Local News For The Unifour Area of NC

UNIFOURNEWS.COM IS NO LONGER UPDATING, CHECK WHKY.COM

After more than five years of daily news updates, Unifournews.com has stopped publication. We would like to thank you for your support of the website over the years, it has been an honor serving you. You can get in-progress news updates at www.whky.com

FINAL EDITION: Top Unifour News Stories for Sunday, February 22nd

Final day of publishing for this news website

Today will be the final day of publishing for Unifournews.com. The site went online in late November, 2009, and published daily until early May 2010. The site was started to provide daily updates on local news in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba Counties. The site has been based in both Hickory, NC and Morganton, NC. Circumstances forced a hiatus in the updates and the site nearly shut down completely in December, 2010, before an interested party decided to assist site owner Rob Eastwood and get advertisers involved in the site. On January 11, 2011, Blue Ridge Energies became the first sponsor on Unifournews.com. (They have remained a sponsor since that day.) Others soon followed, many of those businesses are still sponsoring the site. Unifournews.com provided daily updates from December, 2010 until three weeks ago, when that was cut back to six days a week, five weekdays, and a "weekend update" to cover Saturday and Sunday. (Although breaking stories were added on Sundays.) Unifournews.com has also covered local sporting events during it's five-plus years online. The site has averaged between 250-300 visitors and close to 400 page hits per day on weekdays for the past three years. The site received more than 1000 hits on one day in 2013, and has exceeded 500 on multiple occasions. The site is shutting down due to Eastwood's move to WHKY Radio/TV. Responsibilities in that position will not allow for daily updates on Unifournews.com. Rob will be part of the team updating www.whky.com and he urges the readers of this site to check for news updates on that site all day long.

Road to be closed in Alexander County

On Monday (February 23), the North Carolina Department of Transportation will begin a bridge replacement project in Alexander County and close Old Landfill Road near Taylorsville while construction is under way. The bridge on Old Landfill Road spans Glade Creek and was built in 1979. It is considered functionally obsolete, which means that although the bridge is safe for traffic, it needs to be updated to meet current and future traffic demands. A detour will be in place using Crouch Road, Paul Payne Store Road and Macedonia Church Road.  The road is scheduled to reopen in late June.  This project is part of a $4 million contract to replace five bridges in Alexander, Catawba, Cleveland, Iredell and Lincoln counties. The project contractor is Dellinger, Inc. of Monroe.

Home destroyed in SE Catawba County fire


A home was destroyed in a fire in southeastern Catawba County Friday morning. Multiple departments from two counties responded to the house fire on Peninsula Lane in Sherrills Ford. Firefighters were called to the scene at around 11 a.m. Friday. According to published reports, heavy smoke was still seen coming from the home into the early afternoon hours. The first crews on the scene saw flames shooting through the roof. No further information was availab
le. 

Suspect in Hickory vehicle theft arrested in Tennessee

21-year-old Bradley O’Neil Caldwell, Jr. of North Wilkesboro was arrested Thursday (February 19) in Tennessee in connection to the February 12 theft of a vehicle in Hickory. He was charged with one felony count each of breaking & entering a motor vehicle and larceny of a motor vehicle. In addition, Caldwell was served indictments on a long list of charges from Wilkes, Catawba and Mecklenburg counties. Those include six counts of misdemeanor larceny, three counts of possession of stolen goods, two felony counts of larceny, one count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, one count of resisting an officer, one count of financial card theft, two counts of breaking & entering and one count of obtaining property under false pretenses. He is accused of stealing a 2007 Mazda from the 1000 block of 21st Avenue N.W. in Hickory. A credit card in the vehicle was used at a large retail store in Wilkesboro. Investigators analyzed surveillance from the store and were able to identify Bradley Caldwell as the suspect. His name was entered into the National Crime Information Center database. Authorities in Washington County, Tennessee found and recovered the Mazda. Caldwell was arrested in Jonesborough, Tennessee. It’s not clear if Caldwell’s arrest took place at the same time as the recovery of the vehicle. Caldwell has been jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $149,500 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for Friday (February 20) in Newton.

Top Unifour News Stories for Saturday, February 21st

(Note: Tomorrow's update will be the final edition of Unifournews.com)  

Alexander County bank robbed, suspect sought

The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office responded to a bank robbery call at the Bethlehem Branch of Taylorsville Savings Bank Friday morning (February 20). The 911 Communications Center received the hold-up alarm call around 10 a.m. and officers responded to what was quickly confirmed by bank employees to be a robbery. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately five feet, ten inches tall, slim build, possibly in their late 30’s, and was wearing blue jeans, grey hooded sweatshirt and a dark colored ski mask. The suspect presented a dark-colored gun and demanded an undisclosed amount of currency which he told the clerk to place in a pastel purple-colored fanny pack. Witnesses described the getaway car as a light grey or silver compact sedan; possibly a Volkswagen Jetta, early 2000 model with daytime running lights and a NC registration plate. The suspect vehicle left the bank parking lot travelling south on NC Highway 127 toward Catawba County. The investigation is ongoing and more details will be released as they become available. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Alexander County Crime Stoppers at 828-632-8555 to provide anonymous information about the suspect. Tips can also be submitted online at www.alexandersheriff.org. The North Carolina Bankers Association is offering a reward through their Robbery Reward Program for information leading to the arrest and indictment of any individuals who are involved. Anyone with information should contact the FBI, confidentially and toll-free, at 800-209-2293.

Heroin charges filed

 

28-year-old Matthew Allen Dellinger of East Manufacture Street in Maiden was arrested Thursday (February 19) by Maiden Police Officers. He’s charged with two counts of possession of heroin and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Dellinger was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $11,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for today (Friday, February 20).

Drug charges filed against Lenoir man  

56-year-old John David Dula of Alfred Hartley Road in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (February 19) by Hudson Police Officers. He’s charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana paraphernalia, and driving while license revoked. Following the arrest, Dula was detained at the Caldwell County Detention Center under $1,500 secured bond.

Meth charge filed 

27-year-old Salisha Michelle Cox of Shang Lane in Conover was arrested Thursday (February 19) by Newton Police Officers. She’s charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Cox was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $25,000 bond. A first appearance in court was scheduled for today.

Man arrested in Burke on probation violation charge 

25-year-old Trey Alexander Monro Ingram was arrested Thursday (February 19) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with probation violation and failure to appear. Following the arrest, Ingram was placed in jail under $22,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for March 10.

Top Unifour News Stories for Friday, February 20th

Weather affects school schedules again 

Extreme cold temperatures and icy roads continue to continue to force local school systems to adjust their schedules. On Friday, February 20… Catawba County Schools and Hickory Public Schools will be on a three-hour delay for students and staff. Alexander County Schools will be closed Friday with an optional teacher workday beginning at 10 a.m. Burke County Schools will operate on a two-hour delay for students and staff. Caldwell County Schools will operate on a three-hour delay with limited bus routes. The WrapAround program in Caldwell County will begin at 9 a.m. Newton-Conover City Schools are on a three-hour delay for students and 10 & 11-month employees. 12-month employees should report at 8:30 a.m. Kids Connection will begin at 9 a.m. 

