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Greenway Transportation Offers New Passes For Summer Fun

Conover, Hickory, and Newton NC - Greenway wants to guide everyone to the local adventures along the bus routes in the cities of Conover, Hickory and Newton this summer.

As part of this campaign, three new resources have been made available to the community by Greenway Public Transportation. The first is a student passes that offers unlimited rides for one price from May 16th 2016 until August 31st 2016. Any student with a valid student ID may purchase the “Adventure Pass.” These passes are available now for purchase at the Greenway Transit center in downtown Hickory, and at the Greenway Dispatch Office located in Conover.

Along with the student pass, a destination guide will be in print available starting in June. This booklet will highlight local attractions accessible from the current fixed bus routes in Catawba County. The destination guide is designed to show how easy and fun it is to access community events via the city bus.

To creatively draw attention to the local agencies featured in the Greenway Destination Guide, Greenway will be running an ongoing social media promotions called “Find Me Fridays”. In this fun way to give back to ridership, a greenway staffer will host a virtual scavenger hunt.

The rules are simple; Find “Dot” around town by following the clues posted on Greenway Public Transportation’s Facebook page, and Twitter account (@WPRTA). The first person to find “Dot” will win a prize that highlights the venue listed inside the Destination Guide. All the featured locations will be inside the Destination Guide, and fully accessible by the fixed route bus lines.

“Find Me Fridays” will kick off Friday, May 27, 2016. Make sure to follow Greenway Public Transportation on Facebook or @WPRTA on Twitter so you aren’t left behind!

Passengers interested in receiving more information about the Student Pass, Greenway Destination Guide, “Find Me Fridays” promotions, the fixed route system, and/or Paratransit services should call the dispatch office at 828-465-7634 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

If an agency is interested in participating in the Summer Destination Guide, there is still time. Please contact Amelia Bostic with Greenway Public Transportation at 828-465-7640.

Public transportation is vital to growing the community and it is a way to invest directly into the future. Greenway wants to be the provider that connects the bus stop dots between riders and adventure!

Anyone not able to access the bus stop because of a mental or physical impairment may contact Greenway to receive an ADA complimentary Paratransit application. Please call 828-464-9444 for more information.

WPRTA is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of its services on the basis of race, color or national origin as protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

Science Center's Flutter-By Butterfly Habitat Is Now Open!

Hickory - One of Catawba Science Center’s most anticipated and beloved exhibits, the Flutter-By Butterfly Habitat, returned to the Science Courtyard on Saturday, May 14. Both children and adults will have the unique opportunity to see live butterflies and learn about these fascinating insects.

Visitors will learn about the life cycle of the butterfly as they stop by the butterfly nursery to examine the design, color, and texture of chrysalides containing future inhabitants of the Flutter-By Butterfly Habitat.

With a provided field guide, guests will discover an assortment of North Carolina native butterflies such as Monarchs, Swallowtails, and Fritillaries. Guests will also have the opportunity to experience the presence of semitropical species such as Zebra Long Wing, Julia, and Queen butterflies.

Everyone will have the opportunity to learn about plants that attract butterflies. Some provide nectar while others serve as a food plant for caterpillars. A wide array of flowers, shrubs, and vines provide many different colors and shapes.

In conjunction with this special exhibition, a variety of special events are planned:

Photographer Mondays will be held on June 6, July 18, and August 22, while CSC exhibits are closed to the public, for photographers age 16 and older. Members of the Catawba Valley Camera Club will be available to share photography tips. There is a suggested donation of $10 for this activity. Preregistration is recommended.

Family Bug Day will be held on Saturday, June 11, from 10am – 3pm. Educational and fun activities will include insect displays, Bug Bingo, Visit a Bee Keeper, Insect Races, and more. All Family Bug Day activities are free with general and Flutter-By Admission.

Butterfly Lunches will occur on the second Wednesday of June, July and August from Noon – 1:30pm in the large choral room, and participants are asked to bring their own bagged lunch. Topics will include “Butterflies and Moths” on June 8, “Butterfly Gardening” on July 13, and “Mysteries of Monarchs” on August 10. Butterfly Lunches are free with general and Flutter-By Admission.

