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February 4th, 2011

Gourd Lady gets $20k gift

February 4, 2011

When Gourd Lady Margaret Sparkman saw a man pull out his checkbook and start writing a check in her honor, she was thrilled.

She saw him start to write "2," and she thought he was going to donate $25.

That "2" was followed, not by the number five, but by four zeros. The mystery man gave Sparkman, 94, a $20,000 gift to help fund the community center in Conover named in Sparkman's honor.

Outlet causes fire in house

February 4, 2011

One wall of a Newton home was damaged Thursday night from an overheated outlet.

Newton firefighters responded to a reported structure fire at 2255 Chatham St. on Thursday at 5:52 p.m.

Thirteen men from Newton Fire Department arrived on the scene to find no signs of fire coming from the inside of the house. They discovered an overheated outlet on the second level of the two-story structure, said Newton Fire Marshal Dale Coffey. It's unknown if the fire was in a bedroom.

Learn today, earn tomorrow

February 4, 2011

These days, graduating high school, college or technical school is only half the battle.

Students in Catawba County schools must work harder than ever to give them an edge over the millions of other newly graduated students and displaced workers trying to enter the workforce.

Car chase leads to drug charges

February 4, 2011

A Hickory man is in custody and facing drug charges after he led narcotics officers on a vehicle chase late Thursday.

Officers received a tip from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office about a possible drug transaction involving Joshua Nathaniel Jones, 22, of Hickory. Narcotics officers from Newton Police Department and Catawba County Sheriff's Office located Jones at the Petro Express on U.S. 70 East in Conover, where he was allegedly participating in selling cocaine, according to a press release from Newton Police Department.

Students 'ServSafe' food

February 4, 2011

More high school students are turning to part-time jobs to make money, and for many of those students, a job in the food service industry is an easy way to gain employment.

Catawba County schools offer ServSafe food safety classes for students who have or hope to have a job in food service.

Not every student is meant to attend college, and CTE classes help those students find the right career niche for them.

"Not every career requires a four-year education," said Karen Cale, Catawba County Schools Career and Technical Education director.

Pair busted in Texas out on bond

February 4, 2011

Two Catawba County residents are out of a Texas jail after being arrested for possessing more than $1 million in drugs.

Chelsea Elizabeth McDowell, 25, of Hickory, and Terry Alexander Bumgarner, 47, of Newton, were released from Gregg County jail Tuesday in Longview, Texas, on $300,000 bonds each.

A Texas Department of Public Safety officer allegedly found 30 pounds of crystal methamphetamine secured in a false compartment in McDowell and Bumgarner's vehicle after a routine traffic stop Jan. 29.

The street value of the drugs was estimated at $1.3 million.

February 3rd

A new Tavern in town

February 3, 2011

A taste of fine dining has returned to Conover.

Yet, while interior decor inside the new Conover Tavern has turned from Southwestern "wild" to tasteful elegance, the atmosphere in the downtown restaurant is still relaxed.

"We are trying to offer something to Conover that is new, offer something that will keep people from going all the way to Hickory for a nice night out," said Conover Tavern owner Patty Watts. "We want to create something that people can enjoy here in downtown Conover."

County transitions to new radios

February 3, 2011

Catawba County emergency responders are in the early stages of implementing more than 350 new radios purchased through grant funding.

The 800 megahertz radios' technology capabilities allow firefighters, rescue squads and police departments to communicate on the same frequencies, helping responders to react more effectively and efficiently during emergencies.

Elisa leads a deceptive life

February 3, 2011

HICKORY (AP) — Elisa Baker had an uncanny ability to stay ahead of bill collectors, police, social workers and her multiple husbands, The Associated Press discovered in an investigation of the woman who led authorities to the dismembered remains of her disabled, 10-year-old stepdaughter.

Few saw her pattern because when she abandoned a relationship, she usually severed all ties. In seven years, she had no fewer than 42 different addresses. During a different three-year stretch, she was married to three men at the same time.

Elisa Baker married 7 times

February 3, 2011

GAFFNEY, S.C. (AP) — The stepmother of the North Carolina girl whose dismembered remains were found in the western part of the state was married seven times, and she was wed to more than one man on several occasions, according to an Associated Press investigation.
Elisa Baker was indicted last month on a bigamy charge involving her marriage to Zahra Baker's father, Adam, and another man, but AP found documents at half a dozen county courthouses that showed at one point she was married to three men at the same time, calling into question the single charge.

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