Lenoir City Manager leaving post for an out of town position 

Lenoir's City Manager is leaving for Salisbury. W. Lane Bailey, will take over as Salisbury City Manger in March. Bailey, who has 25 years of experience in government work has been City Manager in Lenoir for 10-1/2 years. Bailey, who is 51-years-old was previously the president of the North Carolina City and County Management Association. Prior to taking the job in Lenoir, Bailey was the city manager in King, a community north of Winston-Salem. Bailey was manager of Polk County From 1993 to 2000. His government career started in Gaston County, where he was a budget analyst.Bailey will take over in Salisbury in mid March. The decision to hire Bailey was finalized during a closed-session meeting council had Monday evening. Wednesday, council held the official vote to hire Bailey — it was unanimous. Bailey’s contract has not been finalized yet, but officials in Salisbury said in a published report that his annual salary will be $150,000, including a $500-a-month car allowance. While in Lenoir, Bailey helped to recruit Google to build a data center in the community in 2007. The company announced a $600 million expansion of the center in 2013. Bailey grew up in Bryson City. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Appalachian State University, where he also earned a master’s degree in public administration.

Newton woman arrested on drug charge 

38-year-old Hollie Michelle Harris of Mount Olive Church Road in Newton was arrested Wednesday (February 18) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. She’s charged with manufacture schedule II controlled substance, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute meth precursor. Following the arrest, Harris was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $100,000 bond. A court appearance is scheduled for today (Friday, February 20).

Zionville man charged with drug offenses in Caldwell County 

28-year-old David Phillip Harmon Jr. of Harbin Road in Zionville was arrested Wednesday (February 18) by Lenoir Police Officers. He’s charged with misdemeanor counts of simple possession of schedule II controlled substance, simple possession of schedule VI controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and larceny. Following the arrest, Harmon was detained at the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for March 19.

Hickory man arrested Thursday on drug charge 

51-year-old Robert Franklin Martin of U.S. Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 12:40 Thursday morning on one count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance. Martin is accused of possessing 0.2 grams of crack cocaine. He was taken into custody without incident at the Budget Inn, which is listed as his residence. Martin was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $4,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for today in Newton.

Top Unifour News Stories for Thursday, February 19th

Lenoir City Manager leaving after more than ten years

 

Lenoir's City Manager is leaving for Salisbury. W. Lane Bailey, will take over as Salisbury City Manger in March. Bailey, who has 25 years of experience in government work has been City Manager in Lenoir for 10-1/2 years. Bailey, who is 51-years-old was previously the president of the North Carolina City and County Management Association. Prior to taking the job in Lenoir, Bailey was the city manager in King, a community north of Winston-Salem. Bailey was manager of Polk County From 1993 to 2000. His government career started in Gaston County, where he was a budget analyst. Bailey will take over in Salisbury in mid March. The decision to hire Bailey was finalized during a closed-session meeting council had Monday evening. Wednesday, council held the official vote to hire Bailey — it was unanimous. Bailey’s contract has not been finalized yet, but officials in Salisbury said in a published report that his annual salary will be $150,000, including a $500-a-month car allowance. While in Lenoir, Bailey helped to recruit Google to build a data center in the community in 2007. The company announced a $600 million expansion of the center in 2013. Bailey grew up in Bryson City. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Appalachian State University, where he also earned a master’s degree in public administration.

Former Congressman, Catawba Commissioner, Ballenger passes away 

 

Former Congressman Cass Ballenger has passed away at the age of 88. Mr. Ballenger had been in failing health for some time and had been in hospice care since last Friday. He died at 12:30 yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, February 18) in Hickory. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 27, at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension. Congressman Ballenger represented the 10th Congressional District of North Carolina from 1986-2005. He was also the founder and former Chairman of the Board of Plastic Packaging, Inc., a manufacturing company with plants in Hickory and Forest City, N.C. He also served in the North Carolina Senate (1977-86), the North Carolina House of Representatives (1975-77) and on the Catawba County Board of Commissioners (1966-74). In 38 consecutive years in elective office, serving at the local, state and federal levels, Ballenger never lost an election. As a Congressman, Mr. Ballenger was a member of the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as a Deputy Whip and as a member of the House Steering Committee. He was also a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on the Arts. After graduating from Episcopal High School, Mr. Ballenger attended the University of North Carolina and later received a liberal arts degree from Amherst College, where he was initiated into the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. He served in the U.S. Naval Air Corps during World War II. Mr. Ballenger also volunteered as a Lay Reader for the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, traveling to lead services in parishes without rectors. He was a longtime active member of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Hickory. 

Weather affects school schedules again

Winter weather and extreme cold temperatures continue to continue to force local school systems to adjust their schedules. On Thursday, February 18… Catawba County Schools and Hickory Public Schools will be on a three-hour delay for students and staff. Alexander County Schools will be closed Thursday. It will be an annual leave day for ten-month employees and on optional teacher workday for 11 & 12-month employees. Those who choose to report to work should do so at 10 a.m. Burke County Schools and Caldwell County Schools will operate on a three-hour delay for students and staff with limited bus routes. The WrapAround program in Caldwell County will begin at 9 a.m. Newton-Conover City Schools are on a three-hour delay.

Bogus check worth close to $40,000 deposited at Unifour bank 

Hickory Police are investigating an incident in which a bogus check from Canada was deposited at a local bank. On Monday (February 16), H.P.D. received an email from authorities in Canada’s Squamish District in British Columbia regarding a fraudulent check drawn from a Canadian business account. The check was stolen and the payees and the amount were changed. Property loss was reported at $38,375. The incident occurred on February 13 or 14. The check was deposited at Community One Bank on 3rd Street N.W. in Hickory.

Man charged with robbery 

41-year-old Charles Steven Setzer was arrested Wednesday (February 18) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with felony common law robbery. Following the arrest, Setzer was placed in jail under $25,000 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for next Monday (February 23).

Man charged with felony weapon offense 

28-year-old Rex Allan Eversole was arrested Tuesday (February 17) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with felony possession of a weapon by a convicted felony. Following the arrest, Eversole was placed in jail under $20,000 secured bond. He’s scheduled to appear in Superior Court March 2.

Cocaine trafficking charge filed 

57-year-old Barron Jerome Loritts of Rifle Range Road in Conover was arrested Wednesday (February 18) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Loritts was detained at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $40,000 bond. A court appearance is scheduled for Friday (February 20).

