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FOCUS’ Model Contest Deadline Has Been Extended To April 18th!

Hickory - The deadline to submit a photo to be a swimsuit model in FOCUS’ 2013 Swimsuit/Summer Guide Issue is now Friday, April 18, at midnight! See page 4 in this week’s FOCUS for more details.

The contest is presented by Best of Beers, your local distributer of Anheuser Busch and Craft Beer.

Again this year, women and men of all types, sizes and ages over 18 are encouraged to submit a photograph and try for a chance to be a part of this famous issue of FOCUS!

Email your photo - it can be just a clear cell phone photo with a big smile on your face - to focusmodels@centurylink.net. Include your home, business and or cell phone number as well as your address. Don’t miss this opportunity to have the time of your life as a model in Focus’ Swimsuit & Summer Guide for 2014! Our models have such a great time, some former winners enter every year!

Up to four men & four women will win free swimwear and lots of goodies from our sponsors, Kelly & Company Hair Salon, The Olde Hickory Taproom and The Hickory Community Theatre.
Kelly & Co. Hair Salon is providing a free cut or style to each model.

The Olde Hickory Taproom is sponsoring Hickory Hops beer festival in Downtown Hickory on Saturday, April 26th from 1-7pm. Tickets are available now for the Festival. Go to www.hickoryhops.com or call 828.322.1121.

Hickory Community Theatre's current production is The Lion In Winter, a classic comedy about a fight for the crown of England in 12th century England. The play will be presented through Saturday, April 19, each Friday and Saturday at 8pm. There is one Thursday show remaining on April 17, at 7:30pm. For tickets go to www.hickorytheatre.org or call 828.328.2283.

Hickory area professional photographers & sponsors Spencer Huffman and Rose Mary Cheek will photograph our models for the Swimsuit/Summer Guide, which will be on news stands May 22nd.

Photographs may also be mailed to Focus Contest, P.O. Box 1721, Hickory, NC, 28603. All Focus models will be notified via email or telephone by the end of the day on Monday, April 21st. Call FOCUS at 828-322-1036 for more information.

Models will also be featured at www.focusnewspaper.com through the summer as part of our Summer Guide online.

FOCUS’ Summer Guide is a handy reference for things to do & see - festivals, historic sites, amusement parks, conventions - within a day’s drive of Western North Carolina. Be sure to pick up this issue on May 22 to plan a great summer!

Again, the email address is focusmodels@centurylink.net

Lenoir Rotary Club Presents 8th Annual Cycle To Serve, May 10

Lenoir, NC The 8th riding of Lenoir Rotary’s Club Cycle to Serve is scheduled for Saturday, May 10th. The Cycle to Serve cycling event is a rural route, but unlike some, the roads are lightly trafficked and the pavement is smooth. You can test your legs early in the riding season by riding underneath the beautiful mountains of Boone and Blowing Rock. There are several steep climbs, but none longer than 15 minutes, and each followed by fun, safe descents. The three routes (25, 40 or 62.25 miles) to choose from travel in and out of the valleys to the north and east of Lenoir, beginning and ending in historic downtown Lenoir.

The Cycle to Serve ride will be timed by professional race management company, Racing Toes from Iron Station, NC. Online registration is open now at www.RacingToes.com. Onsite registration will begin at 7:00am on Saturday, May 10th at Hogwaller Plaza on Church Street next to Luna Cycles. The ride will begin on Harper Avenue Street in downtown Lenoir at 8:30am. At the conclusion of the ride, riders will enjoy not just the praises from the very supportive community, but also a delicious home cooked meal provided by Lenoir Rotarians and great entertainment. Riders who finish first in each distance will receive a scrumptious homemade cake to take home with them.

The Cycle to Serve event is hosted by the Lenoir Rotary Club. The mission of the Lenoir Rotary Club is to serve the community, and has since 1930, and continues to be involved in many different service projects. All proceeds from this ride will be used for the Rotary Club’s charitable programs. Some of the Lenoir Rotary Club’s charitable programs include: providing a Christmas party and gifts for 70 disadvantaged children, tutoring and helping provide dictionaries for every third grader in Caldwell County, providing lunch for the Special Olympic events, sponsoring of a Little League baseball team, sending three students to the Rotary Youth Leadership camp and funding over $7,000 in educational scholarships.

For information regarding the Lenoir Rotary Club contact Jamie Armstrong. JArmstrong@FUMC-Lenoir.com, www.LenoirRotaryClub.com, (828) 292-3966.

April Is Child Advocate Month: Be The Voice For A Child

NC - Could you be the voice for a child? In North Carolina, more than 1,700 children need someone to speak up for them.

Join us and volunteer with the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem program! You’ll receive training to work alongside an attorney to research and advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court.

If you’d like to find out more about being the voice for a child, visit ncgal.org, call 1-800-982-4041, or go to www.facebook.com/ncGuardianAdLitem.

Meet The Artists Reception In Downtown Hickory On April 17

Hickory - The work of five area artists will be on display at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse and Gallery in downtown Hickory through May 10. Viewers will have the opportunity to meet photographer, Richard McGee; painter, Charles Bodnar; jeweler, Kate Tinnan; painter, John David Brown; and potter, Alison Mackie at a reception on April 17. The reception is free and open to the public, and each of the artists will be introduced and given the opportunity to talk about their work.  Refreshments will be served.

Richard B. McGee of Hickory is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) and has been involved in the study and creation of fine photographic imagery his entire adult life.

By Kate Tinnan

John David Brown, Creative Director of the Green Room Theater in Newton, is an artist, graphic designer, and director. He paints whimsical, storybook style, folk-art on canvas as well as old boards, mostly in watercolor and acrylic, but sometimes other media as well.

Charles Bodnar works mostly in watercolors. His doorways, gates, stairways and streets draw the viewer into the painting, and his contrast of bold and subtle colors give character to shadows.

Kate Tinnan’s  woven silver rope bracelets, necklaces and earrings are meticulously knit by hand from a single, long strand of Argentium sterling or Fine silver wire.

Alison Mackie’s sense of whimsy and imagination help her create unique and beautiful pottery.

TFB Downtown, 29 2nd St. NW, Hickory, NC

HSCC And Hickory Parks & Rec.Present Woof Walk 2014, May 4

Hickory - Woof Walk 2014, presented by Humane Society of Catawba County and Hickory Parks & Recreation, is promoting healthy hearts and happy tails.

