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Archive - Feb 2011 - News Article

February 22nd

Postal workers: Don't close facility

February 22, 2011

United States postal workers take an oath to provide mail service to the country's citizens. But area members of the American Postal Workers Union feel that oath to provide superior customer service could be comprised if the U.S. Postal Service Hickory distribution facility in Conover is closed.

Victim catches thieves in action

February 22, 2011

A quick-thinking dirt bike owner didn't let himself become a victim of a crime Monday when he found his stolen motor bike, chained it to a tree and waited for the thieves to return.

Lincoln County sheriff's deputies responded to the 4700 block of Burton Lane in Denver after the dirt bike owner, Lance Markevitch, called 9-1-1 to report that he and his neighbors apprehended two suspects who allegedly stole the man's dirt bike Sunday and hid it near the man's home.

Catawba combats finances year-by-year

February 22, 2011

An increasing cost of doing business coupled with decreasing town revenues caused Catawba leaders to rethink the way the town operates for the upcoming fiscal year.

Catawba hasn't seen revenues exceed expenditures since 2007, leaving the town with a budget trending toward a $200,000 gap between revenues and expenses.

That gap won't be closed in one year, town manager Brian Barnett told Catawba Town Council during a budget workshop Feb. 15. The town, however, can start closing the gap year by year with reduced operating and capital costs.

Man turns hobby into fundraiser

February 22, 2011

For years, a Claremont businessman owned A. Klein & Co. and manufactured iconic heart-shaped boxes for candy and other gifts.

The company has since ceased production, but that hasn't stopped Jesse Salwen from creating other things that make people smile.

Salwen, of Claremont, started taking photographs in the 1940s with a Brownie Box camera. Photography has changed a lot since then, but 73-year-old Salwen's love for capturing images on film hasn't.

February 21st

Zahra's remains show 20 cut marks

February 21, 2011

Undetermined homicidal violence killed the 10-year-old disabled girl from Hickory who used hearing aids and wore a prosthetic leg to walk.

A recently released autopsy performed Nov. 12 at Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill revealed Zahra Baker died from unknown violent injuries before her body was dismembered by at least two different cutting instruments.

Stepmom charged with murder

February 21, 2011

Editor's note: For complete details from this story, including reporting on autopsy reports and a timeline of events for investigations conducted by departments of social services in Caldwell and Catawba counties, be sure to see the Tuesday print edition of The Observer News Enterprise.

HICKORY, N.C. (AP) — More than four months after a 10-year-old disabled girl disappeared, her jailed stepmother was charged with murdering her with the indictment coming the same day authorities revealed that they haven't been able to find the dismembered girl's head.

February 18th

Newton resident lives black history

February 18, 2011

Walter Ellis knows a lot about black history.

That's not because he studied it in school or perused endless history textbooks.

It's because he lived black history.

Ellis, 88, is a lifelong resident of Catawba County. He's seen the area go through many changes during his lifetime, and he celebrates Black History Month as a way to commemorate those changes and look forward to a future where people have the same opportunities — regardless of the color of their skin.

'Start something' in Catawba County

February 18, 2011

Catawba County wants the world to know it can "start something here."

During Catawba County Chamber of Commerce's annual membership meeting Thursday, business leaders, government officials and educational representatives were introduced to Catawba County's web portal — a website linked to all chamber members.

Startsomethinghere.com was unveiled Thursday at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center event after two years of brainstorming and planning.

Newton explores ways to tackle nuisances

February 18, 2011

What kind of impression does Newton leave on residents and visitors as they enter the city?

According to one city council member, nothing too positive.

"Coming down N.C. 16 from Conover, the first thing you see is a house on that corner that looks terrible," Council Mary Bess Lawing said of a residence where used and abandoned child toys and refuse fill the property. "People coming through town, wherever they are coming from, they come in and see dilapidated property or property that needs tender, loving care, and they think, 'What kind of city is this?'"

Bill could cut superintendents' salaries

February 18, 2011

A recently filed House bill could cut salaries for certain school system leaders, forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for city school superintendents they want to remain on the job.

House Bill 131 was filed Wednesday in the General Assembly proposing that the North Carolina State Board of Education fund one school superintendent per county. For counties, like Catawba County, with more than one school district and superintendent per county, that could mean changes in personnel, unless taxpayers want to pay for superintendents' salaries themselves.

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