Top Unifour News Stories for Wednesday, February 18th

Schools closed, delays announced elsewhere due to weather conditions 

 

Area school systems will be closed for students once again today. Burke County Schools, Caldwell County Schools and Hickory Public Schools are closed, with an optional teacher workday. No school for students in the Catawba County system, where it will be an optional teacher workday with a two-hour delay. Alexander County Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools will also be closed for students with an optional teacher workday starting at 10 a.m. The Hickory City Council meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday night (February 17) was cancelled. Items on last night’s agenda will be moved to the March 3 City Council meeting. Information on other scheduling issues for the City of Hickory is posted on the city’s webpage, hickorync.gov. Click on “City of Hickory Inclement Weather Updates,” near the bottom of the page. Garbage collection for the City of Morganton has been delayed. Collection will be delayed by one day for the rest of the week. If there is snow or ice on the driveway, garbage cans should be taken to the street. All Caldwell County government will be on a two-hour delay, opening at 10 a.m. For more information, contact Public Information Officer LouAnne Kincaid at lkincaid@caldwellcountync.org or 828-759-7879. City of Newton Offices will open at 10 a.m. today. Morganton City Hall will open at 10 a.m. today. The first Hickory Area Ministers and Greater Hickory Ministerial Allinace Lent service scheduled for lunchtime today has been cancelled. The Lent series will pick up with the second service next Wednesday (February 25) at noon at Northminister Presbyterian with Dr. Anthony Freeman as the featured speaker. Catawba County Meals on Wheels and Seniors Morning Out Program is cancelled today.

Suspect arrested after allegedly firing shots into Alexander County home 

A suspect was arrested Tuesday after shots were fired into a residence in Alexander County. Tuesday Morning (February 17) Alexander County 911 received a call for help in reference to a domestic incident at 5203 Hwy 16 North in Taylorsville.  Upon arrival officers found numerous rifle casings in the front yard of the home. Upon further investigation officers found that just two minutes prior to arrival a suspect named Michael Todd Vestal, age 46, of Yadkinville, had  just fired several rounds into the residence. The investigation shows that Vestal had come to this residence  from Yadkin County looking for his wife. According to a news release, after locating her at the residence he assaulted her by choking her around the neck area. As the suspect was leaving he pulled a rifle from his vehicle and fired numerous rounds from the rifle into the residence. Vestal then fled the scene. A be on the lookout was given out to other Counties for the suspect. A short time later The Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office was able to take Vestal into custody in Yadkin County. No bond has been set on Vestal as of yet for the pending charges in Alexander County. The Investigation is continuing.

Hickory-based companies recognized 

Commscope Incorporated and the von Drehle Corporation were recognized at the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation’s meeting Monday (February 16). A representative from each company was presented with a framed joint resolution from the EDC Board, the City of Hickory, and Catawba County recognizing and acknowledging their contributions to the economy of Catawba County. Catawba County Board of Commissioners Chair Randy Isenhower and City of Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright made the presentations. Commscope, headquartered in Hickory since 1976, recently agreed to acquire TE Connectivity’s Telecom, Enterprise and Wireless businesses in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $3 billion. The acquisition will add an expected 10,000 employees and 65 facilities to CommScope. The von Drehle Corporation, headquartered in Hickory since 1974, recently began construction on a $100 million paper machine facility at the former Mississippi River Pulp facility in Natchez, Mississippi. The paper machine will be the first of it’s kind in North America and will be capable of producing 30,000 tons annually.

Maiden man charged with multiple counts of assault following morning arrest

49-year-old Marvin Gene Sellers of Tatterstone Lane in Maiden was arrested this morning (Wednesday, February 18) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with two counts of assault on a female and one count of communicating threats. Following the arrest, Sellers was incarcerated at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $2,000 bond. A court appearance is scheduled for March 16.

Top Unifour News Stories for Tuesday, February 17th

Winter storm leaves roads snow and ice covered, cancels school (Updated with closing of Alexander, Catawba Government Offices).

The winter storm that hit our area Monday left roads snow and ice covered this morning. In many places the precipitation turned out to be more sleet than snow, roads this morning were left with a coating of ice. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol reports roads across the Greater Hickory Metro area were hazardous this morning. The winter storm has also led to school closings across the area. The following systems are all closed: Hickory Public Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools, Catawba County, Caldwell County, Alexander County, and Burke County. It is an optional teacher workday in Burke County. Area colleges have also cancelled classes today. There are no classes at Lenoir-Rhyne University, CVCC, Caldwell Community College in Hudson, and Western Piedmont Community College. Caldwell Community College’s Watauga campus will open at 12 noon. Alexander and Catawba County Government Offices are now closed for the day, Caldwell County Government Offices were scheduled to open at 11 a.m. Stay updated on weather-related announcements at whky.com.

Kidnapping charge filed 

26-year-old Jabaris Rashawn Francis was arrested Sunday (February 15) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with kidnapping and communicating threats. Following the arrest, Francis was placed in jail where he is being held under $74,000 secured bond. A court appearance was scheduled for yesterday (Monday, February 16).

Animal Shelter to close for two weeks

The Caldwell County Animal Shelter at 829 Fairview Drive S.W. in Lenoir will not take in any animals from Wednesday, February 18, through Wednesday, March 4, while repairs are made to the shelter. In keeping with state regulations, all floors and walls where animals are kept must be sealed in order to prevent disease. During the two weeks when the shelter is closed, kennel walls will be repainted in order to comply with the regulations.
Animals cannot be in the areas where painting is being done. Any animals currently in the affected areas will be sent out to rescues or adopted before the shelter shuts down for two weeks. For more information, contact LouAnne Kincaid, Caldwell County Public Information Officer, at 828-759-7879. 

Moorseville man held in Catawba County on warrant from U.S. Marshals

 

30-year-old Christopher Michael Martin of Dry Dock Loop in Mooresville was arrested by Hickory Police early Saturday morning (February 14) on one felony count each of larceny, obtaining property by false pretense and possession of stolen property. The charges are based on warrants issued from Burke County on February 12. He was also charged with a felony probation violation on a warrant from the U.S. Marshals Service.
Martin was arrested after Officers on foot patrol at the Deluxe Inn on Highway 70 S.W. detected the odor of marijuana coming from a room at the hotel. Officers entered the room and found 0.7 grams of marijuana and some paraphernalia. Martin was cited for those offenses and taken into custody without incident on the outstanding warrants. Following his arrest, Martin was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $25,500 secured bond on the charges from Burke County; however, he was put on hold without bond by the Marshals Service. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for yesterday (February 16) in Morganton.

Drug charge filed 

42-year-old Felecia Elaine Hardin was arrested Sunday (February 15) by authorities in Burke County. She’s charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance. Following the arrest, Hardin was jailed under $10,000 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for March 30.

