A NEW LOOK
“Wherever you are in Johnston County, you are only minutes from one of our two Accredited Chest Pain Centers.” – Joe Bowman
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Johnston Health’s Emergency Departments in Smithfield and Clayton have been accredited as Chest Pain Centers by the American College of Cardiology since 2013. Read about how our Chest Pain Centers and Cardiology Services are saving lives at: johnstonhealth.org/CPC.
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Clayton chamber stays true to mission
Johnston Health donates masks to schools
Partnership for Children opens Story Walk
Four Oaks hosts ‘reverse’ Christmas parade
Your friendly neighborhood magazine has a new look
Let’s see if turning the page really helps I found myself chatting with a nurse a while back, and the conversation naturally turned to COVID. “I’ll just be happy when it’s January 1,” she said. “I’m so tired of dealing with this.” “Unless some other things change, too, I’m not sure that turning the page on the calendar is going to help,” I replied. Her face fell, and her tone and demeanor instantly changed. I felt bad, but as 2021 dawns, things aren’t all that different. COVID-19 is still very much a thing. We still have plenty of work to do to climb out of this crisis, but I’m choosing to be hopeful that this is the year that we finally put this virus behind us. Shanna and I assign themes to every
Volume 5, Number 2
A Shandy Communications, LLC publication
year. We’ve had the Year of Smart, the Year of Health and the Year of Growth, to name a few. We haven’t picked one out for 2021 yet, but I’m guessing it will have something to do with perseverance. Like everyone else, we’ve had our share of struggles in the past 10 months. But, we’re staying the course. Not only that,
Publisher Randy Capps
we’re changing things up a bit. I like to say that, as a business owner, we should plan for the future we want. Our new look and our dive into digital services is our way of having a little faith that by this time next year, things will be much, much better. I wish that for you as well. Happy New Year!
General Manager Shanna Capps
Creative Consultant Ethan Capps
Advertising Manager Irene Brooks
Office Manager Katie Crowder
919-980-5522 • www.johnstonnow.com • Facebook.com/JohnstonNow • 1300 W. Market Street, Smithfield, N.C. 27577 • email@example.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.
WISHING YOU A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR!
WWW.SMITHFIELD-NC.COM [ JANUARY 2021 ] | 5
A drone's eye view of Downtown Clayton.
IN THE MIDST OF COVID-19 CRISIS,
Clayton Chamber remains focused on mission By RANDY CAPPS
CLAYTON — On an unseasonably warm winter morning, Dana Wooten, president and CEO of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, shared an outlook for 2021 that was as warm and bright as the weather outside her office. “We have a very full 2021 calendar,” she said. “Hopefully, things are going to open back up. We’ve got our Spring Fling in April, which is our Harvest Festival from 2020. And then we’ll do another Harvest Festival in 2021. So, the Clayton Chamber will be very busy.” COVID-19 crisis wreaked havoc on the chamber calendar last year, but despite having to find ways to survive without the events that drive its revenue, the 6 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]
A&S Lawn Preservation was one of the winners of the CCF Small Business Grant.
chamber remained focused on its mission — helping small businesses. In June, the Clayton Chamber Foundation launched a Small Business Recovery Grant Fund to help those businesses in the Clayton area that experienced economic hardship related to COVID-19. So far, the fund has distributed $27,000 to 15 different businesses including: A&S Lawn Preservation, Auntie’s Cottage, Cary School of Creative Arts, Chefella’s Event Planning and Catering, Country Superstars 102.3, WKJO-FM, Dylan’s Unique Gifts and Weddings, Freedom Travel by Sharon, First Street Tavern, Glow Yoga, House of Hope of NC, Image Builders Embroidery and Screen Printing, JoCo Kutz and Stylz LLC, Neighborhood Academy of Music, Purna Yoga East and Victory Power Yoga. “We are so proud of how strong and resilient our community has been during these difficult times,” Wooten said. “The Clayton Chamber Foundation is blown away by the love and support shown for our small business community. We are so thankful for each and every donor that made this campaign possible. This $27,000 created a way for the Clayton Chamber Foundation to be able to directly support 15 different recovering small businesses right here in Clayton. This has been a humbling fourmonth campaign, and although we are sad to see the campaign come to an end, we can rest assured that this made a significant impact for many businesses during this pandemic.” The program was made possible by community donations and awarded on
The Harvest Festival hopes to make its return to Clayton in 2021.
