Dec. 24, 2013 @ 08:24 AM

2013 verdict for Caldwell County farmers: 'drowned out'

Looking back on the growing season for farmers in Caldwell County, one thing sticks out: rain.

“Rain is definitely the big thing. It basically made planting on time a challenge, and some crops were drowned out,” said Seth Nagy, director of the Caldwell County Cooperative Extension Service.

Dec. 22, 2013 @ 08:20 AM

Quality, expertise live at Autumn House

Autumn House opened for business in 1978 on a small exit off Interstate 40 in Icard, making mostly skateboards.

Founders Howard Pruitt and Ernie Rosenquist established the company to fill a need they saw in the market for curved plywood, especially among the well-established nearby residential furniture companies.

Dec. 17, 2013 @ 11:41 AM

Caldwell approves financing, land for new school

The new middle school planned for Lenoir is all but ready to break ground after the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners approved loan financing and a land acquisition for the Caldwell County Schools project Monday night.

Dec. 13, 2013 @ 08:38 AM

Lenoir business earns $25,000 grant for innovation

Pete Lohr started Advanced Hydrogen Power Technologies in Lenoir earlier this year, founded on a technology that Lohr developed himself.

Lohr used his background in mechanical engineering to develop his hydrogen-generating cartridge, the “baseline technology” that the rest of his work uses, accumulating four patents since 2009. An application that he hopes will take off soon he calls “non-explosive welding” or impact bonding, an alternative to traditional welding, formerly the only method of bonding dissimilar metals.


Dec. 11, 2013 @ 07:34 AM

Caldwell applies to join foreign-trade zone

Caldwell County is applying to join Charlotte's foreign trade zone, economic development officials announced Tuesday.

If the application is accepted, it would provide some export advantages to companies here, Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, said at an EDC board meeting Tuesday. And that in turn would become a recruiting tool as the county tries to lure new businesses.

Dec. 10, 2013 @ 04:55 PM

Falling tree sends hundreds scrambling

A single falling tree caused quite a bit of trouble Tuesday morning, snapping a power pole in two about 7:40 a.m. and leaving about 1,800 customers in the Lenoir area without power for about five hours.

Dec. 09, 2013 @ 06:41 PM

Ousted Furniture Brands executives seek help with legal costs

Two of the top former executives of Furniture Brands International want a bankruptcy court’s permission for an insurance policy to pay their legal costs in lawsuits filed by shareholders.

The insurance policy provides up to $15 million of coverage, including for legal fees and other expenses, in case of securities claims against Furniture Brands, according to a document filed Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware by lawyers for former chief executive officer Ralph Scozzafava and former chief financial officer Vance Johnston.

Dec. 06, 2013 @ 08:33 AM

Caldwell County's unemployment rate hits 5-year low

The unemployment rate in Caldwell County dropped in October was 8.3 percent, down from 8.9 percent in August.

The last time Caldwell's unemployment rate was lower was September 2008, when it was 7.9 percent

Dec. 05, 2013 @ 05:30 PM

Brandon Kirby promoted to News-Topic production director

Brandon Kirby, 27, was named the News-Topic's production director Nov. 25, giving him responsibility over the pressroom, mailroom and warehouse. He previously had been the paper's assistant pressroom supervisor.

Dec. 04, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

City approves drive-thru, changes to parking tickets

A new restaurant with a drive-thru lane may be coming to U.S. 321 north of Ruby Tuesday, despite opposition by people who live nearby.

A company called MGM of Lenoir requested a special use district and permit to allow a drive-thru on a property north of Hospital Avenue on the west side of U.S. 321, with a secondary exit onto Woodland Place, a dead-end street with some residential properties.

Dec. 01, 2013 @ 09:37 AM

Creativity, craftsmanship on tap at Howard Brewing

Jason Howard is a brewer. He handcrafted his own recipes, continuously honing them in his home for more than a decade before making it a career – and making those beers the backbone of a thriving Lenoir brewery.

Dec. 01, 2013 @ 09:01 AM

Area shoppers hit stores in full force for Black Friday

As they do every year, deal-crazy shoppers lined up early, and this year the first lines formed while some people were still eating their Thanksgiving dinner.

But even as shoppers flooded stores, in interviews the feelings most expressed about the economy weren’t optimistic.

Dec. 02, 2013 @ 10:50 AM

Column: A name is just the beginning

What’s in a name?

