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March 14th, 2011

Child alerts parents to fire

March 14, 2011

A Maiden family lost their home and several pets Saturday after a 9-year-old boy alerted his family to the blaze.

Maiden Fire Chief Danny Hipps said firefighters responded about 5:15 a.m. Saturday to a mobile home fire on the 6400 block of Startown Road.

The mobile home and a nearby vehicle were fully involved in fire when emergency responders arrived on the scene, but the home's residents and their five children were standing safely outside the building.

Gasoline fueled deadly explosion

March 14, 2011

The Gergely family's home appeared, from the outside, to be a typical residence in the Deerfield development of Mountain View.

A garden sits at the front of the yard near a swing set, and children's sporting equipment is scattered throughout the property.

But inside the residence, George L. Gergely Jr., 42, stored six cans of gasoline and firearms after a reported suicide attempt the day before his house exploded.

A call for help

Gergely's wife, Michele, called 9-1-1 on Sunday about 1:05 p.m. to report her husband was having suicidal thoughts and threatening to harm himself.

'Quonset hut' ban stalls in Newton

March 14, 2011

A proposal to prohibit construction of new "quonset" huts in Newton not only missed the mark, if passed it can open the door to "quonset hut farms" in the city.

As a result, Newton City Council sent a zoning ordinance amendment concerning accessory structures back to city planners' drafting board.

Train museum coming to Newton

March 14, 2011

It has been more than 35 years since Newton's train depot helped transport passengers from one location to another.

But new life continues to reinvigorate the building on North Main Avenue, including the addition of an outdoor train museum.

The Newton Depot Authority announced March 9 they will add an outdoor railroad museum to the historic Newton Depot. The railroad museum is designed to collect, restore and preserve railroad equipment that honors the railroad's history in western North Carolina.

March 13th

House explodes in Hickory

March 13, 2011

A 42-year-old man caused his home to explode, killing himself Sunday.
Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday, George Gergely Jr.'s wife got commitment papers to have her husband checked mentally. Reid said his wife was concerned that her husband was going to harm himself after he made threats to do so. She also referenced a large number of guns were inside the Willowbottom Road home in the Mountain View community.
Reid said the Special Tactics and Response Team responds as protocol to suicide situations.

March 11th

Conover man prepares to deploy

March 11, 2011

First Class Petty Officer Thomas Brandt hasn't lived in Catawba County for long, but he knows its a place where he wants to live and work after his deployment.

Brandt, 30, lives in Conover, but will soon be deployed with the U.S. Navy. He doesn't know where he'll be, and he doesn't know what he'll be doing.

But he does know one thing: He's exactly where he should be.

"I wanted an adventure," said the native New Yorker, who moved to Catawba County in September. "I always wanted to do something really significant with my life."

Town loses 95 in 10 years

March 11, 2011

Fewer people are living in Catawba in 2010 than were living in the town 10 years ago.

Catawba residents number 603, based on 2010 census data. That number decreased from 698 in 2000, when the last census was taken.

The 13.6 percent estimated population decrease means Catawba isn't growing at the rate officials predicted.

"We didn't quite meet the state's estimated growth rate," Catawba Town Manager Brian Barnett told residents and council members March 7 during his manager's report at council's monthly meeting.

Careers come to life at Tuttle

March 11, 2011

A private pilot. A graphic designer. A dog groomer.

They are all employed in Catawba County, and they all came to Tuttle Elementary School's annual career day.

Representatives from about 20 different local careers arrived in Maiden on Friday to educate students about the skills, education and character it takes to be part of the workforce.

March 10th

AWOL soldier arrested

March 10, 2011

Catawba County sheriff's deputies arrested a Florida man Thursday who is wanted by United States military officers.

Michael Joseph Hinrichs, 31, was charged with being a fugitive when officers located him for the United States Army. The Army had a felony warrant for Hinrichs' arrest because Hinrichs was allegedly absent from duty without leave.

Hinrichs was living in Catawba when deputies arrested him Thursday about 2 a.m. and transported him to Catawba County jail.

He is being held with no bond until military officers arrive to take him into custody.

Living with HIV: Walking a road to recovery, sharing experiences

March 10, 2011

Hope is the one thing Steve Daniels gained in life and the one characteristic he tries to pass on to other people.

Daniels, 62, is HIV-positive and has dealt with the disease for 25 years.

"I've been infected so long," he said. "I've seen a whole lot of death and hopelessness. I try to encourage people not to give up and to just hold on."

Drugs and alcohol

Daniels used injected drugs, which led to his contracting HIV or human immunodeficiency virus. Daniels was in college when he started using heroin. As drug use progressed, he started injecting drugs for a faster fix.

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