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Catawba Co. Public Health Offers Women Free Or

Low Cost Breast & Cervical Cancer Screenings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

· Uninsured or underinsured

· Without Medicare Part B or Medicaid

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

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

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

·Must reside in Catawba County

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

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

Vintage Jazz Dance Performs Winter Recital, Feb. 24

Valdese, NC - February 24, 2017, Vintage Jazz Dance, a dance studio specializing in dance styles from the 20's to today, is having their bi-annual student recital. This year’s theme is "Dance Around the World."

Come out and enjoy a night of spirited dances inspired from cultures around the world. Dancers will be performing French Can Can inspired ballet, Hula and Tahitian dances, as well as Jazz inspired by 1920s New Orleans, and much more!

We will be raffling off prizes including free dance classes and workshops for the upcoming session.

The show starts at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30pm) and all seats are $5 at the door or also available for presale. For more info, or to join a class check out www.vintagejazznc.com.
Photo: Dancers from Vintage Jazz Dance

Catawba Co. Democratic Party Precinct Meetings Begin Feb. 23

Hickory - The Catawba County Democratic Party (CCDP) will hold its annual precinct organization meetings for the 40 Catawba County precincts between Feb. 23 and March 7.

“Success in politics requires strong local organization,” said Marcus Williams, chair of the Catawba County Democratic Party. “The precinct, which is basically your extended neighborhood and in our county ranges in size from about 600 to 6,000 voters, is the most local unit in the American electoral system.”

The meetings, free of charge and open to all registered Democrats, group neighboring precincts and will be held at locations convenient to the precincts. For example, the Feb. 23 meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Sherrills Ford Library is for Democrats who live in Lake Norman (precinct #41), Sherrills Ford (#31), and Monogram (#21).

If you are unsure of your precinct, you can go to the North Carolina Board of Elections website and look yourself up using its Voter Lookup Tool. It will show your precinct’s name and number in the right column. Here’s that link: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/voter_search_public/.

The meetings will provide an overview of CCDP activities and elect delegates to the CCDP annual convention, which will be on April 8 in Conover.

Here are the meeting dates and locations.

Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m.
Sherrills Ford Library
9154 Sherrills Ford Rd., Terrell
#41 Lake Norman
#31 Sherrills Ford
#21 Monogram
Feb. 25, 10 a.m.
Conover Station
409 4th St. SE, Conover
#34 Startown
#20 Maiden
#9 East Maiden
#32 South Newton
Feb. 25, 10 a.m.
Conover Station
409 4th St. SE, Conover
#25 North Newton
#10 East Newton
#40 West Newton
#1 Balls Creek
Feb. 25, 10 a.m.
Conover Station
409 4th St. SE, Conover
#22 Mt. Olive
#5 Catawba
#6 Claremont
#8 Conover E.
#7 Conover W.
Feb. 27, 7:00 p.m.
CCDP HQ
1612 Tate Blvd. SE, Hickory
#27 Oxford
#33 Springs
#28 St. Stephens 1
#29 St. Stephens 2
Feb. 28, 7:00 p.m.
CCDP HQ
1612 Tate Blvd. SE, Hickory
#30 Sandy Ridge
#38 Falling Creek
#39 Northwest
#36 Viewmont 1
#37 Viewmont 2
March 4, 10:00 a.m.
CCDP HQ
1612 Tate Blvd. SE, Hickory
#15 Ridgeview
#13 Greenmont
#19 Longview S
#17 Longview N
# 4 Brookford
#35 Sweetwater
March 6, 7:00 p.m.
CCDP HQ
1612 Tate Blvd. SE, Hickory
#2 Banoak
#3 Blackburn
#23 Mt. View 1
#24 Mt. View 2
March 7, 7:00 p.m.
CCDP HQ
1612 Tate Blvd. SE, Hickory
#16 Highland
#12 Kenworth
#11 College Park
#14 Oakwood
#26 Oakland Heights

Full Circle Arts Seeks Artists For New Themed Exhibition, Now

Hickory - Full Circle Arts of Hickory is looking for artists in the greater Hickory area to enter work for a new themed exhibition entitled "Connections".

For our spring competition we decided to ask artists to expand their creativity and venture into the meaning of their artwork by using their interpretative skills in summoning up the idea of "Connections" in their work.

The show will run from March 16 until April 22, 2017. We believe that this theme will focus the artists and visitors to the show to concentrate more on the impact of the intentions of the artist to portray their ideas in their work than on any particular objects.

The show will be judged and juried for acceptance. We will be giving cash awards of $300, $200 and $100 for First, Second and Third place winners. Honorable Mentions will be awarded with ribbons. Artists are allowed to enter up to 3 works of art for a fee of $35 for non-members, $25 for patron and associate members and $10 for Exhibiting members. No work may be larger than 48" in any direction. All 2-D work must be framed or wrapped and properly wired for hanging. 3-D artwork must be on a base or pedestal. Artwork should be hand delivered to our gallery, 42-B Third Street NW, Hickory, Thurs. and Friday, Mar. 2nd and 3rd, 11am - 5pm and Sat., Mar. 4th, 10am - 2pm.

We will have an opening reception for the show on Thursday, March 16, 2017 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, where refreshments will be provided and awards presented.

Full Circle Arts will retain a 35% commission on any work sold for non-members, 30% for Associate Members and 20% for Exhibiting Members.

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

CVCC Hosts Annual Free Black History Celebration, Feb. 28

Hickory - Catawba Valley Community College’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and BB&T will hold its annual Black History Celebration Tues., Feb. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the college’s Tarlton Complex.

Keynote speakers Rep. Chaz Beasley and Shannon Clemmons will speak on the subject of “Being Black in America Today.”

Rep. Chaz Beasley

Beasley represents North Carolina's 92nd District in the General Assembly, which includes portions of Huntersville, Charlotte, Pineville and Steele Creek. Raised in Catawba County, Rep. Beasley grew up in a low-income, single-parent home. But thanks to a community that invested him and a quality North Carolina public school education, he was able to overcome the challenges of poverty. He graduated with honors from Harvard University and went on to earn a J.D. from Georgetown Law before launching a successful career as a finance attorney in Charlotte.

Clemons is the principal of Catawba Rosenwald Education Center where she is in her third year of service. From a long line of educators, Clemons has served as a teacher, school counselor and school administrator. She graduated from Maiden High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from North Carolina State University and a master’s in school counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University.

She is currently working on her doctorate in educational leadership at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She believes that working in education provides an opportunity to give back and help young people understand who they are, be responsible for their decisions, and become their best self.

