Northwest Observer / 2021 Spring At Home

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Spring 2021

IN THIS ISSUE Sorting, donating, discarding – ahhhhh! ................ 6 How COVID has influenced homeowners’ wishes ...8 Design trends take unexpected turn ..................... 9 ‘Here comes the sun’: Solar energy .....................11 Ai Church is back in the cycle of life......................12 Honoring Summerfield’s ‘bugler boy’ ....................18 One foot at a time: Connecting the MST ............ 24

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Spring 2021

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Come visit us at the Parade of Homes Saturday & Sunday, May 1-2

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Husband-and-wife team Rich and Kathy Dumas started their home building business in 1992. Over the last 30 years, R&K Custom Homes has built over 450 custom homes in distinguished s ubdivisions throughout Guilford County.

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Rich and Kathy believe choosing where you live is as important as how you live, and that’s why R&K’s exclusive custom homes are situated in beautiful natural surroundings, often complemented by quiet and soothing wooded areas and gentle, rolling hills. The team at R&K Custom Homes walks with homeowners the entire way through the decisionmaking process, from researching available home loans, selecting a lot, determining materials, creating layouts and landscaping, to choosing colors, finding cabinets, countertops, hardware and more. Having the opportunity to make homeowners’ ideas and vision become a reality is what Rich and Kathy still enjoy about being in the home building business after almost 30 years. The R&K team’s goal is 100% customer satisfaction, and they simply won’t sign off on the job until their homeowners are completely happy with their new custom-built home.

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Getting rid of that ‘stuff ’ can be an act of love

Sorting through and discarding or donating the items you’ve accumulated in life can be an act of love that will be much appreciated after you’re gone

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Spring 2021

by ANNETTE JOYCE When Nancy Creider’s 98-yearold mother passed away nearly two years ago, Nancy and her sister were faced with the task of cleaning out their mother’s belongings and selling her townhome. Since her sister lived in Florida, the bulk of the work fell on Nancy’s shoulders. Fortunately, when her mother moved to Kernersville from her Pennsylvania home in 2007, she had already made the task lighter through the process of downsizing.

“But even though she had gotten rid of a lot of furniture and stuff, there was still a lot left,” said Nancy, who also lives in Kernersville.

“At first you feel overwhelmed, wondering ‘what am I going to do with all this stuff?’” she continued. “My sister suggested we have someone come in and clean it all out, but I didn’t want to do that. This was my mother’s stuff.”

Nancy had about a month to remove everything before the house went on the market. With the help of her immediate family, she took care of her mother’s belongings by first letting family members and friends take what they wanted, and then selling some items, donating others to various organizations and finally tossing and shredding what was trash. It was an emotional and exhausting job, but was nothing compared to what her son, Jim, and his wife, Terri, were dealing with at the same time. As executor for his paternal grandparents’ estate, Jim was charged with the task of cleaning out their Florida home. Since there were no relatives nearby to help with the process, Jim and Terri drove 12 hours from their Kernersville home to Lakeland, Florida, once a month for about five months and spent at least a week each time going through their grandparents’ possessions. “They weren’t hoarders, but they had never really cleaned out anything,” Terri said. “They loved going to Goodwill and the Salvation Army to pick up knick-knacks.

continued on page 30


e c n e l l Exce m s a i s u Enth e c n e i r Expe

impact of

on homeowners’

wants and needs

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(336) 215-9856

Hundreds of families served since 1996

25 years experience Platinum Award 2020 #1 KW Agent Award in NC & SC 2020 There is no place like home

Photo courtesy of Ray Bullins Construction Co.

This flexible space created by Ray Bullins Construction Co. gives homeowners the ability to have both a home office and a study area.

by ANNETTE JOYCE The pandemic which surfaced early in 2020 impacted nearly every aspect of people’s lives, including how they viewed their living space and what features they wanted included in it. Northwest-area builders, Realtors and one pool retailer we talked to for this article shared how homeowners have responded to spending more time not only living, but working at home.

Office and classroom space

Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-athome orders last year resulted in many people working from home while their children attended school


Spring 2021

virtually from home. Those lacking dedicated office space or extra space for multiple children to study sought refuge in extra bedrooms and dining rooms, at kitchen tables or even on the living room sofa. In many cases, parents and children were sharing the same work space. The challenges of working and attending school from home increased demand for both dedicated office and study space. “Most buyers are looking for additional rooms that can be used as in-home office space for the adults or in-home virtual study areas for their children where they can limit the distractions,” confirmed

continued on page 14

MODERN FARMHOUSE: an updated twist on ‘country’ Often local new home builders’ most requested style, the modern farmhouse blends country with contemporary; the French country-style home is also trending by ANNETTE JOYCE New home builders in northwest Guilford County we talked with for this article told us the modern farmhouse is hands down their most requested style of house. We’re not talking about the rustic, repurposed look of the past, but a modernized style that incorporates muted or white exterior colors and reflects the home’s natural surroundings.

Down on the farm

The modern farmhouse marries the coziness of a farmhouse with the sleek, clean lines of contemporary design to create a refreshing take on the rustic country look.

