25-year-old Phillip Voltz of 8th Avenue Drive SW in Hickory was arrested Friday (September 2) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with first degree sexual offense, assault by strangulation, intimidating a witness, and assault inflicting serious injury. Following the arrest, Voltz was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under no bond. No court date was listed.
Attorney General Roy Cooper warns consumers to be on the lookout for scams that could follow Hurricane Hermine, which moved up the east coast late last week. Hermine, which was at times a Tropical Storm and at times packed Hurricane-force winds, hit the North Carolina coast late last week into the start of the Labor Day weekend.
The Attorney General said in a news release from the North Carolina Department of Justice that the majority of North Carolina contractors, tree removal companies and car repair shops are reputable businesses, and many local merchants pitch in to help their communities recover from severe weather. But some unscrupulous scammers travel to areas that have been hit by natural disasters to take advantage of consumers.
Last Thursday (September 1), Cooper put consumers and businesses on notice that North Carolina’s price gouging law barring charging excessive prices in a time of disaster was in effect in 33 eastern counties. He also shared advice for vacationers whose Labor Day plans may be affected by the storm.
Cooper urged North Carolina residents to report scams and frauds to his office by calling toll-free 1-877-5-NO-SCAM within the state or by filing a consumer complaint at ncdoj.gov.
To avoid scams that follow storms:
Put safety first. If you need to evacuate on short notice, for example due to flooding, don’t risk your safety by gathering your personal items. After the storm has passed, do not attempt to move downed power lines or attempt dangerous repairs on your own.
Take important financial documents with you if you evacuate, including insurance policies, mortgage documents, an inventory of the contents of your home, and any bills to pay. Also take your insurance agent’s phone number and the number for the Consumer Protection hotline, 1-877-5-NO-SCAM, with you.
If the storm damages your property, contact your insurance company. Some insurance companies require an adjuster’s approval before work can be done. Take pictures and videos of the damage, if possible. Cover holes in your roof or walls with a tarp to prevent additional damage if you can do so safely.
Don’t pay for work up front. Inspect the work and make sure you’re satisfied before you pay. A small down payment may be required for some projects, but don’t pay anything without getting a written contract. Avoid paying with cash; use a check or a credit card instead.
Beware of any contractor who tries to rush you or comes to your home to solicit work. If an offer is only good now or never, find someone else to do the work. Seek recommendations from friends, neighbors, co-workers and others who have had work done on their homes.
Get three written estimates, if possible, and compare bids. Check credentials and contact the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau to learn about any complaints against the contractor. Ask to get the contractor’s certificate of insurance directly from their insurance company, not from the contractor. Before work begins, get a written contract detailing all work to be performed, costs and a projected completion date.
For car repairs, shop around and compare written estimates. On major jobs, get a second opinion. If the mechanic recommends replacing parts, ask for the old parts back. You may get credit on some parts if the mechanic wants to keep them.
Beware of charity scams that use disasters to make phony pleas for donations sound legitimate. If a caller refuses to answer your questions about the charity, offers to come to pick up a donation in person or calls you and asks for a credit card, bank account or Social Security number, it may be a scam. To report telemarketing fraud, call the Attorney General’s Office. To check up on a charity, call the Secretary of State’s office toll‑free at (888) 830‑4989.
Visit ncdoj.gov to file a consumer complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division or to get tips on avoiding scams and bad business deals.
For tips on preparing for severe weather, visit readync.org.
26-year-old Michael Lamar Brice of 15th Street S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before midnight Thursday (September 1) on one felony count of possession of cocaine and one misdemeanor count of resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer. He was arrested on warrants from the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office. Those warrants were issued on August 16.
Brice was taken into custody without incident at his residence. He was processed at H.P.D. headquarters and then released under a $3,500 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled Friday (September 2) in Newton.
At the same time, 39-year-old Chasity Dawn Lowman, from the same address on 15th Street S.E. in Hickory, was also arrested by Hickory Police. She was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant from Lincoln County for failure to appear in court. Lowman was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond. She has since been released. An appearance in Superior Court in Lincolnton was scheduled for Tuesday (September 6).
Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) announced a combined $277,447 in U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to a pair of local fire departments in the Tenth Congressional District. The grants will go to the Claremont Fire Department and the City of Newton Fire Department.
