Unemployment rates increased across the Hickory Metro area and throughout much of the state according to the most recent numbers released by the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor & Economic Analysis Division. The May unemployment rates were released earlier this month.
Catawba County's unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, up from 3.3 percent in the April report. Alexander County's jobless rate rose to 3.6 percent from 3.1. Burke County's May unemployment rate is listed at 3.9 percent, up from 3.4 percent in April. Caldwell County's jobless rate is 4.3 percent, up from 3.8.
The unemployment rate for the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA is 3.9 percent, up from 3.4 in April. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton is tied for the seventh lowest unemployment rate among 15 MSAs in the state.
North Carolina's unemployment rate is 4 percent even, up from 3.6 percent in the previous report. Unemployment rates increased in 95 of North Carolina's 100 counties, decreased in three, and remained unchanged in two. Hyde County has the state's highest unemployment rate at 6.8 percent while Buncombe County has the lowest at 3.1 percent. Compared with the same month last year, unemployment rates increased in 94 counties, decreased in four, and remained unchanged in two.
21-year-old Kelsey Gene Webb of Family Ridge Lane in Lenoir was arrested Monday (July 15) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of safe cracking and larceny. Webb was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $15,000 secured bond. A District Court date is scheduled for Wednesday (July 17).
We have more information on an arrest we first reported last week on WHKY. 18-year-old Christian Allen Michael Keller of McCombs Street in Newton was arrested Friday (July 12) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and resisting a public officer.
Friday, at approximately 1:30 a.m., a Catawba County Sheriff’s Office deputy conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for a traffic violation in the area of NC Highway 127 and Deerfield Road in Hickory. During the investigation, the driver of the vehicle was identified as Christian Allen Michael Keller.
According to information released Monday (July 15) by the Sheriff's Office, Keller was found to be in possession of 45.4 grams of methamphetamine, along with a set of digital scales. Keller was arrested and taken before a magistrate, where his bond was set at $50,000 secured. He was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility, where he remained as of earlier today (July 16). A District Court appearance is scheduled for August 2.
33-year-old Ricky Lee Chad Phillips of Falls Avenue in Granite Falls was arrested by Caldwell Co. Sheriff's Officers Saturday (July 13) on one felony count accessory after the fact. Following his arrest, Phillips was jailed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today (July 15) in Lenoir.
30-year-old Justin Neal Lee Weaver of West First Street in Newton was arrested by Caldwell Co. Sheriff's Officers Saturday (July 13) on one felony count each of breaking & entering, larceny after breaking & entering, and possession of stolen goods or property. Weaver was locked up in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $15,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today (July 15) in Lenoir.
25-year-old Chaston Mariah Wilson of N.W. Vance Street in Lenoir was arrested by Caldwell Co. Sheriff's Officers Friday (July 12) on one felony count each of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a schedule II controlled substance and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place for a controlled substance, plus one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Wilson was placed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $25,000, secured. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today (July 15) in Lenoir.
33-year-old Alexus Gabriel Blake of Abington Road in Lenoir was arrested by Caldwell Co. Sheriff's Officers Saturday (July 13) on one felony count of trafficking in methamphetamine. Following her arrest, Blake was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $30,000, secured. She was not listed as an inmate in Caldwell County as of this morning (July 15). Blake was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today in Lenoir.
According to a spokesperson from Duke Energy, a vehicle accident Sunday (July 14) on Highway 127 in Hickory (near the fire department) took out a double circuit pole, resulting in about 1,800 outages in the city. Service was out from approximately 6:30 p.m. Sunday until 12:20 a.m. today (July 15). Duke Energy work crews were able to perform some switching procedures, restoring service to about half of the affected customers prior to the 12:20 restoration time.