a first-come basis, providing all criteria was met by the applicant. Most of the funds came from private donations, but the Town of Clayton made a contribution, and the Carolina Youth Theatre donated 50 percent of its proceeds from its virtual summer performance to the fund. “When CCF first envisioned assisting small businesses through small business grants, our greatest reservation was the fear of not being able to provide the grants due to lack of donations,” Clayton Chamber Foundation Board Chair, Tony Brown of Caterpillar, said. “Our fears were quickly relieved when almost immediately we started receiving donations from our wonderful community. Each small business that received a CCF grant was very thankful and appreciative. It was extremely uplifting to hear the stories about how these grants would help them through this hardship and enable them to pull through this pandemic. No doubt Clayton and the surrounding community is an awesome place to work and live.” That spirit was one of the reasons that the chamber wanted to help those local businesses even while facing its own difficulties.
“A lot of people lose sight of the fact that a chamber of commerce is a business as well,” Wooten said. “And a nonprofit. So, we have some challenges just like other businesses do. But, in the sense of community and the fact that part of our mission is to champion the business community, we felt like it was
important for us to show that we stand behind our mission and we wanted to help small businesses as much as we could during this time. Not only monetarily, but with resources on how to cope during the COVID crisis.” “During this time, we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from the business community and the realization of the value that we do bring (to them),” she said. “I feel like that we’ve continued to provide value and information and resources to them throughout 2020 and will continue to do so. We’ve got some great plans moving forward. Our theme for 2021 is REACH, which stands for recharge, enlighten, adapt, champion and highlight. So, those are going to be our focus words for 2021. We’re going to continue to reach for the best.”
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[ JANUARY 2021 ] | 7
Johnston Health donates 10,000 KN95 masks to local schools Submitted by JOHNSTON HEALTH
SMITHFIELD — Johnston Health donated 10,000 non-medical grade masks to Johnston County Public Schools recently. Health and safety is of utmost importance as more teachers and students head back to the classroom during cold and flu season. “When COVID-19 began and UNC Health put out a call for help, the community responded generously with donations and support,” said Johnston Health CEO Tom Williams. “Now, it is our duty to help others. It takes
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many partnerships to cultivate a healthy community, and UNC Health is proud to be a partner with Johnston County Public Schools.” The school system was grateful to receive the masks, which will help protect its students, faculty and staff. “The district is grateful for this generous donation from Johnston Health,” said Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy. “These masks will accompany the PPE we continue to provide our staff and students to protect them against this virus.” To stay safe during COVID-19 and the flu
Johnston Health has donated 10,000 masks to Johnston County Public Schools. From left, Johnston Health CEO Tom Williams joins Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric C. Bracy at the schools’ distribution warehouse to check out the delivery.
season, UNC Health encourages everyone to continue to follow the
3Ws: wear a mask, wait six feet apart and wash your hands.
First Story Walk in Johnston County Opens at Partnership for Children Park in Smithfield
Submitted by PARTNERSHIP FOR CHILDREN OF JOHNSTON COUNTY
SMITHFIELD — The first Story Walk in Johnston County is now open to the public at the Partnership for Children Park, located at 600 M. Durwood Stephenson Highway in Smithfield. The Story Walk concept began in 2007 with Anne Ferguson. A specialist in chronic disease prevention, Ferguson was looking for fun ways to get families outside and moving. She came up with the idea of separating out the pages of a
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children’s book and posting them along a local nature trail. Putting Story Walks around Johnston County is a labor of love for Heather Machia, early literacy coordinator at the Partnership for Children of Johnston County. “Story walks are of the utmost importance right now to ground children in the routines of early literacy,” she said. “Families get outside and get moving while reading, which combines physical exercise with family conversations about the book that you are reading together.”