Held this year at Geitner-Rotary Park in Hickory, Woof Walk 2014 is an opportunity for you and your walking buddy to get some healthy exercise and help the homeless animals at HSCC. A leisurely Sunday afternoon stroll “with a twist”. "Challenge” stations along the route will give dogs opportunities to earn tokens by performing basic obedience skills or easy tricks. Tokens earned will be entries to win a variety of prizes at the Woof Walk conclusion. Collecting sponsor donations before the walk will help even more homeless animals.

Visit HSCC’s website for more details, registration brochure, a poster to share and sponsorship forms, www.catawbahumane.org, or call 828-464-8878, Mon through Sat, 11am – 6pm. Humane Society of Catawba County is a 501c 3 non profit organization dedicated to helping homeless animals in our community.

Foxes At HCT, April 25 & 26

Hickory - The Hickory Community Theatre presents two nights of hilarious hijinks, with the comedy improv troupe, Now Are the Foxes on Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26 at 8 PM in the Firemen’s Kitchen cabaret theatre.

Tickets are $13, which includes tax. For tickets or more information call (828) 328-2283 or click www.hickorytheatre.org The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County

PHOTO: (L-R) Kurt Massey, Cale Evans and Chris Herring are three members of the Now Are the Foxes Improv Troupe which is performing April 25 & 2 at the Hickory Community Theatre. Call (828) 328-2283 or visit www.hickorytheatre.org for tickets. Photo courtesy of Now Are the Foxes.

Humanists Hold Celebration For National Day Of Reason, May 1

Hickory - Secular leaders from around NC and the Hickory Humanist Alliance are calling on all Americans to use their powers of reason.

The Hickory Humanist Alliance is hosting a Rally on the Square in recognition of the National Day of Reason, which coincides with the National Day of Prayer, Thursday, May 1, on Union Square in Hickory.

The National Day of Prayer was made an official annual day of observance by Congress and President Truman in 1952. On this day each year the President issues a proclamation recognizing the celebration and asking Americans to pray, and government officials at the federal, state, and local levels participate in prayer ceremonies as representatives of the government.

Obviously, many Americans and groups like the American Humanist Association oppose this government-sanctioned religious event as we feel it violates the First Amendment and excludes non-religious Americans. 

The National Day of Reason was created to call attention to this unconstitutional event, in addition to celebrating reason and its societal benefits.

The goal of this effort is to celebrate reason  -a concept all Americans can support—and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.

The Rally on the Square will be held at 5pm to celebrate REASON over religious influence in secular affairs. Reason being a unifying virtue for the betterment of humankind, in contrast to faith which is by its nature divisive, restrictive and potentially misleading.

This is a protest against the unconstitutional recognition of our national and local governments regarding the NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER proclamation, but more importantly it is a celebration of something that theists and non-theists alike can support, which is reason and rationality.

Speakers will be Shawn Murphy; president of the Charlotte Atheists and Agnostics, and local podcast celebrities “Cash” and “Love” from Atheists on Air.

Everyone who appreciates and wishes to celebrate one of our most sacred and cherished freedoms, the Separation of Church and State, is welcome and urged to attend regardless of their religious affiliation.

“Each year since its inception, the president has signed a proclamation endorsing the ‘National Day of Prayer’, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. We [non-religious/non-Christian citizens] assert that this proclamation, being from our federal government, is exclusionary and unconstitutional.

We offer, as an alternative, a celebration of REASON, logic and rational thought. This does not, in its own right, exclude anyone or any idea because we can all agree that these are concepts to be utilized and admired." HHA President -Gene Elliott

Contact for more information: Gene Elliott: (828) 548-0294, gelliott@hickoryhumanist.org

Local Easter Egg Hunts! April 20

Valdese - April 20

Valdese, NC - Bring your own Easter basket and come on out for the free 66th Annual Easter Egg Hunt in Valdese on Sunday, April 20th.

The hunt is open to children 10 and under, and will be held at the American Legion, 709 Church St NW, Valdese, NC, at 2 pm.

For more information, call the Valdese Travel and Tourism office at 828-879-2126.

Morganton Farmers Market Opens On April 19

Morganton, NC - The Morganton Farmers Market opens for the season on Saturday, April 19, offering vendor grown or produced fresh baked goods, vegetables and fruit, handmade crafts such as candles and soaps, organic produce, eggs, jams & jellies, fresh cut flower arrangements, herb plants, and fresh meats.

The Morganton Farmer’s Market is sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.

The Morganton Farmers Market offers the best locally grown products in the area and supports a healthy food system and economy by supporting local growers. The open-air market operates on Saturdays from 8:00am until noon from April 19 through October 25. It is located on S. Green Street behind Geppeto’s Pizza and More Lace Boutique. (To enter, turn into the Train Depot or right off S. Green Street onto Beach Street.) The Wednesday Mini-Market is 2:00pm-6:00pm at the corner of Green Street and Avery Avenue. Mark your calendars for holiday shopping on Saturday, November 11 and Saturday, December 13 at the Mini-Market location.

For more information call 828-438-5252 or visit www.downtownmorganton.com.

Dine Out To Keep Students In School On April 17

Lincolnton, NC – Over the past year Communities In Schools of Lincoln County has served approximately 11,800 students. With the help of local restaurant patrons we can increase that number significantly by treating themselves to a good meal.

The Dine Out For Kids® event on Thursday, April 17th, will give area restaurants and residents a chance to support the dropout prevention work of Communities In Schools (CIS) of Lincoln County. Participating restaurants will donate a portion of their day’s sales to CIS to fund programs that help kids stay in school and achieve in life. All diners have to do is eat at one of the participating restaurants on April 17and say that they are there to ”Dine Out For Kids”.

Communities in Schools of Lincoln County was established as a not-for-profit corporation in 1991. The mission of the Organization is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Last year, CIS of Lincoln County was able to assist 12,135 students.

CIS operates in all four middle schools in Lincoln County and at Lincolnton, East Lincoln, and West Lincoln High Schools through our Graduation Coaches. CIS believes that every student needs and deserves:

A one-on-one relationship with a caring adult. A safe place to learn and grow. A healthy start and a healthy future. A marketable skill to use upon graduation. A chance to give back to peers and community.

