October 2021

Page 1


Harvest Festival Guide Inside







And the winners are...







PÉ ¥¥Ȁ à És¬ÉȀs~²ÎÉȀÉs£ ¬ ȀÉ Ȁ ?c& ǮŷſȀ×s ¬ Ǚ 2 ÃÉ ¬ȀɲȀ²Î¿ȀÃÉsøȀ²¬ȀÉ Ȁ ¿²¬ÉȀ¥ ¬ ǘ “I’ve worked on the COVID-19 unit for over a year. People get very sick very fast. Protect yourself and get vaccinated.” ¿s L ÃÉ ¿ Ȁ9οà /² ¬Ãɲ¬Ȁ$ s¥É

“I personally have been vaccinated, my wife has been vaccinated, and as soon as I can get my daughter vaccinated, I'm going to vaccinate her as well. My patients wish they had gotten vaccinated. But it’s too late now.” /² ¬ L ÃÉ ¿ Ȁ9οà /² ¬Ãɲ¬Ȁ$ s¥É

“If anyone is questioning whether or not to get the vaccine, I would tell them that they need to do it for themselves, for their family and for their coworkers. Mostly for themselves!” ¬¬ ÉÉ Ls ²¥² ÞȀU ¬²¥² ÃÉ /² ¬Ãɲ¬Ȁ$ s¥É







Johnston Now Honors Winners Announced

12-17 31-34 46 50 52 56 58

Flowers Plantation fall newsletter Official Harvest Festival Guide

Clayton native serves aboard warship in Mayport, Florida AdVenture Development breaks ground on business park Farm Business Management Team takes top honors Johnston Health puts new mobile unit into action Clayton ICU nurse named Ambassador of the Month

[PUBLISHER] column

WE NEED YOUR HELP FOR THE NOVEMBER EDITION I know it’s hard to believe, but we’re in the home stretch of 2021. I know it’s a little early to be discussing the holidays, but in the world of magazine publishing, I really have no choice. Besides, thanks to a medical procedure I had last December, Christmas 2020 was a bit of a blur to me. Nevertheless, we want to do something a little different for the November edition, and as



with most things we do here at JNOW, it’s better when you all play along. We’re looking for your best

holiday recipes. We’re talking pies, cookies, cakes and anything else for the dessert table. But we’re not picky. We’ll take a recipe for a tasty side dish, some notes on your best fried turkey (mine’s pretty good, too) or you might even want to spill a family secret (my mother-in-law makes a mean macaroni and cheese casserole). Anyway, type up the recipe

and send it to us at hello@ johnstonnow.com no later than October 8. We’ll choose the best ones for publication in the November edition. And, if you happen to have a family photo of someone enjoying that recipe, send it over, too. Think of it as a way to get into the holiday spirit a little early. Me? I’m already there. I’m just looking for a few new ideas for my dinner table this holiday season.

Email your Thanksgiving recipes to Hello@JohnstonNow.com YOUR JNOW


Volume 5, Number 11

A Shandy Communications, LLC publication

Publisher Randy Capps


General Manager Shanna Capps

Creative Consultant Ethan Capps


Marketing Representative Wanda Sasser wanda@johnstonnow.com

Office Manager

Terri Atkinson terri@johnstonnow.com

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.



Excellence in Arts

Stephen Roberts

Hospice doesn’t mean giving up hope. 919.877.9959 heartlandhospice.com/Raleigh


Excellence in Arts honoree prefers to act behind the scenes By RANDY CAPPS

For the past 13 years, Stephen Roberts has been a part of around 50 productions for the Neuse Little Theatre. But while he appreciates the skills needed to be a proper thespian, he’s more comfortable behind the scenes — or building them ahead of time. It’s his craftsmanship and ability to bring ideas to life that have earned him the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Excellence in Arts Award. “They needed help building sets and I’m kind of good with my hands,” he said. “I’m mechanically inclined, so I started doing that. The guy who was in charge of that retired, so I just kind of stepped up and took over set building.” A native of upstate New York, Rogers moved to the area with his family in 1979 for a few years before eventually heading back. A taste of North Carolina weather, however, got him to return. “If you’ve ever been to upstate New York, you know the snow is bad,” he said. “So, when I graduated high school, I came back. I figured out this is where I wanted to live.” His father returned as well, serving as Santa Claus in the Smithfield Christmas Parade and other churches and organizations for many years. And it was his influence that led Roberts to the stage. “My dad, the late, great Richard Roberts,” he said,

about who started his love of theatre. “He decided that (the theatre) would be a good thing for me to get into. And when I got there, it was great. When he first did it, back in '93, he wanted me on stage. I didn’t like that so much. But 13 years or so ago, they needed a stage manager. I got to be backstage and more involved in the whole show instead of that one little part where I was on stage. It appealed to me.” A supervisor with Crawford Sprinkler, Roberts is pretty good with his hands. So that skill, and an interest in theatre, eventually led to set design. During the Neuse Little Theatre’s 47th season, the next show will be “The Explorer’s Club,” and Roberts is already thinking about how the sets might look. “There will be a bar, and there will be some stuffed heads on the wall,” he said. “We’ll throw some vines on there, and there’s supposed to be some kind of grandiose staircase. I have to figure out how to build that. I’ve got to get this show (“Never Too Late”) done first.” Roberts’ job is a demanding one, but he’s found a way to keep some time free for his work with the NLT. “Saturdays are usually free, so that’s when we go down there and build sets and stuff like that,” he said. “During what we call our hell week, our dress rehearsals, I have it worked out with my company that I get off at 3:30 on those

days.” So, why does he keep coming back, set after set and show after show? “Meta,” he joked, referring to Meta Toole, a director at Neuse Little Theatre. “It’s fun. You get to meet new people.” The director’s vision, it turns out, is the primary thing that drives his set design. “I rely mostly on the director,” he said. “There have been a couple of shows that I’ve gone to see, but not for set building. Pretty much, the director tells me what they want, and I build it. I throw my own two cents in there every now and then.

Sometimes they like it, sometimes they don’t. “We had one director that wanted me to build three rotators,” he said, looking over at Meta. “So, we had a 16-foot, an 8-foot and a 12foot circle on wheels. I built the wall in the middle, and a set on either side. We could just rotate it 180 degrees and, boom, a new set — instead of changing a bunch of furniture. It’s really fun to build and take apart, not so much to turn it when they’re a whole cast on there.” It was a complex vision, but one Roberts enjoyed bringing to the stage.

[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 7

Inspiring Coach Sponsored by The Arbors at East Village

Shannon Mann


Inspiring Coach honoree helping to make STEM accessible By RANDY CAPPS

Shannon Mann had a problem. Or, more specifically, her daughter did. She needed a place where she could build and code robots alongside her peers, and so the Techno Tigresses were born. For her work in starting that team, and it’s impact on young women in Johnston County, Mann is the recipient of the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Inspiring Coach Award. “My children attended Neuse Charter School for a few years,” she said. “I could not accept this award without saying Angela Jenkins was an amazing teacher at Neuse Charter School. She’s now at Triple S (Smithfield-Selma), and she was the one who really encouraged me to do this. She started the robotics teams at Neuse Charter, and my children went to some of the information meetings, but my daughter was too young at the time. She said, “Aw, this is really something I want to do.’ So, we sort of kept thinking we’d do that. “We started home schooling, and we started a home school team with some other homeschoolers. Angela was always there, saying ‘You guys can do this’ and ‘Here’s what you need to know.’ Then, it kind of branched off from that. My daughter was the only girl on an allboy team. And they were wonderful, but boys do what boys do. They love to code

and they love to build. My daughter also had an interest in coding and building, but she took a back seat to do more of the marketing. And it dawned on me that there were maybe other girls out there in the same situation.” The Tigresses were a middle school, all-girls team, that offered Sloan and others like her the chance to build and code robots for FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics competitions. As it turns out, the team gave its members even more. “I’m very fortunate my Air Force career has taken me all over the world,” she said. “I’ve met some amazing people in many different career fields. The defense department needs people in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). We need all people in STEM, girls, minorities, young men — all people. That was always in the back of my head. “For me, it was not only about the opportunity to watch them build robots and compete. It was the opportunity to go meet the dog handlers at the Raleigh Police Department and talk about how they use science and technology in training these dogs.” There were also field trips to a NASCAR team facility, Caterpillar and Campbell’s School of Engineering, among other places. “What I loved about our first season is that everyone was

opening their doors,” she said. “Come take a tour, we’ll show you what we do. ... What was fun for me is after every field trip we took, I had four or five little girls saying, ‘Oh my gosh. I want to do that.’ That to me is what it was all about. The competition was just the icing on the cake.” You don’t have to be an expert coder to participate, either. “What I love about FIRST Robotics is that there’s a place on that team for every kind of skill,” she said. “Soft skills are so important. Public speaking, writing, investor relations, finance, marketing. I mean, if I had an art student on the high school team right now, I could do so much with that kid. I had one girl, she wasn’t a coder or a builder, but if you put her in front of an audience, her personality lit up a room. Ask Clayton Rotary.” Mann has personal experience with that sort of thing, too. “When you think of robotics or hear that word, you might think, ‘Aw, that’s a bunch of nerds on that team,’” she

said. “It’s a bunch of Sheldon Coopers. My current job is marketing manager for the Department of the Air Force’s MIT Artificial Intelligence Accelerator. I work with airmen, researchers and staff at MIT developing artificial intelligence. So, I’m definitely the Penny on that team. In fact, that’s my ringtone for my boss. But, what I love about FIRST is that it takes a village. It takes a city. So, don’t discount it because you think your kid isn’t a coder or an engineer. There’s so many opportunities to watch them grow.” The Tigresses moved on to high school recently, and Mann went with them, mentoring a communitybased team housed at Smithfield-Selma. “The Tigresses had a wonderful following,” she said. “In fact, a lot of our sponsors that supported our middle school team jumped on board to support the high school team.” To learn more, visit www.frc6004.com.

