Firefighters continue to battle several wildfires in western North Carolina. The Chestnut Knob fire which is burning at South Mountains State Park in Burke County is currently estimated at 4,600 acres in steep terrain. Inciweb's most recent update, which was issued last night (Tuesday, November 15), says active fire behavior is making firefighting efforts difficult.
According to the inciweb report, containment of the Chestnut Knob fire is estimated at 30%. Residents along Bob Knob Road were advised to evacuate. A shelter is open at Collett Street Recreation Center in Morganton. Aircraft dropped more than 12,000 gallons of fire retardant Tuesday to assist fire crews on the ground with containment efforts.
Donations are being accepted at Foothills Higher Education Center 2128 South Sterling Street in Morganton between the hours of 12-7pm daily. Items needed include beef jerky, protein bars, breakfast bars, 16 ounce bottled water, 12-16 ounce Gatorade, socks, hand wipes, hand lotion, foot powder, hand warmers, bandanas, toboggans/wool caps, wipes and gloves.
Plans for today (Wednesday, November 16) were to continue burn out operations along Rich Mountain Road while improving the line from Rich Mountain Road to upper CCC Trail. In addition, structure protection and triage were also to be continued today.
Hickory City Council met in regular session Tuesday night (November 15).
Public Utilities Director Kevin Greer presented a request for Council to accept a bid & contract with Hickory Sand Company for sanitary sewer improvements for the Central Business District Rehabilitation Project. Council approved the bid and award of the contract unanimously.
In addition Tuesday night, minutes, second readings, and the consent agenda all approved unanimously. Second readings included the approval of the Community Relations Council's Fall 2016 grant recommendations, the approval to award the contract to Buckeye Bridge LLC for the construction of the Random Woods Sewer Project, and the approval of a change order for engineering services for sanitary sewer in multiple subdivisions
Residents of Catawba Springs questioned the the city's use of a right of way that would open access to a property outside city limits. Public Services Director Chuck Hansen showed a map of the property and explains the property could at some point be annexed into the city. The city is not paying for the road/driveway to be constructed. All costs are the responsibility of the property owner. In the past, when property owners have asked that an unopened right of way be opened, the city has obliged. City Council and staff plan to do more research on the topic, have further conversations with the residents, and revisit the issue.
Also during last night's Hickory City Council meeting, Chief Fred Hollar gave an update on the Western NC wildfires and their impact on Catawba County. Council did go into closed session, no action was reported.
21-year-old Michelle Renate Beck was arrested today (Tuesday, November 15) by authorities in Burke County. She's charged with felony possession with intent to sell or deliver controlled substance. Beck was placed in jail in Morganton under $2,500 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for December 12.
23-year-old Alison Zoe Reuteler of Hunting Court in Matthews was arrested today (Tuesday, November 15) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance. Reuteler was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $2,500 bond. A Superior Court date is set for December 15.
22-year-old Jalen Michael Foote of 20th Avenue Drive N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police just before midnight Friday (November 11) on one felony count of possession of a stolen firearm and misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana up to half an ounce and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was arrested after Officers responded to reports of possible drug violations at Hickory East Apartments on 20th Avenue Drive N.E. Officers located and approached the suspect vehicle, detecting the odor of marijuana as they did so.
A search of the vehicle turned up a Springfield Armory .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun that had been reported stolen from Alexander County. 2.1 grams of marijuana and a marijuana pipe were also found.
Jalen Foote was the driver. A male passenger in the vehicle was not charged.
Foote was taken into custody without incident. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $3,000, secured. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled yesterday (November 14) with another court date coming up on November 29.
23-year-old Landon Scott Treadway of 11th Street Drive N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police Saturday (November 12) on one felony count of possession of a schedule I controlled substance.
He was arrested after Police responded to a single-vehicle accident with injury at Highway 321 N.W. and 2nd Avenue N.W. Officers found the vehicle on the median on Highway 321 where it had hit a “Do Not Enter” sign.
Treadway, the vehicle’s only occupant, was unconscious. Officers saw a bag containing 0.3 grams of heroin and a syringe. E.M.S. arrived and administered Naloxone, which is an opiate antidote. Treadway was revived and taken to Frye Regional Medical Center.
