September 2021

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The Umbrella of Ugh Be well in your happy place Don’t neglect your mental health in the pandemic Learn how to make healthy shopping choices Johnston health offers first-of-its-kind treatment for heart disease Start your day ‘vegging out’ Hearing Loss: Only the Facts A sustainable approach to improve your health and immune system Financial Wellness In the Workplace: Are Your Employees Prepared? River Rat Regatta makes return to Smithfield AdVenture Development taps Hospitality HQ to manage new food hall in Johnston County My Kid’s Club hosting 2021 Selma Railroad Days 5K Run/Walk My Kid’s Club planning new clubhouse in Selma New book highlights life in Selma HealthQuest member account specialist named Ambassador of the Month Clayton Police Department establishes Park/Trail Unit Activate Selma selected as one of Lowe’s 100 Hometowns project

[PUBLISHER] column

LEARNING HOW TO RUN A BUSINESS — BY TRIAL AND ERROR It’s a phrase I’ve uttered often since I left the gentle, rolling hills of Boiling Springs and the relative safety of Gardner-Webb University. “I should have minored in business.” I know quite a bit about what I majored in, which was communication studies. I was a cross-platform media guy long before it was trendy. But, while I enjoyed reading Keats and minoring in English, taking some business classes would have come in handy for this little magazine my wife and I are trying to run. Running a business is hard. I’ve never worked harder for



less money. Yet, despite the help we’ve had along the way from the small business center and fellow business owners, the main method we’ve used for learning how to operate a small business is trial and error. We’ve tried to keep the mistakes small and learn a little something from each of them. I think the biggest


Volume 5, Number 10

A Shandy Communications, LLC publication

truth I’ve learned in this journey is about planning. You can either make a plan for the way things are now or design a course of action that will cover where you’d like the business to be down the road. I could write an entirely different column about the futility of trying to plan for the future, but I try to make

Publisher Randy Capps

decisions for JNOW that will not only help us today but make us a better company six months from now. I guess Keats would say, “Don’t be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success.” Maybe I did pick up a little bit of business in my poetry classes.

General Manager Shanna Capps

Creative Consultant Ethan Capps

Marketing Representative Wanda Sasser

Office Manager

Terri Atkinson

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. ©2021 Johnston Now. All rights reserved.



The Umbrella of Ugh Submitted by SARAH R. COATES,


I sat down to write this and give readers who have been living through 18 months of a global pandemic something inspirational or therapeutic. That’s how I operate in the therapy room with clients. I listen and empathize with them as they share their lived experiences. Then I might try to offer some hope or help inject inspiration into their story so they leave feeling hopeful and not hopeless. But as I began to write I realized, I’ve got nothing. I haven’t had much inspiration myself for the past many weeks. Do you feel that way too? Are you lacking in inspiration and feeling hopeless about our future as this pandemic drags on with no real light at the end of the tunnel? For me, I thought perhaps vaccines and herd immunity would help us put an end to it. Yet now, the scientific and medical community imply that’s not the case. They say that COVID is here to stay, and I have so many unanswered questions about how we are navigating it and who is guiding us through it. I’m sure some of you share in those same concerns, too. I mean, are we even doing this right? I thought I was sinking into a depression recently and, after some self-reflection, I determined I’m not clinically depressed. I can still get up and shower, eat, care for my loved ones, go to work and muster up some hopefulness — all things individuals with clinical depression struggle to accomplish. Instead, I have what I call an “umbrella of ugh” looming over me. I try to find joy in each day through prayer and practicing the mindfulness techniques I teach clients in order to stay focused on the present. I tell myself worrying about tomorrow is fruitless because none of us are promised it. Yet we do worry about tomorrow because that’s what we as humans do. We worry. Worry is not only an emotion but also an action. And many of us use worrying to feel a sense of active participation in how our future will 6 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]

play out. So I’m not going to give you a 3-point treatment plan on how to stay inspired and decrease depression or anxiety during a never ending pandemic. Instead, I’m going to tell you that if any of the above resonates with you (and you know you’re not clinically depressed) — you, my friend, are grieving. Many of us are experiencing grief and loss in a way we have never understood before. Many of us know what it feels like to grieve a loss like a losing a loved one, losing a relationship to divorce or losing a job. What many of us are experiencing is the grief of losing a perceived sense of safety of a yesterday that is long gone. The days where you can wake up without hearing the words COVID, vaccine, masks, social distancing, politics or death before your coffee has even perked. Nowhere is safe from these things. And even when we think we’re being “safe,” someone we know tests positive for a virus that keeps mutating and prolonging what we thought would be over sooner. Since I really do look for inspiration or hope in the midst of dark times to alleviate my distress in the moment, I will offer this nugget: honor your own grief. You may have lost a loved one to COVID or another disease this past year. You may have lost your job or the goals and dreams for your

own career, seeing them go by the wayside when you had to stay home to oversee your kindergartner do virtual school. All of this is loss and all of it is appropriate to grieve. I want you to know you can grieve what you have lost and remain hopeful about our futures. You can grieve the loss of a loved one and be thankful that you are still alive. You can look in the eyes of your child feeling overwhelming love and feel sad for what their future might be. The world is extremely polarized right now in every aspect of “Us vs. Them” or “This vs. That.” Don’t buy into that division. It only makes things more uncertain. Honor your grief by acknowledging all the things you have lost in the past 18 months (or more). Stay focused on each day at hand and make the most of that day given to you — for tomorrow always has its own trouble. Find joy in the small things. Remember that you can hold two opposing things at the same time and be okay. You are going to be OK. Maybe I did give you a treatment plan after all. Sarah Coates is the founder of One Eighty Counseling, which provides comprehensive outpatient mental health and substance abuse counseling for school aged children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. They have locations in Garner, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs and Raleigh. Learn more at


