News: Local News

Jul. 01, 2014 @ 08:13 AM

Lenoir puts spotlight on musical heritage

By late summer, local residents should see tangible evidence of Lenoir's efforts to capitalize on its musical heritage: a historical marker to tell visitors what happened here.

Doc Watson, Etta Baker and Pop Ferguson, all greats in traditional music, have one thing in common – a deep connection with Lenoir.

Jun. 30, 2014 @ 05:20 PM

Exela purchases land on Morganton Boulevard

Lenoir-based pharmaceutical company Exela Pharma Sciences recently bought two adjoining properties on Morganton Boulevard, a total of 9.48 acres, for just over $1 million.

Jun. 30, 2014 @ 02:36 PM

Lenoir's downtown Wi-Fi down for upgrades

The City of Lenoir downtown Wi-Fi is down today and tomorrow for upgrades, according to Lenoir Communications and Resource Director Kaye Reynolds.

The upgrades are being paid for by Google, which gave the city just under $100,000 for updates including a separate internet fiber solely for the wireless service, a new wireless controller and replacement of the 13 access points across the downtown district.

Jun. 30, 2014 @ 09:25 AM

Amateur Radio Club competes in 2014 Field Day

Hudson’s Redwood Park was much more than a gathering space Saturday, and will be into this afternoon, alive with the sounds of radio static, the quick, intermittent beeping of Morse code, and precise radio call signs sounding from the pavilion and reaching around the globe.

Jun. 29, 2014 @ 08:13 AM

Text messages from district attorney could have been faked

District Attorney Jay Gaither has raised the possibility that some of the inflammatory text messages cited in a sexual harassment lawsuit against him could have been fabricated.

That is entirely possible and "very simple to do," said Larry Daniel, digital forensic examiner and cellular analyst with Raleigh-based Guardian Digital Forensics. "You can create an entire string of text messages. You can Google how to do it."

Jun. 29, 2014 @ 06:27 AM

Town employees hurt by health insurance costs

The Town of Hudson’s 2014-15 budget will increase sanitation fees, have town employees help pay for their health insurance and complete the 10-year park improvement plan, Town Manager Rebecca Bentley said.

The budget, which was unanimously approved on June 17, has total revenue and expenditures at just over $2.5 million. The property tax rate was not increased, but sanitation fee went from $5 to $7.50 a month.

Jun. 29, 2014 @ 06:26 AM

Beekeepers know the buzz

There's a reason beekeeper suits are white, as a photographer in a black shirt learned when he approached Gary Jones’s beehives last week to snap a photo.

As the photographer inched closer, one of the bees got caught in the fine white wisps of hair on his head. The photographer quickly brushed him off, and the bee charged -- right at the photographer’s nose.

Jun. 27, 2014 @ 08:35 AM

Two called 'large-scale' meth dealers

Two Caldwell County men were accused of having nearly a pound of crystal methamphetamine in Ashe County Monday evening.

Jun. 27, 2014 @ 08:11 AM

Lawyers say Whisnant can't go to trial

A man accused of bludgeoning to death his girlfriend can't face the death penalty, a judge ruled Thursday, and his lawyers now say he doesn't have the mental capacity to stand trial.

Jun. 27, 2014 @ 08:11 AM

SUV sought in hit-and-run

A dark-green SUV struck a moped Tuesday evening and seriously injured one of two people riding it, but the SUV's driver never stopped, the N.C. Highway Patrol said.

Jun. 27, 2014 @ 08:46 AM

District Attorney Jay Gaither accused of sexual harassment

District Attorney James C. Gaither is accused in a civil suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court of sexually harassing a young assistant district attorney over a three-month period in 2013.

Gaither said late Thursday afternoon that the woman, Whitney Nicole Shaffer of Hendersonville, was fired for sleeping with a local defense attorney and is trying to retaliate against him.

Jun. 26, 2014 @ 08:20 AM

Sammy Sturgill did not come for fight

Relatives of Sammy William Sturgill say he didn't just show up at Bobby Dean Sparks' house on Bradford Street -- he was asked to come, several times, in recent days.

Jun. 25, 2014 @ 08:10 AM

Family homeless, dog killed

Twice on Monday, Charles Barrett thought he had extinguished a fire that flared up between a bedroom and the kitchen inside his family's mobile home off Windsong Circle. But the fire flared up a third time about 9 p.m.

