News: Local News

Mar. 24, 2014 @ 01:29 PM

Running in the halls

It’s Saturday, and the halls of South Caldwell High School are quiet.

That is, until a shout of “No running in the halls!” echoes around the corners of shining lockers and squeaky floors as a blur of neon-clad runners whiz by.


Mar. 23, 2014 @ 08:29 AM

Man speaks of shooting neighbor

A cold rain was falling, and the light was fading fast that Feb. 7 as Ralph Barker, then 71, walked out with his cane to retrieve a 20-gauge shotgun from his garage so he could take it back to his house to clean it.

He was in the driveway he had shared for eight years with his neighbor and nemesis, Danny Marlin Bowman, when he saw his neighbor's pickup barreling down Kistler Drive toward him.


Mar. 21, 2014 @ 05:08 PM

Caldwell County unemployment resists trend

Caldwell County saw a tiny uptick in its unemployment rate for January, but a state official called it an expected seasonal change – and most counties saw a larger seasonal increase.

More importantly, the number of people who reported being employed went up by more than 500.


Mar. 21, 2014 @ 08:37 AM

Rhodhiss water costs drowning town budget

Rhodhiss town leaders already have voted to increase water and sewer rates by 30 percent, but rates might need to go up a lot more than that.

A 30 percent increase only places a Band-Aid on a gaping wound, Town Clerk Diane Eckard said, because an increase totalling about 60 percent is needed for the revenue to break even with water and sewer expenses.


Mar. 21, 2014 @ 08:26 AM

Hit and run suspect indicted

Five months after a man riding a motorcycle on Wilkesboro Boulevard was nearly killed by driver who hit him from behind and sped away, a Caldwell County grand jury indicted Lenoir woman on a felony charge of hit and run.


Mar. 21, 2014 @ 08:23 AM

Driver indicted in wreck that killed friend

A Caldwell County grand jury indicted a Granite Falls woman Monday on a felony charge of involuntary manslaughter Wednesday in the wreck last September that killed a friend who was a passenger in the car.


Mar. 21, 2014 @ 05:06 PM

These little piggies went to Hudson

The halls nearby reeked of formaldehyde. In the classrooms, groups of four gathered around a tray full of juices and dead pig on its back, its legs splayed out to expose its belly. Volunteers from Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, including Mark Bodnar and Kelsey Toliver, coached the students through the assignment.


Mar. 20, 2014 @ 07:06 PM

Foothills Regional Airport charts future

Leaders at the Foothills Regional Airport should work to market the airport better to the public and potential businesses – the airport’s main problem, participants at a long-term planning meeting said Thursday.

Representatives from local governments, businesses and community colleges met with airport leaders in Morganton to discuss the future of the airport, its challenges and its opportunities. The meeting was the first step in creating a master airport layout plan.


Mar. 20, 2014 @ 08:38 AM

Lenoir officials discuss new fee

Lenoir may start assessing residents and businesses with a fee to help pay for the cost of handling storm water runoff.

Establishing a storm water utility, giving city employees raises and updating water and sewer facilities were among topics discussed at the first planning meeting with the Lenoir City Council, department heads and city staff for the fiscal 2014-15 budget.


Mar. 20, 2014 @ 08:34 AM

Sawmills man hits second six-figure jackpot in two years

Tony Summerlin stops every day at the Northside Superette on Pinewood Road in Granite Falls, which is on his way to work from his home in Sawmills, to scratch an itch -- his itch to buy scratch-off lottery tickets.


Mar. 20, 2014 @ 06:00 AM

Welcome to the forest of talking trees

Tuttle Educational State Forest, located in southwest Caldwell County, is home to many hands-on learning activities and programs, including several amphitheatres, the Forestry Center and more talking exhibits. Every pathway in the 300-acre forest strives to educate on soil, water, wildlife and forestry.


Mar. 20, 2014 @ 06:00 AM

CCC&TI construction on schedule despite weather

Construction projects for Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute are moving along nicely, the college's board of trustees was told Wednesday.


Mar. 19, 2014 @ 04:02 PM

Lenoir agrees to revised deal to buy transload facility

Lenoir agreed Tuesday night to purchase the controversial transload facility in partnership the county, but the deal nearly failed.

After a nearly hour-long closed session at the end of their meeting Tuesday night, members of the Lenoir City Council voted 4-3 to approve the deal.


Mar. 19, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

A man, a community, a century

Amos Rutherford has held many different titles in his lifetime – farmer, soldier, mechanic – but on Saturday, he earned a new one: centenarian.

