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Global Trade Gala Seminar At Patrick Beaver Library On May 18

Hickory - Hickory International Council and Unique World Gifts are delighted to announce a co-sponsored public seminar on Thursday, May 18, 6-7:30 p.m., at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library, regarding the subject of globalism and the idea of “fair trade.” The event will be advertised as “Global Trade Gala: An Evening of International Exchange.”

Aaron Kohrs is a voting board member on both the municipal-appointed Hickory International Council as well as the fair trade non-profit Unique World Gifts. Discussing the idea of “fair trade” with many citizens in our area recently, he realized so many are unfamiliar with the term. Similarly, in our present political discourse, “trade” so often comes up as a hot-button issue. As such, he believes a civic open forum is in order.

Please make plans to attend the May evening of learning, cultural enjoyment, and democratic discourse as we discover together how the world has changed since ideas, services, and goods have been traded “faster, better, and more” in this modern era.

Speakers include Dr. Casey Delehanty of Gardner-Webb University (Latin America history and politics expert; we have many South American products in UWG; he’ll talk international relations in regard to globalism/trade);

Ms. Lana Ruffini, executive director of Unique World Gifts (she’ll bring media of our patronized artisans from developing countries and the experiential/business side of “fair trade”) and

Mr. Chris Rice, Hickory High International Baccalaureate (IB) program director (trade is more than just goods and services - but also - ideas and learning from various cultural perspectives; globalism of ideas has changed our world, thought in academia).

Refreshments will be provided. See www.Facebook.com/GlobalTradeinHickory for more.

Law Enforcement Memorial Service Friday, May 19 In Hickory

Hickory - A Memorial service honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty will be held at 1:00 PM, Friday, May 19, 2017, at Catawba Memorial Park, located at 3060 Highway 70 SE in Hickory.

A wreath laying ceremony, playing of bagpipes and Taps, and an honor guard firing a 21-gun salute will be included in the program. Keynote speaker will be the Honorable Gregory R. Hayes, Superior Court Judge, District 25B.

The yearly event coincides with National Police Week and is sponsored by the Catawba County Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15th falls, as National Police Week, meaning that National Police Week 2017 will be Sun., May 14th - Sat., May 20th. Members of the national and state FOP will be in Washington, DC, for the national ceremonies.

On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 53 hours. Since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, more than 19,000 U.S. law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice. In 2016, 144 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the U.S. In addition, there were 34 K9 line of duty deaths.For more info., call the FOP Office at 828-695-1704.

Photo: Catawba County FOP Law Enforcement Memorial Monument at Catawba Memorial Park.

Local Churches Participate In Foster Care Sunday On May 21

Hickory – Churches in Catawba County are being asked to participate in Foster Care Sunday on May 21. This event will emphasize the need for more foster parents throughout the county.

Foster Care Sunday is sponsored by Family Builders of Catawba Valley, the foster and adoption unit of Catawba County Social Services, which has an average 230 foster children in its care at any given time. There is an urgent need for more foster parents, who provide a temporary, loving home for these children until they can reunite with their parents, be placed with guardians, or be adopted.

Churches may participate in this outreach event by placing a notice in their church bulletin, making an announcement during church services, or by other means of their choice. Speakers will not be available for all churches, due to the large number of churches in the county.

Family Builders can provide the following information to churches wishing to participate: detailed information regarding the need for more foster parents; written material such as rack cards, church bulletin inserts, flyers, etc.; announcement examples; and Christian videos about the need for foster and adoptive families.

Pastors and other church leaders who are interested in this effort are encouraged to contact Megan Burns, foster and adoptive parent recruiter and trainer. She may be reached at mburns@catawbacountync.gov or by calling 828-695-4553. Additional information about the fostering process may be found at www.fostercatawba.com.

“If one family in every Catawba County church would become a foster family, we would not have a shortage of foster homes,” Burns said. Foster parents must undergo a background check and attend training. “Our social workers are always available to respond to the needs and questions of foster parents,” she said. “We hope that church members in our county will prayerfully consider becoming foster parents.”

CVCC’s Summerscapes Kid Camp Registration Is Now Open

Hickory - CVCC is now accepting registrations for its Summerscapes camp for children ages 5 to 16. More than 80 different sessions dealing with art, cooking, reading, math, science, and more are available. Register soon to reserve your child’s spot in Summerscapes. Popular sessions fill up quickly.

Most classes are $75 unless otherwise specified. For a complete list of camps available, visit www.cvcc.edu/Summerscapes/.

For more information, contact Cheri Toney, 828-327-7037, or ctoney@cvcc.edu.

Louis Nunnery Ballet Honors School’s Legacy And

Celebrates 65 Years Of Teaching On May 19 & 20

Newton, NC – The Louis Nunnery School of Ballet presents their spring performance, a double bill of Beauty and the Beast and Unto These Hills on Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 at 7:00pm.

Over 70 performers will take the stage in a performance of one of the most beloved fairy tales and excerpts from the renowned outdoor drama Unto These Hills, choreographed by the esteemed Louis Nunnery himself.

Come and see this enchanting fairy tale in a whole new way followed by the harrowing story of the Cherokee people in celebration of Mr. Nunnery’s legacy.

Hickory’s oldest school of dance, Louis Nunnery School of Ballet is celebrating their 65th year of teaching. Louis Nunnery School of Ballet caters to all dancers, both male and female, from age four to adult.

Beauty and the Beast and Unto These Hills will be performed on the stage of the Abernethy Auditorium at the Newton-Conover Auditorium, located at 60 W. 6th Street in Newton.

Advance tickets are $8 for 16 & under, and $10 for adult. To purchase tickets, call 1-800-838-3006 or visit lnsb2017.bpt.me.

For more information, the Newton-Conover Auditorium can be contacted by telephone at 828-464-8100 or by email at info@newton-conoverauditorium.org.

Yadkin Valley Wine Festival Will Feature 26 Wineries On May 20

Elkin, NC – Taste some of the finest vintages from North Carolina wine country at the 16th annual Yadkin Valley Wine Festival on Saturday, May 20, at Elkin Municipal Park.

The festival features 26 wineries that are located in the Yadkin Valley or use grapes grown in the Yadkin Valley. The event showcases the region’s emergence as a wine destination. The Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area — the first federally recognized wine-growing region in North Carolina — is now home to nearly 40 wineries.

“The original purpose of the wine festival was to make more people aware of the viticulture and different wines this area is capable of producing,” says Myra Cook, president of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce. “As it has grown, the festival has become a big boost for tourism in the area, drawing in visitors from all over.”

As many as 10,000 people are expected to attend.

The festival also includes food, music and crafts. Local band Blue Sky will take the entertainment stage at noon. Afterward Phatt City makes a return appearance with its blend of beach music and R&B. Between music sets, kids can participate in a grape stomp.

For a full wine weekend, the festivities begin with the Yadkin Valley Wine Auction & Gala on Friday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. The black-tie-optional affair includes dinner, live entertainment, and live and silent auctions, as well as a chance to win $2,500. The event takes place at The Liberty’s Coley Hall in downtown Elkin. Tickets are $50, and proceeds benefit the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Foundation.

“The weekend shows how viticulture touches all of us in the community,” Cook says. “We are proud of the area and what we produce, and want to share that with others.”

Yadkin Valley Wine Festival tickets are $22 in advance and $30 at the gate. Active duty and retired military can purchase day-of tickets for $20. VIP tickets are available for $102. The VIP package includes preferential parking, a festival T-shirt and access to the hospitality tent. Shuttle service is available to and from participating hotels for $5 per person.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For complete details and to purchase tickets, visit www.YVWF.com or call (336) 526-1111. To learn more about the Yadkin Valley area and explore lodging options, visit www.YadkinValleyNC.com.

Bach’s Lunch ‘N’ Listen Presents Frank Merritt On Friday, May 19

Newton, NC - On Friday, May 19, 2017, the Newton-Conover Auditorium is proud to welcome Frank Merritt to perform for Bach’s Lunch ‘N’ Listen.

Mr. Merritt is the principal hornist in the Western Piedmont Symphony and also plays with the Charlotte Philharmonic and Salisbury Symphony.

He also is an adjunct horn instructor at Lenoir-Rhyne College and performs with the renowned Unifour Brass. He will be performing a recital of standard horn repertoire.

The cost is $15, which includes a lunch with several diet options, including vegetarian. (Please contact the office at 828-464-8100 if you have special dietary needs).

This month’s performance will include a special insight into next season’s performances! Buy your tickets now!

For tickets, visit www.newton-conoverauditorium.org/tickets or call the Auditorium’s ticketing service at 1-800-838-3006. Members of the Newton-Conover Auditorium may book through the auditorium office by calling 828-464-8100.

Foothills Conservancy Hosts A Beginner Birding Outing May 21

Morganton, NC- On Sunday, May 21, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina hosts a beginner birding outing with guides Jane Gantt and Julia Mode on the Catawba River and Freedom Trail greenways in Morganton.

These greenway trails are familiar for walkers as a place to exercise, but they are also great places to spot birds. The Catawba River Greenway is featured in The North Carolina Birding Trail: Mountain Trail Guide. Participants should see migrating songbirds as well as summer residents.

The outing begins at 8:30 a.m. It will include moderate walking and is expected to take two to three hours. Participants are asked to wear comfortable clothing and shoes and bring water and binoculars.

