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August 27, 2015

Local Friends Share Their Story, Hoping To Ease Pain Of History

Hickory - Controversy over the Confederate flag recently led three friends into a closer understanding of the pain it brings, and how it can be dealt with in peace.   

Theresa Lyda is a feisty woman born in Hickory, and raised as a Catholic in her youth. She remembers sitting with her Polish grandmother as she played bridge with her friends who had numbers tattooed on their arms. Polish Catholics were persecuted by the Nazis during WWII, and were tattooed for identification in the Auschwitz concentration camp before being put into forced labor or executed. As they played cards, they told stories about their struggle to survive their persecution. Theresa remembers an uncle who never spoke a word. She thought he was mute but she learned that The Nazis had forced him to watch them kill his wife and children. They let him live to torture him, knowing that it is a sin for a Catholic to take his own life. 

David Lyda is a n Army veteran raised in Hendersonville, N.C. who served in the Viet Nam war. His grandmother was a full blooded Cherokee Indian. He remembers her telling stories of her ancestor’s misery on the Trail of Tears when the U.S. government forced thousands of native Americans to migrate to reservations west of the Mississippi River while suffering from starvation and exposure. 

When Theresa and David began dating over 20 years ago, they were riding in a car when an African-American driver came too close on the road. David exploded in a racist rant with hateful use of the n-word. Theresa was shocked, and demanded that he stop the car so she could put him out. “After what my family went through in WWII, I could never tolerate someone persecuting other people” she said. He convinced her to let him continue driving, and they talked for hours about racism. Hours turned to days, and as they talked, David admitted he was a racist. He had been raised that way. “My dad taught me to stay with my own. I never got a reason why. That’s the just the way it was.”

David realized that while he served in Viet Nam he had dropped his racist ways because “We had each other’s back in the trenches of war. Skin color didn’t matter in the fox hole.” Even so, when he returned from Viet Nam , his racist perspective remained as strong as it had ever been. Despite his ancestors suffering on the Trail of Tears, David did not equate their persecution to that of African Americans.   

Rev. Cornelius Holland is seen standing with David and Theresa Lyda as they burn the remaining ashes of the Confederate flag together at Holland’s home in Conover.    

During those days talking with Theresa about being a racist, David had a spiritual breakthrough while watching an African American preacher on TV who was talking about racism, Rev. Frederick “K.C.”

Price’s message focused on white people’s racism being rooted in their childhood and how they were taught.

“I realized then that I was a product of my upbringing, and I just didn’t know any better.” He vowed to change, and since that day he has never been the same.  

Rev. Cornelius Holland is a retired African-American pastor who lives in Conover after years of serving at Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church in Hickory, and McQueen’s Chapel U nited Methodist C hurch in Conover.  

Rev. Holland’s great grandmothers were slaves. His great grandfathers were white slave owners. He doesn’t like to think about how his great grandmothers were completely unable to deny their owners, and had to bear their children. His family never talked about the horrors of slavery. “It was too painful. To talk about it is to re-live it, and they could not bear it.” He knows from  history what his people experienced, and his daughter created a family history that traced his ancestry back to slavery.        

Rev. Holland worked with his father who was a tenant farmer from the age of eight. He remembers long days in the fields when he had to eat his dinner on the back porch or a tree stump. “If we were ever allowed inside, it was only after everyone else had eaten and we got what was leftover. When he was older they worked for Quakers who insisted they come inside to eat. This was strange to him.      

He answered the call to enter ministry at age 37. Although he had made great strides in his life, he remembers the days of Jim Crow when his family had to pack lunches for travel because they were not allowed to eat in restaurants along the way. They had to ride in the back of the bus, and tolerate being denied access to public restrooms. “Sometimes we just had to go to the bathroom in the woods” he said.   

Seven years ago, David met Rev. Holland who   was looking for someone to  replace   a fuel pump on his car. Soon David brought his wife to meet him, and over time the three became as close as family. “We call him ‘Pastor’ and we love him like our father today” says Theresa. They enjoy spending time together talking, joking, laughing and tinkering a round outside. They had not talked much about race until recently, but “We knew we could talk honestly about anything” says David. 

The Confederate flag has been in the news a lot in recent months and the Lydas wondered how their friend felt about it. They asked Rev. Holland “Pastor - does the Confederate flag offend you?” When he answered “Yes, it  does”, David and Theresa asked “Why?”     

Rev. Holland said, “I gave them the history of my people. We didn’t ask to come here. We are the only people here who didn’t want to come. We didn’t crawl over a fence. We didn’t sneak in on a boat. We were forced to come. Our families were torn apart. Our women were raped. We were beaten. We were lynched. Terrorism is nothing new to us. We have been victims of terrorism throughout the history of the United States.”    

