May 2017

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MAY 2017 | Your Community. Your Neighbors. Your Story.




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ON THE COVER A look at the Howell Theatre in Downtown Smithfield. Photo by Jordan Eakin





TEAM Volume 1, Number 6

A Shandy Communications, LLC publication

Publisher Randy Capps

General Manager Shanna Capps

Creative Consultant Ethan Capps






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

919-980-5522 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. ©2017 Johnston Now. All rights reserved.

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What a difference a year makes Every year that passes for me goes by more quickly than the last. It’s hard to believe how many things are different for me than they were just 365 days ago.

later, our little company would decide to take that vision to the rest of Johnston In May 2016, I was about to turn 40, and I was putting County. the finishing touches on the one-year anniversary issue Today, Shanna works about Randy Capps three feet away from me in of the Four Oaks Journal. I didn’t recall what I wrote about in that issue, since my our little office near Holts Lake. A year ago, she was still memory isn’t as good as it used to be, either. commuting to Fayetteville everyday, working for the It turns out I decided to write about my son, Ethan, newspaper there and chipping in when she could to the and the field trip I chaperoned to Camp Don Lee in magazine. Arapahoe. Back then, it was sometimes challenging to fill up 16 I recently read that piece again (and you can, too, if you pages. These days, we’re cutting things out to squeeze visit and spent a moment into editions that are twice as big. thinking about how much younger I remember him being on that trip — and how much older and taller he Johnston Now is growing beyond our wildest dreams, and the outpouring of support from readers all over the is now. He’s growing facial hair, for goodness sake... county is humbling and heartwarming. I’m excited to I kept reading through last year’s magazine. see what the next year will bring. We wrote letters about starting the Journal and what And as far away as last year feels to me, I really like it meant to us, never dreaming that just a few months where we’re headed.


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Neuse Charter School celebrates 10 years in Johnston County Story and photos by Shannon Mann SMITHFIELD — In the early 1990s, a movement was started in Minnesota that allowed educators to reinvent traditional public school systems. Public charter schools began as a way to rethink traditional classroom norms and invoke new ideas in order to help students achieve and thrive in a new education paradigm. In the mid-90s, North Carolina passed a charter school law. Since that time, more than 167 charter schools have opened across the state serving a population of roughly 90,000 students. This year, Johnston County’s first public charter school, Neuse Charter, celebrates a milestone of 10 years as a school of choice serving families in Smithfield, Selma, Clayton, Benson, Four Oaks and across six different counties. While today’s Neuse Charter boasts a strong academic curriculum, growing infrastructure, full enrollment, solid extracurricular programs and sound external reviews, its early beginnings were a testament to the perseverance by a few parents and community leaders that wanted something different from the existing education system. In late 2002, a Johnston County parent was having lunch with a friend whose children attended Magellan Charter School in Raleigh, one of the best ranked

charters in the area. Todd Johnson said he was expressing his frustration over his daughter, then a fifth grader, not mastering many of the math skills he remembered doing as a third and fourth grader. His friend suggested he start a charter school in Johnston County. “I soon found out there were a lot of other parents wringing their hands, wondering if their children would be properly equipped for college and the work force,” Johnson said. Johnson, the original Neuse Charter Board chairman, took action, creating momentum for a charter school among community leaders and working with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to understand the ins and outs of starting a school. He filed the incorporation papers in February 2003, but luck was not on his side. “In hindsight, we should have waited another year. The first board did not have time to fully understand details outlined in the application and did not satisfactorily answer questions during our Charter School Advisory Committee interview at NCDPI in May 2003,” Johnson said. “We were denied and it was a huge disappointment.” The idea was placed on the back burner until 2006, when a handful of parents

and community leaders approached Johnson again about the idea. “I was planning to file to run for public office, but decided to change my plans,” Johnson said. “School choice seemed to be the greatest public service I could offer my county, and my gut told me to try this charter school thing one more time.” Johnson polled his original board and three members agreed to continue serving. Chris Johnson and David Johnson (no relation) and Zaida Partin all saw a charter school as a great need in the county. The four went to work adding a few more community and school leaders and parents with Davidson Neville, Dr. Ossie Fields, Lee Jackson, Marie Watson, Clayton Narron, Heidi Harris and David Goodine. The diverse, well-known and respected board filed again in May 2006 and the charter was quickly granted.

Johnson served on the board until 2008 when he resigned his position to become a sixth-grade teacher at Neuse Charter. During his tenure with the early board they were responsible for finding land, buildings, teachers and an administrator. Johnson gives a lot of credit to the Town of Selma for leasing the school its original land for an unheard of amount. “In February 2007 Dave Neville convinced the Selma Town Council to lease it to us for $1 a year,” Johnson said. “The Town of Selma is due a huge debt of gratitude for making this space available at such a critical juncture. Without their kind gesture, the school could not have opened on time and could have been at risk of losing its charter.” In the Fall of 2007, Neuse Charter School opened its doors to roughly 175 students.

Breaking Middle Ground As Neuse Charter grew its model spurred interest in the surrounding communities. In 2008-09 it became a School of Distinction. The following year it was recognized by the state as a School of Excellence. Enrollment numbers soared and in 2011 the school moved from its location in Selma to its current location on Booker Diary Road. Wendy Dunn, a parent who transferred her oldest child to Neuse Charter in 2012, was prepared to homeschool after being placed on the school’s wait list in 2011. “We accepted the opportunity and have never regretted the decision as Neuse Charter has provided an environment in which students can single-subject accelerate and/or grade skip,” Dunn said. “This was an accommodation that our daughters desperately needed and it saves schools money. While these practices are highly recommended for high-ability students they are rarely implemented.” Dr. Patricia Brady Harris led many of the initiatives of the school between 20082013. Enrollment boasted more than 600 students and grade levels were added


allowing Neuse Charter to serve as a full elementary, middle and high school. Chris Johnson, an original and continuing board member, has seen many bright spots in the school’s 10-year tenure listing opening day and finding the school’s current location as two major highlights. But the director for Economic Development for Johnston County also noted a major coup for the school was the opening of its newest building in 2014. “We never wanted our students to feel ashamed of attending classes in educational cottages,” he said. “Securing the funds and having a state-of-the-art facility that our students were proud of was a big goal for us.” During these years the school also put a heavier emphasis on academics ensuring that any graduates would receive a diploma “with honors” by bolstering the high school curriculum. As the student body grew and the campus expanded, extracurricular activities became a more storied part of the school. Eric Brownlee, a parent and Smithfield

Students at Neuse Charter School show off their achievements during the school’s early years in Johnston County.

As a public charter school, Neuse Charter operates on a percentage of the budget of traditional public schools. Teachers and staff at Neuse Charter have been very creative in searching out grant money and other programs to help fund enrichment activities for their students over the past 10 years.

business owner, served as the school’s first athletic director. “My wife, Michelle, bought the first two basketballs,” Brownlee said. “I helped start the wrestling team four years ago. Tim Braswell and Hillary Leix followed and built a great athletic association. The school continues to advance its athletic programs winning recognition in high school girls’ and boys’ basketball and wrestling and middle school volleyball. As a 1A school, its reputation for strong scholar athletes continues to grow. As athletics developed, students

also found interest in programs like Odyssey of the Mind, band, drama and community service projects. Angela Walker, an original Neuse Charter employee, has seen these changes first hand over the past 10 years. The data analyst took a chance on the new charter leaving behind a job at Southeast Magnet School in Raleigh. “NCS has come a long way,” Walker said. “We started off with five units on a small piece of land in Selma, but look at us now. This school is a great familyoriented place to work and a wonderful place to send your child.”

