The calendar changes to a new year Sunday, but Catawba County crisis ministries' needs of donations and volunteers stay the same.
Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry (ECCCM) and Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry (GHCCM) â€” agencies that serve the needy with crisis assistance programs â€” need donations to restock supplies that were given to the community around Christmastime, officials said.
"As the economy decreases, our business goes up, and our available funds go down at the same time," said Crystal Bowman, chief financial officer of GHCCM.
Official holiday shopping numbers arenâ€™t in yet, but many area store managers report positive sales for the season.
The National Retail Federation estimates that customers will spend $469.1 billion nationwide this year. Final shopping numbers wonâ€™t come out until 2012, but local businesses are saying theyâ€™ve been busy.
â€śOur sales have been good, and weâ€™ve had a lot of people come in to see us,â€ť said Rita Bolick, store manager at Walkerâ€™s Pharmacy in Newton.
â€śWe have sold a lot of toys. We were completely busy from Thanksgiving through Christmas.â€ť
The Observer News Enterprise published the newest edition of Catawba County Fact Book, a 2012 resource guide for citizens throughout the Greater Hickory Metro. The special edition is inside all copies of The O-N-E and Outlook which are distributed today.
Day two of the Catawba Valley Classic kicks off this afternoon at Catawba Valley Community College and Hickory High School.
Follow game coverage with The O-N-Eâ€™s online edition and on Twitter @The ONENews. Also be sure to look for game blogs of girls action at CVCC, here: www.observernewsonline.com/content/blogging-live-c-v-classic-day-2
Basketball action begins at CVCCâ€™s Tarlton Complex at 4 p.m. when No. 5 Maiden plays No. 8 Bunker Hill in the girls consolation bracket. After the conclusion of the dayâ€™s opener, No. 6 Fred T. Foard plays No. 7 St. Stephens.
CHARLOTTE â€”Â N.C. State sophomore cornerback David Amerson wasn't thinking about breaking records coming into the season.
He ended up shattering one few thought would ever fall.
Amerson had two interceptions Tuesday night â€” one that he returned 65 yards for a touchdown and another with 41 seconds left that sealed the Wolfpack's 31-24 victory over Louisville in the Belk Bowl â€” to give him an ACC record 13 for the season.
Former North Carolina star Dre' Bly set the previous mark of 11 in 1996.
While the end of December often cools the Catawba Valley, the action gets hot on the hardwood.
The 25th annual Catawba Valley Classic tipped off Tuesday at Catawba Valley Community College and Hickory High School. Complete details on wins by Newton-Conover girls and results from the rest of the games are available in the Wednesday print edition of The O-N-E.
Visit www.observernewsonline.com to find out playoff pairings for Wednesday.
Newton-Conover's 2010 Catawba Valley Classic title defense started where it ended last season â€” with a victory over Fred T. Foard.
The Lady Red Devils used strong defense to defeat the Lady Tigers, 66-34, for the first time since their championship meeting at the Classic one year ago.
â€śI thought in the first half, we were still in our Christmas mode,â€ť said N-C coach Ike Williams. â€śI think we overindulged in food and gifts. We talked about it at halftime and we stepped it up. I'm happy for a win.â€ť
Hickory kicked off its â€śdrive for fiveâ€ť on Tuesday with an impressive 63-39 victory against Bunker Hill in the second game of the boys bracket at the Catawba Valley Classic.
The Red Tornadoes meet the winner of Newton-Conover and St. Stephens tonight at 9 p.m., with the winner heading to Thursdayâ€™s boys championship game.
The results from the Newton-Conover versus St. Stephens game were not available as of press time.
Other boys scores
Alexander Central 58, Maiden 44
South Caldwell 51, Fred T. Foard 46
St. Stephens 54, Newton-Conover 44
CHARLOTTE â€” Panthers center Ryan Kalil and receiver Steve Smith were selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team Tuesday night, but sensational rookie quarterback Cam Newton wasn't.
Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Eli Manning were the three NFC quarterbacks who made the Pro Bowl ahead of Newton.
Manning threw for 26 touchdowns and ran for one, while Newton combined for 34 touchdowns â€” 20 passing and 14 rushing. Newton was selected as a first alternate and will play in the game if any of the three quarterbacks ahead of him make it to the Super Bowl.
This photo of Dustin Hipps, a Maiden High School senior honored Sunday as a Carolina Panthers Community Captain, is The O-N-E photo of the week.
Hipps was recognized during the Panthers' game against Tampa Bay.
For more about Hipps and the honor, read the full story at http://observernewsonline.com/content/maidens-hipps-honored-panthers-game.
Look for The O-N-E photo of the week each Wednesday at observernewsonline.com. To suggest a photo of the week, or to offer a news tip, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.