Shannon Clemmons

Hickory native and CVCC alumnus Chad Bumgarner will have an exhibit featuring his two books “Chad’s Playbook to Effective Leadership” and “The Other Side of the Coin.” A 1997 graduate of CVCC, he earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership at Mercer University in Atlanta.

He has pursued a successful technology career working for the past 10 years. But his passion is motivational speaking, team building and leadership coaching. He launched his own leadership training group CDB Consulting in 2014.

Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church Mass Choir will provide musical entertainment. Food will be served prior to the formal ceremony.

Black History Celebration event partners include BB&T, CVCC Foundation, Inc., Education Matters in Catawba Valley, SkillsUSA, Challenger International Club, CVCC Students Striving for Success, CVCC Minority Males on the Move, and CVCC Rotaract Club.

Chad Bumgarner

The event is free to the community. If you have a disability and need accommodations, contact CVCC’s Counselor for Students with Disabilities at least 72 hours in advance to allow time to arrange the services at 828-327-7000, ext. 4222, or accommodations@cvcc.edu.

For more information about the Black History Celebration, call 828-327-7000, ext. 4578.

Newton Hosts Pickleball Free-Play, Tues. & Thurs.

Newton, NC - Looking for something fun to do during the day? Head to the Newton Parks and Recreation Department for Pickleball Free-Play.

Pickleball is a great sport for friends, co-workers, families, church members, classmates, senior groups, youth groups, and club members.

The fun runs from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at the Newton Recreation Center, 23 South Brady Ave.

Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis.

Players use a perforated plastic ball (like a whiffle ball) and wood or composite paddles.

It’s easy for beginners to learn, but it can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. Pickleball is also a great way to exercise - it’s soft on the joints but fast enough to keep players engaged.

The game has a social aspect as well, with good-natured banter back and forth between players.

For more information about Pickleball Free-Play, call the Newton Parks and Recreation Department at 828-695-4317.

Can You Help? Women’s Resource Center

Needs Items For Emergency Pantry

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hancock-Settlemyre Award Nominations Accepted Till 3/1

Conover, NC - Now is the time to submit nominations for the 2017 Hancock-Settlemyre Award, which is given each year by the Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center of Catawba County.

This prestigious award honors the individual, community, group or business whose efforts have reduced family stress and improved the quality of family life, thereby reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect in Catawba County.

The award was established in 1980 in honor of Dr. Millie Hancock Schumpert, a former Hickory physician, and Jean Settlemyre Tashman, former administrator of Frye Regional Medical Center, who were among the founders of the original Task Force for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect in Catawba County.

The nominee’s service to children must have been provided in Catawba County. The nominee must be recognized as directly responsible for improving the quality of life within the community.

Nomination forms may be downloaded at the CAPC’s website, which is www.catawbacountycapc.org. Applications must indicate whether the nomination is made for a community volunteer, or for a professional whose job includes working with or for children.

One letter of recommendation from a person who is familiar with the nominee’s service must also be included. The letter must explain how and why the service rendered by the nominee is extraordinary. The nomination must also include a list of results related to the service provided by the nominee.

All nomination materials for the Hancock-Settlemyre Award must reach the Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center by Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at 5 p.m.

If emailing, send to Connie Engart at cengart@catawbacountync.gov, or mail to CAPC, 4360 County Home Road, Conover, NC 28613, Attn: Connie Engart. Nominations may also be faxed to the CAPC at 828-256-7711.

The CAPC is a non-profit organization that works to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse and serious physical abuse. It coordinates the efforts of Catawba County Social Services, law enforcement, and the District Attorney's Office. You may call the center at 828-465-9296.

Old Salem Presents Black History Month Showcase Of Song, 2/25

Winston-Salem, NC – The St. Philips Heritage Center at Old Salem Museum & Gardens will present “Black History Month Showcase of Song” on Saturday, February 25 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the James A. Gray, Jr. Auditorium in the Old Salem Visitor Center (900 Old Salem Road). The event is free and open to the public.

Showcase of Song will feature African American music from various genres. Choirs and dance teams from area high schools, churches, universities, and the community organizations will sing and dance. Other genres of music that reveal the struggle and triumph of African Americans such as gospel and jazz was well as spoken word will be performed. For more information call 336-721-7300 or visit oldsalem.org.

Sign Up For Spring Youth Sports At Newton Rec By March 17

Newton, NC — Registration is now open at the Newton Parks and Recreation Department for girls volleyball, youth spring soccer, and youth baseball.

Girls Volleyball: To be eligible for participation, players must be at least 9 years old before the final day of registration and cannot turn 17 before Aug. 31. Youth girls volleyball leagues are available for girls ages 9-16. Registration is limited in each league. When a league is filled, registrants will be placed on a waiting list. The deadline to register is Feb. 24.

Boys and Girls Spring Soccer: To be eligible for participation, players must be at least 4 years old before the final day of registration and cannot turn 17 before Aug. 31. Youth spring soccer leagues will be available for boys and girls ages 4-16. Registration is limited in each league. When a league is filled, registrants will be placed on a waiting list. The deadline to register is March 1.

Boys and Girls Baseball: To be eligible for participation, players must be at least 4 years old before the final day of registration and cannot turn 12 before April 30.

Youth spring baseball leagues will be available for boys and girls ages 4-12. Registration is limited in each league. When a league is filled, registrants will be placed on a waiting list. The deadline to register is March 17.

To register for any of the above youth sports, each child must meet the following requirements:

» Submit a completed registration card signed by a parent or guardian.

» Have a birth certificate on file with the Recreation Department.

» Have emergency medical treatment and consent forms notarized and on file.

» Have a signed parental code of ethics on file.

» Provide proof of residency. If applicable, pay a $30 non-refundable non-resident fee.

» Return any loaned equipment from a previous sport.

For more information, contact the Newton Parks and Recreation Department at 828-695-4317.

CVCC Offers Furniture Made By Students For Sale

Newton, NC - The Catawba Valley Furniture Academy operated by Catawba Valley Community College has relocated to 973 Locust St. off US Hwy. 70 in Newton.

Sale of student produced upholstered furniture has also moved to this location. Sale hours are 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

A public/private partnership, between Catawba Valley Community College and major western N.C. furniture manufacturers, the unique training academy prepares a future workforce for immediate employment opportunities upon successful completion of the program.

Training is conducted in the evenings and is taught by skilled artisans employed by our local furniture manufacturers.

For more information about enrolling in the next class, contact Lori Price with CVCC’s Business & Industry Services, 828-327-7000, ext. 4284, lprice@cvcc.edu.