Claremont’s grant is for $23,810. The department will use the grant to replace older turnout gear and other personal protective equipment. Newton’s grant totals $253,637. According to Newton Fire Chief Kevin Yoder, the grant will be used to purchase 45 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) air packs.
The grants come in the twelfth round of this year’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG), which aims to help Firefighters and first responders throughout the country. Local departments applied for the grants from the program, which is administered by the Grant Programs Directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.
Claremont and Newton are two of five 10th District departments to receive AFG funding thus far during the 2015 cycle. A total of $573,521 in AFG funds has been awarded among those departments. Grants will continue to be announced in weekly rounds throughout the coming months.
According to school accountability data released Thursday (September 1), Catawba County Schools’ students continued to make gains on most measures of student learning, with approximately 89 percent of schools earning grades of C or better in the third year of the state’s A-F grading system. 44.4 percent of Catawba County's 27 eligible schools earned a school rating of B with Challenger Early College earning an A+NG designation, indicating an A school with no significant achievement and/or graduation gaps.
Elementary and middle schools' performance grades are based only on test scores in reading and math (grades 3-8), science (grades 5 and 8) and Math I (if applicable). High school grades are based on results from end-of-course exams in English II and Math I in addition to Biology and include other performance indicators as well. The other indicators are the percentage of 11th graders meeting the UNC System’s minimum admission requirement of a composite score of 17 on the ACT college readiness exam, the cohort graduation rate, the percentage of students taking and passing Math III and the percentage of graduates who are Career and Technical Education concentrators who earn a Silver Certificate or higher on the ACT WorkKeys assessment. Growth is included for all school performance grades unless it hurts the grade overall.
The district’s four-year high school cohort graduation rate remained steady at 89.7 percent and continues to be above the state average of 85.8 percent. On state exams, the percentage of students proficient in math and science improved overall across elementary and middle grades while high school End-of-Course assessment performance fluctuated slightly. In grades 3-8, student grade-level proficiency in reading remained at 57.8 percent as compared to the state at 56.9 percent. In math, the overall proficiency rate increased to 56.8 percent up from 55.6 percent in 2015. Grade-level proficiency in science, tested in fifth and eighth grades, reached 72.8 percent, an increase of 2.0 percentage points from the previous year. High School performance experienced increases in the measurement of Math Rigor and WorkKeys proficiency. Challenger Early College had a Cohort Graduation Rate of 100 percent.
In terms of growth achieved by schools in the district this past year, twenty-two of the twenty-seven eligible schools (81.5%) met their expected growth performance. Eight of those twenty-two schools exceeded expected growth. Fourteen schools saw an overall increase in their performance composite percentage rates. Elementary schools with the largest increases in proficiency were: Maiden Elementary, up 6.8 percentage points; Murray Elementary, up 6.6 percentage points; and Campbell Elementary, up 6.4 percentage points. At the middle school level, River Bend Middle School’s proficiency climbed 6.8 percentage points while Arndt Middle School’s proficiency increased 6.0 percentage points. Bandys High School’s proficiency climbed 1.2 percentage points.
28-year-old Terry Nikita Johnson of 8th Avenue Circle S.E. in Hickory was arrested at about nine o’clock last night (September 1) on one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The arrest was Johnson’s second in connection to an incident that began when Police responded to a possible B&E at Highland Mini-Storage on Highland Avenue N.E. in Hickory. Officers found several subjects attempting to gain entry using a hammer as their vehicles provided them with a light source. Police learned that the owner had given permission to break off the lock and replace it with a new one. No one was charged in connection to the apparent break-in.
In the course of the investigation, Officers saw a 9mm handgun in the passenger seat where Terry Johnson had been seated. At the time of his initial arrest on July 5, felony drug charges were also filed after Police found a baggie containing 4.1 grams of crack cocaine during a secondary search of Johnson’s person at H.P.D. headquarters. A second suspect was charged when digital scales were found in her purse.
Following his arrest yesterday, Johnson was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $20,000 secured bond. He has since been released. An appearance in Superior Court was set for today in Newton with another Superior Court date on September 19.
