Issuu on Google+

2009-10 | IMAGESWILKES.COM ®

What’s s e Online Video tour of Wilkes’ newest winery

WILKES, NORTH CAROLINA

HITTING THE HIGH NOTES MerleFest brings cultural and economic benefits

WINNING LEGACY BEARS FRUIT Thriving local wine industry welcomes newest vineyard

Get a Brand New View History, recreation and more elevate area’s profile

SPONSORED BY THE WILKES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


®

imageswilkes.com THE DEFINITIVE RELOCATION RESOURCE

What’s Onl Online n

WILKES, NORTH CAROLINA SENIOR EDITOR LISA BATTLES COPY EDITOR JOYCE CARUTHERS ASSOCIATE EDITORS SUSAN CHAPPELL, JESSY YANCEY STAFF WRITERS CAROL COWAN, KEVIN LITWIN CONTRIBUTING WRITERS ANNE GILLEM, MELANIE HILL, JOE MORRIS DATA MANAGER CHANDRA BRADSHAW EXECUTIVE MEDIA MANAGER SUZI MCGRUDER SALES SUPPORT MANAGER CINDY HALL SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER BRIAN McCORD STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS JEFF ADKINS, TODD BENNETT, ANTONY BOSHIER, IAN CURCIO, J. KYLE KEENER PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT MANAGER ANNE WHITLOW CREATIVE DIRECTOR KEITH HARRIS ASSOCIATE PRODUCTION DIRECTOR CHRISTINA CARDEN PRODUCTION PROJECT MANAGERS MELISSA BRACEWELL, KATIE MIDDENDORF, JILL WYATT SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS LAURA GALLAGHER, KRIS SEXTON, CANDICE SWEET, VIKKI WILLIAMS LEAD DESIGNER ALISON HUNTER GRAPHIC DESIGN ERICA HINES, JESSICA MANNER, JANINE MARYLAND, AMY NELSON, MARCUS SNYDER WEB IMPLEMENTATION DIRECTOR ANDY HARTLEY

BENNY PARSONS RENDEZVOUS RIDGE Learn more about Wilkes County’s newest vineyard and winery, Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge, in this video interview with Terri Parsons. Watch this and other quick videos in the Interactive section.

WEB DESIGN DIRECTOR FRANCO SCARAMUZZA WEB PROJECT MANAGER YAMEL RUIZ WEB DESIGN CARL SCHULZ WEB PRODUCTION JENNIFER GRAVES COLOR IMAGING TECHNICIAN TWILA ALLEN AD TRAFFIC MARCIA MILLAR, PATRICIA MOISAN, RAVEN PETTY

CHAIRMAN GREG THURMAN PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER BOB SCHWARTZMAN EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT RAY LANGEN

RELOCATION Considering a move to this community? We can help. Use our Relocation Tools to discover tips, including how to make your move green, advice about moving pets and help with booking movers.

SR. V.P./CLIENT DEVELOPMENT JEFF HEEFNER SR. V.P./SALES CARLA H. THURMAN SR. V.P./OPERATIONS CASEY E. HESTER V.P./SALES HERB HARPER V.P./SALES TODD POTTER V.P./VISUAL CONTENT MARK FORESTER V.P./EDITORIAL DIRECTOR TEREE CARUTHERS V.P./CUSTOM PUBLISHING KIM NEWSOM MANAGING EDITOR/BUSINESS BILL McMEEKIN MANAGING EDITOR/COMMUNITY KIM MADLOM PRODUCTION DIRECTOR NATASHA LORENS PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR JEFFREY S. OTTO CONTROLLER CHRIS DUDLEY ACCOUNTING MORIAH DOMBY, DIANA GUZMAN, MARIA McFARLAND, LISA OWENS

PHOTOS

RECRUITING/TRAINING DIRECTOR SUZY SIMPSON DISTRIBUTION DIRECTOR GARY SMITH

We’ve added even more prize-winning photography to our online gallery. To see these spectacular photos, click on Photo Gallery.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DIRECTOR YANCEY TURTURICE IT SERVICE TECHNICIAN RYAN SWEENEY HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER PEGGY BLAKE SALES SUPPORT RACHAEL GOLDSBERRY SALES/MARKETING COORDINATOR RACHEL MATHEIS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY/SALES SUPPORT KRISTY DUNCAN OFFICE MANAGER SHELLY GRISSOM RECEPTIONIST LINDA BISHOP

FACTS & STATS

CU S TO M M AG A Z INE M ED I A

Go online to learn even more about: • Schools • Health care

LOCAL FLAVOR

• Utilities

Mozelle Howell’s fried pies always are a culinary hit at the annual Brushy Mountain Apple Festival. Get a taste of local flavor in our food section.

• Parks • Taxes

ABOUT THIS MAGAZINE Images gives readers a taste of what makes Wilkes tick – from business and education to sports, health care and the arts. “Find the good – and praise it.”

– Alex Haley (1921-1992), Journal Communications co-founder

Images Wilkes is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by e-mail at info@jnlcom.com. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Wilkes Chamber of Commerce 717 Main St. • North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 Phone: (336) 838-8662 • Fax: (336) 838-3728 www.wilkesnc.org and www.explorewilkes.com VISIT IMAGES WILKES ONLINE AT IMAGESWILKES.COM ©Copyright 2009 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member

Magazine Publishers of America

Member

Custom Publishing Council

Member Wilkes Chamber of Commerce

2

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

WILKES


2009-10 EDITION | VOLUME 10 ®

WILKES, NORTH CAROLINA

CO NTE NT S F E AT U R E S 10 GET A BRAND-NEW VIEW Community leaders are poised to elevate Wilkes’ profile, thanks to a recently developed marketing initiative.

WILKES BUSINESS 24 Winning Legacy Bears Fruit The thriving local wine industry recently welcomed a new vineyard and winery, Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge.

27 Chamber Report 28 Biz Briefs 30 Economic Profile

14 HITTING THE HIGH NOTES Annual MerleFest brings widespread cultural and economic benefits to Wilkes Community College and the entire region.

32 STUDENTS ENJOY LAP OF LUXURY Schools provide laptop computers and other technology to learners at all levels.

35 STAGING SUCCESSES WITH LOCAL HISTORY Wilkes Playmakers produces compelling outdoor dramas that recount the area’s earlier days.

D E PA R TM E NT S 5 Almanac: a colorful sampling of Wilkes culture

19 Portfolio: people, places and events that define Wilkes

31 Health & Wellness 33 Sports & Recreation 36 Community Profile: facts, stats and important numbers to know

All or part of this magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste.

ON THE COVER Wilkes Heritage Museum Photo by Ian Curcio

WILKES

PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

3


Guest Room Amenities: s(IGH SPEED)NTERNET INEVERYROOM s$RYSAUNAANDOUTDOORPOOL s/NTHE(OUSE®HOTBREAKFAST s#OFFEEMAKER HAIRDRYER IRONANDIRONINGBOARD s/N SITEEXERCISEFACILITY s"USINESSCENTER s-EETINGROOMS #OLLEGIATE$R 7ILKESBORO .#

s#OINLAUNDRYFACILITIES s#ABLE46

  s  fax Toll-free: (AMPTON

www.hamptoninn.com


Almanac

Honoring Deep Musical Roots The edged voices and echoing instruments of old-time, bluegrass and folk music came of age in the lonesome hollers and high hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In June 2008, Wilkes County opened the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame to honor that heritage. Old Wilkes Inc. and the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame committee joined forces in 2006 to create the new institution. The hall is housed on the second floor of the Wilkes Heritage Museum. To date, 16 people have been inducted. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and closed Sunday, Monday and major holidays.

