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33-year-old Richard Keith Stevens and 32-year-old Tara Nichole Stevens, both of Miller Bridge Road in Connelly Springs, have been arrested for several sex offenses. Richard Stevens was charged with two felony counts each of intercourse or sexual offenses with certain victims and first-degree sex offense. Tara Stevens was charged with felony child abuse and intercourse or sexual offenses with certain victims. The charges were filed on November 13 & 14.

Both suspects were confined in the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility with bond for Richard Stevens set at $200,000, secured, while Tara Stevens was given a $150,000 secured bond. Richard Stevens had a first appearance in court on November 17 with a probable cause hearing set for December 8. Tara Stevens had a first appearance on November 14. Her probable cause hearing was scheduled for December 9.

No further details are available.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 07:03

Edison Project Winners Chosen

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Daniel Adkins has won first prize in the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce’s Edison Project competition. Adkins won the $10,000 prize for You2CanBrew. You2CanBrew will be a retail facility focusing on the craft beer, home brewing and small system brewing communities. The business will provide tier-based instructional courses, including in-house brewing booths and assembling "starter kits" of equipment and ingredients, all of which will be available in a retail location.

The second-place $5,000 prize went to Mark “Hootie” Bowman. Bowman’s Collegiate Kids Books will create interactive, touch & feel children's books featuring school mascots, school traditions and well-known school landmarks. The books will utilize moveable parts, a variety of textured materials, scratch & sniff experiences, custom colorful artwork and a simple rhyming cadence.

Bridgette Cooke’s BioRid concept claimed the $3,000 third-place prize. BioRid is a device that offers a more consistent and effective method for removing dangerous microorganisms from the surfaces of radiological equipment. The BioRid device uses science and technological engineering to sanitize equipment during storage.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 16:54

Catawba County Offers Flu Shots Dec. 4 & 5

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Catawba County Public Health is offering two walk-in flu shot clinics on December 4 & 5 from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days.

Vaccinations will be available by walk-in only for individuals age three and older. Appointments are recommended for infants ages 6-35 months. Appointments can be made by calling 828-695-5800.

The seasonal flu shot costs $26 for individuals age three and older and $20 for children ages 6-35 months. For people 65 and older, the high-dose flu shot is available for $40 and the pneumonia vaccine is available for $80. Accepted forms of payment include cash, check, debit & credit, Medicare Part B (only) and Medicaid. Medicare Advantage and other insurance plans will not be accepted; however, individuals may pay and then file with their insurers for possible reimbursement.

Catawba County Public Health is located off Fairgrove Church Road, behind the Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory. For more information, call 828-695-5800 or visit www.catawbacountync.gov/phealth.

High Country Crime Stoppers and the Watauga County Sheriff's Office are seeking the public’s assistance in solving an incident that involved the theft of Halloween decorations.

Sometime between 9 p.m. Wednesday (October 29) and 4 a.m. Thursday (October 30), a Halloween decoration described as an inflatable ghost stack was stolen from Doc’s Gem Mine on Mystery Hill Lane in Blowing Rock. A white, mid 90s four-door Nissan Altima was seen in the area during the time of the theft.

Anyone with information regarding the crime should call Crime Stoppers at 828-268-6959 or 828-737-0125 or the Watauga County Sheriff's Office at 828-264-3761. All information will be kept confidential.

High Country Crime Stoppers pays rewards for information that leads to arrests, the recovery of stolen property the seizure of drugs and the location of wanted persons.

29-year-old Samuel “Zane” Billings of Mt. Olive Church Road in Morganton is wanted by the Burke Co. Sheriff’s Office on outstanding warrants for financial card theft, breaking & entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods.

“Zane” Billings is wanted in connection to numerous break-ins and larcenies throughout western Burke County, specifically in the Highway 64 South and Dysartsville Road areas.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Samuel “Zane” Billings should call 828-438-5500 or 828-438-5506.

33-year-old Joey Eugene Richards of Statesville has been arrested and charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree kidnapping and larceny of a motor vehicle. The charges come in connection to an armed robbery at the Cricket Store on Crossroads Drive in Statesville on Sunday (November 16). Richards was also served warrants on unrelated charges of larceny of a motor vehicle, felony breaking & entering and felony larceny after breaking & entering.