Multiple drug charges lodged

 

29-year-old Andy James Smith of 37th Street S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after midnight on Valentines Day. He was charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver methamphetamine and felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver marijuana. Smith was also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested when Police on foot patrol at the Deluxe Inn on Highway 70 S.W. saw a subject with a glass pipe, preparing to smoke meth in a room at the hotel. A search of the room turned up three meth pipes, digital scales, a marijuana pipe, 4.7 grams of marijuana, $501 in cash and 1.1 grams of meth. Smith was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $16,800 secured bond. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was set for yesterday (February 16) in Newton.

Top Unifour News Stories for Monday, February 16th

Area prepares for winter weather, school systems dismiss early, Catawba Commissioners cancelled (updated)

 

The area was preparing for a blast of winter weather. It is expected that the area will see some frozen precipitation today, possibly starting by the mid-to-late afternoon hours. A winter storm warning is in effect from noon today until 7 a.m. Tuesday. The forecast says snow likely today, mainly after 5 p.m. with daytime accumulations of 1-3 inches possible. Tonight the forecast is for snow, freezing rain, and sleet before 3 a.m. with the chance for another 1 to 3 inches of snow and sleet plus the chance for ice accumulation overnight. Newton-Conover City Schools, Catawba County Schools and Hickory Public Schools dismissed two hours early today due to the wintry forecast. Newton-Conover City Schools had already cancelled classes for Tuesday, Lenoir-Rhyne cancelled any classes that were scheduled for after 4 p.m. today. The Catawba County Board of Commissioners cancelled tonight's regular meeting. For any further updates check www.whky.com or go to the Twitter feed, @WHKYRobEastwood.

Lenoir man charged in Morganton with chasing former girlfriend in vehicle 

22-year-old Corey Daniel Hamrick of Pleasant Hill Road in Lenoir was arrested Saturday (February 14) by Morganton Public Safety Officers. A 911 call for help led to the arrest. According to a news release from Public Safety, a distraught female reported that Corey Hamrick was attempting to run her (and a coworker) off the road. Public Safety officers were able to locate Hamrick following the victim on West Fleming Drive. A traffic stop and interview with Hamrick resulted in the discovery that he was following his former girlfriend in an attempt to see who she was meeting. After interviewing the victim and Hamrick it is believed that Hamrick has been illegally stalking the victim for some time. On Saturday, Feb 14th, the victim reported that Hamrick followed her and a coworker inside Walmart. When the victim and her coworker left Walmart, Hamrick aggressively pursued them in his vehicle. According to the victim, speeds reached 70 miles per hour on West Fleming and East Fleming Drive as they attempted to flee from Hamrick. The victim reported that Hamrick attempted to ram her car while traveling on East Fleming Drive. In an attempt to avoid being rammed, the victim’s car spun around in the road facing the opposite direction. Hamrick continued to pursue the victim until he was stopped by MDPS officers. Hamrick was charged with Stalking and two felony counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill. Since Hamrick and the victim were in a prior relationship, the case is being treated as domestic violence. Hamrick was incarcerated under a 48 hour hold and a $10,000 secured bond. Hamrick has an initial appearance in Burke County District Court Monday February 16th.

Explosion at Caldwell home caused by propane heater



An explosion at a Caldwell County home over the weekend was reportedly caused by a propane heater. According to published reports, at around 10 p.m. Saturday there was an explosion at a mobile home on Antique Lane in Caldwell County. In the report, Collettesville Fire chief Larry Price says the man was using a propane heater, designed for outside use, to keep warm after the home lost power because of the wind. The chief said the man hooked up a heater with an additional second tank nearby, causing it to overheat and explode. The small explosion contained enough strength to blow out walls and windows of the home. The man used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames before firefighters arrived. He told responders he got out of the house by shooting out a window and crawling out. The report says the man was conscious and talking when they got on scene, but he suffered second and third degree burns and was taken to the hospital.

 

 

 

 

Maiden business destroyed in Friday fire 

A Maiden business was destroyed by fire. According to a published report, Johnny On The Spot, a heating and air conditioning business, was destroyed in a Friday fire. The business is located on Cemetery Street. There were no injuries in the blaze, the owner left the business just before 1 p.m. Maiden firefighters responded just before 2 p.m. and had the fire contained by approximately 2:30. The report says it’s likely the fire started near the building’s heating unit.

Weekend News Update from Unifournews.com

Fire burns structure in Hickory Friday morning 

At about 20 minutes after midnight Friday morning (February 13), Hickory Firefighters responded to a structure fire at 1722-A 16th Street N.E. Firefighters responded with three engines, one ladder truck, one rescue truck and two command units. Upon arrival, Firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the garage of the two-story building. Two occupants of the apartment above the garage were safely outside the building. Firefighters encountered heavy fire inside the building. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire in the garage and clear the smoke out of the apartment above. No injuries were reported. Damages to the building were considered major. Catawba County E.M.S., Hickory Rescue and Hickory Police Department also responded to the incident. Unconfirmed reports state that the fire may have started in the basement and does not appear to have been arson. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.   

Felony break-in charge

 

24-year-old Jeremy Ryan Price was arrested Thursday (February 12) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with felony forced breaking and entering. Following the arrest, Price was placed in jail where he is being held on the break-in count and other charges under $83,500 secured bond. A court appearance was scheduled for yesterday (Friday, February 13).  

Break-in charge lodged

39-year-old Chadwick Allen Bean was arrested today (Friday, February 13) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with felony non forced breaking and entering. Following the arrest, Bean was jailed under $3,000 secured bond. A first court appearance was scheduled for today.

McHenry to make appearances in Catawba County 

10th District Congressman Patrick McHenry will be in Catawba County next week. At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, McHenry will visit the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden. On Wednesday he will visit Maiden High School at 2 p.m. During his visit to Providence Cotton Mill McHenry will tour the mill which is currently undergoing renovations to be repurposed as an event space to host weddings and other events. Wednesday McHenry will tour Maiden High School with Principal Rob Bliss and members of the local school board.  He will visit a number of different classes during his tour. The appearances are not open to the public. 

Lenoir man arrested on meth charge

 

29-year-old Garry Dean Sanders Jr. of Essex Place in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (February 12) by Caldwell County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and felony maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance. Following the arrest, Sanders was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Monday (February 16).

Top Unifour News Stories for Friday, February 13th

Roof blown off residence in Caldwell County

 

High winds blew the roof off of a mobile home in Caldwell County Thursday afternoon. Just before 2 p.m., William Blankenship said he was watching television in his home at 2240 Marcus Drive in Sawmills, when he heard loud banging and then half of the steel roof blew off of his single-wide mobile home. Neither Blankenship nor his wife was injured. Officials with Caldwell County Emergency Services and Sawmills Fire & Rescue responded to the scene.  They secured the roof with ropes and tarps. Damages were estimated at two to three thousand dollars.  Power was also turned off to the home for safety. Officials have contacted the National Weather Service for their evaluation. For more information, contact Caldwell County Public Information Officer LouAnne Kincaid at lkincaid@caldwellcountync.org or 828-759-7879. 

