News: Local News

Oct. 16, 2014 @ 06:43 AM

Student for a day

I braced myself as a pie tin mounded over with fluffy Cool Whip inched toward my face. Principal Craig Styron, his own face already covered in Cool Whip, grinned maniacally as he held the mound near my nose. He asked me if I was ready. I squeezed my eyes shut and pulled in a long breath.


Oct. 16, 2014 @ 06:20 AM

CCC&TI recognizes former trustee members

Two former Board of Trustees members at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute were recognized at Wednesday’s meeting for their years of service.

Jimmy Hemphill was presented with a plaque by Dr. Ken Boham, president of CCC&TI, that recognized his four years of service on the board.


Oct. 15, 2014 @ 09:34 AM

Ebola unlikely here, but precautions in place

Officials with Caldwell Memorial Hospital and the Caldwell County Health Department say they are making sure the county is ready in the unlikely event of an Ebola case showing up here.

“(We) haven’t seen any indication that there is an outbreak in the state let alone in the county,” said Kim Edmisten, public relations director at the hospital, but added, “We want to be ready no matter what kind of illness” shows up in the county.


Oct. 15, 2014 @ 08:10 AM

Woman opts for her own lawyer

Wade Alan Pittman, 60, and his wife, Anita Wade Pittman, 55, came to court Tuesday prepared to begin their trial on charges that they pocketed more than $35,000 that someone gave them for land and a mobile home.

But Anita Pittman had a last-minute change of heart about using the same lawyer as her husband.


Oct. 15, 2014 @ 07:14 AM

Chamber showcases everything 'Made in Caldwell'

Socks, large metal trash bins, violins, shopping carts and custom fly-fishing rods all have one thing in common: They’re made in Caldwell County.

Those items are among the wide array of products that are on display today through Nov. 15 at the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce for its “Made in Caldwell" exhibit.


Oct. 15, 2014 @ 06:11 AM

Gamewell woman creates cakes that speak for themselves

Pamela Tayner sprinkled cornstarch across the massive dining room table in her kitchen in Gamewell, preparing to roll out the cake fondant.

“This is where it can get dirty,” Tayner said.


Oct. 15, 2014 @ 06:04 AM

School board candidates say we need TAs

The News-Topic sent each of the candidates for the Caldwell County Board of Education a set of questions on education issues. We have been publishing highlights of their answers, and this is the final set. Candidates are listed by last name in alphabetical order.

Question: Should funding for teacher assistants be restored? How so?


Oct. 15, 2014 @ 06:00 AM

Cajah's Mountain to discuss hiring town manager

Cajah’s Mountain is still no closer to hiring a permanent town manager, but town council members hope to correct that on Thursday.


Oct. 14, 2014 @ 02:13 PM

School board candidates want steps to retain teachers

The News-Topic sent each of the candidates for the Caldwell County Board of Education a set of questions on education issues. We are publishing highlights of their answers. Candidates are listed by last name in alphabetical order.

Question: What is your stance on teacher pay? What should the state and local roles be concerning teacher pay?


Oct. 14, 2014 @ 02:10 PM

Caldwell County school board candidates rely on experience

The News-Topic presented each of the candidates for the Caldwell County Board of Education with a set of questions about education issues. Highlights of their answers will be published over the coming days. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order of their last name.

What is the major issue you wish to address if you are elected to the school board?


Oct. 14, 2014 @ 08:22 AM

Lenoir officer charged in wreck

A Lenoir police officer has been charged with failure to reduce speed in a wreck that happened Friday afternoon while he was on his way to another wreck.


Oct. 14, 2014 @ 08:13 AM

Caldwell's first same-sex marriage license issued

Wendy Goins and her partner have been together for 13 years but have had no legal rights as a couple. On Monday, they became the first same-sex partners to apply for a marriage license in Caldwell County.


Oct. 13, 2014 @ 10:40 AM

UPS delivers pot to Dudley Shoals man

A Dudley Shoals man is in jail after authorities say he received 10 pounds of marijuana from United Parcel Service last month.


Oct. 13, 2014 @ 04:18 PM

Gamewell wants 1958 team recognized

The Gamewell Town Council has backed a resident's efforts to get a 1958 Gamewell High School football team recognized by state high school athletics officials for its achievement.


