A fundraiser will be held at Shell’s Bar-B-Q this Saturday (August 20) to benefit the family of a local man who was seriously injured in an automobile accident on June 7 in Hickory.
43-year-old Randy Brendle of Conover was injured in a three-vehicle collision at the intersection of Tate Boulevard and the McDonald Parkway. One of the other drivers was also injured, but the driver at fault (who was reportedly speeding) was not hurt.
Mr. Brendle, who was not fully healed from a previous major surgical procedure at the time of the crash, has had approximately 20 surgeries since that time. He has had a skin graft in an attempt to close his abdomen and still faces months of rehab and additional surgeries to reconnect tissue and organs in his abdomen.
He has been in the intensive care unit at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem since the accident. The family is dealing with mounting expenses as Mr. Brendle’s wife, Regina, has been spending as much time as possible at the hospital. The couple has a 12-year-old son.
The fundraiser at Shell’s will take place Saturday from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. The restaurant is located at 2609 Springs Road N.E. in Hickory. Anyone wishing to help can also donate at www.gofundme.com/2a2eyrnm.
Minelli Group S.p.A., an international leader in developing and producing specialty wood products, will locate their first U.S. manufacturing operation in Hickory. The company has purchased an 18,000 square foot building at 1245 26th Street S.E. in Hickory. They will invest more than $2-million in new equipment and will create 12 new jobs immediately.
The new location, called Minelli USA, will allow the company to transfer existing U.S. business from Italy to the Hickory plant and to grow their product offerings in the United States.
Established in Bergamo, Italy by Francesco Minelli and his three sons, the Minelli Group has manufactured solid wood parts for over 75 years. The company is a global supplier of wooden shotgun and rifle stocks for major U.S. firearms brands. They operate four production plants across Europe making products used in tools, packaging, eyewear, stationary, homeware, wellness and toys. The Minelli Group serves more than 200 customers in 20 countries.
The first phase of hiring will begin in early September. The N.C. Works Career Center-Catawba will assist the Minelli Group with their employee recruitment efforts. They’re looking for talent in office administration, woodworking and finishing. Jobseekers should have a technical aptitude and an eagerness to learn operation of the company’s advanced sanding and spraying robotics.
To apply for employment, contact the Catawba County office of the N.C. Works Career Center at 828-466-5535. The office is located at 403 Conover Station S.E. in Conover.
23-year-old Lee Marcus Wilson of 14th Street S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (August 17) on one felony count of possession of a stolen firearm and one misdemeanor count each of carrying a concealed gun, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving while license revoked.
He was arrested after Police stopped a silver BMW driven by Wilson on the 2300 block of Springs Road N.E. in Hickory for an expired license tag. Officers identified the driver and found that he had an expired driver’s license.
A search of Wilson’s person turned up a digital scale with marijuana residue. In the vehicle’s center console, Officers found a Ruger P89 semi-automatic handgun. The gun had been reported as stolen from Caldwell County.
Wilson was taken into custody without incident at about 20 minutes past midnight. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $10,000, secured. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today in Newton.
32-year-old Angela Michelle Sullivan of Spencer Road NE in Conover was arrested Tuesday (August 16) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with trafficking opium or heroin, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule I controlled substance, and sale and delivery of schedule I controlled substance. Sullivan was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $70,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Wednesday, August 17).
A moving company employee has been charged with stealing jewelry from a family moving to Denver, North Carolina from Georgia.
According to information released Tuesday (August 16) by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, 40-year-old Michael Paul Rife of Comanche Road in Huntersville was arrested by Huntersville Police and turned over to Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers last Thursday (August 11). He's charged with felony larceny.
The family victimized in this case had hired a moving company through U-Haul to help unload a truck that was used to move their belongings to a residence on Silver Jade Trail in Denver. The company provided two workers to do the task on June 11, 2016. The supervisor of the crew discovered one of the men removed jewelry during the job and turned it over to the Huntersville Police Department. The jewelry was identified by the woman’s name inscribed in a class ring.