Two Family Field Trips have been planned, both to be led by CSC’s Lead Naturalist, Bruce Beerbower. The first trip will be held on Monday, June 20, to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, NC, from 9am – 5pm. Highlights include flowers of all colors, water features, and a visit to the Carolina’s only glass house at the Orchid Conservatory. The cost is $30 for members and $40 for non-members. The second field trip will occur on Monday, August 15, to the Magic Wings Butterfly House, a part of the Museum of Life and Science, in Durham, NC, from 8am – 6pm. The group will explore exhibits, and receive a special behind the scenes tour of the Butterfly House and Insectarium. The cost is $40 for members and $50 for non-members. Costs for both trips include van transportation, snacks, and museum fees. Participants must provide their own picnic lunch. Pre-registration is required for both trips.

Admission to the Flutter-By Butterfly Habitat is free for CSC members. The cost for non-members is CSC’s general admission fee plus $1.00. (Nonmember Adult $8.00, Senior (62+) $6.00, Youth (3 – 18) $6.00, Children (under 3) Free, Student (with ID) $6.00, Active Military (with ID) $6.00. Group Rate (10 or more) $6.00.

For more information about the Flutter-By Butterfly Habitat and activities, visit www.CatawbaScience.org or contact CSC at (828) 322-8169.

Lead sponsors for the Flutter-By Butterfly Habitat are Alex Lee, Lowes Foods, and MDI. Individuals providing additional sponsorship are Jerry & Loudella Francis, Pope & Peggy Shuford, Tom & Diane Taylor, Alan & Eleanor Barnhardt, Karen Bennett & Andy Brinkley, George & Carolyn Moretz, David & Pat Jones, David & Martha Underdown, Rob & Townes Wessels, Chip & Lynn Young, Benny & Cherrie Yount, and other 2016 Italian Dinner Fund-A-Cause Supporters.

Catawba Science Center is a nonprofit science and technology museum serving NC’s western Piedmont region. Special attractions include featured 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.

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

How To Draw, Eight Classes To Begin June 11 In Lenoir

Lenoir, NC - "How to Draw" is offered as a series of eight classes on the Patterson School campus Wednesday and Saturday mornings beginning on Saturday, June 11 and continuing through Wednesday, July 6. The morning classes will be held from 9am to noon in the Wiese Dorm Art Studio.

"Like reading, writing or learning something new, drawing is a fundamental life skill, and knowledge of drawing will reinforce your understanding of the visual world. Contrary to popular belief, the ability to draw is a learned process," explains instructor Ed Dyer, who has recently moved to North Carolina from New Orleans. Ed is a member of the Pastel Society of America and the Degas Pastel Society. He earned his BFA degree from Boston University in 1959, and his MBA degree from Yale University in 1970.

"Students will learn how to see;" says Ed, " drawing is 50% observation." Ed will teach composition, drawing fundamentals using basic forms, and the elements of shading.

Artist & instructor Ed Dyer

Classes will cover the use of values, and accurate measurement techniques for proportion. Students will learn to create textures and soft / hard edges for impact. Each session will become more challenging as skills are acquired.

The workshop will be hands-on, with demonstrations and individual guidance. "If you want to take your drawing to the next level, this workshop is for you," declares Ed. Classes are designed for the beginner and intermediate student, adults and young adults, with three full hours of drawing in each of the eight sessions. Individual guidance, evaluation, and informational handouts are all included.

Media will be charcoal and graphite on newsprint. A list of inexpensive materials will be issued.

Ed Dyer will be featured as Artist in Residence at the Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock for the week of August 8 -16, and will be on hand to discuss his work. This is the vintage studio of Blowing Rock painter Elliott Dangerfield, now restored and managed by the Blowing Rock Historical Society.

"Learning to draw skillfully is the surest way to achieve mastery in your painting, no matter what the medium , " Ed explains. The Patterson School Campus is located nine miles north of Lenoir on Highway 268, just past the Chapel of Rest. To get to know Ed Dyer, visit his website at Ed Dyer Fine Art, and to register for classes, call the Caldwell Arts Council at (828) 754-2486. Fee for the 8-day series is $250.