Birding Guide, Jane Gantt

Guides Jane Gantt and Julia Mode—both Morganton residents—are longtime birders who will help participants spot the avian diversity along the trails.

Gantt’s interest in birding began with casually observing backyard birds. Since she and her husband retired that interest has become a passion, and they now travel to birding destinations and have recorded sightings of more than 424 U.S. bird species.

“I developed an interest in birds with my father who loved the outdoors,” said Mode. “When I started hiking with a friend in the early 90s we looked at wildflowers and then added birds to our focus. I have spent hours with binoculars searching for birds in the tops of trees, on the forest floors, and on beaches. I have even spent time looking in jungles for tiny brown birds with the word “ant” in their name.”

The outing is free to Foothills Conservancy members and $10 for non-members. RSVP is required. RSVP by Wednesday, May 17 by emailing info@foothillsconservancy.org or calling 828-437-9930. Additional information will be provided to those who register.

Information about Foothills Conservancy, including ways to support its work, can be found online at www.foothillsconservancy.org or by calling 828-437-9930.

FCA Announces Winners For Tiny Arts Show • Exhibit Ends June 10

Hickory - Full Circle Arts is pleased to announce the winners in its exhibition entitled “Tiny Arts”. Our judge for this year’s event was Jeff Kiefer, Art Instructor at Catawba Valley Community College. We had 22 people enter this year’s competition and approximately 100 works of art to be considered for prizes and Honorable Mention awards. Mr. Keifer was methodical about his judging and impressed with the variety of work and the thought and detail that went into these tiny masterpieces. Prices for the works run from $10 - $500. Artists from as far away as Hillsborough, Boone and Richburg, SC are participating.
The winners for this exhibition are as follows:

First: Karen Parker for Tulips and Propane, oil on panel

Second: Eugenie B. Fein for Evening Stroll, collage

Third: Zan Thompson for Georgetown Waterfront Cafes, watercolor

Honorable mentions:

Carla Brandel for Coffee Cup, clay - wood fired

Mark C. Hickman for Bread Butter & Bullet Holes, color inkjet/varnish/canvas

Beth Oczkowski for untitled, paper

Anita Rhoney for The Incredible Ball, etching (intaglio)

Carla Brandel for Starburst, clay - obvarra pot

The show runs from May 11 through June 10, 2017. Reception and awards for the event will be Thursday, May 11, 6 - 8pm.

FCA is an artists’ cooperative located in downtown Hickory, 42-B Third Street NW. More information about Full Circle Arts, classes, membership, or other upcoming events is available at 828-322-7545. You may also write to Full Circle Arts, PO Box 3905, Hickory NC 28603, or email info@fullcirclearts.org. Please visit our website at www.fullcirclearts.org.

CAC Calls For Artists For Caldwell Visual Artists

Competition & Studio Tour • Deadline Is May 27

Lenoir, NC - The Caldwell Arts Council is pleased to announce the 41st Annual CALDWELL VISUAL ARTISTS COMPETITION scheduled for June 2-July 29, 2017. Sondra Dorn, a visual artist from Asheville NC, will judge the competition and cash prizes will be awarded.

This competition is open to 2-D (paintings, collage, etc.) and 3-D (pottery, small sculpture, etc.) visual artists 18 years of age or older who reside, work, attend school or take art classes in Caldwell County. Photography is excluded from this competition. A non-refundable entry fee of $25 entitles each artist to display two works of art, to be delivered on either May 26th or May 27th. Cash awards have been increased to include: Best in Show $350, 2nd Place $200, 3rd Place $150, People’s Choice $150, and up to three merit awards of $100 each.

Artists from Caldwell County and contiguous counties are also invited to open their home studios or set up in a local business in Caldwell County on Saturday, June 24th, 9am-4pm for the ART AROUND CALDWELL STUDIO TOUR. Artists participating in both events will receive recognition in the Caldwell Visual Artists Competition exhibit, and a discount on the entry fee for this studio tour.

All details on both events are available by calling the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-2486 or visiting the website at www.caldwellarts.com, The Caldwell Arts Council is located at 601 College Avenue, Lenoir, and open Tuesday-Friday 9am-5pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm.

L-RU Professor Speaks At HMA Then Guides A

Nature Hike At Riverbend Park On Sat., May 20

Hickory – Hickory Museum of Art (HMA) will be the starting point for Lenoir-Rhyne University adjunct professor and Catawba County Parks park ranger Elliot Millinor’s lecture and guided nature hike. The lecture, An Academic History of Art and Nature, will begin at 12:30PM on Saturday, May 20th, at HMA, 243 3rd Ave NE, Hickory.

After Millinor’s 45-60 minute talk at HMA on natural technology and the philosopher Immanuel Kant’s ways of judging the visual world, listeners will have the opportunity to view the new HMA exhibit Hickory Sticks, featuring a colossal installation by NC artist Jonathan Brilliant.

The participants will then drive to Riverbend Park for a guided nature hike that will last 1.5 - 2 hours and cover approximately 2.5 miles of trails. (Please pack a snack and some water, as the walk will last until about 4:30PM.) The hike will highlight plants and animals that embody beauty, the sublime, and/or are ecologically significant.

Elliot Millinor is a lifelong resident of Hickory, North Carolina. He received his B.S. in Biology and M.A. in History and Philosophy of Science from Lenoir-Rhyne University. Millinor’s scientific research interests include the diversity, distribution, and life histories of reptiles and amphibians, symbiotic relationships, and functional ecology.

Millinor has presented his scientific and historical-philosophical research at the local, state, and international levels. He currently works as a Park Ranger for Catawba County Parks and as an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University where he teaches classes in Environmental Ethics/Aesthetics and Nature In and Through History.

Admission to the lecture is free. Please call Hickory Museum of Art to register at 828-327-8576.

Hickory Museum of Art is located on the SALT Block, 243 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.HickoryArt.org or call 828-327-8576.

Photo: HMA, Hickory Sticks installation by Jonathan Brilliant.

Ticket Sales For Biltmore’s 21st Annual Concert Series

Begin Wednesday, May 17

Asheville, NC – Celebrate summer at Biltmore when the estate’s 21st annual Concert Series begins Thursday, July 27. Ticket sales begin on May 17, 2017.

Kool & The Gang kicks off the series on July 27 on the South Terrace of Biltmore House. The South Terrace venue features expansive sunset views of the 250-room Biltmore House in one direction, and Mount Pisgah and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the other.

The Commodores

All shows begin at 7:30pm.

The 2017 Biltmore Concert Series line-up: July 27, Kool & The Gang and The Commodores; July 30, The Beach Boys; Aug. 18, Newsboys with Special Guest Mandisa; Aug. 19, Tony Bennett; Aug. 24, REO Speedwagon; Aug. 26, Goo Goo Dolls: Long Way Home Summer Tour 2017with Special Guest Phillip Phillips.

All tickets may be purchased at www.biltmore.com/concerts, or by calling 866-336-1255; or in person at Biltmore’s Reservation and Ticketing Sales Center, 1 Lodge St., Asheville, NC 28803.

A variety of ticket, dining and lodging packages will be available for the concerts. Tickets do not include or require estate admission. Performers and dates are subject to change.

About the artists:

Kool & The Gang and The Commodores
7:30 p.m., July 27
Classic R&B hits such as “Celebration,” “Cherish,” and “Ladies Night” have earned the Grammy-winning group Kool & The Gang global fame and recognition and a following that spans generations. The Commodores are Grammy-winning Motown legends with seven number one hits and more than 70 million albums sold. Songs include “Brick House,” “Easy,” and “Three Times A Lady.”

The Beach Boys
7:30 p.m., July 30
With decades of hit singles including “Surfin’,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “California Girls,” and the Grammy-nominated “Good Vibrations,” The Beach Boys are an iconic American band that influenced countless performing artists to follow.

The Beach Boys

Newsboys with Special Guest Mandisa
7:30 p.m., Aug. 18
The Newsboys have defined contemporary Christian music for more than two decades, earning 33 No. 1 hits, four Grammy nominations, multiple Dove Awards, and selling more than 8 million albums. Mandisa is a contemporary Christian artist who has sold more than 1 million records, including her best-selling and critically acclaimed 2013 project “Overcomer” that won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.

Tony Bennett
7:30 p.m., Aug. 19
Legendary Tony Bennett is one of only a handful of artists to have new albums charting in each of the last seven decades. He has introduced a multitude of songs into the Great American Songbook that have since become standards, and has received 19 Grammy Awards, including one for his signature song, “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”

Tony Bennett

REO Speedwagon
7:30 p.m., Aug. 24
REO Speedwagon, fronted by vocalist Kevin Cronin since 1972, along with bandmates Bruce Hall (bass), Neal Doughty (keyboards), Dave Amato (guitar) and Bryan Hitt (drums), is still rocking audiences worldwide with concerts featuring their two timeless No. 1 singles, “Keep on Loving You,” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” along with fan favorites including “Take It on the Run,” “Time for Me to Fly,” “Roll With the Changes,” “Ridin’ The Storm Out,” and more.

