Community Owned. Local News. Burke County, NC.
A series: Homelessness in Burke County

Public Safety ramping up ordinance, trespassing enforcement

This homeless camp is on private property. The folks who live here have the landowner's permission and keep their campsite neat and clean.
There’s a tiny homeless campsite in Morganton that is kept immaculately clean. It’s on private land, and the folks who live there have the landowner’s permission. They don’t panhandle or …

Disturbing encounters

Ron Michaux holds up an enlargement of a photo he took on West Union Street that shows an area where homeless people have been staying. He said the streams of liquid on the right are urine.
For the average citizen, encounters with homeless people can run the gamut from completely innocuous to downright frightening.That’s certainly the case in downtown Morganton, where the unsheltered …
Last winter wasn’t an especially harsh one in western North Carolina, but there were a few bitterly cold nights right before Christmas when temperatures dropped into the low teens and single digits …
Evicted. Foreclosed. Kicked out. There are many reasons why more than 100 children in Burke County Public Schools don’t have permanent homes.A lack of housing available in the county, the rising …

Crimes by homeless people on the rise, says Whisnant to City Council

Whisnant

Crimes and nuisance behavior among Morganton’s homeless community have become increasingly problematic in recent weeks, Public Safety Director Jason Whisnant said in a report to the City Council at …

Letter to the Editor

Homeless deserve to be treated as individuals

TO THE EDITOR: I was uncertain how to address the recent story headlines in The Paper’s Saturday, Aug. 12 edition: “Crimes by Homeless People on the Rise.” Besides the fear-invoking title of …

Lowman confident he'll soon be off the streets

Lowman

Things aren’t going especially well for Paul Lowman right now, but he’s convinced they won’t stay that way for long. Lowman, 39 and a Morganton native, is currently homeless. He’s quick to lay …

Life on the streets difficult for "Dun"

“Dun” is dressed appropriately enough for living outdoors full-time, with several layers of clothing, including a gray hooded sweatshirt and a warm jacket.An impossible tangle of shoulder-length, …

Staying housed a problem for Laws

Steve Laws has been homeless intermittently for more than a decade.

Steve Laws is what you’d call a veteran of being homeless. He’s seen a lot of hard times in the 11 years during which he has been intermittently unsheltered.Currently in the fourth such stretch, …

'Wolf' talks of being homeless, living on the street

Eric Estes, known locally as Wolf, sits with his dog, Holly, on the steps at the Burke Museum of History on a recent afternoon. Wolf is one of Morganton's unsheltered residents.

His name is Eric Estes, but if you want to find him on the streets of Morganton – which double as his home – you have to ask for Wolf. Wolf and his constant companion, a beautiful, healthy, …

Turbyfill battling addiction, homelessness

Caroline Turbyfill says she became homeless because of her addiction to drugs.

The causes for homelessness on a national level are myriad, but Caroline Turbyfill knows exactly why she’s on the streets.“Basically, I’m out here because I put myself out here with bad …

Continued coverage: Plight of unsheltered Burke residents

No easy answers: City of Morganton struggling with increasing number of incidents, encampments

Eric Estes, known locally as Wolf, sits with his dog, Holly, on the steps at the Burke Museum of History on a recent afternoon. Wolf is one of Morganton's unsheltered residents.
Sally Sandy wasn’t exactly scared, but she was more than a little wary. Morganton’s City Manager was the first employee to arrive at City Hall on a recent weekday morning. Following …

The Paper provides a 'closer look' at Burke issues

One of the great things about being a weekly newspaper is the extra time it gives our news staff to go beyond surface reporting and take a closer look at issues that are having a great impact on our community.

This series is about the fentanyl epidemic in Burke County.

Our views

Trying to make sense of the homeless issue facing Morganton takes a toll

<center>Marty Queen</center>

In the 1985 Rodney Dangerfield comedy “Back to School,” there’s a scene in which Rodney’s character has to pass an intense, hours-long, oral exam in order to remain in college.When he’s …

Where do we go from here?

You don’t have to look hard to gather opinions about the homeless situation currently facing Morganton and countless other municipalities across the country.Finding a solution to the problem, …

City must combat homeless threat to downtown

Despite the assurances that politicians sometimes blithely offer, simple solutions do not exist for complex problems.And as anyone who has given the issue serious thought can testify, the problem …

There's nothing like a dog's love

Holly has adapted well to being an inside dog, according to her owner, Eric Estes.

It’s exceedingly rare to see Eric “Wolf” Estes without his faithful canine companion, a beautiful, lively, blue-gray-coated, Staffordshire terrier named Holly. Holly has stood by Estes, keeping him company throughout the dark times he spent addicted to methamphetamines, battling mental illness, and living on the streets …

Making a difference

Making St. Francis proud: Calvary Lutheran hosts Unsheltered Pet Clinic

Dr. Don Hemstreet (blue shirt) tends to a pet while other unsheltered folks wait for their turn to see the vet at the Unsheltered Pet Clinic. Calvary Lutheran Church, Burke United Christian Ministries, and Morganton Animal Clinic combined their efforts and plan to continue the clinics on a regular basis.
Francis of Assisi – the patron saint of animals – lived in the 1200s, but his spirit is still alive in Morganton. It was on full display recently at Calvary Lutheran Church. Volunteers from the …

Sunrise Rotary learns about homeless from groups working to provide shelter

Pastor Paul Carlson with the Calvary Baptist Church and Judy Brown with Mathew 25 Center are working together to provide shelter for the homeless in Burke County. They spoke with members of the …
WP also delivered blankets to the House of Refuge, where House Manager David MacInnes, left, and Assistant House Manager Todd Johnson, right, accepted the donation.

Table Rock student delivers warmth to shelters

WP Happoldt, a student at Table Rock Middle School, recently completed his 8th annual blanket drive for two Burke County shelters. This year, Happoldt collected 302 blankets and 250 pairs of socks, …
Laurie and Raymond King of Morganton have made it their mission to help the homeless and students in Burke County's public schools.
“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” Booker T. Washington If the famous Booker T. Washington quote is true, then Raymond and Laurie King are bound to be among the …
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Table Rock student aims to help homeless population stay warm

WP Happoldt, a student at Table Rock Middle Schools, collects blankets for the homeless each holiday season.

Twelve-year-old WP Happoldt learned a valuable life lesson early: those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.  WP, a seventh grader at Table Rock Middle School, is beginning his 8th annual Blankets for the Homeless drive...

Morganton's Emergency Shelter Network seeks volunteers

Shown above, from left, are Steve Collar, Kim Van Sickler, Ellen Settlemyer, Greg Cairns, Patti Arasi, and Lou Arasi.

Morganton's Emergency Shelter Network is still accepting volunteers to help out with Warming Nights this winter – evenings when the temperature is expected to fall to 15 degrees or below. Pastor …