October 13th, 2011
A century-old staple of downtown Newton is gone.
Landscapers were forced to cut down a 100-year-old maple tree outside the 1924 Courthouse on the downtown square on Thursday. The tree is dead and suffered root rot, said Catawba County Finance Director Rodney Miller.
â€śThe cooperative extension looked at it and diagnosed it with root rot,â€ť he said, adding that the stress of piled-up dirt and foot traffic over the years led to the problem.
Miller said the county didnâ€™t see any other stress or problems with the other maple trees in the area.
George Monroe Connor Jr., 47, of Newton, died Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. Burke Mortuary in Newton is serving the Connor family.
Jewell Inez Grogan, 81, of Newton, died Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011, at Abernethy Laurels in Newton.
The Grogan family has entrusted the funeral arrangements to Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home & Crematory in Newton.
Conover workers received special training this week that could save lives.
After a mandate from the city manager, all Conover employees participated in child sexual abuse prevention training from the Childrenâ€™s Advocacy and Protection Center (CAPC).
The center has provided prevention training to more than 800 adults this year already, and Conover is the first city to sign up for the instruction, said Adrienne Opdyke, victim advocate at CAPC.
City workers are getting a â€ścrash courseâ€ť in abuse prevention during multiple sessions throughout the next two weeks.
Art-lovers are expected to flock to Newton this weekend for an annual celebration with chalk murals, childrenâ€™s crafts and entertainment.
The Newton Merchants Group will host the Fifth Annual Newton ArtFEST on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The one-day, multi-media event will feature local artists, craftsmen, food vendors, a sidewalk-art contest, sidewalk sales and entertainment.
Representatives from local wineries will also be on hand Saturday to offer sampling and bottle sales at the festival on Newtonâ€™s downtown square.
Running is a punishing aspect of most sports.
Cross-country is a sport that's all about running.
On Wednesday, nearly 1,200 of western North Carolina's high school runners experienced that punishment in Newton during the 19th annual United Way Unifour Cross Country Invitational.
The runners came from everywhere â€“ Asheville, Boone and even area schools in Catawba County.
The meet, held at Southside Park off U.S. 321 Business, was more like a fitness party with races in the middle.
President Barack Obama may travel through the Hickory area Monday as part of a three-bus tour of North Carolina and Virginia, according to reports by the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.
The plan is for Obama to fly into Asheville and make bus-tour stops in Hickory and North Wilkesboro, according to the Citizen-Times. A White House spokesman said the president's stops have yet to be confirmed.
Obama's schedule for the bus tour will be confirmed later this week, the spokesman indicated.
After attempts to solve sewage leaks throughout the past decade proved unsuccessful, Newton officials hope their newest wastewater project pumps out the problem.
Work began on the Burris Road Pump Station in Newton this week. City officials say the construction should reduce raw sewage spills that have cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance and fines since 2004.
Since 2006, more than 160,000 gallons of untreated wastewater has spilled from Newton sewer lines, and more than 140,000 gallons of raw sewage made its way to the area's freshwater streams.
The 19th annual United Way Unifour Cross Country Invitational takes place today at Southside Park in Newton.
Thirty-seven high schools and 1,189 runners will participate in the event, which is scheduled to have six races between approximately 3:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.
â€śThis is really unique in that it is a high school athletic event,â€ť said organizer John Hall. â€śItâ€™s certainly one of the largest events in this area. Weâ€™ve got some of the best 3A and 4A teams in the state coming. We also have some really great 2A teams. There will be some really good competition.â€ť
Bethany Bivens thought sheâ€™d enjoy her day out of school on Tuesday by going to a job interview.
Bivens, a senior at Challenger Early College High School in Hickory, has been on fall break this week, but she didnâ€™t mind the trip to Catawba Valley Community College on Tuesday for a mock interview with a social service professional.
â€śIâ€™m not used to talking about myself that much, but I enjoyed it and thought it was really interesting,â€ť Bivens said. â€śIt was fun.â€ť
Early voting for the 2011 Catawba County municipal elections starts next week.
Registered voters can fill out ballots at the Newton library beginning Oct. 20, as well as the Highland Recreation Center beginning Oct. 24.
Unregistered voters can fill out a registration form at the one-stop voting sites. They must show a valid ID as well, said Marvin Bentley, Catawba County elections specialist.
Voting for every municipality can be completed at the sites, Bentley said.
Several races look to be contentious this year.