Fire destroys home in Burke County 

Fire destroyed a Burke County home Thursday morning, The couple living at the residence was able to get out safely. According to published reports, investigators said the home burned early yesterday morning. The residence was located just outside of Morganton. Reports say the 74-year-old man living in the home on Nolan Woods Heights woke up and heard crackling and popping noises around 4 a.m. The man was able to get himself and his wife out the back door. The published reports say that an oxygen tank exploded during the fire. The couple's home was destroyed along with their van, officials said a dog died in the fire. The couple did not sustain any injuries. Investigators have not said yet how the fire started.

Man indicted on cocaine possession charge

 

26-year-old Shaylon Monquice Springs of 2nd Street Place S.W. was served a felony indictment Wednesday (February 11) for possession of cocaine. Springs was initially arrested and charged as the result of a September 2014 incident in which Hickory Police conducted a traffic stop and conducted a search, leading to the discovery of 3.4 grams of crack cocaine. Springs was arrested without incident at about 8:15 last night at Hickory Police headquarters. He was released less than an hour later on a $5,000 secured bond. An appearance in Superior Court was scheduled for tomorrow in Newton.

Governor appoints assistant district attorney to position as District Court Judge 

Governor Pat McCrory has appointed Richard Holloway District Court Judge in the 25th Judicial District. Holloway will replace District Court Judge Gary Dellinger, who retired on December 31, 2014. The 25th Judicial District consists of Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba Counties. Holloway is a Caldwell County native and an assistant district attorney for the 25th Judicial District, a position he has held since 1998. He is also a board member of the Juvenile Crime Prevention Counsel and the Child Fatality Task Force. Previously, Holloway was a partner with Keller & Holloway with a primary focus on family and criminal law. He received his undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and his law degree from Campbell University.

Appointments named to Community College System Boards of Trustees 

The Office of Governor Pat McCrory announced appointments to the North Carolina Community College System Boards of Trustees. McCrory named John Bray, the CEO of Vanguard Furniture, to the Catawba Valley Community College Board of Trustees. George Robinson, the owner of Robinson Lumber Company in Lenoir, has been named to the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Board of Trustees. Robinson was recently appointed to take over Edgar Starnes' seat as state representative for the 87th District. Amparo Alfaro, a Certified Personal Accountant in Valdese, has been reappointed to the Western Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees. David Patneaude, a real estate agent with Catawba Properties has been named to the McDowell Technical Community College Board of Trustees. The Honorable Alan Cloninger, Sheriff of Gaston County, has been reappointed to the Gaston College Board of Trustees. Mary Ann Rice, a senior vice president for the State Employees Credit Union, and The Honorable Nathan Ramsey, who recently completed a term as a member of the NC House, have been named to the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Board of Trustees.

Top Unifour News Stories for Thursday, February 12th

Arrest made in murder of Lenoir woman 

An arrest has been made in connection with the murder of a woman earlier this month in Caldwell County. On Sunday, February 1st at 2:49 a.m., Lenoir Police Officers responded to a 911 call from Creekway Apartments in which a female was reported to be unresponsive outside in the yard.  Upon arrival, Officers found 39-year-old Hope Marie Story Webb deceased and lying in the parking lot. On Wednesday (February 11) at 2:03 p.m. Investigators took 27-year-old Ashley Allison Stewart of Creekway Drive, Lenoir, into custody for the Murder of Hope Webb. She was arrested without incident at her residence. Stewart (pictured) was charged with second degree murder and placed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under no bond with a first appearance scheduled for today (Thursday, February 12) in District Court in Lenoir.  The investigation is currently still ongoing with more arrests possible in the future. Anyone with information about the case should call the Lenoir Police Department at 828-757-2100 or report anonymously to Lenoir/Caldwell County Crimestoppers at 828-758-8300. (Story courtesy of Fentress Chestnut, WHKY. Photo of Ashley Stewart courtesy of Lenoir Police Department).

Fire destroys Morganton car repair shop 

A Wednesday afternoon fire destroyed a car repair business in Morganton. The fire leveled Jim's Service Center at 213 Carbon City Road. Firefighters with the Morganton Department of Public Safety responded to the business at approximately 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday. According to reports, a vehicle inside the building caught fire first, and the flames spread throughout the building. The building was fully engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived. Several people in the area reported hearing explosions at the time the fire started.  Reports say the fire was related to fuel from one of the vehicles that was in the shop. In addition to multiple trucks from Morganton Public Safety, police and Burke County EMS responded to the scene. No injuries were reported as a result of the fire. The building was completely destroyed. Firefighters had the blaze under control by approximately 4 p.m., they remained at the scene until about 6 p.m. to deal with remaining hotspots. The cause of the fire is under investigation, however Public Safety believes it was accidental. Jim's Service Center had been in operation for more than 30 years.

Man charged with possession of drugs in jail  

 

24-year-old Valentino Lamel Avery was arrested Tuesday (February 10) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with felony possession of a controlled substance in prison or jail. Following the arrest, Avery was jailed under $33,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for yesterday (Wednesday, February 11).

Two arrested on drug charges 

47-year-old Timothy Scott Hildebran of Newhill Road in Conover and 38-year-old Shannon Nichole Stowe of Lynne Avenue in Hildebran were both arrested by Hickory Police early Wednesday morning (February 11) on drug charges. Hildebran was charged with felony possession of a schedule II controlled substance. Stowe faces one felony count of possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. Both were charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. The arrests came about after an Officer spotted five people in the cab of a pick-up truck in the parking lot at the Save-More store on 1st Avenue S.W. shortly before 2 a.m. After the truck pulled out of the parking lot, the Officer conducted a traffic stop for a problem with the vehicle registration. The license plate had been reported stolen in Marion. The Officer called for back up. Among the responding Officers was a K-9 unit. The dog alerted to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle. Hildebran had moved from the cab to the truck bed where Police found a pill bottle in which was a baggie containing 0.3 grams of methamphetamine. In Stowe’s purse, Officers found 0.1 grams of marijuana, one 0.5 mg Alprazolam pill and three 0.2 mg Alprazolam pills. Hildebran and Stowe were taken into custody without incident. The other three subjects were not charged. Both suspects were placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Hildebran set at $5,000, secured, while Stowe was given a $1,000 secured bond. Stowe has since been released. Hildebran was scheduled to appear in District Court yesterday in Hickory. Stowe has a Hickory court date coming up on March 19. (Ralph Mangum, WHKY)

Teenager charged with break-in  

 

18-year-old Austin Michael Neece was arrested Tuesday (February 10) by Burke County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with two counts of felony forced breaking and entering. Neece is also facing two counts of failure to appear. He’s being held in jail under $62,000 total secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for yesterday (Wednesday, February 11).

