APRIL 2017 | Your Community. Your Neighbors. Your Story.
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18 APRIL 2017 | Your Community. Your Neighbors. Your Story.
ON THE COVER
Jasper David, left, and Mickey Nines perform a Blues Brothers song during the American Music Jubliee at The Rudy Theatre. Photo courtesy The Rudy Theatre
4 | JOHNSTON NOW
ARCHER LODGE NATIVE SHARES MEMORIES
TEAM Volume 1, Number 5
A Shandy Communications, LLC publication
Publisher Randy Capps
General Manager Shanna Capps
Creative Consultant Ethan Capps
Specialist shares personal impact of Red Cross volunteers
BASEBALL: A SOURCE OF OPTIMISM IN SPRING SHARING A STORY DURING AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH
NEWS FROM YOUR JOHNSTON COUNTY NEIGHBORS
CLAYTON AUTHOR RELEASES HER THIRD BOOK
Creative Director Frank Spurlock
CLAYTON EARNS GRANT TOWARDS COMMUNITY PARK NEUSE CHARTER MIDDLE SCHOOL SPORTS TO JOIN COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL CONFERENCE
DISCOVERING JOHNSTON COUNTY
J-NOW CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Editorial Consultant Mike Bollinger Interested in advertising? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-618-4405 Story idea or a photo to share? Send an email to email@example.com or mail it to P.O. Box 58, Four Oaks, N.C., 27524
919-980-5522 www.johnstonnow.com Facebook.com/JohnstonNow Johnston Now Magazine is a monthly publication of Shandy Communications, LLC for our Johnston County neighbors. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written consent by the publisher. Advertisers take sole responsibility for the validity of their advertisement. Â©2017 Johnston Now. All rights reserved.
APRIL 2017 | 5
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Baseball: A source of optimism in spring I am not an optimist. Never have been really. I guess two decades in journalism have beaten that out of me. But April is almost enough to make me change my tune. Spring has arrived, and with it, baseball. Nothing speaks to the idea of hope springing eternal quite like America’s pastime. I know, the pro game has its problems. Instant replay and countless pitching changes make the average game on ESPN last longer than a congressional filibuster. In my experience, when something frustrates me about a particular sport, I find that watching someone younger play it is the ideal cure.
schedule in no time.
Here you’ll find the pitcher who’s trying to master his curve ball while trying to tick 90 on the radar gun for the college coaches and scouts behind home plate. Or the first baseman who’s trying to get a hit off that guy.
It’s a game that teaches young people how to fail, how to persevere and how to stand in there and keep swinging.
But if you want to have some real fun, go check out a youth game. The best players are always catching, pitching or playing shortstop. Everyone else is just trying to keep their swing level, their elbow up or, in some cases, their eyes open long enough to make contact. Sometimes, against all odds, the smallest kid on the team does everything wrong at the plate — and gets a
But it also gives them hope. Hope that the next swing or the next throw to first could be the one that wins the game.
Happy Spring, everyone. And play ball!
Here in Johnston County, we have options. The Carolina Mudcats are back in action, and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Class A affiliate is a short drive away at Five County Stadium in Zebulon (see their ad below). What could be more hopeful than a young man, living away from his home, trying to hit enough or throw enough strikes to reach “The Show?” If you’re reading this magazine, there’s a good chance you’re less than 15 minutes away from being at a high school game. Type the school’s name, “baseball” and “maxpreps” into a search window, and you’ll have the
APR. Magnet Schedule Giveaway April 13th-16th 13th: Opening Night Brewers Celebration Party 14th & 15th 14th: Sears Home Services presents Friday Night Fireworks 16th: Easter Egg Hunt 21st: Game Show Night / Sears Home Services presents Friday Night Fireworks 22nd: First Responders Night 23rd: Dirty Dogs Spa presents Bark in the Park / Dinosaur Day 27th: Education Day with ABC 11 Weather
For the entire 2017 Promotional Schedule & more ticket info visit
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3rd: Education Day Star Wars Weekend May 5th-7th 5th: Arm Sleeve Giveaway / The North Carolina Virtual Academy presents Friday Night Fireworks 6th: Star Wars Saturday presented by the City of Rocky Mount 12th: Pack Your Bags Night / Sears Home Services presents Friday Night Fireworks 13th: Cats and Canes Night presented by Brain Injury Association of NC / Carry the Flame 14th: Mother’s Day / Carnation Giveaway 18th: Education Day 26th: Harry Potter Night / Sears Home Services presents Friday Night Fireworks 27th: Game of Ponds Night / Mudcats Flag Giveaway 28th: Children’s Book Celebration Night / Sears Home Services presents Post-Game Fireworks 29th: Memorial Day / Patriotic Jerseys
JUNE 4th: Pirates and Princesses Night 16th: Comic Con Night / Sears Home Services presents Friday Night Fireworks 17th: 90’s Nickelodeon Night featuring Double Dare / Nickelodeon Jerseys 18th: Father’s Day 30th: Karate Night / Golden East Crossing Mall presents Friday Night Fireworks
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See your independent Trane Dealer for complete program eligibility, dates, details and restrictions. Special financing offers OR trade-in allowances from $100 up to $1,000 valid on qualifying equipment only. Offers vary by equipment. All sales must be to homeowners in the United States. Void where prohibited. The Wells Fargo Home Projects credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Financial National Bank, an Equal Housing Lender. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. The monthly payment for this purchase will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the promotional (special terms) period. The APR for Purchases will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions. For new accounts, the APR for Purchases is 28.99%. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. This information is accurate as of 3/1/2017 and is subject to change. For current information,call us at 1-800-431-5921.
APRIL 2017 | 7
Sharing a story during Autism Awareness Month I was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. I know that at the time, there wasn’t much reliable information about autism apart from the movie “Rain Man.” For me, dealing with autism was really hard back then. The doctors told my parents that I might never talk, read or write. I started talking at the age of four and I wasn’t just using singular words like most babies would. I was speaking in full sentences.
My parents and I moved around a lot. Mainly because we were trying to find good schools with good teachers that would help me with my autism. We moved to a lot of different houses until we found a perfect home in the one that we live in now. Earlier in my life, I had trouble communicating with other people because of my autism. I stuttered a lot and it was just kind of tricky for me. Nowadays, even though I still stutter sometimes and I’m kind of an independent person, I’m now very good at conversations. My teachers, family and friends have played a very large role in helping me overcome my autism. I’m very grateful for that and want to thank them for playing such a large role in my life. My teachers have done a phenomenal job of customizing my school work environment to make school easier for me. Overall, that is my backstory of my diagnosis and right now, I’m doing fantastic.
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Looking good, Benson Photo by Dr. Chris Vo, Benson Dentistry A look at the water tower in Benson on a bright winter day.
Benson Area Chamber hands out March awards Submitted by the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce Rebecca’s Vintage Market, at 103 Main Street, won the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce’s Visual Improvement Award for March. Pictured are: Jaymes Elliott and Debra Cardone, chamber board members; Rebecca Wages, owner, Jeanne Coats and Angel Sanchez. Another Main Street business, West and Dunn Funeral Home, was named as the chamber’s Business of the Month. Pictured are: Pat Stanley, secretary, and owner Norman Dunn.
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APRIL 2017 | 9
across the hedge. down the street. around the block.
NEWS FROM YO
Johnston County Schools honor staffers for ‘Leading with the Heart’
Ken Tart honored as Benson Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Submitted by Benson Area Chamber of Commerce
Submitted by Johnston County Schools
Ken Tart, the 2016 Benson Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, speaks at the annual breakfast on March 2 at the Benson Conference Center.