Goo Goo Dolls: Long Way Home Summer Tour 2017 with Special Guest Phillip Phillips
7:30 p.m., Aug. 26
The Goo Goo Dolls have become an influential force in popular music history, selling more than 10 million albums featuring a string of No. 1 and Top 10 singles including “Name,” “Slide,” and “Let Love In.” Their hit “Iris,” from the City Of Angels soundtrack, was No. 1 on the Billboard charts for 17 consecutive weeks. Phillip Phillips has put out two chart-topping albums since releasing his five-time-platinum debut single “Home” in 2012.

About Biltmore:

Located in Asheville, North Carolina, Biltmore was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America’s largest home is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, exhibiting the Vanderbilt family’s original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. Biltmore estate encompasses more than 8,000 acres including renowned gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture.

Today, Biltmore has grown to include Antler Hill Village, which features the award-winning Winery and Antler Hill Farm; The Inn on Biltmore Estate, a four-star accommodation; Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate; Equestrian Center; numerous restaurants; event and meeting venues; and Biltmore For Your Home, the company’s licensed products division.

To learn more about Biltmore, go to www.biltmore.com or call 877-BILTMORE.

CCC&TI Offers Super Summer & Kids In The Kitchen Camps

Hudson, NC - This summer, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Continuing Education Division will once again offer “Extreme Super Summer Camp” for kids ages 5 and up and “Kids in the Kitchen” camps for kids ages 9 and up. The programs will feature week-long courses and daily activities Monday through Friday.

Super Summer Camp sessions are held on the Caldwell Campus from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. daily. Each Super Summer session covers two topics with students separated into different age groups to allow each program to be customized with age-appropriate activities.

Early drop-off times will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Late pick-up times will be from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Cost per session is $90 and includes early drop-off, late pick-up, two programs and a snack between programs.

“Kids in the Kitchen” camps are offered on both the Caldwell and Watauga campuses and are held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Kids in the Kitchen sessions are $150.

Registration for “Extreme Super Summer Camp” is ongoing and space is limited. To register, or for more information, call 828-726-2242.

Following is the program schedule for each week:

Super Summer Camps
June 19-June 23

Steps Ahead Fitness: Basketball Camp; Kickin’ Martial Arts
June 26- June 30

Power Cheer:
Cheerleading/Dance, Gymnastics/Dance
OR Little Robots (ages 5-8 only): Building Robots; Robots Everywhere!
July 10 - July 14

Destination Science: Mad Science!; Science Adventures
OR Bigger Bots (ages 9+ only): Building Robots; Robots Everywhere!
July 17 - July 21

Speed Camp: Aerodynamics; Pinewood Derby
July 24 - July 28

Art Expo: Foam Magic; Art: A Little Bit of Everything
Caldwell Campus - Kids in the Kitchen (Ages 9 and up only. Cost $150)
Baking Magic – June 26 – June 30; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Chocolates and Candies: Sweets! Sweets! Sweets! July 10 – July 14; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Pizza! Pizza! – July 24 – July 28; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Watauga Campus - Kids in the Kitchen (Ages 9 and up only. Cost $150)

Pizza! Pizza! – June 19 – June 23; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Also offered July 24 – July 28, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Baking Magic – June 26 – June 30; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Also offered July 31 – Aug. 4; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Chocolates and Candies: Sweets! Sweets! Sweets! July 10 – July 14; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Cooking 101 – Teenage Style – July 17 – July 21; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Registration Is Open For HMF’s Rock Camp • Ages 11-17

Hickory - Guitar instructor Tony Eltora and drum instructor Rick Cline, will host Hickory Music Factory’s (HMF) annual Rock Camp. 25 lucky students will form bands and have the opportunity to be part of a weeklong camp and see what it’s like to be in a rock band.

Throughout the week, the students will rehearse with their band and learn the essentials needed to perform on stage. There will be classes/clinics focusing on song writing, stage performance, music history, tone and dynamics, as well as, music theory. The week will end with the students playing a concert on Friday July 14th at the SALT Block Auditorium 7pm. All groups will also have the opportunity to perform at the HMF Stage at this year’s Oktoberfest in downtown Hickory.

The camp will take place at the Hickory Music Factory from 9am-2:30pm July 10-14th Students will be required to bring their own equipment, which will be locked up when not in use. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your equipment at the HMF facility, you may take it home after each day. Students will also need to bring their own lunch to camp. The camp will provide drinks (sodas, water, etc.) for the students through the week.

The cost of the camp is $225 for HMF student members and $250 for non-members and needs to be paid in full by July 1st. You may also choose to set up a payment plan which still needs to be paid in full by July 1st. If you pay by check please make it out to hickory music factory. For more info., please contact the Hickory Music Factory at: 828-308-5659 or contact@hickorymusicfactory.com.

Former Rock Camp participants

Senior Games And Other Activities Planned In May

For Catawba’s Seniors Morning Out Program

Hickory – Seniors Morning Out participants will participate in a number of activities in May, including participating in Senior Games. All sites will be closed on Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day.

Seniors Morning Out operates from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday in five convenient locations. A hot, balanced lunch is also served. Any county resident who is 60 or better is invited to participate. The program is free to participants, although donations are accepted. Bus transportation is available in some locations for those who do not drive. If you would like to participate in any or all of these activities, contact the site supervisor at least 48 hours in advance.

On Tuesday, May 16, participants from the West Hickory, Newton, and Catawba sites will gather at the Huntington Hills Church of God to participate in Senior Games, an athletic program for senior adults.

A few of the program highlights are as follows:

At the West Hickory SMO site, located at West Hickory Senior Center, 400 17th St. SW, Hickory: May 4: performance by the Ridgeview Sliders dance team; May 9: Anti-Anxiety Medications with Denee Shipman, RN, of Vaya Health; May 18: Shopping at Walmart followed by game day and adult cooking and sewing project; May 24: Scavenger Hunt Day and program on Emergency Preparedness by Jim Dickerson of Catawba County EMS. To reserve your place at any of these activities, contact Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

At the Newton SMO, located at First Presbyterian Church 701 Main Ave., Newton: May 8: Program on Medicare Fraud by Diane Trainor; May 15: Performance by Bandy’s High School Choir; May 22: Presentation on Parkinson’s Disease by Annie Williams; May 25: Program on Captel services by Ashley Trotter. To reserve your place at any of these activities, contact Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

At the Catawba SMO, located at Center United Methodist Church, 4945 Sherrills Ford Road, Catawba: May 10: Easy Coffee Cake cooking class; May 11: Medicare Fraud and Scams by Diane Trainor; May 25: Poem of the Day and Crafts with Tonya Jarnac; May 30: Music by Lonesome Road. If you would like to attend any of these programs, contact Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

At the Maiden SMO, located at the Maiden Community Center at the corner of East Second St. and Klutz Street: May 8: Cooking class: Mother’s Day Parfaits and Ice Cream Social; May 17: Medicare Fraud with Diane Trainor and Group Walking; May 22: How Advertisers Get Us to Buy Things” by Ann Simmons of the Agriculture Extension Service; May 25: Senior Games Fun Walk and Cook Out in Maiden Park. Sentimental Journey band to perform. To participate in any of these activities, contact Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

Seniors Morning Out is operated by Senior Nutrition Services of Catawba County Social Services. In addition to SMO, Senior Nutrition Services operates Meals on Wheels and related programs in the county. This program relies on donations by local individuals and businesses. If you would like to make a donation, you may go to www.mealsonwheelsofcatawbacounty.org and click on the red “Donate Now” button. Be sure to choose Meals on Wheels or Seniors Morning Out from the drop-down menu. You may also write a check to Catawba County Social Services and write “Senior Nutrition Services” in the memo line. Mail your donation to Senior Nutrition Services, P.O. Box 207, Newton, NC 28658. If you or your group would like to sponsor a fund-raising event for Catawba County’s Senior Nutrition Services, contact Jan Shaffer at 828-695-5610.

Additional volunteers are urgently needed to deliver Meals on Wheels. You can volunteer as little as one and a half hours a month. To find out more, contact Senior Nutrition at 828-695-5610 during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for holidays. For the latest updates, like their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty, or visit their website at www.MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty.org.

Catawba County Senior Nutrition Services is a United Way funded partner. Catawba County United Way’s mission is to increase the organized capacity of people to help others by mobilizing the caring power of our community. For more information, locate us on Facebook, 828-327-6851 or www.ccunitedway.com.

L-RU Is Accepting Applications For Kids In College Camp

Hickory – Applications are now being accepted for Kids in College, Lenoir-Rhyne University’s summer enrichment program for children. The camp will be held June 19 – 23, with all sessions taking place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided each day for all attendees. Any student completing kindergarten through eighth grade is welcome to attend.

“The mission of Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Kids in College is to expose children to the university environment through challenging instructional camps that foster exploration, creative thinking, and enrichment,” said Michael Lemke, Director of Kids in College an instructor of education at LRU.

According to Lemke, the camp will have a STEM focus, meaning it will provide instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students will utilize 21st century skills including critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. Kids in College is designed for teacher-recommended students who meet any of the following criteria:

Identified as academically and intellectually gifted; Achieved a Level 5 on reading and/or math EOG; Maintained an “A” average in math and/or reading; Recommended by current teacher.

Experienced, AIG certified teachers will facilitate learning experiences throughout the week. Classes will be held in the Rhyne Building on LRU’s campus. Parents will be responsible for dropping off and picking up their children.

