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Register Now For Annual Oktoberfest Footrace On Oct. 11

Hickory - The Tenth Annual Carolina Orthopaedic Specialists’ Oktoberfest Footrace will take place on Saturday, October 11, in downtown Hickory as part of Downtown Hickory’s Oktoberfest. Proceeds from the Carolina Orthopaedic Specialists’ Oktoberfest Footrace will be split equally between the four Hospices in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties. Using a holistic approach, Hospice serves the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the terminally ill and their family members. Hospice helps patients live as pain-free and comfortably as possible, so they can enjoy each day with their loved ones. Due in large part to community support, Hospice care is provided to anyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay. Carolina Orthopaedic Specialists believes that Hospice is a worthy cause and one that touches the lives of so many.

After September 26, the registration cost is $25 for 10k run and $20 for 5k run/walk. Catawba County and Hickory City Employees receive a $5 discount off registration fees. Participants under the age of 18 and seniors (70+) may take advantage of a reduced 5k/10k registration fee of $10.00. Only participants pre-registered by September 26 are guaranteed a race shirt.

Participants may register online at http://www.racingtoes.com/pages/events.html or mail their registration information to Oktoberfest Footrace, 2165 Medical Park Drive, Hickory NC 28602. Please make checks payable to Oktoberfest Footrace. Onsite registration will also be offered on race day from 7:00 am until 7:45 am in the parking lot across from City Hall.

Participants may also register at Fleet Feet Sports up until 7:00 pm on October 9. Fleet Feet is located at 1776 North Center Street (Hwy 127) Hickory, NC 28601. For directions call (828) 304-4RUN.

Race packets may be picked up on Friday, October 10 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Oktoberfest Main Stage area next to the VIP tent in the parking lot across from City Hall. Five minute parking will be available for race packet pick-up on Center Street across from City Hall. Race packets will also be available for pick-up on race day, Saturday, October 11, from 7:00 am until 7:45 am at the registration site.

Both the 5k and 10k begin at 8:00 am near the corner of Main Avenue NW and Center Street and will continue on Main Avenue through Union Square. The courses will guide runners through downtown Hickory and both will end back on Center Street. For a complete map of the 5k/10k courses visit http://www.racingtoes.com/pages/events.html and click on the race link. Both courses are USATF certified.

Door prizes will be given out after the race. The awards ceremony will be held shortly after the last runner crosses the finish line.

The top three overall male and female runners and top three male and female masters for each race will receive a plaque. Overall winners will not be eligible for age group awards. The top three male and female finishers in the following age groups for each race will receive an award. Age groups are: 14 & under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+.

Parking for the event is located between City Hall and the railroad tracks at the southeast corner of Main Avenue NW and North Center Street.

The Courtyard by Marriott located at 1946 13th Ave Dr SE in Hickory is offering a discounted rate for race participants. To make a reservation call (828) 267-2100. Be sure to tell them you are participating in the Carolina Orthopaedic Specialists' Oktoberfest Footrace.

If you have questions about the race, please contact Robin Lutz at (828) 485-4589 or email oktoberfest@carolinaortho.com.

Genealogy Workshop Thursdays Returns To Library Oct. 2

Hickory – Why is genealogy one of the most popular hobbies today? Everyone has a different reason to get involved in the pursuit of family history. Some people are curious about their ancestors—who they were, what were they like and what experiences they lived through. Love of history prompts others. Another part of our passion for genealogy is unwrapping all the puzzling clues to solve the mystery of who we are. If the only barrier to your working on your family history is that you don’t know how to begin, join us to learn how to unravel your past.

Genealogy Workshop Thursdays is returning to the Carolina Room at Patrick Beaver Library. Twice each month beginning on October 2, 2014 and ending on May 22, 2015, Peggy Mainess, genealogy assistant, will lead sessions on genealogy research. Each session is a stand-alone class. Participants can choose which classes they want to attend whether it is one or all sixteen. The “Beginning Family Research” session on October 2, 2014 is a 90 minutes class. All other sessions will last 60 minutes. Registration will begin two weeks prior to each class date.

Please consult the following schedule for class dates.

10/02/2014 Beginning Family Research (90 minute session);
10/16/2014:Locating Outside Sources
11/06/2014:Reviewing Vital Records
11/13/2014:Decoding Census Information
12/04/2014:Taxation Records
12/11/2014:Court Records
1/08/2015: Land Records
1/22/2015: Military Records
2/05/2015: Religious Records
2/19/2015: Funeral Records
3/05/2015: Immigration Records
3/19/2015: Surname and Date Variations
4/10/2015: Using Maps and Geography in Genealogical Research
4/24/2015: Tracing Female Ancestry
5/08/2015: Special Circumstances
5/22/2015: Using On-Line Resources

The workshops begin at 7:00 p.m. and are free, but registration is required. Registration will open two weeks prior to each session. For more information or to register call 304-0500 extension 7235. Patrick Beaver is located at 375 Third Street NE.

