The O-N-E morning read: Thursday, Dec. 22

Christmas spirit is alive in the Catawba Valley, with the holiday just three days away.

Inside The O-N-E and at today:
* Hundreds of Catawba County children sent their letters to Santa, and The O-N-E shares many of them with you today. Among the most popular requests this year are video game systems, iPods, iPads, skateboards and dolls. Find a sampling of Santa letters today in “Dear Santa: What I Want For Christmas” inside The O-N-E and Outlook, and visit the local news tab at for a comprehensive wish list from county children.

* A Peoples Bank branch in Newton went all out for Christmas — decorating with holiday miniatures, a lifesize Santa Claus and a variety of lights. The business invites visitors to check out the decorations.

* The O-N-E announced the grand prize winners of its annual shop-local Hometown Christmas contest. More than 70 local businesses participated in the campaign to get Catawba County shoppers to spend their money in the Hickory Metro. Residents of Conover, Claremont and the Propst Crossroads community won big as the contest wrapped up.

Also today:
* Catawba County will provide more than $30 million total to its three school districts for new elementary schools in the next four years.

* Outlook is full of upcoming events, opinion columns, award winners and more.

* Newton-Conover High School will host the Red Devil Duals wrestling tournament Friday. Read more in sports.

*Bunker Hill High School hosts a junior varsity basketball tournament, “Hoopin’ at the Hill,” today and Friday. Read more in sports.

Print exclusives inside The O-N-E
* Girls from Concordia Day School in Conover recently delivered cheer to members of the Conover Police Department.

* Residents are working to form a support network for their neighbors in the Newton and Conover communities.

All that, comics, classified listings, a weather forecast, obituaries and more, today inside The O-N-E and Outlook. And remember to visit throughout the day, every day for the latest news and events information in Catawba County.