Upon his discharge from the hospital, Treadway was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $5,000 secured bond. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled yesterday (November 14). Another court date was scheduled today for D.W.I. and other traffic violations.
Authorities are asking for the public’s help in finding 26-year-old Christopher Franklin Russell of Brim Lane in Denver, who has been charged by the Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Office with felony larceny, injury to personal property and obtaining property by false pretense.
On August 16, a victim reported the theft of landscaping equipment from a landscape trailer in front of the victim’s home on Hidden Harbor Road in Mooresville. The victim also reported damage to a vehicle that was parked behind the trailer on the side of the roadway.
Detectives obtained serial numbers for some of the stolen items from a local business where the equipment was purchased. The equipment was entered into a nationwide database as stolen. Detectives then identified Christopher Franklin Russell as the suspect after he pawned the stolen items at a local pawnshop in Mooresville. Detectives also learned that Russell had relatives who lived a few houses from the victim’s residence.
Russell faces other charges and is currently wanted as an absconder from parole in Buncombe County.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Christopher Franklin Russell should call the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office at 704-878-3180 or call Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340.
26-year-old Jessica Leanne Harris was arrested today (Tuesday, November 15) by authorities in Burke County. She was charged with felony credit card fraud. Harris, who was already facing multiple charges, was placed in jail in Morganton with total bond of $10,000 secured. A court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday, November 16).
With wildfires burning in several western counties, Attorney General Roy Cooper has encouraged consumers to report price gouging in the area and be aware of their rights.
Price gouging—or charging too much in times of crisis is against North Carolina law when a disaster, an emergency or an abnormal market disruption for critical goods and services is declared or proclaimed by the Governor. The law also applies to all levels of the supply chain from the manufacturer to the distributor to the retailer.
Under a state of emergency declared last week, the price gouging law is in effect in 25 counties across Western North Carolina: Alexander, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey.
Families who rented vacation homes in the North Carolina mountains over the Veterans Day holiday weekend and had those plans changed due to the fires should read their rental agreements carefully. The Vacation Rental Act protects consumers who rent a property in North Carolina for fewer than 90 days. Consumers who have to cancel their rental plans due to wildfires should consult their rental agreement for details on how to cancel and whether or not they are entitled to any money back. Those who reserved hotels and paid in advance need to check on the lodging establishment's policy when it comes to refunds.
To file a complaint about a price gouging incident, or an issue with a North Carolina hotel or vacation rental, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division toll-free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or visit ncdoj.gov.
24-year-old Elijah Alexander Curtis of Collettsville Road in Lenoir was arrested Monday (November 14) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with felony counts of larceny and possession of stolen goods or property. Curtis was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for January 9.
30-year-old Alicha Leann Hamby of 20th Street NE in Hickory was arrested Monday (November 14) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with three counts apiece of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver heroin, sale of heroin, and maintaining a place to keep controlled substance. In addition, Hamby is charged with two counts apiece of sell or deliver schedule II controlled substance and conspiracy to sell or deliver schedule II controlled substance, along with single counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver schedule II controlled substance and manufacture, sell, deliver, or possess controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.
Hamby was locked up in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $50,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Tuesday, November 15).
17-year-old Demaja Keshon Watts of Wilson Street in Statesville was arrested Monday (November 14) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering.
According to a news release, Deputy Daniel Stikeleather while on route patrol shortly after 3 a.m. Monday, spotted a green dirt bike on the road on Sharon School Road. The Deputy attempted to stop the individual on the dirt bike but was not able to do so. Other Deputies responded to the area to assist in finding the dirt bike but they were unable to do so.
At approximately 4:10 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office received a call reporting the theft of a dirt bike from a residence on Barbary Drive. Deputy Stikeleather started responding to the call from Old Mountain Road. While he was on his way, he spotted a subject attempting to push a dirt bike across the roadway. The Deputy approached the individual. The officer was able to identify the dirt bike as the same one he attempted to locate earlier on Sharon School road.
The Deputy detained the male subject that was pushing the bike, he was later identified as Demaja Keshon Watts. It was determined that Watts was in possession of the dirt bike stolen from Barbary Drive. Watts was arrested and brought to the Iredell County Detention Center. His bond was set at $10,000 secured. A District Court appearance is scheduled for November 30.
