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July 8th, 2011

DA to lead Zahra case

July 8, 2011

Twenty-fifth Prosecutorial District Attorney Jay Gaither reinstated Eric Bellas to active status in his role as chief assistant district attorney this week, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Bellas will be handling prosecution of Elisa Baker if and when her case goes to trial.

In an emailed response to inquiries by the (Lenoir) News-Topic, Gaither indicated that he is taking the lead in the case against Elisa Baker, who was charged in February with second-degree murder in the death and dismemberment of her 10-year-old stepdaughter Zahra Baker.

July 7th

Bellas returns to active duty

July 7, 2011

Catawba County's assistant district attorney was recently reinstated to full duty after being placed on administrative leave following an arrest and DWI charge in Sunset Beach.

Catawba County's assistant district attorney Eric Robert Bellas, 45, of Morganton, was allegedly riding a bicycle on Clubhouse Road at Sunset Beach at about midnight June 20 when he apparently flipped over a guardrail and fell off the bicycle, according to Sunset Beach Police reports and reliable O-N-E sources.

Claremont approves sign ordinance amendments

July 7, 2011

Claremont officials recently approved amendments to its sign ordinance that will allow businesses to incorporate high-rise signs close to its property.

Claremont City Council members approved amendments Tuesday that will establish a high-rise sign overlay district adjacent to Interstate 40 that will let business owners incorporate up to 80-foot-tall signs either on or near their property.

“We are trying to be a little more business friendly,” said Claremont City Manager Doug Barrick. “We are also trying to attract new businesses to the interchange.”   

Financial times on display at flea market

July 7, 2011

If you walk around the Hickory American Legion Flea Market on an early Thursday morning, you’re bound to see some interesting things for sale.

There’s military gear. Piles of used tires. Comic book collections.

Miniature cacti farms. Live animals. Basically, if the flea market had a motto, it would probably read — “You want it, we sell it.”

Larcenies see increase during summer months

July 7, 2011

As area citizens continue to battle the hot and stormy summer months, the county sheriff is also recommending that residents do their part to fight another reoccurring summer plague — larceny.

“It goes up a little bit during the summer months,” said Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid. “Everything is out in sight where thieves can see it, and there’s a bigger demand for home equipment and things like that.”

July 6th

Conover Fire Department gets $3,000 boost

July 6, 2011

Conover Fire Department is losing $2,400 in mutual aide funding from Catawba County, but it will still see a $3,000 increase in revenue thanks to an increase in property values in the city’s rural fire district.

Conover Fire Chief Mark Hinson told Conover City Council that the mutual-aid funding, which at other times may have been called something else in the Catawba County budget, was in place since the 1960s. At the time the revenue stream was created, it assisted the county’s fire departments which were few in numbers, Hinson said.

Area drummer releases book

July 6, 2011

A Catawba County percussionist and educator recently published a new book that will be used by several middle and high schools in the area and statewide.

Area drummer Rick Cline published “Tools for the Developing Drummer” earlier this year, a comprehensive and instructional book for beginners and advanced drummers.

“I’ve been compiling these materials over the last 20 years, and I’ve been binding and making books for the sake of my private students for that span of time,” Cline said. “And it wasn’t until a couple years ago when I said, ‘I should just make an official book.’”

Change makes big impact

July 6, 2011

In nature, sometimes the smallest change makes all the difference.

A few rocks in a stream make a dam. A couple seeds in the ground produce a plant. Like the old saying reiterates – with every action, there is a reaction.

A lumber company in Maiden is proving that the same saying goes for society too, as one minor facility change at the company will produce numerous benefits for people as well as the planet.

July 5th

Crime rates down for county, state

July 5, 2011

Crime rates in the county and state are down from previous years — drops that law enforcement officials say can be attributed to a variety of reasons.

The overall Catawba County rate of index crime per 100,000 people dropped 10.6 percent in 2010, a decrease that is a bit more substantial than the state’s overall drop of 5.6 percent from 2009.

Violent crime per 100,000 people dropped 28 percent last year, a decrease that the county’s District Attorney Jay Gaither said can be partly attributed to his office’s habitual felon programs.

Crime rates down for county, state

July 5, 2011

Crime rates in the county and state are down from previous years — drops that law enforcement officials say can be attributed to a variety of reasons.

The overall Catawba County rate of index crime per 100,000 people dropped 10.6 percent in 2010, a decrease that is a bit more substantial than the state’s overall drop of 5.6 percent from 2009.

Violent crime per 100,000 people dropped 28 percent last year, a decrease that the county’s District Attorney Jay Gaither said can be partly attributed to his office’s habitual felon programs.

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