May 2018

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MAY 2018 | Your Community. Your Neighbors. Your Story.




“After years of struggling with knee damage following an auto accident, my fear of surgery gave way to my bigger fear of a more limited lifestyle - I could no longer even walk my dogs. Johnston Health’s Joint Center scheduled my knee replacement and put me in their Joint Adventure program which included surgery, recovery, special in-house rehab and also a pre-surgery class, which was a huge help. I’m loving my comeback and so are my dogs, Doc & Ruby!” – Sandy Altman Clayton, NC

Expert Care - Close To Home!

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ON THE COVER We spent some time with Benson’s own Abby Stephens and despite her young age, her musical journey is already years in the making. Photo courtesy of


TEAM Volume 2, Number 6

Publisher Randy Capps

General Manager Shanna Capps


Creative Consultant Ethan Capps Advertising Consultants Jess Barbour, Gordon Becton and Morgan Tetrick Creative Director Frank Spurlock Advertising Designers Jess Barbour, Shannon Matthews and Melinda Sawyer Editorial Consultants Mike Bollinger and Rebecca J. Blair 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. ©2018 Johnston Now. All rights reserved.








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Donate Life NC Hero Walk



Has it really been three years? It’s hard to believe that we’ve been putting out magazines for three years now, but the Weavers’ smiling faces on the wall opposite my desk tell me that it was indeed May 2015 when the Four Oaks Journal was born. Since then, we’ve told some stories and made more new friends than I could count. We’ve had some growing pains, and an operation that once fit comfortably in our guest room is now spilling out of a storefront in Downtown Four Oaks. And I’ve almost got a Johnston Now polo shirt for every day Randy Capps of the week. We think that’s cause for celebration. So, naturally we’re giving other folks some awards. Hopefully, you’ve heard about Johnston Now Honors by now. It’s an awards program, sponsored by our good friends at Johnston Health, in which we will honor 10 everyday heroes from around the county. We’re giving out awards for coach, entrepreneur, police officer, firefighter, volunteer and a host of others, and we’re capping it off with a ceremony at Howell Theatre on June 28. The July issue will feature a profile on each of the winners. But as always, we need your help. Visit and nominate those you’d like to see honored. There’s ticket information there, too, so you can make plans to join us in person for the show. Thanks for making the last three years so special for us, and take a few minutes to make this year special to the folks that inspire you.

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may 2018 | 5

A nod to our furry heroes Story and photos by Dorothy La Motta

There’s an old adage that says “a dog is man’s best friend.” I believe they are also man’s heroes. Most of us relate a hero to the bravery and courage of our first responders, servicemen and servicewomen or even movie or comic book heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman. But today, we’ll take a break from fantasy and celebrate our real furry four-legged heroes who contribute their services to our communities, our citizens and our causes to keep us save, healthy, happy and amused.

Garner Police Department — K9 Unit “Falcon” is one of the four K9 German Shepherds at the Garner Police Department and he works with his trainer, Officer William Robertson. Robertson keeps the dog for about a month for advanced obedience training, then proceeds to imprinting the odor training. Falcon and Robertson spend a week each on training to detect marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Once the dog finds the drug, he performs the passive “sit” position and waits for the officer to respond. If they are tracking in a building, the dog barks and scratches at the door, but if they find an article of interest during the tracking of missing persons, or crime evidence, the dog lies down. If you see a working K9 dog, remember not to pet them without the officer’s permission. If you are interested in a demonstration for your school, contact the Garner Police Department at 919772-8810. We salute all the officers who put their lives on the line every day and their extraordinary K9 companions and who help keep us safe from harm.

Service Dogs Another furry hero not often recognized is the service dog, trained to perform tasks for people with specific disabilities, medical conditions or physical limitations. Service dogs have a special designation that allows them to go anywhere the public has access to without

restriction. Their title says it all; they service their owners and do amazing accomplishments that help their owners avoid struggling through their day or dealing with safety issues.

Guide Dogs I was fortunate enough years ago to live by a seeing eye institute where they trained seeing eye guide dogs. I was invited by the trainer who spoke at our dog club to observe. I watched silently and from a close distance as the blind person walked with his German Shepherd down a busy street, holding his cane in one hand and the leash in the other. The trainer walked about 15 feet behind them and was ready to intervene quickly if anything went wrong. The trainer had a pad and was noting everything


that was done or not done according to the training the owner and dog received. It was an amazing experience to view a match made in heaven, as the owner and dog communicated both verbally and silently with hand gestures and foot movements. In case you are curious, this is one way our hero guide dogs cross a busy street. As the owner and dog cannot see the colored traffic lights, the owner must actually listen to the noise and flow of the traffic. Then, when he feels it is safe to cross, he gives the dog the forward command and moves his foot

forward. But this is where the amazing concept of “intelligent disobedience” comes in without a command. If it’s not safe to cross because of a turning car or other obstacle, the dog will not obey the forward command. How cool is that? They are trained to navigate airports, stairs, subways, buildings and schools with amazing agility. These are extraordinary dogs that help blind people gain independence and selfconfidence and should be admired and honored for their services to mankind as just another hero among us. To be a good seeing eye dog, he or she must be very sociable, have an excellent temperament, must not frighten easily, be able to react to real danger, keep their focus on their task, never act aggressively, be totally loyal to their owners and stay calm in the midst of chaos. That’s more than most humans can do.