The Path Ahead Today, 10 years later, Neuse Charter School is looking ahead at a bright future. The school rated a B on the state’s annual report card, recently received a glowing recommendation for its five-year accreditation renewal and received a seven-year renewal of its charter from the State Board of Education in February. Susan Pullium, executive director for Neuse Charter, is responsible for leading the school into its next decade. With current enrollment at nearly 900 students and a teaching and administration staff totaling just more than 80, the new director is focused on making Neuse

Charter not only a powerhouse in academics, but a household name among those that follow the charter school movement. Over the next few years Pullium hopes to refine the academic approach at Neuse Charter to focus on student-centered learning. Her goal is to incorporate individualized learning plans for each student that will allow them to achieve their maximum potential without being limited to grade level structures. Pullium also looks to strengthen partnerships throughout the community to benefit students.

In late March, Neuse Charter supporters came together for the school’s 10-year anniversary celebration and reverse raffle. The school plans to add to its infrastructure in the next few years by building a permanent elementary school alongside its current middle and high school building. “We want to develop an authentic service learning component for each student’s learning experience that culminates in a senior year capstone project,” Pullium said. “This will uniquely prepare our graduates for the rigors of college and university course work.” Pullium is optimistic about the future, noting that the school’s motivated teachers and dedicated professionals are ready to embrace student learning excellence…something that was a bit

more of a challenge when the first board was looking to recruit skeptical teachers to a new school model. “We will provide your student a learning experience found nowhere else in our community,” said Pullium. “Neuse Charter is dedicated to offering a rigorous and engaging experience that will challenge your students to reach their maximum potential from kindergarten through high school graduation.”

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


Corinth Holders senior receives assurance into ECU’s Brody School of Medicine Submitted by Johnston County Public Schools

Phoenix Little, left, stands with assistant principal Sonya Grice after being awarded the Social Science Scholar scholarship and being named an EC Scholar. WENDELL — Corinth Holders High senior Phoenix Little received the Social Science Scholar scholarship and was named an East Carolina Scholar for the East Carolina University class of 2021. Through the Social Science Scholar scholarship, Little is granted Early Assurance to the Brody School of Medicine upon completion of her undergraduate degree. Little is one of 20 students joining the university in August as an EC Scholar. The EC Scholars Program is the most prestigious award program offered at ECU, according to the university. Through the EC Scholars Program, Little will receive funds to cover full tuition, room and board, a stipend for study abroad, research internship placement alongside faculty and graduate students and other enrichment opportunities. Little plans to major in neuroscience and psychology, and she hopes to ultimately become a neurosurgeon.

JCI helps OCS students contribute to Shiloh Farm Ministry

Submitted by JCI Shiloh Farm Ministry in Goldsboro is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people reach their highest potential through programs that promote healthier mental and emotional stability. Using animals, agriculture and other services, the farm helps reach people through using a unique program. At the farm, students work to learn educational, spiritual and everyday life applications. Mac Vu Nguyen, job coach for Johnston County Industries, and a group of Occupational Course of Study students have been working there this semester. JCI job coaches provide community-based training for students on the Occupational Course of Study track in eight county high schools. Community-based training for OCS students occurs during the 10th and 12th grades for students on certificate tracks. These students explore stated and tested interest areas to aid in the development of realistic career goals and work-related skills in a real work environment. Students on the OCS diploma track are required to complete 225 hours of community-based vocational training. Training is provided in a variety of forprofit and nonprofit agencies and businesses. OCS students learn academic skills and hands-on vocational training with the ultimate outcome of transitioning the student from high school into competitive employment that will prepare them to be competent, dependable employees, to be active participants in the community and to live independently. “I enjoy being an OCS Job Coach and helping students develop work-related experiences to prepare them for the workforce,” Vu Nguyen said. “I enjoy working at JCI, because of the services it provides to people who have a disability or disadvantage and the partnership it has with the community.” JCI partners with numerous non-profit organizations and businesses. Shiloh Farm Ministry is just one of the places students go in order to gain skills. Two students, Savannah and Tatyana, say they enjoy working on the farm and helping with the animals. Both students stated that the best part of this experience is being able to be around the animals and having the opportunity to provide care and assist with the operation of the farm. “Mr. Mac is wonderful, and the kids adore him and try so hard to listen and obey,” Phyllis Taylor, the farm’s director, said. “They work hard and can immediately see results at the farm due to their work.” Since 2000, JCI and Johnston County Public Schools have partnered to help students complete the vocational training requirements.

Clayton Steakhouse Supports Partnership for Children Submitted by Partnership for Children CLAYTON — Michael and Betsy Grannis, owners of the Clayton Steakhouse, continuously make our community’s youngest residents a priority. On February 27, they hosted the eighth-annual Clayton Steakhouse fundraiser for the Partnership for Children, supporting the importance of quality early childhood education and experiences in Johnston County. “We absolutely love Clayton and all the folks in Johnston County,” Clayton Steakhouse owner Michael Grannis said. “Without their patronage through the years we would not be able to do


what we do in this community. We love this community so much and it is an honor to give back to it whenever and however we can.” The Partnership for Children is committed to improving the quality of life for all children. With proven results, children are becoming more successful students in school. We know this is important to their future and the future of our growing community. Our best work happens because the community understands and invests in this most important resource, our children.

“We always focus on helping the young children in our community, whether it is with the schools, the churches, scout troops or non-profit organizations such as Partnership For Children,” Grannis said. “The children are our main focus. We are truly blessed to live where we live and to be able to do what we do. We cannot be grateful enough.” To find out more about the programs and services offered by the Partnership for Children, please call 919-202-0002 or visit

OUR NEIGHBORS Johnston Community College Foundation to raffle new Corvette By Randy Capps SMITHFIELD — The sticker price on a new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 starts at around $79,000, but thanks to a partnership between the Johnston Community College Foundation and Deacon Jones Auto Group in Smithfield, a $100 raffle ticket could be all you need to own one. The foundation is a 501c3 corporation, associated with the college, that provides resources and funds to enable the students and the school continue to grow and succeed. “Our main goal for this car raffle is to raise unrestricted funds,” Scott Hadding, director of alumni and annual giving, said. “So that we can give back in scholarships, innovation grants and additional resources to both our college and our students. Our students are the main reason why we do what we do everyday and we try to provide them with the resources that they need to succeed.” Restricted funds at community colleges are designated for specific purposes and often have caps or other limitations while unrestricted funds can be used to help students and the college as the foundation sees fit.