Yesterday (November 17), Statesville Police Investigators received information suggesting that Richards matched the description of the suspect in the Cricket Store robbery. Richards had outstanding warrants on an unrelated incident and was wanted for questioning in that case.

Investigators learned that Richards was at the Greyhound bus station in Charlotte. There, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police located Richards, who was armed with an air soft pistol, and arrested him on the outstanding warrants.

Richards was taken to Statesville for questioning and for processing on the unrelated charges. During the investigation, Richards admitted to the armed robbery at the Cricket Store.

The unrelated charges stem from a November 8 break-in at the West Front Street Shell service station. Richards was identified as the suspect who broke into the business and removed a safe, along with the keys to a 2000 Dodge Durango. Richards stole the Durango and was stopped later that night in Catawba County before the vehicle was reported stolen. Based on that encounter, Investigators linked Richards to the break-in and vehicle theft.

Richards was jailed under a $250,000 secured bond. No court date is currently listed.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 13:25

Hiddenite Center Wins Community Foundation Award

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The Hiddenite Center was recently awarded a $1,000 grant from the Catawba Valley Community Foundation’s 2014 Community Grants Program, an affiliate of the N.C. Community Foundation. The funds will be used during The Hiddenite Center’s annual Explore N.C. Heritage Fair.

The Hiddenite Center is located at 316 Hiddenite Church Road in Hiddenite. Call 828-632-6966 for more information.

Low-income elderly or disabled persons in Catawba County who need help paying their heating bills may apply at the Salvation Army in Hickory beginning December 1.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is offered each year, with low-income elderly or disabled persons receiving first priority. Those who received LIEAP funds in the past must reapply each year.

Households including elderly or disabled persons have first priority and may apply December 1 through March 31, or until the funds are exhausted. Only households including an elderly person age 60 or older or households with a disabled person receiving services through the Division of Aging & Adult Services are eligible to apply during the priority period. Disabled persons are defined as those receiving SSI, SSA or VA disability.

Payments will be sent directly to the primary heating provider, such as the electric, gas or heating oil company.

Assistance is based on household income and the number of persons living in the household. To be eligible, households must have total resources of $2,250 or less. "Resources" may include checking and savings accounts, cash, certificates of deposit, etc. The household must be responsible for paying the heating bill. Eligibility is based on income. The income of everyone in the household is counted.

Low-income households that do not include an elderly or disabled person may apply for LIEAP funds January 2 through March 31, if funds are still available at the time.

To apply, bring identification, Social Security numbers for everyone in the household, verification of income & resources and a current heating bill. Persons applying under the early deadline must also bring proof of age, disability and services received from the Division of Aging & Adult Services.

For additional information, contact Catawba County Social Services at 828-695-5625.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 11:03

Lenoir Woman Arrested on Assortment of Drug Charges

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22-year-old Theresa Kay Vallera of S.E. Hibriten Drive in Lenoir was arrested by Lenoir Police yesterday (November 17) on charges of felony possession of cocaine, misdemeanor possession of marijuana up to half an ounce, simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and felony maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for a controlled substance. Following her arrest, Vallera was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $7,500 secured bond. She was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court yesterday in Lenoir.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 10:58

Hickory Man Faces Felony Larceny and B&E Charges

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26-year-old Jonathon Eugene Benfield of Shiloh Church Road in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 10:35 yesterday morning (November 17) on one felony count each of breaking & entering and larceny after breaking & entering.

Events leading to his arrest began on November 12 when Police responded to a break-in at an apartment on the 1100 block of 10th Street Place N.W. in Hickory. A ring and an iPhone IV valued at approximately $1,100 were taken. The victim told Police that her estranged husband, Jonathon Benfield, was the suspect.

A warrant for his arrest was issued that day. Benfield turned himself in at H.P.D. headquarters yesterday. He was taken into custody without incident and then released after posting an $8,000 unsecured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for tomorrow in Newton.