[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 9

Dynamic Entrepreneur Sponsored by Diversified Payroll Solutions

Michael Sneed From appliances to ice cream to YouTube, Dynamic Entrepreneur honoree stays busy in Selma By RANDY CAPPS

Like many successful business owners, Michael Sneed’s path to success wasn’t a straight line. Even the destination wasn’t quite where he thought he would wind up when he left North Carolina A&T with an engineering degree. But, in true entrepreneurial spirit, Sneed used his gifts, adapted and made it all work. For those efforts, he’s earned the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Dynamic Entrepreneur Award. “Fifteen or 20 years ago, being an entrepreneur was almost a bad word,” he said of winning the honor. “If you told somebody that you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you were looked at like you couldn’t cut it in corporate America. I’d like for more kids to look into entrepreneurship. College is always a good way to go, but with the cost of 10 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]

college now, the amount of jobs that let you pay that money back is lower. We need to look more into entrepreneurship for kids, and let them tap into their creative and artistic sides. I ask kids all the time that come into the ice cream parlor, ‘What’s your dream?’ Then I find out that a lot of kids don’t dream anymore. Things don’t have to be so organized. Let kids go out, explore and make mistakes. That’s how we learn in entrepreneurship, making mistakes. You’re not going to learn business and not make mistakes.” A native of Stovall, Sneed left North Carolina A&T with an engineering degree. But he picked up a few skills along the way that would come in handy for him later. “While I was in college, I worked at Sears as a repairman,” he said. “All my friends told me that, if all you’re going

to do is repair appliances, you might as well quit (college). And I was like, ‘Once I graduate, I’m never going to fix another washing machine or dryer.’” Another business axiom is to never say never, as Sneed was about to find out. He was working for Nortel when it went under in 2001, and despite an exhaustive search where he offered to intern for free with companies to prove himself, he was at an impasse. But, he found the way forward just a few steps from his front door. “I started talking to the skilled tradesmen out at Flowers Plantation, and they were mad that they hadn’t had a day off in a couple of years,” he said. “The more I talked to them, I found out they were making more money doing plumbing and electrical than I was as an engineer. “I had signed up to take the electrical

contractor’s test, but I got the entrepreneur bug at that time. My wife and I go over to Food Lion, and I’m saying that I’m going to start my own business. I’m tired of corporate America. And I grab a small business magazine and I open it up. At the very top of the list of small businesses to start was appliance repair. And the light bulb went off. Here it is, I’ve been laid off almost a year, and I’m going around begging companies to work for them for free. My family, friends and neighbors are calling me to fix their appliances, and I wasn’t charging them. “My wife and I went to Office Max, bought a stack of yellow paper and had them print everything I could fix and a phone number. On Sunday mornings, we’d go around and find a neighborhood. I’d ride around on the back of the truck and put flyers on mailboxes. By the time we got home, the voicemail would be filled up, and I’d have enough work to get through the week.” The business that would eventually become Appliance Boot Camp was born. Not only will Sneed keep your appliances in good working order, but he also teaches people how to start their own appliance repair business. His YouTube channel boasts more than 6,700 subscribers, and

his videos have been viewed almost 650,000 times. Teaching the classes also helps him stay up to date on the latest technology in the increasingly computer-driven machines on which he works. “They went from more mechanical to more digital,” he said. “It’s kind of like your cars. You used to go to your mechanic and tell him you had something wrong with your car. He’d get out the 9/16 and tell you to open your hood. Now, you go to your mechanic and tell him you have something wrong with your car, and he gets a computer and plugs it in. Appliances are nothing but big computers now.” Keeping them running is a recession-proof business, too. “I tell people that appliance repair is the jujitsu of small businesses,” he said. “It’s like Royce Gracie, who came into the UFC when we were looking at Taekwando and people doing flips, and just laid on the ground and put people in choke holds. Appliance repair is like that. It’s not sexy ... but appliance repair is that business that puts other businesses in choke holds. Even though we’re in a pandemic, we’re considered essential. People are going out and buying $300 or $400 worth of food, so their refrigerator has to

work harder to cool it off. So, the refrigerator might have more problems. People were going out to eat every Friday and Saturday night, but now they have to cook more. So the ranges and stuff are having more problems.” Sneed’s entrepreneurship runs even deeper, with Old Fashioned Ice Cream, also located in Selma. “I have a son with special needs,” he said. “I needed something for him to do once he graduated from high school. He had a lot of interest in the culinary field. I thought about doing shaved ice. I was looking for something repetitious that he could do that didn’t have a lot of variables. In the search for shaved ice (opportunities), I found that it was seasonal. I thought about ice cream, and at the time, we were driving to Raleigh on the weekends

for ice cream and donuts. I decided to make a place here where people could come and get ice cream.” Sneed lives in Clayton with his wife, Norma, and has three children: Shayonna, Maykla and Mike. As for what advice he would offer to aspiring entrepreneurs? “Look and see what skill sets you have first,” he said. “Business is hard. Working for someone else is bad, but if you start a business that you hate, you’re going to really hate to get up and go do it every day. Find something within yourself that you can do. Go look for a mentor. Somebody who has done that business before, and, if you can, buy their business plan and follow their blueprint. “Or come check out Appliance Boot Camp. I can teach you how to start your own business.”

[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 11



Flowers Plantation Named One Of The Best 100 Places To Live


e have reason to celebrate! Flowers Plantation has been recognized as one of America’s Best 100 Places to Live by ideal-LIVING magazine. idealLIVING magazine is pleased to announce the Top 100 Planned Communities as featured in the summer issue of Ideal-LIVING’s Best Places to Live. The honorees are also revealed on www.ideal-LIVING.com/bestplaces. A special editorial committee assembled by the publication reviewed the qualifications of each nominee and selected the winners. “Each year we survey our readers to determine the most popular destinations and amenities. We’ve researched communities from our readers’ most-desired areas based on survey results. The destinations featured in this special issue are representative of those desires,” says Kelly Godbey, ideal-LIVING editor.

Visitor Center News Wow! The activity at Flowers Plantation has exploded! Between Family Movie Nights, Wine Wednesday socials, the Flowers Running Group and a host of upcoming events, our heads are spinning! Not to mention, concerts are coming back to Flowers Crossroads! Flowers Plantation will also be featured in Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid, a short educational documentary series that airs on Public Television in all 50 states. Be sure to watch for our bi-weekly email newsletter with an updated list of future events. If you do not already receive the newsletter, make sure to sign up on our website or email vanessa@flowersplantation.com to be added to the list. Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

Looking For A Running Buddy? Did you know that Flowers Plantation has a running group? Love to run and looking to connect with your neighbors? The group meets at least twice a week. All levels are welcome to join. Visit www.flowersplantation.com/ flowers-running-group to learn how to join! Visitor Center Open Daily | 500 NW Flowers Parkway | Clayton, NC 27527 | 919-553-1984 Ext. 1

Concerts At The Crossroads Returns To Flowers Plantation With Two New Shows

The Entertainers

The Embers

Flowers Plantation is excited to announce the return of our concert series, Concerts at the Crossroads. We will be bringing concerts to the Flowers Crossroads for two months this fall. The Entertainers are proud to have been a part of the Beach music tradition in the South for more than 30 years. The group satisfies the most diverse audiences by playing selections from the latest Top 40, Classic Rock & Roll, and Country music. The Embers featuring Craig Woolard have left their mark on listeners for decades. The Embers consider the genre of Beach music as “music with a memory” and have been creating lasting memories since its inception in 1958. Food and beverages will be on-site for purchase, along with some extra activities for the young ones prior to start time. As in the past, no outside coolers will be allowed, and security will be on-site to monitor parking and traffic. Be sure to check the events page on our website for upcoming details at www.flowersplantation.com/events-socials. October 3rd (4pm-7pm): The Entertainers November 13th (4pm-7pm): The Embers featuring Craig Woolard

New Businesses Coming To Flowers Crossing Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q It’s official! Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q will be the next business to move into Flowers Crossroads. Smithfield’s features traditional North Carolina southern-style bar-b-q, fried chicken, hush puppies, shrimp, and more. This location will join nearly 40 others across the state. The restaurant will be located in front of the Publix shopping center.

Harris Teeter Fuel Center Harris Teeter Fuel is coming to Flowers Crossroads! Along with the convenience, they are also bringing their Fuel Points for extra savings! For every 100 Fuel Points you earn, you can save $.10 per gallon on fuel purchases at Harris Teeter Fuel Centers and participating BP and Amoco stations, up to 1,000 points or $1.00 per gallon (maximum of 35 gallons). There is no limit to the number of Fuel Points you can earn in a month.

New Single-Family, Townhome and 55+ Active Adult Models On Site Single-Family


Copper Ridge - True Homes Floors plans available from 1,680 to 3,643 square feet with three-to-five bedrooms and two-to-four-and-a-half baths. Call Celina Hill at 609-634-3199 or Lauren Hemingway at 704-421-8855 for current pricing. Bedford - Mattamy Homes This neighborhood features floor plans from 1,980 to 3,000+ square feet with three-to-six bedrooms and two-to-three-anda-half baths. Call Jamie Matala at 919-314-7564 or Stephanie Vidal at 919-697-9044 for current pricing. Forrest - Meritage Homes A community of homes offering floor plans up to 2,690 square feet with three-to-four bedrooms and two-to-three baths. Call Annita Bowden at 919-818-1747 for current pricing.

55+ Active Adult Cottages at Evergreen - McKee Homes A gated community that features floor plans from 1,681 to 2,900 square feet. HOA dues include lawn maintenance. Call Lawrence Wilson at 919-521-7168 or Ayana Barnes at 919-7406777 for current pricing. The Cottages at Evergreen

Townhomes The Crossings - True Homes The Elon floor plan is 2,262 square feet with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, and a two-car garage. The Longfield floor plan is 1,762 square feet with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, and a single-car garage. Call Shahroon Rana at 919-8023756 for current pricing.

Coming Soon!

The Crossings


Whitley Corner - Dan Ryan Builders A community of single-family residences and townhomes. Ardmore at Flowers A 396-unit apartment community. Email info@ardmoreatflowers.com for leasing information.