A Heart for Art The Wilkes Art Gallery has grown exponentially in size and status since its humble beginnings in the parlor of local art patron, Annie Winkler. Founded in 1962, the gallery’s most dramatic move came in 2004 to the renovated, former North Wilkesboro post office building in the heart of downtown. Today, the 10,000-square-foot facility houses a variety of works in its 3,500 square feet of exhibition space and features an education center complete with a ceramics studio, multi-purpose classrooms and studios for painting and drawing. The educational theme doesn’t stop there: The gallery designates one month per school district to display works created by students in elementary through high school grade levels.

WILKES

Get Your Kicks Here Young people interested in soccer have everything they need in Wilkes County, thanks to a strong, volunteer-led organization, Wings of Wilkes Soccer Association, and a first-rate facility in River’s Edge Soccer Complex. Wings of Wilkes handles applications for approximately 700 youth players ranging in age from 3 to 14. All recreation games and home select games are played at River’s Edge, which is located near Wilkes Community College. The complex boasts more than 11 fields and has been host to numerous statewide tournaments.

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

5


YOUR FIRST CHOICE FOR QUALITY AUTOMOBILES CAR COMPANY, INC. “If Your Car Doesn’t Say Specialty Car Company, Inc., You Probably PAID TOO MUCH!�

“We Specialize in Hard to Get and Hard to Find Carsâ€? -&964r1034$)&r"6%*r.&3$&%&4ĹŹ#&/; #.8r$037&55&r)6..&3r"$63"r)0/%" 50:05"r$-"44*$4r$0--&$503$"34 Serving all customers with their financing needs, a full detail shop and an official N.C. State Inspection Station.

119 Old Brickyard Rd. North Wilkesboro, NC 28659  t   'BY  

Find your next automobile online at: www.specialtycarcompany.com


Almanac

Fast Facts Q Wilkes County welcomes families from around the world at MerleFest, the annual Americana music festival. Q Music fans enjoy the annual Carolina in the Fall festival, held each year at Shepherd Farm and featuring musical hosts the Kruger Brothers, along with many other talented artists.

First-Rate Training Grounds Relive railroad history at Black Cat Station, home of the Yadkin Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. The society runs a 1/87th scale model railroad at the site‚ named in honor of the Black Cat Sandwich Shop that was an earlier tenant of the building located at 800 Elizabeth St. in North Wilkesboro. The model railroad has five lines‚ each 135 feet in length‚ running around the main room. The chapter hosts open houses on the second Saturdays of each month and other occasions‚ such as birthday parties or when a railroad club from another town comes to call. The club has approximately 40 members‚ several of whom are retired and put in plenty of hours making sure the trains run on time.

LEEDing the Way for Visitors The North Carolina Department of Transportation is helping travelers through Wilkes County go green. In fall 2009, a new rest area and visitor center opens on U.S. Highway 421. Not only does it give motorists yet another reason to stop and see what Northwest North Carolina has to offer, it will gain attention on its own for its environmentally friendly building principles. The $10 million, solar-heated project is aiming to nab the highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, which awards the coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design recognition to sustainable building projects.

WILKES

Q The Yadkin River Greenway connects North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro with three miles of trails. Q Learn more about American Indian culture at the Fort Hamby Pow Wow, held each September and sponsored by the Blue Ridge Intertribal Pow Wow Association. Q Older adults in the community are served by a wide variety of activities and wellness programs offered by the Wilkes Senior Center in North Wilkesboro.

Fast Company A Wilkes County business is making its mark on the off-road racing industry. Powersport Grafx products are proudly displayed by competitive motorcycle riders around the world. Founded by Bart Hayes in early 2003, the North Wilkesboro company designs and manufactures custom motocross graphics and decals. Clients include KTM, Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki, as well as some world-champion riders and dealers.

Q Temperatures in different parts of Wilkes County sometimes vary by as much as 20 degrees, thanks to elevation changes due to its proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

7


8

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

WILKES


Almanac

They’ll Have You in Stitches Motorists on Highway 421 East will want to snuggle up in the scenery thanks to a recent project of the Wilkes County Quilters Guild and the Cultural Arts Council of Wilkes. More than a dozen colorful quilt paintings decorate barns along highways and byways as part of The Barn Quilt Trail. The paintings emulate quilt patterns culled from the area’s centuries-old quilting heritage and connect local history with arts and tourism. For those looking to see fine examples of actual quilts, the Wilkes County Quilters Guild hosts a major annual show, Wilkes Quilts, each September, Friday and Saturday after Labor Day.

Wilkes At A Glance POPULATION (2008 ESTIMATE) Wilkes County: 67,000 North Wilkesboro: 4,200 Wilkesboro: 3,200 Ronda: 600 LOCATION Wilkes County is in Western North Carolina, 45 miles west of Winston-Salem and 90 miles northwest of Charlotte. BEGINNINGS Wilkes County was officially established in 1778 and named for Englishman John Wilkes, an outspoken opponent of English loyalists during the Revolutionary War. The county seat of Wilkesboro – originally spelled Wilkesborough – was incorporated in 1847, and North Wilkesboro was incorporated in 1891. FOR MORE INFORMATION Wilkes Chamber of Commerce 717 Main St. P.O. Box 727 North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 Phone: (336) 838-8662 Fax: (336) 838-3728 www.wilkesnc.org

WILKES

VIRGINIA

Wilkes County

NORTH CAROLINA

UE BL

Y. KW P GE RID 21

WI LKES 77 18

Fairplains

Wilkesboro Moravian Falls Ferguson 18

Pleasant Hill Ronda

421 North Wilkesboro

16

What’s Online e Take a virtual tour of Wilkes, courtesy of our award-winning photographers, at imageswilkes.com.