Elks’ Backpack Drive For Local Kids; Benefit Dinner Is Nov. 8

Hickory – Hickory Elks Lodge #1654 announces the start of their annual food and funds drive for the Catawba County Backpack Program. This very important community program serves our children from elementary school to high school by providing a backpack full of healthy food for the weekend throughout the school year. During the 2013 – 2014 school year 275,314 meals were provided to 1,227 children in Catawba County. The Backpack Program relies on donations from local individuals, churches, businesses and service organizations. Their sole mission is to remove hunger as a barrier to good education and reduce the impact of poverty on children and families.

This is the Hickory Elks 3rd Annual Backpack Program Drive. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America serve the people and communities through benevolent programs, demonstrating that “Elks Care and Elks Share.”

“The Backpack Program touched our hearts a couple years ago as we hope that it does yours. Sometimes we forget how much need there is in our own community. 100% of your donation goes directly toward feeding the children,” said Carole Anderson, Committee Chair for the Elks Lodge Backpack Program.

Last year the Elks exceeded their $10,000 goal by donating over $13,000 in food and funds to the program. Food donations are accepted through September and October at the Elks Lodge along with monetary donations. You can drop off donations Mon – Thur any time after 3PM and Fri – Sun after 1PM. A $100 donation will sponsor a child for an entire school year.

The culmination of the Elks collection efforts ends with a dinner and dance evening. This year’s event will feature a “Delizioso Great Italian Dinner Night” prepared by Signor Jack Tickle with Entertainment by The Rhythm Masters. The event will be held November 8th at 6PM at the Hickory Elks Lodge at 356 Main Ave NW. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased from any Elk member or directly from the Elks Lodge.

The community is welcome to join the event and get in on the Silent Auction, Door Prizes, Best Dressed Italian Mustache Costume Prize, and more.

To find out more information about the event being held at The Hickory Elks Lodge and to donate to The Catawba County Backpack Program with the Elks please contact Committee Chair, Carole Anderson at caroleanderson@charter.net or call the Elks Lodge at 828-322-2527.

Catawba Regional Hospice Seeks Volunteers To Train

Newton, NC – Catawba Regional Hospice is seeking caring, compassionate volunteers to serve as valued members of the Hospice team and to offer welcome support for patients and families.

CRH has been invited to serve patients in a 10-county region, including Lincoln, Gaston, and Catawba counties. The need for patient support extends throughout the area and offers residents an excellent opportunity to help their neighbors. If you are willing to bring comfort and assistance to families dealing with advanced illness, your participation would be greatly appreciated.

The next volunteer training session will be held at Catawba Regional Hospice's main campus (3975 Robinson Road, Newton, NC 28658) over the course of four evenings: Tuesday, October 28, Thursday, October 30, Tuesday, November 4, and Thursday, November 6. All sessions will take place from 5:30pm to 8:30pm, and all four are mandatory. There is no fee for the training, and a light meal will be served each night.

The training is designed to educate volunteers on communicating effectively with patients and families, to showcase what hospice is, and to clarify the role of hospice volunteers. After completing the class, volunteers will be able to offer companionship to patients, provide respite for caregivers, and help in other meaningful ways.

To register for the fall session or for more information, please contact the Volunteer Services Department at 828.466.0466 or volunteer@pchcv.org.

About the Organization:

Catawba Regional Hospice, celebrating 35 years of service, is a community-based organization providing hospice medical care, patient and family support, and spiritual comfort throughout the multi-county Catawba region. From Lake James to Lake Hickory to Lake Norman, we serve patients and families regardless of diagnosis, age, gender, nationality, race, faith, sexual orientation, disability, or ability to pay. CRH is licensed by the state of North Carolina, certified by Medicare and Medicaid, and nationally accredited. For more information about our programs of service, call 828-466-0466 or visit www.CatawbaRegionalHospice.org.

Area Seniors Can Enjoy A Variety Of Events In October

Hickory - Participants in Catawba County's Seniors Morning Out Program will learn to make Polish paper cutting art during the month of October. Other activities will include music by Tesla String Quartet, the Alexander County Old Time Pickers, and other groups.

On Oct. 30, all Seniors Morning Out participants will gather at 8:30 a.m. at Pin Station for a Halloween bowling party. Lunch will be provided. Any county resident who is 60 or better is invited to attend. To reserve your spot, and for more details about the cost to bowl, call 828-695-5610 by Oct. 20.

