News: Local News

Aug. 25, 2014 @ 08:03 PM

Granite Falls man convicted of raping teen relative

A trembling Phillip Matthew Bright wiped his eyes with the collar of his orange jail suit as he was sentenced to 38 to 51 years in prison for repeatedly raping a teenage relative over a three-year period.

Aug. 25, 2014 @ 07:13 PM

Rail crossing on N.C. 18 to become walking path

The dilapidated railroad crossing over Morganton Boulevard between Virginia Street and Harrisburg Drive in Lenoir will be removed and turned into a pedestrian crossing.

Aug. 25, 2014 @ 09:41 AM

Expiration of tax credits could slow local development

Historic properties in Lenoir like the Center Theater and the old Blue Bell factory on College Avenue may be facing tougher paths to rehabilitation, as special tax credits that help property owners are set to expire at the end of the year.

If the state’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits are allowed to expire at the end of this year as planned, it could put a damper on the development of historic buildings all over North Carolina, including Lenoir and Caldwell County.

Aug. 24, 2014 @ 06:02 PM

Man drowns on Lake Rhodhiss

A 40-year-old man drowned just before 4 a.m. Sunday on Lake Rhodhiss after either slipping or jumping off some rocks above the Rhodhiss dam, said Capt. B.J. Fore of the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office.

Aug. 23, 2014 @ 07:41 PM

Crime report for Aug. 24, 2014

Aug. 22, 2014 @ 07:44 PM

6 from Caldwell get college scholarships from electric company

Six Caldwell County students received scholarships from Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp.

Aug. 22, 2014 @ 02:43 PM

Raw sewage leaks from broken pipe in Lenoir

A broken pipe released about 1,700 gallons of untreated sewage into a creek off Harper Avenue on Thursday, the City of Lenoir announced Friday.

Aug. 22, 2014 @ 08:14 AM

Club-wielding men ransack disabled man's house

The three strokes 55-year-old Johnny Staley endured left him mostly wheelchair-bound, so when two men carrying clubs and wearing hoodies and gloves forced their way into his Starcross Road home Wednesday night, he feared for his life.

Aug. 22, 2014 @ 08:10 AM

Mother and son a constant presence at soup kitchen

Seventy-five-year-old Dorothy "Dot" Ruppard adjusts her hair net, slips on a white apron that ties in the front and wriggles her hands into the thin latex gloves. It is 11 a.m. on a Tuesday, and the line into the Lenoir Soup Kitchen stretches out the door and beyond. Soon after, her son, 43-year-old Marshall Ruppard, a Lenoir master police officer, strides in to keep order.

Aug. 22, 2014 @ 07:17 AM

Livestock in Sawmills town limits now legal

Sawmills residents who own livestock within the town limits are no longer automatically breaking the law.

An amendment to town ordinances approved Tuesday by the Sawmills Town Council specifies livestock that are allowed, including horses, cows, llamas, alpacas, goats, sheep, mules, donkeys and swine.

Aug. 21, 2014 @ 11:17 AM

College ban on handguns eased slightly

Weapons will now be allowed on Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute’s campus, but still not in college buildings.

The college’s board of trustees updated the weapons policy Wednesday to allow concealed-handgun permit holders to keep handguns “in a closed compartment or container within the individual’s locked vehicle.”

Aug. 21, 2014 @ 11:14 AM

Park’s slope sliding away, could pose risk

The side of the large hill near the veterans monument at Sawmills Veterans Memorial Park is slowly sliding off the hill and could soon pose a danger of a landslide, a town engineering consultant said.

The slope failure is causing a “sloughing effect,” according to Benji Thomas, engineer.

Aug. 21, 2014 @ 08:16 AM

DA's sexual advances were 'welcomed,' document says

A lawsuit alleging that the District Attorney Jay Gaither sexually harassed an employee should be dismissed because the employee welcomed Gaither’s sexual advances, according to one of the arguments in Gaither’s defense by the N.C. Attorney General’s Office.

Aug. 21, 2014 @ 08:10 AM

Fire damages Granite Falls house

A fire that may have been intentionally set caused serious damage to a vacant house on Archer Street in Granite Falls early Wednesday morning, fire officials said.

Aug. 21, 2014 @ 08:06 AM

Sawmills mayor indicted

William Robert "Bob" Gibbs III, mayor of Sawmills, turned himself in on Monday after he was indicted on 12 felony counts of forgery and uttering.

Aug. 20, 2014 @ 09:56 AM

Google brings state’s first Googlefest to Lenoir

Google will be taking over the J. E. Broyhill Civic Center in a few weeks to host a free conference, teaching area educators, emergency responders, seniors, nonprofits and small business owners the ins and outs of several Google products.

Experts will be on hand to teach the newest and best Google has to offer, from the wearable computer Google Glass, to Google apps, Gmail, Google Drive and more.

Aug. 20, 2014 @ 09:33 AM

LINK Center to be revitalized for new programs

The underused LINK Center, a city recreation facility in Lenoir's West End community, is being brought back to life thanks to the work of Upward Movement Ministries, a nonprofit organization looking to start youth programs at the center.

Aug. 19, 2014 @ 05:03 PM


Thirteen-year-old Acacia Scott gets some public practice in Monday afternoon on the Hogwaller Stage in Lenoir. Scott plays with the band "Columbus Agenda."

Aug. 19, 2014 @ 11:37 AM

Committee planning special activities

Granite Falls’ Veterans Memorial Monument is well underway and on schedule for the 11:11 a.m. Nov. 11 dedication, officials say.

Councilman Jim Mackie, vice chairman of the Granite Falls Veterans Memorial Committee, said the committee has planned some special activities for the dedication ceremony, but he was tight-lipped about what they are as to not spoil the surprise.

Aug. 19, 2014 @ 12:23 PM

County OKs retail study, recruitment

Caldwell County officials hope retail development will get a shot in the arm from hiring a firm to both study the local market and recruit potential retailers to the area.

Local officials have been working for years to make this study a reality, allocating funds in the two prior county budgets, but never finding an arrangement that worked until now, said Deborah Murray, executive director of the county’s Economic Development Commission.

Aug. 19, 2014 @ 08:13 AM

Bridge on U.S. 321-A to open today

A new bridge on U.S. 321-A in Hudson spanning Little Gunpowder Creek is expected to be open for traffic sometime today, the Department of Transportation says.

Aug. 18, 2014 @ 07:18 PM

Crime report for Aug. 19, 2014

Aug. 18, 2014 @ 04:20 PM

Smoky Mountain Center cuts costs with more personal care

In the last two years, Smoky Mountain LME/MCO, a mental health service provider in Western North Carolina, has reduced its cost of services by more than $20 million while increasing its number of providers and the number of patients it treats, agency officials said Friday.

For the past two years, Smoky Mountain has been able to operate under a waiver that allows the organization to bypass certain federal Medicaid requirements.

Aug. 18, 2014 @ 01:52 PM

New principal believes in importance of arts

Faculty and students at West Lenoir Elementary School are excited to gain a new principal, Amy Lowman.

On Thursday night, faculty and staff welcomed students and parents to an outdoor treat of ice cream and free books for the children. It was a comfortable temperature to enjoy mingling with West Lenoir Elementary members, parents and students.

Aug. 18, 2014 @ 01:47 PM

Race cars soar at Speed Camp

Boys ran alongside a blue toy racetrack set up in the back of a classroom at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, cheering and whooping boisterously as their homemade wooden cars barreled down the track.