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Caldwell County has been extended membership into the Charlotte Regional Partnership’s Foreign Trade Zone. The move is seen as a potential boost for area companies that import and export goods.

A Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) is a federally-designated area that enables businesses to capitalize on lower tax rates for importing and exporting goods. Companies that use the FTZ program do not pay taxes on imported goods until those goods leave the zone and enter domestic commerce. In addition, raw materials can be imported, manufactured and exported without companies paying tariffs or duties on the product.

Along with Caldwell, Rutherford and Polk counties have joined the partnership, upping overall membership in the regional partnership to 15.

Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray says Caldwell’s inclusion in the FTZ is “a significant competitive development for Caldwell County” that increases the county’s ability to compete on a global basis.

Companies interested in learning more or determining eligibility should contact Murray at 828-728-0768 or by email at dmurray@caldwelledc.org.

To mark the completion of the Golden Spike Campaign, the Newton Depot Authority is hosting a Milepost Celebration on Saturday, November 15 at the Historic Newton Depot. The general public is invited to attend from 12 noon until 2 p.m. Live music and refreshments will be offered and docents will lead tours of the pavilion and museum. There is no charge to attend.

The Golden Spike Campaign raised over $500,000 in charitable and in-kind gifts to expand the Historic Newton Depot into the Southeast Narrow Gauge & Short Line Museum.

The newly-constructed outdoor pavilion, which is the centerpiece of the campaign, showcases and protects a 1920s steam engine, along with the restored vintage rail cars recently moved to the pavilion.

The expanded museum interprets the unique role of narrow gauge railroads in terms of shipping the Catawba Valley’s agricultural and dairy products to a broader market and later serving the burgeoning manufacturing sector. The Newton Depot was a major stop on what was at one time the longest narrow gauge line in the Carolinas, connecting Chester, South Carolina and Lenoir, North Carolina. Historians credit the short line for facilitating transportation for the furniture and textile industries that became the backbone of the local economy.

Future plans call for additional interpretive signage and improved visitor amenities, such as paving the adjoining parking areas for the public and school buses.

For additional information, contact Tom Warlick at 828-464-3930.

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 13:37

Meth Operation Busted in Caldwell County

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39-year-old Charles Quentin McLean of Union Baptist Road and 30-year-old Heather Nicole Swanson of Donihue Place, both from Lenoir, have each been arrested by Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on one count each of felonious trafficking in methamphetamine by possession and felonious trafficking in methamphetamine by transportation.

They were arrested yesterday (November 3) as the result of an investigation into a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking operation. The investigation had been ongoing for over a year with multiple law enforcement agencies assisting. The Sheriff’s Office believes that McLean and Swanson were responsible for bringing large amounts of methamphetamine into Caldwell County.

During a previous undercover operation, both McLean and Swanson were stopped in a vehicle and caught with a quarter pound of crystal meth. The drugs have a street value of $17,400, according to N.C. state drug guidelines. Also seized during the investigation was over $650 in cash. The Sheriff’s I.C.E. Unit is continuing to identify other individuals involved. Additional arrests are expected.  

McLean and Swanson were both incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center with bond for each set at $200,000, secured. First appearances in District Court in Lenoir were scheduled for November 6.

39-year-old Jerald Leon “Bubba” Martin, Jr. of Hubbard Street in Lincolnton was arrested by Lincolnton Police Sunday (November 2) on charges of felony breaking & entering, felony larceny after breaking & entering and felony possession of stolen goods.

At about 6:45 a.m. Sunday, Lincolnton Police responded to a B&E in progress in the area where Turner Street comes to a dead end. Officers arrived to find two suspects walking with stolen items from the break-in in their possession. When the suspects saw the Officers, they ran into a wooded area, leaving the stolen items behind. All of those items were returned to the owner.

Officers were able to identify one of the suspects as Jerald “Bubba” Martin. He was found a short time later at his residence and taken into custody without further incident. The other suspect was identified as a juvenile. His information was forwarded to the Department of Juvenile Justice for possible charges.

Officers credited citizens in the neighborhood for calling in the theft in progress and by giving corroborating information regarding the identity and location of the suspects.

Following his arrest, Martin posted bond and was released. He will next appear in a Lincoln County courtroom on November 25.