“I told them that the Confederate flag was always offensive to us, but it became even more so after WWII when our soldiers came back from the battlefield to the racism of a country they fought to defend. The Confederate flag has been used by the KKK. It was used during the civil rights movement by those who fought against desegregation and our struggle for equality. The Confederate flag is always a reminder to me of the history of white supremacy, and the fact that it still exists. People can fly that flag on their personal property, but it has no place on the grounds of government” said Rev. Holland.

When David and Theresa realized how he felt, they wanted to do something to stand in solidarity with him. “We can’t change the past, but we wanted to support him somehow.” David bought a Confederate flag and went to Rev. Holland offering to burn it with him. Holland didn’t have time that day, and inwardly wondered, “What is this really about? What will this accomplish?”      

When David and Theresa came back again with the flag, “I knew they meant business” Holland  said. The Lydas apologized to him saying, “Pastor - we are so sorry for the persecution and oppression of your people throughout history.” Together they put the flag in an aluminum  pan and burned it at Rev. Holland’s house. “ Burning the Confederate flag did not destroy the pain of my people, but it was their way of trying to diminish it for me.”

Holland recently told the story at the Racial Justice and Racial Reconciliation Discussion Group that meets bi-monthly at Exodus Homes in Hickory. It was so moving that the group asked him to bring the Lydas to the next meeting. After they came and shared their experience, the group asked if the three would be willing to tell their story public ally. They were willing, even though they potentially ha ve  a lot to lose from the reactions of people who disagree. 

Despite the risk, the three friends who are like family today hope that more will be gained than lost by sharing their story. “We hope our experience will help bring understanding and empathy across racial lines in our community” said Theresa. In telling the story, they came together again to burn the remaining ashes in the pan as a final act of solidarity. 

Historic Morganton Festival Set For September 11 & 12!

Morganton, NC - Join Morganton in celebrating 34 years of the Historic Morganton Festival sponsored by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge! The free festival features two national country acts, four stages, fun, games, and food for all ages, plus over a mile and a half of arts & craft vendors from all over the country!

This is your invitation to “come and play in the streets” of downtown Morganton during the 34th Annual Historic Morganton Festival presented by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge on September 11 & 12! Famous for its mile and a half of arts and crafts, the Historic Morganton Festival always offers free outdoor concerts, featuring a different national Country Music Star for the finale each night. Stay connected to for the latest news and information.

Kick off the festival weekend at CoMMA on Thursday, September 10 with a performance from the MidTown Men at 7:30pm. You don’t want to miss this electrifying new production with its top-shelf choreography, incredible vocal performances and legendary onstage chemistry!

Then the weekend begins on Friday, September 11 at noon when the infamous Food Court tempts your taste buds with succulent aromas of gyros, BBQ, “chicken on a stick”, French pastries, homemade ice cream and much, much more. At 3:00pm the streets come alive with fun and excitement! Craft vendors will line the courthouse square and South Sterling Street offering a plethora of art, jewelry, pottery, soap, candles and more!

The ever popular Food Lion Kids Zone and Teen Zone will open with ticketed rides and games along with the FREE craft area known as Litter Critters, for children, grades 5th and under. The Food Lion Kid Zone Stage will present The Carolina Puppet Theater, The One Man Band, magic and more! For a full Kids Stage lineup, visit For teens and fun-loving adults, the Teen Zone features a Wild West Mechanical Bull, a 4 Man Tug and Dunk, Obstacle Courses, and more. Don’t miss the wildly popular DJ Teen Dance Party at 9:00pm on Friday night located at the Pepsi Stage on North Sterling Street.

New to the festival this year is the Courthouse Retro Games. Located on the Courthouse Lawn, festival goers can enjoy playing FREE Retro Games. Anyone can stop by and try their luck with ENORMOUS Jenga, GIGANTIC Croquet, HUGE Tic Tac Toe, Cornhole and Hula Hoops!

Friday night, the music begins on the Coors Light Stage in the Beer Garden at 6:30pm with “Soulution” (funky-blues with elements of rock, jazz, and R&B) followed by the wildly popular Throw Down Jones (rock).

City Stage will host National Country Music Artists, “Thompson Square” at 9:30pm. (The duo of Keifer and Shawna Thompson have topped the radio charts across the Unites States, Canada and Australia with #1 hits “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not,” “If I Didn’t Have You” and “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About,” respectively.)

Start Saturday morning at 8:00 am with a 5k or 10k by participating in the Sunrise Run on the Greenway! The Student Fitness Challenge by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge and 1 mile Fun Run/Walk starts at 9:30am. Students should pre-register with their Physical Education teachers for the Student Fitness Challenge (elementary and middle school’s only); adults can pre-register for the 5k, 10k or 1 mile Fun Run/Walk on-line at The course has been certified and will be chip-timed!

After your run, head to the Festival where booths open at 9:00am with even more artists and crafters than on Friday. Yard art, baskets, crafted toys, jellies, wines, clothing, carvings, baskets, plants, pottery and lots of jewelry can be discovered over eight city blocks! Civic organizations, crafters, artists and businesses are out on the streets waiting for the ever-popular festival shopper. Throughout the day there are activities for the entire family.