19-year-old Jaekwon Lemont Staton of Highland Avenue S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police early Sunday morning (July 14) on three felony counts of breaking & entering a motor vehicle. Staton was taken into custody without incident at about 6:10 a.m. yesterday on the 200 block of 5th Avenue N.W. in Hickory. He was taken to the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $1,500, secured. An appearance in District Court was scheduled for July 22 in Newton.
54-year-old Melinda Brown Little of Scottsman Drive in Troutman was arrested Friday (July 12) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony stalking, along with two misdemeanor counts of stalking and single misdemeanor counts of second-degree trespassing and cyberstalking.
On July 2, a report was filed with the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office in reference to stalking, and trespassing. During the course of the investigation, the victims said the suspect, Melinda Brown Little, stalked them and trespassed on their property. The victims originally had taken out charges on this suspect in 2017. Since this time Brown has allegedly continued to harass, stalk and trespass on the victim’s family property at different times.
Little was initially arrested on July 8 and was later released. As part of the bond release instructions, Little was ordered to not be in the vicinity of or harass the victims. On July 9 she allegedly drove by the victim’s residence. This resulted in the felony stalking warrant being served.
Little received a $25,000 secured bond. A District Court date was scheduled today (July 15).
27-year-old Samantha Danielle Kirkland of McDaniels Circle in Newton was arrested by Hickory Police just before 11:30 last night (July 14) on one felony count of possession of heroin.
She was arrested after Officers responded to an address near an auto dealership on South Center Street in reference to a suspicious person. According to H.P.D., Kirkland was found with 0.8 grams of heroin in her possession.
She was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $5,000, secured. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.
19-year-old Angel Joseph Medina of Stonewood Drive in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police just after 11:30 Saturday night (July 13) on warrants out of Alexander and Caldwell counties. He's charged with a felony out-of-county probation violation and with failure to appear on a charge of driving while license revoked. Medina is on probation as he serves a 36-month suspended sentence following a September 2018 felony conviction for breaking & entering and failure to return rental property.
Hickory Police also charged Medina with resisting a public officer. As he was arrested on the outstanding warrants, Medina initially gave Officers a false name, resulting in the resisting charge.
The suspect was taken into custody without incident at a fast-food restaurant on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory. He was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $13,000 secured bond. An appearance in Superior Court on the probation violation was scheduled today in Taylorsville. Medina also has District Court dates on July 22 in Newton and on August 19 in Lenoir.
26-year-old Jacob Ballard Hensley of Bradley Park Drive in Nebo was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before 4 p.m. Saturday (July 13) on a felony warrant for interfering with an electronic monitoring device and a parole violation. The warrant was issued in McDowell County. He’s on parole following a November 2018 conviction in Cleveland County for felony attempted common-law robbery.
Hensley was taken into custody without incident at a clothing store on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $15,000. An appearance in District Court was scheduled today (July 15) in Marion.
51-year-old John Ray Davidson was arrested Friday (July 12) by Alexander County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged on a fugitive warrant from Sullivan County, Tennessee. Davidson was wanted for felony failure to appear on a 2011 case of felony aggravated assault.
On Friday, the Sheriff’s Office conducted a vehicle stop on NC 127 after a suspicious moped was spotted in the area. After checking the identification of the driver, John Ray Davidson, it was discovered that he was a wanted fugitive from Tennessee.
Davidson was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Alexander County Detention Center to await an extradition hearing. His bond was set at $25,000 secured. A District Court date was scheduled today (July 15).
36-year-old Nicholas Brandon Ward of Reidsville was arrested Friday (July 12) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of trafficking heroin by possession and transport, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
On Friday, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office was called to assist another agency with a traffic stop on Turnersburg Highway. A driver’s license check of the driver of the truck, Nicholas Brandon Ward, indicated he was wanted out of Rockingham County, and to approach with caution if encountered.
Ward was detained on the outstanding warrant. A search of the truck located a large quantity of heroin. The suspect was then arrested on the drug counts. His bond was set at $800,000 secured.