Fire Station Heroes Years ago it was common to see a beautiful Dalmatian riding on the front seat of a fire engine as the mascot on the way to a fire. But now times have changed and so have the dogs. Garner Fire Department’s Engine 1 now has a beautiful four-year-old male Australian Labradoodle who is on duty 24/7. He was named “Moose” because, well, he sort of looked like a moose with his big furry head when he was a pup. He has a soft, silky, wavy gray coat with soft dark eyes and a lovable disposition. Moose was trained by Topline K9 Solutions in Raleigh and is also a Certified Therapy Dog. His job is mainly to give presentations to children in schools on various ways to stay safe in a fire. So Moose happily demonstrates the stop, drop and roll technique, how to stay low and crawl out of a burning house and how to detect heat on a door so

you don’t open it. The firefighter usually asks for several brave

volunteers in the class to demonstrate stop, drop and roll, which brings lots of laughter and a gold star for each volunteer.

We can almost guarantee that you will be greeted with a tail wag, a big wet kiss and an underarm snuggle. Patients can’t help but smile and hug these lovable furry friends that often help to reduce anxiety and loneliness. They enjoy having a dog of their own even for a few precious moments to help fill a void, bring back memories or just to pet and feel the love a dog can exude. And the patient won’t get a bill from Medicare.

The preferred size for a therapy dog ranges from small to medium. Bigger dogs are often unsuitable as they may frighten elderly people and little children. Anyone with a medical condition that would need intervention may qualify for a therapy dog companion. Training a therapy dog can be fun, educational and exciting — and owning one is even better. These are silent heroes we don’t hear much about or see very often, but they warm our hearts, lift our spirits and add to our life’s memories.

their antics, waving tails, wet kisses that make your face scrunch up, arm snuggles and unconditional love that continually nurtures the bond between owners and their pets. They are truly the silent heroes of our households.

Dogs are more than four-legged bundles of fur that bark, squeal, squeak, yawn, moan, snore, run and whimper through their dreams, growl and howl. They are our heroes and give us a reason to live.

Therapy Dogs We all probably have seen a therapy dog wandering through Walmart in their cute little vests. There are usually no breed restrictions, but they are selected because of their calm and affectionate nature. They are obedience trained, social, well-groomed and must adapt to different environmental sounds, places, smells and different types of walking surfaces. You may see them prancing through nursing homes, hospitals, children’s wards and assisted living facilities.

Our Own Hero Pets Okay, maybe they don’t perform extraordinary heroic feats of accomplishments every day, but they have the uncanny ability to wriggle their way into our hearts, their goodie bags and lives in a millisecond of time. Many have saved or protected their owners and we will never hear their untold stories. Who can resist

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James Bryan Creech Memorial Library holds annual egg hunt Submitted by James Bryan Creech Memorial Library

FOUR OAKS — James Bryan Creech Memorial Library held its annual Easter Egg Hunt recently. Here are a few photos from the day’s fun.


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International fair brings Neuse Charter’s mission to forefront Story and photos by Shannon Mann

SMITHFIELD — Jules Verne may have written about traveling the world in 80 days, but sixth graders at Neuse Charter School have him beat. In about a three-week period, 70 middle academy students brought the cultures of 21 different nations to the school. Recently, the classes of Gloria Brindle, Jeff Matisoff and Marjorie Harris descended on the middle/senior academy commons area with presentations, food and crafts from countries across the globe. Six continents were represented as students eagerly shared facts, fun and food with each other, and a number of lower and senior academy students and teachers. Lamya Pettiway, a ninth grader in Chase Crocker’s Health/PE class, had the pleasure of attending the event. “I learned a little about each country, and a lot about the food,” he said. Food presentations were a mixture of savory and sweet — or tangy and bland depending on the nation. From chocolate pastries, sweet breads, fruit-filled delights and yummy puddings to sausage balls, sweet and sour chicken and cabbage rolls, the students and visitors did not leave hungry. This was the first year the sixth-grade team attempted a multicultural event of this scope. “We want to fulfill the school’s vision of creating an environment that allows students to be respectful, responsible citizens of a global community,” Harris, a science and social studies teacher, said. “In order to be respectful of other cultures, we must teach our students to appreciate the aspects of each culture that make it unique and exceptional.” While many countries such as Canada, Ireland and Mexico were familiar names to the students, other countries such as Armenia, Montserrat, Norway and Poland were a bit unknown. Leland Guy, Banks Gaskins and Kyra Mitchell chose Poland because Guy and Gaskins had ancestors from the country and wanted to know more about their heritage. “I learned that Burek is the most popular name in Poland,” Gaskins said. While food was a main focus, the sixth graders also embraced a mentor mentality by hosting the kindergarten class and leading them through specific crafts that represented each nation. Kids could make rain sticks in Australia, orgami dogs in China, drawings of the Eiffel Tower in France and Buckingham Palace guards in England. Kindergartners were thrilled to be working with the older students as it was their international day as well. Harris said she’s heard her students speak in 14 different languages over the past few weeks and watched proudly as they created art performances through songs, skits and poetry. “I hope that each student gains a better understanding of the world that we live in and the incredible people and cultures that make it up,” she said.


