October 4th, 2011
It was a Monday night in Hickory, and the only thing separating me and a penguin was a camera.
Down on all fours and leaning on my elbows, I stuck the lens inches from the birdâ€™s beak.
â€śI hope youâ€™re getting some good pictures,â€ť Jack Hanna said into a microphone that echoed to more than 2,000 people inside Lenoir-Rhyne Universityâ€™s Shuford Gymnasium. â€śI have to go half-way around the world to get pictures that close.â€ť
People brushed shoulders as laughter filled the gym.
Hanna, a world-renowned zookeeper and animal expert, was making fun of me.
A behavioral health organization will serve nearly 1 million people in eight counties when three groups complete a planned merger.
Catawba County commissioners approved an intent-to-merge agreement on Monday that allows Mental Health Partners (MHP) to join with two regional service providers. The merger between the behavioral healthcare groups will create a Managed Care Organization that will serve eight counties.
Claremontâ€™s newest business is getting some help from the city and producing jobs in return.
Claremont officials approved an economic development agreement on Monday between the city and the recently opened Claremont Hardware and Farm Supply.
The agreement calls for the business to create and retain at least 10 jobs and build improvements to the facility at 4860 S. Depot St. in Claremont. In return, the hardware store will get tax deferment incentives over five years and a streetscape enhancement grant.
City Manager Donald Duncan says Conover officials don't seek awards for work to improve the town.
Two statewide awards this month will spotlight Conover's green-development efforts anyways.
The city learned Monday it will receive one of two Susan Burgess Awards from the N.C. League of Municipalities (NCLM) for green initiatives at its Conover Station development and other projects.
Almost 550 employees working in Getrag Corp.'s Maiden axle manufacturing facility are no longer working for the German-based company.
Instead, when they arrived at work Monday, they walked into buildings operating under the new name GKN Driveline, a 252-year-old British industrial company.
Approved in July, a $440 million acquisition of Getrag, including two North America locations, makes GKN Driveline a world leading producer of automotive components used in all-wheel drive vehicles and eDrive systems.
Diane Urtel says her father Charlie Bunn always cleaned his plate at dinner.
Bunn learned to be on time for meals while growing up on a tobacco farm in Eastern North Carolina, Urtel said, because there might not have been any food left if he was late.
â€śThat could have been part of why he had the passion of feeding the hungry,â€ť Urtel said of her father. â€śYou were never late for a meal on the farm.â€ť
A juvenile joy ride ended in destruction Saturday night in Newton.
A truck packed with five juveniles crashed into the left side of a Newton womanâ€™s home. The accident left two of the passengers injured and a gaping hole in the residence. The juveniles' names were not released because of their ages.
Newton police say a patrolling officer spotted a 2007 Toyota truck pulling out of a shopping center on 20th Street at about 8:52 p.m. Saturday. After the truck full of minors noticed the police cruiser, authorities say the vehicle took off rapidly down 20th street.
It was a short drive to the Catawba County Jail for two thieves.
Authorities arrested two Hickory men on Monday who tried to steal car parts from vehicles parked outside the sheriffâ€™s office in Newton.
The two thieves cut a catalytic converter from a 1977 Chevrolet Silverado parked just outside the Catawba County Sheriffâ€™s Office on Monday morning and were getting ready to leave, said Sheriff Coy Reid.
Claremont police are looking for suspects who led an officer on a chase that ended in a wreck early Monday morning.
Police found personal information where a deserted truck involved in the chase crashed in Conover. Officers believe Adrian Johnson and Lashanda Ikard were involved in the incident.
Claremont officer D. Allen was on patrol at about 3:30 a.m. Monday when he noticed a truck in the parking lot of the RockTenn business at 2690 Kelly Boulevard in Claremont.
Police arrested a Lake Toxaway man near Newton on Saturday for selling marijuana out of a bag of dog food in his car.
Conover police stopped Dylan Forest Hampton, 25, of 98 Flat Ridge Road in Lake Toxaway, on Saturday on charges of reckless and careless driving.
After a search of Hamptonâ€™s 2001 Dodge Ram Van, Newton authorities found 232.1 grams of marijuana inside a bag of dog food in the vehicle, said Newton Police Maj. Kevin Yarborough.
â€śHe was carrying dope for sale and delivery out of his car,â€ť Yarborough said.