This year, the City of Hickory’s Fire and Police Departments continued the tradition of assisting families in need and bringing smiles to the faces of local children by leading the special toy collection drives Bikes for Tykes and Cops for Tots.
Over $27,000 was raised to purchase more than 600 bikes this holiday season. These bikes were then assembled by firefighters and friends from the St. Stephens, Conover, Claremont, Newton, and Propst Crossroads fire departments as well as Hickory firefighters. The donated bicycles and tricycles were distributed to local children at the Catawba County Christmas Bureau held at the American Legion Fairgrounds on December 18 and 19.
The Cops for Tots program assisted approximately 980 children from birth to age 13. The Wish House was held at Winkler Park on December 12 through 14, where collected and purchased toys were sorted according to gender and age group.
35-year-old Thomas Paul James of Power Line Drive in Newton was arrested Sunday (December 24) by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with felony malicious conduct by a prisoner. In addition, James is charged with misdemeanor counts of simple assault, resisting a public officer, and assault on a government official. James was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $27,000 bond. District Court appearances are scheduled for Thursday (December 28) and February 7.
A woman was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Iredell County. According to published reports, the accident happened Tuesday afternoon when a Ford Explorer traveling east on Interstate 40 near mile marker 157 ran off the road, overturned multiple times and struck a tree. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol reportedly said the vehicle's back right tire blew out, causing the driver to lose control of the SUV.
The driver, 55-year-old Brenda Smith McCrary of Newton, was pronounced dead at the scene. Ms. McCrary’s sisters, who were passengers in the Ford, were taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. They are 71-year-old Joanne Hedrick and 63-year-old Jesse Stevens.
Speed is not considered a factor in the crash. Officials say that everyone in the vehicle was wearing a seat belt. The crash is currently under investigation.
55-year-old Michael Eugene Walker of Powell Road in Lenoir was arrested last Friday (December 22) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. Walker was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court date is set for January 11.
45-year-old Timon Jerome Michaux of NW Rankin Street in Lenoir was arrested Saturday (December 23) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession with intent to sell or deliver schedule II controlled substance and maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for controlled substance. Michaux has been released after posting $9,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Thursday (December 28).
Wondering what you'll do with your Christmas tree and other natural decorations after the holiday season is over? Catawba County's Landfill staff, in cooperation with Republic Services, has an answer for you. Christmas trees and other natural decorations will be accepted curbside and at all five Solidwaste Convenience Centers located around Catawba County today through January 19.
No ornaments, bases or other decorations should be left on trees. Residents who have curbside collection service with Republic Services may put their used Christmas tree out with their garbage on their curbside collection day. Trees will be picked up by a separate Republic Services truck. The curbside service schedule is running one day behind schedule now through Saturday (December 30). Republic Services will resume their regular curbside service schedule on Monday, January 1.
Some municipalities in Catawba County are handling tree pickup separately within their boundaries, so residents of municipalities should check with the government office in their city or town to be sure of the schedule and procedure they should follow. County Solidwaste Convenience Centers will accept Christmas trees and other natural decorations now through January 19 only.
The County’s five Solidwaste Convenience Centers are located on Rocky Ford Road off Highway 10 West in Newton (across from the Blackburn Landfill); on Bethany Church Road in Newton; on Rhoney Farm Road in the Cooksville area; on Lookout Dam Road in the Oxford area; and on Sherrills Ford Road. For more information go to the Catawba County Government website, www.catawbacountync.gov.
The North Carolina Department of Justice is warning citizens to be on the lookout for scammers, especially during this time of year when so many people are in the giving spirit.
Scammers know that many of us will make charitable donations as the year comes to a close, and they target our heartstrings as they attempt to fatten their wallets. This year the Attorney General's Office has partnered with a number of agencies and organizations, including the Better Business Bureau and the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, to help you avoid being a victim.
During this holiday period, be on the lookout for phony charities with sound-alike names designed to remind you of legitimate charities. To separate real charities from fakes or to identify charities that make the best use of your donations, check out a charity’s annual report with the Secretary of State’s Office. You can also use resources like Charity Watch and the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance.
For best results, give to charities you’re already familiar with, and ones you can see doing good in your community. For more information, including tips for those who might be considering year-end investments and financial decisions, visit the Attorney General's “Don’t Get Taken in the Season of Giving” website.
If you think you’ve been victimized by any scam, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division or call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
36-year-old Romel Barta McDonald of 3rd Avenue Place SE in Hickory was arrested Monday (December 25) by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with felony breaking and entering and misdemeanor injury to real property. McDonald was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $10,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Thursday (December 28).
28-year-old Shawn Lane Hodge of Playmore Beach Road in Lenoir was arrested Friday (December 22) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. Hodge was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for January 11.
25-year-old Seria Lynn Norman of Glimmering Sands Lane in Conover was arrested last Friday (December 22) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance, along with misdemeanor counts of simple possession of schedule IV controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting a public officer, and driving while license revoked. Norman was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $4,000 bond. District Court dates are scheduled for Thursday (December 28) and January 26.
Four suspects were arrested and drugs, cash, and weapons were seized at a Lincoln County home.
40-year-old Stephen Wayne Blanton, 34-year-old Tracy Michelle Blanton, and 27-year-old Ethan James Johnson, all of the same Hull McGinnis Road, Lincolnton, address, and 34-year-old Robin Wayne Estep of Maiden, were all arrested last Friday (December 22) by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers.
Stephen Blanton was charged with one felony count each of possession of a firearm by a felon, conspiracy to possess methamphetamine, maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance, and conspiracy. He is also charged with one misdemeanor count each of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and misdemeanor child abuse.