While interiors are a mix of various finishes and colors, exteriors tend to have muted color schemes, or are white with black windows and accents.

vertical board and batten siding with black windows for accents. Out of the last 15 builds, that’s what half of our buyers wanted,” said Annette Mills, who co-owns Don Mills Builders with her husband, Don. At Builders MD, co-owner Casey Flanders is seeing the same trend. “We’re about to build our seventh house in a row with the white brick and black windows,” said Flanders, who does the design work for Builders MD while her husband, David, handles the construction. Flanders said the homebuyers Builders MD is working with are doing both natural white brick and painted brick. “We’ll buy the most inexpensive brick we can find and then paint it white,” she said. “The color is more consistent, and it’s kind of trendy.”

“We’re doing a lot of white

Photo courtesy of Builders MD

Mixing modern black metal stair railings with more traditional materials gives this Builders MD home timeless appeal.

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Solar energy

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by CHRIS BURRITT OAK RIDGE – When an ice storm knocked down trees and power lines across northwestern Guilford County in February, the lights didn’t flicker at the Oak Ridge home of Stacy Wentworth and her husband, Todd D’Andrea. The Oak Ridge couple had installed a solar energy system in 2019. Not only has drawing power from the sun slashed their electricity bill by about 90 percent, the batteries they installed at extra expense keeps the power humming during outages caused by ice storms. “It runs itself; there is no upkeep,” Wentworth said one recent evening while sitting on her patio and overlooking her horse pasture. On the roof above sit 24 solar panels that collect sunlight for most of the day. A combination of environmental consciousness and practicality spurred the couple’s switch to solar. They live at the end of a long road, and when earlier ice storms downed overhead power lines they were among the last homeowners in the area to regain electricity for their house and horse barn. After comparison shopping, they determined that going solar would cost roughly the same as installing a whole-house generator. People who install solar energy systems can benefit from federal tax credits

935 E Mountain St., Suite H Kernersville, NC 27284

(336) 993-9650

Photo by Chris Burritt/NWO

For most of the year, Terry Painter-Moore and her husband, Sankey, generate more electricity than they consume with a solar energy system at their Oak Ridge home. Their monthly bill during low-usage months is as low as $15.80. and Duke Energy rebates that reduce costs for buying and installing the systems. In northwestern Guilford County, solar energy systems are gradually gaining popularity. Contractors installed 13 systems in Oak Ridge, Summerfield and Stokesdale in 2020, up from six in 2017, according to a zip code-based tally by the NC Sustainable Energy Association in Raleigh. In total, solar energy powers 40 houses and two businesses in the three towns, a sliver of the tens of thousands of houses using traditional electricity. While costs vary depending upon the size and other particulars of houses, a residential solar energy system runs about $30,000, according to Daniel Parker, an energy data analyst at the Raleigh-based association. The upfront cost probably

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Spring 2021


Saved from near ruin, Ai Church again celebrating cycle of life Photo courtesy of JCM Photography of Asheville

The wedding of Lauren Chaney and Adam Key in February marked the reopening of Ai Church after a decade-long renovation.

by CHRIS BURRITT OAK RIDGE – Even before they were engaged, Lauren Chaney and Adam Key knew they wanted to celebrate their wedding vows in the historic Ai Church. The couple was married in February, marking

the first wedding in the church since its decadelong renovation led by Preservation Oak Ridge Foundation. Just weeks later, funeral services for Gail Smith of Stokesdale took place in the church, followed by her burial in the cemetery flanking the church on N.C. 68 and Alcorn Road.

Dating back more than two centuries, the white structure is once again hosting events spanning the cycle of life. Renovated at a cost of roughly $375,000, the hilltop church appeals to people with connections to the Quakers, Methodists and

continued on page 28

The “Look” of Oak Ridge’s Commercial District is no accident

Oak Ridge Historic Preservation Commission Preserving the Past for the Future

For more information about the HPC or to volunteer to help, please visit Oak Ridge Town Hall or call (336) 644-7009.


• The Historic Preservation Commission works closely with builders and developers on new projects and renovations. • Design guidelines are in place to foster compatible growth in the Historic District. • The result of this relationship benefits everyone when preserving our unique historic heritage and creating a visually pleasing community.

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IMPACT OF COVID ON HOMES continued from page 8

Gil Vaughan, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Greensboro North. Realtors believe the changes brought about by COVID are likely to be longterm, as working from home over the past year has appealed to many employers and their employees. “Companies are finding that employees can be just as efficient, or even more efficient, at home. This might be a trend that’s here to stay,” said Ray Bullins, who along with his wife, Lisa, owns Ray Bullins Construction Co. in Kernersville. “Our buyers want a designated office, not just an extra bedroom that can be used as an office,” said Ray Bullins, adding that many buyers are opting to finish out storage or attic space to gain the extra square footage. During last year’s Greensboro Builders Association’s Parade of Homes, Bullins showcased a home with a three-car garage, with the space above the garage designed to be a flex area that included

Photo courtesy of Builders MD

Builders MD gives new meaning – and possibilities – to a walk-in pantry.

office/study space at the front and a separate bedroom and bath at the back. Bullins said when a recent homebuyer stopped by the house and saw this feature, he decided he wanted something similar. “(The homebuyer) had a similar floorplan, but the same space in his

home was unfinished,” Bullins said. “We went back into his house, which had been finished for less than a year, and added space for a homeschooling area and an office.” Builders MD has also seen an uptick in the desire for home offices. “It seems more like a must-have than

it has been in the past,” said Drew Stokes, operations manager for the Oak Ridge builder. Bobbie Gardner, owner of Bobbie Gardner Realty in Stokesdale, is seeing the same scenario. “Buyers are looking for office space in all homes, new or existing. At some point, they are working remotely from home,” Gardner said. “A desk area/space for children to set up their laptops and do classroom work or homework is also required. Even homebuyers who are retired like to have space to work on their computer and keep their records.” To be efficient, Gardner said, these office and class areas require not only extra space, but features that are practical and usable. “High-speed internet is a must,”

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Spring 2021

Gardner said. “Another important need is receptacles to supply multiple laptops and printers.” “Most (buyers) need at least one, if not two home offices,” concurred DeDe Cunningham, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Greensboro. “Many of them are looking for homes with flexibility so that a space can be used for one purpose now and a second purpose as their family dynamic changes.”