Above: Sixth graders at Neuse Charter School share food from China with Neuse Charter Senior Academy students during their International Fair last month. Right: Sixth-grade students at Neuse Charter School demonstrated how to make Australian Rain Sticks to the school’s kindergartners during their International Fair last month.

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

NEWS FROM YO Benson Elementary students attend Fairy Tale Ball

Submitted by Johnston County Public Schools BENSON — Benson Elementary second grade students practiced the art of dance at the school’s Fairy Tale Ball in March. Students were taught the waltz by their physical education teacher Anthony Thorpe, practicing during class over the last several weeks. The students’ family and friends were invited to attend the dance to see the students show off their newest dancing skills. The school’s gym was transformed into a magical dance floor. The students, dressed in their finest attire, entered the ball through castle doors with their partners and sang a waltz song before they performed the dance. Students from Mrs. Kimberly Brock’s second grade class, from left, are: Adriana Sandoval, Neveah Blackmon, Gavyn Pollard, Jose Osio, Geraldine Vega, Aby Tovar, Jake Vega, Kaydence Miller, Melanie Thetford and Preston Johnson.

Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce members support local book drive Submitted by Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce FOUR OAKS — Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce member businesses have teamed up with the Partnership for Children of Johnston County and Leadership Johnston County to support their Keep Reading Alive Initiative. The book drive provided an opportunity for local businesses to give back to children right here in Johnston County. “Supporting our local community is important to so many of our member businesses,” Amber England, Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce Director, said. “Part of the mission of the Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce is to provide opportunities for our members to connect with our community. We are thankful to Leadership Johnston and the Partnership for Children for all they have done to coordinate this program for our local children. We hope to see them meet their goal.” Participating businesses have included the Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce, Four Oaks Elementary School, OPW Fueling Containment Systems and Tired Iron Classics. From left to right, Kathy Parrish, Principal of Four Oaks Elementary School, and Billy England, Owner of Tired Iron Classics, drop off their book donations.


OUR NEIGHBORS Daughters of the American Revolution honor local students

Submitted by Johnston County Public Schools The Smith-Bryan chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) honored Johnston County high school students recently for receiving the Good Citizens Award. Cleveland High student Grace Fulton, South Johnston High student Charli Rosenberg and Neuse Charter School student Caitlin Miller received the award at a special breakfast ceremony. The DAR Good Citizens Award is intended to encourage and reward high school seniors who demonstrate good citizenship. Students selected to receive the award must have the qualities of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. The Good Citizen nominees were required to write an essay as part of the award process. This year’s topic was “How has America advanced the cause of freedom in the rest of the world?” Each winner received a certificate, a Good Citizen pin and a cash award.

From left to right, DAR Good Citizen Chairperson Mary Aker, Cleveland High recipient Grace Fulton, Neuse Charter School recipient Caitlin Miller, South Johnston High recipient Charli Rosenberg and Regent of the Smith-Bryan Chapter of the DAR Gayenell Gull.

McDonald’s recognized as Four Oaks Business of the Month Submitted by Four Oaks Chamber FOUR OAKS — The Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce is celebrating McDonald’s of Four Oaks as April’s Business of the Month. McDonald’s of Four Oaks was nominated for Business of the Month in honor of Doris Huebner’s election to the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association Board of Directors and in recognition of their contributions to the Town of Four Oaks. The Huebner family McDonald’s is an independent franchisee of McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by Fred, Doris and John Huebner. The company was founded in 1986 by Fred and Doris Huebner with the opening of their first McDonald’s in Wake County. The Four Oaks location opened in July of 2011 and currently has over 70 employees. John Huebner is the proud owner/operator of the Four Oaks location. The Huebner family McDonald’s supports many community based programs in Four Oaks. The local schools annually host School Nights at McDonald’s which provides the schools with the opportunity to receive 20 percent of sales during that three-hour period. All of the Johnston County educators and support staff receive a beverage card each academic year that allows them to receive a free beverage each visit during the school year and the Huebners have sponsored with the Four Oaks Parks and Recreation since their opening.

From left to right, Mike Pritchett, Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce Board Member; Tim Barbour, Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce Board President; John Huebner, McDonald’s owner; Doris Huebner, McDonald’s owner; June Raynor, Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce Board Secretary; Jackie Parrish, Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce Board Member; and Glenn Lee, Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce Board Member.

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Benson teen stays grounded while chasing her musical dreams By Randy Capps • Photos courtesy of

BENSON — It’s 10 o’clock on a spring break morning, and while most Johnston County teens are just getting their day started, Abby Stephens is sitting comfortably on her couch, swatting away a reporter’s questions like a seasoned pro. She may look like an ordinary freshman in high school, but she rarely sounds like one. Stephens is a budding country music singer with her own page on Apple music, and one that already has experience rubbing shoulders with established stars like Kelsea Ballerini, with whom she’s shared a stage on several occasions.