Detective Greg Hager of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office began following up on the information provided by Huntersville Police and discovered the suspect in the case was Michael Paul Rife. Witnesses were interviewed and Detective Hager obtained a warrant for Felony Larceny last Wednesday (August 10). The arrest was made the next day and according to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, during an interview with Detective Hager, Rife admitted to taking the jewelry.
Rife was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. He's scheduled to appear in District Court August 30.
31-year-old Sami Anne Grassman of Boone was arrested Tuesday (August 16) by Boone Police Officers. She's charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill.
At 8:10 Monday night (August 15), Boone Police responded to an assault call at 167 Zeb Street in Boone. When Officers arrived, they found 27-year-old Jonathan Glen Pleasant of Boone suffering from a stab wound to the upper chest. Officers rendered emergency medical care until Watauga Medics arrived and transported Mr. Pleasant to Watauga Medical Center. He was later transferred to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
Investigators responded and processed the scene. As a result of their investigation, Grassman was identified as a suspect in the stabbing and was subsequently taken into custody. Following her arrest, Grassman was taken before a Watauga County Magistrate where an October 20 District Court date was set. She was placed in jail under no bond pending her first appearance. No update has been given on Pleasant's condition.
One person is dead and two others are in custody following an Officer-involved shooting Tuesday (August 16) in the parking lot at Walmart on Blowing Rock Boulevard in Lenoir. The deceased was identified as 32-year-old Carl Marcus Nivens of Lenoir.
At 8:23 a.m. Tuesday, Lenoir Police Officers responded to investigate reports of a vehicle break-in. One Officer exited the store behind a possible suspect, who turned out to be Nivins, and another officer waited near the exit of the store. The suspect turned at the officers while running and fired in their direction. The officer trailing the suspect engaged in a physical struggle with Nivins, the Officer who was at the exit returned fire, killing the suspect.
Officers were equipped with Body Worn Cameras. The video and audio from these systems along with the surveillance video from Walmart confirmed the evidence at the scene. The video has not been released. 24-year-old Natasha Rae Stanley of Timerill Drive in Morganton and 32-year-old Jose Alberto Flores of Caldwell Street in Rhodhiss were arrested on outstanding warrants from Burke County on unrelated charges. Stanley is charged with failure to appear on a nonsupport charge and Flores is charged with felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The officer involved in the struggle with Nivins sustained minor injuries, otherwise no one else was injured. The investigation into this case is continuing, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is the lead agency.
The City of Hickory has contracted with Astron General Contracting to perform repairs on the 21st Ave. NW bridge over Horseford Creek, commonly known as the curved bridge near Hilton Park. Work is scheduled to begin next Monday (August 22) and the anticipated completion date is September 16.
Traffic will be maintained on the bridge by temporary automated traffic signals on each end of the bridge. Two-way, one-lane traffic will be maintained on the bridge during the repair process. All traffic will be stopped on occasion for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Detour signs will be installed to redirect traffic during those events.
If you have any questions, contact the City of Hickory Engineering Department at (828) 323-7416.
19-year-old Jouse Abraham Robles-Barbosa and 22-year-old Ray Santaigo Luna, both of Charlotte, have been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on multiple felony drug offenses.
Their arrests were the result of a four-month undercover narcotics investigation that ended on Friday, August 12. Agencies involved include the Iredell County Sheriff’s Narcotics Investigation Unit, the Special Emergency Response Team and Special Agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
In May, Investigators learned of large amounts of methamphetamine being trafficked into southern Iredell County. Surveillance operations were established and undercover purchases were made. During the investigation, further information was gained regarding meth that was brought in from Mecklenburg County. Additional purchases and surveillance operations led to several locations outside of Iredell County.
On Friday, Robles-Barbosa and Luna were taken into custody at a gas station at Exit 31 off of I-77 South. A search of their vehicle turned up a sawed off shotgun, two semi-automatic pistols, 21.2 grams of cocaine, 116 grams of hydroponic marijuana and 317 grams of meth, a police scanner, two ski masks and $9,000 in U.S. Currency. In all, during the investigation, 600 grams of meth with a street value of $240,000 were seized.
A records check revealed that Ray Luna is wanted in New York state for narcotics trafficking. Investigators also learned that one of the two pistols seized was stolen.