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

9


10

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

WILKES


A Brand

New

View MARKETING INITIATIVE AIMS TO GROW TOURISM AND LURE NEW RESIDENTS

STORY BY JOE MORRIS

PHOTOS BY IAN CURCIO

W

WILKES

ilkes County is known for converting visitors to new residents, with many people only needing one experience with its scenic splendor and welcoming charm to make the decision to relocate. Now, leaders are poised to elevate the community’s profile to an even greater level and have a clear plan in hand, thanks to a collaborative effort that defined the area’s strengths. The Wilkes Chamber of Commerce launched the rebranding effort and enlisted the talents of business students from Appalachian State University and many others. The group set a goal of targeting the area’s strong points for tourism, then coming up with ways to better market those themes not just to visitors but residents and potential residents, as well. The group identified Wilkes’ six key

Far left: Wilkes Heritage Museum

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

11


A recent collaborative effort identified the area’s six key strengths that will be promoted to residents, potential newcomers and visitors alike. They are: Wine industry History and heritage Music Recreation NASCAR and its moonshining roots Destination weddings

strengths: a burgeoning wine industry; NASCAR and its moonshining roots; the community’s history and heritage; music; recreation; and destination weddings. Now, a marketing plan is being developed that will tie the themes together, as well as emphasize them separately, says Linda Cheek, president of the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce. “A tremendous amount of research has been completed to determine our tourism strengths,” Cheek says. “Now we must focus on those identified strengths and create a marketing plan. It is important to have community buy-in. The support of our local citizens will be essential for the tourism industry growth. As we shift from a manufacturer of textile and furniture, we must educate our community on the opportunities the tourism industry has to offer.” Cheek says the assistance of the Appalachian State students and faculty has been invaluable throughout the process. The students served multiple roles during data collection, as well as in the assessment of that information. For the university’s part, it was an opportunity to put classroom learning into a real-world setting and generate tangible results, says Dr. J. Dana Clark, associate professor of management in the university’s Walker College of Business. “I teach a class in destination marketing, and this let me take the students out into the university’s service area,” Clark says. “We have a very special relationship with Wilkes County, and their vision of redeveloping their travel and tourism industry had a lot of appeal. They are very proud and protective of their county, so we knew they’d feel a lot of ownership with what we came up with.” Through the branding initiative and subsequent strategic marketing plan, the students were able to join forces with the chamber and Jodi Frichner, director of the Wilkesboro Tourism Development Authority, to craft a long-term series of goals. Wilkes and members of the North Carolina High Country Host marketing association and the North Carolina Division of Tourism are currently considering opportunities to forge partnerships. “Everyone locally, regionally and statewide is looking at ways to partner and make the greatest impact with available marketing dollars,” Cheek says. “There will be a lot of opportunities, and it’s all to our advantage.”

Spectacular scenery is a major factor in making Wilkes a prime spot for weddings.

12

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

PHOTO COURTESY OF WWW.WILESPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

Wilkes’ Six Strengths

WILKES


WILKES

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

13


Hitting the

High Notes MERLEFEST BRINGS CULTURAL, ECONOMIC BENEFITS TO REGION

STORY BY CAROL COWAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY IAN CURCIO

E

very spring, hordes of musiclovers from around the country and the world pour into Wilkes County for MerleFest, one of the nation’s most highly acclaimed rootsmusic events. For four days in late April, the campus of Wilkes Community College echoes with the strains of banjos, guitars and high, lonesome harmonies as a line-up of established stars and up-and-coming young musicians, performing across genres that are dubbed “traditionalplus,” take their turns on more than a dozen stages. “B” Townes is the festival’s co-founder, as well as vice president of development for the college and executive director

Music fans flock to see top artists such as Marty Stuart, right, at the annual Merlefest.

14

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

WILKES


WILKES

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

15


of the Wilkes Community College Endowment Corp., the nonprofit that produces MerleFest. The festival started in 1988, when Townes was horticulture instructor at the college. Seeking to raise funds for a “garden for the senses” for the visually impaired, he approached legendary blind folk musician and area native Doc Watson about doing a benefit concert. Watson agreed to do the show in memory of his late son, renowned finger-picking guitarist Merle Watson. And the rest, as they say, is history. “It was supposed to be a one-shot deal,” Townes says. “But because one person had a camera on it and somebody else had a recorder on it, we came out with a tape and ended up selling it all over the world. The phones kept ringing with people wanting to know if we’d do it again.” Twenty-two MerleFests later, the festival has contributed more than $8 million to the college endowment, fund-

ing gardens, scholarships and capital improvements. The stunning Eddy Merle Watson Memorial Garden for the Senses symbolizes what MerleFest has done for WCC – and the entire area. “It’s gone beyond just a garden fundraiser,” Townes says. “It’s a fundraiser for the whole community.” In fact, more than 50 community groups receive direct donations from the festival in exchange for the massive volunteer effort that helps keep MerleFest running smoothly. “All of our food vendors are also affiliated with civic groups – everything from high school boosters to churches,” says Christie Hutchens, public information officer for WCC. “For a lot of our community organizations, this is their largest fundraising event of the year. It’s four days of nonstop action.” And with annual attendance between 70,000 and 80,000 people, the festival is a huge boon to the region’s economy. It

brought an estimated $14.7 million into the community in 2008 alone. The family-oriented, alcohol-free, ecofriendly festival also presents a perfect opportunity to showcase the region’s assets to visitors from around the globe. At an on-site information booth, The MerleFest Ambassadors – local, elected officials – do just that. “The MerleFest Ambassadors promote other things that are going on and encourage people to come back and experience the area beyond just these four days,” Hutchens says. Extensive workshops, outreach into the public schools, and promotion and preservation of the region’s Appalachian heritage further advance WCC’s threefold mission to have a cultural, educational and economic impact through MerleFest. “MerleFest is a significant economic engine in our community,” Townes says. “And it has spawned a whole awareness of and appreciation for this music.”

Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands performs at the 21st Annual Merlefest, a major musical event held on the campus of Wilkes Community College. Right: Merlefest attendees enjoy live musical performances in an outdoor setting.

16

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

WILKES


What’s Online e Visit www.imageswilkes.com to see video of the 21st annual Merlefest.

WILKES

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

17


Connecting with Wilkes has never been easier …

imageswilkes.com 1 2

3

1

SIMPLY SEARCH: In a hurry? Find the exact info you need quickly with our enhanced search capabilities.

4

2

SMOOTHER SURFING: Explore the site and interact with us more easily with our reorganized navigation bar.

3

JUST THE FACTS: Get a quick snapshot of the community with our greatly enriched Facts and Stats section.

5

4

WATCH AND SHARE: Experience first-hand views of the community in our video gallery, then share them with friends.

6 7

5

VIRTUAL VIEW: Flip through pages of the digital magazine, an enriched online version of the print publication.

6

8

MOVING MUSTHAVES: Visit our new Relocation Tools section for many useful tips and information to make your transition go smoothly.

7

MORE EYE CANDY: Check out our enhanced Photo Gallery for more stunning photos of the community.

8

OUTSIDERS WELCOME: Read about the best places to play in this community.

9

9

IN GOOD TASTE: Get the dish on local flavor from favorite restaurants, noted area products and farmers markets in our new Food section.


