May 2022

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Slow down, appreciate life and

Live Easy!

Enjoy neighborhood socials, food trucks, community events, and making new friendships. As the seasons change enjoy miles of walking trails and golf cart friendly streets that connect directly to onsite shopping, dining, and medical facilities. All with NO CITY TAXES! THE LIVING IS EASY AT FLOWERS PLANTATION. | 919-553-1984 | Clay ton, NC




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The 301 Endless Yard Sale reaches 10th year Companies combine efforts to gift Princeton veteran new roof Popcorn Pleasers continues a family tradition Flowers Plantation Newsletter 36th-ish Ham & Yam Festival set for May 7 Sheriff’s office honored by JCC Foundation Miracle League looking for volunteers

ON THE COVER Popcorn Pleasers has kernels for every taste

[PUBLISHER] column

ROOTING FOR THE STORY Sometimes, The caller, neutrality is best. a N.C. State Last month, this fan angry with part of the world me about my was swept up in column about the March Madness hiring of Sidney — particularly the Lowe, was highly RANDY CAPPS Final Four clash amused. But, as a between Duke and lifelong Clemson North Carolina. fan and a graduate I have many friends on both of Gardner-Webb, my sides of that fence, and there collegiate loyalties are already was plenty of commentary spoken for. after the Tar Heels knocked That made the fervor Duke out of the tournament surrounding the game all the in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s more interesting. Aside from final game. the fact that our local ABC Me? I’m a neutral when affiliate decided to preempt it comes to Tobacco Road’s “Jeopardy,” hampering our basketball teams. household’s nightly dinner Or, as I told a caller to the viewing, I was able to enjoy sports desk in my newspaper a thrilling game between two days, “I’m from South North Carolina-based blue Carolina. I don’t like any of bloods (and the subsequent them.” national championship win


TEAM Volume 6, Number 6

A Shandy Communications, LLC publication

Publisher Randy Capps

by Kansas over the Tar Heels) without the angst experienced by most folks around here. A couple of decades of not cheering in press boxes has blunted my ability to experience fandom anyway. Honestly, as a writer, the only thing I root for is the story. I remember one dull high school football game in Shelby, I said aloud in the press box, to no one in particular, “Come on guys, I need one paragraph.” It drew blank stares from the PA guy and scoreboard operator, but as I explained, I had everything I needed to write the story, but I needed one paragraph I could devote to the losing team.

General Manager Shanna Capps

Marketing Representative

Wanda Sasser

As I recall, there was a good hit and fumble recovery that ended up fitting the bill, and I pretty much had that piece written before the game was over. That Duke/UNC game was far more interesting than that, and I enjoyed watching it as a neutral. Because frankly, you guys looked stressed out.

Creative Consultant Ethan Capps

Office Manager

Terri Atkinson

Editor Mike Bollinger

Advertising Operations Manager Kayla Stott

919-980-5522 • • • 1300 W. Market Street, Smithfield, N.C. 27577 • 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. ©2022 Johnston Now. All rights reserved.



The old dog relearned an old trick

After moving can cut this grass to my new house with no problem. in the suburbs of It’s flat.” Meadow, I had After I took a to resume a task closer look at the I hadn’t done in yard, that thought about 10 years became, “This is a MIKE BOLLINGER mowing the lawn. lot of grass.” For most of that I eventually time, I’ve lived in decided since the apartment buildings where the yard is flat and there are no owners took care of the yard real obstructions except for work. There was also a spell the house itself and a small where I lived in a small house outbuilding, I would cut it in the Virginia mountains, but rather than pay someone. I that yard had a very steep hill purchased a lawn mower and so I overcame my tendency prepared for my first effort. to be a cheapskate and paid I overcame the cheapskate someone to do it. tendency again with the When I looked at the new lawnmower purchase, opting place, my first thought was, “I for the self-propelled model


as opposed to the Mikepropelled model. A pretty Friday morning arrived, and it was time to get down to business. I determined what the best starting point would be, fired up the mower and began cutting. When I started, I figured with the size of the yard I would be able to do about half of it before the mower ran out of gas. That, I thought, would be a good time to give both me and the mower a drink and a break. I finished the front, then both sides, then started on the back. The mower was showing no signs of running out of gas. I, on the other hand, began to show signs of running out of gas. I haven’t owned a mower in some time. Apparently, the engines are far more efficient than they used to be. Continuing on the back yard, I began to wonder if the mower could cut the whole thing on a tank of gas. I then began to wonder if I could cut the whole thing without stopping, but being a stubborn human being, I

vowed not to stop until the mower did. Finally, with the back about three-quarters done, the mower began to sputter and all the gas was gone. I had begun to sputter long before that, and made it to a chair on the patio for a drink and a break. The break was very nice, but I decided to end it before I became unable to get out of the chair and finish the job. After only about another 30 minutes, the yard was done and so was I. I then returned to the chair to admire my handiwork and enjoy the smell of the freshlycut grass. I have to admit that I was pleased with myself to be able to cut grass again, since I’m much older than I was the last time I did it. Since cutting grass is not a once a year thing, I’m hopeful I’ll be able to continue on the rest of the season. We’ll see how it goes once the days get warmer. One thing is for sure, the breaks will likely become more frequent, because I learned quickly the mower has a lot more stamina than I do.

Crowds at last year’s 301 Endless Yard Sale shop along a row of vendor booths.

The 301 Endless Yard Sale reaches 10th year


SELMA — This year’s 301 Endless Yard Sale is June 17 and 18.


Founded in Selma and now hosted by a variety of towns located along US 301 in the counties of Johnston, Halifax, Harnett, Nash and Wilson, the annual 301 Endless Yard

Sale takes place the third Friday and Saturday of June. Along the more than 100mile stretch of highway, the event offers deals, antiques, collectibles, DIY furniture,

crafts and more. Celebrating a milestone 10th anniversary this year, the event attracts more than 15,000 shoppers and more than 2,500 vendors every

year to sell or buy. People often stay overnight in the area to take advantage of the two full days of the sale, and hopefully cover the entire 100-plus miles. “The museum has seen many great benefits from being a vendor location along the sale route in the northern part of Johnston County. With more than 2,000 visitors a day, artists and local vendors have been able to promote their goods and leave with a return on their investment. But the greatest benefit for us is the new faces and friends we make who inevitably come back again to shop or tour the museum,” said Melody Worthington, former director of the Kenly Tobacco Farm Life Museum. The Tobacco Farm Life Museum is just one of the unique stops along the journey. Locations for vendors are posted on the website, which prior to and

during the sale will see more than 100,000 unique visitors. Another source of information for shoppers is the Facebook page at 301 Endless Yard Sale with more than 22,000 followers; the very active page has become a planning tool where shoppers share photos, information on vendors and details on the sale with friends and family. “This is a 10-year successful event promoting the beauty of North Carolina’s backroads and the friendliness of our residents. We pride ourselves with bringing in people from over 20 states who not only shop the sale but eat in local restaurants and stay in local hotels,” said Tommy Abdalla, a local businessman and hobbyist antique collector. Abdalla organizes the vendor location at South Johnston High School in Benson. “You see things that you grew up with like farm tools,

fishing equipment, collectibles, furniture, antiques, toys—most anything imaginable. Personally I found a local cookbook that had several of my aunt’s recipes in it!” he continued. “The five visitors bureaus work together to promote the event, encourage vendor locations and keep an open line of communication between local stores, restaurants, residents and county officials,” said Ashby Brame, director of marketing and public relations for the Johnston County Visitors Bureau. “But, we’re just the middleman for the sale. Really, we could probably step out of the way and everyone would still show up. People are very enthusiastic about this sale.” Shoppers interested in participating, as well as people interested in being a vendor along the route, can visit the website or follow the Facebook page.