SMO is open to any Catawba County resident who is at least 60 years old. It is a half-day program at five convenient locations throughout the county Monday through Thursday. A balanced lunch is also served. There is no charge to participants, although donations are accepted. Transportation is available along limited bus routes. If you would like to participate in any of these activities, please contact the site supervisor at least 24 hours in advance to reserve your place.

Polish paper cutting with Jacqueline Mate is supported by a 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. Additional support for arts programming at Seniors Morning Out is provided by community donors. The Tesla String Quartet is a quartet in residence with the Western Piedmont Symphony Orchestra.

Highlights of the October programs are as follows.

West Hickory SMO: Oct. 1, Make a Fall Door Wreath or Help Make an Outdoor Scarecrow, plus Hand Bells with Bev Hall; Oct. 7, Polish Paper Art with Jacqueline Mate (Bring your scissors); Oct. 13, Doughnut and Cider Social and Sing-a-long with Mabel Gabor; Oct. 15, Bingo and Hand Bells with Bev Hall; Oct. 20, Making Easy Pizzas; Oct. 23, Exercise and Music by the Alexander County Old Time Pickers. To reserve your spot, call Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

Tesla String Quartet

Newton SMO: Oct. 2, Learn about Pumpkin Nutrition and How to Make a Pumpkin Smoothie; Oct. 6, Polish Paper Art with Jacqueline Mate (Bring your own scissors); Oct. 7, Telephone Service for the Hearing Impaired with Ron Kolodzie of Captel; Oct. 14, Craft Fall Centerpieces for the Site; Oct. 23, Learn to Make Pumpkin Muffins; Oct. 28, Bowling at Pin Station and Shopping at Honey's IGA. To reserve your spot, call Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

Maiden SMO: Oct. 13, Polish Paper Art with Jacqueline Mate (Bring your own scissors); Oct. 21, Group Walking and Blood Pressure Checks by Catawba County Home Health; Oct. 22, Hands on Banking for Seniors and Fraud and Seniors, Lunch at Scotties; Oct. 28, Group Walking and Music by Sentimental Journey. To reserve your spot, contact Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

East Hickory SMO: Oct. 7, When Drugs and Juice Don't Mix; Oct. 8, Polish Paper Art with Jacqueline Mate (Bring your own scissors); Oct. 9, Performance by Rev It Up, a group of area pastors who are musicians; Oct. 14, Craft Pine Cone Bird Feeders and Make Pumpkin Dip; Oct. 28, Working as a Partner with Your Health Care Provider with Lynne Meyer of Bayada. To reserve your spot, contact Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

Claremont SMO: Oct. 8, Breast Cancer Awareness with Peggy Messick of Catawba Valley Medical Center; Oct. 9, Polish Paper Art with Jacqueline Mate (Bring your own scissors.); Oct. 14, Movie "God Is Not Dead" and Popcorn; Oct. 16, Depression Awareness and Treatment by Heidi Gustin of Behavioral Healthcare; Oct. 28, Music by Tesla String Quartet. To reserve your spot, contact Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

For more information, call the Senior Nutrition Services office at 828-695-5610. You may make a donation by writing a check to Catawba County Social Services and putting Senior Nutrition Services in the memo line. Mail your donation to Catawba County Senior Nutrition Services, P.O. Box 207, Newton, NC 28658. You may also make a secure donation online by going to http://www.catawbacountync.gov/dss and clicking on the red "Donate Now" button. For the latest updates on this program, like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty. PHOTO: The Tesla String Quartet will perform for Catawba County residents who are 60 or older thanks to the Western Piedmont Symphony.

Walmart Is Now Hiring For New Neighborhood Market

Hickory - Walmart will hire up to 95 associates to work at the new Walmart Neighborhood Market slated to open this winter in Hickory. A temporary hiring center has opened at 1226 U.S. Highway 70 SW.

Applications will be accepted Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interested applicants may also apply online at http://careers.walmart.com.

Through Walmart’s Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, the company will offer a job to any qualified veteran who has been honorably discharged within the past 12 months.* Interested veterans may find out more at http://walmartcareerswithamission.com.

According to store manager Donald Sentowski the store will be hiring both full- and part-time associates. “I look forward to meeting individuals who are eager to serve customers and help open this new store,” said Sentowski.

Walmart provides a benefits program to eligible full- and part-time associates. For example, it provides a variety of affordable health and well-being benefits including health-care coverage with no lifetime maximum. Walmart also offers eligible associates matching 401(k) contributions of up to 6 percent of pay, discounts on general merchandise, an Associate Stock Purchase Program and company-paid life insurance. Additionally, eligible associates receive a quarterly incentive based on store performance.