Catawba Co. Releases Plan For Making Area Senior Friendly

Hickory – The Catawba County Aging Coalition recently released its Aging Services Plan, which describes the growing number of older adults living in the county, as well as a plan for making the county more “senior friendly.”

Titled “Blazing a Trail for Successful Aging,” the document outlines plans for the period July 2016 through June 2020. It was developed by the Catawba County Aging Coalition, a group of local agencies that serve senior adults. Information that was used to develop the plan include demographic data, state and regional plans, as well as the results of a survey of local seniors, caregivers, and professionals who work with this population.

The document states that there is a huge demographic shift occurring across the nation. This change also affects Catawba County, where there are now more people age 60 and older than those under the age of 18. According to the N.C. Office of State Budget and Management, there were 34,392 county residents age 0-17 in 2000, and 35,512 in 2014. By contrast, there were 21,598 county residents who were 60 or older in 2000, and 59,413 such persons in 2014. There is also growth in the number of persons age 85 and older, with 1,790 such persons in 2000, and 2,672 in 2014.

This growth in the senior population is expected to continue. Contributing factors are the aging of the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964), and increases in lifespan. In addition, Catawba County continues to attract people from other areas who view the county as a good place to spend their retirement years.

In the county’s senior population (age 65 or older), 92.3 percent are white, 5.9 percent are black or African-American, .2 percent are American Indian or Alaska native; 1.1 percent are Asian, and 1.5 percent are of Hispanic or Latino origin.

In this group: 8 percent live below the poverty level; over 25 percent did not graduate from high school; over 25 percent live alone; 37 percent have a disability; and almost 22 percent are veterans. Their median household income is $33,524; 16.2 percent are in the labor force; and 86.4 percent own their homes.

The report emphases the importance of providing seniors with information about local resources. As part of this plan, the member agencies plan to publish resource guides for older adults. In addition, the group will hold an annual Senior Expo and distribute information through other events and publications.

The plan discusses the importance of programs that support older adults and their caregivers, support persons with dementia or Alzheimer’s, and advocate for mental health services for seniors. The plan also emphasizes the importance of empowering older adults to engage in a healthy lifestyle through wellness and fitness programs.

In addition, the plan emphasizes the importance of protecting the safety and rights of older and vulnerable adults by preventing their abuse, neglect and exploitation. The plan also describes efforts to involve seniors in volunteering and other forms of community engagement.

This report is an update of the original county aging plan, which was published in 2011. At that time, the Catawba County Aging Coalition was formed to monitor and assist with implementing the plan’s objectives.

The following organizations are represented in the aging coalition: Western Piedmont Council of Governments, Catawba County Department of Social Services, Adult Life Programs, Hickory Public Library, Senior Information Resources (SIR), Catawba Council on Aging, Neighbors Network, Palliative Care Center and Hospice of Catawba Valley, and United Church Homes and Services.

You may read the entire plan by going to http://www.catawbacountync.gov/dss/documents/2016agingplan.pdf.

New Alert System To Help Hickory Area Families Find

Missing Seniors With Alzheimer’s

Hickory – One of the worst scenarios for families caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease is a loved one wandering or getting lost. It causes immediate panic and concern, and unfortunately happens all too often. In fact, nearly 50 percent of some of these family members have experienced a loved one with Alzheimer’s wandering or getting lost[i], according to a new survey conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network. Of those, nearly one in five called the police for assistance. To help families keep their loved ones safe, the Home Instead Senior Care network has launched a free tool, the Missing Senior NetworkSM, now available in the Unifour Area.

Found at www.MissingSeniorNetwork.com, the platform enables family caregivers to alert a network of friends, family and businesses to be on the lookout for a missing senior. The service provides a way to alert the network of a missing senior via text or email. Families can also choose to post an alert to the Home Instead Remember for Alzheimer’s Facebook page, connected to 270,000 followers.

“These frightening occurrences lead families to call our office and ask for help,” said Susan Saylor of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Hickory, Lenoir and Morganton. “This resource was created to help Unifour area families understand the risk of wandering and have a tool that empowers them to quickly take action if a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia wanders.”

The Missing Senior Network is part of Home Instead Senior Care network’s new Prevent WanderingSM program, which includes resources such as insight into what may trigger wandering events, steps families can take to help keep their loved ones safe, and tips on what to do if a wandering event occurs.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, anyone living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia is at risk of wandering.

“Wandering can happen at any time, and not just on foot someone in a car or even a wheelchair could wander,” said Monica Moreno, director of Early Stage Initiatives for the Alzheimer’s Association. “A person may want to go back to a former job he or she had, even though that job may no longer exist. Or, someone may have a personal need that must be met. There’s always a purpose and intent. It’s just a matter of identifying the triggers.”

Family caregivers should be aware of the following common triggers that may cause someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia to wander:

1. Delusions or hallucinations. Those living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia may misinterpret sights or sounds, causing them to feel fearful and wander to escape their environment.

2. Overstimulation. Individuals living with dementia can become easily upset in noisy or crowded environments, triggering them to look for an escape from the chaos.

3. Fatigue, especially during late afternoons and evenings. Individuals living with dementia may become tired, causing restless pacing and, eventually, wandering.

4. Disorientation to place and time. Individuals may not recognize they are home and seek to return to a familiar place, such as a former workplace.

5. Change in routine. Individuals living with dementia may become confused following a change of routine, wandering in an effort to return to a familiar place.

“We understand the topic of wandering is something many families coping with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia may avoid discussing,” said Saylor. “It’s important for families to understand the potential triggers for wandering and have a plan in place to help keep their loved ones safe.”

For additional tips and program resources, visit www.PreventWandering.com, or contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office serving Hickory, Lenoir and Morganton to learn how family caregivers can help prevent and respond to wandering. You may reach them at www.homeinstead.com/628 or call 828-256-0184.

To access the Missing Senior Network, visit www.MissingSeniorNetwork.com.

Those living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, could be at risk of wandering, which is why it’s important to watch for these common signs.

1. The disease itself. Anyone with dementia is at risk of wandering. This behavior can affect individuals in all stages as long as that person is mobile.

2. Trouble navigating familiar places. A desire to get to a certain place could prompt individuals with Alzheimer’s to go in search of where they feel they need or want to be.

3. Talk about fulfilling nonexistent obligations. If Dad keeps discussing going back to work, or Mom is talking about taking the baby – who is now an adult – to the doctor, a loved one could be at risk of wandering.

