Dewayne Baker stood up in Catawba County Courtroom No. 2 on Tuesday and faced his sonâ€™s murderer.
Holding two sheets of notebook paper scribbled with red ink, he locked eyes with John Lee Mitchell, the 48-year-old man who shot his son, Travis, to death more than four years ago.
â€śMr. Mitchell, I stand here today to speak for someone that canâ€™t,â€ť Baker said, continuing to speak about his sonâ€™s loving personality as a brother, uncle, grandson and father. â€śYou shot our son to deathâ€¦Our life will never be the same.â€ť
In the wake of N.C. Rep. Mark Hilton's decision to not seek re-election, one would-be candidate has stepped forward to try to fill his seat representing the state's 96th House District.
In a Tuesday afternoon email to The O-N-E, the Hickory Metro real estate developer Andy Wells announced his decision to seek Hilton's seat. The seat for North Carolina's 96th district is up for election in November 2012, and filing begins in February. That district includes much of western Catawba County, including Conover, Mountain View, but it does not include Hickory.
The man who killed a 19-year-old Catawba teenager in 2007 will spend at least 12 years in prison.
John Lee Mitchell, the Florida man who killed 19-year-old Catawba native Travis Baker in April 2007, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Tuesday in Catawba County Court. Mitchell will spend a maximum of 15 years in N.C. Department of Correction.
The Travis Baker case, which began as a missing person case in 2007, turned into a homicide investigation after his bullet-riddled skull and other remains were found in a lumber pile off Eulalia Lane near Catawba in June 2009.
Conover has canceled its annual Christmas in the Park event due to a forecast for heavy rain Tuesday evening.
The event will not be rescheduled, according to a release from the city.
N.C. Rep. Mark Hilton won't seek a seventh term in the N.C. House, and he said the decision was driven by a desire to spend more time with his family â€” not by growing suspicions surrounding loans he received from an economic development company operated by a fellow legislator.
"The time has come for me to spend more time with my family," he said.
"When I first got elected, I wasn't married, and I had no children.
Since then, me and my wife have been procreating and having children biannually. We have three and we are going to stop there."
The colors of the holiday season are on full display in greenhouses throughout the Catawba County Schools system - and theyâ€™re on display in The O-N-E, too.
Be sure to get a copy of the Tuesday O-N-E for photos and stories about area high school studentsâ€™ efforts to grow poinsettias - and their experience. Readers will also find out how to support this learning initiative - while adding holiday color to their homes - in The O-N-Eâ€™s coverage online, http://www.observernewsonline.com/content/sales-support-students.
Trailing by two entering the fourth, Hickory powered its way to 24 points in the final quarter, lifting the Lady Red Tornadoes past Newton-Conover, 59-48.
It was about as even as it could get in the early going. Newton-Conover (2-1) and Hickory (4-0) both scored nine points in the first quarter and 16 points in the second quarter, leaving the game tied 25-25 at halftime.
A two-point cushion entering the fourth quarter gave the Lady Red Devils hope they could come away with the victory, but that all changed in the fourth.
Hickory hit 14 three-pointers Monday against Newton-Conover, which helped propel them to a dominant 87-43 victory over the visiting Red Devils.
Jalen Byrd helped his team right out of the gate, scoring 12 of Hickory's 25 points in the first quarter â€” two of which came from three-point territory. He finished with a game-high 14 points.
Also strong for Hickory was Raheim Connelly, who netted four three-pointers and scored 12 points in the game.
The Red Tornadoes led 48-18 at the halftime break.
Fannie Lou Newton Sigmon, 83, of Taylors, S.C., died Dec. 5, 2011, after a brief illness at Hospice of the Carolina Foothills in Landrum, S.C. Familes will be at their respective homes.
Ethel Mae Rinehardt Barkley, 86, of Walker Road, Maiden, died Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011, at her residence. Burke Mortuary in Maiden is serving the Barkley Family.
County officials are moving along with a sewer project that they say will benefit three Catawba County Schools and more than 20 residences.
The Bunker Hill/ Oxford Sewer Project will provide municipal sewer service to Bunker Hill High School, Oxford Elementary School and River Bend Middle School, in addition to about 20 homes in the area.
On Monday, county commissioners agreed to award the bid for construction to Neill Grading and Construction Company, of Hickory.
The total project will cost about $1.9 million, with construction costing about $1.5 million.