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DEBUT ISSUE SPRING 2011

Battling the Big ‘C’

Focus:Valley Women Your Body

A LOCAL FAMILY’S FIGHT

GET WHAT YOU NEED

WHAT HAPPENS AT 40


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7 PUBLISHER

Titus L. Workman

table of contents

publisher@rrdailyherald.com (252) 537-2505 Ext. 248

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Stephen Hemelt

shemelt@rrdailyherald.com (252) 537-2505 Ext. 233

EDITOR

Kris Smith

ksmith@rrdailyherald.com (252) 537-2505 Ext. 238

Ad Executive

Rhonda Irby

rhondairby@thelakemagazine.biz (252) 410-5253

Ad/Creative

Linda Foster

lindafoster@rrdailyherald.com (252) 537-2505 Ext. 224

Circulation

6 Editors’ notes 7 RVW News 8 Charity & Business 10 Health & Wellness 12 Motherhood & Family 14 Entertainment & Social 16 Out & About 19 Calendar

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Carol Moseley

carolmoseley@thelakemagazine.biz (252) 537-2505 Ext. 251

Designers

Heather Rhea Wade and Kris Smith

Contributing Writers

On the cover & inside 21

Della Rose, Jacqueline Hough, Roger Bell and Tammy Crowley-Deloatch

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Ad Designers Heather Rhea Wade and Hope Callahan

Contributing Photographer Les Atkins

ROANOKE VALLEY WOMAN

916 Roanoke Ave., Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870 P.O. Box 520, Roanoke Rapids NC 27870 252-410-5253 rvwoman@rrdailyherald.com Copyright 2011 Roanoke Valley Woman No portion of Roanoke Valley Woman may be reprinted in any form or posted on the Internet without the permission of the publisher.

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Read what Weldon’s first female mayor says about doing some good for the town’s residents. Front cover and above, Mayor Julia Meacham as photographed by Les Atkins.


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t is with great reverence for a subject matter dear to the heart of everyone in our community that we launch the Roanoke Valley Woman magazine. As a free quarterly publication by The Daily Herald that kicks off with the premiere edition in your hands, we aim to celebrate, motivate and connect real women, while providing a voice for area females. Future issues will come in May, August and November. With topics such as health & wellness, charity & business, entertainment & socializing and motherhood & family, we will detail and story-tell through the eyes and lives of the very women who make the Roanoke Valley a special place to live. With Gov. Beverly Perdue, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, numerous United States Representatives and plenty of state leaders,

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North Carolina has already set a national standard for female leadership. With our own Roanoke Valley mayors, council members and school board members serving the region, we plan to celebrate our community leaders just as proudly, while also providing a place to shine for everyone from parents to business owners. Roanoke Valley Woman is a community magazine. As such, we want to hear from you. We look forward to running a “letters” section in upcoming issues and encourage all manner of response. Feel free to e-mail comments to shemelt@rrdailyherald.com or send a letter to 916 Roanoke Avenue, Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870. This publication launch would not have been possible without a team effort of magazine contributors and local advertisers. I would like to thank them publicly for daring

ith the hustle and bustle of everyday life, work and school schedules keep people on the run and not really leaving much time for the little things. But what if a little thing — say a small act of kindness — didn’t take much from your routine (and really just the thought of doing it) ... would it be worth

your time? Chivalry, as defined by www.merriam-webster.com, relates to the topic at hand includes: Gallant or distinguished gentlemen; the qualities of the ideal knight: chivalrous conduct; marked by honor, generosity and courtesy; marked by gracious courtesy and high-minded consideration especially to women. Colleagues around the office — of various age groups and including both genders — responded positively about inquiries concerning acts of a chivalrous nature. Everyone liked it when someone opened a door or helped them when they dropped something, as well as other acts of kindness. Whether because of lack of exposure to such acts, busyness of life, or whatever the case may be, some of those asked said they believed chivalry is antiquated or near antiquation. Although the optimism of those polled said they would perform a chivalrous act, whether it was convenient or if they had to go out of their way to do so. A person can’t always be 100 percent when it comes to acts of kindness; no one is perfect. But when it counts, are you in or out? In the most basic of terms, when it comes down to it, it depends on whether you want to be greathearted or a degenerate — a synonym and antonym for chivalrous via Webster. I personally appreciate doors being opened, a gentleman aiding

to create a magazine with a goal of celebrating, motivating and connecting a precious community asset — the Roanoke Valley Woman.

Stephen Hemelt, Executive Editor shemelt@rrdailyherald.com

with my chair at the dinner table, a helping hand when needed, etc. It makes me feel cared for, and that is comforting. Yet I have found the same kind of feel-good feeling comes from performing a chivalrous act, like helping someone struggling to get groceries to the car before the bags split. A recent personal chivalrous act was at a local restaurant. After finishing my meal, I went to exit. Of course, more hungry customers were arriving. So, I held the door for a bit, and when others tried to hold the door for me, I said, “Thank you, but I make a really good generic door stopper, I don’t mind. Enjoy your meal.” Eventually I was on my way and it was a great way to meet people, too. A little thing can mean so much. So, is a small act of kindness worth your time? Women of the Roanoke Valley, is chivalry a dying act? Do you like it when it happens? Do you believe it is a must-do on a date? Are you old school or new age on chivalry? Tell us, we want to know your take. What do YOU think?

Kris Smith, Editor ksmith@rrdailyherald.com

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Women of the Roanoke Valley, you are the focus

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STORY & PHOTOS BY JACQUELINE HOUGH