Dine Out For Kids® Lincoln County- April 17, 2014

Participating Restaurants

Court Street Grille – 113 West Court Square
Fatz Café – 1430 E Main St.
Mitchem’s Kitchen – 6679 W Highway 27
Red Fish Grill – 421 N Generals Blvd.
Stacy’s Restaurant – 3790 N Highway 16
All proceeds from the event will benefit Communities In Schools of Lincoln County.
For more information on this event, please visit our website: www.cislincolnnc.org.

Valdese Residents Invited: Main Street Program On April 24

Valdese, NC - The Valdese Small Town Main Street Program will hold a Community Meeting April 24 at 6:30pm at the Old Rock School.

Valdese residents are invited to a presentation presented by Sherry Adams, Small Town Main Street Coordinator, Western Region. Using information from surveys collected from over 300 residents, Sherry will provide a Market Study Analysis of our downtown area. The study will define what types of businesses are needed in our downtown. Be a part of this exciting program and GET INVOLVED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY! For further information call 828.879.2129

Catawba Regional Hospice Premiers Telehealth Services

Newton, NC – As part of its overall mission of providing exceptional care to patients and families facing advanced illness, Catawba Regional Hospice has launched a telehealth pilot program. By offering clinicians a way to see and speak with patients and loved ones via video technology, the Online Care program makes hospice services and support more accessible.

The telehealth service features an enhanced video component – available on Web camera-enabled computers and integrated into apps for smart phones and tablets (both Android and iOS). This component allows patients and families to interact with hospice clinical staff no matter where they’re located.

Catawba Regional Hospice’s telehealth program is offered in collaboration with American Well, a Boston-based health care technology company whose mobile and Web service connects doctors and patients for live, on-demand video visits over the Internet. CRH’s program was coordinated under the auspices of Caring Foundations, whose relationships with health care organizations across the country are helping ensure the long-term success of community-based hospice providers.

An important distinction in CRH’s telehealth program is that, unlike others tasked primarily with measuring and monitoring vitals via in-home medical equipment, CRH Online Care offers a dynamic method for accessing an already-proven array of hospice services. Instead of automating clinical interaction, Online Care allows more comprehensive support from a hands-on medical team that’s already familiar to the patient and family.

Dave Clarke, Catawba Regional Hospice President and CEO, sees this service as integral to new care developments: “As technology connects more aspects of our lives, we realize that we can maximize its capabilities to bring beneficial services to our communities. Telehealth is one of a suite of innovations we’re currently implementing to give our patients and families more and better time together.” For additional information on the telehealth program or any of Catawba Regional Hospice’s services, please call 828.466.0466 or visit www.CatawbaRegionalHospice.org.

HSCC: Tax Break Special On Spay/Neuter Services In April

Hickory - Celebrate your tax refund at Humane Society of Catawba County with a “Tax Break Special” $10 discount on spay and neuter surgery for cats and dogs paid in April. Foothills Spay/ Neuter Clinic offers surgery Monday-Friday at Humane Society of Catawba County.

Barry is ready for adoption

Pets are dropped off at 8 am on their scheduled surgery day and picked up the same evening with post operative instructions. Come by to make an appointment or call (828) 464-8878 during business hours, Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

HSCC and Foothills Spay/Neuter Clinic services are available to any member of the public and are not limited to residents of Catawba County.

Catawba Regional Hospice Seeks Volunteer Hair Stylists

Newton, NC – Feeling good about your appearance can be a strong mood-booster. And while the emotional benefits of a good haircut are satisfying, they’re especially meaningful to people who don’t have the energy or mobility to make them happen on their own.

That’s why Catawba Regional Hospice is seeking generous stylists and barbers who are willing to give of their time and talents to help those in need. We’ve heard from our patients how uplifting it is to have a cosmetic pick-me-up amid what can be difficult times. Our mission is to make it possible for them to obtain an extra measure of self-esteem.

If you’re a trained stylist or barber and would like to share your skills by helping patients with advanced illness, Catawba Regional Hospice would love to work with you. Interested candidates need only complete a free session of volunteer training before they’re able to meet with patients. Schedules can be flexible. If you would like to make a donation of your time or would like more information, please call 828.466.0466 or email volunteer@pchcv.org.

Hickory Parks Offer Summer Outdoor Adventures, June-Aug.

Hickory - The Hickory Parks and Recreation Department is offering three, week-long, Summer Outdoor Adventure Programs (S.O.A.P) this summer. SOAP I will be held the week of June 16-20 for ages 9-12, SOAP II-July 14-18 for ages 12-15 and SOAP III “Back to Basics”, August 4-8 for ages 9-15.

SOAP I includes tubing, rock climbing at Crowder’s Mountain, a day at the US National Whitewater Center, hiking Linville Falls, visiting Grandfather Mountain and hiking and canoeing at Geitner-Rotary Park. The cost is $173.00 for City of Hickory Residents and $193.00 for Non-City of Hickory Residents. SOAP II includes mountain biking on the Virginia Creeper Trail, rock climbing at Crowder’s Mountain, hiking Lake James State Park, visiting the US National Whitewater Center and hiking and canoeing at Geitner-Rotary Park. The cost is $180.00 for City of Hickory Residents and $200.00 for Non-City of Hickory Residents.

There is a “two payment” option available for SOAP I & II. $100.00 per participant is due at the time of registration. The remaining balance for SOAP I is due no later than Friday, May 30 and the balance for SOAP II is due by Friday, June 27.

SOAP III “Back to Basics” includes hiking at South Mountain State Park, hiking and swimming at Hanging Rock State Park, mountain biking on the Virginia Creeper Trail, exploring Stone Mountain State Park, located in Roaring Gap, NC and a day of hiking and canoeing at Geitner-Rotary Park. The cost of this program is $42.00 for City of Hickory Residents and $62.00 for Non-City of Hickory Residents. Full payment is required at the time of registration.

Verification of City of Hickory residency is required for all weeks at the time of registration. Cash and checks accepted. Parents may only register their own children.

Registration begins on Friday, April 11 at 8:30 am at the Parks and Recreation Department Administrative Office located at 1451 8th Street Drive NE.

For more information on this program, please contact Senior Recreation Programmer Angela Smith at 324-6990 or email asmith@hickorync.gov.