The cost of the program is $325 per week. A deposit of $50 is required for registration with the remaining balance due on May 13th. Additional information and registration forms can be found on the LRU website at lr.edu/kidsincollege.

Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis for qualified students. Parents will be notified of acceptance as soon as the following requirements are received:

A completed application with teacher recommendation; Signed insurance and liability form; $50 deposit (returnable only if space is unavailable); Emergency Contact form.

For more information, contact Lemke at michael.lemke@lr.edu or 828.328.7189.

Blue Knights Of NC’s Poker Run Benefit For Caleb Benfield, 6/10

Hickory – The Caleb Benfield Benefit Poker Run is Saturday, June 10 beginning at Blue Ridge Harley Davidson in Hickory NC.

Sponsored by Blue Knights NC XI, the registration is 10:30 am till 1:00 pm. Cost is $20 single and $25 for a double and includes one event t-shirt per bike and food at end of ride.

Also, 50/50 and extra hands are available. All proceeds go the Caleb Benfield Challenge a Junior firefighter challenge held annually in Caleb’s memory.

For more information, contact Cecil Cook at 828-413-9706 or chcook60@att.net.

Romance Of The Home & Garden Tour In Hickory, May 20

Hickory - Tickets are now on sale for Hickory Landmarks Society’s 23rd Annual Romance of the Home and Garden Tour. Seven homes, and/or gardens are featured on the tour. All will be opened to the public on Saturday May 20 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Homes and gardens are grouped in easily accessible areas around the city. This year’s tour features a variety of homes which date from 1904 to 1973. Sites include the stately A.A. Shuford House, a mid-century Modernist house and a rehabilitated commercial building now used for convenient downtown living. The Kenworth Historic District is represented by three 1920’s bungalows with unique features and decor. A special surprise is the whimsically furnished 1973 home overlooking the lake.

Tickets are $20 in advance and may be purchased at Maple Grove (542 2nd Street NE), Bottega (262 1st Ave. NW), Jenny’s Gifts and Accessories (436 Main Ave. NW), The Sally Company(323 2nd St. NW), Pampered (14 23rd Ave. NE), Village Gardens(Hwy 127 at 19th Ave. NW) and Watson’s Furniture and Mattress Outlet (1210 2nd Ave. SW).

A.A. Shuford II House

Tickets will be available on the day of the tour for $25.00. Included in the price is a continental breakfast and guest speaker Holly Hollingsworth Phillips. Ms. Phillips is co-owner of The English Room in Charlotte, NC and a noted interior designer. For ticket information and telephone orders call the Hickory Landmarks Society at (828) 322-4731. Tickets can be purchased online at www.hickorylandmarks.org where complete information about the sites and speaker can be found.

Participants are provided with a map, driving directions and clear signage to find the tour sites located within a 10 mile radius of Maple Grove Museum Historic House Museum.

Special thanks to the sponsors of the 23rd Annual Romance of the Home and Garden Tour: Catawba Valley Medical Center, Allegra Print and Imaging, Hilton Garden Inn, Van Johnson Painting and Repairs, Hickory Sheet Metal, Graystone Eye, Turf Pro Inc., Wells Fargo Advisors, and It’s My Party.

The Hickory Landmarks Society is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

Call For Artists And Crafters For Hues & Brews Celebration On 5/20

Lenoir, NC - The Caldwell Arts Council is now accepting applications from artists and crafters to participate in the Hues and Brews Artist & Craft Beer Celebration, Saturday, May 20th. The street festival will run from 11am- 6pm, and will be located along Main Street in Historic Downtown Lenoir, NC.

Artist booths are $30 for 10x10, $60 for 10x20, and all artist and craft work will be juried for acceptance.

All booth sites are accessible, prime locations with access to electricity at additional cost. There will be food vendors, artists and brewery booths mingled together along Main Street. Live music and children’s activities will also be on site for the whole family to enjoy.

Applications are available at www.HuesAndBrews.org or by calling the CAC at 828-754-2486. This is a fundraising event to benefit the Caldwell Arts Council.

Senior Artists Aged 60+ Invited To Take Part In June Art Exhibit

Charlotte, NC - Grace Ridge Retirement Community is pleased to announce the 3rd Annual Creative Age Senior Art Exhibit in Morganton, NC which will be held June 8-21, 2017. This invitational exhibit will recognize and celebrate the creative talent of senior artists throughout North Carolina.

All North Carolina artists, 60 years or older, professional or non-professional, are encouraged to enter up to two (2) works of art for consideration. Entry deadline is Friday, May 5, 2017. All major media types are welcome.

A $5 display fee (per selected submission) is required with all proceeds benefiting the Burke Arts Council. Additionally, a People’s Choice award will be presented to the artist who receives the most votes from exhibit attendees.

The exhibit will be open to the public June 8-21 at Grace Ridge Retirement Community in Morganton. A VIP reception on June 7 will give the media and area civic and business leaders a sneak peek before the exhibit opens for public viewing. Selected artists are invited to attend the reception. Watch the recap video from last year’s event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpS9eQ1_isM

To learn more or to submit an entry, visit graceridge.org/art. For additional questions, send an email to graceridgeart@walker-marketing.com.

3rd Annual Lion Prowl Freedom Ride Is On Saturday, May 20

Hickory - Spring has arrived and with it, the 3rd Annual Lion Prowl Freedom Ride (Motorcycle Poker Run). This year’s event will be held on Saturday, May 20th. Registration fee is $20 driver (motorcyclist) and $10 rider. Registration will be at 9am at Blue Ridge Harley- Davidson Motorcycle Dealership, located at 2002 13th Avenue SE, Hickory, NC.

Upon registering , each driver will receive a free T-shirt with rider T-shirts available for $10.00 each. After registration complete, each driver will receive two playing cards. Following a pre-determined route, they will make three additional stops and receive another card. At the conclusion of the trip, the motorcyclist and their riders will gather at Camp Dogwood, a therapeutic recreational camp for the blind, located at 7050 Camp Dogwood Road in Sherrills Ford for free meal and entertainment.

Prize money for best poker hand will be $500, $300 for second, and $200 for third. Motorcyclist remember to mark this event on your calendars.

The 3rd Annual Lions Prowl Freedom Ride has three level of corporate sponsorship on their T-shirts as follows:

$200 sponsors will have their company’s name, address and telephone number;

$100 sponsors will have their company’s name and telephone number and

$50 sponsors will have their name or company names.

To purchase an individual or corporate sponsorship, please indicate sponsorship level, with your name, address, telephone number. Checks should be made to payable to the Long View Lions Club, 211 Mount Herman Road, Hudson, North Carolina 28638 and received before April 20th deadline for printing of T-shirts. For more information, please call Karen Wineberger, Lion Prowl Freedom Ride Chairperson @ 828-302-6407.

In Hickory, First Step Domestic Violence Services Helps Victims

Hickory – If you were the victim of domestic violence, would you know where to find help? Would you even realize that you were being abused?

Surprisingly, some victims do not realize that domestic partners who insult, humiliate, push, kick, slap or threaten them are being abusive, according to Ann Peele, executive director of the Family Guidance Center. This may be because the victim has had her self-confidence destroyed and feels she is causing the problem. The victim may have been raised in an abusive household and may consider such behavior normal. The victim may also be afraid to take action because she fears the abuser or because of financial concerns. For these reasons, domestic violence victims often feel trapped.

The good news is that there is a way out. First Step Domestic Violence Services offers information, counseling and also a shelter that provides a safe place to live while the woman is rebuilding her life and preparing for the future. First Step is a service of the Family Guidance Center, one of the oldest non-profit agencies in the county. It was founded in 1958 to provide the first counseling and mental health services in the county. Over the years, the Family Guidance Center has grown to offer numerous other services, including First Step Domestic Violence Services.

Peele, who has been the Director at the Family Guidance Center since 1985, has seen an increase in the amount of domestic violence as well as an increase in its severity. In the past 13 months, there have been six homicides resulting from domestic violence in Hickory. Another death in the county may have been the result of domestic violence. Domestic violence hurts the entire family, she said. For example, the six homicides in the past 13 months have left eight children without a parent to care for them. Even if they are not themselves abused, children who witness domestic violence in their homes often experience long-term negative consequences.

First Step offers three major services. It provides a shelter for abused women and their children. The shelter can accommodate up to 20 people, but the number depends on the family groups’ composition, since mothers are housed together with their children. Court accompaniment/advocacy is provided to any victim using legal remedies.

First Step also provides a class for women called Life Skills that includes information about domestic violence and what to do about it. Sometimes, when Child Protective Services social workers investigate a report of child abuse, they discover that the woman in the home is also being abused. However, the woman may have become so accustomed to the situation that she may not recognize that she is a victim too. First Step also has a yearlong treatment program for male abusers.

Last year, First Step served over 1,500 persons through its three programs. About 150 of them were served by the domestic violence shelter. Some domestic violence victims served by First Step counseling do not have to leave home due to a court order removing the abuser from the home. In other cases, the victim is able to move in with a friend or relative.
Women who spend time at the shelter are coached in independent living skills and receive counseling to help them deal with the abuse. The goal is to help them heal and prepare them for life on their own, Peele said. Services are also available to male victims of domestic violence, although they report it far less often.

