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July 25th, 2011

NCDOT quells concerns over N.C. 16

July 25, 2011

Emergency responders and business owners came to a meeting with the NCDOT with concerns on Monday, but left feeling a lot better after hearing explanations and potential changes to the N.C. 16 widening project.

State officials came to Catawba County on Monday to try and quell public concern about a controversial plan to widen a portion of N.C. 16 in eastern Catawba County.

Man robs Smokes Unlimited with shotgun

July 25, 2011

A man robbed a Conover tobacco store on Saturday after holding the store clerk and her husband at gunpoint with a sawed-off shotgun.

Police say a man carrying a duffle bag walked into the Smokes Unlimited Inc. tobacco store in Conover at about 5:42 p.m. Saturday before taking a sawed-off shotgun out of the bag and demanding money.

UPDATE: Motorcycle fatality on N.C. 10

July 25, 2011

A Connelly Springs man was killed when he was thrown several hundred yards off his motorcycle after he lost control and ran off the road early Sunday.
Catawba County Sheriff's Office deputies found the body of Nathan Brittain, 26, near the intersection of Heavner Road and N.C. 10 about 1:30 p.m. Monday. According to N.C. Highway Patrol, law enforcement was searching for the man after he was reported missing Sunday.
Be sure to see The Observer News Enterprise's Tuesday edition for the complete story.

July 22nd

¿Hola Newton?

July 22, 2011

After The Artist's Cafe closes Saturday, the building's owner says the restaurant space won't be vacant for long.

"If (Artist's Cafe owner) Louie (Dimarhos) decides to close, he will move out some time next month," said property owner Lynn Nguyen. "After he moves out, another new owner is going to move in."

Nguyen said an owner of a Hickory Mexican restaurant is interested in opening a business in the downtown Newton restaurant space that includes kitchen equipment and furniture. She said she is hopeful that the new restaurant will be open within six months.

Man steals car after domestic dispute

July 22, 2011

A man stole his ex-girlfriend’s car Friday after he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Authorities say Sean Donald Sweeney, 42, of Hickory, arrived at Carillon Assisted Living in Newton on Friday morning in hopes of borrowing a car belonging to ex-girlfriend, Kimberly Rocket, who works at the facility.

After Rocket told her ex-boyfriend he couldn't use the car, Sweeney threw a brick through the window, got in and drove the 1993 Mercury Sable to the 1300 block of 2nd Ave. NW in Hickory, according to Newton Police Capt. Kevin Yarborough.

Thieves pull daylight drive-off

July 22, 2011

Thieves stole two luxury sports cars from a Hickory dealership in broad daylight Thursday.

At about 3:25 p.m. on Thursday, Paramount Porsche in Hickory reported at about 3:25 p.m. that two $80,000 cars – and their keys – disappeared, according to police.  

Paramount representatives told Hickory police investigators that they were showing cars to several customers earlier in the day, noting that additional customers were also waiting in the showroom.   

July 21st

Program gives free lunch

July 21, 2011



About 40 children gathered in a Newton church’s kitchen Thursday. They sat around three fold-up tables and were ready to eat lunch — their chatter steady as their left and right feet tapped the tiled floor repeatedly.
The room was dim, and the only light came from a few glimmering rays diving through the building’s original glass windows.

9 schools meet AYP

July 21, 2011

Nine Catawba County schools met the Adequate Yearly Progress standards set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act. And officials offer praise to the schools that did make the AYP, even if they feel it's not acceptable testing.

"One child in a subgroup can hold you back," said Catawba County Schools Superintendent Glenn Barger.

With about 40 students in each subgroup, Barger said he does not think the AYP results are an appropriate way to rate school systems.

Justice center expansion a step closer


July 21, 2011

County commissioners recently approved a fund transfer that will help pay for a $30 million public safety expansion project. 
Commissioners appropriated $1,555,455 to the county’s justice and public safety center expansion project that started about three years ago.

The expansion project will give the justice center more courtrooms and revitalize a 911 communications center that is in need of restoration, said Rodney Miller, Catawba County finance director over facilities. 

July 20th

The Artist's Cafe closing

July 20, 2011

After nearly five years in business, The Artist's Cafe will permanently close its doors in downtown Newton. The restaurant's closure will impact 20 employees when the business officially ceases operation on Saturday.

"I never wanted to leave this town. I put five years into this business," said The Artist's Cafe owner Louis Demarhos, adding the decision is heart-breaking. "We made a lot of great friends here."

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