“Students that may not have the opportunity to go to college, we can offer them a scholarship through these unrestricted funds,” Hadding said. “They can now attend school when they thought there was no route. That’s what makes us happy to be doing what we’re doing.” The funds from the raffle will also go to support Back to Class scholarships. Those are available to anyone who’s received a degree, diploma or

certificate from Johnston Community College who wants to further their education at the school. “About 95 percent of the people in Back to Class work here in the community,” Hadding said. “So, we’re growing our workforce and increasing economic development here in Johnston County.” In addition to the benefits of a more educated workforce to the community, buying a ticket in the raffle can also help students change their lives for the better. “Just the chance to know that you’re helping a student that had no way to go to college,” he said. “They knew from the time they were born to the end of the high school that there was no way they could go to college. Their family couldn’t afford it. You’re offering the chance for them to receive secondary education and continue moving up the ladder, if you will. And that, to us, is the ultimate goal.” There are 3,500 tickets available for $100 each, and the drawing will be held on Dec. 1. Tickets are available only online, and to buy one, visit

Two JCPS high schools align, become regional champions Submitted by Johnston County Public Schools Johnston County Alliance Winds Ensemble, a collaboration of members from the West Johnston and Corinth Holders High bands and ensembles, became regional champions at the WGI Spartanburg Regional Championship recently. For the 2017 winter season, members from the schools came together to create a new performing ensemble. This collaboration is the first of its kind for Johnston County and also local and international circuits for high school wind groups. The Johnston County Alliance made their debut at the WGI Spartanburg Regional Championship in Dorman, S.C., where they performed in preliminary and finals and they became the regional champions with a record setting score of 83.9. The opportunity for collaboration allowed all of the students involved to receive a variety of instruction from the directors and staff of each program. The Alliance traveled to Highland Heights, Ky., on March 25 to compete at the WGI Mid-East Power Regional Championship and they will end the season in Dayton, Ohio, at the WGI World Championships on April 22.

Members of the ensemble are: Front row, left to right, are Jake Losada, Chad Cross, Hallie Sims, Sydney Beasley and Lily Joyner. Second row: Alex Salgado, Cailyn Halloran, Eric Ryan, Madison Mesrey, Pepin Tamondong, Tan Xun Lin, Graham Johnson, Eli Collingwood, Kevin Kemp and Julia Thomas. Third row: Abraham Sierra, Sam Cherry, Katherine Rucci, Madison Miller, Hunter Comeford, Jason Bolyard, Michael Clemmons, Cassidy Delinger, Kameron Burton, Ruben Sims, Geraint Jennens Cheong and Lauren Holbrook. Fourth row: Ben Molk, Sam Schon, Lucien Carreiro, Brandon Hall, Jonathan Copeland, Jonah Collingwood, Ian Matthies, Robbie Creech, Travis Creech, Cole Bennett, Cole Norris and Kyle Painter. Jacob Hartman is not pictured.

Four Oaks Mattress Outlet now open

Kip and Debbie Romig, Four Oaks residents for the past 20 years, have opened the Four Oaks Mattress Outlet at 203 E. Wellons St. in Four Oaks. They are proud to offer mattresses that are made in the USA and shipped factory direct, offering customers a quality product at an affordable price. They’re open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 919-963-3603.

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Photos by Jamaal Porter/Massive Motives

By Randy Capps CLAYTON — There’s usually not much variety from one bar to the next. Most of them are tight, dimly-lit spaces with TVs propped up in the corners. In addition, there’s always enough background noise to drown out normal conversations — and requests for the next drink not offered at a shout. That would make Revival 1869 - A Drinkery, the newest addition to the area’s nightlife options, a throwback to a simpler time when a night out for drinks was more of a social occasion. Stepping off the Main Street sidewalk into the bar feels a little like going back in time. There are no TV sets, only colorful, Victorian style chairs and couches. The bar is narrow enough to get advice from the bartender, and with more than 100 different whiskeys, a full bar and a menu packed with unique cocktail options, you may need some. The details are well thought out, too. There’s local art on the back of the menu from Travis Peterson, and after the fine print explaining the fact that Revival 1869 is a private club where guests must sign in (and be at least 21), you’ll find this: “No smoking. No name dropping. Be excellent to each other.” The name itself is important to the bar’s vision. “1869 was the year that Clayton was incorporated,” co-founder Maleah Christie said. “Revival, if you look up the definition, pretty much means renewing something from the past. Taking something old and making it fresh, cool and relevant again. That’s really what we wanted to do with Revival. We’re taking the classic cocktails, made in classic fashion and bringing those back.” “(Drinkery) is an old word,” Mike Stojic, co-founder, said. “You won’t find it in the dictionary. I like drinking history and how it impacted society. The Marine Corps was born in Tun Tavern in 1775. A lot of Revolutionary War planning happened in taverns. It always intrigued me that some pretty high-level stuff and some interesting talks tended to happen in bars. So, when I was researching, that word just kept coming up. It’s an old word for bar or tavern.” As a retired Marine, it’s not surprising that Stojic is well versed on the Corps’ founding. And it figures that Revival 1869 might be the sort of place where important discussions might happen again. “The art of conversation and just getting to know somebody face-to-face is something that we really wanted to encourage,” Christie said. “On the


Dealing with Teens’ Anger

lounge side, we have this family-style seating that’s set up in little sitting areas. Mike and I may come sit down, but we want three other people to come sit near us and kind of get to know each other.” There’s also live jazz every week, which ties into the retro vibe of the place. “We are a jazz-influenced, craft-cocktail whiskey lounge,” Stojic said. “We bring in live jazz music every Thursday and Saturday. Big, high-energy swing on Saturday nights. Six-piece groups, three horns, standup bass, piano — all right there. So, it’s very personal. It’s real music. Anywhere else … that has live music, it’s likely going to be a country or rock cover band, or it’s going to be a solo guitarist playing an acoustic. They’re all reruns of each other.”

I’ve seen many teens in counseling for anger management issues. Parents report distressing behaviors like disrespect, bad attitudes and angry outbursts. Understanding the underlying cause of angry behaviors is the first step to change. Anger is a secondary emotion - another negative feeling is typically beneath it. Expressing emotions like fear or loneliness leaves one vulnerable to criticism and/or rejection. What can you do to help your teen overcome this? Julie DeFalco, 1. Look beneath anger to underlying MSW, LCSW issues. Is your child grieving? Is he anxious about school? Has a friend betrayed her? Addressing core issues to help your child express negative feelings in healthy ways will dissipate anger. 2. Use reflective listening. Parents often think that empathizing with feelings equals condoning negative behaviors (yelling, swearing). But, the opposite is true. By validating feelings, you are helping your child learn to express and resolve them appropriately. 3. Offer a safe environment. Communicate safety with nonverbal language and words: Maintain relaxed posture and facial expression, and speak calmly. Avoid excessive reassurance – like saying, “It’ll be okay” – which can minimize feelings and leave the teen feeling invalidated. 4. Be nonjudgmental. This is especially challenging for parents when your child has negative behaviors related to his feelings. Try separating behaviors from the person. (“I love you, not your actions.”) 5. Maintain confidence. Teens won’t open up if they know you’re going to share private information with others. Only break confidence if your teen brings something up that you need help dealing with. Anger can serve to push others away or initiate conflict, creating distractions from underlying emotions. Keep this in mind when approaching your angry teen to keep you from taking things personally. You are now on your way to helping your teen express his anger productively!

Call us today at 919-772-1990.