Saturday evening, the streets will again heat up with live music at the Coors Light Stage hosting local favorites Dub Axxess (think Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and various other great legendary reggae artist) and Sweet Revenge (classic rock).

City Stage features National Country Music Artist, Parmalee! In 2014, Parmalee earned a semi-finalist nod for the Academy of Country Music’s coveted “New Artist of the Year” award, a 2014 Teen Choice Award nomination for “Choice Country Group” and toured with one of country’s leading male vocalists, Jake Owen, on his Days of Gold Tour. After landing in the Billboard Country Airplay top five with back-to-back singles "Carolina" and "Close Your Eyes," Stoney Creek recording artists Parmalee are shooting for a third straight trip to the upper echelon with "Already Callin' You Mine."


Be a part of this memory making event and mark your calendars for a great weekend of fun, September 11 & 12 in downtown Morganton. The festival is an animal-free event and will go on rain or shine. For a complete listing of all the events including the Sunrise Run, music acts, shuttle bus routes, and more, contact us by phone at 828-438-5252; by email at; or check out the website

September Catawba County Senior Morning Out Activities

Hickory - Catawba County Seniors Morning Out plans several outings and activities in September. All county residents who are at least 60 are invited to attend any of these half-day programs, which operate 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

In addition to activities and information, Seniors Morning Out provides a hot, balanced lunch. Bus transportation is available in many locations. This program is free to participants, although donations are accepted. Please reserve your place with the site supervisor at least 48 hours in advance.

All locations will be closed Sept. 7 in observance of Labor Day. Participants from all locations will travel to the Hickory Farmers Market on Sept. 16 to shop. Other activities vary by location. Some of the highlights are as follows.

At West Hickory Senior Center, located at 400 17th St. SW, Hickory: Sept. 1, Vision Van Eye Screening with Greg Morgan; Sept. 8, bingo and music by Sentimental Journey; Sept. 9, Music by Sycamore Bones; Sept. 23, Photographs in My Mind by Nancy Frady; Sept. 24, Birthday Party with entertainment by Shirley Hudson and Charles Wyke.

Seniors Morning Out Farmers Market visit is Sept. 16

To reserve your spot, call Lisa Adams between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at 828-323-8746.

At East Hickory, located at Huntington Hills Church of God, 2123 Fifth St. NE, Hickory: Sept. 2, Medicare Fraud with Diane Trainer; Sept. 15, Aging Survey with Tina Miller of Western Piedmont Council of Governments; Sept. 28, Music by Sentimental Journey; Sept. 30, Fall Creations Craft. To reserve your spot, contact Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

At Newton, located at First Presbyterian Church-Newton, 701 N. Main St., Newton: Sept. 1, Aging Survey by Sarah Evitt of WPCOG; Sept. 8, Fall Prevention; Sept. 10, Make a Green Smoothie Class with Lucinda Robinson, herbalist; Sept. 15, Music by Sentimental Journey; Sept. 17, Learn to make apple dumplings; Sept. 22, Weatherization program by Blue Ridge Community Action Inc.; Sept. 29, Bowling at Pin Station and Shopping at Honey’s IGA. To reserve your spot, call Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

At Catawba, located at Center United Methodist Church, 4945 Sherrills Ford Road, Catawba: Sept. 2, Thyroid Cancer Awareness by Peggy Messick of Catawba Valley Medical Center; Sept. 10, Fall Risks and Prevention by Jackie Saunders from Bayada Home Health. Sept. 14, Grandparents Celebration. Please bring photos to share of your grandchildren; Sept. 21, Life of the Honeybee by Alton Johnson. Come and get a taste of honey. Sept. 24, Catawba County Aging Survey and Laughter is the Best Medicine. To reserve your spot, contact Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

At Maiden, located at Maiden Community Center, East Second St. and Klutz Street, Maiden: Sept. 9, Horse Race Game and Bingo; Sept. 17, Visit by Catawba County Attorneys and music by Sentimental Journey; Sept. 21, The latest Scams with Maiden Police Department; Sept. 30, Group Walking and Name that Tune Game. To reserve your spot, contact Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

Seniors Morning Out is one of several programs operated by Senior Nutrition Services of Catawba County Social Services. For additional information, or to volunteer or make a donation, call 828-695-5610 during regular business hours, go to, or like the program at Additional volunteers are urgently needed to deliver Meals on Wheels.

Lincolnton Apple Festival Offers Fun For The Family, Sept. 19!

Lincolnton, NC - When fall morning chill begins to whisper, the apple crop ripens. That’s when Lincoln County invites thousands to delight of the crunch of a fresh local apple along with the crafts, food, and hospitality of the region. This year’s popular Apple Festival begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 19, in the heart of downtown Lincolnton.

The Festival is a showcase of the region’s apple growers, crafters, non-profits, and entertainers with the flavor of an old time county fair. It’s the oldest and largest annual celebration in Lincoln County, now in its 43nd year, and attracts more than 70,000 visitors.

