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Beaver Library Hosts Scam Prevention Event On January 31

Hickory - Join us at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library on Saturday, January 31st at 11:00 a.m. to learn how to become scam smart! Get the facts on fraud and learn the easy steps to avoid becoming a victim. This program will focus on avoiding online scams. Online scams have become bigger and the number of victims continues to increase. There will also be information provided on protecting yourself from identity theft, home repair scams, charity fraud, telemarketing fraud, investment fraud, and more. The workshop will be led by a representative of the North Carolina Department of Justice. The workshop is free and open to the public, however registration is required. To register, visit the Reference Desk or call 304-0500 ext. 7235.

Furthermore, from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 31st at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library, Enviro-Shred is providing individuals with the opportunity to shred at no charge up to two boxes or bags of personal documents. The two boxes or bags must not be larger than the size of banker boxes (10"H x 15"W x 24"D). Any type and color of home office paper may be brought for shredding. Paper clips, staples, manila envelopes and credit cards are allowed for shredding. Items not permitted for shredding are heavy metals, newspapers, magazines, and plastic. Enviro-Shred will be providing their complimentary shredding services in the library’s parking lot.

Enviro-Shred is a Hickory based shredding company that offers a variety of services for businesses and a Drop and Shred location at 1045 2nd Ave NW for individuals to use throughout the year. To learn more about their services and fees, call Enviro-Shred at 828-328-9333 or visit their website at

Registration is required to attend the NCDOJ workshop but registration is not needed to bring your personal documents for shredding. To register for the NCDOJ workshop, please call the library at 304-0500 ext. 7235. Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is located at 375 Street NE on the SALT Block.

HSCC Well Pet Clinics Are Jan. 30, Newton, & Feb. 14, Hickory

Hickory/Newton, NC - On December 23, 2014, Foothills Clinic finished the year with 2 doctors performing 55 spay/neuter surgeries on cats from a rescue in Lenoir. 5,983 spay/neuter surgeries were performed at Humane Society of Catawba County’s Foothills Spay/Neuter Clinic in 2014. This will prevent possibly tens of thousands of unwanted animals in our community. HSCC will continue to offer $10 off all spay and neuter surgery or $25 male cat neuters until the end of January. The upcoming “Well Pet” Vaccine Clinics are Friday, January 30th, 11am- 4pm at HSCC-Newton and Saturday, February 14, 9am - 2 pm at HSCC-Hickory. HSCC and Foothills Spay/Neuter Clinic services are available to any member of the public and are not limited to residents of Catawba County. To schedule an appointment for surgery or vaccines please call 828-464-8878, Monday through Saturday, 11am – 6pm. Visit for pricing and FAQ.

Lenoir Blackberry Festival 2015 Accepting Vendor Applications

Lenoir, NC – The Caldwell Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 14th annual NC Blackberry Festival, scheduled for Saturday, July 11, 2015 from 10:00am to 4:00pm in Historic Lenoir. The NC Blackberry Festival will again fill historic Lenoir with outstanding festivities including the Colossal Cobbler Brigade Parade with the largest patchwork of delicious Blackberry Cobbler to be enjoyed by the festival goers, as well as the Blackberry Princess Pageant, Blackberry Eating Contests, Live Entertainment, Children’s Activities and hundreds of artisan and food vendors.

This year marks the 3rd year of the “Pre-Heat Party” on the Friday evening before in Historic Lenoir which includes the BlackBEERy Beer Garden, the Blackberry Recipe Contest and the Front Porch Pickin’ competition. Registration is open for the recipe and picking contest and applications are available at Cash prizes will be given to contest winners.

Vendor applications are now open and can be downloaded at Vendors are encouraged to provide quality artisan arts and crafts and other types of products and services. Applications will be approved based on uniqueness of items and overall value and contribution to enhance the festival experience for festival goers.

For more information about the exceptional NC Blackberry Festival, please contact event coordinator, Libby Killian at the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce by calling 828-726-0616 or visiting

Rotary Club Announces Extra Idol Audition Date: Jan. 31

Hickory - Hickory Rotary Club has announced the date for its musical fundraiser, “ROTARIAN IDOL”. The event will be held Saturday, March 14, at 7 pm in PE Monroe Auditorium on the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne University. Due to inclement weather, an additional audition will be held at The SALT Block Auditorium January 31 from 2-3:30pm. There is no limit to age or place of residence, but professional singers [which were paid $600 or more in 2014] will not be allowed to audition. A $5 fee is required. Audition forms are available at

100% of the money raised will be used to benefit educational needs throughout Catawba County and other humanitarian causes that Rotary supports.

This year’s Title Sponsor will again be Lenoir-Rhyne University. The successful fundraiser will be co-chaired by Rotarians John Rambo and Sandi Fotheringham; Ticket Sales will be chaired by John Rambo; Advertising / Major Sponsor Sales chair will be Past-President Allen Finley. Other committee members are: President David Moore, Bruce Bumbarger, Jennifer Clark, John Olson, Lamar Mitchell, Lynn Loehr, Kathy Greathouse, Neill McGeachy, and Linda Lutz.

“Education is very important to our club, and has been since 1921”, “ROTARIAN IDOL” committee member Lamar Mitchell said.

Rambo expects this year’s event to raise at least $70,000. To reach this goal, the Rotary Club will sell adult tickets @ $20 each, and this year children and students with a valid student ID can purchase tickets for $10 each. Advertisements for the Show Program will be sold at $500 for a full-page ad, $250 for a half-page ad and $150 for a quarter-page ad. Major Sponsorships are $1,000.

A total of 20 contestants will be chosen to compete for $5,000 in total prize money. First Place wins $2,500, Second Place $1,500, Third Place $500; and $500 is awarded to the Audience Favorite. Additionally, several door prizes will be given away to lucky ticket holders. Contestants will be judged by a panel of three music industry professionals, and can earn additional points by helping with Rotary service projects prior to the event. A popular feature was added to the event last year: The public will be able to vote on-line at for their favorite contestant.