One of the best ways to maintain a happy life is to create a happy home. When we view our home as a place of restoration and peace, it will provide stability for us to live our best life. With five children and just as many jobs between our two families, we find ourselves constantly on the go leaving little time for cleaning, organizing and decorating our homes. When we wake up in the morning, all we want is our coffee, and when we get home at night, we just want to relax and binge-watch "Yellowstone." However, we have become very aware over the last year that if we want to be well, we can’t enjoy these things surrounded by messes and empty walls. Here are a few easy steps you can take to make your home your happy place: Stop hitting the snooze button, and use that five minutes to make your bed (or at least throw your comforter over your mattress and put your pillows back up on your headboard). We promise it will make all the difference as you’re getting ready for the day, and


it will help your room seem more tidy when you go to bed. There is nothing worse than piles of laundry everywhere and forgetting what’s clean (because you just didn’t have time to fold it) and what’s dirty (because you just haven’t had time to wash it). If you don’t do anything else with your laundry, invest in two large laundry baskets or totes, and get those clothes off of the floor and in the basket! Every night dedicate 10 minutes to a main living area reset. Just 10 minutes. Set a timer. Put stray shoes in a place by the door, put toys away in a catch all basket, load the dishwasher with dirty dishes and wipe down your kitchen counters. Decluttering reduces stress and allows you to really relax while you watch TV, read a book or do whatever it is that helps you wind down. Even if you aren’t great at decorating, don’t leave your mantle and tables bare. Start by adding potted greenery (faux or real). Bring the

outside in. Plants add life to a space. Then, add a few items that make you smile. Family pictures, signs with positive messages, favorite song lyrics or sentimental decorative items. These things will help you reset after a long day. Don’t over decorate though, as that can look and feel like clutter if it isn’t done right. Keep it simple. Choose mood enhancing colors for your decor. Bold colors are a great way to show off your personality, and soft tones can calm any space. Blues in the bedroom help create serenity and relaxation. Greens are inviting and should be added to living and dining spaces to create a welcoming and nurturing environment. Pops of yellow are great for energy. Using this color in a

breakfast area and kitchen is a great way to start the day. Finally, have a quiet space, even if it’s your bedroom closet because that’s the only place the kids won’t find you. Make it a no children, no electronics, worry free zone. Use that space to read, stretch, pray or just be. Even if you only have five minutes, make this a part of your daily routine. You might not be able to do it all right away, and that’s OK. We don’t all have time for hours worth of self-care each week. Add one small five-minute step at a time, and you won’t regret it. Your mental, physical, and emotional health will thank you and so will your family. Be well in your happy place. To learn more, visit www.

Don’t neglect your mental health in the



How are you doing? No, really, how are you doing? To say the least, the last 18 months have been a real challenge. As a nurse and business owner, I have watched as we have often struggled and fought to survive this pandemic. Worse than the disease itself, we have all had to face a constant state of fear and doubt, and today we still don’t have all the answers and solutions. Looking around, we see a huge increase in mental health


issues. As the pandemic shut down the world for a bit, those who depended on access to resources including health checks, AA meetings and substance abuse treatment were left with little to no support. People delayed health checkups and annual screenings which put them at higher risk for undiagnosed and undertreated conditions. A new variant is now rearing its ugly head and here we go again! Without knowing what’s next, it’s completely normal to feel off balance and less tolerant. So, what are you doing to survive and continue to thrive amid a pandemic that has the potential to devastate our health, our mental wellbeing and our financial security? I have decided to officially rebrand the

word “self-care,” as many proud people think that it’s selfish and shows weakness to focus on it. From now on, I will refer to it as “self-preservation.” If we don’t focus on it now, we are setting ourselves up for devastation. What you do for yourself now is the key to survival and self-preservation, whether or not others are giving you what you need. Items often listed for survival are food/water, shelter and fuel/fire. Selfpreservation can be described the same way. Shelter — Our mind is the most powerful tool that we have when it comes to survival. Mindset and focus are essential. When set properly, it allows people to overcome the unthinkable. To maintain this key source of survival, many rely on spirituality and a higher power.

I challenge you to start each morning with intention via prayer/mediation/quiet time to express gratitude and awareness of all the things going right. Science has proven that starting with a positive attitude of gratitude for 30 days can leave lasting “happy chemical” impacts on us for months. Why not set yourself up for continual boosts by setting your mindset first thing in your day? Food/water — What we take in directly impacts our wellness. Are we choosing the right foods and staying hydrated? When we have the right sustenance, our body functions better. Beyond food and water, who are the people that are feeding us? Are they sustaining our well-being with encouragement and collaboration? Or are they draining us of our resources and sucking the life out of us? If we are

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focused on self-preservation, we need to evaluate what we are taking in to ensure it’s to sustain and fulfill us. Whether it’s nutrition or people, having the right blend is key. Fuel for the Fire — Fire can be used to illuminate for vision, warm the body and encourage circulation and healing — or to cook for sustenance. But no matter how you use it, it must be conserved and used wisely. How fast are you burning through your resources? Not knowing any better, when this all began, we worked at a breakneck pace to pivot. We relied on our “fight or flight” response to fuel us to adapt and overcome. Having never experienced a pandemic, we did not know that we would get exhausted when we couldn’t see an end in sight. To win the race, you must set the pace. This is a marathon and not a sprint, so pace yourself accordingly. It’s overwhelming that we are all exhausted and that this isn’t over yet. Even the most resilient people I know are showing signs of fatigue and burnout.

One of the hardest parts to face is the fact that life will continue to march on. There will be no pause to rest and recuperate, so it’s vital that we adjust our course to not only survive but to thrive. For self-preservation to survive what’s next, I would like to challenge you to look at your resources. Do you have shelter (your mindset), food/water (your sustenance and people) and fire (your pace) which are the three things that you can’t live without? Do you have what you need? If you don’t, do you know where to find it? Also don’t forget to check on your loved ones, including the extroverts who always seem to be great! Self-isolation is a real issue as we see domestic violence, alcohol/substance abuse and self-harm on the rise. If you were a diabetic, would you not see a doctor and use insulin to take care of yourself? There is nothing wrong with needing help. It takes courage to reach out for a lifeline. A free local resource is the Johnston County Health Department’s Behavior Health Services. They have a crisis walk-

in clinic Monday-Friday from 8-5, as well as appointments available for crisis counseling and medication management. Call 919-989-5500 to make your appointment or simply walk in if you need help now. After 5 p.m., call the Therapeutic Alternatives Mobile Crisis hotline at 877-626-1772. I heard this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt at the beginning of the pandemic, and it sums it up. “We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up ... discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” Survival requires essential tools to navigate the unknown. We must not be afraid to use them or to seek them out so that they assist us one step at a time. Self-preservation is being wise enough to prepare for the worst to adapt and thrive. If you want to survive, you must be equipped. How will you prepare? Melissa Overton is the founder of MedicalTraining.Me. To learn more, visit www.

