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March 10th, 2011

Charter school bill evolves

March 10, 2011

As the proposed bill to lift the state's cap on charter schools continues to evolve, opponents to the legislation say it won't protect already-strained resources in the school system.

The battle over charter school funding is far from finished for schools in Catawba County, whose leaders argue that Senate Bill 8 could take away more students and funding from school systems.

"It's the worst time to create a process of opening new schools, because we can't take care of the ones we've got now," said Newton-Conover City Schools superintendent Dr. Barry Redmond.

Council visits Raleigh

March 10, 2011

Several city council members and some concerned citizens traveled to Raleigh Wednesday for a chance to speak to elected officials about current issues impacting Catawba County.

Representatives from Conover city government and the American Postal Workers Union spoke with the county's representatives to let their voices and opinions about job loss and budgetary concerns be heard.

The trip started as a trip to visit the state capital for Textile Day, but when the event was canceled, Conover's representatives decided to continue the trip.

March 9th

Town to hold branding contest

March 9, 2011

Catawba leaders want input about what makes the town special from the people who know Catawba best — its citizens.

In an effort to promote Catawba's assets and draw people and money to the area, Catawba Town Manager Brian Barnett announced a branding contest to create a catchy phrase or slogan for the town.

"It's something sweet and to the point to promote our community," Barnett said.

The contest is one of many recent efforts to create industry and interest within Catawba, which recently struggled financially with decreasing revenues and increasing expenditures.

Deputies report 'largest ever' drug seizure

March 9, 2011

Sheriff's deputies from two counties seized 17 pounds of compressed cocaine in what investigators are calling the largest seizure in sheriff's office history.

Lincoln and Catawba county sheriff's deputies assisted Saturday with a drug seizure in Lincolnton, where they discovered more than $250,000 of cocaine in an abandoned vehicle.

Officers were dispatched about 5:30 a.m. Saturday to 1259 Buffalo Shoals Road to investigate a report of "an abandoned and suspicious vehicle," according to a press release from Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

HCAM brings arts, careers

March 9, 2011

Hickory Career and Arts Magnet High School is a unique learning opportunity for Catawba County students.

When students leave HCAM after four years of instruction, they graduate with a high school diploma, four to five college credits and, in some cases, a career certification — all at no cost to students.

"So many people say, 'Where was this when I was in high school?'" said HCAM principal Kelly Owen. "...The idea of HCAM is to engage students in a different kind of way in a unique environment."

Council educates civics students

March 9, 2011

Students at University Christian High School in Conover learned this week that what they study in civics class actually applies in the real world.

The ninth grade honors civics and economics class participated in a three-part learning opportunity with Conover City Council to inspire civic participation and encourage open government.

County under flood watch

March 9, 2011

Catawba County is one of several North Carolina counties listed under a flood watch.
Heavy rainfall saturates soil already moist from rain, causing significant runoff into streams and creeks, according to the National Weather Service. Those conditions can lead to flooding in the area. The flood watch is in effect until Thursday afternoon.
Much of western North Carolina is expected to see 2-4 inches of rain from Wednesday to Thursday. Other counties under a flood watch include Alexander, Burke, Iredell, Lincoln and Gaston.

March 8th

Hit, run driver gets probation

March 8, 2011

The woman accused in the hit-and-run death of a Lenoir man was sentenced to probation Tuesday after pleading guilty to three misdemeanor charges.

Tiffany Jade Vassello, 23, received five years supervised probation for consolidated charges of misdemeanor hit and run and misdemeanor careless and reckless driving. She was also charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

The charges are Class 1 misdemeanors. If Vassello doesn't violate her probation, she won't receive jail time.

Elisa's cases continued

March 8, 2011

Court dates are piling up for Elisa Baker, whose felony charges were continued Tuesday in superior court.

Baker, who is charged in the death of her 10-year-old stepdaughter Zahra, was scheduled to appear in court for bigamy and obstruction of justice charges that surfaced after the investigation in Zahra's murder.

Those cases were continued, adding more dates on the court docket for Baker and her court-appointed attorney Scott Reilly. Baker is confined in Catawba County jail under a $307,700 bond, and she didn't appear in court Tuesday.

Prayer week starts for HIV, AIDS victims

March 8, 2011

Prayers are lifted high this week for Catawba County residents infected with HIV and AIDS.

This week is the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of HIV and AIDS, and three area churches, as well as ALFA, are reaching out to residents infected and affected by the disease.

"(The goal) is to inspire those who are affected and infected by HIV," said Michelle Mathis, health and wellness minister at Exodus Missionary Outreach Church. "Life doesn't end with a positive diagnosis."

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