Bigger is better

With COVID-related restrictions lingering, individuals have felt the walls closing in and desire a larger floorplan. “Generally, houses were trending down in size (before COVID) but now they seem to be going up in size,” said Commie Johnson, a co-owner of Johnson & Lee Builders in Stokesdale. “When people spend 24/7 in their house, they’re going to want more space.” Lisa Bullins has seen this in her company’s homes as well. For instance, “buyers are leaning toward bigger pantries with lots of countertops and quad plugs,” she said. Larger pantries can not only handle food storage but act as additional workspace for the kitchen, she added. Bulky appliances such as crockpots, air fryers, mixers and blenders find a permanent home in the pantry, freeing up kitchen counter space. Even a complete coffee bar could be set up in these spacious room-sized pantries. Organization and convenience are key when people have more space and are stuck at home. The closets being built by Builders MD are an example of this. When possible, Stokes said his company will install drawers with laundry baskets in the master closet. On laundry day, the drawer is pushed into the adjacent laundry room for loading into the washer.

Take it outside

Homebuyers have focused even more on their outdoor living space since COVID came on the scene, and they want attractive places where they can

safely gather with friends and family. “Porches are becoming more and more of a want,” Stokes said. “We’ve had a lot of people talking about these as a way to get out of the house. They’ve been cooped up and they just want to get outside.” Builders MD always adds some sort of porch to its homes, whether it’s simply a covered porch, a screened-in porch or a more elaborate, extended outdoor area. Stokes said most of the company’s homebuyers want a fireplace, a place for a table, a grill and maybe even an outdoor kitchen. Johnson of Johnson & Lee said his company has built some beautiful outdoor areas, complete with all the bells and whistles. However, recently he’s seen a scaling back on these areas due to costs. “With the price of lumber, etc., everyone’s just trying to afford the house,” Johnson said. “(Outdoor areas) are still on people’s minds, but they’re putting them off for a bit. Right now, people are just doing patios and decks rather than going crazy on the outside.” Over the past year, Stokes said the demand for building lots suitable for swimming pools has also increased, which he feels is probably connected to the pandemic. Ray Kopp, an owner of Paradise Pools and Spas in Greensboro, confirmed that his company’s pool and spa sales skyrocketed as of early last year, when people began to realize that public pools would be closed for the summer and their vacations would be cancelled. “People don’t want to sit side-byside or be in close proximity with other people,” Kopp said. “We had an influx of people who found out that pools were more affordable than they thought and it was just easier to have one in their own backyard.” Having lived through the restrictions imposed by COVID, homeowners don’t want to be caught off guard again. With that in mind, they’re preparing for a more comfortable future by taking advantage of all the amenities a home can offer.

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Honoring the ‘bugler boy’ Thanks to Heather Buttonow and the Summerfield Historical Committee for their contributions to this article SUMMERFIELD – During the Revolutionary War it was not uncommon to enlist young men between 14 and 16 years of age, and occasionally even as young as 11. James Gillies, also known as General “Light-Horse Harry” Lee’s bugle boy, was no older than 12 when he enlisted with the Continental Army. Gillies was killed Feb. 12, 1781, in Summerfield by British soldiers; he was 14 at the time of his death. An article in “The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps” described the circumstances surrounding Gillies’ death this way: “On February 12, 1781, Continental Army Trumpeter James Gillies was killed while on patrol near what is now Summerfield, North Carolina. Reported to be only 14 when he died, Gillies had enlisted initially as a private in the 2nd Troop of General Henry Lee’s Legion, in April of 1778. This made him perhaps only 11 or 12 years old when he enlisted.” According to the article, Gillies was part of General Lee’s detachment that was investigating a reported sighting of the

James Gillies, General “Light-Horse Harry” Lee’s bugle boy, was around 14 when he died in Summerfield during the Revolutionary War. Historically, the bugle, one of the simplest brass instruments, was used in the cavalry to relay instructions from officers to soldiers during battle. In 1941 a chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution placed a memorial plaque (inset above) to honor Gillies beside N.C. 150 near the Oak RidgeSummerfield town borders, where the young bugle boy was killed by British soldiers Feb. 12, 1781. About five years ago, town staff began working in partnership with Summerfield’s Historical Committee to clear the memorial site, which had become overgrown after many years of neglect; a natural footpath to the site was eventually created and the Historical Committee placed a historical marker (opposite page) there in 2018.