Besides fresh apples for sale by the bag or the crate, one of the greatest draws to the Apple Festival each year has been the thousands of fried apple pies prepared and sold by the ladies of the Extension Homemakers Club. Local apple artisans will be bringing the most popular varieties to life in the form of ciders, jellies, cakes, pies, breads, and main dishes featuring this fabulous fruit.

“Lincoln County and our neighboring counties have so much to offer, and that’s what keeps people coming back,” said Pete DeGregory, president of the Apple Festival Board. “All crafts are by artists in Lincoln, Gaston, Mecklenberg, Iredell, Catawba, and Burke Counties.

“We also spotlight local musical talent,” said DeGregory. “There’s so much talent locally that we don’t have to go far to find it.” The festival features two live music stages and a karaoke stage. The Festival also features carnival rides, a Kid’s Orchard section with contests and prizes for all, pony rides, and traditional fair fare such as fried turkey legs and funnel cakes along with fried apple pies, whole homemade apple pies, and apples served just about every way you can imagine.

New this year is Ag City, sponsored by Lincoln County Cooperative Extension, with plenty of exhibits and contests, along with a Farmer’s Market. Cast members from the Bob Inman historical drama, Liberty Mountain, will encamp as the volunteer militia that fought in the famous Battle of Kings Mountain. The Jonas Public Library will hold its annual used book sale at the Citizen’s Center, and the Annual Denver Art Trail exhibit at the Lincoln Cultural Center. Even characters from the upcoming Carolina Renaissance Festival will make an appearance.

DeGregory thinks he knows why the festival is so popular.

“It’s the hometown feel, like a family reunion,” he said. “Our intention has always been to keep the Festival from becoming so large it’s no longer enjoyable. And keeping it local is our goal.”

The Lincoln County Apple Festival is brought to you by the Lincoln County Apple Festival Board, the City of Lincolnton, Lincoln County, and local apple growers. For more about this year’s festivities, visit the website at

Park it here

For one dollar round trip, the Kiwanis Club shuttles visitors from the parking lot of Lincolnton High School on North Aspen Street. The Lion’s Club offers $5 parking spaces off Sycamore Street one block from the Festival, and parking is also available at Gaston College on South Aspen Street, two blocks from the Court Square. Visitors with severe disabilities may reserve a very limited number of spots adjacent to the Court Square by calling 704-735-3951. Have your tag number, make and model of the vehicle, and the driver’s name available when calling. Parking attendants will direct registered vehicles to these spots.

Apple Lovers! If you have a childhood memory of candied apples at the county fair, relive thos memories at the Lincoln County Apple Festival on September 19 in downtown Lincolnton. Photo by Lincoln County Cooperative Extension

Cinema Socials Start Friday, August 28, In Newton, With Jaws

Newton, NC - Newton-Conover Auditorium has announced its fall season of Cinema Socials.

“Cinema Socials” is a new movie series at Newton-Conover Auditorium with the intention of bringing more social entertainment to the Newton area. With tickets priced at $5, it’s an affordable evening that everyone can enjoy.

On August 28th at 7:30 p.m., Jaws will open the series with a CineArt educational opportunity.

With anxieties at an ultimate high from recent shark attacks on the NC coast, come learn “The Truth About Sharks!” with Bruce Beerbower, the lead naturalist at the Catawba Science Center. There will be displays and information about sharks and marine life available before the screening of the iconic Stephen Spielberg film, Jaws.

October 3rd will be a double feature day.

To start, The Third Man will show at 3 p.m. (on October 3rd). Known as one of the greatest movies of all time with one of the greatest soundtracks featuring the zither, this screening of The Third Man is intended to get folks ready for the October 17th concert with Wilfried Scharf (international zither player) and The Kruger Brothers!

A scene from Jaws, playing Friday at Cinema Socials

At 8 p.m. on October 3rd, all are invited to celebrate National Mean Girls Day by wearing pink like it’s Wednesday or any of the iconic looks from this defining generational movie. Be ready to shout out your favorite quotes with every high school clique that ever existed to a quote-along version of the movie. There will be props and a chance to submit your own secrets to our “Burn Book.” It’s a screening guaranteed to be even better than a cake of rainbows and smiles.

Hocus Pocus will show on October 31st at 3 p.m. There will be a costume contest with prizes and free candy with every popcorn purchase. It’s the perfect afternoon activity before trick or treating in Newton’s beautiful historic district on Halloween.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Christmas classic Home Alone! In celebration, there will be two screenings of the movie on December 19th at 2 pm and 7 pm. Presented in partnership with Sipe’s Orchard Home, folks are encouraged to donate child-sized seasonal clothing. By bringing in “A Mitten for a Movie,” attendees will receive free admission.

Cinema Socials are not just movie-screenings. They are interactive and social experiences.