Kids' Summer Classes In Sculpture & Music At Caldwell Arts

Lenoir, NC - The Caldwell Arts Council will offer Sculpting Our Future Summer Sculpture Camp July 11-18, 10am-12noon, $65/child – call 828-754-2486 to register by June 1st. www.caldwellarts.com

Campers will focus on creating three-dimensional art forms using established public and outdoor art as inspiration - exploring, creating and using imaginations. Tuition covers cost of materials, and entry into the Youth Category of the Caldwell Sculpture Celebration. All entries will be eligible for prizes.

The Caldwell Arts Council will offer Summer music classes in our Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program – learn to play guitar, mandolin or fiddle on Wednesday evenings July 13-August 31 & in downtown Lenoir, and on Saturday September 3rd at the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention – and play on stage at the Fiddlers Convention! $80/student; call 828-754-2486 to register by June 1st. www.caldwellarts.com

Come pick your heart out this summer – join a band, learn how to play an instrument – Caldwell JAM helps you do both! Beginner classes Wednesday evenings 4:30-5:30pm, and Advanced classes at 5:30-6:30pm July 13-August 31 in downtown Lenoir; final camp day is September 3rd at the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention. If adults want to join, you must have your own instrument and there may possibly be a slightly higher cost.

The Caldwell Arts Council is located at 601 College Avenue (corner of Norwood Street) in Lenoir; phone (828) 754-2486 or visit the website www.caldwellarts.com.

This project is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

Hickory Community Theatre's $10K Vacation Party Is June 6

Hickory - The Hickory Community Theatre has announced the date for its annual Vacation Extravaganza as Monday, June 6, 2016 at 6:30 PM. Tickets are now on sale. The event, now in its 31st year, is a fundraiser for Theatre operations.

Well known as “The Best Party in Hickory” the evening includes plentiful food, drink, live entertainment, a silent auction and a $10,000 grand prize for a “dream” vacation.

The admission price for two is $100 which includes one entry to the drawing for the Grand Prize. Tickets may purchased from Theatre board members, by phone at (828) 327-3855 or at the theatre, 30 3rd ST NW Hickory NC 28601.

For more information call Christine Stinson at 828-327-3855 X102 weekdays 11-5 or email christine@hickorytheatre.org.

Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. The Vacation Extravaganza is sponsored by Paramount Automotive, Shurtape Technologies, LLC, Small & Martin Orthodontics and Broome Associated Insurance.

WRC Seeks Volunteers For Charity Chase On June 5

Hickory - Women's Resource Center is seeking volunteers to represent our organization at this year's Charity Chase half marathon. Participating charities receive much-needed funding to support their programs and services to our local community. This year's race is on Sunday, June 5th. Volunteers will be assigned to a station and should plan to be in place by 6:15 AM. We should be finished no later than 8:00AM.

This is a fun way to support Women's Resource Center and cheer on the runners. This year's team theme is "WRC Gangbusters." Volunteers are asked to wear white tee shirt, black necktie, and a fedora. We will provide ammo and accessories. To volunteer con

Oktoberfest Seeks Musicians & Bands

Hickory NC: Oktoberfest, held October 7, 8, and 9, 2016 is looking for The Best of the Best local Teen Talent. Pull the band out of the garage, house or practice studio and get on stage! The selected artists/bands will play on the Hickory Music Factory Stage at this years Oktoberfest in downtown Hickory.

Interested artists/bands should be between the ages 12 and 25. To apply, send your info (bio, picture, music) to: Tony Eltora at tonyeltora@gmail.com

Please include name, address, email address and phone number of the person to contact if the band is chosen for more information. Parental consent must be obtained for musicians under the age of 18 years old.

For Oktoberfest information please visit the website www.hickoryoktoberfest.com or email info@downtownhickory.com.

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.

Register Now For L-RU's Kids In College Program, June 20-24

Hickory – Applications are now being accepted for Kids in College, the Lenoir-Rhyne University summer enrichment program. The program will take place June 20 – 24 and will host both elementary and middle school students during the same week this year. All sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and lunch will be provided. Any student completing kindergarten through eighth grade is welcome to attend.

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

According to Lemke, the program focuses on the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Students will utilize 21st century skills including critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. Kids in College is designed for teacher-recommended students who meet any of the following criteria:

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

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

The cost of the program is $325 per week. A deposit of $50 is required for registration with the remaining balance due on May 13th. Additional information and registration forms can be found on the LRU website at edu.lr.edu/kidsincollege. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis for qualified students. Parents will be notified of acceptance as soon as the following requirements are received:

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

Interested parents are invited to attend an informational meeting at 6:00 p.m. on May 17 in the Belk Centrum on campus.

