21-year-old Rodney Tyler York of Main Avenue S.W. in Hickory was served bills of indictment by Hickory Police at about nine o’clock Friday night (January 5) on one felony count each of breaking & entering, larceny after breaking & entering, obtaining property by false pretense and possession of stolen goods or property.
On December 7, 2016, Hickory Police met with a victim regarding the unauthorized use of a credit card. The suspect was identified as Rodney Tyler York. He was arrested without incident on warrants issued early in December 2017.
York was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $40,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in Superior Court today (January 8) in Newton.
It was announced this week that the Alexander County Library will expand its outreach into the community by opening a library branch in Stony Point. The new Stony Point branch will feature all of the same services and resources offered at the main library, including public computers and WiFi, allowing ease of access for all residents.
Located in the heart of Stony Point at 431 Ruritan Park Road (the former Energy United building), the branch will be open Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Bethlehem Branch employee, Gloria Hamilton-Parsons, will manage the branch and assist patrons each day.
Alexander County Library Director, Laura Crooks, looks upon the opening of the new branch as a natural extension of the library’s mission of service. “Stony Point is vital to our County and we are continually looking for new ways to ensure that all residents receive exemplary library service,” Crooks shared.
“We are thrilled to open a new branch in Stony Point and in so doing we hope to open wide the doors of opportunity for all who enter, providing opportunities for everyone to grow and develop.”
The Stony Point Branch Library will open its doors to the public for the first time on Monday, February 5, 2018. Library staff will mark this occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony and community reception beginning at 10am. Everyone is welcome to attend and enjoy brief remarks as well as complimentary coffee and light refreshments.
To learn more about the Stony Point Branch Library and all of the resources, programs, and services provided by the Alexander County Library, visit www.alexanderlibrary.org or call (828) 632-4058.
The opening of the Catawba County Justice Center expansion was celebrated during a formal dedication ceremony Sunday (January 7). The ceremony, which was held in one of the facility’s new courtrooms, featured comments from Catawba County Board of Commissioners Chair Randy Isenhower, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Nathaniel J. Poovey, and North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts Director Marion R. Warren. In lieu of a ribbon-cutting, several dignitaries knocked courtroom gavels to officially commemorate the opening. The ceremony was accompanied by tours of the facility.
The new Justice Center facility, which is located on the Catawba County Government Center campus in Newton, expands the existing Justice Center by 139,181 square feet across two floors. Plans for the expansion began ten years ago when increases in both the number of trials and overall service demands were beginning to exceed the capacity of the original building.
The new space features five new courtrooms, jury deliberation rooms, attorney/client conference rooms, and attorney/judge conference rooms designed to better serve the public and justice officials. The building also houses court-related offices, including Superior and District Courts, the Clerk of Court, the District Attorney and Probation.
In addition, the expansion enabled the County to significantly upgrade the 911 Communications Center with state-of-the-art technology systems. The Communications Center has been moved into the new building alongside the County’s Emergency Services division, which includes Veterans’ Services, Emergency Medical Services, Fire-Rescue and Emergency Management offices. The original Justice Center facility, which is adjacent to the new building and accessed through the main entrance, houses the Register of Deeds, the Sheriff’s Office and other support services.
The cost of the Justice Center expansion project totaled $44.6 million, which was funded in part by a quarter-cent local option sales tax referendum approved by voters in November 2007. This quarter cent is primarily dedicated to supporting Justice Center expansion but also goes toward public school operations, economic development, and water and sewer infrastructure. To help fully fund the expansion, the County also borrowed $22 million with a true interest cost of 3.31% and used available 911 funding from the state toward technology upgrades in the Communications Center.
Following a phased move-in process that culminated in December 2017, all offices and courtrooms are now fully operational in the new facility. Beginning in April 2018, the Catawba County Board of Commissioners will transition its public meetings from the 1924 Courthouse in Newton to the Board’s new meeting room in the building.
Due to the potential for winter weather resulting in slick road conditions later today, the Catawba County, Hickory City, Alexander County, Caldwell County Schools and WrapAround, Burke County Schools are closed today (Monday, January 8). It is an optional teacher workday for all systems. In addition, Catawba County Meals on Wheels and Seniors Morning Out are closed today. Greenway Transportation in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties has cancelled all van service for the remainder of the day. Greenway will monitor the fixed route service in the cities of Conover, Hickory, and Newton. The Taylorsville Bus Service is cancelled.
