January 2017

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JANUARY 2017 | Your Community. Your Neighbors. Your Story.




Johnston County The historic and generous home of expert and empathetic care.

People who live here know that Johnston County is a blend of great qualities. The care we’re delivering at UNC Health Care is both highly advanced and individually attentive. At Johnston Health, we’re part of a statewide system enabling that kind of complete care all over North Carolina…and right here around Johnston County.

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Dana Soriano Cell: 919-634-5966 | rest2616@goldencorral.net

16 Photos from the Four Oaks, Benson, Selma, Smithfield and Clayton Christmas parades.


CARD ANGELS Spreading love and cheer in an old-fashioned way.



TEAM Volume 1, Number 2

A Shandy Communications, LLC publication

Publisher Randy Capps


General Manager Shanna Capps


The year-long celebration for 2017 has been planned and scheduled.


In our December teacher story, we made a couple of errors. First, Charley is named for her father and grandfather, but both of them spell Charlie the traditional way. And April has been teaching for 15 years, but not all of those have been in first grade. We regret the errors. — Randy Capps







Creative Consultant Ethan Capps

Creative Director Frank Spurlock







Editorial Consultant Mike Bollinger Interested in advertising? Send an email to shanna@johnstonnow.com or call 919-618-4405 Story idea or a photo to share? Send an email to hello@johnstonnow.com or mail it to P.O. Box 58, Four Oaks, N.C., 27524

919-980-5522 www.johnstonnow.com Facebook.com/JohnstonNow Johnson 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. ©2016 Johnston Now. All rights reserved.

JANUARY 2017 | 5


A new year’s resolution to look on the bright side It’s 2017, and as the calendar flips again, I’m left in a familiar position — making another New Year’s resolution.

Now, as a journalist, I’m contractually obligated to be cynical.

I usually make the same one every year, and it’s not even particularly imaginative.

The first thing I learned at Gardner-Webb about journalism was, “if your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

After my New Year’s Day tradition of binge watching soccer, then football for the better part of 16 hours, I resolve to eat better and exercise more in the year ahead. January and February are usually pretty good months, but inevitably, I go back to eating things that are bad for me while sitting relatively still for the good portion of the day. It’s a vicious cycle, and one I’ll foolishly be resuming this year. But, just for fun, I’m making an extra resolution this time around. I’m going to try to be more positive.

Randy Capps


But, while I’ll have to retain a cynical eye in some things, in others, I’m going to try to look on the bright side. Marcus Aurelius said, “dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” Put more simply, I’m going to count my blessings, rather than worry about my curses, both real and imagined. Perhaps, with a positive attitude, I can make the other resolution to lose weight work, too. Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?


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Photo submitted by Cindy Edwards

By Randy Capps FOUR OAKS — It’s a chilly Friday night, and a room full of young girls are crowded around a couple of tables in the fellowship hall at First Baptist Four Oaks. Normally this many kids, ages ranging from 10 to 12, left to their own devices would be texting, tweeting, snapping and whatever the verb is for using Instagram. On this night, the scene is much different. This group calls themselves the Card Angels, and as the name implies, they send cards to people who can use them — either around the corner or on the other side of the world. It was an idea born out of a typical childhood issue, boredom, but inspired by a Bible study about using your gifts and talents to serve God by helping others. “I didn’t have anything to do at church and my brother did,” Lainey Edwards said. “Me and my friends that went here always ended up playing outside all night. We wanted to have a class, but we didn’t want to go with the younger kids. I was looking on Pinterest and I saw different ideas for cards. And I thought, ‘that’s what I want to do at church.’” “It started with Lainey and Addison’s (Canaday) age group not really having a class at church,” Lainey’s mom, Cindy, said. “The youth groups were kind of in a transition, and they were kind of in between ages. Lainey got the idea of getting her group of friends together and starting to do the cards for the sick list at the church.”

Cindy Edwards helps with the latest card design.

That was the fall of last year, and since then, the Card Angels’ mission has

Photo by Randy Capps

JANUARY 2017 | 7

Above, the Card Angels work together on a project. Below/Right, the tools of the trade. Photos by Randy Capps

expanded a bit. The group, which usually has around 12 girls for their monthly meeting, sends cards to soldiers who are deployed and to sick children at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Last year, Lainey was proud to get a response from one of the soldiers to whom she sent a card for the holidays. Cindy has a Facebook friend in Minnesota that tips her off when there’s a need for cards at the facility. “When she sends out that a sick child is in need of cards, or it’s their birthday, we will bombard them with birthday cards, or smile cards or get-well cards,” she said. “Stuff like that. Because they pretty much live at the hospital.” Addison was hard at work on a card, but took time to chat with a visitor. “I helped mama do stuff with scrapbooking, but I didn’t make cards before I came here.” Addison said. Her favorite involved hearts and paper mache. “We took a heart-shaped paper punch and we punched three hearts and then we glued them together to make a flower,” Cindy said. “Then we took a paper-mache flower and glued in the center a shiny jewel.” Not something one plucks from the mailbox every day. “One of the reason I do it is that the world needs a little bit more smiles and love,” Cindy said. “So, in the digital age of texting, sometimes it’s nice to get what we call snail mail. You can get something nice, get a smile and know that someone’s actually thinking about you.” Addison’s mother, Joy, chimes in from the next table.


“My mom does the card ministry at my church,” she said. “Mama’s always talking about how people come up to her and tell her how much they appreciate a card being sent. Just something as simple as taking the time to sign a card and send it to them.” Far more lasting and personal that a smiley face emoji.