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British Army officer Banastre Tarleton’s dragoons (dragoons were a class of mounted infantry who rode horses, but dismounted to fight on foot. According to Wikipedia, they later were increasingly also employed as conventional cavalry and trained for combat with swords and firearms from horseback). “General Lee sent a small detachment of American soldiers, including Gillies and the civilian (Isaac Wright) who spotted the British dragoons and helped guide the American soldiers. (Gillies was ordered to allow Mr. Wright the use of his rested military horse, while Gillies road (sic) with the detachment on Mr. Wright’s farm horse.) “While out scouting for the British dragoons, the American detachment was taken by surprise when they came upon the British dragoons resting at a surprisingly short distance away. Immediately, the American detachment

retreated for reinforcement, but Gillies’ tired farm horse was unmatched for the perusing (sic) British military horses. The British dragoons soon charged and overtook Gillies, unhorsing him, and brutally attacking him with drawn swords. “General Lee’s troops charged back to aid the American detachment and were victorious in the skirmish by killing numerous British dragoons, but trumpeter Gillies soon died from his deadly wounds.” Due to unfortunate fires the War Department building sustained Nov. 8, 1800, many military documents were destroyed, but Summerfield Historical Committee members continue to do extensive research on Gillies by combing through Revolutionary War military books, newspaper articles,, Fold3, FamilySearch, the U.S. National Archives and conducting internet searches. “Our goal for Gillies was to research and humanize this brave soldier who was never too small, never too young, and never to be forgotten,” wrote Historical Committee member Heather Buttonow. As a tribute to Gillies and the important role he played in Summerfield’s history, a sketch of him with his bugle is included on the town seal.

want to know more? For more information about Gillies and locations of monuments in Summerfield and Greensboro that honor his service to our country during the Revolutionary War, visit:; – search for “bugler boy”; and Gillies is buried in the Bruce family cemetery across from Summerfield Elementary School. To learn more, visit

INGLE LAW, PLLC We are engaged in the general practice of law, including personal injuries, business formation, misdemeanor criminal defense, family law, estate work, and residential and commercial real estate closings. To all our clients, neighbors, friends, and community members affected by COVID-19:

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MODERN FARMHOUSE continued from page 9

Paige Friddle, who along with husband Michael owns Friddle and Company, confirms the modern farmhouse is popular with her company’s homebuyers, as well as another kind of country look – French country. “We are building a wide range of home styles, from modern farmhouse to French country, but the majority are on one end of the spectrum or the other,” Friddle said. In contrast to the modern farmhouse style, French country tends to have a more rustic look and incorporates natural materials, muted colors and extravagant lighting to establish both a homey and elegant atmosphere. “We are building a modern farmhouse painted white with black windows with extended outdoor spaces and working with another couple to construct their French country home with stone, chimney pots, a cupola, an exterior stone fireplace, etc.,” Friddle said.

Color me muted, natural

Moving to the interior of the home, most

Photo courtesy of Ray Bullins Construction Co.

This modern farmhouse built by Ray Bullins Construction Co. blends the new with the old to create a cozy atmosphere.

people are opting for much lighter, neutral colors. According to the blog “99Designs,” “in 2021, the color

trends you’ll see will largely feel calming and soothing. We’re not going to see a surge of neons or crazy contrasts. Instead, the

upcoming color trends are softer and feel like they were picked for humans, not for computers. The past year pushed us to reconnect with our humanity, and in 2021, we’ll see that connection play out visually.” “People are wanting everything to be really light,” confirmed Lisa Bullins, who jointly owns Ray Bullins Construction Co. with her husband, Ray. “There’s very little color on the walls. While gray is still popular, light taupe is becoming common. It mixes well with both grays and browns.” Bullins likes the idea of being able to provide homebuyers with a neutral setting. “When someone comes into one of our homes, I want them to see something new and fresh, but I want them to still be able to use items from their existing home in their new one,” she said. Although colors are leaning toward a lighter palette, accent walls are sometimes used to add a needed punch of color, and it’s not unusual to see a single wall painted with a darker color. For the newest look in accent walls, Bullins is incorporating tile.


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At A New Dawn Realty, our team is passionate about serving the needs of our local community. We strive to offer top-notch service and have always been willing to go the extra mile to achieve our clients’ best interests. Our team combines exceptional energy and experience, and you’ll feel confident you made the right decision if you allow us to assist you! Visit our website or Facebook page to view our clients’ testimonials. Photo courtesy of Builders MD

Builders MD has combined light colors, clean lines and contemporary fixtures to create a modern farmhouse kitchen.

“The tile gives some character and adds texture without adding color,” she said.

Wallpaper is in, shiplap’s popularity fading

Wallpaper is making a comeback. In a recent article in “Insider,” an online magazine that follows design trends, wallpaper was cited as a very popular trend for the coming decade. Flanders is already preparing, and said she’s planning to add wallpaper in one of their upcoming homes. In that same article, shiplap, those horizontal white boards that have been covering the walls of homes in the past few years, is considered one of the fastest fading trends. Both Bullins and Flanders confirmed their buyers are beginning to steer away from shiplap.

Everything doesn’t have to match – let’s mix it up

When it comes to interior features such as hardware, plumbing and light fixtures, “matchey-matchey” is definitely out. Contemporary fixtures juxtapose with more traditional ones to create an updated, clean look that people are craving these days.