56-year-old Douglas Alfred Coffey of Peachtree Lane in Granite Falls was arrested Sunday (January 7) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Coffey was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $100,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (January 8).
37-year-old Oryan Arnold Robinson of Starcross Road in Lenoir was arrested Saturday (January 6) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with failure to appear on a felony. Following the arrest, Robinson was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $150,000 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for March 12.
The Statesville Police Department is investigating a weekend shooting incident.
According to a news release, early Saturday morning (January 6), just before 3:30 a.m., SPD officers responded to reports of shots being fired in the 500 block of Hickory Avenue. Officers learned that a person had been shot in the 500 block of Hickory Avenue. Iredell County EMS responded to the scene, and transported the victim, a 30-year-old male to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for treatment.
At the time of the news release, the victim was still being treated, and his condition was unknown. The identity of the victim had not been released. Additional information will be released when it becomes available. The investigation is continuing.
Anyone who has information about this case, or may have seen something, is urged to contact Statesville Police at 704-878-3406, or Iredell Crimestoppers at 704-662-1340. Callers can remain anonymous and a cash reward is possible.
40-year-old Stewart Brandon Mullins of Shady Grove Road in Connelly Springs was arrested last Wednesday (January 3) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of larceny of motor vehicle parts and possession of stolen goods.
According to a news release from the Burke County Sheriff's Office, on December 31, 2017, Smart Electric Company contacted the Sheriff’s Office to report the front grill and headlights were stolen off a 2014 Ford work van. Burke County CID initiated an investigation that lead to the arrest of Stewart Brandon Mullins on January 3rd, at his home in Connelly Springs, without incident.
The defendant was taken to the Magistrate’s Office where he was charged with the two felony counts. Following the arrest, Mullins was subsequently placed in Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility under a $5,000 secured bond. He was no longer listed as an inmate as of today (January 8). His first District Court appearance was scheduled for last Friday (January 5), Mullins has an upcoming District Court date January 24. Additional charges are expected.
27-year-old Jason Dewayne Cuthbertson of Walker Drive in Newton was arrested today (January 5) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with statutory rape/sex offense when the defendant is six years or more older than the victim. Cuthbertson was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $40,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for Monday (January 8).
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous reports from citizens in the area being targeted by scammers claiming to represent the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
Victims are continuing to receive phone calls from what shows up on Caller ID as the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. It also may show up as a local landline number. Residents are then informed there are arrest warrants in their name for Failure to Appear for jury duty. Residents who have called back receive a very official sounding recording which instructs callers to press the one button on the phone to speak to an officer of the two button for the warrant section.
Scammers are using correct terminology and the names of real judges when speaking to victims. Victims are then told these warrants can be canceled if they pay a fee using a Money Pak Card. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office would like to advise all citizens this is scam. The sheriff’s office does not accept money in order to cancel a warrant or an order for arrest. All warrants are served in person and not by telephone. Citizens should not provide any personal identifying information over the phone, purchase any money cards, or exchange in money in reference to such calls.
37-year-old Tracy Marie Matthews and 40-year-old Christopher Lee Sawyer, both of the same address in Banner Elk, were arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (January 5). They were both charged with felony forgery of bank notes and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Sawyer was also charged with felony uttering a forged instrument.
On January 4, Hickory Police responded to the Arby’s restaurant on Highway 70 S.E. in reference to a counterfeit bill. A description of the suspect vehicle was obtained. The vehicle and the suspects were later found and arrested at a hotel on 13th Avenue Drive S.E. in Hickory.
The suspects were taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility. Bond for Matthews was set at $90,000, secured, while Sawyer was given an $80,000 secured bond. They were both scheduled to make first appearances in District Court today in Newton.
60-year-old Jimmie Rodgers Fambrough of Newton has been convicted on four counts of selling cocaine. He was also convicted as an habitual felon. Fambrough pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six-to-nine years in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections. The Honorable Nathaniel J. Poovey, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, handed down the sentence during Catawba County Superior Court yesterday (January 4).