OK, so the décor is unique and the music is fun. But what about the drinks? “No one is fresh squeezing lemon, lime and orange juice,” Stojic said. “No one is making house simple syrups in four or five different flavors like we do. We have a ginger, a basil, cinnamon — all these house-made things that really impacts the drink’s flavor, profile and characteristics. “A whiskey sour is a very common drink. If you go anywhere around here, you’re going to get a whiskey sour with some bourbon and then a high-fructose corn syrup sweet and sour mix that you can buy at Harris Teeter. Smash it together, and you’re done. What we’re doing, is our (bourbon) is a couple of steps up. We’re using Ezra Brooks, and then we’re doing fresh squeezed lemon juice that day. We’re using a housemade simple syrup and then there’s an egg white in it with aromatic bitters on top. So the drink you’re getting, when you taste it, is very fresh.” There are plenty of local flavors on hand, from Broadslab’s line of moonshine to pimento cheese sandwiches from Savory Sweet Adventures and popcorn from Pop’t Gourmet Popcorn. Revival 1869 – A Drinkery is located at 222 East Main St. in Clayton, and it’s open Thursday through Saturday from 4-12 p.m. and on Sundays from 2-9 p.m. For more, find them on Facebook, visit or call 919-243-2964.

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Photos by Jordan Eakin

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The Howell Theatre legacy continues SMITHFIELD — When I was a kid, the Howell Theatre in Smithfield represented the excitement of the wider world, a window into the excitement of Hollywood and the creations of its multitude of imaginations, buzzing like bees in a giant hive. I saw my first movie there, a re-release of Disney’s “Cinderella” in the late 1980s, and celebrated my 13th birthday there with my best friend when we went to see Robin Williams in “Mrs. Doubtfire.” My relationship with the Howell continued through school years of movies with friends and high school dates, as it doubtless had for countless Johnston County residents before me after it opened in 1935. It is the longest continually running theater in Johnston County and it still welcomes moviegoers of all ages. The history of the Howell Theatre stretches back along the lifeline of its creator, Henry Paul (H.P.) Howell, who came to Smithfield from Severn in 1925 and established a business in the movies. He obtained Smithfield’s first single-purpose movie theater, which had opened as the Lyric in 1918 and had changed its name to the Victory in 1922. In 1930, William Sanders opened a rival movie house on Market Street, which H.P. subsequently leased in 1932. He ran both theaters until the Sanders Theater burned in 1934. That’s when he decided to build a new theater on a lot he’d recently acquired directly across the street from the Victory. For the next 15 years, both theaters ran simultaneously, with the Victory open only on Saturdays showing “B movies” and westerns. When the Howell first opened, it was quite the social event in Smithfield.


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The first movie to run was “The Night Is Young” starring Ramon Navarro and Evelyn Laye.

attend, she responded with a picture of herself holding the fanned-out tickets. This picture can now be seen at the Ava Gardner museum, just around the corner.

The movie opened at 6:45 with a newsreel and the feature film started at 7 with a second showing at 9. In between, there were speeches from the mayor, the chairman of the county board of commissioners, State Senator Paul Grady and wrapping up with Howell himself.

In 1953, with the world of cinema feeling a crunch from the encroaching presence of television, H. P. retired to Florida to operate a motel, leaving his son Rudolph (Rudy) in charge. The Victory Theater was closed before being torn down in 1956.

Special music was presented by the Eddie Perkins Orchestra, which played at the end of both shows as well as after the speeches concluded.

By the end of the decade, in 1959, the Howell set its peak attendance record with Disney’s “The Shaggy Dog,” starring Fred McMurray. Every seat was filled, with long lines forming before each showing.

The new theater seated 900 patrons, including 250 seats in the balcony. The exterior was brick and stucco and the interior was decorated with lush red velvet draperies, a gold maline (delicate net resembling tulle) screen curtain and a large stage. In addition to the latest movies, the Howell Theatre hosted live acts of both local and traveling entertainment. Jugglers, dancers and live bands entertained patrons from as far afield as Broadway and Hawaii. In 1945, the Howell hosted the world premiere of the Ava Gardner Film, “The Great Sinner,” in which she starred with Gregory Peck. The premiere tickets were distributed by invitation only and the show premiered one day before it opened in New York City. Howell sent her 10 tickets, but as she could not

Some time during the 1960s (I have sources stating 1960, 1962, and 1965), a fire gutted the interior of the building, leaving the exterior intact. The theater was restored and reopened to the public. The interior of the theater was redecorated in 1974 with a new color scheme in blue and green. The seats on the first floor were removed to make way for larger cushioned chairs that rocked slightly (and squeaked, as I recall, by the time I enjoyed them in the 1980s). Howell returned to Smithfield from Florida in 1978 and passed away on October 5, 1979. He left the family theater legacy, including the

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He remained an active participant in the life of the theater as he owned the majority stock in Multi-Cinema Theaters and was chairman of the board. During this time, the Howell was split into two theaters: one upstairs and one down. On December 31, 1986, Rudy sold his interest in Multi-Cinema Theaters back to the company and purchased the Howell as well as three other Howell-made theaters in Selma, Clinton and Ahoskie. He had been unhappy with semiretired life and had heard that the company was planning to close several small-town theaters, which he didn’t want to see happen to the Howell. “I want downtown Smithfield to have a theater,” he told the Smithfield Herald in 1987. “The theater here has my name on it. It’s got my daddy’s name on it. I have a lot of pride in downtown Smithfield, and I have a lot of pride in Selma and Johnston County.” The Howell continued to transform over the years, with an enlarged lobby for more



As his sister wanted to leave the business, Rudy took it over, selling the Howell in 1981 to Multi-Cinema Theaters Limited, a company that owned about 70 theaters across the Carolinas and Virginia.



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Howell Theatre, to his daughter and his son Rudy.










concessions and a new Dolby stereo system. In 1989, the theater split once again to form two theaters upstairs and two downstairs, its current layout. Mickey Buffaloe bought the Howell from Rudy in 1999, running the theater for ten years before selling to Chuck and Amy Kirkman, the current owners, in 2009. Today, the Howell Theater is still going strong. The exterior looks the same as it did when I was growing up. The original marquee is missing (it has been for as long as I can remember), but a vertical sign hanging perpendicularly from the front of the building reads “Theatre” in blue letters like giant Scrabble tiles. The glass front doors open to the box office and another set of glass doors opens into the lobby. When I visited on a Saturday afternoon in March of this year to speak with the Kirkmans, I was immediately transported back to my childhood as I walked in. The lobby layout is the same as I remember it, though perhaps a little brighter and shinier. I smiled as I inhaled the scent of fresh popcorn in a building more than 80 years old. It’s a lovely scent— the smell of the past blending with smells of a very active present. On my entrance, several smiling teenagers waiting behind the concessions counter greeted



MAY 2017 | 17

me. Amy Kirkman broke away from conversation with her employees to greet me herself, shaking my hand and showing me to an office, where she introduced me to her husband, Chuck. I settled down in a chair to talk with Chuck about his and Amy’s time at the theater while Amy headed back out to the lobby to oversee the hosting of four matinée audiences. Curious about their background, I asked where he and Amy were from. Chuck smiled and leaned back in his chair. “Amy’s from up North — she’s a true Yankee. I’m from California. We came out here about ten years ago. We don’t live right here,” he continued. “We live up in Wake Forest.” Wake Forest? How on earth had they wound up buying the Howell? “Through business brokers,” Chuck explained. “I had no interest in running a theater, frankly. But my broker told me, ‘You’ve got to go down and look at this old theater.’ So I came down here as a customer.” His gaze wandered over my head as he smiled again, remembering. “I came in two or three times and saw a movie, and then struck up a conversation with the owner (Mickey Buffaloe). I told him I’d seen it for sale on this brokerage site and we started talking.

