November 29th, 2010
The holiday season should be a time of joy, family celebrations and thanksgiving. That holiday dream, however, can turn into a nightmare when unsuspecting residents become victims of holiday crime. Area law enforcement agencies encourage holiday shoppers and travelers to use common sense this holiday season as they venture into the community to partake in all the joys, and stresses, of the holidays.
1. Hide presents and other valuables from prying eyes
A late-afternoon crash Monday in Newton sent three people to the hospital.
Two cars collided Monday about 4 p.m. near the intersection of North Main Avenue and East 22nd Street in Newton.
The front end of an Oldsmobile Cutlass collided with the rear of a Ford Windstar van. Newton-Conover Rescue Squad responded to the scene, as well as Newton police and fire departments.
Three people were transported to Catawba Valley Medical Center with minor injuries from the crash, according to the Newton Fire Department. Police didn't release any information about the victims on the scene.
Police arrested two people Saturday after they allegedly robbed a convenience store in Newton.
According to a police report, Coree Sean Collins, 30, and Tamara Elaine Pope, 29, both of Conover, demanded money from a store clerk at the Kangaroo Express in the 2400 block of N.C. 10 West.
Collins walked into the store, which was open, about 1:20 a.m. Saturday and approached a male clerk working at the cash register, according to Newton Police Chief Don Brown.
Collins allegedly told the clerk, "I'm here to rob you. Give me the money."
Billy Wayne Mitchem, 62, of Conover, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010, after a brief illness.
Larry Lee Starnes, 51, of Conover, died unexpectedly Friday, Nov. 26, 2010, at his home.
A service of remembrance will be held Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010, at 11 a.m. in the Chapel of Drum Funeral Home in Conover.
Bernadette Purkey Hines, 53, of Maiden, went home to Christ on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010, at Wake Forest University Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
In one year, more than 1 million people visited Catawba County.
While those visitors were here, they likely interacted with one or more employees in the county's hotel industry.
On average, about 338 people were employed both full- and part-time by Catawba County hotels in 2009, according to recent findings by the Western Piedmont Council of Governments. These jobs range in skill set and duties, from managing each hotel's daily services to ensuring each room is cleaned before a new guest arrives.
Not everyone can stay at Grandma's house during the holiday season, so many people turn to hotels for a home away from home.
As the holidays draw closer, business travel declines, and family travel increases. Eighty percent of North Carolina's visitors come to the state for a pleasure trip, according to recent North Carolina Department of Commerce statistics. About 12 percent of travelers come to the state for business purposes.
Catawba County has 22 hotels providing services for travelers in the area, including hotels in Conover, Hickory and Claremont.
Tourism remains a strong aspect of Catawba County's economy, with more than $2 million in property taxes and other fees expected to be collected in 2010 from county hotels.
According to a recent study from the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, hotels in the county bring in $2.17 million in revenue from property taxes, hotel occupancy taxes, sales taxes and water and sewer fees.
Matthew Clayton Drendel, 35, of Hickory, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010, at his residence. The Drendel family has entrusted the funeral arrangements to Drum Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Hickory.
Kary David Drum, 50, of Maiden, passed away Friday, Nov. 26, 2010, at Wake Forest University Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Burke Mortuary is serving the Drum family.
For 27 years, Claremont and its residents celebrated Christmas with its annual Christmas Parade throughout the city.
The parade continues this year, but Claremont is adding something new.
City leaders and several residents organized Old Time Christmas in Claremont, which is a celebration of charitable giving and the holiday spirit.
Participants in Claremont's Old Time Christmas can purchase Christmas trees, enjoy hot food and beverages and ride in a horse-drawn carriage throughout various historic locations in the city.
Claremont sustained more than $6 million in damage from an Oct. 26 tornado that barreled through the city.
The more than 110-mph tornado caused severe damage in the city's Catawba Street, and residents spent days clearing yards, homes and businesses from debris and other damage. No one was injured, but residents were left with leaking roofs, toppled trees and destroyed property.
The Small Business Association is offering low-interest loans to tornado victims who don't have insurance or who need additional financial help to recover property or revenue lost from the storm.