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Archive - Mar 2011 - News Article

March 13th

House explodes in Hickory

March 13, 2011

A 42-year-old man caused his home to explode, killing himself Sunday.
Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday, George Gergely Jr.'s wife got commitment papers to have her husband checked mentally. Reid said his wife was concerned that her husband was going to harm himself after he made threats to do so. She also referenced a large number of guns were inside the Willowbottom Road home in the Mountain View community.
Reid said the Special Tactics and Response Team responds as protocol to suicide situations.

March 11th

Conover man prepares to deploy

March 11, 2011

First Class Petty Officer Thomas Brandt hasn't lived in Catawba County for long, but he knows its a place where he wants to live and work after his deployment.

Brandt, 30, lives in Conover, but will soon be deployed with the U.S. Navy. He doesn't know where he'll be, and he doesn't know what he'll be doing.

But he does know one thing: He's exactly where he should be.

"I wanted an adventure," said the native New Yorker, who moved to Catawba County in September. "I always wanted to do something really significant with my life."

Town loses 95 in 10 years

March 11, 2011

Fewer people are living in Catawba in 2010 than were living in the town 10 years ago.

Catawba residents number 603, based on 2010 census data. That number decreased from 698 in 2000, when the last census was taken.

The 13.6 percent estimated population decrease means Catawba isn't growing at the rate officials predicted.

"We didn't quite meet the state's estimated growth rate," Catawba Town Manager Brian Barnett told residents and council members March 7 during his manager's report at council's monthly meeting.

Careers come to life at Tuttle

March 11, 2011

A private pilot. A graphic designer. A dog groomer.

They are all employed in Catawba County, and they all came to Tuttle Elementary School's annual career day.

Representatives from about 20 different local careers arrived in Maiden on Friday to educate students about the skills, education and character it takes to be part of the workforce.

March 10th

AWOL soldier arrested

March 10, 2011

Catawba County sheriff's deputies arrested a Florida man Thursday who is wanted by United States military officers.

Michael Joseph Hinrichs, 31, was charged with being a fugitive when officers located him for the United States Army. The Army had a felony warrant for Hinrichs' arrest because Hinrichs was allegedly absent from duty without leave.

Hinrichs was living in Catawba when deputies arrested him Thursday about 2 a.m. and transported him to Catawba County jail.

He is being held with no bond until military officers arrive to take him into custody.

Living with HIV: Walking a road to recovery, sharing experiences

March 10, 2011

Hope is the one thing Steve Daniels gained in life and the one characteristic he tries to pass on to other people.

Daniels, 62, is HIV-positive and has dealt with the disease for 25 years.

"I've been infected so long," he said. "I've seen a whole lot of death and hopelessness. I try to encourage people not to give up and to just hold on."

Drugs and alcohol

Daniels used injected drugs, which led to his contracting HIV or human immunodeficiency virus. Daniels was in college when he started using heroin. As drug use progressed, he started injecting drugs for a faster fix.

Appeal results mailed today

March 10, 2011

The informal appeals process in the county's property revaluation ends today as results are mailed to residents who appealed their property value.

The Catawba County Tax Office reviewed informal appeals from property owners who disputed the market value appraisers established during the valuation process.

The county received 5,455 appeals as of March 7. Those appeals represent about 6.33 percent of the county's more than 80,000 parcels, according to Catawba County tax administrator Mark Logan.

Charter school bill evolves

March 10, 2011

As the proposed bill to lift the state's cap on charter schools continues to evolve, opponents to the legislation say it won't protect already-strained resources in the school system.

The battle over charter school funding is far from finished for schools in Catawba County, whose leaders argue that Senate Bill 8 could take away more students and funding from school systems.

"It's the worst time to create a process of opening new schools, because we can't take care of the ones we've got now," said Newton-Conover City Schools superintendent Dr. Barry Redmond.

Council visits Raleigh

March 10, 2011

Several city council members and some concerned citizens traveled to Raleigh Wednesday for a chance to speak to elected officials about current issues impacting Catawba County.

Representatives from Conover city government and the American Postal Workers Union spoke with the county's representatives to let their voices and opinions about job loss and budgetary concerns be heard.

The trip started as a trip to visit the state capital for Textile Day, but when the event was canceled, Conover's representatives decided to continue the trip.

March 9th

Town to hold branding contest

March 9, 2011

Catawba leaders want input about what makes the town special from the people who know Catawba best — its citizens.

In an effort to promote Catawba's assets and draw people and money to the area, Catawba Town Manager Brian Barnett announced a branding contest to create a catchy phrase or slogan for the town.

"It's something sweet and to the point to promote our community," Barnett said.

The contest is one of many recent efforts to create industry and interest within Catawba, which recently struggled financially with decreasing revenues and increasing expenditures.

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