Stolen vehicle charge filed

49-year-old Scott Anthony Sanborn was arrested Tuesday (February 10) by Burke County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Following the arrest, Sanborn was incarcerated under $15,000 secured bond. A court appearance was scheduled for yesterday (Wednesday, February 11).

Top Unifour News Stories for Wednesday, February 11th

Hickory man receives minimum nine year sentence in meth case

 

31-year-old Kenneth Orion Lee of Hickory, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony manufacturing methamphetamine during Catawba County Superior Court Monday, (February 9). The Honorable Michael Duncan, Superior Court Judge from Wilkes County, sentenced Lee to 9-12 years of active time for the offenses, and he was placed in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections. The defendant was arrested in May 2013 for offenses that occurred within a week of each other in March 2013. In each incident co-defendants still with pending court cases were purchasing quantities of pseudoephedrine for Lee, who served as the meth cooker, in exchange for money generated from the sale of the controlled substance. Officers with the Newton Police Department and Longview Police Department along with Special Agent Chris Chambliss of the State Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. Kyle Smith was the prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office.

Police seeking suspect in robbery 

Conover Police are seeking a suspect in the robbery of a convenience store Monday night. According to police reports, the robber entered the Kangaroo store on 1st Avenue North around 11:45 p.m. Police say the man, who was armed with a knife, was covered from head to toe, therefore a description of the suspect has been hard to get. Police say they believe he is a white male, but that's about all they know. Surveillance video has been released and authorities are reviewing the footage. Investigators are hoping someone will be able to identify the emblem on the man's sweatshirt and possibly identify the man by the sound of his voice, which can be heard on the surveillance video. Police also believe a second person may be involved, possibly driving a getaway vehicle. A light colored extended-cab pickup drove past the store and, within a few seconds, the robber was seen running from that area and into the store. He left the same way. Anyone with information on the Monday night robbery at the Kangaroo store is urged to call the Conover Police Department at 828-464-4698.

Two arrested in connection with string of vehicle break-ins  

29-year-old Jimmy Ryan Hartley and 27-year-old Alex Jeffrey William Eikenberg, both of 12th Street N.E. in Hickory, were arrested Friday (February 6) by Hickory Police. The arrests are connected to a series of vehicle break-ins in Hickory that began on January 29. Hartley was charged with one felony count each of obtaining property by false pretense and identity theft. Eikenberg faces three felony counts of breaking & entering a motor vehicle. On Friday February 6, a Hickory Police Officer located a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle description and initiated a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle, Jimmy Ryan Hartley, also matched the description previously given in the larceny from motor vehicle case. During a search of the vehicle, property related to the larceny crimes was located and Hartley was arrested on the scene. A subsequent search of Hartley’s residence resulted in the discovery of additional stolen property from the incidences and the development and arrest of an additional suspect, Alex Jeffrey William Eikenberg. Both subjects were taken into custody without incident, Hartley at about 2:15 in the afternoon on the 2300 block of 29th Avenue Drive N.E. and Eikenberg at about 7 p.m. at his residence. The two were taken to the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Hartley set at $25,000, secured, while Eikenberg was given a $15,000 secured bond. Eikenberg has since been released. First appearances in District Court were scheduled for Monday (February 9) in Newton.

Southern Caldwell resident charged with drug offense 

53-year-old Harry James Odum of Premier Road in Granite Falls was arrested Monday (February 9) by Caldwell County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance. Following the arrest, Odum was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $20,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for yesterday (Tuesday, February 10).

West Virginia man charged with break-in in Catawba County 

41-year-old Donald Ray Mullins of Smith Drive in Huntington, West Virginia, was arrested Monday (February 9) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with breaking and or entering and felony larceny. Following the arrest, Mullins was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $2,500 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday (February 11).

Woman charged with having drugs in jail 

35-year-old Courtney Dawn Reitler of Whiterock Drive in Mount Holly was arrested Monday (February 9) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. She’s charged with felony possession of controlled substance on prison or jail premises. Following the arrest, Reitler was detained at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $4,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for Friday (February 13).

Top Unifour News Stories for Tuesday, February 10th

Unifournews.com shutting down later this month 

 

After more than five years of serving the Unifour-area as a news source, with daily updates for more than four years, Unifournews.com will be shutting down later this month. Due to new responsibilities that have come with a job change, Managing Editor and Site Owner Rob Eastwood has decided he will be unable to update the site on a regular basis any longer. In addition, his focus at his new place of employment (WHKY Radio and TV in Hickory, NC) will have to be on that company's website (www.whky.com). Unifournews.com started up in November of 2009, and provided daily news updates until mid-May 2010 before halting publication for more than six months. The site was close to shutting down in December, 2010, when the decision was made to sell sponsorhips in an effort to keep the site online. Advertisers were added starting in January, 2011, and the site has had sponsors since then. In recent years, the site has averaged more than 300 visitors on weekdays, and more than 400 page hits overall each day. The site exceeded 1000 page hits on one occasion in 2013, and has been over 500 hits on several occasions. Unifournews.com's final day of publication will be Sunday, February 22nd.

Man charged with multiple sex offenses

 

26-year-old Joshua Lee Lipford of Spencer Road NE in Conover was arrested Monday (February 9) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with seven counts of statutory rape/sex offense with the defendant being six or more years older than the victim. Following Monday’s arrest, Lipford was incarcerated at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $100,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for Friday (February 13).

Weapons stolen from Lincoln County Officer living in Catawba County 

Duty firearms and SWAT turnout gear were stolen from a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Officer’s patrol car in Catawba County. Sgt. Robert Jefferies returned from a weekend trip Sunday morning (February 8) to find his unmarked Dodge Charger patrol car damaged, his police gear stolen and his home broken into. The thief or thieves gained entry by breaking out the rear driver’s side window. They opened the trunk with the automatic release and stole the service weapons and SWAT gear. The thieves also broke into the Sergeant’s home and stole a .45 caliber Glock handgun with holster and several electronic games. In addition to the Glock, an H&K MP5 duty weapon, a tactical SWAT vest, body armor, a tactical light for the Glock handgun, approximately 15 to 20 boxes of 9mm and 45 caliber rounds, a handcuff or magazine pouch with two fully loaded magazines and a duty belt with holster. The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. Anyone with information regarding the case should call the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office at 828-464-3112, the Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln Co. Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. A Crime Stoppers tip leading to an arrest or the recovery of stolen goods could result in a reward of up to $1,000.

Alexander woman charged with drug offense 

32-year-old Chrystal Gail Stikeleather of Liberty Lane in Taylorsville was served a felony indictment by Hickory Police at about 5:40 Friday afternoon (February 6) for possession of a schedule II controlled substance. She was initially charged in connection to an incident in May of last year at the Days Inn Suites on 13th Avenue Drive N.W. in Hickory. Officers approached Stikeleather on hotel property and conducted a search, leading to the discovery of methamphetamine on her person. At the time of her arrest Friday, Stikeleather was found to be in possession of four grams of marijuana and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana up to half an ounce. She was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under an $11,000 secured bond. A Superior Court date on the felony charge was set for February 13 in Newton. A District Court date on the marijuana charge was scheduled for March 12.

