Archive - Dec 22, 2011 - News Article
2011 was a busy year in Catawba County. Elisa Baker was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison for the death of 10-year-old Zahra Baker. Newton voted in its first-ever female mayor. The state forced educators to deal with deep cuts to school budgets.
What was the biggest story of the year in the county? Was it another story not included in our poll?
Check out the choices and vote now at observernewsonline.com, and remember to pick up a Dec. 31 edition of The Observer News Enterprise for a special section of the biggest stories of 2011.
Christmas is two days away in the Hickory Metro, and many organizations are still working to make it a merry holiday season for their neighbors.
Newton-Conover High School, and several other organizations, served a free lunch Thursday to those in need in the community. Several Catawba Valley Community College groups recently collected gifts for the needy, and area businesses donated gifts to children and teens in the Conover area. Read about those stories today in the Friday edition of The Observer News Enterprise.
Also in today's edition and online at observernewsonline.com:
Class was not in session at Newton-Conover High School on Thursday, but the cafeteria was open.
Handfuls of students â€” now on Christmas break â€” still showed up to school to feed hundreds of area children and their families. A collaboration of NCHS students, teachers and local volunteers helped feed a steady stream of area citizens on Thursday.
There were no qualifiers to participate; people just showed up to eat.
Rachael Hamm, a sophomore at NCHS, was one of about 50 students who served, entertained and fed the hungry on Thursday.
A Maiden man is charged with taking indecent liberties with a minor in connection to an incident that occurred in Lincoln County earlier this month.
Horace Keith Dover, 55, of 5434 Bucks Garage Road in Maiden, was arrested and charged Wednesday with taking indecent liberties with a 14-year-old girl Dec. 9.
Lincoln County authorities say the original incident occurred during a car ride with the girl and her family on a highway in Lincoln County. Dover did know the victim, officers said.
Three Maiden residents were recently arrested in a five-county drug bust in which law-enforcement agencies targeted nearly 100 people.
Rufus Durand "Chico" Lynch Jr., 27; Natasha Lane Wilhelm, 30; and Wendy Lou Wood, 27, all of Maiden, were arrested as part of a "16 Days of Christmas" operation, according to The Charlotte Observer.
Police departments in Newton, Conover and Maiden, and the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, are involved in the ongoing investigation, as well as law enforcement agencies in Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Gaston and Rockingham counties.
The Greater Hickory Classic tournament on the Pro Golf Association (PGA) Champions Tour will return to Conover and move to the fall in 2012.
The PGA Champions Tour released its 2012 tournament schedule this week, and it includes seven new tournament venues and several date changes for existing tournaments, according to the PGA. The schedule includes the 10th annual Greater Hickory Classic.
A drop in gasoline prices since spring may be the spark North Carolina motorists need to travel during the Christmas holiday.
AAA Carolinas says 2.4 million motorists are expected to drive 50 miles or more during the holiday travel period beginning Friday and lasting through Jan. 2.
Since May 6, gasoline prices in North Carolina have dropped 64 cents. The average price statewide is the cheapest since it hit $3.14 a gallon in early February, and the lowest since peaking at nearly $3.88 on May 6.
Elisa Baker, who pleaded guilty in September to killing 10-year-old disabled Zahra Baker, is looking to make a deal on federal drug charges.
Lawyers for Elisa Baker have filed documents in federal court indicating she has worked out a deal with prosecutors on charges of distributing painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs.
Plea deal documents filed Monday were not available to the public. Her trial is scheduled to start in January.
Christmas spirit is alive in the Catawba Valley, with the holiday just three days away.
Inside The O-N-E and at observernewsonline.com today:
* Hundreds of Catawba County children sent their letters to Santa, and The O-N-E shares many of them with you today. Among the most popular requests this year are video game systems, iPods, iPads, skateboards and dolls. Find a sampling of Santa letters today in â€śDear Santa: What I Want For Christmasâ€ť inside The O-N-E and Outlook, and visit the local news tab at observernewsonline.com for a comprehensive wish list from county children.