North Brunswick Magazine - Summer 2020

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Summer 2020

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N I B A R O — of —

HOPE

Joyful sidewalk chalk art, teachers creating connections with students, volunteers sewing masks — uplifting stories of promise during a pandemic C O M PL IM E N TA RY

BLUE RIDGE ESCAPE

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North Brunswick Magazine


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

D FEATURES

FEATURES

SUMMER 2020 D VOLUME 14, ISSUE 4

62 42

37

42 PHOTO BY MATT MCGRAW

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A RAINBOW OF HOPE

Sidewalk chalk art sets a tone of hope for a solitary walker amidst the pandemic. By Gary Neil Gupton

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ENHANCING INDEPENDENCE

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TARHEEL TOURIST

THIS GIRL'S GOT GRIT

What's it like for student's in the age of COVID-19? Former North Brunswick High School softball star Preston Ellenburg's story is both somber and inspirational. By Brian Wilner

Brunswick Community College’s Brunswick Interagency Program is a model in innovative continuing education for the county’s special education students. By Ed Beckley

The Blue Ridge is Calling: Beat the Summer Heat with a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. By Jason Frye


THINKING ABOUT SELLING? Buyers are back in the market, but there is one problem: The inventory of homes for sale is extremely low. If you have an interest in selling in 2020, now might be an ideal time to put your home on the market.

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Summer 2020

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

IN EVERY ISSUE

DEPARTMENTS

16 PUBLISHER’S NOTE

33 SPIRITS

18 CONTRIBUTORS 22 WHAT’S HAPPENED

What’s been going on around town.

27 ONLINE EXCLUSIVES

Extras you’ll only find online

31 SOUTHBOUND

Finds in the Summer 2020 edition of South Brunswick Magazine.

100 BUSINESS PROFILES

Jonathan Tait Signature Wealth Strategies and Kingfish Bay

105 ADVERTISERS INDEX 106 CAPTURE THE MOMENT

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77 KIDS

The Pinewood Derby might be a traditionally wholesome activity, but this year it’s gone high tech. By Jo Ann Mathews

Quarantini By Sandi Grigg

34 WHAT’S COOKIN’

Crustless Coconut Pie By Sandi Grigg

83 PEOPLE

Mike James has retired as Leland’s police chief, but he’s confident that the town is in good hands with new Chief Brad Shirley. By Kathy Blake

57 FITNESS

A talk with Nicole Perry, director of the Fitness & Wellness Center at Brunswick Forest, about how the center is dealing with the new normal. By Laura Glantz

89 COMMUNITY

The Shelmore Stitchers of Brunswick Forest contributed hundreds of handmade masks to local organizations in need. By Annesophia Richards

71 EDUCATION

How one teacher, Bellville Elementary School teacher Kristen Allen, connected with her students during the school closures of COVID-19. By Melissa Slaven Warren

96 NATURE

A much-needed shoreline restoration relief project is coming for Historic Brunswick Town / Fort Anderson. By Brian Wilner

PHOTO BY LAURA GLANTZ

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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PHOTO BY MATT MCGRAW

PHOTO BY JAMES STEFIUK

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D IN EVERY ISSUE D DEPARTMENTS


Summer 2020

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North Brunswick Magazine – Summer 2020 Volume 14, Issue 4 CEO/PUBLISHER: Justin Williams DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Sandi Grigg COPY EDITOR: Molly Harrison CONTRIBUTING GRAPHICS: Paula Knorr Teresa Kramer Elizabeth Dale Niemann

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: George Jacob Brian Wilner

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Ed Beckley Jason Frye Laura Glantz Gary Neil Gupton Jo Ann Mathews Matt McGraw John Muus James Stefiuk Chris Stevenson

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Ed Beckley Kathy Blake Ashley Daniels Jason Frye Laura Glantz Sandi Grigg Gary Neil Gupton Michelle Macken Annesophia Richards Melissa Slaven Warren Brian Wilner PUBLISHED BY:

Our team recently ranked in the CAROLINA MARKETING COMPANY, INC. PO Box 1361, Leland, NC 28451 (910) 207-0156 • info@northbrunswickmagazine.com

loan officers nationwide for

CUSTOMER SERVICE SCORES

Troy Williamson | Mortgage Consultant

Reproduction or use of the contents in this magazine is prohibited.

© 2020 Carolina Marketing Company, Inc.

Carolina Marketing Company, Inc. strives to bring correct, accurate information that is published in the magazine. However, Carolina Marketing Company, Inc. cannot be held responsible for any consequences resulting from errors or absences. Carolina Marketing Company, Inc. also cannot be held responsible for the services provided by any and all advertisers in our publications. All material in this magazine is property of Carolina Marketing Company, Inc. and may not be reproduced without authorization from the publisher. North Brunswick Magazine – A Carolina Marketing Company, Inc. publication is published four times per year and is distributed to residents and businesses in North Brunswick County, NC, to subscribers and to select areas of New Hanover County, NC and Horry County, SC.

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Troy.Williamson@OnQFinancial.com

About the cover:

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Summer 2020

— of —

MORTGAGE ORIGINATORS

HOPE

Joyful sidewalk chalk art, teachers creating connections with students, volunteers sewing masks — uplifting stories of promise during a pandemic

@homesweet @homesweet www.homesweet.com On Q Financial Inchomesweet is an equal housing lender. | Corp NMLS #5645 / NC# L - 151336

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C O M PL IM E N TA RY

BLUE RIDGE ESCAPE

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DISAPPEARING COCONUT PIE

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INNOVATIVE SPECIAL EDUCATION AT BCC

Gary Neil Gupton captured our cover photo as well as all the photos that accompany his story on page 37. Gupton writes about the sidewalk chalk art that he discovered in his neighborhood during the pandemic stay-at-home orders and how the colorful artwork inspired him.


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14 NORTH BRUNSWICK

NBM M A G A Z I N E

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Reader/Advertising Services Subscriptions Want to subscribe to NBM? Subscriptions are $15.99 per year and include 4 issues of NBM. Subscribe safely online using PayPal, credit or debit card at NorthBrunswickMagazine.com/subscribe. Call our office at (910) 207-0156 or email us at subscribe@NorthBrunswickMagazine.com to request a subscription.

Back Issues When available, back issues of NBM can be purchased for $5. Call or email us for information.

Letters

Restrictions may apply. Call for details.

844.755.1814 iwantatmc.com

We welcome your letters and comments about NBM. Send your letters to PO Box 1361, Leland, NC 28451 or email them to info@NorthBrunswickMagazine.com. When sending your letters, keep in mind they may or may not be published in a future issue of NBM. The publisher reserves the right to make the final decision.

Writing Opportunities We are always willing to consider freelance writers and article ideas. Please send suggestions or inquiries to North Brunswick Magazine, Attn: Editor, PO Box 1361, Leland, NC 28451. Or email us at edit@NorthBrunswickMagazine.com.

Change of Address If you move, please submit your new and old address to North Brunswick Magazine at info@NorthBrunswickMagazine.com.

Advertising Interested in advertising in NBM? Please contact us to set up a meeting with an Account Executive. Our main office number is (910) 207-0156, or you can email us at advertise@NorthBrunswickMagazine.com.

Marketing Services Carolina Marketing Company, Inc. provides a wide range of marketing services. This includes advertising design services, custom publications, mailing services and more. Contact our office for additional information or to set up a meeting with a Marketing Consultant.

NorthBrunswickMagazine.com Visit us online at the above website. With any additional questions, call us at (910) 207-0156. 14 14

North Brunswick Brunswick Magazine Magazine North


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PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Finding Hope in Crazy Times

The past several months have been the most challenging times of our lives, and on that I’m sure we can all agree. In the face of uncertainty, anxieties, fears and tensions have been running high. The news is full of scary images and stories, and we all know people who are struggling, some in more degrees than others. I would be lying if I said it hasn’t been difficult running a business here in southeastern North Carolina since March. Every day I hear stories from friends, neighbors and business owners who are facing major challenges. But in the towns and cities we serve I also hear stories of hope. I hear about people helping each other and accepting help. I see the resourcefulness of business owners and the generosity of the helpers. I see people standing up for change. I see people doing their best and our communities standing strong. Here at Carolina Marketing Company, our intention has always been to serve the people, businesses and communities where we work, from Topsail Island to Shallotte. Our goals are to help small businesses thrive, to offer our readers compelling stories about the places they live and visit and to shine a light 16

North Brunswick Magazine

on the people who are making a difference. We’re not stopping. We’re going to keep on working to strengthen this community and its economy and stand behind its people, working with the notion that every human being is equal and worthy and deserving Publisher Justin of the same respect and equal Williams and his rights. daughter, Ava, clowning around In this edition of North at the Thomas Brunswick Magazine, we have Jefferson monument some great stories for you, ones in Leland. that will remind you of the good in our community and offer some glimmers of hope. You’ll hear stories of surviving COVID-19, through the eyes of a teacher, a graduate, a fitness director and volunteer mask makers. Our stories about Brunswick Community College’s innovative special education program and the Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby will warm your heart, and you can join us in saying goodbye to Leland’s longtime police chief. I truly hope that you enjoy reading this magazine and I urge you to support the local businesses that are advertising with us. They are working hard to adapt to all the changes, and they need your support. A happy — and safe (wear that mask!) — summer to all of you! Sincerely,

Justin Williams CEO/Publisher Publisher@NorthBrunswickMagazine.com


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CONTRIBUTORS

Jason Frye CONTRIBUTING WRITER/PHOTOGRAPHER

I travel the world looking for the best things I can find to eat and drink. Along the way I find interesting people around every corner. When not traipsing around the globe, I’m here at home working on a travel guide to North Carolina, a road trip guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway, or writing stories for VisitNC.com, North Brunswick Magazine, Walter and CruiseCritic.com. Follow my adventures on Instagram where I’m known as @BeardedWriter.

Sandi Grigg DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT / FOOD EDITOR

Growing up in a small town in the foothills of North Carolina and attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, I always dreamed of living on the coast. After earning my degree in Marketing/Branding I moved to Wilmington and the life my spouse and I have created for ourselves is a blessing beyond words. Together we enjoy kayaking the Cape Fear, fishing the shores of Carolina Beach and picking up seashells and shark’s teeth. At home I love to cook and write recipes, play with our dogs and take on DIY home improvement endeavors. Being a part of the Carolina Marketing Company team has showed me that you really can enjoy your job. I am truly grateful to have a career I love in the city I aspired to be in. Life is grand!

Matt McGraw CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

I started out in newspaper world, shooting the NBA, NCAA and MLB in the Midwest. Those were awesome experiences that paved the way for my style of photography today. I started shooting weddings in 2002 and now I average around 50 weddings a year, along with about 150 family photo sessions a year. With McGraw Photo Consulting, I am also a photo consultant, primarily in the dental business. I love traveling, and I love what I do for a living.