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herida Gholston’s experience from attending a previous Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce Women’s Conference was key in her becoming involved in planning the 2011 Gholston one. “When I attended the 2009 conference, I observed speakers from diverse backgrounds and various areas were touched on,” said Gholston, who is the director of student support services at Halifax Community College. Gholston was especially motivated by keynote speaker Dr. Belle S. Wheelon, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. “There was something for everyone there,” Gholston said. It was an experience she hopes others will have at the 2011 Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce Women’s Conference. The fourth annual conference, with a new format and focus for recognizing area women in business and home, will take Some of the members for the 2011 Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce Women’s place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 26 in The Conference discuss the tribute book for the event. From left, are Sherida Gholston, Centre on the campus of Suetta Scarbrough, Ruby Gerald and Donna Clements. Halifax Community broach with a silhouette of a woman. The the individual woman,” Clements said. College. Tickets are $30 There will be eight workshops in the mornidea for it came from chamber information for adults and $20 for ing and the same eight repeating in the afterspecialist Ginny Lewis. students. Clements loved the idea because she felt noon in the classrooms in the lower part of Donna Clements and The Centre. broaches help to individualize women. Ruby Gerald, co-chairs Gerald said there will be workshops on It is part of the conference theme of adornof the planning commithealth, finance, legal concerns and other ing the woman in mind, body and spirit. tee for the conference, Gerald With additional help from Sonya Speed and topics. “We are trying to cover every area said it will be a major transition without one long-time coordina- Clements’ daughter, Gesine Crockett, the that a woman deals with,” Gerald said. Roanoke Rapids City Councilwoman Suetta logo came to life. tor. With the various speakers and seminars, Scarbrough thinks the conIn the first years, Cheryl McElheney was extensively Clements felt the focus in having the event at ference is an excellent idea involved in the coordination The Centre starts when attendees walk in the for the Roanoke Valley. Scarbrough is also one of of the conference. All door. The goal is to have various female vendors the members of the conferarrangements for the 2010 event were completed prior with tables set up to show their businesses, ence planning committee.“We hope it will help to her death in December, services and products. “It gives them an opportunity to show what women realize their poten2009. tial,” she said. “We don’t want to cover just they are best at,” Clements said. Clements “I have always had leader- Scarbrough Instead of a sit down luncheon, which was one aspect,” Clements said. “We want it to be the total package. We done in the past, various areas will be set up ship roles since high school.” In high school, she was president of the largest FFA chapter want (attendees) to come and find out what with food throughout the day. The guest speaker will be motivational in Georgia. they need.” Clements cites Scarbrough as a mentor and The planning for the event started with a speaker and author Al Collins, who lives in logo to go on tickets and flyers. The logo is a Cheltenham, Md. “We feel she can address a source of inspiration. “I am here because

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of Suetta,” she said. “She is always encouraging women to step up. As a whole, I hope this conference teaches others how to give back to the community.” This is why organizers hope area businesses will help young women attend the conference by sponsoring them. Clements said, “This is the first step toward helping the younger generation become leaders.” With the conference offering so much, the committee is creating a keepsake program book for the event. Organizers want the program to be a memento that can be placed on a table like a coffee table book. They want attendees to honor special ladies in their lives with photos, acknowledgments, poetry. “If everyone has the opportunity to recognize someone, it will personalize the entire event,” Clements said. Broaches play a crucial role in this year’s conference. Ruby Gerald, left, and Donna Clements are co-chairs of the planning committee for the 2011 Roanoke Valley Women’s Conference.

Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce 4th annual Women’s Conference • Feb. 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Centre on the campus of Halifax Community College. • Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students. • For more information or for vendor details, contact Sonya Speed at the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce at 252-519-2613 or sspeed@rvchamber.com.

“We do not want to cover just one aspect. We want it to be the total package. We want (attendees) to come and find out what they need.”

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Charity &

Business STORY & PHOTO BY ROGER BELL When most people think about automobile repair, they may not think of a woman being involved in the business. This perception could change on Roanoke Avenue now that Joe Ann Moody has opened her shop, M&J Performance and Detailing. “I always wanted to have a business,” Moody said. “I always wanted to do something in the community that would be of good service. I decided I would like to own my own business, a small auto repair shop, because there are more people buying cars, especially women, so there will always be a need for service on vehicles.” Moody also said her education led her to choose the path of ownership. “I went to college because I always wanted to own my own

business,” Moody said. “I decided to own a repair shop because I felt that would be more of a service to the community rather than a small, home-based business.” Moody also said she sees a need for more personal car care in the area. “I have a car and I am particular about who works on my car,” Moody said. “I want a mechanic I can trust to know and learn my vehicle’s needs even though I may not know what it needs.” Joe Ann Moody’s M&J Performance and Detailing at 108 Moody also said she would hope her mechanics would be Roanoke Avenue in Roanoke Rapids. more responsive to the needs of instead to help Moody get her working out pretty good.” female car owners and treat business going. M&J Performance and them with respect. “I’m just trying to make sure Detailing is open Monday Moody isn’t going into this venshe gets decent workers,” Carter through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 ture alone, however. Mark said. “I had gotten this building p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to Carter, a friend of Moody’s, was myself, and I was going to try to noon. It is located at 108 going to open his own business do something for myself, but I Roanoke Avenue. on Roanoke Avenue, but decided can’t work anymore. So it’s

Going the extra mile: Investing in a high performance oil filter The longer you plan on keeping a vehicle, the more vital it is to have regular oil and filter changes on your car’s maintenance schedule. Clean, filtered oil lubricating the engine and its components ensures smooth and efficient operation for as long as the vehicle remains in service. However, if you are a motorist looking for the optimal level of driving performance, going a step further and choosing a high performance oil filter may be the best option for you. “A high performance oil filter is especially engineered to pay additional divi-

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dends,” said Ramon Nunez, director of Filtration for Bosch, the world’s largest supplier of automotive parts and systems. Bosch offers oil, fuel and cabin air filters to the North American aftermarket at www.boschautoparts.com. What makes a high performance filter? According to Nunez, the more advanced the materials and technology used in the construction of a filter, the greater its ability to keep the engine performing efficiently over a long period of time. For instance, the Bosch DistancePlus(TM) high performance oil filter keeps oil extraordinarily

clean, protects the engine against harmful contaminants and prevents engine wear. Additionally, it works with any brand of synthetic and conventional motor oil. Essentially, an oil filter keeps dirt from harming an engine. Dirt is an engine’s most virulent enemy that can enter the engine and damage its internal components. What makes a good quality filter, Nunez said, is “its efficiency in capturing the dirt and its capacity to hold the debris.” Since there is no way for a driver to know that the filter is clogged, it’s vital that it has a large enough capacity to supply clean oil to the engine for as long as possible. A relatively inexpensive service item compared to tires and brakes, investing in a high performance oil filter can help a vehicle go the distance plus, Nunez said.

