January 5th, 2011
The Observer News Enterprise and Outlook want to see your cute pet.
If you think your pet is the cutest in Catawba County, send in a picture, and we will publish it in our annual Pet Parade cutest pet contest.
Entries must be received by 5 p.m. Jan. 12.
E-mail entries to firstname.lastname@example.org or bring them by the office at 309 N. College Ave. in Newton.
Be sure to include your name and your pet's name; contact information, including address and phone number (which will not be published); and your pet's photo.
Susan Travis Proctor, 45, of Conover, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Burke Mortuary in Newton is serving the Proctor family.
Ray R. Abernethy, 88, of Catawba, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011, at Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory. Burke Mortuary in Newton is serving the Abernethy family.
Even though Conover Station isn't open, its website is up and running for the community to see the ins and outs of the city's brainchild.
Conover Station, located on the old Broyhill site in the heart of Conover, has a website that was published live Tuesday. A representative from a marketing firm in Morganton presented the website to city council members during their scheduled monthly meeting.
Claremont will apply for a grant worth more than $130,000 to improve and expand the city's Francis Sigman Park.
The North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant will pay for up to $140,281 for improvements to the park, if the city's application is accepted.
Henry Helton, who is in charge of the Claremont's public relations, presented possible expansion and improvement ideas to City Council on Monday at its regularly scheduled meeting.
"We've got this facility," Helton said. "Let's use it to the fullest capacity."
Catawba County Schools has a new way to spell winner: K-a-m-i-n-s-k-i.
Blackburn Elementary School fourth-grader Brandon Kaminski, 9, won the system's 2010-11 district spelling bee, which was held Wednesday at Maiden High School.
Kaminski out-spelled 20 students from the county's elementary and middle schools. Every student participating in Wednesday's bee was the winner of their respective school's spelling bee.
"I just really like (spelling), because it gives me the opportunity to do something that no one else in my school has done recently," Kaminski said.
Claremont City Council approved incentives aimed at the creation and retention of jobs in the city and surrounding area.
Council members unanimously accepted economic incentives with Advance Pierre Foods on Monday at Claremont's monthly council meeting.
The agreement provides tax incentives equal to 80 percent reduction in property taxes during the next five years and comes with the stipulation that Advance Pierre Foods must create and keep 500 new jobs at the company's Claremont production facility.
Newton to deliver incentives in exchange for $14.2 million expansion project, job creation
Saarstedt investment: $14.2 million
Newton incentive grants: $228K
Incentive amount per job created: $11,418 or $11K+
During the next five years, Newton will provide up to $228,366 in economic grant incentives to Saarstedt Inc., as the supplier of medical instruments and disposables plans to create 20 new jobs.
"Saarstedt is one of our most valuable corporate citizens," said Newton Mayor Robert Mullinax. "Hopefully this will be a boost for us for the coming year."
The man accused of murdering a Catawba County teen was arraigned Tuesday in court.
John Lee Mitchell, 48, is charged with murdering Travis Lee Baker, 19, who was reported missing in 2007.
Mitchell's attorney, Lisa Dubs, was present for the arraignment, which is the formal reading of a criminal complaint against a defendant. Mitchell is in Catawba County jail with no bond.
Investigators combed the county for signs of Baker or his red Camaro, and the teen's remains were located in June 2009 on a property in Catawba County.
The Hickory woman accused of stealing money from an elementary school organization had her case continued in court.
Holly Lafone Specht, 30, is charged with stealing money from the Webb A. Murray Elementary School's Parent Teacher Organization when she served as the organization's treasurer during the 2008-09 school year.
Specht was scheduled to appear in Catawba County Superior Court on Tuesday, but her attorney, Mark Killian, appeared in her place.
Specht's attorney requested the case be continued, so he could obtain evidence relating to the investigation from third parties.
New details emerged Tuesday in the Zahra Baker case, revealing inconsistencies in accounts provided by key players in the investigation.
According to recently unsealed search warrants, Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, told police her stepdaughter died Sept. 24. Elisa Baker said Zahra's father, Adam Baker, then dismembered the child and scattered her remains the next day in various locations in Caldwell and Catawba counties, including Christie Road in Hudson and the Dudley Shoals Road/Burns Road areas.