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Life is better

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WHAT’S HAPPENED

Brunswick Electric Announces 2020 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour Winners Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC) is proud to announce that two Columbus County students, Whitley Dockery and Betsy Kornegay, have been selected to represent the cooperative at the 2020 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., this summer. Whitley, a sophomore at Whiteville High School, is the daughter of Dalton and Sheila Dockery of Bladenboro, and Betsy, a sophomore at Columbus Career and College Academy, is the daughter of Jackie and Meri Kornegay of Chadbourn. Whitley and Betsy will join 1,800 peers from across the United States for a weeklong adventure in which they will meet their Congressional Representatives and Senators and take tours of historic sites and museums. They will also establish a mini-cooperative during the week, gaining valuable insight into the cooperative business model and how it works.

Coastal Federation Receives Orton Foundation Grant for Coastal Resilience North Carolina Coastal Federation is pleased to announce a generous grant from the Orton Foundation to mitigate pollution, restore coastal habitats and water quality and strengthen coastal resilience in the Lower Cape Fear River estuary. Coastal Federation efforts will include a multi-pronged approach to enhancing the region's natural defenses against extreme weather, supporting living shorelines and oyster habitat restoration and increasing public engagement in coastal resilience.

Elizabeth Darrow Presentation and Screening of Elizabeth Darrow: Believing in the Process Art League of Leland (ALL) invited artists and art enthusiasts to its June 4 meeting for a presentation by painter and collage artist Elizabeth Darrow and a screening of Elizabeth Darrow: Believing in the Process, a short documentary by Christina Capra, Robby Carl and Jessie Robertson. The filmmakers were on hand to discuss their film. A graduate of Oberlin College with a major in painting, Elizabeth Darrow has been working in oil and collage throughout her career. Repeating patterns, embedded humor (and angst) and color fill her artwork. She works in a variety of styles but never works “from life” in the traditional sense, preferring the imagery to hatch of its own accord. Darrow’s works may be found in private collections as well as in the permanent collections of the Cameron Art Museum, Duke University Medical Center, R. J. Reynolds, Sara Lee Inc., Lowes, Wells Fargo, BB&T Bank, SAS Institute and Nations Bank.

ATMC Presents Scholarships to Local Seniors ATMC has presented $2,000 scholarships to five local high school seniors: Luke Boldt, Olivia Fish, Christa Formyduval, Nestor Rodriguez-Garcia and Bailey Smith. Selection was based on academics, involvement in school and community activities and interview skills. Luke Boldt, son of Terry and Lori

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WHAT’S HAPPENED

Boldt of Bolivia, is a senior at South Brunswick High School and plans to attend East Carolina University, where he will study medicine. West Brunswick High School senior Olivia Fish is the daughter of Jim and Joline Fish of Ash. She plans to attend Brigham Young University and major in biology. Christa Formyduval, a South Columbus High School senior, is the daughter of Christopher and Traci Formyduval of Nakina. She plans to attend Southeastern Community College and then transfer to a four-year university to pursue education. Brunswick County Early College High School senior Nestor RodriguezGarcia is the son of Katlin Garcia of Calabash. Nestor plans to study political science at North Carolina State University this fall. Bailey Smith is the daughter of Jerry and Baretta Smith of Leland and is a graduating senior at North Brunswick High School. Bailey plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study biology.

Brunswick Town NSDAR Candlestick Awards The Brunswick Town Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) recently recognized the five members who logged the highest number of service hours in 2019. DAR members around the country log their voluntary service hours that meet NSDAR’s mission of contributing to patriotism, education and historic preservation and other activities that benefit members of the community. Brunswick Town members accumulated more than 9,000 community service hours in 2019 with such activities as volunteering for a hospice, working in the schools, hospitals and libraries, service to veterans and veterans’ organizations, helping at assisted living facilities and more. First place went to Carol Jutte with 1,593 hours, second to Diana Fotinatos with 1,349, third to Norma Eckard with 854 hours, fourth to Jane Johnson with 837 hours and fifth to Cheryl Lambert with 781 hours.

Leland to Begin Monthly Recycling Pick-up in July The Town of Leland is transitioning its curbside recycling program from the current twice-monthly schedule to once per month. The switch to monthly pick-up will take effect at the start of the 2020-21 fiscal year on July 1. Current pick-up frequency and days remain in place through June 30. Leland Town Council approved the new schedule in April as a way to stem rising recycling costs to the town while still providing the service to residents. Leland has partnered with GFL Environmental, Inc. (formerly Waste Industries, LLC) for its municipal curbside recycling program, offered at no additional cost to residents. However, the cost to maintain curbside recycling has continued to increase in recent years due to international disruptions and inefficiencies in the industry, as documented in national and international news reports. The town spent approximately $389,000 on its curbside recycling program in fiscal year 2016-17. That figure has grown to just over $571,000 in the current fiscal year and was expected to rise more than 21 percent to $723,389 — or nearly double from just four years ago — in the 2020-21 fiscal year, with additional increases likely in the future. The estimated annual cost to the town for the monthly recycling program is approximately $577,000.

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ONLINE EXCLUSIVES

D EXTRAS YOU WILL ONLY FIND ONLINE D LIFEINBRUNSWICKCOUNTY.COM

CHARTER DAY SCHOOL CELEBRATES TRIUMPHANT GRADUATION by Justin Williams

Kindergarten students drove by in cars decorated with signs and balloons as their teachers cheered them on. Eighth-grade students walked through the open-air campus in their caps and gowns as their teachers shouted words of encouragement. All students were also given graduation lawn signs to proudly display at their homes. The graduations capped a year of resilient success for Charter Day School and its students and families. | CONTINUE READING ONLINE

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MOVING ON UP by Justin Williams

Leland's population is growing by leaps and bounds. According the U.S. Census Bureau, Leland is now considered the fastest-growing municipality in North Carolina and the 12th fastest-growing in the United States. That’s according to U.S. Census Bureau data released on May 21, 2020, based on 2019 estimates for cities and towns based on cumulative population change. From April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019, Leland’s population jumped from 13,614 in 2010 to 23,544 last year, an increase of approximately 73 percent. | CONTINUE READING ONLINE

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THE GOOD VIBE TRIBE by Brian Wilner

PHOTO BY MIKE SPENCER

When Kelli Benton looks back on the start of her Seaglass Salvage Market in 2014, she has a plethora of wonderful memories to pull from. It has been quite a journey from the start of her Meet the Maker market up until recently when she added a second building to accommodate her 40-plus vendors. I sat down (on the phone — you know, social distancing) with her, and she shared her story with me. | CONTINUE READING ONLINE

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ONLINE EXCLUSIVES

D EXTRAS YOU WILL ONLY FIND ONLINE D LIFEINBRUNSWICKCOUNTY.COM

N.C. PORTS AUTHORITY MILESTONE by Michelle Macken

| CONTINUE READING ONLINE

PHOTO BY MATT MCGRAW

North Carolina State Ports Authority celebrated a historic moment on Wednesday, May 20 when the MV Hyundai Hope sailed in to the Port of Wilmington. With a carrying capacity of nearly 14,000 TEUs (22-foot equivalent units), the container ship is one of the largest such ships calling on the ports of the United States East Coast. |

HOME REINVENTION by Brian Wilner

Stuck at home for such an unprecedented amount of time, it stands to reason that you might have considered doing some remodeling or even redecorating. They say that home is where the heart is, so it would make sense to take advantage of this “opportunity” to make your home somewhere you love to live. Especially after having to stare at the same walls for days and weeks and months at a time, you may have decided it was time for a change but you really weren’t sure how to even begin! It was with this thought in mind that I decided to talk with Rochelle Grass of Dwelling Place Interiors. | CONTINUE READING ONLINE

WE ARE GATHERED HERE TODAY – WITH 10 PEOPLE OR LESS by Brian Wilner

Imagine all the beautiful weddings planned for the glorious arrival of spring. Then enter COVID-19. With social distancing limiting us to 10 or less in a group setting how could anyone still have a memorable wedding? This is where our friends at Livingston Creek Farms have created a nice niche for small weddings. Located on Highway 74/76 just over the Brunswick County line in Columbus County, Danny and Yolanda Graham have created a perfect spot for what they call Tiny Weddings. | CONTINUE READING ONLINE 28

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SOUTHBOUND

SOUTH BRUNSWICK MAGAZINE WHAT’S GOING ON IN OUR SISTER PUBLICATION

All in the Family The Lawing-Burris-Scott family has a decades-long tradition of vacationing in Brunswick County. by Melissa Slaven Warren

From the first trip he organized nearly 40 years ago, Kemit Lawing is the founding father of the multigenerational vacation trend in the Lawing-Burris-Scott family. In 1982, as his children were getting older and starting lives and careers of their own, Kemit was looking for a way to connect with his entire family under one roof at the same time.

If the fruits are frozen and syrups are added, she explains, you can taste the difference.

By Dennis Hetzel

Together, the young Marines watched the twin towers fall in Manhattan. The date was September 11, 2001. Talk about a life-changing moment. That unforgettable day put Shanahan on an unlikely journey.

By Claire Lynch

“It’s an art and a science rolled into one,” she says. “The secret is using all-natural ingredients and never using any syrups or purees.”

With Wandering Surfer Studios, Marine veteran Jason Shanahan finds his way to a career and place he loves.

“Put the TV on,” the sergeant said. “We’re getting ready for war.”

After moving to Calabash with her family, Janie Pilcher took her talent for making smoothies and started a new career with JP’s Smoothies. Janie Pilcher found out through trial and error what goes into making the perfect smoothie.

From Baghdad to the Beach

Jason Shanahan grew up in Frederick, Maryland, and wanted to serve his country. So, as soon as he could do so after finishing high school, he joined the Marines. He was three days away from officially graduating at the U.S. Marine Corps boot camp on Parris Island, South Carolina. His drill instructor entered the room where a group of enlistees were gathered, planning their participation in what promised to be an upbeat ceremony.

Perfecting Smoothies

In Full Bloom Much to the delight of their Lockwood Folly neighbors, Ray and Andrea Shead are perfecting the quintessential British cottage garden in the coastal Carolina environment. By Annesophia Richards

Although the vast majority of Lockwood Folly’s 460 acres lies covered in hues of green and brown, look closer and you’ll find a rich kaleidoscope of colors nestled inside the lush golf community. Residents Ray and Andrea Shead have spent the past year transforming their home’s one-third acre into a vibrant, charming English cottage garden.