Johnston County Schools honored 52 employees who demonstrate good character and go above and beyond in and outside of the classroom at the annual “Leading with the Heart” reception in February. Those recognized were: Front row, left to right, Brenda Stallings, Tabitha Lee, Maria Rojas Castro, Gladys Pineda, Evelyn Sanders, Rachel Carter, Donna Chapman, Ashleigh Gibson and Pamela Martinez. Second row: Jenny Hudson, Laura Eptin, Kate Rizzo, Nicole Shepard, Barbara Ashworth, Tonya Smith, Heather Sutton, Vanessa Batts, Susan Topoly, Alison Deese and June Aycock. Third row: Shelly Pinkowski, Cory Merle, Catherine Taylor, Sarah Holmes, Michelle Oliver, Hollie Heller, Crystal Jackson, Serreda Jenkins, Lee Ann Parrish, Jennifer Narron Hardy and Janet Lee. Fourth row: William Weaver, Bill Wood, Kelly Jones, Sylvia Hines, Pat Deese, Joseph Capps, Mandy Yelverton, Angie Pike and Melinda Whitley. Fifth row: Maria Bauza, Alejandro Ceballos, Lisa Ivey, Shannon McCleave, Teresa Richardson, Allison Tucker, Takisha Henry and Alex Gundler. Back row: Melanie Williams, Robert Cawthorn and Tobias Hocutt.
JCC honors Berry Plastics with Industry Partner Award Submitted by Johnston Community College Johnston Community College gave its 2016 Industry Partner Award to Berry Plastics in February. Pictured are: Dr. Twyla Wells, executive director of JCC Foundation; Kevin Johnson and Patty Carlson of Berry Plastics; Lyn Austin, chair of the JCC Board of Trustees and Dr. David Johnson, JCC president.
10 | JOHNSTON NOW
BENSON — The Benson Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Citizen of the Year Breakfast on March 2, at the Benson Conference Center. Janet Matthews, the 2015 recipient, served as hostess for the event honoring the 2016 winner, Ken Tart. For years, Tart has prepared the slide show presentation for each of the men and women recognized for this honor. He said he has learned so much about them and the contributions they make to our community, and expressed humility and gratitude as he joined the ranks of the town’s many outstanding citizens. Campbell University president Dr. Bradley Creed was the guest speaker and shared great information about growing enrollment, the new engineering program and the first graduating class in osteopathic medicine. Creed is very excited about the future of the university and the opportunities available for local students. Loretta Byrd and Paul Boucher recognized the families of former Citizens of the Year who have passed away since the last breakfast. The families of Kay Wood (2014), Charles Denning (2010) and E. A. Johnson, Jr. (1970) received a memorial book which will be placed in the Mary Duncan Public Library.
OUR NEIGHBORS Smithfield-Selma students hold African-American Read-In Submitted by Johnston County Schools
Smithfield-Selma High students partnered together with students at Selma Elementary in celebration of the AfricanAmerican Read-In on Feb. 23. Pictured are: Front row, left to right, Angel Guzman-Garcia, Laura Price, Sarah Altman, Kiniah Street, Deâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Oveon Fuentes, Elizabeth Hardy, Tatyana McElveen, Johnston County Board of Education member Dr. Peggy Smith, Deja McIntosh, Kayla Smith, Antonio McDaniels and Selma Elementary Assistant Principal Anthony Whitaker. Back row: Eric Hess, Chandler Lasater, Joshua Raiford and Elijah Exum.
The Smithfield-Selma High Ladies and Men of Distinction took part in the African-American Read-In with students at Selma Elementary on Feb. 23. The goal of the read-in is to
document readers making the celebration of African-American literacy a traditional part of Black History Month activities. Smithfield-Selma High students Tatyana McElveen, Elizabeth
Hardy, Kayla Smith, Kiniah Street, Chandler Lasater, Deâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Oveon Fuentes, Joshua Raiford, Deja McIntosh, Angel Guzman-Garcia, Laura Price, Eric Hess, Sara Altman, Elijah Exum and Antonio McDaniels participated in the read-in at Selma Elementary. Patrice Hardy and Marvin Burke, Smithfield-Selma High staff
sponsors of the Ladies and Men of Distinction, accompanied the student readers to Selma Elementary. The read-in is sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the NCTE itself, and it is endorsed by the International Literacy Association.
Freedom of Choice Trailblazers recognized at board meeting Submitted by Johnston County Schools
The African-American Students for Integration at SmithfieldSelma High were honored at the Feb. 14 Johnston County Board of Education meeting. Pictured are: Front row, left to right, Johnston County Board of Education Vice-Chair Dorothy Johnson, Carvin Stevens, Rose Marie Bryant Byrd, Denise Willie Seabrooks, Berneatha Hinton Morrison, Valerie Williams, Vandalyn Sanders Bradley, and Special Assistant to the Superintendent Carolyn Ennis. Back row: Donald Liles, Phyllis Palmer, Dr. Alton Anderson, Oscar Sanders, Horace Sanders, and Nathaniel Sanders, Jr. The African-American Students for Integration at SmithfieldSelma High were honored at the Feb. 14, Johnston County Board of Education meeting. These former students, also known as the Freedom of Choice Trailblazers, were AfricanAmerican students who attended Smithfield Elementary School during the Freedom of Choice period before the mandatory integration of schools in 19691970. Johnston County Board of Education Vice-Chair Dorothy
Johnson and Special Assistant to the Superintendent Carolyn Ennis gave a special Black History Month presentation at the February meeting to honor these trailblazers who chose to attend a white school. Those who were honored at the meeting include Dr. Alton Anderson, Rose Marie Bryant Byrd, Donald Liles, Phyllis Palmer, Horace Sanders, Nathaniel Sanders, Jr., Vandalyn Sanders Bradley, Carvin Stevens, Denise Willie Seabrooks, Berneatha Hinton Morrison, Oscar Sanders
and Valerie Williams. Trailblazers who were unable to attend but who were also honored include Lindal Altman, Donnell Bell, Evelyn Carter, Evelyn Cotton, Roderick Ennis, Lena H. Hunter, Vernon King, Patricia Ann Lee, Kenneth Matthews, Rhonda McLean, Herman Palmer, Linda Simpson, Jacqueline Stevens, Kenneth Stevens and Robert Atlas Williams. Felix Allen and Matthew Brown were honored posthumously. Each guest was recognized for their courage in helping to integrate schools in Johnston
County. They spoke on the school they attended during the Freedom of Choice period, and their life accomplishments. Dr. Alton Anderson and Rose Marie Bryant Byrd, the first African-American male and female students who graduated from Smithfield High, presented Johnston County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow and Johnston County Board of Education Chairman Mike Wooten with a special thank you certificate on behalf of the Freedom of Choice Trailblazers for the recognition.
APRIL 2017 | 11
Clayton author releases third book, 'Sweet Southern Hearts' By Randy Capps
CLAYTON — Willow Hill, North Carolina, isn’t in Johnston County. In fact, it isn’t really anywhere. It’s a fictional setting for Clayton author Susan Schild’s series of books on Linny Taylor and her efforts to put her life back together again. There’s nothing imaginary about Linny’s adventures, however. The third and most recent book in the series, “Sweet Southern Hearts,” was released in January. It’s a tale about Linny’s life as a third-time newlywed, her struggles with being a stepmother to a 12 year old and it’s filled with enough adventures to keep the pages turning easily. Just because you can’t find Willow Hill on a map of the Tar Heel State doesn’t mean that it isn’t packed with a charm that’s familiar to local residents. In fact, there’s a reference or two in the books that Johnston County readers might recognize.
