October 21st, 2011
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.
Newton-Conover City Schools Board of Education candidates say securing funding and improving student achievement are major issues facing the system heading into 2012.
Four candidates are vying for three seats on the school board. Jim Stockner faces no opposition for the open Newton seat, while current board member Mark Murphy and Chairman Scott Loudermelt face challenger Jeanne Jarrett in the race for two open Conover seats.
A new state law limits municipalitiesâ€™ authority on the placement of political signs.
North Carolina lawmakers passed Senate Bill 315 in August. The bill allows residents to place political signs in the right-of-ways of state-maintained roads. Itâ€™s a change that trumps many municipal ordinances that previously ruled against right-of-way signs along state highways and streets.
The law does not prohibit any signs on controlled access highways, such as Interstate 40 and Interstate 77.
Thriving in pain in the third set against Bandys, Newton-Conover senior volleyball player Isabella Zaliagiris fought through an injury.
The senior drove down 27 kills in Mondayâ€™s CVAC volleyball final, leading the Lady Red Devils to a 3-1 victory over the Lady Trojans in the rubber match between the two schools.
â€śI got a cramp,â€ť Zaliagiris said. â€śMy head was still in the game and my heart was still in the game. I just wanted to get my cramp cleared up so I could get back on the floor as soon as possible. I wanted nothing more than to beat Bandys.â€ť