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Expanding orthopedic care right here in Brunswick Ted Parcel, DO, is welcoming new patients Joint, bone and muscle pain can interrupt your life. Are you ready to get back to doing what you love? Like walking, tennis or golf? Then it’s time to see our newest board-certified surgeon, Ted Parcel, DO, at Novant Health Orthopedics & Spine in Supply. He specializes in adult joint replacements and provides expert care for sports injuries and orthopedic conditions, including: • Hip and knee joint replacements

• Fracture repairs

• Knee arthroscopy

• Tendon repairs

• Treatments for hand conditions (carpal tunnel, trigger finger)

• Total hip and knee revisions

Dr. Parcel provides the specialty care you need closer to home, so you can concentrate on what counts most — getting better and staying healthy. Novant Health Orthopedics & Spine - Brunswick 6 Doctors Circle, Suite 5, Supply, NC 28462

Call 910-721-4370 or visit NovantHealth.org/orthospinebrunswick to make a same-day or next-day appointment. © Novant Health, Inc. 2020 2/20 • ECA-553374

Ted Parcel, DO


SPIRITS

Whip up my favorite martini for all your house-bound adventures, with or without friends. BY SANDI GRIGG

Quarantined + Martini = Quarantini

W When hearing the word martini, my brain goes directly to Michael Godard and his famous paintings of playful olives and martinis. Godard is a famous artist who was most popular in the early 2000s and known as the “Rockstar of the Art World.” He is one of my favorite artists, and I have a few of his prints displayed in my home. I have also been spending a lot of time in my home due to being quarantined. Recently, I glanced up at my Godard piece of olives jumping in a martini as if it were a swimming pool — and I decided to make a martini. Creating a martini can be quite controversial. Gin or vodka? Shake or stir? Lemon or olive? It can be daunting to choose appropriately, so for this recipe, I am going with what I like

and know: vodka, shaken and both lemon and olive. There are three requirements I look for in a martini. First, I want a superfrosty glass, which is why I prefer shaking it over stirring. Second, I want exactly three olives. One olive would be ok if I wanted a dirty martini (with olive brine) but never two or four. It is considered bad luck to have an even number of olives in your drink, and I believe in superstition. Finally, I prefer vodka over gin for my martini. I’ll be honest: I felt bougie walking around the house in my robe and slippers with my exquisitely prepared martini. The quarantine lifestyle had me behaving out of the norm, but I think I’m becoming the Rockstar of the Quarantini.

Quarantini Makes 1 drink

INGREDIENTS ½ ounce dry vermouth 3 ounces vodka (high quality) Lemon peel 3 pimento-stuffed olives

METHOD Pour vermouth and vodka into cocktail shaker with ice cubes and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Twist the oil from lemon peel onto the drink and rub the peel around the edge of the glass. Lastly, garnish with three queen olives.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’

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WHAT’S COOKIN’

Disappearing Coconut Pie Fair warning: This pie is so good that you shouldn’t be surprised if one goes missing.

T

BY SANDI GRIGG | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES STEFIUK

This recipe makes two pies for a good reason: The first one will be gone with the blink of an eye. This recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember, and the second pie always goes missing. That’s primarily because someone (usually me or my dad) will take it all for themselves — yes, it is that good! In my family there is an 8-inch glass pie pan that has been circulating for quite some time. This pan is considered the official Coconut Pie Pan. I think it was originally my aunt’s pan, but my parents had it for a while and then I had it for a while and so on. Here’s what happens: Two pies show up at an event, but only one pan goes home with the cook. Inevitably, someone hides and takes home one of the pies, and later that same 8-inch glass pie pan will show up at our next gathering. It is just my family’s tradition to keep passing it around with a newly made coconut pie. This delicate pie is not overly sugary, but it cuts your craving for something sweet. It forms a custard-like center when all the flour falls to the bottom while

cooking, creating its own crust. The custard is similar to the flavor of crème brulée but packed with tasty flaked coconut. It makes a great dessert to take to a picnic or family gathering and is also great for breakfast or a between-meals snack. Coconut meat is packed with iron, vitamin C and fiber. However, in this recipe the sugar, calories and fat outweigh any health benefit from the coconut. For the sake of flavor, let’s just

Crustless Coconut Pie You will need a hand mixer and two 8-inch pie pans. Makes two pies.

INGREDIENTS 4 eggs 2 cups milk 1½ cups sugar ½ cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup melted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 7 ounces flaked coconut

METHOD Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients (except flaked coconut) in a large bowl and blend with a hand mixer on low speed for 3 minutes. Pour the mixture evenly into 2 lightly greased 8-inch pie pans and let sit for 5 minutes.

look past the lack of health benefits and eat the pie. If you have been looking for an easy dessert recipe that will have your guests wanting more, try this one. But be sure to hide the second pie for yourself.

Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the two pans of egg mixture; press the coconut down into mixture. Bake the pies for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Chill before serving.

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HOPE Sidewalk chalk art sets a tone of hope for a solitary walker amidst the pandemic. STORY AND PHOTOS BY GARY NEIL GUPTON

M

y early experience with chalk is mostly black and white, sometimes yellow, from my primary school days of blackboards, blank slates until the teacher asked one of us in a classroom of 30-odd students to go to the board and solve a long-division math problem, diagram a sentence or in the worst of scenarios to write “I will not talk out in class” 100 times. Fifty years later I speak out. And I have rediscovered chalk, not merely white calcium carbonate finely ground onto a thin sheet of black slate hung on the wall of a ’70s era classroom, but chalk as a colorful form of expression applied to walkways. Had the teachers been hiding those chunky rods of pink, blue and yellow pastels and colors so bright, almost fluorescent (before LED), that they glowed in the sunlight like the “Rainbow Connection” sung by Kermit the Frog and the Muppets?

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Was this the Yellow Brick Road leading us to the Emerald Palace where the Great and Powerful Oz would welcome us to a magical kingdom where wishes come true? Over the rainbow. Somewhere.

Several weeks ago, I took a walk around Osprey Lake, a wonderful place to escape the coming storm that would soon sweep us off the streets, close our schools, keep us from eating out at our favorite restaurants, close the doors of church buildings and compel us to wear masks. Suddenly a pair of little people wearing helmets whizzed by on bikes, leaving a trail of Big Foot-sized pastel chalk letters behind them: “Enjoy the walk!” I looked behind me and discovered the messages on the pavement I had overlooked before. “Everything is possible!” “Be awesome!” “Make today great!” “Bee Positive,” with chalky bees, blue and yellow

flowers and hearts adorning the messages. “Path of Joy.” Did I hear those two munchkins singing, “You’re out of the woods, you’re out of the dark, you’re out of the night?” Was this the Yellow

Brick Road leading us to the Emerald Palace where the Great and Powerful Oz would welcome us to a magical kingdom where wishes come true? Over the rainbow. Somewhere. “The best views come after the hardest climb!” Reality. We are on a journey, looking up at one of the steepest, most precarious mountains, that we will remember as pandemic, for the rest of our lives. But here I was, almost overwhelmed by inspirational quotes and artwork simply sketched in chalk by children, encouraging us, showing us the way. From the mouths of babes. Could it be this simple? Summer 2020

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Top left: Emily and her beautiful purple hearts brightened my walks. There was even a "Shadow of Hope" along the way (bottom left).

Had anyone else seen these miraculous signs? For the record, I took dozens of photos trying to capture and share this light-heartedness I felt walking and skipping down this trail. Who would believe, with all the fear, sickness and self-distancing to come in the next long weeks, or even months, that there was this hope before us? The rains came the next week. The news of the impending storm, the pandemic, lured me back to the lake, distant from people, looking for the hope that had seemed so real the week before. Showers of rain had washed away the chalk but could not erase what had been drawn in me. I have the evidence in my heart — and proof in photos! But we’re not out of the woods. 40

North Brunswick Magazine

When we emerge after the worst of the storm, we can’t fall asleep and dream that the coronavirus hadn’t come and changed our lives; it had left a trail of debris and taken away “normal.” It’s time to wake up! I got up in the morning and went walking in the neighborhood. One of the first signs of hope was a little girl standing over her chalk artwork on the slope of her driveway: three connected hearts in hues of blues and violets shining like a rainbow as wide as her father could open his arms. Her proud father wanted me to take a photo of the artist and gladly I did.

Thank you, Emily! Up another street I found a chalk rendition of a stained-glass window, as big as the pickup parked in the driveway. Almost home I came across the rendition of a church with a cross atop, begun by a new mother, her infant son and the help of 3-year-old big sister, Charlotte. The children were drawing again. There is hope! The clouds will part, revealing blue skies and sunshine, as children return to playgrounds at school and come home to show us what they learned, with colorful chalk on their hands. (Reminder: Don’t forget to wash your hands!) “Keep going.” “We got this.” “Faith. Hope. Love.” “Be Kind.” “Make today Great!” “Spread Joy!” Things used to be black and white or muddled gray. But a few weeks ago, I saw pinks, blues, yellows and beautiful reds, oranges, greens and violets, a rainbow of hope drawn by the children, showing us the way home. “There’s no place like home.” Thanks to Emily, Charlotte and all the children. They give us Hope. 


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What’s it like for students in the days of COVID-19? Former North Brunswick High School softball star Preston Ellenberg’s story is both somber and inspirational. BY BRIAN WILNER

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Standout North Brunswick High School and Catawba College softball player Preston Ellenberg learned to love sports at a very young age.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

North Brunswick Magazine

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she was very young and has been here since. Her father, Mark Ellenberg, an N.C. State graduate and former Wolfpack football player, runs Farm Bureau Insurance in Brunswick Forest. Her mother, Carter Ellenberg, an East Carolina University graduate, is a computer teacher at Belville Elementary. Ellenberg remembers going to State football and basketball games since she was a baby. “I would have my Wolfpack outfit on and dad would sit me on his shoulders — that’s how I got to watch the games!” she says. Naturally, she was predisposed to sports as a child and began her sports career at the age of 11 playing softball, soccer, volleyball and golf. “By the time I reached high school, I

I would have my Wolfpack outfit on and dad would sit me on his shoulders — that’s how I got to watch the games!

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

PHOTO BY MATT MCGRAW

he new, online-school reality has been tough for students. Our hearts go out to all the students affected by COVID-19, especially the seniors who missed out on that once-in-alifetime experience of graduation (and maybe even a senior beach trip!). When you hear each individual story, it really hits home on what they are missing. I want to tell you the story of a local graduate, Preston Ellenberg — not just the interesting path that brought her to graduation in May, but also what it was like to be a student during a pandemic. Born in Kenansville, North Carolina, Ellenberg’s family moved to Leland when


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The Ellenberg family, left to right: Mills, Carter, Mark, Preston and Gabriel

PHOTO BY MATT MCGRAW CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

realized softball was my true passion, so I focused solely on pitching for those four years,” she says. That proved to be a wise decision. Her junior year she earned all-conference honors and was team MVP. Her senior year she earned team MVP, all-conference honors and was named All-State and the 2A district player of the year. These accomplishments caught the attention of several college scouts, which led to her playing her first semester at Avery University in Danville, Virginia. After only one semester there, she transferred to Catawba College. “I liked it up there (Avery) in many ways, but just didn’t feel like it was a fit for me,” Ellenberg says. “So, when I got to Catawba College, I decided to try out for their softball team as a walk-on.” She not only made the team, but also helped them win the conference tournament that very spring! Since then, she has been a scholarship player every year. Now, that doesn’t mean she didn’t have tremendous challenges to overcome playing ball. In the middle of her sophomore year she tore her hip labrum, a result of the repetitive pitching motion. After surgery, she says, “I went from playing softball every day to sitting on the bench that spring and doing the

game books.” The rehabilitation was intense and included two to three sessions a day for six months. After the long recovery period, her surgeon finally cleared her to play ball again. And then the unthinkable happened. Two weeks later she tore the labrum on her other hip while pitching. Another surgery and another six-month rehab! This would test the will of even the most determined athlete. But yet, when the spring season of her junior year opened, she was on the mound ready to go. “It was tough at first,” she says. Ellenberg’s willpower was relentless, though, and by the start of this her senior year, she was able to perform once again at a high level. “I had performances where I was definitely back to the pre-surgery me, but some games I struggled because my hips were so achy it bugged me just to walk,” she says. After playing fall ball in 2019, her team was 22 games into the 2020 spring season when the season was abruptly cancelled due to COVID-19. Describing how it felt to have the season cancelled after all she had been through, she says, “It physically hurt. Like my chest hurt. It made me sick. After all the work I had done to rehab Summer 2020