It might be true that, as Shakespeare wrote, that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

But we probably wouldn’t smell it much if it were called a horsebutt, or a vomit.

Which is why you can bet the name Heritage Home Group did not just get picked out of a hat or at the last minute, out of nowhere, when KPS Capital Partners chose it for the new name of what until last Monday was known as Furniture Brands International.

Nov. 28, 2013 @ 09:06 AM

Departures from Heritage Home continue

Dan Bradley, the president of Designer Brands Group since 2008, has resigned effective Dec. 6, Bradley confirmed Wednesday to Furniture Today, an industry trade publication.

Nov. 27, 2013 @ 04:00 PM

More Furniture Brands executives let go

More executives have gotten the boot since KPS Capital Partners formed Heritage Home Group from the former parts of Furniture Brands International.

Nov. 26, 2013 @ 08:47 AM

Furniture company gets new name, leadership

The new owner of Furniture Brands Inc. wasted no time getting started on giving the company a fresh start.

On Monday KPS Capital Partners announced the formation of a new company, Heritage Home Group, to take the place of the Furniture Brands name; the resignation of CEO Ralph Scozzafava; and the appointment of a new CEO and board of directors.

Nov. 24, 2013 @ 09:15 AM

Lubrimetal brings global success to Caldwell

Giorgio Corso’s grandfather founded a small, metal-drawing lubricants company called Lubrimetal in Italy in 1959. Today, the company is truly global, with locations in Brazil, India and Caldwell County.

As executive vice president, Corso flies back and forth every few weeks to Italy and Granite Falls, where Lubrimetal’s American manufacturing facility is located.

Nov. 24, 2013 @ 07:53 AM

Furniture Brands' new owner has strong record

KPS Capital Partners, approved Friday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi as the new owner of Furniture Brands International, does not buy any business to own it for the long haul.

But it buys to rebuild and grow, and its track record may give hope to workers at Furniture Brands’ properties.

Nov. 22, 2013 @ 11:46 AM

KPS is sole bidder for Furniture Brands

Unless a bankruptcy court judge agrees with an objection that the sale of Furniture Brands International has taken place too quickly, the company's new owner will be KPS Capital Partners, a New York-base private equity firm that focuses on turning around troubled manufacturers.

Nov. 21, 2013 @ 12:19 PM

'School' aims to help the move from office to farm

If you ever had a "Green Acres" urge to chuck city life and an office job to take up farming, you were on your own in learning what farming takes.

But starting in January, you can go to school -- Foothills Farm School, a six-month training program for beginning and transitioning farmers, focusing on how to operate successful, small-scale farms.

Nov. 21, 2013 @ 12:16 PM

Samson backs out of bidding

Samson Holding Ltd. did not place a bid for Furniture Brands International on Wednesday but has not ruled out trying later to buy specific company brands, Samson officials told the publication Furniture Today.

Nov. 20, 2013 @ 08:58 AM

Furniture Brands' sale moving too fast, shareholder Broadbill says

Sticking to the accelerated sale of Furniture Brands International’s assets could destroy “hundreds of millions of dollars” in value, including unnecessary pension termination costs, one of the company’s major shareholders, Broadbill Investment Partners, said in a court filing.

Nov. 20, 2013 @ 08:32 AM

Man accused of fabricating kidnap tale

What sounded like a nightmarish three-day ordeal was an elaborate lie, Lenoir police say, and the man who told the story was charged on Monday for it.

Nov. 19, 2013 @ 10:29 AM

Caldwell County approves $240K for job creation

Caldwell County is willing to offer incentives of $2,000 per job to three companies that may bring a total up to 120 jobs over the next three years.

One of them is a company already operating in the county planning an expansion that could bring up to 50 jobs within the next 14 months, but county officials refer to the company only as Project Prime Time because the company says it is not ready to go public with its plans. The company is working toward a new product line. The incentives approved Monday night by the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners, which would provide $2,000 for each new job, would be the company’s second incentives package, and if the company hires all it proposes it would have more than 200 employees here, said Deborah Murray, executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.

Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:35 AM

Optimism seen for hiring in Caldwell County for 2014

The pace of new economic development announcements has slowed in recent weeks, but 2013 still is expected to finish with more projects announced than in 2012, officials said Wednesday.

More importantly, some companies that came to Caldwell County this year are just about to ramp up hiring, so the job outlook 2014 should get off to a good start.