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December 9th

Car crashes into power pole

December 9, 2010

A stray animal was the apparent cause of a car crash Thursday that sent one man to the hospital.

Newton Police said a man was driving west on East 20th Street in Newton about 9:10 a.m. The man, whose name wasn't immediately available, told police a stray animal ran in front of his Chevy S-10 pickup truck.

The man said he swerved to avoid hitting the animal, causing him to run off the right side of the road and crash into a Newton power pole.

Thief steals Christmas gifts

December 9, 2010

An apparent grinch stole hundreds of dollars in Christmas presents from a Conover residence.

The unknown suspect broke open the basement window of a home in the 4700 block of Harvard Street in Conover and entered the residence through the opening, said Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid.

The burglary and larceny were reported about 5 p.m. Tuesday, and the victim told police her house was last secure about three days before the incident occurred.

Reid said a friend of the homeowner found the damage when she arrived at the house to check on the home while the homeowner was away.

Students collect toys for children

December 9, 2010

CLAREMONT (AP) — The unexplained death of a 10-year-old disabled girl is weighing on the minds of students at a North Carolina middle school and leading them to collect toys for their underprivileged peers.

Students at River Bend Middle School have collected more than 800 stuffed animals in memory of Zahra Baker, who like them lived in Catawba County.

The stuffed animals will be given to police in Conover and Hickory on Monday for distribution to children who are needy or whose parents are in jail.

December 8th

County prepares for state shortfall

December 8, 2010

North Carolina policy makers could be forced to close a multibillion-dollar gap in the state budget, passing on their shortfalls to county governments.

The state faces a $3.5 billion shortfall for fiscal year 2011-12 because of the continually weak economy, the end of federal aid and the expiration of the temporary tax package, said Alexandra Forter Sirota, of the N.C. Tax and Budget Center.

The final state general fund budget for FY 2010-11 was about $18.9 billion.

Board approves incentives for Pierre Foods

December 8, 2010

The city of Claremont has a population of about 1,100 people.

At the end of the Pierre Foods expansion, the facility in Claremont will employ more than 1,200 people. This means that Pierre Foods could use every city resident to operate its facility on East Main Street.

Pierre Foods employs 717 people currently, and an ongoing expansion project will bring an additional 500 jobs in two years.

Your heart is in good hands

December 8, 2010

In 102 minutes, Carl Cline's life changed forever.

Cline, 67, of Newton, experienced a life-threatening heart attack. If it was not for his emergency phone call, he might not have survived.

When Cline started to feel pain, he called 9-1-1 and an ambulance was at his house in 2.5 minutes.

"It was like clock work," Cline said, of the EMS responders who assisted his medical condition. "I had (the heart attack) at the 87th minute."

December 7th

DA: Murder charges still possible

December 7, 2010

Capital murder charges remain a possibility for the Hickory woman jailed on charges she interfered with the investigation into her stepdaughter's death.

The District Attorney's Office released a statement Tuesday about the case after several media outlets reported this weekend that Elisa Baker made a deal with prosecutors to receive life imprisonment, instead of the death penalty, in exchange for reliable information leading to the recovery of 10-year-old Zahra Baker's body.

Those reports, according to the District Attorney's Office, are false.

Justice Center expansion advances

December 7, 2010

The county is another step closer to having a new and improved Justice Center in Newton.

County commissioners approved design plans Monday for the structure and allowed planners to proceed with the project's schematic design.

Commissioners decided to move forward with four design concepts for the Justice Center, including combining two projects into one, choosing a two-wing building design instead of a front expansion, adding shelled space for future expansion and a parking deck and submitting a master plan of the project to the city of Newton.

Law bans most license plate frames

December 7, 2010

North Carolina drivers' college-themed or other decorative license plate frames could cost them $100 in fines.

A North Carolina law banning license plate frames took effect a year ago, but starting Dec. 1, violators can be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor for obstructing their license plate.

December 6th

Guilty plea gets life sentences

December 6, 2010

A Charlotte man pleaded guilty to murdering a Conover couple.
Frederick Sylvester Hedgepeth, 25, pleaded guilty to the murder of Jerry Bullin, 72, and his wife, Joanne, 70, 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.

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