Copper Ridge

Try These On Master Relationships With Active Listening For Size You think high school algebra was hard? Try wrapping your mind around these amazing numbers, courtesy of the Cracked website: • To write the largest known prime number in a straight line, you would need a sheet of paper 23 miles long. • Americans use 100,000,000,000 plastic shopping bags a year, enough to stretch end-to-end around the equator twice every day. • A blue whale can eat up to 40 million small krill a day—about 7,900 pounds. • A Rubik’s Cube has 45,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible configurations. • There are 12.1 trillion digits of Pi known right now. A piece of paper needed to write them in a straight line would stretch to the sun and back. • LEGO manufactures 125 million bricks a day, more than the number of banknotes the U.S. prints in a day (38 million). • Beetles represent 30% of all known animal species, with more than 300,000 species currently identified. • People send 205 billion emails every day. If you were to print out each one on a separate sheet of paper—which would consume 25 million trees—the stack would stretch halfway around the equator.


Dave Coverly

Relationships are a key to success in your life and your career and building them takes time. One essential skill to master when cultivating relationships is listening. The Healthline website shares these tips for learning active listening: • Give people your full attention. Concentrate on their words to the exclusion of everything else. Don’t plan your response while they’re still speaking, and don’t use a pause to steer the conversation around to another topic. If you really can’t focus in the moment, ask to reconnect at a time when you can fully commit to the discussion. • Use positive body language. Your body communicates just as much as your words do, if not more. Make sure you’re fully facing the other person. Relax your body, but lean in slightly to show interest in what they’re saying. Make eye contact, nod to show you’re listening, and you understand. • Don’t interrupt. You may be tempted to jump in with an idea or solution. Restrain the impulse. Instead, wait for the other person to start talking before asking questions or offering your point of view. In general, it’s best to avoid cutting in, unless you get too confused and need immediate clarification to continue following the conversation. • Don’t fear silence. When a conversation lulls, people often have an urge to fill the silence with an immediate reply. Silence isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. You were listening, so it’s perfectly understandable to need a moment or two to offer a thoughtful response. In most cases, the other person will probably appreciate your taking the time to reflect on their words and consider your thoughts.

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”

—Andy Rooney

Get Your Career On The Right Path

Are you in a hurry to get your career started? Whatever you’re pursuing, you can get started with this advice from Entrepreneur magazine: • Set clear goals. A road map is essential to success. Big, specific goals help create a framework for your career so you can make smart decisions about where to go and what to do next. • Stick to a routine. Once you know where you want to go, establish the habits that will lead you there. Repetition strengthens performance. You might start your day with meditation or reading up on your industry, then move to the most important tasks of the day. Whatever you decide on, stick with it until it becomes second nature. • Find a mentor. Successful people in every field have mentors—senior people with the experience to guide others through the decisions they confront in their careers. You won’t necessarily have a single mentor for the entirety of your career. Look for people who can help you network and also offer advice on what you should do next. • Simplify your life. Streamline your day so you’re not wasting time on unproductive activities. Turn down requests that don’t offer opportunities to learn and advance. Delegate whatever you can so you have time to focus on essentials. • Learn from your mistakes. You’ll screw up from time to time. You can’t avoid mistakes completely, but you can learn from them, so you don’t make them over and over. Take the time to analyze what went wrong: Did you not have enough information to make a decision? Was your execution sloppy? Did you depend on the wrong people? Once you know what happened, you can move past the mistake and forward to success.

The Power Of A Story

Author Neil Gaiman explains the power of stories with a tale on the Books Bird website: “My cousin Helen, who is in her 90s now, was in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. She and a bunch of girls in the ghetto had to do sewing each day. And if you were found with a book, it was an automatic death penalty. She had gotten hold of a copy of Gone with the Wind, and she would take three or four hours out of her sleeping time each night to read. And then, during the hour or so when they were sewing the next day, she would tell them all the story. These girls were risking certain death for a story. And when she told me the story herself, it actually made what I do feel more important. Because giving people stories is not a luxury. It’s actually one of the things you live and die for.”

Odd Questions 1. Where are lobsters’ bladders located? 2. In 1878, Alexander Graham Bell suggested answering the telephone with which greeting? 3. At an average of 10 hours 42 minutes per week, which country’s citizens spend the most time reading? 4. Which is the state dance of 24 U.S. states? 5. Which came first: alcohol or the wheel? 6. Which word is understood in all languages? 7. A team of chemists described which smell as “a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness?” 8. Which is the only continent to have land in all four hemispheres? 9. Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the fear of what? 10. What was the first item sold on Ebay? 11. Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter Alice had a pet snake. What was the snake’s name? 1. In their heads. 2. “Ahoy.” 3. India. 4. The Square Dance. 5. Alcohol. 6. “Huh?” 7. The smell of old books. 8. Africa. 9. Friday the 13th. 10. A broken laser pointer. 11. Emily Spinach.

—Mental Floss

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

—Pablo Picasso

Yes, You Can Get Out Of Debt

Getting into debt is easy; getting out is hard—but not impossible. Follow these steps from the Credit.com website: • Get motivated. Find some specific reasons for eliminating your debt—reducing stress, giving your family a better life, or planning a vacation. The more meaningful your reasons are, the more motivated you’ll be to take action. • Assess your situation. Take a look at how much money you owe, who you owe it to, how much you’re bringing in, and how much, if any, you have in savings. This gives you a clear starting point. List your monthly expenses—rent or mortgage payments, food, health care, etc. • Identify poor spending habits. Take a hard look at what you’re spending money on. Maybe you order food in every other night or go on shopping sprees when you’re depressed. Look for weak spots so you can cut back on wasteful spending. • Narrow your focus. Don’t try to pay off everything at once. Set a single goal— paying off your credit card balance, for example. Once you’ve done that, the sense of accomplishment will motivate you to move onto your next target. • Set micro-goals. You probably won’t be able to pay off all your debt at once. Try setting smaller goals for the interim, like paying 10% more on your college loan payment every single month. Sticking to that will teach you self-discipline and give you the confidence you need to keep going. • Tackle the right debt first. Focus on paying down your smallest debt first, while making the minimum payment on everything else. Then move onto your nextsmallest debt. This can create a snowball effect as you move into the black. • Set up automatic payments. If writing checks is a stumbling block, enroll in a service that takes money from your checking account every month for payments. This frees you from having to remember to pull out your checkbook and doesn’t give you any excuse for missing a payment. • Negotiate. It’s sometimes possible to negotiate a lower interest rate if you’re in good standing. When you call, calmly and politely point out your customer history, especially if you’ve been making monthly payments on time. Your lender may be willing to lower your interest rate temporarily or even permanently, leaving you with more money to pay down your principal.

Flowers Plantation To Be Featured On Viewpoint With Dennis Quaid Flowers Plantation is beyond excited at the opportunity to appear in a short-form documentary called Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid. The Viewpoint Team reached out to Flowers Plantation a few months ago about the possibility of being a part of their educational documentary series on retirement living. The series will consist of five different segments, featuring one community from five areas in the United States. Viewpoint decided to select Flowers Plantation to represent the southeast after a series of discussions between their staff and the marketing team at Flowers Plantation. Viewpoint produces short-form documentaries that are distributed to Public Television in all 50 states. These educational

series are hosted by Dennis Quaid, the actor well-known for his roles in movies like “The Big Easy” (1986), “Great Balls of Fire” (1989), “The Parent Trap” (1998), and, most recently, “The Intruder” (2019). In addition, Viewpoint will produce an educational commercial segment that will air on networks such as The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel, CNBC, and CNN. The opportunity to be featured nationwide is a dream come true for the Flowers Plantation community, one that begin developing in the late 90s. With the potential to be in front of 60 million households, Flowers Plantation can rightly claim to be a destination for both young and old.

New Athletic Fields Are Underway At East Triangle YMCA We’re excited to announce that work will soon begin on the fields adjacent to the YMCA! Preliminary site work will be underway soon on what will become the new athletic fields at the East Triangle YMCA. During this time, the entire field area will be closed to the public. In addition, you may see trucks and heavy equipment entering and exiting the site. The Y has been offering Youth Sports in Johnston County for more than 30 years. And while we’ll continue to offer sports programs at Powhatan fields in Clayton, we’re looking forward to having more space and opportunities for programs in 2022.

Don’t Forget About These Great YMCA Member Benefits New Kid Zone Program Hey parents! We heard you and your desire for kids’ activities while you workout at the YMCA. Our new Kid Zone classes are for ages 3-10 and each hour-long session takes place during popular workout classes and times. Your kids can join YMCA youth counselors for art, Kid Fit, STEM classes, and more. Kid Zone is free for YMCA Members and their children who are on their membership. To learn more about Kid Zone available hours, visit www.ymcatriangle.org/locations/ east-triangle-ymca. Personal Training Ready to take your fitness routine to the next level? We have a staff of personal trainers ready to meet with our members

and set up personalized workouts, provide encouragement and support, and give expert advice to help you reach your fitness goals. Stop by the Y today or visit www.YMCATriangle.org to learn more. Pickle Ball Court Transition Over the next several weeks, you’ll begin to see work begin on transitioning the outdoor courts to pickleball courts. This work will occur in stages, the first being the removal of basketball goals and backboards. We’ll continue to allow tennis for as long as possible until resurfacing begins. We’re excited about adding pickleball for our members in the near future! Branch Amenities Don’t forget to enjoy East Triangle YMCA’s outdoor and indoor pools,

strength and cardio equipment, sauna, group exercise classes, personal training, Kid Zone Program, playground, and more! Not a member yet? Join the East Triangle YMCA today by calling 919-262-0440!