Several wildfires continue to burn in western North Carolina, including one in Burke County at South Mountains State Park. The latest update from the North Carolina Forest Service says the Chestnut Knob Fire in Burke County is now 20% contained. 3,100 acres have burned. As of late Monday there were 118 personnel fighting the blaze.
An Incident Management Team from the Florida Forest Service assumed command of the fire on Monday (November 14). Several state parks in western North Carolina have been closed to allow the state to deploy additional resources to assist in fighting fires.
In addition to South Mountains and Chimney Rock parks, New River, Elk Knob, Mount Mitchell, Lake James and Gorges state parks and Mount Jefferson State Natural Area will be closed until the fire is contained and staff can return to their assigned parks.
The North Carolina Forest Service and U.S. Forest Service websites are providing daily updates.
Contractors working for the City of Morganton will close a section of State Road this morning (Tuesday, November 15) to install a storm drain in the area. Workers were planning to close the road as early as 8 a.m. The road will be closed until the work is completed. Residents will not be able to access State Road from South Sterling Street.
Drivers will be able to access the businesses and apartments in the area via Oak Grove Street.
There will be a fundraiser for the History Museum of Burke County this week. "Chicken for Charity" is this Thursday (November 17) from 5-7 p.m. at the museum, 203 West Meeting Street in Morganton. The meal is being provided by FATZ and features a Calabash Chicken Dinner which includes chicken, green beans, poppy seed rolls, banana pudding, and tea. Adult tickets are $10 and children 6 and under eat free, there is a limit of one free child per ticket.
Proceeds will benefit the History Museum of Burke County. To get tickets you can call the museum at 828-437-1777 or 828-390-4343. You can also stop by the museum or buy them at the door.
Authorities in Burke County are seeking a suspect who is wanted in connection with a shooting.
On Sunday (November 13), deputies with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office responded to the parking lot of Knob Superette in Connelly Springs in reference to a shooting. Upon arrival, witnesses said they heard a gunshot and saw two vehicles leave the parking lot traveling in opposite directions on Hwy 70. A short time later, responding to information received, deputies found a vehicle overturned in a ditch on Berea Church Road, a short distance from the Knob Superette.
No one was in the vehicle and a handgun was located in the roadway. Detectives with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division arrived to process the two scenes. In addition to the handgun, a sawed-off .20 gauge shotgun was located in the overturned vehicle. While at the scene, deputies were notified that an individual named Buddy Cook had arrived at Carolina Medical Center (CMC) Valdese with a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
While at the hospital, Cook told officers he was shot by Matthew Revis. The suspect's full name is Kevin Matthew Revis, he is 31-years-old and he lists an address of Hubert Park in Connelly Springs. Cook was subsequently transported by ambulance to CMC Charlotte and was last reported to be in stable condition. The Burke County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warrant on Revis for felonious assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury. Anyone with information on Matthew Revis’ whereabouts can contact Burke County Emergency Communications Center at 828-438-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 828-437-3333.
Governor Pat McCrory's State of Emergency remains in effect for 25 counties in western North Carolina. The governor gave an update earlier today (Monday, November 14) from the Lake Lure Command Post. While many evacuation orders have been lifted, mandatory evacuations are still in place in Burke, Graham and Rutherford counties. One shelter is open in Henderson County with three occupants.
The governor said officials will use more roads and creeks as natural containment barriers to fight fires over the coming days. In addition to nearly 1,600 firefighters from North Carolina and other states, 100 engines are being used to combat the wildfires. In support of the U.S. Forest Service, N.C. Emergency Management's Helo-Aquatic Rescue Team has deployed a N.C. National Guard Blackhawk helicopter to be on standby, along with local rescue technicians to perform any rescues necessary from wildfire fighting operations.
Fires have closed many state parks, sections of the Appalachian Trail and roads throughout the region. The Tellico Fire in Macon and Swain counties has closed a 10-mile section of US 19/74 between NC 129 and NC 28. The Party Rock fire near Lake Lure and Chimney Rock has closed a 7-mile stretch of US 64/74A and NC 9. The N.C. Department of Transportation has set up detours around closed roads. For more information on road closures, click here.