For instance, black metal stair railing and modern vertical tube lighting fixtures make an unexpected statement in a more traditional room. “I like mixing things up,” Flanders said. “I feel like it’s more timeless and it’s a way of making things more diverse.” “For finish details, I’ve always liked to mix metals with hardware door and cabinetry, plumbing and light fixtures. Many of our homeowners see this in our specs or Parade homes and prefer the look,” Friddle added. These days there doesn’t seem to be any single standout finish for fixtures and hardware. Bullins said her company is seeing solid black hardware being exchanged for a “softer, matte black, more of a pewter color.” At Builders MD, finishes are all over the place. “We’re seeing it all – oil-rubbed bronze, nickel, black, gold and chrome, which is always timeless,” Flanders said. “People are mixing these up, too.” Whether buyers are mixing it up or keeping it more traditional, homebuilders agree their buyers are hooked on trending styles while still seeking ways to incorporate their personal touch.

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Inventory is low – why not build in the Oak Ridge/NW Guilford School District? SPEC

Northwest Guilford’s connection to Mountains-to-Sea Trail As Oak Ridge volunteers build the trail northwest of town, they’re collaborating with trail boosters in Summerfield by CHRIS BURRITT

OAK RIDGE/SUMMERFIELD – After six months of work, volunteers recently finished building a bridge across a creek flowing into the Haw River, connecting two sections of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) SPEC northwest of Oak Ridge. The path, called the Headwaters Trail, runs about a mile and a half through rolling woods along the Haw River. Construction of the trail has contributed to statewide efforts to shift off road as much of the 1,175-mile-long MST as possible. “It’s our first choice to get the trail off road,” said Bill Royal, who chairs Oak Ridge’s MST Committee with Anne Steele. “We’d rather have the trail through wooded areas.” Call today to reserve your lot! So far, the full length of the MST from Clingmans Dome near the Tennessee state line to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks runs on about 700 miles of trails, leaving about 500 miles on roadways. The MST is divided by segments, with Oak Ridge and Summerfield part of the eighth segment that stretches 64.5 miles from Hanging Rock State Park near Danbury to Greensboro’s Bryan Park. Nearly 21 miles for of the sectionCustomers runs on trails, 9 AM 10 AM Shopping Senior (336)to509-1923 cell/text Hours Reserved 2.1 miles on paved greenway and 41.6 miles on roads, according to Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Your northwest-area specialist! Trail’s website.

Only 5 lots remain!

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Spring 2021

In Oak Ridge, the Headwaters Trail runs southeast from the Cascades Preserve, a park owned by Guilford County, to Linville Road. A short section of the trail follows Haw River and Pepper roads, forcing hikers to walk on the shoulder of the roads. To improve safety for hikers, the Oak Ridge Town Council voted unanimously earlier this month to approve a contract with Davis-Martin-Powell & Associates,

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a High Point-based engineering and surveying firm, to assist town staff with selecting a contractor to build a sidewalk along Haw River and Pepper roads. The contractor will also build a parking area where the southeastern end of the trail runs into Linville Road. Extending the trail from its present terminus about half a mile along Linville Road to Oak Ridge Town Park is a

continued on page 31

Sprin g

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continued from page 11 scares off potential buyers who don’t explore the option thoroughly enough to understand the availability of tax credits and rebates, said Terry Moore-Painter, of Oak Ridge. A year ago, she and her husband, Sankey, installed two sets of solar panels on a grassy hilltop on the Bunch Road property where they’ve lived for 40 years. They paid $30,000 for the installation, using a federal tax credit and Duke Energy rebate to reduce the cost to about $20,000, the couple said. In North Carolina, homeowners, business owners and operators of nonprofit organizations in North Carolina are eligible to participate in Duke Energy’s solar rebate program. Rebates aren’t guaranteed, however. The program has an annual cap, creating a waiting list of applicants who must be customers of the utility to be eligible. Demand for residential and commercial rebates hit the program’s limit during January’s enrollment. The next enrollment period will run from July 7–14, with applications for rebates to be selected on a random basis, according to Duke Energy. Residential customers accepted into the program will receive a rebate of 40 cents per watt, or $4,000 maximum. The maximum rebate for commercial customers is $30,000, or 30 cents per watt. During low-usage months, the Painters pay as little as $15.80, compared to as much as $225 during the summer before they installed the solar energy system. Given the savings, it will take the couple about 10 years to recoup their investment. Meanwhile, Terry said, “it gives you about $200 more a month to spend in other ways.” In addition to potential savings, Sankey said the couple was motivated by their “climate consciousness.”


“We were thinking about it for a long time and it felt like something we could do that would make a tiny difference,” Terry said. The couple uses an app on their phones to monitor their solar power generation, electricity consumption and the environmental impact of their usage in terms of carbon emissions and other variables. When solar energy systems generate more electricity than homeowners consume, the extra power flows into Duke Energy’s grid. In turn, they draw from the grid when their usage exceeds the production of the solar panels. On a recent sunny morning, the Painters explained their system. A device called an inverter is mounted in their barn to convert DC current running from the solar panels into AC current for usage in their house and barn. Mounted on their house is a twoway meter that allows the back-andforth flow of electricity to Duke Energy’s grid. For homeowners, it’s an effortless process for reducing their monthly electricity bill. In months when Wentworth and her husband consume less electricity than they produce, their bill is as low as $28, covering Duke Energy fees. That’s about a tenth of what they paid before they installed solar panels, she said. “Even with a little bit of cloudiness, the panels can power the house,” Wentworth said.

for more information Search for “Duke Energy renewable energy solutions in 2021” for information about North Carolina’s solar energy rebate program and other initiatives. For information about clean energy, visit NC Sustainable Energy Association’s website at

Spring 2021

Experience... Integrity... Compassion... these are just a few words that describe the cornerstones of business for KERBAPPEALS REAL ESTATE. As a Realtor® in the Triad since 2005, customer service is my #1 priority. If buying and/or selling a home is your priority, please give me a call. I promise to work with you – and for you – every step of the way!