[ MAY 2022 ] | 9

Thanksgiving Elementary third grade wins national reading competition Submitted by JOHNSTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SELMA — Thanksgiving Elementary third grade students, aka “The Buffalo Bookworms,” were crowned READBowl “Big 3” World Champions, the top third grade reading team in the United States. Students participated in “Read with Malcolm,” the youth literacy initiative of NFL Super Bowl champion and children’s book author Malcolm Mitchell. Third grade teachers Nicole Humphrey, Heather Best, Tonya Green, Rebecca Hills, Tammy Westerback and Debbie Cascioli worked together encouraging the students to read for the competition. Through the program, the teachers and students were able to get creative with how, when and where they read. “Reading is a part of our lives without even realizing it,” Humphrey said. The Buffalo Bookworms read for a combined 720,464 minutes during the fourweek team competition, held from Jan. 10 (the day of the college football national


Thanksgiving Elementary third grade teacher Nicole Humphrey speaks to the entire third grade class, aka The Buffalo Bookworms, during their pep rally in celebration of being crowned READBowl Big 3 World Champions.

championship game) through Super Bowl Sunday, when Mitchell crowned the winners. “I am so proud of our third grade students and their Big 3 World Championship in Malcolm Mitchell’s READbowl,” said Thanksgiving Elementary Principal Chad Jewett. “It was amazing seeing their excitement for reading throughout this event, but to see their excitement for reading even after the end of the READbowl is even more inspiring.” This marks the fourth year that Humphrey and her students have participated in READBowl and the first at

Thanksgiving Elementary. “It’s grown more magical every year,” she said. She stumbled upon the event when her mentor suggested finding a reading competition as a way to keep her students excited about reading. A quick Google search led her to “Read with Malcolm.” At first glance, Humphrey was intimidated by the fact that READBowl is a global competition. She continued reading and learned the program was free. “I was so excited to be able to participate,” she said. The first time Humphrey shared Mitchell’s story with

Thanksgiving third grade student Fredrell O’Neal shows off his READBowl Big 3 Conference Champion certificate. O’Neal and the entire third grade class, aka The Buffalo Bookworms, read 720,464 minutes during the four-week national competition.

her students, there was a child who was struggling to read. As that child watched Mitchell share his struggles with reading, Humphrey saw an immediate change in his face. “There was a softening on his face,” she said. At that moment, she knew this was something big. This year, more than 57,000 students in every state competed in READBowl, including more than 7,000 in North Carolina Since its

inception in 2018, more than 325,000 children have competed in “READBowl: Read with Malcolm’s Free Virtual Reading Challenge.” “It’s not so much about what we do with the kids,” Humphrey said. “It’s what happens within the child as they are transformed as a reader. You start to see a sparkle in their eyes and excitement when it’s time to read.” The Buffalo Bookworms were treated to a celebratory pep rally, and Mitchell appeared via Zoom to congratulate them. “I could not be more proud of The Buffalo Bookworms and their third grade teaching team,” Mitchell said. “The effort and dedication required to read for 720,000 minutes is testament to the commitment of the kids and to the passion of their teacher, their school and Johnston County Public Schools.”

NFL Super Bowl champion and author Malcolm Mitchell takes questions from Thanksgiving Elementary’s Buffalo Bookworms, who were crowned READBowl Big 3 World Champions at a special pep rally in March.

In preparation for the pep rally, each third grade student wrote down a question they wanted to ask Mitchell. The teaching team chose one question from each class and that student asked their question directly to Mitchell on the Zoom call. Fredrell O’Neal asked Mitchell how he learned to read. O’Neal shared that he

is still learning how to read. Mitchell answered, "I never stopped trying.” He suggested that O’Neal change the way he sees himself. “Instead of saying ‘I’m not a great reader,’ say ‘I’m not a great reader yet,’” Mitchell said encouragingly. Each student received a 2022 READBowl Big 3 Conference Champion certificate with

their name on it as part of their accomplishment. “Yesterday’s time with Malcolm Mitchell was a culmination of so much effort from our students and teachers, and for our students to spend some time with Malcolm Mitchell and hear how important reading is to him and how it has impacted his life will be a memory our students will hold on to for the rest of their lives,” Jewett said.

[ MAY 2022 ] | 11


PROUDLY SUPPORTING OUR COMMUNITY At United, our mission is to provide exceptional banking services while caring deeply for our communities.

Member FDIC. © 2021 United Community Bank |

[ MAY 2022 ] | 13

Ralmaranda Best, second from right, poses with Brett Thompson, far right, owner of Peachtree Company, John Pickard, sales manager with Owens Corning, second from left, and Jared Bullock, from Peachtree Company, on the far left.

Companies combine efforts to gift Princeton veteran new roof By RANDY CAPPS

PRINCETON — Ralmaranda Best grew up next to the railroad tracks just outside of Princeton. She raised her four sons in the same home, and her dad carved the year “1966” when the concrete was drying on the front porch. Thanks to a leaky roof, recently the house was a little wet on the inside, too. But no longer. Thanks to Purple Heart Homes, Raleigh-based Peachtree Company and Owens Corning, Best now has a new roof on her family home. “I’m so excited,” she said. “Oh my God, I am, so, so excited. ... It was leaking on the back side of the house. It got to the point where it was coming through the sheet rock. When it would rain, it would just kind of puddle there. “I was born and raised right here. I left for a while and came back. I raised 14 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]

my kids here for the most part. This is home. It’s where my mom and dad lived, so this house means a lot to me.” “I come from a military family — granddad, uncle, my dad are all veterans,” Peachtree Company owner Brett Thompson said. “We appreciate everything that (veterans) do, and honestly we just love the opportunity to be able to give back. It’s through what they do and their sacrifice that we’re even able to be here running this business and have this opportunity. So, we like to thank them and reward them and help them out when we can.” Owens Corning Area Sales Manager John Pickard echoed Thompson’s sentiment. “We work with Purple Heart Homes to identify veterans that have a need,”

he said. “We partner with a Platinum Preferred contractor, Peachtree Company, who donates the labor and Owens Corning donates the materials. And we get to put on a new roof. We feel that (veterans) have given the country so much that we want to give something back to them.” Purple Heart Homes, based in Statesville, has partnered with Owens Corning and contractors to replace more than 300 roofs nationwide through its Roof Deployment Project. “I was online, going through anything that could help veterans and I saw Purple Heart Homes,” Best said. “I just want to say thank you to Purple Heart Homes, Peachtree and Owens Corning — everyone who had a hand in this — for helping me fix my home up.”

[ MAY 2022 ] | 15

Third StrEAT ery Downtown Smithfield's Outside Dining Room and Live Entertainment Venue

6-9pm | 100 block of S. Third Street Presented by the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation

May 20 - Crucial Fiya, Reggae June 17 - Radio, Rock-N-Roll July 15 - La Fiesta Latin Jazz Quintet August 19 - Blazin' Keys Dueling Pianos September 23 - Carolina Soul Band

This project was supported by the N.C. Arts council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.


[ MAY 2022 ] | 17

Junior Women’s League presents Big Night Out Gala Submitted by JUNIOR WOMEN’S LEAGUE OF SMITHFIELD

SMITHFIELD — The Junior Women’s League of Smithfield will host its inaugural Big Night Out Gala benefiting ReEntry Family Services and JWL’s Johnston County Blessing Boxes on Saturday, May 21 beginning at 7 p.m. at The Farm at 95. “The Big Night Out committee is working hard to plan a memorable event after having to pivot the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Our hopes are to gather everyone together for a night of celebration that creates a measurable impact


A night filled with dancing, food and entertainment. What better way to raise money for a deserving organization?” — Heather Bryant, Junior Women’s League of Smithfield’s recording secretary and Big Night Out Committee co-chair. on our community,” said Dana Peterson, Big Night Out Committee co-chair. “A night filled with dancing, food and entertainment. What better way to raise money for a deserving organization?” added Heather Bryant, Junior Women’s League of Smithfield’s recording secretary and Big Night Out Committee co-chair. In 2019, 12.2% of the people living in Johnston