The majority of new associates will begin work in October to help prepare the store for its grand opening.

*Veterans must be within 12 months of active duty and meet Walmart’s standard hiring criteria.

Walmart Hiring Center

1226 U.S. Highway 70 SW., Hickory, N.C. Hours of Operation: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ping Pong Tourney Oct. 16

Newton, NC – The Newton Parks & Recreation Department will be sponsoring an adult ping pong tournament for anyone 18 years or older on Thursday, October 16th beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Central Recreation Center located on 310 South Ervin Avenue. Tournament format will be based on the number of participants. Entry fee is $10.00 per person and deadline to register is Monday, October 13, 2014. Contact Linda McCorkle at the Central Recreation Center at (828) 465-7477.

Recovery Ball Benefit For Caldwell House Is Sat., Oct 4

Lenoir, NC - The Caldwell House is hosting the first annual Recovery Ball on Saturday October 4th at the Hickory Museum of Art. This semi formal event is a fundraiser for the Caldwell House. The event starts at 8pm and there will be entertainment by Tony Eltora and DJ Chris Byrd. Tickets are $15 (suggested donation) and will include drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

Caldwell House is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit facility.

The Caldwell House provides structure, responsibility and accountability which are key to a person's recovery. The House accepts only those persons who have completed at least 4 weeks of in-patient substance abuse treatment. The residents are adult males only. Residents accepted to the Caldwell House are able to benefit from its therapeutic program as they learn how to re-enter society in a safe and healthy environment.

Intake procedures include, reviewing assessments (which helps identifies maladapted behavior or the presence of other conditions, which may cause susceptibility to abuse by self or others) and going over treatment and aftercare plans to determine if the resident meets program admission criteria. Individuals who do not meet certain admission criteria may not be accepted to the House.

An average stay at Caldwell House is between 8 and 12 months. The House requires at least a 4 month commitment from residents and active involvement in the implementation of aftercare plans and employment.

For more information about the Caldwell House, or tickets for the event, please call (828)-754-4148.

HCT Declares October 3 & 4 Weekend Of Women

Hickory - The Hickory Community Theatre is kicking off the month of October with a pair of events on October 3rd and 4th celebrating female talent. Billed as the WEEKEND OF WOMEN, the festivities include a comedy night and the fourth edition of the successful Dueling Divas singing competition.

The weekend kicks off with the hilarious comedy of two dynamite southern women, Karen Mills with special guest Mia Jackson. Mills is a familiar face locally, having headlined the Frye “Spirit of Women” event twice. Jackson is an Atlanta-based comedienne who was a finalist in the Atlanta Laughing Skull Comedy Festival.

The comedy show is Friday, October 3rd at 8pm and tickets are $25 per person, reserved seating.

The fun continues on Saturday, October 4th at 8pm with “Dueling Divas IV”, a singing competition where a dozen talented women singers compete to win the title of Grand Supreme Diva. The winner is the one who gets the most donations from the audience. All proceeds benefit the Theatre’s Tickets for Teachers program. Tickets for this show are $14, general admission.

PHOTO: Mia Jackson is one of the funny southern ladies performing in the “Weekend of Women” coming up Oct 3 & 4 at the Hickory Community Theatre. Call (828) 328-2283 or click www.hickorytheatre.org for tickets and information.

WRC Taking Applications For Women2Work

Hickory - Women’s Resource Center is now taking applications for the Women2Work Workforce Development Program.  This is a unique one-year program designed to assist unemployed or underemployed women in their job search.

It provides long-term support, resources, educational workshops and counseling.

Eligibility requirements include the ability to look for full-time work, having a driver's license and reliable transportation, and the willingness to commit to a one-year program. In addition you must live in Catawba, Caldwell, Burke or Alexander County and not have a criminal record.

For more information call Twila Hartford, Workforce Development Coordinator at 828-322-6333. Ext. 202.

Beaver Library To Host Local Author Fair Sat., October 18

Hickory - Patrick Beaver Memorial Library will host a Local Author Fair on Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. This fair will offer local authors the opportunity to promote their published work(s), meet and greet the public, sign books, and network with other local authors.

The application for local authors interested in participating is now available. Authors representing children, young adult, and adult literature are encouraged to apply. To request an application, email Linda Campbell at lcampbell@hickorync.gov or ask for an application at the Reference Desk of the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library.

Applications must be completely filled out and returned to Linda Campbell by Monday, September 15, 2014. The application may be emailed to Linda Campbell at lcampbell@hickorync.gov or returned in person to the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library’s Reference Desk.

