A home was destroyed by fire this morning in Caldwell County. The mobile home on Draco Road east of Lenoir was completely leveled by the blaze. Firefighters were called out at approximately 2:30 this morning. No injuries have been reported. A man, woman, and dog were in the home and were reportedly awakened by smoke alarms and got out safely. The cause of the fire is under investigation, it is believed it started in the area of a wood-burning furnace. WHKY’s Fentress Chestnut is at the scene gathering more information.
37-year-old Julianna Ortiz Mills of M & M Farms Drive in Mooresville was arrested by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers last week and charged with sexual activity with a student by a teacher and felony taking indecent liberties with a student by a teacher. Sherriff Darren Campbell stated on January 21 while Deputy C. Kerley was on patrol in the area of Moose Club Road in Troutman, he observed a suspicious vehicle parked at the dead end road of an undeveloped residential area. The deputy observed a female standing outside of the vehicle and a male sitting in the vehicle. Through his investigation, Deputy Kerley discovered that the female, Julianna Ortiz Mills, was a teacher at South Iredell High school and the male was a student at the same school.
The case was assigned to Detective Sergeant C M Benfield of the Special Victims Unit. The student was later interviewed at the Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center. As a result of the investigation, Detective Benfield arrested and charged Mills. The crimes occurred at locations in Iredell County; however, no crimes occurred on school property. The student in this incident is over the age of 16; however, North Carolina law makes it a felony for teachers and other school personnel to have a sexual relationship with a student at the same school, no matter the age of the student. Mills was arrested on both charges and was placed in jail under a $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, January 26).
Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies assisted the U.S. Marshal's Office in apprehending a man wanted since 2003 in a Norfolk, Virginia murder. Adam District Deputy J. Lail and Sgt. J. Hutchinson and agents with the U. S. Marshal's Office went to the man's residence at 116 Lakewood Avenue in Lincolnton around 6:30 a.m. Friday (January 23) and took 38-year-old Shawn Terrell Greer into custody without incident. Greer was charged as a fugitive from justice and placed in the Lincoln County Detention Center without bond. He was wanted by Norfolk, Virginia Police in connection with a September 2003 incident where the victim was found inside a burning vehicle. Greer is charged in Virginia with murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and conspiracy to commit a felony. He will be held in the Lincoln County Detention Center until an extradition hearing can be held to return him to Virginia.
27-year-old Chassidy April Hinton of Rays Place in Lenoir was arrested Saturday (January 24) by Granite Falls Police Officers. She’s charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving while license revoked, and resisting a public officer. Following the arrest, Hinton was detained at the Caldwell County Detention Center under $50,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, January 26).
A man was killed in a weekend accident in Caldwell County. According to a news release from the Hudson Police Department, Saturday (January 24) at approximately 12:35 pm a 2001 Ford Focus being operated by 65-year-old Norman Luther Norris of Lenoir was leaving the campus of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. Norris was attempting to cross the southbound lanes of Hickory Boulevard when he reportedly pulled into the path of a 1998 Ford Windstar being operated by 28-year-old Kisha Lynn Lovins, also of Lenoir. Norris died as a result of injuries that he sustained in the crash. Lovins was transported to Caldwell Memorial Hospital where she was treated for her injuries. No further information was released.
45-year-old Tony Lamonte Fields of East 22nd Street in Newton was arrested Sunday (January 25) by Newton Police Officers. He’s charged with false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, communicating threats, and assault on a female. Following the arrest, Fields was incarcerated at the Catawba County Detention Facility without bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for March 2.
39-year-old Mica Nathaniel Falls of White Oak Court in Claremont was arrested Sunday (January 25) by Claremont Police Officers. He’s charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Falls is also charged on a warrant from last year with possession of meth. He was detained at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $35,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, January 26).
More than 50 people showed up to the Collett Street Recreation Center last Thursday night (January 22) to learn about plans for additions to the Catawba River Soccer Complex and give their input. The City of Morganton Parks and Recreation Department hopes to add two more regulation fields to the complex, additional parking, more greenway trail, a championship croquet course, and a 1.4 acre expansion to the dog park. The new fields could host regulation soccer, football, and rugby games,
The estimated cost of the project is $795,000, and the Parks and Recreation Department is applying for a North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant to help fund the improvements. If approved, the grant would pay $250,000 and require a local match of $250,000. The Morganton Parks and Recreation Foundation would pay $197,500, the City of Morganton would pay $197,500, and staff is seeking a private donation of $150,000 towards the project.
Parks and recreation Director Gary Leonhardt told the crowd that the project hinges on receiving the $250,000 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant, and raising the local funds. Morganton City Council voted to apply for the grant earlier this month. Leonhardt said during the meeting: "If we don't receive the grant, then the project likely won't be done, but I believe we can get the grant. There is a lot of demand for soccer right now, and growing interest in the community for rugby and lacrosse, which could be accommodate by these fields. When you combine that with the addition of the croquet course, dog park expansion, and greenway trails, this project meets a lot of needs, which is the kind of project the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund likes to fund."
Leonhardt said that demand for regulation fields is very high, and often time soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, rugby leagues are playing on softball and baseball fields that really aren't adequate, and it's difficult to give the current fields at the complex adequate time to rest between games.
There was a positive response and support for the project from the attendees and several people spoke of the positive economic impact the additional fields would have. Andrew Fleming with the Table Rock Rugby Club, Mark Miller and Rusty Hollifield Morganton with Bobcats Football, and David Fletcher, Assistant Athletic Director and soccer coach at Freedom High School, all said they supported the project and look forward to having more fields to use. The additional regulation fields would allow for larger soccer tournaments and possibly some semi-pro football tournaments.
The City will be notified about the grant this July. If the City receives the grant, then the project plans will be finalized and sent out to bid. Once the fields are constructed, they will need time for the turf to grow and stabilize. Leonhardt said that if the city does receive the grant, it would still be a couple years out before the fields would be ready for play.
The idea to build a soccer complex came from a comprehensive master plan developed in 1997. The first two fields of the Catawba River Soccer Complex were completed in 1999 with funding from PARTF. Two more fields were added in 2009, also funded in part by a PARTF grant. The complex has been used by the Burke Soccer Association, Burke County Public Schools, Western Piedmont Community College, Asian Soccer Leagues, Latin American Soccer Leagues, the Morganton Lacrosse Club, the Morganton Rugby Club, and the Bobcats Semi-pro Football Club. The soccer complex currently offers four, lighted regulation soccer/lacrosse fields, a dog park, concession stand, field house with office and first aid room, 80-person picnic shelter, multi-feature playground equipment, and greenway trail.
29-year-old Matthew Edward Mullins of 34th Street Drive in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police Friday (January 23). He’s charged with felony possession of a stolen firearm, misdemeanor carrying a concealed gun, felony possession of methamphetamine and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance.
He was arrested when an Officer on foot patrol at the Motel 6 on 13th Avenue Drive S.E. smelled marijuana coming from room 336. The Officer approached the room and identified its only occupant as Matthew Mullins. An initial search of the room turned up a baggie containing 11 Xanax pills.
When Mullins was searched, a Taurus TCP .38 caliber handgun and $1,360 in cash were found on his person. A search warrant was obtained, leading to the discovery of 0.9 grams of meth in the room.
Mullins was taken into custody without incident and detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $100,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (January 26) in Newton.
34-year-old Christina Nicole Stogner of Dysartsville Road in Morganton was arrested Friday (January 23) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. She’s charged with two counts apiece of forgery of an instrument, uttering a forged instrument, and obtaining property by false pretense. Following the arrest, Stogner was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $20,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (January 26).