Johnston County Walk to End Alzheimer’s raises $27,000 Submitted by Eastern N.C. Alzheimer’s Association

FOUR OAKS — More than 250 residents from Johnston County joined the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s and united in a movement to reclaim the future for millions at Barbour’s Grove Park on Saturday, Nov. 5. Participants raised more than $27,000 towards their $33,235 goal to fund Alzheimer’s care, support and research programs. Smithfield resident David Wilson spoke during the inspirational ceremony, sharing his wife’s diagnosis at 53 years old. “Please realize that you are not alone in this battle,” he said. “We are currently in the planning stage of organizing a support group in the county to share experiences, education, and resources. Together we can work to find answers and resources to help and support our loved ones who are struggling with this disease.” Funds raised through Walk to End Alzheimer’s initiatives directly impact local communities and allow the Eastern North Carolina chapter to continue their efforts implementing and facilitating support groups, education programs and care consultations. Alzheimer’s disease is a growing epidemic and the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. As baby boomers age, the number of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease will rapidly escalate, increasing well beyond today’s more than 5 million Americans to as many as 16 million by 2050. In North Carolina alone, there are over 160,000 people living with Alzheimer’s. For more information or to make a donation, please visit act.alz.org/johnstoncountywalk.



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across the hedge. down the street. around the block.

NEWS FROM YO Benson Elementary carnival raises $7,000 for hurricane victims Submitted by Johnston County Schools Benson Elementary held a Hurricane Matthew Helping Hands Carnival that raised more than $7,000. The community event helped to raise funds to support families in the area who were affected during Hurricane Matthew. Tracie Johnson, Benson Elementary Remediation Specialist, headed this event for the community. She worked with various local agencies to prepare for the carnival. Pictured here: Benson Elementary student Hailey Reed visits the American Legion Auxiliary Post 109 booth on Nov. 10 during the school’s Hurricane Matthew Helping Hands Carnival

Golden Circle of Excellence Elite Twenty award presented Submitted by Golden Corral of Smithfield

South Johnston FFA team wins state livestock competition Submitted by Johnston County Schools In late November, eight South Johnston High School FFA members traveled to the Hunt Horse Complex in Raleigh to participate in the annual N.C. FFA Livestock Competition. The team placed first out of 76 teams in North Carolina. During this competition the members were challenged to use skills obtained in their agriculture education classes and experience with the Johnston County Livestock Judging Team. They will advance to the National FFA Convention to compete in the National Livestock Judging Event later this fall. Pictured above: Left to right, Makayla Byrd, Brittany Beasley, Rachel Murphy, Travis Anderson and advisor Chelsea Sawkiw.


General manager Dana Soriano and Golden Corral franchisee Eric Brownlee pose with the certificate honoring the Smithfield location with the Golden Circle of Excellence Elite Twenty award. The distinction is for its “steadfast focus on operational excellence” for its buffet. “Without Dana’s tireless work and dedication, none of the success in Smithfield would be possible,” Brownlee said. “Dana and her husband, Jose, are part of our family and they treat my family the same.”

OUR NEIGHBORS Adult Spelling Bee raises $12K for classroom grants Submitted by Johnston County Schools

Blake Roberson, Caroline Daily from River Middle, and Doug Pawlak also from Riverwood Middle pose for a photo at the Johnston County Education Foundation Adult Spelling Bee.

Spelling bee champions (from left) are Selma Middle Principal Chris Kennedy, Gina Bedford, Gwen Sullivan, and Chrystal Trammell.

The Selma Middle Adult Spelling Bee team stands with their 2016 trophy. Team members (from left) are Principal Chris Kennedy, Gina Bedford, Gwen Sullivan, and Chrystal Trammell.

Johnston County Schools educators, businesses, and community members came together to raise more than $12,000 at the Johnston County Education Foundation (JCEF) 2016 Adult Spelling Bee.

money for teachers in the schools,” said Brandy Crocker, the Executive Director of the Johnston County Education Foundation.“The worse your spelling is, the more money we make. It’s a fun night for everybody.”

Once a team was eliminated, Roberson would pop the team’s balloon, indicating they were out of the competition.

The Adult Spelling Bee is one of the largest fundraisers JCEF puts on each year. Proceeds from the fundraiser go towards grants for teachers in Johnston County Schools.

Whenever a team misspelled a word they had the opportunity to donate money to stay in the game. If the team decided not to pay they were eliminated.

Schools from around the district, as well as local businesses, competed to raise money for the education foundation. “This is a fun event where we can raise

“It’s good to have a fun social event and raise money at the same time. The most important thing about this event is that we’re raising money,” said Blake Roberson, who dressed as the bee for the event.

Selma Middle defeated Smithfield-Selma High in the final round to win the 2016 Adult Spelling Bee. Adding to the evening’s fun, teams dressed in costumes consistent with the spelling bee’s Old Hollywood theme. West Clayton Elementary won the best costume award for their Casablanca themed attire, while Micro Elementary won the spirit award for their Jelly Belly Spellers costumes.

Smile for dental health Submitted by Christopher Vo, D.D.S. (doctor of dental smiles) • www.smileSObig.com As a smile practitioner, I’ve SMILE! No seriously, lick those • Boosts our mood learned that the reality, and the lips, stretch those cheeks, loosen • Can lower our levels of stress power, of the smile is directly up those face muscles and and anxiety related to your confidence in give the world an ENORMOUS • Can even strengthen our smile. You’ll feel better — that’s your smile. immune system. scientifically proven — and you’ll So now we’re talking teeth! If that’s not enough to convince brighten up the lives of those Yellow teeth, crooked teeth, you to flash your smile more around you while you’re at it. broken teeth, smelly teeth…no often, then you should also know teeth! Sounds like lyrics to a bad As a dentist, I focus on teeth and that people who smile are not country song. smiles all day long. While they’re only seen as more attractive and two very different things, they do They also sound like the reasons trustworthy, but they are even fall under the same category that I hear every day that are keeping perceived to be better leaders. we all prioritize so much — our people from unleashing their You might be saying, “OK, Dr. health. smiles and experiencing a Vo (call me Chris), I’m sold on So let’s talk about some of the happier, healthier life. smiles. Sign me up.” health benefits of smiling. Whatever your reason, whatever But you’ve got to understand First off, studies have shown that your concern, I assure you there something. smiling: are great solutions. You might

even be surprised at how easy and how — dare I say it — painless they are. Go ahead. Take action by giving your local dentist a call, and make 2017 the year of your smile.