The Lion In Winter: Family Drama & Comedy At Its Best, April 3-19

Hickory - The classic comedy of family discord was a big hit with audiences during last week's opening weekend. The royal family's squabbles continue as the Hickory Community Theatre production of The Lion in Winter begins its second weekend in the Firemen’s Kitchen Cabaret Theatre with a Thursday night performance at 7:30PM.

Set during Christmas 1183 at Henry II of England's castle in Chinon, Anjou, Angevin Empire, the play opens with the arrival of Henry's wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, whom he has had imprisoned since 1173.

The story concerns the gamesmanship between Henry, Eleanor, their three surviving sons Richard, Geoffrey, and John, and their Christmas Court guest, the King of France, Philip II Augustus (French: Philippe Auguste), who was the son of Eleanor's ex-husband, Louis VII of France (by his third wife, Adelaide). Also involved is Philip's half-sister Alais, who has been at court since she was betrothed to Richard at age eight, and was brought up by Queen Eleanor, but has since become Henry's mistress and Eleanor's rival. The characters in the play are historically accurate, though the situations are largely from the imagination of playwright James Goldman.

Performance dates for The Lion in Winter are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00PM, April 4 through April 19, in the Firemen’s Kitchen. Thursday performances are on April 3 and 17 with a 7:30PM curtain time.

Tickets are $14 and are available at the Theatre box office in person or by phone at (828) 328-2283, Tuesday through Saturday from 12-5. The production is rated R for adult situations. Online ticketing is available through the Theatre website at www.hickorytheatre.org.

HCT is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. The Lion in Winter is produced by Robert Abbey, Inc. and Dr. Delores Hammer, DDS.

Photo: King Philip of France (Donovan Harper, at left) and Richard the Lionheart (Joshua Propst) negotiate their respective futures in Hickory Community Theatre’s classic dramatic comedy The Lion in Winter. Performances resume Thursday night and continue through April 19. Call (828) 328-2283 or visit www.hickorytheatre.org for tickets and information. Photo is by Ken Burns.

Hickory Crawdads Will Host Taste Of Hickory On May 18

Hickory - Are you a self-professed foodie?  Do you enjoy tasting new and local beers and wines? What if you could come to one event and taste all the food, wine and beer from area restaurants, breweries and wineries, and support community outreach programs and children’s charities at the same time? 

Welcome to the Taste of Hickory! Taste. Well Crafted.  The Hickory Elks Lodge is excited to announce their new partnership with the Hickory Crawdads offering the much needed space to accommodate the growth of this year’s Taste of Hickory while presenting the beautifully renovated L.P. Frans Stadium.  The Hickory area is alive with talented chefs, bakers, brew masters, wine makers, and more, and the Hickory Elks in partnership with the Hickory Crawdads are thrilled to host the 3rd Annual Taste of Hickory on Sunday, May 18th. 

The Taste of Hickory is sponsored this year by James Oxygen & Supply Company, Ashley’s Heating & Air, Holbrook Landscaping, Republic Services, Colin Brady, Community One Bank, Prime Benefits Insurance, United Beverage, Hickory Convention & Visitors Bureau, and City of Hickory’s “Life. Well Crafted.” brand.  The event will showcase locally owned restaurants, Carolina breweries and wineries, and other local vendors. Stroll through the stadium tasting and sipping while enjoying familiar tunes by Hickory’s own “America’s Got Talent” star Ulysses Long. 

There will be competition for the “Best of Hickory” in several categories with raffles and door prizes during the event.  Proceeds from the event will go to the many community outreach programs that the Elks sponsor including Veterans Programs, Youth Activities and Scholarships, Catawba Valley Backpack Program, the Helping Hands Program, and the many Children’s Charities supported by the Lady Elks.

The event will be held at the Hickory Crawdads Stadium, Clement Blvd, on Sunday May 18, 2014 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event will be indoors and outdoors.  Tickets are limited to 500 and will be available for sale on Friday April 4th.  Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.  No one under 21 will be admitted and proper ID must be presented. 

For more information, to sponsor the event, to become a vendor, and to purchase tickets visit the Taste of Hickory Facebook page and call The Hickory Elks Lodge at (828) 322-2527.

CCHA Presents Hart Square: Behind The Scenes On April 26

Newton, NC - Tickets have gone on sale for the Catawba County Historical Association’s Hart Square: Behind the Scenes event. Set for 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on April 26th, 2014, tickets are $48 with lunch and taxes included.

Tickets can be bought at the History Museum of Catawba County located in the 1924 Courthouse in Downtown Newton, by calling 828 - 465-0383 or visiting www.Catawbahistory.org.

Each October, Bob and Becky Hart open their collection of 96 buildings and gather hundreds of volunteers to bring the site to life with demonstrations of 19th century rural industries and daily lifestyles. Known as Hart Square, the popularity of that event has brought large sell-out crowds to the site each fall.

Harts Tavern, by Nathan Moehlmann

In response to that the CCHA worked to offer a springtime event to give people a chance to see the site without the crowds and demonstrations. This event opens up Hart Square to the public for a different experience from the event that takes place once a year in October. Tours will focus on the history of the structures and objects in them that represent wonderful examples of Southern decorative arts.

Tickets for the event must be purchased in advance at the History Museum of Catawba County, 30 North College Avenue in downtown Newton or by phone at 828-465-0383 using a Visa or MasterCard. No tickets will be sold at the gate. Tickets are $48.00 per person and include a box lunch. Bob and Becky Hart will join the group at lunch and will share some of the adventures that they have had over the thirty years of creating Hart’s Square and also talk about their plans for its future.

The History Museum of Catawba County is formally the Museum of History, still located in the 1924 Courthouse, 30 N. College Ave. in downtown Newton.

Seniors Morning Out: Music, Easter Activities & More In April

Hickory - Catawba County Seniors Morning Out will offer a variety of activities in April, including Easter crafts, musical performances, and information about better nutrition and health.

Any Catawba County resident who is 60 or better is invited to attend the half-day programs, which are offered in five convenient locations Monday through Thursday. There is no charge to participants, although donations are accepted. A hot balanced lunch is included. To reserve your spot, contact the site supervisor at least 24 hours in advance. A few of the program highlights are listed below.