Portfolio

Lead portfolio head SUBHEAD SUBHEAD SUBHEAD SUBHEAD SUBHEAD SUBHEAD SUBHEAD SUBHEAD

P

PHOTOS BY IAN CURCIO

ort body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body Port body port body

Leonard Herring, former CEO and president of Lowe’s Companies Inc. and author of My Link in the Chain

Lowe’s and Behold HERRING IS AMONG GROUP OF FORMER EXECUTIVES DEDICATED TO PHILANTHROPY

M

any current and retired Lowe’s executives are known for giving back to the Wilkes County community, and Leonard Herring certainly makes that list. Herring, former CEO and president of Lowe’s Companies Inc., has authored a book entitled My Link in the Chain, with all proceeds going directly to the Wilkes Public Library. As of April 2009, a total of 366 books had been sold at $25 apiece, raising $9,150 for the library. “This is a generous undertaking by Mr. Herring – plus it’s an interesting book,” says Louise Humphrey, regional director of Appalachian Regional Libraries that oversees Wilkes Public Library. “He is a longtime Wilkes County WILKES

resident and has always supported the library, and this is another kind gesture in his continuing support.” Lowe’s has an important presence in Wilkes County with more than 1,700 employees here, and Herring is one of the company’s original executives. His book is a memoir that details the growth of Lowe’s, from a small hardware chain in western North Carolina to a Fortune 50 company. The book also chronicles the influence of Herring’s family on his life, beginning generations before his birth. Part of the plot describes Herring’s family in the colonial era of eastern North Carolina, then through the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. It continues with

Herring’s childhood in Green County, his college years at the University of North Carolina, and his family’s move to North Wilkesboro in 1955. “Sales began Dec. 11, 2008, with a book-signing session by Leonard accompanied by a celebratory reception at the Wilkes library,” Humphrey says. “That event saw more than 100 books sold and signed by Leonard, and sales have been pretty steady ever since.” Herring collaborated on the book effort with freelance writer Deni McIntyre, who wrote Lowe’s annual reports for more than 12 years. McIntyre and her husband, Will, a photographer, are owners of Loose End Press, which published the book. I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

19


ANTONY BOSHIER

Portfolio

The Chapel of Peace at Whippoorwill Academy and Village is a popular site for weddings.

Not-Lonesome Whippoorwill

T

here is a lot to see at Whippoorwill Academy and Village, all adding up to provide visitors to the site a better understanding of 19th century history. The interesting attraction in Ferguson is owned and operated by Edith Ferguson Carter, a history devotee who started the village by purchasing and then moving a number of abandoned historical buildings to her family farm many years ago. Even though its several old buildings make it a current-day attraction, Whippoorwill still remains a working family farm with cattle, three llamas and two farm dogs. The peaceful, scenic setting also has made it a popular 20

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

site for weddings, with many couples holding their nuptials in the Chapel of Peace. There is no admission fee to the village, and visitors take a self-guided walking tour through this small community of yesteryear. Among the numerous sites are a one-room schoolhouse, a replica of Daniel Boone’s cabin, the Tom Dooley Museum and the Smokehouse Art Gallery. There is also a blacksmith shop, country store and a building that once housed the Yadkin River Jail. Other interesting attractions include a country tavern and an 1800s weaving room.

The village is open every Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. as well as during the week by appointment. It is closed during the cold weather months of January through March. The community of Ferguson is located along N.C. Highway 268 between Wilkesboro and Lenoir. Whippoorwill Academy and Village also celebrates an annual Daniel Boone Day each May for families to enjoy music, arts and crafts, food, hayrides, cloggers and tours. In December, a Christmas open house is held with several activities scheduled, including an appearance by Santa Claus. WILKES


It’s All About the Apple of Her Pies M

ozelle Howell first learned how to make fried apple pies when she was 6 years old. Today, she is 81. The Moravian Falls resident has built up quite a reputation for herself because her pies are always a culinary hit at the annual Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, which occurs in downtown North Wilkesboro every first Saturday in October. She operates a booth fittingly called Mozelle Howell’s Fried Apple Pies, and sells her dessert delights for $2.50 apiece. “A customer can only eat but one pie at a time – one will fill you up,” Howell says. “I bake 20 boxes of pies that hold 100 apiece, and all 2,000 get sold at the festival. Unfortunately, then I must pay taxes on the money I earn.” Howell says she got really involved with pie making as a young lady, when a bunch of women in the community were asked to bake goods for another local festival that was about to take place in Wilkes County.

“Some of the ladies baked bread, some made cakes, and I volunteered to make my fried apple pies,” she says. “It’s my specialty and I’ve been baking many of them ever since.” She says the secret to her delicious pies is a certain apple she uses, which she wants to remain a secret. “I cook my apples until they’re done, and let them cool overnight. That’s one of the tricks that makes my pies taste so good – by waiting until the next day to start putting all of the ingredients

together,” she says. Those ingredients include sugar, spices, margarine, oil and shortening. “I also use Southern self-rising flour that is ideal for making the dough, and I also use milk – not water – in the dough-making process,” she says. “I place five pies on a cookie sheet and then lay five more the opposite way, then cook them. It takes me about a week to get ready for the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, but I still really enjoy it.”

Moravian Falls resident Mozelle Howell and her famous apple pies

WILKES

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

21


Portfolio

IAN CURCIO

Wilkes’ Aviation Sector Takes Flight I

-ON &RIAM PM (60 years and older)

WILKES SENIOR CENTER ‌ has something for everyone!

RECREATION  LEISURE  SERVICES  EDUCATION &ULLYEQUIPPEDEXERCISEFACILITY„1UILTINGSEWING„7OODWORKINGSHOP #OMPUTERCLASSES„!RTHRITISEXERCISEPROGRAM„$AYTRIPSANDMORE !!20INCOMETAXPREPARATION &AIRPLAINS3CHOOL2D„.ORTH7ILKESBORO .#   TEL„  FAX

22

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

f a local company’s mission deals with aviation, they would be wise to locate their operations near Wilkes County Airport. And in fact, several businesses have done just that. Three new businesses have located near the airfield in recent years, including DoveAir Inc. whose corporate headquarters is actually located in Asheville. DoveAir is a small business jet sales company that maintains an impressive inventory of its aircraft at Wilkes County Airport. Meanwhile, Smokey Mountain Avionics has also situated in the area to produce and install instrumentation and radios that pilots need for safe and successful flights. The company performs jobs both small and large, including the complete custom outfitting of a plane’s cockpit. The newest aviation-related company to situate near the airport is MX Aircraft, which now has a facility on Corporate Aviation Drive. The company builds sports, aerobatic and race planes, then tests the aircraft at the airport before selling them to customers who hail from throughout the United States and beyond. Wilkes County Airport is also home to the Wilkes Flying Club, which was formed in 2007 to educate and foster more interest in general aviation and f light safety. The club has several highly experienced, Federal Aviation Administration-certified flight instructors who occasionally offer periodic ground school and flight safety seminars through a partnership with Wilkes Community College. WCC students train at the airport in the club’s Cessna 172 plane. Wilkes County Airport itself is a general aviation facility and home to a number of corporate and personal aircraft, with a total of 36 planes based on the field – including six jets. The airport offers 24-hour weather service and an air traffic control operation that is open every day from dawn to dusk.

Workers construct a one-person aircraft at MX Aircraft, the newest aviation company in Wilkes.

WILKES


DVDs Marry History With Technology

of Northwest North Carolina Wilkes Family Branch & YMCA Express For more information, please call 838-3991 or visit us online at www.WilkesYMCA.org.

