Archive - News Article
January 26th, 2011
Catawba County participated in a homeless count Wednesday to determine the number of people living day-to-day on area streets.
Troy Jones, 47, of Hickory, is one of those people. He has been homeless for about nine months after he lost his landscaping job.
"It hit me hard," Jones said. "I couldn't pay my rent."
Jones was one of many people who came to be counted Wednesday at Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry, one of five counting locations throughout Catawba County.
Catawba County Schools' teachers may not see their performance-based supplement for the 2011-12 school year.
In CCS interim superintendent Glenn Barger's proposed local budget for the upcoming school year, the largest cut is $800,000, from the instruction performance category. The reduction comes from a lack of county funding, he said. If the reduction is approved, it may protect teaching positions.
"All county agencies were told to cut 5 percent," Barger said. "That is painful."
It's no secret that these are hard times for Catawba County residents.
But what some people may not know is that these are also hard times for the organizations who serve the county's needy residents.
Crisis services at Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministries increased about 40 percent from this time last year, according to the Rev. Robert Silber, ECCCM executive director. The ministry provided 317 services Monday, which increased from 232 during the same time last year.
Lincoln County sheriff's deputies arrested two men Saturday for multiple counts of felony breaking and entering, and the Catawba County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday that the men could face additional charges for similar break-ins in the Sherrills Ford community.
Bobby Lee Fish Jr., 30, of Catawba, and Richard Allen Champion Jr., 22, of Lincolnton, were each charged with 18 counts of felony breaking and entering a watercraft, one count of felony conspiracy to commit larceny and one count of felony larceny.
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.
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."
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.
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 â€” including personnel cuts and reductions.
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.
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.