Archive - 2011 - News Article
Each year, Jeanette Ringley turns the Peoples Bank on âAâ street into a winter wonderland.
Ringley, Peoples' business center manager, transforms the bank with her collection of Christmas decorations.
Wooden cutouts of Christmas carolers line the entrance walkway to a main lobby and banking area filled inch to inch with Christmas trees, snowmen, a life-size Santa and detailed holiday miniatures. Blue, green, red and white lights are draped across the ceiling and walls, shining on wreaths and a fully-decorated Christmas tree in the center of the room.
The holiday season became just a little brighter this week for three area families thanks to almost 70 locally owned and operated businesses and The Observer News Enterprise's shop-local Hometown Christmas program.
"Santa Claus came just a few days early for a few lucky families," said The O-N-E Publisher Michael Willard, "and he came early for the businesses that welcomed customers who spent holiday dollars inside the locally owned shops, restaurants and businesses that are so important to this region's economy."
Catawba County plans to provide more than $30 million total to its three school systems in the next four years for each to build a new elementary school.
The money for the schools comes mostly from county tax allocations and partly from N.C. Education Lottery funds.
The county set up a system in 2003 to reserve a portion of the tax rate each year for school improvements and construction, said Rodney Miller, the county finance director. In 2007, the county increased that allocation to also include lottery money, Miller said.
Catawba County children want high-tech gifts for Christmas this year.
Many also desire traditional presents that have filled the floors around American Christmas trees for decades.
Hundreds of county children recently wrote letters to Santa Claus, and The Observer News Enterprise intercepted those letters on their way to the "big man" in the North Pole. Dozens of those letters are available inside The O-N-E and Outlook today in "Dear Santa: What I Want For Christmas."
It is crunch time for construction crews at the new Newton-Conover Middle School and The Observer News Enterprise takes an inside look at the projects progress. Read more about the school in the Wednesday print and online editions of The O-N-E.
Be sure to visit The O-N-E Facebook page for an exclusive photo gallery of the school-in-progress, www.facebook.com/pages/The-Observer-News-Enterprise/73539327933.
An annual tradition, The O-N-E gathered Santa letters written by Catawba County children and compiled them, days before Christmas.
Enjoy the letters below, and pick up the Thursday print edition of The Observer News Enterprise for a special section that samples the letters and holiday artwork by Catawba County children.
I have been a good girl this year. This is what I want for Christmas. An I Pad cover, I pad case, A bunny, A bunny Cage, and an outfit from Justice.
I have been a good girl All Year!
This photo of a Chevrolet Corvette outside Cynthia Travis' Newton home is The O-N-E news photo of the week.
The car went airborne Monday afternoon on Laffon Road in Newton, and its driver and passenger were transported to the hospital.
The car hit Travis' house, breaking several steel columns that held up the front porch.
Visit observernewsonline.com each Wednesday for The O-N-E photo of the week, and visit the site throughout the week for breaking news, complete coverage of Catawba County prep sports and more.
Among the many features of Newton-Conover City Schools' new middle school, system leaders say aesthetics and accessibility make the building better than the rest.
Construction of the new school, slated to open next fall, is about a month behind schedule, school officials estimated Tuesday. Allen Kirby â construction coordinator for Newton-Conover City Schools (NCCS), Hickory Public Schools and Catawba Valley Community College â said a wet winter could further delay progress as crews work to complete sidewalks, stairs and other features outside the school building.
Catawba Countyâs teen pregnancy rate dropped to an all-time low in 2010, according to data released recently.
The total number of pregnancies among Catawba County girls ages 15-19 dropped from 297 in 2009 to 245 in 2010, resulting in a 12-percent decline. The decrease is the single largest year-to-year drop in county history.
North Carolinaâs teen pregnancy rates are also at an all-time low. Rates dropped 11 percent statewide from 2009 to 2010, according to new data released last week.
The areaâs newest manufacturer will get a financial lift from the county next year.
Catawba County Commissioners approved an incentive agreement Monday for Punker LLC, a German-based manufacturer that plans to bring up to 80 new jobs to the area.
Earlier this month, the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) announced that Punker plans to open a new manufacturing plant in Hickory. Punker produces fan parts for the HVAC and exhaust industries.
The expansion will bring at least 62 jobs to the area, with the potential to create 80 new jobs.