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“A pizza place connected to a gas station. That’s all I’ll say,” she said, with a smile. “Which has very good pizza by the way. There’s a scene where the women are practicing driving an RV and it’s loosely based on the Johnston County high school my step-son went to. So, they’ll pick up some things.” Schild is originally from Annapolis and moved to Clayton 10 years ago. But her career path had plenty of twists and turns before she found herself writing novels. She was a psychotherapist, a social worker, and then a management trainer, helping engineers and scientists to have better people
skills. But she couldn’t escape an urge to try something new. “I’ve always been an avid reader,” she said. “I guess I was at a point where I was interested in something new. There was a weeklong program at Meredith College for people interesting in writing and I thought, ‘I’m going to do this.’ I tried to talk myself out of it and went back and forth, but I enjoyed it. “I thought, ‘I’ve got some stories to tell after all these years.’” So, she did what aspiring authors do, which is joining writers’ groups
to be in Coastal Living sometime this spring. Writing articles on various topics exposes you to a larger audience.”
it’s a clean read. It’s about coming back after trouble. It’s about love after the age of 40, and it’s about happily ever afters at any age.”
Her first book, “Linny’s Sweet Dream List,” was released in January 2016. It begins with a line that lays out the road ahead for the main character:
Linny’s latest adventures in the new book involve her recent marriage to a kindly veterinarian, a cross-country RV trip with her mother and two friends and a host of other “dips and bumps.”
“(Linny) should have known a golden boy driving a vintage Caddy wouldn’t be good husband material, but she’d married him anyway.” The second book, “Sweet Carolina Morning,” followed in August. But Schild is quick to point out that new readers can pick up any book in the series and feel right at home. and participating in workshops to sharpen her skills. It’s not exactly a corporate job, but it does carry a level of commitment that is surprising to some. “Writing is a full-time job,” she said. “I think some people think that you only dabble at writing and you’re waiting around for a lightning bolt to hit you. But it’s not. When you’ve got a book promised to the editor, you’re at the desk six hours a day or more. And when you’re not writing, you’re trying to do marketing to broaden your audience.
“It’s a series, but they’re also stand alones,” she said. “You can pick up any one. You don’t need a cheat sheet to find out what’s going on. “The stories are set in a small southern town. They’re heartwarming and they’re wholesome. There’s no bad language or situations that might make anyone uncomfortable. So,
It’s a fun story, and one that can provide an escape from daily life. “It’s a hopeful book,” she said. “It’s a hopeful series. So if people are frazzled with the news and how much disturbing stuff is out there, this is like a little neighborhood that’s a safe haven. That’s what readers tell me.” Schild is working on her next project, which will be a spin off from Linny’s adventures. As the working title, “Pecan Pie for Breakfast,” suggests, it will be another series of books about life in a sleepy southern town. It might not be set in Willow Hill, but it will still resonate with Johnston County folks.
For more, visit susanschild.com.
“So that means writing articles. I just wrote one for StepMom Magazine. I’m going
APRIL 2017 | 13
An Archer Lodge native shares memories from his early life on the farm Story and photos by Dewitt Thompson
The lodge was used by the Masons in the 19th century. Its location was next to Barnes’ store at the crossroads on the Wendell Road and the Covered Bridge Road. This is truly a historic location in Johnston County, including the White Oak Baptist Church and its facilities. The town of Archer Lodge is now incorporated with a lot of people, including farmers, merchants, commuters to Raleigh and other places and other professionals. I grew up there for 18 years and I remember the people in this community as friendly, sociable, hardworking, faithful and as being good neighbors. When I think of Archer Lodge, I think of the Barnes family, the Castleberrys, Crabtrees, Vinsons, Thompsons, Paces, Hintons, Mullhollands and many others. My first recollection of Archer Lodge is visiting my aunt, Cleo Barnes, my father’s sister. She dipped snuff and I was concerned that she might swallow tobacco. My next recollection was attending White Oak Baptist Church, where I was saved in 1954. The best things about Archer Lodge are the way families get involved in their schools, community recreation, church activities, horse competitions, holiday celebrations, fundraising and some of the best food in Johnston County.
Family The family consisted of eight children, four boys and four girls born from 1928 to 1949 to Dink (D.R.) and Maudie Thompson.
In 1935, our family finally bought a 75-acre farm on Covered Bridge Road at Woodards Crossroads, about 1.5 miles from Archer Lodge. I am the lone survivor of the eight children, and I miss each one very much. My experience with each is like a biographical history. My oldest sister, Joy, was like a second mother. Grady, my oldest brother, was diabetic and a good baseball player. Felton, my older brother, became a successful farmer. Effie, my younger sister, was my favorite. Norma, another younger sister, was the finest Christian I knew. My youngest sister, Scarlette,
was a pretty girl who never married. I am a Navy veteran and the only college graduate in the family, thanks to the G.I. Bill. Dink and Maudie had their hands full for about 25 years taking care of this family. We had a good life and a fine extended family. On weekends, at meal time, we always had walk-in cousins and friends — and they were welcomed to help us eat the 40 biscuits. We had ham, eggs, grits, molasses and blackberry jelly, too. And despite all the whiskey stills in Johnston County, no alcohol was allowed in the Dink Thompson home.
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Clockwise from left: Dewitt C. Thompson, Oscar Thompson’s home place and Dink Thompson (left) and some of his family members.
Farming Farming has been the livelihood of this community since before the Civil War. Many crops were grown on the family farm, including tobacco, corn, cotton, grain, sorghum, peanuts, fruit trees, vegetable gardens, watermelons and cantaloupes. A typical day for us would have us up at 6 a.m. to feed the mules, milk the cow, cut firewood, have breakfast and then head off to school or to the fields. Agriculture was the main economic force in Archer Lodge and of course, now farming is high tech with air-conditioned tractors complete with easy-to-use controls. You might still see mules and plows on some farms, and if you look carefully, you may still see some Civil War-era home places. Once, as a scared teenager, I drove a farm wagon pulled by two mules into a covered bridge on the road to Clayton when the mules tried to turn around on the bridge. This was during World War II. When out of school, my family worked six days a week in the tobacco and cotton fields doing the chores the crops required, as well as taking care of the smaller crops and the animals. Each year, my father had the three oldest sons cut trees on two acres of new ground to add to his farmland. The logs were taken to the sawmill to be cut into lumber that we used to build barns, a pack house and stables. The cotton was taken to Wise’s Gin for bailing, and after it was sold at the market in Clayton, we used the money to buy clothes from the Sears catalog.
On Sunday mornings, we attended Sunday School and worshipped at White Oak Baptist. In the afternoon, we played baseball with our cousins and friends in a nearby pasture. A real treat on a hot day was taking a dip in a nearby lake. Farming was not all hard work!
Dewitt Thompson is an Archer Lodge native who now resides in Greensboro. He can be reached at email@example.com.
