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October 17th, 2011

Baker drug trial postponed

October 17, 2011

A federal drug trial has been postponed for Elisa Baker, the North Carolina woman who pleaded guilty last month to killing 10-year-old Zahra Baker.

The drug trial for Elisa Baker – who was sentenced in September to 15-18 years for the second-degree murder of Zahra – has been delayed until Jan. 9. It was originally scheduled for Nov. 7.

Attorneys requested more time to prepare for the trial

In May, a federal grand jury indicted Baker on seven drug charges that accuse her of illegal drug activity between 2006 and 2010. She's accused of misusing painkillers and anxiety medicine.

Maiden candidates focused on industry growth

October 17, 2011

With seven candidates vying for three open seats, the Maiden Town Council race is competitive this year.

Both familiar and new names line the 2011 ballot, and candidates say increasing jobs and industry in the town will be key issues to address.

Early voting for the Maiden council race – and all municipal elections – begins Thursday at the Newton Main Library.

All three incumbents are running for re-election on the Maiden council. They are challenged by four candidates who offer varying degrees of public-office experience.

Man slams into tree off I-40

October 17, 2011

A Catawba County man is lucky to be alive after running his car off an exit ramp and slamming into a tree Friday night.

Jamie Lee Abernathy was driving on the I-40 westbound off-ramp at exit 135 on Friday night when he drove off the road and slammed into a tree at a high speed.

Police say Abernathy sustained a cut to his forehead in the accident and was taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center with minor injuries. His car was totaled in the wreck.

Claremont police say Abernathy was intoxicated, and authorities are still investigating what caused the wreck.

Newton to consider new sign rules

October 17, 2011

Sidewalk signs are currently prohibited outside businesses in downtown Newton, but that could all change.

A measure that will be discussed during Newton City Council's meeting tonight proposes new rules for temporary signs in the city's central business district. Under the proposed ordinance, business owners could apply for an annual permit to display sidewalk signs outside their downtown storefronts.

The measure comes after city staff met with representatives from the Downtown Newton Development Association and the Newton Merchants Association, according to Newton Planner Max Sigler.

October 14th

City seeks ideas for Central High School

October 14, 2011

After first serving black students in Catawba County and later low-income pre-schoolers, Central High School in Newton now faces an uncertain future.

"The building is empty, and now the question is, what do we do with it?" said Newton City Manager Todd Clark.

Learning liftoff

October 14, 2011

Marian Lara and Oscar Clemente turned their eyes to the sky above Shuford Elementary School on Friday as two rockets floated down into a field behind the school.

Marian and Oscar cheered as parachutes opened and their classmates chased after the vessels.

The rockets were launched by Shuford fifth-graders on the final day of a science program presented by N.C. Starbase, a Charlotte-based organization that has taught science, technology, engineering and math concepts to children for 16 years. Many of the Starbase staff members are former public school teachers and principals.

Growth calls for fire station expansion

October 14, 2011

Consistent growth has forced St. Stephens Fire Department to expand to meet residents' needs.

The department’s services and personnel have ballooned since its original two-bay station and small crew of the late 1950s. Today, the department serves more than 16,000 residents in northeast Catawba County and boasts a staff of about 40 full-time and volunteer members.

More members – and more calls – demands more space, something the department has anticipated for the past two years.

A new breed of security

October 14, 2011

Some of the nation’s top security experts are being bred off U.S. 70 in Hickory.

In a few years, they will be some of the best crime fighters in America, but they might not be what you expect.

They don’t carry guns, and they aren’t masters of Taekwondo. They don’t have patrol cruisers or wear the stereotypical CIA suit.

No, these super heroes fight crime and protect the innocent through the click of the mouse and punch of the keyboard.

October 13th

Regional cancer fundraiser Saturday

October 13, 2011

Area breast cancer survivors will lead more than 2,000 runners and walkers on Saturday in the 2011 Susan G. Komen N.C. Foothills Race for the Cure.

Race officials say the annual event is expected to draw large crowds to the 5k course surrounding Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory. More than 2,500 people participated in last year’s race.

Historic takedown

October 13, 2011

A century-old staple of downtown Newton is gone.

Landscapers were forced to cut down a 100-year-old maple tree outside the 1924 Courthouse on the downtown square on Thursday. The tree is dead and suffered root rot, said Catawba County Finance Director Rodney Miller.

“The cooperative extension looked at it and diagnosed it with root rot,” he said, adding that the stress of piled-up dirt and foot traffic over the years led to the problem.

Miller said the county didn’t see any other stress or problems with the other maple trees in the area.

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