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Carolina Mudcats Announce 2017 schedule By Greg Young, Carolina Mudcats ZEBULON — The Carolina Mudcats, first year affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, released their 2017 Carolina League season schedule recently. The season opener is on the road in Frederick against the Keys on Thursday, April 6, and the club’s home opener is set for Thursday, April 13 at Five County Stadium against the Keys. The season opener in Frederick on April 6 marks the start of Carolina’s 27th consecutive season of baseball and the club’s first as an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. Opening Night 2017 on April 13 in Zebulon marks the start of what will be a 70game home schedule (with an additional four home dates versus Buies Creek where Carolina will play as the away team) for the Mudcats at Five County Stadium. The Mudcats, for the sixth consecutive season, will once again host the ever popular “Mudcats For America” Independence Day post-game fireworks series beginning on Monday, July 3 and continuing on Tuesday, July 4. The “Mudcats For America” series will include consecutive nights of the finest post-game fireworks show in Eastern North Carolina. The new schedule is also highlighted by games on Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. In all, the Mudcats will play 140 total games in 2017, with the majority of which coming versus their Carolina League Southern division rivals; the WinstonSalem Dash, Myrtle Beach Pelicans and the newly added clubs in both Kinston (Down East Woods Ducks) and Buies Creek (Houston Astros affiliate). The Mudcats will see the Dash a total of 24 times in 2017 including 13 at home and 11 on the road in Winston-Salem. Carolina will also take on the new Buies Creek Astros team 23 times in 2017 with 16 of those scheduled on the road. However, four of the 16 road games versus Buies Creek will be played at Five County Stadium (April 20 - April 23) with the Astros acting as the home team and the Mudcats as the visiting club. The 2017 schedule also includes 21 meetings against the Pelicans (eight home, 13 away) and Wood Ducks, including 14 at Five County Stadium and seven in Kinston. The season opener on April 7 in Frederick will be the first of 18 games against the Keys, the most for the Mudcats against a non-divisional opponent during the 2017 season. The majority of those 18 games will be played over the first two months of the season with 11 meetings in April and three more in May. The remainder of the Mudcats schedule includes seven games against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (four home, three away), eight versus the Potomac Nationals (four home, four away), nine versus the Lynchburg Hillcats (six home with a doubleheader scheduled for April 18, three away) and nine versus former division rivals in the Salem Red Sox (three home, six away). A full calendar of in-season events, theme nights, promotions and giveaways will be announced at a later date.


Johnston County chambers tab new leaders By Randy Capps

Four area chambers of commerce are under new leadership, and another director position with the Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce should be filled by the end of January. The Clayton, Kenly, Four Oaks and the Greater Cleveland Area chambers all hired new directors in the fourth quarter, and all bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the table.

Dana Wooten

Gail Cuddington

Cindy Pursell

Clayton tabbed Wooten, a Smithfield-Selma High and University of North Carolina graduate, as its new executive director.

After several years without a director, Kenly has tabbed Gail Cuddington to fill that role.

A rainy Tuesday morning finds the Four Oaks Area Chamber of Commerce’s new executive director hard at work on a new and improved website.

She’s been executive director of the Johnston County Association of Realtors for the past 13 years and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill. “Dana brings extensive board and nonprofit management experience, far-reaching professional relationships, creativity, and local-market knowledge to the Clayton Chamber, as well as working grassroots initiatives and legislative advocacy expertise,” a statement from the chamber said. “I am excited about the upcoming year at the Clayton Chamber,” she said. “I am looking forward to getting to know the business owners in the Clayton area to assess what programs they would like to see the Chamber provide. “Clayton is a great place to live, work, and play and I am very fortunate to have been given this wonderful opportunity.”

She retired from Strickland Insurance Brokers in Goldsboro, where she served as a branch manager and assistant vice president. The North Johnston High School graduate was enjoying retirement, but couldn’t resist a call from an old friend about working at the chamber. “I was called by the mayor (David Grady),” she said. “He and I go way back. He asked if I’d be interested in working part-time for the chamber.” She took the job, not only for a friend, but for her grandchildren. “So far, I’m having a great time,” she said. “I like to stay busy, and this sort of fell in line with my experience. I’m a people person, and this is an opportunity to promote the community and make it a better place to live for my grandchildren.”

It’s just one of the new ideas that Cindy Pursell hopes to bring to the table. “When I first interviewed with them, they told me they were struggling,” she said, when asked about why she took the position. “I’m one who likes a challenge and I came in with the hope of putting the Four Oaks Chamber back on the map.” Originally from Maryland, she spent much of her adult life in in Northern Virginia and Central Ohio. She moved to Clayton 10 years ago and most recently worked at the SmithfieldSelma Chamber of Commerce. She also has experience in public education, real estate and financial institutions. Although she’s been on the job only a short while, she’s already helped stage a successful Christmas parade and seems eager to face the challenges the new year will bring. “We want to bring the Four Oaks Acorn Festival back, and let people know about Four Oaks,” she said. “Four Oaks is a nice place to be. I told my husband that if I had spent any

time here 10 years ago, I’d have moved here. I really like it here.”

Kim Lawter A Clayton native with experience working with that chamber and downtown development association, Kim Lawter brings plenty of experience and passion to her new position as executive director of the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. “My experience in Clayton taught me that I really love doing this,” she said. “Event planning, building relationships — this place has such a great opportunity to grow.” After more than two decades in the corporate world working in human resources, Lawter started her own social media and marketing company in 2014. She plans on putting that knowledge to good use in her new role. “Growing the membership is our No. 1 priority,” she said. “I also want to grow our social media. (We need to) start using Instagram and Twitter and really boost our social media marketing. We’re going to take a look at our website. There’s so much to do, I’m so excited. I can’t wait.”