500 NW Flowers Parkway Clayton, NC 27527 919-553-1984 Ext. 1

Beautiful Homes Within Reach | Visit www.FlowersPlantation.com | Email: info@FlowersPlantation.com

Outstanding Firefighter Sponsored by Breeden Law Office

Matthew White


Outstanding Firefighter honoree is living his dream in Selma By RANDY CAPPS

Spending the second half of his childhood on a family farm in Selma, it might have seemed that Matthew White would follow in that tradition and be the sixth generation of his family to enter that field after leaving North Johnston High School. As it turns out, he followed another family tradition instead, becoming a firefighter and being named the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Outstanding Firefighter Award winner. “My grandfather was a farmer,” he said. “My other grandfather (Ed White), before World War II, was a fireman in Silver Spring, Maryland. So, he did that for a while after the war, then moved back home to take care of his family. He was actually the first fire chief and started Pine Level Fire Department. ... My dad was on Selma Rescue before it became EMS. He did that for 20 years as a volunteer. I can remember when I was in the third grade for career day, I dressed up like my dad. I kind of feel like it’s in the bloodline.” After graduating from North, he went to Johnston Community College, and when he left, he found his way back to Selma in 2007.

“Philip (McDaniel) had just got hired as the chief in Selma, so I got on as a volunteer,” he said. “It took off from there.” He took a job in Wake County in 2009, and in the next 10 years, worked his way up to deputy chief. Of course, that meant much less time in the field and much more time behind a desk. “I had to come off the truck, sit in the office and do paperwork,” he said. “And that isn’t where I wanted to be. Luckily, they had some positions come open in Selma, and I was ready to be a fireman, do my job and get my hands dirty. So, I took a pretty significant pay cut to come back and live my dream and be what I wanted to be.” He’s been with the Selma Fire Department ever since and was recently promoted to captain. He’s had a busy summer, including several cases where he and his crew got to do what matters most to firefighters — saving lives. “We’ve (been) at the right place at the right time,” he said. “We’ve had, I believe, three code saves where folks have been discharged from the hospital. We were coming back through a mutual aid district and we rode up on a caller who was calling 911 at the time for someone who

had coded on the side of the road. And we got her back. It was pretty neat to be able to pull up while they were on the phone with 911 and be able to do something. “I’m not saying I’m not appreciative, but for me, being able to see somebody make it home from the hospital that we impacted is all the award I need.” White and his wife, Robin, have been married since 2009 and have two young daughters, Liza and Grace. And it’s Robin, White says, who keeps the household running. “I would give all the credit of that to my wife,” he said. “It’s a crazy schedule. I work full time in Selma, I work part time with Micro Fire Department, and cut grass and landscape on the side. I come home wore out, and I’m just glad that she’s got all that taken care of.” He’s also quick to give the credit to his crew, and the Selma Fire Department in general, for what he’s been able to do. “There’s no way I’d be able to be nominated for something like this without my crew,” he said. “They’re probably more deserving of the award than I am. From the top to the bottom in the department, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without having a great crew around me, helping me out.”

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[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 19

Distinguished Police Officer Sponsored by OPW Retail Fueling

Ashley Woodard


Distinguished Police Officer honoree has spent entire career in Pine Level By RANDY CAPPS

It’s often said that a man’s first job is always his most special. That’s certainly been the case for Pine Level Police Chief Ashley Woodard. Woodard, who has worked for the town since becoming a police officer in 2005, is this year’s recipient of the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Distinguished Police Officer Award. Born in Raleigh, Woodard moved to Johnston County in the mid '80s, and about 10 years later, found himself in Pine Level. “In school, for a co-op program, I worked in Cyn-Mar Greenhouses with Mrs. Wilma Baker,” he said. He went straight from there to Wayne Community College with an eye on becoming a police officer. “Pine Level is a great community,” he said. “I worked at the greenhouse there,

and through that, I met Chief (Keith) Sparks. He sponsored me for the academy. He helped me in the academy, and when I got out, he offered me a job part time. A couple of months later, a full-time spot became available. The town is just such a great place to work. Great place to work, and I’ve been there ever since.” That was 2005, and if Sparks hadn’t done enough to support Woodard’s career, he helped the newly minted police officer find his calling in that profession. “Chief Sparks had me do an interview one time, doing some hiring and things like that,” he said. “That’s when I really got into administration. I loved it, and he sent me to classes.” In March 2019, Woodard followed his mentor and became chief. And despite the negativity surrounding the profession, he’s still committed to doing good police work.

“When I first got in it, it seemed like more people actually cared about law enforcement,” he said. “But with everything that’s gone on around the country, we pretty much feel hated at times. Law enforcement itself will take care of anybody that doesn’t need to be in the position. It’s always been that way. I believe that most cops that are in it are, like myself, just truly wanting to help people. I’m sure one or two (that don’t) get through, and we see it. But I can only hold myself accountable at the end of the day. “When you get in it, you’ve got to have a servant’s heart. You’ve got to work just as hard to exonerate the innocent as you do to convict the guilty. I tell all my guys that. It’s very important.” It’s that kind of spirit that makes Woodard and the Town of Pine Level a perfect match.

[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 21

Best Health Care Professional Sponsored by One 80 Counseling

Dr. Rodney McCaskill


Best Health Care Professional honoree brings experience, innovation to role as Johnston Health’s CMO By RANDY CAPPS

For Dr. Rodney McCaskill, October 2019 was a red-letter month. After all, he had just been named interim chief medical officer at Johnston Health, a position that has since become permanent, and he was about to embark on an exciting new phase of his career. Of course, those two years turned out to be interesting in ways that were impossible to imagine. For his leadership and dedication during the pandemic, McCaskill has been named the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Best Healthcare Professional Award winner. His background in emergency care, both in the clinical and the administrative sense, proved to be useful in the early days of COVID-19. “Usually, in this role, you come up with processes and protocols,” he said. “They have to be approved and discussed for a year or so. With COVID, it was more like days.” The pandemic changed his role as CMO in other ways, too. “I was trying to learn about quality metrics and flow through the hospital,” he said. “I was trying to help length of stay and then, all of a sudden, we have a pandemic with COVID. Then, the hospital’s largely empty because everybody’s afraid to come because of COVID. Then, we have to gear up and decide how we’re going to do testing. Initially, testing was very limited. We only had a handful of test kits.

Thankfully, UNC developed a test fairly quickly. ... It was definitely interesting. “We were definitely limited by supplies, more so than I would have thought. It took a while to get things up and running. We’ve outsourced most manufacturing in the United States to other countries. Masks, test kits, gowns, PPE — the U.S. doesn’t do that anymore. And all the other countries used those things in their countries. So, it put us in a bit of a bind for a while.” The ebbs and flows of the pandemic in terms of the number of people infected have also created challenges for the hospital. “We had a little bit of a pause from March to June and July of last year, then we had a big bump at that point,” he said. “Then, things kind of dropped off a little bit, then came right back up in November, December and January where we were really overrun with COVID patients. Then, the vaccine came out. And the vaccine’s been great in the sense that it protected folks from COVID, or at least made it much less likely they get admitted or intubated. But it also gave the public a new sense of safety. So, they’re back at the hospital. The medical patients are now back, plus this big group of COVID patients. So, it really has kept the hospital extremely busy. “The staff has been awesome. They’ve gone above and beyond. Nurses are working overtime, picking up extra shifts, taking care of patients that, technically, they don’t

really have to. The physicians? There are more patients on the hospital census over the past two weeks than there ever has been in the history of Johnston Health. They’re busy, and they just keep going. They just keep doing it, and it’s very impressive to watch.” Keeping that staff informed on the latest developments on things like the pandemic and making sure the communications lines are open are key components of McCaskill’s duties as CMO. “It’s definitely different than what I was used to,” he said. “I’ve always done some administrative roles along the way, but this is a much bigger role than I’ve ever taken on before. Normally, it would be half or three-quarters clinical work and then maybe a quarter administrative. This is 90% administrative and 10% clinical. It’s a different set of challenges. When you’re working in the hospital, you’re essentially taking care of a handful of patients at a time. In this job, you’re managing the medical staff. The physicians, the PAs, making sure there’s a good working relationship. Nursing, all that has to work together well. It carries a different set of

challenges, but it’s rewarding in the same way.” McCaskill’s contributions to public health in the pandemic were more than just administrative. He and other members of the hospital’s COVID-19 steering committee researched and helped implement a program to get COVID patients in Johnston County who were 55 and older bamlanivimab (BAM) infusions with the goal of lessening the impact of the virus. “It’s a passive immunity,” he said. “So, basically, if you get COVID and you get the monoclonal antibody, it goes into your bloodstream, binds free virus and makes it so it can’t enter cells.” Or, put more simply, it stops the body’s typical response to the virus — inflammation in the lungs — before that response can cause the breathing problems that it normally would. Even with the success of the BAM infusions, McCaskill stresses the importance of getting the vaccine. “We have 70 patients in the hospital (for COVID),” he said. “Only one of them is vaccinated.”