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North Brunswick Magazine

back, just to have my senior season, my senior day and graduation gone… To have a piece of that taken away from you like that — I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.” Ellenberg had been considering a career in nursing before she began her yearlong rehabilitation. “Having spent so much time in healthcare facilities during my rehab, I met many nurses who were totally amazing people. I knew then that was exactly what I wanted to do,” she says. She entered the nursing program in the beginning of her junior year and was on the deans’ list every semester since. Despite the cancellation of graduation ceremonies due to social distancing, the nursing department at Catawba College held a drive-through pinning ceremony for the graduating nursing students. Finishing the nursing program from home brought new challenges. “The nursing program is already difficult,” she says. “And I learn much better from doing as opposed to reading. The personal interaction with patients and medical coworkers is fulfilling. When we were unable to do clinicals and attend classes, we had to read and learn from textbooks. It just made it that much more of a challenge.” Ellenberg took her state boards in June. She has already gotten a job in Raleigh with UNC-Rex as a perioperative nurse starting in July. “A perioperative nurse is involved with prepping patients for surgery and then post-surgery care,” she says. This will be an excellent experience for her as she will be working closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, surgical technologists and nurse practitioners. This position will help her reach her ultimate goal of getting her doctorate degree to become a nurse practitioner. Ellenberg had more challenges than most of us could imagine during her college years, yet she has managed to perform at the highest level in her sports and academics. Her perseverance inspires us all to not give up, no matter what obstacles and challenges we are facing. We look forward to hearing how things go for her in her next chapter of life. 


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Enhancing

INDEPENDENCE Brunswick Community College’s Brunswick Interagency Program is a model in innovative continuing education for the county’s special education students. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ED BECKLEY

R

Rachael Teeples, Katie Juda and Jill Meyer spend hours every week tending to the health of the plants in the Brunswick Community College greenhouse. Recently a student put a small sign into a flower pot there. The sign says: “See the able, not the label.” That is what these women want to make clear when you meet them and especially when you work with them. Why? Because society has labeled all of these wonderful people as “intellectually or developmentally disabled.” Sadly, some people attach a stigma to the label when the truth is there is no “dis” in their abilities, and they are exceptional in the things they choose to do. As Meyer’s mother, Tracey,

says, “Jill is differently abled.” And Juda’s father, Wes, attests that she and her peers are capable, determined and need all the things everybody else does, including love, understanding, patience and good-paying or volunteer work to give their lives purpose. Thanks to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other national and state laws, every school-aged child in the United States who needs special education receives an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Parents, educators and people who are familiar with the children, tailor the plans for them before they begin their schooling. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, along with

Brunswick Interagency Program offers — at no cost — the opportunity for students to join in religious education studies, tend to the hundreds of plants in the Brunswick Community College greenhouse, cheerfully serve hungry visitors in the Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center cafeteria, learn computer skills and make life-long friends.

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Left to right: One of Allyson Borden's favorite things is greeting lunch-seekers in the Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center cafeteria. With open arms and a big smile, Allyson (right) delights in welcoming her friend and hospital team-mate, Volunteer Coordinator Christie Delbridge. The college offers innovative continuing education for the county's special education students,

Brunswick County Schools, also provides an Exceptional Children Program locally. It’s designed to assure that students with disabilities develop mentally, physically, emotionally and vocationally starting with kindergarten and going through grade 12. As for available education after high school, for the last 35 years Brunswick Community College in Bolivia has been a model for North Carolina in innovative continuing education for the county’s Special Education students. The college offers its Brunswick Interagency Program (BIP), enabling post-high school adults to take classes in language arts, math, social studies, community living and vocational education at no cost. Students have opportunities throughout the year to enhance their daily living and social skills. A component of BIP is Supported Employment Services, a collaboration with the N.C. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Trillium Health Resources. The program provides students with employment on custodial, cafeteria and grounds crews on the main campus. Students can also learn about horticulture in the campus greenhouse through an elective course known as Brunswick Blooms. There are 131 students in BIP, supported by a dozen instructors, three teaching assistants, two work crew supervisors and a job coach, says Program Director LeAnn Cecil. The students range in age from 17 to 74, as the college has a program designed specifically for senior citizens. 52

North Brunswick Magazine

“Our primary objective is to support our students in gaining the daily living, academic and social skills they need to enhance their independence,” Cecil says. She explains that it is a safe environment to try new things while the students are deciding their areas of interest. The goal for many of the students, she says, is employment within the community, and BIP helps them develop their skills to achieve their objective. “We train the best employees in the world,” Cecil says. “Our students are happy to come to work, they obey the rules, they are energetic and are very dependable.” She acknowledges there are some who prefer not to go into the workforce and choose to remain as students well into their senior years, which is perfectly fine. In the greenhouse, Instructor Amy Bodnarik explains that the elective course has 60 diverse students this semester. It not only helps students learn to categorize, raise and sustain the health of the plant life, but also instructs them on the business end of horticulture. They are currently developing plans to partner with local businesses on a project to sell the plants by providing them free samples. They’ll use marketing techniques to inform the businesses’ customers they can purchase plants, similar to the samples, directly from Brunswick Blooms. The objective is to increase sales of the greenhouse products to fund the existence and expansion of the structure itself and raise awareness for the BIP.


including math, social studies, community living and vocational education. Faith Formation Special Needs Instructor Essilevy ColónNevarez (in lavender jacket) joins in prayer with her daughter, also named Essilevy, at St. Brendan Catholic Church in Shallotte. “Essy Junior” has autism and has passed her religious education studies. She excitedly awaits confirmation into the faith this spring.

Teeples will be instrumental in that program. Bodnarik holds her up as a stellar example of the success of the county’s educational system. She excelled in her IEP, graduated from high school and BIP, was a model athlete in Special Olympics and has been a paid member of the college staff as an assistant in the greenhouse for 20 years. Teeples says she watches over the teams of students who create the myriad of plants the college sells in the community. But even more than a paying job, Teeples says, “This is therapy for me,” and her work provides a way to reduce the stresses in her life. She isn’t shy in saying it is also “great to be paid.” Meyer, age 30, and Juda, 29, are Special Olympics buddies and classmates in the BIP greenhouse. Meyer wants to volunteer or receive pay for tending to horses on a farm in the future. Juda aspires to a paying job in a zoo or aquarium, working with penguins. An important enhancement to the college’s BIP

Supported Employment Services program starts this fall. Named Project SEARCH, it will provide selected high school seniors ages 17 to 21 with internships in local businesses, with hopes of obtaining paid employment. The objective is to teach key job skills to students via internships and to encourage employers to hire people with disabilities because they will have skill sets which will make them valuable assets to the businesses. It’s a combination of educational courses, job skills activities and the internship job itself. Project SEARCH is a partnership among Novant Health, Brunswick County Schools, North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Brunswick Community

In the Brunswick Blooms greenhouse, the team of students and instructors whip up a batch of soil, sand and Perlite to assure the health and strength of the plants they'll sell to the community. Pictured are Jill Meyer, Katie Juda, Instructor Amy Bodnarik, Stephen Green, Assistant Rachael Teeples and Alexandria Benson.

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North Brunswick Magazine


College. The first community organization to bring interns aboard will be Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center. Wes Juda is a member of the BIP Advisory Board. He learned about Project SEARCH, which has been a success at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center since 1996, at a meeting of the North Carolina Council for Developmental Disabilities in Raleigh. He brought the concept back to the BIP Board and the county school system and received buy-in to develop it in Brunswick County. The partners then chose him as the part-time project manager. “In the last year of the students’ high school time, they will transition to become Project SEARCH participants,” Wes Juda says. “They’ll go through three non-paid internships at the host site. Once their internship year is complete, they’ll receive

class credit for their work and receive a job coach through BIP. The job coach’s role will be to assist them in finding a job as well as making sure they are equipped to do so, and also advising the employer on working with people with disabilities.” President of Brunswick Medical Center Shelbourn Stevens says, “At Novant Health, we recognize that every person is different, each shaped by unique life experiences, and this helps us better understand each other and our patients. We’re looking forward to hosting the interns and providing a variety of work experiences over their time here.” Stevens says the students will be an important asset to the medical center in escorting visitors to the various departments and patients’ rooms. The students will help in a number of roles, including assisting in the cafeteria and re-stocking supplies. He noted Novant Health’s primary contributions will be in providing staff support to Classmates Jill Meyer (left) and Katie Juda make sure the establish the program, percentage of soil components is correct and suitably working with the students mixed by hand before potting and adding plants. The two on-site and classroom space. are also Special Olympics competitors and buddies. “We are hopeful we can have an impact on the lives of the students and help them meet their full potential,” he says. The medical center already provides volunteer opportunities in its commitment to diversity. Allyson Borden has been a volunteer in the food services department going on two years, a couple hours a day, twice a week. She greets guests and team members in the cafeteria, straightens stock and makes sure the staff knows if items need stocking. “I put on my gloves and hair net and serve the chicken tenders and potato wedges. I love to greet people. It’s fun,” Borden says. 

WANT TO HELP? HERE'S HOW... • Provide employment for students in the Brunswick Interagency Program (ages 17 and older): Contact LeAnn Cecil, (910) 755-7381 • Become a Project SEARCH partner and provide business internships and/or employment for the students (ages 17 to 21): Contact Wes Juda, (410) 707-5523 • Make a donation to the 501c3 Brunswick Community College Foundation: Contact Elizabeth Wassum, executive director, (910) 755-6530, wassume@brunswickcc.edu • Make a donation to the 501c3 Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center Foundation: Contact supportnovanthealth.org/ Brunswick or call (910) 721-1745 • Offer meaningful volunteer opportunities in your organization • Be understanding, patient and willing to give someone a chance to experience life • Donate and volunteer at Brunswick County Special Olympics: Contact Wes Juda, (410) 707-5523 • Drive a neighbor to and from work, their volunteer assignment or Special Olympics Summer 2020

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COVID Q&A A talk with Nicole Perry, director of the Fitness & Wellness Center at Brunswick Forest, about how the center is dealing with the new normal. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY LAURA GLANTZ

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Before COVID-19, what was it normally like at the Fitness & Wellness Center? It is always a steady flow of residents throughout the day. This is where everyone wants to be for physical fitness and socialization.

place. We have a huge gym where we do all of our group classes. On the other side of the facility is a gym with cardio equipment. So, they can either attend teacher-led classes or workout on their own.