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Treat fitness as a journey, not a destination By Randy Capps FOUR OAKS — Leslie Radford is a blur of fitness energy. The 39-year-old wife and mother is at the front of a class at Four Oaks Fitness Center on a chilly Thursday night. And she’s having a blast. As Fergie blares from the sound system, she has an ear-to-ear smile as she leads the class through some warm-up moves. Even her outfit is fun, complete with a headband that reads “The Struggle is Real.” Getting into shape — and staying that way — absolutely is a struggle. And, at first glance, it appears to be a battle she’s winning. But there was a time that she couldn’t beat the sand on a beach. Three years ago, she was about 300 pounds with achy knees, hypertension and high blood pressure. She knew the health risks she was facing, but a more immediate crisis inspired her to make some changes. “I had taken a trip with my son (to Costa Rica),” she said. “We had taken a hike out that day for a service trip, and we were miles from the village, on the beach, when a storm rolled in off the ocean. “At the time, my son was probably 10, and it was just me and him and the other people we were there with — no other family. There was nowhere to go but back to the village.

Clockwise from top. Leslie Radford teaches a “WERQ” class at Four Oaks Fitness Center. Photos by Shanna Capps

“So, I sent him ahead because I couldn’t keep up. I was physically unable to manage the environment I was in, but I had to get back. It was lightning and I was on the beach. It was one of those moments when I promised myself — I prayed the whole way — I said ‘God, just let me get back. If I can get back, I promise I’ll make some changes.’ “I had health problems, but it took that moment. When my safety was at risk and my son’s safety was at risk, it was like something had to give. It took me a couple of months before I could man up and find a place to go.” The idea of starting a fitness regime can be intimidating. It’s hard to know where to go or what class to take. “One day, I got up and said, ‘I’m going to go,’” she said. “So, I went. And it was not a beginner’s class. I cried while I was there, I cried when I left the studio and I cried all the way home. And I thought, ‘I can’t do this. But I have to do this.’” In that class, she discovered Zumba, which combines dance moves with fitness training. “I was scared to go into a regular gym,” she said. “I ended up in a dance studio that was a Zumba studio, and when I went, it was hard. The people, and the relationships that I made and the encouragement that I got is what kept me coming back. That, and being able to have that time for myself. “For so long I didn’t take that hour a day for myself. You’re running the rat race. You’re up, you’re packing lunches, you’re headed to point A, point B, point C — there’s so much that happens in our lives. It was that time for me.” In addition to feeling better mentally, she started


A look at Leslie in 2013. And a look at what she looks like now. noticing physical changes as well. “I was bitten by the fitness bug,” she said. “I could see changes in my strength, my body and my abilities. The weight started coming off, and I was driven by that. I’m stronger. It’s all those little challenges along the way that kept me going and still keep me going.” After taking classes for a few years, she decided she wanted to learn how to teach them. “It started as a personal challenge,” she said. “I wanted to see if I could get licensed in Zumba. I never had any intention to teach. But in this journey that I’ve had, I’ve been able to be inspired by some amazing people who have great stories. And paying it forward became one of those things that was almost like a ministry.

“It makes sense to me. I understand so many places that different people are that come into the class. I can encourage them and have fun with them in a way that I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.” As a teacher who can remember struggling to tie her shoes not so long ago, there really isn’t any stop on the fitness journey she hasn’t seen. “I would not even say that I’m an expert,” she said. “I have fun. I tell my students that my classes are a judgment-free zone. They see me make mistakes. I’m human. I forget choreography. Sometimes, I step on the wrong beat. That, I think, encourages them and lets them know it’s a safe place. I remember the first time I walked into a studio, I was terrified. I wasn’t sure it was a safe place.” She teaches three different classes at three different

locations in the county. She teaches WERQ, a dance, pop rock and hip-hop class, STRONG by Zumba, which features highintensity interval training and Aqua Zumba, which are moves designed for a swimming pool. Her schedule has her floating around from Four Oaks Fitness to HealthQuest and the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatics Center, but it’s a good time — for her and her students. “It’s a party,” she said. “It’s such a good social event as well. The people that are there in class are usually there with friends, or they make friends and develop bonds with each other. It’s a great way to sort of lose yourself. “It’s for people that enjoy dance and don’t maybe have a place to dance that’s appropriate. Or a lot of women just need that time to themselves to just sort of forget about work and being dedicated to their children and putting everybody else before them. This gives them that time to put themselves first.” It’s rewarding for her to see her students on the road to wellness, too. “I love people and I love to see their growth,” she said. “It excites me when a student sends me a text where they have this dress in their closet for years that they’ve not been able to wear, and it’s them in the dress. It’s such an encouragement to me and it keeps me going to see my students get excited. Really, we’re all in this together. We have to help each other out once in a while. It’s a village effort.”

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Taking the first steps A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step, and that’s exactly how it can feel to start a fitness regime. Setting big goals is fine, Radford says, but sometimes, smaller ones can make things easier. “That’s what I told the instructor that first day,” she said. “I told her I was going to lose a hundred pounds. And she told me later that, when I left, she thought she’d never see me again. Because so many people say that. You set these huge long term goals, but it’s like climbing Mount Everest. It’s overwhelming. “I would just set small goals. I need to make it through this class alive. If I can crawl out of the door and drive home, I’ll be OK. I’ll take a shower and I’ll think about doing it again tomorrow. That’s how I started my goals. It’s sort of playing a mind game with yourself, but you have to find what works for you. The voice in your head can sometimes talk you out of a lot. That voice was sometimes my worst enemy. My trainer could recognize it in me, and I can see it in my students. You have to push it down. It’s not easy. You just have to be hard-headed. And I’m good at that.” And while you’re making those small goals, put the scale away. “I don’t get on the scale every day,” she said. “When I first started, I would get on the scale once a week. I’d set a day and a time, just to measure. But it’s just one measuring tool. It becomes an enemy at times, if you let it. You don’t give it that power.” Another reason to keep the goals small is that, even after losing 120 pounds and becoming certified to teach the classes she used to help her get in shape, Leslie is still setting markers for herself. “It’s a numbers game,” she said. “You know what you eat, and you can’t out-exercise what you eat, either. So, I try to eat fairly clean most of the time. I give myself days where I can have what I want. The buttermilk pie at Thanksgiving is definitely what I wanted. I didn’t make huge changes all at once. Little steps at the time. “I’m not where I want to be. I’d still like to do more push-ups and other activities that I struggle with. So I keep pushing. Eventually, I’ll get there.” So, about that beach? “I would love to go back,” she said. “Just to see the difference. The sand on the beach is different than it is here. You really sink in it. I really struggled.” It seems likely that she’d handle it just fine. One step at a time.

