Archive - News Article
October 20th, 2011
On Feb. 14, Michael Joseph Anderson called 9-1-1 to say he had brutally killed a man.
Anderson said he overdosed on pills and shot his roommate, Stephen Starr, three times before mutilating his body with an axe.
â€śI did some things to the body that you donâ€™t want them to see,â€ť he said during the phone call.
Tammy Saunders, a Catawba County 9-1-1 telecommunicator, was on the other end of the call throughout Anderson's disturbing confession.
Donna Heavner says she realized in kindergarten that she wanted to be a teacher when she helped a struggling peer learn how to read.
Heavner also says she was at risk of dropping out of school when she was a teenager because she felt lost in the crowd.
Now, Heavner helps about 600 children find their way every day. The River Bend Middle School principal was recognized by her peers this month as Catawba County Schools' principal of the year.
"It's been magical," Heavner said Wednesday. "I have the best group of people. Amazing teachers. Amazing kids. I've been blessed."
A tip from a concerned citizen helped police catch thieves in the act Monday night in Newton.
Newton Police responded to Hickory House Furniture at about 9:45 p.m. Monday after a caller reported a suspicious person being dropped off at the business.
When officers arrived, they observed lights and noises coming from inside the business.
After officers established a perimeter around the building and called for back-up, two men ran from the back of the building. A Newton police officer caught and arrested Sean Christopher Blankenship, 41, of Hickory, but the second man escaped.
Newton-Conover City Schools Board of Education candidates say securing funding and improving student achievement are major issues facing the system heading into 2012.
Four candidates are vying for three seats on the school board. Jim Stockner faces no opposition for the open Newton seat, while current board member Mark Murphy and Chairman Scott Loudermelt face challenger Jeanne Jarrett in the race for two open Conover seats.
A new state law limits municipalitiesâ€™ authority on the placement of political signs.
North Carolina lawmakers passed Senate Bill 315 in August. The bill allows residents to place political signs in the right-of-ways of state-maintained roads. Itâ€™s a change that trumps many municipal ordinances that previously ruled against right-of-way signs along state highways and streets.
The law does not prohibit any signs on controlled access highways, such as Interstate 40 and Interstate 77.
New businesses may locate in Sherrills Ford in the near future after the county approved a rezoning request Monday night.
Catawba County Commissioners rezoned land along N.C. 150 in Sherrills Ford on Monday for commercial usage. The property ownerâ€™s early plans indicate the land may be developed for retail, financial or medical uses.
The countyâ€™s annual vigil for child homicide victims is always an emotional event.
Hearing the name â€śZahraâ€ť this year struck a special nerve with most in attendance.
On Tuesday, the Childrenâ€™s Advocacy and Protection Center (CAPC) remembered 20 child homicide victims that were killed by a parent or guardian in 2011.
The names included 10-year-old Zahra Baker.
Zahra is the Australian girl who traveled to Catawba County at age 7 to live with her father, Adam Baker. She was killed by Adamâ€™s partner, Elisa Baker, in September 2010.
For the first time in eight years, Newton will have a new mayor in November.
Newton Mayor Robert Mullinax is not seeking re-election this fall, and both candidates vying for the position bring new ideas to the table.
Anne Stedman, Newtonâ€™s current mayor pro-tem and owner of the Trot House Inn, wants to reinvent downtown. Wes Weaver, Newton Merchants Association president and business entrepreneur, wants progress in Newton and hopes to bring more businesses into the area.
Both candidates say job growth is essential to the cityâ€™s future.
Candidates running for Conover City Council point to growth â€” both in jobs and services â€” as a key to the city's prosperity in the future.
Six candidates are competing for three open seats on the city council as early voting begins Thursday. Most of the candidates say the economy's impact on businesses and residents is the biggest issue facing the city and its board in the next four years.
After councilwoman Penny Corpening withdrew from the council race last month, Kyle Hayman and Don Beal are the only two incumbents running for re-election.
For Scott Anderson, President Barack Obama's message hit home.
The 34-year-old construction worker from Asheville has been out of work for almost a year and listened Monday as Obama touted his jobs bill, which is stalled in the Senate.
The president said the package would turn around the troubled economy, creating tens of thousands of jobs for teachers, police officers, firefighters and construction workers.
"This is what the country needs," said Anderson, a father of three.