October 21st, 2011
If youâ€™ve ever wondered if your boss or buddy swings to the political right or left, just look online.
Personal information for all 99,847 registered voters in Catawba County is on the Internet.
The information spreads much further than political party and precinct, too. Votersâ€™ home addresses, ages and even home telephone numbers can be found on a Catawba County datasheet.
Catawba County Board of Elections officials say the information is public and is simply an online version of a list residents have always been able to request.
Carl Jenkins says an increasing number of families hold unique services to celebrate the lives of loved ones lost.
He says an upgrade under way at Jenkins Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Newton will help the business improve those services.
The funeral home broke ground this week on a new outdoor pavilion. The structure â€” 61 feet by 30 feet â€”will include a picnic-style shelter with ceiling fans, outdoor lighting and plumbing for restrooms.
Families will be able to share meals at the grave site of their loved ones after funerals.
A shooting at a Maiden fire station could have been much worse.
Suspects fired two shots into Maiden Fire Departmentâ€™s station on Startown Road in the past 24-48 hours.
No one was injured in the shooting, but the rounds damaged the stationâ€™s glass bay doors and hit one fire engine.
Police and fire officials believe suspects fired the rounds from the roadside on Startown Road within the last day or two.
Maiden Fire Chief Danny Hipps said one firefighter was at the station as late as 1:30 a.m. Friday, and police are still investigating the shooting.
On the first day of early voting in Catawba County, about 54 residents cast their votes for municipal elections. Election officials say the turnout is fairly normal for a municipal election.
By noon on Thursday, 33 residents had visited the Newton Main Library to vote for mayoral, council and school board elections throughout the county.
One-stop early voting continues at Newton Main Library today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and begins at the Highland Recreation Center at 8 a.m. on Monday. Election Day is Nov. 8.
Kenneth Ronald Danner, 58, of Newton, died unexpectedly Oct. 19, 2011. The Danner family has entrusted the funeral arrangements to Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home & Crematory in Newton.
Graham Frank Clifford of Denver (formerly Stanley), died Friday Oct. 14, 2011. Frank was 89 and died at the Sherrills Ford Hospice House after a 20-year fight with prostate cancer. Carothers Funeral Home in Stanley is serving the Clifford family.
On Feb. 14, Michael Joseph Anderson called 9-1-1 to say he had brutally killed a man.
Anderson said he overdosed on pills and shot his roommate, Stephen Starr, three times before mutilating his body with an axe.
â€śI did some things to the body that you donâ€™t want them to see,â€ť he said during the phone call.
Tammy Saunders, a Catawba County 9-1-1 telecommunicator, was on the other end of the call throughout Anderson's disturbing confession.
Fred T. Foard finished strong in its regular season finale against Hickory, beating the Lady Red Tornadoes on their Senior Night, 25-19, 25-16, 25-17.
The Lady Tigersâ€™ win is the second of the season against a Hickory squad it hadnâ€™t beaten in three years.
â€śIt feels good that it was a win against Hickory,â€ť said Foard coach Alison Yount. â€śThatâ€™s always a big deal. They are tough. They have gotten better. Theyâ€™ve improved a lot during the course of the season. I think they gave us a really good match tonight.â€ť
Velma Caldwell Lail, 90, of Sherrills Ford, died Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, at Valley Nursing Center in Taylorsville. The Lail family has entrusted funeral arrangements to Drum Funeral Home & Cremation in Conover.
Johnny A. Collins, 60, of Taylorsville, died Oct. 19, 2011 at Palliative CareCenter & Hospice of Catawba Valley. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at Drum Funeral Home in Hickory.
Donna Heavner says she realized in kindergarten that she wanted to be a teacher when she helped a struggling peer learn how to read.
Heavner also says she was at risk of dropping out of school when she was a teenager because she felt lost in the crowd.
Now, Heavner helps about 600 children find their way every day. The River Bend Middle School principal was recognized by her peers this month as Catawba County Schools' principal of the year.
"It's been magical," Heavner said Wednesday. "I have the best group of people. Amazing teachers. Amazing kids. I've been blessed."
A tip from a concerned citizen helped police catch thieves in the act Monday night in Newton.
Newton Police responded to Hickory House Furniture at about 9:45 p.m. Monday after a caller reported a suspicious person being dropped off at the business.
When officers arrived, they observed lights and noises coming from inside the business.
After officers established a perimeter around the building and called for back-up, two men ran from the back of the building. A Newton police officer caught and arrested Sean Christopher Blankenship, 41, of Hickory, but the second man escaped.