[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 23

Legend Award

Rebecca Flowers


Legend Award winner, Flowers Plantation, Johnston County have evolved together By RANDY CAPPS

Today, Flowers Plantation is a sprawling series of stores, shops and neighborhoods outside of Clayton, surrounding the area where N.C. 42 meets Buffalo Road. Much like Johnston County itself, that area has changed quite a bit in the last 40 years or so, and a big part of the reason for the rise of Flowers Plantation, as we know it today, is the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Legend Award winner, Rebecca Flowers. Flowers is the daughter of Percy Flowers, one of Johnston County’s most well known figures and the man dubbed “King of the Moonshiners” by the Saturday Evening Post in 1958. As he got older, his daughter began to think about the burden of managing a farm that had grown to around 4,000 acres. “I have a strong belief that it was my purpose to continue the ‘legend’ of our family farm,” she said. “Teaching was my passion from adolescence. I taught K-3 for five years and loved it so much. The specific moment that changed my work career was an afternoon drive to my apartment in Raleigh, after a fun-filled day with my students. While looking at my monthly check, it dawned on me that my salary would not be enough to pay the property taxes. It wasn’t the money that concerned me, it was the realization that my parents

were growing older, my brother, Joshua Percy Flowers Jr., died in a solo plane flight at the age of 24, and the farm would come to an end when my parents were no longer there. “The determination to change that ending became the determination that I feel every day.” So, she decided to transform the farm. “Johnston County became zoned after the development plan for Flowers Plantation had been completed by some talented business people,” she said. “Those people were my blessing, and the manner in which the plan came together is miraculous. It didn’t come together in a year, but rather over the course of over 30 years.” That vision started when J. Willie York, the man who developed Cameron Village, the first mixed use community in Raleigh, introduced Flowers to Lewis Clarke, from the N.C. State School of Design, in 1986. “(He) met with me and he never mentioned that he realized I didn’t have the money to pay for his planning services, but rather suggested that I pay him monthly,” she said. “I did so for a year. At that time, the Johnston County planner, Jeff Coutu, lived in one of the growing neighborhoods here, Neuse Colony. He began the effort to bring zoning into our county. Even though I knew

little of what PUD (Planned Unit Development) meant, Flowers was the first PUD zoned area in the county. In a very small measure, Johnston County and I grew together in planning and becoming more than just agricultural.” The fact that she did all of that as a woman in business was all the more remarkable. “Women today have an equal opportunity to be as successful (and some more so) than men,” she said. “Again, I never really thought about the fact I was the only woman in the business meeting! Any young woman who has a dream should never give it away and never give it up but rather continue to do what is necessary, regardless of the hours and the hardships. “It is also feeling strongly about the purpose in what you do. Being driven solely by money is not the answer. Intelligence and ability is important, but even the most brilliant can fail without purpose,” Of course, she never would have had the chance to transform the countryside into what it is today were it not for her family’s hard work in the past. Dr. Josiah Ogden Watson and his family built the “Flowers’ Homeplace” in the 1700s, and the Dr. Watson Inn that now stands on the site as the visitors center for Flowers Plantation was built in part from the original

materials and designed to appear as it did when it was originally built. Flowers’ grandparents moved to the area from Wilson and bought the property in 1905, which at that time included the home and 266 acres. “They worked diligently but during the Great Depression were unable to make the payments to the bank,” she said. “My father left home at the age of 16, and never completed a high school diploma. Yet he was determined to be successful and as we know he made history making money and being a successful hunter with his Walker Hounds. When my grandparents’ home and farm were auctioned at the courthouse in the 1930s, my father purchased it and gave his parents life rights. They never moved but continued to work the farm. I see that as a very purposeful act of success. That act caused me to think about the sacrifices and assisted with my determination not to lose the family’s farms.” Flowers, along with her husband, John Bullock Jr., and children, Jordan and Joshua, have all worked together to make Flowers Plantation what it is today. “Now, there is a fifth generation, in three grandchildren, whom I have no doubt will continue to contribute to the legend of Flowers Plantation,” she said.

[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 25

Spirit of the County Sponsored by HomeMasters Pest Control

Loretta Byrd


Spirit of the County Award winner proudly carries Benson’s banner By RANDY CAPPS

Loretta Byrd had big plans when she left South Johnston High School — and not many of them included coming back to her hometown of Benson. “It’s amazing how God has plans for you,” she said. “You come full circle, and I end up the second time marrying a Johnston County guy and ending up back home. No regrets whatsoever about that.” After 18 years as the president/CEO of the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce, Byrd has become synonymous with the town, and because of her dedication to the Town of Benson and its citizens, she’s the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Spirit of the County Award winner. “I do it because I love it,” she said. “I absolutely love my job. I love the people that I work for, and I love my community. I feel like I make a difference in my community, as well as in my county. I have a strong work ethic. I’m not a person that can sit still. I can’t imagine me retiring anytime soon and heading home and puttering around the house or garden. That’s just not Loretta. We have a saying in our family that Honeycutts don’t retire. Our toes just turn up. That’s pretty much how it is. “I have a wonderful family. The reason I’ve been able to do the things that I do is because of my husband (Medwick), who has been very encouraging and has always supported me. He’s always said, ‘Do what you

need to do.’” What she needed to do when she took the job was to restore the bond between the chamber and the community — and get some storefronts filled up. “It’s probably five to 10 times busier,” she said. “When I first came in 2003, our Main Street, as most main streets in the area, was empty. Not 100% empty, but empty. We were just in a down time. The chamber had not been in tune with the community in several years. It took me awhile to mend fences and to get people to trust the chamber again. So, now I have the support that I need, and I’m very, very fortunate that I have a wonderful board and great members and they’re very supportive. The one difference I see now in 2021 compared to 2003 is that my members have less time to volunteer. We have a lot of small business owners and they’re trying to run their business.” Of course, most of them find time to help with the chamber’s signature event, Mule Days. “We have around 200 volunteers over the four-day span,” she said. “Everything from folding T-shirts to working the parade morning. But, to be honest, we work on Mule Days around the calendar. ... Last year, having to cancel Mule Days, it was difficult to get back into the momentum of the Mule Days season. People have no idea. I have a 1-inch binder, and it’s just the to-do list.” Mule Days and other events are an important part of the chamber’s mission.

“We’re an events-oriented chamber,” she said, “because we’re in a smaller town and we’re very community oriented. I manage those events along with a group of wonderful volunteers. We advocate for businesses, we try to help promote businesses, we’re there if they need us. I have an open-door policy. People come in and out all the time. Maybe they need to to talk to me about what’s keeping them up at night. We counsel business and try to help them and encourage them.” It’s the same sort of warmth and compassion that Byrd feels from Benson. “We’re very lucky in that we

have a vibrant Main Street,” she said. “It continues to grow, and it could grow even more. There is a lot of community pride and spirit. People love each other for the most part. I’ve always enjoyed the small town atmosphere, personally. Because I know who my pharmacist is. They know me by my name. My insurance agent, my attorney are all personal friends. I find that people moving in love Benson because there’s just a warm atmosphere. They feel comfortable there, they feel safe there. It’s just a good place to do business.” It’s an atmosphere built, in part, by Byrd and her work for the Benson Chamber.

Real Country Variety and More Music


[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 29




OCT 27-OCT 31 2021



OCT 27-OCT 31



TOWN SQUARE ABC WORLDWIDE CHARTERS PARK & RIDE: Rides will be provided to festival from Clayton High School parking lot located on S. Robertson Street on Sat. 10:00am-5:00pm






Saturday, October 30 Horne Square

10:00am-11:00pm / Midway Rides & Games ($)

Squealin‘ on the Square at United Community Bank Parking Lot

Wednesday, October 27 Horne Square

5:00pm / Festival Ribbon Cutting Ceremony 5:00pm-10:00pm / Midway Rides & Games ($)

Thursday, October 28 Horne Square

5:00pm-10:00pm / Midway Rides & Games ($)

Family Night at Town Square

5:00pm-6:30pm / Kid’s Trunk-or-Treat 5:00pm-8:00pm / Food Trucks, Zaxby’s, and Craft Beer from Deep River Brewing Company 6:30pm / Movie Night Featuring Monsters Inc.

Friday, October 29 Horne Square

5:00pm-11:00pm / Midway Rides & Games ($)

($) = fee required

9:00am / BBQ Contest NC Pork Council Judging 11:00am / People’s Choice BBQ Contest Voting 11:00am-3:00pm / BBQ Plates on Sale 12:00pm / Pig Calling Contest 1:00pm / BBQ Awards Presentation 1:30pm / Hot Dog Eating Contest

Harvest Festival Along Main Street

10:00am-5:00pm / Clayton’s Largest Vendor Fair 10:00am-3:00pm / Clayton Harvest Festival Car Show 10:00am-5:00pm / International Harvesters Tractor Show 10:00am-5:00pm / Backwoods Stables Pony Rides ($) 10:00am-5:00pm / Front Line Lineup, Military Flyover & National Anthem by Karla Bishop

Hometown Talent Showcase in Town Square

10:00am-10:30am / Music and Movement with Childcare Network 10:30am-11:00am / Lipscomb’s Learning Center 11:00am-11:30am / Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of Clayton 11:30am-12:00pm / Disney Classics Performed by the Disney Princesses of Daydream Events 12:00pm-1:00pm / Probable Kauze - Kyle Mulling 1:00pm-2:00pm / Wade Hill 2:00pm-3:00pm / KTZ Band 3:00pm-5:00pm / William Ashley Band




Midway Rides & Games







Pony RIdes


Kid’s Village at N. Lombard Street

10:00am-5:00pm / Mother’s Care Area (diaper changing and nursing area) 10:00am-5:00pm / Sidewalk Chalk Fun Area 10:00am-5:00pm / Stilt Walker & Balloon Artist 10:00am-5:00pm / Face Painting 10:00am-5:00pm / Family Experience by Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library: kids crafts inspired by the NEA Big Read: The House on Mango Street



Sunday, October 31

Latin American Festival at Town Square

Vendors, Food, Entertainment, and Music Celebrating Latin American Culture 12:00pm-5:00pm / Latin American Festival Vendor Fair 12:00pm-5:00pm / Food Trucks & Entertainment

Horne Square

12:00pm-6:00pm / Midway Rides & Games ($)

This schedule is subject to change. Please check claytonharvestfestival.com or download The Clayton Connection App for an updated schedule.

Clayton Harvest Festival Title Sponsor Food Lion

Midway Sponsor ElectriCities of NC Gold Sponsor Horizon Family Medicine Front Line Lineup Sponsor Yellow House, The Community Place Vendor Fair Sponsor Caterpillar Silver Sponsors APR Restoration & Commercial Building Cardinal Points Imaging of the Carolinas Guy C Lee Building Materials WakeMed Health & Hospitals

Family Night Presenting Sponsor Leak Locators Kids Village Presenting Sponsor Childcare Network Family Experience Sponsor WakeMed Health & Hospitals Volunteer Beverage Sponsor Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

Squealin' on the Square

Presenting Sponsor Carolina Packers, Home of the Bright Leaf Hot Dog People’s Choice Sponsor iHeartMedia Beverage Sponsor Pepsi Bottling Ventures

Latin American Festival

Hometown Talent Stage Sponsor Clayton Flooring Center

Presenting Sponsors Compare Foods of Clayton

Car Show Presenting Sponsor Matthews Motors

Advertising Sponsors La Grande 1000 AM La Ley 101.1 FM








Family Night


SPONSORED BY LEAK LOCATORS Movie provided by Zaxby’s & Clayton Downtown Development Assoc. FEATURING MONSTERS INC.