Jun. 26, 2014 @ 09:27 AM

Dispute over woman behind killing, family says

Sammy William Sturgill died early Tuesday at the home of the man who recently married Sturgill's ex-girlfriend while Sturgill was in jail.

Lenoir police haven't released many details about what they think happened, but family members of Bobby Dean Sparks, 62, of 1609 Bradford St., who is charged with first-degree murder in Sturgill's death, say they think the marriage of Sparks to Teresa Lynn Hall, 41, was what brought Sturgill to Sparks' house.

Jun. 25, 2014 @ 07:39 AM

WrapAround kids learn the importance of farming

“I’ve got cucumbers!” shrieked a young boy who is part of the Caldwell WrapAround program, holding his plastic bag of cucumbers high in the air as he streaked across the grass. He wasn't the only one among about 200 students visiting the Sawmills Farmers Market who were excited as they bustled from vendor to vendor to buy produce and crafts just like adults. They perused carrots, cumcumbers, squash, peaches and more, picking out the perfect ones to bring home for dinner.

Jun. 25, 2014 @ 06:48 AM

Cloudy 'Fun in the Sun' still a success

Young school children raced between the craft booths along the sidewalk at the Granite Falls branch of the Caldwell County Public Library under dark, foreboding clouds at Tuesday's "Fun in the Sun" event.

Jun. 24, 2014 @ 04:39 PM

City Council not on board with plan for crossroads

City leaders made their opinion on the state's proposed Smith's Crossroads replacement clear Tuesday: They don’t want it.

The proposal, called a “diverging diamond” interchange, would ease traffic congestion on U.S. 321 but would displace more than 20 businesses along the U.S. 321 corridor, from Rite Aid and Burger King to Mayflower Seafood and Bojangle’s, and on the north side of Wilkesboro Boulevard almost to ALDI.

Jun. 24, 2014 @ 08:47 AM

Accused killer Michael Whisnant shouldn't be executed, lawyers say

Prosecutors should not be allowed to pursue the death penalty for Michael Joseph Whisnant, a Lenoir man accused of beating his girlfriend to death, because he is intellectually disabled, the man's lawyers argued Monday in Caldwell Superior Court.

Jun. 24, 2014 @ 07:30 AM

Former bank building gets 'facelift'

A large building that formerly was a Bank of Granite between the post office and Granite Falls Middle School off of Main Street used to be a big, plain rectangle of brownish-tan brick. The parking lot was full of fading yellow lines. The building's interior was as ragged as the outside, with torn-up flooring.

Jun. 22, 2014 @ 08:08 AM

Lenoir deploys new weapon against blight

The job of keeping up with ramshackle housing, zoning violations and nuisance reports kept burning out Lenoir's code enforcement officers.

Last year, the police and planning departments received approval to split the former code enforcement officer into two positions with separate duties. The police added a position for a nuisance abatement investigator to handle such things as delapidated buildings, overgrown lots and junk cars.

Jun. 22, 2014 @ 07:19 AM

Hospice officials say an hour of your time makes difference

Imagine being unable to leave your bed or your home. It’s not your fault. You can’t help growing older or becoming sick. Every day is the same. Except when your hospice volunteer comes to visit. He or she makes you lunch, reads your favorite book and tells you about everything that is going on in the community. The hours he or she gives help you feel better, energetic and loved.

Jun. 22, 2014 @ 06:12 AM

Ethan Crump to kick Lenoir athletics into high gear

Ethan Crump likes to get people active. He likes to encourage kids and their parents alike to get out on the basketball court, baseball field or soccer pitch, helping them fight obesity, stay active and keep healthy.

Crump, 25, is the new athletic programs supervisor with Lenoir Parks and Recreation, a newly created position that oversees all the department's sports programming.

Jun. 22, 2014 @ 01:58 AM

Local briefs for June 22, 2014

Jun. 22, 2014 @ 01:01 AM

Public records for June 22, 2014

Jun. 21, 2014 @ 09:09 PM

Signs of rebounding economy found in Caldwell County permits

Through May 31, 764 building permits had been issued for new construction valued at more than $40 million, and the number of permits issued so far in June is up compared to last year, said Sherri Marshall of the county permitting office.

In all of 2013, 1,993 building permits were issued for new construction valued at just under $60.2 million, and in 2012 there were 2,084 permits for construction worth a little more than $48.5 million.