Statutory rape charge filed 

25-year-old Jason Dewayne Cuthbertson of North Davis Avenue in Newton was arrested Monday morning (February 9) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with statutory rape sex offense with the defendant being greater than six years older than the victim. Following the arrest, Cuthbertson was detained at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $30,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

19-year-old woman charged with indecent liberties 

19-year-old Miranda Richelle Sigmon of 37th Street Drive NE in Hickory was arrested Monday morning (February 9) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. She’s charged with indecent liberties with a child. Following the arrest, Sigmon was detained at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $5,000 bond. A court appearance is scheduled for Friday (February 13).

Top Unifour News Stories for Monday, February 9th

Building owned by church burns in weekend fire 

Firefighters in Morganton responded to a fire at a church over the weekend. According to a news release from the Morganton Department of Public Safety, at 10:01 a.m. Sunday (February 8) Public Safety was dispatched to a report of smoke coming from the New Hope In Christ Church at 509 Bouchelle Street. Arriving units found this building to not have a fire, but found an older church building just down the street with smoke coming out of it. The building is also owned by the New Hope In Christ Church, but is not currently being used for services. First arriving units found the single story block building to have smoke coming out of the open front door. Upon entry, firefighters encountered flames and high heat conditions with heavy black smoke. Firefighters made a successful attack on the fire, saving the building from structural damage. Only some of the contents and a few pews were burned, but there was considerable heat and smoke damage. No occupants or firefighters were injured. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the department.

Man sentenced to minimum 25 years for sex offenses 

 

41-year-old Crisoforo Casarreal-Parra of Hickory, was sentenced to 25-35 years in prison on Friday (February 6) after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual offense with a child and five counts of indecent liberties with a child. The defendant was sentenced by the Honorable Hugh B. Lewis, Superior Court Judge from Mecklenburg County, who also ordered that Casarreal-Parra register as a sex offender and enroll in satellite-based monitoring for the remainder of his life. Casarreal-Parra was placed in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections. He has an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer and is subject to deportation. The incidents occurred between January and July in 2014 at a daycare operated illegally by Casarreal-Parra’s wife Tonya in Hickory. She also is facing charges related to the operation of that facility.  Investigation revealed that Casarreal-Parra used the daycare to gain access to the victims he molested, both boys and girls ranging in age from 3 to 8 years old.  One of the children, age 6 at the time, began to be scared of going to the daycare. She revealed that the defendant had touched her inappropriately, which led to an investigation that turned up four additional victims. That child victim, now 7 years old, spoke in open court before Judge Lewis, thanking him, the District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement for the roles they played in seeking justice for the children who were victimized.

County officials seeking citizens who may be owed money due to billing error 

A billing error that took place over about a four and a half-year period in Burke County has resulted in the county seeking to find citizens who may be owed money. The county reportedly owes approximately $50,000 total. The billing error ended in February 2011, it was the result of some customers being charged for a new water meter when one already existed on the property. According to a published report, Burke County will spend money if needed to find former water customers it owes money. Scott Carpenter, director of community development for Burke County, said in the published report the county will first try to contact former customers through any forwarding address they may have or try to find an address for them. The county will then send a letter to the customers about the billing error and information about getting the reimbursement to them. The report says if county officials are unable to find an address, they will advertise in a local newspaper with the names of former customers and county contact information. Current customers will have their accounts credited. The refund will be around $175 for the customers who were wrongly charged the fee, say officials. The estimated total amount of refunds the county owes due to the error is $45,000 to $50,000. The money will come out of the county’s water and sewer fund balance.

Alexander County man faces larceny, stolen goods charges 

44-year-old James Maurice Wilson of Lee Allen Drive in Taylorsville was arrested Sunday by Alexander County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony larceny, special indictment felony, possession of stolen goods, and being a habitual felon. Following the arrest, Wilson was detained at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $75,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for Friday (February 13).

Burke man arrested on multiple charges in Caldwell 

25-year-old Jarae Maran Millsaps of Hartland Road in Morganton was arrested Sunday (February 8) by Caldwell County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony breaking and entering, felony larceny after breaking and entering, and misdemeanor injury to real property. Following the arrest, Millsaps was detained at the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for March 4.

Weekend News Update from Unifournews.com

Burke County man charged with drug offense

 

54-year-old Phouvong Oudeenarak of Jamestown Road in Morganton was arrested by Hickory Police just before 1:30 Friday morning (February 6) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance. At about midnight, Officers on patrol in the area of Highway 70 S.W. and 19th Street S.W. saw a vehicle at the Sunhouse convenience store with a pick-up order on its license tag. Police waited nearly an hour for the man to come out of the store. When he left the store, Police stopped the vehicle at 19th Street S.W. and 15th Avenue S.W. A search of the vehicle was conducted, leading to the discovery of one gram of methamphetamine. Oudeenarak was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $1,000, secured. He was scheduled to appear in District Court Friday (February 6) in Hickory.

More details released in arrests

More details have been released in the arrests of 40-year-old Terry Lee McConneaughey of Ann Street in Gastonia and 28-year-old Cathy Jo Wiseman of Stonewood Drive in Spruce Pine. They were both arrested by Hickory Police early yesterday morning (February 5) on drug charges. As reported yesterday on WHKY, McConneaughey was charged with one felony count each of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver schedule II & schedule VI controlled substances, as well as misdemeanor counts for possession of a schedule III controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Wiseman was charged with one felony count of maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance. They were arrested when Officers on foot patrol at the Red Roof Inn, just off of Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard S.E., detected the odor of marijuana coming from a room at the hotel. Police made contact with the room’s six occupants. The room was rented in Cathy Jo Wiseman’s name. A search of the room turned up four grams of crack cocaine, 43 grams of marijuana, four Vicodin pills and digital scales. McConneaughey took responsibility for the drugs. He was found to have $116 in cash on his person. The other four persons present were not charged. Following their arrests, both suspects were placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for McConneaughey set at $15,000, secured, while Wiseman was given a $4,000 secured bond. They have since been released. First appearances in District Court were scheduled today in Newton.