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Auto tips W

ith spring nearly here, that familiar anticipation of warmer weather and long drives with the windows down has returned. But as enjoyable as that first drive can be, it can also prove disastrous for vehicle owners who don’t prepare before hitting the road. AMSOIL INC. offers the following tips to drivers about to ready their ride for that first warm weather road trip. • Give your vehicle a fresh start with a few simple changes to your maintenance routine. One way drivers can make a profound impact on their vehicles this season is to address the lubricants they use to keep their car running strong. Unbeknownst to many vehicle owners, conventional motor oils slow starting rpm while restricting oil flow to critical engine parts and increasing wear on bearings and rings. However, synthetic motor oils provide significant performance benefits over their conventional counterparts thanks in large part to their superior resistance to varnish and sludge development. That superior resistance enables engines to run cleaner with synthetics, providing better fuel economy while offering more wear protection. • Poorly inflated tires are often a silent assassin. Poorly inflated tires force the engine to work harder, decreasing fuel efficiency and taxing the engine as a result. Consult your vehicle manual for recommended tire pressure, and keep the tires at the recommended level. • Vehicle owners can keep their cars running strong this spring by strictly adhering to their vehicle maintenance schedule. This has even gotten easier in recent years, as many vehicle manufacturers are sug-

Get your ride ready gesting longer intervals between tune-ups and oil changes, resulting in less trips to the mechanic. • Give your car a good wash. Every vehicle owner wants their car to look good, especially when warm weather arrives. But a car wash can not only benefit a car’s appearance, but also it can help boost its performance. Over the course of a typical winter, salt, slush, dirt, and grime tend to buildup the more a vehicle navigates its way through winter-covered roads. A thorough car wash can remove these unwanted deposits, while also clearing away break dust that can erode wheel surface.

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health&wellness Your body: What happens at 40? STORY BY TAMMY CROWLEY-DELOATCH

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hrough life, women have many challenges to face dealing with the physical body. Not only does life happen, but also hormones come and go, leaving females in a state many do not understand. This is because the female body changes as we age and our bodies are preparing for the aging process, as well PHOTOS BY KRIS SMITH as menopause. With every decade our body changes. Pictured are Lisa Lynch, 50, front, Maria Barbrey, 29, middle, and Angelique Walker, 41, left. Our metabolism tries to slow down, and our body tries to hold on to every calorie it is fed — we eat less and we weigh more. When our BMI is higher, we don’t burn calories as efficiently. As our bodies change each year, we start to age and lose muscle This causes our bodies to increase in fat, and the metabolism mass. This causes us to have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index). slows down. Body mass index matters because it tells the percentage in body Most women experiencing these changes get frustrated and fat versus muscle. Your BMI is a number that is calculated from a may feel doomed. The frustration is because women in general person’s weight and height. The nice thing about knowing this in like to feel good and look good. the beginning of your fitness program, is you can monitor what We want to be fit as we age, and when our jeans don’t fit like you are losing, muscle or fat. A healthy BMI for a woman is 18.5 they used to, it causes frustration. Or if the scales are not moving -24 percent. You can determine your BMI, by having it checked by when we are trying to lose that last 10 pounds, we get frustrated. several different methods — calipers which test the skin-fold When our bodies are out of shape and we don’t feel good, it causthickness, underwater weighing and bioelectrical impedance. es a sense of doom. This is especially the case for women who do not understand why the exercise they did in their 20s and 30s is no longer working after reaching the 40s or 50s. Because of all the changes that begin before age 40, it is difficult to know what to do to stay healthy and lean. About 30 minutes would be all it would take for say 20 year olds to keep them at the desired size. Now those same women in their 40s and 50s have to work harder and longer while exercising to have the same pant size. What we did in our 20s does not work anymore — this comes from the loss of muscle due to the aging process when weight training and doing cardio, the individual’s metabolism will not increase. Yes, aging is a natural process and involves many challenges, but women have the power to make it a less-trying time. A healthier more youthful body awaits you.

Tammy Crowley-Deloatch teaches an exercise class at New Day Fitness.

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At right and below, Angelique Walker, 41, of Roanoke Rapids, has worked out on and off for roughly 16 years. She puts in a session five to six days a week ... why?

“The weight comes back.”

As a woman’s body ages:

• The body needs more nutrition, not more calories. • The lean muscle starts to deteriorate, so we need to lift weights. • A body doesn’t have the cell turn over like it did in the 20-year decade, causing too many carbohydrates consumed to turn into fat. • A woman needs to work out between 65-80 percent of her heart rate. Interval training is the best. • As a woman ages, a diet of increased protein and calcium should be considered. There are supplements for muscle and bone loss. • Follow up with your physician to get a complete diet of what you need. Individuals are different and your doctor knows best on how to guide each person.

Tammy Crowley-Deloatch holds a Sports Management degree from the University of Phoenix and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Liberty University Christian Counseling. Crowley is a certified personal trainer and a certified instructor for Zumba, Silver Sneakers, Flirty Girl Fitness and in Weight Room Training. She has been a fitness club owner and trainer for 25 years and has won multiple awards, including N.C. Powerlifting Championship, Olympic weightlifting at the state games and has competed in several bodybuilding shows. She has authored “Your Best Shape Ever Cookbook!” and written a program called Spiritual Stretch to help women with eating disorders.

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At middle and above, the early stages of menopause is what Lisa Lynch, 50, of Roanoke Rapids, says keeps her at the gym. She has trained five days a week, on and off for about 20 years. Lynch shared that the workouts help keep the hormonal and weight fluctuations in check, and overall makes her “feel good.”

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Eating disorders... In the United States, millions of people are fighting eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. In addition to the immediate negative effects an eating disorder can have on a person’s body, there are several long-term consequences that can compromise individual health. A person could even suffer life-threatening consequences. Additional side effects depend on the type of disorder a person may be suffering. Anorexia Nervosa Negative side effects of anorexia nervosa are often the result of the state of starvation a body goes through while a person exhibits anorexic behavior. Someone who who is anorexic can expect the following following starva starva tion-related side effects: • Vitamin and mineral mineral deficiencies • Disturbances in electrolyte levels levels • Fainting Fainting episodes • Dehydr ation Dehydration • Loss of muscle mass These side effects are largely physiological. physiological. A person who who is anorexic can suffer physical physical side effects as well., including: • Discoloration h will often appear to be Discoloration of the skin, whic which turning yello w yellow • Soft hair • Scaly skin that dries out easily • Brittle hair and nails Such side effects are among the more immediate consequences of anorexia nervosa, but a person suffering from anorexia may also develop more long-term health problems. Those problems might include the development of a condition called osteopenia, in which a decreased intake of calcium makes the bones at a much greater risk of fractures. Abdominal pain and bloating as well as chronic constipation can also result from the slowing of the body’s gastrointestinal tract. One of the more unsettling and potentially fatal side effect of anorexia nervosa relates to the heart. Anorexics are starving their bodies, which includes starving the muscles, and that includes the heart. The more a person exhibits anorexic behavior, the greater the risk of heart failure. Abnormal heart rhythms can also develop as a result of lower levels of sodium, zinc, calcium and potassium. That’s especially dangerous, as abnormal heart rhythms can cause sudden death. Bulimia Nervosa When someone is suffering from bulimia nervosa, he or she consumes large amounts of food during a binge before compensating for that binge by vomiting, fasting or even abusing diuretics. Bulimics can expect negative consequences from both binging and purging. The more frequent consequences of bulimia nervosa nervosa are heartburn, fatigue, dizziness, fainting episodes, bloody bloody diardiarrhea, abdominal pain and muscle cramps. cramps. Those suffering from the disorder may may develop develop calluses on the backs backs of their hands, whic h happens because vomiting which vomiting is routinely induced. Dental issues can also arise. Enamel is likely to erode due to stomach acid on upper teeth. Vomiting frequently also causes additional problems, like: • Dehydration • Disturbances in electrolyte levels • Development of potentially fatal abnormalities in heart rhythm caused by abnormalities in electrolytes. Distention of the stomach is another potentially life-threatening problem among bulimics because the binging causes the stomach to tear. Similarly, the esophagus can also tear as a result of the frequent vomiting, which can cause ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Eating disorders affect men, women and children. Those who are suffering, or suspect a friend or family member is suffering from an eating disorder, should consult a physician.