“We recognize that people enjoy movies but also want to socialize with friends and family when they have an evening out. We hope by hosting these Cinema Socials that we will attract different audiences in the area, including those that feel overlooked, and in turn, also increase the public’s awareness of the Auditorium as a public facility,” Keller says.

Tickets are always $5 and can be purchased by visiting or by calling the Auditorium’s ticketing service at 1-800-838-3006. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Don’t Miss The American Legion Fair, September 2 -7th!

Hickory - The 2015 Hickory American Legion Fair is September 2nd-7th at the Hickory Fairgrounds. The theme is Supporting Our Farms. Advance tickets are now on sale.

Each year more and more farms are lost to the rising cost of supplies or development. Our fair supports the Catawba County School FFA Classes and 4-H Clubs with various events throughout the year. They also participate in the fair.

The decision was made to try something different. This year we have taken a new direction. The Motorcycle Madness Freestyle Stunt Group will be featured nightly. They are a group that will take your breath away with tricks and trick driving.

Roaming the fairgrounds will be Buford The Bear. Talking to children and adults. Horses, Horses, Horses will be here. Lisa visited our fair several years ago and was a favorite. A new grounds act will be the Park Chop Revue with some of the smartest pigs around. A yearly favorite is Randy Everette, Chainsaw Artist. As always, some of his carvings will be auctioned on Monday evening. The local boy, Dennis Cooke, with the Circle ‘C’ Petting Zoo and the highly enjoyed Racing Pigs will return.

Some new vendors have been added to the Exhibit Hall and have more Veterans pictures have been added to our Veterans Wall of Honor. This is always a favorite of the public. Our Veterans Ceremony will be on Thursday at 7:00 pm. This is also the night that Veterans are admitted free with an ID. If anyone has a photo of their Veteran, they can have it placed on the Veterans Wall of Honor by simply making a copy of it (they cannot be returned) and enclosing the name, rank, branch and dates of service with the photo. Call the Hickory American Legion Post #48 at 828-464-6006 or mail it to: Hickory American Legion Post #48, PO Box 55, Hickory, NC 28603.

As always, visit the Craft Barn where you will find anything from potatoes to photographs. There is Category ‘K’ for the youth in the area to participate up to age 15. Be sure and check it out.

James H. Drew Exposition will again have rides that thrill you. School aged children are admitted FREE on Thursday night. Also, on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 5 – 6 pm ONLY, admission is FREE.

The Veteran’s Wall at The Fair

Rides will be FREE from 5 – 6 pm ONLY. After 6 pm admission will return to the regular rate of: Age 0-6 FREE; age 6-17 $5.00; age 18 & up $7.00. Rides will be $1.25 per ticket with special rates of multiple tickets. On Friday, regular admission and ride rates apply.

Senior Citizen Day will be Friday, 4 September beginning at 12 noon until 5 pm. There will be several ground acts performing for them.

Advance tickets are $5.00 each and are on sale now at Medical Village Pharmacy on Fairgrove Church Road, Observer News Enterprise Office in Newton and three locations of Sig’s Tire: uptown Hickory, Startown Road, and St. Peters Church Road, Conover.

As always, The Fair thanks its sponsors, Cargo Transportation, Classic Granite Countertops, Farm Bureau of Catawba Valley, Pepsi of Hickory, Southern States, Sig’s Tire & Automotive, Signature Web Design, Wallace Printing, Wallace Roofing, and Vesco Toyotalift, Zambelli Fireworks.

The Hickory American Legion Fair welcomes you and hope you have an enjoyable time at The Fair!

Hickory Cribbage Club Invites New Players, Tuesdays, 6:15 PM

Hickory - Hickory Cribbage Club “The CRIBBADIERS” is inviting new players to join our weekly tournaments of friendly competition. The club plays at 6:15 p.m. each Tuesday at Unitarian Universalist Church located at 833 5th St. SE Hickory, NC 2860. Members are willing to teach the game to newcomers or to help former players get back into the swing. Contact: Zig (828) 324-8613 or

Darkness To Light Workshops Begin Thursday, September 3

Hickory - “Darkness to Light” is a prevention training program that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

The program is for parents and organizations that serve youth and any adult concerned about the safety of children.

Stewards of Children is a 2 hour training program that includes a three-part DVD presentation integrating commentary from sexual abuse survivors, experts in the field, and led by a trained facilitator.

Open Trainings, Fall, 2015 Schedule Sponsored By The Children’s Advocacy & Protection Center:

Thursday, September 3, 6-8 P.M .at C.O. Miller Teen Center at the Hickory Y, 701 1st Street NW, Hickory

Monday, September 14, 6-8 P.M. at Bistro 127, 2039 N. Center St., Suite A, Hickory

Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church, Saturday, October 10, 10-NOON at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, 439 7th St. Pl. SW, Conover, Register Today by emailing Kate at Darkness to Light is FREE, thanks to United Way.

Reserve Seats Now For 2015’s iCare Tour On September 15

Hickory - Reservations are now being accepted for the 2015 iCare Tour, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 15.