According to First Step, victims of domestic abuse are often:
Emotionally or financially controlled.
Called humiliating names or cursed.
Threatened, pushed or shoved.
Slapped, hit, kicked, beaten or stalked.
Persons who feel they need help with domestic violence may call 828-322-1400. After hours and on weekends, call 828-228-1787.

The Family Guidance Center is a non-profit organization that serves Catawba County with individual and family counseling, consumer credit counseling and domestic violence services. Counseling services are offered on a sliding fee scale. The First Step shelter for abused women never charges a fee for its services. The Family Guidance Center is a partner agency with the United Way of Catawba County. It also relies heavily on donations to continue its important work. For more information about services offered, or how you can help support the Family Guidance Center, go to www.fgcservices.com, or call 828-322-1400. For the latest updates, like the center on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thefamilyguidancecenter.

You may also help support First Step Domestic Violence Services by shopping at or donating items to the Purple Ribbon Thrift Store, located at 360 Highway 70 SW Hickory. The phone number there is 828-322-3423. All proceeds from sales at the store benefit First Step’s shelter for battered women.

Caldwell Arts Council Sets Spring pARTy Series, April 1 - May 27

Lenoir, NC - The Spring pARTy Series benefits the Caldwell Arts Council – and there's a wide variety of fun parties to choose from! All the details for each party are on the website www.caldwellarts.com.

Friday, May 26, 7pm, $20/person (limit 25)

House Concert featuring Sycamore Bones and Love Like This in Lenoir (address provided upon ticket purchase)

Saturday, May 27, 1pm, $15/person

Native American Dreamcatcher Workshop & Meal at the Caldwell Arts Council (limit 20)

To learn more about the Caldwell Arts Council call 828-754-2486 email info@caldwellarts.com or visit www.caldwellarts.com

Hickory Museum Of Art Summer Art Camps Open Registration

Hickory – Registration is now open for summer art camps at Hickory Museum of Art, 243 Third Ave. N.E., Hickory. Camps for children ages 4 to 14 will be offered Monday-Friday, June 12 – August 18, with morning (10 AM -12 PM) and afternoon (1 PM -3 PM) options available.

Twenty different art camp themes will be offered throughout the summer, giving participants a chance to create superhero and fairy tale inspired art, learn the basics of drawing and painting animals, make 3D art and sculptures from clay, form fantastic masks and more.

Several new camps are coming to HMA this year, including “Monsters & Zombies”, which will allow children ages 7-9 the opportunity to bring creatures from children’s literature to life in a fun and imaginative way. Youngsters 4-6 are able to attend a new “Secret Garden” camp that focuses on the natural environment in their arts and crafts.

The “Museum Sleuth” camp gives participants ages 7-14 a chance to explore the museum with a set of clues in search of a specific piece of artwork that will inspire that day’s project.

The same age group can also attend the “Sculpture” camp and discover a variety of media with which to create 3D art – much like Jonathan Brilliant will be doing in the live construction of the upcoming Hickory Sticks exhibit between April 26th and May 4th. (The exhibit itself runs through September 9th.)

Camp descriptions, cost and registration forms are available for pick up at Hickory Museum of Art in the Galleria shop or at the Museum’s second floor offices. Download a Summer Art Camp brochure and registration form at www.HickoryArt.org/summer-camps.

Hickory Museum of Art is located on the SALT Block, 243 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory. Admission is free. For more information about Museum exhibitions, art classes, field trips, and events, visit www.HickoryArt.org or call 828-327-8576.

Folk Art Festival Seeks Guest Artists For October 7 Event

Newton, NC — The Foothills Folk Art Festival is now accepting artist applications for the juried festival, which will be held in Downtown Newton on Saturday, Oct. 7.

The festival is a partnership between the Downtown Newton Development Association (DNDA) and the Hickory Museum of Art (HMA). The presenting sponsor is Catawba Valley Medical Center. Festival hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Foothills Folk Art Festival is a juried, folk-art themed show. All applicants will be submitted to the jurying process this year, regardless of whether they have participated in previous years. The Foothills Folk Art Festival Artist Committee is looking for artwork that is intensely influenced by and displaying the spirit of folk, visionary, and outsider art.

To be considered, artists must submit an application form, which may be downloaded from the festival website at www.foothillsfolkartfestival.com/artist-information. The application must be accompanied by three to five images of individual pieces of the artist’s work. These images should represent the type of art that the artist plans to sell at the festival and should be submitted as high-resolution digital images if possible. Artists are also encouraged to submit a photo of their booth if possible. These images will be used to select the artists for the festival and to promote the festival, so high-quality images are encouraged. If hard-copy images are submitted, artists should use photo paper, or images printed by a commercial photo lab.

A registration fee must accompany the application, but the fee will be returned if the artist is not accepted. The early registration fee will be $50 and will apply to any applications postmarked by June 1, 2017. The regular registration fee will be $75 and will apply to applications that are postmarked by Sept. 1, 2017. Applications should be mailed to Hickory Museum of Art, Attn: Clarissa Starnes, 243 Third Ave. NE, Hickory, NC 28601. Applications may also be emailed to cstarnes@hickorymuseumofart.org. No applications will be accepted via the festival Facebook page.

Artists may obtain more information about the festival, and an application form, from the Hickory Museum of Art by contacting Clarissa Starnes at cstarnes@hickorymuseumofart.org or by calling 828-327-8576, ext. 210.

The Foothills Folk Art Festival’s roots date back to 2005, when HMA first acquired 153 folk art objects from Barry and Allen Huffman of Hickory. Since acquiring the Huffman collection, HMA has showcased contemporary Southern folk art through a variety of exhibits, public programs and special events. The museum also has an ongoing and changing exhibition of folk art, Discover Folk Art: Unique Visions by Southern Self-Taught Artists, located on the third floor. The museum, located at 243 3rd Ave. NE, Hickory, is open Tuesday through Sunday, and admission is free. Shoppers can also purchase unique folk art in the museum’s gift shop.

Admission to the Foothills Folk Art Festival is free. Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase a wide variety of folk art directly from the artists. In addition, there will be artist demonstrations, live music, food vendors, beer gardens, and other special activities.

Festival volunteer committees are now being formed to organize everything from parking and signs to children’s art and food. To volunteer, contact Shannon Johnson, Newton Main Street Program manager, at 828-695-4360 or sjohnson@newtonnc.gov.

For the latest news about the festival, like its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/foothillsfolkartfestival or go to the festival website at www.foothillsfolkartfestival.com.

The public is also encouraged to follow the festival on Twitter @folkartfest.

Child Safety Seat Inspection Is The 1st Tuesday Of Every Month

Hickory - Nine out of 10 car seats are improperly installed. Could yours be one of them? Come talk with a certified technician to learn more about safely installing your seat every time.

Ask about our citation diversion program if you have received a ticket related to a child seat violation.

The Inspection Station will be set up each first Tuesday of the month in the parking lot of Catawba County Health Department, 3070 11th Ave Dr SE, Hickory from 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM. Call the Health First Center at 828-485-2300 ext 6204.

LRU’s Summer Youth Music Band Camp Is Set For July 10 - 14

Hickory - Registration is now open for Lenoir-Rhyne University’s fifth annual Summer Youth Music Band Camp. The camp provides middle school and high school students an opportunity to enhance their musical talents through instruction by professional clinicians. This year’s camp is scheduled from Monday, July 10 through Friday, July 14 in the Mauney Music Building, located on the campus of LRU. Instruction is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with supervised early drop-off in the morning, beginning at 8 a.m., and afternoon recreational time until 5:30 p.m.

“The band camp at Lenoir-Rhyne continues to grow in popularity every year,” said Dr. Christopher Nigrelli, Professor of Music at LRU and camp director. “The purpose of the camp is to help students continue to develop their skills as young musicians in a fun, interactive learning environment.” Dr. Nigrelli added that families interested are encouraged to register early due to limited space in the program.

Tuition for the camp is $180 for the week, which includes lunch each day and a music camp T-shirt. To register, visit www.lr.edu/publicevents or contact Dr. Nigrelli at christopher.nigrelli@lr.edu for more information.

About Lenoir-Rhyne University:

Lenoir-Rhyne University was founded in 1891 and is a private, Lutheran, coeducational university with its primary campus in Hickory, NC. Academic programs include more than 50 undergraduate majors and 26 graduate programs. Other campus locations include the Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville, NC, the Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia, SC, and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary also in Columbia. Today, more than 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled across all campuses. Lenoir-Rhyne is affiliated with the NC Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and welcomes students from all religious backgrounds. The website is www.lr.edu.

Photo: Participants from LRU’s Summer Youth Music Band Camp 2016

Free Technology Help At Hickory Public Libraries, Call Today!

Hickory - Hickory Public Library is offering one-on-one assistance for those interested in learning how to use technology at both Patrick Beaver Memorial Library and Ridgeview Branch Library. Call either location to request an appointment for a one hour personal session to learn basic computer skills, Internet, email, Microsoft office, e-books and more.

For more information or to sign up for an appointment, call 828-304-0500 ext. 7235 for appointments at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library or 828-345-6037 for appointments at Ridgeview Branch Library.

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is located at 375 3rd Street NE on the SALT Block. Ridgeview Branch Library is located at 706 1st Street SW, at the corner of 7th Avenue SW and 1st Street SW.

