one misdemeanor count of shoplifting.

She was arrested after Police were called to Walmart on Highway 70 S.E. where loss prevention reported that Austin had been seen in the feminine hygiene and automotive aisles concealing items. She was stopped by Loss Prevention and taken into custody by Hickory Police.

Austin had an outstanding warrant for her arrest dating back to July of this year for failure to appear on charges of withholding a financial transaction card and financial card fraud.

Austin was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under an $11,500 secured bond. Appearances in District Court were scheduled for January 3 and February 7 in Newton.

32-year-old Erika Nicole Self of 5th Street N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 5:15 Friday on one felony count of habitual larceny and one misdemeanor count of resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer.

She was arrested at the Best Buy store on Catawba Valley Boulevard. A Loss Prevention Officer watched as Self allegedly removed the anti-theft devices from three Fit Bit Blaze fitness watches and concealed the items on her person. She was approached by Loss Prevention and by Hickory Police. Self initially refused to stop for the Officers, resulting in the resisting charge. The fitness watches were found and recovered.

Self was taken into custody and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond. She has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was set for tomorrow (December 20) in Newton.

27-year-old Dominique Terrell Stinson of 29th Street S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 5:15 Saturday afternoon (December 17) for a felony probation violation and one misdemeanor count of failure to appear. He faces charges for battery of an unborn child and failure to pay child support.

Stinson was on probation following a July 2015 conviction in Catawba County for possession of a schedule II controlled substance. He had been listed as an absconder for probation.

Stinson was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $21,000, secured, plus a $1,500 cash bond on the child support charges. He was scheduled to appear in Superior Court on December 20 in Newton. Additional court dates were scheduled for January 5 & 25.

27-year-old George “Jordy” Foster of Junaluska Road in Boone was arrested by Boone Police yesterday (December 18) on one count of felonious assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

At about 1:50 yesterday afternoon, Boone Police, Watauga Medics and Watauga Sheriff’s Deputies responded to an assault with a knife on North Street. Upon arrival, Officers found a male victim suffering from a stab wound to the leg. Watauga Medics took the victim to Watauga Medical Center.

An investigation led to Foster’s arrest. He was jailed under a $55,000 secured bond. An appearance in appearance in Watauga District Court was set for January 17.

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