Gaston & Catawba

Around the Region

Catawba County

Catawba County has chosen a new Social Services director to replace the retiring Bobby Boyd, director for the past 30 years. John Eller IV, currently Social Services director in Cabarrus County, will take the post after Boyd's Nov. 1 retirement.

Catawba's Social Services department has a staff of 407 and a $42.7 million budget.

Eller, a 32-year-old West Jefferson native, also has worked in social services departments in Mecklenburg, Swain and Ashe counties. Hannah Mitchell

Interstate 40

Improvements are underway to Interstate 40 between Hickory and Statesville, but don't expect them to be finished quickly.

N.C. Department of Transportation official Reuben Chandler said recently that contracts are signed to repave a 27-mile stretch , but he said the work isn't scheduled to be done before 2010.

The $28 million repaving project officially began in December. But unlike the Interstate 77 repaving from Mooresville to Statesville – which also began then and is scheduled to finish by year's end – the I-40 work is still a long way off. Chandler said repatching on I-40 is being done now, but full repaving won't happen until next summer.

The I-40 stretch is almost twice as long as the I-77 stretch, he said, creating more prep work, and it is also much more complicated.

“The big headline is, yes it is coming. People just have to be a little patient.” Kevin Cary


The publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books has chosen an essay by Hickory writer Nancy Geiger for the series' next title: “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Empty Nesters.” Geiger's story, “The Stress of a Mess,” was first published in a column she began writing three years ago when her daughter went away to college.

The book should be in stores in early October.

Dianne Whitacre Straley

Mount Holly

Mount Holly's first Autumn on Main Festival is Oct. 18.

Main Street will be transformed into a pedestrian mall with visual and performing artists, fare from regional growers and wineries and Main Street restaurants.

Organized by the Mount Holly Community Development Foundation, the festival runs from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.

The regular farmers market will be held from 8 a.m. until noon. From 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., artists will exhibit and sell photography, ceramics, painting, woodworking and fiber arts.

There also will be storytelling, drama and music, and children's activities are planned. Details: Joe Depriest