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Learn how to make healthy shopping choices Submitted by JOHNSTON HEALTH

Before trying the next, latest and greatest fad diet, make a date to go grocery shopping


with registered dietician Terri Chapman. From now until November, she’s offering free tours at the Food Lion grocery stores in Smithfield and Selma.

Chapman, the outpatient and wellness dietitian at HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Center, says any diet that leaves out an entire food group, like dairy for example, is not good (allergy or intolerance aside). “Every food group is unique in what nutrients they deliver to the body, and the body requires all of them,” she said. “So shop for wellness in all five food groups.” She starts with basic advice, such as using the nutrition labels to make healthy choices and shopping the perimeter of the market to select fresh

fruits and veggies, lean meats and low-fat dairy. She invites questions along the way and encourages hands-on learning. While you could easily fill up a notebook with nutrition pointers, here are five tips from a recent session at the Food Lion on West Market Street in Smithfield. • Avoid trans fats. And although the nutrition label may list zero trans fats, check the ingredients. If partially hydrogenated oil is in the list, then there’s a small amount of trans fats in the food item.

• What’s the scoop on veggies? While some are more nutritious than others, all vegetables have water and fiber — two things the body desperately needs. If you need a veggie dip, then salsa and hummus are the best choices. But if you’re craving Ranch or blue cheese, then treat it like a true condiment. So, dip don’t scoop. • A handful of nuts twice a day is great for the body. Because almonds have calcium, they’re especially good for women who need to maintain bone. However, this is only the beginning to why nuts are an important factor in health and wellness. • Eat beef or pork twice a week, and eat fish, chicken or turkey the other five days. Even though 93% lean hamburger is more expensive, less of it will cook away as grease, plus there’s less to blot or strain. Don’t forget eggs. They’re a great source of protein. • What’s the best breakfast cereal? Opt for the plain oatmeal, quick, rolled or steel-cut, and then add fruit or honey as a sweetener. The instant varieties have too much sugar, making other options nutritionally superior. You don’t have to be an HQ member to take the hour-long tour. It’s at 10 a.m. on the third Tuesday of the month. Call 919-9386597 to RSVP at least 24 hours in advance. Tours at the Selma Food Lion are at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month.

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Johnston health offers FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND treatment for heart disease Submitted by JOHNSTON HEALTH

SMITHFIELD — Johnston Health has a new treatment option for patients with severely calcified coronary artery disease. The new technology is a novel application of lithotripsy, an approach that uses sonic pressure waves to safely break up kidney stones. It’s now available to treat problematic calcium in the coronary arteries that can reduce blood flow in the heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Every year, more than 600,000 people in the United States die of heart disease. As people with heart disease, specifically coronary artery disease, grow older and their disease progresses, plaque in the arteries evolves into calcium deposits, which can narrow the artery. Physicians often use stents to open an artery, and of the approximately 1 million patients who undergo a stent procedure every year, 30% have problematic calcium that increases their risk for adverse events. Calcium makes the artery rigid and more difficult to reopen with conventional treatments, including balloons, which attempt to crack the calcium when inflated to high pressure, and atherectomy, which drills through the calcium to open the artery.

While atherectomy has been available for several decades, its use remains low, as it can result in complications for patients who are undergoing stent procedures. The new shockwave technology, also known as intravascular lithotripsy or IVL, allows physicians to fracture the problematic calcium — using sonic pressure waves — so that the artery can be safely expanded, and blood flow is restored with the placement of a stent and without unnecessary complications. “The cardiology team at Johnston Health is steadfast in our commitment to give our patients access to the latest cardiovascular innovations to treat heart disease,” said Dr. Matthew Hook, interventional cardiology director at Johnston Health. “It is exciting to be starting a new chapter in the treatment of heart disease in some of our most complex patient cases after using the same tools for the last 30 years — especially

one that improves the safety of the procedure for the benefit of Johnston County and surrounding communities.” Johnston Health is an accredited chest pain center and was recently recognized by Healthgrades as a five-star recipient for treatment of heart attack. For important safety information regarding this new treatment, please visit

Hospice doesn’t mean giving up hope. 919.877.9959

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Seven ways to add veggies to your breakfast Submitted by TERRI CHAPMAN/ HEALTHQUEST

I know you’ve heard that skipping breakfast is bad news, but what do you do with this information? Are you using it as motivation to walk out with breakfast in hand, wake up earlier to prepare something, explore meal planning and prep, or choose foods with your early morning meal in mind? If you do, you’ll find that your day is easier to manage, your attitude is easier to maintain and your wellness goals are more attainable. Despite the decline in breakfast consumption, the Journal of Diabetes Research cites a connection between eating breakfast and reduced risk of overweight/obesity (and thus a reduction in all of the complications accompanying an elevated weight status), a greater likelihood of meeting dietary recommendations through the day and an enhanced cognitive performance and functionality. While it saves time (and punctuality is the ultimate pressure for many), walking out the door without a thought to food works against you on multiple fronts. “OK,” you say. “I’ll prioritize breakfast,” you say. Well, there is a next step: the step of choosing your foods. People typically picture eggs and bacon, a pile of pancakes with syrup or butter or a bowl of cereal when thinking of how to get their morning started. But there are many more options available. And they won’t only get the day started, but get it started right. You see, an overly-sweet breakfast is damaging to your day by impressing excessive calories, cognitive limitations and elevated insulin response for your body and mind. No worries though. You do have another option: savory foods. The savory taste profile specifically refers to “food that is flavorful in ways that don’t involve sugar.” A savory breakfast provides an

