July 2021

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JULY 2021

A musical journey






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Richard Berry Harrison: “de Lawd” of the Theatre Local Christian music artist releases new single Transitioning students from school to summer Clayton author announces eighth book JCPS principals complete Distinguished Leadership Program Winding road through the music industry leads family to Clayton Dr. Ryan Ewell named Cleveland Elementary Principal Amy Creed named Dixon Road Elementary Principal New awareness campaign promotes scholarship for community college students

On the Cover

Musician Noel White has traveled the world with Sting and Herbie Hancock as a drum technician and has worked in studio with many recording artists, like Sean Lennon (lower left). Now he has a recording studio in Clayton. Photos courtesy of Copper Still Recorder.

[PUBLISHER] column


Everyone of a certain age deals with the effects of aging. I often wander into the kitchen for one thing and leave with something entirely different — only then to return for the original item. This phenomenon is pretty common, but in what really shouldn’t be a surprise to regular readers of this column, I have a more unique issue. I’ve been playing video




games since the 7-year-old version of me was blasting aliens in Space Invaders on the Atari 2600. I’m not sure what this says about my social skills as a young person, but


Volume 5, Number 8

A Shandy Communications, LLC publication

I’ve always been very good at playing games. I was the neighborhood champion of Tecmo Bowl and Street Fighter, I held my own in the dorm room battles in Super Mario Kart and I’ve had many European lads cuss me up and down in games of FIFA (soccer). But, as I crept into middle age this year, I’ve noticed something. I’m not the video game man I used to be. I saw it in this year’s FIFA game. I was a touch slower

Publisher Randy Capps


than I used to be, and as a result, little kids from Denmark kicked my butt. It was so jarring that I’ve stopped playing it for a while, opting instead for more slower-paced games. But I’ve decided that I’m not going to give up. I’m going to play better, change my strategies and find a way to keep up with people 30 years younger than me. That is, of course, unless I forget where I put the game...

General Manager Shanna Capps


Creative Consultant Ethan Capps Office Managers

Advertising Manager Irene Brooks


Marketing Representative Wanda Sasser wanda@johnstonnow.com

Terri Atkinson terri@johnstonnow.com

Katie Crowder


919-980-5522 • www.johnstonnow.com • Facebook.com/JohnstonNow • 1300 W. Market Street, Smithfield, N.C. 27577 • hello@johnstonnow.com 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. ©2021 Johnston Now. All rights reserved.








Richard Berry Harrison: “de Lawd” of the theater By BENJAMIN SANDERFORD

SELMA — The Richard B. Harrison Gymnasium. Old-timers remember that it was once part of a high school of the same name, the highest institution of learning for the black residents of Selma. Few, however, remember the man after whom it was named. Richard Berry Harrison was born in London, Ontario, Canada on Sept. 28, 1864 to parents who had escaped slavery in the United States. His first job was as a newspaper boy for the London Advertiser, the local publication. He developed an interest in theater at an early age, attending plays whenever he had the money and giving recitations at school and in church. Harrison moved with his parents and four siblings to Windsor, across from Detroit, during an upsurge of racism in London. An arsonist set fire to the family home shortly after they left. Harrison’s father died of a stroke a few years later. It was then that Harrison left for Detroit, and he would live the rest of his life in the United States.

Now a teenager, Harrison worked for a time as a bellhop, but, after reading Shakespeare’s “Richard III” to his employer’s guests one New Year’s Eve, began to consider a career in acting. He studied drama at the Detroit Training School of Dramatic Art and gained a private tutor in Edward Weitzel, the British-born actor and drama editor at the Detroit Free Press. It was not easy to be a black aspiring actor. After being rejected for the role of Dr. Faustus in Goethe’s “Faust” on account of his race, Harrison went on tour as a dramatic reader. He impressed audiences by reciting Shakespearean plays and the poems of his best friend, the noted AfricanAmerican writer Paul Lawrence Dunbar whom he met in 1891. Harrison’s journeys took him from Toronto to New Orleans and introduced him to many new acquaintances, such as a young Booker T. Washington and an elderly Frederick Douglass. He continued traveling until 1896. The previous year, he married Gertrude Janet Washington, the first black graduate of the Chicago