For more information, contact Michael Lemke at michael.lemke@lr.edu or (828) 328-7189.

Rick Cline's Drum Camps Start June 20 - Register Now

Hickory, NC - Rick Cline will host his yearly Steel Drum and African Drumming workshops again this year at the S.A.L.T. Block in the Western Piedmont Rehearsal Hall.

The steel drum workshop is June 20-24 from 6-7:30pm each night. Cline will expose the class to Caribbean music and history of the steel drums as well as learning how to play this exotic instrument for ages 12 to adult. The cost for the steel drum camp is $80 and the only requirement is some ability to read music.

The African Drumming camp is June 20-24 from 7:30- 8:30pm and is also located in the symphony hall. The cost is $80. This class will teach basic hand drumming techniques, basic African history and traditions, as well as improvisation for ages 8 to adult. No instruments are required for either workshop.

A public performance will conclude the workshop on Saturday am June 25 the week of the camp at 10am under the Sails in downtown Hickory for the Farmers Market.

This is Cline's 10th year of workshops. To sign up call 828-320-29591or email rickclinenc@gmail.com.

The workshops are supported by the Piedmont Percussion Program, a community percussion program for kids ages 6-18. For more information visit www.px-3.org.

June 1 Deadline For Hickory’s Footcandle Film Fest, Sept.23-25

Hickory - In September of 2015 the Footcandle Film Society held its first film festival — the Footcandle Film Festival — at the SALT Block Auditorium in Hickory.  The festival showcased twenty-five films from around the world selected by a committee of film society members.  The festival included an opening night “Short Film” event and reception and a closing dinner ceremony where four of the selected films were presented awards.

The film society plans to hold its second year of the film festival on September 23rd to 25th of 2016.  The format and location of the festival will remain the same as last year, with films being shown from Friday night through Sunday afternoon at the SALT Block Auditorium.  Tickets for the festival screenings will go on sale to the general public this summer.

Films are being considered for submission during the first half of 2016 with the final slate of films to be announced this summer.  For each of the films selected to show during the festival weekend the filmmaker will be invited to visit Hickory for the weekend and attend the festival to hold a question-and-answer session after their screening.  In 2015 twelve filmmakers visited the area and spent time meeting attendees of the festival as well as enjoying some of the local restaurants and attractions.

Filmmakers from around the world are encouraged to submit their films to be considered for this year’s festival.  All film lengths, types and content matter are welcomed and will be considered.  There will be four awards presented at this year’s festival: “Best Narrative Feature”, “Best Documentary Feature”, “Best Short Film” — all three determined by a panel of judges — and an “Audience Favorite” selected by festival attendees.

Filmmakers wanting to submit their film for consideration should visit the festival’s web site (www.footcandlefilmfestival.com).  Submission fees are $10.00, with a deadline of June 1st, 2016.  All films will be reviewed by a panel of film society members, with a voting system to determine the best films to show during the festival.  Those films selected to be screened at the festival will be notified by early July.

The Footcandle Film Society has been screening and facilitating discussions on films in Western North Carolina since its inception in 2008.  Through monthly film screenings, discussions, partnerships with various international and educational organizations, the film society has built a community of over 600 members that support film efforts in our region.

For any questions about the festival or the submission process, please contact the Film Society at info@footcandle.org or visit the festival’s web site at www.footcandlefilmfestival.com.

May’s Senior Mornings Out Has Bobbie Curtis’ Performance

Hickory - Participants in the Seniors Morning Out Program in Maiden will enjoy two historical programs in May.

On May 16, Bobbie Curtis, an actress from Lenoir, will give a dramatic performance about the life of Fanny Crosby, a blind American hymn writer who lived from 1820 to 1915. Despite losing her sight as an infant, Crosby received an education at the New York Institute for the Blind and spoke to Congress, encouraging them to establish similar schools for blind students in every state. She wrote more than 8,000 hymns, including many that are popular today. Her most famous hymn is "Blessed Assurance." She also was actively involved in mission work.