opportunity to weave in a serving of vegetables which, in my home, guides us to also revamp the name of this most important meal of the day. Straying from the standard carbheavy, overly-sweetened delicacies of cereal, bagel and cream cheese, or breads (muffins, biscuits, croissants, pastries, Pop-Tarts, cinnamon rolls, etc.), and adding vegetables to savory breakfast dishes will meet the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans by improving overall nutrient intakes. This is not to imply that only veggies at breakfast is the goal, since the myPlate recommendations of two to three cups of vegetables per day remain a consistent goal. It’s important to also consider balance in creating a good hearty breakfast by making sure your meal has a minimum of three food groups. Striving for a veggiefilled breakfast meal will likely mean that your meal also includes protein and carbohydrates with those garden-fresh or frozen delicacies. So, rest happy that efforts spent to add back breakfast to your morning line-up will pay off. And, the savory satisfaction you’ll experience after adding veggies to your startthe-day meal will send you out the door with energy to last your morning through, keep your blood sugar regulated with control and your mind sharp as a tack. That said, here is a whole week of “veggie-fast” options just waiting to be explored in your kitchen. Veggie omelet — spinach, sauteed mushrooms and onion in a two-egg omlette, with whole wheat toast. Add cheese if you wish. Breakfast burrito — scrambled egg with black beans, sauteed red/green pepper strips with onion and crushed red pepper or Tobasco, folded into a whole wheat tortilla. Quiche — turkey or chicken sausage, mushrooms, onions and feta, in a crusted or crustless pie pan.

Smoothie — overripe banana, kale or spinach, and pineapple in Greek yogurt. Add a tablespoon of ground flax for extra heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Oatmeal — smashed sweet potatoes (or pumpkin) with cinnamon, diced apple, and walnuts or pecans. Add some ground flax or chic seeds for an omega-3 punch. Sandwich — whole grain bread and smashed avocado topped with scrambled egg. Note: two sliced hard-boiled eggs and laying out sliced hard-boiled egg on top of the avocado spread works just as well. Extra veggie points if your avocado spread has chopped tomato and red onion. Dinner round 2 — If last night’s dinner featured a vegetable, go ahead and have it again. This means wanting a bowl of chili in the morning is fine. How about stir fry? Sure. Even spaghetti with a veggie-heavy sauce and sprinkle of fresh parmesan will work just fine at 8 a.m. The sky’s the limit as long as the vegetables are more prominent than the grain — and you didn’t eat all the protein (meat/ chicken/tofu) when you were enjoying it the night before. Note: In general, look to keep the grain portion of “dinner round 2” between ⅓ and ½ cup, with the veggie portion equal or greater. If you seek personalized individual nutrition counseling to combat weight issues, desire insight to eat in regards to a specific medical condition or to scrutinize your current habits in efforts to reform your food regime, reach out at 919-938-6597.

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One of the missions at our clinic in Smithfield is to educate our community about hearing loss and the importance of treatment. We operate on an evidencebased approach, meaning that anything we test and recommend for patients is based on research. Why is education important? Prevention. The main point in educating you and our patients on these links is to help create a prevention plan and implement early treatment. So, here are the facts: Though hearing loss can happen at any age, 33% of Americans between ages 65-74 experience hearing loss, and


it happens to nearly 50% of people over 75. Age-related hearing loss is often referred to as presbycusis. It typically affects certain sounds first, such as high pitched or soft sounds. Most patients with presbycusis start to notice difficulty with comprehension of conversations and hearing in group settings. Understanding what is being said on the television or over the phone can also be challenging. These changes typically happen gradually, so a family member, friend or spouse is often the one who notices the signs first and encourages the patient to be tested. Hearing loss can be caused by, and is linked with, many health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer treatment, thyroid disorder, kidney disease, balance disorders, stroke and

cognitive decline. We collaborate with your primary care physician, physical therapist, cardiologist and many other specialists for prevention and long-term treatment. A baseline hearing evaluation is recommended for adults over age 65 and anyone who experiences any of these health conditions linked with hearing loss. HEALTH CONDITIONS LINKED WITH HEARING LOSS

• Diabetes: Hearing loss is twice as common in adults with diabetes. Diabetes may damage the blood vessels of the inner ear, and elevated blood sugar levels can cause chemical changes that impact the nervous system, such as the hearing

nerve. Cardiovascular: Conditions such as high blood pressure or hypertension have been linked with hearing loss. Sufficient blood flow is necessary to maintain function of the ear. Cancer: Many cancer treatments, such as certain chemotherapy medications and radiation, can be ototoxic, or harmful to the inner ear. Periodic hearing tests are recommended throughout certain treatments. Thyroid disorders: Thyroid disorders have been linked to hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing, buzzing or other sounds in the ears or head) and balance issues. Kidney disease: 54% of patients with moderate kidney disease report hearing loss. This link can be explained by structural and functional similarities between tissues of the inner ear and in the kidney. Toxins that accumulate

in the kidney can damage nerves, including those in the inner ear. • Balance/falling: The inner ear is linked with your vestibular, or balance, system. Patients who have untreated hearing loss have a threetimes greater risk of falling than normal. • Cognitive decline: There has been a great deal of research in the past few years linking hearing loss with cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that this link may be due to a decrease in brain stimulation for those with hearing loss versus those with normal hearing. Patients with untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline are much more likely to experience social isolation, depression and anxiety. However, there is good news! Recent research has shown improvement in cognitive health with appropriate hearing loss treatment.


A healthy lifestyle and regular followup appointments with your physicians are vital in helping to prevent future changes in your health as well as hearing loss. Avoiding loud noise/using hearing protection is one of the best preventative strategies to employ. Treatment is vital following a diagnosis of hearing loss. This may include hearing aids, aural rehabilitation, communication strategies or other assistive listening devices. Every prevention and treatment plan is unique to each patient’s history and goals. If you have noticed changes in your hearing, or know someone who has, please do not wait to seek treatment. Most health insurances will cover a comprehensive hearing evaluation and there are many plans now that have a benefit or coverage for treatment, such as hearing aids.

To learn more, contact Coates Hearing Clinic at 919-300-5438 for our upcoming free educational seminar series dates and research sources.

