News: Local News

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."


Mar. 16, 2014 @ 08:16 AM

Bracelets for Grayson

Thalia Rodriguez wiped away tears as she thought about her friend Grayson Walker who just three weeks ago was joking around with friends in the hallways of West Caldwell High but now is at Levine Children's Hospital struggling to talk, eat and walk. She decided to make bracelets to honor her friend, and to raise money to help the family with medical expenses.


Mar. 15, 2014 @ 10:37 AM

Fred Yount Jr. of Granite Falls called 'high-level' drug deal

A months-long investigation by the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office ended in the arrest Wednesday of Fred Lee Yount of Granite Falls, whom the sheriff's office is accusing of being a high-level drug dealer.


Mar. 15, 2014 @ 10:18 AM

Granite Tape built from scratch

In 1983, Barton Potter was running a drywall company, Potter Drywall, when his tape and plastic supplier proposed an idea: If someone built a machine to re-roll tape, they could make a lot of money.

Potter, skilled in engineering and mechanical work, decided to build one – going into business with the tape supplier until the beginning of 1984, when he bought him out and founded Granite Tape Company. The company takes in large rolls of manufactured tape, some as big as 68 inches, and re-rolls them into smaller rolls ready to be sold in a retail store.


Mar. 14, 2014 @ 08:16 AM

Boy struck by car improving

The 15-year-old West Caldwell High student struck by a car Feb. 24 remains in the hospital but is out of danger and continuing to improve, his family says.

The N.C. Highway Patrol is not going to charge the driver who hit Grayson Walker -- and the boy's family is upset about that, grandmother Roberta Brookshire said.


Mar. 14, 2014 @ 07:37 AM

Restrooms back on track for Sawmills' Veterans Park

After about a year of discussion, the Sawmills Town Council has made a tentative decision to add restrooms in Veterans Park.


Mar. 13, 2014 @ 05:52 PM

Burke County killings have impact in Caldwell County

The violent deaths of four people in western Burke County is resonating particularly strongly for law enforcement officers in Caldwell County.


Mar. 13, 2014 @ 02:46 PM

Businesses shuffle in downtown Lenoir

The first few months of 2014 are bringing with them a few changes to the business landscape in downtown Lenoir.

At Carolina Mist Winery, the main wine rack sits empty, and on the counter is a single bottle of white wine – the last available for purchase from Lenoir’s sole winery.


Mar. 13, 2014 @ 11:14 AM

Students consider how to save community in severe drought

Gamewell Middle School eighth-graders had to come up with a plan to save the community from drying up and blowing away.

Science teacher Zach Morrow posed a scenario for his students, currently studying the hydrology chapter in their science books: Lake Rhodhiss has 100 days left of water, so what should people do?


Mar. 13, 2014 @ 11:12 AM

Shifts on N.C. teacher pay continue

Teachers in North Carolina are still among the lowest-paid in the country, according to the National Education Association. Average salaries for N.C. teachers in 2012-13 were ranked 46th in the nation, as they were for 2011-12, the NEA announced Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Caldwell County Schools are beginning to implement a new state law that requires school systems to offer $500-per-year bonuses to 25 percent of teachers in the district in exchange for the teachers accepting a four-year contract and give up their tenure status.


Mar. 13, 2014 @ 11:35 AM

Christmas can't be contained

Christmas kept busting out.

It happened again Wednesday, and led a Caldwell County Animal Control officer on a chase.


Mar. 13, 2014 @ 08:05 AM

Greer Labs changes plan for HQ

Though Greer Laboratories announced in September it would make the former Expo building off Nuway Circle into its new corporate headquarters, the company determined later that it needed more space, and it is seeking a new headquarters site.


Mar. 12, 2014 @ 08:38 AM

Shakeup at gastro-pub may bring another brewery

Lenoir might gain a second brewery after a parting of the ways at a Granite Falls restaurant.


Mar. 12, 2014 @ 06:00 AM

Caldwell Education Foundation awards grants to five teachers

Five Caldwell County School teachers were awarded Community Education Grants at the Education Foundation’s March meeting.

Carolyn Melton, co-vice president of grants and scholarships, said the total amount of grant money given at Tuesday’s gathering equaled $8,728.70.


Mar. 11, 2014 @ 05:05 PM

Caldwell schools seek options to promote third-graders

Students in the Caldwell County Schools will have three more chances to prove their reading proficiency by the end of third grade, if the state approves a request made Monday by the county board of education.

Under the 2012 Read to Achieve law, implemented this year, students have to prove their proficiency in reading to be promoted to the fourth grade. They prove it by making a “3” or higher on end-of-grade tests or meeting one of several exemptions set by the state by the end of third grade.

The school board is asking the state to approve three alternative assessments.