Fambrough’s habitual felon status is the result of prior convictions for possession of firearm by a felon (January 1988), possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine (June 2002) and possession of cocaine (February 2007). All those convictions were in Catawba County.
In September 2015, the defendant sold cocaine to undercover Officers with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Narcotics Division on four separate occasions at the same location in Newton. The North Carolina State Crime Lab that the substances were cocaine.
Dennis Smith and Jessica McCray investigated the cases for the Sheriff’s Office and Assistant District Attorneys Sean Baetjer and Lance Sigmon handled the prosecution for the state.
49-year-old Talmadge Owen Greer was arrested Thursday (January 4) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of failure to appear on a felony, possession of schedule II controlled substance, and is also charged with being an habitual felon. Greer also faces a non-support charge. Greer was placed in jail in Morganton under a total bond of $75,612. Superior Court appearances are scheduled for February 5 and March 5.
A Morganton man will serve an active prison sentence of at least seven years following his guilty plea to possession of a firearm by felon, assault inflicting serious bodily injury, soliciting gang activity and admitting to his status as a habitual felon during Burke County Superior Court.
31-year-old Randall Kyle Ballard was sentenced Wednesday (January 3) to a prison term of seven to nine years by the Honorable Robert C. Ervin, Superior Court Judge from Burke County. The defendant will serve his sentence in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
Ballard’s sentence length was enhanced by his habitual felon status stemming from prior convictions for possession of stolen motor vehicle in Burke County, and possession of a weapon by prisoner and felony larceny in McDowell County.
Ballard and two co-defendants assaulted the victim at a Burke County residence on Sept. 19, 2015. The victim was severely beaten and was hospitalized as a result of the attack. Following the assault, the victim was taken outside where several men, including the defendant, fired guns and claimed to be part of the Aryan Brotherhood.
The investigation further revealed that Ballard was using the assault to initiate one of the co-defendants, James Thomas Farr, into the Aryan Brotherhood gang. Ballard and James Dean Farr, the other co-defendant, are both validated gang members. All three defendants have now been convicted of charges stemming from the attack.
Daniel Strauss and Stephen Ritchie investigated the case for the Burke County Sheriff’s Office. Michelle Lippert handled prosecution for the District Attorney’s Office.
The National Weather Service is forecasting sub-freezing temperatures and dangerously low wind chills for Caldwell County through Saturday, January 6, 2018. Due to the anticipated cold weather, Warming Centers will be available throughout Caldwell County during this time period. Caldwell County’s Department of Emergency Services is announcing they are partnering with area volunteer fire-rescue agencies and government locations and will operate seventeen (17) warming centers around the County which will be available to anyone in need of a warm place during normal operating hours. All residents who are vulnerable to extreme cold and who do not have sufficient heat in their homes or are stranded in vehicles are encouraged to seek warmth in any of the following locations until the close of business and/or the specified times. These warming centers are provided to offer relief from the severe cold and will not be operating as full shelters, nor offering medical support, food or drink.
All branches of the Caldwell County Public Library System will be open as warming centers during regular business hours;
• Lenoir Branch, 120 Hospital Ave NW, Lenoir Mon-Tue-Thurs 9:00AM-8:00PM, Wed-Fri and Sat 9:00AM – 5:30PM
• Hudson Branch, 530 Central St., Hudson, Mon-Wed-Thurs-Fri 9:00AM-5:30PM, Tues 11:30AM-8:00PM
• Granite Falls Branch, 24 South Main St., Mon-Tues-Wed-Fri-Sat 9:00AM-5:30PM, Thurs 11:30AM-8:00PM
Warming centers are open at the following Caldwell County Government locations during normal business hours:
• Caldwell County Health & Human Services Building, 2345 Morganton Blvd SW, Lenoir (8 am - 5 pm, Mon-Fri)
• Caldwell County Administrative Building, 905 West Ave, Lenoir (8 am – 5:00 pm Mon-Fri)
The following fire-rescue agencies will be open as warming centers during regular business hours and available for extended periods based on needs. On these days, in cooperation with the fire-rescue agencies in Caldwell County, these warming centers will be available 24-hours/day by calling (9-1-1 Communications) at 828-757-2324 who will then notify the agency of the need and the on-call Emergency Management staff;
• Collettsville Fire & Rescue, 5430 Adako Rd, Lenoir
• Gamewell Fire & Rescue, 2806 Morganton Blvd SW, Lenoir