23-year-old Ashley Keashea Lineberger of Houston Mill Road in Conover was arrested by Hickory Police just before 11 a.m. yesterday (September 1) on one felony count each of breaking & entering, larceny after breaking & entering and obtaining signatures by false pretense.
Lineberger was arrested after a Loss Prevention Officer at the Walmart store on Highway 70 S.E. watched her bring an empty Walmart bag and an old receipt into the store. The suspect gathered items from store shelves matching those on the receipt. She then took the items and the receipt to customer service for a refund. The items included cotton swabs, lotion, shampoo, bath tablets and feminine hygiene products.
Lineberger was taken into custody without incident at the store and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $25,500 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.
Tiffany Elizabeth McKee and Seiara Nichole Matthews, two 16-year-olds who had been reported as runaways on August 16, have been found and are safe. The two were located in Stanton, Virginia yesterday (September 1). They were in the home of an individual they met on Craig’s List.
Ms. McKee and Ms. Matthews have been returned to Hickory. They were not physically injured.
The Hickory Police Department’s investigation is continuing. No charges are pending at this time.
48-year-old Malcolm Lynn Andrews of Upton Place in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (September 1) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon. Andrews was locked up in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $100,000 secured bond. A Superior Court date is set for October 31.
36-year-old Paul Richard Walton Jr. AKA "Pooh-Pooh" and "Pretty Paul" of East Catawba Street in Lincolnton, was arrested Thursday (September 1) by Lincolnton Police Officers. He's charged with five counts of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, five counts of selling cocaine, and five counts of delivering cocaine.
On Thursday at approximately 2:30 p.m., detectives and patrol officers with the Lincolnton Police Department and detectives with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office arrested Walton at his residence. The arrest is the result of a three month investigation into Walton and his associates and their illegal drug distribution in the Oaklawn community. The investigation was initiated after the Lincolnton Police Department received several complaints from citizens.
Walton was placed in the Lincoln County Jail under one-million dollars secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in District Court today (Friday, September 2).
The case is still under investigation and more charges and arrests are expected. If anyone has any information about this case or any other narcotics or criminal case, please call the Lincolnton Police Department at (704) 736-8900 or contact the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Crimestoppers at (704) 736-8909.
We have more information on an arrest we first reported on Thursday on WHKY. 27-year-old Colton James Mostacato of 20th Avenue NE in Hickory was arrested Wednesday (August 31) by Hickory Police Officers. He was picked up on warrants out of Burke County charging him with felony indecent liberties with a child, solicitation of a child by electronic device for a sexual act and disseminating obscene material to a minor.
On August 16 the Burke County Sheriff’s Office was contacted in reference to allegations of impropriety with a minor child by Colton James Mostacato. The report alleged that Mostacato had attempted to initiate an illicit affair with a minor child through various social media outlets. A news release from the Burke County Sheriff's Office says during this attempt, Mostacato sent lewd sexually themed materials, solicited the minor for nude photos and tried to arrange a meeting with the minor child for the express purpose of performing sex acts.
The Burke County Sheriff’s Office, working in conjunction with the minor’s family, were able to infiltrate and prevent the incident from escalating further. Mostacato was taken into custody by the Hickory Police Department Wednesday at his place of employment without incident. He was taken before a magistrate and arraigned on his charges, where he received a $50,000.00 secured bond. Mostacato was not listed as an inmate in either Catawba or Burke County as of this morning (Friday, September 2). He was scheduled to appear in District Court in Morganton yesterday (Thursday, September 1), no upcoming court dates are listed.
Chadwick D. Smith has joined the 25th Prosecutorial District as an Assistant District Attorney.
Hired by District Attorney David Learner, Smith was sworn in as the 25th Prosecutorial District’s newest Assistant District Attorney on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, by the Honorable Robert T. Sumner, Superior Court Judge from Gaston County.
He will be working out of the Catawba County office in Newton handling matters in District Court.
Smith has spent 16 years in private practice, working in the Raleigh-Durham area for two years and in Mecklenburg for the last 14.
“We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to employ a man of Mr. Smith’s ability,” Learner said. “He has significant trial experience that he will bring to bear in this position as Assistant District Attorney.”
Originally from Walnut Cove in Stokes County, Smith received his Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science with a concentration in Government and a minor in U.S. History from Campbell University in 1997. He earned his Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University in 2000.