Next thing you know, I’m buying it.” I asked what it was like when they bought it. His eyes returned to me as he said, “Well, we had old analog film projectors and antiquated sound systems. Do you remember those old metal frame chairs? We went through and took out all the seats and re-did all the hardwood floors — gosh, we were shut for days doing that. We re-varnished the floors. They have so much character; the wood is so cool.” The Kirkmans have spent a lot of time lovingly updating the old theater. “We’ve tried to keep the look the same,” Chuck said. “I’m trying to keep the look and feel and nostalgia of it. The façade is one of the coolest things. I think next summer — God willing and the water don’t rise — we’ll redo the façade and make it look fresh and clean again.” He paused, thinking. “We’ve replaced five of the seven air conditioners. We’ve put on a new roof, put in new carpet — what haven’t we done?” They also updated to digital projectors, which was no small expense. “Digital conversion, which happened in the last ten years … all theaters are now digital,” Chuck explained. “Film just doesn’t exist anymore. The new movies that are coming out are only coming out digitally so you have to have the digital projectors and digital hard drives to play them.”





One of the theater’s film projectors from the 1940s is on display on one of the stair landings inside the theater. It’s a large, intimidating piece of metal that innately commands the respect of age and experience. One of the other projectors was donated to the Ava Gardner museum. It’s been said that she developed her dreams of stardom watching movies in theaters owned by Mr. H. P. Howell. Since the Smithfield Cinemas opened, the Howell became a second-run theater, but that doesn’t mean second-rate — not by a long shot. “We are a discount house, but I wanted to be more boutique and better for my clientele,” Chuck said earnestly. “So that when you came here, you had better popcorn than you do at the bigger theaters, and you had a better, more comfortable seat, and you had a better sound system and a better picture.” He raised his eyebrows as he continued, “When you walked in the door, I hope somebody greeted you and thanked you for coming in and when you leave, I hope the same thing happens.” (They did and it did.) “That’s what I expect from my staff. “I get nothing but compliments on my employees and they come back year after year. The ones that go away to college, they come back in the summertime and at Christmas and work for us

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Honoring Our Military because they like being here.” Chuck went on to explain that he and Amy employ anywhere from five to six people in the off-season and anywhere from 11 to 15 employees during the summer. “We’re really a kid’s house so when the kids are out of school, we’re busy,” he said. “We know our customers and so we try to always have one or two kids’ movies, meaning G or PG. And then we’ll have one or two action or one or two ‘grown-up’ movies.” I asked if he and Amy watched a lot of the movies they played. Chuck laughed. “I bet I haven’t seen, start to finish, ten movies in eight years,” he said with a smile. “I can never sit down long enough to see a whole movie — I always get pulled out. So I see thirty minutes of every movie.” I had another question I’d been curious about since I was a kid. Is the Howell Theater haunted? Chuck smiled again. “I’ve heard that, but I’ve not seen any evidence to support that. I had two employees that used to work here that swore they saw stuff upstairs at night when they were cleaning.” He shook his head and looked up to the ceiling as if looking into the rest of the theater. “Old buildings make a lot of noises.”

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As the conversation wound down and I prepared to leave, we moved back out into the lobby, which was quiet between movies. Muted rumbles and snatches of music drifted out from the four theaters and I sampled some of the best popcorn I’ve had since I was a kid (Chuck tells me the secret is coconut oil). The young men and women behind the counter were smiling and attentive and the whole scene had the air of a well-loved home. I had commented on this to Chuck earlier in our conversation. He smiled as we looked around. “I love the quaintness of the old place,” he said. “And it’s still solid as a rock.” For more of Melissa’s work, visit

MAY 2017 | 19

Therapeutic riding program gallops into Johnston County

Photos by Melissa Behan

By Randy Capps

SMITHFIELD — A visitor walks through the lounge at Hillcrest Farms on a bright and sunny Tuesday afternoon. Just a few steps out of the back door, the silence is broken by a neigh from a nearby stall. Elsa, with her head cocked slightly to the side, serves as the welcoming committee to the stable while a tour of the Walk in My Shoes therapeutic riding program goes on around her. On the other side of the stable stands Rowdy, who aside from sticking his head out to see what was causing all the noise, didn’t seem all that bothered about the new faces. Melissa Behan, the program’s PATH certified trainer (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship), says that Rowdy, the therapy horse, is very much misnamed. “His name is Rowdy, but he’s very laid back,” she said. “The kids grab him and love on him and he’s fine with it.” It’s not surprising that Behan loves horses, and her affinity for them inspired her to find a way to be near them again. “I grew up riding horses, and after high school, life happened,” she said. “Full-time jobs happen, and I couldn’t afford to have my own horse anymore. I really, really missed it and after a while I needed to find a way to get back involved with horses. “I found a program in New Hill called Horse and Buddy. I started volunteering out there and fell in love with the kids and the horses so much that I went through certification to become a trainer.” Finding a way to be closer to horses and work with children with special needs turned out to be the perfect marriage for her. “When I was a little girl, my mom would always sub at the school,” she said. “And she would always be in the special needs classroom. She’d have me


come in after school and help her out and I think I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the kids that may struggle a little bit more than others.” The brochure says that the Walk in My Shoes program is designed to help people with special needs “achieve a sense of accomplishment and independence while raising their self esteem.” But, in truth, it goes even deeper than that. “There are a ton (of benefits), both physical and mental,” Behan said. “Probably the biggest and most important is just the confidence that our riders get learning different skills and being able to do things on their own in ways that they otherwise might not be able to do. “They’re able to make friends and communicate in different ways on their horse. And their horse becomes sometimes their legs and sometimes their voice, which is pretty cool to watch.” Riding a horse can also improve muscle tone, build stronger joints and promote a happier sense of being. The program, which is still in its first year, serves about 15 riders per week and is well-suited for those with cerebral palsy, brain injury, speech disorders, developmental delays and children on the autism spectrum. “It’s really cool to watch, and all of our riders experience things in different ways,” she said. “The other day, we had a rider come out for an initial visit. Just to see if we could get close to the horse and see what would happen. She’s non-verbal and on the autism scale, and she couldn’t settle down (in the lounge) at all. But I said, ‘let’s go see a horse.’ “And she came out and she saw Rowdy standing in the cross ties. He stood there and watched her and she just ran up and hugged him and ran her hands all over him. She was so happy to just be with him. And that was huge for her. Her mom had tears in her eyes, and I believe I had tears in my eyes.”