Gail Kerber, CDPE, ABR, SPS, SLS REALTOR®/Broker/Owner

KERBAPPEALS REAL ESTATE (336) 327-1165 cell

Let us introduce these local Realtors specializing in northwest Guilford County land and property sales

Nicole helped us sell our house and buy a new one. Nicole offers a high level of service and delivers on everything she promises. She worked tirelessly from the first day we signed until the day we sold our home and bought a new one. We’ve been in our home a month and she still checks in! She draws on a large font of knowledge about real estate, finance and construction, gained only from many years of dedicated service in the industry. Her network of contacts and resources is second to none, and this very much benefits her clients. We never felt alone in this process. Nicole is the epitome of a professional.

Nicole E. Gillespie REALTOR®/Broker, SPS

RE/MAX Realty Consultants (336) 210.3895 mobile 1.800.965.1893 efax

It is an honor to represent my clients and I will provide the superior service and guidance needed to help my clients realize their real estate goals. This is achieved through a unique skill set developed throughout my career in the areas of quality assurance, construction management and real estate. My evaluation and troubleshooting skills allow me to help clients successfully navigate the uncertainties of the real estate market. I am excited and honored to be part of the BOBBIE MAYNARD TEAM and look forward to providing you with the knowledge and loyalty that you expect.

Sandra Yochim, Bobbie Maynard Team (336) 912-0650 cell

Gil Vaughan Buyer & Seller Representation REALTOR®/Broker, ABR, CGP, CSP, e-Pro, SFR, SRES

(336) 337-4780 • •

I am different from most real estate professionals. I have built my business on results, and I am confident I can deliver for you! I live in Summerfield and have been in the local real estate industry for over 30 years. Familiarity of the market is key! I’m also active in the local community, a member of the Greensboro Builders Association, Greensboro Realtors Association, Northwest Business Partners and Summerfield Merchants Association. We can help you buy, sell, or build today!

Jan Cox

If you are looking for a great Realtor, simply ask yourself: ‘Do I want someone who: 1) is a “FULL-TIME” real estate broker; 2) will PUT MY INTERESTS FIRST; 3) will WALK ME THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROCESS step by step; 4) is ON TIME, HONEST and ACCOUNTABLE; and 5) will provide me with PROFESSIONAL, POSITIVE and SATISFYING results?’ If so, then feel free to contact me whether you are BUYING or SELLING. Then just SIT BACK and RELAX!

Each office is independently owned and operated

Appearing in the Northwest Observer’s third-Thursday issue each month, this section serves as a guide to what’s happening in our local business community and real estate market.

Real Estate Showcase ads are a cost-effective way to promote your listings year-round in our classified advertising section.


(336) 382-1849

(336) 644-7035, ext. 11 |

I cannot express enough gratitude to Phillip for his help with the purchase of my new home. Not only does he have a fantastic understanding of the housing market, but he goes above and beyond to make sure that I am ‘in the know.’ He explains every step of the process in detail and makes sure to communicate with all parties. Everyone at A New Dawn Realty has been supportive and encouraging throughout the process as well. An organization is only as good as those who represent it, and I think that is what makes A New Dawn Realty such an ideal company for those looking to purchase or sell a home.

Phillip Stone REALTOR®

(336) 908-6528

I’ve been a Guilford County resident for over 40 years and have learned a lot about things that impact the real estate market in our area. To me, giving clients my full and personal attention is critical. Over the years, many clients have become friends, and I am deeply grateful that their referrals have helped fuel my real estate career over the last 22 years. It’s always an honor when someone allows me to help them buy or sell their biggest investment, and contributing to their success and transition in life is one of the many things I enjoy about being a Realtor. I’d love to help with your real estate needs, or to answer any questions about the process of buying or selling your home.

Eddiana Fondry NC Broker/REALTOR®

(336) 402.4071

Spring 2021



Photo courtesy of JCM Photography of Asheville

Lauren Chaney and Adam Key, who were married in February in Ai Church, said they liked the simplistic, sparsely furnished space flooded by natural light through tall windows.

Primitive Baptists who worshipped there, starting around the Revolutionary War. Others, such as the wedding couple, are enamored by results of the roof-to-foundation renovation. The project retained the dark wooden pews and tall windows through which light floods the simplistic, sparsely furnished space. For their wedding, Lauren and Adam decorated simply as well, with two white bows and two peace lilies. The ceiling is 14 feet high, helping create acoustics that allowed the couple to exchange vows and a violinist to perform without microphones. “The light that poured in through those beautiful windows was perfect,” Lauren said. “We centered our entire wedding around that little church.” The pews seat about 75 people,

making it attractive for smaller events increasingly popular during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Taylor Parrish, the wedding planner who coordinated the recent ceremony. A separate building contains two restrooms and a kitchen – but no areas designated for bridesmaids and groomsmen to get ready, a drawback compared to larger venues in northwestern Guilford County. Lauren and her bridesmaids prepared for the wedding at her parents’ home in Oak Ridge. Adam and his groomsmen got ready at the Longhouse, a wedding venue in Stokesdale that hosted the group’s reception. Ai Church was a familiar landmark to the bride and groom so they decided they wanted to marry there after completion of its renovation in late 2019. They toured