Cholestrol concerns... •

Did you know?

There are two types of cholesterol, one that can make the arteries less flexible and therefore make a person more susceptible to heart attack or stroke; and the other that actually protects against heart attack. Cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood, which means it has to be transported to and from the cells by carriers known as lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, are considered “bad” cholesterol. When too much bad cholesterol is circulating in the blood, LDL can slowly build up on the inner walls of the arteries, possibly even teaming with other substances to form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that narrows the arteries and makes them less flexible.

High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is what’s considered “good” cholesterol. That’s because medical experts feel HDL carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where cholesterol is then passed from the body. In addition, some experts also feel HDL removes excess cholesterol from arterial plaque, slowing its buildup as a result. And though cholesterol is commonly, and falsely, considered a dirty word, low levels of HDL actually increase a person’s risk of heart disease. A simple blood test can help men and women learn their HDL and LDL levels, and if they need to make any changes to get on the right track.

HDL = good LDL = bad

• Cholesterol content in food Individuals are often told to monitor their cholesterol consumption. This can be difficult if people don’t know how much cholesterol their daily diet contains. People with heart problems, or at risk for heart problems, or those with high cholesterol will often be instructed by a doctor to make dietary changes to reduce cholesterol consumption. Generally the guideline is to take in 300 or fewer milligrams per day of dietary cholesterol. Cholesterol is only found in foods that come from animals. This means that fruits, vegetables and grains will not have any cholesterol, unless they are mixed with animal products, such as in baked or processed goods. To help people make smarter choices about foods and to learn the cholesterol content of many of their favorite choices, here’s a list of the cholesterol content of common menu items: Whole milk, 1 cup: 33 mg Low-fat milk, 1 cup: 10 mg Non-fat milk, 1 cup: 4 mg Whole yogurt, 1 cup: 29 mg Non-fat yogurt, 1 cup: 10 mg Butter, 1 tsp: 11 mg Margarine, 1 tsp: 0 mg Egg, one: 212 mg Salmon, 3.5 oz:63 mg Crab, 3.5 oz: 52 mg Lobster, 3.5 oz:71 mg

Even though seafood is generally healthy to eat, items like shrimp and squid can be high in cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation. Shrimp, 3.5 oz:194 mg Squid, 3.5 oz: 231 mg Lean beef, 3.5 oz: 78 mg Sirloin, 3.5 oz:89 mg Veal, 3.5 oz: 135 mg Lamb shank, 3.5 oz: 106 mg Pork tenderloin, 3.5 oz: 79 mg Pork chop, 3.5 oz:85 mg Ham, 3.5 oz:53 mg Chicken, no skin, 3.5 oz: 85 mg Courtesy: UCSF Medical Center

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motherhood & Family

Battling the BIG ‘C’

How a Valley mom helped her young daughter fight ovarian cancer STORY & PHOTOS BY DELLA ROSE t’s hard to be a single parent, and if you throw a life-threatening illness into the mix, the long days and nights of worry and stress can be enough to drive a person mad. Melanie Byrum knows how that feels. Her youngest of three children, daughter Alanie, was born with a congenital heart defect. Alanie survived two open heart surgeries when she was small. She suffered a stroke during the second surgery, and it left her with some short-term memory loss and weakness in the left arm. Melanie believed things looked up for her family, but in 2003 Alanie suddenly took ill. It wasn’t her heart. It was cancer. “She just woke up one morning hurting,” Melanie said. “We thought it was appendicitis.” Melanie said doctors performed a CT scan and saw how enlarged Alanie’s ovary was. Emergency surgery was performed, but Alanie would have to undergo chemotherapy. Melanie and her daughter traveled to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville, where Alanie was hospitalized for six days during each course of treatment. “They made her so sick,” Melanie said. Alanie, now 17, recently sat on a couch beside her mother and giggled like a typical teenager. “I puked in her hair!” Melanie shot her daughter “that look,” but Alanie couldn’t wipe away the sneaky grin.

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“The worst part was watching her go through everything and knowing she was that sick and not being able to do anything,” Melanie said. Today, things are finally better for Alanie Byrum. The once precocious third grader is a precocious teenager — to her mother’s joy. Full of life and laughter, she has a quick wit and an answer for everything. “She’s a typical teenager,” her mother quipped jokingly at her daughter. “She wants to do what she wants to do.” Melanie said that was a good thing. It wasn’t that long ago she wasn’t sure her daughter would make it this far. Now Alanie is in school, her hair has grown back — to Mom Melanie and daughter Alanie with Pup. her delight. She has a as tough as they are,” she said. boyfriend, and she’s parAlanie was chosen as the Herald Angel for ticipating in all the activ- 2004, and the community stepped in to help. ities a beautiful girl her A record 384 donations were given to The age should be part of. Daily Herald that year, and the family Alanie had some wor- received more than $10,000. ries after she finished Melanie said the outpouring from the comtreatment and was given munity was overwhelming. a clean bill of health. Two “Everybody was really, really good to us,” of her school friends she said. “When she was a Herald Angel, we were diagnosed with can- were able to pay the bills, and I didn’t have cer. She wondered if she to worry about working. I could stay with brought it on. her.” “After I got sick, I startAlanie needed the emotional support from ed to think all my friends her mom. She said she appreciates all the were getting cancer,” she help that was given to her family while she said. was a Herald Angel. Alanie said she and her friends now take “I thought I was going to die,” said Alanie. part in Relay for Life. It means a lot to them “I was scared. All I wanted was my mama.” — not just because they’ve been touched by She added her grandmother was also there cancer. for her. “It lets people know I’m better now and I’m

“THE WORST PART WAS WATCHING HER GO THROUGH EVERYTHING AND KNOWING SHE WAS THAT SICK AND NOT BEING ABLE TO DO ANYTHING.”

