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December 14th

$2.7M grants gets manufacturer

December 14, 2010

Conover Station will welcome a new form of manufacturing to its site after $2.7 million in grants closed a deal that could potentially bring numerous jobs to Catawba County.

Manufacturing Solutions Center, currently located at Catawba Valley Community College’s East Campus, takes backyard ideas and creates a product to be sold across the world.

Soda machine causes fire

December 14, 2010

A Conover fast food restaurant was evacuated Tuesday after an electrical fire broke out.

An employee of Zaxby's restaurant on N.C. 16 called 9-1-1 shortly before 1 p.m. to report an electrical fire in the restaurant's fountain drink machine.

About 10 Conover firefighters responded to the scene and turned off power to the machine, causing the flames to die down, said Conover Fire Chief J. Mark Hinson.

December 13th

Christmas gifts delivered

December 13, 2010

Classic Christmas song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" trickled through speakers at the Catawba County Christmas Bureau distribution Monday in Hickory. With the help of hundreds of volunteers and generous donors, thousands of children in Catawba County will have that merry little Christmas made famous by the traditional tune.

The bureau's annual distribution days started Monday, with about 400 people coming to the event to receive toys, clothes, food and other gifts for their children.

Additional warrants could be unsealed

December 13, 2010

A Superior Court hearing scheduled Monday to discuss search warrants in the Zahra Baker investigation was never held.

That doesn't mean, however, that additional details about the investigation into the disappearance and death of the 10-year-old girl won't surface in the coming weeks.

Attorney C. Amanda Martin with Media General Operations filed a civil motion Monday with the Catawba County Clerk of Court's Office to unseal warrants filed during the investigation from Oct. 11 through Nov. 30.

State seeks death penalty

December 13, 2010

The District Attorney's Office will seek the death penalty against a man charged in the 2006 stabbing death of a Hickory woman.

Prosecutors announced Monday in Catawba County Superior Court that they will pursue capital punishment in the first-degree murder charge against Antonio Gonzalez Trejo, 31, of Conover. Trejo is charged with fatally wounding Teresa Aguilera Zavala, 26, of Hickory, on July 29, 2006, by stabbing her repeatedly with a knife.

Former teacher appears in court

December 13, 2010

The former Maiden High School teacher accused of having sex with a student appeared in court Monday.

No action was taken in the case against Christopher Caldwell, who is charged with one count of taking indecent liberties with a student and one count of sexual activity with a student.

An attorney involved in the case was out of town, and the District Attorney's Office advised Caldwell to stay in touch with his attorney for a future court date.

December 10th

Will services suffer in state's budget?

December 10, 2010

Gov. Bev Perdue announced sweeping changes to the state government Thursday in an attempt to close the state's projected multibillion-dollar gap in next year's budget.

North Carolina residents already saw cutbacks to health and human services in previous years, leaving officials wondering what will be left in their departments if they're forced to make additional cuts.

"There's a real interconnectedness between what's going on in the economy and how it's affecting the state budget," said Alexandra Forter Sirota, North Carolina Budget and Tax Center director.

Politician, farmer, community supporter dies

December 10, 2010

A former Republican county commissioner and American patriot died Friday.
David Stewart, 74, of Sherrills Ford, died at Palliative CareCenter and Hospice after an illness.

"I am saddened to hear of David's passing," said Robert E. Hibbitts, of Hickory, former county commission chairman. "Our heartfelt sympathies are sent to his family and many friends."

Hibbitts served with Stewart on the Catawba County Board of Commissioners for Stewart's 16 years on the board. For 10 of those years, Stewart was vice chairman while Hibbitts was board chairman.

20 years, dolls galore

December 10, 2010

Betty Rector's home is every little girl's dream.

From pink-cheeked baby dolls and fashion-forward Barbies to delicate fairies and iconic pop-culture dolls, Rector's house is a veritable doll paradise.

Rector, 75, of Hickory, is the president of the Catawba Valley Doll Club, and she has been a doll collector for about five decades.

Rector and her friend, Joan Ashton, 78, started buying dolls for their daughters more than 50 years ago, and what started as gifts for their children turned into a treasured hobby for themselves.

Toys for Zahra

December 10, 2010

The holiday season is traditionally a time when children get excited about receiving toys.

But 500 area middle school students learned the gift of giving back when their school collected more than 1,000 toys in honor of Zahra Baker.

River Bend Middle School will donate 1,029 new and gently used stuffed animals to Hickory Police Department's Cops for Tots program and Conover Police Department's Santa Cops.

"Zahra is in a better place now," said Brooke Huffman, a River Bend seventh-grader. "We felt toys were a great way to comfort others who were hurting."

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