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Conservatory of Music. The couple had a son and a daughter. Now that he had a family, Harrison needed a steadier income than one that depended on the generosity of strangers. Eventually, after spending many years in California, the historically black North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro invited him to teach a dramatics school for the summer. He continued teaching there until 1929. All Harrison’s years of dedication to his calling paid off in 1930 when he was cast as “de Lawd” (the Lord) in the Broadway play “The Green Pastures” by Marc Connelly, a white man. He had reservations about accepting the role. He knew that black actors were often asked to play unintelligent,


irresponsible clowns, and it was not a stereotype he wished to propagate. Nevertheless, Harrison decided to take on the challenge. The opening performance on Feb. 26 was already historic since it was the first on Broadway to have an all-black cast, but everyone agreed that Harrison was the star of the show. It ran for 16 months. There followed a tour reminiscent of the one Harrison went on at the start of his career, except, instead of playing every role in “Macbeth” alone, he played one: de Lawd in The Green Pastures, accompanied by a troupe of supporting actors. They visited more than 200 towns all over the U.S. and Canada, including a stop in October 1934 at the Grand Theatre in London, where they staged three productions

in two days. For Harrison, performing in a role that he owned in the place where his love of theater began must have felt like the culmination of his life. Five months later, March 4, 1935, he was featured on the cover of Time magazine. He died 10 days later. Harrison’s fame receded after his death, but, for millions of black Americans and Canadians, he had become an inspiration. Here was a man who had reached the top of the acting profession despite having been excluded from the big stage for most of his life. For his accomplishments, Harrison received the

Spingarn Medal for distinguished achievement from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Several universities also gave him honorary degrees. Black communities emblazoned his name on their educational and literary institutions, including, in 1957, the former Richard B. Harrison High School in Selma. Benjamin Sanderford, a resident of Clayton, studied social science at UNC Greensboro. He can be reached at benwsanderford@gmail.com. The biographical information on Richard B. Harrison is detailed in the play “Elocution.” It can be accessed at www.jeffculbert.ca/.

Local Christian music artist releases new single By SUZANNE POTÉ

When you talk about the contemporary Christian music scene, Johnston County doesn’t often come up in the conversation. Still, it’s impact might just surprise you. Over the last year or so, a few local musicians have started to appear on the CCM scene, winning competitions, producing albums and making headlines in the industry. Recording artists Tommy Niemann, Annika Bovender, Real Hope Worship and Andrew Kurtz are among those rising stars who have recently released music and are vying for national attention. Annika Bovender released her


album, “Outpour,” in 2019. Tommy Niemann just released his new single, “Laid it Down” and C3 Church’s Real Hope Worship recently released “Heaven in this Room,” a precursor to their upcoming live album “Faithful Still.” Both RHW and Nieman’s songs are testaments to how much they needed hope during 2020’s COVID-19 shutdown and a message for others on how that hope can be found in Jesus. Kurtz left full-time ministry at Clayton’s C3 Church in 2019 to pursue a career in music. Since releasing his first EP, he’s collaborated on songs with Niemann, has been featured on Bovender’s album,

collaborated on Real Hope Worship’s latest album and he’s about to release his new single, “Baptized.” A catchy pop song about publicly declaring your faith, “Baptized” dropped June 25 with the music video following close behind on July 2. Featured in “New Release Today,” Kurtz’s new song expresses lyrically the importance of making your faith public and how the act of baptism brings great healing to our lives and in our relationship with God. You can find the new single, along with the other songs mentioned in this article, on all digital music outlets. Learn more about Kurtz and his new single at www. andrewekurtz.com.

The Secrets of A‘ OK’ — Always Optimizing Kids Submitted by KIDS ‘R’ KIDS OF CLAYTON

Studies show that significant mental, physical and emotional regression can occur if children are not provided with a regular schedule of mental and physical challenges. Here are a few helpful tips make the Summer months “AOK” — “Always Optimizing Kids” when schoolaged children are not in school. • Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Of course, the optimal number of hours of sleep per night varies by age group, but as a general rule, discourage late night television binge watching and lounging in bed until noon to “catch up.” Adequate sleep will also keep the grumpies away! • Monitor what is being eaten. Left to their own devices, children often tend to eat anything and everything — and too

much of it. This can lead to childhood obesity, with is currently at an alltime high across the country. Instill healthy eating habits and lifestyle focused on the recommended balance of grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy and fats. Doing so will help your stay child fit and functioning while keeping your grocery bills in check. • Encourage socialization, physical activity and mental stimulation. The importance of these three aspects of school attendance is often overlooked, which is why it is essential to keep them going while it is not in session. As the age-old adage says: use it or lose it. Seek

