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The following is the direct statement that WHKY-TV received yesterday afternoon from the Boone Chief of Police, Dana Crawford regarding the death of Anna Smith.


“We are all terribly saddened at this discovery. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Ms. Smith. I want to assure the Smith Family and the Boone community that we have begun and will continue to conduct a thorough investigation to find the answers that we all want to know. We have much to do in this case and must look at all possibilities; therefore, we cannot prematurely arrive at any conclusions. Obviously, in a death investigation there are many facts that would not be prudent to release. In fact, releasing sensitive information could hinder an investigation and potentially damage a criminal case if this case were to turn in that direction. I am greatly concerned about the state of anxiety that the citizens of Boone and the students and faculty find themselves in, and I want to address these concerns to the degree possible.

We intend to work this case as any death investigation. At this point we do not have direct information that there is foul play. In fact, there are factors to indicate that Ms. Smith was intent on harming herself. I know this is difficult for family and friends to hear, but these are facts. This is not the time that I would have preferred to release this information; however, it has been referenced that Ms. Smith had been experiencing some emotional difficulties in prior press releases from ASU and even from the family. It is important to note that a letter was found with the body of Anna Smith. To protect the integrity of the investigation we are not prepared to discuss the content of the letter that appears to have been authored by Ms. Smith. We intend to request a forensic analysis of the letter.

Today an autopsy is being conducted by a forensic pathologist and we fully expect that the preliminary findings will shed some light on what happened to Ms. Smith. Other aspects of the autopsy examination will take additional time to analyze. This investigation is in the beginning stages and we will be open and transparent, but please understand that we cannot release information that will jeopardize the case.   

Based upon reports that we have heard from community members and media sources, it is obvious to me and my staff that many, if not most, people in the community are under the impression that this case is a homicide. We do not have any information leading us in that direction. The reason that I am reluctantly releasing this information is because I do not want to give the impression that we are not investigating all possibilities- we are. We will pursue the facts, wherever they may lead, to determine what happened to Anna Smith.

We are not investigating this case alone. We will be working with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, and the ASU Police Department. In addition, we will be consulting the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We will all work together to determine how this happened. We continue to receive information and encourage any citizen with information to contact the Boone Police Department.”

The 911 call can be found on the Boone Police website townofboone.net.

The front parking lot of Morganton City Hall will be closed for three weeks starting tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, while contractors repaint the water tank located in front of the main entrance to City Hall.

The paint on the water tank at City Hall has been peeling off for some time. After evaluating options and receiving quotes for painting, the Morganton City Council gave the go ahead in August to repaint the tank. The tank does not contain any water and is not part of the City's water system, but it is considered a landmark in the City. The tank will be cleaned and painted, and the Morganton Trading Company logo will be painted on two sides.

Utility Service Company, the contractor, needs to close off the parking lot in front of City Hall to perform the work. At 7:00 am Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, the front parking lot and front entrance to City Hall will be closed to protect the public and provide a safe work zone for repainting the old tank. This work is expected to take about three weeks to complete, and the front parking area will be closed for that time. The lot should be back open by Oct. 6, 2014, as long as the project isn't delayed.

Parking for City Hall will be available along E. Union Street and in the parking lot behind City Hall that is accessed from Avery Avenue and Lenoir Street. The public should utilize the rear entrance to City Hall that is adjacent to the courtyard and fountain. For utility payments, the drive through will remain open for the duration of the project, but customers must bring their bill to pay via the drive through.

The project will cost $50,367. The funds for this repair will initially come from the tank maintenance funds and be reimbursed with revenues from the cellular antenna attachment to be installed on the tank. For more information, call the Water Resources Department at 828-438-5276.

The Morganton City Hall parking lot will be closed for three weeks starting Tuesday Sept. 16, 2014, while the City Hall water tank is repainted. The public can park in the rear parking lot or along E. Union Street and access City Hall via the courtyard entrance. The lot should be back open by Monday Oct. 6, 2014.

Monday, 15 September 2014 11:51


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“I’ve got a wonderful gang” said Charles Jeffers, director for the Hickory Community Theatre’s “Duck Hunter Shoots Angel”, when he announced the show’s cast.

He announced a ballot of nine players with a wide variety of theatre backgrounds. They are Jay Barnhardt, Marquinn Brannon, Ingrid Keller, Ralph Mangum, Peyton Powell, David Sheronas, Bob Smith, Nagarajan Thoppey and Silas Waugh. The cast includes four newcomers to the Hickory Community Theatre.

The play is a comedy romp taking place in a swamp in Alabama. It is a tangle between a New York tabloid journalist and a two feckless duck hunters who, in a bumbling misfire, think they shot an angel. It was written by popular author Mitch Albom, who also wrote “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”

Performances are in the Jeffers Theatre October 12-November 2. Tickets are $18 for adults ($2 off for seniors) and $10 for youth 18 and under. Thursday nights all adult seats are just $14. Purchase tickets online at www.hickorytheatre.org or call (828) 328-2283.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for this production.