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 07:09

Election Day; Polls Open Until 7:30 this Evening

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Today is Election Day, and polls are open today across the state starting at 6:30 a.m. and closing at 7:30 p.m. Those in line at closing time will be permitted to vote.

Voters must vote in their proper precinct, a new requirement in North Carolina. The State Board of Elections has provided an online tool to locate the proper precinct location. Sample ballots are available online, along with the 2014 Judicial Voter Guide.

Photo identification is not required to participate in today’s election, though election officials will inform voters that photo identification will be required beginning in January 2016.

More North Carolinians voted early and within fewer days than in any prior midterm election. This was the first general election held under a compacted 10-day one-stop early voting schedule.

African American participation increased by nearly 45%, while unaffiliated voters participation rose by 43% compared to 2010, the last midterm election cycle. Overall participation increased by 20%. Registered Democrats made up 48% of all early voters. Republicans were at 32% with unaffiliated voters coming in at 20%. 

WHKY will have election updates throughout the evening on 1290 WHKY, at whky.com and on WHKY-TV14 at 10 p.m

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 06:59

Fire at CoMMA Forces Relocation of Polling Place

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A fire at the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium (CoMMA) has forced a change in polling place for some voters. Those who would normally vote at CoMMA will now vote at the Burke County Board of Elections on South Sterling Street, across from Fatz restaurant.

The fire occurred late yesterday afternoon (November 3) and reportedly began in a vent fan in an elevator room. Damage was considered to be minor and was mostly caused by smoke. The fire was quickly put out by a fire extinguisher.

The building was evacuated. No injuries were reported.

A fire Sunday evening (November 2) at the former Ivey Weavers Plant in Hickory is considered to be suspicious, according to Investigators with the Hickory Fire Department. The abandoned hosiery mill is located at 1530 First Avenue S.W.

An arson investigation dog from Caldwell County was on the scene yesterday morning. Hickory Police say there was no power running into the building at the time of the fire. Weather was also ruled out as a potential cause of the fire. Investigators were still working to determine the cause as of yesterday afternoon.

Monday, 03 November 2014 15:03

Hickory Man Charged with Felony Larceny

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42-year-old Michael Dean Campbell of 16th Street N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 1 p.m. Friday (October 31) on charges of felony larceny by anti-inventory device and disorderly conduct.

Events leading to his arrest unfolded as Officers at the Big Lots store in the Hickory Plaza shopping center on Highway 70 S.W. were approached by the store manager from the Rugged Wearhouse, which is in the same shopping center. The manager told Officers there was a disorderly shoplifter in the Rugged Wearhouse who had urinated on the floor and taken some shoes without paying.

Officers responded and found the man attempting to leave the Rugged Wearhouse. The man re-entered the store when he saw Police. He was taken into custody, but continued to resist as Officers put him in their patrol vehicle. The arrest report indicates that Campbell had consumed alcohol or drugs.

Campbell was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $10,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today (November 3) in Newton.

The 2014 Run for Maggie will be held in memory of former Discovery High School teacher Maggie Daniels, who was murdered in June of this year. The 5K memorial run and walk will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 15. The event will begin at Newton-Conover High School's Gurley Stadium on Ashe Avenue in Newton.

The entry fee is $25 with all proceeds to benefit the Discovery High School Maggie Daniels Scholarship Fund. There will be no same day registration. Entry fees may be dropped off at the Discovery High School office, 301 West 18th Street in Newton, or mailed to the same address.

For more information, call 828-466-5581.

Monday, 03 November 2014 14:26

Hickory Man Busted for Crack Cocaine

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46-year-old Ronald Lee Ikard of Dickens Street in Charlotte was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after noon Saturday (November 1) on one felony count of possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine and one misdemeanor count of resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer.

He was arrested as Officers conducting a property check at the Terrace Hills apartment complex in Hickory saw a man who they knew didn’t live at the complex. Police watched as the man, Ronald Ikard, approached a vehicle and quickly walked away.

As Officers approached Ikard, he fled on foot, but was quickly apprehended. No one was injured. Ikard allegedly threw a pill bottle as he ran. The bottle was recovered and found to contain three grams of crack cocaine. Ikard also had $402 on his person.

The suspect was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $13,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today (November 3) in Newton.