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Some key questions to ask include: • What are their safety protocols? • What ages do they serve, and what size are playgroups? • What training and experience level does their staff have? • What type and frequency of food and/or snacks are provided? • What activities are offered, both on site and through field trips? • What are their days and hours of operation, including when you may drop off and pick up? • What is the flexibility for attending: daily, weekly, monthly or full summer?

out opportunities for group play to hone their social skills while reinforcing and expanding the disciplines of sharing and teamwork. Keep those young, curious minds active by providing a steady stream of mental challenges such as puzzles and math games. Increase their appreciation of the arts with craft projects, and introduce new skills such as cooking or gardening.


If you are not in a position to do these important actions on your own, consider enrolling your child in a local summer camp program. In order to ensure you are selecting one that he or she will enjoy and benefit from, interview the provider in advance. Here’s to a fun, safe and memorable summer of 2021. Kids ‘R’ Kids of Clayton is a five-star child learning academy, serving the Clayton community for 15 years. To learn more, visit www.KidsRKidsClayton.com or call 919-550-8864.

Clayton author announces eighth book Submitted by JEAN RICHARDSON WATSON

Clayton author Jean Richardson Watson has announced that her newest book, “The Essence of a Poet,” is set to be released soon. She is the published author of seven books: “Poetry from the Heart,” “Onyx the Butterfly,” “Poetic Expressions,” “A Thief in the Night,” “Inspirational Quotes for Life,” “My Name is Special” and “The Eliminator VS Covid 19.” Watson believes our responsibility is to ensure that all children read more books. As such, she donates books to the Boys and Girls Club on behalf of herself, Keith Vinson and the SSS DIVERSITY nonprofit organization. She also plans to donate additional free books of her most recent book, a superhero book entitled “The Eliminator VS Covid-19,” soon. In addition, she provides household items and clothing throughout the year and never hesitates to give to the homeless. She believes the Bible teaches us to share and show love and compassion for humanity. She donated one of her books to Ronald McDonald’s house in 2018. Watson is a native of Clayton and a graduate of Smithfield-Selma Senior High School. She has been married for 42 years to her high school sweetheart, Winston Watson, and has a son, a daughter and one grandchild.

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Real Country Variety and More Music



JCPS principals complete Distinguished Leadership Program


SMITHFIELD — Johnston County Public Schools had two principals recently complete the Distinguished Leadership in Practice Program (DLP), a year-long leadership development program for practicing school principals. Archer Lodge Middle Principal Melissa Hubbard and Princeton Elementary Principal Melissa Hurst were recognized for their successful completion of the program. “I am tremendously proud of both Mrs. Hubbard and Mrs. Hurst for their completion of the DLP Program,” said Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy. “These women are exceptional leaders in their school community and I know they will apply what they have learned to continue to improve their school’s academic success.” The DLP is designed and provided by the North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principal’s Association (NCPAPA) and sponsored by the North Carolina Alliance for School Leadership Development (NCASLD). The program uses a non-

traditional professional development model that is aligned to the performance evaluation standards adopted by the State Board of Education for North Carolina’s school leaders. This unique cohortbased program is designed to limit principals’ time away from their schools by allowing them to attend synchronous sessions once every other month while accessing online assignments, materials and coaching in between sessions. Principals engage in a series of authentic activities throughout the year-long experience that are designed to build the capacity of their schools and their own capacity as “Distinguished” school leaders. “The leadership of the school principal is by far one of the most important factors in school quality. By completing this very rigorous program, our DLP graduates have demonstrated their commitment to continuous improvement by working to improve their leadership skills as they simultaneously improve their schools. We are proud to include them in the ranks of successful DLP completers,” said Dr. Shirley Prince, NCPAPA executive director.