What are the age groups that normally attend and what types of activities to they do there? Our members are mostly 60 and older, and this is their social

What happened once COVID-19 hit and how did you adjust? We shut down the day after St. Patrick’s Day, and some of us stayed and worked in the facility for about a week, but after it

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“

The feedback I received from the residents is they love that connection from their instructor. They have been working with that person for months or even years, and getting to see and hear his or her voice was important in quarantine. became more serious, we were advised to go home for our own safety. It took me and Michelle Cordero, who is the fitness coordinator, about two weeks to begin offering 48 classes a week via Zoom. We offer classes in yoga, Zumba and cardio, and the virtual classes are free. The attendance was very similar to the physical attendance here at the facility. The feedback I received from the residents is they love that connection from their instructor. They have been working with that person for months or even years, and getting to see and hear his or her voice was important in quarantine. Residents figured out Zoom and love it. We even offered weekly virtual Reiki classes from one of our massage therapists.

Is there a consistent group of residents now or has it fluctuated? It’s been pretty consistent. The weather also plays a factor. A rainy week will have a lot more participation online. I put together a bingo game with different challenges on it. For example, go for a walk and take a picture of yourself walking, take a picture of the bridge in the neighborhood or just a hide and seek kind of thing. Many people gave the feedback that they were thankful for the ideas, as they had been feeling stranded and looking for something fun to do. We do understand we are in a high-risk area and are mindful of this. Each resident has the choice to stay inside or do the outside activities. Summer 2020

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“ Everyone has their good days and their bad days, but I find the good days outweigh the bad if you exercise.

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Do the virtual activities help the residents to stay healthy by being involved and staying active? Yes, absolutely! Doing exercise raises the endorphins and counteracts the depression of being alone. Everyone has their good days and their bad days, but I find the good days outweigh the bad if you exercise. Daily exercise activities keep people on a schedule, and routines are beneficial.

them to come to the gym. It also keeps our instructors employed, which is a plus. Once reopened, if the residents prefer to be on site to socialize, what does that look like? The fitness and wellness outdoor pool is open for socializing following the CDC guidelines for social distancing. We also have an on-site health coach, Alan Murphy. He’s been offering small outdoor group classes in the back of our current facility. He offers a walking class, a TRX class set up 6-feet apart, and only six people are allowed in the class at a time. This is another way to get people engaged and outside.

Did virtual classes exist before COVID-19, and do you foresee continuing these classes after everything reopens? We did not have virtual classes before, and we had discussed it. We are outgrowing this facility and have broken ground on a new space. We are hearing from the governor it may be awhile before we can reopen as we used to be. So, yes, we have been discussing keeping the online classes going.

Once you begin reopening, is there a plan for how residents will be allowed to attend? The Board of Directors are following the CDC guidelines and direction from Governor Cooper. Once we hear their decision, we will be getting that information out to all of the residents as soon as possible. 

Do you feel this will be a great alternative for residents in the future versus coming to the facility? Yes, and if they have any underlying conditions preventing

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The Blue Ridge is

CALLING Beat the summer heat with a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. BY JASON FRYE PHOTO BY JASON FRYE

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The Moment As the sun hid behind the mountains, we were silent. For the half-hour before sunset, we’d arrived car by car at the Waterrock Knob overlook at Milepost 451 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and gathered in a fringe of grass on the western edge. Something in the shape of the clouds hinted at a sunset we should attend. Summer was in full swing, but here on the crest of the mountains near where the Blue Ridge gives way to the Smokies, evening had a chill. Around us, the hillsides wore a dress of green, but as the sun’s crepuscular rays shone through gaps in the clouds, they rinsed the colors away, washing the landscape in gold. The birds and crickets quieted. Fireflies rose from the grass and blinked to would-be mates. The valleys darkened. Ridges caught the last glint of color and shone like a blade. Mist began to rise 64

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from the hollows and coves and secret places in the mountains. It was a moment that caught us and held us and disappeared. One minute the mountains round Cherokee were bathed in that perfect light, the next they were ink dark and the sun had disappeared. Moments like this can make a person fall in love with a place. I know that I’ve fallen in love with our particular patch of North Carolina more times than I can count, thanks to a winter sunrise over the Atlantic, the new green of a springtime marsh, pelicans skimming wavetops with wings outstretched. But summer is long here and after weeks of humidity turn into months of humidity, I need a break. The best way I know to escape it, and to regain my appreciation for the place I call home, is to head to the mountains. And without fail, I end up on the Blue Ridge Parkway.


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America’s Favorite Drive

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The Blue Ridge Parkway follows the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Cherokee, North Carolina, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to Waynesboro, Virginia, where it meets Shenandoah National Park. For 469 miles it winds through the hills, taking its time and revealing postcard-perfect views at every overlook. Ride on it for 10 miles, and you’ll see why it’s earned the nickname America’s Favorite Drive. Ride on it for 20, and you’ll need to do 200 more. If the views haven’t convinced you, consider this: More than 14.5 million people drive some part of the Parkway every year. Summer sees lowlanders like us trading the heat and humidity of home for cool mountain air. Fall brings leaf peepers by the tens of thousands. Spring sees hikers and wildflower enthusiasts. The picnic areas, hiking trails, waterfalls, overlooks and even the “secret” swimming holes along the way stay busy, and for many it’s their first real exposure to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Southern Highland Craft Guild

Linn Cove Viaduct

Explore

PHOTO COURTESY OF MEREDITH TRAVEL MARKETING

To dig in and explore the North Carolina section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, make Asheville your basecamp. With 160 miles of Parkway to the north and east, and 90 miles of Parkway leading south and west to Cherokee and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s ideally situated. Asheville’s bounty of food options, breweries and accommodations make it a prime choice. Head to the Folk Art Center (Milepost 382) first. Here the Southern Highland Craft Guild displays traditional Appalachian handicrafts – quilts, wood carving, basketry, pottery and the like – and often artists are on site demonstrating their skills. Two miles south, at Milepost 384, is a Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center, where you should grab a couple of maps before striking out. On the Parkway it seems there’s an overlook every half mile, so it can be overwhelming, but with a little planning, you can hit the highlights and discover the views, hikes and stops that fit your travel style to a T.

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Driving South 

COLD MOUNTAIN OVERLOOK MILEPOST 412

Cold Mountain, made famous by Charles Frazier’s novel, cuts a fine figure here. Take in the view from the overlook or hike to the top of Mt. Pisgah (at Milepost 408) for an even better view.

LOOKING GLASS ROCK MILEPOST 417

Looking Glass Rock, a huge bald stone face, stands out in the forested landscape, making a picturesque focal point. The half-mile trail to Skinny Dip Falls, is across the Parkway; be warned, the water’s cold.

DEVIL’S COURTHOUSE MILEPOST 422

A short, steep hike carries you to the top of a stone outcrop where the Cherokee say the giant Judaculla resides, affording you big views of the countryside.

View of Looking Glass Rock

RICHLAND BALSAM MILEPOST 431

The highest point on the Parkway at 6,020 feet, Richland Balsam has exceptional views, especially in fall, especially if you take the 1.4-mile loop trail to the summit and back.

WATERROCK KNOB MILEPOST 451

Looking west you’ll see Cherokee and the Smoky Mountains; sunsets here are, more often than not, exceptional.

 Skinny Dip Falls Oconaluftee Visitors Center

Elk at Oconaluftee

FROM MILEPOST 455 TO 469 Here you’re bordering the Qualla Boundary, the ancestral home of the Cherokee Indians, and as you drive the views open up for some absolutely aweinspiring vistas. As you draw nearer to the end, many overlooks give you a glimpse into Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

MILEPOST 469 The end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take a left and you’ll be in Cherokee in a few minutes. Turn right – and you should turn right – and you’ll be at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Oconaluftee Visitors Center and a field where you’re just about guaranteed to see some of the park’s famed elk herd. Summer 2020

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Driving North 

MOUNT MITCHELL MILEPOST 355

Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern United States at 6,684 feet, stands just off the Parkway. Take the road into this state park, then take the short, but relatively steep, paved path to the observation platform at the top. Views are phenomenal, and on clear days you can see Clingman’s Dome, the highest peak in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to the southwest.

CRABTREE FALLS MILEPOST 339

Great camping and a 2.5-mile loop hike to the 70-foot Crabtree Falls, a lovely payoff to a moderate hike.

LINVILLE FALLS MILEPOST 316

One of the most photographed places in North Carolina, Linville Falls is a triple waterfall, and a 2-mile roundtrip hike will take you to a pair of observation platforms near the smaller falls and then to an overlook perched on the ridge above, giving you a view of the impressive 45-foot main fall and the depth of the gorge. Crab Tree Falls

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN MILEPOST 305

A quintessential North Carolina attraction. You’ll have to pony up a little cash ($22/adults, $9/kids), but it’s worth the cost of admission. There’s a nature museum and wildlife habitats (deer, black bear, mountain lions, otters and more) as well as the famed Mile High Swinging Bridge (yes, it’s a mile above sea level), stupendous views and miles of hiking trails.

LINN COVE VIADUCT MILEPOST 304

This curving bit of elevated roadway is a thrill to drive across and makes for a gorgeous picture. You’ll want to drive it, turn around, drive it again and turn back around to head north, but you won’t be mad about crossing the viaduct, trust me.

Linville Falls

MOSES CONE MEMORIAL PARK MILEPOST 294

A gorgeous manor house that’s home to a second Southern Highland Craft Guild shop is one draw here; the other draw is the hiking. Miles of crushed-stone paths (many are old carriage trails) lead you around Bass Lake, through the woods, and to the summit of Flat Rock Mountain.

BLOWING ROCK AND BOONE MILEPOST 291

Moses H. Cone country estate 68

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Blowing Rock is just a couple of miles off the Parkway and this charming little town is packed with galleries, boutiques and shops. Boone, home to Appalachian State University, has college town energy and small-town charm. Both are worth exploring.


Grandfather Mountain

Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain

Getaway Ideas Want to extend your Blue Ridge Parkway getaway? The Parkway stretches from Cherokee, North Carolina, to Waynesboro, Virginia, and there’s plenty to do in the 469 miles between. A POSH GETAWAY Spend some time in the lap of luxury at Primland (primland.com), a 12,000-acre resort just a few miles off the Parkway at Milepost 177.7, where you’ll find chic accommodations (including luxury treehouses), activities galore (golf, ATVs, fly fishing, sporting clays), a spa and some of the best food in this part of the mountains.

PUT ON YOUR DANCING SHOES Head to Floyd, Virginia, at Milepost 165.2 and take in some mountain music. The Floyd Country Store hosts their famous Friday Night Jamboree – a night of bluegrass and plenty of clogging and flatfooting – and the streets of this artsy little town are filled with impromptu jam sessions. Stay at the quaint Ambrosia Farm Bed and Breakfast (ambrosiafarm. net) and do some wine tasting at Chateau Morrissette (thedogs.com), one of Virginia’s oldest wineries.

CITY ESCAPE In Roanoke, Virginia, at Milepost 121, you’ll find a busy little mountain city that’s the perfect blend of outdoor adventure and urban amenities. Stay at The Stone House (blackdogsalvage.com) or The Hotel Roanoke (hotelroanoke. com) and split your time between exploring the Appalachian Trail – the 7-mile hike to McAfee Knob and back has jaw-dropping views – and checking out the Taubman Museum of Art, shopping, fly fishing and more. Dinner at Stellina, Bloom or Lucky will have you ready to come back for another long weekend. 