County were food insecure. Currently, the projected overall food insecurity rate of Johnston County residents is 13.5%, in part as a result of COVID-19. For these families, children and elderly people, experiencing food insecurity means not always having daily meals or not knowing where their next meal will come from. That is why the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield remains steadfast in its fight to end hunger and positively impact the lives of Johnston County’s citizens through its Blessing Box program, small pantries located at fire departments throughout the county that are stocked with free food and personal care items for people in need. ReEntry Family Services is a small nonprofit that began serving Johnston County families in 1998. They serve 60 families a week, providing a minimum of 90 minutes of service for programs such as the Family Pride parenting program, HALT domestic violence prevention program and the Healthy Choices youth program. ReEntry is looking to add to their list of programs by adding the “Toward No Drugs” project. TND is a substance abuse program for teens that focuses on

character building and providing life skills, while lessening substance abuse, deterring interaction with the court system and helping them succeed in school. It is ReEntry’s hope that teaching our youth these life skills will help them become successful individuals in our community. It is for all of these reasons that the proceeds of the 2022 Big Night Out will support both JWL’s Blessing Box program and ReEntry’s “Towards No Drugs” project. The Junior Women’s League of Smithfield will use proceeds from Big Night Out to stock each of its 10 Blessing Boxes monthly throughout the next service year. Also, a portion of the proceeds will be given to ReEntry to provide class materials for their TND project. The ticketed event will include heavy hors d’oeuvres, dancing, beverages, premier raffle items and live music by the North Tower Band. Raffle items will include an 18-carat white gold ring with an emerald center stone surrounded by diamonds donated by Evans Jewelers as well as other unique items. Tickets are $65 each and are on sale now and can be purchased at The Junior Women’s League of Smithfield is also seeking sponsors for this event. For more information about Big Night Out, or to inquire about tickets or sponsorships, visit

The Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly is hosting a Living History program every Saturday through Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Tobacco Farm Life Museum begins living history program Submitted by TOBACCO FARM LIFE MUSEUM

KENLY — Visitors to the Tobacco Farm Life Museum can witness history come alive every Saturday as costumed interpreters demonstrate historical activities, trades and more while sharing about life in the early 1900s in rural North Carolina. The museum’s Living History program will run each Saturday through Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each week. Living history interpreters will be stationed throughout the museum’s grounds and historic buildings sharing about trades, tasks and other aspects of rural life in the years between 1900 and 1939. Topics will include one-room schoolhouses, blacksmithing, home life, fabric arts, farming and gardening, woodworking and

more. Visitors will be able to talk with demonstrators about work and life in the early 1900s. They will also be able to try their hands at some of the tasks being demonstrated. Each Saturday will be unique with a different set of demonstrators and with seasonal variations throughout the year, showing how farm life changed with the seasons. The Living History program is in addition to the museum’s existing Stepping into the Past Saturday Series. The Saturday series will still be offered once a month, featuring demonstrations and classes. The Living History program will be included with regular admission to the museum. The Tobacco Farm Life Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, visit www. [ MAY 2022 ] | 19



SMITHFIELD — Many times, people will refer to a big sporting event as a “Popcorn Match.” If you indeed want popcorn to go along with your big event, then Popcorn Pleasers at Carolina Premium Outlets is the place for you. Greenville native Zadrian Crandell is the owner of Popcorn Pleasers, assisted by family members and four employees. The business is dedicated to Crandell’s late brother, Kenneth “Popcorn Man” Jenkins, who died in December 2015. “He was known for the sweet and salty recipe. That was the only flavor he had,” Crandell said. “He is the foundation of this business. We made a promise to each other that if one of us passed, the other would take on the business. Unfortunately, God called him before me. I wanted to fulfill my promise I had made to him. He had always said he wanted it to be a family business.” Crandell said he started helping Jenkins in the popcorn business, and they began by selling at Williamsburg Premium Outlets in Virginia. “We decided to bring it back to North Carolina. No one was doing fresh popcorn here,” Crandell said. While the store at Carolina Premium Outlets is Popcorn Pleasers’ first storefront, Crandell had been selling popcorn long before that. He said they started in Greenville in a 10-foot by 10-foot tent on the corner of Arlington Boulevard and Dickinson Avenue. “We were known for the red tent,” he said. They also sold at flea markets in Rocky Mount, Greenville and Little Washington. Now, Crandell said, he is concentrating on the storefront in Smithfield. “We still serve the Greenville area some. We deliver there when people ask for it,” he said. “We have been blessed since we came to Smithfield. We have consistent customers and repeat customers. I have to thank all of them for their business,” Crandell said. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this 22 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]

Popcorn Pleasers has been in its storefront location at Carolina Premium Outlets in Smithfield since July 2021. Owner Zadrian Crandell said business has been good, thanks in large part to consistent and repeat customers.

without our Smithfield customers.” Jenkins had sold popcorn at the outlets before, Crandell said, from a tent set up near the Lane Bryant store. Crandell said he made the decision to return to Smithfield in 2017 while at a flea market in Rocky Mount.

“It wasn’t very busy that day, and I started wondering where all the people were. Then it dawned on me that they would be at the outlets,” Crandell said. He said he talked with Carolina Premium Outlets, and they told him he was welcome. “It just so happened we decided to come on,

and within a month we were here. We started in front of Columbia in the grassy area in October 2020,” Crandell said. Popcorn Pleasers opened the storefront July 31, 2021. “It wasn’t anybody but God that directed us down this path. Patrick next door at Barbecue Provision was using this space for his sauces, and he wanted to get out of it. The only way he could get out of it was if someone rented it,” Crandell said. “We got a call one day asking if we wanted to look at the storefront. We weren’t looking for it, and we hadn’t asked about it. We saw it and just moved in. We have no regrets.” Crandell said he indeed took a leap of faith by opening the storefront. “I left a good-paying job at Best Distributing in Goldsboro that I had for 17 years. I took a leap of faith and it’s been good,” he said. Popcorn Pleasers offers several flavors, with something sure to satisfy just about every taste. The butter, sweet and salty and light salt flavors were the only three offered when Crandell was selling outside. Others were added after the storefront was opened. These include kettle corn, cheddar cheese, caramel, Chicago Twist (a mix of five flavors), Chy! Town (caramel, cheddar and sweet and salty), white cheddar, Aunty’s Creation (a white cheddar and caramel mix), apple glaze (apple caramel), big puff butter (larger kernels of butter flavor), dill pickle, dill pickle ghost pepper, apple cinnamon (a spinoff of apple glaze), cheddar jalapeño and cheddar ghost pepper. Free samples are available, and some of the specialty flavors are sold in smaller

bags. “Customers are thrilled to be able to try out a flavor before they buy it,” Crandell said. “Our foot traffic has been good since we opened. Sometimes it gets overwhelming, especially on Saturdays,” he continued. Fresh-squeezed lemonade is a very popular item. Crandell said he started offering lemonade while still selling outside. “The lemonade has really taken off. We sell 32-ounce cups and also have souvenir cups and gallon jugs. It is always fresh-squeezed and nothing ever sits overnight. It’ll knock you off your feet,” he said. One customer, Callie, came in to get some of that lemonade and several bags of popcorn. “I come in here all the time when I’m in Smithfield,” she said. Other available beverages include Coke and Pepsi products and bottled water. “We hope to get to the point in the future where we need to add more employees. We’re going to take baby steps first. I want to treat people the way I want to be treated when I go in their store,” Crandell said. “Whatever your craft is, you have to keep at it.” Crandell said he couldn’t be in business without the help of his mother, Betty Hayward, and his aunt, Brenda Jenkins. “They deserve much of the credit. I couldn’t have done this without them,” he said. Popcorn Pleasers is also available for special events such as family functions and parties. For more information, contact them at 919648-8731 or email

Popcorn Pleasers is dedicated to the late Kenneth "Popcorn Man" Jenkins. Owner Zadrian Crandell said he is fulfulling a promise to his late brother by carrying on the business.

One of Popcorn Pleasers' repeat customers, Callie, pays owner Zadrian Crandell for her lemonade and popcorn. Callie said she visits the shop every time she is in Smithfield.

[ MAY 2022 ] | 23

Slow down, appreciate life and

Live Easy!

Enjoy neighborhood socials, food trucks, community events, and making new friendships. As the seasons change enjoy miles of walking trails and golf cart friendly streets that connect directly to onsite shopping, dining, and medical facilities. All with NO CITY TAXES!

The Living is Easy at Flowers Plantation!