This program was offered in a virtual setting this year and serves principals in all eight regions of the state. The North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association (NCPAPA), in existence since 1976, is the preeminent professional development organization and state voice for principals, assistant principals and aspiring school

leaders. NCPAPA represents 5,000+ members from across the state and serves as the state’s principal affiliate of the N.C. Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). More information can be found at www.ncpapa.org.

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Winding road By RANDY CAPPS

CLAYTON — Walking into the Clayton School of Creative Arts serves up a bevy of surprises. From the game room in back to the stage and bar in front, the space runs the gamut from pool hall to bar. It’s a fun and unique vibe for a school that offers art programs and summer camps — and a fitting one for its music programs. Tucked just to the right of the side entrance is a recording studio, complete with recording equipment and just the right sort of acoustics. It’s the home of Copper Still Recorder, the brainchild of


through the m

Noel White. White, an Annapolis, Maryland, native who moved to Flowers Plantation with his family a little over two years ago, is a musician who has played the drums with acts like Underfoot, Art Garfunkel and Marcy’s Playground, to name a few. Through his time as a performer, and a bit of good luck, he was able to work as a drum technician for the likes of Herbie Hancock and Sting, touring the world and rubbing elbows with giants of the music industry. So, how did a guy who’s that plugged in to the music scene wind up in Johnston County? “My wife had a friend move down here about six years ago, and every time I’d go on tour with Sting, she would come down here and visit,” he said. “Because I’d be gone for three or four months at a time. ... So that’s how the Clayton thing came up. And I went to Elon, so when my wife said, ‘How do you feel about moving to North Carolina?’ Our second kid was on the way, and we knew we wanted to upgrade. ... I was cool with North Carolina, and I knew Raleigh was a nice city and we wouldn’t be far from it at all. It was a no-brainer.” His journey through the world of music led him here, and also led him to his wife, Jennifer Van Meter, who, one might guess, is also a musician. He

usic in

worked with her on her first three albums, and the two of them wound up together. “We moved in together, got Ruckus the dog and the rest was history,” he said. Since then, Kate, 5, and Gus, 3, have joined the family band. “Both of their middle names are Van,” he said. “So, we call them the Van Whites.” Gus and Kate are a big part of the reason White decided to get off the road. “When you’re young enough, and your kids are young enough, you can get away with doing it,” he said, of the demanding travel schedule. “I got off the tour in 2019 and started a job with Harmon, who owns JBL and a bunch of other sound companies out of L.A. So that was a dream come true. I’m going to finally get off tour, but still travel a bit. Because Sting would have me on the road for three months, home for a week, then three months again. It was just too much. “My friends were like, ‘You got off the road just in time.’ Because we knew the first thing that would go (because of COVID) would be tours. We didn’t escape it, either, because by June of last year, they laid all the JBL Pro team off. It just had so much tied into concert sound. “That led me to a lot of sitting around with a lot of time on my hands. And I met Tom.”

industry lead Tom is Tom Hutchison, the owner of the Cary School of Creative Arts and its counterpart in Clayton. “(Tom) was like, ‘I’ve got this one section of the school,’” he said. “He said, ‘Go ahead and take this spot if you want it.’ I was a little leery, because I’ve always had secluded spots for my studios. This is my third studio. I thought, ‘What is it going to be like having a studio in the middle of a school?’ But it turns out it’s only loud from, like 2-7.” Having a recording studio in the heart of downtown Clayton has worked out pretty well for White so far. “People don’t mind the 20-minute drive,” he said. “They also like the fact that Manning’s is right across the street. You can get a killer bowl of gumbo or get a $2 cheeseburger at Jones.’ And the new place going in across the street, that’s going to be awesome, too. People love the fact that they can come here and go across the street and get some beers if they need to. You either want to be secluded, or not. I love the outdoors and studios out in the middle of nowhere in a barn, but you better bring everything you need. “We’re just so happy to be here in Clayton. The town has been so incredibly welcoming to my wife and I. It touches me how much they have.”

s family to Cl

“I couldn’t have met this guy in a million years if I went looking for him,” Hutchison said. “For him to end up in Clayton has to be some part of a greater plan. Just getting to know him and his professionalism, and what he brings to the area and local musicians, he is just such a great asset to the community. I’m privileged that he wants to be here with us.” Copper Still Recorder is getting a little more busy these days as we emerge from the pandemic. Duck, a Raleigh-based band, is planning to record its next album


