Archive - News Article
March 21st, 2011
A dismembered 10-year-old girl. A mutilated man with a log-splitter in his stomach. A drug-fueled home invasion that left three people dead.
These grisly, high-profile crimes produced state and national headlines, but they didn't occur in some unknown, far away town. They all happened in Catawba County.
The Catawba County Sheriff's Office responded to six murders in the first three months of 2011, which is double the number of murders and non-negligent manslaughter cases in 2010.
Charges against Elisa Baker are mounting after a Catawba County Grand Jury added two more indictments Monday against the woman charged in the death of her stepdaughter.
The grand jury indicted Baker on two charges of obtaining property by false pretenses. The two indictments allege Baker illegally pawned two items she didn't own at Hickory Pawn & Gun.
The incidents allegedly occurred on Aug. 18 and Sept. 7, just weeks before Baker's stepdaughter, 10-year-old Zahra, was reported missing.
Advance Pierre Foods is about halfway to the job-creation requirements outlined in an incentives package provided to the company when it expanded its Claremont operations last year.
The company announced a year ago this month that it will add 500 jobs and bring a $16.8-million investment to the Claremont facility on East Main Street.
The company has until December to fulfill those requirements, which means 264 jobs must be added to the facility in nine months or Pierre Foods will risk losing its incentives.
The man accused of shooting three people to death in a Conover mobile home park was assigned a new court date Thursday â€” one day before he was slated for a first appearance in court.
Everette Hewitt, 32, of Claremont, had his case continued to April 6, according to the Catawba County Clerk of Court's Office. Hewitt is charged with murdering three people Tuesday when he allegedly walked into a Conover mobile home and started shooting.
A portion of McDonald Parkway was closed when a truck overturned from a mechanical malfunction during a Friday-morning commute.
No one was injured in the crash, but officers closed the roadway for several hours as the North Carolina Highway Patrol investigated the incident.
UPS truck driver Daniel Stidham, 52, of Tennessee, was turning left on McDonald Parkway in Hickory about 8 a.m. when his vehicle had a mechanical failure, said Hickory Police Sgt. C. Anderson. The malfunction caused the truck to flip during the left turn, sending the truck into a guard rail and a power pole.
The Employment Security Commission of North Carolina announced Friday that the latest unemployment rates increased in almost 100 percent of the state's counties.
But that percentage could leave out some of the county's jobless, masking a higher unemployment rate than was originally projected.
Unemployment rates are based on estimates of people seeking work in the state, said Larry Parker, an ESC spokesperson.
Two county governing bodies are set to hold meetings Monday night.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the 1924 Courthouse in downtown Newton.
Maiden Town Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the Maiden Branch Library.
Items on the meetings' agenda include:
Maiden Town Council:
-Finance officer's report for February;
-Public hearing for a text amendment to allow metal roofs on mobile homes;
-Manager's report to discuss funding options for a new town hall;
Private citizens aren't the only people in Catawba County experiencing an economic crunch since gas prices started to increase.
County agencies, that provide essential transportation and response services to residents, are also looking for ways to cut fuel costs during an increasingly difficult budget year.
Catawba County Schools has about 246 buses it uses to transport the county's students to school and other activities. Some of those buses run double and triple routes to accommodate the needs of every student, said CCS transportation director Cecil W. Davis.
Six of Catawba County's eight municipalities reported positive population growth from the 2010 census.
The city of Conover experienced the largest growth percentage among Catawba County municipalities during a 10-year period. Conover's population increased 24 percent from 2000, when the previous census was conducted.
That increase marks the largest percent change among the county's remaining seven municipalities.
Police released the names Thursday of the four victims in a drug-fueled robbery and home invasion.
Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said Wade Sigmon, 49; Susan Kay Blevins, 51; and Connie Canipe Miller, 42; all of Conover, were shot to death early Tuesday morning on Emmanuel Church Road in the Oak Knoll Mobile Home park.
Joseph Burke, 38, was also shot during the robbery, and he was the only victim to survive the incident. Sheriff's deputies aren't releasing Burke's address for safety reasons.