The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. The 2014-2015 Season is brought to you by Paramount Automotive, the official automotive sponsor of the Hickory Community Theatre.


Hickory is known across the world for its quality handcrafted furniture, designed by artists and built by craftsman from the Hickory Metro, and it’s time to showcase the best of the best chairs that are designed and manufactured in our area.

Furniture companies in Catawba, Burke, and Caldwell and Alexander counties as well as individual craftsmen in the four-county Metro are invited to enter a chair for the Furniture. Well Crafted. Inaugural design competition by September 23. This competition complements the current “Furniture. Well Crafted.” exhibit at the Catawba Science Center, as well as dovetails with Hickory’s “Life. Well Crafted.” brand.

“The Convention and Visitors Bureau is excited about partnering with the City of Hickory and Catawba Science Center in this chair competition,” said Bebe Leitch, CEO of the Hickory-Conover Tourism Authority (TDA). “This competition is more than a chair design. This competition is about the getting back to the roots of our heritage of furniture manufacturing, and using that as a tool to boost the region’s job base.”

For more than 110 years the furniture industry has been a major employer in the Hickory Metro. Once again, local furniture companies are growing. Their reputations are built on quality furniture that can be passed from generation to generation. Our local manufacturers are adapting with the latest technology that allows them to customize order for customers.

“The Furniture. Well Crafted. Hands-on exhibit at Catawba Science Center is about our community,” said Alan Barnhardt, Catawba Science Center Executive Director. “It begins with the history of furniture manufacturing in our area, then visitors learn about modernized technology utilized in furniture making today. Children and their families immerse themselves in many of the skills used in building a piece of furniture. This exhibit also showcases the educational and career opportunities and posts salary ranges for a variety of furniture jobs available in our area.”

“People can earn a really good salary working in this industry,” added Barnhardt. “The furniture companies that I have been working with are seeing a 20 percent increase in business and are in need of dedicated employees. Catawba Science Center saw an opportunity to share the application of science and technology with our 130,000 annual visitors. It’s made for an incredible, interactive educational experience that has been well received by the community.”

As of September 10, more than a dozen companies have agreed to participate in the
Inaugural chair design competition, and many more are expected by September 23. The jury to decide the First, Second and Third Place winners will be made up of retired furniture executives and designers from the four-county Hickory Metro. First Place receives $500, the 2014 “Furniture. Well Crafted.” trophy and an autographed copy of Factory Man, by author Beth Macy and John Bassett, III. Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker battled off shoring, Stayed Local and Helped Save an American Town. Second Place receives $300, and Third Place receives $200.

“After winners are announced, the chairs will go on tour around the community, more details to be announced soon,” said Mandy Pitts, City of Hickory Communications Director and Brand Manager. “We are fortunate that the Catawba Science Center put together the Furniture. Well Crafted. Exhibition, and thankful for the companies, schools and colleges that helped make it Happen. If you have not seen the exhibit, make sure you see it before it ends in mid November.”

The Catawba Science Center, is located on the SALT Block 243 3rd Avenue, NE, Hickory and is Open Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Sunday 1 – 4 p.m. CSC Members are free, non-CSC member admission is $8 for adults $6 for seniors 62 and older, and Youth 3 – 18, and children under 3 are free.

Applications for the Furniture. Well Crafted. Design competition is due September 23, and the chairs are not delivered until November 3. For more information, call or email Mandy Pitts, City of Hickory Communications Director/Brand Manager, mpitts@hickorync.govmailto:mandypitts@charter.net or (828) 261-2290.

March of Dimes is hitting the greens again this year to raise some green for babies. The Annual March of Dimes Executive Golf Tournament is scheduled for Friday, September 19, at Rock Barn Golf & Spa on the Robert Trent Jones course. Registration and lunch begin at 11:00 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 12:00 p.m.

“Anyone who knows me will tell you that I do my fair share of golfing,” says Drew Isenhour, Area President for Republic Services of NC - GDS. “Pairing a day of golf with the chance to provide a healthy start for every baby provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy a day on one of the best courses around and show my commitment to families in our community.”

Tournament sponsorships and foursomes are still available, but are filling up fast. Sponsorship Opportunities begin at $250, Individual Golfers: $250, and Foursomes: $1,000. Mulligans are available for purchase at $25 per player. The event will offer businesses the chance to network with other area executives and entertain clients on the golf course. Providing a healthy start for every baby is just the icing on the cake. All proceeds from the Executive Golf Tournament will benefit March of Dimes.

The 2014 March of Dimes Executive Golf Challenge is presented by Republic Services – GDS and 1st Response Rail. Corporate Sponsors also incude Parker Poe, Catawba Baler & Equipment, Curo Health Services, Civil & Environmental Consultants, KRD Trucking & Dixon Golf.

For more information or to discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jennifer Knox at (828) 464-8905, JKnox@marchofdimes.org, or visit www.marchofdimes.org/northcarolina.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Granite Falls Brewing Company recently contributed $5,982 to the Town of Granite Falls Veterans Memorial Committee for the veterans monument project. Mario Mastro, Granite Falls Brewing Company President, General Counsel and Chief Quality Control Officer, presented the check to members of the Veterans Committee at the Shuford Recreation Center site where the monument is under construction.

