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March 9th, 2011

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."

90-year-olds knit, donate items

March 8, 2011

A group of Hickory women are Knit Wits, and they don't care who knows it.

The women, who are in their 90s, live at Pinecrest Retirement Community in Hickory, where they knit lap blankets, head coverings and baby caps to donate to area hospitals and other organizations.

"I feel like we're doing something for somebody that needs something special," said Romalda Aman, 95.

March 7th

2 indicted for murder

March 7, 2011

Two men were indicted Monday on murder charges at the Catawba County Justice Center.

The Catawba County Grand Jury indicted Michael Joseph Anderson, 19, of Hickory, and Brian Todd Hieb, 43, of Sherrills Ford, on murder charges stemming from two unrelated deaths. The clerk of court's office said Monday that the indictments don't specify whether the murder charge is first or second degree.

Website to create, retain jobs

March 7, 2011

Catawba County received a more than $200,000 grant to increase the visibility of its small, rural manufacturers.

The web-based program will connect small companies with potential clients through the worldwide exposure of the Internet, in the hope of creating and retaining manufacturing jobs in Catawba County.

Company leases city warehouse

March 7, 2011

A Claremont warehouse has a new occupant, according to a statement released Monday from a private real estate company.

JER Partners announced that Sutter Street Manufacturing, a division of home-goods manufacturer Williams-Sonoma, will lease the entire warehouse on Kelly Boulevard in Claremont. The company's decision to come to Claremont, however, is a business move the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation and the city of Claremont have yet to confirm.

Riverbend Park closed today

March 7, 2011

Riverbend Park, off N.C. 16 in northern Catawba County, is closed Monday for the safety of the public.
Duke Energy will open flood gates at the Oxford Dam following weekend rains. Conditions are unsafe for patrons at the park when the flood gates open.

March 4th

Murders 'not typical' in county

March 4, 2011

Several high-profile murder cases in past months aren't indicative of an increase in the county's overall crime rate, according to Catawba County's sheriff.

The county received state, national and international media attention in recent months after murders like the Zahra Baker case, the Wheeler family murder-suicide and the death and mutilation of Stephen Starr.

The sheriff's department reported three murders in 2010 in its jurisdiction, which is the same number of murders the department has responded to already this year.

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