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ith all the changes our world has faced in the last 18 months, it is more important now than ever to take care of our health, especially fortifying our immune systems. Many people are unaware that upwards of 70% of our immune system is in our gut. There is a single layer of cells that line the gut making up our immune barrier. A number of foods can penetrate and irritate this lining causing a hit to our immune system. Some of the most common items include wheat, grain, corn, soy, dairy, sugar and alcohol. While it is unrealistic and not sustainable to cut out all of these items on a regular basis, being more mindful of limiting them can make a huge difference in immune function and many other health-related issues. Let’s learn a little about how each can negatively affect your health, followed by some better alternatives. Then you can prioritize what makes the most sense to start with. Wheat, grain and corn can be lumped into a category


of their own. The concern some doctors, such as Dr. Steven Gundry and Dr. William Davis, have with these items is a protein similar to gluten called lectin. Lectin protein breaks through the immune barrier, can cause inflammation and mimics insulin leading to an increase in glucose storage as fat in the liver and in adipose tissue. It is also a contributor to arthritic build up and cognitive decline via the vagus nerve that leads from the gut to the brain. Corn syrup is the biggest offending ingredient in this category and is a large contributor to non-alcoholic-fatty-livers-disease (NAFLD). Experts in the health field predict that one out of two Americans will end up with this disease by the year 2030 following current trends. There are plenty of grain-free granola and grain-free breading alternatives such as almond flour and seedbased cereals and granolas. A few of my favorites include Forager and Catalina Crunch. Soy is commonly sprayed with glyphosate (the herbicide) and contains natural xeno and phytoestrogens that can cause hormonal dysfunction in both men and women. Most packaged foods will contain some form

to improve your health and immune system of soy on the ingredient list. An alternative to soy sauce for Asian dishes and marinades is coconut aminos. In addition to being soy free, coconut aminos have some natural sweetness that’s awesome for teriyaki dishes. Dairy from American cows contains A1 casein which can contribute to ADHD symptoms and type 2 diabetes. A good sign you are negatively affected by dairy is an increase in mucus production after consumption and poor skin conditions that clear up after a break from dairy. Fermented forms of dairy such as Greek yogurt are better alternatives, or you can purchase A2 milk instead. Even better would be almond milk, coconut milk or cashew milk. Goat cheese and buffalo mozzarella do not contain A1 casein and are great choices as well. Alcohol is a tricky one. Wine tends to be better on the system than liquor and beer, but nonetheless can be problematic if too much is consumed. Non-wheat and grain containing liquors are better choices such as vodka made from potatoes, but by no means healthy. You can even get alcohol-free and gluten-free beers that taste pretty close to the real thing. They still contain wheat and grain but may be a good compromise some of the time.

Added sugar is a no-brainer to reduce. Opt for natural sweeteners when cooking such as maple syrup and honey which are great in homemade vinaigrettes. Monk fruit extract is a good choice as well. Stay away from sucralose and aspartame containing low calorie sweeteners such as Splenda and Sweet and Low as they may contribute to GI distress and cancers. Remember, an immediate elimination of everything on this list is not a good strategy and will not last very long. Occasionally having some of these items is OK. What I am advocating for is an awareness of these items in the foods you eat and a gradual effort to make alternative choices. Have cake and ice cream on your birthday, or get a funnel cake at the state fair when it comes to town. Just don’t make it your normal diet. For further help, working with a knowledgeable nutrition coach or health professional can go a long way. Try some of these suggestions out for yourself and reap the health benefits! To learn more about Fire Within Nutrition and Fitness, visit www. Fire

[ SEPTEMBER 2021 ] | 25

Financial Wellness In the Workplace:

Are Your Employees Prepared?


Let’s face it, financial literacy is a concern of many Americans today. In fact, in a 2018 FINRA survey, 53% of adults admitted to being financially anxious. Even worse, nearly four out of five employees, 78%, are getting distracted by financial stress at work. What is surprising is that half of these distracted employees are earning over six figure salaries annually. Financial wellness is a growing

concern amongst adults, as personal finance was not an emphasis of many traditional K-12 educational institutions. Many adults enter the workforce woefully unprepared for the financial burdens they face. EMPLOYEES ARE SAVING LESS

As an employer, it is crucial to provide proper financial services to your employees. Why? For one, many employees rely on their workplace retirement plans and entitlements because they lack savings. A whopping 78% of adults live paycheck

to paycheck and do not have any savings in reserve for emergencies. Anyone that has a basic understanding of inflation knows how frightening this statistic really is. A workplace retirement plan is the main source of wealth for a lot of employees. Employer workplace benefits can be instrumental in helping employees organize their finances. While a large number of employees are reliant upon financial benefits from their employer, many of them are confused about their options. Roughly 41% of employees say open enrollment is “an extremely confusing process.” Many employees may not even be aware of the financial benefits they are offered. Employees are often so busy with their daily work they do not have time to analyze their financial options. HELP IS WANTED

What should encourage employers is that employees are asking for help with their personal finances. Employee


financial wellness is so important that most employees say it is a deciding factor of whether they stay at their job. According to 2019 employee financial wealth statistics, 60% of employees would be more likely to stay at a job if their employer offered financial wellness benefits. But just offering benefits is not enough for many. About 71% of employees would be comfortable discussing financial matters in the workplace with an unaffiliated financial professional. TAKING ACTION

Having a dedicated financial professional guide your employees can benefit everyone. With so much changing in the world today, managing financial benefits can seem like a full-time job. That is why we believe it is important to have an informative adviser to help your employees navigate their financial journey.

To learn more, call KS Bank at 919938-2689.


SMITHFIELD — After bad weather erased the 2019 edition of the River Rat Regatta and COVID scuttled the 2020 version, the 2021 effort came off without a hitch last month. “It feels great to be able to offer it again,” Tiffany Pearson, supervisor of special events for the Smithfield Parks and Recreation Department, told The Johnstonian News. “Obviously, the community loves to take part in it.”