Anytime the storm clouds come around, I’m gonna play in the rain. — “Dreams”


The latest collaboration was on Valentine’s Day at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. “It’s funny — I haven’t seen her in a few years, and I didn’t know she was coming to the show,” Ballerini told Billboard magazine. “I met her in Dallas at the ACM’s. I was playing a tiny side stage outdoors. There were maybe 30 people there. I remember her coming up to me before I went on stage, and she said, ‘My name is Abby. I want to be a singer, and I really like your music.’ I brought her on stage then, and I’ve seen her a couple of times since. I saw her in the crowd, so thought I would get her up on stage with me at the Ryman. It was special.” It’s all part of Abby’s development as an artist, and it all starts with spending time in the country music capital of the world, Nashville. She spends a few days each month there, working on her music with her coaches and mentors at PCG, an artist development company. It was there that she began writing some of her own music. “When we got into PCG, I started writing songs,” she said. “Before that, I’d never really written a song. I started going into vocal training. When we’re in Nashville, there are obviously a lot more opportunities for young people.” She works with a co-writer, who helps guide her through the process. “I really like co-writing, because you have different styles,” she said. “When I go in there, I usually like to have a title or an idea behind it. I tell them a title, then he or she gets a little melody going and then we sing along a little bit. It really depends. “When you go in there, they ask, ‘what are you experiencing? What are you thinking about right now?’ And with the song “Front Porch Swing,” I remember sitting at my grandmother’s house, sitting on her front porch swing and looking at the cotton fields.”

From here I see the future and learn from the past. This view takes all my breath away and right here I’ll take my last. — “Front Porch Swing” Her lyrics are a bit of a throwback, and a little different than today’s typical country music. “I like to be very inspirational with my music,” she said. “I’d rather not write a sad song. I want to inspire others. I don’t want to talk about boys, or ‘I just had a break up.’ I want to inspire people how my parents inspired me or my grandparents inspired me. I think writing music like that lifts everybody up.” Her mother, April, agrees. “She really is putting out stuff that people need to hear,” she said. “When you listen to the music on the radio, there are no Taylor Swifts anymore. There’s no more of that real Disney sound. Even in country music, they’re talking about things that you don’t want an eight year old to listen to. Everything has gone in a darker, more negative place. … Nobody’s putting anything out positive. That’s one of the reasons we’re really pushing what she’s doing. Not just for her, but for her when she was eight years old. “I think there’s a place for what Abby is singing.”

They call me a sentimental classic. A dreamer in rose-colored glasses. A girl walking through this world with her heart on her sleeve. … Make a wish every boy and girl so we can wake up in a world where love’s the only answer. It’s gonna be the best day ever. — “Best Day Ever” While Ballerini recalls singing on stage with Shania Twain when asked about giving Abby that opportunity, she decided to pay it forward. Abby took a page from her idol’s playbook when she started the Best Day Ever Foundation. For her 12th birthday present, April and her father, Brian, decided to help Abby make her first music video for “Best Day Ever.” It was that experience that gave Abby the idea of making sure others had their own magical day. “I like the idea,” she said. “When I filmed the music video for “Best Day Ever,” that was probably one of the best days of my life. I had my friends with me, I loved the music that I was putting out and it was really fun. … I want other people to have a best day ever.” The foundation acts as a “hyperlocal Make-A-Wish,” helping families in need. In 2016, the foundation helped a child with Down Syndrome have a Disney Store shopping experience and the following year, they helped some children — and their parents — with Christmas gifts.

I belong to the southern wind. I’m an old sweet song that’s born again. I’m a part of the river runnin’, runnin’ to the coast. — “Front Porch Swing” Recently, Abby finished shooting her second music video, this time for “Front Porch Swing.” It’s expected to be out this month. “Making a music video is so much fun,” she said. “For the last music video

may 2018 | 15

that I did, “Front Porch Swing,” I got to do my own makeup. I had my friend there to help me. I got ready at Joey and Rory’s Farm, which was super cool because I got to meet Indiana and Rory. … My first music video was a lot different from my last one.” It’s a long way from the start of her musical journey, seven years ago at Clayton Idol. “In the beginning, we just wanted to get her on stage so she could sing anywhere she could,” April said. “We’re really trying to be thoughtful (now) of what she does and how she does things and what’s good for her, longevity-wise.” Naturally, everyone in the Stephens’ house wants Abby to become a star. But they’re all approaching it with their eyes wide open. “She knows she wants to have a career in music,” April said. “Whether she’s singing on stage, or if she finds herself as some kind of music teacher or in production of some sort. “She’s done some voice auditions and stuff, and she’ll probably do “American Idol” when she’s old enough, but we’re not putting all of our eggs in that basket. We’d rather her have a career that she can be proud of, rather than just a day in the spotlight.” With that in mind, the family tries to keep Abby’s music work and her everyday life as separate as possible. “At school it’s pretty normal,” Abby said. “I’ll sing at a few baseball games and they know that I sing, but nobody really brings it up. Which is good, because I like to live a normal life here, and then when I go to Nashville, I like to sing all that I can.” So, there’s West Johnston Abby and Nashville Abby. But both of them wear cowboy boots. “We do try to give her the “Hannah Montana” lifestyle,” April said. “The