The iCare Tour is a narrated bus tour of non-profit organizations that serve the needs of Catawba County citizens in the areas of education, food, housing, mental health, family enrichment, and health. This all-day, all-inclusive tour will give participants a behind-the-scenes look at human-serving organizations in the area.

Tour buses will depart from St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Hickory at 8 a.m. and return there at 4 p.m.

Organizations featured this year include the Hickory Soup Kitchen, Council on Adolescents, ALFA, Habitat for Humanity, Adult Life Programs, Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry, Salvation Army, Catawba County Backpack Program, Pregnancy Care Center, Safe Harbor and ReSource Gallery, Sipe's Orchard Home, Children's Advocacy and Protection Center, Classroom Connections, plus speakers from several other organizations.

A suggested donation of $5 will be accepted at the door, but advance reservations are required. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. This event is designed to help participants learn more about how they can help meet the needs of their community.

To reserve your seat on the iCare Tour 2015, call or email Amanda Freeland at 828-695-5648 or

You can also find out more about the day's events on Facebook by searching for iCare Tour Catawba County, NC.

McCurry’s Unexpected Beauty Opens On Sat., Sept. 12, At HMA

Hickory – The photographic exhibit Unexpected Beauty: Views from the Lens of Steve McCurry opens Saturday, Sept. 12 at Hickory Museum of Art, 243 Third Ave. N.E., Hickory. Presented by Catawba Valley Camera Club and Hickory Museum of Art, this exciting exhibit features the works of award-winning photojournalist Steve McCurry, whose stunning, colorful images tell the beautiful and tragic stories of cultures and conflicts around the world.

The exhibition includes one of McCurry’s most recognizable photographs – that of a young girl named Sharbat Gula – taken in December, 1984, in a refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan. Featured on the cover of National Geographic’s June 1985 issue, Afghan Girl established McCurry as a force in international journalism.

“Afghan Girl is the Mona Lisa of our time, and Steve McCurry, our da Vinci,” said Mitzi Gellman, Catawba Valley Camera Club member. “Extending far beyond this one photo, his body of work captures the spirit of individuals in faraway lands and reveals to all common bonds of humanity.”

Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry ©

Unexpected Beauty: Views from the Lens of Steve McCurry includes a total of 69 photographic images, spanning McCurry’s extensive career. Visitors can view exhibit images in the museum’s Coe, Entrance and Windows galleries through May 8, 2016.

“Since the Catawba Valley Camera Club’s creation in 1947, our members have been searching for great images,” added Dennis Hacker, Catawba Valley Camera Club past president.

“This project allows us to partner with the Hickory Museum of Art and bring some of the best photographs of our time to the community and visitors to the region.”

McCurry has been one of the most iconic figures in contemporary photography for more than 30 years. Born in Philadelphia, PA, McCurry studied cinematography at Pennsylvania State University, before going to work for a newspaper. After two years, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera.

It was after several months of travel that he crossed the border into Pakistan. In a small village he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian invasion was closing the country to Western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress, with full beard and weather-worn features after months embedded with the Mujahideen, McCurry made his way over the Pakistan border with his film sewn into his clothes. McCurry's images were among the first to show the world the brutality of the Russian invasion.

Since then, McCurry has gone on to create unforgettable images over six continents and numerous countries. His body of work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike - yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image.

Steve McCurry

He has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest amongst dozens of others.

Unexpected Beauty: Views From the Lens of Steve McCurry is sponsored by United Arts Council of Catawba County, Shurtape Technologies and individuals in the Catawba Valley. This project was supported by a Projects Pool grant from the United Arts Council of Catawba County through the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

Hickory Museum of Art is located on The SALT Block, 243 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory. Admission is free.

For more information about this exhibition and related programs, including a chance to attend a ticketed dinner with McCurry, visit or call 828-327-8576. School and other group tours may be scheduled by calling Ginny Zellmer at 828-327-8576, ext. 216.

Hickory Kiwanis Golf Tourney Benefits Children, Fri., Sept. 11

Hickory - CALLING ALL GOLFERS: The Hickory Kiwanis and the Kiwanis Club of Western Catawba County will host its annual Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, September 11, at Ole Still Golf Club, which at one time was known as Oliver’s Landing. The golf course is located out NC 127 north, cross over the bridge and turn to the left at the traffic light.

All proceeds from the event will benefit children’s needs in our schools, the Kiwanis Park/Zahra Baker All Children Play Ground, Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, dictionaries for third grade students, Children’s Advocacy Center, Terrific Kids Kiwanis program as well as many other worthwhile programs that benefit children in Hickory and Catawba County.

The tournament will kick off at 10:30 am with registration, range balls will be available and lunch will be at noon provided by Texas Roadhouse. A hole in one for a new Subaru will be sponsored by Jim Armstrong Subaru of Hickory, and a $400 value hole in one for tires sponsored by Clark Tire of Hickory. Closest to the pin on all Par 3s will also be sponsored by Clark Tire of Hickory. There will be a 50/50 raffle fundraiser, a mulligan sale and lots of prizes, as well as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place team prizes. The SHOTGUN start will be at 1:00 PM.