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in Clayton this summer, and they’ll be the latest in a long list of acts with which White has worked — a list that includes Sean Lennon, The National, Dawes and many more. “There’s no magic in how I place microphones,” he said of his work in the studio. “Fifty percent of what I do is emotional nurturing. Making people feel comfortable so they can express their art is no easy thing to do. They really have to trust the person they’re with.” When your resume includes working as a drum tech for world-renowned artists like Vinnie Colaiuta (“one of the greats on the planet”) and Josh Freese (“been on every pop record made, pretty much”), the bonds of trust are formed a little more easily. And it could have just as easily not happened at all. In 2000, White and his band, Underfoot, were receiving attention from record labels. Then Napster, Lime Wire and others came along and shook the industry to its core with the ability to share music for free on the internet. Record companies, unsure what the future might bring, became much more hesitant to sign artists. That left White at a crossroads. “I could be selling life insurance,” he said. “I met a guy named Gary Hurstius, who was originally from Annapolis, and he saw me struggling with the ‘There’s no money in music thing.’ He said, ‘You can make money being a tech. Good money, and you can tour the world. Because the odds of finding work as a tech are a lot better than being in the band.” Being a drummer himself, White knows what the equipment should sound like, when heads should be replaced and how to make the setup ideal for the performers on stage. “I’d rather be Sting’s tech than the drummer in 70% of bands touring,” he said. “Because we’re playing the Acropolis, ancient theatres, everywhere you’d expect to see Sting play. With Herbie, it’s the same kind of thing. Because they’re so revered in Europe. We do American tours, but when we get over to Europe, it’s a whole other ballgame.


“The techs have to make sure everything is perfect every day. To people who don’t know, I compare us to being like caddies. I take care of their stuff. I mix what they hear, and even if I’m not mixing it, I have to communicate with the monitor technician exactly what the band wants. Because, when the artists get there, there’s no time. ... You’re basically driving the car before Mario Andretti shows up.” It’s a tough transition for some, especially those who have dreamed of life in the spotlight. White, however, has a more mature approach. “I checked my ego at the door,” he said. “Some guys can’t ever get past it, but when you’re working for your heroes? Vinnie Colaiuta? I can’t believe he’s my friend now.” And every now and then out on the road, strange things happen. One night in Budapest in 2018, in front of 70,000 fans, White filled in for Freese for a set with Sting and Shaggy. “Understudy isn’t the right word, but ... I did the three-hour gig,” he said. “Sting was like, ‘You’re the only other drummer in the world who knows this whole three hours of music because you’ve seen it 300 times at this point.’ So, he’d rather have me at 70% of the technical ability of these other guys — and that’s being generous — than to have a guy come in cold.” There’s a Facebook video from the day of the show where Sting makes a point to come in and praise White’s willingness to step in. Apparently, that’s just the kind of guy the rock icon is. “He’s exactly what you’d expect him to be,” he said. “He’s a gentleman. He’s one of the smartest human beings I’ve ever met in my life. Intense. Funny. Uses very few words, but when he does, they’re always completely poignant. And very kind. And Herbie? Same exact thing. A beautiful gentleman. Two incredibly nice people.” It’s just the sort of feeling one gets inside the walls of Copper Still Recorder. To learn more about the studio, search Noel Scott White on Facebook or email him at noelswhite@gmail.com.

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Dr. Ryan Ewell named Cleveland Elementary principal Submitted by JOHNSTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Dr. Ryan Ewell was named the principal of Cleveland Elementary at a recent Johnston County Board of Education meeting. Ewell has served Johnston County Public Schools since 2017 as the assistant principal at Selma Middle School. Ewell served a dual-principal residency at Warren County Middle School and Vaughan Elementary School in the 2016-2017 school year.

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“I am truly honored to serve as the next principal of Cleveland Elementary School,” he said. “I look forward to building lasting relationships with the students and families in the Cleveland community. Together we will continue to achieve greater levels of excellence.” Ewell began his role as principal on July 1, filling the vacancy left by Maureen Hanahue’s retirement. Before serving in administration, he was a teacher at Warren New Technology High School in Warrenton. Ewell is well known among his colleagues and school community for working to build relationships with his students and their families, while focusing on achievement. “Dr. Ewell will be an asset to the Cleveland Elementary community,” said Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy. “He is committed to his students and the school’s success.” Ewell recently defended his dissertation, earning his doctorate in educational leadership from East Carolina University in 2021. He earned his Master of School Administration from North Carolina State University, and is a past recipient of the Warren New Technology High School Teacher of the Year Award.