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Life for the Byrums is much better now. Melanie faced a bout of depression during and after Alanie’s sickness, but is doing much better. She fulfilled her dream of going to cosmetology school and recently began working at one of the Roanoke Valley’s newest hair salons, Eclips, on the Avenue. The family is also in a new home that’s more accommodating. Melanie is also in a committed relationship with a former schoolmate. When asked if she learned anything or if this experience had changed her, Melanie thought for a moment, “You can plan your life, but you never know what’s going to happen. I guess I’ve learned to take it as it comes and to deal with things day by day.” She added, “I realize being with the kids and family are more important than material things — more important than a new car and things like that.” Melanie said though this was a hard road to travel and that at times things were frightening, and sometimes she didn’t know how she and her family would get through it, the love and generosity they received made a difference. “Things are looking better,” she said, then smiled.

Alanie Byrum and her older brother Chris are typical siblings. They laugh together, sometimes they fight, but they always make up. There’s a lot of joy in the Byrum house these days after Alanie’s clean bill of health after cancer. Pictured here are Melanie, middle, and Alanie with friend Roman Davis and dog, Pup.

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STORY & PHOTOS BY JACQUELINE HOUGH

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So much more than dinner

s Kathy Dikeman introduced people attending the first of three dinners for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” on Jan. 20, everyone looked around trying to figure out who it was. “I look around the room, it is sort of like the A-team of the Lake,” said Dikeman, who is president of the Organization to Support the Arts, Infrastructure and Learning on Lake Gaston — or O’Sail. After dinner, attendees were wondering who was the mystery guest. But only Dikeman, along with Cheryl Sebrell, knew the identity of the guest. Sebrell introduced him as her partner in crime with more than a 20-year friendship. A friendship that started with a play called “Once Upon a Mattress” at Lakeland Theatre Company. “I met a local legend,” she said. This local legend has visited 31 countries, collects grammar goofs and is a published author and composer. Many were surprised when Dwight Berry, retired teacher from Roanoke Rapids High School, was introduced. “It’s wonderful to be here,” he said. The event is one of the annual fundraisers for O’Sail, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Students, who are members of Warren County New Tech Culinary Club, served at the event. With a presentation titled “Masterpiece Mysteries,” Berry shared the little known facts about famous works of art. The first slide was Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Dwight Berry, right, was the mystery guest at O’Sail’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” gathering Jan. 20. Talking with Berry are Laura Kolb, left, and Cheryl Sebrell.

“I am always asked why is this a famous painting,” he said with a shrug. “This is an ugly woman. The only thing I can tell you is that she has been in some significant bedrooms.” Berry shared the painting was never sold and was kept in da Vinci’s bedroom. Once he died, the King of France inherited it and later Napoleon Bonaparte. Both Teacher, musician, director, comkept the painting in their bed- poser and author Dwight Berry, of rooms. Roanoke Rapids, talks about art He shared several facts like during the first “Guess Who’s this about Rodin’s “The Thinker,” Michelangelo’s “The Coming to Dinner?” in 2011. Last Supper” and many others. The Last Supper covers the back wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. “When the monks needed a door, they cut one right where Jesus’ feet were,” Berry said, shaking his head. The troubles for the painting didn’t stop there. At one point, Napoleon’s men were camped out in the monastery and used the painting for knife practice. But an interesting fact, he noted, was when the monastery was bombed during World War II, the only wall that remained standing was the one with the painting on it. Berry was happy those attending enjoyed his presentation. “I love to teach,” he said. “You are going to learn something and laugh.” It was Dukie Barner’s, of Lake Gaston, first time attending the event. “I thought it was good,” she said, adding she learned a lot and was a retired art teacher. “This was right down my alley. I thought it was interesting because he gave a lot of non-textbook information. He gave much more detail and insight.” After hearing Berry, Barner said she would be attending the February dinner. The two remaining dinners are scheduled at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 and March 17 at the WatersView Restaurant. A social hour starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person for each event and can be purchased from Mary Sherwood Lake Living at 252-586-2437 or the Lake Gaston Chamber of Commerce at 252-586-5711. Dikeman said the dinners are a way of taking care of the infrastructure of Lake Gaston. She added Berry set the bar for the next two events. When asked for a hint for the February dinner, Dikeman had to think for a moment so she wouldn’t give the identity away. “February has to do with ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’ Does it make you wonder?” she said with a wink.

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MAKINGS OF A MEMORABLE

MARDI GRAS F

ew days of the year are as festive as Mardi Gras. Also known as “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras is the annual party the night before the Lenten season begins. Historically a night to indulge in food before the Lenten fasting season began a day later with Ash Wednesday, today many Mardi Gras enthusiasts are less focused on religious significance and more on revelry. While the day still bears meaning to many Christians, it’s not uncommon to see revelers of all faiths living it up on Mardi Gras. For those who can’t make it to New Orleans this year, the following guide should help when hosting a Mardi Gras party at home. Attire Even if you can't make it to the Mardi Gras celebrations in Louisiana, you can still encourage guests to wear the colors of the country’s most famous Mardi Gras celebration. Purple, green and gold are the official colors of Mardi Gras, and no Fat Tuesday celebration is complete without decorative beads. Feather masks are also popular accessories, and hosts can encourage guests to come to the party wearing their favorite mask to add some mystery to the festivities.