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EDUCATION

PHOTO BY MATT MCGRAW

How to Teach in a

Pandemic

How one teacher, Belville Elementary School teacher Kristen Allen, connected with her students during the school closures of COVID-19. BY MELISSA SLAVEN WARREN Summer 2020

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such as meeting individual student needs, working late hours to prepare lessons, dealing with budget constraints, managing disruptive behavior or getting parents involved. But perhaps nothing has ever tested teachers and school districts like the COVID-19 pandemic. That was especially true for Kristen Allen, first grade teacher at Belville Elementary in Leland. She juggled homeschooling her own first grader, attending to her 3-year-old child and preparing and teaching lessons online. Oh, all while pregnant! “It was a struggle for sure,” Allen says. “In fact, this has been one of the hardest things in my teaching career so far. Luckily, my husband works until three and then he took over when he came home so I could get things finished up and have a little free time.” Allen says she just had to keep in mind the reason she became a teacher in the first place — to change the next generation for the better — and to believe that she could do it. In her second year at Belville Elementary, Allen has been 72

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PHOTO BY MATT MCGRAW

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Teachers face classroom challenges every day,

The COVID-19 pandemic a teacher for 10 years. forced Belville Previously, she taught at Elementary first grade Douglas Academy in teacher Kristen Allen Wilmington, where she was to come up with new named Teacher of the Week by ways to teach and keep television station WWAY. For her students motivated the recognition by her students while balancing two children at home and and peers, Allen was “humbled,” one on-the-way. but hopeful that she made a difference and “wanted them to feel love from a place that they are in for 40 hours a week.” On what inspired her to become an educator, Allen gives the credit to her own kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Pulos: “She made me love to go to school. From then on, I loved school.” Allen always knew she wanted to work with children and initially planned to be a pediatric nurse, but as she learned more about the medical profession, she says she was not prepared to handle all that was required in the field. So, she


EDUCATION

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

considered what else she could to help children. She became a teacher. That personal connection with teachers is something students missed while schools were closed because of the novel coronavirus. But switching the learning environment to Zoom, a video conferencing platform, has proven a valuable way to keep students engaged. Allen connected with her students three times a week for 30 minutes at a time. She included mini-lessons and read-alouds. To keep them motivated, she included fun activities like a home scavenger hunt. “A lot of them got excited and wanted to know what our next lesson would be, and I told them it’s a mystery,” she says. “It encouraged them to come back for the next lesson.” Even the electives teachers and assistant principals joined in with lessons in art and music and a mystery Zoom class. Sometimes the lessons were as simple as having a conversation just for socialization, so students knew

someone was there for them. Allen admits that not all students come from nurturing backgrounds, so the love and hugs they receive from a teacher are important. Showing love virtually is just as important. With the learning environment forced online, teachers like Allen found themselves in the role of student. They were trying to learn the new technology and figure out processes as they went along, all while trying to help their students and parents understand the platform. “It was been a challenge, but I can’t thank my coworkers enough for walking me through it,” Allen says. “And kudos to our parents and students who caught on so quickly.” In addition to weekly online lessons with students, Allen participated in staff meetings and webinars through Zoom as well. She gives ample credit to the Brunswick County Schools administrators who were partners throughout the ordeal and “put their trust in all 80 plus of us,” she says.

PHOTO BY MATT MCGRAW

A lot of them got excited and wanted to know what our next lesson would be, and I told them it’s a mystery.

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Leland | Belville | Navassa | Northwest | Sandy Creek | Winnabow | Maco | Phoenix | Town Creek

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EDUCATION

PHOTO BY MATT MCGRAW CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

As things have rapidly changed, education in the future may be looked at in terms of pre-COVID and post-COVID teaching methods. But to Allen, there are some things that will remain the same. The rewarding parts, like watching students grow — coming in at the start of the year with little reading skills and leaving the year at a level nine or 10 or walking them through a math activity and witnessing that moment when it suddenly clicks. There is also the challenging part of teaching that Allen worries about: “Did I hit all their needs? Did

I do the best I can for each individual child?” All those concerns are wiped away when she sees the progress her students make, knowing she “taught them skills to get them to the next level.” Something else has changed for Allen in the time of COVID-19 — she will no longer take for granted getting up and going to work every day. “Being able to be in a school environment and share adult conversations and see my students, I miss it,” she says. “I miss having a routine and a strict schedule.” 

During the pandemic Kristen Allen’s work days were filled with classroom Zoom classes, virtual one-onone’s with students, and enriching field trips with her own sons. Relief came at 3 p.m. when her husband, Blake, arrived home from work.

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KIDS

Creative Cub Scouts The Pinewood Derby might be a traditionally wholesome activity, but this year it’s gone high tech. STORY AND PHOTOS BY JO ANN MATHEWS

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Four cars fashioned from blocks of pine shot down lanes in the 42-foot aluminum track, and within seconds the audience knew which car was fastest and which Cub Scout owned the car. The competitors got three more chances to prove their car was the fastest since each car had four heats with the slowest speed discarded.

This was the scene at the Pinewood Derby on February 22 at Leland Baptist Church, where 41 Scouts in Cub Pack 118 and others vied for the 24 trophies and more than 100 supporters were there to watch them. In the past the pack’s track was wooden, and Cub Scout leaders used their accuracy skills to Summer 2020

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determine which cars crossed the finish line first, second, third and fourth. Now the computer displays that information in fractions of seconds, but the Scouts’ ingenuity is what actually determines the winners. Each Scout received a kit containing a block of pine, four plastic wheels and four nails. They transformed these into Indy-style race cars, sleek limo-like autos or whatever a Cub Scout imagines. “It’s not hammering four nails into a block of wood,” said Pack 118 Cubmaster Jon Almasy as he oversaw the cars’ weigh-in. A car cannot weigh more than five ounces. Scouts in each of the six dens received first, second and third place trophies. Another three trophies went to the

People’s Choice trophy winner Caleb Pilon with his Pikachu car.

Top prize in the Wolves went to Myles Ballard.

overall winner for originality, craftsmanship and design. Judges’ category and People’s Choice category each received one trophy. Caleb Pilon fashioned his car to mimic Pikachu, a Pokemon character. Caleb’s car won the People’s Choice trophy and won third place as the fastest car overall, reaching the finish line in 3.1484 seconds. Myles Ballard said he secured weights on the underside of his car to provide speed. His car won first place in the Wolf Den with a speed of 3.2999 seconds. Henry Dobstaff painted his car pale blue with gold circles at the front. “The gold looks like headlights and looks cool,” he says. 78

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“ ...The computer displays that information in fractions of seconds, but the Scouts’ ingenuity is what actually determines the winners. Henry Dobstaff with took first prize amongst Webelos.

Henry won fastest car in the Webelos Den and fastest car overall, getting to the finish line in 3.1178 seconds. Almasy’s kindergarten son, Andy, a Lion Scout in the Cub Scout divisions, fashioned a fire truck, painted it red and added a flashing light. The car won the Judges’ Choice trophy. “I wanted my car to be challenging,” he said. “I wanted to put decals on it.” Almasy’s third-grade son, Alex, a Bear Scout, painted his car white with a big blue circle on the back. The car won first place in the Bears Den with a speed of 3.1807 seconds. “I made it to go fast,” he said. Ayden, Almasy’s daughter and Alex’s twin, entered the Outlaw category, which gives siblings and parents an opportunity to craft and race a car of their own. “I like cats and wanted a cat with purple whiskers,” she said. It cost $5 to enter this category. First place won 50 percent of the pot, second place won 30 percent and third place took 20 percent. Ayden won third place. Natalie Caddell explained that she and her late-husband, Lawrence, organized Pack 118 in 2014 with three cubs participating: their son, Wesley, Cole Blagg and Chandler Hall. All three are now Boy

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KIDS

Pack 118 Cubmaster Jon Almasy and kids Ayden, Alex and Andy.

THE CHECKERED FLAG GOES TO... 41 Scouts in Cub Pack 118 vied for the trophies in The Pinewood Derby on February 22 at Leland Baptist Church. And the winners were: LIONS: 1st: Blake Dixon-Saxton 2nd: Garrett Faircloth 3rd: Carson Carpico TIGERS: 1st: Caleb Pilon 2nd: James Dobstaff 3rd: Grayson Ford

Scouts. Her daughter, Kayleigh, entered the Outlaw Division with a car painted pink and covered with unicorn stickers. Assistant Cubmaster Brian Pilon sat in front of the computer monitor and managed the data as the cars raced down the track. His son Jonathan is a Bear Scout, and his son Caleb is a Tiger Scout. “I like working with kids and seeing their faces when they learn something new, especially when they are camping,” Pilon said. Andrew Voll, co-Bear Den Leader, concentrated on placing the cars in the appropriate lanes. “The computer tells which cars go in which lane,” he said. Andrew was the winner in the Outlaw

Division. His son, Kiptyn, won third place in the Bears Den with a speed of 3.2172 seconds. All leaders in Cub Scouts are required to take youth protection training and have a background check. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 15 years, and I have to take the training and have a background check,” Almasy said. “I wanted my kids to be involved with wholesome activities, and I want to ensure they have a safe environment and quality program.” “I like the camaraderie the boys have,” added Audren Ford, leader of the Tigers Den. “We enjoy being in Scouts.” 