APRIL 2017 | 15
Clayton High senior receives Gardner-Webb’s top scholarship By GWU Public Relations
BOILING SPRINGS — A Clayton High School student has been awarded a four-year, comprehensive scholarship to attend Gardner-Webb, a Division I liberal arts Christian institution located in the foothills of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. Michael “Mike” McCray, 18, son of Michael and Marci McCray of Clayton, learned of the Ignite Excellence Comprehensive Scholarship award during a surprise ceremony at the school on March 2. Previously, he and more than 200 other students traveled to Gardner-Webb to interview for a chance to receive a tuition, room and board scholarship or one of four full-tuition scholarships. McCray was awarded the comprehensive scholarship, valued at approximately $165,000 over the course of four years. Members of the GWU Office of Undergraduate Admissions made the announcement among McCray’s family, friends and teachers.
For him, the decision to attend Gardner-Webb was simple. “I want to be at a place where I feel I can grow spiritually and be active on campus — where I can get a solid education from teachers who care and want me to succeed,” he said. “I want to be part of a strong, Christ-rooted community and that’s why I chose Gardner-Webb.” While an excellent academic record initially qualified McCray for an opportunity to interview for the top scholarship, his outside-the-classroom commitments helped him stand out from other worthy candidates. He is a track-and-field athlete, a member of Student Government, National Honor Society, National French Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta (mathematics honor society). He has also volunteered for Operation Christmas Child, With Love From Jesus, Strong Foundations Ministry and Environmental Club’s Adopt-AHighway clean up.
Mike McCray poses with his parents, Marci and Michael. At Gardner-Webb, McCray plans to major in biology and eventually hopes to enroll in medical school. This marks the second consecutive year that a Clayton High School student has received Gardner-Webb University’s highest academic scholarship. Last year, Bridgette Turner was awarded the top prize.
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Food, Entertainment, and Fun for the Whole Family! Country Ham and Sweet Potato Foods - Entertainment on Three Stages Inflatables - Pig Races - Rubber Duck Race - Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s That Yam Thing?
APRIL 2017 | 17
The inside scoop on The Rudy Theatre By Dorothy La Motta collar world giving you Broadway caliber entertainers at very affordable prices.
and the program is set to start up again this spring.
It’s the Rudy Theatre and home of the American Music Jubilee. This quaint, historical venue is hiding nonchalantly just a stick’s throw from Smithfield and Garner.
The outrageous costumes range from Bubba’s baggy overalls, to Farmer Joe’s Wrangler jeans, to a black silk tuxedo and all the glitz, glamour and bling that the talented guys and dolls love to don during their performances.
Though the location isn’t in the midst of an extravagant entertainment capital, its quiet mystique lies just off Interstate 95 among an array of restaurants, shopping outlets and inexpensive lodging.
The entertainers are experienced professionals and will not disappoint you. It’s hard not to sing along, laugh, or tap your toes to the exciting musical ensembles.
The 2017 show schedule is available now. Although on a smaller scale, they mimic professional shows that are on Broadway or in Myrtle Beach, Branson or Pigeon Forge. This little treasure has busloads of visitors from New York, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee and surrounding areas who have heard about this magical place.
It was a God-inspired nudge that brought the American Music Jubilee to the Bible Belt where warm hearts, southern drawls and sweet tea abound.
The theatre presents about 75 shows per year, plus 40 Christmas shows. The patrons number about 12,000 in six weeks and about 25,000 all year. This little theatre is so well received and recommended that the Group Tour Planning Services for Smithfield/Johnston County offers tours where groups can visit the outlet shops, restaurants, museums and then attend performances at the American Music Jubilee.
In the quiet little village of Selma lies an entertainment gem of Broadway caliber of which many people may not be aware.
The shows offer a variety of different arrangements, from the 50s, 60s, musicals, comedies, Motown, southern gospel and patriotic. Christmas and holiday shows are spectacular, too. It’s a family-friendly venue that will please the most fastidious critic. Don’t let the subdued exterior fool you. The stage, the lighting, acoustics, props and interior are professional. There is no hoity-toity here, just grandiose performances in the middle of a blue
18 | JOHNSTON NOW
The Rudy Theatre Productions has an American Music Jubilee Character Education Division promoting character education classes in various schools. The children learn about excellent morals and values in life through slap stick comedy,
Yet, many locals pass it by and miss one of the greatest opportunities for enjoyment and family fun during the matinee or evening shows. The front marquee displays the exciting upcoming entertainment. So if you are looking for a night out without breaking the bank or late hours, and a place where you feel comfortable bringing your family, a phenomenal two-hour show awaits you. It’s a dash of whimsical, a sprinkling of comedy, a bushel full of laughs, a truckload of musicians, singers, stage hands and the most amazing cast of entertainers. After the show, the cast gathers out front for a brief chat, and to bid you farewell at the end of the evening. Who else does that!
History of Spook and the Rudy The history of this theatre began in 1948 when it was purchased by the Howell family who named their baby son Rudolph. He eventually succeeded his father and operated numerous theatres. Thus the name ‘Rudy Theatre’ became a known name in the small village of Selma. Behind the scenes of all this Mr. Spook Joyner extravaganza is a gentle, softspoken man with a southern name that no one will ever forget and most likely won’t be found on any family tree under Ancestry. com. I introduce you to the current owner and producer, Mr. Spook Joyner, who purchased the theatre in 1998. I tried to wiggle his real name out of him with no success. But he did share this humorous story of how he was named Spook. In the generation he was born, everything in the hospitals was pure white; the crib bedding, baby blankets, baby clothes, the walls, the floor, the ceiling, curtains and the nurse’s uniforms. One day a family member came in to see this newborn and saw so much ‘white’ that he said the baby looked like a spook (meaning a ghost). That name stuck with him, but under his coy, mischievous smile we know there’s a real name in the hospital’s baby birth registry that he is not willing to share just yet. The name Spook makes him unique and he likes it that way. Though a little inappropriate for a newborn, it would make a great ‘handle’ for a truck driver. So what makes this little theatre so special? It may not have a Michaelangelo ceiling, plush velvet curtains, luxurious chandeliers, or classy limos dropping off extravagantly dressed patrons. But what it does have is ambiance, an intimate, cozy setting with not a bad seat in the house and a place where Wranglers, denim and cowboy boots are welcome. Spook wears many hats. He is the owner, producer, a professional guitarist, a music teacher and a
APRIL 2017 | 19
song writer. He operates his own recording studio, Vision Sound, where he produces and arranges projects for many different artists and offers the field of recording to those seeking a good quality product and production. He played with country music greats such as Vince Gill, Steve Wariner, Exile, Vern Gosdin and many more. It’s no small task producing high quality shows. Spook does it all. He plans, organizes, interviews the performers, schedules the shows two years in advance, auditions, conducts rehearsals, records the singers on CDs and then evaluates and critiques everything. He wants nothing but the best for his patrons. Look for the TV family reality show, “Spook and the Rudy,” which has completed 13 episodes and airs on five stations in Rocky Mount and Selma. If successful this year, it will go national. For would-be entertainers, Spook advises that, in order to reach your dream, you must have passion, perseverance, practice time and patience. Don’t quit so easily. Keep your dream alive! In closing, he would like to thank his supporters, cast and crew for their unending devotion, loyalty and the
sacrifices of their time for being away from their families for long hours. But most of all, he thanks God for the ability and opportunity he was given to make a living in the wonderful world of music. So what are you waiting for? Tap your fingers on your keyboard and look up the next show at rudytheatre.com. Check
out the photos and listen to the singers. Then walk the dog, feed the cat, cover the canary, gas up your car and dress for a memorable night out on the town that you will be talking about for a long time. Seats fill up fast so don’t delay. The parking is free and movie-type snacks are available. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be lucky enough to meet Spook!
