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December 22nd

Maiden man faces indecent liberties charge

December 22, 2011

A Maiden man is charged with taking indecent liberties with a minor in connection to an incident that occurred in Lincoln County earlier this month.

Horace Keith Dover, 55, of 5434 Bucks Garage Road in Maiden, was arrested and charged Wednesday with taking indecent liberties with a 14-year-old girl Dec. 9.

Lincoln County authorities say the original incident occurred during a car ride with the girl and her family on a highway in Lincoln County. Dover did know the victim, officers said.

Maiden residents arrested in drug bust

December 22, 2011

Three Maiden residents were recently arrested in a five-county drug bust in which law-enforcement agencies targeted nearly 100 people.

Rufus Durand "Chico" Lynch Jr., 27; Natasha Lane Wilhelm, 30; and Wendy Lou Wood, 27, all of Maiden, were arrested as part of a "16 Days of Christmas" operation, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Police departments in Newton, Conover and Maiden, and the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, are involved in the ongoing investigation, as well as law enforcement agencies in Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Gaston and Rockingham counties.

Conover pro golf tournament on 2012 schedule

December 22, 2011

The Greater Hickory Classic tournament on the Pro Golf Association (PGA) Champions Tour will return to Conover and move to the fall in 2012.

The PGA Champions Tour released its 2012 tournament schedule this week, and it includes seven new tournament venues and several date changes for existing tournaments, according to the PGA. The schedule includes the 10th annual Greater Hickory Classic.

Gas price decrease may increase travel

December 22, 2011

A drop in gasoline prices since spring may be the spark North Carolina motorists need to travel during the Christmas holiday.

AAA Carolinas says 2.4 million motorists are expected to drive 50 miles or more during the holiday travel period beginning Friday and lasting through Jan. 2.

Since May 6, gasoline prices in North Carolina have dropped 64 cents. The average price statewide is the cheapest since it hit $3.14 a gallon in early February, and the lowest since peaking at nearly $3.88 on May 6.

Elisa Baker federal plea deal pending

December 22, 2011

Elisa Baker, who pleaded guilty in September to killing 10-year-old disabled Zahra Baker, is looking to make a deal on federal drug charges.

Lawyers for Elisa Baker have filed documents in federal court indicating she has worked out a deal with prosecutors on charges of distributing painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs.

Plea deal documents filed Monday were not available to the public. Her trial is scheduled to start in January.

The O-N-E morning read: Thursday, Dec. 22

December 22, 2011

Christmas spirit is alive in the Catawba Valley, with the holiday just three days away.

Inside The O-N-E and at observernewsonline.com today:
* Hundreds of Catawba County children sent their letters to Santa, and The O-N-E shares many of them with you today. Among the most popular requests this year are video game systems, iPods, iPads, skateboards and dolls. Find a sampling of Santa letters today in “Dear Santa: What I Want For Christmas” inside The O-N-E and Outlook, and visit the local news tab at observernewsonline.com for a comprehensive wish list from county children.

December 21st

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 21, 2011

Mildred “Mickey” Queen Allen, 86, of Catawba, died Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011 at Iredell Memorial Hospital in Statesville.  The Allen family has entrusted the funeral arrangements to Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home & Crematory in Newton.

Bank of cheer

December 21, 2011

Each year, Jeanette Ringley turns the Peoples Bank on “A” street into a winter wonderland.

Ringley, Peoples' business center manager, transforms the bank with her collection of Christmas decorations.

Wooden cutouts of Christmas carolers line the entrance walkway to a main lobby and banking area filled inch to inch with Christmas trees, snowmen, a life-size Santa and detailed holiday miniatures. Blue, green, red and white lights are draped across the ceiling and walls, shining on wreaths and a fully-decorated Christmas tree in the center of the room.

Hometown Christmas makes holiday merry

December 21, 2011

The holiday season became just a little brighter this week for three area families thanks to almost 70 locally owned and operated businesses and The Observer News Enterprise's shop-local Hometown Christmas program.

"Santa Claus came just a few days early for a few lucky families," said The O-N-E Publisher Michael Willard, "and he came early for the businesses that welcomed customers who spent holiday dollars inside the locally owned shops, restaurants and businesses that are so important to this region's economy."

County plans funding for new elementary schools

December 21, 2011

Catawba County plans to provide more than $30 million total to its three school systems in the next four years for each to build a new elementary school.

The money for the schools comes mostly from county tax allocations and partly from N.C. Education Lottery funds.

The county set up a system in 2003 to reserve a portion of the tax rate each year for school improvements and construction, said Rodney Miller, the county finance director. In 2007, the county increased that allocation to also include lottery money, Miller said.

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