For more information, please call 304-0500 ext. 7235. Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is located at 375 Street NE on the SALT Block.

Call For Artists: Hues & Brews Tour & Festival In November

Lenoir, NC – The Caldwell Arts Council is now accepting applications from Caldwell County & surrounding counties’ artists and crafters who want to participate in the new Hues and Brews Studio Tour, Saturday, Nov. 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants can set up in their Caldwell County homes or studios or set up in a local business to display, demonstrate and sell their work. Registration is $30.

Following the countywide Studio Tour, the event will culminate with the Hues and Brews Festival, Saturday, Nov. 8 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. outside Howard Brewing in downtown Lenoir. The outdoor event will feature visual art displays, craft beer tastings, food vendors, live music and children’s art activities. Artists, crafters and food vendors may apply for space at the Hues and Brews Festival; 20 separate artist spaces and 3 separate food vendor spaces are available at this location. Artist/crafter registration is $30.

The registration deadline has been extended to September 5th at 5pm; all applications are available on the Caldwell Arts Council website: http://www.caldwellarts.com/280-hues-and-brews/

ABOUT THE EVENT

The Caldwell Arts Council has announced a new twist on its annual Art Around Caldwell Studio Tour, expanding it to a daylong festival and adding another popular art form to the popular event.

In recent years, the Art Around Caldwell Studio Tour has featured Caldwell County artists and crafters who open their homes and studios for a celebration of local artwork of all kinds. This year, the Caldwell Arts Council is expanding the event and inviting brewers from Caldwell, Catawba and Burke counties to join with visual artists in a central location for a fun, new event with proceeds going toward the Caldwell Arts Council.

ABOUT THE CALDWELL ARTS COUNCIL

The Caldwell Arts Council presents monthly and quarterly exhibits, education and collection programs that foster cultural arts in Caldwell County. Located at 601 College Avenue SW near downtown Lenoir, hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. There is no admission charge, although donations are gratefully accepted. To be added to the mailing list or e-mail list, please call 828-754-2486 or info@caldwellarts.com. The Caldwell Arts Council’s programs are supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources and by individual and corporate donors.

Carolina Cycle Challenge To Benefit Pediatric Cancer, Oct. 5

Hickory – Hickory supports the Carolina Cycle Challenge as it exemplifies Hickory’s Active. Well Crafted. initiative and fits the Life Well Crafted brand perfectly.

The Carolina Cycle Challenge (CCC) is our area’s premiere bike ride to benefit the fight against pediatric cancer.

This event is treasured in the community for a variety of reasons. The bike race first originated to honor Brett Gosnell, a local young man diagnosed with pediatric cancer. Over time the event grew in size and popularity due to the extreme efforts of Jim Powers (former GE Plant Manager), Mark and Mary Ann Gosnell (Parents of Brett, and local business and professional leaders) and other dedicated community members.

The CCC is powered by over 350 Rotarians from The Rotary Club of Catawba Valley, The Rotary Club of Lake Hickory, The Rotary Club of Newton-Conover. Other organizations involved are Hickory Velo Club, the YMCA and the City of Hickory. Bill Shillito, Chairman of CCC points out that, “…the entire community is involved and touched by this event.”

Last year in its inaugural race CCC individually donated $50,000, which was matched by the Leon Levine Foundation, to total a $100,000 donation to Levine Children’s Hospital. Shillito appreciates, “the fact 100 percent of the net proceeds goes to find a prevention or cure for childhood cancer...” which he says is, “…icing on the cake.”

CCC Benefit for pediatric cancer is Oct. 5

Each year the race features a #1 Rider who is an individual from the community that has been diagnosed with pediatric cancer. This year’s #1 Rider will be 12-year-old Chole Scott, who is a rising 7th grader at Hickory Christian Academy.

This year’s race will take place on October 5, 2014 at 9 a.m. at the Hickory YMCA. A 10, 31, and 55 miles (plus the Tot Zone for the little ones), riders of all ages and skill levels can participate. Shillito notes, “…our most popular ride is the 10 mile, whereby many families enjoy the day together on a family adventure that they can cherish forever.”

Opportunities are also available to volunteer in the planning aspects and on race day. Last year CCC had over 350 volunteers assisting with the ride.

In addition to the riders and volunteers the race wouldn’t be possible without the generous sponsors. By sponsoring the event companies have the opportunity to promote their company or corporation by becoming Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze level sponsors. Individuals are also encouraged to pledge their financial support.

Shillito encourages everyone to participate because, “This is a fun event. This is a family focused event. Come see your neighbors and meet friends through the joy of contributing at the same time as having fun.”