Dorothy La Motta is a freelance writer from Garner who writes fiction, non-fiction, children’s stories, devotionals and North Carolina articles of interest. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
20 | JOHNSTON NOW
Rudy Theatre’s new show is fun for the entire family By Randy Capps SELMA — After reading Dot’s story about the Rudy Theatre, it seemed only natural that the J-Now staff go and check out the brand new show. So, about 80 minutes before Duke and Carolina tipped off in Chapel Hill last month, Shanna, Ethan and I were waiting for a casually moving train to pass through Selma so we could get on over to the first new show of the year. After our brief railway delay, we parked a block over and made the short walk to the front door, perilously close to the 6:40 p.m. start time. Luckily, there wasn’t any panic on the faces of the folks working the box office counter, only a smile and a knowing nod from Ashley as we were offering up our apologies. We made our way down to the third row, but sitting in the back would have been just as good. There really isn’t a bad seat inside the cozy theatre. I really didn’t have any expectations. I just wanted to sample a bit of local culture, and maybe listen to a little good music at the same time. The American Music Jubliee delivered on that — and then some. There was comedy, with Mickey Nines’ “Homer” offering up some down home humor. Princeton’s Hugh Worley kept the show moving as the master of ceremonies, when he wasn’t showing off his pipes — or his Elvis impersonation. The vocals were top notch, with Angela Resignalo, Christy Ward Pita, Jasper David and Stephanie Rae Wiggins running through a variety of songs from the likes of George Jones, Randy Travis and Darius Rucker, with a little Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield thrown in for good measure. A word of warning, though. If you sit up front, you run the risk of becoming part of the show, courtesy of Homer or during one particular song from Resignalo. As entertaining as the vocals were, they were matched note for note by the musicians.
Squashing the Stigma Mental Health awareness has certainly progressed over the past 50 years, but sadly a certain stigma still surrounds those that have been diagnosed with or are seeking treatment for a mental health condition. Embarrassment, shame, fear or lack of knowledge keep many individuals from seeking treatment. Certain cultures still vilify mental health or lack resources to fully understand the conditions and treatment. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 people have a treatable mental or emotional difficulty, yet less Sarah R. Coates, than half of these individuals seek treatment. LPC, NCC, DCC Terms that create embarrassment and shame such as “crazy, psychotic, weak or lame” often keep individuals from finding help for their mental health illness. Sometimes family members advise an individual to “suck it up or get over it.” These unhelpful statements only serve to keep individuals stuck in their pain and continue to perpetuate the stigma of mental health illness. One cannot just “suck it up” and get over heart disease, so why are individuals told to “get over it” whether it’s depression or anxiety or PTSD? It’s important to understand that, similar to a physical illness, the pain of a mental illness will not go away on its own. Many Americans are quick to seek treatment for a medical problem, yet delay or never seek treatment for mental illness. If an individual has a diabetes condition, they wouldn’t consider not seeking treatment. Instead, they often find combining medication and healthy lifestyle changes predicts a manageable outcome. Mental health treatment should be and can be addressed the same way. There should be no difference in the way society views medical disorders and mental health concerns. At One-Eighty Counseling we are committed to helping individuals turn their lives around. We recognize that it takes great courage and strength in our society to seek out mental health treatment. Trusting a stranger to walk with you through some of your hardest days can be intimidating. But acknowledging your mental health condition and admitting you need help is brave and we applaud you in finding the help you deserve.
Spook Joyner, in addition to being the owner of the theatre and producer of the show, plays a mean guitar. The same is true for Jerry Williford on the steel guitar and Fred Burgess on the bass. Phil Huffman handles the piano duties while Ronnie “Fatback” Stroud keeps everyone on rhythm on drums. And I don’t know who helps the performers get in and out of the various costumes they wear on stage, but it happens at a speed that would make Mariah Carey proud.
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It’s a great show, with enough variety to keep even a teenager entertained. Ethan noticed, as I did, that a few songs from the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack made the playlist.
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As an added bonus, the cast members come to the front of the stage at intermission to meet the audience. The American Music Jubliee is inexpensive, and fun for the whole family. I’m already plotting a return for the second show of the year during the summer, and making plans to catch the Christmas show, too. Next time, I’ll leave a little more time for trains.
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Specialist shares personal impact of Red Cross volunteers By Randy Capps
GARNER — Sitting across from Jennifer VanGundy, it’s not hard to pick up a few signs that she works for the American Red Cross. Sure, there’s the name tag that tells you she’s the Senior Volunteer Specialist for the Triangle Area Chapter. But there’s also a shiny Red Cross lapel pin, and an ever-present smile on her face that speaks of a life spent helping people. Talk with her for a few minutes, and you’ll see that her connection to the organization is more than skin deep. Volunteers comprise a whopping 90 percent of the Red Cross’ workforce, and VanGundy serves as the human resources department for those people in Johnston, Wake, Chatham, Franklin and Lee counties — as well as Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro. She looks for volunteers, talks with them and helps to match them up with opportunities that best suit them. It’s a job for which she’s uniquely suited, thanks to her personal experience with the Red Cross and its volunteers.
Jennifer VanGundy and her husband, David, cheer on the Broncos at a game in Denver. Photo courtesy of Jennifer VanGundy
“I became a client with the Red Cross in 1996,” she said. “My husband and I lost our house in a flood in upstate New York. Our house floated off the foundation and there was ice everywhere. The Red Cross was there when we were finally evacuated and brought out, and I remember them
22 | JOHNSTON NOW
giving us hot blankets and just being there.
Red Cross hospital.’”
“Her name was Jeanie Roberts and she just followed us through the whole process, like the Red Cross does.”
David passed away not long after, but his last days were made better through the help of volunteers.
Jennifer and David then moved to North Carolina, made Johnston County their home and she joined up with the Central North Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross in Durham. She spent the next seven years working in Durham and later in the Triangle Area Chapter in Blood Services — educating people on the importance of giving blood.
“They gave us three to six months, but he only made it for 29 days,” she said. “And so, after that, I found myself wanting to give back. And wanting to explain to people how important it is to be a volunteer. It really touched my life at the beginning of my marriage and at the end. We were lucky. He got to come home. Those are two days he got to spend among our family and friends at his home before he passed.
She stepped away to “do the family thing,” only to be drawn back into contact with the Red Cross again through another personal tragedy. “Two years ago, my husband was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor,” she said, batting away tears. “We found ourselves at Duke, and he wanted to come home more than anything. During that stay, he needed platelets and the irony of that — spending so much time recruiting blood and platelet donors and setting up blood drives — it was just there. “I messaged out to my colleagues and said, ‘you’ll never believe this. Thank God we’re at a
“And it’s because somebody took the time to volunteer. All blood donations are volunteer donations. But it’s more than that.” Because of her personal brushes with the Red Cross, VanGundy is passionate about her mission of increasing and improving the volunteer workforce. “You don’t know if a volunteer had to fight traffic to get there that day, but they did it,” she said. “And David was able to come home. … I feel like it’s my opportunity to give back. I always say, ‘honor one, help many.’ I try to
convince people that it’s real. These volunteers have affected my life. They have no idea who I am, but they have affected my life big time.” Disaster relief and blood services are a big part of what the Red Cross does, but there are other ways for people to give back as well. Volunteers also staff area Red Cross offices, assist families of armed forces personnel, provide medical transportation of patients or lab materials, teach first-aid classes and work with area high school students to help foster their drive to volunteer as adults. In addition, the Red Cross responds to every single-family fire in the area, providing lodging, food and clothing for the first 72 hours after the fire. According to VanGundy, there were 70 of those fires last year in Johnston County alone. “I love that I’m able to say a volunteer touched my life 20 years ago, and to this day I remember the color of the toothbrush in that disaster pack that someone took the time to pack, and someone took the time to bring to my house,” she said. “I love that I’m able to recruit volunteers and tell them that there is this need.”
