January 7th, 2011
Law enforcement officials work every day to protect Catawba County's streets, solve crimes and arrest criminals who endangered county residents.
But every day, crimes go unsolved. Evidence goes cold. Tips stop trickling in. No one is arrested.
In 2010, many crimes went unsolved in the county, and law enforcement officials say they're making progress to put these crimes in the "solved" folder.
Ronald Padgett murder
Catawba County Schools is one of five state schools systems to receive an education grant valued at more than half a million dollars.
CCS received $261,037 for the 2010-11 fiscal year to promote science education in the classroom, and there are opportunities for that grant funding to continue during the next two years.
A homeowner took matters into his own hands Thursday after a trespasser entered the man's residence.
Donald Banner, 68, of Maiden, was at his house on Anderson Mountain Road about 10 a.m. when he saw a suspicious person walking across the street.
Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said Banner retrieved his pistol from inside the home and then returned to his front window to see if the man was still outside.
The winning ways for the St. Stephens wrestling team and coach Billy Baker continue.
Baker, who won his 350th duals match at St. Stephens last week, has been at the school for 11 years. He has coached wrestling for 16 years, including a five-year stint at Lincolnton.
Three hundred seventeen of the 350 victories during Baker's career came at the helm of the Indians' program.
2010 was a tough year for Catawba County's municipalities, and the city of Newton was no exception.
"This was a very difficult year," said Newton Mayor Robert Mullinax, adding the budget process for the city was "as tough a budget process as I've ever seen."
Despite budgeting difficulties, the city came through 2010 without a tax increase and continuing to provide high-quality services for its residents.
"There's a lot that we accomplished," said Newton City Manager Todd Clark. "And that's in addition to running the city."
Conover Police arrested two men Wednesday for allegedly running a counterfeiting operation at a city residence.
The investigation started when employees from the Conover Wal-Mart called Conover Police to report a customer shoplifting from the store.
Authorities arrived at the scene and interrogated Arthur Joseph Carr, 23, of Beckley, W.Va., and Emmitt Seven Loges, 23, of Conover.
Last year, residents in Catawba County could ring in 2010 at a bar, with a drink and a cigarette in hand.
This year, however, 2011 dawned in smoke-free restaurants and bars throughout Catawba County and North Carolina.
The state law banning smoking in bars and restaurants turned a year old this month, but debates about the law haven't gone cold in the 12 months since it was passed.
"I think you should be able to smoke in bars and restaurants," said 20-year-old Dakota Bryant, of Conover.
Harold Nelson Jones, 52, of Connelly Springs, died Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. The Jones family has entrusted arrangements to Drum Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Hickory.
Ella Goodson Abernethy, 96, of Lincolnton, died Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, at her home surrounded by her family. Services will be held Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, at 3 p.m. at Macedonia Baptist Church.
RALEIGH â€” A relative of Zahra Baker's stepmother said Wednesday that the jailed woman told her the 10-year-old girl died of an illness and that her parents "went wild," dismembering and hiding her remains.
Boncetta "Buzzie" Winkler, 76, told The Associated Press that she met this week with her niece, Elisa Baker, and talked about what happened to the freckle-faced Australian girl whose disappearance and death have riveted communities in North Carolina and her native country.
At the first gathering of all area swim teams, Hickory swept the board.
The Tornadoes won the boys and girls team awards and the combined team award.
"This is the first meet we had with the whole county since I've been coaching," said Hickory head coach Cathy Hitchcock. "We swim them at dual meets, but not everyone together. So it was kind of a neat thing to see all levels together."
It was an emotional night for the Maiden swim team. They were competing for the first time without teammate Kelsey Ann Hunt, who passed away on Christmas day.