CHARLOTTE â€” A quick glimpse at the numbers suggests the Panthers should focus on upgrading their defense next offseason.
But that's not necessarily the team's thinking as it begins to look ahead to 2012.
Although the Panthers rank 23rd in the NFL in total defense this year â€” as opposed to fifth on offense â€” general manager Marty Hurney and coach Ron Rivera feel the defense is much improved over the last month.
The Panthers (5-9) have held three of their last four opponents to fewer than 20 points entering Sunday's game against Tampa Bay (4-10).
An annual tradition, The O-N-E gathered Santa letters written by Catawba County children and compiled them, days before Christmas.
Enjoy the letters below, and pick up the Thursday print edition of The Observer News Enterprise for a special section that samples the letters and holiday artwork by Catawba County children.
I have been a good girl this year. This is what I want for Christmas. An I Pad cover, I pad case, A bunny, A bunny Cage, and an outfit from Justice.
I have been a good girl All Year!
This photo of a Chevrolet Corvette outside Cynthia Travis' Newton home is The O-N-E news photo of the week.
The car went airborne Monday afternoon on Laffon Road in Newton, and its driver and passenger were transported to the hospital.
The car hit Travis' house, breaking several steel columns that held up the front porch.
Visit observernewsonline.com each Wednesday for The O-N-E photo of the week, and visit the site throughout the week for breaking news, complete coverage of Catawba County prep sports and more.
Lela Virginia Rumfelt Sisk, 84, of Lincolnton, died Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011 at Cardinal Care of Lincolnton. E. F. Drum Funeral Home is serving the Sisk family.
Among the many features of Newton-Conover City Schools' new middle school, system leaders say aesthetics and accessibility make the building better than the rest.
Construction of the new school, slated to open next fall, is about a month behind schedule, school officials estimated Tuesday. Allen Kirby â€” construction coordinator for Newton-Conover City Schools (NCCS), Hickory Public Schools and Catawba Valley Community College â€” said a wet winter could further delay progress as crews work to complete sidewalks, stairs and other features outside the school building.
Catawba Countyâ€™s teen pregnancy rate dropped to an all-time low in 2010, according to data released recently.
The total number of pregnancies among Catawba County girls ages 15-19 dropped from 297 in 2009 to 245 in 2010, resulting in a 12-percent decline. The decrease is the single largest year-to-year drop in county history.
North Carolinaâ€™s teen pregnancy rates are also at an all-time low. Rates dropped 11 percent statewide from 2009 to 2010, according to new data released last week.
The areaâ€™s newest manufacturer will get a financial lift from the county next year.
Catawba County Commissioners approved an incentive agreement Monday for Punker LLC, a German-based manufacturer that plans to bring up to 80 new jobs to the area.
Earlier this month, the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) announced that Punker plans to open a new manufacturing plant in Hickory. Punker produces fan parts for the HVAC and exhaust industries.
The expansion will bring at least 62 jobs to the area, with the potential to create 80 new jobs.
Two children were injured in a single-vehicle wreck in Sherrills Ford on Tuesday afternoon, including one who was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center with serious injuries.
N.C. Highway Patrol troopers on the scene said an adult driver was traveling on N.C. 150 East when his pickup truck careened through an intersection near the N.C. 16 bypass and traveled up a steep hill.
The truck came to rest on top of a hill adjacent to the new N.C. 16 bypass interchange in Sherrills Ford.
With the holidays looming, tragedy is on the roadways of the Catawba Valley.
A Maiden woman was killed in a Sunday afternoon crash that involved a drunk driver, and two men were hospitalized after their speeding Corvette hit a Newton home and flipped.
Complete details on both these stories are inside the Tuesday print edition of The Observer News Enterprise and online at www.observernewsonline.com.
For the second time this season, the Newton-Conover and St. Stephens wrestling teams tangled on the mat.
The first time, the Red Devils earned a victory against host St. Stephens during the Indian Classic a few weeks ago. The result Monday wasn't any different.
Newton-Conover (16-0) won 11-of-14 individual matches, including six pins and three by technical fall on its way to a 57-14 victory in Newton.