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January 25th, 2011

Newton road closed

January 25, 2011

West Eighth Street in Newton, between Deal and Ashe avenues, will be closed Tuesday for about five hours.
The closure came at the request of the Newton Water Department at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

CCS in stable financial health

January 25, 2011

Despite little state and county funding, Catawba County Schools remains on stable financial ground.
One important part of the fiscal year 2009-10 audit is the school system's general fund balance increased $1.7 million from 2009's audit. The new general fund balance is $6.2 million.
The general fund is the school system's primary fund for operating expenses and some minor facility needs.
"We increased our available fund balance," said Sandra Wolfe, CCS finance director. "We looked at what's happening in the state and are conservative in our funding."

January 24th

Baby finalist in beach contest

January 24, 2011

Ava Anderson is a miracle baby.

That's what her parents, Alicia and Matt, will tell you.

Alicia, 28, and Matt, 31, both of Lincolnton, unsuccessfully tried to become parents for two years before Ava was born in September 2009.

The proud parents were blessed with a baby girl who is not only healthy, but worthy of a magazine cover, according to Oak Island Accommodations.

Ava, now 16 months old, is one of eight children who are finalists to appear on the cover of the 2011 Beach Times magazine.

CCS weighs personnel options

January 24, 2011

In 2009-10, Catawba County Schools reduced positions for 69 teachers, 113 teacher assistants, four custodians and three literary coaches.

With North Carolina facing a more than $3 billion budget shortfall, CCS leaders face yet another year of difficult budget decisions — including personnel cuts and reductions.

CCS student programs face changes

January 24, 2011

Faced with uncertain funding options from state budget-makers, the Catawba County Schools Board of Education held a meeting Monday to discuss its choices for the 2011-12 budget.

The board talked about options for cutting back system expenses while preserving jobs, which forced them to consider changes to two educational programs for students.

Board members entertained the idea of moving the Green Room Academy of Drama (GRAD) program to Maiden High School's facilities to save costs on the magnet school for students interested in pursuing theater arts.

January 21st

Stepmom gets more charges

January 21, 2011

The woman rumored to be involved in the death and dismemberment of her stepdaughter received two more criminal charges this week, bringing her bond amount to more than $100,000.

Elisa Baker, Zahra Baker's stepmother, was served an indictment for bigamy Friday from her cell in Catawba County jail. Catawba County sheriff's deputies also charged Elisa Baker with another worthless check charge, according to the sheriff's office website, which brings the total number of worthless check charges against Elisa Baker to six.

Be debt-free in the new year

January 21, 2011

The Christmas holidays ended almost a month ago, and though the gifts remain, so do the bills.

Many people face large amounts of debt following the economic downturn, the collapse of the housing market and holiday overspending.

Area debt experts said the first step to being debt-free is to use the right debt-assistance services.

Some companies offer programs to rid people of their debt, but in the end, the fees charged by the company cause those in need to sink deeper and deeper into debt.

Briefcase most likely not linked to Zahra

January 21, 2011

What could have been a significant piece of evidence in the Zahra Baker case is now, most likely, a dead end.

Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal said Friday that a briefcase and blanket found Tuesday in Caldwell County probably isn't related to the 10-year-old disabled girl's death.

"We're looking into it, but it's not at the top of the list, because it's more than likely not related to the case," Deal said.

January 20th

Team works to prevent child deaths

January 20, 2011

Twenty-three Catawba County children died in 2009-10. Although that's a relatively low number compared to years past, it's a number county leaders want to see continually decreasing.

Catawba County's Child Protection/Child Fatality Team compiles statistics and information about each child's death in Catawba County, whether it be from a long-term illness or a motor vehicle crash.

"We talk about what happened and what we can do better," said Jennifer McCracken, of the Child Fatality Team.

Perdue opposes privatization

January 20, 2011

Gov. Bev Perdue said Thursday she opposes privatization of the state's liquor sales, which is the announcement county leaders hoped for.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution in December opposing efforts to privatize the state- and locally controlled system, and the county manager's office also voiced its opposition.

Perdue spoke Thursday at the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) annual legislative conference in Durham and told county leaders she thought privatization wasn't the right option for North Carolina.

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