NC Pork Council BBQ contest, plate sales, a hot dog eating contest, a pig calling contest and a people’s choice competition























Performances & concerts at the Showcase Stage


[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 35

Nonprofit of the Year

CommWell Health Stay in the loop on United news, videos, tips and more. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Visit ucbi.com/social today.

Member FDIC. © 2021 United Community Bank


Nonprofit of the Year meets people where they are in health care By RANDY CAPPS

The story of CommWell Health dates back to the late 1970s and a little country store in rural Sampson County. But one of the basic principles that drives CommWell today, meeting patients where they are, is just the modern application of a much older idea in practicing medicine — the house call. It’s that commitment to treating underserved patients in Johnston County and the region that has earned CommWell Health the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Nonprofit of the Year Award. And despite the fact that it offers top-notch medical, dental and behavioral healthcare from here to the coast, it is in fact a nonprofit organization. “CommWell Health is a 501c3 nonprofit,” CommWell Health CEO Pam Tripp said. “The reason is because our Board of Governors comes from the different territories or communities that we serve. So, we are what they call a Federally Qualified Community Health Center, and what that means is we do get some subsides from the government to help support our operations. It doesn’t, by far, meet our budget needs, but it does support it. ... Those monies are given to us so we can help people who are uninsured or under-insured. “We do serve everyone,

regardless of their ability to pay. If we didn’t have (the subsidy), there would be no way we could take care of those patients.” The idea that there were coverage gaps among the population of rural areas is how CommWell, formerly TriCounty Community Health Center, got its start in 1976. “It’s a beautiful story,” Tripp said. “There was a little country store at a crossroads in Sampson County. I always think about the good people of Johnston County, Harnett County and Sampson County. They came together and said, ‘We need a doctor. We need someone to come out here and help us.’ That was the first few years of the concept or the model of the Community Health Center. So, they were able to convert that small country store into a doctor’s office. The doctor was not there every day, but he was there two or three days a week. And people could actually have access to see a doctor. “They saw that model of meeting people where they were as being really successful, and they kept building upon it.” Of course, farm workers are a big part of the local economy — and a larger part of that number of underserved people that sparked the creation of CommWell Health and other organizations like it. “We go out and help our

farm workers,” Tripp said. “Those workers who are such an important part of North Carolina, we’ve literally been right to the fields, giving vaccinations at the end of the rows. ... We’re not restricted to a building. We can go out and do outreach into homes, communities or marginalized communities. With hospitals, you’re restricted. But we’re able to go out and meet those needs.” In 2017, CommWell Health introduced its dental mobile unit, designed to serve school children in Johnston, Sampson and Harnett counties. “We have actually had students that have come into our dental clinics that were labeled as a behavioral health issue when really and truly what was going on was the fact that they had cavities that were turning into abscesses,” she told Johnston Now in 2017. “They were in so much pain they couldn’t hold their heads up in class. “A lot of working parents find it challenging to get their children to the dentist. It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just what the priorities are. The access is there. Taking care of those oral needs before they turn into something that can be extremely threatening to their health. … This could not be more important. You can not learn until you are healthy.” It worked so well, Tripp

wanted to expand it. “We liked the dental bus, but we do behavioral health and we do medical, too,” she said. “So, we decided we needed an integrated mobile unit. We needed something that was flexible and could do all of it.” The newest unit was unveiled earlier this year, and it is just one of the tools CommWell Health has used during the pandemic. “One day, things were pretty normal,” Tripp said. “The next, the world kind of stopped. During that time, I never heard anybody — and we were pulling from everywhere. Administration, front desk people, dental assistants, anybody and everybody we could pull, we were pulling to do the testing. Never did I hear anybody say, ‘This isn’t my job.’ It was like, ‘What can I do?’ “CommWell Health has some of the most amazing people that work there. We are so fortunate to have just highly engaged, missionminded individuals working at CommWell Health and they do deserve a lot of kudos and credit. But they don’t do it for that. ... We have this thing called Eagle Excellence. They have this saying that our excellence tomorrow is greater than our excellence today. And that’s in everything. We are always looking for ways to improve. We’re never going to settle.” [ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 37

Rising Star Sponsored by Johnston Community College Foundation

Donovan Spellman


Rising Star honoree taking his talents to Appalachian State By RANDY CAPPS

College football coaches spend thousands of hours each fall looking for recruits. They pour over game footage, browse scouting reports and tour high school campuses all over the country. Naturally, someone like Clayton’s Donovan Spellman catches the eye. After all, he’s a 6’3”, 210-pound defensive end that’s athletic enough to rack up 75 tackles and 12.5 sacks en route to the Greater Neuse 3A Defensive Player of the Year Award as a junior this spring. Appalachian State was sufficiently smitten with him to offer him a scholarship, and in July, Spellman verbally committed to play football in Boone. For that success on the football field, Spellman is the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Rising Star Award winner. He’s in the midst of his senior season for Clayton, and he chose the Mountaineers over Boston College and a handful of other schools. “We really didn’t get (a normal) recruiting process,” he said. “Because we had to wait until June to get everything in. When I went to Boston, that’s when I knew it was crunch time. I was really interested in Boston College, and at the time, App wasn’t really in my mind. It was Boston College, Coastal or UNC. But, after I came back, I started looking at App, and players that went to the NFL — because that’s my dream. And that’s when I started connecting with the

coaches way more. They were already hitting me up.” His mother, Sandra, favored Coastal. So, as happens often in the recruiting process, it became a family affair. “App got on the phone with her,” he said. “They had to recruit her.” “He’s determined to do what’s necessary,” she added. “As a mom, I’m always going to think it’s too far because that’s my baby. I have to make sure (the coaches) are responsible for him when’s he’s away.” The relationship with his future position coach, Robert Nunn, was actually a big part of Spellman’s thought process. “I’m thinking about going there early (in the spring of 2022), but my mom doesn’t want me to,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot to think about. ... When I get there, it’s going to be all open game. And I’m willing to compete.” He’s planning on studying animal science at Appalachian State, but his dream is to play in the NFL. He watches Chase Young and Von Miller and tries to pick up things to add to his own game. “Sometimes, throughout the week, I’ll look at some of Chase Young’s violent plays,” he said. “His hand movements, and I’ll try to use those in my play style.” Spellman began his high school career in Knightdale, and moved to Clayton with his mother and sister, Miyah, after his sophomore season. “Transfering from Knightdale was a big move for me, my mom and my family,”

he said. “I’m loving it. The community, the town, they know who you are. The vibe is mad different. It’s quiet out here. There’s fields you can work out in, the gym is always open. I love it out here.” Though he can’t sign a National Letter of Intent with Appalachian State until February, he’s largely put the recruiting process behind him. But he does offer some advice for the players in the next round of recruiting. “It’s an honor (to be recruited),” he said. “I wish that other players could get that spotlight that I’m experiencing. It’s an honor to have players who are getting looked at by

the NFL telling you if you (go there), they’re going to take care of you. But it’s always up to you to make the right decision.” “Don’t just go for the photos and the action, you’ve got to really be dialed into it. You never know what’s about to happen. COVID came out of nowhere, and I was lucky to get my (recruiting) process in. You’ve got to look into the schools after you come from there. They’re only going to tell you what you want to hear. So, you’ve got to look into it. “And, if you don’t do school, it’s not going to happen.” That’s the sort of wisdom that doesn’t show up on an ordinary scouting report.

[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 39

Veteran Service Award

Rudy Baker Veteran Service Award winner takes long road from tobacco farm to distinguished military career By RANDY CAPPS

It was a steamy July afternoon in 1954 when Rudy Baker reached a decision that would change not only his life, but the lives of countless others. “I was looking for anything except a tobacco patch,” he said, of that fateful summer day. “I had been cropping lugs all week on Devil’s Racetrack, some farm down there. About three o’clock, I said, ‘There’s got to be a better way to make a living.’ So I threw my hat on the ground, put my foot in it and said, ‘I quit.’ (My dad) said, ‘You can’t quit. You own 3 acres of this.’ I said, ‘You can have the three acres and whatever it gets.’” He had just graduated from Selma High School, and went to High Point to work with a cousin in a furniture factory. “On Friday afternoon, I came out of 40 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]

there with sawdust in my nose, eyes and hair and said, ‘This isn’t any better than the tobacco patch,’” he said. “I went down to the post office and saw a Navy recruiter with a sign up that said, ‘Be back in an hour.’ So, I sat down and waited. When one hour went by and he wasn’t back, I went across the hall and joined the Army.” He retired as a colonel 38 years later and, after 18 more years working for First Citizens Bank, has worked tirelessly to help his fellow veterans. That’s why he’s the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Veterans Service Award winner. “Whatever I can do,” he said. “The country’s been good to me. From a sharecropper’s son to an Army colonel to a senior vice president with First Citizens, I owe something back.” For Baker, joining the Army took a little serendipity. Staying in it after his

first enlistment, most of which was spent in Germany, was more of a practical decision. “I served in the Army for three years, and when I got out, I had the option of driving a dump truck or going back in the tobacco patch,” he said. “Seventy-six days later, I rejoined the Army.” In September 1961, thanks to the “blood stripe” policy, he got into Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia. He was one of 238 non-commissioned officers to enter, and he was among the 50% who graduated. Members of that class wrote a book, “The Boys of Benning,” and Baker’s story is chapter one. Baker’s first tour in Vietnam featured a wide variety of experiences. On the upside, he got his captain’s bars on the ground after a “fun jump” from a helicopter, with