Behan owns a former racehorse named Squirrel, and he makes his home at Hillcrest Farm, too. “It’s just such a wonderful facility, owned by Stan and Kelly Coats,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in opening a program. … It’s something I talked to Kelly about from the beginning. Her and Antonia Hall, we sat down and talked about it and decided that it would be a great idea to start something here.” The farm looks like something out of a Hollywood set, with pastures that seem to go on for miles. It’s easy to forget that it’s only a few miles to the middle of Smithfield. It’s a nice place to spend a few hours, which makes volunteering for the program even more appealing. “All of our lessons require volunteers,” she said. “They can’t go on without them.” Volunteers need only to be at least 12 years old. No experience with horses is required. Behan’s vision for the program is a simple one — to serve as many people as possible. “It’s just to reach out and help as many special needs riders as possible,” she said. “We’d like to expand it to help everybody. We’ve had a couple of retirement homes call, and that’s something that we haven’t been able to get into yet. We have also had interest from veterans and are looking to expand our program to include them. ... Eventually, we’d love to be able to open it up to everyone.” And when they arrive at the farm, Elsa will be waiting with a hearty hello. For more information on the program, email Behan at or call 404-391-5600.


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Owners Bruce and Alison Hendrix ponder their next puzzle.

Story by Randy Capps Photos by Jamaal Porter/Massive Motives


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Go on an adventure at Conundrum Escapes GARNER — The real world can be challenging. Sometimes, the stress of day-to-day life can make a person long for an escape into a fantasy world filled with magic and adventure.

It just so happens that there’s a place in Garner where one can do just that. Conundrum Escapes, at 41-A Technology Drive, is the brainchild of Bruce and Alison Hendrix, and as the name suggests, is an escape room. “We wanted something that had to do with puzzles or escaping,” Alison said, of the name. “I think we used and picked the one that sounded the most unique.”

Some escape rooms are dark and scary, but this one is more about fun and problem solving.

“I was kind of nervous,” Alison said of Bruce’s idea to start the business. “I pictured a cellar somewhere with no windows and no doors. Like in Indiana Jones when the walls are going to come in if you don’t get out in time. But, when we went to visit one, it wasn’t like that all. It was really fun solving puzzles and stuff. So, I thought, ‘yeah, we can do this.’” A trip to the mountains helped the couple settle on themes for the rooms, and it’s that brainstorming session that led to what a visitor will see inside. “We went from puzzles to what puzzles would work together, to what puzzles would fit the theme,” Bruce said. “So, we kind of dwindled a list this long down to a (shorter one). We figured that would be enough for an hourlong experience. “It’s basically a lab setting. You’re in Conundrum Labs, and we’ve discovered a way to travel to other worlds, dimensions, what have you and solve conundrums and things that have popped up on our radar for that particular dimension.” It sounds confusing, but there’s an orientation session that will bring your team up to speed before you start hopping around through space and time. “It’s kind of a Victorian feel, and everything progresses as if steam power is what we had,” Bruce said of the first room. “So it’s a lot of Edison bulbs and gears and pocket watches, stuff like that. The puzzles are themed that way. So you solve one to get to the next and the next until you find a final solution for that room.” Turns out that there’s a good reason for adventurers to visit this particular

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Johnston Community College, STEAM Building B116 Rising 9th through 12th graders

July 10-13 | 10:30AM-3:30PM | $125 Beginner Level students

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July 10-13 | 10:30AM-3:30PM | $125 Beginner Level students

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MAY 2017 | 23

dimension. “The ultimate goal for this room is to find a set of blueprints for an airship,” Alison said. “It’s the fastest airship in the world. A famous airship pilot invented it, and hid the blueprints away in his study. So, that’s the room setting. You’re going to walk into his study and try to find the blueprints. You have to find them to help Molly, a young girl who’s actually the rightful heir.” As Alison tells all of this to a visitor, the inspiration for the heroine in this story, her daughter Molly, sits adorably in her carrier, cooing at the mention of her name. If she could talk, she’d tell you that teams have an hour to find the plans before they fall into the hands of an evil duke. “It’s a different kind of way to have fun,” Alison said. “It’s interactive. So, you’re actually doing something that doesn’t involve just sitting there and looking at your phone or movie screen. You have to use your brain. It’s kind of a challenge, so when you solve it, you feel good about yourself. I think it’s a unique way to have fun. It’s something different to do.” One more thing — phones aren’t allowed inside. Apparently inter-dimensional travel and iPhones don’t mix. Conundrum Escapes takes walk-ins during the week and accepts reservations for weekends. Group rates for parties and companies looking to do team building events are also available. For more, find Conundrum Escapes on Facebook or visit them online at

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MAY 2017 | 25

Grifols, area schools partner to provide science-based program Submitted by Grifols

CLAYTON — Investing in the future of our youth, contributing to the local community and building strong civic relationships — these concepts inspired the creation of an innovative, science-based program that is now part of the eighth-grade science curriculum in Johnston County, called Discover the Plasma. The science module was created through a collaborative effort among healthcare company Grifols and two school entities: Johnston Community College (JCC) and Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS). The program teaches students about the life-saving proteins found in human plasma and how these proteins can be transformed into medicine that improves the lives of people with rare and chronic conditions. It is taught through engaging and interactive methods, using virtual and hands-on techniques, both in the classroom and through independent studies. The students engage in diagnosing patients with various symptoms, performing laboratory experiments, and interacting with a specialty website that includes a virtual lab, developed just for this program. “Student engagement soars when they participate in Discover the Plasma’s diverse activities, from hands-on labs to games in which they solve medical mysteries. Even more than that, though, is the connection students feel with Grifols when they learn about the many employment opportunities available to them right here, in their own community,” said Clayton Middle School Science teacher Evan Dempster.

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Grifols is a global healthcare company with more than 175 plasma donor centers in the U.S., and maintains the world’s largest and most modern fractionation facility, located in Clayton. Fractionation is the process of separating vital proteins found in human plasma that are then used to produce medicines for people with missing or deficient proteins. The company is also Johnston County’s largest private employer. The concept began with Grifols’ global museum curator, who was looking for a way to educate young people in the Clayton area about the importance of plasma and to provide awareness about the company. “I originally thought, ‘How about a traveling museum that would visit each school?’ But the more we researched the best way to present this educational message to kids, we knew we had to have something engaging and intriguing to hold a 13-year-old’s interest,” said Grifols Corporate Heritage Manager, Rosa Avella, who is based in Grifols’ Barcelona, Spain, headquarters. The concept was presented to JCPS, and from there, grew into a countywide, comprehensive science program. “We appreciate the opportunity to team and collaborate with the good folks at Grifols. Based on my observations, this is relevant learning at its peak performance,” said Superintendent of Johnston County Public Schools, Dr. Ross Renfrow. “When you have students that are engaged and can have hands-on experiences, it truly impacts learning.” Grifols and JCPS approached JCC to create a curriculum. The pilot program launched in the 2014-15 school year, and included three schools: Clayton Middle, Selma Middle and Riverwood Middle. The pilot was so successful that the program rolled out to all 12 Johnston County middle schools and is having a positive, lasting effect on students. “We are seeing a direct correlation between Discover the Plasma and an increased interest in the Career and College Promise program, offered to high school students with interest in biotechnology” said Johnston Community College Director of Biotechnology, Leslie Holston. “It allows students to take college-level courses through Johnston Community College. Students regularly tell me, it was the Discover the Plasma class that piqued their interest to explore science-based college opportunities.”



