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March 22nd, 2011

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.

Cyclist struck by car

March 22, 2011

A cyclist was taken to the hospital Tuesday after a car struck him from behind.

The cyclist, whose name wasn't released on the scene, was traveling on Boundary Street in Newton about 3:15 p.m. with two other cyclists.

The cyclists started to cross the intersection at Northwest Boulevard near Kentucky Fried Chicken when the male cyclist was hit from behind by a Toyota Camry. Witnesses to the incident said the man fell off his bike and on the roadway from the impact.

March 21st

Police seek knife-toting thief

March 21, 2011

A loss-prevention employee at the Conover Kmart had to choose Sunday between stopping a theft or facing a knife-wielding man.

The Kmart employee tried to stop a couple from stealing electronics from the store, but he let the couple escape after one of the suspects pulled a box knife from his pocket, said Conover Police Sgt. R.L. Clark.

The suspects remain at large after what police are calling a "shoplifting gone bad."

How could that happen here?

March 21, 2011

A dismembered 10-year-old girl. A mutilated man with a log-splitter in his stomach. A drug-fueled home invasion that left three people dead.

These grisly, high-profile crimes produced state and national headlines, but they didn't occur in some unknown, far away town. They all happened in Catawba County.

The Catawba County Sheriff's Office responded to six murders in the first three months of 2011, which is double the number of murders and non-negligent manslaughter cases in 2010.

More indictments for Elisa

March 21, 2011

Charges against Elisa Baker are mounting after a Catawba County Grand Jury added two more indictments Monday against the woman charged in the death of her stepdaughter.

The grand jury indicted Baker on two charges of obtaining property by false pretenses. The two indictments allege Baker illegally pawned two items she didn't own at Hickory Pawn & Gun.

The incidents allegedly occurred on Aug. 18 and Sept. 7, just weeks before Baker's stepdaughter, 10-year-old Zahra, was reported missing.

March 18th

Pierre halfway to job requirements

March 18, 2011

Advance Pierre Foods is about halfway to the job-creation requirements outlined in an incentives package provided to the company when it expanded its Claremont operations last year.

The company announced a year ago this month that it will add 500 jobs and bring a $16.8-million investment to the Claremont facility on East Main Street.

The company has until December to fulfill those requirements, which means 264 jobs must be added to the facility in nine months or Pierre Foods will risk losing its incentives.

Case continued for triple-murder

March 18, 2011

The man accused of shooting three people to death in a Conover mobile home park was assigned a new court date Thursday — one day before he was slated for a first appearance in court.

Everette Hewitt, 32, of Claremont, had his case continued to April 6, according to the Catawba County Clerk of Court's Office. Hewitt is charged with murdering three people Tuesday when he allegedly walked into a Conover mobile home and started shooting.

Overturned truck closes parkway

March 18, 2011

A portion of McDonald Parkway was closed when a truck overturned from a mechanical malfunction during a Friday-morning commute.

No one was injured in the crash, but officers closed the roadway for several hours as the North Carolina Highway Patrol investigated the incident.

UPS truck driver Daniel Stidham, 52, of Tennessee, was turning left on McDonald Parkway in Hickory about 8 a.m. when his vehicle had a mechanical failure, said Hickory Police Sgt. C. Anderson. The malfunction caused the truck to flip during the left turn, sending the truck into a guard rail and a power pole.

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