April is National Volunteer Month, and the Red Cross needs a few extra hands. Want to sign up? Visit redcross.org, click the tab and follow the steps.
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Clayton earns grant towards Universal Playground at East Clayton Community Park Submitted by the Town of Clayton
CLAYTON — The Town of Clayton Parks and Recreation Department received a grant for $89,810 from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority recently. The nine-member authority, appointed by the governor and general assembly, received 45 different grant requests from around the state, totaling almost $10 million. The board assigned points to each request because only $3 million in funding was available. Clayton’s request received the second-highest point total among the projects submitted. “We spent a lot of time on our grant application, but sitting in this room full of people, handcuffed at this point from being able to jump up and champion our playground proposal to the board members was pure torture,” Clayton Parks and Recreation Director Larry Bailey said. “You can’t imagine how shocked and relieved we were to hear ‘Clayton,’ especially so highly ranked. I think the board realized this money is just the catalyst we need to kick off a unique and much larger project for Clayton.” The Universal Playground at East Clayton Community Park is designed not only with children with disabilities in mind, but children of all abilities. Town leaders, recreation volunteers and the community want a place where children of all types can interact, laugh and play in a safe, welcoming environment.
24 | JOHNSTON NOW
The playground will incorporate physical activities to build strength, social interaction and communication to make friends, cognitive elements to help develop personalities and sensory elements to delight children through sight, sound and touch. The playground will exceed compliance standards with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and will also meet Universal Design standards. It will incorporate special ramps which would make it easy for adults and children who have difficulty moving around on ground covered with uneven grass, sand, straw or mulch.
Foundation, Inc. to help raise money. This non-profit, 501(c)3 organization has been helping the community support family events, parks and other Clayton recreation activities for more than two decades. With the help of T&T Creative Group, the foundation has recently reenergized the capital campaign in hopes of achieving the goal of raising the funds by November. They’re spreading the word to area businesses and searching for potential corporate donors to add to the growing list of supporters. They’re also planning a huge golf tournament in partnership with the United States Disabled Golf Association on May 5 at the Neuse Golf Club.
The grant will go toward the first of three diverse areas of the park — an area called Contemplate. It will be a calming space designed to allow playground visitors to relax on a gently rocking platform and swinging bridge. Children can interact with soothing water with a vertical water touch wall and cooling foot bubbler. Elements such as canvas flag fans and tubular chimes will allow for interactive, musical play. Adjacent to the central area will be a soft lawn for climbing, crawling and rolling. Children will use the Pull-Up Bars and Pull-Up Ladybugs and pretend to ride a ladybug. The mayor and town council happily dedicated land for this unique playground at the town’s newest and largest park on Glen Laurel Road, East Clayton Community Park. They also hired CLH design, an architecture and engineering firm, to draft the concept and cost analysis for this one-of-akind, destination playground. With a total price-tag edging toward $700,000, the Town of Clayton initiated a public-private partnership with Clayton Community Recreational
This grant was made possible last March, when more than 63 percent of Johnston County voters checked the box at the polls to support the Connect NC Bond Program. It earmarked $3 million dollars for Parks & Recreation projects that will benefit veterans and children with disabilities. The 4-to-1 matching grant asks local municipalities to contribute $1 for every $4 from the state, which in this case comes to $28,938 for the Town of Clayton. This isn’t the first time the North Carolina State Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) and other special state parks funding have sparked the momentum for park projects in Clayton. In 1998, the town earned a $250,000 grant for Clayton Community Park on Amelia Church Road. In 2005, the state doubled down, granting half a million dollars to Clayton for Phase II of the Clayton Community Center. And in 2011, Clayton received a $300,000 PARTF grant to acquire that land which will be developed as a future park and is now home to the trail head for our popular section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail — the Clayton River Walk on the Neuse Greenway of Covered Bridge Road.
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APRIL 2017 | 25
Neuse Charter to join county middle schools’ sports conference By Shannon Mann
SMITHFIELD — Officials from Neuse Charter School announced today that its middle school sports programs will compete against Johnston County middle schools starting with the 20172018 school year.
they play a traditional public school here and there on their calendars, it’s unheard of to play a full season against all public schools,” Browning said. Susan Pullium, executive director for Neuse Charter, said a paradigm shift is underway in how public charters are received and perceived.
Gail Browning, Neuse Charter School athletic director, said the decision came after Kirk Denning, Johnston County Schools athletic director, called her in late February to extend the invitation.
“We’re not a threat, we’re just another option for parents in educating their children,” said Pullium. “We’ve been knocking on the doors for a long time to be able to partner with our districted school counterparts to build better, stronger programs for all of our students and that persistence is finally paying off.”
“We were looking for a conference to join and had just been invited to an all-charter school conference,” said Browning. “But competing against schools in our own county, in our own communities, just made more sense.” The historical decision is the first time in state charter school history that a public charter school will play a full schedule in a traditional public school conference. “We looked at the schedules and called many charters across the state to discover that while
The potential schedule will have Neuse Charter competing against North Johnston, Benson, Selma, Four Oaks, Princeton and Meadow Middle Schools in the upcoming school year. The 10-year-old charter school looks to compete in soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, track and field and cross country.
A Smithfield Middle School player slides in safely before Neuse Charter School’s Ethan Boykin can tag him out during a scrimmage on Monday, March 6 at Smithfield Middle School. (Photo by Mike Ward)
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Benson native celebrates Town of 104th birthday Benson adds sidewalk play spaces By Patricia Chisholm-Jones
BENSON — Johnnie Barfield Green celebrated her 104th birthday on February 24.
Submitted by the Town of Benson
She is well known to everyone in Benson. She was born in 1913 in Johnston County, just a few miles from the town, and later moved there when she was nine. She attended school in Benson and was known as an avid reader.
BENSON — The Town of Benson has completed the Mary Duncan Public Library Sidewalk Play Spaces. The play spaces are located on the sidewalks on the Main and Railroad Streets sides of the library.
Green became a successful entrepreneur and business partner with her husband, Booker T. Green. Customers traveled throughout the county to shop at her store, which was located on Hargett Street in front of her church, Saint James Disciples Church of Christ.
Features include colorfully painted sidewalks, plus interactive play panels with activities such as hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, spelling and math games. “We are so proud of this innovative project because it brings outdoor play elements to a public space. Children can play on the way and not need to make a trip to a playground for fun and exercise,” said Mayor William W. Massengill, Jr.
She lived in Benson for more than 90 years, and later became a resident of Smithfield. She lived with one of her nieces, Johnnie Ruth Langston for more than seven years. At the age of 100, she checked herself in at Meadowview Assisted Living Center. She enjoys the lifestyle at the center — waking up at 8 a.m. for breakfast, and staying up until her bedtime at 9:30 p.m. She watches game shows and other TV programs and is a true snacker who loves Sunny D. Green credits her longevity to her faith and her favorite scripture in 1st Corinthians on love. She enjoyed a two-day birthday celebration at the center. On Feb. 24, it was called “Sweet Visiting Hours” from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Family and friends visited throughout the day and Green provided sweet treats. On Saturday, Feb. 25, family and friends called it a “Soul Food Luncheon.” The program included presentations and proclamations from the towns of Smithfield and Four Oaks. Bishop Charles Williams and Rev. Dr. Montorom Williams were among the guests. Four Oaks Mayor Linwood Parker reminded guests of Green’s 10 decades of memories stored. And the beauty of her life is her memory and ability to articulate her thoughts without problems.