The first book featured at the Story Walk is “Different but Special,” written by Johnston County native Owen Daughtry. “Owen has cerebral palsy and has been instrumental with the Partnership for Children Park since its inception,” Machia said. “It was only fitting that his book be the first.” Funding for this Story Walk and the others that will be going in around the county was made possible by generous donors at the Partnership for Children annual benefit fundraiser that was held in March.
Four Oaks hosts ‘reverse’ Christmas parade Submitted by FOUR OAKS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Four Oaks “Reverse” Christmas Parade was held on Saturday, Dec. 5. Thirty-six participants lined Main Street while about 500 spectator vehicles drove through. The Johnson family was the 2020 Four Oaks “Reverse” Christmas Parade winner. The Johnsons took high scores in theme, originality and audio effects! They will receive a $100 gift card and a plaque from the Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce.
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The Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce hosted a reverse Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 5.
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Real Country Variety and More Music
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A NEW LOO for your friendly neig By RANDY CAPPS
’ve been in media for the better part of 30 years, and in that time I’ve learned a few things about my readers. One such thing is that nobody outside of a newsroom likes a redesign. To be honest, there are plenty of folks inside those walls who feel the same way. There are plenty of reasons why, but the most simple one is an aversion to change. People get used to things looking and feeling a certain way. There’s a comfort in picking up your friendly neighborhood magazine and knowing how the fonts will look. You’re never surprised when you turn the pages, because it always looks basically the same. My favorite uncle had a saying that’s always stuck with me: “Anything that isn’t growing is dying.” I think there’s truth in that, and despite the fact that 2020 was a challenging year for us in far too many ways to list here, we have an eye on the future here at Johnston Now. We’re going to be offering digital marketing solutions, we’re looking to expand our content, and, as you might have noticed by now, we’ve updated the pages of the magazine with a fresh, new look. It’s a bit of a departure from what we’ve been doing, but it seemed to us the perfect way to celebrate our fifth year covering all of Johnston County. This is the 50th magazine that Shanna and I have done. Just for fun, we thought we’d take a look back at our journey from our early days as the Four Oaks Journal to where we are now. If you want to go back and read any of these past editions, visit www.johnstonnow.com/ archives. 16 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]
In our first issue, we told the story of the Weaver family and how egg donation provided them with a pair of blessings in the form of Amrynn and Mason.
Speaking of firsts, this issue turned out to the pilot version of what we now call our summer guide.
We put together our first graduation edition, and we learned a lot from the process that we’ve carried over to the future editions.
There was a ton of Four Oaks-area school news that summer, so we decided to make a theme out of it.
OOK ighborhood magazine SEPTEMBER 2015
Sometimes, reader submissions take over the magazine. 2015 was a busy baseball summer, it seems.
One of my favorite issues ever, and two of my favorite stories (Christmas Tree and Papa’s Pizza).
In this issue, we decided to shine a spotlight on the fight against Alzheimer’s.
I liked this issue, too, because I got to ride in a hot air balloon. Pro tip: Guys should wear a hat.
In this issue, our old friend Melissa Eakin introduced us to Stanfield’s General Store.
Melissa tells us about James Bryan Creech, and I learned about Butch Baker’s paper chain.
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A voter’s guide is about as close as we’ve ever been to covering politics inside these pages.
Take two of our graduation edition and a decent column about me turning 40.
I had such a good time checking out Ed Martin’s toy collection.
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For this edition, we took a look at the improvements at GALOT Motorsports Park.
Melissa’s tour of Four Oaks continued at a charming bed and breakfast.
In this edition, we had the bright idea of posting parade pictures. We’ve been doing it ever since.
We celebrated our first year in publishing and the fact that we hadn’t starved to death.
In this edition, we went inside the 301 Endless Yard Sale.
The final edition of the Four Oaks Journal, or in “Friends” terms, the one where we announced our big plans.