COPPER RIDGE - TRUE HOMES Floors plans available from 1,680 to 3,643 sq ft with 3 to 5 bedrooms and 2.5 to 4.5 baths. Call Celina Hill at 609-634-3199 or Lauren Hemingway at 704-421-8855 for current pricing. BEDFORD - MATTAMY HOMES This neighborhood features floor plans from 2,230 to 3,000+ sq ft with 3 to 6 bedrooms and 2.5 to 3.5 baths. Call Jamie Matala at 919-314-7564 or Stephanie Vidal at 919-697-9044 for current pricing. FORREST - MERITAGE HOMES This neighborhood features floor plans from 1,658 to 2,697 sq ft with 3 to 4 bedrooms and 2.5 to 3.5 baths. Call 1-855-632-0076 for more information.

55+ ACTIVE ADULT The Crossings

COTTAGES AT EVERGREEN - MCKEE HOMES A gated community that features floor plans from 1,681 to 2,054 sq ft. HOA dues include lawn maintenance. Call Lawrence Wilson at 919-521-7168 or Rachel Bailey at 919-631-1304 for current pricing. Only two opportunities remaining!

TOWNHOMES THE CROSSINGS - TRUE HOMES The Elon floor plan is 2,262 sq ft with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and a 2-car garage. The Longfield floor plan is 1,762 sq ft with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and a 1-car garage. Call 919-899-1594 for more information. Forrest

SINGLE-FAMILY & TOWNHOMES WHITLEY CORNER - DAN RYAN BUILDERS Single Family Floor plans from 1600–2000 sq ft Townhomes – Offering two different plans (one has a first floor owner’s suite.) For more information please call Lenka Ruzickova at 919-264-1153.


Copper Ridge

Whitley Corner

ARDMORE AT FLOWERS A 396-unit apartment community. Ready 2023! Email for leasing information. Visit their website

Ardmore at Flowers






Enjoy a movie under the stars! Our monthly Family Movie Night presentation will be held on the first Friday of each month beginning May through October.

On Wednesdays we drink wine! Our signature monthly social will be returning this summer under our brand new pavilion!

Live music is best enjoyed outdoors with great food and even better company! Bring your lawn chair for the first summer concert of 2022. All are welcome, free admission!

Upcoming: May 6th, 8:10 p.m. Feature Film: Diary of A Wimpy Kid

Upcoming: June 26th, 4:00 - 6:30pm Featured Band: Night Shift


Home Of The Almost Famous Hotdog The Grocery Bag is a local family owned business that has been in the community for more than 40 years. We strive to put our customers first! Whether you’re shopping for your weekly family groceries or just need a quick snack, The Grocery Bag has it all. To-Go menu now available! 4879 NC Hwy 42 E, Clayton, NC 27527 919-553-4088

SPRING FAMILY FUN FEST Saturday, May 14th I 2-6:00pm Celebrate the coming of warmer weather and join us for games, inflatables, concessions, face painting, DJ, and giant family games. Fun for the whole family. All are welcome, free admission! 4879 Nc Hwy 42 E Clayton, NC 27527 Visit our website for more info

n a e p o A Eurhristmas C

Ready for another trip of a lifetime? Flowers Plantation has an outstanding opportunity for you to travel and see Vienna & the Christmas Markets of the Danube. This 9-day adventure featuring Rothenburg, Nuremburg & 6-night river cruise launches November 28, 2022. Don't miss out on this incredible experience!

If interested and for more info, call 919.553.1984 ext. 204 or email

Thales Academy - Opening August 2022 Thales Academy is a K-12 college preparatory private network of schools in NC, TN, and VA, offering high quality, affordable education. Thales fosters high standards of accountability, academic achievement, and civic responsibility through the use of a rigorous curriculum, character development, and technical and non-cognitive skills development. Our Clayton campus is our 14th campus, opening August 2022 for Pre-K through 7th grade, upper grades to follow in the next few years. For more information email

Bedford at Flowers Plantation Community Amenities With the new neighborhood of Bedford, Mattamy Homes brings spacious single-family living to master-planned Flowers Plantation in Clayton, NC. Each floorplan has been designed for the way you want to live — stylishly, comfortably and effortlessly — with open spaces that inspire gatherings as well as day-to-day activities. Bedford is tucked away in its own secluded, wooded area of Flowers Plantation. This gives residents the “away from it all” feeling while putting them very close to amenities and local conveniences — including the nearby East Triangle YMCA, which features a luxurious clubhouse with three pools, a fitness center, a kids’ club, a relaxing spa and a refreshing cafe. Visit Bedford's New Home Gallery 48 Mallard Loop Drive, Clayton, NC 27527 919-694-4178


There are plenty of reasons to join the YMCA. Whether you’re new to fitness, or looking for a relaxed environment to continue your routine, we know you’ll find your why. Members enjoy cardio, group fitness, personal training, league sports, swim lessons, volunteer opportunities and more. Join us and start your healthy new lifestyle.

Indoor and Outdoor Pools

Fitness & Wellness

Day Camp

TAKE A TOUR and sign up for a 7-day guest pass.

36th-ish Ham & Yam Festival set for May 7 Submitted by DOWNTOWN SMITHFIELD DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

SMITHFIELD — The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is pleased to announce that the 36th-ish annual Ham & Yam Festival presented by Stevens Sausage and Agri Supply will be held Saturday, May 7. After three long years, this beloved community event that features tasty ham and yam foods, entertainment on three stages, a variety of vendors, kids’ activities and fun for the


entire family will make its return. “We are excited to bring the Ham & Yam Festival back this year! It’s a beloved Smithfield tradition, and we have heard how much people have missed it,” said Sarah Edwards, festival organizer and executive director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation. “Festivalgoers’ first Ham & Yam memories are often of things like having fun in the children’s area, enjoying a country ham biscuit, getting their faces painted, entering

The Ham & Festival is returning to downtown Smifhfield May 7 after a two-year absence.

their artistic sweet potato creations in the What’s That Yam Thing? contest or performing as part of a school group on one of the stages.” In addition to the Ham & Yam traditions, the committee has added some new components to the festival. New this year is the “Best of Ham & Yam” contest, which will recognize one food vendor or downtown Smithfield restaurant for having the best ham and yam food after a popular vote and a judges’ vote. Information about the entrants and their offerings will be available soon on the festival website: www. The festival will be headlined by performances from Paige King Johnson at 2:30 p.m. and The Original Rhondels at 4:30 p.m. on the Got to Be NC Stage at the Agri Supply – Stevens Sausage Pavilion on Front Street. Country music singersongwriter Paige King Johnson is a newcomer to the country charts, where she had a Top

30 single with “Water Down the Whiskey.” The 23-yearold is a three-time Carolina Music Awards winner and has opened for James Otto, Neal McCoy and Scotty McCreery. She is also the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Musical Ambassador for its “Got to Be NC” campaign. The Original Rhondels are a beach music tradition that has been entertaining since 1969. With three Top 10 hits in “May I,” “I’ve Been Hurt” and “What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am,” the band delights audiences who sing and dance along to some of the best party and dance songs from the past 50 years. The Ham & Yam Festival is organized by the nonprofit Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation. To learn more about the Ham & Yam Festival, including sponsorship and vendor opportunities, please visit, or call Sarah Edwards at 919-9340887.

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The Johnston County Sheriff's Office has transported the Johnston Community College emergency medical simulator to area schools for students to receive hands-on training. The sheriff's office was honored as the 2021 Business and Industry Partner of the Year by the JCC Foundation.

