Christmas is three days away and in honor of the holiday season, the N.C. Department of Transportation is suspending most road construction activities on major routes across the state to help make travelers trips smoother. By avoiding traffic delays, motorists can cut down on fuel consumption and costs.
NCDOT will put on hold most construction projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes from 6 a.m. Friday (December 23) until midnight, Monday, (December 26), with the exception of four projects. Those projects are on U.S. 264 in Hyde County, N.C. 24 in Sampson County, Cedar Hill Road in Brunswick County, and U.S. 74 in Jackson County.
In addition, there are a dozens of local roads in the eastern part of the state that remain closed because of damage from Hurricane Matthew. When applicable, those roads have signed detours in place.
Another holiday tradition is that the major roadways get very crowded as motorists head out for holiday travel, so here are some tips to help make the trip safe.
Leave early to get a head start. Travel at non-peak hours if possible.
Stay alert and don't drive drowsy. Travel at times you are normally awake, and take frequent breaks.
Avoid distracted driving.
Be patient and obey the speed limit.
Use alternative routes, when possible, to avoid traffic congestion.
Stay informed. Real time travel information, including traffic issues caused by crashes and the Hurricane Matthew road closures, is available at http://www.DriveNc.gov/or you can follow NCDOT on Twitter.
Also, never drive drunk. The Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s annual Booze It and Lose It Campaign will continue through midnight, Jan. 2. Law enforcement officers are on special alert for drunk drivers during the holiday season. If you must drink, call a friend, give your keys to a designated driver or get a ride. You can save your life and someone else’s.
31-year-old Jon Wesley Johnson was arrested Wednesday (December 22) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony obtaining property by false pretense. Johnson was arrested at an address on South Sterling Street in Morganton. He was placed in jail under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Thursday, December 22).
28-year-old Meranda Leeann Waycaster of Lutz Street in Lenoir was arrested Wednesday (December 21) by Lenoir Police Officers. She's charged with felony larceny. Waycaster was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $1,500 secured bond. No court date is listed.
28-year-old Kendra Lee McQuinn and 31-year-old Michael Brandon Beane, both of the same Cross Street, Granite Falls address, were both arrested Wednesday (December 21) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. They're both charged with felony counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule II controlled substance, and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place, to keep controlled substance. McQuinn and Beane were both jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $20,000 secured bond. They were scheduled to appear in District Court Wednesday.
The Burke County Sheriff's Office is continuing to seek suspects on their Most Wanted List.
32-year-old Travis Steven Helton is wanted for felony counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver methamphetamine. Helton's last known address was 2320 Shade Tree Street #5 in Hickory. He's been on the Most Wanted List since October 21 of this year.
37-year-old John Yang is wanted for failure to appear on a felony count of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver controlled substance, and failure to appear on a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Yang's last known address was 2871 Cougar Valley in Morganton.
You can see the entire Burke County Sheriff's Office Most Wanted List at www.burkesheriff.org. If you have any information on the whereabouts of any of the suspects on the list, call the Burke County Sheriff's Office at 828-438-5500. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can submit an anonymous tip to Morganton-Burke Crime Stoppers, their phone number is 828-437-3333.
38-year-old David Lee Story of Kentwood Street in Lenoir was arrested Wednesday (December 21) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. Story was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $3,000 secured bond. A District Court date is scheduled for January 10.
29-year-old Brandon Lynn Canipe of Startown Road in Maiden was arrested by Hickory Police at about 9:15 last night (December 20) on one felony count of maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance. He was served an indictment as the result of a warrant issued by Claremont Police on December 5.
Canipe was taken into custody on Highway 321 N.W. in Hickory. He was processed and released under a $2,500 secured bond. He will appear in District Court tomorrow in Newton.
48-year-old Tracy Lloyd Lail and 46-year-old Michelle Lea Martin were both arrested by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. Lail is charged with two counts of breaking and entering to coin operated machines. Martin was charged with obtaining property by false pretense.
Detectives with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office arrested the two suspects after a two month investigation that resulted in the recovery of mail that was reported stolen, along with money from coin operated machines. The stolen mail and money has a total value of approximately $50,000.
During the months of November and December, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division were investigating numerous mail theft cases along with break-ins to coin operated machines in the Dudley, Oakhill and Boomer communities.
