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.
Hickory City Council meets in regular session tonight (Tuesday, December 20). Under new business, council will hold a public hearing to consider a vacant building revitalization grant performance agreement for property on 1st Avenue SE. There are several items under reaffirmation and ratification of second readings including the acceptance of the bid and award of the construction contract with Two Brothers Utilities Inc. for the Geitner Basin Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project.
Tonight's Hickory City Council Meeting starts at 7:00 in Council Chambers at the Julian G. Whitener Municipal Building, 76 North Center Street in Hickory.
33-year-old Jose Alberto Flores of Caldwell Street in Rhodhiss was arrested Monday (December 19) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony breaking and entering to an automobile. Flores was locked up in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $15,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Tuesday, December 20).
24-year-old Rebecca Nichole Larcinese of Hillcrest Avenue in Rhodhiss was arrested Monday (December 19) by Long View Police Officers. She's charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, resisting a public officer, and parole violation. Larcinese was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under no bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Tuesday, December 20).
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.
An armed robbery at a Morganton grocery store is under investigation. On Sunday (December 18) shortly after 10:30 p.m., Morganton Publc Safety Officers responded to Food Lion at 1230 Burkemont Avenue after an armed robbery was reported. Responding officers were told that an unknown assailant had robbed the store.
Witnesses stated that the suspect entered the store and produced a small handgun and demanded access to the store safe and any cash at the store. Once the suspect obtained an undetermined amount of cash he fled the store on foot.
The suspect is described as a white male, wearing khaki pants, white shoes with black trim, and a black hooded jacket. He was also armed with a small black handgun.
The case is currently under investigation. If you have any information on the suspect please contact Morganton Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division at (828)432-2690 or Burke County Crimestoppers at (828)437-3333.
A case in Lincoln County is being investigated as a possible murder-suicide. A Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Civil Deputy went to a residence in the 3000 block of Madison Lane in Denver at around 9 a.m. Monday (December 19) to serve an eviction notice but found two people deceased.
One of the victims was found in the living room and the other victim in the bedroom. Both of the victims were female and lived together in the residence. Detectives say both victims were in their 50’s and it could not be determined how long the two women had been deceased. Investigators say it appears to be a murder suicide.
The names of the victims have not been released pending notification of the next of kin.
49-year-old Timothy Dayton Spears of Ray Place and 50-year-old Christopher Ray Combs of Old Trenton Place, both from Lenoir, were both arrested by Caldwell County Sheriff's Ice Unit Officers Friday (December 16). They're each charged with felonious trafficking in methamphetamine.
According to a news release issued Monday (December 19), the two Baton Community individuals were arrested following an investigation led by the Ice Unit. The news release says that the two men were caught transporting over 31 grams of crystal methamphetamine in Spear’s 2013 Honda Accord. They were arrested at the intersection of Burke County Smokey Creek Road and Union Grove Road in Lenoir.
Authorities believed that the two men had been working together in bringing large amounts of methamphetamine into the county. The drugs have a street value of over $4,000 according to North Carolina State Guidelines.
Spears was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under a $40,000 secured bond. Combs bond was set at $20,000 secured. They were both scheduled to make first appearances in District Court on Monday.
34-year-old Tara Nichole Stevens of Connelly Springs will spend the next 20 years in prison following her plea to sex offenses and child abuse on Monday (December 19) in Burke County Superior Court.
Stevens pleaded guilty to statutory rape and was given an active prison term of 20-29 years in custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections by the Honorable Robert C. Ervin, Superior Court Judge from Burke County. Judge Ervin also imposed a sentence of five to seven years for her felony child abuse plea to run concurrent with the active term.
Two weeks ago, Tara Stevens’ co-defendant and husband Richard Stevens pleaded guilty to four counts of statutory sex offense and one count of statutory rape. He was given an active prison sentence of 35 to 52 years. Richard Stevens engaged in sexual acts with the victims - now ages 18, 15 and 9 - and often recorded the encounters.
Tara Stevens told law enforcement that she knew what was taking place but did not do anything about it, and she assisted her co-defendant in production of the recorded sexual encounters.
The case was investigated by Isaac Propst of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from Beth Cali of the Gingerbread House Child Advocacy Center in Morganton. Frank Webster handled prosecution for the District Attorney’s Office.
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.
33-year-old O'Kiera Donell Myers of Central Drive in Statesville was arrested by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with four felony counts apiece of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and sale and delivery of cocaine.
Myers was arrested following a month long undercover investigation by Iredell County Sheriff’s Narcotics Officers into the sale of powder and “Crack” cocaine.
Information was gathered by narcotics investigators about drug sales occurring in the area of 5th Street and Raleigh Avenue in South Statesville. Undercover surveillance operations were established and investigators were able to identify Myers as one of the suspects. Controlled purchases of “Crack” cocaine were made from Myers over the course of a few weeks.
A search warrant was executed at 1135 5th Street by members of the narcotics investigation unit along with members of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office SERT Team. Myers was not at the location at the time the warrant was served.
Last Wednesday (December 14) Myers was located at 1025 4th Street in Statesville by members of the Aggressive Criminal Enforcement (ACE) Team and Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the sheriff’s office.
Myers was incarcerated in the Iredell County Detention Center under $75,000 secured bond. A District Court date is set for January 11.
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.
The name of the person who was shot and killed in an incident this morning (Monday, December 19) involving an officer has been released. Roy Minton, the resident of the home that was the scene of the incident, was killed in the shooting.
Deputies with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic call at 1211 Dudley Shoals Road at 1:23 a.m. today.
No sheriff’s deputies were injured in the shooting incident.
During the incident, one Caldwell County Sheriff’s Deputy fired his weapon. That deputy has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation. The deputy’s name will not be released at this time.
The SBI is continuing their investigation. WHKY will provide updates as we receive information.
30-year-old Christopher Michael Martin of Carter Court in Granite Falls was arrested Friday (December 16) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of cocaine. Martin was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $50,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, December 19).
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.
Morganton city workers shut off water service to a section of Piney Road in the Chesterfield Community of Burke County to repair a water line break. The break occurred on a six-inch water line and was reported near 3333 Piney Road. About 70 customers on Piney Road from just south of Throneburg Road to 3824 Piney Road, and Smith Road and any side streets will be without water service while repairs are made. Workers expected to have water restored by 2:00 p.m., barring any unforeseen problems. For more information, call the Water Resources Department at 828-438-5276.