“We have a vested interest in this community,” said Grifols Quality Director, Amy Durham. “Our employees’ children attend the local schools here. Many of our future employees will come directly from those grade schools. So, it makes sense to educate those children on exactly what is going on behind the walls of this massive facility, and how they can choose one day, to become part of this 75-year legacy effort to make better and healthier lives for people around the world, or to pursue other science-based careers.” To learn more about the program, visit


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MAY 2017 | 27

Brave a Shave for Kids with Cancer event in Clayton raises more than $75K On Saturday, March 18, 54 people had their heads shaved in the name of battling cancer in children. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-powered charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. Government. This event, hosted by Deep River Brewing Company in Clayton, is expected to raise more than $75,000. Here are just a few of the folks who gave their time — and their hair — to a worthy cause. Want to help? Visit

Photos by Emily Brown Top: Jimmy Blalock shaved his head in honor of his son Drew and his niece, Lacey O’Quinn. Both children are currently battling cancer, and they helped shave Jimmy’s head. Left: Erin Evans greets a friend after her shave. She was second in fundraising at $8,100. Right: George McCrary is a “Knight of the Bald Table,” meaning he has participated by shaving his head seven or more times.

Four Oaks residents share an Easter tradition Diane Beres and Ed Bennett, of Four Oaks, celebrated the Easter season by showing off their collection of Pysanky, or Ukrainian Easter Eggs. The process of making these types of eggs predates Christianity, and Beres gets one each year from her cousin. That’s in keeping with the tradition of giving eggs to family members. The raw eggs are decorated with pencil, and then with a stylus, using beeswax. Then, they are dipped in colors — one at a time — until each color dries. Some eggs in the collection are more than 50 years old. Despite the fact that they’re raw, they’re surprisingly sturdy. Each egg is unique, and Beres looks forward to getting a new one each year to add to the collection. Want to try making them yourself? Here’s a YouTube video to help guide you:



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* The Wells Fargo Home Projects credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Financial National Bank, an Equal Housing Lender. Special terms for 72 MONTHS apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. The monthly payment for this purchase will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the promotional (special terms) period. The APR for Purchases will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions. For new accounts, the APR for Purchases is 28.99%. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. This information is accurate as of 10/01/2016 and is subject to change. For current information, call us at 1-800-431-5921.

MAY 2017 | 29

Every Monday, 6-8 p.m. and Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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 Thursday, 9-11 a.m.

Friday, May 5, 6 p.m.

Every Thursday, 10-11 a.m.

Saturday, May 6, 9 a.m.

Plant a Row for the Hungry - Johnston County We are a year-round garden that provides fresh fruit and vegetables to nearby soup kitchens and food pantries. No gardening experience is required to volunteer and training is provided. For more information, please contact Tiffany at

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.

Bible Study The Cup & Kettle, 5533 N.C. Hwy 42 West, Garner All are welcome, just bring yourself and your Bible (no particular translation, bring what you are most comfortable with reading). For more information, call Melodie at 919-623-8933.

First and third Tuesdays

Every Thursday, 12 p.m.

Every Tuesday 7 a.m.

Tuesday Tastings The Cup & Kettle, 5533 N.C. Hwy 42 West, Garner The Cup & Kettle will have a selection of tea and coffee for folks to try throughout the day. From 3 p.m. until closing, they will have some special brews you won’t want to miss. It’s a free event, and for more information, call Melodie at 919-623-8933.

First and third Tuesdays

Clayton Rotary Mid-day Club Cleveland Draft House, Clayton This small group of service-minded individuals is very dedicated to community betterment in Clayton and Johnston County. The club meets on the first and third Tuesday at noon at the Cleveland Draft House in Clayton.

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.

Second Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Prayer Cloth Crocheting The Cup & Kettle, 5533 N.C. Hwy 42 West, Garner Bring some supplies (yarn, crochet hooks, scissors and a needle) and learn all about prayer cloth crocheting. It’s a free event, and for more information, call Melodie at 919-623-8933.

Every Thursday, 6:45 a.m.

Clayton Rotary Morning Club Rainbow Lanes, Clayton Every Thursday morning 70 service-minded people, representing all ages, genders and races meet at Rainbow Lanes in Clayton. Breakfast is served at 6:45 a.m. and the hour-long meeting starts sharply at 7 a.m.

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

Central Johnston County Rotary Club The Central Johnston County Rotary Club meets every Thursday for lunch at the Johnston Medical Mall and serves the Smithfield and Selma areas.

First Friday of the month, 7:30-9 a.m.

Member Breakfast Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce Cleveland Draft House, Garner Join the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce for its free member breakfast each month. Contact the chamber at 919-773-8448 for more.

Every Third Friday, 6-9 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 our locally owned restaurants, catch a movie at the Howell Theatre and enjoy some small town charm!

Every Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Stepping into the Past series Tobacco Farm Life Museum, Kenly Each Saturday, enjoy demonstrations and displays of traditional arts, crafts and trades that are featured on-site at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly. All activities are included with regular admission to the Museum, annual passes are available. For more information, call 919-284-3431.

May 6, 13, and 21

Selma Police, Fire and EMS Recognition Town of Selma 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.

Benson’s First Friday Visit Downtown Benson for its monthly First Friday event! Participating shops will remain open until 9 p.m. Some shops will offer light refreshments (i.e. wine, beer, etc.) DIY projects, crafts or an exclusive First Friday sale!! There will also be a food truck set up in Benton Square. Ham and Yam Festival The annual festival held in Smithfield is set for this day. This year’s free concert features On the Border, and it begins at 7 p.m. For more, visit

Saturday, May 6, 9 a.m.

Johnston Health Foundation CHAMPIONS 10K Johnston Health, Smithfield This 10K race and 5K Run/Walk fundraiser is presented by HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Center in Smithfield and will benefit two Johnston Health Foundation Funds. The Angel Fund, which supports cancer patients experiencing financial hardship and the Healthy Kids Fund, which addresses childhood obesity issues in our community through health and fitness scholarships. For information and registration, visit

Saturday, May 6, 9 a.m.

The Club to The Clubhouse Bike Ride Flowers Plantation Starting from the historical location of Flowers Plantation, two courses of 20+ and 40+ miles have been laid out for the rider’s enjoyment. Those that do the 40-mile course will have a rest stop at Five County Stadium (roughly 20mile point) where they will be met with a hospitality suite of many proportions. Those that do the 20-mile course will enjoy a very scenic route and have a hospitality station as well about halfway through. Local, county and state police officers will be volunteering their time and resources to keep things safe all around the course. At least one SAG will be deployed by our charity of choice Habitat for Humanity. After returning to The Club, a social event will take place thereby lending itself to getting to know your fellow bikers and talking about the events of the day! All participants will receive a free T-shirt (if registered on time) and a number of sponsor freebies. For more information, call Kurt Bienias at 919-553-1984 or email him at

Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m and Sunday, May 7, 1 p.m. 2017 Johnston County High School Art Exhibition STEAM building, Johnston Community College The Johnston County Arts Council and the Frank Creech Art Gallery will present the 2017 Johnston County High School Art Exhibition. It’s free and open to the public. For more information, call the Arts Council at 919-738-9622.

Add your organization’s events to the community calendar at or email us at For the full community calendar with hundreds of area events, visit 30 | JOHNSTON NOW

May 6-7, 12 p.m.

Johnston County Parade of Homes Tour 34 homes built by Johnston County’s best builders! Whether you are looking to buy your first home, or downsize, the Parade has something for everyone. Parade of Homes magazines available in all homes and sponsor locations. For all the details visit For more information, call Sherry Phillips at 919-938-4927 or email her at

Saturday, May 6, 1:30 and 6:30 p.m.

