October 13th, 2011
Running is a punishing aspect of most sports.
Cross-country is a sport that's all about running.
On Wednesday, nearly 1,200 of western North Carolina's high school runners experienced that punishment in Newton during the 19th annual United Way Unifour Cross Country Invitational.
The runners came from everywhere â€“ Asheville, Boone and even area schools in Catawba County.
The meet, held at Southside Park off U.S. 321 Business, was more like a fitness party with races in the middle.
President Barack Obama may travel through the Hickory area Monday as part of a three-bus tour of North Carolina and Virginia, according to reports by the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.
The plan is for Obama to fly into Asheville and make bus-tour stops in Hickory and North Wilkesboro, according to the Citizen-Times. A White House spokesman said the president's stops have yet to be confirmed.
Obama's schedule for the bus tour will be confirmed later this week, the spokesman indicated.
After attempts to solve sewage leaks throughout the past decade proved unsuccessful, Newton officials hope their newest wastewater project pumps out the problem.
Work began on the Burris Road Pump Station in Newton this week. City officials say the construction should reduce raw sewage spills that have cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance and fines since 2004.
Since 2006, more than 160,000 gallons of untreated wastewater has spilled from Newton sewer lines, and more than 140,000 gallons of raw sewage made its way to the area's freshwater streams.
The 19th annual United Way Unifour Cross Country Invitational takes place today at Southside Park in Newton.
Thirty-seven high schools and 1,189 runners will participate in the event, which is scheduled to have six races between approximately 3:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.
â€śThis is really unique in that it is a high school athletic event,â€ť said organizer John Hall. â€śItâ€™s certainly one of the largest events in this area. Weâ€™ve got some of the best 3A and 4A teams in the state coming. We also have some really great 2A teams. There will be some really good competition.â€ť
Bethany Bivens thought sheâ€™d enjoy her day out of school on Tuesday by going to a job interview.
Bivens, a senior at Challenger Early College High School in Hickory, has been on fall break this week, but she didnâ€™t mind the trip to Catawba Valley Community College on Tuesday for a mock interview with a social service professional.
â€śIâ€™m not used to talking about myself that much, but I enjoyed it and thought it was really interesting,â€ť Bivens said. â€śIt was fun.â€ť
Early voting for the 2011 Catawba County municipal elections starts next week.
Registered voters can fill out ballots at the Newton library beginning Oct. 20, as well as the Highland Recreation Center beginning Oct. 24.
Unregistered voters can fill out a registration form at the one-stop voting sites. They must show a valid ID as well, said Marvin Bentley, Catawba County elections specialist.
Voting for every municipality can be completed at the sites, Bentley said.
Several races look to be contentious this year.
Members of the St. Stephens High School football team lost hair and gained unity last week in honoring a family member of one of their teammates.
The father of tight end Zach Bumgarner is undergoing treatments for cancer. In light of the battle, half of the players on the squad decided to honor the man who has attended every one of their games this season despite the toll the disease has taken on him.
It all started with an early-week talk on Monday with Zach's dad, David Bumgarner, about his ongoing and previous battles.
County commissioners will target job growth throughout the next fiscal year â€“ a goal leaders said can only succeed with help from area groups.
In a special seven-hour meeting earlier this week, Catawba County commissioners met with area economic and municipal leaders to hammer out ideas and goals for the future.
North Carolina public school leaders are celebrating the classrooms that manage to keep kids going to the end of their high school careers.
Schools and districts with the highest graduation rates were honored in Durham on Tuesday at a recognition lunch. The event honors the 23 schools around the state that graduated every student last year. Also getting special recognition are the schools with the highest graduation rates for their size.
Catawba County children are finally getting answers to the age-old question of "why" they must learn certain concepts in school.
Newton-Conover City Schools leaders say they hope those answers help children prepare to compete for higher-education and job opportunities around the world.
School curriculums are changing across North Carolina as the state implements a new "common core of standards," a structure for lessons that often focus on the retention of eight to 10 main concepts or skills in a subject.