“Hickory’s Life. Well Crafted. brand has many positive spin offs with one being the Active. Well Crafted. initiative,” said Mandy Pitts, City of Hickory’s Communications Director and Brand Manager. “This ride promotes the importance of staying active, is an excellent example of how the entire community works together to make this event happen, and to top it off, it benefits children fighting pediatric cancer.”

For race registration and other information visit www.carolinacyclechallenge.org

Western Piedmont Symphony Announces 50th Season

Hickory/Lenoir, NC - Under the direction of Maestro John Gordon Ross, the Western Piedmont Symphony will be celebrating their 50th year of beautiful music. World renowned banjo master, Béla Fleck, will open this very special season. Fleck has received 15 Grammy awards for his banjo performances.

The Masterworks Series
September 26, 2014 Broyhill Center, Lenoir—Banjo Constellation with Béla Fleck
World Premiere of “Terminal Star” by our own violinist/composer, Dr. Luke Benton.
November 1, 2014 PE Monroe, LRU—Blast from the Past with Violinist, Kevin Lawrence
Guest Conductor, Martin Bellar, 2nd Conductor of WPS

Grammy winner Béla Fleck


February 14, 2015 PE Monroe, LRU—Love & Death, WPS orchestra performing Romeo & Juliet.
Special Event for Valentine’s Day
March 28, 2014 PE Monroe, LRU, Classical Coffee House with Pianist Ursula Oppens


April 25, 2014 PE Monroe, LRU—Resurrection featuring the Hickory Choral Society

Concerts begin at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available through Etix.com, or email at info@wpsymphony.org, or call Symphony box office at 828.324.8603 from 10am-4pm M-F. Additional information can be found at www.WPSymphony.org.

The Western Piedmont Symphony is a grant recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council and a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. Business offices are located on the SALT Block at 243 Third Avenue NE, Hickory. Business hours are 9:00 am until 4:00 pm Monday-Friday.

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.

CCCTI’s Culinary Arts Sets Menu, Dates For Caldwell Cuisine

Lenoir, NC - Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Culinary Arts program has announced the dates and menus for its fall semester installment of Caldwell Cuisine. Each of the meals will be served at 6 p.m. at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir and are priced at $21 plus tax per person. The events are open to the public, but diners are required to purchase tickets prior to the event.

In addition to providing an opportunity for the community to enjoy the gourmet food at a reasonable price, the events also provide CCC&TI’s Culinary Arts students a chance to apply their classroom knowledge.

Following are the dates and menus for the events:

Thursday, October 30 – Oktoberfest

Apple-Celery Root Slaw with Granny Smith apples, celery root, carrots, endive, creamy vinaigrette and chives; Kartoffelsuppe, a potato soup with leeks, onions, celery, parsley and crispy bacon; Choice of Entrée: Scheweinebraten – Braised pork roast, caraway-cabbage and apples, kartoffelpuffer (potato cakes) with apple sauce and chive crème fraiche OR Schupfnudeln – Potato dumplings, seared teres major, root vegetables, mixed mushroom, white wine reduction, rich thyme demi; Apple Dumplings with salted caramel ice cream.

Thursday, November 13 – Spanish Tapas Night

Ensalada: Local greens, confit of artichoke, white asparagus, marcona almonds, goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette. Setas Al Ajillo: Crimini, oyster and shitake mushroom, shallots, thyme and 30-year sherry. Ceviche: Scallop, shrimp, lime, mint, cilantro and sweet corn. Patatas Bravas: Crispy potatoes, tomato brava sauce, saffron aioli and cilantro. Pincho Moruno: Skewered lamb, Moorish spices and house pickles. Postres: Chocolate flan, berries and cardamom cream.

Space is limited at each event. For tickets visit www.broyhillcenter.com or call the Civic Center Box Office at 828-726-2407.

For more information about CCC&TI’s Culinary Arts Program, contact Director Chef Keith Andreasen at kandreasen@cccti.edu or 726-2478.

Hudson’s Fiddler Tickets Are Now On Sale For October Show

Hudson, NC - The Town of Hudson announces that tickets for the upcoming dinner theatre production of “Fiddler on the Roof” went on sale as of Monday, August 11th, at the Hudson Uptown Building (HUB).

Show dates are Thursday through Saturday, October 16th, 17th, 18th, 23rd, 24th, and 25th. “Fiddler on the Roof” tells the story of a small Russian Jewish village, threatened by the crumbling of tradition from within and political pressure from without.

Set in 1905 and revolves around a poor milkman named Tevye who has 5 daughters, 3 of marrying age. They want to marry for love and nor because their spouses are selected by a matchmaker. “Fiddler on the Roof” is one of the most beloved, longest running shows in Broadway history, with musical selections such as “Tradition,” “Matchmaker,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Do You Love Me?” and many more.