Sheriff’s office honored by JCC Foundation Submitted by JOHNSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE

SMITHFIELD — The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office was named the 2021 Business and Industry Partner of the Year during the annual Breakfast Before Business event hosted by the JCC Foundation and local Johnston County Chambers recently. “The Johnston Community College Public Safety Department is very appreciative of the support that has been shown to us from Sheriff Steve Bizzell and 32 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]

the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office,” said Kim Robertson, assistant vice president of public safety programs. “He is very dedicated to ensuring the students in our schools see what great opportunities Johnston Community College has to offer.” The sheriff’s office plays a key role in transporting the college’s emergency medical simulations trailer to area schools. Sheriff Bizzell’s team has moved the trailer across the county to give local high school students the opportunity to learn hands-

on CPR training. JCC’s EMS students also use it to practice real-world clinical scenarios. “We are grateful to the sheriff’s office for helping us with this,” says director of EMS programs Mick Stewart. “We could not do it without them.” Presenting sponsors for the 2022 Breakfast Before Business included AdVenture Development, Benson Chamber of Commerce, Benton Sawrey for N.C. Senate, Beth Watson of Coldwell Banker Advantage, Clayton Chamber of Commerce, Cornerstone

Custom Printing, Country Superstars 102.3 FM, Rep. Donna White for N.C. House District 26, First Flight Federal Credit Union, House Autry, KS Bank, Novo Nordisk, Stephenson General Contractors, TNT Ad Specialties, Triangle East Chamber of Commerce, United Community Bank and Woody’s Computing. Contributions from the event support the Investing in Bright Futures Annual Fund, providing scholarship support and funding to address the greatest needs at JCC.

Tobacco Trust Fund Commission supports JoCo grows Submitted by JOHNSTON COUNTY VISITORS BUREAU

JOHNSTON COUNTY — The Johnston County Tourism Authority has been awarded a grant in the amount of $111,900 from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. This funding will support the JoCo Grows Agriculture Steering Committee’s efforts to market and gain awareness of the importance of agriculture in Johnston County. Grant funding will be utilized for a project titled “Consumers and Farmers: Bridging the Gap.” The Johnston County Tourism Authority will work in partnership with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Johnston County Center and the steering committee over the next 36 months to execute the grant. This will include several innovative marketing projects, holding public onfarm events and engaging in educational outreach to support agricultural profitability and productivity for Johnston County farmers. Other grant programs will include video production, social media promotion, costshare marketing grants for farmers and expanding listings on the N.C. Farms app. “We are so thankful to the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission for their support of the JoCo Grows agriculture initiative,” said Bryant Spivey, Johnston County extension director. “This effort grew out of recommendations from our Johnston County

The Tobacco Trust Fund Commission has awarded a grant to the Johnston County Tourism Authority to promote agritourism in the county. One of the programs the grant will support will highlight eight strawberry growers in the county to include on-farm activities for families, where to purchase locallygrown strawberries and the distribution of educational materials.

Extension Advisory Council as a way to connect the growing population of our county to local farms and agribusiness.” As strawberry season approaches, immediate plans are being made for the first joint event, a Strawberry Harvest Season marketing campaign which will highlight eight strawberry

growers in the county. Advertising will market onfarm activities for families, where to purchase locally grown strawberries and on circulating educational materials. Events like this will remain a part of the grant initiatives through 2023 to introduce area farms to local and regional consumers.

“The visitors bureau has a long history of promoting agritourism in the county and working with the Johnston County Cooperative Extension Office, and we are excited to launch the many projects in the NCTTFC grant,” said Donna Bailey-Taylor, president and CEO of the Johnston County Visitors Bureau. [ MAY 2022 ] | 33

JCPS honors outstanding first-year teachers Submitted by JOHNSTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SMITHFIELD — Johnston County Public Schools named Gabe Patton as the district’s First Year Teacher of the Year at the annual Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year Banquet in April. Patton, a CTE-Aviation teacher at Cleveland High, received a $500 check sponsored by Ryan Taylor of Horace Mann Insurance Company. Patton is a 20-year veteran of the United States Air Force. He is a lifelong learner who collaborates with other districts, DPI’s Career and Technical Education Department and local universities in an effort to grow and expand their program and generate learning opportunities for students across the state in the CTE-Aviation program. Swift Creek Middle teacher Kaitlyn Havican and Riverwood Middle teacher Ashlee Brown were the two runners-up for the award. The Johnston County Education Foundation presented both Brown and Grant with a grant for $250 to use in their classrooms. There were 33 firstyear teachers who were recognized for their outstanding performance in the classroom for the award. Those who were nominated for the award include Landry Moore, Archer Lodge Middle; Myainya Daniels, 34 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]

Benson Middle; Josef L. Massey, Clayton High; Paul Marchese, Clayton Middle; Ana Johnson, Cleveland Elementary; Patton, Margarita Lumbreras, Cleveland Middle; Chloe Brummitt, Corinth Holders High; Tina Casa, Dixon Road Elementary; Jenna Relyea, East Clayton Elementary; Lauren S. Hodge, Four Oaks Elementary; Larry Jones Jr., Four Oaks Middle; Maryssa Proctor, Glendale-Kenly Elementary; Brooke Skelly, McGee’s Crossroads Middle; Taylor Krueger, Meadow School; Kaylynn Batten, North Johnston Middle; Talisha Parker, Polenta Elementary; Madison King Casburn, Princeton Elementary; Phillip Stone, Princeton Middle/High; Cierra Davis Ricks, River Dell Elementary; Brown, Clarissa Scarboro, Selma Elementary; Denise K. Daughtry, Selma Middle; Stephanie L. Bushey, Smithfield Middle; Rachel Ashworth, SmithfieldSelma High; Joshua Raynor, South Smithfield Elementary; Havican, MacKenzie Jenkins, Thanksgiving Elementary; Shari Hern, West Clayton Elementary; Amanda Doll, West Johnston High; Amanda Underwood, West Smithfield Elementary; Ashley Langley, West View Elementary and Diane Haschke, Wilson’s Mills Elementary.

Johnston County Public Schools named Gabe Patton, center, as the district’s First Year Teacher of the Year at the annual Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year Banquet in April. Swift Creek Middle teacher Kaitlyn Havican, left, and Riverwood Middle teacher Ashlee Brown, right, were the two runners-up for the award.

From left are Kaitlyn Havican, JCPS Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy, Gabe Patton and Ashlee Brown at the district’s annual Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year Banquet.

JCC awarded grant from the National Science Foundation Submitted by JOHNSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE

SMITHFIELD — Johnston Community College has been awarded a $635,012 grant from the National Science Foundation to expand its Bio Blend program. An earlier grant, the first NSF award received by the college, funded the pilot Bio Blend project, which blended applied engineering and biotechnology curriculum. The pilot was so successful, Johnston Community College and local industry partners saw the need to expand the program.

Bio Blend 2.0 aims to provide the unique curriculum to all Applied Engineering and Bioprocess Technology degree students, instead of a just a small cohort. The project will also address the need to increase diversity and inclusion in the STEM field as it relates to the neurodivergent population with a specific emphasis on individuals with autism. Local educators will help identify individuals with autism who are interested in the program. Local employers have agreed to provide internships and to promote

a neurodivergent work environment by encouraging staff to attend JCC-sponsored training provided by local autism services providers. Another aspect of the program is that DeltaV training will be embedded into the curriculum. DeltaV is the distributed control system used by many biotech companies. Johnston Community College already offers certification in DeltaV operations. Bio Blend 2.0 will allow students to enter the workforce with the necessary training to build the college’s

local Multi-Skilled STEM Technician Pipeline. “We are so excited that NSF saw the value in the first Bio Blend grant and awarded an expansion project that will be a benefit to all Applied Engineering and Bioprocess Technology students. We are attentive to the needs of our students and industry, and we are confident this grant funding will be a major factor in preparing our students to be successful employees with the skills desired by our industry partners,” said biotechnology department chair Melissa Robbins.

