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Archive - Oct 2011 - News Article

October 21st

Fire station shot

October 21, 2011

A shooting at a Maiden fire station could have been much worse.

Suspects fired two shots into Maiden Fire Department’s station on Startown Road in the past 24-48 hours.

No one was injured in the shooting, but the rounds damaged the station’s glass bay doors and hit one fire engine.

Police and fire officials believe suspects fired the rounds from the roadside on Startown Road within the last day or two.

Maiden Fire Chief Danny Hipps said one firefighter was at the station as late as 1:30 a.m. Friday, and police are still investigating the shooting.

Early voting starts slow

October 21, 2011

On the first day of early voting in Catawba County, about 54 residents cast their votes for municipal elections. Election officials say the turnout is fairly normal for a municipal election.

By noon on Thursday, 33 residents had visited the Newton Main Library to vote for mayoral, council and school board elections throughout the county.

One-stop early voting continues at Newton Main Library today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and begins at the Highland Recreation Center at 8 a.m. on Monday. Election Day is Nov. 8.

October 20th

Calming down a murderer

October 20, 2011

On Feb. 14, Michael Joseph Anderson called 9-1-1 to say he had brutally killed a man.

Anderson said he overdosed on pills and shot his roommate, Stephen Starr, three times before mutilating his body with an axe.

“I did some things to the body that you don’t want them to see,” he said during the phone call.

Tammy Saunders, a Catawba County 9-1-1 telecommunicator, was on the other end of the call throughout Anderson's disturbing confession.

October 19th

'Magic' at every bend

October 19, 2011

Donna Heavner says she realized in kindergarten that she wanted to be a teacher when she helped a struggling peer learn how to read.

Heavner also says she was at risk of dropping out of school when she was a teenager because she felt lost in the crowd.

Now, Heavner helps about 600 children find their way every day. The River Bend Middle School principal was recognized by her peers this month as Catawba County Schools' principal of the year.

"It's been magical," Heavner said Wednesday. "I have the best group of people. Amazing teachers. Amazing kids. I've been blessed."

Cops catch trio breaking into business

October 19, 2011

A tip from a concerned citizen helped police catch thieves in the act Monday night in Newton.

Newton Police responded to Hickory House Furniture at about 9:45 p.m. Monday after a caller reported a suspicious person being dropped off at the business.

When officers arrived, they observed lights and noises coming from inside the business.

After officers established a perimeter around the building and called for back-up, two men ran from the back of the building. A Newton police officer caught and arrested Sean Christopher Blankenship, 41, of Hickory, but the second man escaped.

Funding, achievement challenge schools

October 19, 2011

Newton-Conover City Schools Board of Education candidates say securing funding and improving student achievement are major issues facing the system heading into 2012.

Four candidates are vying for three seats on the school board. Jim Stockner faces no opposition for the open Newton seat, while current board member Mark Murphy and Chairman Scott Loudermelt face challenger Jeanne Jarrett in the race for two open Conover seats.

Law limits local sign patrol

October 19, 2011

A new state law limits municipalities’ authority on the placement of political signs.

North Carolina lawmakers passed Senate Bill 315 in August. The bill allows residents to place political signs in the right-of-ways of state-maintained roads. It’s a change that trumps many municipal ordinances that previously ruled against right-of-way signs along state highways and streets.

The law does not prohibit any signs on controlled access highways, such as Interstate 40 and Interstate 77.

October 18th

Land rezoned for business

October 18, 2011

New businesses may locate in Sherrills Ford in the near future after the county approved a rezoning request Monday night.

Catawba County Commissioners rezoned land along N.C. 150 in Sherrills Ford on Monday for commercial usage. The property owner’s early plans indicate the land may be developed for retail, financial or medical uses.

Never forgotten

October 18, 2011

The county’s annual vigil for child homicide victims is always an emotional event.

Hearing the name “Zahra” this year struck a special nerve with most in attendance.

On Tuesday, the Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center (CAPC) remembered 20 child homicide victims that were killed by a parent or guardian in 2011.

The names included 10-year-old Zahra Baker.

Zahra is the Australian girl who traveled to Catawba County at age 7 to live with her father, Adam Baker. She was killed by Adam’s partner, Elisa Baker, in September 2010.

Newton candidates bring new ideas

October 18, 2011

For the first time in eight years, Newton will have a new mayor in November.

Newton Mayor Robert Mullinax is not seeking re-election this fall, and both candidates vying for the position bring new ideas to the table.

Anne Stedman, Newton’s current mayor pro-tem and owner of the Trot House Inn, wants to reinvent downtown. Wes Weaver, Newton Merchants Association president and business entrepreneur, wants progress in Newton and hopes to bring more businesses into the area.

Both candidates say job growth is essential to the city’s future.

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