In past years the Hickory Rotary Club has raised nearly $1 Million through live TV and silent auctions. “ROTARIAN IDOL” replaces the popular “Education Alive” television auction, which the Rotary Club used to raise funds for education for five years. Students continue to utilize monies raised from the successful event.

For more information, visit, call John Rambo, Chair, at 327-3855 x 113 or Allen Finley at 324-6700, or email

Vanessa Adams-Harris Sets HCT’s Crowns Cast; Opens 2/6

Hickory - The Hickory Community Theatre has just announced the cast for “Crowns,” its next main stage production.

Guest Director Vanessa Adams-Harris has chosen a cast of eight talented ladies and one man for this gospel musical that tells the stories of the lives of African-American women and the traditions related to their church hats.

The ladies and gentleman of “Crowns” are Sharon Y. Clark, Lynn Crawford, Thelma E. Eley, Renetta E. Hamrick, Kecia Hopper, Lana Logan, Jason Ray Parker, Kimberly Turner and Betty Wilson.

Performances of “Crowns” begin February 6 and continue through February 22, in the Jeffers Theatre. Tickets are $10-$18 and are available now online at or by calling (828) 328-2283.

HCT is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. “Crowns” is produced by The North Carolina Arts Council, Corning Optical Communications and The City of Hickory Community Relations Council.

PHOTO: Acclaimed theatre artist Vanessa Adams-Harris returns to the Hickory Community Theatre to direct the gospel musical, “Crowns”, opening February 6. For tickets and information call (828) 328-2283 or go to Photo courtesy of Ms. Adams-Harris.

Submit Portfolio By January 30 For 2016 Caldwell Arts Shows

Lenoir, NC – The Caldwell Arts Council is currently accepting portfolios from local, regional and national artists for possible exhibitions in 2016 at either our Caldwell Arts Council gallery or at the Art-in-Healing Gallery at Caldwell Memorial Hospital.

Details for submitting your portfolio are available on our website at Portfolios will be accepted through January 30, 2015 and may be delivered or mailed to Caldwell Arts Council Exhibit Selection Committee, 601 College Ave SW (PO Box 1613), Lenoir NC 28645 or emailed to

About the Caldwell Arts Council

The Caldwell Arts Council is a regional arts center that presents monthly and quarterly exhibits, education and collection programs that foster cultural arts in Caldwell County. Our center is housed in an historic 100+ year old home. There are four gallery spaces that have been renovated as professional exhibit spaces. Exhibits range from contemporary to traditional and include 2-D and 3-D exhibitions. The Art-in-Healing Gallery at Caldwell Memorial Hospital can hang up to 25 works of 2-D or 3-D wall artworks. The Caldwell Arts Council exhibits artists from across the country and has a reputation for quality exhibits. For information on the gallery space or to see a list of upcoming exhibits please visit our website at

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.

Author’s Visit On April 1 Prompts Immigration Events At CVCC

Hickory - Catawba Valley Community College’s Humanities Department will host a series of faculty presentations in preparation for a campus visit by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sonia Nazario, author of “Enrique’s Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite With His Mother.”

The author’s presentation and faculty presentations are funded by a grant received through the CVCC Foundation, Inc., from the 3M Corporation, and is also supported by the CVCC Office of Multicultural Affairs.

All the faculty presentations will be held at noon on Wednesdays, in the East Wing Auditorium on the Main Campus in Hickory Jan. 28, Feb. 18, and March 25.

English faculty member Susannah Blanchard will present “Prudencia’s Journey: A Parallel Perspective,” Jan. 28, giving consideration to another immigrant's journey as a means to examine the history of US legislation and actions in Central America which led to destabilized governments. The presentation will provide insight into how this created the widespread, violent circumstances from which people flee to find a better life in the US.?

On Feb. 28, a panel discussion featuring students, faculty, staff and community leaders will be held. The speakers will share their personal experience with immigration.

On March 25, CVCC drama faculty member Kim Stinson will direct her Play Production class in an informal presentation depicting the many paths taken by immigrants when moving to a new country.

Nazario’s presentation on the CVCC campus is April 1 at 11 a.m. in the Tarlton Complex and 6 p.m. in the East Wing Auditorium.

All events held in conjunction with “Enrique’s Journey” are free and open to the community.

For more information, contact Donna Ross, 828-327-7000 x 4111, or

How To Find A Job With A Criminal Record, Thurs., Feb. 5

Taylorsville, NC - The Catawba Valley Community College Alexander Center for Education will present “How to Find a Job with a Criminal Record” on Thurs., Feb. 5 from 11 a.m. to noon at CVCC’s Alexander Campus in Taylorsville, NC.

This workshop is designed to help former offenders to move past criminal background concerns and to move forward toward future employment.

Topics to be covered include:

• Presentation!
• Reasons why someone would want to hire you!
• Emphasize strengths in Resumes, Applications, & Interviews!
• Sell yourself with Self-Management/ Soft Skills!
• Explain the Past (How to)!
• Network and Never give in/ never give up!
• To Tell or Not to Tell is the Question? / Tax Credit and Federal Bonding!
• Coward or Confident?
• How do you see it? How do they see it?
• Overwhelmed or Optimistic?
• Interviews, Incentives to Hire?
• Certifications, Computers, and Education? / Certificate of Relief
• Expunction/ Expungement is it possible?!
•Stay employed … once you are hired

There is no charge to attend this workshop. To register for this workshop or for more information, please contact Carolyn Gilreath at 828-632-8221 or e-mail

Lincolnton Art Crawl Issues Open Call For March 13 Exhibition

Lincolnton, NC - The Art Crawl Downtown Lincolnton Committee extends an open call for local artists who would like to participate in our annual spring art crawl. Join us as Downtown Lincolnton hosts our next art crawl on March 13, 2015.