4. Agitation during the late afternoon or early evening. Sometimes referred to as “Sundowning,” individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias often become agitated and restless, even pacing, as fatigue sets in and are at greater risk of wandering.

5. Wanting to go home when they’re already there. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease often go looking for home when they are already there.

6. Unmet needs. If a loved one wants to go to the bathroom, but can’t find where it is, that individual is at greater risk of wandering.

Rescue Ranch Annual Garage Sale Is Sat., February 25

Statesville, NC – Rescue Ranch will host its annual Rummage The Ranch Garage Sale, Saturday, February 25 from 7 a.m. – noon.

The “Last Call Bag Sale” will run from 11:30 a.m. to noon. For $5, Rescue Ranch will provide a bag to shoppers with a “if it fits you get it” policy.

The indoor garage sale, located at Rescue Ranch, 1424 Turnersburg Highway in Statesville, will feature new and gently-used children’s toys, clothing for the whole family, electronics, furniture, home décor, kitchen items, sporting gear and more.

Those interested in donating items to the sale can drop them off at Rescue Ranch from February 1 through February 21, Monday-Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Participants will receive a tax deduction for all donations.

“Thanks to the great response from the community, we’ve decided to host two rummage sales in 2017 – one in the winter and another in the summer,” said Krissie Newman, co-founder and president of the nonprofit organization. “This is a great time to grab some unique items at a great price, all while supporting Rescue Ranch’s programs and animal ambassadors.”

All proceeds from the sale benefit Rescue Ranch’s mission. The nonprofit animal welfare organization promotes respect for all animals through education; is committed to agricultural, environmental and wildlife conservation; and facilitates rehabilitation, rescue and responsible pet ownership in order to enhance the human-animal bond.

For more information on the February Rummage at the Ranch Garage Sale, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/389464868055203/.

About Rescue Ranch:

Rescue Ranch is a nonprofit animal welfare organization founded by Krissie Newman and her husband, NASCAR driver Ryan Newman. The 87-acre facility offers school, Scout and camp programs, birthday parties and private tours, which promote humane education through hands-on learning. Rescue Ranch is located in Statesville, North Carolina - less than an hour from Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Hickory.

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

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

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

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

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

Life Line Screening At Newton Rec Center On Wed., March 1

Newton, NC – Life Line Screening, a leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings, is pleased to offer a preventive health event at Newton Recreation Center on Wednesday, March 1.

Five screenings will be offered that scan for the following potential health problems:

Blocked arteries, which are a leading cause of stroke

Abdominal aortic aneurysms, which can lead to a ruptured aorta

Hardening of the arteries in the legs, which is a strong predictor of heart disease

Atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat, which are closely tied to stroke risk

Bone density screening, which is used to assess the risk of osteoporosis in men and women

Registration for the Wellness Package, which includes the four vascular tests and an osteoporosis screening, is $149 ($139 with a member discount). All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. Screenings will be at the Newton Recreation Center, 23 South Brady Ave.

To register for this event and to receive a $10 discount off any package prices above $129, call 888-653-6441 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/community circle.

For more information, please call the Newton Recreation Department at 828-695-4317.

Statesville’s Spring Art Crawl Issues Call For Artists Until April 7

Statesville, NC - The Spring Art Crawl in Downtown Statesville is right around the corner! The 2017 Art Crawl is set for April 28 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm and will highlight more than 75 artists in over 30 different galleries, shops, and businesses scattered throughout the heart of Downtown Statesville.

Artists who are interested in participating in the Spring Art Crawl should submit their application and artist fee no later than April 7, 2017.

The application is available on our website www.downtownstatesvillenc.org/resources. Complete the PDF application electronically and email to info@downtownstatesvillenc.org. You may also print the application and return to our office directly at Downtown Statesville Development Corporation (located at 112 S. Center Street), or mail it to PO Box 205, Statesville, NC 28687. Please be sure to include the $20 artist fee with a check payable to Downtown Statesville Development Corporation, or pay online at www.downtownstatesvillenc.org/tickets.

All artists must submit three images of your work for consideration. Submissions may be by e-mail (info@downtownstatesvillenc.org) or mail to P.O. Box 205, Statesville, NC 28687. If you want your material returned, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope to fit your juried material. All work displayed at the Art Crawl must be original fine art created by the applicant.

We look forward to seeing the talent in and around our community!

City Of Hickory Community Relations Offering

Grants To Qualified Groups & Individuals

Hickory – The City of Hickory Community Relations Council (CRC) is currently seeking projects to fund for the current year and is inviting qualified groups or individuals to submit grant requests.

Every spring and fall, the CRC allows businesses, organizations, and individuals to apply for the CRC grants. Priority will generally be given to projects that are designed to deliver the greatest impact on positive human relations, that are most effective in bringing different sub-communities of Hickory together, and that provide services and resources to the people who can most benefit. Agencies are encouraged to partner with each other to avoid duplication of services and to maximize efficiency in delivering needed services.

CRC Chair, Clise Plant, said, “We look forward to opening up our Spring Grant Cycle to the many organizations that serve the City of Hickory." The grant application should be completed in full, approved by the director of the agency, and submitted to the CRC, care of the address on the application. Applications are reviewed twice a year. The deadline for submitting for the spring 2017 grant cycle is Friday, March 3 at noon.

Applicants may include any 501(c)(3) or otherwise tax exempt organizations.

Funds from the CRC are provided by the City of Hickory and may not be used to pay salaries or to construct buildings, and will not be used to promote a particular political or religious point of view. Funds may be used for contracts for services and/or specific honoraria.

A report on the use of the funds is required from recipient groups. The CRC reserves the right to request an audit of funds allocated to ensure proper use. Projects may be funded partially or in full; however, priority will be given to projects for which matching funds are available.

Agencies receiving grant funding are asked to acknowledge the grant from the City of Hickory CRC in their publicity materials. A City of Hickory logo and a CRC logo will be provided for inclusion on all promotional materials.

Anyone submitting an application is asked to submit 17 copies of the grant request.

Applications can be found online at http://www.hickorync.gov/content/community-relations-council.

For more information, please call staff liaison, Chief Thurman Whisnant at the City of Hickory Police Department, at (828) 261-2605 or email twhisnant@hickorync.gov.

Our Savior Lutheran’s Annual Chicken Pie Dinner Is Feb. 25

Hickory - Our Savior Lutheran Church’s Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) announces their annual chicken pie dinner on Saturday, February 25 beginning at 5 p.m. The dinner will include chicken pie, rice/gravy, green beans, slaw, drinks, and homemade desserts. Prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under. Takeout plates will also be available.