[ SEPTEMBER 2021 ] | 29

AdVenture Development taps Hospitality HQ to manage new food hall in Johnston County Submitted by ADVENTURE DEVELOPMENT

SELMA — North Carolina real estate development firm AdVenture Development, LLC has announced a new partnership with Hospitality HQ (HHQ) to serve as the

operator of the Old North State Food Hall (ONSFH), set to open early next year on Exit 97 on I-40. Helmed by award-winning chef, restaurateur, TV personality and cookbook author Akhtar Nawab, HHQ will oversee all

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management and operations of the ONSFH, from vendor curation and relations to day-to-day logistics and guest services. Recognizing the explosive growth in the Triangle region, combined with a location that offers easy access to leisure and business travelers along the heavily traveled I-95 corridor, Nawab and his Brooklynbased company plan to bring talented culinary creators from across the country to the ONSFH. Through thoughtful curation, visitors will get to experience delicious artisanal concepts, as well as try dishes from renowned chefs and restaurateurs. “We are thrilled to partner with Hospitality HQ on this exciting project and look forward to bringing the Old North State Food Hall to the residents of Johnston County and travelers alike,” said AdVenture Development President Kevin Dougherty. “The eastern part of the Triangle has strong agricultural roots,” Nawab, founding partner and CEO of HHQ, said, “Farm to table has always been a way of life for many locals. Residents and

visitors to the area crave all kinds of cuisines, which make the possibilities endless for a food hall. We are excited to have the opportunity to be in this region and serve such a dynamic community.” As the name implies, Hospitality HQ is dedicated to providing high quality hospitality at all levels, prioritizing the comfort, security and wellbeing of their guests as well as their tenants. At ONSFH, HHQ’s presence will be evident through the food hall’s thoughtful design, from completely self-contained vendor bays to flexible, modular table seating, integrated takeout and contactless pay systems, and more. A veteran operator of renowned food halls and independent restaurants, including Inner Rail Food Hall in Omaha, Nebraska, and innovative Mexican concept Alta Calidad in Brooklyn, New York, HHQ is committed to bringing quality food, an immersive experience, and genuine hospitality to ONSFH. To learn more about the project, visit

My Kid’s Club hosting 2021 Selma Railroad Days 5K Run/Walk Submitted by MY KID’S CLUB

SELMA — My Kid’s Club invites Johnston County community members to sign up for the 45th Annual Railroad Days 5K Run/Walk, taking place on Saturday, Oct. 2. Participants can register online at www.mykidsclub. org/5k/. All event proceeds benefit My Kid’s Club afterschool education programs in Selma and Smithfield. Started in 1976, the Railroad Days 5K is the oldest 5K in North

Carolina. My Kid’s Club is thrilled to host the event this year in person, and there is also a virtual option for those who want to participate from anywhere. There will also be a free One-Mile Kids Fun Run for younger participants after the 5K takes off. Race registration options include the 5K Run/Walk, 5K Run/Walk Virtual Option, and Sponsor-A- Kid. The registration fee is $35, and a short-sleeved Railroad Days race T-shirt is included for those registered before Sept. 13. “I’m very proud to serve

on the board of My Kid’s Club, an organization that is so invested in the success of kids in Johnston County,” said Samantha Barbour, My Kid’s Club 5K Committee Chair and local resident. “I

encourage everyone to come out and join us for this fun event.” For more information or to register or donate online, please visit www.mykidsclub. org/5k/.

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[ SEPTEMBER 2021 ] | 31


Submitted by MY KID’S CLUB

SELMA — Recently My Kid’s Club demolished two vacant houses to prepare to break ground on a new clubhouse in early 2022. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew destroyed the former club building in Selma. My Kid’s Club is now housed in temporary quarters at Selma Elementary School while building a new, permanent headquarters that students can call home. This new building will be the headquarters for My Kid’s Club, in collaboration with partner organizations and will help meet the needs of youth programming and outreach. This new clubhouse would not be possible without many generous donors,

including the SECU Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The location is next to Selma Elementary School, which will allow younger members to walk to the club. It is also near Selma’s downtown and only a couple of miles from Selma Middle School. My Kid’s Club designed the building for learning and achieving for students and the community. This 5,000-squarefoot building is creatively planned and full of brightly lit spaces, including: • Multi-media center where the kids can access current technology resources. • Classroom as a quiet space for homework help, reading and small group activities. • Art space for music, drama and visual art. • Open, flexible space for large group

discovery and play, plus parent events and workshops. • Full kitchen and cafe for dedicated snack time and healthy lifestyles learning. • Office for our on-site program director and support staff. MKC is a community-based organization in Johnston County to allow families to have access to safe, affordable, learning support and enrichment activities for school aged children 6-16 years. Staff support children to complete their academic work while in engaging in developmentally appropriate enrichment activities that support socio-emotional well-being. Clubs are located at Selma Elementary School and South Smithfield Elementary School.

[ SEPTEMBER 2021 ] | 33

New book highlights life in Selma Submitted by ACTIVATE SELMA

SELMA — The book, “A Heart for Selma: 12 Stories of Activate Selma NC,” was released recently. The book, written by Pine Level’s Cindy Brookshire, shares 12 personal stories of Selma residents, volunteers and business owners who are revitalizing and uplifting the rail community and all it has to offer. Katja Jentes of Proverbs Photography shot all the photos in the book, including the book cover. Twenty-three community members participated in the project and two national experts, Roger Brooks of www. and Charles L. Marohn Jr. of

34 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ] endorsed Activate Selma’s grassroots work. The project was supported by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Readers will see Spook Joyner of Live @ The Rudy, unplugged, reflecting on the twists and turns of his half-century music career. Picture a toddler, his Aunt Letha Mae catching him dancing to the chugga-chugga of the back porch ringer washing machine, or traveling as a band in a converted school bus nicknamed Miss Breezy. “There’s a lot of turmoil in the music business. If you don’t like waves and the swishin’ and the swashin,’ stay away,” he said. “Finding your way is a struggle, but you just have to jump in and live life and if yours is a washin’ machine, hang on.”

