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Four Catawba County programs have been named winners of a 2014 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award.

The winning programs include a Public Health Farmers Market designed to offer fresh fruits and vegetables and improve community health; a computer access terminal that allows citizens at Hickory city hall access to Permit Center staff in Newton; a program that streamlined the process for finding permanent placements for children in foster care, resulting in less trauma for the child and faster decisions; and a Commercial Recycling Program that is one of many initiatives that helped Catawba County attain the number one ranking in the state in recycling, per person, in two of the last three years.

The NACo Achievement Awards program, now in its 43rd year, gives national recognition to significant and innovative programs that improve county organization, management and service delivery. Catawba County has won 199 awards over the history of the NACo program and has been honored during each of its 43 years.

Catawba County’s NACo Awards will be presented to county officials during the association’s annual conference in New Orleans in July. Employees involved in the four programs will be recognized at an upcoming Board of Commissioners meeting and at the annual County Awards Night dinner in October.

34-year-old Melissa Dawn Creason of Rowan County has been arrested by Statesville Police on 16 felony warrants for obtaining property by false pretenses and five felony counts of embezzlement of state property by an official.

On April 10, Iredell-Statesville School officials notified Statesville Police of suspected criminal activity involving the school district’s former Public Information Officer, Melissa Dawn Creason. Statesville Police, in conjunction the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), launched a criminal investigation.

Creason was accused of misappropriating travel funds and stealing school system property. Officials with Iredell-Statesville Schools provided critical assistance to Investigators. At the completion of the investigation, Investigators consulted with the Iredell County District Attorney’s Office, leading to the issuance of warrants for Creason’s arrest yesterday (Thursday, June 19).

Creason turned herself in at the Statesville Police Department Thursday afternoon. She was given a $30,000 secured bond. She’ll make a first appearance in court on Monday, June 23.

On June 10, the Unifour Foundation Inc. Endowment presented a $2,500 grant to the Catawba Valley Community College Small Business Center. The grant will support CVCC's Shark Tank program in 2015.

The program promotes entrepreneurship by providing an opportunity for CVCC students, Small Business Center clients and high school students to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges with an opportunity to receive scholarship awards and cash prizes.

CVCC's Shark Tank recently completed its fourth competition with over 50 participants. For the first time, the competition included participation from local high schools with teams from Hickory High School and Challenger High School making presentations.

The Unifour Foundation Inc. Endowment is one of 51 endowments that make up the Catawba Valley Community Foundation. During its most recent cycle, the Unifour Foundation Inc. Endowment awarded over $200,000 in grants to 36 individual organizations. During the Foundation's existence it has awarded 434 grants for over $3 million to more than 100 organizations.

A couple led officers in Catawba County on a 20-mile chase Yesterday afternoon. According to published reports, Catawba County Sheriff’s Deputies pursued the couple through traffic, yards, and a wheat field that ended up catching fire. According to reports, the truck used by the suspects was stolen Tuesday, just south of Hickory. A camera caught the incident on tape and showed the pickup truck speeding around other drivers along Highway 127 while trying to dodge deputies. At one point the truck turned into a wheat field where deputies believe sparks set two different fires. The truck was later found abandoned about two miles away down a dead-end dirt road. The suspects fled the scene and a search was conducted that lasted for several hours. Investigators were able to identify the couple., however their names have not been released.

Thursday, 19 June 2014 06:51

Silver Alert Cancelled

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A silver alert issued yesterday morning for a 73 year old Mooresville man has been cancelled. Robert Allen Donaldson, who is believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment, disappeared from a home on Scanlon Road. According to published reports he was found safe yesterday evening.

Thursday, 19 June 2014 06:44

Drowning in Granite Falls

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A 10 year old boy drowned yesterday evening in the back yard of a home on Miller Court in the Granada Farms area of Granite Falls.  The boy had a seizure and then drowned.  According to the Caldwell County medical examiner, the victim had a history of seizures, and that may have been a contributing factor to the drowning.  Officials are calling it an accidental drowning.  The boy's name has not been released.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 15:11

Lenoir Man Indicted on Felony Cocaine Charges

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35-year-old Julius Damon Dabner of N.W. Calvary Place in Lenoir was served felony indictments yesterday (June 17) by Lenoir Police on two counts each of possession with intent to sell or distribute cocaine and the sale & delivery of cocaine. He was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $20,000 secured bond. Dabner will appear in Superior Court on July 14 in Lenoir.