The tournament is opened for male and females participants. Brochures on the tournament will be at Ole Still Pro Shop and you can call or email the following Kiwanians for brochures and questions. Steve Aaron-828-446-0480/, Bill Wiggs-828-460-4423/<>, Tom Devlin-828-324-0524/, and Bob Roach-828-446-0033/<> We are currently accepting applications for the event and team registration will close on Saturday, September 5.

Kiwanians are asking all golfers and the citizens of Hickory and Catawba County to come and join our efforts to continue the support of our children’s needs throughout the community.

Vic Wheeler & Gruv Dawgs At Family Friday, August 28

Valdese, NC – Valdese Family Friday Night Summer Series will continue their season with the dancing music of Vic Wheeler & Gruv Dawgs on August 28th at 7:00pm in the Wells Fargo/Town Parking lot in downtown.

Vic Wheeler, known for his funky rhythm and soulful lead guitar work, is also an accomplished vocalist and has played and sung both lead and background vocals for many professional groups. Band members, Zach Wheeler/saxophonist/keyboard, Kathy Wheeler/vocals, Sarah Jarrell/vocal/guitar and Garry Flowers/drums work together to bring an entertaining evening for the audience.

This group provides fun with a very hip vibe offering New & Classic Dance, Funk, Rock, Soul, Motown, Beach and much more.

Myra’s will continue their Friday “Cruise In” with over a hundred classic/antique cars and several of the merchants will remain open to provide an opportunity for those that might want to walk around town and visit the shops.

The Family Friday Night Series is sponsored by the Town of Valdese, Valdese Merchants Association and the Morganton News Herald.

For further information regarding events in Valdese, go to or call 828-879-2129.

Immigration Symposium On New Deferred Action

Programs (DACA) Monday, August 31

Newton, NC – The Catawba County Library System, Centro Latino of Hickory, and Hope Family Support Network will host a Community Forum on immigration and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals laws at 5:30 pm on Monday, August 31 at the Main Library in Newton.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy that allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation. DACA does not grant legal immigration status or provide a path to citizenship.

Come learn about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) laws and how families can apply for these immigration benefits. The Immigration Community Forum will be presented in Spanish and English. Refreshments and free childcare will be provided.

For the latest in library news, visit the library’s news site at or stop by your local branch.

Musical Legally Blonde Sports Terrific Cast; At HCT On Sept. 4

Hickory - “Legally Blonde the Musical”, the first show of the Hickory Community Theatre’s 2015-2016 Season, uses four key supporting characters who help drive the plot. The story of Elle Woods, sorority airhead turned Harvard law student, wouldn’t be what it is without them. There’s Warner, the UCLA boyfriend who breaks up with Elle to go to Harvard; Vivienne, his law school sweetheart; Emmett, who is Elle’s reluctant mentor when she follows Warner to Harvard; and, Paulette, the hairdresser who dispenses romantic wisdom while preventing “bad hair decisions.” The actors playing these characters bring a variety of experience, and tremendous energy, to their roles.

Playing Warner is David Sandoval, who should be no stranger to Hickory Theatre audiences, since this is his fourth show in the past year. The first three were “The Little Mermaid,” “Much Ado About Nothing” and “La Cage aux Folles,” where he took on the daring and difficult role of being one of the Cagelles, the nightclub’s famous, cross-dressing dancers. Sandoval’s first stage experience was playing Judas in “Godspell” at Lincolnton High School. He loves theatre because “it’s like building a family with every show.”

Vivienne, the man-stealer, is played by Ingrid Anna Lisa Keller, also no stranger to the Theatre’s audience, having played roles large and small at HCT since she was 11. Her first role was as one of the blind girls taught by Annie Sullivan in “The Miracle Worker” directed by Charles Jeffers. Since then she’s played some very iconic roles, including Eponine in the smash-hit, “Les Misérables.” She is an international scholar, with an educational story that somewhat mirror’s Elle’s. “I followed a guy to school in London, where I got a Masters in Arts Administration Cultural Policy,” she said, “then I came back to the US, but without the guy.”

Tad Fullbright plays the earnest Emmett. Fulbright is the connecting link between the first two actors, because he was in “Les Misérables” with Keller and in “The Little Mermaid” with Sandoval. Like Keller, he also grew up on the HCT stage, where his first appearance was playing Tigger in “Winnie the Pooh.” He got his theatrical start though at Grandview Middle School, where he played Lumiere in “Beauty and the Beast.” He works as a delivery driver for his family’s dry cleaning company, Fullbright Cleaners.

