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March 25th, 2011

64 years of furniture in Newton

March 25, 2011

For nearly 64 years, Pete Kirby has been a merchant in downtown Newton.

First working as an employee for Alman's Home Furnishings and then owning the furniture retail business, he's helped residents throughout eastern Catawba County establish their households.

Now, giant yellow signs outside Alman's showrooms on East First Street herald a retirement sale and Kirby's plans to step away from the business' day-to-day operations.

But it isn't the first time he's stepped away from the store.

March 24th

Town plans first sidewalk sale

March 24, 2011

The town of Catawba is planning its first town-wide sidewalk sale to help people get a jump-start on spring cleaning.

The inaugural event is set for May 21 in downtown Catawba from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Planning for the event started in December with the Catawba Small Town committee, which is part of the town's Main Street Program.

"The committee's main goal is to enhance and beautify the town," said Catawba Town Manager Brian Barnett. "That's what we're hoping to do."

2 workers fired after $3K theft

March 24, 2011

Two Hickory Public Services workers were fired and four more were suspended after more than $3,000 of materials was stolen from a city demolition site.

Hickory Public Works department took action against the six employees Monday after allegations of possible employee misconduct surfaced during the demolition of Ridgeview and George Ivey pools, according to a statement released from the city of Hickory.

Hickory Police Department said copper and other materials valued at $3,931.25 were stolen from the demolition sites and taken to scrap metal processor Mountain Recycling in Hickory.

Groups donate to Zahra playground

March 24, 2011

Fundraising efforts are up and running to purchase playground equipment in honor of murdered 10-year-old Zahra Baker.

Catawba County Kiwanis Clubs announced plans in February to create a playground where disabled children, like Zahra, can play with their able-bodied peers.

More than a month into the campaign, Kiwanians have raised about $3,100 of the $85,000 needed to create an addition to the current Kiwanis Park on Sixth Street Southeast in Hickory.

March 23rd

1 dog dead, another loses leg

March 23, 2011

One of the beagles rescued from a dog trainer in Maiden was put to sleep because it was too ill to survive its injuries.

Catawba County Animal Services manager Jay Blatche said Wednesday that a veterinarian euthanized one of the three beagles rushed to a clinic after the animals were found alive among 100 dead dogs in a dog kennel and training facility on H.E. Propst Road.

"It was very ill," Blatche said of the euthanized animal. "The vets couldn't really determine what was wrong."

Family prepares for Japan trip

March 23, 2011

Carol and John de Perczel received a call at 3 a.m. March 11 alerting them to a massive earthquake in Japan.

For the de Perczel family, of Hickory, their thoughts went immediately to their 29-year-old son, John Forrest, who teaches English in Yokohama, Japan.

"We just really felt he was OK for some reason," Carol said. "We felt at peace."

Several hours later, Carol and John received an email from John Forrest's cell phone telling his parents he was OK. By 10 a.m. that day, they were talking to him on a video-chat program, Skype.

Mayors serve county's elderly

March 23, 2011

Essie Reinhardt celebrated her 99th birthday with the friends she has made at the Senior's Morning Out program in Newton.

She travels from her Newton home to First Presbyterian Church on North Main Avenue to exercise, socialize and celebrate her long life.

Reinhardt is one of hundreds of senior citizens in Catawba County who rely on senior nutrition programs for food, fellowship and daily activities.

March 22nd

Gang intervention tackles crime

March 22, 2011

Area law enforcement agencies attempted to prevent more gang violence in Catawba County with an intervention program for known offenders.

Police officers from every agency in the county attended the first gang call-in March 3 in Hickory City Council Chambers. The call-in is part of the Catawba County Gang Initiative, funded through the N.C. Governor's Crime Commission.

"The people at the call-in are people who are headed in the wrong direction and have been known to participate in gang activity," said Conover Police Chief Steve Brewer.

Town hall plans progress

March 22, 2011

Maiden residents, employees and officials are one step closer to having a new town hall.

Maiden Town Council voted Monday night to move forward with architectural plans for a new town hall and council chambers expected to cost more than $1 million.

Council members and town officials talked about funding options for the project, which has yet to be set in stone. Officials voted Monday to proceed with architectural drawings for the new building, but they didn't set a timeline for when, or if, the facility will be completed.

Recovery director tours schools

March 22, 2011

The smell of fresh paint lingers in the air at H.M. Arndt Middle School in Hickory. The floors shine; the walls are clean; and the bathrooms are pristine.

For officials from Catawba County Schools, the new classrooms at Arndt Middle don't just represent a fresh start for teachers and students.

The construction projects are a way to boost the county's economy through job creation.

Bob Etheridge, North Carolina Office of Economic Recovery and Investment director, toured construction projects at three Catawba County Schools on Tuesday to see the school bond funding put to work.

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