Performances by Tapestry, a harp and flute duo, are 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. Arts and science programs at Seniors Morning Out are also supported by Affordable Dentures of Conover/ Larissa M. Mastro, DDS.

At the West Hickory site, activities will include: April 15, Harp and Flute Music by Tapestry; April 16, Bring an Easter Basket to Decorate and Hand Bell Practice; April 21, Hearing Screening with Barbara's Hearing; April 28, Don't Travel Without a Map by Julie Packer of Palliative Care; April 30, Life of a King presented by Eugene Brown. In this special program, Brown will describe his life story, which is being made into a movie. His life was transformed by chess, as he went from prison inmate to chess coach and youth mentor. To reserve your spot, call Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

Tapestry

Newton site activities include: April 9, Music by Bandys High School Jazz Band and Bible Trivia; April 10, Harp and Flute Music by Tapestry; April 16, Dyeing Easter Eggs (bring a hard-boiled egg); April 29, bowling at Pin Station and shopping at Honey's IGA; April 30, Growing and Cooking with Herbs by Robyn Curtis. To reserve your spot, call Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

Maiden activities include: April 10, Group Walking and Singing; April 17, Group Walking and Harp and Flute Music by Tapestry; April 22, Proper Exercise for Different Types of Arthritis; April 28, Fun Walk and Picnic in Maiden Park with music by Sentimental Journey. To reserve your spot, contact Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

East Hickory Activities include: April 8, Making Veggie and Fruit Smoothies with Hugh Wilkerson; April 10, Computer Tablet Class by St. Stephen's Library; April 23, Container Gardening with Kelly Grove of the Cooperative Extension Service; April 29, the movie "The King and I" and popcorn; April 30, Nature Walk and Bingo. To reserve your spot, contact Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

Claremont activities include: April 10, Music by Bandys High Chorus and Morning Walk; April 14, Dye Easter Eggs with Bethlehem United Methodist Church Child Development Center Children and Make Easter Baskets; April 17, Music by Bandys High School Jazz Band; April 21, Don't Travel Without a Map by Julie Parker of Palliative Care; April 28, Anxiety and Stress Management by Tracey Paul of the Catawba County Health Department. To reserve your spot, contact Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

Seniors Morning Out and other Senior Nutrition Services rely heavily on volunteers and donations. If you would like to share your talents or just help out, call 828-695-5610.

You may make a donation by making out a check to Catawba County Social Services and putting Senior Nutrition Services in the memo line. Mail your donation to Catawba County Senior Nutrition Services, P.O. Box 207, Newton, NC 286758. You may also make a secure donation online by going to http://www.catawbacountync.gov/dss and clicking on the red "Donate Now" button.

For the latest updates on this program, like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty.

Catawba Libraries: Fun-Filled Learning for Children In April

Newton, NC - Catawba County Library System will offer fun-filled learning opportunities in coming weeks. School-aged children are invited to take part in free STEM sessions designed to encourage learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The schedule includes:

Tuesday, April 15- Sidewalk Poetry for teens, 5:30 p.m. at Conover Branch, 466-5108.

Thursday, April 17- Earth Day craft time with recycled materials. 4 p.m. at St. Stephens, 466-6821.

Tuesday, April 22- Community Garden Startup Meeting for teens and adults, 6 p.m. at Main Library, 465-8664.

Friday, April 25- STEM The Sweet Science of Chocolate, Kids will learn all about chocolate and take part in a taste test. 4 p.m. at Sherrills Ford Branch, 466-6827.

Contact the hosting library branch for further details.

Shop To Stop Domestic Violence At Amy’s Closet On May 2

Lincolnton, NC - Amy’s Closet is located in WestPointe Shoppes at 751-E North Highway 16 (business). It is a resale shop operated entirely by volunteers and stocked with clean, gently used women’s clothing and accessories donated by the community. The shop also has small household and decorative items. Several local arts and craft vendors have booths and contribute 20% of their proceeds to the cause. Amy’s Closet is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 to 4:30.

Amy’s Closet is the retail outreach for the Lincoln County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a non-profit organization which operates Amy’s House. All proceeds directly support Amy’s House in its on-going mission of providing a safe place and assistance for women and children displaced by domestic violence and assault. Services include medical care, counseling, court advocacy, assistance with job searches and transitional housing. In a recent year, Amy’s House 24 X 7 hotline answered over 2000 crisis calls, and provided direct assistance to over 600 women and children.

Your purchases at Amy’s Closet help make all that possible!

Many area churches, civic groups and several incredible local businesses across the Lincoln County community have been generous over the decades Amy’s House has provided services and shelter. Amy’s Closet is one more pathway through which you can personally help your neighbors in need – while shopping.

Please join us on Friday, May 2nd, to celebrate a successful year supporting a worthy cause. There will be free barbeque, desserts and drinks (while they last) and an additional 10% discount on already-economical prices.

Free Computer Classes Offered At Catawba Libraries In April

Newton, NC - Local adults can upgrade their computer skills at no cost, thanks to free 90-minute sessions at Catawba County Library.

Pre-registration is required. Sessions on the roster include:

Internet Job Searching— Learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to finding employment through on-line channels. This workshop begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 2 at Conover and again at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 3 at Claremont.

Scrapbooking with Publisher--Learn how graphics functions can help you create eye-catching pages. Class begins at 10 a.m. Friday, April 4 at Southwest.

Resume Building (all day, by appointment)—Free individual instruction on how to best sell yourself on paper. Call ahead for your time slot on Wednesday, April 9 in Conover or 1-4 p.m. only Thursday, April 10 at Claremont.

Intro to Word--See how easy it is to create, store and retrieve documents using this basic program. Offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 9 at St. Stephens.

Intro to Computers— A how-to class for the PC novice who wants to learn the basics. Session starts at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 10 at Newton.

Intro to eBooks— A beginner’s session for navigating through the world of electronic reading. Held 10 a.m. Friday, April 11 at Southwest.

NCLIVE Job Skills—Check out the options available on this gigantic data base that’s free to NC residents. The learning begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 16 in Conover and again at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 17 at Claremont.

Browsing NC LIVE—Get oriented to this awesome on-line data base to view videos and artwork, do family research, locate articles and much more. This sessions will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 23 at Newton.

Intro to Windows 8 Tablets—The Windows 8 platform has been optimized for tablet devices. See how it can best be used in the class beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 24 at Newton.