T

hanks to many people, the history of Wilkes County is now saved on DVDs, and there are more to come. In 2007, the Wilkes County Commission began to prepare for the county’s 230th anniversary that was coming the following year. One way commissioners decided to mark the occasion was to adopt the Save Our History DVD Project initiative, and things started to move forward. “A lot of our local history has been stored at the Wilkes Community College library thanks to contributions from people such as former North Carolina poet laureate James Larkin Pearson and local historian J.J. Anderson,” says Fay Byrd, director of the Wilkes Community College Learning Resources Center. “Because of our efforts in the DVD project, then-First Lady Laura Bush designated Wilkes County as a Preserve America community.” Byrd says a lot of people worked as a team to compile footage for the endeavor, and a number of companies and individuals contributed money toward the cause. As a result, the project now features a dozen DVDs that are – Stories by Kevin Litwin

WILKES

667-3171 www.wilkesheritage museum.com

out L ab L A “It’s FUN … the the ll!” Let S Ro E M I DT GOO

Available for parties and gatherings of all kinds. ga 838-1332

www.blueridgemusic halloffame.com

A party t iis nott a party t unless you decorate it with STREAMERS!

www.tiffanysplace.net

One Stop Party Shop! 838-1340 www.StreamersPartySupply.com

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

23


Winning

Legacy Bears Fruit

24

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

WILKES


Business

THRIVING LOCAL WINE INDUSTRY WELCOMES NEWEST VINEYARD

STORY BY ANNE GILLEM PHOTOGRAPHY BY IAN CURCIO

O

n the western North Carolina land where legendary NASCAR driver Benny Parsons was born and raised, his legacy endures at a vineyard bearing his name. Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge in Purlear is the newest wine operation in the area, but certainly not the only one. There are nearly three dozen wineries and vineyards within a 30-mile radius – and the industry is growing steadily here. Other area wineries include Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery, MenaRick Vineyard and Winery, both in Ronda;

McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks in Thurmond and Elkin Creek Vineyard in Elkin. Rendezvous Ridge opened in July 2007 as a vineyard, wine-tasting room and racing museum honoring Parsons, who died in January 2007 of lung cancer. His widow, Terri, completed their home on the property and oversees the business operation. “Benny had owned all this land up here for a lot of years. It had been in his family and handed down from generation to generation,” says Terri Parsons. “We had started getting calls from land

developers wanting to purchase the land.” Benny Parsons asked his good friend, Richard Childress of Richard Childress Racing and Childress Vineyards in nearby Lexington for advice, and Childress suggested that Parsons establish a vineyard on his family land, Terri Parsons says. “The day I moved in, the house was about 70 percent complete, and the grapevines hadn’t even arrived yet,” she says. “When Benny passed away, he never saw them in the ground, but he had worked with our winemaker and picked out what he liked. He picked out

Left: Raffaldini Vineyards is among nearly three dozen wineries within a 30-mile radius of Wilkes. Above: Terri Parsons raises a glass as she joins visitors at Wilkes’ newest winery, Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge.

WILKES

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

25


Wilkes’ newest winery, Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge

the bottles, I designed the labels and the corks, and his youngest son wrote the copy for the back of the labels. “The land was very important because of the legacy it held for the family,” Parsons says. “[Benny] was born and raised in an old house down the street. When you look at that house and the house I’m in, you can see the great distance his life traveled. He lived there with his great-grandmother.” Parsons is buried in a family cemetery behind the old home. In the racing museum, Parsons’ accomplishments as a NASCAR driver and later as a respected racing commentator are showcased, and Terri Parsons herself gives the tours. Parsons, who started his driving career in 1963, was the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion and won the Daytona 500 in 1975. Rendezvous Ridge occupies six acres, and the operation produces 2,000 cases of wine a year, Parsons says. “What we did and what Benny wanted 26

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

to do was take the snob appeal out of wine,” she says. “Part of what makes us unique is our wine-tasting room is located in a racing museum. He didn’t want race fans to feel like they had to know a lot about wine to enjoy the experience.” Parsons says the growth of the local wine industry is exciting. “There is nothing better,” she says. “The more of us the better.” Many of these businesses are showcased each year when downtown North Wilkesboro hosts the annual ’Shine to Wine Festival. The event, which celebrated its fifth year in May 2009, features entertainment, food, art and wine from some 15 local vineyards and wineries.

What’s Online e Visit www.imageswilkes.com for a video interview with Terri Parsons and a glimpse around Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge.

WILKES


Business | Chamber Report

Soaring to New Heights WILKES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE KEEPS ITS SOLID BUSINESS BASE GROWING

H

unkering down and hoping for the best just isn’t the style of the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce, which is putting new programs and activities into place to meet current challenges head-on. A new theme, “Soaring to New Heights,” captures what the organization is all about during a rough economic period, and it also shines light on new players in the local economy, says Linda Cheek, president. “We’re in challenging times, but we’re also seeing new opportunities and growth in segments we haven’t had before, like aviation,” Cheek says. “And this theme captures what we want to do now and how we plan to move forward.” A sunny outlook is being tempered by economic reality, so the chamber also is working to make sure it has services in place for members who may be struggling through the downturn. If all goes well, people freed up by one industry’s contraction might be slotted into a growth area, or at least given the opportunity for new training while they’re in the market. That emphasis on skill development extends to the school system, where chamber members have a vested interest in pursuing excellence. “This is a really good time to plan,” Cheek says. “We’re losing manufacturing jobs, and so we’re looking at our educational system and supporting the technology and other programs there that will be training tomorrow’s workers. We have been able to let people know how important Smart boards, PDAs and laptops are to the school system, and help them through grants and philanthropy to enhance and add to what they have.” The chamber also has launched a youth leadership program that operates in tandem with its adult leadership program and has more than 100 graduates. With a membership of around 700, there are plenty of chamber-affiliated businesses with which to pair youth participants for learning experiences outside the classrooms. Add to that an ongoing series of small-business workshops, highly attended business-after-hours events and networking meetings, and the calendar is packed with opportunities for the chamber’s membership. “People are looking for ways to do business, and they want to do business with people they know,” Cheek says. “That’s why we partner with the [Wilkes JobLink Career Center] for workforce development programs, and communicate about these facilities and opportunities to our members. We want to make sure that they all know what they can be doing now so that when the economy turns back around, they’ll be ready.” To that end, the chamber supports the work of Wilkes Economic Development Corp. to grow the area’s new aviationrelated businesses, but also bring in more white-collar employers such as technology-oriented businesses. WILKES

“That’s where our growth lies,” Cheek says. “We feel that service jobs and health-care jobs are areas that we can grow. We’re growing our tourism industry so we can capitalize on the new visitors center currently being built on U.S. Highway 421 by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The center will help showcase the area to tourists, and to new employers, enabling us to better communicate all that Wilkes has going on.” – Joe Morris

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

27


Business

Biz Briefs BUSINESSES – BOTH LARGE AND SMALL – THAT HELP DEFINE WILKES COUNTY’S ECONOMIC CLIMATE

Scorecard BUSINESS AT A GLANCE

$511,313 Retail sales ($1,000)

$7,653 Retail sales per capita

$47,998 Accommodations and food service sales ($1,000)

