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A portion of N.C. Highway 16 near Vashti Road in Alexander County, north of Taylorsville, was closed yesterday (September 29) as crews cleared an overturned tractor-trailer from the road.

Traffic was detoured until the road could be reopened at approximately 7 p.m. The NCDOT reports no delays on Highway 16 this morning.

For real-time travel information at any time, call 5-1-1, visit the NCDOT traffic website or follow the NCDOT on Twitter. NCDOT Mobile is also available by entering “m.ncdot.gov” into a smartphone browser.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014 07:07

Carolina BalloonFest Set for October 17-19

The 41st Annual Carolina BalloonFest will take place this year from October 17-19 at the Statesville Regional Airport. Over 50 hot air balloons and four unique special shapes will launch and decorate the skies of Iredell County. The traditional Balloon Glow, sponsored by the Black Automotive Group, will take place on Saturday evening, October 18.

Tethered balloon rides will be offered to create an abbreviated sensation of flight when elevated nearly 100 ft. above the ground. Weather permitting, hot air flights and tethered balloon rides will be available for purchase from participating pilots throughout the weekend.

Many pilots will participate in Sanctioned Competitions, sponsored by Energy United Propane. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, balloons will fly over the venue as pilots complete field tasks, such as marker drops and a pole ring toss. Pilots at Carolina BalloonFest compete for points to enhance their standings in the national Hot Air Competition Division. A new feature this year is the Pilot Meet & Greet, hosted by the Carolinas Balloon Association.

The event will feature live entertainment and an N.C. Wines & Craft Beer Tasting. Carolina BalloonFest will also benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS) Relay for Life in Statesville.

To learn more, visit CarolinaBalloonFest.com or

facebook.com/carolinaballoonfest.

31-year-old Robert Lee Downs of Grizzle Point in Claremont was indicted last Thursday (September 25) on ten counts of felony indecent liberties with a child, six counts of first-degree sexual offense with a child and felony sexual offense with a child. Downs also faces charges for first-degree kidnapping and sexual battery.

The indictments come in connection to offenses that occurred in Long View between June 2009 and June 2014. The victim reportedly was between 13 & 15 years of age at the time. Long View Police are handling the investigation.

Downs has been confined in the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility since he was initially charged in October 2013. He is being held under a $1,200,500 secured bond. Downs had a court date last Friday with his next appearance on the kidnapping and sexual battery charges set for November 3 in Morganton.

64-year-old John Robert Pacheco of Caldwell Pond Road in Taylorsville was arrested Friday (September 26) on five counts of felony third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

He was arrested after Investigators with the Alexander Co. Sheriff’s Office acted on information given to them in reference to a possible child pornography case. Investigators went to Pacheco’s residence and took him into custody there.

Pacheco has been placed in the Alexander Co. Detention Center under a $300,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today (September 29) in Taylorsville.

Investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been notified and are working with the Sheriff’s Office. Possible federal charges are pending.

Monday, 29 September 2014 11:43

Composting Class at Beaver Library Oct. 7

The Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is offering a composting class on Tuesday, October 7, at 1 p.m. to help people learn about the basics of composting.

The class is suitable for anyone interested in learning more about composting as a way to help the environment and benefit the garden while using little time, work and space. The class will be led by Kelly Groves, a Catawba County N.C. Cooperative Extension Center Agent.

This class is free, but registration is required. To register, call 828-304-0500 ext. 7235.

The Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is located at 375 3rd Street N.E. on the SALT Block.

Monday, 29 September 2014 11:17

More Details in Caldwell County Meth Arrest

More details have been released in the arrests of 40-year-old Wendy Lee Setzer and 39-year-old James Clifford Sharpe, both of Grassy Knob Lane in Lenoir. They each face felony charges for manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of precursor chemicals and maintaining a dwelling to keep or store a controlled substance, as reported Friday (September 26) on WHKY.

Setzer and Sharpe were taken into custody after a search warrant was executed at their residence. Another individual was arrested and transported to jail for a probation violation. The investigation was jointly conducted with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Special Agents who are Clandestine Laboratory-certified assisted in making the entry, along with a Sheriff’s Office I.C.E. Agent, who is also certified.

The search warrant was issued after Agents received credible information that led them to believe meth was being cooked at the residence. Agents located and seized items consistent with the “shake & bake” or “one pot” method for making meth. Agents also located a small amount of powder methamphetamine inside that had been manufactured at the residence. The contraband will be disposed of and properly destroyed.

After their arrests, both subjects were incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center with bond for each set at $25,000, secured. They were scheduled to appear in District Court today (September 29) in Lenoir.  

48-year-old Carl Gene Presnell, who is listed as a homeless person from Hickory, has been arrested by Hickory Police on charges of simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance, inhaling toxic vapors, carrying a concealed weapon, misdemeanor larceny and second-degree trespass. He was also charged with a misdemeanor probation violation. The controlled substance charges are current, while the others date back to last year. At least some of the charges are from Watauga County.

Presnell was jailed yesterday in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at           $6,000, secured. He will appear in District Court on October 24 in Boone.

Monday, 29 September 2014 08:10

Marion Man Faces Felony Drug Charge

30-year-old Joshua Lane Wilson of South Main Street in Marion has been arrested by Detective Eric Rodriguez of the Marion Police Department and charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor possession of a schedule II controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of a schedule IV controlled substance.

On March 10, Trooper Kirk Hensley of the N.C. Highway Patrol spotted Wilson’s vehicle in a church parking lot. Wilson was slumped over the steering wheel.

Det. Rodriguez was called to the scene where a subsequent search of the vehicle turned up a bag containing a white substance and two pills. The contents were sent to the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation lab for testing. Test results were recently received, indicating that the bag contained one-half gram of methamphetamine, one hydrocodone pill and one diazepam pill.

Wilson was scheduled to appear in District Court today (September 29) in Marion.

Monday, 29 September 2014 08:06

Missing Nebo Man Found Safe

42-year-old Joseph Brian Swann of Mile Drive in Nebo was located unharmed shortly before 3 p.m. Friday (September 26) near the area where he went missing on Walker Road while searching for ginseng with a friend the previous day.

Mr. Swann left his house at 10:30 a.m. Thursday and didn’t return home. His wife reported him missing shortly after midnight Friday. Swann’s friend said he last had radio contact with him at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Capt. Shanon Smith of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office said Mr. Swann came out of the woods Friday afternoon and was spotted by family members and searchers. He had gotten lost.

Assisting the Sheriff’s Office in the search were the McDowell County Rescue Squad, McDowell County E.M.S., McDowell County Emergency Management, the N.C. Highway Patrol and the Dysartsville, Marion, Nebo and Glenwood fire departments.

The Sheriff’s Office expressed its appreciation to all involved.

The Catawba Co. Library System will officially open its newest facility today (Monday, September 29) with activities for all ages. County officials will cut the ribbon at 4 p.m. in the lobby at the new Sherrills Ford-Terrell Library Branch, 9154 Sherrills Ford Road, near the intersection of Highway 150 and Sherrills Ford Road.

Among today’s activities are a Friends of the Library book sale in the new lobby, refreshments and a chance to visit with authors in the community meeting room. Guests can browse the new adult, teen and children’s spaces, including an outdoor patio. Visitors will have the opportunity to join hands-on technology sessions, obtain a library card and join Friends of the Library at stations throughout the facility. Families can enjoy drop-in story time sessions featuring songs, stories and crafts.

The new branch library will feature expanded hours, open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

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