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February 8th, 2011

Flowers are in the air

February 8, 2011

Area florists are preparing for what they call one of their busiest days of the year — Valentine's Day.

For most people, the day of love is about flowers, cards and stuffed animals for the ones they love, but for Catawba County's florists, Valentine's Day represents days of hard work and preparation.

2 fires, 63 minutes

February 8, 2011

Newton Fire Department's resources were strained Monday night after firefighters were called to two structure fires in slightly more than an hour.

Monday's two structure fires in 63 minutes are part of a larger trend this year for Newton Fire Department. Fire Chief Kevin Yoder said structure fires are more common in the winter, but the department has recently noticed more fires occurring on the same day at about the same time.

"When it rains, it pours," Yoder said.

February 7th

Family dead, community mourns

February 7, 2011

A 14-year-old and her parents are dead after an apparent murder-suicide in Denver.
The Catawba County Sheriff's Office said Rick Wheeler, 36, allegedly shot his wife Angela, 41, and the couple's 14-year-old daughter Samantha "Sam" at their family home in Denver. Rick then turned the gun on himself.
Friends and relatives of the Wheeler family are having a difficult time reconciling the violent incident with their memories of the Wheelers, who they said were a loving, committed family.

Teachers, TAs thank board

February 7, 2011

Teachers in Catawba County gathered Monday night to thank board members for trying to save their jobs in the 2011-12 school year, despite the possibility of cutting performance-based supplements.
Catawba County Schools Board of Education held its public hearing for the 2011-12 local budget during a special meeting Monday. About two dozen teachers and teacher assistants were in attendance, but surprisingly, only two people stood before the board members to comment.

Chairwoman: New info coming in leader search

February 7, 2011

Catawba County Schools Board of Education plans to release information about the search for a new superintendent at its next meeting.
Board chairwoman Joyce Spencer told The O-N-E on Monday that the board is "hoping to have information" at its Feb. 28 meeting.
In December, the North Carolina School Board Association said CCS received 24 applications for the superintendent position, which is currently held by interim superintendent Glenn Barger.
However, Monday, Spencer said there is "no definitive number of finalists."

Gaither starts justice walk for Zahra

February 7, 2011

When will charges be filed in the death of Zahra Baker? That’s the question that has been asked since the 10-year-old girl’s death was confirmed in mid-November and one that continues to be posed now, four months after she was first reported missing.
The decision to pursue charges is up to 25th Prosecutorial District Attorney Jay Gaither. The DA’s Office received the prosecution summary from Hickory Police Department in December, and the case file was turned over to Gaither’s office Jan. 26.

Deputies investigate murder-suicide

February 7, 2011

A 14-year-old Mill Creek Middle School student and her parents are dead in what police think is a murder-suicide.

Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said deputies responded to 4785 Grassy Creek Road in Denver to find the bodies of Rick Wheeler, Angela Wheeler and their daughter Samantha inside the house.

Reid said it appears Rick shot Angela and Samantha, then shot himself. Deputies responded to the house after receiving a 9-1-1 hang-up call.

A vigil is planned for 7-8 p.m. Monday at Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church in Sherrills Ford.

February 4th

Gourd Lady gets $20k gift

February 4, 2011

When Gourd Lady Margaret Sparkman saw a man pull out his checkbook and start writing a check in her honor, she was thrilled.

She saw him start to write "2," and she thought he was going to donate $25.

That "2" was followed, not by the number five, but by four zeros. The mystery man gave Sparkman, 94, a $20,000 gift to help fund the community center in Conover named in Sparkman's honor.

Outlet causes fire in house

February 4, 2011

One wall of a Newton home was damaged Thursday night from an overheated outlet.

Newton firefighters responded to a reported structure fire at 2255 Chatham St. on Thursday at 5:52 p.m.

Thirteen men from Newton Fire Department arrived on the scene to find no signs of fire coming from the inside of the house. They discovered an overheated outlet on the second level of the two-story structure, said Newton Fire Marshal Dale Coffey. It's unknown if the fire was in a bedroom.

Learn today, earn tomorrow

February 4, 2011

These days, graduating high school, college or technical school is only half the battle.

Students in Catawba County schools must work harder than ever to give them an edge over the millions of other newly graduated students and displaced workers trying to enter the workforce.

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