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December 17th

Elisa Baker's case continued

December 17, 2010

The Hickory woman charged for obstructing the investigation into her stepdaughter's disappearance had her case continued in court Friday.

Elisa Baker, 42, of Hickory, was scheduled to appear in Catawba County District Court on Friday for four worthless check charges unrelated to the disappearance and death of her stepdaughter, Zahra Baker.

The case against Elisa Baker was continued to April 22, but she didn't appear Friday in court. Her attorney, Scott Reilly, appeared in her place.

Homeowner fires at attempted thief

December 17, 2010

A homeowner took matters into his own hands Friday when a thief attempted to rob his home.

A suspect entered a home on East Maiden Road on Friday about 1 p.m. in an apparent attempted larceny, said Catawba County Sheriff's Office Lt. Joel Fish.

The suspect, upon entering the house, saw the homeowner was still in the residence and didn't continue the larceny attempt.

Fish said the homeowner saw the intruder and thought the attempted thief had a gun. As the intruder left the residence, the homeowner grabbed a gun and fired several shots into the intruder's car.

NCHS celebrates culture, diversity

December 17, 2010

An area high school honored diversity in the classroom Friday with a celebration of dancing, food and crafts.

Students visited most of the world's continents and tasted unique food, without having to leave school grounds or step on a plane.

Newton-Conover High School held its fourth culture fair Friday in the school's gymnasium, where students learned about the different nationalities represented by their classmates.

"Every flag and country you see (at the fair) is represented by someone in this school," said NCHS teacher Melanie White.

December 16th

Winter weather causes hundreds of crashes

December 16, 2010

Area law enforcement agencies reported minor collisions Thursday, with the vast majority of those crashes from weather-related factors.

North Carolina Highway Patrol was overwhelmed with casework after the county's winter weather Thursday morning. Highway Patrol reported more than 300 crashes Thursday.

Hickory Police Department reported several weather-related collisions Thursday morning on Tate Boulevard.

"We had a fist full of accidents," said HPD Capt. Gary Lee. "In one way or another, they were all weather related."

CVMC construction starts

December 16, 2010

The future of Catawba Valley Medical Center rests on a black-top parking lot beside the hospital's current facilities.

In about two years, however, that parking lot will be a $32-million, state-of-the-art women's and oncology pavilion.

Community leaders, the hospital's staff and its board of directors gathered in the parking lot Thursday for a groundbreaking ceremony on the five-level pavilion, which is set for completion in 2013.

Tony Rose, CVMC president and CEO, spoke with the crowd of people, who were huddled under a tent in anticipation of rain.

Schools battle state-mandated calendar

December 16, 2010

Canceling school is a tougher decision than most people think, especially when superintendents consider the state-mandated calendar.

Catawba County schools were canceled Thursday after roads were deemed hazardous after winter weather hit the area. Superintendents and officials from county school systems toured the county at 4 a.m. to determine road conditions and ultimately choosing to cancel schools. The decision of when to make-up the day lost is hard to consider.

Reward children for positive actions

December 16, 2010

When students perform poorly in math or reading, teachers help children re-learn the proper techniques.

When students misbehave, however, they don't receive positive reinforcement -- they're punished.

Area educators discussed this disconnect in behavioral education Tuesday during a Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS) workshop at Conover School.

December 15th

Attorney claims warrant mismanagement

December 15, 2010

An attorney filed an amendment Wednesday requesting additional warrants in the Zahra Baker case be unsealed for the public eye.

Attorney Amanda Martin, who represents several area media outlets, amended a motion filed Tuesday to include four additional sealing orders related to the case.

Zahra investigator charged with DWI

December 15, 2010

A North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper charged an investigator in the Zahra Baker case with driving while impaired.

Robert Joseph Falowski, 42, of Claremont, was charged Dec. 4 with driving while impaired, failure to report an accident and failure to maintain lane control.

Falowski's name appears on a Hickory Police Department warrant to search Zahra Baker's former residence, located at 21 21st Ave. NW in Hickory.

The warrant includes information about how Zahra Baker's stepmother

Foard teacher tops in region

December 15, 2010

An area high school teacher was recently named one of the nine best educators in North Carolina.

Fred T. Foard High School math teacher Andy Blevins received the northwest regional teacher of the year award for North Carolina. Blevins will compete with teachers from seven other state regions, as well as a charter school teacher, to receive the North Carolina teacher of the year award.

"I don't really know what to think right now," said Blevins, who has been an educator for 14 years. "I don't think it has sunk in yet."

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