Severe weather in recent years may help area schools avoid a growing school calendar that local officials say lacks flexibility.
Catawba County Schools (CCS) appears to qualify for a â€śgood causeâ€ť or â€świnter waiverâ€ť that would allow the system an alternative to an unpopular school calendar proposed by the state.
In June, the N.C. General Assembly approved a 185-day school calendar year that must start Aug. 25 and end June 10. The calendar requires five more days of student instruction than in past years.
The leader of Newton-based Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina will retire at the end of next year.
Tony Wolfe, who has served as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the company since 1993, announced Wednesday he will retire in the fourth quarter of 2012.
"The bank is performing well, and it has a strong leadership team in place," Wolfe said in a press release. "I want to spend additional time with my wife and family, do some traveling and pursue other hobbies and interests. All things considered, now seems like a good time to begin planning for a new phase of our lives."
Two people familiar with the situation say Southern Mississippi coach Larry Fedora has accepted an offer to become North Carolina's next football coach.
They say the framework of a deal is in place, though it isn't final yet. Both people spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the school isn't commenting publicly on its search.
Fedora has guided the 22nd-ranked Golden Eagles to a school-record 11 wins and the Conference USA championship. Southern Miss faces Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24.
HICKORY â€” The remains of a 10-year-old disabled girl killed in North Carolina last year have been released to her father.
The North Carolina Medical Examiner's office in Chapel Hill released the remains of Zahra Baker last month to a Hickory funeral home, where they were cremated and given to her father.
Adam Baker says he wants to return to Australia and give Zahra a proper service and burial there. Baker can't leave the country until he resolves criminal charges alleging several misdemeanors and two felonies unrelated to the girl's slaying.
A man accused of murdering a 19-year-old Travis Baker more than four years ago will spend at least 12 years in jail after pleading guilty to second-degree murder charges.
Baker disappeared in April 2007, and his family spent two years wondering about the fate of the Catawba teen before his body was found in a lumber pile in June 2009. The O-N-E has the complete story of Bakerâ€™s death and disappearance, as well as Tuesday afternoonâ€™s reaction from his grieving family.
See more details in the Wednesday print edition of The O-N-E and online at www.observernewsonline.com.
The Fred T. Foard boys basketball teamâ€™s resurgence continued Tuesday.
The Tigers scored 24 fourth quarter points, including eight each from Tre Robinson and Kasey Simms, carrying them past Bunker Hill at home, 54-43.
The victory improves Foard, which won three games last season, to 5-0.
The two teams were deadlocked for a majority of the contest. The Bears (0-4) held a 21-19 lead at the halftime break.
That all changed with 7:13 remaining in the game. A three-point play opportunity by Robinson gave the Tigers a lead they did not let go.
St. Stephens 70, Maiden 60
St. Stephens improved to 3-2 with a victory over Maiden in Hickory on Tuesday.
The Indians trailed 41-40 entering the fourth quarter, but scored 30 points in the final stanza to record the victory.
Kerigan Farley scored 24 points off of the bench for St. Stephens, while the Indians shot 21-for-23 from the free throw line.
Jason Gantt scored 17 points for Maiden (1-2), while Will Jenkins pitched in 10 points.
Maiden 31, St. Stephens 22
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) â€” Denver Holmes knocked down outside shots and provided Evansville with some scoring punch against fourth-ranked North Carolina. The problem was that no one else followed his lead.
While Holmes scored 14 points in the 97-48 loss to the Tar Heels on Tuesday night, no other player reached double figures for the Purple Aces. The rest of the team struggled to knock down shots, particularly from 3-point range, that could have helped negate North Carolina's big size advantage.
This photo of Catawba Fire Department Chief Donald Robinson is The O-N-E news photo of the week.
Catawba and other area fire departments burned an abandoned house in the community Nov. 30 in a training exercise.
For more photos from the fire training, visit The O-N-E's Facebook page.
The O-N-E posts a photo of the week each Wednesday. To suggest a photo or a story idea, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catawba County Schools Superintendent Glenn Barger will retire at the end of the school year â€” again.
Barger previously retired as superintendent in 2000 after holding the post for 10 years. He rejoined the county system as interim superintendent Oct. 1, 2010, and assumed the full-time position in late February of this year.
"I told the school board Monday night I plan to go back into retirement at the beginning of this school year, effective July 1," Barger said.