Amy Creed named Dixon Road Elementary principal Submitted by JOHNSTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Amy Creed was named the principal of Dixon Road Elementary at a recent Johnston County Board of Education meeting. Creed, a Benson native, has served Johnston County Public Schools as an educator for the last 27 years, the last five of those as assistant principal at Dixon Road Elementary. “I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve as the next principal of Dixon Road Elementary,” she said. “I cannot thank the students, staff and parents enough for their support. I look forward to continuing our work together as we make our school the very best it can be” Creed started her role as principal on July 1, filling the vacancy left by Kenneth Bennett’s retirement. She brings a wealth of knowledge to her new role as principal. Throughout her time working in education she has served in positions ranging from the central office to the classroom. She served as assistant principal at McGee’s Crossroads Middle School from 2010 to 2012. She worked for curriculum, instruction, and accountability (CIA) as a MTSS specialist from 2012 to 2015. Creed served at Benson Elementary from 2002 to 2010, where she was a curriculum coach, assistant principal intern and worked in Title I instructional support. Before that Creed worked as a classroom teacher at Clayton Elementary, Cooper Elementary and

McGee’s Crossroads Elementary. “I’m looking forward to Mrs. Amy Creed bringing her skill set to her principalship at Dixon Road Elementary,” said Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy. “The students, staff and community will continue to benefit from the wonderful things she has to offer.” Creed holds a masters in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and received her addon administrative licensure from Campbell University. She is a former runner-up for the Flame for Learning Teacher of the Year Award, as well as the former recipient of the North Carolina D.A.R.E. Educator of the Year award.

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New awareness campaign promotes scholarship for community college students Submitted by JOHNSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE

RALEIGH — A statewide awareness campaign, called “Time for a New YOU,” launched recently for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund that is available for eligible North Carolina community college students. GEER provides $15 million in tuition assistance to students enrolled in short-term workforce training programs in one of North Carolina’s “Great 58” community colleges. The short-term programs supported by the scholarship are in high-demand fields that will lead


to a state or industry-recognized credential. Ten high-demand areas have been identified and are automotive, construction, emergency medical services, health care, information technology, aircraft maintenance, criminal justice, fire and rescue services, industrial/ manufacturing and transportation. Johnston Community College provides several eligible programs. “Our community colleges are strengthening North Carolina’s position in the global marketplace, and we will lead the state’s economic recovery,” said Thomas A. Stith III, president of the N.C. Community College System. “Our community colleges provide affordable and

accessible education opportunities and produce graduates who are highly competitive candidates for hire.” The scholarship awards up to $750, or the cost of the program — whichever is more — and can be used to help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies, credentialing tests, transportation, childcare and other costs of attendance. Eligible students must be a North Carolina resident and currently enrolled in an eligible continuing education program or course for a minimum of 96 hours. To learn more, contact JCC at 919-934-3051.

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

CALENDAR of events

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 www.namijcnc.net, email namijcnc@gmail.com or call 919-980-5277.

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 smithfieldrunningclub@gmail.com.

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 www.facebook.com/ KiwanisClubOfSmithfieldNC to learn more.

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 www.facebook.com/ClaytonMiddayRotary to learn more.

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.

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 gdees1@nc.rr.com.

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 hollandjeff@yahoo.com.

Second Wednesday, noon

The Woman’s Club of Clayton meeting Virtual via Zoom 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, physically, culturally and educationally. Please consider joining us and help us serve those in need of assistance. TWCC meets at Noon the second Wednesday of each month (except June, July and August).

Second Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Johnston County Writers Group Virtual meeting via Zoom 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 jocowriters@gmail.com.

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 www.facebook.com/ClaytonKiwanis to learn more.

Third Monday

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 JCBAPresident@jocobee.org.