Appy Hours: Apps for Recipes—Become acquainted with shortcuts to great recipes on the web. Be ready to learn at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 23 at Conover and 2 p.m. Thursday, April 24 at Claremont.

Learning Express NC LIVE-- Tap into this data base offering practice tests for the GED, SAT and more computer skill building. Session scheduled at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 30 at St. Stephens.

iPad for Beginners-- See how to use your Apple tablet to access email, the web and more. Scheduled at 10 a.m. Wednesday April 30 at Conover.

To sign up, contact the appropriate location: Conover, 466-5108; Newton, 465-7938; Southwest, 466-6818; St. Stephens, 466-6821.

Lincolnton Lions Sponsor Four Scholarships; Apply By April 25

Lincolnton, NC - Calling all 2014 graduating seniors  @ East  Lincoln, North Lincoln, Lincolnton, West Lincoln High School. Are you a legal resident of Lincoln County and the United States of America? Are you planning to further your education  an accredited  college or university?   If you answered yes to these questions, you are encouraged to  school guidance counselor regarding scholarship opportunities.  

As the only Lions Club serving the residents of Lincoln County, the Lincolnton Lions Club has developed one  $500  college scholarships to be awarded at each of our county’s public high school scholarship/awards banquet. Scholarships will be awarded based on applicants  academic achievement, scholastic aptitude, financial need, volunteer service. Applicants are required to submit a completed application, high school transcript, two reference letters, and write an original theme on Volunteerism.

Applications for a 2014 Lincolnton Lions Club College Scholarship maybe secured from any of the 4 Lincoln County Public High School’s Guidance Counselor. Deadline for submitting application is April 25, 2014. 

Newton Police Offering Free Pet Spay/Neuter Vouchers

Newton, NC – The Newton Police Department is now offering free pet spaying or neutering vouchers to financially qualified city residents living within the corporate city limits.

The voucher is good for a spaying or neutering of a cat or dog at Startown Veterinary Hospital and for a rabies vaccination if the pet is not up-to-date with the vaccination.

City residents may request a voucher in person at the police department or may request one by phone. An animal control officer will verify in person the resident’s qualifications and assess the condition of the pet prior to distributing the voucher. Anyone who requests a voucher will need to provide an ID to validate his or her address.

A limited number of vouchers are available on a first come, first served basis.

For more information, contact Animal Control Officer Jeff Miller at 465-7430 or jmiller@newtonnc.gov between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

CRC: Apply For Human Relations Awards By April 30

Hickory – The City of Hickory Community Relations Council (CRC) is currently accepting applications for the 2014 Human Relations Awards.

The annual Human Relations Awards are designed to recognize any individual, youth, or organization/business that has gone “above and beyond” in promoting good human relations in the City of Hickory.

“The CRC’s main goal is to promote positive relationships within our community through dialogue, education, programs, and resources, and to promote diversity and tolerance of others throughout the Hickory community,” said Neal Orgain, Chair of the CRC. “These annual awards showcase individuals and organizations within the community who exemplify this goal.”

The community is encouraged to nominate individuals or businesses who meet and excel in the mission of the CRC of promoting positive human relation in the City of Hickory and beyond.

Nominees need to be currently involved in promoting human relations within the City of Hickory.

Nominee applications are available under Boards and Commissions on HickoryNC.gov.

Completed applications are due to the Hickory CRC by Tuesday, April 30. Completed nomination forms should be sent to: ATTN: Captain Thurman Whisnant, 347 2nd Avenue, SW, Hickory, NC 28602 or email to twhisnant@hickorync.gov

CVCC Hosts Free Business And Enterprise Activities In April

Hickory - Catawba Valley Community College’s Business Programs will host its second annual Business & Enterprise Month in April. Numerous seminars, tours of CVCC business programs and the Shark Tank competition will take place throughout the month.

Activities include:

• Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour featuring E.J. Carrion, Wed., April 2, 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., CVCC Student Center.
• A screening of the film “The Entrepreneur” on Thursday, April 24, at 7 pm., at the Carolina Theater in partnership with The Footcandle Film Society. Visit sbc.cvcc.edu for more details.

• Shark Tank finalist presentations Tues., April 29, 5th floor of the Dunbar Bldg.

• Eight seminars conducted by the CVCC Small Business Center at no charge to help guide those who want to start or grow a business.

Visit sbc.cvcc.edu for detailed descriptions of programs offered.

These events are open to the public and no fees are charged. Contact Jeff Neuville, CVCC Small Business Center Director, ext. 4102 or Gary Muller, head of CVCCs Business Programs, 828-327-7000, ext. 4672.

Caldwell Arts Council Hosts Month Of Parties In April

Lenoir, NC – As much a tradition this time of year as putting away winter clothes and enjoying fresh flowers, springtime means “party” time for the Caldwell Arts Council and its supporters.

Building on the success of last year’s debut of the April Food and Fools event, the Caldwell Arts Council continues the month-long annual fundraiser again in 2014.

This year’s events include 10 “April Food” parties hosted by individuals throughout Caldwell County, culminating in the “April Fools” event on May 1 when nationally known comedians will perform in downtown Lenoir.

“Last year’s April Food and Fools events were so well received that we focused our efforts this year on growing and improving it,” said Lee Carol Giduz, Executive Director of the Caldwell Arts Council.

“In addition to the multiple parties from our ‘April Food’ palette throughout the month and across the community, you can support the ongoing work of the Arts Council with an evening of laughs at our comedy event. Each of the parties and the comedy night are a guaranteed good time.”

About the pARTies:

Thursday April 10, 5:30-8pm – “Arty Party-One Stroke Painting & Southern Comforts” – Learn some of the techniques of “One Stroke Painting” with certified instructor Cathy McCoy, and create your own original artwork at the Caldwell Arts Council; a tasty dinner from Southern Comforts is included, $45/person, limit 8.

Saturday April 12, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – “Arty Party-Make HeARTsy Gifts” – Join book artist Sigrid Hice in creating a heart-shaped accordion book and a ‘secret room’ book, collage their pages with beautiful decorated papers and fill with your own photos, poetry and creativity. Snacks & beverages included; $25/person, limit 8.