Based on the results of that investigation, Officers executed a search warrant at 4000 Miracle Place Lot 12, in Hudson on December 12. Evidence found during the search led to the arrests of Lail and Martin.
Among items seized were pieces of mail from Alexander, Catawba, Burke and Caldwell Counties, bank information and checks amounting to more than $50,000 in value. Also found were tools that can be used in the breaking and entering of the coin operated machines.
Members of the Criminal Investigation Division are hand delivering the mail back to their proper owners along with a written letter to monitor their credit scores and notify their local jurisdiction if they notice any charges that they did not make.
Lail was jailed under $40,000 bond. Martin was jailed under $15,000 bond. Lail was scheduled to appear in District Court today (Wednesday, December 21). Martin has a District Court date January 3.
45-year-old George Rankin Hayes, 24-year-old Amber Denise Woody, and 52-year-old Angela Ruth Greason, all of the same Cansler Road, Vale address, were all arrested Monday (December 19) by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers.
Hayes is charged with one felony count each of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of schedule II controlled substance, possession of schedule IV controlled substance, possession of schedule III controlled substance and maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances. He was also charged with one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Woody is charged with one felony count of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver schedule II controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Greason is charged with one felony count of possession of schedule II controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
The arrests were made after a search warrant was served at a residence in the 3100 block of Cansler Road. According to narcotics detectives the residence had been the subject of several citizen complaints about suspicious activity occurring there. Detectives conducted a surveillance operation and were able to identify the activity as being drug related.
After gathering information and evidence that drugs were present at the residence, investigators secured a warrant to search the property. During the search, officers seized methamphetamine, a handgun, various types of prescription pills, and drug paraphernalia consistent with the use and selling of drugs.
Hayes received a $15,000 secured bond. Bond for both Woody and Greason was set at $2,000 secured. Court dates were not listed.
47-year-old Allandus Ezar Corpening of 1st Avenue Place N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 5 p.m. yesterday (December 20) on one felony count of assault on a handicapped person. The warrant for his arrest was issued on November 28 in Caldwell County.
Corpening was arrested at the Sunny Valley apartment complex on 3rd Avenue S.E. in Hickory and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility where he was held without bond. An appearance in District Court was set for January 10 in Lenoir.
Catawba County Social Services Assistant Director Karen Harrington was named Interim Director by the Catawba County Social Services Board on Tuesday (December 20). Harrington will begin serving in this role January 10 following the departure of current director John Eller. As Interim Director, Harrington will provide organizational leadership for Social Services while the board conducts a search for a new director.
Harrington joined Catawba County Social Services as Assistant Director in 2013. In this role, she oversees the department’s extensive child welfare programs and prevention programming. She also supervises the Executive Director of the Child Advocacy and Protection Center and serves as the Social Services liaison to the organization’s Board of Directors. Accomplishments during her tenure include the realignment of the child welfare division to ensure continuity across services and the integration of the department’s Family NET Clinical Services for mental health into the child welfare continuum of services.
In addition, Harrington is involved in the community through service on the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, board membership with the Catawba County Council on Adolescents, and co-chairing the Catawba County Community Child Protection Team/Child Fatality Prevention Team, among others.
Harrington gained experience managing social services programs through more than 25 years of experience as a social services caseworker, clinician, program supervisor, and administrator. She received a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Minot State University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois.
17-year-old Sulayman Admeer Williams of 23rd Avenue Drive N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 6:30 p.m. yesterday (December 20) on one felony count of breaking & entering a motor vehicle, plus two misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen goods and one misdemeanor count of larceny.
The arrest is Williams’ third this month. He was previously arrested on December 6 for breaking & entering, larceny and damage to property and again on December 15 for breaking & entering.
His arrest yesterday comes in connection to a vehicle break-in on 23rd Avenue N.E. The vehicle was locked, but a front passenger window was busted and various items were removed from a purse, including credit cards and debit cards. It’s not clear how Williams was linked to the break-in.
He was taken into custody without incident yesterday at his residence. Williams was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $25,000 secured bond. He’ll appear in District Court tomorrow in Newton.
Hickory Police are investigating another robbery at the CVS store on 2nd Street N.E. in Hickory. The store was previously robbed on December 14. Based on a similar description, Police believe the same suspect is responsible for both robberies.
