Unemployment went down in the Tar Heel State in December. North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, decreasing 0.4 of a percentage point from November’s revised rate of 5.9 percent. After the monthly revision, November’s preliminary rate of 5.8 percent increased to 5.9 percent. The national rate is at 5.6 percent. North Carolina’s December 2014 unemployment rate was 1.4 percentage points lower than a year ago.
The name of the victim of a Lenoir house fire has been released. 53-year-old Bobby Neal Martin Jr. was killed in the blaze, his wife was able to escape. Firefighters from the Lenoir Fire Department responded to the home at 1004 Grove Avenue at 11:07 p.m. Monday.. Officials remained at the scene overnight. Firefighters were able to pull Martin out of the home, but he died as a result of the fire. His wife, Rebecca Diane Martin, did survive the blaze. Several departments responded to the scene. Fire chief Ken Briscoe told WHKY’s Fentress Chestnut in addition to the one fatality, a firefighter was also injured in the rescue effort. Those injuries, which were reported to be minor, occurred when the firefighter slipped on a ladder. The preliminary findings of the ongoing investigation show the fire started near a wood stove located within the home.
23-year-old Wesley Nathaniel Pope and 21-year-old Ashleigh Taylor Coone have both been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on charges of breaking & entering, larceny after breaking & entering and breaking & entering a motor vehicle. 24-year-old Ashley Michael Pope is currently wanted on the same charges. All three suspects are from Buffalo Shoals Road in Statesville.
On Monday (January 12), Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Division began an investigation into a B&E that occurred in Troutman’s East Mombo Road area. Reports state that multiple suspects entered a building and stole several items. Detectives learned through interviews and the evidence found in the course of the investigation that Ashley Pope, Wesley Pope and Ashleigh Coone were involved in the incident.
Warrants for B&E and larceny after breaking & entering were issued. As the investigation continued, Detectives learned of another case in which similarities in the location and time pointed to the same three suspects.
Detectives reviewed all open investigations to see if evidence could be found that linked the suspects to additional crimes. More witnesses were interviewed and evidence was found, linking the Popes to a B&E on Lewis Ferry Road. In addition, evidence was found that connected the suspects to vehicle break-ins in the area.
Initially, Officers were unable to locate the suspects, who were believed to be evading arrest. Wesley Pope and Coone were later found by Deputies during a traffic stop and taken into custody. They were placed in the Iredell County Detention Center where Wesley Pope was given a $75,000 secured bond and Ashleigh Coone’s bond was set at $33,000, secured. They are both due in an Iredell County courtroom on February 9.
Ashley Pope remains at large. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts should call the Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Office at 704-878-3180 or call Iredell County Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340.
The City of Hickory Fire Department has issued a news release letting the public know that they are not soliciting funds on behalf of the city’s fire department. According to the news release, the city has received several complaints regarding a telephone fund-raiser in the name of the city’s fire department. A local firefighters union is conducting a telephone survey, but it has nothing to do with the City of Hickory Fire Department.
The only fundraiser the Hickory Fire Department participates in each year is the Christmas Bikes for Tykes programthrough the Catawba County Christmas Bureau. Over the past few weeks, the city has received questions regarding telephone and letter campaign fundraisers in the name of the city’s fire department. Local and state fire organizations raise money for fire associations, but no funds from these campaigns will go to the City of Hickory or the fire budget.
Citizens can call the Hickory Fire Department at 323-7420 to check the validity of any solicitation related to the fire department. “Any time one considers giving any solicited donations, you should be sure where the funds are going,” said Hickory Chief Fred Hollar. “Don’t take the word of a telemarketer; research the agency before you give.”
Suspects in a Morganton home invasion are being sought by authorities. According to a news release from the Morganton Department of Public Safety, on Sunday (January 25) at approximately 9:34 p.m., Officers responded to 119 Edgewood Avenue Apt. A in reference to a home invasion. Police say the two offenders knocked on the apartment door and as the occupant opened the door, the armed offenders pushed their way into the apartment. Nobody was hurt during the encounter but numerous items were taken. The offenders fled the scene prior to the Officers arrival. Public Safety says in the news release that this was not a random criminal act and the victim is associated with the offenders. The incident is pending further investigation.
25-year-old Wesley Clayton Rhom was arrested Monday (January 26) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with felony non forced breaking and entering. Following the arrest, Rhom was jailed under $271,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Tuesday, January 27).
Manufacturing Solutions Center in Conover is a finalist in the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) "North Carolina Spaces for Innovation Challenge." The challenge showcases the best example among North Carolina’s most promising innovation spaces. Manufacturing Solutions Center was created at Catawba Valley Community College in the 1990s.
In 1990, executives from family-owned hosiery manufacturing companies in the Western Piedmont area of North Carolina determined that a technology center was needed to support existing businesses that were facing a need for skilled labor. Manufacturing equipment was transitioning from mechanical to electronic with use of computers. Marketing challenges were growing as retail consolidation required companies to compress lead time from orders to shipments. The hosiery industry supply chain also faced similar demands. As a result, the Hosiery Technology Center was created at CVCC. The center was funded by the North Carolina General Assembly and industry contributions as an independent entity.
According to a news release from IEI, survival of the hosiery manufacturing industry in North Carolina can be attributed to creative spirit and dedication of the leadership at the Manufacturing Solutions Center. The world-class product testing center developed in the late 1990s has functioned as a conduit between small and medium-sized mills and national retailers. As the economies in Asian and other off-shore manufacturing hubs cope with rising labor costs, there is a movement to re-establish U.S. production capabilities. The Manufacturing Solutions Center has been in the forefront to encourage and support business start ups in North Carolina communities where entrepreneurism has been ingrained in the culture. Also the center’s 22-years reputation has resulted in business for North Carolina manufacturers through entrepreneurs throughout the nation. The center’s support has created markets for apparel, hosiery,and furniture producers.
IEI will feature the winning space for innovation prominently at the 30th Annual Emerging Issues Forum, “Innovation Reconstructed,” scheduled for February 9-10, 2015, at the Raleigh Convention Center. Voting closes on January 30.
44-year-old Joseph Lemuel Mckinley of Rockland Circle SW in Concord was arrested Tuesday (January 26) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with breaking and or entering and felony larceny. Following the arrest, Mckinley was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $10,000 bond. A court appearance is scheduled for Friday (January 30).
46-year-old Berry Allen Osborne of Section House Road in Hickory was arrested Monday (January 26) by Conover Police Officers. He’s charged with obtaining property by false pretense, two counts of assault on a government official, and resisting a public officer. Following the arrest, Osborne was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $12,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday (January 28).
37-year-old Phillip James Rucker of Asbury Chapel Road in Huntersville was arrested Friday (January 23) by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with two felony counts of indecent liberties with a child According to a news release issued Monday (January 26) by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Rucker is accused of inappropriately touching a 14 year old female juvenile. The incidents allegedly occurred on January 11 of this year at the victim’s residence on Rufus Road in Denver. The suspect is related to the victim. Rucker was taken before a Lincoln County magistrate and placed in the Lincoln County Detention Center under an $80,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first court appearance yesterday.