Catawba Co. Public Health Offers Women Free Or

Low Cost Breast & Cervical Cancer Screenings

Hickory - Even though Breast Cancer Awareness Month is over, women should not forget about getting checked for the deadly form of cancer that the state estimates will kill more than 1,400 women statewide this year.

In North Carolina, 9,320 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 – that’s more than 25 women a day! In 2014, 1,308 women in North Carolina died of breast cancer, and the state projects 10,052 women will be diagnosed in 2016 while 1,416 will die from it this year alone.

Any woman can get breast cancer, but as women age their chances increase. The good news is that the earlier cancer is found and treated, the better the chance for living for many more years. Although fewer people were diagnosed with breast cancer in Catawba County, 15 out of every 100 cases diagnosed in 2014 were in stage III or IV. Diagnosis at a later stage can make successful treatment more difficult. From 2009-2013, one in five breast cancer patients died of the disease.

Since 2011, Catawba County has seen an increase in the number of breast cancer deaths, which is one reason why early detection and treatment is critical. For some women, though, getting access to preventive care can be a challenge. That’s why Catawba County Public Health offers free or low-cost screenings, education and referral services to eligible women through the North Carolina Breast and Cervical Cancer Control program (BCCCP).

This program highlights the importance of early detection as the best protection against breast and cervical cancers. Established in 1991, the North Carolina Breast and Cervical Cancer Program offers the following services: clinical breast exams, screening mammograms, pap tests and HPV tests, diagnostic procedures (mammograms, ultrasounds, colposcopies, breast and cervical biopsies) if screening results are abnormal, medical consultations, and referrals to treatment if cancer is found. Women who are enrolled in BCCCP and who are found to have cancer during their screening are eligible to receive free or reduced cost treatment with special Breast and Cervical Cancer Medicaid funds.

Through a partnership with Catawba Valley Medical Center, women in the BCCCP program are able to obtain screening and diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds at the best rates possible. The hospital even brings their mammogram bus to the Public Health parking lot to provide services at a location that is comfortable and convenient to clients.

Each year, more than 12,000 women in North Carolina receive breast and cervical screenings through the BCCCP program. In Catawba County, more than 175 women received BCCCP screenings, with the majority of them falling between the ages of 35 and 54. More than a third of the women accessing services primarily speak Spanish.

In order to be eligible for the services offered in Catawba County, women must be:

· Uninsured or underinsured

· Without Medicare Part B or Medicaid

·Between the ages of 40-75 for breast screening services

·Between the ages of 21-64 for cervical screening services

·Have a household income below 250% of the federal poverty level

·Must reside in Catawba County

To learn more about the North Carolina Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program at Catawba County Public Health or to make a screening appointment, call (828) 695-5800.

Catawba County Public Health promotes and protects the health of all Catawba County residents through preventive services, innovative partnerships, and community health improvement initiatives. For more information, please call (828) 695-5800 or visit www.catawbacountync.gov/phealth.

Can You Help? Women’s Resource Center

Needs Items For Emergency Pantry

Hickory - We are very grateful for your past support in donating items for our Emergency Pantry. These items are provided to women and families who are undergoing financial hardship and unable to afford them. Our pantry is getting low in the following products and we hope you can help us.

Laundry Detergent, Bathroom Cleaner, Liquid Hand Soap, Window Cleaner, Fabric Softener, Disinfectant, Dryer Sheets, Mouthwash, Bleach, Body Wash,

Dish Detergent, Hair Spray/Gel/Mousse, All Purpose Cleaner (409,etc), Hair Conditioner, Paper Towels, Q-Tips, New Makeup & Skin Care Products.

Donations can be dropped off at Women's Resource Center between 9AM and 4PM, Monday thru Thursday. For more information on our Emergency Pantry, visit http://www.wrchickory.org/product-pantry/

Every donation is appreciated and will help the women and families we serve.

The Women’s Resource Center is located at 125 3rd St. NE, Hickory, NC 28601.

Yoga For Seniors Each Thursday, 10am, At Newton Rec Center

Newton, NC - The Newton Parks and Recreation Department and the Catawba County Council on Aging offer Yoga for Seniors every Thursday at the Newton Recreation Center.

The classes are held on Thursdays from 10-11 a.m. The cost is $4 per person per class. Each class is specially designed for those 50 years old and older. The Newton Recreation Center is at 23 South Brady Ave.

Participants are introduced to basic postures and techniques used in yoga to relax the body and calm the mind.

Instructor Marjorie Blubaugh is certified to teach yoga and has more than 20 years of experience practicing and teaching yoga. She provides individual attention to physical limitations presented by each class member and offers alternative movements to prevent discomfort. For more information, call the Newton Parks and Recreation Department at 828-695-4317 or visit www.newtonnc.gov.

Newton Elks Lodge #2042 Bingo Games Each Wed., 6 & 7pm

Newton, NC - Newton Elks Lodge #2042 will host a weekly BINGO program every Wednesday. The Lodge, located at 402 East J Street in Newton, will open its doors at 5:30 PM and begin Early Bird Games at 6 PM.

The “Regular Bingo Program” will begin at 7 PM. The total prizes for the regular program will exceed $2,000 each night, with additional prizes for the Early Bird games and other special games within the regular program. The bingo program is presented completely by the members of Newton Elks Lodge #2042, house rules will be posted at the door.

No smoking is allowed in the Lodge, and all children must be supervised at all times.

For additional information or questions, please call the Newton Elks Lodge #2042 at 828-464-1360 after 4 PM.

The Newton Elks Lodge invites you and your friends to join us every Wednesday for a fun night of bingo.

SAFE Connect Offers Resource Website To Assist Homeless

Hickory - While there are many groups working on the issue of homelessness in Catawba County, it has often been difficult to locate the help needed in specific cases.

A new website hopes to correct that problem, providing a virtual portal for citizens, law enforcement, or nonprofits to quickly refer persons experiencing homelessness to resources and information. It can be accessed at http://safeconnectcatawba.com. A multi-disciplinary team worked on the SAFE Connect project throughout 2015. The word "SAFE" in the name refers to the services that are often needed: shelter, assistance, food, and emergency care.

Now anyone with a computer or smart phone can access the site and immediately learn about available services and where they are located. The service can also use GPS to identify the closest service.

A person using the site selects the types of services they need and a series of links pop up listing the choices available in that area and how to contact them. Users of the service may also click on a button for immediate assistance, and a message is sent to a local person who can provide personalized information and assistance.

"We hope that governmental and non-profit groups in our area will use this site to refer persons experiencing homelessness to the most appropriate services," said John Eller, director of Catawba County Social Services. "Concerned citizens and persons who are experiencing homeless can also use the service if they have access to a computer or smart phone. The service is also a valuable resource when a person is at-risk for becoming homeless. This will be a great complement to United Way's 211 system and we will even have the 211 link visible so those interested can see their robust database should they want to obtain information other than homeless services."

The long term intent is for this service to eliminate the problem of persons contacting multiple agencies trying to find different kinds of assistance.

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 zkryszczuk@yahoo.com

Caregiver Support Program Offers Local Families A Break

Hickory - Caring for an older member of the family, who is ill, can be very rewarding and challenging. Karen Harshman willingly cared for her father John Godfrey during his illness and more so after he had to have surgery. During the time Karen cared for her father, she continued to work and raise her young daughter. Karen was glad to care for her father but found that she needed extra help. She was able to receive help from Health and Home Services of Catawba County through the Family Caregiver Support Program respite grant. Karen states, “The respite program benefited me by allowing me to maintain my employment and not have to take a leave of absence from work. It provided high-quality care for my father in his home, as opposed to putting him in a skilled nursing facility.”

Family members are the major provider of long-term care in the United States, with over 65 million individuals providing care to an older adult. Many caregivers have to remain in their jobs while being caregivers for family members. The responsibilities of caring for a loved one can often leave a caregiver inattentive to their personal health or leave little time for a break from their daily responsibilities. Taking a break from caregiving and focusing on their personal needs often renews the caregiver, allowing them to cope better and continue providing care for their loved one and their responsibilities.

While caregiving can be very rewarding, it can also have an emotional, physical and financial toll on the caregiver. When the stress of caregiving begins to have an impact on the caregiver's health and mental well-being, it is time to seek help and support. The Family Caregiver Support Program is a Federal and state program from the federal Older Americans Act that provides supportive services for those considered caregivers. Program services are available to adult family members who are caregivers for a person age 60 or older and priority given to caregivers providing care and support to persons with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and/or to individuals with disabilities.

Melody Beaty, RN, BSN, Agency Director for Health & Home Services administers a respite program in our area which provides much-needed breaks for caregivers who are caring for a family member. As Melody explains, “Every day hundreds of people are providing care to a loved one in our community. For most they do not even recognize themselves as caregivers. This labor of love can be stressful and overwhelming at times.”

The Family Caregiver Support Program serves Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba County caregivers and services are available to assist caregivers on their journey. It is important for caregivers to take a break or take some time for themselves during the time they are dedicating to caring for a loved one. If you are caring for someone and feel you need assistance or if you know someone who is a caregiver and could use a much-needed break, contact the following organization in your county:

·Alexander County – HomeCare Management Corporation, 315 Wilkesboro Blvd. NE, Lenoir NC 28645. Phone – (828) 754-3665

·Burke County – Handi-Care, Inc., 304 South Main Street, Drexel, NC 28619. Phone: (828) 437-8429

·Caldwell County – HomeCare Management Corporation, 315 Wilkesboro Blvd. NE, Lenoir, NC 28645. Phone – (828) 754-3665

·Catawba County - Health and Home Services, Inc., 910 Hwy 321 NW, Suite 150, Hickory, NC 28601 or by phone at (828) 322-2710.