The church is located at 2160 35th Avenue Dr. NE in Hickory off Kool Park Road and opposite Clyde Campbell Elementary School. Please mark your calendars to join us for a delicious meal and great fellowship. All proceeds from this event will benefit the church’s building fund and the LWML mission programs.

Contact Information: Our Savior Lutheran Church, www.oursaviorlutheranchurchhickory.org

Benefit For Manuel Johnson Sat., Mar. 4, At East Lincoln Speedway

Lincolnton, NC - East Lincoln Speedway, located in Stanley, has been leased for one day, Saturday, March 4, for fans, friends, family and drivers to raise funds for a local resident, forty-seven-year-old Manuel Johnson in his battle against Stage IV brain cancer. Manuel will be facing a mountain of medical bills, including radiation, chemotherapy, hospitalization, surgical and doctor bills throughout his ordeal, so hopes are that whatever funds are raised will be one less trial he has to face.

Manuel attended East Gaston High School, where his daughter Shelby is currently a sophomore. He has been employed by LeeBoy in Denver, and is a member of Alexander Memorial Baptist Church. He has been racing dirt tracks for years, driving in most divisions, and winning numerous races and championships. Affectionately known as "Manny", last year he worked as the tech man at East Lincoln, and was known to be honest and fair to all drivers in a sometimes thankless job, but always with his ever-present smile.

Manuel's supporters have been meeting for weeks now to orchestrate the event. There will be six divisions making up the race day, including Open-Wheel Modified, Renegade, 4-Cylinder, Thunder Bombers, 4-Wheel-Drive, and Late Model. Practice begins around noon, with main events starting at 1:00 p.m. There will be no purse, as all proceeds will go to the benefit fund. Gates open at 8:30 and tickets are $10 for the stands and $20 for the pits. Rain date is March 18.

Volunteers will be on hand at the event to sell hot dogs, BBQ, drinks, chips and desserts. There will also be a silent auction during the day, and live entertainment from 10:00 until noon.

East Lincoln Speedway is a family-friendly facility, and is hoping that all attending will have a day of down-home Southern-style fun---and at the same time share hearts, prayers and support for one of our own.

Advance tickets will be available. The contact person is Tim Sigmon at 704-617-4550. Please leave a message if he cannot be reached right away. Thank you for supporting this important event and for spreading the word.

CVCC Job Fair Is Set For Tuesday March 14, 1-4pm

Hickory - Catawba Valley Community College will host its annual Job Fair Tues., March 14, 1 to 4 p.m., in the Tarlton Complex on the Main Campus located at 2550 Hwy. 70 SE in Hickory.

More than 50 employers, including manufacturers, healthcare, retailers, insurance companies, automotive, camps, and other companies, traditionally attend.

Job Fair information and employer registration can be found at http://www.cvcc.edu/Services/Career_Services/job-fair.cfm .

The CVCC Job Fair is a collaborative effort between CVCC, the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, NCWorks Career Center-Catawba, Catawba County Department of Social Services, Lenoir-Rhyne University and the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

The Job Fair is open to the general public and FREE for both employers and job seekers.

Catawba Valley Hospice Seeks Volunteers For March Session

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 care for residents throughout ten local counties, and the need for patient support extends throughout the area, offering folks 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.

Currently, CRH is seeking volunteers to meet three primary needs:

• Visiting patients in homes and facilities to offer companionship,

• Greeting visitors at the Catawba Valley and Sherrills Ford hospice houses,

• Giving patients a boost by cutting their hair (certified stylists only, please).

The next training session will be held at Catawba Regional Hospice’s main campus (3975 Robinson Road, Newton, NC 28658) on Saturday, March 4 (9am-5pm) and will continue on Monday, March 6 (5:30pm-8:30pm). There is no fee for the training.

The session 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 supply administrative support, provide respite for caregivers, offer companionship to patients, and help in other meaningful ways.

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

About the Organization:

Catawba Regional Hospice, founded in 1979 as one of North Carolina’s original three hospices, 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.

Friends Of Hickory Library Set Two Book Sales, Feb. 4 & Mar. 4

Hickory - Friends of Hickory Public Library are holding two special book sales to clear out extra inventory. Book sales will be held on the first floor at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library on Saturday, February 4 and Saturday, March 4. The public is invited to shop from 9:30am until 2:30pm on both days. Whatever your interests are, you’ll find great selections, with all items priced at $1.00.

The Friends of Hickory Public Library have been holding book sales for more than twenty years, using funds to support both Patrick Beaver Memorial Library and Ridgeview Branch Library. Funds are used to support the programs and services of Hickory Public Library, including summer reading programs, author visits, and the Friends’ annual bookmark contest.

The community is also encouraged to visit the Friends Book Sale Corner, open every day during the Library’s regular operating hours at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library. You’re sure to find something interesting or delightful while helping to support your public library! For information about book donations, Friends membership, or volunteer opportunities, call 304-0500.

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is located at 375 3rd Street NE in Hickory.

Farce Of Nature Opens At HUB On Thursday, March 23

Hudson, NC - Join us for our spring comedy dinner theatre production, “Farce of Nature!” The non-stop hilarity of this Southern-fried farce highlights one day in the life of the Wilburn family of Mayhew, Arkansas.

Meet D. Gene Wilburn, (Stephen Starnes), the owner and proprietor of the Reel 'Em Inn, the finest little fishing lodge in the Ozarks. Well, it used to be, but lately business is down, tourists are few, and the lone guest who's just checked in—an extremely jittery Carmine DeLuca, (Adam Lowery), from Chicago—is only there due to a location shift in the Witness Protection Program.

Doesn't anybody just want to fish anymore? Certainly not D. Gene's frustrated wife, Wanelle, (Angie Warren), who's fed up with their lackluster romantic life. She's taken drastic steps to improve it through hypnotic suggestion and, for the life of him, D. Gene cannot understand why his pants keep falling down. D. Gene's feisty sister Maxie, (Carolyn Icard), has her own problems, chief among them battling ageism to resume her career in law enforcement. She's determined to prove her worth by keeping Carmine DeLuca alive through the weekend—a task that's going to prove to be much harder than she bargained for since she keeps losing both her gun and the bullets. And she never anticipated that the gangster Carmine's been dodging for the last five years, Sonny Barbosa, (Doug McCowan), is about to walk through the door, in hot pursuit of his sexy wife, Lola, (Emma Lee Kurts).