27-year-old Dusty Allen Cowick of Idlewood Drive in Granite Falls was arrested by Hickory Police at about 6:30 last night (June 17) on one felony count each of larceny and possession of stolen goods or property.

Events leading to his arrest began about 45 minutes earlier as a 19-year-old male victim from Wilmington was unloading a van at a Sunhouse convenience store in Hickory when he noticed a gray backpack was missing. The backpack contained an Apple laptop computer, headphones and cash.

The victim saw a cab in the parking lot and spoke to the driver. The driver said two white males had been in his cab, one carrying a gray backpack.

Police interviewed the cabdriver and backtracked his route, leading them to Dusty Cowick and the stolen backpack. The contents, valued at nearly $2,000, were recovered.

Cowick was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under an $8,000 secured bond. He will make a first appearance in District Court on June 23 in Newton.

The Hickory City Council voted unanimously last night (June 17) to move forward on a $40 million bond referendum that would partially fund the city’s Inspiring Spaces initiative. Voters will decide on November 4 whether to give the city borrowing authority for the bonds.

The referendum is divided into two parts. $25 million would go to streetscapes, roads, pedestrian improvements, a city walk in the business district and other projects. $15 million would go toward industrial and commercial use.

Inspiring Spaces would create a waterfront facility, a riverwalk, streetscape improvements and a business park, among other projects. The $40 million would not cover all of the costs, but city officials believe the referendum would result in substantial private and philanthropic investment.

If the referendum passes, city taxes would increase a total of 16% over a 20-year period.

Over the past several weeks, the Burke County Sheriff's Criminal Investigation Division has investigated several breaking & entering and larceny crimes in the Highway 126, Highway 181, Scott Road, Highway 64 and Jamestown Road areas of Burke County. Several leads were developed that led to the arrest of 11 suspects.

In addition to the Sheriff's Office, the Drexel Police Department and the Glen Alpine Police Department participated in the investigations.

During one of the break-ins, drug paraphernalia was left behind by the suspects. One of the suspects was stopped by Investigators and was found to be in possession of approximately three grams of methamphetamine. That investigation is still ongoing with additional arrests anticipated.

20-year-old Dalton Earl Smith was charged with felony breaking & entering, felony larceny and felony possession of a stolen vehicle. He was given a $30,000 secured bond with a court date set for July 2.

50-year-old David Floyd Blanchard was charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and felony possession with intent to manufacture a schedule II controlled substance. He was given a $31,000 secured bond with a Superior Court date set for September 8.

48-year-old James Andrew Johnson, Jr. was arrested for failure to appear or failure to comply and no operator’s license. He was given a $1,200 secured bond with a court date set for July 9.

25-year-old Eric Eugene Holland was charged with failure to pay child support. He was given a $300 cash bond. No court date is currently listed on the child support charge, though Holland will appear in Superior Court on August 18 for felony assault by strangulation and misdemeanor assault on a female.

29-year-old Michael Trey Glass was charged with felony larceny of motor vehicle and felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Bond was set at $10,000, secured, with a Superior Court date coming up on July 14.

27-year-old Rex Alan “Buddy” Eversole faces felony charges for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a stolen firearm. He was given a $20,000 secured bond with a court date set for July 2.

33-year-old Joshua Lane Ellis was charged with felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and felony possession of a stolen firearm. Ellis was given a $20,000 secured bond with a court date set for July 2.

27-year-old Joshua Lee Franklin was arrested on felony counts of breaking & entering, larceny of a motor vehicle and possession of a stolen vehicle. Bond for Franklin was set at $20,000, secured, with a court date on July 2.

33-year-old Travis David James Ross was charged with felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was given a $20,000 secured bond with a court date on July 2.

22-year-old Steven Wayne Patton was arrested for felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle. His bond was set at $5,000, secured, with a court date scheduled for July 2.

26-year-old Jonathan David Huskins faces felony counts of possession of a stolen vehicle and carrying a concealed weapon. He was given an $85,500 secured bond. Huskins will appear in a Mitchell County courtroom on July 10.