Tracy Blanton was charged with one felony count each of maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance, and conspiracy. She is also charged with one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and misdemeanor child abuse. Johnson was served warrants for felony possession of a firearm by a felon and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Estep was served with an outstanding warrant for failure to appear.
Last Friday, Lincoln County deputies assigned to the Baker District and narcotics investigators executed a search warrant at a residence in the 2700 block of Hull-McGinnis Road in Lincolnton. Deputies received information that the residence had large amounts of methamphetamine and was also a location where drugs were being sold.
While serving the search warrant, officers encountered four adults and two small children in the residence. During the search deputies seized over 26 grams of methamphetamine. Multiple glass pipes and drug paraphernalia were found throughout the house. Marijuana, more than $4,300 in cash and four firearms were also recovered.
The children were placed with responsible adults and the four adults in the house were arrested. Stephen Blanton was jailed under a $50,000 secured bond. Tracy Blanton's bond was set at $20,000 secured. Johnson was jailed under a $15,000 secured bond. They're all scheduled to appear in District Court Thursday (December 28). Estep received a $1,000 secured bond, he has a District Court date February 13.
31-year-old Tasha Nicole Kirby of Sand Stone Lane in Lenoir was arrested last Friday (December 22) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. Following the arrest, Kirby was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for January 11.
A man was killed in a residential fire over the weekend in Catawba County. According to multiple published reports, 69-year-old Bobby Finley was killed in a fire at a single-wide mobile home in the 5800 block of Rosies Hollow Road, which is a dead end street east of Bandys High School.
According to the reports, Investigators say a space heater appeared to be the cause of the fire, which occurred at around 5 p.m. Saturday (December 23). The Catawba County Sheriff's Office and fire officials are investigating the blaze. There were no other injuries as a result of the fire.
A bank robbery in Statesville is under investigation. Last Friday (December 22), Statesville Police officers responded to First National Bank at 3475 East Broad Street. Upon arrival, officers discovered that a man had entered the bank armed with a handgun, demanded money, and then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect left in what was described as a dark colored passenger car, which was parked near the front entrance.
No employees were injured during the robbery. Suspect and vehicle descriptions were immediately broadcast to surrounding Law Enforcement Agencies. Officers and Deputies from the Iredell County Sheriff's Office searched the area; however the suspect was not located.
The suspect was described as a black male, tall, with short “goatee” style facial hair. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up. He was wearing a ball cap under the hood of the sweatshirt. The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information concerning this robbery or suspect is asked to contact the Statesville Police Department at 704-878-3406, or Iredell Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340. Callers can remain anonymous, and a cash reward is possible.
The preparation, demolition and construction of a new bridge on Falls Avenue in southern Caldwell County is complete. The bridge is now open to traffic. N.C. Department of Transportation engineers conducted an inspection of the bridge over Old Mill Pond on Friday morning (December 22) and declared the bridge safe for traffic.
Several finishing touches remain before the construction is declared complete. The causeway will be removed, a final layer of asphalt will be placed, permanent paint markings will be sprayed and landscaping will be finished in the spring.
A bridge of this size — 40 feet wide, 400 feet long with two center pilings and a 5.5-foot sidewalk on the east side — typically takes 36 months to go from a concept to completion. Less than 15 months elapsed from the day the previous 67-year-old predecessor suffered damage until the re-opening.
The old bridge was made of wood and was built in 1949 and it carried an average of 5,300 vehicles per day in 2014. NCDOT officials considered making short-term repairs, but those proved to be inefficient. Building a new bridge on an accelerated schedule was determined to be the most efficient use of time and funds. The cost of the new bridge was $3.2 million.
25-year-old Christina Jean Harris of Horseshoe Lake Road in Lincolnton was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 5:30 p.m. yesterday (December 21) on one felony count each of obtaining property by false pretense and financial card theft. The warrant for her arrest was issued on June 5 of this year.
Harris was taken into custody at the Sunny Valley housing complex on 3rd Avenue S.E. in Hickory. She was processed at the Hickory Police Department and then released under a $5,000 unsecured bond. An appearance in Superior Court was set for December 28 in Newton.
41-year-old Michael Edward Gwaltney was arrested Thursday (December 21) by authorities in Lincoln County. He's charged with two felony counts of uttering a forged instrument and four felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. He was arrested at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at an address on North Court Square in Lincolnton. Gwaltney was placed in jail under $52,000 secured bond. His next District Court appearance is scheduled for January 11.
34-year-old Michael Alvin Punch of Mitchell Drive in Hickory and 23-year-old Justin Nathaniel Helton of Paynes Dairy Road in Taylorsville were arrested today (December 22) by Hickory Police Officers. They're each charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. Punch is also charged on a warrant from Gaston County with failure to appear on a count of driving while license revoked.
The suspects were arrested without incident just before 4 a.m. today at an address on Highway 70 SW in Hickory. Following their arrests, both men were jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility. Punch was confined under $13,500 bond, Helton's bond was set at $12,000 secured. District Court appearances are scheduled for next Thursday (December 28) for both suspects. Punch also has a District Court date in Gaston County scheduled for October 10, 2018.
46-year-old Michael Gerald Wall, who is listed as a homeless person from Hickory, was arrested by Hickory Police at about one o’clock yesterday afternoon on one felony count of larceny of a motor vehicle. The warrant for his arrest was issued on December 14. Following his arrest, Wall was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $8,000, secured. He’ll make a first appearance on January 17 in the Davidson County courthouse.
35-year-old Stephen Darrell Marlowe of 33rd Street SW in Hickory was arrested today (December 22) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged on a Grand Jury Indictment with possession of methamphetamine. Following the arrest, Marlowe was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $2,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for December 28.