Third Tuesday

Widowed Persons Fellowship Group Parkside Cafe, Pine Level The Widowed Persons Fellowship Group, Johnston County, cordially invites widowed males and females

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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 919-965-3865 with any questions.

July 2, 9:15 p.m.

Fourth Monday

July 3

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 www.claytonrotaryclub.org.

Every Thursday, 6 p.m.

Clayton Area Toastmasters meetings Virtual meeting via Zoom Clayton Area Toastmasters is a public speaking club in affiliation with Toastmasters International. For more, visit claytontm.com.

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.

landnc for more details.

All-American Festival, Selma Don’t miss Selma’s annual fireworks display at Blackstone Plaza. Visit www.facebook.com/selmaparksrec to learn more.

4th of July Celebration, Archer Lodge The Archer Lodge Community Center, The Town of Archer Lodge and Glenn Strickland, HTR Garner, presents A 4th of July Celebration. There will be live music, food trucks and fireworks. Aaron Hamm and the Big River Band will perform from 6-9 p.m. while food trucks from Fatboys BBQ, Jessica’s Food Truck and Sunset Slushy will be on hand. Fireworks are set for 9:15, so bring your lawn chair and blanket! Visit www.archerlodge. org/events to learn more.

July 4, 5-9 p.m.

Benson July 4th Celebration Join the Town of Benson for a 4th of July Celebration in the Benson Singing Grove. Be sure to stick around for the fireworks at 9 p.m. near Carlie C’s IGA.

July 4, 9 p.m.

Kenly Fourth of July Celebration Come out to Kenly 95 Petro and check out Kenly’s annual celebration, featuring family-friendly entertainment before the fireworks light up the sky over I-95.

July 5

July 5

Pine Level Independence Day Celebration The town’s celebration is set for Sam Godwin Park on U.S. 70-A. Activities will include games, food, inflatables and fireworks after dark. For more information, go to www. pinelevel.org.

Wednesday, July 7, 2 p.m.

Summer Reading Programs - Kenly Public Library The Kenly Public Library is hosting a summer reading program. There will be a free story hour, and to register, call 919-284-4217 or sign up in person at the library. The theme for this event is Tall tales with the Tobacco Farm Life Museum.

Thursday, July 8, 6 p.m.

Sundown in Downtown with Jonathan Parker Benson Singing Grove The Benson Area Chamber of Commerce presents it annual Sundown in Downtown concert schedule. Concerts will be held in the Benson Singing Grove, if possible. If not, they will be aired live from The Clayton Center on YouTube and Facebook Live. Visit www.benson-chamber.com to learn more.

Friday, July 9, 6 p.m.

Cleveland Area July 4th Celebration Cleveland’s annual Fourth of July celebration is set for Monday, July 5. Visit www.facebook.com/celebratecleve-

Third StrEATery Downtown Smithfield Come downtown with your family, meet up with your friends, get takeout from a downtown restaurant, and head

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over to Third Street from 6-9 p.m. to hear live music, shop from local businesses, have a beer or glass of wine, or try your hand at axe throwing! Afterward, catch a movie or enjoy drinks at one of our restaurants or bars. The 100 block of S. Third Street will be closed, and tables and chairs will be set up in the street. Performances will take place from 6-9 p.m. and will feature Arbor Strings. Visit www. facebook.com/DowntownSmithfield to learn more.

Saturday, July 10, 10 a.m.

Stepping Into the Past Tobacco Farm Life Museum, Kenly The Tobacco Farm Life Museum presents in annual Stepping Into the Past series. Activities will take place on the following Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and demonstrations and displays of traditional arts. crafts and trades are featured on-site. This session features Folk Art: Paper Jewelry Making Demonstration. Programming subject to change. Call 919-284-3431 for further details.

Saturday, July 10, 10 a.m.

Turtles of North Carolina Howell Woods, Four Oaks In our state, there are a variety of turtles in the wild. Learn how to identify common species, the difference between a turtle and a tortoise and get to meet one in person. Please wear closed-toed shoes and dress for the weather. This program is for all ages, however children must be accompanied by an adult. This program is $5 per participant.

Saturday, July 10

Cottontown 7s Rugby Festival East Clayton Community Park The Clayton Rugby Football Club invites you to a day filled

with entertainment, food trucks and, of course, rugby. Visit www.claytonrfc.com for more details.