• Granite Falls Fire & Rescue, 119 N Main St, Granite Falls
• Grace Chapel Fire & Rescue, 4548 Grace Chapel Rd, Granite Falls
• Hudson Fire & Rescue, 122 Mt Herman Rd, Hudson
• Kings Creek Fire & Rescue, 3420 Wilkesboro Blvd, Lenoir
• Little River Fire & Rescue, 4800 Oak Hill School Rd, Lenoir
• North Catawba Fire & Rescue, 2064 Connelly Springs Rd, Lenoir
• Patterson Fire & Rescue, 1414 State Rd 1560, Lenoir
• Sawmills Fire & Rescue, 4068 US Highway 321A, Granite Falls
• Valmead Fire & Rescue, 1757 Main St NW, Lenoir
Lenoir Emergency Outreach Shelter (LEOS) – Operated by Caldwell County Yokefellow, 1129 West Avenue, Lenoir (24-hr/day)
Additional options for keeping warm are available during the day:
• Stores, malls, restaurants
• Neighbor's home
Caldwell County Emergency Services also encourages people to follow these safety tips when temperatures are extremely cold:
• Minimize outside activities, particularly among the elderly and very young. Check on family members and neighbors who may be more vulnerable to the cold.
• Pets are also sensitive to the cold; remember to consider your pets’ needs when planning outside activities.
• Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Wear a hat and mittens/gloves to stay warmer.
• Be aware of frostbite. If a part of the body loses feeling and the skin feels waxy or looks white or grey, warm gently and seek medical help.
• Watch out for hypothermia. Shivering, memory loss, confusion, slurred speech, and drowsiness are all warning signs. Seek medical attention for signs of hypothermia.
• Use caution when heating your home. For tips on how to safely use space heaters, fireplaces, woodstoves and refer to the U.S. Fire Administration’s home heating safety handout.
• If using a space heater, be aware of the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
(News release from Caldwell County Government)
49-year-old Andrew Thomas Watts was arrested Thursday (January 4) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a felon. Watts was arrested at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, he was being held in jail in Morganton following his arrest under $80,000 secured bond. Superior Court dates are set for February 5 and March 5.
20-year-old Julius Quinton Carson of 10th Avenue SE in Hickory was arrested Thursday (January 4) by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with felony possession of cocaine. On Thursday Hickory Police assisted Probation Officers at 112 10th Avenue SE. Police found 1.1 grams of cocaine at the residence. Carson was arrested without incident.
Following the arrest, Carson was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $10,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (January 5) in Newton.
Unemployment rates rose across most of the Greater Hickory Metro and most of the state of North Carolina according to the latest report released Thursday (January 4) by the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division. The statistics are for the month of November.
Alexander County's unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent from 3.4 percent in October. Burke County has a jobless rate of 4.3 percent, that's up from 3.9 percent in the previous report. Caldwell County's unemployment rate is 4.5 percent, which is down from 4.6 percent in October. Caldwell is the only county in North Carolina to see a decrease in unemployment. Catawba County's jobless rate jumped to 4.2 percent, up from 3.9 in the last report.
The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA has an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent in the current report, that's up from 4 percent even in October. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton is tied for the fourth lowest unemployment rate among 15 MSAs in the state.
The statewide unemployment rate is 4.5 percent, up from 4.1 in October. Unemployment rates increased in 99 of North Carolina's 100 counties, with Caldwell being the only county with a decrease. Tyrrell County has the state's highest unemployment rate at 8.1 percent, while Buncombe County has the lowest at 3.4 percent.
23-year-old Chaston Miriah Wilson of NE Nuway Circle in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (January 4) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. She was charged with one felony count of forgery of an instrument. Following the arrest, Wilson was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $5,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for Thursday.
With predicted temperatures near single digits and a wind chill near zero, Catawba and Caldwell County Schools have announced that they will operate on a two-hour delay today (Friday, January 5). That includes Catawba's Quest program and Caldwell's WrapAround program. Other school systems operating on a two-hour delay are the Hickory Public Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools (students and staff), Burke County Public Schools (students and staff) and Alexander County Schools.