Both suspects were taken to the Iredell County Detention Center. Robles-Barbosa was charged with three counts of level 1 trafficking of meth by sale, possession and transport and one count each of level 2 trafficking of meth by sale, possession and transport. He was also charged with possession with intent to sell cocaine, possession with intent to sell marijuana and possession of a stolen firearm. Luna faces one count each of level 2 trafficking of meth by possession and transport. He was also charged with possession with intent to sell cocaine, possession with intent to sell marijuana, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon. In addition, Luna is being held on the fugitive warrant from New York.
Robles-Barbosa was placed under a $1,500,000 secured bond and Luna’s bond was set at $750,000, secured. Both men will appear in District Court on August 30.
At 8:10 last night (August 15), Boone Police responded to an assault call at 167 Zeb Street in Boone. When Officers arrived, they found 27-year-old Jonathan Glen Pleasant of Boone suffering from a stab wound to the upper chest. Officers rendered emergency medical care until Watauga Medics arrived and transported Mr. Pleasant to Watauga Medical Center. He was later transferred to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
Investigators responded and processed the scene. A suspect has been identified, but the identity of the suspect is not being released at this time pending formal charges.
The investigation incident is continuing.
The second annual 2016 Footcandle Film Festival is coming to the Drendel Auditorium at the SALT Block the weekend of September 23-25. The film festival will bring 30 films for attendees to view. They’ll have the chance to meet some of the filmmakers throughout the weekend. A complete list of the films, their descriptions and trailers can be found on the festival website (footcandlefilmfestival.com).
After two full days of films, the festival will conclude at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday with an awards ceremony at The Crossing at Hollar Mill where festival winners will be announced and a full dinner will be served to attendees.
Tickets are now on sale to the general public. Visit footcandlefilmfestival.com and click the “Buy Tickets” link on the homepage. Weekend passes are available.
For more information, contact the Film Society at email@example.com or visit the festival’s website.
54-year-old Timothy Martin Benvenuti of 28th Avenue N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 9:45 last night (August 15) on one misdemeanor count of child abuse.
He was arrested after personnel with St. Stephens Elementary School reported that Benvenuti struck two minor subjects while in transit to or from the school’s Before & After School program.
Benvenuti was taken into custody without incident at his residence. He was taken to the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $1,000 secured bond. He is no longer in custody. An appearance in District Court was scheduled for September 28.
27-year-old Adrian Durrand Johnson, Jr. of 5th Avenue S.W. in Hickory was arrested at about 8 a.m. yesterday (August 15) by Hickory Police on a number of outstanding warrants. He is charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule II controlled substance and misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana up to half an ounce and simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance. He was also charged with failure to appear on felony counts of possession of cocaine and speeding to elude arrest with a motor vehicle, plus additional failure to appear charges on misdemeanor counts of assault on a female, resisting a public officer (two counts), driving while license revoked (two counts) and speeding.
Johnson was taken into custody without incident at a residence on Camp Street in Conover. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $95,000, secured. Appearances in Superior Court on the felony drug charges were scheduled for today and for October 3. District Court dates were set for August 24 & 31, all in Newton.
One person is dead and two others are in custody following an Officer-involved shooting this morning in the parking lot at Walmart on Blowing Rock Boulevard in Lenoir. The deceased has been identified as Carl Marcus Nivens.
The incident occurred around 9 a.m. today (August 16). Events unfolded as Lenoir Police responded to reports of a vehicle break-in. As an Officer exited the store behind a possible suspect, the man turned and fired at the Officer. The Officer returned fire, killing the suspect.
After the shooting, a handgun was reportedly spotted on the pavement outside the store and plastic tarps were draped near the store’s home & pharmacy entrance. A male and a female were with the deceased prior to the shooting. They were both detained and remained in custody as of this afternoon.
No one else was injured.
The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is the lead agency.
38-year-old Amanda Jo Greer of Lemont Avenue in Hudson was arrested yesterday (August 15) by Hudson Police on charges of breaking & entering, injury to real property, domestic criminal trespass and a probation violation. Greer is on probation for an August 2013 D.W.I. conviction in Caldwell County.
