When construction starts on the new Hibriten district middle school early next year, renovations and additions to Granite Falls Middle will become the Caldwell County Schools’ top priority for construction, district officials said at several public meetings last week.
Educators and their supporters waved signs, wore red scarves and gloves, booed, cheered and lit candles at a rally Monday evening in downtown Lenoir, hosted by the local branch of the North Carolina Association of Educators.
The signs and speeches on Monday both illustrated continuing tension between public educators and GOP leadership in Raleigh over issues such as teacher tenure, merit-based pay bonuses, school choice and the effectiveness of teacher assistants in the classroom.
It was Nov. 23, but in between the street barricades that separated the rest of the city from the Lenoir Downtown Christmas Festival, it looked, smelled and tasted like Dec. 25.
Between those barricades, whipped cream sank into Styrofoam mugs of hot chocolate. Moms counted out five-dollar bills, handing them over in exchange for wreaths and ornaments and paintings on wood.
Kids perched on chairs, getting their faces covered in sticky paint or dictating the terms of their balloon animals.
There was some utility involved for the kids running at Granite Falls, of course. They were running to raise money for their school. But the looks on their faces gave them away, whether they were running full-speed or just ambling along the track: They were also just having fun.
Hands raised in the air.
Shoulders tilted against the gray November air.
Palms smacking against their principals’ in a high-five.
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.
Lee Sigmon remembers the day four years ago he first set foot inside the First Church of God, situated atop a steep hill off Broadway Street on the outskirts of Lenoir. His future wife, Mary, had been encouraging Sigmon, a confirmed Lutheran, to join the church where she had been a lifelong member. He had heard about Pastor Venoy Pearson, but had never seen him in action.
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.
Compared to this time last year, spring-semester enrollment at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute is down by 703 students, vice president of student services Dena Holman told the college’s board of trustees Thursday.
In mid-November 2012, 3,099 students had registered for the 2013 spring semester. At the same point this year, 2,396 students had registered for spring 2014.
The new building under construction at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute's transportation and public safety campus in Hudson is 60 percent complete and may open by mid-January, building and grounds committee chairman Tom Thuss told the college’s board of trustees Thursday.
Also 60 percent complete is a $1.58 million facility on the college's Watauga County campus that will house the that campus’s continuing education program.
A man who already was facing two drug charges but was out of jail on bond was arrested again Wednesday and accused of buying more drugs.
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.
It was not hard to see the joy of the holiday season at Larry Smith’s Christmas tree lot on Morganton Boulevard Thursday morning as Smith set up on the same corner for the 34th year in a row.
By 9 a.m. Thursday, a fire was going, a string of lights lit and Fraser firs stood in rows.
The only thing left to do was inflate the giant snowman.
Local officials say there is no more backlog of people waiting weeks for food stamp benefits, but that's not what people at local crisis assistance agencies hear.
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.
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.
The U.S. Forest Service reported Thursday a person who may have information on the cause of the Table Rock fire is being sought.
According to Deborah Walker, spokesperson, a photo was taken on the morning of Nov. 11, the day before the fire was reported, by an unidentified man near the Table Rock picnic area. The photo was enhanced, and shows a white Dodge pickup truck in the background. Authorities do not necessarily believe the person in the photo started the fire, she said.
Meanwhile, light winds, increased humidity and sparse brush for fuel has limited the growth of the fire that started Nov. 12 near Table Rock in Linville Gorge.
The fire was still at just under 2,500 acres. Burnout operations Wednesday were successful in removing most of the potential fuel in a 100-acre block between the fire, Chimney Branch to the south and the Linville River to the west.
Firefighters spent Thursday monitoring the fire to make certain it does not expand south of Chimney Branch, Walker said. However, a strong cold front expected in the area Saturday will bring windy conditions and much lower humidity levels through Sunday.
A Lenoir man was arrested Tuesday after investigators said he tried to burn a methamphetamine-making operation in his backyard.
Some neighbors of the proposed middle school next to Hibriten High School are worried about traffic hazards the school will cause, and that held up Lenoir City Council approval of some permits for the school property Tuesday night.
Caldwell County Schools officials were seeking a rezoning, conditional use permit and flood plain development permit for construction of the school, planned between Taylorsville Road and Wilkesboro Boulevard adjacent to Hibriten High School. But only the rezoning request was approved, and a decision on the conditional use permit and flood plain development permit were postponed to the city’s Committee of the Whole meeting next Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
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.
Lenoir back yards are now for the birds.
The Lenoir City Council narrowly adopted an amendment to its code of ordinances Monday night to allow residents to apply for a permit to house as many as four hens in the back yard if they are confined at least 50 feet from houses. The city previously allowed residents to keep chickens in a confined area like a pen or shed at least 200 feet from any residential structure, a distance that eliminated many yards from consideration because not many are that large.
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.
The situation with the wildfire in Linville Gorge did not change much from Monday to Tuesday.
The Town of Sawmills is easing up on rules requiring property owners to make the use of old buildings comply with the town's zoning codes.
Previously, the owner of a building that existed before the codes were adopted didn't have to comply with the zoning unless it remained vacant more than 120 days or the building was damaged.
Under a change that the Sawmills Town Council adopted Tuesday night, in both cases an owner would have a year to find new tenants or fix the building, and meeting that deadline would mean the owner could retain the non-conforming use of the building.
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.