Photo: Left to right: Jennifer Godfrey, John Godfrey and Karen Harshman

Humane Society Seeks Foster Parents For Special Animals

Hickory/Newton, NC - Humane Society of Catawba County is looking for people interested in fostering homeless animals.

Fostering is often necessary when animals need a little more time and TLC prior to adoption; for example, mothers with nursing litters, orphaned litters, and shy animals that need extra socializing.

HSCC also has a growing need for short-term foster care, sometimes just a couple of weeks, for healthy dogs awaiting transport to another rescue.

HSCC will provide everything you need; the foster family will only need to bring the animal to the shelter occasionally for medical check-ups or for their transport date.

The time commitment and selected animal(s) are entirely based on what is convenient for the foster family. foster@catawbahumane.org.

Family Guidance Center Offers Support, Insight On Verbal Abuse

Hickory - The mission of Family Guidance Center’s First Step Domestic Violence Program is to provide needed services to victims of domestic violence and to increase the community’s awareness of the problem.

Verbal abuse is a type of abuse that can leave deep wounds. There are no bruises or marks on your body, but verbal abuse pierces you to the core—it is the Hidden Hurt of domestic violence. Some forms of verbal abuse are obvious, such as name calling or sneering, but many more forms are less obvious and not as easy to recognize. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are being verbally abused:

Does your partner speak to you differently in private and in public?

Do you often leave a discussion with your partner feeling completely confused?

Does your partner deny being angry or upset when he/she very obviously is?

Does your partner act as though you were attacking them when you try to explain your feelings?

Does your partner discount your opinions or experiences?

You feel as though no matter how hard you try, you just don’t seem to be able to communicate your thoughts and feelings to your partner as he/she always seems to misunderstand you and/or it always seems to cause an argument no matter how you try to approach the subject?

Do you feel nervous or avoid discussing issues which disturb you with your partner because you ‘know’ that trying to discuss them will just leave you feeling even more upset?

Do you feel as though your self-esteem and your self-confidence have decreased?

Do you find yourself spending a lot of time working out either how not to upset your partner or wondering what you did or said which did upset your partner?

Facts which generally apply to verbal abuse:

Verbal abuse tends to be secretive.

Verbal abuse tends to increase over time.

Verbal abuse discounts your perception of reality and denies itself.

Verbal abuse is usually a part of a pattern which is difficult to recognize and it leaves us with a feeling of confusion and upset without really understanding why.

Verbal abuse uses words (or silence) to gain and maintain control.

From time to time, we may all be guilty of saying something which is nasty or abusive to our partner. But when we realize that what we said was hurtful, we regret it and apologize to our partner. Verbal abusers; however, are not likely to apologize. They are not sorry for what they said because hurting you was their intent!

Contact The Family Guidance Center at 828-322-1400. Located at #17 Hwy. 70 SE, Hickory, NC, 28602. www.fgcservices.com

Women’s Resource Center Needs Daily Volunteers

Hickory-Women’s Resource Center is seeking women volunteers who have a passion for giving back to their community and supporting women who are undergoing life-changing transitions.

We need support during our regular daily business hours. WRC Business Hours are 9:00am—4:00pm,Monday through Thursday.

Women’s Resource Center empowers women through Workforce Development, Advocacy, Enrichment Programs, and Community Partnerships.

If interested, please contact Cindy Rose, Executive Director at 828-322-6333 or email
director@wrchickory.org.

Social Workers Partner With Lions Clubs To Help The Blind

According to The World Health Organization, 153 million people have uncorrected refractive errors (near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism). Most of these vision impairments are quickly diagnosed and easy to treat with corrective lenses. For children, clear vision means a better education, healthier development and a better quality of life. For adults, it means greater employment opportunity and economic strength. For seniors it means less dependence on others.

Unfortunately, due to the current economic situation, many people are forgoing scheduling annual eye examinations and purchasing new eyeglasses. That's why County Social Worker's with NC Division of Services For The Blind have established a partnerships with their Lions Clubs in the county to refer children and adults who need financial assistance in securing an eye examination and purchasing eyeglasses who meet their local Lions Club eligibility guidelines.

If Alexander, Burke, Caldwell,Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, McDowell, Polk and Rutherford County residents needing assistance with eyeglasses and eye examinations should contact these County Social Workers For The Blind with NC Division of Services For The Blind listed below , then they will forward their names and contact information to a Lions Club in their county:

Alexander & Caldwell County Social Worker For The Blind
1. Gary Smith
604 7th Street, SW
2345 Morganton Boulevard, Suite A, Taylorsville, NC 28681 Lenoir, North Carolina 28645
Telephone: (828) 632-1080 Telephone: 828-426-8316 gsmith@caldwellcountync.org

Burke & McDowell County Social Worker For The Blind
2. Sandy Freeman
700 E. Parker Road
207 East Court Street
Morganton, NC 28680 Marion, NC 29752
Telephone: (828) 764-9704 Telephone: 828-659-0844
sandy.freeman@dhhs.nc.gov

Catawba Social Worker
for the Blind
3. Greg Morgan
PO Box 669
Newton, NC 28658
gmorgan@catawbacountync.gov

Cleveland County Social
Worker For The Blind
4. Lucy Plyer
130 South Post Road
Shelby, North Carolina 28150
Telephone: 704-487-0661 ext. 317; lucy.plyler@clevelandcounty.com

Gaston Social Worker
for the Blind
5. Charity Patterson
330 N. Marietta Street
Gastonia, NC 28052
Telephone: (704) 862-7622
charity.patterson@dhhs.nc.gov

Iredell & Lincoln County
Social Worker for the Blind
6. Tammy Loukos
549 Eastside Drive
1136 East Main Street
Statesville, NC 28687
Lincolnton, N.C. 28092
Telephone: (704) 924-4111 Telephone: 704-732-9024
tammy.loukos@dhhs.nc.gov

Polk & Rutherford County
Social Worker For The Blind
7. Marian Corn
231 Wolverine Trail
389 Fairground Road
Mill Spring, NC 28756 Spindale, NC 28160
Telephone: (828) 894-2100 Telephone: 828-287-1241 marian.corn@dhhs.nc.gov
marian.corn@rutherfordcounty.nc.gov

To secure names, and contact information of other NC County Social Worker’s For The Blind not listed, please check out the NC Division of Services For The Blind website @
http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dsb/contacts/swcontactbycounty

Child Wellbeing Project Offers Post Adoption Support

Hickory - The Child Wellbeing Project is expanding to assist adoptive families in an eight-county region of North Carolina.

The program uses the Success Coach model of post-adoption services. Thanks to a grant from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Resources, this service is now being made available to any family who has adopted and is currently living in one of the following counties: Ashe, Alleghany, Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Watauga and Wilkes.

Children who have been adopted often struggle with their identity and may have trouble fitting into their new family or adjusting to a new school. Post Adoption Success Coach Services assign a Success Coach to these families, allowing them to receive additional help and support. This assistance is free for the adoptive family.

"We realize that many children who have been adopted continue to have struggles long after the adoption is finalized," said Chrissy Triplett, post adoption care supervisor.

"Success Coaches can work with adoptive families to provide helpful information and coaching in how to deal with these issues."

The Success Coach model has been used successfully with a limited number of families in Catawba County. It is now being offered to any family who has adopted in the eight-county region. International adoptions and adoptions through private agencies are included, as well as adoptions arranged by county Departments of Social Services.

The Child Wellbeing Project will work with several private therapy providers to offer Success Coach services. For more information about Success Coach Post Adoption Services, go to www.postadoptionsuccesscoach.org or call 828-695-4428. The Child Wellbeing Project and Success Coach Post-Adoption Services are a service of Catawba County Social Services.

Hickory’s Angel of Hope House Requests Help

Hickory - Angel of Hope House Inc. is a faith based not-for-profit organization that houses women ages 18 and over; who are motivated to recover from alcohol and/or drug abuse. It is a safe stable environment that practices a program of recovery to work and teach women to be independent and successful members of society. Angel of Hope is a spiritually based facility with diverse group of women; however, we all have the same goal: a happy and sober life.

Angel of Hope has partnered with Vision Outreach Ministries in Conover to help with their Homeless Program. Angel of hope helps with the feeding and clothing. Through this we are teaching the ladies humbleness and to give back what was so freely given to them.

Items Needed:

- contributions for utilities
- refrigerator
- deep freezer
- more dependable vehicle
- toiletries
- household cleaning supplies
- office supplies
- pantry items: coffee, sugar, creamer, beans, rice, peanut butter, jelly
- feminine products
- toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags
- sanitizing items: Lysol spray, Bleach, Clorox Wipes
- gas cards
- notebooks, pens, pencils, for step study work
- paper, pens, envelopes, stamps for writing letters to family and children

To make contributions. donations, or any further information please contact: Joyce Crouse (Asst. Director): (828)- 315- 0352 or Kelly Cook (Resident Manager): (828) 322-6211.

