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Archive - Dec 22, 2011

Biggest story of 2011? Vote now!

December 22, 2011

2011 was a busy year in Catawba County. Elisa Baker was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison for the death of 10-year-old Zahra Baker. Newton voted in its first-ever female mayor. The state forced educators to deal with deep cuts to school budgets.

What was the biggest story of the year in the county? Was it another story not included in our poll?

Check out the choices and vote now at observernewsonline.com, and remember to pick up a Dec. 31 edition of The Observer News Enterprise for a special section of the biggest stories of 2011.

The O-N-E morning read: Friday, Dec. 23

December 22, 2011

Christmas is two days away in the Hickory Metro, and many organizations are still working to make it a merry holiday season for their neighbors.

Newton-Conover High School, and several other organizations, served a free lunch Thursday to those in need in the community. Several Catawba Valley Community College groups recently collected gifts for the needy, and area businesses donated gifts to children and teens in the Conover area. Read about those stories today in the Friday edition of The Observer News Enterprise.

Also in today's edition and online at observernewsonline.com:

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 22, 2011

Howard Dale Hamrick, 65, of Lincolnton, died Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 at Palliative CareCenter and Hospice of Catawba Valley in Newton.  Burke Mortuary in Newton is serving the Hamrick family.

Ruth Stroud Dellinger Call, 76, of Lenoir, died Dec. 22, 2011, at Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care in Lenoir.  Drum Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Hickory is handling arrangements.

Open for lunch

December 22, 2011

Class was not in session at Newton-Conover High School on Thursday, but the cafeteria was open.

Handfuls of students — now on Christmas break — still showed up to school to feed hundreds of area children and their families. A collaboration of NCHS students, teachers and local volunteers helped feed a steady stream of area citizens on Thursday.

There were no qualifiers to participate; people just showed up to eat.

Rachael Hamm, a sophomore at NCHS, was one of about 50 students who served, entertained and fed the hungry on Thursday.

Red Devils try to continue early success at Duals

December 22, 2011

For the 15th straight year, Newton-Conover hosts its unique Red Devil Duals wrestling tournament starting Friday.

The Duals feature six teams, including the Red Devils, Alexander Central, Hibriten, Durham School of the Arts, Enka and Piedmont.

N-C coach Eddy Clark said despite his team’s 16-0 record this season, the goal of this tournament is to improve.

“Our goal is not to go undefeated,” Clark said. “That’s never been a goal of mine. Our goal is to go 5-0 in February during the state dual team tournament. If we get beat now, it’s a good thing, but you never want to lose.”

Maiden man faces indecent liberties charge

December 22, 2011

A Maiden man is charged with taking indecent liberties with a minor in connection to an incident that occurred in Lincoln County earlier this month.

Horace Keith Dover, 55, of 5434 Bucks Garage Road in Maiden, was arrested and charged Wednesday with taking indecent liberties with a 14-year-old girl Dec. 9.

Lincoln County authorities say the original incident occurred during a car ride with the girl and her family on a highway in Lincoln County. Dover did know the victim, officers said.

Maiden residents arrested in drug bust

December 22, 2011

Three Maiden residents were recently arrested in a five-county drug bust in which law-enforcement agencies targeted nearly 100 people.

Rufus Durand "Chico" Lynch Jr., 27; Natasha Lane Wilhelm, 30; and Wendy Lou Wood, 27, all of Maiden, were arrested as part of a "16 Days of Christmas" operation, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Police departments in Newton, Conover and Maiden, and the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, are involved in the ongoing investigation, as well as law enforcement agencies in Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Gaston and Rockingham counties.

Conover pro golf tournament on 2012 schedule

December 22, 2011

The Greater Hickory Classic tournament on the Pro Golf Association (PGA) Champions Tour will return to Conover and move to the fall in 2012.

The PGA Champions Tour released its 2012 tournament schedule this week, and it includes seven new tournament venues and several date changes for existing tournaments, according to the PGA. The schedule includes the 10th annual Greater Hickory Classic.

Gas price decrease may increase travel

December 22, 2011

A drop in gasoline prices since spring may be the spark North Carolina motorists need to travel during the Christmas holiday.

AAA Carolinas says 2.4 million motorists are expected to drive 50 miles or more during the holiday travel period beginning Friday and lasting through Jan. 2.

Since May 6, gasoline prices in North Carolina have dropped 64 cents. The average price statewide is the cheapest since it hit $3.14 a gallon in early February, and the lowest since peaking at nearly $3.88 on May 6.

Elisa Baker federal plea deal pending

December 22, 2011

Elisa Baker, who pleaded guilty in September to killing 10-year-old disabled Zahra Baker, is looking to make a deal on federal drug charges.

Lawyers for Elisa Baker have filed documents in federal court indicating she has worked out a deal with prosecutors on charges of distributing painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs.

Plea deal documents filed Monday were not available to the public. Her trial is scheduled to start in January.

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