5,070 Total number of firms Source: U.S. Census QuickFacts

TYSON FOODS INC. Biz: chicken processing Buzz: Tyson Foods Inc. in Wilkesboro has built a reputation for its corporate citizenship. Tyson is Wilkes County’s largest employer, providing jobs for approximately 2,600 people. The company estimates that including the company’s payroll, the pay-out to contract producers and other payments for utilities create an annual economic impact of more than $130 million here. www.tyson.com 28

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

WILKES


HUFFMAN EVENTS Biz: event company Buzz: Huffman Events aims to bring the creative vision of its experienced staff to the entire High Country, Piedmont and surrounding areas. The company provides complete planning, catering, floral and decorating services – from invitations to cakes and location scouting. The staff assists customers in planning events of all sizes - from guest lists ranging from the tens to the thousands. www.huffmanevents.com

WILKES

709 East Main Street Jefferson 1488 Mt. Jefferson Road West Jefferson

m w.  re  in  st  ur  di va nt .co ww

ty! n



he W a 5B ting arm S) oil up FF and to h ‌ M0 pro igh d pa -qu JM Wi o t ne alit lke bu  fro y s C sin  m B ou ess  P. n i

t en m ip Eq u Su  ppli  es  a  nd

al rid /B ty

BRANCIFORTE’S BRICK OVEN Biz: restaurant Buzz: This dining destination on Main Street in downtown North Wilkesboro specializes in authentic Italian food, including a variety of pastas, brick oven pizza, gelato and Italian coffees. The menu also includes other dishes incorporating meats such as veal, salmon and chicken. The restaurant often receives praise for its excellent service and pleasant atmosphere, which includes an outdoor patio. (336) 838-1110

1404 West D Street North Wilkesboro

107 North Fifth Avenue West Jefferson

Pa r

LEATHERWOOD MOUNTAINS Biz: residential-vacation resort Buzz: Leatherwood Mountains is a horse-lovers paradise, featuring accommodations, full-service boarding for horses, as well as horseback riding trips that cater to both weekend guests and full-time residents. Riders and their horses travel from miles around to ride Leatherwood’s horseback riding trail system, which offers something for every type of rider, from easy, wide forest paths to rugged mountain trails. www.goleatherwood.com

301 West Main Street Wilkesboro

gro Ke wt ep h l th oca e l‌

WINDOW WORLD INC. Biz: replacement window company Buzz: Founded in 1995 in Wilmington by Leon Whitworth, Window World Inc. has grown to 205 offices in 46 states, making it the largest replacement window company in America. Now headquartered in North Wilkesboro, it seemed especially fitting when the company made its debut as a NASCAR sponsor in the 2009 Daytona 500 for the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports team. www.windowworld.com

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

29


Business | Economic Profile

WILKES BUSINESS CLIMATE Wilkes County is home to a diverse and rapidly growing population. With developments such as the Timber Ridge gated community and other similar residential developments, Wilkes County is becoming a destination for retirees and second-home owners, a majority of whom represent upper education and income levels.

TAX STRUCTURE

4.25% State Sales Tax

6.75% Total Sales Tax

TRANSPORTATION Wilkes County Airport (336) 696-2000 www.wilkescounty.net

ECONOMIC RESOURCES Wilkes Chamber of Commerce 717 Main St. North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 (336) 838-8662 www.wilkesnc.org

Wilkes Economic Development Corporation 717 Main St. North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 (336) 838-1402 www.wilkesedc.com

Wilkes County Government 110 North St. Wilkesboro, NC 28697 (336) 651-7346 www.wilkescounty.net

INDUSTRIAL SITES GOVERNMENT OFFICES

www.wilkesedc.com

Town of Wilkesboro 203 W. Main St. Wilkesboro, NC 28697 (336) 838-3951 www.wilkesboronorth carolina.com

MORE EO ONLINE imageswilkes.com

Town of North Wilkesboro 832 Main St. North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 (336) 667-7129 www.north-wilkesboro.com

More facts, stats and community information, including relocation tools and links to resources.

Town of Ronda 123 Chatham St. Ronda, NC 28670 (336) 835-2061

MAJOR EMPLOYERS Company

Product/Service

No. of Employees

Tyson Farms Inc

Manufacturing

2,000+

Lowe’s Cos. Inc.

Professional & business services

1,000+

Education

1,000+

Wilkes County Board of Education Wilkes Regional Medical Center Wilkes County Lowe’s Home Centers Inc. Louisiana-Pacific Corp. Talx Compucredit Corp. Wilkes Community College Tyson Poultry Inc. East Coast Millwork N.C. Department of Transportation

30

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

Health care

500-999

Public administration

500-999

Trade, transportation & utilities

250-499

Manufacturing

250-499

Financial services

250-499

Education

250-499

Manufacturing

250-499

Trade, transportation & utilities

250-499

Public administration

250-499

WILKES


Health & Wellness

The Center of Attention ADULT DAY HEALTH CARE FACILITY MEETS SOCIAL NEEDS OF ELDERLY POPULATION

O

n any given weekday, the Ruby Pardue Blackburn Adult Day Health Care Center is abuzz with activity. From social opportunities to classes and crafts, the facility is unique in Wilkes County in that it provides a safe, comfortable environment for adults who can’t or shouldn’t stay at home alone while caregivers go to work, run errands or just take a break. The nonprofit center, located in West Park Medical Park, opened in 2008. Executive Director Kimberly Bridgeman says families often find the center a welcome alternative to nursing home or in-home care. “In-home care doesn’t allow clients the socialization aspect they receive here,” she says. “Several clients have made comments about the new friends they’ve made. It really touches each individual in a different way.” While many of the facility’s clients are elderly, the center also welcomes young and middle-aged adults with psychiatric illness, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or accident-related injuries. Certified as both an adult day care and an adult day health-care center, the facility employs personal assistants certified in CPR and first-aid, along with a full-time health care coordinator to assist with nursing care, dispense medication and address other medical needs. Licensed for 65 clients, the 10,000-square-foot facility provides ample room for personal and medical care, including therapeutic services. Clients can take advantage of on-site barber and beauty shop services, or sharpen their culinary skills in a large, home-like kitchen, where nutritious lunches and snacks are prepared daily. Patrons also find a safe respite outdoors in the center’s 6,000-square-foot, fenced-in therapeutic garden. Bridgeman says daily activities are designed around the interests and capabilities of clients and often are provided by community volunteers. From musicians and magicians to cooks and crafters, gifted friends and neighbors provide a variety of activities to keep clients entertained and engaged. It

was such support from the Wilkes County community that made the center possible at all, Bridgeman says, and new volunteers are welcomed. Realization of the need for an adult day health-care center surfaced following a seven-year study from Adult Enrichment Services of Wilkes and The Health Foundation Inc. Since 1991, the volunteer-led foundation has worked to improve the health and welfare of the Wilkes community, and this project fell perfectly in line with that goal. More than $1.5 million was generated to construct the center. Major contributions included funding from The Duke Endowment, the Golden Leaf Foundation, Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation and others. Today, the center’s operating budget comes from charitable donations and private-pay clients, as well as county, state and Medicaid funds. “Community response has been tremendous,” Bridgeman says. “A lot of folks come in inquiring about services and touring the center. We’ve also had very generous supporters who send contributions and donate items on our wish list because they really understand the importance of having this service in the county.” – Melanie Hill