Governor McCrory said that among the eight major wildfires still burning in North Carolina, the Party Rock fire in Rutherford County is considered the No. 2 priority fire in the nation and has caused 1,000 people to be evacuated. Details on the major fires burning are found below:
Chestnut Knob – Burke County:
Approximately 2,850 acres burned – 15% contained
120 firefighters on scene
Tellico Fire – Macon/Swain counties:
Approximately 13,700 acres burned to date – 33% contained
190 firefighters on scene
Party Rock – Rutherford County:
Approximately 2,450 acres burned – 15% contained
376 firefighters on scene
Boteler – Clay County:
Approximately 8,695 acres burned – 23% contained
351 firefighters on scene
Dicks Creek – Jackson County:
Approximately 730 acres burned – 92% contained
51 firefighters on scene
Knob – Macon County:
Approximately 1,130 acres burned – 90% contained
27 firefighters on scene
Maple Springs & Old Roughy – Graham County:
Maple Springs: approximately 7,177 acres burned – 15% contained
Old Roughy: approximately 657 acres burned - 60% contained
410 firefighters on scene
Muskrat Valley- Macon County:
Approximately 103 acres burned
50 firefighters on scene
Communities throughout the Catawba River Basin are asking customers to conserve water due to decreasing stream flows, groundwater levels and lake storage levels throughout the basin.
The City of Hickory, in cooperation with other major water suppliers along the Catawba River and Duke Energy, participates in a joint management effort to properly manage the water resources available within the Catawba River Basin. This group has worked cooperatively over the past fourteen years to develop the Low Inflow Protocol (LIP) which the water suppliers and Duke Energy use to manage water resources throughout the Basin.
Interim City Manager Andrea Surratt of the City of Hickory is declaring a Stage 1 LIP condition in conformance with the City of Hickory Water Shortage Response Plan due to decreasing stream flows, lower ground water table elevation and decreased Lake Storage levels. These conditions are due to the lack of rain the Basin experienced during the last half of June through October and hotter temperatures during those same months leading to seasonal elevated evaporation from the Lakes. Stream flow, ground water table and Lake Storage level data is monitored closely and the Catawba River Drought Management Advisory Group evaluates this data monthly during times of drought. On November 1, 2016 this data reflected conditions meeting the requirements of a Stage 1 LIP declaration.
Stage 1 LIP is the first stage of voluntary water use conservation. The goal of this stage is to reduce water use by three to five percent. Measures to achieve this goal could include:
Water outdoors with the intention of applying no more than one-inch per week to grasses and shrubs.
Turn water off while brushing teeth or washing face.
Repair leaking faucets and/or toilets.
Customers are asked to meet and continue the three to five percent water use reduction goal until further notice.
Partner governmental and non-profit systems of the City of Hickory affected by this Stage 1 LIP declaration include the Cities of Conover and Claremont, Towns of Brookford, Catawba, Long View and Maiden, portions of Alexander and Catawba Counties, Icard Township Water Corporation and all customers receiving a bill directly from Hickory.
If customers would like additional measures or have any questions, please do not hesitate contacting your local water provider. Customers may also get water use conservation tips from the Water Management Groups website at www.catawbawatreewmg.org.
A 17-year-old girl who had been reported missing has been located and is safe. She returned to her Oakwood Circle home over the weekend.
Tamara Louise Stansford, who had been last seen at her residence on November 2, was removed from NCIC as a missing person.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that they would like to extend their thanks to everyone for their help in bringing this to a safe conclusion.
23-year-old Kristina Kalene Lane McQuirt of 8th Avenue S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police just before 5 p.m. Saturday (November 12) on one felony count each of breaking & entering, larceny after breaking & entering and possession of a schedule IV controlled substance.
Loss Prevention at the Walmart store on Highway 70 S.E. stopped McQuirt past the last point of sale after she allegedly placed a PowerLine car cord adapter in her pocket and didn’t pay for it. The adapter was valued at $15. Two Alprazolam pills were found in the suspect’s wallet.
McQuirt had previously been banned from Walmart. She was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $10,000. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (November 14) in Newton.