Music Few cities in the world can boast the rich musical tradition of New Orleans. Hosts can help guests get in the Mardi Gras mood by playing Carnival music throughout the party. Guests will no doubt take to the dance floor. Make a playlist exclusively for the party and be sure to include these traditional Mardi Gras favorites:

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• • • • •

“Big Chief, Parts 1 & 2,” Professor Longhair “Carnival Time,” Al Johnson ”Iko Iko,” The Dixie Cups “Fire On The Bayou,” The Neville Brothers “Walking To New Orleans,” Fats Domino

Food While Mardi Gras revelers typically flock to New Orleans for drinks, the region’s cuisine is among the most delicious in the world. When guests start arriving, serve up some Mardi Grasinspired appetizers, including shrimp or crab mold, shrimp canapes or sauteed mushrooms. When it’s time to ring the dinner bells, don’t forget to include crawfish on the menu. Crawfish etouffee or crawfish stew should satisfy a guests’ crawfish needs. And no Mardi Gras gathering is complete without some delicious jambalaya, with plenty of sausage, rice, onions, celery and the rest of the fixings that make jambalaya one of the region’s most beloved dishes. Safety Mardi Gras has always been a night of great celebration, and some revelers have been known to celebrate a little too much. Fat Tuesday hosts should prepare for such guests ahead of time by taking car keys away from guests the moment they arrive and arranging for at least one person in attendance to serve as the night’s designated driver. In addition, keep the local cab company’s phone number handy. Another safety measure is to make sure guests have alternatives to alcohol. Make sure there’s also soda, coffee, tea, and other beverages on hand, as well as plenty of snacks for guests who might still be hungry after dinner has been served.


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Out&About O NIGHT

AT THE

Photos by Les Atkins

MUSEUM

The Roanoke Canal Museum on Jackson Street Extension opened its doors to the community Jan. 14 for the first-time event “Night at the Museum.” It was a packed house for the special evening. Museum Director Lance Jenkins said the event was a success and he hopes to do it again, maybe even twice a year. Residents, friends and families came to enjoy various activities, games and exhibits. Some “fowl” creatures visited with youngGeorge Washington (Roanoke Canal Museum and sters, as well a display of Trail Director Lance Jenkins) shares stories of his the area’s history and so much more. life with Roanoke Rapids school students David If you weren’t able to Gumms and Jared Mosley. attend, or if you’d like to relive it a bit, here are snapshots of just some of the fun at “Night at the Museum” in Roanoke Rapids.

Nathan and Susannah Davis, of Roanoke Rapids, carve bateau boats out of sweet potatoes.

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Aaron Hunter, of Cub Scout Pack 411, Den 2, takes his turn feeding Matilda the goose from Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park in Scotland Neck.

Brent Lubbock, of Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park in Scotland Neck, shows off Matilda the goose to children as part of the “Night at the Museum” festivities at the Roanoke Rapids Canal Museum.


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Out&About Photos by Della Rose

There was a whole lot of net- Front, Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce working going on Jan. 20 at the Roanoke Valley Chamber President/CEO Allen Purser. of Commerce’s Business After Hours at the HalifaxNorthampton Regional Airport. Area businesses gathered for the regular monthly outing to touch base about supply, demand, economic development and a new option for Valley residents looking for a facility to burn off the stress of work — Key Fitness was sharing what they have to offer during the event.

Katherine Canady, Lynn Simeon, of Heaton Construction, and Lyn Homewood, wardrobe consultant for Doncaster.com.

Halifax County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Lori Medlin and Sam Pearson, with New Day Fitness.

Kapstone Paper and Packaging’s Vice President of Mill Operations Anitra Collins spoke with Sarah Keesee, of New Day Fitness.

HalifaxNorthampton Regional Airport manager Ralph Johnson welcomed Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce members to the recent Business After Hours. Halifax County Convention and Visitors Bureau Chairman Gene Minton and Halifax County Economic Development Director Cathy Scott.

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FEBRU FEBRUARY ARY

CALENDAR

Feb. 17 & Marc Marc h 17 Enjoy Enjoy a meal and a sur pr ise guest speaker speaker while raising raising funds for O’Sail, a nonprofit group group committed to enhancing Lake Lake Gaston and to ser ve as a philanthropic organization to other area nonprofits. nonprofits. Social begins at 6:30 p.m. p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. p.m. at the WatersView atersView Restaurant Restaurant in LIttleton. Tick Tick ets are $25 per person and are av available ailable at Mar y Sherwood Sherwood Lake Lake Living 252-586-2437.

per person for for ages 8 and older. older. For more details, details, call 252-5372769. Feb. 27-28 Auditions for re A Good Man, Char lie Brown” for “You’ “You’re Brown” will be held at Lakeland Lakeland Theatre Company Company, in Littleton, at 2:30 p.m. p.m. Feb. eb. 27 and 7 p.m. p.m. Feb. eb. 28. This show show opens May May 6 and r uns through May May 22. For more details, details, call 252-586-3124 or toll free at 1877-330-0574.

Feb. 17-18 Community Community Chr istian Dinner Theatre presents “The Lov Love Tr iangle” beginning with a meal from 6:45 to 7:30 p.m., p.m., and the production at 7:45 p.m. ue Complex, p.m. at the Mystique Multi-Ven Multi-Venue Complex, 1652 N.C. N.C. 125 in Roanoke Roanoke Rapids. Rapids. The show show is a humorous look at what happens when couples meet the simple tr uth on a retreat. Dinner and show show are $15 per person. For reser vations, ations, call 252-536-2924.

MARCH

Feb. 18-19, Feb. 25-26 & Marc Marc h 4-5 An ambivalent ambivalent Cinderella? A blood-thirsty blood-thirsty Little Red Riding Hood? A Pr ince Char ming with a roving roving ey ey e? A witch who r aps? They’ re all in a musical They’re musical fair fair y tale “Into the Woods” at Lakeland Lakeland Theatre Company Company in Littleton. This is not your your chilchildren’s dren’s fair fair y tale show show. Star t time is 8 p.m. p.m. Feb. eb. 18, 19, 25, 26 and March 4-5, and 2:30 p.m. p.m. March 6. Adults are $15 and $8 for students and children. For more details, details, call 252-586-3124 or toll free at 1-877-330-0574.

Marc Marc h 11-12 Celebrate s Day Celebrate St. Patr ick’ ick’s Day at 8 p.m. p.m. at Lakeland Lakeland Theatre Company Company for for “The Wear ing O’ the Green,” Green,” with stirr ing Ir ish m usic. Tick Tick ets are $15 for for adults and $8 for for students. students. For more details, details, call 252-586-3124.