Seems the headstrong Lola has driven hundreds of miles to the lodge to follow her boy toy, D. Gene and Wanelle's son Ty, (Nick Chamberlain). But Lola meets her match in Ty's seemingly innocent girlfriend, Jenna, (Tera Enloe), whose patience has reached the breaking point after months of waiting for Ty to come home. In the deliciously funny romp that ensues, they all hide, lie, disguise themselves, cross-dress, and slam doors chasing one another, while trying to figure out the source of an increasingly awful stench. By then it's too late and the lodge is surrounded by vicious critters and hungry varmints that have followed the odor down from the hills.

Yet by the delightfully chaotic climax of this one outrageous day, love blossoms, truths are revealed, and the lives of all—family, guests and gangsters alike—change in incredible and surprising ways. This side-splittingly funny Jones, Hope, Wooten comedy is guaranteed to win you over—hook, line, and sinker!

The show will be performed at the Hudson Uptown Building (HUB) 145 Cedar Valley Road, Hudson on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 23rd, 24th, 25th, 30th, 31st and April 1st. The show will be presented at 7:30 PM, preceded by dinner at 6:30 PM.

Dinner will be catered by Dan’l Boone Inn. Tickets are $30 for dinner and the show, $15 for the show only. Tickets go on sale, Monday, February 6th and may be obtained by visiting the HUB Box Office at 145 Cedar Valley Road, or by calling 726-8871. The box office is open 8:30 until 12:30 and 1:30 until 5:00 Monday through Friday. All ticket sales are final.

Cast of Farce of Nature from left to right in the attached photo: Emma Lee Kurts, Nick Chamberlain, Tera Enloe, Adam Lowery, Carolyn Icard, Doug McCowan, Angie Warren, Stephen Starnes, Briana Adhikusuma

Call For Artists For RockyFest, On Saturday, April 22

Hiddenite, NC - Vendor applications are currently being accepted for the 5th Annual RockyFest being held on Saturday, April 22 at Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area (Rocky Face Park) in Alexander County.

Fees for vendors are non-profit ($0), arts/crafts ($25), commercial ($35), and food ($75) vendors. The vendor application is now available online at http://rockyfacepark.com/rockyfest-vendor-application/ Once submitted, vendor applications will be reviewed by staff to ensure a good fit with the event. Vendors will need to be set up by 9:00 a.m. on event day. Applications will be taken until April 10, 2017.

Sponsorships are also being accepted for RockyFest 2017. If your business or organization would like to be a sponsor of this event, sponsorship levels are: $250 (bronze), $500 (silver), $1,000 (gold), and $5,000 (platinum). Gold, silver, and bronze sponsors will be listed on event t-shirts, posters, and promoted in event coverage.

Other events during the day-long festival include the RockyFest 2017 5K/10K/20K trail races. For complete race details and online registration, visit www.alexandercountync.gov/events or contact Rick French at (828) 632-9332 or rfrench@alexandercountync.gov.

Free rock climbing and rappelling sessions begin at 10:00 a.m. and will be offered throughout the day by Rock Dimensions Climbing Guides of Boone.

Children’s activities/inflatables, food, and vendors will be available from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Live music will run from 10:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. RockyFest will feature a mix of traditional and roots music that encompasses folk, blues, contemporary acoustic, country, jazz, and bluegrass. There will also be a “picking tent” where regional “unplugged” musicians can gather and play.

For more information about RockyFest 2017, visit www.rockyfacepark.com/rockyfest or call (828) 632-1093.

Join the fun on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/events/419021705153295/

CVCC Job Fair Is Set For Tuesday March 14, 1-4pm

Hickory - Catawba Valley Community College will host its annual Job Fair Tues., March 14, 1 to 4 p.m., in the Tarlton Complex on the Main Campus located at 2550 Hwy. 70 SE in Hickory.

More than 50 employers, including manufacturers, healthcare, retailers, insurance companies, automotive, camps, and other companies, traditionally attend.

Job Fair information and employer registration can be found at http://www.cvcc.edu/Services/Career_Services/job-fair.cfm .

The CVCC Job Fair is a collaborative effort between CVCC, the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, NCWorks Career Center-Catawba, Catawba County Department of Social Services, Lenoir-Rhyne University and the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

The Job Fair is open to the general public and FREE for both employers and job seekers.

Seniors Morning Out In February Features Black History

Month Programs, Valentine Parties & More!

Hickory – Seniors Morning Out participants will enjoy a variety of activities in February, including Valentine’s Day parties, musical entertainment, and programs on Black History Month.

Any resident of Catawba County who is 60 or better is invited to join Seniors Morning Out, which is held between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday at five convenient locations. A hot, balanced lunch is served each day. Programs are free to participants, who may pick and choose which days to attend. Bus transportation to and from the sites is available in some locations.

On Feb. 16, participants at the Newton location will make ink art, guided by Ellen Ball, a local artist and jewelry maker. Her program 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.

Other program highlights are as follows.

At the Newton site, located at First Presbyterian Church, 701 N. Main Ave., Newton: Feb. 7, Celebrate Black History Month with the Rev. David Roberts of Morning Star First Baptist Church and Choir; Feb. 13, How Advertisers Get Us to Buy Things by Ann Simmons of the Catawba County Cooperative Extension Service; Feb. 14: Valentine’s Party. Wear red or pink.; Feb. 21, Music by Sentimental Journey; Feb. 23, Make Easy Salted Caramel Apple Tart; Feb. 27, Tax Relief for Homeowners by Cho Lor of the Catawba County Tax Office. If you would like to participate in any of these activities, call Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133 at least two days in advance.

At the West Hickory site, located at the West Hickory Senior Center, 400 17th St. SW, Hickory: Feb. 1, Low Income Subsidy for Prescription Drug Plans with Vickie Blevins; Feb. 6, Make Valentine Lollipops with Shanda Nichols and Judy Stowe; Feb. 7: Suicide in Older Adults; Feb. 8, Celebrate Children’s Authors and Illustrator’s Week with Thelma Fields and Shanda Nichols; Feb. 9, Family Feud and dancing to the music of Sentimental Journey; Feb. 14-15, Tie Dying with Vickie Smith; Feb. 22: Black History with Mary Young of Friendship Baptist Church; Feb. 23, Family Feud and Birthday Party with entertainment by Charles Ballard. If you would like to participate in any of these activities, contact Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746 at least two days in advance.

At the East Hickory site, located at Huntington Hills Church of God, 2123 Fifth St. NE, Hickory: Feb. 1: music by Sentimental Journey; Feb. 13, Making easy sweetheart cookies and bingo; Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day party; Feb. 16: Food Borne Illness: Rethinking Your Food Handling Habits by Ann Simmons, Catawba County Cooperative Extension Service; Feb. 27, National Grapefruit Month with samples and nutrient facts. If you would like to participate in any of these activities, contact Rita Pritchard at least two days in advance by calling 828-320-5963.

