May 18th, 2011
U.S. Postal Service officials say a financial crisis is prompting a study concerning consolidation of Hickory's mail processing center into a similar operation in Greensboro.
"We are facing an acute financial crisis," USPS Greensboro District Manager Russ Gardner said, adding increases in electronic communication, a decline in first-class mail volume and an economic recession are impacting the postal service's bottom line. "We continue to deliver to more than 1 million residences every year, but we have less mail. We have got to do it smarter, faster and more efficiently."
Conover City Council approved its $13 million budget immediately following a public hearing Tuesday.
After more than 11 hours of Conover city staff and City Council meeting and discussing budget cuts and fee increases, City Manager Donald Duncan Jr. said it was "not an easy budget."
"It's a difficult time, and there is an increase in expenses that we can't control," Duncan said.
Even though Conover decided not to increase property taxes for its residents, City Council approved a rate hike for water, sewer and landfill fees, as well as fire inspection costs.
Tuesday was Media Day for the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn presented by Kia Motors.
In attendance was last yearâ€™s tournament champion, Gary Hallberg, who spoke to those in attendance.
â€śIt is very humbling to be here,â€ť Hallberg said. â€śIt is so significant when I sit here. I donâ€™t win a lot of tournaments. This is all new to me.â€ť
Hallberg overcame a five-stroke lead and shot an 11-under-par 61 to capture last yearâ€™s GHC title.
His final-round of 61 is record for a lowest final-round score in Champions Tour history.
Catawba County plans to cut 29 positions in the coming fiscal year to match the area's continued decrease in overall revenue and operating funds.
All, but one, of the positions are currently vacant.
County Manager J. Thomas Lundy said during the past four years, county reductions have totaled $10.5 million, impacting more than 100 jobs.
Building services, and especially building inspectors, will bear the brunt of the cuts and will see 10 unfilled positions cut for fiscal year 2011-12.
The district attorney's office declared Monday that it will seek the death penalty against a Claremont man accused of murdering three people and severely injuring another earlier this year.
Everette Hewitt, 32, was arrested March 16 and is charged with three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder and one count of felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.
Authorities charged three teens in relation to a breaking and entering and larceny that occurred in Conover Monday.
The Observer News Enterprise first reported Tuesday that three suspects were arrested Monday after being seen breaking into a home near Kelly Court in Conover.
Chad Michael Timothy Robinson, 19, of Hickory; Destiny Julia-Ann Minton, 18, of Claremont; and Samuel John Hull, 17, of Claremont were each charged with breaking and entering and larceny.
Local authorities are telling citizens to be cautious after three more catalytic converters were stolen in the area last week.
There have been at least six catalytic converter larcenies since the thieves first struck May 11.
Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said Tuesday that it is easy to deter possible larcenies.
"You can try to leave your car in a garage or lighted area," Reid said.
Reid said it takes less than 30 seconds for an experienced thief to successfully cut and remove a catalytic converter.
Carol Bennett Lail, 86, of Hickory, passed away unexpectedly Sunday, May 15, 2011, at her residence. The Lail family has entrusted funeral arrangements to Drum Funeral Home, Hickory.
Breakout graphic: What it means: The proposed 6.3 percent electric rate increase means the "average" residential customer who uses 1,035 kWh per month would see a monthly increase of $6.93 to a $116.90. Annually that increase amounts to $83.16.
Newton's proposed budget won't increase property taxes, sanitation costs or water and sewer fees, but city power customers can expect a 6.3 percent electric rate hike.
Fees and charges in the city's fire, police and recreation departments will also increase.
Outside of a green workshop on N.C. 10, there's a pleasant, light fragrance that fills the air. The sweet aroma isn't spring flowers in bloom, but the smell of soap being made.
Jim and Dorothy Samson, both 65 and of Newton, started O My Soap in a garage sitting beside their home. Now, the garage is full of essential oils, fragrances, various butters for mixing and numerous designer fabrics used for the company's products.