Eleven more stories take readers along with Zena Hamilton-Rose (“A Cup of Coffee”) as she masters everything from a jackhammer drill to a squatting, belching espresso steamer to get her Coffee on Raiford shop open. “Repair the Land” follows entrepreneur Michael Sneed (Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Appliance Boot Camp) who entertains his Facebook and YouTube followers as he teaches them to start their own businesses. “I just turn on the camera, walk down the street and encounter life,” he said. “People find that interesting. And it is, you know?” Originally from Veracruz, Mexico, Sergio Benitez and his sister, Oralia Benitez (“Everyone Needs a Tiara”) co-hosted Fiesta de Raiford as the gran reapertura of their brick-andmortar Sola Creations Boutique in the former Creech Drugstore. Their inventory of quinceañera

dresses, accessories and assistance in planning family celebrations for baptisms, first communions and other rites of passage have brought Latino culture to the heart of downtown Selma, where Miss Hispanic Heritage Selma will be crowned in September. The stories close with a reflection on how council member Byron McAllister is the embodiment of Mayor Pro Tem Jacqueline Lacy’s decades-long quest to break down the psychological barrier the railroad tracks represent to town progress (“The Future Walked In”). “A Heart for Selma: 12 Stories of Activate Selma NC” is available online at www.activateselmanc. com or at these Selma locations: Coffee on Raiford, Old Fashioned Ice Cream, Reid’s Country Sampler, Selma Cotton Mill and Sola Creations Boutique, as well as the Johnston County Heritage Center in Smithfield.

[ SEPTEMBER 2021 ] | 35

HealthQuest member account specialist named Ambassador of the Month Submitted by JOHNSTON HEALTH

SMITHFIELD — Johnston Health has recognized Kimberly Langdon, member account specialist at HealthQuest Fitness & Wellness Center, as ambassador of month. During a recent presentation, CEO Tom Williams said Langdon stands out because of her flexibility, strong work ethic and customer service skills. When HealthQuest closed during the shutdown, she was redeployed to screening co-workers and visitors at hospital entry points and to fit-testing co-workers for N95 respirators. Afterward, she was key to helping HealthQuest safely reopen to


customers. “She is a team player who is always willing to do whatever is needed,” he said. “She is dependable, accountable and professional.” Ashley Scott, director of HealthQuest, says that while she was away on medical leave, Langdon took over many responsibilities. “She became the go-to person in my absence and handled everything to the best of her ability,” she said. Scott says Langdon is always kind, attentive and understanding when handling billing concerns and works to find reasonable solutions. Langdon says she enjoys working with HealthQuest because it feels like

family. “Our strengths complement one another well,” she says. “We pitch in and help out. It’s rare to find an organization with such a work ethic.” Prior to joining HealthQuest in 2016, Langdon worked with Four Oaks Bank for 12 years. She lives in Four Oaks and has a son, Paul, who is an EMT and volunteer firefighter. 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 monthlong parking space, Langdon will receive eight hours of paid time off.

[ SEPTEMBER 2021 ] | 37

Officers, left to right, Neal Johnson, Miguel Duran, Randolph Baity and Revis Pounds serve together as part of the Clayton Police Department’s Park/Trail Unit.

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CLAYTON — The greenway trails in Clayton are one of the town’s most popular attractions. Many pedestrians and cyclists frequent the trails daily. To keep these greenways safe and enjoyable, the Clayton Police Department has established a Park/Trail Unit in its Special Operations Division. Officers in the unit patrol the greenways on ATVs, often stopping to share conversations or water bottles with the people they meet along the way. Their presence has helped reduce incidents along Sam’s Branch Greenway, Clayton River Walk on The Neuse and more secluded connector trails like Salamander Loop. Recently, a mother and her three

children got lost for several hours on the Salamander Loop. Officer Revis Pounds recalled the story and how he was able to rescue the family from the summer heat. According to Pounds, the family had gotten turned around and had been wandering the trail for about six hours. Fortunately, Pounds was able locate the family and lead them back to safety and water. “Things would have ended much differently if we were not on the trail that day and did not get to them in time.” said Pounds. The Parks/Trail Unit was officially established in February of this year with one officer. Since then, the unit has expanded to include four officers, two that are assigned full-time and two assigned part-time, which allows

the unit to prioritize surveillance of the greenways and assist citizens when needed. Officer Randolf Baity offered some advice on how to be safe while walking, running, or biking on the trail. He encouraged citizens to be mindful of their surroundings and look for identifiable landmarks and mile markers. He also suggested that trail patrons bring their cell phones if they are using the greenways alone. Baity added patrolling the greenway is one of the many ways officers serve and protect Clayton residents. “We want people to come out and enjoy these beautiful trails,” said Baity. “We want them to know that we are here. We want them to feel comforted knowing that we are patrolling the area.”

[ SEPTEMBER 2021 ] | 39

Activate Selma selected as one of Lowe’s 100 Hometowns project Submitted by ACTIVATE SELMA

SELMA — Activate Selma has been selected as one of Lowe’s 100 Hometowns, a $10 million initiative to celebrate Lowe’s centennial by completing 100 community impact projects across the United States by the end of the year. The nonprofit group’s winning impact project is “Activate Selma: Downtown and Edgebrook Park Community Improvements.” The group and the town of Selma will be working with Lowe’s in Smithfield. Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver urged the group to apply for the Lowe’s competition in March. Activate Selma is a grassroots group of residents, volunteers, and business owners who are “revitalizing and


uplifting their beloved rail community and all it has to offer.” They meet weekly with the vision statement: “We don’t complain, we take action!” Activate Selma’s application, partnering with the Town of Selma, was one of more than 2,200 submissions Lowe’s received from across the country. As finalists, Cindy Brookshire and Jeffery Hamilton of Activate Selma and Billy Roach, director of Selma’s Parks and Recreation Department, met with Lowe’s representatives in June to go over the proposed project sites and grant budget. Lowe’s announced Activate Selma’s selection July 21. The Town of Selma and Activate Selma began sharing the news at Activate Selma’s July meeting at the Selma Lions Club. Upon learning that Selma

had been named a winner, Mayor Oliver thanked Lowe’s for sponsoring a contest aimed at improving 100 communities across America. “What a great way to celebrate Lowe’s 100th anniversary,” she said. “I look forward to working with other volunteers to complete our proposed projects. These projects will visually improve Selma, unify us as we work together on a common goal, spark our community spirit and heighten our sense of pride in our hometown.” Lowe’s 100 Hometowns grant will pay for Activate Selma’s impact project, which includes significant visual upgrades to the downtown streetscape, such as replacing trash cans and adding new planters. At Edgebrook Park, Selma’s

only American Disabilities Act (ADA) park, crews will work together to install ADA playground equipment, create a parking area for better access, renovate the picnic shelter and replace the Edgebrook Park sign. All work will be done with Selma

volunteers, professional services and Lowe’s employees. Project manager Billy Roach and Activate Selma volunteers began meeting with local Lowe’s representatives last month. Target date for finishing the project is within the next 100 days.