Feb. 22 A presentation on Labor in the 20th Centur y by by Dr. Dr. Greg Taylor, ylor, assistant professor professor of histor y at Chow Chow an University University,, begins at 6:30 p.m. p.m. at the Roanoke Roanoke Canal Museum in Roanoke Roanoke Rapids. Rapids. For more details, details, call 252-537-2769. Feb. 26 Recognizing Women in Business and the Home at the Women’s omen’s Conference Conference from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. p.m. at The Centre at Halifax Halifax Community Community College in Weldon. The conference conference includes speakspeakers, ers, seminars and wor wor kshops. kshops. Tick Tick ets are $30 for for adults, adults, $20 for students and are av available ailable at the Roanoke Roanoke Valley alley Chamber of Commerce. Commerce. For more deatils, deatils, contact Sony Sony a Speed at 252519-2613 or sspeed@r vchamber.com vchamber.com.. Feb. 26 Amer ican Idol star Elliott Yamin will be featured featured at the Meherr in River River Ar ts Council in Empor ia, Va. Yamin became one of the best-lov s highestbest-loved Amer ican Idol contestants in the show’ show’s r ated season to date. date. His self-titled debut debut is the highest indeindependent debut debut by by a new new ar tist in Billboard char t histor y. For more details, details, call 434-634-6001, or stop by by the MRAC MRAC box box office at the Empor ia UPS Store, Store, 916 West Atlantic St., Suite D, D, in Empor ia. Feb. 27 Join a ranger ranger to hike hike the Discov Discover y Loop Tr ail at Medoc Mountain State Par Par k in Hollister. Hollister. This will be an infor infor mative mative trek cov cover ing sights and sounds along the trail. trail. Meet at the Picnic Shelter at 2 p.m. p.m. with hiking boots and water water.. Dress for for the w eather. eather. To register, register, call 252-586-6588. Feb. 27 Join the Fr Fr iends of the Roanoke Roanoke Canal Museum and Tr ail for for a gospel concer t at 3 p.m. p.m. at Kir kwood kwood Adams Community Community Center, Center, 1100 Hamilton St. in Roanoke Roanoke Rapids. Rapids. Tick Tick ets are $5

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Marc Marc h 5 & April 2 You are invited invited to the new new First Saturday Saturday Acoustic Jam Jam at The Roanoke Roanoke River River Mill in Weldon at 7 p.m. p.m. All music music genres are encouraged. encouraged. This is an all ages family-fr family-fr iendly ev event. For more details, ell at 252-578-8473 or Kim Ter pening at details, call Bill Blackw Blackwell 252-532-2251.

Marc Marc h 12 The 2nd annual annual Roanoke Roanoke Canal Half-Marathon Half-Marathon and 8K begins at 8 a.m. at Roanoke Roanoke Rapids Lake Lake Par Par k (Day (Day Use Area), 100 Oakwood Oakwood Av Ave . A por tion of the proceeds benefits the Fr Fr iends of the Roanoke Roanoke Canal Museum and Tr ail. Marc Marc h 12 The annual annual Sylvan Sylvan Heights Waterfo aterfo wl Par Par k Chili Cook-Off raises raises m uch-needed funds for for the par k. The ev event is from 6 - 9 p.m. p.m. There is an official judging with aw aw ards, ards, as well well as a people’s people’s choice aw aw ard. Tick Tick ets are $15 per person. The par k is located at 1829 Lees Meadow Meadow Rd. in Scotland Neck. Neck. For more details, details, call Brent Lubboc k at 252-826-3186. Lubbock Marc Marc h 12 A St. Patr ick’ s Day ick’s Day dinner and dance is from 7 p.m. p.m. to midnight at the Lake Lake Gaston LIons Club, Club, 139 Stanley Stanley Road in Henr ico. ico. There will be live live music music and a cash bar. bar. Tick Tick ets are $20 per person. Dress for for fun. For more details, details, call Bob Tillson at 252-535-4240 or Tom Starbuci Starbuci at 252-586-6662. Marc Marc h 15 The Roanoke Roanoke Canal Museum and Tr ail in Roanoke Roanoke Rapids will provide provide education and enter tainment with music music of the 1960s beginning at 6:30 p.m. p.m. For more details, details, call 252-537-2769. Marc Marc h 19 “Keith “Keith Henderson: Illusions of the King” will take take place at 7 p.m. p.m. at The Roanoke Roanoke Rapids Theatre. Theatre. For more than 20 years years,, Henderson has brought back back memor ies of Elvis through his show show. Tick Tick ets are $20 plus applicable applicable fees fees and can be purchased at The Roanoke Roanoke Rapids Theatre box box office, office, 500 Carolina Crossroads Pkwy, Pkwy, or by by calling 252-536-5577. Marc Marc h 25-26, April 1-3 The stor y of Helen Keller Keller will star t at 8 p.m. p.m. at Lakeland Lakeland Theatre Company Company in LIttleton. Tick Tick ets are $15 for for adults and $8 for for students. students. For more details, details, call 252-586-3124.


