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March 18th, 2011

Case continued for triple-murder

March 18, 2011

The man accused of shooting three people to death in a Conover mobile home park was assigned a new court date Thursday — one day before he was slated for a first appearance in court.

Everette Hewitt, 32, of Claremont, had his case continued to April 6, according to the Catawba County Clerk of Court's Office. Hewitt is charged with murdering three people Tuesday when he allegedly walked into a Conover mobile home and started shooting.

Overturned truck closes parkway

March 18, 2011

A portion of McDonald Parkway was closed when a truck overturned from a mechanical malfunction during a Friday-morning commute.

No one was injured in the crash, but officers closed the roadway for several hours as the North Carolina Highway Patrol investigated the incident.

UPS truck driver Daniel Stidham, 52, of Tennessee, was turning left on McDonald Parkway in Hickory about 8 a.m. when his vehicle had a mechanical failure, said Hickory Police Sgt. C. Anderson. The malfunction caused the truck to flip during the left turn, sending the truck into a guard rail and a power pole.

Unemployment increases — by how much?

March 18, 2011

The Employment Security Commission of North Carolina announced Friday that the latest unemployment rates increased in almost 100 percent of the state's counties.

But that percentage could leave out some of the county's jobless, masking a higher unemployment rate than was originally projected.

Unemployment rates are based on estimates of people seeking work in the state, said Larry Parker, an ESC spokesperson.

March 17th

County governments to meet

March 17, 2011

Two county governing bodies are set to hold meetings Monday night.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the 1924 Courthouse in downtown Newton.

Maiden Town Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the Maiden Branch Library.

Items on the meetings' agenda include:

Maiden Town Council:
-Finance officer's report for February;
-Public hearing for a text amendment to allow metal roofs on mobile homes;
-Manager's report to discuss funding options for a new town hall;

County battles gas prices

March 17, 2011

Private citizens aren't the only people in Catawba County experiencing an economic crunch since gas prices started to increase.

County agencies, that provide essential transportation and response services to residents, are also looking for ways to cut fuel costs during an increasingly difficult budget year.

Catawba County Schools has about 246 buses it uses to transport the county's students to school and other activities. Some of those buses run double and triple routes to accommodate the needs of every student, said CCS transportation director Cecil W. Davis.

City residents increase 24 percent

March 17, 2011

Six of Catawba County's eight municipalities reported positive population growth from the 2010 census.

The city of Conover experienced the largest growth percentage among Catawba County municipalities during a 10-year period. Conover's population increased 24 percent from 2000, when the previous census was conducted.

That increase marks the largest percent change among the county's remaining seven municipalities.

Victims identified in triple murder

March 17, 2011

Police released the names Thursday of the four victims in a drug-fueled robbery and home invasion.

Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said Wade Sigmon, 49; Susan Kay Blevins, 51; and Connie Canipe Miller, 42; all of Conover, were shot to death early Tuesday morning on Emmanuel Church Road in the Oak Knoll Mobile Home park.

Joseph Burke, 38, was also shot during the robbery, and he was the only victim to survive the incident. Sheriff's deputies aren't releasing Burke's address for safety reasons.

Woman texts officer for drugs

March 17, 2011

A Hickory woman thought she sent her friend a text message about selling drugs, but she mistakenly sent the message to a police officer.

Conover Police charged 18-year-old Jessica Lucas with possession of drug paraphernalia and a drug violation after she mistakenly offered to sell drugs Wednesday to a sheriff's deputy.

Conover Police Lt. Mark Stump said Lucas was texting who she thought was a high school-aged friend about a marijuana purchase. Lucas apparently typed in the wrong number, and the message went to Lt. T. McManus, with the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office.

UPDATE: Victims identified in fatal shooting

March 17, 2011

Victims' names from a Tuesday morning shooting were released Thursday.
In addition to Wade "Squeaky" Sigmon, 49, of Conover, Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid identified the other deceased victims as Susan Kay Blevins, 51, of Conover, and Connie Canipe Miller, 42, of Conover.
The only survivor in the incident is Joseph Burke, 38. Reid said Burke's address is being held for safety reasons.

March 16th

100 dead dogs found in Maiden

March 16, 2011

Catawba County Animal Services found more than 100 dead dogs Tuesday at the home of a beagle trainer and breeder in Maiden.

The county's animal services personnel responded to 4160 H.E. Propst Road in Maiden after receiving a call reporting dead dogs on the property. Catawba County Animal Services manager Jay Blatche said they discovered 100 beagle carcasses in different states of decomposition around the residence.

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