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For our first edition of JNOW, we debuted our gift guide
I got to write about wheelchair basketball and rugby in the same issue.
The summer guide, in its current format, makes its debut.
You haven’t lived until you’ve had one of Mrs. Joyce’s ham rolls.
We took a look at the Rudy Theatre and met a local author from Clayton.
Pauper’s Books and More is awesome, and this is when I found that out.
It’s hard to go wrong with pictures of kids playing in the snow.
Melissa had a chat with the owners of Howell Theatre, which, of course, had new owners by the time this issue came out.
I’m typing this at a desk that Mike Pritchett built, and this is where we told his story. [ JANUARY 2021 ] | 21
This is the first of several times that my better half has talked me into a wedding edition.
Our friend Cindy Nañez helped us out for this cover, which is still on the wall behind Shanna’s desk.
This one went to the dogs. Literally.
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The summer guide proved to be so popular that we did a fall version, too.
A fun issue where I met Shorni Hardy and Pascual Goicoechea.
In this issue, we met a 105-year-old Benson woman and got a first look at Neuse Charter’s robotics program.
This is the issue that almost killed Shanna, since she’s allergic to Christmas trees.
We had a good time helping Pine Level Furniture mark its 105th anniversary.
Another cover on the wall of our office is from the first time I wrote about Abby Stephens.
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Yet another summer guide, but the first with illustrations from the Cary and Clayton School of Creative Arts.
The first-annual Johnston Now Honors commemorative issue. These always have some of my favorite writing in them.
Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve made a lot of good friends in our time at JNOW, and the folks at Cleveland Family Health are near the top of that list.
Another fall in Johnston County brought another fall guide.
Arden DeBuhr provided one of my favorite covers for this edition.
Shanna talked me into another wedding edition, and I got to write a neat story on South Johnston.
In this edition, we learned about a project to redevelop the old Clayton Town Hall.
We learned about the Johnston County Workforce Development Centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new redesign and got one of our first history lessons from our friend Benjamin Sanderford.
My entire knowledge base on elderberry syrup came from this issue. [ JANUARY 2021 ] | 25
Our friend Melissa Eakin dropped by to tell the story of the Portofino.
Another summer guide with another cool illustration for the cover from Arden DeBuhr. I also said goodbye to my dog, Abby.
We helped celebrate the Benson Little Theatre’s 20th birthday. 26 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]
We were happy to help Clayton celebrate its 150th anniversary.
As always, I had a blast telling the stories of our Johnston Now Honors award winners.
To date, this fall guide features our only depiction of Frankenstein’s monster for a cover.
We got a bunch of prom pictures, so we made a package out of them.
We told the story of Sam’s Flying Scoops, and we learned a little bit about the American Revolution in Johnston County.
The story of Eastfield Crossing will take years to play out fully, but this was chapter one.
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Ah, JNOWâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite things. It was a good idea that proved tough to execute.
Our first home and garden guide turned out pretty well.
Our efforts to honor the Class of 2020 is one of my favorite things about last year.
This one was probably my favorite wedding issue. Plenty of good stories inside.
We had to scramble a bit, but Raise the Booty made for a nice cover.
Our summer guide had a different look, but like everyone else, we adapted.
With the world a few weeks away from turning upside down, we wrote about cornhole.
We were well into life with COVID at this point, and I liked what we did for a cover.
I enjoyed meeting our new superintendent, Dr. Eric Bracy.
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Finally, the 49th issue of the Four Oaks Journal and Johnston Now was the smaller-than-usual holiday guide.
www.facebook.com/JohnstonNow www.instagram.com/JohnstonNow www.JohnstonNow.com 30 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Remember Mrs. Joyce’s ham rolls? They’re usually available at her brunches around the corner in Pine Level.
Honors went virtual and moved back three months, but we still managed to celebrate a group of awesome folks.
FROM THE JNOW TEAM
With the sharp decline in events, we had to manufacture some content. The health and fitness guide, born out of necessity, actually went pretty well.
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START YOUR NEW YEAR WITH A HEALTHY SMILE!
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