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Benson’s Parks and Recreation Department submitted the Sidewalk Play Spaces concept as part of the KaBOOM! Play Everywhere Challenge. The challenge is a $1 million national competition that awards innovative ideas to make play easy, available and fun for kids and families across the United States. Benson’s Sidewalk Play Spaces project received an award of $10,000. KaBOOM! is a national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids. More than 1,000 applicants submitted project designs, and only 50 were selected. For more information, please contact Benson Parks and Recreation Director Matt Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-894-5117.
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Discovering Johnston County We moved our family to Johnston County in June of 2008 because it was an easy drive to both Fayetteville and Raleigh. Until last October, I spent two hours a day commuting to one of those cities. One hour spent driving to work. Nine hours spent working, including a lunch hour, and one more hour driving home. That left very little time to explore my own community. Since my commuting days are over, I’ve made it a mission to fully discover Johnston County. It’s my goal to eat at as many locally owned restaurants as possible. I want to find all the boutiques that have perfectly unique gift items. It’s time to visit festivals, theatres and fun events held in small towns all over the county. And, I’d like to take you with me on this journey. I’ll use this column to share with you all the local treasures I’ve found, and I welcome your feedback on places you think I should visit! In March, the Rudy Theatre in Selma tops the
list of local gems that were hiding in plain sight. The American Music Jubilee cast is comprised of phenomenal vocalists and musicians. The show was entertaining, inspiring and far exceeded my expectations. It’s suitable for all ages, and you even get to meet the cast. If you haven’t been, buy your tickets now. There’s even a coupon below for a $2.50 discount!
Beach Fest at The Farm and so many new opportunities to discover Johnston County. Until next month, enjoy all that your town has to offer.
Manning’s on Main in Clayton was also on my discovery journey in March. The ambiance is trendy while remaining elegant, and just thinking of the salmon I had makes my mouth water. I was here for a lunch meeting, but I definitely see a date night here in the future (hint, hint Randy).
The third Friday of each month, Downtown Smithfield has horsedrawn carriage rides. This was such a treat for our goddaughters that were visiting from South Carolina. April brings the Strawberry Festival,
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Every Monday, 6-8 p.m. and Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Angels on a Mission Food Pantry Lighthouse Christian Fellowship, 9856 Hwy 210, Four Oaks This organization helps feed families in need in Johnston County. It is also in need of volunteers. For more information, contact John Jernigan at 919-320-7387.
Every Tuesday 7 a.m.
Cleveland School Rotary Club Cleveland Draft House, Garner Cleveland School Rotary Club meets weekly and serves the citizens of the 40/42 area of Johnston County and Garner.
First and third Tuesdays
Tuesday Tastings The Cup & Kettle, 5533 N.C. Hwy 42 West, Garner The Cup & Kettle will have a selection of tea and coffee for visitors to try throughout the day. From 3 p.m. until closing, they will have some special brews you won’t want to miss. It’s a free event, and for more information, call Melodie at 919-623-8933.
Every Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.
Story Time James Bryan Creech Library, Four Oaks Come out for story time at the library each Wednesday morning. For more information, call (919) 963-6013.
Second Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Every Third Friday, 6-9 p.m.
Free Carriage Rides Downtown Smithfield The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation hosts free carriage rides, starting on the corner of Third and Market, around the beautiful, historic downtown area each month. Have dinner and drinks at one of our locally owned restaurants, catch a movie at the Howell Theatre and enjoy some small town charm!
Every Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Stepping into the Past series Tobacco Farm Life Museum, Kenly Each Saturday, enjoy demonstrations and displays of traditional arts, crafts and trades are featured on-site at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly. All activities are included with regular admission to the Museum, annual passes are available. For more information, call 919-284-3431.
Saturday, April 1, 7 a.m.
Taking Strides Against Family Violence Run/Walk 5K Cooper Elementary, Mial Street, Clayton. The Johnston County alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta is hosting a 5K walk/run with the proceeds going to Harbor House in Smithfield. The cost is $40. For more information, send an email to email@example.com.
April 1, 2 and April 7-8, 8 p.m. (April 2 show is 3 p.m.)
Write-In at Grapes & Grounds Johnston County Writers Group Socialize, write or critique over coffee with members of The Johnston County Writers Group. For more information, email Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bloom Neuse Little Theatre Drama by Andrew Morton. Following the death of his father, 15 year old Daniel and his mother, Lisa, are forced to move to unfamiliar Flint, Michigan. After a violent outburst at his new school, Daniel’s social worker, Michelle, suggests he spend a week working with her father, Bobby, an urban gardener of several abandoned lots in the middle of the city. A week soon turns into a few months, and, as the two spend the summer tending the gardens, they begin to plant some much needed hope in a neighborhood plagued by blight and help each other heal some old wounds.
Every Thursday, 9-11 a.m.
Prayer Cloth Crocheting The Cup & Kettle, 5533 N.C. Hwy 42 West, Garner Bring some supplies (yarn, crochet hooks, scissors and a needle) and learn all about prayer cloth crocheting. It’s a free event, and for more information, call Melodie at 919-623-8933.
Every Thursday, 4-6 p.m.
Friday, April 7, 6 p.m.
Benson’s First Friday Benson Visit Downtown Benson for its monthly First Friday event! Participating shops will remain open until 9 p.m. Some shops will offer light refreshments (i.e.: wine, beer, etc.) DIY projects, crafts or an exclusive First Friday sale!! There will also be a food truck set up in Benton Square.
Saturday, April 8, 12 a.m.
The Farm’s Beach Fest The Farm, Selma The Farm’s 4th-annual Beach Fest Presented by YETI Coolers will feature one of the best beach music lineups around, including Jim Quick & Coastline, The Embers, Band Of Oz and Hip Pocket.
Saturday, April 8, 9 a.m.
Living with N.C. Snakes Howell Woods, Four Oaks Discover the beauty behind our slithery friends and their importance in our ecosystems. Diet, habitat, snake safety and how to distinguish between venomous and non-venomous species will be discussed. You will also get to look through the museum of snakes to get a closer look at common North Carolina species. Cost is $10, and preregistration is requested. For more, call 919-938-0115 or email email@example.com.
Saturday, April 8, 9 a.m.
Flowers Plantation Poker Run Are you an animal lover? If so, please consider coming out for a Poker Run/Walk in support of the Johnston County Animal Shelter and Rescue Ur Forever Friend (RUFF). Registrants will run or walk around Shiner’s Lake and go to the various sponsor tables collecting playing cards one at a time. Once you have five playing cards, you can turn in up to three. The cost is $26 and includes a T-shirt as well as all the sponsor giveaways. To register, go to FlowersPlantation.com or runsignup.com/Race/NC/Clayton/FPPokerRun.
Saturday, April 8, 11 a.m.
Plant a Row for the Hungry - Johnston County We are a year-round garden that provides fresh fruit and vegetables to nearby soup kitchens and food pantries. No gardening experience is required to volunteer and training is provided. For more information, please contact Tiffany at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Classic Antique Power Farm Heritage Days Chamber Park, J Lee Road, Benson Sponsored by the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce and Classic Antique Power, this event showcases classic antique tractors and much more.