Thursday April 24, 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. – “Arty Party-Mystic Papers” Join national workshop instructor Cathy Taylor at the Caldwell Arts Council for an evening of creative fun with marbled, swirled papers, stencils and ink. Leave with a frame-able work of art. Wine and yummy appetizers included; $45/person, limit 10.

Thursday April 24, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. – “A Rooftop Kentucky Sunset” – Dive into an appreciation of Kentucky straight bourbon with this special tasting and socialization at the “Penthouse of Lenoir” (on the rooftop of 1841 Café in downtown Lenoir). With a combination of top shelf bourbons, bourbon-inspired hors d’oeuvres, and a view of the Lenoir skyline, you’ll relax in the glow of a spring sunset and the glow of a bourbon warmth. $40/person, limit 15.

Saturday April 26, 4 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – “Make Your Cheese and Eat It Too!” – Learn to make fresh delicious mozzarella, and make your own pizza in Dawn & Steve Mathews’ new cob oven. Baby goats will make an appearance, so wear your farm clothes! $25/person, limit 12 (20 if weather permits an outdoor setting).

Saturday April 26, 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. – “A Hollywood Oscar Martini Party” – Enjoy an evening of glitz and glamour, at the Irish Rose Bed & Breakfast. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and adult beverages; $45/person, limit 30.

All parties require a reservation and prepayment before the event.

All proceeds benefit the Caldwell Arts Council. To RSVP for one or more parties, or purchase tickets for the comedy night event, please call 828-754-2486.

Hickory Hops Features More Than 55 Micro-Breweries, Apr. 26

Hickory - Hickory Hops celebrates craft beer during NC Beer Month. More than 55 micro-breweries from the coast to the mountains gather on Saturday, April 26, 2014, 1-7pm, at the historic train station in Downtown Hickory.

Brewers competing in the Carolinas Championship of Beers serve their award-winning brews during the 12th annual Hops festival hosted by the Olde Hickory Brewery and Hickory Downtown Development Association.

Visit www.hickoryhops.com for ticket information for tasters and designated drivers. Live music all day. Visit www.hickorymetro.com for hotel accommodations. Enjoy responsibly by asking the reservation representative about hotel shuttle service to Hickory Hops. Make your destination Downtown Hickory on April 26 for Hickory Hops.

CSC Opens Body Carnival: The Science & Fun of Being You

Hickory - Open now, visitors to Catawba Science Center will be immersed in the wonders of the human body. This exhibition will inform and educate children and their families about the human body. Body Carnival: The Science and Fun of Being You will be segmented into six areas with important lessons for children and their parents on issues dealing with dental hygiene, physical abilities, vision and equilibrium, circulatory systems and heart disease and many more areas.

The six areas will focus on body exploration, body invasion, reproduction, dental hygiene, physical challenge, and the “doctor’s office.”

Body Exploration invites children to climb through a blood vessel and hear the sound of a human heart. Transparent human figures will allow children and their families to see human organs and their placement within the body.

The Doctor’s office challenges children to use their senses to feel music, understand how to blend light to make different colors, combine vision and the inner ear to walk a straight line, and walk a balance beam. Other hands-on activities simulate experiences of individuals who do not have full use of the human senses.

Body Invasion introduces the visitor to human allergies, their causes, and what can be done to support a person who is faced with these challenges.

Visitors will have the option of entering a special section on Human Reproduction. This exhibit includes models of the miracle of the development of a human baby in its mother’s womb. The exhibit opens the door for parents to talk to their children about the “birds and bees” on a level they feel is appropriate.

The Dental Hygiene area takes us into a younger child’s arena where he can walk inside a set of teeth, practice cleaning the teeth with an oversize toothbrush and slide down a tongue sliding board.

The Physical Challenge engages children in activities like Think Fast, Hang time and Walk the Plank.

CSC plans numerous hands-on science activities in conjunction with Body Carnival: The Science and Fun of Being You. Activities include new Body Carnival science demonstrations, weekly dissection classes, NC Science Festival Science Expo at Catawba Science Center and a blood drive.

HANDS-ON SCIENCE ACTIVITIES

Every Tuesday at 4 PM through May 27
Inside Investigations: Dissection Classes at Catawba Science Center
Participants will have an opportunity to dissect sheep brains, kidneys, frogs and much more!
Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM – April 4, 2014:
Catawba Valley Astronomy Club Daytime Star Party – Free Admission
Learn the proper techniques to for solar observation and take part in numerous activities.
Saturday from 2 to 6 PM - April 4, 2014:
NC Science Festival Expo at Catawba Science Center – Free Admission
Meet local science professionals take part in 10 inquiry based learning stations.
Saturday from 11 AM to 1 PM – May 3, 2014
Community Blood Center of the Carolinas Blood Drive
Visitors who donate blood will receive two free admission passes to CSC.

Thanks the generous support of Carolina Ear, Nose, Throat, Head and Neck Surgery Center, Catawba Valley Medical Center, Frye Regional Medical Center, GREER® Laboratories, Inc. and an independent educational grant from Mylan Specialty, Body Carnival: The Science and Fun of Being You is included in CSC’s General Admission rates and admission is always free for CSC Members. For more information about Catawba Science Center’s latest exhibits, events, programs and membership visit www.CatawbaScience.org or call 828/322-8169.

Catawba Science Center is a nonprofit science and technology museum serving NC’s western Piedmont region. Special attractions including temporary exhibits, a digital planetarium theater and a marine touch pool with live sharks and stingrays. A community asset and regional destination, Catawba Science Center is dedicated to changing lives and inspiring learning through science and wonder. Learn more at www.CatawbaScience.org.

CSC is funded in part by the United Arts Fund of Catawba County and the NC Grassroots Science Museums Collaborative. CSC is located in the Arts and Science Center of Catawba Valley, on the SALT Block, 243 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory.

Art Class Offered For Ages 6-14, Feb. 5 Through May 14

Valdese, NC - Art Class offered for ages 6-14. Sponsored by the Rock School Arts Foundation. February 5 through May 14. The class is open to Ages 6-14 and will be held at Studio 101 - Old Rock School, 3:30pm-5pm on Wednesdays.