WOLVES: 1st: Myles Ballard 2nd: Tristan Houston 3rd: Beckett Howell BEARS: 1st: Alex Almasy 2nd: Jonathan Pilon 3rd: Kiptyn Voll WEBELOS: 1st: Henry Dobstaff 2nd: Jerod Smith 3rd: Andrew Williams WEBELOS ARROW OF LIGHT: 1st: Jamison McLean 2nd: Bryan Batton 3rd: Kade Bamberger Summer 2020

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PEOPLE

Off Duty Mike James has retired as Leland’s police chief, but he’s confident that the town is good hands with new Chief Brad Shirley. BY KATHY BLAKE PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT MCGRAW

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PEOPLE

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W PEOPLE

When Mike James was 8 years old, he slipped into a movie theater with his parents and saw Walking Tall, an R-rated 1973 film about Sheriff Buford Pusser’s determination to rid a small town in McNairy County, Tennessee, of corruption and crime. Many of the R parts eluded him, but the message stuck. “Looking back, it probably was too violent a movie for an 8-year-old to see, by today’s standards,” he says. “But for some reason, I wanted to be in law enforcement once I saw that movie. It’s all I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” The movie impacted James’ career choice to the extent that he later became pen-pals with Pusser’s mother, who sent him photographs he keeps in a scrapbook at home. James was a police officer for 38 years, the last eight in Leland. He officially retired as Leland’s chief of police on February 1. His last workday was Friday, January 31, his 55th birthday. There was a luncheon, a reception and the swearing in of Officer Brad Shirley, successor to the man who calls Leland his second home. Unlike Walking Tall ’s storyline of I wanted to be in gruesome fights, gambling and killings, James filled his career with scenes of law enforcement compassion, a heart for children and general once I saw that concern for the people he served. movie. It’s all I James grew up in Mayodan, a town of 2,500 in Rockingham County, where he’d wanted to do for chase his elementary school buddies through the rest of my life. the woods, plastic pistol by his side. In high school he worked second shift as a 911 dispatcher. He was police chief in nearby Stoneville, led the Rockingham County Bureau of Forensic Services and worked with the Brunswick County Sheriff ’s Office. Twenty years after high school graduation, he took online college classes so he could teach the D.A.R.E. program (Drug Alcohol Resistance Education) to second-graders. He has a master’s degree from South University and an Advanced Law Enforcement certificate from N.C. Criminal Justice Training and Standards and the Sheriff Department’s Training and Standards. “If only I’d been raised in the computer age,” he says. “We had great encyclopedias, but

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“ I was working Christmas Eve and had the scanner on in the car. I heard about a person in the Dumpster behind K-mart. It was a lady looking for broken toys that had been thrown in the Dumpster. 86

20 years after high school the internet was wonderful.” James collected a few stories during his nearly four decades in law enforcement, from humorous (“It’s unbelievable what people will do in cars while driving down the road”) to heartwarming. “I remember one call I got that turned out to be a blessing,” he says. “It was in the late ’80s and I was working Christmas Eve and had the scanner on in the car. I heard about a person in the Dumpster behind K-mart. It was a lady looking for broken toys that had been thrown in the Dumpster. A couple of (police) guys heard it and went over there, and we talked on the scanner, and before the night was over, there were people dropping off toys. Someone in the family was sick, the father

North Brunswick Magazine

had lost his job. That’s one story I’ll never forget.” The purpose of his time with Rockingham’s Forensic/Gang Prevention Bureau was to teach ways to keep school children safe. “I’m an instructor in that, and back years ago when there was the situation in Columbine [Colorado, in 1999], law enforcement, your front-line guys, were trained to set a perimeter and wait for the S.W.A.T. guys to come,” he says. “And of course that failed terribly during Columbine. So they started a situation where the first four guys on the scene would confront the threat and try to put the threat down. So we learned rapid deployment and how to put a threat down, and that’s what we practice now.”


PEOPLE

James now must learn to practice being a civilian. He says his wife, Susie, an elementary school teacher, asked him: “You’ve been doing this so long, are you going to be able to exist?” But James says he knew the signs. A friend told him that one morning he’d wake up and know it was time to go. He did. James and Susie are moving back to Mayodan. He has seven grandchildren, one on the way. He needs to be near his father, who has medical concerns. He needs to be near his children. He believes he’s leaving the Leland Police Department in capable hands. “I was really lucky for [Town Manager] David Hollis to have enough faith in me to give me this job,” he says. “He’s very conscious of us trying to provide the best service. He’s a very good manager and very conscious about the money and tax-payer dollars. He’s probably the best boss man to work for.” James is confident in the new chief ’s ability as well. “We hit a home run when we got Brad. I feel really good with Brad stepping in. He’s a smart guy.” Shirley is the former police chief of Boiling Spring Lakes and was Leland’s deputy chief before James’ retirement. Someday, James says, he may find an urge to work again. But it won’t be as a police officer. “I think I’m going to be OK,” he says. “I’ll miss the people I work with and the people across the hall. But the job? I don’t know. I’m 55. I may go back to work. It may be stocking shelves at Lowe’s, but it won’t be carrying a gun. I’m not going to be in charge of anything but me.” 

Community Community means Community means everything. means everything. everything.

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COMMUNITY

Sew Helpful The Shelmore Stitchers of Brunswick Forest contributed hundreds of handmade masks to local organizations in need. BY ANNESOPHIA RICHARDS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY LAURA GLANTZ

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In the uncertain times of social distancing and isolation, a small group of Brunswick Forest neighbors joined together with a big mission: to help protect vulnerable members of the Leland-area community. Known as the Shelmore Stitchers, this virtual volunteer group of more than a dozen women dedicates their time to sewing and donating homemade cotton face masks for local organizations in need. Group organizer Cindy Bryant spent her days before the coronavirus pandemic volunteering in the community as a member of the North Brunswick Kiwanis Club. When the spread of the virus put an end to many of her regular activities, Bryant felt she needed to find other ways to help. She reached out to fellow neighbor and friend Nancy D’Abrosca, and the two women quickly created a simple plan to make a big impact.

Members of the Shelmore Stitchers hold bags of homemade cotton face masks to be donated to local organizations in need. Left to right: Cornelia Maxted, Cindy Bryant, Jenny Todd, Coordinator for Lower Cape Fear Hospice, and Nancy D'Abrosca.

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“We discussed how there might be a need for masks with some of the community’s nonprofits,” Bryant says. “Nancy is a master seamstress, so she came up with different patterns, while I made some contacts, and we found that indeed there was a need.” Realizing they’d need more help, D’Abrosca reached out to friends in the Shelmore neighborhood, and word of the initiative soon spread to other Brunswick Forest residents eager to volunteer their time and sewing abilities. “We live in a beautiful area with many talented people, so just by sending out one email, we were off and running with the idea,” D’Abrosca says. The Shelmore Stitchers’ first request came at the beginning of April from Brunswick Senior Resources, Inc. The women made 91 masks to cover every driver and recipient of the Meals on Wheels program in Leland. Their next project included 140 masks for residents and staff of the Brunswick Cove Living Center. Soon after, the Stitchers sewed and delivered 115 more masks to Lower Cape Fear LifeCare of Brunswick County, bringing their total mask count to more than 300 by the end of the month. With so much work to be done, the group established a weekly virtual meeting in order to evaluate their progress and

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North Brunswick Magazine

Opposite: Marilyn O'Brien and her fellow stitchers use any fabric they can get their hands on to create a variety of masks that are donated to area nonprofits like Meals on Wheels and Lower Cape Fear LifeCare of Brunswick County.


COMMUNITY

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COMMUNITY

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80 North (opposite) Brunswick Anne Carbone andMagazine Arliss Bailey (above) are part of a group of more than a dozen women who dedicate their time to sewing and donating homemade cotton face masks for local organizations in need.

coordinate their efforts. “We get on a Zoom conference call every Monday and catch up on what we’re doing, where we are, what new needs are out there and what our numbers look like,” Bryant says. With more than 15 members and growing, the Shelmore Stitchers include both neighbors who can sew and others who can’t but instead help the group by cutting, pressing or seeking out donations of fabric and other supplies (Heather and Jeff Krasnov of Style Source and Jefferson Landing were two that helped with donations). Bryant says she and her fellow stitchers use whatever they can get their hands on for fabrics, elastics, ties and for seam binding. The women create a variety of mask colors and styles, including several with pockets for filters and some without, as well as masks with elastics and others with ties to go around the back of head. The masks are all washable and reusable, and each mask is made to fit the individual needs of the specific organizations.

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“ “We make all kinds and trust they will help slow the spread of COVID-19,” D’Abrosca says. “The feeling of doing something that could save lives is overwhelming to think about.” The Stitchers agree they are not making their masks to sell but rather solely for donation to groups that need the protection to keep people safe. Since other members of the Brunswick Forest community are making and selling personal-use masks as an added source of income, Bryant says she directs the individual requests she receives to those neighbors to support their efforts. “We can’t possibly respond to making masks for everyone who wants one in the community,” Bryant says. “Since we all volunteer in our normal lives, we’re all connected to the places and organizations where there are the most needs.” Bryant says the feedback and support

the Shelmore Stitchers have received from the Brunswick County community has been wonderful. A remarkable outcome of the virtual collaborative is the new relationships and friendships she has made with other women in her neighborhood. Bryant looks forward to the day when the Stitchers can join together in person to celebrate the work they’ve done and the people they’ve had the fortune of serving. “It’s very interesting to see a cohesive group come together like this when you have no physical contact, and it’s amazing to think we’re bonded through this common effort in helping the community,” Bryant says. “We all feel very good about what we’re doing, because we all want to be doing something. If we can help keep folks safe and the people they come in contact with safe, then that’s all that matters.” 

Shelmore Stitcher Cindy Bryant.

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We make all kinds and trust they will help slow the spread of COVID-19. The feeling of doing something that could save lives is overwhelming to think about.


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NATURE

Help Is on the Way A much-needed shoreline restoration relief project is coming for Historic Brunswick Town / Fort Anderson. BY BRIAN WILNER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT MCGRAW

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Nearly a year and a half after the devastation of Hurricane Florence, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has awarded a $2 million dollar grant to the Historic Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson site on the Cape Fear River. This shoreline restoration project will enable the installation of a 1,000-foot-long artificial reef to protect and stabilize the site. Officials expect the reef will minimize future erosion and flooding from storms and

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commercial ships passing through. Another huge benefit will be the protection of the salt marshes in the area. These marshes provide habitat for many marine species including oysters, crabs, finfish and countless others. This is a collaborative effort between the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, UNC Wilmington and the Scenic Consulting Group. “Brunswick Town / Fort Anderson has a long history


NATURE

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NATURE

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A $2 million dollar grant to the Historic Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson site on the Cape Fear River will enable the installation of a 1,000-foot-long artificial reef to protect and stabilize the site.

of being impacted by hurricanes and flooding,” said N.C. Division of State Historic Sites Director Michelle Lanier in a press release. “This project will enable the site to continue serving as a community hub, providing free education, recreation and tourism opportunities that bring revenue to the local economy, while preserving North Carolina’s cultural heritage and promoting biodiversity along the shoreline. We are grateful to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for investing in our project.” A HISTORY WORTH PROTECTING Founded in 1726, English settlers perched Brunswick Town on the banks of the Cape Fear River to serve as a port for exporting tar, pitch, and turpentine made from North Carolina’s famed longleaf pines. The town flourished until 1770 when the royal governor relocated to New Bern, NC and Wilmington’s growth began to draw residents and business up the river. In 1776 what remained of the town was burned by raiding British soldiers during the Revolutionary War. During the Civil War the Confederate army constructed Fort Anderson on the ruins of Brunswick Town to protect the city of Wilmington; whose port and railways had become a integral part of the Confederate supply chain. In 1865 Union soldiers overwhelmed the Confederates who were forced to flee the fort during the cover of night. After the fall of Fort Anderson the site laid abandoned and forgotten for close to 100 years until archeologists in the 1950s and '60s unearthed foundations of buildings from Brunswick Town. Most notably, the stoic walls of St. Philip’s Anglican Church and the earthen walls of Confederate Fort Anderson still stand as a reminder of the area’s storied past. 

Visit the historic site Brunswick Town / Fort Anderson 8884 St. Philip’s Road SE, Winnabow, NC 28479 (910) 371-6613, brunswick@ncdcr.gov historicsites.nc.gov/all-sites/brunswick-town-fort-anderson Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday, Monday and most major holidays. Admission is free. 98

North Brunswick Magazine


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Empowering ourWealth clients Jonathan Tait — Signature Strategies and community.