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APRIL April 2 Come lear n about and taste the delights of Rockfish Rockfish Muddle — par ticular to the Roanoke Roanoke River River region of Nor th Carolina. Star t time is 10 a.m. at the Roanoke Roanoke Canal Museum and Tr ail in Roanoke Roanoke Rapids. Rapids. For more details, details, call 252-537-2769. April 8 An ev evening of enter tainment at the Concer t on the Canal star ts at 6 p.m. p.m. on the lawn lawn of the Roanoke Roanoke Canal Museum and Tr ail in Roanoke Roanoke Rapids. Rapids. For more infor infor mation, call 252-537-2769. April 9 Swim, bike bike and r un your your wa way to the finish line at the the 4th annual annual Tr i Roanoke alley Spr int Tr iathlon beginning at 8 a.m. at Roanoke Valley the T.J. .J. Davis Davis Recreation Center in Roanoke Roanoke Rapids. Rapids. Par ticipants swim swim 300 yards yards,, bike bike 14.8 miles and r un 5K (3.1 miles). Race as an individual or on a relay relay team. For more details, details, log onto www.tr www.tr iroanoke iroanokevalley alley.com. .com. April 12 Halifax Halifax Day Day is the 235th anniversar anniversar y of the Halifax Halifax Resolves Resolves — the first offical call for for independence from England by by any any Amer ican colony colony — and is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. p.m. Enjoy Enjoy tours of histor ic buildings buildings,, demonstrations demonstrations and living hishistor y activities. activities. A for for mal commemoration commemoration progr progr am will be held at 2 p.m., w ed by p.m., follo follow by a reception. For more details, details, call 252-5837191. Histor ic Halifax Halifax is located in the area of 25 St. David David St. April 16 A benefit r un for for Roanoke Roanoke Rapids Police Police Officer John Taylor begins at 8 a.m. Event Event details are TBA. The anticipated location is the T.J. .J. Davis Davis Recreation Center, Center, 400 E. 6th Street in Roanoke Roanoke Rapids. Rapids. For more infor infor mation, call 252-533-2847. April 16 The 2nd annual annual Dallas Jones Roanoke Roanoke Valley alley Veterans eterans Center and Musuem Benefit Fly-In begins at 10 a.m. at the HalifaxHalifaxNor thampton Regional Air por t, 700 Gregor y Far Far m Rd. in Roanoke Roanoke Rapids. Rapids. There will be parachute parachute drops, drops, militar y air planes and helicophelicopters, ters, patr iotic music music,, militar y and aviation aviation vendors vendors,, local food, food, fundraising fundraising ping pong and egg drops, drops, radio-controlled radio-controlled war war birds, birds, skydivers skydivers,, inflatable inflatable games and more. more. For more details, details, call Ralph Johnson at 252-583-3492, or via email r alphjohnalphjohnson540@msn.com. son540@msn.com. April 29 The annual annual free, free, family-fr family-fr iendly Fr Fr idays idays in the Par Par k is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. et or lawn p.m. Br ing a blank blanket lawn chairs, chairs, sit back back and relax to g reat music. music. The date, date, location and music music genre of the concer ts are: Apr il 29, Centennial Par Par k/Roanoke k/Roanoke Rapids, Rapids, countr y; May May 27, Centennial Par Par k, patr iotic; J une 24, River River Falls Falls Par Par k/Weldon, k/Weldon, b luegr luegr ass; J uly 15, Centennial Par Par k, Top 40s; Aug. 19, Centennial Par Par k, jazz; and Sept. 16, River River Falls Falls Par Par k, beach. For more details, details, call 252-535-1687. April 30 Don't miss the annual annual Halifax Halifax County Boys Boys and Gir ls Club Rockfish Rockfish Rodeo. Rodeo. More details coming soon. The ev event will be held at the River River Falls Falls Par Par k, Rockfish Rockfish Dr ive ive in Weldon.

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Mayor Julia Meacham

Meacham looks forward to the good she hopes to do for the residents of the Town of Weldon. PHOTO BY LES ATKINS

Moving forward with a vision in Weldon

BY ROGER BELL

Weldon Mayor Julia Meacham has had a good year, and she’s looking forward to continuing to build what she feels will be a better future for her town’s 1,700 residents. Meacham became the first woman ever elected to her post in November 2009, unseating long-time incumbent G.W. “Johnny” Draper. She’d previously served as a town commissioner for 10 years. “I’d been approached about running for mayor in 2005,” Meacham said. “But I didn’t run then, it didn’t seem like the right time. In truth, I felt my vote on the board was more important since the mayor only votes in the case of a tie.” However, in 2007, Meacham began to give serious consideration to challenging Draper in 2009, and momentum toward a run built through 2008. “I felt there were some issues that needed to be addressed,” Meacham said. “One being, at the time, a proposed $11 million

water plant, which I knew the city could not afford.” Meacham felt stopping the water plant was vitally important to the town’s future.

“THE TOWN DESERVED BETTER THAN THEY WERE GETTING.”

“If the board had passed that plant, I think it would have broken the town,” Meacham said. Meacham also felt some issues were not being addressed at all, such as a new library, approved by the board in 2005, which hadn’t been built, and ditch drainage issues in the Chockoyotte Country Club area that needed to be repaired.

She also felt issues she was bringing to the board were being dismissed by Draper. “In 2008, some of the projects I’d brought up hadn’t been done; I was cut off completely,” Meacham said. “The mayor would cut me off verbally, and I felt he talked down to me in meetings. I felt anything I brought up and tried to get moving, he would stop it and I felt I was wasting my time.” She felt she could provide a better future for Weldon. “I felt I could partner with the board on issues that were important to help the town grow,” Meacham said. “Since 1999, I felt I had served the town well and the town deserved better than they were getting.” Weldon Town Commissioner Earl Smith, who is serving the rest of Meacham’s unexpired term on the board, thought 2009 was a good opportunity for Meacham. “I figured she had a great chance to win,”

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Smith said. “I figured Johnny had enough time in office, and I was pretty sure she’d win it.” Meacham, who grew up in Roanoke Rapids, moved to Weldon in 1976 after marrying her husband Frank. The 64year-old grandmother of two feels any town needs good leadership to move forward, and she’s trying to provide that leadership for Weldon. As for Draper, Meacham said she respects his service to Weldon. “He was here and served the people of Weldon for 40 years,” Meacham said. “I think he did what he felt was best for the citizens. I just have a different vision.” That vision includes being in the office daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to be available for Weldon residents, to talk with them by phone or in person. Meacham also has begun to improve the town’s image by demolishing dilapidated buildings and fixing the problems she’d felt had been ignored or overlooked, such as the Chockoyotte improvements and the town library. Meacham is also in the process of moving the town’s water system forward, either by improving the existing plant or selling the town’s water system to the Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District. A decision on the water issue will have to be made by Weldon voters, Meacham said, which could happen as early as March. Meacham is also proud of having reduced Weldon’s property taxes this past budget year, and hopes to continue to do so. “The reduction was done to let the residents know we would be watching our tax base and lowering it when we could,” Meacham

PHOTO BY LES ATKINS

said. As for being a woman in the political realm, Meacham doesn’t feel it’s an issue. “I guess people have always thought of politics and business as a man’s world,” Meacham said. “I think women have proved their worth in business and politics, and I’m not intimidated by the men. I think people judge you based on your competence, not on whether you’re male or female.” With more than a year behind her as mayor, Meacham is looking forward to more and loves being mayor despite the hard work that comes with the job. Smith said Meacham’s dedication to the job is impressive, and feels she’s doing a great job guiding Weldon to a better future. “I think she’s good for the town,” he said. “She wants to go in the right direction, and she certainly spends a lot more time in that office than I would spend. I think she’s doing a great job. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give her a 9. She’s making some mistakes but not that many, and that’s to be expected during a first term in office — I don’t care who you are. Most of the board backs Julia because her ideas are good, and they’re for the good of Weldon.” As for the work itself, Meacham has no problem giving the job her all. “I love it,” Meacham said. Weldon Mayor Julia Meacham goes over some information with Town Clerk Traci Storey. “I’ve given them everything but my PHOTO BY ROGER BELL blood, and it’s paying off.”

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RV Woman