Restaurants and businesses will open their doors for a special evening of art, food, music and dance.

These merchants will host Lincoln County's artists and craftspeople who will showcase a wide variety of fine art and craft mediums including paintings, drawings, photography, pottery, fiber arts, jewelry, metal smith, wood turning, and more.

This is a free event for artist and the public. Deadline for artist registration is March 6, 2015.

For more information or to register as an artist, please email the Arts Council of Lincoln County at or 704 732-9044

Middle School Poetry Recitation Contest: Register By Jan. 30

Lenoir, NC - Middle school students from traditional, home and Christian schools in Caldwell County are invited to participate in the 10th annual Middle School Poetry Recitation Competition sponsored by the Caldwell Arts Council and Caldwell County Schools.

Recitation is an exciting way for students to increase their appreciation for language and to demonstrate their mastery of public speaking.

This year’s competitors are expected to memorize and recite a poem by a poet born prior to 1900. Over $1,000 in cash awards will be presented. Details for participation are on the website:

Students should contact their school’s office ASAP to determine the Recitation Competition coordinator in each school. Home school students should contact the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-2486 or

Applications will be accepted now through January 30, 2015 - first come, first served with poem selection. The final competition will be held at 9:30 a.m. February 28, 2015 at the Caldwell County Education Center.For further information, please contact the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-2486 or

Adults Can Polish Computer Skills For Free In February

Newton, NC - Adults can enhance their computer skills free at the Catawba County Library System next month. Each session is 60 minutes long and pre-registration is required. The topics include:

Drop-In Computer/eReader Session—See how to maximize use of your eReader and computer. Librarians are here to help you at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3 and 17 at Sherrills Ford-Terrell.

Intro to Computers—Get off to a good start with the essentials of how to use a computer for the beginner or those with little experience. Session scheduled at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5 in Claremont and again at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 6 in Conover.

Intro to PowerPoint—Come see how easy it is to create your own illustrated presentations. Offered 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Sherrills Ford-Terrell.

Microsoft Word-- See how easy it is to create, store and retrieve documents using this basic program. Offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11 at St. Stephens and 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 20 at Southwest.

Intro to Excel-- Learn how to use this basic spreadsheet program for personal bookkeeping and more. Session scheduled at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 13 at Southwest and at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24 at Sherrills Ford-Terrell.

Open Forum: Q&A about Computers-- Come to the Main Library in Newton for answers to your basic computer questions. Session planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18.

Resume Builder—Learn how to put your best image forward on paper and land that job. Class starts at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19 at Claremont and again at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 20 at Conover.

Preregister for the classes at the appropriate location or call 465-7938 for Newton, 466-5108 for Conover, 466-6817 for Claremont, 428-2712 for Maiden, 466-6821 for St. Stephens; 466-6818 for Southwest and 466-6827 for Sherrills Ford-Terrell.

Harper School Of Arts Free Music Demo Class Is Monday, Feb. 2

Lenoir, NC – The James C. Harper School of Performing Arts is proud to present Music Together®, weekly music classes for children birth to 5 years old and the adults who love them. Date Change for Free Demo to Monday February 2, 2015 (was scheduled for Monday February 9th)

Music Together Classes

Free Demo Class DATE CHANGE to Monday February 2

Class Starts Monday February 16

Harper School - 10 classes 5:30 – 6:15 PM

February 16, 23 / March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 / April 13, 20, 27

Tuition $150.00 (includes CD, songbook and parent guide), plus $20 registration fee.

Music Together weekly classes will start at the Harper School on Monday February 16, 2015 and run for 10 weeks.

This fun-filled musical program is designed for children birth - 5 years old and the adults who love them. Music Together® classes are focused on nurturing the basic music competence of each child in hopes that they will excel in many fields as a result of their musical development. This basic music competence can be defined as engaging in musical experience, specifically being able to sing in tune and move in a coordinated way with the rhythms of music. The Music Together® program is grounded in the notion that all people have a music aptitude that can be developed when nurtured and that this development can assist them socially, intellectually and vocally.

The James C. Harper School of Performing Arts was founded in 2006 and is named in honor of Captain James C. Harper, the nationally acclaimed Lenoir High School Band Director. The Harper School is to be a place where people of all ages and backgrounds would carry on Captain Harper’s tradition of excellence in music education and performance.

The goal of the Harper School is to provide children and adults the opportunity to experience the joy of music and music related activities. We believe that “ Music Matters” and is an avenue to healthy living and that through music and music related activities, we can help participants stay active and involved in day to day life both physically and mentally and that we can help children develop a lifelong love of music and the arts through one-on-one and group participation in musical activities. The Harper School offers musical instruction in voice and all musical instruments including Suzuki violin, viola and guitar and we hold public recitals and performances throughout the year.

We invite you to stop by the school and experience “The Magic that Happens at the Harper School”. For more information on the Harper School, contact us at 828-754-2297, visit our new website and “Like” our Facebook page.

Souper Senior Games Kick-Off Is Friday, February 6, 11 AM

Dallas, NC - Gaston County Senior Center will be hosting “Souper” Senior Games Kick Off on February 6, 2015 from 11am-until.

All Senior Citizens 50 and over are invited to come out and learn how to participate in Senior Games at the local level.

We will discuss how to register, talk about new events and also have cookies and hot soup.

For more information please contact Gaston County Senior Center at 704-922-2170 or visit the County’s website at Gaston County strives to make its programs, services, and activities accessible to all. If you will require an accommodation we request that you contact our office at least 5 days before the event.

