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A Charlotte man pleaded guilty to murdering a Conover couple.
Frederick Sylvester Hedgepeth, 25, pleaded guilty to the murder of Jerry Bullin, 72,Â and his wife, Joanne, 70,Â on Monday. He was sentenced to two life sentences for the murders.
Earlier this year, Hedgepeth was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon involving the couple's deaths.
According to officials, the Bullins drove from their Conover home to Salisbury on June 2 to show Hedgepeth a 2009 Honda Accord that he wanted to purchase from the couple.
Catawba County's new sheriff took his oath of office Monday, surrounded by family, friends and members of the law enforcement community.
Coy Reid officially became sheriff Monday at the Catawba County Board of Commissioners meeting, as former Sheriff David Huffman watched from the audience.
"It's something that I've wanted to do for a long time now," Reid said of his bid for sheriff. "It's a goal that I had, and I accomplished it. Now I just want to accomplish it the right way and do the right thing for the people."
Several elected officials took oaths of office Monday as they officially embarked on their new leadership roles.
Elected county commissioners and a soil and water conservation district supervisor were sworn into office at the Catawba County Board of Commissioners meeting at the 1924 Courthouse in downtown Newton.
Catawba County Schools Board of Education made joyous, yet sad, announcements Monday as it welcomed new board members, but released two members.
After 18 years on the Board of Education, member Betty Blackburn resigned.
"I am saying 'bye' to a very good friend," said CCS interim superintendent Glenn Barger. "(Blackburn) has spent her life in public education and has served this system very well â€” first as a teacher and the last 18 years of service on the board of education."
More than $1 million in budgetary cuts this year gave Catawba County a clean bill of financial health during tough economic times, according to the county's annual financial report.
Certified public accountants Martin Starnes & Associates conducted the annual audit of the county's 2009-10 financial position and presented the findings Monday to the Board of Commissioners at its scheduled meeting.
The audit considers the county's overall financial health, as well as its use of federal and state dollars.
Catawba County Schools Board of Education is moving ahead at a fast rate to find the school system's new superintendent.
During Monday's board meeting, after board members Sherry Butler, Charlie Wyant, David Brittain and Glenn Fulbright were sworn in, it was down to business as Allison Schafer, of the North Carolina School Board Association, presented board members with information regarding the superintendent search.
After the November application deadline, Schafer said 24 applications were received for the superintendent position.
HICKORY â€” The mother of a 10-year-old Australian girl who authorities believe was killed in North Carolina says dealing with her daughter's death has been painful.
But Emily Dietrich wrote that she believes her daughter, Zahra Baker, is at peace.
"My search for Zahra was finally over," she wrote in a diary of the trip that she gave News 7 Australia, the TV network that accompanied her to Hickory. "I may not be able to ever hug her, or give her a kiss, but I can always tell her I love her and that I am proud of her."
The only person charged in connection with the disappearance, death and dismemberment of Zahra Baker might not face the death penalty or life in prison.
The O-N-E has learned that as part of an agreement with District Attorney Jay Gaither, Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, won't face first-degree murder charges. Without a first-degree murder conviction, Baker would avoid the death penalty, as well as life in prison.
Many people choose to give charitably during the holidays, but residents should be wary about scams aimed to cheat generous donors.
"If there's a way to cheat someone out of money, someone will think of it," said Catawba County Chief Deputy Coy Reid.
Reid said receiving requests for donations through the phone should immediately send up a red flag.
"We get people about once a year who call people to say they're collecting money for the sheriff's office," Reid said, "but we don't do that. We're not allowed to."
Demand for North Carolina nonprofit services increased substantially since the economic recession, forcing organizations to rethink they way they provide crucial services for needy residents.
Nonprofits in the state reported a 62 percent increase in service need since the recession started several years ago, according to the North Carolina United Way. This increase in demand was coupled with a decrease in private and federal funding and support for the nonprofit agencies.