MassiveMotives.com 929.256.5626 JANUARY 2017 | 15


Four Oaks holds annual Christmas parade The streets of Four Oaks were filled with fun and laughter for its annual Christmas parade. Here are a few scenes from the event. Photos courtesy of the Four Oaks Area Chamber of Commerce


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Benson’s Christmas on Main celebration Benson got its holiday season off to a flying start with its annual Christmas on Main celebration. The event featured the town tree lighting, a parade, entertainment and even a visit from Santa Claus. Photos courtesy of Benson Chamber of Commerce


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Town of Selma holds Christmas parade The Town of Selma held its annual Christmas parade on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Photos courtesy of the Town of Selma


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Smithfield Christmas parade Smithfield hosted its annual Christmas parade on Thursday, Dec. 8. Here are a few scenes from the event. Photos courtesy of the Town of Smithfield


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Clayton’s Christmas festivities Clayton kicked off the Christmas season with their Village and Tree Lighting and the Rotary Christmas Parade. Photos courtesy of Massive Motives


Town of Selma plans year-long celebration of its 150th anniversary By Ashby Brame Johnston County Visitors Bureau SELMA — The Town of Selma has planned a year-long celebration in 2017 to celebrate its 150th Anniversary. On May 1, 1867, with a dance and barbecue hosted by town founder, Confederate Civil War officer John W. Sharpe, lots were sold around a newly established station on the North Carolina Railroad. Sharpe moved the Mitchener Station approximately one-mile east along the tracks to establish the town; the station was built around 1855 and is thought to be the oldest surviving train station in North Carolina. Today, Selma remains an important railroad town where north/south and east/west tracks help move commerce up and down the eastern seaboard. The town was officially chartered on February 11, 1873 and, in 2004, the town renovated its 1924 passenger depot with museum quality exhibits on the history of the town and railroad.

Photo courtesy of Johnston County Visitors Bureau

Learn more about the history of Selma during this year-long celebration by attending one or more of the monthly events, coordinated by the Selma Development Partnership. The following list represents the current details available at the time of this release:

January 21, 9 a.m.

5K Polar Bear Run and Dinner at the Depot This 5K run will emulate the very popular Selma Railroad Days 5K run that happens every October. T-shirts and trophies will be handed-out to participants. The course will weave around the downtown Selma business area and will be a dog-friendly run. Visit https://app.racereach.com/r/polar-bearrun for more information. Dinner at the Depot, 7 p.m. These dinners will be ticketed and held at the Selma Railroad Museum. This will be the first of six to be held throughout the year to celebrate the 150th anniversary.

February 13-17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Selma & Black History Month Speakers from the Selma Historical Museum will present programs about local, prominent black residents who had an impact on Selma from its founding to the present. Writers and historians who have published works on Selma will conduct interactive lectures and media presentations on the history of Selma with a Q&A and light refreshments to follow at each event. Events will take place at the Max G. Creech Selma Historical Museum at 104 W. Anderson St. during museum hours. Contact Eric Jackson for more information at 919-333-4899.

March 1-31

Literary Programs The Friends of the Selma Library will have book displays, children story times and adult discussions about Selma and writers who have influenced Selma throughout the decades. Dates, times, and themes will be announced soon and all programs will take place at the library, at 305 N. Pollock St. Call 919975-1411 for more details.

April 22-23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Selma in the Spring” & Historical Homes Tour A pageant of period costumes and historical hats will grace the streets of Selma, offering a beautiful setting for a photo opportunity and subsequent contest for the best-looking photo. The annual historical homes & gardens tour will also take place. Artists volunteering from the Johnston County Arts Council will be positioned at each location demonstrating and displaying their artistry. The tour will begin at the Max G. Creech Selma Historical Museum.

May 6, 13, & 21

Selma Police, Fire and EMS Recognition Selma’s police and emergency programs will be hosting open houses, as well as vehicle and equipment displays. Reunions and recognition of past members will be a highlight of the month. In addition, through the Selma

American Legion & Smithfield-Selma High School Jr. ROTC, all Selma veterans living and deceased will be recognized. These events will happen in and around the gazebo in Downtown Selma behind Town Hall at 114 N. Raiford St.

July 4

A 4th of July Celebration and Dinner at the Depot Join the town in their day-long 4th of July street party while reviving some old-time events from Selma’s past like the “Melon, Tomato, and Better Baby Fair.” The evening will end with another Dinner at the Depot at 7.

August 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Chili Cook-off A big downtown summer shindig centering on food: chili cook-off, barbeque cook-off and a pecan pie contest. Prizes will be awarded and musical groups will provide entertainment throughout the day including a “battle of the bands.” This event will also be at the Town Hall gazebo.

September 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Farm Day Selma was an important farm town hub for nearly 100 years. Farm day will be in conjunction with the Kenly Tobacco Farm Life Museum and will have various farm crafts, tools and crops

on display. In addition, an architectural scavenger hunt will occur to focus on Selma’s various building styles throughout its history. This event will take place at the Town Hall gazebo.