At the Catawba SMO site, located at Center United Methodist Church, 4945 Sherrills Ford Road, Catawba: Feb. 1, Black History in Catawba County by Weddie L. Gabriel; Feb. 7: Bowling at Pin Station and Shopping at Conover Walmart; Feb. 9, Making Valentine Cards; Feb. 16, Music by Sentimental Journey; Feb. 20, Vision Problems in the Elderly by Wendy Thomas; Feb. 22, Shopping at Dollar Tree in Hickory and lunch at Harbor Inn Seafood. If you would like to participate in any of these activities, call Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434 at least two days in advance.

At the Maiden site, located at the Maiden Community Center, East Second Street and Klutz Street, Maiden: Feb. 2, Make Valentine Strawberry Hearts; Feb. 8, Senior Financial Exploitation and Physical Abuse by attorney Denise Lockett; Feb. 14: Valentine party and bingo; Feb. 15: Program by Maiden Elementary fourth-graders; Feb. 16: Bipolar Disorder with Terry Spencer; Feb. 27, Captel Phones for Seniors by Ashley Trotter of Sprint phone company; Feb. 28, Music by Sentimental Journey. If you would like to attend any of these programs, please call Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966 at least two days in advance.

Seniors Morning Out is operated by Senior Nutrition Services of Catawba County Social Services. In addition to SMO, Senior Nutrition Services operates Meals on Wheels and related programs in the county. Additional volunteers are urgently needed to deliver Meals on Wheels. You can volunteer as little as one and a half hours a month. To find out more, contact Senior Nutrition at 828-695-5610 during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for holidays. For the latest updates, like their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty, or visit their website at http://www.MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty.org.

LRU Welcomes Animal Expert Jack Hannah On March 27

Hickory – Lenoir-Rhyne University will welcome Jack Hanna to its Hickory campus on Monday, March 27 at 7 p.m. in Shuford Memorial Gymnasium. The famous animal expert and conservationist will share the stage with a variety of his favorite animal ambassadors. The doors for the event will open at 6 p.m. and Hanna will be available for autographs beginning at 6:15 p.m. This is Hanna’s second visit to LRU; over 1,300 guests enjoyed his first appearance in October of 2011.

Tickets for the event are $15 per person and can be purchased at the University Box Office beginning Monday, February 6.

Jack Hannah with a baby tiger

“We are very excited to welcome Jack Hanna back to LRU,” said Assistant Provost and Dean of Student Life, Katie Fisher. “He has dedicated his life to the awareness and conservation of the animal kingdom. We consider it a privilege to be able to hear, firsthand, about his experiences and learn about the array of animals he will bring to LR.”

“Since Jack’s visit in 2011, we have had countless requests to bring him back to campus,” Fisher said. “His love of animals and passion for wildlife conservation is contagious, and his presentations are energizing, enlightening, as well as entertaining. We hope our campus and community members will fill the gymnasium to welcome Jack and take advantage of this unique opportunity.” Fisher added that school and youth groups and other organizations are encouraged to attend.

Jungle Jack Hanna explores the corners of the globe as one of the most respected animal ambassadors. His enthusiasm and “hands-on” approach to wildlife conservation has won him widespread acclaim as a conservationist, television personality, author and Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and the Wilds.

Recognized as America’s favorite zookeeper, Hanna has made countless television appearances on shows such as Good Morning America, The Late Show with David Letterman, Fox News programs, and CNN News programs. Hanna took his infectious energy to the airwaves by creating three nationally televised programs.

Hannah with a young snow leopard

Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures ran for 10 years and is still currently in syndication. Most recently, the Columbus Zoo and Nationwide Insurance have partnered to sponsor the Emmy Award winning Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild and a show on ABC, Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit lr.edu/jackhanna. The LR Box Office is located at the entrance of P.E. Monroe Auditorium and is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased with credit card or cash at the LR Box Office in person or by telephone at 828.328.7206. Discounts and group rates will not apply for this event. Requests for hearing impaired services should be made two weeks in advance of the event by calling 828.328.3296. The Shuford Gymnasium is handicapped accessible.

Hickory PD Polar Bear Plunge For Special Olympics Is March 4

Hickory – Want to get a warm fuzzy from something extremely cold? Come join us at the 12th Annual Polar Plunge!

The Hickory Police Department will be hosting the 12th Annual Polar Plunge on Saturday, March 4, 2017 to benefit the Special Olympics of North Carolina. The event will be held at the Wittenburg Wildlife Access on Lake Hickory. Registration will begin at 11:00am with the actual plunge being at 1:00pm. A minimum donation of $50.00 is required to take the plunge. All plungers will receive a free Polar Plunge t-shirt. (To pre-register, contact Sgt. Randy Isenhour at risenhour@hickorync.gov 828-261-2674 OR Chrystal Dieter at cdieter@hickorync.gov 828-261-2642)

Warm campers will be available for changing clothes and coffee, hot chocolate, doughnuts will be offered as well for plungers. DJ Ryan Carswell will provide entertainment for the day.

Special thanks to our local businesses and organizations for their assistance in making this event a success: Krispy Kreme, Lake Hickory Scuba Center, Sunrise Camping Center, Sunbelt Rentals, DJ Ryan Carswell, Valley Rentals, Hickory Crawdads, Texas Roadhouse, Push America (Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity of Lenoir Rhyne University) Elk’s Lodge, Sheetz and Lamar Advertising.

To register on-line and create your own donation collection page visit: https://www.firstgiving.com/sonc/HickoryPD-PolarPlunge#

Lincolnton Lions Are Recycling Eyeglasses

For Those In Need - Read Below, Donate Today

Lincolnton- While you were making preparation to decorate your home for the Christmas and Hanukkah season, did you find in your dresser drawer, attic, or garage a pair (s) of unwanted eyeglasses? But don’t know what to do with them? Why not donate, deposit, and recycle them in one of the LIONS RECYCLE FOR SIGHT boxes strategically at various businesses throughout Cherryville, Denver, and Lincolnton by the Lincolnton Lions Club?