Following her arrest, she was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $10,500, secured. Greer will appear in District Court on September 20 in Lenoir.
Contractors in Morganton are refurbishing manholes this week in the northern part of the city.
Contractors will be at work on Williams Street, Holly Place, Laurel Hills Drive, Wedgewood Drive and Wedgewood Court. The work is part of a larger capital improvement program started in July to address infiltration and inflow into the city's sewer system.
Water Resources Director Brad Boris, Water Resources Director says the program has resulted in reduced treatment costs at the plant. He says that keeping stormwater and groundwater out of the city’s sewer system is a priority because those waters are major contributors to sanitary sewer overflows.
For more information, call the Water Resources Department at 828-438-5276.
60-year-old Henry Calvin Kennedy of Rosewald Street in Catawba has been arrested by Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Officers on two counts each of assault on a female and communicating threats. The charges date back to 2014. Kennedy was jailed yesterday (August 15) in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $20,000 secured bond. He will appear in Superior Court on August 29 in Newton.
22-year-old Travis Martin Allen of Swafford Road in Spruce Pine has been charged by McDowell County Sheriff’s Detectives with taking indecent liberties with a child.
Detective Billie Brown says Allen had inappropriate sexual contact with a 12-year-old female acquaintance in McDowell County in July. The girl’s family reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Office. Similar charges against Allen are pending in Mitchell County.
He has a court date in Mitchell County today (August 16) with an appearance in a McDowell County courtroom coming up on August 31.
25-year-old Michael William Watkins of N.W. Wheeler Street in Lenoir was arrested by Lenoir Police yesterday (August 15) on charges of felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, misdemeanor assault on a female and misdemeanor injury to personal property. Following his arrest, Watkins was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $55,000, secured. He was scheduled to appear in District Court on the felony charge today, with another court date coming up on August 18.
A Catawba man accused of a 2012 murder and subsequent burning of the victim’s body pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a prison term of at least 20 years during Catawba County Superior Court today (August 15).
36-year-old Jermaine Wilkes of Edna Street in Catawba pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, concealing or failing to report a death and burning personal property. He was convicted for the June 7, 2012 slaying of 22-year-old Brianne Mary Ginty.
Wilkes’ murder trial had been scheduled to begin today; however, following his guilty plea, the Honorable Robert T. Sumner, Superior Court Judge from Gaston County, sentenced Wilkes to serve 20 to 26 years in the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections. Wilkes has been incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Center since his arrest in June of 2012.
Ginty’s parents, Patrick and Susan, both addressed the court today. In a statement read by Assistant District Attorney Lance Sigmon, Patrick Ginty acknowledged the loss of a “daughter and friend” while asking the court to give Wilkes the maximum sentence possible to bring closure to the family.
On June 7, 2012, Firefighters from Sherrills Ford Fire & Rescue responded to a vehicle fire on Hopewell Church Road in Catawba and found a vehicle registered to Ginty severely burned and still smoldering. They also discovered skeletal remains inside the vehicle. The body was burned beyond recognition. DNA samples from the remains and from Ginty’s parents were used to confirm the victim’s identity.
Investigators responded to Ginty’s residence, located more than seven miles from the site where her burned car was found. They found that forced entry had been made into the home through a window.
Officers learned that Ginty’s boyfriend, Antoine Reid, had broken into her home while Wilkes was with him. Reid later left the house, but Wilkes remained at the residence with Ginty. During that time, an altercation occurred between Ginty and Wilkes that led to her death.
Blood, later identified as Ginty’s, was found on the floor of the living room. After developing Wilkes as a possible suspect, Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers found him walking along a road and took him into custody.
Wilkes initially denied any wrongdoing, but later admitted that he had moved Ginty’s body to the wooded area and burned it after she allegedly fell and hit her head when he struck her once. Defense Attorney Scott Reilly described it as an act of panic that led to a series of horrible decisions by his client.
Jason Beebe and Brian Kelly led the investigation for the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Sigmon and Sean Baetjer handled the prosecution for the District Attorney’s Office.