The meal is catered by Dan’l Boone Inn. Tickets for dinner and the play are $30.00. Tickets for the show only are $15.00. Dinner is served at 6:30 PM with the show to follow at 7:30 PM.

Purchase tickets by calling (828) 726-8871, or you may go by the HUB in person during business hours, which are Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM.

The box office is closed from 12:30 PM until 1:30 PM each afternoon for lunch.

The plays are performed in the HUB Auditorium. The address is 145 Cedar Valley Road, Hudson, NC 28638. Hudson dinner theatre is sponsored by the town and by the Hudson Community Development Association, a 501-C-3 non-profit organization.

Foreclosure Prevention Effort Extends To Vets On GI Bill

Raleigh, NC – This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 – more commonly known as the “GI Bill.”

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency is marking the anniversary by offering financial mortgage prevention help to veterans attending school under the GI Bill. It is a second step in less than a year to make the Agency’s successful N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund more user-friendly for the state’s important military population. Earlier, it ensured that returning veterans enrolled in vocational training or rehabilitation programs would be eligible.

Designed to help North Carolina homeowners recover from job loss and other temporary hardships, the Fund has made mortgage payments for more than 16,000 homeowners while they look for employment or retrain. Funds are available to assist an additional 4,000.

Making the foreclosure assistance available for veterans is particularly important in North Carolina, which is home to 10 percent of all active-duty military personnel in the U.S. (115,000, the most per-capita of any state) and more than 771,000 veterans.

“The transition from military to civilian life can be a challenge,” said A. Robert Kucab, executive director of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency. “It’s especially important that veterans be able to participate fully in these foreclosure prevention benefits. Our agency is working closely with the VA and veterans groups across the state to make sure military families know that help is available for those who need it.”

Funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund makes mortgage payments for up to 36 months ($36,000) while the homeowner looks for work or completes a job search or training program. It was created in North Carolina in 2010 because of high unemployment, which continues to exceed the national average in three-quarters of North Carolina counties.

The assistance is offered as a zero-interest, deferred loan, with no payments due as long as the homeowner lives in the home. Veterans who study on the GI Bill or participate in a VA-approved vocational training program are eligible for the maximum 36 months of assistance, as long as their mortgage payments exceed 25 percent of their household income.

To qualify for assistance through the Fund, a veteran must be separated from service on or after Jan. 1, 2008, provide a DD214, have a VA-issued Certificate of Eligibility for the GI Bill and provide proof of enrollment in school or a vocational retraining program. Homeowners do not have to be delinquent on mortgage payments to qualify.

Veterans and civilians can apply for assistance from the Fund through more than 40 HUD-approved counseling agencies statewide, or by going online at www.NCForeclosurePrevention.gov. Information is available on the website or by calling 1-888-623-8631.

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency is a self-supporting public agency. It has financed nearly 215,000 affordable homes and apartments statewide since its creation in 1973.

Newton Animal Shelter Is In Urgent Need Of Supplies

Newton, NC - Opening the new animal shelter in Newton provides the opportunity to rescue so many more animals, but it also requires many more supplies. Between the Newton and Hickory shelters, Humane Society of Catawba County now cares for approximately 275 animals.

HSCC has several urgent needs for donations from the community. Laundry detergent (any variety, liquid or powder) and bleach, HSCC does many loads of laundry each day for the shelter animals and spay/neuter clinic. Donations of Dry Purina One Kitten, Dry Purina One Cat food, Dry Purina One Puppy or Purina Puppy Chow, and canned dog food will help feed the many shelter animals each day. Cat litter, inexpensive and non-clumping, is needed to accommodate the 115 cats and kittens staying at both shelters. Various cleaning products and supplies are needed for general cleaning and maintenance: window cleaner and OxiClean powder.

With the continued increase in adoptions and spay/neuter surgeries, there is a need for more computers. If anyone has upgraded their computer recently, HSCC needs working computers. HSCC is a 501(c) 3 non profit, no-kill animal organization serving Catawba County and the surrounding areas. All donations are tax deductable. HSCC does not receive any assistance from local or national humane agencies.

Drop off donations at the Newton shelter: 201 Government Services Drive, during regular business hours, Monday – Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 10am – 3pm, 828-466-7171 or the Hickory shelter: 3224 20th Ave SE, Hickory, 28602 (GPS: Newton) during regular business hours, Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, 828-464-8878.