October 7

Railroad Days Guided historical and architectural tours will be offered throughout the day during Selma’s annual big bash that is the Railroad Days Festival. Events will take place at the Max G. Creech Selma Historical Museum at 104 W. Anderson St. during museum hours and tours that day are free. The Railroad Days celebration takes places downtown and includes live entertainment, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors, rides, special events, the Selma Railroad 5K Run, Caboose Run, parade, pageant, and much more!

November 1-30

Family History Days Oral history videos of a cross-section of Selma’s senior citizens will be made and have several showings throughout the month. Selections will be added to the 150th anniversary celebration time capsule that will be buried at the end of the year. This project is being organized by Ray Jaklitsch with the Max G. Creech Selma Historical Museum, contact him for more information at 919-333-4899 or email him at rsjbraveheart@aol.com.

More information will become available on each event as things are finalized moving into the new year and the 150th celebration. For more information about the town’s anniversary, contact Dina Flowers at 919-291-1428 or email her at missydina1@aol.com.


Shanna Says

The year of effort Each year, rather than a resolution, I adopt a word that I hope will represent the year ahead.

Our family has experienced the “year of change” and the “year of wellness” in the past. Though, I warn you to put your seat belt on if you ever decide to invite the universe to bring change upon you for a year. Sometimes you get much more than you expect! For this new year, effort is the word that resonates most strongly to me. Many times, we think of effort as only the dedication or willingness we put forth. However, sometimes evaluating where effort is not needed changes us the most. The effort required to run a small business, like those who you see in this magazine, is tremendous. In most cases, the business owner plays every role there is — from receptionist to president to janitor. Randy and I can verify that from our own experience here at Johnston Now. These small businesses are creating magic for our community, and that’s effort well spent. I’ve been known to expend far too much energy worrying about things that aren’t worthy of my effort. I am guilty of having unrealistic fears (except falling

2 017 HAPPY

NEW YEAR! off of water slides, that’s totally realistic!) or worrying about eight different negative potential outcomes for a single scenario that may never happen. In the year of effort, I’m going to release myself from the burden of putting energy into areas such as these. Our effort is precious, much like our time. We can’t

buy more, and once it’s invested, we can’t get it back. This year, I plan to spend my effort only on the things that add meaning to my life and bring joy to those around me. This year, you’ll find Shanna Capps me representing J-Now, shanna@johnstonnow.com volunteering with worthy local causes, helping small businesses grow, seeing as many movies as possible with my son (because it’s his favorite thing to do) and playing video games for more hours than I should admit with my husband. Those are things that bring me joy. These are the ways that my effort should be spent. When you see me out and about, ask me if I’m sticking to my goals for the year of effort, and I challenge you to find a word that describes your goals for 2017 as well. Happy New Year!


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JANUARY 2017 | 27

BUSINESS PROFILE – The Serving Spoon

Pine Level business serves up good food, community spirit By Randy Capps PINE LEVEL — It’s a sunny winter morning on Main Street, and inside The Serving Spoon, Joyce Jenkins is hard at work in her kitchen. She’s racing from the oven to the counter, back to the mixer and then to the front door with the keys to let in a couple of visitors. The Serving Spoon isn’t a restaurant, although with its small town charm and excellent food, it certainly could be. It’s a catering service, and judging by the pace at which she’s zooming around her kitchen, it’s a busy one. “We do weddings, banquets, retirement parties, baby showers, bridal showers,” she said. “Basically, we’re off-premises caterers.” When she’s not busy bringing fresh, made-fromscratch food to local events, she’s making it for The Serving Spoon On the Go program. Inside her shop, against the wall to the right, is a freezer. That freezer is filled with ham rolls, spaghetti, lasagna, chicken tetrazzini, fettuccine alfredo and pot pies. Or at least it will be when Joyce gets back to the kitchen. “My concern is about the children,” she said. “I worry about kids having to eat everything through a drivethru. I have a nephew, and he knows the menus by heart. He came to spend the summer with me, when he came, he got up that morning and said, ‘are we going to McDonald’s for breakfast or Chick-Fil-A?’ I said, ‘no, we’re going to go in the kitchen and have breakfast.’ He didn’t really know what that was about.” It was a process, but she eventually won him over. “That’s my biggest concern,” she said. “Mom’s reaching over the seat and handing a bag to the back. I wanted to do the meals because they’re free from preservatives. They’re low sodium. They don’t have any of the high fructose corn syrup, which causes kids to gain unnecessary weight. This way, they can get a nice home-cooked meal. “The smells can permeate the house. Because that’s what I grew up on. I could walk in the door and know what time of the day or year it was because of the smell. And I want them to be able to experience that. “It seems like a little thing, but when a child can come into the house and smell fresh baked bread or cookies, those smells stick with you throughout your life. That’s what happened to me. I got into cooking because of the smells.” And instead of busy moms and dads creating those aromas on their own, they can stop by Joyce’s place and pick up a dinner sure to tickle the nose — and