James Bryan Creech Memorial Library Easter Egg Hunt James Bryan Creech Memorial Library, Four Oaks Don’t miss the annual Easter Egg hunt at the James Bryan Creech Memorial Library in Four Oaks. Preschoolers will hunt at 11 a.m. and kindergarteners, first graders and second graders will hunt eggs at 1 p.m. For more information, call the library at 919-963-6013 or email email@example.com.
Friday, April 7, 10 a.m.
Saturday, April 8, 11 a.m.
Every Thursday, 10-11 a.m.
Museum Coffee Hour Benson Museum of Local History Join us at the Benson Museum of Local History for a coffee hour. Free coffee and snacks will be served. Come tour the museum and visit with friends.
Bible Study The Cup & Kettle, 5533 N.C. Hwy 42 West, Garner All are welcome, just bring yourself and your Bible (no particular translation, bring what you are most comfortable with reading). For more information, call Melodie at 919-623-8933.
Easter Celebration Parker Pharmacy, Four Oaks Check out the celebration at Parker Pharmacy. Free lunch and Easter treats for the kids will be provided. Call 919963-3535 for more details.
Add your organization’s events to the community calendar at JohnstonNow.com or email us at calendar@JohnstonNow.com. For the full community calendar with hundreds of area events, visit JohnstonNow.com 30 | JOHNSTON NOW
Saturday, April 8, 11 a.m.
April 22-23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 8, 12 p.m.
Saturday, April 22
Flowers Plantation - Doxie Race Calling all Dachshunds! If you have a Dachshund, come on out to the Annual Doxie Race held at The Club at Flowers Plantation. This event will be a great way to let your dog have some fun and you as well. The cost is just $5 and the event benefits the Johnston County Animal Shelter and Rescue Ur Friend Forever (RUFF). We will have various prizes and a number of freebies as well. To register, go to FlowersPlantation.com or theclubatflowersplantation.regfox.com/2017-doxie-race. Golden Egg Hunt Eggstravaganza Wilson’s Mills Elementary School, Clayton Don’t miss the “Golden Egg Hunt Eggstravaganza” at Wilson’s Mills Elementary School from Noon to 3 p.m. It’s free and open to the public.
Monday, April 10
Johnston County 2017 Youth Livestock Show and Sale Johnston County Livestock Arena The 2017 Johnston County Youth Livestock Show and Sale is set for April 10-12 at the Johnston County Livestock Arena. For more information, email Dan Wells at dan_ firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-989-5380.
Monday, April 10, 6:30 p.m.
Mary Duncan Public Library Pajama Story Time Mary Duncan Public Library, Benson Put on your PJ’s and bring your young one to the Mary Duncan Public Library’s Pajama Story Time.
Friday, April 14, 7 p.m.
Dancing for Our Veterans Benson American Legion, 605 Wall St., Benson Don’t miss this formal dress fundraiser — think prom attire — to support the Benson American Legion Ladies Auxiliary and their work with veterans at the Fayetteville VA hospital. The Big River Band, a Clayton group that features country and southern rock music, will provide the entertainment. Young’s Auto Center is sponsoring a “King and Queen” event, a photographer will be on hand to snap pictures of each well-dressed couple and there will also be a 50/50 raffle and door prizes given away. Tickets for the event are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information, call Ginger Pleasant at 919-464-4026.
Thursday, April 20, 5:30 p.m.
2017 Johnston County High School Student Art Exhibition STEAM Building, Johnston Community College The Johnston County Arts Council and the Frank Creech Art Gallery will present the 2017 Johnston County High School Student Art Exhibition, which will open with a reception at the gallery in the STEAM Building at Johnston Community College from 5:30-7 p.m. The Trial and Error Garden Club is providing refreshments. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.
Friday, April 21
Swing Into Spring Golf Tournament Pine Hollow Golf Club, Clayton The Clayton Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Swing Into Spring Golf Tournament on Friday, April 21. For more information, please contact Hannah Pellas at hannah@ claytonchamber.com.
“Selma in the Spring” & Historical Homes Tour Town of Selma A pageant of period costumes and historical hats will grace the streets of Selma, offering a beautiful setting for a photo opportunity and subsequent contest for the bestlooking photo. The annual historical homes & gardens tour will also take place. Artists volunteering from the Johnston County Arts Council will be positioned at each location demonstrating and displaying their artistry. The tour will begin at the Max G. Creech Selma Historical Museum. 2017 Strawberry Festival Technology Drive area, Garner An all-day celebration for the community focused on family fun and entertainment including a classic car show, face painting, activities for the kids, lots of food, and of course, strawberries from local farms across the county! For more information, contact the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce at 919-773-8448. See the ad on Page 27.
Saturday, April 22, 9 a.m.
Selma Saturdays Arts and Crafts Market East Anderson Street, Selma Gather with friends and enjoy live entertainment and browse local artists with hand-made crafts in downtown Selma.
Saturday, April 22, 10 a.m.
Jade’s Jam 2017 - Animal Awareness Day Benson Signing Grove This annual event is all about the animals and bringing awareness to the public about animal welfare issues. There will be rescue groups, special guests, all sorts of vendors, food, music and more. This is Paw Project’s 3rd year hosting this event. For more information, call Corinne Manes at 919-291-5029.
Saturday, April 22, 1 p.m.
Howell Woodstock Howell Woods, Four Oaks Howell Woodstock will be loaded with environmental education and fun activities. Be sure to take the always popular horse-drawn wagon ride while there. Howell Woodstock is the perfect family event. Come out for live music, hayrides, food vendors and much more. For more information, call 919-938-0115. See the ad on Page 8.
Saturday, April 22, 8 p.m.
Rock Legends Clayton Center Part rock concert. Part rock tribute. All rock ‘n’ roll. Rock Legends combines all of these elements to create a show that is the only one of its kind. In this rock and roll revue, created by audience favorite Billy McGuigan, audiences vote, through the power of their applause, for the songs and music they want to hear from the 50s through the 80s. If you loved Billy when he showcased the music of the Beatles in Yesterday & Today a few seasons ago, you are going to want to see this show. For more information, visit theclaytoncenter.com.
Tuesday, April 25, 5 p.m.
Cleveland Middle School Night of the Arts Cleveland Middle School There will be a choral concert, a student art show and sale, and multiple group and solo band performances during this event. There is also a silent auction/raffle planned.
Wednesday, April 26, 11:30 a.m.
Administrative Professionals and Employee Appreciation Luncheon Venero’s Pizzeria, U.S. 70 Bus., Clayton Don’t miss this event featuring guest speaker Crystal Roberts of Mountaintop Productions Public Relations. Tickets are required for the event. The cost is $25 for chamber members and $30 for everyone else. If interested, please contact Hannah Pellas, email@example.com.
Saturday, April 29, 8 a.m.
Pesticide and Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day Johnston County Livestock Arena Need to clean out the barn, the chemical storage building, pantry or underneath the sink? The North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Partnership with Johnston County Solid Waste and the NCDA will hold a Pesticide and Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day. Acceptable items include old and unused pesticides, household cleaners, fluorescent (high TCLP mercury) lamps and bulbs from homeowners, and all types of household batteries (i.e. Nickel-Cadmium, Lithium, Alkaline and Metal Hydride). In addition, we will be accepting oil-based paint only from the public, but not latex. For more details, call Tim Britton at 919-989-5380.
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