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Earliest Triangle church site found in Johnston County Submitted by JOHNSTON COUNTY PUBLIC INFORMATION

CLAYTON — A new historical marker was unveiled recently at C3 Church near Clayton to commemorate the Triangle area’s earliest known church. Local Baptists built Three Creeks Meeting House prior to 1757 in the aftermath of the First Great Awakening. Worshippers came from farms scattered along Black, Middle, and Swift creeks and the congregation flourished through the second half of the 18th century. By the early 19th century they appear to have disbanded. The name Three Creeks soon faded from the area’s collective memory, and its location was lost. That is until recently discovered documents pointed local historians from the Johnston County Heritage Center to a forgotten forest knoll next to a new subdivision in the County’s Cleveland Township. “For a long time local historians believed the old Three Creeks Church was somewhere in the Panther Branch area of Wake County,” said Heritage Center director Todd Johnson. “However, land records and meeting minutes of the Kehukee Baptist Association in the 1770s place it near the mouth of Wood’s Branch where it flows into Swift Creek in western Johnston County. After finding some overlooked sources, there was this ‘Eureka’


moment.” Johnson shared his findings with local resident David Yeargan, who had spent time exploring Swift Creek. “David found this prominent hilltop on Wood’s Branch with what appears to be old foundation stones scattered around. He was convinced it had to be the long-forgotten meeting house site,” Johnson said. “When he took me there, I was also convinced.” The site was part of a 640acre land grant William Wood received from Lord Granville in 1753. Wood had a gristmill with a large millpond, and he also operated a tavern or public house at his home. Britt’s Bridge was built nearby to allow travelers to cross

From left, C3 Church staff Nate Fairfield, Anisa Larson, Sarah Culotta, Pastor Matt Fry, Caleb Fry and Caroline Fry with Johnston County Heritage Center director Todd Johnson at the Three Creeks Meeting House site near the Jordan Ridge Subdivision in Cleveland Township.

Swift Creek. Elder Thomas Tully, one of hundreds of new settlers, was credited as the first pastor of this pioneer congregation. His kinsman Hardy Sanders was a leading church member and also sheriff of Wake County and commander of the Wake militia during the

Revolutionary War. For more information, call the Johnston County Heritage Center at 919-934-2836 or visit, or stay updated on some of the great exhibits and events happening at the Heritage Center by following their Facebook page.

Miracle League looking for volunteers The Miracle League of Johnston County needs volunteers to help disabled youth participate in sports. The league needs 15 volunters for each game. Games are May 7, 14 and 21 and June 4. To volunteer, visit and click "get involved."

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Triangle East Chamber announces new president/CEO Submitted by TRIANGLE EAST CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

SMITHFIELD — The Triangle East Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Maureen McGuinness has been selected as the chamber’s new president and CEO. The chamber board of directors voted unanimously to approve McGuinness for the position after an extensive nationwide search. The chamber retained Anissa Starnes with Swingbridge Partners, LLC, to provide oversight for the executive search. McGuinness began work officially on April 1. “I


Maureen McGuinness is the new president/CEO of the Triangle East Chamber of Commerce.

am honored to have the opportunity to lead the Triangle East Chamber in what will soon be the post-

pandemic era of our economy,“ she said. “It has been a longtime dream of mine to relocate to the Carolinas, and as a chamber professional and champion of business, I felt this was the position in the perfect location for me. I look forward to working with the staff, members and leadership and I look forward to calling Johnston County home.” McGuinness previously served as the president of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce located in Bethlehem, New York. The Bethlehem chamber serves businesses in the Bethlehem hamlets of Delmar, Elsmere, Glenmont, Slingerlands, North and South Bethlehem, Selkirk and the surrounding area. Prior to joining the Bethlehem chamber, she served as the economic advancement and member relations manager for the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber in Troy, New York. In total, she has more than 25 years of nonprofit management experience. During her tenure at the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, she increased both membership and nondues revenue, strengthened relationships with legislative leaders at the town, county, and state levels and created new programming to meet members’ needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she created a hardship fund and solicited investors. To date, the Bethlehem chamber has made more than 60 grants to small businesses. Also, under McGuinness’ leadership, the chamber

established a 501(c)3 foundation to support its workforce development efforts and led its board through a strategic planning process. She holds a communication arts degree from Marist College. She has relocated to Johnston County. “The interest level and response to our search from across the country was high. We had more than 30 total applicants and many qualified candidates. Maureen McGuinness stood out and is the best fit for our community and the ideal choice for our chamber,” said Mark McDonnell, chair of the Triangle East board of directors. “She brings with her a successful track record of chamber management and has implemented programming in workforce development, strategic planning, creative non-dues programming and membership retention. With her exceptional background and commitment to advocating for businesses of all sizes, she is positioned to represent every business that our chamber serves. She will be an asset to our chamber,” McDonnell continued. “The search committee, along with Anissa Starnes with Swingbridge Partners, were committed to the strenuous process of vetting all of our candidates and we are excited to welcome Maureen to this position and believe that her leadership and strong business acumen will be a great fit for the chamber and believe she will keep the organization on a path of success for the future.”

From left are Ruth Marler, Johnston Health chief operating officer; CEO Tom Williams; Ambassador of the Month Judith Lauren Murray; Tracey Carson, associate vice president of patient care services; and Leah Garner, director of emergency services. In addition to a parking sign and designated parking spot, Murray will receive eight hours of paid time off.

Emergency Department nurse named Johnston Health Ambassador of the Month Submitted by JOHNSTON HEALTH

SMITHFIELD — Johnston Health has recognized Judith Lauren Murray, a nurse in the Smithfield emergency department, as Ambassador of the Month. During a recent presentation, CEO Tom Williams said Murray works well under pressure, steps in when teammates need help and is always willing to teach nursing and EMT students. “She’s always an advocate for patients,” Williams said. “She’s compassionate, caring and always asks what they and their families need to be

comfortable.” Murray says she enjoys working in the emergency department because of the opportunity to immediately help patients feel better. “I love learning and working alongside doctors, nurses and other teammates,” she said. Murray didn’t consider nursing as a career until her aunt, Audrey Massengill, a nursing administrative coordinator at Johnston Health, pulled her aside and suggested she give it a try. At the time, Murray was a student at Johnston Community College, working at a local animal shelter and hoping to become a veterinarian.

Murray has another family tie to the hospital. Her grandmother, Ann Coley, worked as a CNA at Johnston Health Hematology and Medical Oncology for several years before retiring. During her tenure, Coley was recognized as an Ambassador of the Month and selected as the first Johnston Health Ambassador of the Year. Inspired by both relatives, Murray took a prerequisite course to become a certified nursing assistant. She discovered she enjoyed caring for people just as much as she did for animals. From there, she applied to nursing school at JCC, finished her

degree in June 2018, and has worked at Johnston Health ever since. In her spare time, Murray enjoys reading, writing and spending time with her pet chihuahua. She’s also taking care of 16 stray cats that need homes after a neighbor moved away and left them behind. Through the ambassador program, Johnston Health recognizes employees who go above and beyond the call of duty. They deliver quality care, foster teamwork and offer excellent service. In addition to a designated month-long parking space, Murray will receive eight hours of paid time off. [ MAY 2022 ] | 39

Johnston commissioners accept railroad grant Submitted by JOHNSTON COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

SELMA — The Johnston County Board of Commissioners has accepted a $750,000 infrastructure grant as part of the North Carolina Railroad Company’s Build Ready Sites initiative. The award will be applied to upgrades and improvements in Selma that will support the county’s Eastfield Crossing project. “Johnston County is proud to be one of six North Carolina counties to 40 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]

be selected to participate in this important statewide product development initiative,” said R.S. “Butch” Lawter Jr., chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “There’s no part of Johnston County that isn’t seeing progress right now, with new communities like Eastfield Crossing offering a major boost to Selma and the central part of our county.” Eastfield Crossing is one of the largest developments currently underway in Johnston County. The mixeduse property spans more than 400 acres and is within easy

reach of Interstate 95 and U.S. Highway 70. It is also located in one of four federal Opportunity Zones in the county. In addition to hotels, retail spaces and residential neighborhoods and amenities, Eastfield Crossing will feature a 1 million square-foot business park. AdVenture Development, a multi-faceted commercial real estate company with holdings in six eastern U.S. states, is leading the project. Selma’s location at the heart of Johnston County, eastern North Carolina and the U.S. East Coast all

position Eastfield Crossing for success as a mixed-use destination, according to Kevin Dougherty, founder and president of AdVenture Development, which has offices in Selma and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “Eastfield has economic development potential as a generator of both jobs and tax base,” Dougherty said. Johnston County Commissioners voted in February 2019 to offer performance-based economic incentives in support of the project. “A community like Eastfield Crossing

