This weekend, you can shop for back-to-school supplies from clothes to a new laptop without having to pay any taxes – but, barring a change in the law, it’ll be the last time that happens in North Carolina.
The three-day tax break – which started this morning and continues through Sunday – costs the state millions of dollars in revenue each year, about $13.6 million in 2012, according to the Department of Revenue. So it was eliminated, along with 47 other tax breaks and loopholes, as part of the tax bill recently signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.
The Lenoir Downtown Farmers Market will offer produce, meat and other local food and goods Wednesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 912 West Ave. The outdoors farmers market will continue to run in the nearby parking lot at 1001 Harper Ave. on Saturdays.
Caldwell County’s unemployment rate essentially held steady at 10.3 percent (Caldwell’s rate for May was revised down to 10.2 percent from the original 10.3 percent), the N.C. Department of Commerce reported.
But across most of the state, unemployment rose, and Caldwell's rate now is lower than those in neighboring Burke and Catawba counties: Catawba’s rate for June was 10.8 percent, and Burke’s was 10.4.
You have to go back to 2002, when the local economy was about as strong as it had been in modern times, to find a time when Caldwell's unemployment rate was lower than those neighbors, said Deborah Murray, director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.
For years, Dale Hodges would head with his friend Perry Drum down to Woodbury Lumber on Valway Road, where they would settle into their favorite leather chairs, turn on the TV and talk about the world's troubles. Occasionaly Luke Woodbury III, between customers, would sit in.
"We're going to have to find something else to do now," Hodges, 83, said.
On Wednesday, after 67 years of selling homebuilding supplies to folks in Caldwell and Watauga counties, the company will close its doors for good.
The Purple Ribbon Thrift Store celebrates 9th anniversary
Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. wins awards for communications
Exela Pharma Sciences' expansion in Lenoir, which includes renovating the former Broyhill Furniture Industries headquarters on U.S. 321, is getting a boost from a $1 million, zero-interest loan.
Five-hundred homeowners in this region have received assistance in paying mortgage-related costs through the Mortgage Payment Program, initiated in October 2010.
Local officials and residents met at the Western Piedmont Council of Government headquarters in Hickory Tuesday to celebrate the milestone. Most of the 500 helped in the four-county Western Piedmont region have been Caldwell County residents.
Southern States Cooperative is closing their Lenoir and Boone locations, along with 15 others.
Last year set some high bars in business recruitment for Caldwell County, but at the midway point 2013 is shaping up as a stronger year, members of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission were told at a meeting Tuesday.
The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to schedule five public hearings for Aug. 5 on incentives for five companies planning to hire up to a combined 310 people.
The biggest of the projects belongs to Greer Laboratories, which is expanding its manufacturing and looking for a site for a new corporate headquarters, though it is not certain that Caldwell County will get the headquarters.
A lot of trash passes through a giant warehouse at the corner of Morganton Boulevard and Virginia Street in Lenoir.
Every day trucks pull up and unload piles of used cardboard, Styrofoam packaging, drink bottles, upholstery fabric, and many other kinds of trash. Each kind has its own pile in the warehouse, and alongside the pile men feed the trash into machines that chew it up and pack it down, the better for shipping it off to be reused.
This has been Earthway Global’s steadily growing work since it was founded in late 2011: taking waste that industries in this region otherwise would be sending to landfills and getting that material to companies that will recycle it.
Right now, it’s not much more than an empty room.
But in a few weeks, a now-empty room at the McCreary Cancer Center in Lenoir will house a CT scan machine that will be only the county’s second such machine – and will be its most advanced.
The $500,000 machine is a large-bore, 16-slice CT scanner – a more advanced technology than the county’s only other CT scan machine, at Caldwell Memorial Hospital. It will allow for greater precision and more detailed imaging.
Shew has been around horses for as long as he can remember. For the last 25 years, he has been offering a horse-drawn hearse for hire at funerals, and a horse-drawn carriage for the bereaved family, when it’s requested.
Shew’s hearse is, in a word, grand. The exterior is glossy black with panels of glass allowing people to see where the coffin rides. Taupe curtains swoop in elegantly, framing the glass. As he drives, Shew and his horses alike are dressed in traditional 19th-century garb, matching the era that the hearse was designed to mimic.
Caldwell County’s unemployment rate edged up slightly in May, but by less than in most other counties in the state.
The county’s unemployment rate was 10.3 percent, up from 10 percent in April, the N.C. Department of Commerce reported Tuesday.
May also traditionally is a time of year that more people enter the workforce, including new college graduates and students on summer break, so it is common for the unemployment rate to move higher.
In some ways, the story of what is going on at Furniture Brands International's facilities in Caldwell County sounds like old times.