&OOTHILLS#ENTER &OR7OMEN Obstetrics & Gynecology Dr. Duane H. Smith Pamela Sloop, FNP-C

IAN CURCIO

(336) 667-8241

WILKES

#PPOF5SBJMt/PSUI8JMLFTCPSP /$

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

31


Education

Students Enjoy Lap of Luxury SCHOOLS ENSURE ACCESS TO LAPTOP COMPUTERS AND OTHER TECHNOLOGY

S

tudents in Wilkes County Schools are some of the most tech-savvy in the region, if not the state, and recent grants and donations ensure that this tradition will continue. The school system always has invested heavily in classroom technology, and these days its budget is being supplemented by a $900,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, an organization created in 1999 that received half the money from the state’s piece of the national tobacco settlement. It distributes funds to counties once tobacco-dependent, as well as those economically distressed or rural. The county also has received $1 million from the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation and some private funds for a total of almost $3 million, says Dr. Stephen Laws, superintendent. “Our desire is to have each of the 646 classrooms in the Wilkes County schools equipped with a SMART Board, a data projector and laptop for the system, and all that will be around $5,000 per classroom,” Laws says. “Then we also want the teacher to have a laptop, as well as one for each student in grades nine through 12. Then we’re looking for students in grades six through eight to have an e-mini, or smaller laptop, and then to get PDAs for students in grades three through five.” All the devices will be wireless, as the schools have been or are being adapted for Wi-Fi. The goal is to have all the new technology in place by January 2012, and even though the price tag is around $6.5 million, Laws says that based on the level of support so far, that goal should be met with continued hard work. “We think this is the way to go,” he says. “We are giving students access to more knowledge than they’ve ever had before, and we’re awfully proud of the program. We’re very grateful that these

foundations and the people who have donated have chosen to invest in us.” Having high school graduates come to campus with this edge is helpful to Wilkes Community College, which has several projects and programs that connect directly to the local and regional economy. “This puts them ahead of the curve as far as moving into college-level work,” says Mike Pierce, the college’s advanced materials technology director. “If they’re accustomed to utilizing technology for learning and not just playing games or

texting, this is a huge leap forward.” Pierce also is director of the Northwest North Carolina Advanced Materials Cluster, a consortium of the college and Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties devoted to developing business and creating manufacturing jobs utilizing advanced materials products. As the organization sees success, it will need workers who are ready to move into these fairly high-tech positions, Pierce says. – Joe Morris

32

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

IAN CURCIO

Wilkes County Schools aims to provide PDAs to all of its students in the third through fifth grades.

WILKES


Sports & Recreation

What’s Online e

IAN CURCIO

Visit www.imageswilkes.com to see video at the North Wilkesboro Skateboard Park.

Matt Rice, 13, practices his skating moves at the North Wilkesboro Skateboard Park, one of two in the area.

Meet Our High Rollers YOUTHS FLOCK TO WILKES’ TWO POPULAR STATE-OF-THE-ART SKATE PARKS

S

the park now welcomes up to 100 skaters a day in warm summer months. “A lot of the kids are really proud of the park, and try to protect it,” Martin says. “It gives them a place to go and something to do, since just about everything downtown is off limits to skateboarders.” Adrenaline junkies also take refuge at The Edge Skate Park, located at 1606 Industrial Drive in Wilkesboro. The popular park, which opened in 2003, features four-foot ramps with a half-pipe. The project was a $120,000 investment for the city, and brings skaters of all ages out to rollerblade, skateboard and bike with like-minded high-speed enthusiasts. “This park has allowed skaters a safe place to skate away from the highways and has calmed the business owners,” says Kevin Anderson, Wilkes County Parks and Recreation director, referring to shop owners’ concern for their customers who are walking on the sidewalks. The Edge also is home to Wilkes County’s BMX Bike Track. The 1,100-foot track welcomes dozens of adventurous biking enthusiasts each week and draws crowds with weekly Saturday night races from March through October. The public track is one of only four BMX tracks in North Carolina sanctioned by the American Bicycle Association. – Melanie Hill

WILKES

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

kateboarders have excellent opportunities to indulge their high-rolling ways at Wilkes County’s state-ofthe-art skate parks. Every day, the area’s two parks, with high-flying ramps and half-pipes, beckon to skaters of all ages, sending parents racing to local sporting goods stores. At the North Wilkesboro Skateboard Park, skateboarders enjoy a “street skate” environment complete with railings, grinds, ramps and a picnic table and bench installed exclusively for skateboarding. Located in downtown Smoot Park, the site has become a favorite after-school and summer post for many area youths, who also take advantage of the park’s public pool and other offerings. “Skateboarding is pretty big right now, and kids and parents were asking why we didn’t have a skate park,” says Nelson Martin, Town of North Wilkesboro parks and recreation director. “Kids had been skating downtown on the sidewalks, post office and church steps, and we wanted to draw them off the streets into a more controlled atmosphere.” A public meeting allowed skaters to provide input to city planners, and, according to Martin, helped foster a sense of ownership among many of the skate park’s regular patrons. More than $100,000 and multiple truckloads of cement later,

33


visit our

advertisers American Drew Lea www.leaindustries.com Charter Business www.charter-business.com CommunityOne Bank NA www.myyesbank.com Compu Credit www.compucredit.com County of Wilkes www.wilkescounty.net Data Publishing www.datapublishing.com Foothills Center for Women Gardner Glass Products www.gardnerglass.com Grand Rental Station www.grandrentalstation.com Lowe’s www.lowes.com Mike’s Body Shop North Carolina Mountain Investments LLC www.ncmire.com Rose Glen Village www.roseglenwilkesboro.net Ruby Pardue Blackburn Adult Day Care Center www.wilkesadultdaycare.org Specialty Car Company Inc. www.specialtycarcompany.com

A growing force in Wilkes County s -EMBEROFTHE#HAMBEROF#OMMERCESINCE s 0RESENCEINTHECOMMUNITYFOROVERYEARS

Transforming information in into value 418 Brushy Mountain Rd. Wilkesboro, NC 28697 336.903.6500 T 336.903.6599 F www.compucredit.com

34

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

The Hampton Inn www.hamptoninnwilkesboro.com Wilkes Regional Medical Center www.wilkesregional.org Wilkes Senior Center www.wilkesseniorcenter.org Wilkes YMCA www.wilkesymca.org Yadkin Valley Bank www.yadkinvalleybank.com

WILKES


Arts & Culture

IAN CURCIO

Marty Ropen as Junior Johnson and Michelle Hamby as Queen of the Speedway in Moonshine & Thunder The Junior Johnson Story.