A $750,000 grant accepted by the Johnston County Board of Commissioners will go toward upgrades and improvements at the county's Eastfield Crossing project in Selma.

doesn’t happen without local government partners,” Dougherty said. “It’s reassuring to see a statewide organization like the NC Railroad Company joining our municipal and county government partners in moving this ambitious vision closer to reality.” Once complete, Eastfield will be home to 3,100 jobs and will boost Johnston County’s annual gross domestic product by $169 million, according to an economic impact analysis by Sanford Holshouser Economic Development Consulting, LLC. “The Town of Selma is thrilled to welcome the North Carolina Railroad Company into our collaboration with AdVenture Development and the Johnston County Economic Development Corporation,” Mayor Byron McAllister said. “As we thrive

in a new and exciting stage of growth, Selma continues to benefit from its strong heritage as a Railroad town. We thank the board of commissioners for accepting this grant on our behalf and on behalf of the residents here who will have well-paying job opportunities close to home.” Build Ready Sites funds can be used for land preparation such as clearing and grading, critical water and wastewater extensions and certain types of speculative buildings. In addition to Johnston County and the Eastfield Business Park, sites in Alexander, Burke, Montgomery, Moore and Pitt counties also are receiving Build Ready Site funding. NCRR officials announced the awardees of the $2.92 million program earlier this month. For more information, visit

[ MAY 2022 ] | 41

Benson Chamber of Commer

Submitted by Benson Chamber of Commerce

The 73rd annual Benson Chamber Awards Banquet was held recently at The Barn at Broadslab. Sheryl’s Catering provided the meal, and Matt Smith, Benson parks and recreation director, was the master of ceremonies for the evening's festivities. Loretta Byrd, CEO of the chamber, was recognized for her 19 years of service. A silent auction was


held and was a huge success. Multiple award winners were honored with tributes written by their loved ones, and plaques were handed out. Civic organization winners were, front from left, Tim Messer (Public Service Employee of the Year), Betsy Whittington (Volunteer of the Year and representative for the Town of Benson Art Advisory Board, which received the

Arts Award), Emily "PopTart" Parker (Woman of the Year), Maggie Wood (Youth of the Year), Beverly Allen (Senior Citizen of the Year) and Beth Hockaday (Humanitarian Award). Second row, Sef Stanley (Firefighter of the Year) and Zayne Trent (Law Enforcement Officer of the Year). Back row, Brandon Murphy (Educator of the Year).

erce holds annual banquet

Submitted by Benson Chamber of Commerce

The 73rd annual Benson Chamber Awards Banquet was held recently at The Barn at Broadslab. The Benson Chamber is grateful to everyone who had a part in making this annual event a true celebration of all that's right and good in Benson. Award winners

were, front from left, Matt Moore (Ambassador of the Year), Max Miller of Miller Parts and Paint (Large Business of the Year), Leon Tart (Citizen of the Year), Dennis Moore of Eloise Moore Insurance Agency (Membership Milestone Award 55 years) and Alicia

Howell of Alicia's School of Performing Arts (Small Business Person of the Year). Back row, Daniel Parker, Dale Parker and Bryan Parker of Parker General Contractors (Business Family of the Year). Not pictured, Randy Lee (Board of Directors Award).

Hospice doesn’t mean giving up hope. 919.877.9959

[ MAY 2022 ] | 43

Add your organization’s events to the community calendar at or email us at For the full community calendar with hundreds of area events, visit

CALENDAR of events

Friday, May 6, 10:30 a.m.


Cleveland Arts Performance Ensemble Golf Tournament Country Club of Johnston County Play a round of golf and raise money for the Cleveland Arts Performance Ensemble 2022 marching band season. Singles can play for $100 and teams can play for $400. Hole and beverage cart sponsorships are available. Email for more information.

Saturday, May 7, 9 a.m,

Beginner Kayak (Ages 12 and Up) Howell Woods, Four Oaks Ever wanted to use a kayak, but did not know where to start? This program is for you! Paddling techniques will be covered and you’ll have a chance to get out on the calm water of Swan Pond. Cost is $15. To learn more,email

Monday, May 9, 6:30 p.m.

Starting a Small Business Johnston Community College Small Business Center Webinar Understand the basics of starting a business in this webinar that takes you from idea to opportunity. Learn key strategies for start-up, financing and marketing as well as important information about legal issues, licensing, zoning, operations and more. Realize the importance of a self-assessment and how to evaluate the feasibility of your business idea. Discover the resources available to help you start and successfully operate your business. To register, visit

Thursday, May 12, 6 p.m.

Downtown Clayton Concert Series — The Breakfast Club Downtown Clayton There will be food trucks, beer and wine, a bounce house, face painting and live music in Downtown Clayton.

Thursday, May 12, 6 p.m.

Sundown in Downtown — The Embers Benson Singing Grove The Sundown in Downtown concert schedule kicks off with The Embers. To learn more, visit

Thursday, May 12, 8 p.m.

Community Science: Summer Series Howell Woods, Four Oaks Join the folks at Howell Woods as they introduce a few community science projects this summer. Each project will focus on collecting data and learning more about the natural world around you. The cost for this one, Frog Watch, is $5. To learn more, email

Thursday, May 14, 8 a.m.

Neuse River Day Trip Howell Woods, Four Oaks Come out on Saturdays this Summer as they offer kayak day trips down the Neuse River. This 12-mile guided adventure will be filled with Neuse River history and more. The cost is $35. To learn more, email

Thursday, May 14, 10 a.m.

Howell Woods Summer Hike Howell Woods, Four Oaks Participants will traverse within the Habitat Diversity Trail System to learn more about local flora and fauna. The cost is $5. To learn more, email

Saturday, May 14, 9 a.m.

Selma Saturdays Arts and Crafts Market Downtown Selma Gather with friends and enjoy live local entertainment and browse local artists and craftsmen. The market is held on North Raiford Street on the second Saturday of the month. For more information, call the Selma Parks and Recreation Department at 919-975-1411.

Saturday, May 14, 4 p.m.

Rooted in the Arts Celebration Artmosphere, Raleigh Road, Clayton Rooted in the Arts is a music and art celebration for the community. It will feature local musicians and artisan vendors. It is a family friendly outdoor event with food, children’s activities and a plant sale. Bring a blanket and/ or lawn chairs and stay a while to listen to the music. Admission is free.

Tuesday, May 17, 4 p.m. Thursday, May 12, 6 p.m.

Business Structures 101 Johnston Community College Small Business Center Webinar The structure of a small business affects taxation, legal and financial liability as well as decision making. Before selecting a small business structure, you should understand each structure, its unique legal, accounting and tax consequences. This webinar will review the various structures a business can take such as sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, etc. Information will be given on the advantages and disadvantages of each structure, and the basic steps needed to start each type. To register, visit aspx?mode=event&event=280420021.

Mamm & Glam Ambulatory Imaging, Brightleaf Blvd., Smithfield Is it time for your annual mammogram screening? Come out from 4-6 p.m. Registration is required. No walk-ins available. Screening events include a combination of breast health information, blood pressure screening, a complimentary chair massage, refreshments and a swag bag. Call 919-938-7749 to register for an appointment.

Thursday, May 17, 6 p.m.

Online Tools for Your Small Business Johnston Community College Small Business Center Webinar In this webinar, they will explore mostly “freemium” apps and online tools that enable small businesses and startups to avoid costs in establishing efficiencies for their businesses in areas like HR, invoicing, CRM, time management, finance management, communication, marketing and document management. To register, visit reg.aspx?mode=event&event=280420017.

Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m.

Geocaching 101 Howell Woods, Four Oaks Discover the world’s largest treasure hunt, geocaching. After an introduction, you will get to use GPS units and maps to play a game of geocaching hide-and-seek. The cost is $5. To learn more, email

Saturday, May 21, 7 p.m.

Big Night Out Gala The Farm at 95, Selma Join the ladies of the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield as they host their annual Big Night Out Gala benefiting ReEntry Family Services’ “Towards No Drugs” program and JWL’s Blessing Box program. The ticketed event will include heavy hors d’oeuvres, dancing, beverages, premier raffle items and live music by the North Tower Band. Raffle items will include an 18-carat white gold ring with an emerald center stone surrounded by diamonds donated by Evans Jewelers among other unique items. Tickets are $65 each and can be purchased at www.jwlsmithfield. com/big-night-out.