Joyce Jenkins making the bread for her signature ham rolls. Photo by Shanna Capps satisfy the stomach. “They can walk in here and pick it up,” she said. “And go home and pop it in the oven. That’s the premise of The Serving Spoon On the Go. Convenience, good food and fast.” The holiday season, with the extra parties and busier than usual social schedules, was a busy one for Joyce and her husband, Wayne. Wayne helps out around the shop and on catering events, which lets Joyce spend more time whipping up dishes. In addition to a full catering schedule, the demand for the On the Go service was high. In one week before Christmas, Joyce produced 30 orders of ham rolls (highly recommended by the Johnston Now staff),

seven large orders of spaghetti and five small ones, four large lasagnas and a small one, four large orders of chicken tetrazzini and two small ones, five alfredos, eight pot pies and 22 orders of yeast rolls. “I got up this morning and, in my prayer time, I just asked God for the strength to get through the holidays,” she said. “I have to pray hard every year. The blessings that come to you, you ask for them, and then they come. And you’re like ‘oh my goodness what was I thinking?’” Cooking has been on Joyce’s mind since she was a little girl in her mother’s kitchen. “I started cooking when I was nine years old,” she said. “My mother, my grandmother and all of my great aunts were all very good cooks. My mother

was welcomed into the Pine Level community and has come to love being there. Although she was born in Smithfield, she grew up in Philadelphia. “When I first came over here, I didn’t know a soul,” she said. “I started working and people would come by and stop and say, ‘what are you going to do in there?’ I was kind of skeptical to tell them, because I didn’t know how they’d receive it. “But they welcomed me with open arms. One lady in town, Mrs. Freddie Creech, she was one of my first customers. She called me, and said, ‘hi, I’m Freddie Creech and I hear that you opened up that place downtown.’ She said, ‘I’m having a little party for some of my close friends out at the Hinnant Vineyards.’ She didn’t tell me that she was part owner.” She was wondering if Joyce could make black-eyed peas for New Year’s.

Joyce Jenkins shows two On the Go meals ready to be popped in the oven. Photo by Shanna Capps liked to bake and I always wanted to help. I wanted to get in there and help because she made it look so interesting. “I’ve seen moms go in that kitchen all crazy trying to make it happen and they’re not really doing anything. My mother would go in the kitchen and move around with such ease. It was amazing. “She would let me come in — she never told me to go play or anything. She would be making old fashioned corn bread, where you pat it out and fry it in the pan, and that was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen.” Her mother let her try making one, and a chef was born. She passed on her love of cooking to her daughter, Charlise Johnson, a Smithfield-Selma High graduate who owns a cake baking business in Norcross, Ga. The two of them appeared on the Food Network show “Cake Wars,” with Joyce serving as her daughter’s assistant. The two finished second in the competition, thanks in part to an impressive Garfield themed cake. That’s not the only way Joyce has paid her love of cooking forward, either. The Serving Spoon is also a place where one can

schedule a good, old fashioned tea party. Inside the shop in the corner is a Hoosier cabinet that belonged to her mother. On it are tea cups, saucers and kettles — ready for a gathering at a moment’s notice. “I wanted to offer something for little girls to make them feel special,” she said. “So they can get dressed up, come to a really nice place and learn a little etiquette at the same time.” At these parties, she shares something else with her guests, too. “At the tea parties, I use a Styrofoam cup, a paper cup and the tea cup,” she said. “I give them a little story about how they want to be treated and how they think about themselves. I tell them to pick up the Styrofoam cup and tear it up, and they tear it up. Then, I tell them to pick up the paper cup and tear it up. I ask them, ‘can you tear that one up?’ And they say, ‘no, not as easily.’ “Then, I have them pick up the tea cup and they act like they’re afraid to touch it. Then I say, ‘this is what you want to be. You want to be treated like china. You want to be handled gently, treated with respect and made to feel special.’” Much like the young ladies at her tea parties, Joyce

“I said, ‘yes ma’am, I do,” Joyce said. “She said, ‘I’d like to have some black-eyed peas and some of those ham biscuits that everybody’s talking about.’ She kind of introduced me to other people. “Terry, from across the street at the hardware store, she came and got some of my ham rolls and started taking them around. Then, I go to the Town Market to grocery shop, and when you walk in the door, everybody’s like ‘good morning, or hey, how are you!’ Coming out of Philly, because I grew up in Philly, that’s a different world. “They welcomed us with open arms. They have been so supportive in so many ways. The best thing about this business is the relationships you build. Because if you get one customer and you do one event for them, if they really enjoy that event, you wind up becoming a part of their family.” So, she’s rushing around her kitchen so her “family” doesn’t have to. “I have some clients where I’ve done their wedding, baby showers, bridal showers — all of that. It just warms my heart to be part of that family. When you prepare food, you know that old saying? The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. That works for everyone. If you prepare good food, and you present it well and you give good service, you’re going to have good business.”




J-NOW is seeking... Guest Writers, Photographers and Advertising Representatives Email hello@JohnstonNow.com for more info.

Delicious, healthy meals ready for your oven! Enjoy a homecooked meal with your family without the mess and prep time! 212 N Peedin Ave, Pine Level

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JANUARY 2017 | 29

Every Monday, 6-8 p.m. Every Friday, 11 to 1 Angels on a Mission Food Pantry Lighthouse Christian Fellowship, 9856 Hwy 210, Four Oaks This organization helps feed families in need in Johnston County. It is also in need of volunteers. For more information, contact John Jernigan at 919-320-7387.

Every Tuesday 7 a.m Cleveland School Rotary Club Cleveland Draft House, Garner Cleveland School Rotary Club meets weekly and serves the citizens of the 40/42 area of Johnston County and Garner.

Every Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. Story Time James Bryan Creech Library, Four Oaks Come out for story time at the library each Wednesday morning. For more information, call (919) 963-6013.

Every Thursday, 4-6 p.m. Write-In at Grapes & Grounds Johnston County Writers Group Socialize, write or critique over coffee with members of The Johnston County Writers Group. For more information, email Cindy at brookshire1014@verizon.net.

Every Third Friday, 6-9 p.m.

Monday, Jan 9, 6:30 p.m

Free Carriage Rides Downtown Smithfield The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation hosts free carriage rides, starting on the corner of Third and Market, around the beautiful, historic downtown area each month. Have dinner and drinks at one of the locally owned restaurants, catch a movie at the Howell Theatre and enjoy some small town charm!

Pajama Story Time Mary Duncan Public Library, Benson Put on your PJ’s and bring your young one to the Mary Duncan Public Library’s Pajama Story Time.