Volunteers Needed To Deliver Meals On Wheels

Claremont, NC - There is an urgent need for volunteers to deliver meals to homebound senior citizens in the Claremont-Catawba area of Catawba County.

Volunteers pick up the meals at Bethlehem United Methodist Church-Claremont between 10:50 and 11:15 am Monday through Thursday. You can volunteer as little as one hour a month and make a difference in the life of a senior citizen.

Volunteers are also needed to deliver meals in the East Hickory, West Hickory, Maiden and Newton areas. For details about how you can help, contact Vickie Redden, volunteer coordinator of Catawba County Meals on Wheels, at 695-5610.

For more information about these programs, and how you can help, go to www.catawbacountync.gov/dss/adult/nutrition.asp or find the Meals on Wheels of Catawba County program on Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/MealsOnWheelsOfCatawbaCounty.

How To Get Your Event In Focus

Email a press release for your non-profit event, fundraiser, festival or other community event to focusnews@centurylink.net. Please include your contact information along with the name of your event, who it benefits, what it features, when the event will take place, and the cost of attending. Please send a text document, not a pdf or jpeg of text information.

Also, please put the name of the event in the subject line of your email. We look forward to hearing from you.

Health-Care Pro Discusses The Many Warning

Signs And How To Spot A Victim Of Domestic Violence

In the United States, women are assaulted or beaten once every nine seconds; worldwide, one in three women have been battered, raped or otherwise abused in her lifetime, according to women’s advocacy organizations.

“That means most of us – while grocery shopping, at work or at home – come across several women a day who have either been abused, or are currently enduring abuse,” says Linda O’Dochartaigh, a health professional and author of Peregrine (www.lavanderkatbooks.com). “It’s a terrible fact of life for too many women, but if there is something we can do about it and we care about fellow human beings, then we must try.”

There are several abuse resources available to women who are being abused, or friends of women who need advice, including:

www.TheHotline.org, National Domestic Violence Hotline, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, 1-800-799-SAFE (7223)

www.HelpGuide.org, provides unbiased, advertising-free mental health information to give people the self-help options to help people understand, prevent, and resolve life’s challenges

www.VineLink.com, allows women to search for an offender in custody by name or identification number, then register to be alerted if the offender is released, transferred, or escapes

www.DAHMW.org, 1-888-7HELPLINE, offers crisis intervention and support services for victims of intimate partner violence and their families

Perhaps the best thing friends and family can do for a woman enduring domestic abuse is to be there for her – not only as a sympathetic ear, but also as a source of common sense that encourages her to take protective measures, O’Dochartaigh says. Before that, however, loved ones need to recognize that help is needed.

Linda O’Dochartaigh reviews some of the warning signs:

• Clothing – Take notice of a change in clothing style or unusual fashion choices that would allow marks or bruises to be easily hidden. For instance, someone who wears long sleeves even in the dog days of summer may be trying to hide signs of abuse.

• Constant phone calls – Many abusers are very controlling and suspicious, so they will call their victims multiple times each day to “check in.” This is a subtle way of manipulating their victims, to make them fearful of uttering a stray word that might alert someone that something is wrong. Many abusers are also jealous, and suspect their partner is cheating on them, and the constant calls are a way of making sure they aren’t with anyone they aren’t supposed to be around.

• Unaccountable injuries – Sometimes, obvious injuries such as arm bruises or black eyes are a way to show outward domination over the victim. Other times, abusers harm areas of the body that won’t be seen by family, friends and coworkers.

• Frequent absences – Often missing work or school and other last-minute plan changes may be a woman hiding abuse, especially if she is otherwise reliable.

• Excessive guilt & culpability – Taking the blame for things that go wrong, even though she was clearly not the person responsible – or she is overly-emotional for her involvement – is a red flag.

• Fear of conflict – Being brow-beaten or physically beaten takes a heavy psychological toll, and anxiety bleeds into other relationships.

• Chronic uncertainty – Abusers often dominate every phase of a victim’s life, including what she thinks she likes, so making basic decisions can prove challenging.

Linda O’Dochartaigh has worked in health care is an advocate for victims of child abuse and domestic violence. She wants survivors to know that an enriched, stable and happy life is available to them. O’Dochartaigh is the mother of three grown children and is raising four adopted grandchildren.

Family Finders Helps Foster Kids Connect With Extended Family

Hickory - “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in,” wrote poet Robert Frost.

But many foster children and youths have lost that type of family support system. Sid Daniels, who works with the Family Finding Program in Catawba County, will tell you that foster children are often very lonely because they have lost contact with their extended family. The longer they are in foster care, the more likely this is to happen. It’s his job to change that reality.

“We don’t want a kid feeling lonely — where the only people in their life are the ones that get paid to be there,” he said. Staff members go home at the end of their shift. Family members can form a lifelong bond. The Family Finding Program in Catawba County is a partnership between the Children's Home Society of North Carolina and Catawba County Social Services. Family Finders is a national program, developed by Kevin Campbell, that has shown strong results in many states.

Daniels' job as a Family Finder is part detective, part negotiator and part counselor. He first has to identify and contact family members who have lost their connection to the foster child. These could include grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, as well as parents and step-parents.

After he identifies these relatives, he tries to gauge their interest in reconnecting with the child in foster care. If they express an interest, he invites them to a couple of meetings. At the first one, he shows them a “video journal” of the young person talking about themselves and what they want in life. They discuss how the relatives may play a role in the child’s future.

Sid Daniels

In some cases, the relatives want to resume the relationship they had before, such as talking with the child on the phone, writing them letters, or visiting with them. In other cases, they might be willing to adopt the child if they cannot be reunited with their parents.
Then the process moves to planning how the relationship might be resumed. If a relative wishes to adopt or become the guardian of the child, he or she must undergo an evaluation process.

It is important to wrap the child in a network of family supporters who are willing to assist them, Daniels said. The goal is to find as many relatives as possible who are willing to participate in the process. Catawba County was one of the first counties in North Carolina to pilot Family Finding, beginning in 2008. Now it has fully embraced the model.

Daniels joined the team last fall. The process can be time consuming, but it is usually completed in three to five months, he said. “The ownership is on the family,” he said. “What do they want to do?”

Catawba County Social Services hopes that reuniting foster children with their relatives can produce a brighter future. Foster children usually age out of care at 18, although they can remain voluntarily until they are 21.

National statistics show that former foster care youths face some daunting prospects if they don’t have a support system in place. Some 49 percent are homeless within three years. Forty-three percent are high school drop outs. Fifty-six percent become unemployed within two years. Forty-two percent, of whom 60 percent are women, become parents within 2.5 years of exiting foster care.

Former foster youth are found to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at two times the level of U.S. war veterans. Fifty percent have used illegal drugs. One in four will be incarcerated within 2.5 years of leaving foster care.

Daniels believes his work can help change those statistics for local youths. That’s why he keeps on calling, emailing, sending Facebook messages, knocking on doors and meeting with family members of children and youths in foster care. He sees his job as finding “who’s going to love this kid no matter what.”

For more information, call 828-695-5600 or visit our website at www.catawbacountync.gov/dss/f&csvs/familyfinders.asp
Or contact Sean Jarman at 828-695-2134 or sjarman@catawbacountync.gov

Loving Our Enemies

By Rev. Susan Smith

Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

A week ago, my son woke me up to tell me Osama Bin Laden was dead. I got up and listened to president Obama tell the nation that our terrorist enemy had been killed by a special forces Navy Seals team. I felt sad. Sad for the pain and misery he has caused all over the world. Sad for the victims of 9/11. Sad that a shy, deeply devoted Muslim boy could grow into a mass murderer of innocent people in the name of holy jihad. I went back to bed, not realizing that people were dancing in the streets to celebrate that Bin Laden was dead.

I have heard many say since that justice was done. Really? The definition of justice in this sense is “the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.” As a person of faith against the death penalty, I do not see this as “justice”. Killing people who kill people to prove that killing people is wrong is not justice. It might help us feel that we have gotten the revenge we want for his horrific acts, but the Bible tells us that vengeance belongs to God.

If we dance in the streets to celebrate the fact that we shot an unarmed man in the head in front of his wife – are we any better than all those who burn the American flag, hang effigies of our president, and chant “Death to America”? God is the only one who can see all the pain caused by war in humanity as a whole. The causes and effects of global, generational hatred and bitterness stemming from the murder of civilians in the crossfire of war has poisoned international relations to the point where it is almost impossible for any country to claim innocence. We have all been murderers.

No, I would not call killing Bin Laden justice, but I would say that it was necessary to prevent the murder of more innocent people. We hope that his death will decrease worldwide terrorism, but only time will tell. Instead of dancing in the streets, we should have been praying that God would help us love our enemies. We should have been praying for his soul, his family, his people, and all those in the Muslim world who looked to him as a hero. They are truly our enemies because they have declared a holy war against us. His death will not end that. Loving our enemies is the hardest thing Jesus commanded us to do, and 2000 years later we have still not learned how to do it. Consider the words of the sermon “Finding Forgiveness” delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on Christmas of 1957:

“Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

"So when Jesus says 'Love your enemies,' he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil-hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

For the complete text of this incredibly Christ-like message, go to: www.findingforgiveness.blogspot.com/2009/01/martin-luther-king-on-forgiveness.html.

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