Mr. Mastro stated "Granite Falls Brewing Company is pleased to assist the Town of Granite Falls Veterans Committee with their fundraising efforts which will result in the construction of a monument that will honor veterans that have selflessly served our country."

Veterans Committee Chairman Sam Erby accepted the check on behalf of the Veterans Committee and stated "since the opening of Granite Falls Brewing Company, Mr. Mastro has developed the reputation of being an outstanding corporate citizen. On behalf of the Town of Granite Falls Veterans Committee, I extend sincere thanks to Granite Falls Brewing Company and to Mr. Mastro for the support of the veterans memorial project."

The Town of Granite Falls established the Veterans Memorial Committee to plan the location, design, construction and fundraising efforts for a monument to honor all United States veterans. The committee has chosen the location, selected the design, started the construction and is currently raising funds for the monument. The Veterans Committee plans to dedicate the monument on Veterans Day, November 11, 2014 at 11:11 a.m. All veterans, or family members or friends of veterans who served honorably and have connections to Granite Falls and the southern end of Caldwell County are invited and encouraged to participate in making this vision become a

Monday, 15 September 2014 11:18

Become a Communities In Schools Mentor!

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Want to Make a Difference in the Life of a Child?
Become a Communities In Schools Mentor!

Communities In Schools mentor training is on September 18th at the Caldwell County Public Library. Training begins at 8:30 in meeting room #7. Being a Communities In Schools mentor means spending one hour of your week with a student to provide academic support, to provide encouragement, and, most importantly, to build an uplifting relationship that benefits not only the mentee, but also the mentor.

Contact the CIS office for a mentor application.

The students need you!

Call the office at (828)-759-2852 to volunteer.

Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Visiting Writers Series will present award-winning spoken word poet, Joshua Bennett on Thursday, September 25 at 7:00 p.m. in Belk Centrum.

Bennett has performed his poetry at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Kennedy Center, the Sundance Film Festival, the NAACP Image Awards, and President Obama’s Evening for Poetry and Music at the White House. He has also performed with Poet Laureates Billy Collins and Rita Dove.

He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in English and Africana Studies. He was the recipient of a Marshall Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. The Marshall Fellowship allowed him to graduate from the University of Warwick, UK with a Masters in Theater and Performance Studies. With the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, Bennett is pursuing a PhD in English at Princeton University.

This event is open to the public, and free for all guests. No tickets or reservations arerequired.

Sponsors of the 2014-2015 Series include: Crowne Plaza--Hickory, Our State: North Carolina, the Hickory Public Library, the Greater Hickory Kia Classic, the United Arts Council of Catawba County, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, and the Catawba Valley Community Foundation.

On 09/17/14, deputies from Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and community members will come together in an informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, build relationships, and drink coffee.

All community members are invited to attend. The event begins at 7:30 am until 9:00 am on 09/17/14 at Howards Creek Fire Department. 3604 W. Hwy 27 Lincolnton, NC 28092.

Please contact Lt. Jordan Cody with questions: 704 268-3041, jcody@lincolnsheriff.org.

Coffee with a Cop provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the Sheriff’s Office’s work in the County.

The majority of contacts law enforcement has with the public happen during emergencies, or emotional situations. Those situations are not always the most effective times for relationship building with the community, and some community members may feel that deputies are unapproachable on the street. Coffee with a Cop breaks down barriers and allows for a relaxed, one-on-one interaction.

“We hope that community members will feel comfortable to ask questions, bring concerns, or simply get to know our deputies,” said Sheriff David Carpenter. “These interactions are the foundation of community partnerships.”

Coffee with a Cop is a national initiative supported by The United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Similar events are being held across the county, as local police departments, sheriff’s offices, and state police forces strive to make lasting connections with the communities they serve.

The program aims to advance the practice of community policing through improving relationships between law enforcement and community members one cup of coffee at a time.

Monday, 15 September 2014 10:54

Caldwell Arts Council announces October Exhibit

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The Caldwell Arts Council is pleased to announce the October exhibit: “38th Annual CALDWELL VISUAL ARTISTS COMPETITION” featuring 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional artwork created by Caldwell County artists in competition for cash awards. Artists wishing to participate may find the guidelines on our website: www.caldwellarts.com .

An opening reception will be held Friday October 3, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. hosted by members of the Lenoir Service League, and the exhibit will continue Tuesday-Friday 9am-5pm through October 31.

Caldwell Arts Council exhibits are free & open to the public. Light refreshments are served during opening receptions.

About the Caldwell Arts Council

The Caldwell Arts Council presents monthly and quarterly exhibits, education and collection programs that foster cultural arts in Caldwell County. Located at 601 College Avenue SW near downtown Lenoir, hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. There is no admission charge, although donations are gratefully accepted. To be added to the mailing list or e-mail list, please call 828-754-2486 or info@caldwellarts.com. The Caldwell Arts Council’s programs are supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources and by individual and corporate donors.