• Did you realize your unwanted pair(s) of eyeglasses can make a drastic change in another person’s life? Imagine if you could help a child read. An adult succeed in his job. A senior citizen maintain their independence. Every day, your recyclable eyeglasses can do all of this and more. Unfortunately, state and federal public health laws prevent recyclable eyeglasses to be used in the USA. That’s why they are distributed to people in developing countries throughout the world

• What type of eye wear does the Lions Club accept? New, used, prescription children and adult eyeglasses, safety glasses and prescription and non-prescription sunglasses. Broken or incomplete glasses are not accepted. Concerns about possible eye infections prevents contact lens can not be recycled.

• What happens after your have donated, deposited, and recycled eyeglasses in a LIONS RECYCLE FOR SIGHT BOX? Upon receipt of your unwanted eyeglasses , Lions count, sort by type/style, and transports them to NC Lions, headquarters at Camp Dogwood in Sherrills Ford. Your glasses will be shipped to one of 18 Lions Eyeglasses Recycling Centers to cleaned, sort by prescription strengthen, and packaged for overseas distribution. Remember there is great demand for prescription and non-prescription sunglasses by developing countries close to the Equator.

• What Cherryville, Denver and Lincolnton businesses either have LIONS RECYCLE FOR SIGHT boxes strategically placed for people to donate, deposit or agreed to collect recyclable eyeglasses for the Lincolnton Lions Club?

Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, and Vision Care Centers: 1) Advanced Family Eye Care- 7547 Waterside Loop Road, Suite A ( Denver); 2) Carolina Eye Care - 231 North General’s Blvd. (Lincolnton) and 623 North Highway 16 (Denver); 3) Cherryville Eye Care 201 West Church Street (Cherryville); 4) Lincoln Eye Center - 110 Doctor’s Park ( Lincolnton); 5) Graystone Ophthalmology Associates- 2311 East Main Street (Lincolnton); and 6) Wal-Mart Vision Center- 306 North General’s Blvd. (Lincolnton).

Drug Stores & Pharmacies: 1) The Drug Store- 625 Center Drive (Lincolnton) and 2) Keever Pharmacy- 102 Doctor’s Park (Lincolnton).

Funeral Homes 1) Carpenter-Porter Funeral Home & Cremation Services- 1100 East Main Street (Cherryville); 2) EF Drum Funeral Home- 210 North Academy Street (Lincolnton); 3) Good Samaritan Funeral Home- 3362 North Highway 16 (Denver); and 4) Warlick Funeral Home- 125 Dave Warlick Drive (Lincolnton).

Where There’s A NEED. There’s a LION. When it comes to meeting challenges,

Lions Club International response is simple “WE SERVE.” Found in 1917 by Melvin Jones, an insurance executive in Chicago, Illinois, LIONS CLUB INTERNATIONAL, the world’s largest co-educational service organization, has over 1.4 million members in over 46,000 clubs in 210 counties and geographic areas around the globe.

Lions are friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers who share a core belief –community is what we make it. Lions believe that the world gets better and problems get smaller when people unite to serve their local, and global community. Lions help where help is needed-in their own communities and around the world- with unmatched integrity and energy. Lions have opportunities to serve neighbors and people on the other side of the world whom they may never meet. Some ways LIONS CLUB INTERNATIONAL serves and conducts their service projects/programs through sight conservation, health screening, volunteering with youth, hunger programs, community/ environmental and disaster relief.

The Lincolnton Lions Club meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. on the campus of Carolinas Health Care System- Lincoln in their Medical Plaza I’s Elm Classroom. Although the local Lions Club are continuously looking for dedicated community mind men and ladies to join their ranks, and assist with their various service projects and fund raisers, membership is by invitation. For more information regarding Lions Club International, NC Lions, Inc. please check out their websites:

LIONS CLUB INTERNATIONAL- http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/index.php
NORTH CAROLINA LIONS, INC.- http://nclionsinc.org/

HS Shakespeare Monologue Competition Is Sat., April 8

Lenoir, NC - High school students from traditional, home and private schools in Caldwell and contiguous counties are invited to participate in the 5th Annual High School Shakespeare Monologue Competition sponsored by the Caldwell Arts Council and Caldwell County Schools.

Over $1,000 in cash awards will be presented. Details for participation are on the website: http://www.caldwellarts.com/227-shakespeare-monologue-competition/.

Caldwell County students should contact their school’s office ASAP to find the Shakespeare Monologue Competition coordinator in each school. Private school, home school and students from outside Caldwell County should register directly with the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-2486 or info@caldwellarts.com.

Applications will be accepted now through March 10, 2017 – first come, first served on monologue selection.

The final competition will be held April 8, 2017, 12:30p.m. at the JE Broyhill Civic Center.

For further information, please contact the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-2486 or info@caldwellarts.com.

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

Newton-Conover Bach’s Lunch ‘N’ Listen Tickets On Sale Now!

Newton, NC - ?The Newton-Conover Auditorium is offering 2016-2017 season tickets for the popular lunchtime concert series, Bach's Lunch 'N' Listen. As a season ticket holder, you will have the privilege of reserving tickets for any Bach’s Lunch ‘N’ Listen concert before ticket sales open up to the public.

With the ten punches on your season ticket, you have the flexibility to reserve one punch for each concert or use multiple punches for one concert. At a cost of $120, it is the equivalent of getting two FREE tickets. Below are the concert dates for the 2016-2017 season. Performers will be announced July 1st.

March 17th, 2017; April 21st, 2017;;May 19th. 2017. To purchase a season ticket, call the Newton-Conover Auditorium at 828-464-8100.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAFE Connect Offers Resource Website To Assist Homeless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caregiver Support Program Offers Local Families A Break

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humane Society Seeks Foster Parents For Special Animals

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

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

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

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

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

Family Guidance Center Offers Support, Insight On Verbal Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does your partner discount your opinions or experiences?

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

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

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

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

Facts which generally apply to verbal abuse:

Verbal abuse tends to be secretive.

Verbal abuse tends to increase over time.

Verbal abuse discounts your perception of reality and denies itself.

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

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

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

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

Women’s Resource Center Needs Daily Volunteers

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

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

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

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

Social Workers Partner With Lions Clubs To Help The Blind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Child Wellbeing Project Offers Post Adoption Support

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hickory’s Angel of Hope House Requests Help

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

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

Items Needed:

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

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

Volunteers Needed To Deliver Meals On Wheels

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

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

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

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

How To Get Your Event In Focus

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

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

Health-Care Pro Discusses The Many Warning

Signs And How To Spot A Victim Of Domestic Violence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linda O’Dochartaigh reviews some of the warning signs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family Finders Helps Foster Kids Connect With Extended Family

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

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

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

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

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

Sid Daniels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loving Our Enemies

By Rev. Susan Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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