January 5th, 2012
Catawba County Schools' spelling bee was finished in near record time, and there was a little controversy involved before the Maiden High School auditorium.
Mill Creek Middle School eighth-grader Savannah Clay correctly spelled "auditorium" and then "controversy," to claim the school system's spelling championship. She'll now advance to the regional competition in Charlotte on Feb. 20.
Clay defeated first runner-up Snow Creek Elementary student Catherine McMahan, who missed the correct spelling for "flouride."
There were 11 murders in Catawba County in 2011. There were five murders countywide in 2010.
Authorities say the increase could be due to several factors, but is not abnormally high or reflect a negative trend.
The Catawba County Sheriffâ€™s Office handled seven murders in 2011, compared to three in 2010.
Sheriff Coy Reid said his office deals with three to six murders each year. He said he didnâ€™t think the 2011 increase in murders reflect a bad trend or growing crime presence, but rather thinks it was a reflection of the type of crimes that were committed.
A Maiden man and his son helped stop a fire Thursday just before it destroyed his parentsâ€™ home.
Nathan Painter and his son, Joseph, arrived at his parentsâ€™ home on the 1800 block of P.L. Propst Road in Maiden about 1 p.m. Thursday to a large fire burning in the houseâ€™s front yard.
A barn, located behind the home, caught fire just minutes before, and the blaze had now spread to the front yard.
Frigid temperatures and fresh snow greeted 2012 in the North Carolina mountains. While the ski resorts donâ€™t encourage folks to call in to work sick, skiing conditions are excellent. Heed the frostbite warnings, though.
Hereâ€™s a look at three ski resorts.
Appalachian Ski Mountain
CHARLOTTE â€” The North Carolina woman sentenced to prison for killing her 10-year-old disabled stepdaughter also pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal drug charge.
Prosecutors agreed to drop six other charges after Elisa Baker entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Charlotte to one count of conspiracy to sell drugs. She faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million dollar fine at her sentencing, which hasn't been scheduled yet.
Prosecutors say that between 2006 and 2010, Baker helped distribute more than 50,000 painkillers and anti-anxiety pills in Catawba and Caldwell counties.
The father of 10-year-old Zahra Baker is expected to be deported soon after his Catawba County felony charges were dismissed this morning.
As a result of a plea deal entered today, Adam Bakerâ€™s felony charges of obtaining property by false pretenses and identity theft were dismissed. He pleaded guilty to taking electricity unlawfully and will be required to pay restitution of almost $350, which he paid this morning.
He also received a sentence that included unsupervised probation for the guilty plea on the misdemeanor charge.
It is time for Catawba County property owners to pay up or pay interest. Property taxes are due today. Pick up Thursdayâ€™s edition of The O-N-E to find out how to make your tax payment without waiting in line.
Zahra Bakerâ€™s father, Adam, is expected to enter a plea deal on felony charges today. Visit www.observernewsonline.com for details about the deal as soon as it is announced.
Just a week shy of its conference opener against rival St. Stephens, Fred T. Foard showed Wednesday itâ€™s ready for the challenge.
The Tigers (18-1) lost only one of their 28 total matches against East Burke and Lincolnton, topping both squads in dominating fashion.
Coach Mike Carey said his team is preparing for its upcoming conference slate.
â€śWeâ€™re tuning up for St. Stephens next week,â€ť he said. â€śThatâ€™s kind of our mindset right now. Weâ€™re getting ready for conference.â€ť
The Bandys girls basketball team continued its early season roll, knocking off Bunker Hill in Catawba on Wednesday.
The Lady Trojans (13-0, 4-0) quickly jumped out to a 28-2 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, continuing their undefeated streak so far this season.
Three Bandys basketball players reached double-digits in scoring, including sophomore Madi Story, who led the team with 19 points.
Taylor Sigmon and Brittany Moss also scored 11 points each.
Margaret Connor scored 11 points, while Wilbelis Rojas added nine points for the Lady Bears (0-13, 0-4).
NEW YORK â€” Boris Diaw rebounded from a dreadful game a night earlier with a season-high 27 points, and the Charlotte Bobcats snapped a four-game losing streak with a 118-110 victory Wednesday over the New York Knicks.
Gerald Henderson added 24 for the Bobcats, who capped a three-game road trip by winning for the first time since their opener. Reserve Byron Mullens scored 16 and D.J. Augustin finished with 14 points and 10 assists. Charlotte shot 55 percent from the field.