Monday, Jan 2, 4 p.m Chamber Women’s Business Network (CWBN) Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce The Chamber Women’s Business Network (CWBN) focuses on the development of professional women through events that support scholarships for continued educational opportunities for women. They hold approximately three major events a year and are responsible for planning the events and soliciting sponsorships. For more information, call 919-934-9166.

Friday, Jan 6, 10 a.m Museum Coffee Hour Benson Museum of Local History Join us at the Benson Museum of Local History for a coffee hour. Free coffee and snacks will be served. Come tour the museum and visit with friends.

Monday, Jan. 9 Healthy Kids Program HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Center, Smithfield The HealthQuest Fitness & Wellness Center offers a 12-week exercise program designed specifically for children and teens to keep them active and healthy. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that all children have at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, but many children are not getting this. For more information on the program, and for pricing, call 919-938-7581 or apply online at johnstonhealth.org/healthquest.

Tuesday, Jan. 10, 6-9 p.m. How to Write a Small Business Plan Johnston Community College Small Business Center A strong business plan is a critical part of business success. Set yourself up for the success of your small business with proper planning. This workshop covers the basics you need to put together a business plan that will assist you with start-up and funding your business. To register, contact the Small Business Center at 919-209-2224 or 919-209-2015 or email them at sbc@mail.johnstoncc.edu.

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

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Thursday, Jan. 12, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan 20, 8 p.m

Friday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Memoir Your Way,” Johnston County Writers Group Selma Public Library Retired educator Gary Ridout facilitates this group. They will discuss journaling and a new book, “Memoir Your Way: Tell Your Story through Writing, Recipes, Quilts, Graphic Novels and More.” Bring a journal entry you don’t mind sharing with others. Group meets the second Thursday of every month with guest speakers, critique sessions and craft talks. Free and open to the public.

The Blackpack in “All Laughs Matter” The Clayton Center Veteran comedians Vince Morris, BT and Billy D. Washington take a good-natured, often brutally honest look at the national political spectrum and celebrate our differences one joke at a time. Join the Blackpack as they chip at the walls of racial and social stereotypes with a steady stream of laughter. For tickets, log on to etix.com/ ticket/v/1959/the-clayton-center?cobrand=theclay toncenter.

2017 Bridal Expo The Farm, Batten Road, Selma Mark your calendars for the 3rd Annual Bridal Expo at The Farm. This event will be perfect for brides to sample cakes & catering, view photography options and florists, check out DJs and so many other vendors. Venue tours will be conducted every hour beginning at 11:30 a.m. Cost is $7 in advance and $10 at the door. To register, visit thefarm.typeform. com/to/Lu1D0Z

Saturday, Jan. 21, 9 a.m.

A-Mazing Water Howell Woods Imagine turning on your water tap and having everything that you dumped into the gutter last week flow into your glass. This program will describe urban forms of pollution, provide reasons why people should monitor what they put on their lawns or in the streets, and identify ways to treat urban runoff. Guests will also participate in an activity where they will guide a drop of water through a maze of “drainage pipes” to learn how actions in the home and yard affect water quality. $15/person. To register please email mamassengill@johnstoncc.edu or call the Learning Center, (919) 938-0115.

Saturday, Jan 14, 10 a.m Building a Backyard Bird Feeder Howell Woods, Four Oaks First we will iIdentify what birds visit feeders during this time of year and the appropriate diet they need to make it through the cold winter. Then, create a very simple feeder for you to take home to your backyard! $10/person. To register please email mamassengill@johnstoncc.edu or call the Learning Center, (919) 938-0115.

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 6-9 p.m. How to Get Financing for Your Small Business Johnston Community College Small Business Center Are you exploring financial options for starting or maintaining a small business? If so, this is a seminar that you don’t want to miss. During this seminar learn important information on what it takes to get funding for your small business. Learn what the banks and lenders expect from you as the business owner. To register, contact the Small Business Center at 919-209-2224 or 919-2092015 or email them at sbc@mail.johnstoncc.edu.

Friday, Jan 20, 7:30 a.m Chamber Coffee Connections Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce A structured networking event that takes the guesswork out of networking. Each month, attendees will have the opportunity to introduce themselves and their business to the entire group. Each session will include relevant business topics that will be discussed in small groups. For more details, call 919-934-9166.

5K Polar Bear Run and Dinner at the Depot Town of Selma This 5K run will emulate the very popular Selma Railroad Days 5K run that happens every October. T-shirts and trophies will be handed-out to participants. The course will weave around the downtown Selma business area and will be a dog-friendly run. Visit https://app.racereach.com/r/ polar-bear-run for more information.

Saturday, Jan. 21, 7 p.m. Dinner at the Depot Town of Selma These dinners will be ticketed and held at the Selma Railroad Museum. This will be the first of six to be held throughout the year to celebrate the 150th anniversary.

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 6-9 p.m. Basic Bookkeeping for Your Small Business Johnston Community College Small Business Center Do you know the basic bookkeeping methods needed to run a business? Join this session to learn from an expert what it takes to effectively manage the finances of your business. Even if you use an Accountant or CPA, you need to understand some of the basics. To register, contact the Small Business Center at 919-209-2224 or 919-2092015 or email them at sbc@mail.johnstoncc.edu.

Saturday, Jan 28, 10 a.m

Saturday, Jan 28, 7 p.m Motown Soul Groove Rudy Theatre, Selma Join the Nu-Tones Band, Dale Bryce, Brandy Parker and a few other special guests for a night of Motown Soul! For more information, call 919-202-9927.

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 6-8 p.m. N.C. Wages and Hours for Your Small Business Johnston Community College Small Business Center The N.C. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division will provide an informative presentation to the seminar attendees regarding the minimum wage, overtime, wage payment, youth employment and recordkeeping requirements of the N.C. Wage and Hour Act. This is a must for all existing or potential small businesses. To register, contact the Small Business Center at 919-209-2224 or 919-209-2015 or email them at sbc@mail.johnstoncc.edu.

JANUARY 2017 | 31

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