The number of jobs is growing again, particularly in upholstery-related work, and with the economy on the mend production is in full swing. The factories are bustling, and whether to halt for holidays is the bigger question now.
But there are significant differences between now and 30 years ago.
If you’re trying to figure out where to get started turning an old car into a hot rod, you might do a lot worse than asking someone with a large trophy and eight plaques won from NASCAR for his car-building.
Gary Oliver has those awards lined up on the counter inside his shop, Oliver’s Hi-Performance Parts, off Fairview Drive in Lenoir. If that doesn’t convince you of his knowledge, in the garage end of his shop he’s building a new chassis for a local man’s 1932 Ford. Alongside it, he’s turning a 1957 Studebaker into a hot rod for himself and a friend.
The unchanging brick façade of Fairfield Chair Co., which has been run by the founding Beall family for 92 years, can give passersby the impression that nothing much about the company has changed over the decades.
But inside you would find computers integrated into design and production, more air-conditioned work areas, and processes geared toward filling custom orders under modern customer expectations.
“We’re growing and anticipate we’ll continue to do so,” vice president Alvin Daughtridge said.
“We’re a company with a long history and a bright future.”
Customers of Blue Ridge Electrict Membership Corp. may see rate increases over the next five years as a result of closing older coal plants and replacing them with new natural gas and coal plants for environmental compliance, CEO Doug Johnson said at the cooperative's annual meeting Thursday evening in Lenoir.
The costs will be incurred by Duke Energy, the wholesale supplier of energy to Blue Ridge Electric, and passed on through rates.
"If Duke's estimates are accurate, it will cause us to have annual retail rate increases of 2 to 3 percent," he said.
Data and computer services company CentriLogic announced late Thursday that it has acquired Dacentec Inc., a Lenoir data center operator and hosting services provider.
Dacentec operates a 23,000-square-foot data center in Lenoir and offers a number of data services. CentriLogic will take on Dacentec Inc.’s staff, its existing office space and current customer contracts.
The Economic Development Commissionl has managed to hold down its expenses this year, and with the fiscal year winding down has spent less than 70 percent of the $373,000 that was in its budget. Currently there’s about $113,000 left.
Members of the EDC board voted Tuesday to have Executive Director Deborah Murray ask the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners to put about $50,000 into the EDC’s underutilized site program
Sattler Corp., which came to Hudson in 2011, is expanding, and a trucking and logistics firm is on the verge of publicly announcing it is moving to Hudson, county officials said Monday night.
Caldwell County also is in the running to land a technology firm now based in Florida that is looking for a new headquarters site, Deborah Murray, executive director of the county Economic Development Commission, told the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners.
Caldwell County’s unemployment rate continued to fall in April, dropping more than half a percentage point from the previous month and hitting the lowest rate the county has seen since fall of 2008.
The drop continues a pattern of month-over-month declines of at least half a percentage point since the beginning of the year, the N.C. Labor and Economic Analysis Division reported on Wednesday. More importantly, it continues a much longer pattern of declines from the previous year. The unemployment rate in April 2012 was 10.9 percent. Year-to-year declines are considered a more reliable indicator of trends than month-to-month changes.
The last time Caldwell’s unemployment rate was under 10 percent was October 2008, when it stood at 8.8 percent.
The hospital’s charter makes Caldwell Memorial Hospital a nonprofit, so it seeks to have a marginally positive revenue stream to be reinvested back into the hospital. CMH had always been independent and fiercely protective of that status, but hospital officials began to consider whether it could remain independent and still keep that positive revenue stream.
“With a new era of health care, it’s making it more difficult for a free-standing hospital to survive, said Parker Williamson, chairman of the CMH Board of Directors. “We made that determination while we were a strong hospital. The trends of consolidation had been very clear five to six years ago.”
A downtown Lenoir bookstore is preparing to close at the end of the month, after years of struggling to generate enough sales to stay open as the only independent book store in the city.
The planned closure May 25 of Venti’s Casa Bookstore and Cafe, on whose storefront windows going-out-of-business signs appeared Tuesday, is the result of a combination of factors, including the departures a family member and friend who helped run the business.
A bill in the N.C. Senate to overhaul the state’s economic development structure would abolish state funding for existing regional economic development organizations, which has raised apprehension among local and regional officials.
Senate Bill 127 did not have input from local economic development officials before it suddenly was introduced in the Senate Commerce Committee late Thursday, said Dana Clark, the chairman of the Lenoir Tourism Development Authority and chairman of the hospitality and tourism management program at Appalachian State University.
“There’s real frustration on our part because not a lot of communication is going on,” he said at a meeting Tuesday morning of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commision. “We don’t know what they are doing, and they don’t seem to be asking our opinion.”