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Colfax resident and photographer Gene Stafford, who died in January from COVID-related complications, was one of Preservation Oak Ridge Foundation’s most dedicated volunteers; when Stafford wasn’t helping with Ai Church’s renovation, he was often photographing its progress. Shown in photo, Stafford holds a sign for Fairview Primitive Baptist Church, which owned the historic church property before it was purchased by Preservation Oak Ridge Foundation in 2009. Photo courtesy of Preservation Oak Ridge Foundation

the church with Doug Nodine, chair of the foundation’s board, in April 2020, two months before they became engaged. “We wanted to get married in a church,” said Lauren, a teacher at Oak Ridge Elementary School. “This church is so old and so many people have walked through its doors – that was the draw.” Quakers first occupied the hilltop about 240 years ago. They constructed a log building for a school and possibly a meeting house for religious services, according to a history prepared by Preservation Oak Ridge. A Methodist Protestant congregation built a structure on the site around 1829. A 1901 renovation added wings on both sides of the church, creating the shape of a crucifix that’s evident today, according to the church’s written history. Fairview Primitive Baptist Church bought the building in 1955. The name Ai has two possible origins. The first is biblical, referring to the royal city of the Canaanites, Haai in Hebrew, according to the history. Second, shortly after the Revolutionary War, a group traveling through the area may have buried a young girl, possibly named A.I., in what would become the church’s cemetery. The structure was in serious disrepair when the foundation took ownership of the property from Fairview Primitive Baptist Church in 2009. The nonprofit

group paid for the renovation with proceeds from fundraising events and donations, according to Nodine. “The shingle roof was rotten,” recalled Jeff Bair, a foundation member. “Water was coming in just about everywhere.” Workers removed the pews and stored them in tractor trailers parked on the church grounds. Some were rotten, as was the floor. The renovation included the installation of a floor from reclaimed heart pine boards. Enough wall boards were salvaged to cover two walls. Outdoors, the recently seeded lawn is starting to grow. Turning Ai Church into an events facility is a work in progress for the foundation, which may hire professionals to manage and market the venue, Nodine said. Created for the purpose of salvaging the church, the foundation didn’t initially contemplate how it would use the building. “This was a save-the-building project,” Bair said. “Then it was, ‘so what now?”’

want to know more? For more info, visit Preservation Oak Ridge Foundation online at; mail the organization at P.O. Box 242, Oak Ridge, NC 27310; or call (336) 644-1777.

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GETTING RID OF THE ‘STUFF’ continued from page 6

They still had clothes from the 1950s, depression glass and leather suitcases. There was just a ton of stuff.” The grandparents had also stashed away all of their personal documents from over the years. “Jim spent about four days going through the paperwork so that we didn’t throw away anything we needed,” Terri said. The couple logged in countless hours sorting, cleaning, donating and tossing away a lifetime of memories and possessions. Like Nancy, they let friends and family take what they wanted. For themselves, they decided to keep some musical instruments, a selection of Bibles and some of the beautiful jewelry Jim’s grandfather had made using semiprecious stones. The couple quickly found out that many of the items they considered valuable weren’t so to anyone else. For instance, there was the “great big church

organ.” The Creiders called all over Florida, but nobody wanted it. Neither were antique dealers interested in the furniture, depression glass or other vintage pieces. Jim and Terri ended up donating most of the items to Christian-based charities. What was left was tossed in the huge dumpster that Jim had rented. Ironically, those things didn’t make it to the landfill – Terri said that at night, uninvited “dumpster divers” would show up and by morning the majority of the discarded items would be gone. Completing this job was the most exhausting thing they had ever done, Terri said. “We would work from 8 in the morning until 10 at night. If we had been any older, we couldn’t have done it,” she added (she and Jim are in their 50s). The Creiders’ experiences are similar to those of many other families after a loved one has passed away. More often than not, it’s a time filled with stress, exhaustion and highly charged emotions. There is a solution to ease the burden

on children, grandchildren and other relatives who might find themselves facing this task. Older adults can do a lot of it themselves while they’re still alive. Over the course of a lifetime, most people accumulate a huge amount of stuff. Some things have no real or sentimental value and are just taking up space, while other items have long lost their usefulness. Even so, letting go of these belongings is usually a difficult endeavor. Alli McVann is the owner of Alli Cares, a High Point company that works with elderly people to help pare down their belongings. She’s seen firsthand the results of her clients’ reluctance to sort through their belongings and send them on their way. She’ll often find piles and piles of newspapers, old phone books, jars and plastic containers, along with closets full of clothes, a large assortment of furniture and multiple sets of china and crystal. Unless the older adult is willing to go through the process of going through these items, it’s often left for someone else to deal with after they’re gone.

“I’ve heard (grown) kids say ‘I don’t want this stuff and I’m angry at my parents because they left me this mess to clean up,’” McVann said. Children’s lack of interest in their parents’ belongings, which often includes family heirlooms, makes the process even more difficult. “The children don’t want these things. They don’t have any sentimental attachment to them,” confirmed Cheryl Greenberg, The Age Coach, a Greensboro life coach who guides seniors through the transitions of their later years.