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may 2018 | 17

way she dresses, the way she fixes her hair, when we go to Nashville, it’s a little bit different. We have clothes, and we’re like, ‘OK, this is a Nashville outfit’ versus what she normally wears. “We’ve kind of figured it out along the way. She makes it easy. The artist development group does, too. She’s been surrounded by some great people. They’re great mentors. They’re Christian-based. They have a whole podcast series just on how to parent a child who wants to be in entertainment.” Sometimes, the worlds blend together. Like for school plays. “I’ve been in the school musical and the past two weeks we’ve been having practice until 8 o’clock every night,” she said. “It’s gotten a little bit harder to balance everything.” But thanks to her support system at home, her extended family and even her teachers who give her assignments to work on while she’s on the interstate between Benson and Nashville, she manages it. She even finds time for theater arts, knitting and serving with her youth group. “We’re just super proud of her,” April said. “She’s a blessing. We say that every day. As a parent, you always want to see your kids succeed. Selfishly, we do love being a part of that and being able to help. But she’s always been a very independent person. She’s always been an old soul since she was little. She’s one of those that you really hope that all she’s working for comes true. She deserves it.”

I’m gonna get where I’m going like a river when it’s flowing ain’t nobody gonna get in my way. I believe in the dreams I’m dreamin’. — “Dreams” For more, visit and find her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.


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South Johnston educator named Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Month Submitted by Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce

From left to right, Cecelia Banks, SJHS Assistant Principal, Missy Medlin, HomeTowne Realty, Tim Barbour, Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce President, Candace Parker, Teachers Lead Four Oaks recipient, David Pearce, SJHS Principal, Ron James, SJHS Assistant Principal and William Weaver, SJHS Assistant Principal.

FOUR OAKS — The Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce and HomeTowne Realty are celebrating Candace Parker of South Johnston High School as April’s Teachers Lead Four Oaks, Teacher of the Month recipient. The Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce and HomeTowne Realty have partnered to present Teachers Lead Four Oaks, a monthly recognition for Four Oaks teachers. Four Oaks teachers are a vital part of developing and leading our future workforce and future community leaders. The Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce recognizes teachers who motivate and

inspire their students through their teaching practices and their commitment to the community. Parker has worked to create a veterinarian tech program where her students assist in local veterinarian offices. She has also created a pet salon at SJHS and is the leader of their FFA Chapter. South Johnston High School Principal David Pearce and Assistant Principal Cecelia Banks shared as part of the nomination process, “Parker motivates and inspires her students through her openness and approachability. She maintains positive relationships with her students and fosters

a desire for her students to learn. She is deserving of this nomination due to her passion for teaching and her desire to see her students learn and succeed in all their endeavors.” Parker was presented with a certificate of recognition as well as a bag of gifts from many of the Chamber member businesses including HomeTowne Realty, The Vine and Branch, Superior Ladies, AQ Drafting Services, McDonald’s of Four Oaks, Four Oaks Interiors, Johnston Health, Scentsy representative Theron Kammerer, Carly Fogleman Photography, Terri Sessoms, June Raynor and House-Autry Mills.



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Governor visits Grifols, awards plant state’s Environmental Steward Award Submitted by Grifols

CLAYTON — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper visited Grifols’ Clayton manufacturing campus recently to tour the company’s North Fractionation Facility. The Governor was joined by Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan. During the visit, Regan presented the state’s Environmental Steward Award to Grifols. “This plant has gone above and beyond efforts to try to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills,” Cooper said. “They’re doing good things, understanding that a strong environment and a strong economy go hand-inhand.” The Environmental Steward recognition is the highest level of achievement in the Environmental Stewardship Initiative (ESI) led by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. The Steward level is reserved for organizations that demonstrate a record of excellent environmental performance and pledge to continue that commitment in the future. For Cooper, the distinction for Grifols, coupled with the company’s growth and success in Johnston County, proves that profitability and environmental stewardship can coexist. “Some of the things you can do as a company to make you a better sustainable company can reduce your energy costs,” Cooper said. “It can

reduce your cost in having to dispose of waste and when you look at what is environmentally helpful, often times in the long run — though it may require an initial investment — it can save a company money.” Regan, a Goldsboro native, is hopeful that Grifols can serve as an example for companies in neighboring communities. “It’s been amazing, looking at the leadership at Grifols and other companies in Johnston County as well,” Regan said. “To see what it means to bring a global company to the local economy and grow jobs in counties like Johnston County, hopefully Wayne County and others can benefit from that.”