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Brock Hall, AAMS® Wealth Advisor, RJfS

PHOTO BY MEGAN DEITZ

through uncharted waters. Whether we are wondering what direction our lives will take after the pandemic has receded or what our financial situation will look like when the economy 80to full North Magazine gets back steam,Brunswick the uncertainty takes us all out of our comfort zone. With so many people with so much on the line with their investment and retirement plans, it is comforting to know we have experienced professionals in that field that we can trust to steer us to smooth sailing after the storm has passed. This is why I wanted to speak with Jonathan Tait, a Senior Wealth Advisor and licensed Certified Financial Planner Professional with Signature Wealth Strategies in Leland. I knew his 19+ years of experience in this field could provide me with a big picture view of the market cycles and how to best stay the course through times such as these. Originally from the New Bern area and a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, Jonathan followed in his fathers’ footsteps and went to work for Raymond James Financial Services in 2001. Starting in the St. Petersburg, Florida, office it was there he put his English degree to work as he wrote reports for the company on when to buy, sell and hold stocks. It was there he met his future wife, Kristin — she had a corporate position and was responsible for opening new locations throughout the county. After marrying, the couple moved to Leland to open their own Raymond James office. Jonathan described to me their reasoning for choosing Leland. “When my wife and I moved to Leland in 2006, we felt a little like pioneers. Walmart had just opened its doors on Highway 17 and the Harris Teeter shopping center was being cleared. No one outside of Leland understood why we wanted to live here and not somewhere else. We love the feel of a small town where people wave to you on the street, you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone you know and just about everyone has moved here from somewhere else. We felt this was a place where we could put in the hard work, time and effort to become impactful members of the community and we continue to work every day to make that happen.” Since then his office alone has grown to manage more than $150m, and with the Signature Wealth Strategies group he is part of they together manage over $1.5b in assets as of June 2020. When I asked him how they approach each day he told me, “When we come to work, our first job is to empower our

Senior Wealth Advisor, RJfS

clients to plan their future with confidence. We believe our clients can then focus their energy on our area’s perpetual growth, its constant improvement and their own continuous education.” They want to help the client focus on a strategic plan, a budget and their spending practices to help them reach their financial goals. This means offering a higher level of service that ensures they are doing what is in the very best interest of their client. Jonathan's dedication and success led to his election to the Leland Town Council from 2011 to 2015. Under the current COVID-19 restrictions, he says they are


Business Profile BY BRIAN WILNER

Kristin and Jon Tait and their son, Turner.

able to fully function as a business like before, albeit using conference calls, Zoom calls and other types of electronic meetings to take the place of a face-to-face meeting. He says it is important that all customers can still have immediate answers to their questions and concerns during any crisis. “We started this business during the “Great Recession." Our clients trusted us then, just as they trust us now, to bring them through tough times and allow them to live their lives no matter the circumstances.”

Jonathan Tait Certified Financial Planner Senior Wealth Advisor Signature Wealth Strategies 1022 Grandiflora Drive, Suite 110, Leland (910) 371-0366 signaturewealth.com

Any opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected.

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Kingfish Bay

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here can you experience Caribbean resort–style living and Carolina-style Southern charm in one place? Kingfish Bay in Calabash. Located midway between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, Kingfish Bay is just a 30-minute drive to the big cities but far enough away from the bright lights and traffic for relaxed waterfront living. Set on the banks of the Calabash River and minutes away from the Atlantic Ocean, Kingfish Bay is a private, gated waterfront community. Palm trees and sidewalks provide the opportunity for a stroll through the neighborhood’s natural beauty, nature trails and riverfront park. The state-of-the-art homes, priced in the low $300,000s to more than $1 million, are designed with luxury in mind and bring the outdoors into your living space. Choose from more than a dozen floor plans with verandas and plentiful windows to connect with nature. New for 2020 Kingfish Bay has opened up their riverfront section and added the new Tropicale and Grande Isles Collections of Homes. Overall, it’s what’s outside that makes Kingfish Bay a special place to live. Featuring all the amenities of a five-star resort in the middle of acres of scenic wetlands and woodlands, Kingfish Bay provides the best of both worlds — without leaving the property. The onsite Riverfront Park allows residents to enjoy the outdoors with comfort and convenience. Overlooking the Calabash River and acres of protected lands that will never be developed, the park offers nature trails, fishing pavilions, piers with day docks, hammocks and Adirondack chairs by a fire pit and a pirate-ship playground. The onsite Community Center provides the opportunity to socialize and exercise in an upscale

Business Profile BY MICHELLE MACKEN

environment. The center has a fully furnished kitchen, a putting green, a modern fitness center and a pool and hot tub. Kingfish Bay’s new Oceanfront Club is only a 5.6-mile drive in nearby Sunset Beach. The private, three-story, 2,200-squarefoot clubhouse is next to Sunset Beach Pier and directly on the ocean. The town of Calabash is within walking distance and offers plenty of dining, shopping and social opportunities. Known as the Seafood Capital of the World, the town is loaded with seafood restaurants specializing in the famous Calabash style of seafood. Souvenir shops and retail stores make up a vibrant shopping scene. When you’re looking for more excitement, Kingfish Bay is not far from South Carolina’s Little River and North Myrtle Beach, which was named America’s Favorite Beach Vacation Destination by the Travel Channel. On the North Carolina side of the border is a strand of small coastal communities and sites, beginning with Bird Island, a nature preserve known for its maritime woodlands and wetlands. Heading up the coast are Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island, the Cape Fear River and Wilmington, which is famous for its historic downtown district and the battleship USS North Carolina. Beautiful scenery, luxurious homes and relaxed living — it’s all waiting for you at Kingfish Bay. Kingfish Bay 1235 Kingfish Boulevard, Calabash (910) 579-4657 kingfishbaydevelopment.com Summer 2020

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ADVERTISERS INDEX Advertiser

Phone# Page#

Advertiser

Phone# Page#

4ever24fit..........................................................................................910-399-4760 88

Leland Ace Hardware..................................................................910-383-6688 41

AA Self Storage............................................................................ 910-408-1600 99

Leland Veterinary Hospital...................................................... 910-371-3440 87

Aesthetic Dentistry........................................................................910-371-5965 26

Livingston Creek Farms.............................................................910-655-4333 54

Airlie Gardens................................................................................ 910-798-7700 70 Local's Tavern...................................................................................910-769-1289 93 ATMC.......................................................................................................844-755-1814 14

Lockwood Folly Country Club................................................ 910-842-5666 46

Austin Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery....................................910-769-1605 76

Luxe Home Interiors Waterford...........................................910-371-0464 95

Bianchi Brickyard Supply...........................................................910-454-4445 30

McPherson’s Acme General..................................................910-655-4006 54

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New Hanover Regional Medical Center.......................... 910-342-3400 BC

Brunswick County Dept. of Social Services......................910-253-2112 66

Niche. Décor & Gifts.....................................................................910-769-8839 82

Brunswick Forest............................................................................910-371-2434 19

Nicole Bray Interiors.......................................................................919-221-3441 90

Brunswick Forest Veterinary Hospital...............................910-777-2107 66

North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce..................... 910-383-0553 74

Cassian Films....................................................................................919-267-0242 17

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Capeside Animal Hospital.........................................................910-383-2100 14

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P.T.’s Grille.........................................................................................910-399-6808 82

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Coastal Spine Institute............................................................... 910-356-6100 49 Rhodes Law Offices, PLLC....................................................... 910-383-3610 90 Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage................................. 910-371-1181 3

RJB Tax Associates, LLC...........................................................910-338-3001 46

CommWell Health..........................................................................877-935-5255 50

Robert G. Merz, CPA, P.C...........................................................910-383-6644 82

Complete Dental Leland..............................................................910-663-1223

Sandpiper Pediatrics...................................................................910-207-0777 12

5

Computer Warriors.......................................................................910-216-9399 104

Scarless Vein Care........................................................................ 910-726-3737 99

Curley Implants & General Dentistry.................................910-463-2267 IFC

Sean Skutnik, Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage......910-279-1016 58

EmergeOrtho...............................................................................800-800-3305 4

Seidokan Karate..............................................................................910-616-7470 41

Farm Bureau Insurance.................................................................. 910-371-2111 58

Shuckin' Shack...................................................................................910-221-5522 76

First Bank............................................................................................910-383-3955 6 Signature Wealth Strategies................................................... 910-371-0366

80, 100

Four Seasons Dry Cleaners......................................................910-859-8394 93

Smithfield’s Chicken N Bar-B-Q............................................ 910-371-6900 15

Franklin Rouse - State Farm Insurance..............................910-371-5446 87

Swell Vision Center......................................................................... 910-408-1116 46

Go Store It............................................................................................ 910-371-2331 48

Thalian Association Community Theatre..........................910-251-1788 88

Holmes Security Systems..........................................................910-793-4181 50

The Bluffs.......................................................................................... 910-383-2820 38

Hwy 55 Burgers Shakes and Fries........................................910-371-2707 49

Trinity Wellness Center...........................................................910-769-5004 61

Infinity Custom Cabinets.......................................................... 910-859-8299 7 Tropical Smoothie Café...............................................................910-765-1144 74 Intracoastal Realty Corporation............................................910-256-4503 9 Troy Williamson - On Q Financial..........................................910-262-2613 12 J & K Home Furnishings............................................................ 843-249-1882

24 & 25

Trusst Builder Group..................................................................910-371-0304 45

Jason Krause - Allstate...............................................................910-338-5686 80 Turf Medic...........................................................................................910-769-2818 95 Josh London – State Farm Insurance.................................910-383-1303 87

UPS Store............................................................................................ 910-383-1401 58

Katie's Art & Frame....................................................................... 910-408-1757 80

Venture Business Park.................................................................910-523-1981 88

Kingfish Bay......................................................................................910-579-4657

Wilmington Health.........................................................................910-371-0404 56

11, 103

Legacy Homes by Bill Clark.......................................................910-363-1682 23 Wine & Design.................................................................................910-399-7874 66

Summer 2020

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CAPTURE THE MOMENT

Alexia Campbell gets crowned NBHS prom queen in a unique way in June. Photo captured by Dominique Rainwater

HAVE YOU CAPTURED THE MOMENT? If so, email your photos to capture@northbrunswickmagazine.com. 106

North Brunswick Magazine


Health Professional Scholarship Recipients K L M S NBH

Ariana Fowler NC State University

Bailey Smith UNC Chapel Hill

Each recipient will receive a $2500 college scholarship! Thank you to the generous donors of the inaugural NBHS MLK Health Professional Scholarship Fund: Douglas F Messina, MD, Sanjay Batish, MD FAAFP, David H. Snow, MD, Russell and Alice Miller.

Douglas F Messina, MD

Sanjay Batish, MD FAAFP

David H. Snow, MD

Russell and Alice Miller Summer 2020

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At NHRMC and NHRMC Physician Group, we’re leading our community to outstanding health by looking deeper and working harder to find innovative ways to deliver great care. We’re bringing health screenings to area neighborhoods, offering free exercise and nutrition programs, and volunteering with community partners throughout our region. And we’re just getting started. Join us at NHRMC.org. Together, we can make healthier happen.