Activate Selma and Town of Selma welcomes individuals or groups — scouts, veterans, church groups — to be a part of this project. To get involved, contact Billy Roach at or Activate Selma at activateselma@gmail. com.

[ SEPTEMBER 2021 ] | 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

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 919-980-5277.

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

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.

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 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


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, 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 to help 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

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 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 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 919-965-3865 with any questions.

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.

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.

Saturday, Sept. 4, 10:30 p.m.

Donnie Lane - 100 Proof! Deep River Brewing Company, Clayton Don’t miss this show at Deep River for tasty brews and tunes. Learn more at

Monday, Sept. 6, 4 p.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

“The Love Connection” Unity In the Community Downtown Smithfield There’s a youth talent showcase, vendors, giveaways, resources, food trucks, line dancing, music, raffle drawing and more. Learn more at

Every Thursday, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 9, 6 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

Sundown in Downtown - The Band of Oz 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 to learn more.

Friday, Sept. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey with Will West & The Friendly Strangers The Clayton Center Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey, along with special guest Will West, perform at The Clayton Center. Both Todd and West performed in the Center’s livestream concert series and are eager to perform to a live audience! Learn more at

Saturday, Sept. 11, 10 a.m.

Stepping Into the Past - Folk Art: Chainsaw Art Demonstration Tobacco Farm Life Museum The Tobacco Farm Life Museum presents its annual Stepping Into the Past series. Activities will take place on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and demonstrations and displays of traditional arts, crafts and trades are featured on-site. Programming subject to change. Call 919-2843431 for further details.

Saturday, Sept. 11, 10 a.m.

32nd-annual Four Oaks Acorn Festival Enjoy a family-friendly event in downtown Four Oaks. There will be a classic car and antique tractor show, food trucks, business expo, handcrafted market, kid zone (unlimited ride armbands $10) and a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at 10 a.m. in Barbour’s Grove Park. There will also be live entertainment by Louis Waymore Band and Glen Shelton. For more information, contact Joan Pritchett at or 919-963-4004.

[ SEPTEMBER 2021 ] | 45

Saturday, Sept. 11, 11 a.m.

First Responders Appreciation BBQ Clayton Municipal Park The 2021 First Responders Appreciation BBQ will be held on September 11, 2021 at the Municipal Park in Clayton. This event is presented by APR Restoration and Commercial Building.

Sunday, Sept. 19, 4-7 p.m.

Mexican Fiesta Spanish Heritage Celebration The Rudy Theatre, Live at The Rudy Come out for Mexican Fiesta: A Spanish Heritage Celebration on Sept. 19. Learn more about the art of the dance and Spanish Heritage. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children under 12. For more information, call 919-202-9927.

Saturday, Sept. 25, 8:30 a.m.

Gardening Symposium Johnston County Agricultural Center The Johnston County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are hosting a gardening symposium featuring gardening with natives and exotics, container gardening and more presented by speakers Bryce Lane and Tony Avent. For additional information and registration, visit

Real Country Variety and More Music


Saturday, Sept. 25, 6 p.m.

Art and Jazz at Artmosphere Artmosphere Community Arts Center, Clayton Check out a Jazz and Artisan Market on the Lawn at the Arts Center. Enjoy live jazz by Swingsters Union, good eats by The Mac House Food Truck and cold beverages by Draft and Vine, all while shopping cool artisan vendors, plus more. Help the Johnston County Arts Council Celebrate its 50th anniversary and kickstart the partnership with NC Jazz and Art Festival. This is a free, family-friendly community event.

Thursday, Sept. 30, 6 p.m.

The Embers featuring Craig Woolard Clayton Town Square Concerts are back in Downtown Clayton! The Town of Clayton and the Clayton Downtown Development Association are excited to bring The Embers featuring Craig Woolard to Town Square in Downtown Clayton. Food Trucks and activities will start at 6 p.m. and the music will start at 6:30. A bounce house and Sybil the Clown will be available for the little ones. The Clayton Downtown Development Association will be selling domestic beer and wine and Deep River Brewery will be pouring some of their favorites for the adults.



$50 $100



Articles inside

Activate Selma selected as one of Lowe’s 100 Hometowns project article cover image

Activate Selma selected as one of Lowe’s 100 Hometowns project

pages 42-43
Clayton Police Department establishes Park/Trail Unit article cover image

Clayton Police Department establishes Park/Trail Unit

pages 38-39
HealthQuest member account specialist named Ambassador of the Month article cover image

HealthQuest member account specialist named Ambassador of the Month

pages 36-37
New book highlights life in Selma article cover image

New book highlights life in Selma

pages 34-35
My Kid’s Club planning new clubhouse in Selma article cover image

My Kid’s Club planning new clubhouse in Selma

pages 32-33
My Kid’s Club hosting 2021 Selma Railroad Days 5K Run/Walk article cover image

My Kid’s Club hosting 2021 Selma Railroad Days 5K Run/Walk

page 31
AdVenture Development taps Hospitality HQ to manage new food hall in Johnston County article cover image

AdVenture Development taps Hospitality HQ to manage new food hall in Johnston County

page 30
Financial wellness in the workplace article cover image

Financial wellness in the workplace

page 26
A sustainable approach to improving your health and immune system article cover image

A sustainable approach to improving your health and immune system

pages 24-25
Hearing loss: Just the facts article cover image

Hearing loss: Just the facts

pages 22-23
Start your day by vegging out article cover image

Start your day by vegging out

page 21
Johnston Health offers first-of-its-kind treatment for heart disease article cover image

Johnston Health offers first-of-its-kind treatment for heart disease

page 19
Learn how to make healthy shopping choices article cover image

Learn how to make healthy shopping choices

pages 16-17
Don't neglect your mental health in the pandemic article cover image

Don't neglect your mental health in the pandemic

pages 10-11
Be well in your happy place article cover image

Be well in your happy place

page 8
The Umbrella of Ugh article cover image

The Umbrella of Ugh

page 6
Learning to run a business by trial and error article cover image

Learning to run a business by trial and error

page 5
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