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Grifols employs around 2,400 people across the state. As Johnston County’s largest private employer, the company will invest $210 million in the Clayton site between 2016 and 2022. “Grifols strives for excellence in every area of our organization, including environmental initiatives,” said Juan Antonio Garcia Diaz, President of Grifols Therapeutics LLC. “We are passionate about being an Environmental Steward and being a good neighbor in the communities where we operate. It’s an honor to have our efforts recognized by the ESI.” To learn more about Grifols, visit Randy Capps contributed to this article.

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Johnston Health honors patient care coordinator as Ambassador of the Month Submitted by Johnston Health

SMITHFIELD — Melanie Joyner, the patient care coordinator for the SECU Hospice House, has been named Johnston Health Ambassador of the Month. During a recent presentation, CEO Chuck Elliott said Joyner has the respect and admiration of coworkers, physicians and nurses, as well as care managers/social workers from the eastern half of the state. “Her patience, compassion and concern are a standard that all nurses and care providers could emulate,” he said. Joyner, an RN, is among the original staff of the hospice house, which opened in June 2010. Before coming aboard, she worked as a nurse in telemetry at a hospital in Dunn. She became interested in working with hospice after her father needed end-of-life care. Although his time with hospice was short, Joyner says she was so impressed with hospice that she decided she wanted to offer that same kind of care and support for others. At the hospice house, she started out as a bedside nurse, and loved it right away. “From the ground up, I’ve enjoyed being part of a wonderful team,” she said. “Everyone is here for the right reason.” Joyner is also a practitioner in the Healing Touch Program, a therapy that is an energy-based approach to health and healing. “It’s used in hospice as a way to alleviate

At center, CEO Chuck Elliott congratulates Melanie Joyner on being named Johnston Health Ambassador of the Month. At far left is Tracey Carson, an administrative director of patient care services. At far right is Dr. Dennis Koffer, medical director of hospice.

pain and anxiety,” she said. Joyner and her husband, Greg, live in Buies Creek. They have two daughters and two granddaughters. Through the ambassador program, Johnston Health recognizes employees

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JCPS students and staff recognized at March meeting Submitted by Johnston County Public Schools

SMITHFIELD — The Johnston County Board of Education recognized outstanding staff members and students who demonstrated excellence in the classroom, in athletics or in the community at their March meeting.

The Johnston County Board of Education recognized students who demonstrated integrity during the month of March. Those who were recognized on the front row, from left, are Cooper Elementary student Breanna Diaz and Dixon Road Elementary student Tiara Everette. Back row: Corinth-Holders Elementary student Katy McKeever, Johnston County Early College Academy student Alexis Killin and Corinth Holders High student Stella Blackwell.

Smithfield-Selma High senior Josh Faison was recognized by the Johnston County Board of Education for winning the NCHSAA 3A Indoor Track and Field State Championship in the shot put. Faison’s winning throw was 50 feet, 9 inches, which was six inches better than the runner-up.


North Johnston High senior Tayanna Jones was recognized by the Johnston County Board of Education for being selected to participate in the 2018 Carolinas Classic All-Star Girls basketball game at Hoggard High in Wilmington. Jones has signed to play basketball for Georgetown University in the fall.

The Johnston County Board of Education recognized Clayton High School Resource Officer Robbie Broughton for being recognized by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association as one of the inaugural Moe’s Hometown Heroes. Officer Broughton was nominated and selected for serving as a role model in the Clayton High community and, making a difference in lives of students. He has served as the SRO at Clayton High for five years.

Dewey Baker (left), General Services Foreman, was recognized as the March Classified Employee of the Month at this month’s Johnston County Board of Education meeting. Kelly Davis (right), media coordinator at Polenta Elementary, was recognized as the March Certified Employee of the Month at this month’s Johnston County Board of Education meeting.

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County-wide campaign launches to raise awareness around diabetes Submitted by Johnston Health

SMITHFIELD — Johnston Health recently launched Derailing Diabetes, a year-long countywide campaign designed to raise awareness and educate citizens about the prevalence of pre-diabetes and the harmful effects of Type-2 diabetes. About 2,624,000 people in North Carolina have pre-diabetes — a health condition if left untreated leads to Type 2 diabetes and

other serious health conditions like heart disease, stroke and nerve damage. Additionally, an estimated 247,000 people in North Carolina have diabetes but haven’t been diagnosed yet, greatly increasing the associated health risks. Unfortunately, the majority of people who are pre-diabetic or diabetic aren’t aware of it, nor are they educated on the long-term

risks associated with leaving it untreated. Johnston Health is committed to changing this. “The campaign’s goal is to reach 20,000 people in twelve months. If we meet the mark our efforts to derail diabetes in Johnston County will be a success,” said Lori Ann Martin, director of education for Johnston Health.

The tactics behind Derailing Diabetes are simple: »» Know your numbers: Take a risk test and participate in complimentary glucose screenings.

»» Adapt healthy lifestyle changes: Manage your weight, exercise moderately, quit smoking and eat a healthy diet.

»» Educate yourself: Know the symptoms of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, which can be so mild that they can go unnoticed.