Shortly after midnight today (December 21), a male suspect entered the store, displayed a knife and demanded money. He was given an undisclosed sum of cash and left the store. It’s not clear if he left on foot or in a vehicle. No one was injured.
The suspect was described as a white male with a slim build, about 18-to-20 years old. He was wearing a black mask and a black hooded sweatshirt.
In the December 14 incident, the suspect did not display a weapon.
Anyone with information regarding the robberies should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551.
The name of the officer involved in a shooting in southern Caldwell County earlier this week was released by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
On Monday (December 19) the SBI began it's investigation into an incident that occurred on Dudley Shoals Road. At approximately 1:00 a.m. deputies responded to the home of 52-year-old Roy Lee Minton. According to a news release from the State Bureau of Investigation, Deputies encountered Minton who was armed with a pistol. An confrontation ensued and as a result, Minton was fatally wounded by Deputy John Runion.
Immediately after the shooting, the command staff of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office requested the SBI to investigate the incident. District Attorney David Learner has been briefed on the circumstances surrounding the shooting. The SBI is conducting an independent investigation and will provide the criminal investigative report to the District Attorney when complete.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s detectives have released the identities of the victims in the murder-suicide that was discovered Monday (December 19) in eastern Lincoln County.
The victims are 55-year-old Catherine Harfield Collins and 50-year-old Betina Lynn Johnson, both of 3016 Madison Lane, in Denver. The two women had lived at the address for the last six years. Ms.Collin’s body was found in the living room and Ms. Johnson’s body was found in a back bedroom. The weapon used in the incident was a shotgun.
Detectives were unable to determine how long the two women had been deceased. There were no signs of a struggle. All doors were locked and the home was secured.
37-year-old David Ray Carswell of U.S. Highway 321 in Granite Falls was arrested Tuesday (December 20) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle and failure to appear. Carswell was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $10,500 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Wednesday, December 21).
51-year-old Scott Anthony Sanborn of U.S. Highway 70 in Connelly Springs was arrested Monday (December 19) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony obtaining property by false pretense. Sanborn was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $5,000 secured bond. A District Court date is set for January 9 in Lenoir.
A Lincolnton woman was arrested on 15 outstanding felony warrants. 33-year-old Helen Alise Blackburn of Proctor Street in Lincolnton was arrested Sunday (December 18) by Lincolnton Police Officers.
According to a news release issued Tuesday (December 20), Blackburn is charged with six counts of obtaining property by false pretense, four counts of identity theft, one count of financial card fraud, one count of forgery of an endorsement, one count of attempted uttering of a forged instrument, one count of conspiracy, and one count of possession of a counterfeit instrument. All of the charges are felonies.
The warrants were the result of a three month investigation conducted by Detective Tony Potts of the Lincolnton Police Department. The news release says Blackburn used a stolen credit card to obtain property at various businesses. Additionally, Blackburn attempted to open up a financial account in another person’s name. She was also connected to the passage of counterfeit money.
Blackburn was arrested without incident at her residence. She was placed in the Lincoln County Jail under $62,000 secured bond. Blackburn had her first appearance on the charges Tuesday in Lincoln County District Court. Her next District Court date is January 3.
Hickory City Council met in regular session Tuesday night (December 20).
Minutes, second readings, and the consent agenda were all approved unanimously. Second readings included the acceptance of the bid and award of the construction contract with Two Brothers Utilities Inc. for the Geitner Basin Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project. The bid amount is just over $2.8 million. Second readings also included the approval of the installation of an all-way stop at the intersection of 9th Street NW at 4th Avenue NW.
Gavin Mitchell, president of the Downtown Development Association presented a proposal to make parking hours uniform in downtown. It would change all parking to 3 hours in public lots and on-street parking. They call it "three or free." Council approved the proposal unanimously.
City Council also heard an update of the City Walk and Gateway designs. Several residents of Catawba Springs spoke to council and questioned the the city's use of a right of way. Another citizen spoke to council and requested sidewalks between Hwy 70 and 127 for pedestrian safety.
Mayor Rudy Wright recognized retiring Public Services Director Chuck Hansen. Hansen was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina's highest civilian honor.
45-year-old Keith Allen Tester of Springs Road NE in Hickory was arrested Tuesday (December 20) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony probation violation out of county, identity theft, misdemeanor larceny, and resisting a public officer. Tester was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $11,500 bond. A Superior Court date is set for next Wednesday (December 28).