March 15 was Rutherford’s 100th birthday, a warm day made warmer by the presence of friends and family gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Lenoir to celebrate the life of the man they call Pops. And from his days with the Army to his days working at Don Campbell’s Exxon in Lenoir, Amos has had no shortage of friends.


Mar. 19, 2014 @ 08:45 AM

Rhodhiss water, sewer rates may jump 30 percent

Water and sewer rates in Rhodhiss may go up by 30 percent starting July 1, by about $18 a month for the average customer, because the town has been “living beyond our means” and the town's savings will be “depleted in two years if we continue on this route.”


Mar. 19, 2014 @ 06:13 AM

A life built on stories

In her room at Gateway Nursing Center in Lenoir, Ethel Crump is passing the last days of her 99th year, full of memories still.

Crump, who will turn 100 on Saturday, spent much of her life in Caldwell County. As a child, she lived in Mortimer. As far as her family knows, she may be the last person surviving who remembers living in Mortimer before it was effectively wiped out by flooding in 1940. As an adult she lived in Lower Creek and the Globe, and until her move to the nursing home she lived on Staircase Mountain with her late husband, Carl.

At nearly 100, it’s harder for Crump to tell her stories. Her family remembers them coming constantly in earlier years, a rain of stories, trickling down through their shared histories. She built her life on them.


Mar. 19, 2014 @ 06:00 AM

Jamming with Junior Appalachian Musicians

The Junior Appalachian Musicians program offers students a low-cost opportunity to study old-time fiddle, old-time guitar, blues guitar, songwriting and old-time mandolin. The program began in the fall of 2011 through a Traditional Arts Program for Students grant from the North Carolina Arts Council for after-school programs that bring local traditional arts to students, Program Director Adrienne Roellgen said.


Mar. 18, 2014 @ 09:39 AM

Students school Lenoir city leaders on art project

Hunched over a ceramic tile, 9-year-old Ashley Moreira watched with apparent concern Monday as Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons dipped his brush into light blue paint, then swept it across the tile.

“You’ve got to make it perfect,” Ashley told him.

Gibbons and Councilmen T.J. Rohr and Ben Willis joined West Lenoir Elementary School students to paint tiles for the Caldwell Community Gardens wall mural. Each sat down with one or more students to create his piece of artwork.


Mar. 18, 2014 @ 08:47 AM

Caldwell County tax collections beating projections

Through February, Caldwell County has collected $31.1 million in property taxes, $100,000 more than was expected for all of fiscal 2013-14, which runs through June, Finance Officer Tony Helton told the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners. Last year at this point, the county had collected $29.8 million.


Mar. 18, 2014 @ 08:19 AM

Graffiti sprayed on building, street signs

Jerlene Michaux is trying to sell the old storage building she and her brother Durant Lipford own. But someoe with blue and black spray paint decided to use the side of the structure on Finley Avenue as an artist's canvas.


Mar. 18, 2014 @ 08:18 AM

Granite Falls to seek $3 million in loans for water, sewer projects

Granite Falls will apply for three loans totalling more than $3 million for water and sewer projects from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The loans would need to be paid back over the course of 20 years with a 2.01 percent annual interest rate, compared to a 3.77 percent interest rate for a 20-year conventional bank loan, and would have annual payments about $32,000 a year less than the higher-interest conventional bank loan


Mar. 18, 2014 @ 08:09 AM

Lenoir man accused of sex with girl, 14

A Lenoir man was arrested Friday and accused of having sex with a 14-year-old Lincoln County girl in March 2012, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said.


Mar. 18, 2014 @ 08:07 AM

Man hospitalized after trying to save dog from fire

A couple coming home from church Sunday found their house on fire and tried to save their dog.

The dog died, and Justin Winebarger had to be taken to Caldwell Memorial Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.


Mar. 16, 2014 @ 09:47 AM

Cattlemen find fellowship in association

Philip Wike was raised in farming cattle. His father and his grandfather before him raised cattle, and today the family owns and rents farms in Caldwell County, raising cattle, chickens, corn and more.

With farming, each day is a new experience, and he gets to work outdoors. But, he said, the most rewarding is getting to see things grow up, seeing the fruits of his labor, working for himself and being his own person.

For Wike, the newly elected president of the Caldwell County Cattlemen’s Association, there’s no other way to live.


Mar. 16, 2014 @ 08:18 AM

3 accused of targeting children for sex

The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office arrested three men in recent weeks and accused them of using social media to try to have sex with minors.

Detective Shelly Hartley said her office fields complaints every day from parents saying their children are being sent inappropriate photos or receiving sexual texts.

"They're coming from all social media sites," Hartley said. "We're getting overwhelmed. We really have no choice but to be pro-active in these kinds of cases."