“This is about changing the lifestyle of the population of an at-risk county by giving them the resources they need,” said Dr. Eric Janis. “We will be conducting educational classes, support groups, health talks and complimentary glucose screenings throughout the year at local county events.” Visit to learn more.

Junior Women’s League gears for annual fundraiser Submitted by Junior Women’s League of Smithfield

SMITHFIELD — Join the ladies of the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield as they host their their annual Big Night Out Gala benefiting Harbor of Johnston County on Friday, June 1, beginning at 7 p.m. at The Farm at 42. “The BNO committee is working diligently on creating a memorable evening through charity, camaraderie and cheer,” said Nicole Layden, Big Night Out committee chair. “We are excited for what BNO 2018 has in store and kicking off the summer season with great food, entertainment and celebration. It’s going to be a fun and fabulous event that should not be missed.” In 2017, 1,219 children in Johnston County were impacted by domestic violence and

sexual assault. As no child should have to endure this trauma, it is essential that there are services available to these children to help them move beyond a life of violence. That’s why the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield has selected Harbor of Johnston County as the recipient of our Community Impact Grant, which is supported by the Big Night Out fundraiser. Harbor will utilize the funds raised by Big Night Out to help fund a child advocate position, which will allow them to provide additional services to children who have been traumatically impacted by domestic violence and/or sexual assault.. The funds granted will make those efforts not only come to fruition but also place

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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 Monthly NAMI support groups The Johnston County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness offers monthly support groups for those suffering with mental illness and their families. Regular meetings are held in Clayton, Selma and Smithfield. For more information, contact Richard Callahan at 919-4643572 or email 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. First Thursday, noon and third Monday, 6 p.m. Kiwanis Club of Clayton Cleveland Draft House, U.S. 70 Business The newly formed Kiwanis Club of Clayton serves the community with emphasis on school youth Kiwanis programs. They advise two local high school KEY clubs (Kiwanis Educating Youth) and meets twice each month. For more information, email president Jack Tucker at mrtcpa@ or call 805-377-9573.


Every Tuesday, 7 a.m. Cleveland School Rotary Club Cleveland Draft House, Garner Cleveland School Rotary Club meets weekly and serves the citizens of the 40/42 area of Johnston County and Garner. First and third Tuesdays, Noon 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. Second Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. Johnston County Chapter of National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees Join the Johnston County Chapter of National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees for their monthly meeting on the second Wednesday of each month at Golden Corral. Stay up to date on the latest educational programs and federal and state legislation affecting current federal employees and retirees. To learn more, email

Third Tuesday Widowed Persons Fellowship Group Parkside Cafe, Pine Level The Widowed Persons Fellowship Group, Johnston County, cordially invites widowed males and females to join them at their monthly self-pay dinner meeting. There is no charge to join their group. Come and see what they’re all about. Call 919-965-3865 with any questions. Every Wednesday, 10 a.m. Bible Study with Cats Kosmic Kittens Cat Lounge Come out for a casual, cat-filled, study of God’s word in fellowship and take a dive into scripture. Weekly topics will be based on the group’s discussion. Coffee provided. Call 919-337-5345 for more details. 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, 8-10 a.m. Plant a Row for the Hungry - Johnston County JCC Arboretum Volunteers plan and take care of vegetable gardens and an orchard year round, and all of the harvest is donated to local soup kitchens and food pantries. No previous gardening experience is required and training is provided. Adults welcome, and anyone under 16 must be accompanied by a parent. For more information, please contact Tiffany at Every Thursday, 12 p.m. 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. 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 locally owned restaurants, catch a movie at the Howell Theatre and enjoy some small town charm! First Friday of the month, 7:30-9 a.m. Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce Member Breakfast Triple Barrel Tavern, Garner Join the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce for its free member breakfast each month. Contact the chamber at 919-773-8448 for more information. Third Friday Clayton Area Parkinson’s Group All people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers are invited to learn, socialize and exchange ideas in friendly and casual meetings. Meeting locations and times vary. To learn more, call Mark or Jane Wilson at 919-359-0633 or 919-631-2628. Or email

Fourth Friday of the month, 7-9 p.m. Open Mic Night Kosmic Kittens Cat Lounge, Selma Check out amateur open mic night at the lounge. You can eat before at Danoni’s or Hula Girl next door, or order take out/delivery and eat in. Come practice your skills, test out new or old material, or just wing it and have a great time at the new open mic night in 2018. For more information, call 919-337-5345. Friday, May 4, 7:30 p.m. Brien Barbour in concert Simple Twist Taproom Check out some of the best country, bluegrass, folk and southern rock around with Johnston County native Brien Barbour. There’s no cover charge and for more information, visit or call 919-934-1033. Saturday, May 5 Ham and Yam Festival Downtown Smithfield Come out for the 34th annual Ham & Yam Festival in Downtown Smithfield. With pig races, inflatables, vendors, entertainment, and ham and yam foods, it’s a fun day for the entire family. For the full schedule of events, visit Saturday, May 5, 3:30 p.m. Portofino Derby Classic Portofino Equestrian Center, Portofino Drive, Clayton The Portofino Derby Classic is a unique way to “party with a purpose” together with hundreds of people from all over Eastern North Carolina, with net proceeds benefiting cancer patients through the Johnston Health Foundation’s Angel Fund. For tickets, visit