The class is taught by Heidi Thompson. Tuition is $20 per month, regardless of Holidays or partial months. All materials are included. To enroll please call 828-879-2129 or email Rock School Arts Director Elizabeth Furr at efurr@charter.net

 Rock School Art Galleries I & II will be closed January 8-February 28 for renovations. Visit the Galleries on March 9 - April 17 to view the work of Jackie Deaton, Lucy Folger, Joann Wilfong, and Barry Huffman. www.visitvaldese.com, www.townofvaldese.com

Volunteers Needed To Deliver Meals On Wheels

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

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

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

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

How To Get Your Event In Focus

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

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

Catawba County Library Offers Free eBooks For Kids

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

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

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

Lions Club Recycles For Sight; Donate Glasses & Hearing Aids

Lincolnton, NC - Do you have unwanted recyclable eyeglasses and hearing aids in your dresser drawers, closet, attic, or basement? But don’t know what to do with them.

Throughout the year, the Lincolnton Lions Club collects used prescription eyeglasses and prescription and non-prescription sunglasses and unwanted workable hearing aids as part of a unique recycling program. The collected glasses will be cleaned and prepared for distribution in developing countries where eye care is often unaffordable and inaccessible. Prescription and non-prescription children and adult sunglasses are desperately needed in countries located close to the Equator.

“We need everyone to donate their used eyeglasses. We have noticed a recent shortage in used children eyeglasses lately, ” said Fay Poovey, Denver resident and President of the Lincolnton Lions Club. “ Unfortunately, due to state and federal public health laws, used eyeglasses can not be reused in the USA. Instead, all eyeglasses collected will be cleaned and prepared for distribution in developing countries where eye care is often unaffordable and inaccessible” emphasized Poovey.

The donated glasses will be shipped to a regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center where they will be cleaned, categorized by prescription and prepared for distribution by Lions and other groups. To donate used glasses (including sunglasses and reading glasses), place them in the specially marked Lions Recycle For Sight collection boxes located at in Lincolnton, and Denver.

Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, and Vision Care Offices
Advance Family Eye Care- 7547 Water Loop Road ( Denver)
Carolina Eye Care- 231 North General’s Blvd. ( Lincolnton) or 324 North Highway 16 (Denver)
Lincoln Eye Center- 110 Doctor’s Park ( Lincolnton)
Graystone Ophthalmologist- 2311 East Main Street ( Lincolnton)
Super Wal-Mart Vision Center- ( Lincolnton location)
Funeral Homes
EF Drum Funeral Home- 210 North Academy Street ( Lincolnton)
Warlick Funeral Home- 125 Dave Warlick Drive ( Lincolnton)
Government & Non-Profit Agencies
Lincolnton Lions Club Eyeglasses Recycling News Release
Lincoln County Senior Center- 2nd Floor- Gaston College- Lincoln Campus- 511 South Aspen Street ( Lincolnton)
Good Neighbor’s Shop- 118 South Academy Street ( Lincolnton)

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest coeducational service club organization with more than 1.3 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.

Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world.

Lions clubs are a group of men and women who identify needs within the community and work together to fulfill those needs. For more information about Lions Club International visit our website at www.lionsclubs.org. If you are interesting in learning more about the Lincolnton Lions Club, please call Lion Robert Tomlinson @ 704-735-8514.

Newton Senior Citizens Club Open To New Members

Newton, NC - Are you a senior citizen and looking for more to do in the area? Join the Newton Senior Citizens Club, and you’ll always have a full schedule. The club meets on the second Thursday of each month at the Newton Recreation Center, 23 S. Brady Ave., for good fellowship, an entertaining or educational program and a covered dish luncheon.

There are special events throughout the year such as Seniors Nigh Out, a picnic in the park, ice cream socials and trips. For further information, call Club President J. T. Sheets at (828) 465-5915.

Agency Helps 500 Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure

Hickory - In October 2010 the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) launched a new mortgage assistance program funded through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund. NCHFA received $482.8 million with hopes of assisting 21,000 NC homeowners during a three-to-five-year period. The primary program offered through NCHFA’s North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund is called the Mortgage Payment Program (MPP).

Through the Mortgage Payment Program homeowners can receive mortgage assistance if they have lost their job due to no fault of their own or have experienced one of the program-eligible hardships – death, divorce/separation, or illness.

Those homeowners who meet the program criteria can receive assistance for mortgage-related expenses – mortgage payments, taxes, homeowner’s insurance and homeowner association fees – through a zero-interest, deferred loan. Depending on whether the homeowner is searching for work or attending school for retraining the assistance varies from 18 to 36 months with a maximum of $36,000 available for qualified recipients.

If the homeowner continues to live in the home for 10 years after receiving assistance, the loan will be considered satisfied and no repayment will be due.

Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) was one of the three pilot agencies for the Mortgage Payment Program. As of July 2013, the agency has assisted 500 clients, primarily in its four-county region – Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba.

The program is expected to continue offering funding through December 2014.

On July 23, 2013, WPCOG hosted a celebration marking this milestone. The event was held at the WPCOG Administrative Offices. Speakers included A. Robert Kucab, executive director of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, Sherry Long, WPCOG Community Development Director, and a few homeowners who have been assisted by the program.

For more information about the Mortgage Payment Program, please contact WPCOG at 828.485.4268.

Cribbage Club Invites New Players To Tuesday Night Games

Hickory - The Hickory Cribbage club “The CRIBBADIERS” is inviting new players to join our weekly tournaments of friendly competition.

The club plays at 6:30 p.m. each Tuesday at Pinecrest Senior Living Community located at 915 29th Ave NE Hickory, NC 28601.

The CRIBBADIERS are a Grass Roots charter of a nationwide network of local cribbage clubs under the overall direction of the American Cribbage Congress. The format is a nine game round robin against nine different players.

Cribbage is a two-handed card game invented in 1609 by Sir John Suckling, an English knight, poet, and playwright.

Members are willing to teach the game to newcomers or to help former players get back into the swing.

For more information call Carole or Dennis at 828-396-2165 Reising@embarqmail.com.

HSCC Is Looking For In-Home Heroes To Foster Animals

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

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

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

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

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

Health-Care Pro Discusses The Many Warning

Signs And How To Spot A Victim Of Domestic Violence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linda O’Dochartaigh reviews some of the warning signs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family Finders Helps Foster Kids Connect With Extended Family

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

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

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

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

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

Sid Daniels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loving Our Enemies

By Rev. Susan Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



 

 

 

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