Museum Offers Four WWII Talks

Hickory, NC – The Hickory Museum of Art (HMA) is presenting four Sunday afternoon gallery talks this winter in conjunction with the current exhibition 1944: A War, The People, A New Museum. The programs are free and open to the public.The series begins on Sunday, January 18 at 2:30 PM with Dr. Gary Freeze presenting “The Dodge of the Artful Catawban: A County Tableaux, 1944, and After.” Learn what life was like in Catawba County during WWII.

Dr. Freeze’s ability to resurrect the past makes his presentations lively and informative. Dr. Freeze, Professor of History at Catawba College in Salisbury, is also author of the historical trilogy about Catawba County. The final volume “The Catawbans: Boomers and Bypasses” will be published later this year.

Additional talks include: Sunday, February 1, 2:30 PM. Melinda Herzog, Executive Director of the Catawba County Historical Association, presents “The Miracle of Hickory,” a talk on Hickory’s polio epidemic of 1944.

Sunday, March 15, 2:30 PM. Laura Holland, Director of Marketing Services at Hickory Chair, presents “How HickoryBecame the Capital of the Furniture World.”

Historian Gary Freeze

Sunday, March 29, 2 PM. “World War II Stories in Conversations.” Four local WWII veterans and survivors will discuss their personal experiences. Participants include Charlie Dixon, Rhys Samuel, Carl Zwingli, and Vladmir Khudyakov.

1944: A War, The People, A New Museum is a multi-faceted exhibition combining art and history, while providing a 1940s era background for the beginning of the Hickory Museum of Art within the unlikely context of a world at war.

The exhibit includes a timeline outlining regional and world-wide events; an installation of HMA Founder and first director Paul Whitener's studio; artwork collected in the Museum's first year; paintings and prints created by HMA artists connected to WWII; installation about the 1944 polio epidemic in Hickory; and much more.

Additional 1940s-era objects loaned from community businesses, individuals, the Catawba County Historical Association and the History Museum of Burke County are placed throughout the Museum.The Hickory Museum of Art is located in the Arts & Science Center of the Catawba Valley, 243 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory. Admission is free.

For more information please visit or call 828-327-8576.

Laid Off From Heritage Home? Mortgage Help Is Available

Raleigh, NC - The recent layoff of 255 employees of Heritage Home Group in Hickory doesn’t have to translate into mortgage payment problems or home foreclosures. A state-designed program that already has helped more than 895 residents in Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties hold on to their homes still has funds available.

The North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund has helped 18,300 homeowners statewide keep up with mortgage payments while they seek or train for jobs. The program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, has available funds to assist approximately 3,000 more homeowners.

Through November, more than 30,000 North Carolina homeowners have received foreclosure notices in 2014, including 976 in Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties.

The N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund makes mortgage payments for qualified unemployed homeowners – including returning veterans and people recovering from temporary hardships such as divorce – while they look for jobs or complete job training. Homeowners do not need to be behind on their mortgage payments to apply.

Assistance is offered in two forms:

•A zero-interest, deferred loan of up to $36,000 to help pay mortgage and related costs for up to 36 months while the homeowner seeks or retrains for a job. No repayment is due as long as the owner lives in the home, and the loan is forgiven after the owner lives there 10 years.

•A zero-interest loan to pay off a second mortgage. This can reduce the homeowner’s total monthly payment to an affordable level, and can help a homeowner who finds a new job but at a reduced income.

Eligible homeowners can apply through more than 40 participating HUD-approved counseling agencies, or online at

For more information, call 1-888-623-8631, or go online to

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency, a self-supporting public agency, has financed more than 221,000 affordable homes and apartments statewide since its creation in 1973.

Help The Lincolnton Lions Club Help Others-Buy A Broom!

Lincolnton, NC - Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Leader, said “Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger about confession.” According to an old German proverb, “ a new broom sweeps clean.”

With the beginning of a New Year, it’s time to make new resolutions, to break old habits, to renewed with new promises, to make new starts, and to strive toward a lifetime of happiness and success! In keeping with the aforementioned quotations and sentiments, it’s time to throw out your worn out old broom and replace them with a Lions Club broom.

Have you been wondering where to purchase a Lions Club broom in Lincoln County? But didn’t know where to purchase it. In cooperation with the following Denver, Lincolnton and Vale businesses, barber/beauty shops, drug stores, ophthalmologist, and restaurants you may purchase a Lions Club broom throughout the year at the following locations:

People’s Bank- 142 Highway 16, South
People’s Bank- 6125 Highway 16, South

City Lunch- 113 Court Square, Southeast
Cutting House Salon- 1704 Gastonia Highway
The Drug Store- 626 Center Drive
Graystone Ophthalmology- 2311 East Main Street
Mosteller Barber Shop- 810 West Highway 27
People’s Bank- 760 West Highway 27
People’s Bank- 1910 East Main Street
Trim Barber Shop- 119 South Academy Street

The Drug Store-9576 West N.C. Highway 10
Cost per Lions Club broom and children mop is as follows:
·$5.00 child’s /hearth/camping broom
·$5.00 child’s mop
·$8.00 synthetic soft sweep broom
·$9.00 household straw broom
·$12.00 industrial/patio straw broom

By purchasing a Lincolnton Lions Club broom, you’re not only making a smart purchase but you’re assisting the Lions to promote sight conservation, provide services to the blind/visually impaired, purchase eyeglasses and eye examination for the needy of Lincoln County, sponsor blind/visually impaired adults to Camp Dogwood, support NC Lions Visually Impaired Fishing Tournament @ Nags Head, Annual Lions Club Christmas Party/Luncheon For The Blind, sponsor vision screenings at the elementary schools, sponsor four Lions Club College Scholarships, support Lions Cottage @ Boys & Girls Home of NC, Inc., and other Lions Club charities.

Lions Clubs were organized in 1917 and became international in 1920. As the world’s largest coeducational service organizations, Lions Club International has over 1.36 million members in over 46,000 clubs in 208 countries and geographical areas. For more information about Lions Club, please check our websites: Lions Club International ( ); North Carolina Lions, Inc.