Ward had been released from custody in Rockingham County last Monday (July 8) after posting $500,000 dollars secured bond on charges including trafficking heroin. His Iredell County District Court appearance was scheduled today (July 15).
36-year-old Horacio Ibarra-Cabrera of 12th Street NE in Hickory was arrested Sunday (July 14) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Ibarra-Cabrera was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility undeHickory Man Charged With Stolen Vehicle Possessionr $3,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (July 15).
45-year-old Robert James Salyards of Deal Road in Claremont was arrested Sunday (July 14) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, and failure to appear on counts of felony possession of meth and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Salyards was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $15,000 bond. District Court appearances were scheduled today (July 15) and July 24.
Donald Arthur Blevins III of Wilkesboro Highway in Statesville was arrested Sunday (July 14) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of first-degree burglary, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, and larceny.
At approximately 2:00 a.m. Sunday a 911 call was received from a residence on Rosie Apple Lane in Statesville in reference to a home invasion. When Deputies arrived they provided aid to a total of five victims, secured the scene, and searched the surrounding area for possible suspects. One victim was transported to the hospital with a stab wound to the top of his head, and other injuries.
The victims stated sometime after midnight four or five masked people forced their way into the home. The victims said suspect had guns, and ordered the victims to give them money, and drugs. The victims were then tied up by the suspects. The home owner described being beaten with brass knuckles, and being stabbed in the head. His injuries, although severe, are not life threatening.
According to the home owner during the initial struggle the mask covering one of the suspect’s faces came down, and he saw Donald Blevins, a man he personally knows.
The suspects reportedly stole multiple items. The suspects then left the victims tied up after leaving the home. One of the victims was able to get free, and called 911.
At around 10:00 a.m. Sunday, Blevins was located arriving at his fiancée’s home. He was taken into custody, and transported to the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect's home and vehicle were searched. Evidence was found at both locations which was consistent with statements made by the victims.
Bond for Blevins was set at $500,000 secured. No court date was listed. The investigation is still on going and additional arrests are expected in this case.
With temperatures on the rise this summer, households experiencing a cooling-related crisis may apply for financial assistance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Crisis Intervention Program (CIP).
According to a news release issued by Catawba County officials, households may qualify for CIP assistance if they have received a disconnect notice for their primary cooling source; do not have timely and appropriate assistance available from another source; and do not have the resources to meet the expense. Qualifying guidelines also consider medical risk, age of residents, and certain situations associated with excessively high temperatures in the home.
Households are eligible to apply if they have not exceeded the maximum limit for CIP assistance, which is $600 per household from July 2019 through June 2020. All payments are made directly to the vendor.
Households must apply in the county where they live and provide the disconnect notice for their cooling, a picture ID, a Social Security card or number for everyone in the household, and income and resource information for everyone in the household.
Catawba County residents may apply for CIP assistance at Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry (ECCCM), located at 245 East N Street in Newton. Greenway Public Transit Route 3 has a sheltered stop near ECCCM and also offers dial-a-ride service which can be reserved three businesses days in advance by calling (828) 464-9444.
For more information, call Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry at (828) 465-1702.
Hickory City Council will meet in regular session Tuesday night (July 16). Among the items on Tuesday's consent agenda is the approval of the first amendment to the Interlocal Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding for the Development of Trivium Corporate Center.
Other items on the consent agenda include the acceptance of an agreement for professional services with Scott Mitchell Design Architects in the amount of $101,250 for architectural engineering services related to additions and upgrades at the Hickory Metro Convention Center. In addition, the consent agenda includes the approval to submit a grant application to Duke Energy Foundation to acquire a side-by-side utility terrain vehicle for use in severe weather response, fire response, medical calls, and search & rescue operations.
Under special presentations, Hickory City Council will recognize several retiring boards & commission members. Council will also go into closed session to discuss a pair of items. Tuesday's Hickory City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Julian G. Whitener Municipal Building at 76 North Center Street in Hickory.