Seniors Morning Out is a free half-day program that is held Monday through Thursday for anyone living in Catawba County who is 60 or older. In addition to entertaining and informative activities, the program provides a hot balanced lunch. This program is offered in five different locations throughout the county. Bus transportation may be available in some locations. Each site schedules its own activities. If you would like to attend any of these programs, please contact the site supervisor at least 48 hours in advance to reserve your place. All SMO locations will be closed May 30 in observance of Memorial Day. Some highlights from the month of May are as follows.

At the Maiden SMO, located at the Maiden Community Center, at the corner of East Second Street and Klutz Street in Maiden: May 10: Program on Medicare Fraud with Diane Trainer and Dangers of Over the Counter Medications; May 18: Group Exercise and Bingo; May 26: Senior Games. Fun Walk, Cookout in Maiden Park with a performance by Sentimental Journey band. To reserve your spot, contact Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

Bobbie Curtis as Fanny Crosby

At the West Hickory SMO, located at the West Hickory Senior Center at 400 17th St. SW in Hickory: May 9, travel to Maiden SMO for Dr. Melinda Ratchford program on Titanic: Ship of Dreams; May 12, Play Family Feud and music by Sentimental Journey; May 17: Senior Games at East Hickory SMO and music by Rev It Up!; May 26, Family Feud and Entertainment by Charles Ballard. To reserve your spot, contact Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

At the Newton SMO, located at First Presbyterian Church-Newton, 701 N. Main St., Newton: May 3, Walk and Stretch and Family Feud; May 5: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Learn to Make a Taco Salad; May 11, Travel to Newton Library to watch the movie Woodlawn; May 17: Senior Games and Cookout at East Hickory SMO; May 18, Music by Sentimental Journey; May 26, Diane Trainer presentation on Medicare Fraud, Abuse and Scams; May 31, Bowling at Pin Station. To reserve your place, contact Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

At the Catawba SMO, located at Center United Methodist Church, 4945 Sherrills Ford Road, Catawba: May 5, Travel to Sherrills Ford Library to watch the movie Woodlawn; May 10, Bowling at Pin Station and Shopping at Honey's IGA; May 11, Stroke Awareness by Peggy Messick; May 12, Craft Day with Tonya Jarnac; May 17: Senior Games and Cookout at East Hickory SMO; May 19, What You Need to Know About Shingles by Jackie Saunders of Bayada Home Health; May 26: Cooking Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes. To reserve your place, contact Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

At the East Hickory SMO, located at Huntington Hills Church of God, 2123 Fifth St. NE, Hickory: May 2, music by Sentimental Journey and dancing; May 5, Mother's Day Makeovers; May 12; Travel to Herman Fish Lake for Fishing; May 16, Travel to Maiden SMO for Program by Bobbie Curtis on The Life Story of Fanny Crosby; May 19: Superfoods from the Garden by Ann Simmons of the Cooperative Extension Service; May 31: Learn to Make Strawberry Delight, Nutritional Facts about Strawberries by Gary Beach of Fresh Air Galaxy. To reserve your place, call Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

Senior Nutrition Services operates Seniors Morning Out, Meals on Wheels and related programs in the county. Volunteers are urgently needed to deliver Meals on Wheels. For more information, contact Senior Nutrition Services at 828-695-5610 during regular business hours, or visit the website at http://www.MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty.org. For the latest updates, like the program on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty.

Free Swinging Under The Stars Is Sunday, May 29, Downtown

Hickory - The 9th Annual Swinging Under the Stars Concert will be held in Downtown Hickory at the “Sails on the Square” on Sunday, May 29, 2016 starting at 6:30pm. This FREE event features the Hickory Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Rick Cline, performing big band arrangements of jazz standards from the great American songbook. 

Swinging Under the Stars is presented by the City of Hickory and hosted by the Hickory Music Factory. This year Hal Rowe from WHKY will emcee the event and the Hickory Music Factory's youth big band will open up the evening. There will be vendors selling kettle corn, and drinks so bring a chair relax and enjoy the show! 

Swinging Under the Starts draws over 1,500 patrons from all over the region to swing dance or simply to watch and listen to the classic big band  music of the swing era.  In 2008 Rick Cline and Hickory Downtown Development received the "Best Downtown Event" for all of North Carolina for the "Swingin' Under the Stars" event.    

