February 22nd, 2012
Groups organizing a playground to honor Zahra Baker hope volunteers will help build it.
The city of Hickory, the Kiwanis Clubs of Catawba County and numerous community sponsors are building the Zahra Baker All Children's Playground at Kiwanis Park on 805 6th Street SE, just off Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard.
The groups are inviting members of the community to volunteer April 12-14 to help construct the playground.
Catawba Countyâs young professionals say it will take a combination of jobs and quality-of-life improvements to keep young people from leaving the region.
In the past 10 years, the county has had a 15-percent decline in the population ages 25 to 34. In that same time period, surrounding counties have also witnessed a 25-percent decline in the younger age brackets.
The elderly population has skyrocketed throughout.
Newton will seek federal funds to help the city's fire department get closer to meeting national standards for fighting structure fires.
As part of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, the U.S. government is providing about $380 million to fire departments throughout the nation. The priorities of the funding are to provide firefighters for departments that have either laid off personnel, face the prospect of reduced staffing or seek additional firefighters to meet National Fire Protection Association standards, said Newton Fire Chief Kevin Yoder.
Newton is again pondering the idea of building a new fire station headquarters.
The current headquarters, located in Newtonâs downtown area on West âAâ Street, was last renovated in 1958 and has a host of health, safety and space issues that fire and city officials say have needed addressing for quite some time.
âItâs clear that we absolutely need it,â Newton Mayor Anne Stedman said at the cityâs annual retreat this month. âItâs not a want anymore.â
A discussion for building a new headquarters has been going on for more than 10 years.
In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the St. Stephens wrestling team, the Indians produced three state qualifiers.
Bradley Bader, Blake Rogers and Ian Martin will each vie for a state title when the NCHSAA individual state championships start Thursday.
Indians coach Billy Baker said the wrestlers worked hard this offseason to earn their postseason appearances.
The four remaining Catawba County basketball squads that made it through the first round of the NCHSAA playoffs are hosting second round games tonight.
In the 2A ranks, the Newton-Conover and Bandys girls basketball teams are at home at 7 p.m.
The No. 3 Lady Red Devils (25-3) host the CVACâs third-place finisher and No. 11 seeded East Burke (18-9).Â
Newton-Conover swept the season series against the Lady Cavaliers.
The winner of that game gets either No. 2 Mountain Heritage (25-2) or No. 7 East Rutherford (18-7).
RALEIGH â Kendall Marshall had a career-high 22 points and 13 assists to help No. 7 North Carolina beat North Carolina State 86-74 on Tuesday night.
Harrison Barnes added 20 points for the Tar Heels (24-4, 11-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who extended their domination of their nearby rivals. North Carolina has won 12 straight meetings and hasn't lost to the Wolfpack (18-10, 7-6) in five years.
This photo of Shauna Laughren and Victor Cruz Sanchez is The O-N-E photo of the week.
The couple and many others married at the courthouse on Valentine's Day in an annual ceremony organized by the county's register of deeds.
For more on this story, visit http://observernewsonline.com/content/courthouse-romances.
Visit observernewsonline.com every Wednesday for a new photo of the week. To submit news tips or suggestions for photos of the week, email email@example.com.
Ex-NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield says the four felony charges against him are not true and plans to fight the allegations in court.
Mayfield, 42, of Catawba, turned himself in at the Catawba County Detention Center on Tuesday afternoon after being indicted on possession of stolen goods and obstruction of justice charges a day before.
He was released after posting a $25,000 unsecured bond and was given a first appearance court date for Friday, according to a Catawba County arrest report.
Diana Bumgarner Winters, 65, of Maiden, died Monday, Feb. 13, 2012. Drum Funeral Home in Conover is handling arrangements.