Hickory City Council has special meeting this weekend

 

A Special Meeting of the Hickory City Council will be held on Sunday, February 8 at 4:00 p.m. City Council, City management and department heads will be leaving for Raleigh on Sunday. The meeting will resume on Monday, (February 10) and council will make several stops around Raleigh throughout the day. City Council will continue the meeting on Tuesday (February 10) and make several more stops during the day. The purpose of this Special Meeting is to hold the Annual Council-Staff Planning Session. City Council will be attending “The Institute for Emerging Issues: 30th Annual Emerging Issues Forum: Innovation Reconstructed.” Discussions will include a presentation of Hickory Young Professionals survey results, a presentation of Neuse River Trail, transportation update, discussion with the Western Piedmont Council of Government’s (WPCOG) John Marshall, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Representatives, NC House Representatives Adams and Setzer, NC Senator Wells, budget discussion, and a walking tour of mixed use development with public parking deck. For additional information please contact the City Manager’s Office at (828) 323-7412.

Hickory man indicted on armed robbery charge

23-year-old Jeremy Kyle Goodrich of 14th Street Place N.E. in Hickory was served a felony indictment by Hickory Police shortly after midnight today (February 6) on a charge of robbery with firearms or other dangerous weapons. He was detained by authorities in Alexander County and turned over to Hickory Police. He was arrested in connection to an incident in November of 2013 when Police received reports of a reckless driver. Officers spotted the vehicle at the Cupboard Express store on 16th Street N.E. They spoke to the driver, who told them he was attempting to flee from two men who had assaulted him. The victim said he went to visit an acquaintance, Jeremy Goodrich, who had invited the victim to see his new residence. Upon arrival, Goodrich and another man allegedly forced the victim to the ground at knifepoint and stole the victim’s shoes and an unspecified amount of cash. Goodrich was initially arrested and charged in 2013. Following his arrest today, Goodrich was jailed under a $15,000 secured bond. An appearance in Superior Court was scheduled for today in Newton.

Inmate convicted of malicious conduct 

22-year-old Tracey Allen Deaver of Dudley, N.C., pleaded guilty to two counts of malicious conduct by a prisoner during the Monday (February 2) session of Burke County Superior Court. While an inmate at Foothills Correctional Institute, Deaver threw urine on a guard. The Honorable Carla Archie, Superior Court Judge from Charlotte, sentenced Deaver to 13-25 months of active prison time. Deaver will serve that at the expiration of a sentence of up to 18 years of prison time he currently is serving for October 2011 convictions of statutory rape and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. Captain Bo Goodson of the North Carolina Department of Corrections investigated the case, and Chris Back was the prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office.

Top Unifour News Stories for Friday, February 6th

Grades for schools unveiled by State Board of Education

 

The State Board of Education Thursday unveiled grades for more than 2,400 public schools. This year's grading curve means more than 70 percent of the state's schools got a grade of "C'' or better. About one out of 20 North Carolina public schools received an "A'' while approximately 6 percent brought home an "F'' on new statewide school report cards. Schools could only receive an "F'' if they score below 40 out of 100 points. Students themselves receive an "F'' grade if they score below 63. Eighty percent of the school grades are based on how students performed on standardized tests. All schools receiving a "D'' or "F'' must send letters to students' parents informing them of the grade. In the Greater Hickory Metro school systems performed as follows. In the Catawba County Schools 16 schools received a C grade, 8 schools received a B grade, 2 schools received a D grade, and 1 school received an A grade. In the Hickory City Schools 4 schools received a D grade, 3 schools received a C grade, and 2 schools received a B grade. In the Newton-Conover City Schools 4 schools received a C grade, 1 school received a B grade and 1 school received a D grade. In the Alexander County Schools 8 schools received a C grade, 1 school received a B grade, and one school received a D grade. In the Burke County Schools 17 schools received a C grade, 6 schools received a B grade, and 2 schools received an A grade. In the Caldwell County Schools 15 schools received a C grade, 6 schools received a B grade, 2 schools received a D grade and one received an A.

Man charged with failure to appear in connection with charge from 2010 

46-year-old Ba Van Tran of 20th Avenue Drive N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 11:30 Wednesday morning (February 4) on one felony count of failure to appear. The arrest dates back to a July 2010 break-in at the P.C. Seafood & Oriental Market on Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory. Tran was initially arrested in August of 2010 and then the failure to appear warrant was issued in October 2010. He was taken into custody yesterday on Highway 321 in Hickory. Following his arrest, Tran was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $20,000, secured. An appearance in District Court was scheduled for today in Newton.

Two arrested on multiple drug charges 

40-year-old Terry Lee McConneaughey of Ann Street in Gastonia and 28-year-old Cathy Jo Wiseman of Stonewood Drive in Spruce Pine were both arrested by Hickory Police at about 2:15 this morning (February 5) on drug charges. McConneaughey was charged with one felony count each of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule II controlled substance and possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule VI controlled substance, as well as one misdemeanor count each of possession of a schedule III controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Wiseman was charged with one felony count of maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance.They were both taken into custody without incident at the Red Roof Inn, just off of Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard S.E. in Hickory. Following their arrests, the suspects were placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for McConneaughey set at $15,000, secured, while Wiseman was given a $4,000 secured bond. Wiseman has since been released. Both were scheduled to make first appearances in District Court tomorrow in Newton.

Unemployment rates released for state's counties 

Unemployment rates were released for North Carolina’s counties. According to the Division of Employment Security, the unemployment rate in Alexander County in December was 4.7 percent, up from 4.6 percent in November. The Burke County unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent from 6.1. In Caldwell County, unemployment also dropped to 5.9 percent from 6.1. Catawba County’s jobless rate fell to 5.4 percent in December, down from 5.5 percent in November. The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area was at 5.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in November. That places the area tenth out of fourteen MSAs, just four Metropolitan Areas finished with higher unemployment rates. The statewide unemployment rate is 5.2 percent, down from 5.4 in November.

Caldwell agencies to close February 20 

The Caldwell County Health Department and Caldwell County Animal Control, both located in Lenoir, will be closed to the public on Friday, February 20. The two facilities will be closed for staff training. All other departments in the human services building: Caldwell County Department of Social Services, Emergency Management and the Lenoir office of North Carolina Representative Mark Meadows will be open. According to the Caldwell Journal, the staff of the Caldwell County Health Department will be involved in an extensive all day training on February 20th relating to Quality Improvement 101. The Caldwell County Health Department has been involved in the Quality Improvement 101 program through the Centers for Public Health Quality since April 2014. According to the report, during this training, processes in the department will be looked at to find where waste, such as long wait times, non-value added forms and extra steps, may be an issue. The Caldwell Journal report says through the recent changes at the health department, the wait time, process time and number of patients being seen during the department’s family planning clinic has improved. There have been and will be no appointments scheduled for February 20th. For more information, contact Anna Martin, Health Education Supervisor, at 828-426-8506.

Drug, probation violation charges filed

 

24-year-old Jeremy Edward Harrell of South Main Avenue in Newton was arrested Wednesday (February 4) by Newton Police Officers. He’s charged with felony probation violation, simple possession of schedule VI controlled substance, possession of marijuana paraphernalia, and driving while license revoked. Harrell was incarcerated at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $41,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for February 20.

Thank you for more than five great years!