( ), and Lincolnton Lions Club ( )

Girls Volleyball Registration Is Now Open For Ages 9-15

Hickory - Registration for Girls Volleyball is now underway at the Hickory Parks and Recreation Department Administrative Offices located at 1451 8th St Dr NE, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Girls Volleyball Program is open to girls 9 – 15 years old, must be 9 before April 1, 2015 and cannot be 16 before April 1, 2015. Parents of children who have previously registered their child through the master registration system may register by calling the Parks and Recreation Department at 322-7046. All 15 year olds must attend a skills assessment even if they participated in the 2014 season.

A birth certificate must be presented when registering for volleyball if one is not on file at the Parks and Recreation Department. A $40.00 non-resident fee for persons living outside the city limits of Hickory must accompany the birth certificate at the time of registration. Those who register by phone and live outside the city limits will need to mail in the fees before practice begins. All children participating in volleyball this spring are encouraged to purchase accident insurance coverage. The $6.00 insurance fee covers the participant for a one-year period from March 1, 2015 until February 28, 2016 in all activities sponsored and supervised by the Parks and Recreation Department. The $250,000 coverage is primary coverage that pays regardless of other insurance, directly to the participant, doctor or hospital. The $6.00 insurance fee must be paid at the time of registration.

PEE WEE GIRLS – (9 – 11 year olds, can’t be 12 before April 1, 2015). Skills assessments will be held at Highland Recreation Center, located at 1451 8th Street Drive NE, on Monday, February 9 or Wednesday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m.

MIDGET GIRLS – (12 – 15 year olds can’t be 16 before April 1, 2015). Skills assessments will be held at Highland Recreation Center, located at 1451 8th Street Drive NE, on Monday, February 9 or Wednesday, February 11 at 7:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact Lou Thomas at 261-2254.

Alive Inside: A Story Of Music & Memory, Thurs. Feb. 5, L-RU

Hickory - Alive Inside is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short.

This stirring documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it. Rossato-Bennett visits family members who have witnessed the miraculous effects of personalized music on their loved ones, and offers illuminating interviews with experts including renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain) and musician Bobby McFerrin (“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”).

An uplifting cinematic exploration of music and the mind, Alive Inside’s inspirational and emotional story left audiences humming, clapping and cheering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award.

A special presentation of Alive Inside will be screened on February 5, 2015 at Lenoir Rhyne University – Belk Centrum. Two showings will be offered to help accommodate general audience, caregivers, industry professionals and students wishing to attend.

The first showing will be at 10:00 am and requires preregistration to attend. At the 10:00 am showing, audiences will hear from special guest speaker, Jeff Dula, Director of Social Services at Lenoir Healthcare Center. Dula will discuss the utilization of Music and Memory at the Lenoir Healthcare Center, and participate in a Q&A after the presentation.

The 6:30 pm showing will focus on students and features guest speakers from Lenoir Rhyne University Faculty. LR Students are encouraged to attend the 6:30 pm showing (Convocation credits are available for this event. No preregistration required for the 6:30 pm showing).

This event is sponsored by the Western Piedmont Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging and Lenoir Rhyne University. For more information call the WPCOG Area Agency on Aging at 828.485.4265.

Humane Society Offers Cat & Kitten Specials In January

Hickory/Newton - The Humane Society of Catawba County is focused on finding forever homes for felines.

Adult cats (6+ months) – $20

Adult cats and Kittens – $20

All adoptions require an approved adoption application.

Cats provide low-maintenance companionship for people in all stages of life. Research has shown owning a pet offers health benefits and encourages physical activity. Cat adoption fee includes spay or neuter surgery, current vaccinations, microchip identification, deworming, FIV/Felv test and a free veterinary exam certificate.

Photo: Faith is available.

Go by during business hours, at the Newton shelter: Monday - Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 10am – 3pm, 828-466-7171 and the Hickory shelter: Monday - Saturday from 11am to 6pm, 828-464-8878; or visit the website,, to see a listing of all available cats.

Catawba County Libraries Offer Free Computer Classes

Newton, NC - Adults: you can enhance your computer skills free at the Catawba County Library System. Each session is 60 minutes long and pre-registration is required. The topics include:

Resumes—Learn how to put your best image forward on paper and land that job. Class starts 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21 at Newton.

NC Works—Learn more about this government website and its resume templates, job listing and employer notifications. Grasp the basics at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14 at Conover and again 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15 at Claremont.

Job Searching with NC Works—Job seekers, learn the finer points of looking for employment on NCWorks website. Instruction starts at 2 pm Wednesday, Jan. 14 at Southwest.

Email Basics—Are you new to using email or don’t have an email account? Come to this class to learn the basics. Be part of this class at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21 at St. Stephens.

Rocket Languages—Yes, you can learn a foreign language on-line for free. Choose from Chinese, German, Spanish, French and more. Class time is 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21 at Conover or 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22 at Claremont.

Intro to Word—See how easy it is to compose letters, reports and other documents using this basic word processing program. Offered at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27 at Sherrills Ford-Terrell.

eBooks and the NC Digital Library— The library has eBooks and audiobooks available to use on a variety of devices. Come let us show you how to download an eBook to your device. The learning begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28 at Newton.

Preregister for the classes at the appropriate location or call 465-7938 for Newton, 466-5108 for Conover, 466-6817 for Claremont, 428-2712 for Maiden, 466-6821 for St. Stephens; 466-6818 for Southwest and 466-6827 for Sherrills Ford-Terrell.