his parachute flapping in the breeze behind him. The downside was far, far worse. “It was 18 September, 1965,” he said. “I’ll never forget that day.” A helicopter assault was ordered near the village of Ah Nihn, but not much trouble was expected. It didn’t turn out that way. “When the helicopters got out, they were so full of holes they couldn’t fly another lift in,” he said. “Half the battalion was in there. The other half was wanting to get in. When we got in there to get everybody out, we had 13 dead, and I don’t remember how many wounded. I can go to Washington, D.C., and the monument there. ... Go to Panel 2E, come down to line 86 and there’s 13 names in a row. And I knew every one of them. I just thank God I’m not up there.” He went on to serve another tour in Vietnam and one in Iran, in addition to a host of stateside duty posts. He spent a large portion of his career at Fort Bragg, and when he left the Army for good, he was the comptroller for the XVIII Airborne Corps stationed there. “I’d have stayed on if they had let me command a brigade, but the only thing they wanted to give me was a

job in Washington, D.C., in the Comptroller of the Army’s office,” he said. So, after making sure he had a job with First Citizens Bank lined up, he left the Army in May 1987. After some training, he wound up in charge of the bank branches on post at Fort Bragg. “(My wife) called down one day to get me for something,” he said. “And I didn’t stay in that office. She said, ‘I can never find you in that office.’ And I said, ‘If I’m in that office, I’m not doing my job. I’ve got people that can run those branches. I need to be out seeing commanders and soldiers to find out what they need.’ It was a good job, and the MBA from Syracuse allowed me to get it. Of course, I’d been the comptroller at Fort Bragg for more than two years.” He retired (again) after 18 years with First Citizens, went on to work as a team leader for the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York, and worked with the U.S. Census Bureau here in Johnston County. Baker and his wife, Pat, live in Clayton. They are both on their second marriages and have seven children, 15 grandchildren and seven greatgrandchildren. These days, working with

“Johnston County needs a veterans center. Where a veterans service officer can work out of and a space to hold veterans meetings. You go over to Harnett County, and they’ve got two big buildings. We need some place here.” RUDY BAKER, Veteran Service Award winner

veterans is his passion. He’s been on the board of the Airborne Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville since its inception, belongs to four local service organizations and is the chair for the Johnston County Veterans Service Advisory Board. “They need to (get involved),” he said of his fellow veterans. “We’ve got more than 14,000 veterans in Johnston County and we’ve got 16 veterans service organizations. So, a guy ought to belong to at least one of them and get involved so he can help other veterans. That’s

what it’s all about.” He’d like to see a place locally where that might happen a bit more easily. “Johnston County needs a veterans center,” he said. “Where a veterans service officer can work out of and a space to hold veterans meetings. You go over to Harnett County, and they’ve got two big buildings. We need some place here.” Considering the path he’s traveled from that tobacco farm in the southern part of the county, betting against him getting it done might be unwise.

[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 41

Exemplary Volunteer Sponsored by Lane & Associates Family Dentistry

Tiffany Whichard


Exemplary Volunteer Award winner does her part to fight hunger By RANDY CAPPS

If you’ve ever worked through lunch and felt your stomach rumbling at three o’clock, you have an inkling of what hunger feels like. Now imagine that feeling for hours on end, day and night. Imagine it while sitting in a math class or trying to hold down a job. “Pre-COVID, 12.1% of Johnston County residents lived at or below the poverty line,” Tiffany Whichard said, executive director for Harvesting Hope North Carolina and Program Administrator for Plant a Row For the Hungry Johnston County. “On average, one in six people in Johnston County are what we call food insecure, which means that they don’t necessarily know where their next meal is coming from. So, our whole objective is that we donate 100% of our organically grown produce and then we donate produce that we glean from commercial farmers to the soup kitchens, food pantries and community outreaches here locally. We service seven of those currently, and last year, we were able to contribute 6,100 pounds (of food).” It’s that work tackling hunger and food insecurity in Johnston County that has earned Whichard the 2021 Johnston Now Honors Exemplary Volunteer Award. Whichard and her group of 31 volunteers, ranging in age

from 15 to 81, grow food on the Johnston Community College Arboretum property, and while their output has tripled in the past five years, Whichard still wants to do more. “Our intention is to duplicate our template to other parts of the county so we can make a bigger impact on hunger,” she said. “We’re scouting for another property to have a second garden.” She’s quick to point out that the volunteers are what makes all of Harvesting Hope North Carolina and Plant a Row For the Hungry Johnston County’s work possible. “We’re really more like a family,” she said. “I have volunteers that have been on property for 12 years or more. We have volunteers that have never planted a seed in their entire lives. We welcome individuals, folks from offices — we have offices that pledge a day of service. Certainly churches are welcome to come. We do not require any prior experience. We’ll train them.” Whichard’s motivation for volunteerism comes from not only a desire to fight food insecurity, but from a deeper, personal place. “I think that everyone has had a point in their life where they have had difficulties,” she said. “I was fortunate to have friends and family step in when I did. I knew that I always wanted to give back, and my grandmother passed away at the age of 55 from a relatively rare disease. And I wanted to

“Our intention is to duplicate our template to other parts of the county so we can make a bigger impact on hunger.” TIFFANY WHICHARD, executive director for Harvesting Hope North Carolina and Program Administrator for Plant a Row For the Hungry Johnston County

continue her legacy as a master gardener. So, those things just kind of came together.” Whichard and her volunteers are finding other ways to help, too. They worked with the local chapter of Partnership for Children to identify low-income families at risk for hunger. “We supplied them with $45 gift certificates to

Lowe’s for each family,” she said. “So that they could purchase soil, pots, seeds, plants. (We) did a six-week, comprehensive program so they could learn to grow at home, no matter what their circumstances are.” To volunteer, donate or to receive more information, visit www.harvestinghopenc.org or email plantarow@yahoo.com.

[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 43

Clayton native serves aboard a Navy warship in Mayport, Florida By LT. JILL BROWN, NAVY OFFICE OF COMMUNITY OUTREACH

MAYPORT, Fla. — A Clayton native serves in the U.S. Navy aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook. Petty Officer 2nd Class Fontazia Brockington joined the Navy two years ago. Today, Brockington serves as a culinary specialist. “My cousin, Jamil Stancil, is currently serving in the Marine Corps,” said Brockington. “I looked up to him as a role model and said if he can do it, I can do it.” Growing up in Clayton, Brockington attended Clayton High School and graduated in 2018. Today, Brockington finds the values in Clayton similar to those needed to succeed in the military. “Multi-tasking and a strong determination are needed for the military,” said Brockington. “If I put my mind to something, I don’t give up until I get it.”


These lessons have helped Brockington while serving aboard USS Donald Cook. Serving in the Navy means Brockington is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy. “The Navy is really big on national security,” said Brockington. “They protect us, our shipmates, and our country, so we can be alert and still go home to our families.” With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95% of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of

the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy. There are many accomplishments that come with military service, and Brockington is most proud of advancing to petty officer second class and earning the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification. “I made it out of 1,600 sailors,” said Brockington. “I was prepared for the test and felt confident that I did better. My experience helped me do better on the test.” As Brockington and other sailors continue to train, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy. “It’s a great honor to serve my country,” added Brockington. “It’s made a great impact on my life and opened paths to my career in the future.”

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AdVenture Development breaks ground on business park in Selma



SELMA — Until late last month, Eastfield was a plan on paper — a 3 million-square-foot development with a business park, retail shops, medical offices, a hotel, senior living, singlefamily homes and apartments. Recently, town and county leaders joined the developer in breaking ground on a spec building in the business park, the first step in a project delayed first by the 2008 recession and later by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I know this has been a long time coming,” said Chris Johnson, Johnston County’s director of economic development. “AdVenture Development and their team have been working on this since, goodness gracious, 2006 or 2007.” Mayor Cheryl Oliver said the

groundbreaking was cause for celebration.“The sun is shining, the temperature is rising, and the town of Selma is hot, hot, hot,” she said. Eastfield’s impact will be farreaching, Oliver said. “We know that it’s a project that benefits not just the town of Selma, but Johnston County, North Carolina, and indeed, it will become a destination along the East Coast of the United States,” she said. Matt Hohorst is vice president of ARCO Design/Build, the company working with AdVenture on Eastfield. He said he looked forward to working on a project that promised to reshape the community. “The projects that really resonate to me are the ones that have purpose, passion and vision, because I have a personal connection to that,” Hohorst said. People who live near the

development welcome what it will bring to Selma, Hohorst said. “My team tells me people stop and they slow down here on the road. They roll down their windows and they say, ‘What’s going on here?’” he said. “The feedback from them is they’ve never seen this type of activity here in town, and they’re so excited to see that people are investing money in the town of Selma.” AdVenture’s president, Kevin Dougherty, said Eastfield and its promise of more than 3,500 jobs could be a blueprint for others to follow. “It’s an exciting opportunity, and we’re just very thankful,” he said. “This (groundbreaking) is the first of many that will give birth to a great project that will have an economic impact and could be a model for other communities.” AdVenture expects to complete the spec building next March.

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South Johnston Farm Business Management Team takes top honors Submitted by SOUTH JOHNSTON HIGH SCHOOL

The South Johnston Farm Business Management Team competed in the National FFA Convention Virtual Contest. This team had to compete against students from all over the nation, and they placed 1st place in the N.C. FFA contest. The team members are: Emily Eldridge, 2021 graduate; Adam Miller, senior; Hannah Freeman, senior; Jackson Durham, junior; Lanie Durham, junior and Emily Pope, sophomore. Cindy Adams is the advisor. In addition, the South Johnston and Cleveland High School FFA chapters qualified to compete at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. The South Johnston FFA Food Science


and Technology Team earned 1st place in the North Carolina FFA Food Science & Technology State contest. They also qualified for the in-person events in Indianapolis after making it in the top 17 in the nation. South Johnston High School is closer to getting top 10 in the

nation or possibly winning a national championship. The team members are Joshua Williams, 2021 graduate; Adam Miller, senior; Morgan Simpson, junior and Kara Allen, junior. The Agriculture Teacher & FFA advisor is John Ross Robertson.



opens on Labor Day


SMITHFIELD — AdVenture Development LLC, is pleased to announce that Scooter’s Coffee is now open in Pine Needle Square on Brightleaf Boulevard in Smithfield. Scooter’s is owned by Shawn and Jennifer Pearce and Rob and Jocelyn Southerland. The drive-thru location offers coffee, smoothies, baked goods, breakfast items and specialty drinks with speedy and friendly customer service. “We know that any organization’s success

depends on the importance it places on people. From our customers, to our employees and to our community partners, people are our passion! We look forward to serving the community and earning their business,” said Rob Southerland. “We are delighted to welcome Scooter’s to Pine Needle Square,” AdVenture Development President Kevin Dougherty said. “Like us, they want to build strong relationships within the community. We wish them much success.” For more information about Scooter’s, visit www.scooterscoffee.com.

