Skip to main content
A1 A1

Hibriten’s Garrett Smarigian (21), shown here in action earlier this season, scored 15 points to lead the Panthers against Freedom on Wednesday, but the Patriots came away with a big win in the Northwestern Conference opener for both teams.

Slaying suspect found, arrested in Morganton
  • Updated

LENOIR — Information provided to law enforcement led neighboring Burke County authorities to arrest a second suspect wanted for Tuesday’s (Jan. 11) slaying of a Lenoir man.

According to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, the agency received a tip that Isaac McKinley Dixon, 22, of Lenoir, might be staying at a residence in Morganton. Around 6 p.m Wednesday (Jan. 12) Burke County deputies took Dixon into custody from 3815 Grover Beaver Street. Dixon has since been jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center without bond.

Dixon has been charged with the homicide of Jose David Martinez Aguilera, 25, of Lenoir. Dixon is the suspected trigger man in Aguilera’s fatal shooting. He had been on the run since the crime.

Earlier Wednesday, investigators arrested Zachary Nathaniel Kersey, 22, of Lenoir, at the Red Roof Inn located 206 Blowing Rock Blvd. He has been charged with accessory after the fact of the slaying. He was jailed under a $750,000 secured bond.

Tuesday evening deputies responded to the intersection of Old North and Collettsville roads where they found Aguilera dead from gunshot wounds inside a car. Investigators determined the shooting occurred at a residence at 2274 Quail Ridge Court, Lenoir.

CCS opens enrollment for student transfers
  • Updated

LENOIR — Open enrollment for student transfers begins Saturday and runs through the remainder of January and February.

Caldwell County Schools provides an open enrollment period for student transfers from Jan. 15 through Feb. 28, which allows students to transfer from their home school district to a school of their choice if space is available and students meet certain criteria.

“We’ve improved the overall effectiveness of student assignments,” said Superintendent Dr. Donald Phipps. “This process allows families to fully discuss their options and plan now for next school year. It also gives the school district ample time to plan for the number of students attending each school in the fall.”

Students currently on an approved transfer or those who would like to transfer are required to complete an application at If they miss the deadline, then parents must show severe, extenuating circumstances to justify a reason for changing their child’s school.

All schools are open and have space for student transfers except the following: Davenport A+ Elementary, Lower Creek Elementary, Granite Falls Middle, Valmead Elementary, West Lenoir Elementary and William Lenoir Middle. These schools are closed to student transfers.

The online application, more detailed information and policies regarding student transfers are posted on the school district website at

Candidate filing resumes Feb. 24
  • Updated

LENOIR — Candidate filing for North Carolina’s 2022 primary elections, as well as rescheduled municipal elections, will resume 8 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 24th and will end at noon on Friday, March 4th, under an order issued this week by the Superior Court of Wake County.

The order by a three-judge panel upheld state legislative and congressional district maps being challenged in redistricting-related lawsuits.

“State Board of Elections staff will immediately begin preparing for the continuation of the candidate filing period, including securing a location to ensure the health and safety of staff and candidates,” said Karen Brinson Bell, State Board executive director. “We will provide all details to the public as soon as possible at and through an announcement distributed to the media.”

Meanwhile, a separate court order on Tuesday, Jan. 11th ordered the suspension of the consideration of any challenges to candidates for U.S. House, N.C. House, and N.C. Senate, until final resolution of the litigation in the redistricting cases, North Carolina League of Conservation Voters v. Hall. Such a challenge was filed against a congressional candidate on Monday, Jan. 10th, and the State Board was planning to appoint a panel to hear that challenge during a meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 12th, as required by state law. In accordance with the court’s order, the State Board canceled its meeting, and consideration of that pending challenge is postponed until resolution of the redistricting cases.

County and municipal candidate filing will also resume on Feb. 24th and will take place at the county board of elections offices.

The original filing period began noon on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, but was suspended by court order at the end of the day Wednesday, Dec. 8.

According to Chad Barnes, director of elections, the filing interruption did not cause any confusion, but he does not yet know how it will impact the number of candidates who file.

“The folks that have filed, nothing’s changed, they don’t have to come and refile,” he said.

In Caldwell County, 10 candidates have filed their names for election.

Sarah G. Koenig and Kam Harmon filed for seats on the Caldwell County Board of Education. Four seats are up for election on the school board.

Alan C. Jones filed for reelection for the sheriff’s office.

Randel Scot King filed for the Superior Clerk of Court seat, which is currently held by Angela Kidd. Kidd is seeking reelection.

Michael LaBrose and Donald Potter both filed for reelection for seats on the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners.

Destin Hall filed for reelection for the NC House of Representatives District 87.

Randy Church also filed for the Caldwell County Clerk of Superior Court seat.

Gonzalo Vasquez filed for the Caldwell County Commissioners seat.

Right now, there remains one seat for the N.C. Senate 45th and 47th districts, one seat for the U.S. Congressional District 11, and one seat for the U.S. Senate.

The Caldwell County Board of Elections office is located at 120 Hospital Avenue in Lenoir. The office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Residents can contact the Board of Elections by calling 828-757-1342 or by visiting

Forecasts call for inclement weather
  • Updated

LENOIR — The National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, and surrounding counties. According to the National Weather Service (NWS) Greenville-Spartanburg office, the “winter storm may arrive from the west over the weekend, with the greatest impacts Saturday night through Sunday.

Accumulations of snow, sleet, and freezing rain will be possible Saturday night through Sunday evening.” Precipitation is expected to be heavy at times.

Local county and city agencies are making preparations for the impending weather. Emergency response vehicles are prepared and personnel are ready to respond.

“All of the town vehicles, including those at the police, fire, street, and electric departments and at the water and wastewater treatment facilities, have been fueled up and are ready to go,“ said Jerry Church, town manager at Granite Falls.

As county, city, and town officials are preparing to respond and keep people safe, they are also asking for your help.

“If it does start snowing, we ask all residents to please move vehicles off the streets if at all possible,” said Jared Wright, Lenoir’s public works director. “It’s much more difficult and sometimes impossible for snow plows to pass if vehicles are parked on the roads.”

In the event of power outages, power companies are also making preparations.

“Blue Ridge Energy is on high alert and ready to respond should the winter storm predicted this weekend lead to power outages in the cooperative’s service area of Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, and portions of Avery, Wilkes and Alexander counties.” said Renee R. Whitener, director of public relations, Blue Ridge Energy.

Residents can report outages to the following numbers.

Duke Energy: 800-769-3766 (800-POWERON)

Blue Ridge Energy Customers: Report outages to 800-448-2383.

Report downed power lines at 800-451-5474 or call 911.