Oct. 12, 2014 @ 08:29 AM

Disbelief greets embezzlement tale

Some of those who know Hazel Hayes say they could scarcely believe the name was correct when they learned that she has been accused of embezzling well over $800,000 from the company where she had worked for 45 years.


Oct. 12, 2014 @ 07:52 AM

Rain can't dampen spirits at Wilson Creek Festival of Colors

Heavy rains Friday night and more rain Saturday morning may have reduced attendance at the fourth annual Wilson Creek Festival of Colors, but they couldn’t dampen the spirits of those who made it.

The rain also did nothing to dim the pungent shades of yellows, reds and greens that lined the creek and dotted the hills around the Wilson Creek Visitors Center.


Oct. 12, 2014 @ 07:50 AM

32nd Molasses Festival keeps tradition alive

For more than three decades, fall at Sims Country Bar-B-Que has meant cane-cutting, mashing, juicing, boiling and jarring.

The thick smell that wafts over the hills as the large vats bubble and heave is enough to make your stomach rumble and your mouth water, and for the Sims family, it’s a tradition that draws nearly 2,000 visitors to their farm each year.


Oct. 10, 2014 @ 08:12 AM

Kwanzaa shelter's funding cut

State funding for the Kwanzaa Family Inn, a shelter for homeless women and children, has been cut nearly in half for the fiscal year 2014-15 from what it was the previous year.


Oct. 10, 2014 @ 06:29 PM

'Feel the burn' at Gamewell Middle

Before class at Gamewell Middle School, students can choose either to eat breakfast in their homeroom or go to the cafeteria for devotion, a religious service. The devotions leader talked about how if you make a mistake that you need only to ask for forgiveness from God thanks to his Son’s sacrifice on the cross. I was surprised by this open talk in a public school about Christianity.


Oct. 09, 2014 @ 09:57 AM

Hometown, house inspire ‘Laid to Rest’

In a new book, “Laid to Rest,” a funeral home director in Lenoir strikes up a relationship with a pastor, to help him cope with the death of a young girl.

Though the story is fiction, certain recognizable houses, streets and businesses play their parts. All stood out in the memory of the author, Koko Nervelli.


Oct. 09, 2014 @ 08:30 AM

Greer Labs sues ex-executive for $840,000

On Sept. 9, Greer Laboratories hosted a retirement party for Hazel Hayes, who had worked for the company nearly her entire adult life -- since Sept. 1, 1969 -- and was leaving after nine years as assistant controller, a high-ranking financial officer, one of only two people trusted to pay the bills.

Within a matter of days, company officials' view of Hayes' tenure began to change, and now Hayes stands accused in a civil lawsuit of stealing close to $1 million -- $839,878 that was known as of the filing, though the investigation of company records is not complete, plus an unknown amount on several checks for which Hayes is accused of destroying the records


Oct. 09, 2014 @ 08:26 AM

Lawsuit against DA adds new complaints

After a former employee sued him for sexual harassment in June, District Attorney Jay Gaither tried to get her fired from her current job and told reporters false and defamatory things, according to a newly amended version of the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.


Oct. 09, 2014 @ 08:13 AM

Zahra Baker memorial desecrated ... again

Repeatedly since 2010, the makeshift memorial near the spot where some of Zahra Baker's skeletal remains were found off Christie Road has been vandalized, and each time Jake Icenhour fixes it back up.


Oct. 09, 2014 @ 06:15 AM

Doctor spreads word on detecting skin cancer

A few months ago a group of local hairdressers visisted Horizon Surgical Specialists to learn from Caldwell County's only dermatologist how to detect skin cancer, including that the first signs include a bump on the skin that will not heal or may bleed.


Oct. 09, 2014 @ 06:14 AM

Farming educational seeds for students

“Ms. Lindley, what’s that smell?” said Jasmine Vines, 9, standing in mud and hay.

By the end of School on the Farm Day, she had a better idea.

Fourth-graders from Whitley, West Lenoir, Dudley Shoals and Valmead elementary schools spent Wednesday at MKM Farms near Lenoir as part of National 4-H Club Week.