15th Annual Komen NC Foothills Race For The Cure Is Oct. 18

Hickory - The Fifteenth Annual Susan G. Komen NC Foothills Race for the Cure® will be on Saturday, October 18 at 9:00 a.m. for the 5K Race/Walk and 8:10 a.m. for the One Mile Fun Run/Walk at Lenoir Rhyne University. Participants and teams can now register on-line at www.komenncfoothills.org.

In honor of our 15th Annual Race, Race registration will be only $15 on-line for adults for the first 15 days of July. After July 15, the on-line registration fee is $20. Registration will close on October 14. Paper registration and team packets can be downloaded from the website. The paper registration fee is $25 until October 13. The website will also list in-person registration dates and sites, including Race Day and the entry fee for children.

With 2,195 participants, the Komen NC Foothills Race for the Cure® raised $129,585. Up to 75% of the funds raised remain in Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba counties for breast cancer education, screening, and treatment. In April 2014, $100,000 was granted to seven local agencies. A minimum of 25% of the money goes to the Susan G. Komen Grants Program for research. Research is the only way to create a world without breast cancer.

Register and/or start your team now and save money while saving lives in our community.

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

Catawba Science Center’s Free Fridays Will Continue

Hickory - Catawba Science Center is pleased to announce the continuation of the Free Friday admission program thanks to a $7,500 gift from the Unifour Foundation, a foundation associated with the NC Community Foundation.

The Free Friday program provides free admission to all individuals on the third Friday of each month, thus eliminating barriers caused by admission fees. This program was created with the intent of providing access to science experiences for financially challenged families and children.

Alan Barnhardt, Executive Director of Catawba Science Center stated, “We are fortunate that individuals and organizations in our region understand the importance of engaging children in science.

We see many instances where this has influenced their future choice of careers. The experience these children encounter at Catawba Science Center promotes problem-solving skills and promotes inquiry-based thinking.“

Last year over 130,000 individuals took part in programs at Catawba Science Center. This includes over 53,000 students and teachers from 24 counties in the Foothills and western part of our state.

The NCCF is a statewide community foundation serving NC and has made nearly $68 million in grants since it inception in 1988. For more information on Free Fridays or science programs visit www.CatawbaScience.org.

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.

Tucker’s Barn Singer/Songwriter Series Is Taking Applications

Lenoir, NC – The Singer Songwriter’s Series at Tucker’s Barn is now accepting registrations for artists to be a part of the inaugural series. Without songwriters, there would be no songs. Therefore, in an effort to celebrate the art of writing and the explosion of the North Carolina music movement, The James C. Harper School of Performing Arts has created the monthly music series as a way to inspire new generations to music as well as build a stronger awareness for the school. Each monthly event will be comprised of approximately four North Carolina artists performing their own unique artistic compilations.

The artists will be performing a wide range of the musical spectrum in approximately thirty minute sets on the stage at the 1841 Café in Historic Lenoir, renamed Tucker’s Barn for the purpose of this music series, on the fourth Thursday evening of each month, June through October.

The Singer Songwriter Series at Tucker’s Barn finale will be on The Square in Historic Lenoir on Saturday, November 8th. All artists are invited to perform at the finale. The series will continue to inspire generations just as many of the legendary artists have inspired today’s musicians. Admission for each event is $5 and will help support student scholarships at The Harper School of Performing Arts. For more information about the series, visit www.TuckersBarn.com.

For more information about the school, visit www.TheHarperSchool.org. The singer songwriter series is named “Tucker’s Barn” in consideration of the historic Tucker’s Barn which was the original settlement back in 1765 and the local gathering place and voting precinct for the area. For more information on Tucker’s Barn, visit www.caldwellcountync.org/county-history/

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.

Catawba County Library Offers Free eBooks For Kids

Hickory - Tumblebooks make a great way to keep kids engaged with books over the holidays or anytime.Tumblebooks are on-line eBooks for kids, and are accessible free through the Catawba County Library website. Kids in grades K-6 enjoy animated talking picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, math stories, videos, nonfiction titles, playlists, books in other languages and more. More than 1,000 titles are available.

Find Tumblebooks at http://www.catawbacountylibrary.gov/library and click on the “E-resources” tab.

Tumblebooks can be viewed simply by clicking the blue logo on the left side of the kids’ web page. For more information about this and other services for kids and youth, contact Youth Services at 465-8668.

HSCC Is Looking For In-Home Heroes To Foster Animals

Hickory - 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 will provide everything you need; the foster family will only need to bring the animal to the shelter occasionally for medical check-ups.

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

If you are interested in opening up your home and heart by becoming an in-home hero contact HSCC for more information, 828-464-8878, Monday through Saturday, noon-6:00pm or email cheryl@catawbahumane.org.

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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