American Music Jubliee Rudy Theatre Don’t miss the spring show for the American Music Jubliee! It’s a music variety show that’s a two-hour family friendly extravaganza. For more, visit

Monday, May 8, 6:30 p.m.

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.

Tuesday, May 9, 4-8 p.m.

Four Oaks Sip and Shop Downtown Four Oaks Take a tour of downtown businesses and discover what shopping locally in Four Oaks has to offer. There will also be a preschool art contest for shoppers to enjoy in the various stores. Visit them all and vote for your favorite. For more information, call LaDonna Hines at 919-963-3600.

Thursday, May 11, 5 p.m.

Sundown in Downtown Concert Series - The Embers Don’t miss The Embers in Benson’s Sundown in Downtown Concert Series. Sponsored by the Benson Chamber and Town of Benson, this event is free to everyone. For more information, call the chamber at 919-894-3825.

May 11-13

Kenly 95 East Coast Jamboree and Truck Show 923 Johnston Parkway, Kenly Check out the grand opening of the new showroom, as well as a big rig truck show, pickup truck show, car show, free concerts, games for the kids and much, much more. For more information, call 919-502-7010.

Friday, May 12, 10 a.m.

Paint-In Grapes and Grounds, Smithfield Bring your supplies and get ready to paint, draw or sketch at Grapes & Grounds on Third Street in Smithfield. This is an opportunity for local artists of skill levels to come together to share conversation and work on art. For more information, call the Johnston County Arts Council at 919-738-9622.

Saturday, May 13, 8 a.m.

Raising Hope Fair Four Oaks Civitans Building The National Foundation for Transplants Raising Hope Fair is set for Saturday, May 13. This fair is being put together by several volunteers in the community and will include crafts, baked items along with multiple family garage sale items. The event will also include food and raffles for a chance to win prizes and gift cards from local businesses.

Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m. and Sunday, May 14, 1 p.m.

2017 Johnston County High School Art Exhibition STEAM building, Johnston Community College The Johnston County Arts Council and the Frank Creech Art Gallery will present the 2017 Johnston County High School Art Exhibition. It’s free and open to the public. For more information, call the arts council at 919-738-9622.

Saturday, May 13, 1:30 p.m.

American Music Jubliee Rudy Theatre Don’t miss the spring show for the American Music Jubliee! It’s a music variety show that’s a two-hour family friendly extravaganza. For more, visit

Saturday, May 13, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Johnston County Chorale concert Clayton Center Johnston County Chorale will hold their annual spring concert at the Clayton Center on May 13. There will be two performances, one at 2 p.m. and the second one at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are available by calling the Clayton Center Box Office at 919-553-1737, or may be purchased at the door.

Saturday, May 13, 7:30 p.m.

Tar River Swing Band Rudy Theatre Don’t miss the Tar River Swing Band, live at the Rudy. For more, visit

Tuesday, May 16, 5 p.m.

Meet the Author - Susan Schild Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library, Clayton The library will host a “Meet the Author” event with Susan Schild. She will be signing books, and will have hard copies for sale that night. For more information, visit or call 919-553-5542.

Thursday, May 18, 1:30 p.m.

May 19-20, 8 p.m, May 21, 3 p.m.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Neuse Little Theatre Check out this drama by Tennessee Williams at the Neuse Little Theatre. For more information, visit

Saturday, May 20, 9 a.m.

Beginner Kayak Lesson Howell Woods, Four Oaks If you’ve always wanted to kayak or canoe, but were not sure where to start, this program is for you. Participants will be taught paddling techniques and paddler safety while on the calm waters of Swan Pond, located on the Howell Woods property. To better understand the differences in vessels, participants will start the day paired in a canoe, and finish individually in a kayak. Preregistration is requested for this $15 class, and those interested can call the Nature Center at 919-938-0115.

Saturday, May 20, 10 a.m.

A Walk through the Exhibit Room Howell Woods, Four Oaks This is a guided tour through the Howell Woods museum! Get to know your favorite critters by attending this special program where we will discuss animal names, habitat, diet and personalities. Also, there is the celebrity star Elvis in the house who loves to meet new guests. Preregistration is requested for this $10 class, and those interested can call the Nature Center at 919-938-0115.

Saturday, May 20, 1 p.m.

Meet the Author/Book Signing The Cup & Kettle, 5533 Hwy 42 West, Garner The Cup & Kettle is hosting an event for a young new author, 10-year-old Kyleigh Williamson. There will also be snacks, gifts and a door prize. There will be copies of the book available for purchase and signing the day of the event, and you can also call 919-623-8933 for more information.

American Music Jubliee Rudy Theatre Don’t miss the spring show for the American Music Jubliee! It’s a music variety show that’s a two-hour family friendly extravaganza. For more, visit

Saturday, May 20, 7 p.m.

Friday, May 19, 5:30 p.m.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Neuse Little Theatre Check out this drama by Tennessee Williams at the Neuse Little Theatre. For more information, visit

Clayton Town Square Concert Don’t miss The Legacy Motown Revue live in Clayton. For more information, visit

Friday, May 19, 7 p.m.

Zaxby’s Movie Night Selma Come out early, pick your spot, get a movie snack or two and hang out and enjoy entertainment before a free movie. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and favorite movie dates and enjoy the feature presentation of “The Secret Life of Pets” with Zaxby’s and Selma Parks and Recreation. Visit Selma Parks and Recreation’s Facebook page for the latest information.

The Brothers Everly - Rudy Theatre Don’t miss the Brothers Everly, an Everly Brothers tribute band, live at the Rudy. For more, visit

May 26-27, 8 p.m.

Saturday, May 27, 10 a.m.

Beginner Fishing Howell Woods, Four Oaks Take advantage of this opportunity to introduce a child to a relaxing yet exciting outdoor activity. Join experienced staff and cover all the basics needed to be a successful fisherman. Learn to tie knots, set up a fishing pole and how to cast and reel in the big one. While you are there, check out the 400-gallon aquarium to learn about your catch. Preregistration is requested for this $10 class, and those interested can call the Nature Center at 919-938-0115.

MAY 2017 | 31

Two Medium 2-Topping Pizzas

Two Large 2-Topping Pizzas

One Medium 2-Topping Pizza & Garlic Knots

$18.99 $20.99 $18.99 Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

One Large 2-Topping Pizza & Garlic Knots

Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

2 spaghettis with meat sauce or meatballs OR 2 lasagnas with two side salads and garlic bread

Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

One X-Large 2-Topping Pizza & Garlic Knots

$19.99 $20.99 $22.99 Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

One X-Large 2-Topping Pizza & Regular Cheese Stix

Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

Two X-Large 2-Topping Pizzas

Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

2 Calzones or Strombolis & 12 Garlic Knots

$22.99 $22.99 $21.99 Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

20 BBQ or Hot Wings & Garlic Knots

Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

One Large 1-Topping Pizza, 1 Reg. Cheese Stix & 10 Wings

Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

One Large 1-Topping Pizza & 10 Wings

$21.99 $25.99 $21.99 Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

G N I R I H W NO ull-time and

F ns! io it s o P e im t Part-

Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

Expires 5/31/17. Must present coupon. JNOW

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