Staging Successes With Local History OUTDOOR DRAMAS RECOUNT AREA’S COLORFUL PAST

M

oonshine, fast cars and the law provide all the makings of a great story – and it’s the true tale of Wilkes County’s colorful past. Today, people share in the area’s history as a moonshine capital and witness the origins of local moonshine runner turned NASCAR racing legend Junior Johnson at the riveting outdoor drama,

WILKES

Moonshine & Thunder – The Junior Johnson Story, staged by the Wilkes Playmakers at the Forest Edge Amphitheatre in Fort Hamby Park. Not one, but two shows bring the county’s exciting heritage to life. Tom Dooley – A Wilkes County Legend, the story of the 19th-century trial and hanging of Tom Dula (which is pronounced

Dooley), who was convicted for the murder of Laura Foster, is also a summertime fixture onstage. Karen Reynolds, executive director of the Playmakers, wrote both outdoor dramas, and has been with the nonprofit organization since its start in 1990. Tom Dooley celebrated its ninth season in 2009, with performances July 5-18, and Moonshine & Thunder its third, with a weeklong run, June 26-July 3. The subject matter for the plays is both interesting and entertaining, she says. “Tom Dooley took about a year to write,” she says. “I was not as familiar with the racing and the moonshine, so it took a couple of years to write Moonshine & Thunder. One of the reasons was moonshiners aren’t so quick to talk to you until they know you, and there really is a code of silence in the foothills. It took me a long time to get them to talk to me and tell me stories. “And the one who was most open – I guess he’s most used to it – is Junior Johnson himself,” she says. “When he realized this [play] was really going to happen, he invited me to breakfast. He has breakfast every morning in his garage with all of his friends. They sat around and told me stories, and I got a lot of material from that.” Johnson won 50 NASCAR races in his driving career, including the Daytona 500 in 1960, and later became a team owner. He honed his driving skills running “white lightning” as a young man and served time in prison after being convicted of moonshining in 1956. President Ronald Reagan later pardoned him. Johnson has seen the outdoor drama that bears his name, Reynolds says. “He did come to see the show and absolutely loved it,” she says. The multimedia show features film clips from NASCAR, live actors onstage, old cars – and a moonshine still is even blown up during the drama. “Tom Dooley is a very serious outdoor drama; a serious topic,” Reynolds says. “Moonshine & Thunder is just fun. It was just meant to entertain.” – Anne Gillem I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

35


Community Profile

WILKES SNAPSHOT Wilkes County is thriving with continuous growth while maintaining its high environmental standards and pristine beauty. Residents enjoy dimensions of life not commonly seen in other communities of its size such as culture, arts, entertainment, festivals and a host of diversions that make life interesting.

HEALTH CARE

CLIMATE Wilkes County enjoys a temperate year-round climate that varies with the elevation. One of the most notable features of Wilkes County is that it is bordered on three sides by mountain ranges that protect the area from adverse weather, often deflecting away major snow and rain storms.

24 F January Low Temperature

A key component of Wilkes County’s excellent livability is convenient access to the best in medical care. In addition to Wilkes Regional Medical Center, there are rural medical centers and the Wilkes County Health Department offering a variety of health services. For a breakdown of medical services, visit www. imageswilkes.com.

Ferrell Propane Gas Co. 301 Wilkesboro Ave. North Wilkesboro, N.C. 28659 (336) 667-8533 Wilkes Telecommunications, Inc. 1400 River St. Wilkesboro, N.C. 28697 (336) 973-3103 See www.wilkesnc.org for additional listings.

ARTS AND CULTURE

REAL ESTATE

www.explorewilkes.com

$164,000

Merlefest Wilkesboro, (800) 343-7857 www.merlefest.org

Average Home Price

14.49% Home Turnover Percentage

Wilkes Art Gallery 913 C St. North Wilkesboro, N.C. 28659 (336) 667-2841 www.wilkesartgallery.org

49 F

LOCAL UTILITIES

January High Temperature

AmeriGas Propane 1207 Second St. North Wilkesboro, N.C. 28659 (336) 838-8962 (800) 784-3839

Wilkes Heritage Museum 100 E. Main St. Wilkesboro, N.C. 28697 (336) 667-3171 www.wilkesheritage museum.com

Duke Energy 111 Second St. North Wilkesboro, N.C. 28659 (800) 777-9898

Brushy Mountain Apple Festival North Wilkesboro (336) 984-3022 www.applefestival.net

63 F July Low Temperature

89 F July High Temperature

EDUCATION In Wilkes County, education is a priority and the rewards are evident in the public school system and the growth of Wilkes Community College. The Wilkes County School System consists of 22 schools, serving more than 10,000 students. For a list of schools and other information, visit www.imageswilkes.com.

36

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

MORE EO ONLINE imageswilkes.com More facts, stats and community information, including relocation tools and links to resources.

WILKES


Ad Index C3 AMERICAN DREW LEA

C3 NORTH CAROLINA MOUNTAIN INVESTMENTS LLC

34 CHARTER BUSINESS C3 ROSE GLEN VILLAGE 8 COMMUNITYONE BANK NA 34 COMPU CREDIT 1 COUNTY OF WILKES 21 DATA PUBLISHING 31 FOOTHILLS CENTER FOR WOMEN

C3 RUBY PARDUE BLACKBURN ADULT DAY CARE CENTER 6 SPECIALTY CAR COMPANY INC. 4 THE HAMPTON INN

C3 GARDNER GLASS PRODUCTS

C4 WILKES REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER

29 GRAND RENTAL STATION

22 WILKES SENIOR CENTER

8 LOWE’S C3 MIKE’S BODY SHOP

23 WILKES YMCA 29 YADKIN VALLEY BANK


Independent living  Choose your lifestyle Personalized Real Estate Sales of Residential and Commercial Properties with 25 Years Experience

View our services, activities and amenities at www.roseglenvillagewilkesboro.com or call (336) 667-2952.

Rose Glen Village ‌ When You’re Here – You’re Home!

)NDUSTRIAL$Rs7ILKESBORO .#   s  FAX % MAILMIKE NCMIRECOM

Mike Martinez "ROKER/WNER

www.ncmire.com

Mike’s Body Shop Inc. 210 Elkin Hwy. N. Wilkesboro, NC 28659 (336) 667-9291 Fax: (336) 667-0504

Mon.-Fri. 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

part of wilkes county since 1927 389 Armory Rd. North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 (336) 651-9400 tel (336) 651-9483 fax www.americandrew.com www.leaindustries.com

336.667.2541

www.wilkesadultdaycare.org

AB/;>=CB0@3/AB1/<13@ E7B6G=C@433B

:SO`\[]`SOP]cbbVS9][S\@OQST]`bVS1c`S PgdWaWbW\UeeeY][S\]`U]`QOZZW\U&%%5=9=;3< BVWaa^OQSWa^`]dWRSROaO^cPZWQaS`dWQS Â&#x2013; &AcaO\59][S\T]`bVS1c`SÂ&#x2022;

WILKES

I M AG E S W I L K E S . C O M

37


The doctor can SEE you now. ADVANCED CT SCANNING AT WILKES REGIONAL

Cardiopulmonary / Neuro Services Emergency Services Intensive / Cardiac Care Unit New Beginnings Birthing Center Skilled Nursing Facility Surgical Services Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Services Community Education and Outreach Diagnostic Imaging Services Digital Mammography Home Health Agency Hospice In Home Aid Program Outpatient Dialysis Center Rehabilitation Center Radiologic Technology School

 rXXXXJMLFTSFHJPOBMPSH


Images Wilkes County, NC: 2009-10