Smith and his wife Amy have been married since 1997.
Up to 75 new jobs will be coming to Newton as a result of a North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) Grant.
Temprano Techvestors was recently awarded an RIA grant totaling $253,750 toward a total investment of up to $520,000. Temprano will locate its headquarters in Newton and will renovate an outdated office building into a state-of-the-art facility to support tech sales, marketing, support, and engineering jobs.
The company says they are committed to hiring employees this year and expects to create up to 75 new positions during the next three years. The average wage of the jobs at Temprano will pay 110 percent above the average income per capita in the county. The new positions include technology sales and marketing, software engineering, as well as technology support and implementation roles.
Temprano helps emerging market software companies bring their products to market in North America. To support that effort, Temprano plans to add new, high-tech jobs as part of its expansion. The business was founded by Luke Walling, a longtime Catawba County resident, creator of several successful local startups such as Walling Data Systems, and angel investor.
The building that will house Temprano is located at 2105 Northwest Boulevard. Blackwelder's Furniture originally constructed the building in the 1940s. Walling Development purchased it in 2007. Much of the original structure was demolished and rebuilt to honor its original look, including retaining the original bow trusses and general building profile. Walling Data moved into the space in late 2008 and was acquired by AVG Technologies in 2009. AVG occupied the 8,000-square-foot space until April 2016, when Temprano chose the space for its new endeavor.
For more information about Temprano, visit www.temprano.com.
54-year-old James Edward Danner of South Ervin Avenue in Newton was arrested by Newton Police yesterday (August 31) on a felony warrant as a fugitive awaiting extradition to another state. Danner is wanted in Brunswick County, Virginia for felony forgery of a public record. The offense allegedly occurred in June of 2009.
Danner was processed and released under a $500 unsecured bond. He was scheduled to make an appearance in District Court today in Newton.
25-year-old Jeremy Kyle "Big Country" Goodrich of 14th Street Place N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before 7 p.m. yesterday (August 31) for two felony probation violations. He is on probation as the result of a conviction two weeks ago in Alexander County for felony possession of a schedule I controlled substance.
Goodrich was taken into custody near the intersection of North Center Street and 29th Avenue N.E. in Hickory. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $25,000 secured bond. An appearance in Superior Court was scheduled for September 6 in Newton.
32-year-old Colton James Mostacato of 20th Avenue N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police yesterday (August 31) on warrants out of Burke County for felony indecent liberties with a child, solicitation of a child by electronic device for a sexual act and dissemination to minors under the age of 16.
Mostacato was taken into custody without incident at 4:30 Wednesday in the vicinity of the Valley Hills Mall on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory. He was transported to the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $50,000 secured bond. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was set for tomorrow in Morganton.
No further details are available.
44-year-old Donna Jay Wasson and 47-year-old Elizabeth Annette Pope, both of the same Aderholdt Road, Lincolnton address, were arrested Wednesday (August 31) by Lincolnton Police Officers. Wasson is charged with one felony count of common law robbery and two felony counts of conspire to commit burglary. Pope is charged with two felony counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and two felony counts of conspire to commit burglary.
The Lincolnton Police Department Criminal Investigations and Narcotics Division have been investigating three separate home invasion robberies in northern Lincolnton. These home invasions have targeted Hispanic male victims that lived in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods. The investigation has been ongoing since mid-August. Earlier this week we reported the arrests of two suspects in connection with this investigation, David Nixon Jr. and Issac Julius Gillespie.
Wasson was placed in the Lincoln County Jail under $35,000 secured bond. Pope was jailed under $50,000 secured bond. They were both scheduled to appear in District Court today (Thursday, September 1).
30-year-old Samantha Renee Greene of NW Glendale Street in Lenoir was arrested Wednesday (August 31) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering. Greene was confined in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $5,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Thursday, September 1).
19-year-old Bailey Colleen Presnell of Blackberry Road in Lenoir was arrested Wednesday (August 31) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with three felony counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, two felony counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and misdemeanor larceny. Presnell was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $15,500 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Thursday, September 1).
35-year-old Jeremy Dean Yancey of Roger Hill Road in Connelly Springs was arrested Wednesday (August 31) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. Yancey was locked up in the Catawba County Detention Facility under no bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Thursday, September 1).