“The younger generation doesn’t see permanence. They don’t keep their own stuff, let alone their parents’ stuff,” Greenberg added. With that in mind, older adults can help ease the burden by simply paring down their possessions. Organizing their

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documents and shredding papers no longer needed is a good place to start. In fact, this is one of the most tedious jobs relating to a person’s estate. Talking with relatives to see what items they would like to have and then giving those items to them on the spot is another effective step in the process of downsizing. A bonus in doing this is seeing the person’s delight in having a treasured item and being able to spend time with them while passing down the stories associated with it. Culling through “stuff” also eliminates clutter, which not only frees up space but can free up mental energy. According to “verywellmind,” an online resource for mental health information, “Throwing things away can often be painful and can be representative of forgetting the past and giving up on our future, so we often hang onto things in hopes that they will become useful one day when in fact they add to our mental and emotional stress.” In fact, worrying about possessions, caring for and storing them can take up so much time and thought, it sometimes feels like the possessions own the person rather than the other way around. McVann has seen this over and over again, as well as the freedom that comes with finally taking the steps to decrease possessions and clutter. “My clients tell me they can breathe and they’re no longer worrying about what they’re going to do with all ‘this stuff,’” she said. As she’s grown older, Greenberg has recognized a personal desire to slim down possessions. “I got to the point where I realized I didn’t want all these things,” she said. Having a loved one who understands the impact their actions might have on their children and other relatives and is willing to take the steps to make sure they don’t leave behind an unnecessary burden is wonderful… but not common. So, what happens if Mom or Dad are not willing to consider getting rid of their non-essentials? Children can try to help by making suggestions and providing encouragement, but are reminded this is not an easy process and should be approached carefully. Don’t put the person on the defensive by telling them they must get rid of certain items. Allow them to make their own choices and decisions. In some cases, it might be better to bring in a professional to help with the sorting and disposal. Going through a lifetime of belongings and deciding what to keep and what to let go of is never easy. However, it’s much more difficult when the owners have passed away and the loved ones are left to deal with everything that’s been left behind. Clearing out the things that just aren’t relevant anymore is definitely an act of love that won’t be forgotten.

NORTHWEST’S MST CONNECTION continued from page 24

project the town’s MST Committee plans to tackle over the next year, according to Royal and Steele. “We’ve gotten good at planning workdays and bushwhacking trails,” Steele said. As Oak Ridge’s committee plans that project, it’s also starting to collaborate with trail supporters in Summerfield. Last month, representatives of both towns met to share their plans for trails and discuss the eventual connection of the MST between their towns, possibly in the next three to five years, Royal said. “Our goal is that an MST connection between towns will also eventually come to fruition,” said Bill King, a member of Summerfield’s Trails and Open Space Committee, which advises the Town Council on planning for trails. Even though plans are indefinite, leaders said the MST may eventually follow the floodplain of the Haw River. Another possible route is south of N.C. 150 in the vicinity of Reedy Fork Creek, Royal said. At present, most of the MST through northwestern Guilford County follows roads. Starting at the southeastern terminus of the Headwaters Trail at Linville Road, it follows Linville Road past Oak Ridge Town Hall and Town Park, the site of a camping area for hikers. The trail turns northeast onto N.C. 150, passing through Oak Ridge’s business district at N.C. 68, before veering east onto Bunch Road. It then turns onto Brookbank Road before reconnecting with N.C. 150. Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail “prefers a natural surface hiking trail to the extent possible, but we also like the route to pass interesting cultural or historic spots and go through small towns if it can be done safely,” said Kate Dixon, executive director of the statewide organization overseeing development of the trail. In Summerfield, plans call for the MST to overlay the Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway that runs from Greensboro through the pedestrian tunnel under U.S. 220. The greenway will meander along Lake Brandt before entering the town and traveling to Summerfield Community Park. Construction of this segment is slated to begin in 2024. Other trails are planned, including the 19-mile Piedmont Greenway that will pass through Bandera Farms, a 115-acre tract on Bunch Road in Summerfield that is being developed as a trails preserve for horseback riding and hiking. The greenway will run from Greensboro to Winston-Salem through northwestern Guilford County and Kernersville. “As more of the other trails in Summerfield come to completion, I believe the MST route will become more self-evident as we will be able to incorporate the Summerfield portion of the MST into the established trails,” King said.

Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge MST Committee

Bill Royal, co-chair of Oak Ridge Mountains-to-Sea Trail Committee, holds a timber as he and fellow volunteers Roger Bardsley and Town Councilman Jim Kinneman (standing below) work on a bridge for the trail. Aside from the MST eventually connecting Oak Ridge to Summerfield, Oak Ridge Town Council member Martha Pittman said she envisions a network of trails connecting neighborhoods inside of Oak Ridge to one another and to the town core. “We’ve learned especially during the pandemic how much people are looking to get out in nature,” Pittman said. “People who are outdoorsy like the idea of being able to walk from place to place.” Meanwhile, the development of the MST has the potential to draw visitors to Oak Ridge, helping local businesses. “Oak Ridge would not be considered a trail town yet,” Pittman said. “But that is something we’re looking at.”

to learn more

Visit Oak Ridge Mountains-to-Sea Trail Committee on Facebook to learn about volunteering and participating in the group’s workdays and other activities. Visit for information about trails in Summerfield. Click on the Parks & Rec & Events tab at the top of the page and then the Trails & Greenways link. To learn about the statewide MST, visit


INVITING Don Mills BuilDers, inc. | (336) 362-1777 |


Co-owners Don & Annette Mills

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