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[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 55

Johnston Health puts new mob action in partnership with Be

Johnston Health is partnering with Benson Health to operate a clinic for administering monoclonal antibodies. From left are: Michelle Bradley, RN, chest pain coordinator; Ashley Luckett, RN, clinical supervisor at Benson Health; Lindsey Tart, RN, stroke accreditation specialist; Mitch King, paramedic, cancer accreditation specialist; Tom Williams, CEO and president of Johnston Health; William W. Massengill Jr., CEO of Benson Health; and Lori Martin, director of education for Johnston Health.


mobile unit into Benson Health Submitted BY JOHNSTON HEALTH

SMITHFIELD — Within hours of being delivered last month, Johnston Health’s brand new mobile outreach unit was called to action. It will be part of the hospital’s stand-up clinic at Benson Health to treat patients with COVID-19. The mobile unit will help administer Regeneron’s monoclonal antibodies, which can lessen the severity of COVID symptoms and thus reduce the risk of hospitalization. Ruth Marler, chief nursing officer/chief operating officer for Johnston Health, led the effort to get the clinic up and running, and two nurses and a paramedic from Johnston Health are administering the injections. “Benson Health is very much a community-based practice, and its CEO William Massengill and clinical supervisor Ashley Luckett, RN, really wanted to do this for their patients,” Marler said. “We’re thrilled and humbled to be able to partner with them to provide this valuable treatment to save lives.” While the vaccine is certainly the best way to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19, the best treatment for patients stricken with the disease are monoclonal antibodies. “We want to do all that we can to prevent hospitalizations from this terrible disease, which can have devastating, long-terms effects on patients and their families,” Marler said. Leah Johnson, community outreach coordinator for Johnston Health, will oversee and coordinate activities for the mobile unit. “It’s so exciting to see the possibilities,” she said. “We started our outreach program four years ago with glucose screenings, and it’s evolved into this amazing opportunity to offer more impactful programs. We’re grateful for the community’s support and the hard work of the foundation to bring this project to fruition.” Initial support for the unit came from lead donors such as First Citizens Bank and David Janis and the Janis Family Fund. And once word got out about the initiative, public support grew through online donations, fundraisers and more. Altogether, the Johnston Health Foundation exceeded its initial funding goal of $450,000, raising a total of $526,000 by January 2021. A community outreach fund will help sustain and grow the program.

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Clayton ICU nurse named

Ambassador of the Month Submitted by JOHNSTON HEALTH

SMITHFIELD – Johnston Health has recognized Lisa Cecchini, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at Clayton, as ambassador of month. During a recent presentation, CEO Tom Williams said Cecchini is a team player who works hard to ensure that every patient has the best and highest quality of care. “She’s always willing to help with an admission, to assist a fellow nurse with an IV or to stop in a patient’s room to answer a question or to provide

comfort,” he said. “She is always there to lend a hand.” Prior to joining Johnston Health six years ago, Cecchini was a nurse at Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg, South Carolina for 35 years. She worked in a variety of settings from chemotherapy to hospice, but the ICU was always her favorite. “I like seeing patients get better,” she says. “And if they’re at the end of their lives, then I like to help them find peace and closure.” Cecchini says nursing fits her personality. As a child, she gave shots

to her baby dolls. And even though she could now retire, she still enjoys working as a nurse. She and her husband, Rosario, live in the McGee’s Crossroads area. They have two grown children and two grandchildren. Through the ambassador program, Johnston Health recognizes employees who go above and beyond the call of duty. They deliver quality care, foster teamwork and offer excellent service. In addition to a designated month-long parking space, Cecchini will receive eight hours of paid time off.

[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 59

Clayton business wins Alignable's Main Street Mentor Award Submitted BY ALIGNABLE

The largest online referral network for small businesses, Alignable.com announced the results of its North American search for business leaders who’ve gone above and beyond guiding peers, Main Street economies and entire communities toward recovery recently, and Gabriella Terry of Chefella’s, LLC, was named as Clayton’s 2021 Main Street Mentor Of The Year. Alignable’s National Main Street Mentors Search ran from June 28 to Aug. 24. In all, nearly 2,000 local business people emerged victorious across North America. “No matter what happens in Clayton’s business community, many of us look


out for each other and offer advice or a helping hand,” said Terry. “So it’s really more appropriate to accept this award on behalf of Clayton’s business community, as all of us play a role in keeping our local economy going. That said, I’m very grateful for my peers’ support and send it right back to all of them, too. We’re #onemainstreet, and we stand strong together.” Terry and other 2021 Local Main Street Mentors in communities across the U.S. and Canada have received badges on their Alignable profiles, recognizing their contributions. In past years, the awareness generated through similar contests has helped drive additional connections, prospects and new business for many winners.

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 Tuesdays, 6 p.m.

Smithfield Lions Club Mayflower Restaurant This group gathers for fellowship and business. The dinner is self-pay. The meeting and meal begins at 6 p.m. Come learn about the club and how they help with local community service projects. For more information, contact Karen Brown at 919-934-2555.

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.

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.

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, 11:30 a.m.

Johnston County Chapter of National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees meeting Golden Corral, Smithfield Join the Johnston County Chapter of National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees for their monthly meeting on the second Wednesday of each month at Golden Corral. Stay up to date on the latest educational programs and federal and state legislation affecting current federal employees and retirees. To learn more, email jimnow42@gmail.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 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 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.

[ OCTOBER 2021 ] | 61

Third Monday, 7 p.m.

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

Third Monday, 6:30 p.m.

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

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, 6:15 p.m.

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

Oct. 1-2

Selma Railroad Days The festival chugs into its 45th year in 2021. The 2021 Railroad Days Festival kicks off Friday with the Chew Chew Food Truck Rodeo from 5-9 p.m. on Webb Street, featuring The Premium Sound Band on stage and five food trucks. Selma FD will be hosting the BBQ cookoff as well. Saturday’s activities begin with the My Kids Club 5K Run/Walk at 8:30. The ever-popular Mascot Race will begin at 10 a.m. in front of Town Hall where area business and school mascots compete in a 100-yard dash. The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Selma Elementary School. The procession will travel across U.S. 301 on Richardson Street and then will turn south onto Raiford Street and will travel all the way down to Railroad Street. Please note that this is a new route from past years. The festival will continue with the Main Stage entertainment on Webb Street with Rivermist at noon and StingRayz Band at 3. The Kids Zone will be open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. with $5 unlimited bounce pass. Cash only will be accepted for wristbands and souvenirs. For more information on the festival, contact Selma Parks and Recreation at 919-975-1411.

Friday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m.

Sideline Bluegrass Band Rudy Theatre, Selma Sideline is a pedigreed six-piece powerhouse whose style has set the pace in Bluegrass for over two decades. Learn more at www.rudytheatre.com.

Saturday, Oct. 9, 8 a.m.

Four Oaks Car, Truck, Motorcycle Show & Swap Meet Vehicle Registration begins at 8 a.m. on Main Street in Four Oaks. The cost is $25 per entry, and awards and prizes will be given away. There will also be live entertainment by Eric Strickland. For more information, contact Joan Pritchett at 919963-4004 or info@fouroakschamber.com.

Saturday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m.

Stepping Into the Past Tobacco Farm Life Museum, Kenly The Tobacco Farm Life Museum presents its 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 event is Fabric Arts Class: Quilting. Note that advanced registration and a small fee are required. Call 919-284-3431 for further details.

Saturday, Oct. 16, 8 p.m.

The Black Market Trust The Clayton Center The Black Market Trust is a traditional pop/vocal jazz group from Los Angeles who combine the sounds of the legendary American crooners with the fire and energy of Gypsy Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. Learn more at www.theclaytoncenter.com.


Monday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m.

Howell Woods 2021 Fall Day Camp Howell Woods, Four Oaks Check out an outdoor day camp full of fun and adventure! This one-day camp will include games, activities and more based on local wildlife and having fun outside. This camp is for ages 8-12 years old and will be based on the JCPS 2021-2022 school calendar. Please visit our www.johnstoncc. edu/howellwoods for more information or to register.

Saturday, Oct. 23, 1 p.m

Fall Leaves Howell Woods, Four Oaks Celebrate the fall season! They will discuss why leaves change color, some common species and then go on a leaf hunt for leaves to make leaf sculptures and art. 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. Please visit www.johnstoncc. edu/howellwoods for more details.

Tuesday, Oct. 26, 6:30 p.m.

Owl Safari - Fall 2021 Howell Woods, Four Oaks Join a search for the elusive Barred Owl. They will introduce raptors, visit our Birds of Prey exhibit and then take a truck ride to search for these nocturnal creatures. 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. Please visit www.johnstoncc. edu/howellwoods for more details.

Oct. 27-31

Clayton Harvest Festival The festival dates back to the 1950s and is one of the largest festivals in the county. It includes a midway with fair rides, games and food, Clayton Idol singing competition, Clayton’s largest vendor fair, classic car show, tractor show and bike show, as well as local performances and a Latin American Festival celebration. Visit www. claytonharvestfestival.com to learn more.

Saturday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m.

Neil Diamond Tribute by Steve Kelly Rudy Theatre, Selma Don’t miss a night of Neil Diamond’s greatest hits. Learn more at www.rudytheatre.com.

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