Kelly Dowless is an artistic force of nature, who has the role of Paulette, a comic role with a challenging vocal range. She is up to it though, thanks to her classical training and a degree in vocal performance from Meredith College. Dowless has been delighting audiences at Hickory Community Theatre since 2009, with her first role as Alice Beane in “Titanic the Musical.” Since then she has played such iconic characters as Sally Bowles in “Cabaret,” Judy Haynes in “White Christmas” and Bunny Flingus in “The House of Blue Leaves.” She was living in Concord when she first started with the Theatre and when asked what made her want to drive over a hundred miles round trip five times a week to be in a show, she replied, “because HCT offers an experience like no other.”

Performances of “Legally Blonde” begin on September 4th and continue through September 20th. Tickets go on sale on August 20th. For more information call (828) 327-3855 or click to see the full schedule of dates and times.

The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. “Legally Blonde” produced by Robert Abbey, Inc. and is part of the 2015-16 season sponsored by Paramount Automotive.

Photo: (from left) David Sandoval, Ingrid Anna Lisa Keller, Tad Fullbright and Kelly Dowless are the major supporting players in “Legally Blonde the Musical” opening September 4th in the Jeffers Theatre. For more information call (828) 327-3855 or click

The Game’s Afoot Auditions Are Mon. & Tues., Aug. 31 & Sept. 1

Hickory - Hickory Community Theatre is seeking actors for its next production, “The Game’s Afoot,” a comical murder mystery whose central character is an actor famous for playing Sherlock Holmes. The script is by Ken Ludwig, whose other brilliant comedies include audience favorites such as “Lend Me a Tenor” and “Moon Over Buffalo.”

Auditions are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday evenings, August 31st and September 1st , at 7:00pm in the Theatre complex located at 30 Third Street NW in Downtown Hickory.

Eight roles are available - five women and three men, age ranges 20’s to 60’s. Auditions will consist of readings from the script. No advance preparation is required, but copies of the script are available at the Theatre’s administrative offices, which are open from 12-5 weekdays.

For more information on the play, please visit the publishers’ website at

Rehearsals begin the week of September 7th. Performances are October 16th through November 1st, Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2:30pm. Shawna Wilson is directing.

The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. “The Game’s Afoot” is produced by CommScope and is part of the 2015-16 season sponsored by Paramount Automotive.

Mind Over Music Memory Care Symposium Is Tues., Sept 8

Morganton, NC – The blend of mind and music takes center stage on Tuesday, September 8, at “Mind Over Music,” a memory care symposium featuring nationally recognized dementia educator Teepa Snow and Conductorcise® founder Maestro David Dworkin.

Hosted by Grace Ridge and held at the Foothills Higher Education Conference Center, the free community event is targeted toward anyone interested in learning more about dementia or memory care, including family caregivers, health care professionals and adult care professionals.

Snow, an occupational therapist specializing in dementia care and education, developed techniques and training models for families and professionals who deal with dementia. Dworkin’s award-winning Conductorcise® senior fitness program – a favorite among Grace Ridge residents – combines an upper body workout and cognitive stimulation with a music history lesson.

Teepa Snow, dementia educator

“Our previous programs involving Teepa and David have been so well received, we thought this was a special opportunity to bring the two of them together for a community event that explores the connection between music and the mind,” said Brenda Yost, executive director for Grace Ridge.

The morning session will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, with Snow and Dworkin speaking consecutively and the session repeating from 2-5 p.m. Continuing education credits are available for $15, payable at the door. Additionally, Snow will host an evening session from 6-8 p.m. that will focus on family caregivers. A limited number of complimentary boxed meals will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Foothills Higher Education Conference Center is located at 2128 S. Sterling St., Morganton, NC 28655. Seating is limited. To register for Mind Over Music: A Memory Care Symposium, call 828-580-8402 or visit

About Grace Ridge Retirement CommunityNestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Grace Ridge is a Continuing Care Retirement Community spanning 52 acres in Morganton, NC. Owned and operated by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, our mission is to create a secure environment that supports individual choices and lifestyle, and our values contribute to our welcoming, positive attitude. We believe a good mood is integral to wellness and our vision is one where dreams and expectations truly are reality. To learn more about Grace Ridge, visit or call 828-580-8300.

About Teepa Snow

As one of America’s leading educators on dementia, Teepa Snow’s philosophy is reflective of her education, work experience, available medical research, and first-hand caregiving interactions.

David Dworkin, senior fitness expert

Working as a registered occupational therapist for 30-plus years led her to develop Positive Approach™ to Care techniques and training models that now are used by families and professionals working or living with dementia or other brain changes. She is a graduate of Duke University and received her MS degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. For more information, visit

About Conductorcise®

Named in 2013 by the International Council on Active Aging as one of the most innovative active aging programs in the US, Conductorcise® has proven effective at getting seniors enthused about fitness. Dworkin was inspired to create the mind-body-soul workout through his lifelong passion for conducting, performing, educating and physical fitness. Conductorcise® is all inclusive and participants can expend as much or as little energy as they are able, while still getting the benefits of aerobic stamina, cognitive stimulation and stress relief. For more information, visit

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