July 12-15, 8 a.m.

JoCo Wrestling Camp Join Neuse Charter coach Chase Crocker for this camp designed for children in grades 6-12. Cost is $100. Visit www.smithfield-nc.com/page/parks_athletic_summer_ camps to learn more.

July 12-15, 8 a.m.

JCC Fundamentals of Welding and Fabrication Camp All camp attendees (ages 11-14) must wear long, untattered cotton pants, closed toe shoes, T-shirt is acceptable (all other protective equipment will be provided). Cost is $103, and you can contact Robert Long at rjlong@ johnstoncc.edu or 919-464-2284 for questions regarding this camp.

Wednesday, July 14, 2 p.m.

Summer Reading Programs - Kenly Public Library The Kenly Public Library is hosting a summer reading program. There will be a free story hour, and to register, call 919-284-4217 or sign up in person at the library. The theme for this event is Giraffe story and crafting.

Thursday, July 15, 6 p.m.

Rockin’ on Raiford Rockin on Raiford is a Downtown Selma Summer Concert Series. Grab your chair and some friends and come on down for some great food, some great music from local bands and a real party atmosphere. Check out John Howie

Jr & The Rosewood Bluffs, sponsored by Johnston Smiles. The Fired Up Pizza & BBQ food truck will also be on hand. Coolers are not allowed. Social distancing rules apply. For more information, call Selma Parks and Recreation at 919-975-1411.

Saturday, July 17, 8 p.m.

Moth Night Howell Woods, Four Oaks Welcome to National Moth Week! To kick off the celebration, Howell Woods is happy to offer a public Moth Night: an evening full of nocturnal creatures, crafts and more. Please wear closed-toed shoes and dress for the weather. This program is for all ages, however children must be accompanied by an adult. This program is $5 per participant.

Tuesday, Jul 20, 8 p.m.

Lake Fishing - Advanced Howell Woods, Four Oaks 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! Please wear closed-toed shoes and dress for the weather. This program is $10 per participant.

Wednesday, July 21, 2 p.m.

Summer Reading Programs - Kenly Public Library The Kenly Public Library is hosting a summer reading program. There will be a free story hour, and to register, call 919-284-4217 or sign up in person at the library. The theme for this event is meeting a live box turtle.

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Thursday, July 22, 9 a.m.

Beginner Fishing Howell Woods, Four Oaks Join experienced staff as they cover all the basics needed to be a successful fisherman. Learn to tie knots, set up a fishing pole and how to cast and reel in the big one! Please wear closed-toed shoes and dress for the weather. This program is for all ages, however, children must be accompanied by an adult. This program is $5 per participant.

Friday, July 23, 6 p.m.

Third StrEATery Downtown Smithfield Come downtown with your family, meet up with your friends, get takeout from a downtown restaurant, and head over to Third Street from 6-9 p.m. to hear live music, shop from local businesses or have a beer or glass of wine. Afterward, catch a movie or enjoy drinks at one of our restaurants or bars. The 100 block of S. Third Street will be closed, and tables and chairs will be set up in the street. Performances will take place from 6-9 p.m. and will feature Adam Pitts, the One-Man Band. Visit www.facebook.com/DowntownSmithfield to learn more.

Saturday, July 24, 9 a.m.

Beginner Kayak Howell Woods, Four Oaks Ever wanted to use a kayak, but did not know where to start? This program is for you. Learn paddling techniques and have a chance to get out on the calm waters of Swan Pond. Please wear closed-toed shoes and dress for the weather. This program is for ages 13 and older and the cost is $15 per participant.

Wednesday, July 21, 2 p.m.

Summer Reading Programs - Kenly Public Library The Kenly Public Library is hosting a summer reading program. There will be a free story hour, and to register, call 919-284-4217 or sign up in person at the library. The theme for this event is Rock Star Magic Performance.

Thursday, July 29, 1 p.m.

Community Science WATCH Series: Dragonfly Watch Howell Woods, Four Oaks Learn about a variety of community science projects this summer! Dragonfly Watch will cover how to identify common dragonflies in North Carolina and how you can do this project at home. Please wear closed-toed shoes and dress for the weather. This program is for all ages, however children must be accompanied by an adult. This program is $5 per participant.

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