Saturday, May 5 Blackfeet Nation 5K Run/Walk First Baptist Church Four Oaks First Baptist Church Four Oaks is hosting a 5K Run/Walk to raise money for its mission trip in July to the Blackfeet Nation in Montana. The cost is $20 before April 5 and $20 after. For more information, call the church office at 919-963-2102. Saturday, May 5, 9 a.m. Veteran’s Expo DAV building, Buffalo Road, Smithfield This event is to show appreciation to Johnston County veterans and their families. While enjoying the food, games, door prizes and free haircuts, the Johnston County Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans will provide information on benefits, how to file claims and the resources that are available. May 5, 10 a.m. Free Comic Book Day Pauper’s Books & More Check out thousands of free comics, a signing by Jeremy Whitley, creator of “Princeless,” free face-painting, free caricatures by Bruce Stevenson a huge raffle and fun for the whole family. For more, call 919-550-2777. May 5 and 12, 10 a.m. May 6 and 13, 1 p.m. 2018 High School Art Exhibition STEAM building, Johnston Community College The Frank Creech Art Gallery presents the 2018 High School Art Exhibition featuring students from Johnston County Schools.

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May 5, 6:30 p.m. May 12 and 17, 12:30 p.m. American Music Jubilee — Rudy Theatre Don’t miss the Spring show of the American Music Jubliee at the Rudy Theatre. It’s a music variety show that’s a twohour family friendly extravaganza that will have you singing along with your favorite songs, laughing out loud and feeling a stirring of pride from deep within your soul as they pay tribute to this great country. For tickets, visit May 10-12 East Coast Truckers Jamboree and Truck Show Kenly 95 Petro Come out for the annual jamboree and truck show in Kenly. On Thursday, the Embers, featuring Craig Woolard, will be in concert. Too Much Sylvia will take the stage on Friday, and there will be a fireworks display at 9 p.m. Saturday is Community Day, featuring sidewalk sales, raffles, kids’ activities, entertainment and more. For more details, visit Saturday, May 12, 9 a.m. Selma Saturdays Arts and Crafts Market Gather with friends and enjoy live local entertainment and browse local artists with hand-crafted items. The gazebo is located at the 100 Block of E. Anderson Street in Uptown Selma in the back parking lot of Town Hall. Vendors and entertainment acts are needed throughout the year. For complete information, call 919-975-1411.

Saturday, May 12, 3 p.m. Johnston County Chorale — Made in the USA: A Celebration of American Music The Clayton Center The Johnston County Chorale will present its spring performance on May 12 at 3 p.m. at The Clayton Center. The program is titled Made in the USA: A Celebration of American Music, and will include an American Bandstand tribute as well as country and gospel music. A special patriotic finale will recognize the branches of our military. Tickets are $15 each for adults and $10 each for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at, by calling the box office at 919-553-1737 or by visiting The Clayton Center. For more information, email Thursday, May 17, 8 p.m. David Myles The Clayton Center Like his trademark suit, David Myles music is timeless. From soulful, contemporary pop crooners to delicate, jazzy folk ditties, from down-home, back porch roots tunes to infectious hip-hop earworms, this Juno Award winner’s only artistic constants are his always growing, shape-shifting songwriting, and his exceptional ability to entertain. For tickets, visit and=theclaytoncenter. Saturday, May 19, 9 a.m. Howell Woodstock Under the Stars Howell Woods, Four Oaks Enjoy free recreational activities and tours throughout the day and an astronomy demonstration at 8 p.m. There is also the opportunity to camp out on site for free. For more details, call 919-938-0115.

Saturday, May 19, 11 a.m. Fashion Show and Spring Fling 1225 Shady Tree Road, Benson This event, presented by Cleo’s Closet and More Decor in Four Oaks, serves as a fundraiser for Special Olympics of Johnston County. There will also be crafts, door prizes and refreshments. For more information, call Barbara at 919-915-3311. Thursday, May 19, 7 p.m. Frank Sinatra Tribute with Bill Stonehouse and the NC Revelers Rudy Theatre, Selma Don’t miss a Frank Sinatra Tribute with Bill Stonehouse and the NC Revelers live at the Rudy Theatre. May 26, 1 p.m. Substance Abuse Awareness Event JCC Public Safety Building, College Road, Smithfield Hosted by Johnston County’s Opioid Task Force, this event will feature guest speakers, drop box locations and much more. For more information, call 919-989-5200. Monday, May 28, 10:15 a.m. Princeton Memorial Day Observance Railroad Avenue, Princeton Princeton will hold its annual Memorial Day ceremony at the memorial near BB&T. Monday, May 28, 11 a.m. Johnston County Veterans honoring fallen servicemen and women Johnston County Courthouse, Smithfield Johnston County Veterans will proudly honor fallen servicemen and women during a Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 28 at 11 a.m. The service will be held at the Johnston County Courthouse Atrium. The public is cordially invited to attend.

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