The O-N-E Morning Read: Nov. 23

We’re a day away from Thanksgiving, and The Observer News Enterprise’s Wednesday print edition is jam-packed.

Subscribers and readers who pick up a copy of Wednesday’s feature edition will find OUTLOOK, The O-N-E’s holiday gift guide, United Arts Council of Catawba County’s quarterly calendar and hundreds of great gift ideas detailed in dozens of advertisements and inserts from area retailers. Pick up The O-N-E to learn where all the Black Friday deals are waiting.

News featured in Wednesday’s edition of The O-N-E and includes an update on plans for N.C. 16 south of Newton. NCDOT received more than a 100 public comments about the four-lane highway, and the state has modified its construction plan — but not much. Find out more in The O-N-E.

There’s good news in the air, too. The air quality in the Greater Hickory Metro is better - at least by Environmental Protection Agency standards. That is good news for economic development efforts, according to the county’s top job hunter.

In other reports from The O-N-E and

• When Newton Mayor-Elect Anne Stedman leaves her Newton City Council seat, who will fill her place? So far, mum’s the word from the city’s leaders.

• Catawba County is preparing for a “booming” population in the region.

• PRINT EXCLUSIVE: A first-grader at Balls Creek won the 2011 MIss N.C. Miniature Majestic Queen - see her picture in The O-N-E. Jacobs Fork Middle School earned an award for creativity, while the Catawba County library system wants to spur a little creativity - WITH DUCT TAPE!

• Newton marks the expansion of Carniceria Mexicana in Plaza Latina.

• SPORTS: Wrestling season is here, and grapplers in the county are already hard at work. Find out how Bandys, Foard, Maiden and St. Stephens are faring so far. Maiden’s search for a new football coach will continue into 2012. Foard softball player Ashley Oliver will join the Lenoir Rhyne Bears.

Get complete coverage of these stories, comics, the kids page, classifieds, obituaries and hundreds of Christmas gift ideas inside the Wednesday print edition of The O-N-E.

Visit throughout the day for news updates.