Art-In-Healing Gallery Features Dawn Matthews’ Work

Lenoir, NC – The Caldwell Arts Council’s Art-in-Healing Gallery at Caldwell Memorial Hospital will feature artwork by Granite Falls artist & owner of The Thankful Goat, Dawn Mathews, during the first quarter of 2015. The Art-in Healing Gallery is located just inside the Mulberry Street Entrance to Caldwell Memorial Hospital, and is open 7am-8pm daily

About the artist:

In 2009, Dawn Mathews bought her first goat…

“I had visions of goat cheese dancing in my head. Fresh, farm cheese, feta, brie, gouda; but the goat had other plans! After she ate a whole laurel bush in our yard (which is poisonous to goats), we had to give her an anti-toxin shot. We couldn’t use the milk for cheese so a friend suggested we make soap.

Dawn Matthews - Chickens

The Thankful Goat was born! We are a local micro-farm making goat milk soap and bath products. Our herd has expanded, and we love what we do. Being an artist, I have captured snippets of our farm life along the way. That’s where this show comes in. It consists of my memories of our crazy farm brought to life in art. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed living it! It truly is the go-o-o-od life!”

Dawn’s book, The Thankful Goat: An Unlikely Partnership Between a Woman and a Goat, is available at the Caldwell Arts Council gift shop or online at

About the Caldwell Arts Council

The Caldwell Arts Council, located at 601 College Avenue SW, Lenoir NC, presents monthly and quarterly exhibits, education and collection programs that foster cultural arts in Caldwell County. 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

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.

Free Genealogy Workshop Set For Jan. 30, Catawba Co. Library

Newton, NC - There’s no better time to gather family stories than when families meet for the holidays. The next week or two are prime opportunities record precious tales and bits of information about the past. Find out how your ancestors celebrated Christmas and where and who was involved. These are great springboards to family research.

Start with what you know. Jot down your birth date and place, marriage(s), and the same for your parents and grandparents. Use the family Bible, and official documents and/or visit cemeteries to verify facts. Birth, marriage and death certificates offer important clues about occupations, places of residence and previous generations.

Here are some other pointers.

Set a goal. You have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents. Decide which line you wish to search for now and stick to it. Do you wish to collect information for a family reunion? Join a lineage society such as D.A.R.? Such a goal will help you focus.

Get organized. Keep a notebook and write legibly. Invest in good quality dividers and file folders so you’ll have quick access to photos, charts and documents you’ve collected.

Interview your oldest relatives. Ask for specific dates and places. Excellent questions can be found at

Visit the library. The Rhodes Room at Catawba County Library in Newton is an excellent place to access family materials. The collection includes some hundreds of family files, plus published genealogies, maps, county histories, census records and more. The collection focuses on Western North Carolina, but includes materials from many states and some foreign countries.

Attend a workshop. Catawba County Library will offer a free intro to genealogy at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 30 at Southwest Branch.

On-line sources such as HeritageQuest allow you access out-of-print books, military documents and census records. Access to this and other services is free at the Rhodes Room. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Write to courthouses and state archives for record copies, but be specific and brief. Always enclose an SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope). North Carolina courthouse information can be accessed at:

Beware of Internet postings and hearsay. Seek original sources such as court records, diaries and deeds. Footnoted material is always preferred to undocumented histories or websites.

As you search, you’ll locate not only long-lost relatives and interesting places but gain a better appreciation for the past to share with younger generations. Just remember that genealogy is a life-long pursuit that’s never “done.” There’s always more to discover.

Contact Tammy Wilson at the library,

January Catawba County Seniors Mornings Out Activities

Hickory - January activities at Catawba County's Seniors Morning Out locations will include musical entertainment, bingo and cooking programs.

Seniors Morning Out will be closed Thursday, Jan. 1 for the New Year's holiday and Jan. 19 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Any county resident who is 60 or better is invited to attend the half day programs, held Monday through Thursday except for holidays. In addition to entertainment and information, the program provides a free hot, balanced lunch. There is no charge and no income requirements. Anyone wishing to attend should contact the site supervisor at least 24 hours in advance.

Highlights of the West Hickory SMO activities are: Jan. 13, music by Sentimental Journey; Jan. 20, bingo and cooking peppermint fudge; Jan. 21, exercise to music and Chilling with Fire Safety by Terri Byers; Jan. 27, blood pressure checks and glaucoma awareness with Carolyn Thompson, RN with Catawba Valley Medical Center; Jan. 29, birthday party and entertainment by Damascus Road. To reserve your spot, call Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

Newton SMO highlights are: Jan. 5, gospel music by Damascus Road; Jan. 13, Nutrition for the Elderly by Peggy Messick with Health First; Jan. 14, Bible Trivia and bingo; Jan. 15, celebrate Martin Luther King's Birthday with the Rev. Cornelius Holland and music by Morning Star Baptist Church Choir; Jan. 22, tea party with entertainment by accordion player Dave Orlandi; Jan. 27, bowling at Pin Station and Shopping at Honey's IGA. To reserve your spot, call Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

Maiden SMO highlights are: Jan. 12, Physical Activity Facts: Too Much or Too Little? followed by kick ball game; Jan. 13, group exercise and Food Safety IQ; Jan. 14, How to Manage Your Blood Pressure with Annie Williams; Jan. 15, Winter Safety: Emergency Management with Jim Dickerson; Jan. 28, bingo and Food Safety for Celebrations. To reserve your spot, contact Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

East Hickory SMO highlights are: Jan. 6, Friend Walk and music by Sentimental Journey; Jan. 13, Understanding Blood Pressures with Annie Williams and blood pressure check with Bayada; Jan. 27, music by Rev It Up!; Jan. 29, birthday party. To reserve your spot, contact Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

Claremont SMO highlights are: Jan. 6, Good Nutrition for the Elderly by Peggy Messick with Catawba Valley Medical Center and Word Scramble; Jan. 7, Health Benefits of Fiber by Wendy Thomas and baking oatmeal cookies; Jan. 20, bowling at Pin Station and shopping at Honey's IGA; Jan. 22, Community Alert System and Emergencies by Jim Dickerson of Catawba County Emergency Services; Jan. 28, Blood Pressure Check by Bayada Home Health and Causes and Treatments for Arthritis by Lynne Meyer. To reserve your spot, contact Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

For more information, call the Senior Nutrition Services office at 828-695-5610. Seniors Morning Out, and other Senior Nutrition programs, such as Meals on Wheels, rely heavily on local donations and volunteers. 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 and clicking on the red "Donate Now" button. For the latest updates on this program, like us on Facebook at

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.

Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize Has A January 30th Deadline

Asheville, NC - The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, which awards the winner $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review, is now open for submissions. The deadline is January 30.

The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize honors internationally celebrated North Carolina novelist and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe. The prize is administered by Tommy Hays and the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication. Contestants should submit two copies of an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced, single-sided pages (1" margins, 12-pt. font).

Lee Smith will be the final judge. Smith, a 2008 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, is a New York Times bestselling author and longtime professor of creative writing at North Carolina State University. Her novels include Fair and Tender Ladies, The Last Girls, and most recently, Guests on Earth. She is the recipient of two O. Henry Awards for her short stories, two Sir Walter Raleigh Awards, the North Carolina Award for Literature, the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction, and the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, among many others. She is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

“Place is extraordinarily important to most Southern writers, much more so than to writers in other parts of the country,” Smith, who was born in the Appalachian Mountains, has said. “Personally, I’m so tied to place that I cannot even imagine a story without drawing a map of it first. I have to create the physical world before I can populate it with my characters. I have to make a whole world for them to walk around in.”

Esteemed NC writer Thomas Wolfe

Susan Levi Wallach of Columbia, South Carolina, and Jude Whelchel of Asheville were co-winners of the 2014 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for their stories “A Still Life” and “Mother in a Boneyard World,” respectively. Gary V. Powell of Lake Norman received an honorable mention for “Rusty Luvs Suzie."

The Great Smokies Writing Program is a joint effort between the UNC-Asheville departments of Literature and Language, Creative Writing and the Office of Professional Education. The program offers opportunities for writers of all levels to join a supportive learning community in which their skills and talents can be explored, practiced, and forged under the careful eye of professional writers. The program is committed to providing the community with affordable university-level classes led by published writers and experienced teachers. Each course carries academic credit awarded through UNC-Asheville.

Here are the guidelines for the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Competition:

The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication.

Submit two copies of an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced, single-sided pages (1" margins, 12-pt. font).

Author's name should not appear on manuscripts. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title. (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.)

An entry fee must accompany the manuscript: $15 for NCWN members, $25 for nonmembers.

You may pay the member entry fee if you join the NCWN with your submission. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Entries will not be returned.

The winner is announced each April.

To submit online, go to Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($15 NCWN members / $25 non-members).

To submit by regular mail:
Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize
Great Smokies Writing Program
Attn: Nancy Williams
CPO #1860
UNC Asheville, NC 28805

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit

Newton Rec Youth Program Registration Continues Thru Jan. 30th

Newton, NC – The Newton Parks and Recreation Department will begin registration Jan. 5 for the 2015 youth baseball, youth spring soccer, and girls volleyball programs. Registration continues through January 30 for returning players and city residents.

Non-residents and late city registrants may sign up from Feb. 2 to March 13 for baseball and soccer. For volleyball, non-residents and late city registrants may sign up from Feb. 2 to Feb. 13.
All new participants must have a birth certificate on file or may visit the Newton Recreation Center for a registration packet. There is a $30 non-refundable fee for each player who lives outside the city. Registration is limited in each league. Once a league is full, registrants will be placed on a waiting list.

For more information, call the Newton Parks & Recreation Department at 828-695-4317.
Youth Baseball

Players must be at least 4 years old before the last day of registration and cannot turn 13 before May 1 to be eligible for participation.

Youth baseball leagues include: Tee-Ball for boys and girls ages 4-6, Bantam League for boys ages 7-8, Midget League for boys ages 9-10, and Little League for boys ages 11-12.

Youth Spring Soccer

Players must be at least four years old before the last day of registration and cannot turn 16 before Aug. 31 to be eligible for participation.

» Youth soccer leagues include: Mighty Mites Co-ed Soccer for ages 4-6, Bantam Boys Soccer for ages 7-8, Bantam Girls Soccer for ages 7-9, Midget Boys Soccer for ages 9-10, Midget Girls Soccer for ages 10-12, Little Boys Soccer ages 11-12, Junior Boys Soccer for ages 13-15, and Junior Girls Soccer for ages 13-15.

Youth Girls Volleyball

Players must be at least 9 years old before the last day of registration and cannot turn 17 before Aug. 31 to be eligible for participation.

» Youth girls volleyball leagues include: ages 9-11, ages 12-14 and ages 15-16.

Charlotte’s Discovery Place Has New, Low Cost Admissions

Charlotte, NC – Discovery Place, Inc. announced today the launch of Welcome, a new program that provides low-cost access to families with EBT or WIC cards.

Welcome will reduce the cost of admission to $1 per person for families who present EBT (electronic benefit transfer) or WIC (Women, Infants and Children) cards at Discovery Place, Charlotte Nature Museum or Discovery Place KIDS in Huntersville or Rockingham, for up to six family members. While this initiative provides families with accessibility, more importantly, Welcome is intended to celebrate the diversity of perspectives and ideas in the community and stimulate positive and progressive change in educational outcomes for Charlotte’s children.

"We inspire curiosity and creativity every day in the thousands of children and families that visit our Museums. Sadly, there are parts of our community who need our services most, and many have never had the chance to enter our doors," said Discovery Place, Inc. president and CEO, Catherine Wilson Horne. “Welcome will serve the whole community, creating the opportunity for learning experiences for all families because science and exploration should be for everyone, not just those who can afford it.”