Saturday, May 28, 10 a.m.

Creek Fishing Howell Woods, Four Oaks Come out and explore the property and all bodies of water available for fishing.

Participants will gain insight into the best fishing tackle and baits needed to catch the big one! The cost is $10. To learn more, email

Saturday, May 28, 10:30 a.m.

Goat Yoga The Homestead at Little Creek, Little Creek Church Road, Clayton Goat yoga is starting up again at The Homestead at Little Creek. They partner with their friends at Victory Power Yoga in Clayton. All events are located outside. Once participants arrive at the farm, they will have the opportunity to snuggle all the babies or catch a restroom break in the climate controlled kennel before classes begin. Mats are provided for each attendee included in the ticket price. For tickets, visit For more information, email

NAMI Support Groups and Classes

The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers free weekly support groups throughout Johnston County for both those who are in recovery with mental illness (NAMI Connection) and for their caregivers, loved ones and friends as well (NAMI Family Support). For more information on the support groups and educational classes of NAMI Johnston County, NC, visit, email or call 919-9805277.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, 6 p.m.

Smithfield Running Club Join the Smithfield Running Club each week to meet new people, get back in shape, train for races and explore the growing downtown area of Smithfield. For more information, find them on Facebook by searching for Smithfield Running Club or email

Second and Fourth Tuesdays, 7 a.m.

Cleveland School Rotary Club Cleveland Draft House, Garner Cleveland School Rotary Club meets bi-weekly and serves the citizens of the 40/42 area of Johnston County and Garner.

Every Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Smithfield Kiwanis Club Meeting Golden Corral, Smithfield Come for dinner and learn about this volunteer service club with a focus on actively supporting children’s programs. Learn about Smithfield and neighboring communities from weekly presenters. Community and social opportunities as well. Visit to learn more.

Every Wednesday, 2 p.m.

Trivia Party Clayton Center for Active Aging

Join the folks at Clayton Center for Active Aging with trivia each Wednesday at 2 p.m. Call 919-295-9163 to play. For more information, contact the center at 919553-4350.

First and third Tuesdays, Noon

Clayton Rotary Mid-day Club Virtual meeting via Zoom This small group of service-minded individuals is very dedicated to community betterment in Clayton and Johnston County. Visit to learn more.

First and third Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m.

Smithfield Lions Club Mayflower Restaurant, Smithfield This group gathers for fellowship and business. The dinner is self-pay. The meeting and meal begins at 5:30 p.m. Come learn about the club and how we help with local community service projects. For more information, contact Karen Brown at 919934-2555.

First and third Thursdays, 6:45 p.m. Clayton Civitan Club meeting Clayton Civitan Building, McCullers St., Clayton Join the Clayton Civitan Club for its monthly meetings. Call 919-550-0694 for more information.

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First and third Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. Fellowship Masonic Lodge #84 meeting Fellowship Masonic Lodge #84, S. Brightleaf Blvd., Smithfield Fellowship Masonic Lodge #84 meets the first and third Thursday of each month. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m., and visitors are welcome. The lodge will open at 7:30 p.m. For more information, email Grover Dees at

First Tuesday, Noon

Clayton Visual Arts meeting The Clayton Center Clayton Visual Arts (CVA) is a nonprofit 501(3)c organization dedicated to bringing Art to Clayton. Its members are artists, educators and art lovers. CVA engages and promotes the visual arts and strives to emphasize quality, diversity and accessibility to all local artists. Please consider joining and help support the arts in Clayton. Monthly meetings are the first Tuesday of the month from noon to 1 p.m. at The Clayton Center in the York Room on the second floor. They also host monthly artist receptions on the first or second Thursday of the month from 6-7:30 p.m. at The Clayton Center. For more information, visit or contact CVA president, Bronwen Fullington at

Second Monday, 6 p.m.

PACT meeting Virtual Meeting via Google Meet Parents of Adult Children in Transition meets the second Monday of each month. To learn more about this program which benefits families coping with special needs, contact Jeff Holland at

Second Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.

Johnston County Chapter of National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees meeting Golden Corral, Smithfield Join the Johnston County Chapter of National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees for their monthly meeting on the second Wednesday of each month at Golden Corral. Stay up to date on the latest educational programs and federal and state legislation affecting current federal employees and retirees. To learn more, email

Second Wednesday, noon

The Woman’s Club of Clayton meeting TWCC building, Church St., Clayton The Woman’s Club of Clayton (TWCC) is a nonprofit philanthropic organization made up of professional women who share a common goal: to work together to improve our local community, socially, physical-

ly, culturally and educationally. Please consider joining to help serve those in need of assistance. TWCC meets at noon the second Wednesday of each month (except June, July and August). For more information visit or email

Caucus meets every third Tuesday of the month. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting is a virtual one. Visit https:// to attend. The Meeting ID is 921 613 2965. For more information, email

Second Thursday, 6 p.m.

Third Thursday

Johnston County Writers Group Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield Join a hard-working group of local writers and poets, beginner to advanced, who network, critique each other’s work, listen to guest authors and organize open mics and write-ins around the county. It’s free and open to the public. For more information, email facilitator Cindy Brookshire at

Every other Monday, 6 p.m.

Kiwanis Club of Clayton, N.C. Virtual meeting The Kiwanis Club of Clayton, N.C., serves the community with emphasis on school youth Kiwanis programs. It advises two local high school KEY (Kiwanis Educating Youth) clubs and one elementary school club and meets each month. Visit ClaytonKiwanis to learn more.

Third Monday, 7 p.m.

Vietnam Veterans of America Smithfield American Legion Post 132 The Smithfield Chapter 990 meeting of the Vietnam Veterans of America is every third Monday of the month at 7 p.m.

Third Monday, 6:30 p.m.

Johnston County Beekeepers Association meeting Johnston County Ag Center The Johnston County Beekeepers Association serves beginner and experienced beekeepers with educational programs and experiences. We teach and encourage better apiculture methods and promote cooperation and sharing among beekeepers, homeowners and farmers. Our monthly meetings are free and open to everyone. For more information, visit www.jocobee. org or email

Third Tuesday

Widowed Persons Fellowship Group Parkside Cafe, Pine Level The Widowed Persons Fellowship Group, Johnston County, cordially invites widowed males and females to join them at their monthly self-pay dinner meeting. There is no charge to join their group. Come and see what they’re all about. Call 919-9653865 with any questions.

Third Tuesday

Johnston County African-American Caucus meeting The Johnston County African-American


Johnston County Republican Women The Johnston County Republican Women (JCRW) meets on the third Thursday of each month (except in July and December). The meeting location changes monthly. For more information email

Fourth Monday, 6:30 p.m.

Disabled American Veterans meeting Smithfield DAV, Buffalo Road Smithfield Chapter 44 of the Disabled American Veterans meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

Every Thursday, 6:45 a.m.

Clayton Rotary Morning Club Virtual meeting via Zoom Every Thursday morning, 70 service-minded people, representing all ages, genders and races meet. Learn more at

Every Thursday, 6:15 p.m.

Clayton Area Toastmasters meetings JCC Workforce Development Center Clayton Area Toastmasters is a public speaking club in affiliation with Toastmasters International. Meetings can also be offered via Zoom if requested by a member. For more, visit

First Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Four Oaks American Legion meeting American Legion Building, Hwy. 301, Four Oaks All veterans are encouraged to attend the monthly meeting of Four Oaks American Legion Post 346 on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

Fourth Thursday, 6 p.m.

Caring Hearts Civitan Club Cleveland Draft House, Shotwell Road, Clayton Caring Hearts Civilian Club would like to invite anyone interested in helping others in the Johnston County area to come to its meetings on the fourth Thursday of each month, excluding July. The club is a service-based volunteer organization that seeks members who are like-minded and would like to partner with other clubs and support worthy causes. Dinner begins at 6 and the meeting at 7. Those interested in attending or making a presentation about their organization should email

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