Thanks to generous donors, Discovery Place, Inc. has always been able to provide scholarship assistance and reduced prices for school groups. Welcome will further those efforts by offering a new type of access where the whole family can experience Discovery Place, creating the opportunity for learning and positive experiences for all parts of the community. This creates a new return on investment for those donors who have supported the Discovery Place, Inc. mission over the years.

“If we are going to continue to grow economic mobility and educational fulfillment in our community, we need to engage the entire family with those educational opportunities.

This engagement is needed more than ever as we face a significant shortage in the science-literate workforce, and Discovery Place seeks to be part of the solution in changing this future,” said Horne.

To help launch the community access program, Discovery Place is working with organizations serving low-resource, high-risk populations, including Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, Loaves & Fishes, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool and others.

“Our children investigate S.T.EA.M. themes in our Discovery Room—a special classroom we named after Discovery Place. Now Welcome will enable our children and their parents to explore science and nature as a family in a playful setting,” said Claire Tate, Board Chair, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool.”

To redeem Welcome pricing, guests will only need to present their EBT or WIC card at Admissions at Discovery Place, Charlotte Nature Museum, Discovery Place KIDS-Huntersville or Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham. Through Welcome, Discovery Place, Inc. is participating in Museums for All, a national initiative of the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences.
About Discovery Place

One of the top hands-on science museums in the nation, Discovery Place provides ever-changing, entertaining facilities that engage people in the active exploration of science and nature. The Museum brings relevant, contemporary science to life through groundbreaking exhibitions, interactive educational programming and hands-on activities.

Discovery Place is located in uptown Charlotte at 301 N. Tryon Street. Convenient parking is available in the Museum’s parking deck – the Carol Grotnes Belk Complex – at the corner of Sixth and Church Streets. For more information about Discovery Place, call 704.372.6261, visit or connect with Discovery Place on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Discovery Place, Inc. owns and operates Discovery Place, Charlotte Nature Museum, Discovery Place KIDS-Huntersville and Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham and is supported, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council.

March 28, 2015, Is New Date Of Shakespeare Competition

Lenoir, NC - High school students from traditional, home and Christian schools in Caldwell and contiguous counties are invited to participate in the 3rd annual High School Shakespeare Monologue Competition sponsored by the Caldwell Arts Council and Caldwell County Schools.

This competition is an exciting way for students to increase their appreciation for language and to demonstrate their mastery of public speaking.

This year’s competitors are expected to memorize and recite a Shakespeare monologue of 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 minutes in length. Over $1,000 in cash awards will be presented. Details for participation are on the website:

Caldwell County students should contact their school’s office ASAP to determine the Shakespeare Monologue Competition coordinator in each school. Home school students and students from outside Caldwell County should contact the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-2486 or

Applications will be accepted now through March 6, 2015 – first come, first served on monologue selection.

The final competition will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at the JE Broyhill Civic Center.

For further information, please contact the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-2486 or

ReasonCon 2015 Tickets On Sale Now For April Event

Hickory – “It was beyond anything I would have imagined for such a small town. To see what these groups pulled together-created for themselves-was an inspiration. In fact, every time I turned around, I felt inspired this weekend. The people, the event, the attitudes and dedication-were all inspiring,” Tracie Harris, speaker at ReasonCon One in 2014.

ReasonCon is an event to showcase the existence of a secular community in the southeastern United States. It is a gathering of atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, believers, and everything in between to join the conversation about what it means to be secular, and the benefits for all in the continued and vigilant separation of church and state.

This is also an opportunity for people in the Hickory area to learn more about what it means to be an atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, etc. This year, ReasonCon 2015 is being hosted by the Hickory Humanist Alliance, a local chapter of the American Humanist Association with 2 affiliate groups of their own, which gather in the Hickory area once a month.

Over 400 people attended ReasonCon One, as it was called, in May of 2014. The event took place in the Crowne Plaza Hotel and featured a day full of speakers talking about everything from using analogies in explaining secularism to the question of the authenticity or existence of an historical Jesus.

ReasonCon 2015 will take place on April 24th and 25th, with a VIP dinner on Friday night at which attendees can meet, chat, and dine with the event’s guest speakers, and then a full lineup of speakers and other events throughout the day on Saturday.

Guest speakers will include: Tracie Harris and Beth Presswood of the Austin Atheists, both of whom frequently appear on The Atheist Experience television show; Ryan Bell, the pastor who decided to try a “year without God”; Heina Dadabhoy, a feminist secular humanist author and blogger; Phil Ferguson, founder of Champaign Urbana Freethinkers and investment advisor; and David Fitzgerald, author, activist, and co-founder & director of the world’s first Atheist Film Festival.

Tickets for ReasonCon 2015 are on sale at Those who purchase tickets after December 20, 2014 will pay full price. Official ReasonCon T-shirts will be available for separate purchase at a later date. In the meantime, follow @HickoryHumanist on Twitter, or Hickory Humanist Alliance on Facebook to get further updates, watch for #ReasonCon2015, see the ReasonCon 2015 trailer, and see sneak previews of the events.

Genealogy Workshop Thursdays Returns To Library

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.
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.

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.

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, 2015 PE Monroe, LRU—Resurrection featuring the Hickory Choral Society

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 @

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

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 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 or find the Meals on Wheels of Catawba County program on Facebook at!/MealsOnWheelsOfCatawbaCounty.

How To Get Your Event In Focus

Email a press release for your non-profit event, fundraiser, festival or other community event to 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 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

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 ( “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:, National Domestic Violence Hotline, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, 1-800-799-SAFE (7223), provides unbiased, advertising-free mental health information to give people the self-help options to help people understand, prevent, and resolve life’s challenges, 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, 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
Or contact Sean Jarman at 828-695-2134 or

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:

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