Sponsors include the City of Hickory, Hickory Wine Shoppe, Olde Hickory Taproom, Focus, Guest Interiors, Hickory Downtown Development Association and United Arts Council. In the event of rain, the event will be moved to the Salt Block auditorium (243 3rd Ave NE, Hickory 28601). For more information please contact the Hickory Music Factory at 828-308-5659 or contact@hickorymusicfactory.com

2016 Lincoln Idol Singing Contest Is Taking Applications

Lincolnton, NC - The ACLC is now accepting applications for our 2016 Lincoln Idol Singing Competition. Come perform your heart out with the chance of being labeled Idol status! Our competition will feature celebrity judges and DJ Chucky B. More than $3200 in cash & prizes will be awarded to the winners.

Applicants must be at least 14 years old to enter our contest. Applicants will perform as individuals. Contestant fee is $40 per application.

Contestant applications are available at ArtslincolnNC.org.

Auditions will be scheduled September 12, 13 & 14, 2016. Semi-finals will be September 23, 2016, 7-11pm. Finials will be September 24, 2016, 7-10pm.

Auditions, semi finals and finals will be held at the Lincoln Cultural Center at 403 East Main Street. Admission will be charged at Semi-finals and Finals, $10 per night, general admission seating, $5 per night for ages 4 and under.

For more information visit ArtsLincolnNC.org or please contact ACLC at 704 732-9044 or email artslincolnnc@gmail.com

Visitor’s Bureau & Convention Cntr. Celebrates Tourism In May

Hickory – The Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau is celebrating tourism throughout the month of May.

Since 1983, the National Travel and Tourism Week has been the first full week of May, which is May 1 – 7 this year. This week is America’s annual salute to travel and tourism and when tourism professionals from across the nation work throughout the week to promote the impactful contributions their travel markets and organizations make to the U.S. economy. Tourism is a growth industry in Catawba County, generating more than $241 million in expenditures last year, which is a 4.3 percent increase over the last year. In addition, about 2,200 people in Catawba County have tourism careers with a total payroll of about $43 million.

The Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau decided to celebrate the importance of tourism for more than a week and to “celebrate in a big way” by doing a “31 Days of May” campaign. This campaign showcases a few of the hundreds of the attractions, events, hotels, restaurants and more in our own backyard as well as spotlights the importance of tourism in our community.

“We are a community full of cultural gems, attractions for all from furniture shopping to racecars and baseball, to fine places for our visitors to stay and a plethora of restaurants that suits all taste buds,” said Mandy Pitts, CEO of the Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our local residents in the tourism industry are amazing, as they are dedicated to greeting visitors, whether they be from far away or near by, hospitable to all no matter the needs, and go the extra mile to tell our community’s story whether it be about how local foods are prepared in upscale restaurants to farmers markets, to how furniture is crafted, or how an art exhibit came together.”

The “31 Days of May” calendar can be found at www.hickorymetro.com/31daysofmay and the Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors staff and ambassadors will be at many of these events on the calendar giving out prizes.

“Events or activities on the calendar are suggestions of things to do during May to see what our community has to offer,” said Sarah Davis, Director of Sales for the Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s fun to win things, and locals that complete at least 15 of these activities on the calendar in any given order and post them on our Hickory Metro CVB social websites will win prizes, and the person who does everything on the list will receive a gift basket full of goodies from our community.”

A few things on the calendar include visiting the Steve McCury exhibit at the Hickory Museum of Art (its last day is May 8), Hickory Furniture Mart, Hickory Motor Speedway, Hickory Crawdads, attending the Sails Original Music Series, Music in the Mill, Hickory Choral Society Pops Concert, Swinging Under the Stars, Western Piedmont Symphony lunch and learn and visit parks including Baker’s Mountain, Kiwanis Park – home of the Zahra Baker All-Children’s Playground, and Conover’s Splash pad. In addition events include enjoying live theatre, a host of visits to historical sites, and more.

“Those of you in tune with the community know that organizations are encouraging citizens to ‘tell our story,’ to those outside the Hickory Metro and all of the events going on in May can help you tell our story to your contacts across the globe,” added Pitts. “As an organization that promotes tourism for our community, we can purchase ads across the country promoting the Hickory Metro, but hearing an authentic story from peers, friends and family is the best way to pass on information, and when we all do our part by telling our story, it’s a win-win for all.”

The Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Center’s partners that will proclaim May as Tourism Month include the Catawba County Commissioners, Conover City Council and Hickory City Council.

For more information call the Hickory Metro CVB at (828) 322-1335 or visit Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., or visit www.hickorymetro.com/31daysofmay for a full schedule of events for the month of May.

Hickory Jaycees’ Set Conover Alive! Concerts For June

Conover, NC – The Hickory Jaycees are excited to announce the return of their summer concert series! Conover Alive! will be held every Friday night in June (3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th) from 7pm to 11pm at Conover Station, located in downtown Conover. The concert series is free to the public, there will be food and beverages for sale, all shows are rain or shine. The City of Conover is extending the Splash Pad hours to 9pm during the concerts. The Jaycees will also be collecting pet food, toys and blankets to donate to the Humane Society of Catawba County and the Catawba County Animal Shelter.

Band selection is in progress and will be announced in May. Conover Mayor Lee Moritz commented, “The Conover Alive! events will be exciting for our city.

Hosting the Jaycees in Conover has been a real win/win partnership and we do appreciate their leadership and investment in our community”.

The Hickory Jaycees are a young professionals’ civic engagement organization. Through business projects, we gain professional experience while raising funds to support community projects like Christmas for Teens with Department of Social Services, GrandPals through Meals on Wheels, NC Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Chapel Hill, Duke Cancer Center and the Boys & Girls Homes of NC at Lake Waccamaw.

They also work with local food pantries, soup kitchens, housing programs and animal shelters to raise funds and awareness about local needs to make our community a better place to live and work.

For more information or a sponsorship packet, please contact the Hickory Jaycees at hickoryjaycee@yahoo.com.

Foothills Folk Art Festival Is Taking Artists’ Applications Now

Newton, NC - The Foothills Folk Art Festival is now accepting artist applications for the juried festival, which will be held in downtown Newton on Saturday, Oct. 1.

The festival is a partnership between Downtown Newton Development Association (DNDA) and Hickory Museum of Art (HMA). Formerly known as the Lake Norman Folk Art Festival, this event will make downtown Newton its new home in 2016. Festival hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To participate, artists should be primarily self-taught and must submit 3-5 hard copy or high-resolution digital photos of their art to the selection committee. Artists are encouraged to apply now to take advantage of the early registration fee. Registration fees for those who are not accepted for the festival will be returned. Artists may obtain more information about the festival, and an application form, from Hickory Museum of Art by contacting Clarissa Starnes at cstarnes@hickorymuseumofart.org or by calling 828-327-8576, ext. 210.

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

Admission to the Foothills Folk Art Festival is free. Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase a wide variety of folk art directly from the artists. In addition, there will be special activities for children, artist demonstrations, and two stages with live music. The festival will offer food from local restaurants and food truck vendors, as well as two different beer gardens.

Festival volunteer committees are now being formed to organize everything from parking and signs to children’s art and food. To volunteer, contact Shannon Johnson, Newton Main Street Program manager, at 828-695-4360 or sjohnson@newtonnc.gov. For the latest news about the festival, like its Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/FoothillsFolkArtFestival. The Foothills Folk Art Festival website will be going live soon.

Hickory Youth Council Seeks New Members - Apply By May 31

Hickory – The Hickory Youth Council is recruiting new members for the 2016 - 2017 school year.

The Hickory Youth Council was established in 2000 by the Hickory City Council to give the city’s youth a voice in city government. All rising 9 - 12 grade high school students, living in the Hickory city limits or extra-territorial jurisdiction, are eligible to apply.

The Youth Council consists of 30 high school students who learn about city operations, participate in community service projects, and advise the City Council about issues and policies that affect the youth of Hickory. The Hickory Youth Council is also a chartered member of the State Youth Council of North Carolina. This organization offers opportunities for leadership training, community service, and networking opportunities for high school students across the state. “I feel that Youth Council is important to learn about city government, as well as the many amenities provided by the city for its citizens,” shared Youth Council Chair, Alanna Church. “It’s also encouraged me to consider moving back to Hickory after I’ve started a family and perhaps pursue a career in government.”

“The students involved in the Hickory Youth Council have a voice in local government. They have the opportunity to meet with and confer with the Hickory City Council on items that affect youth in this area,” said Dave Leonetti, Hickory Youth Council Liaison. “They plan fundraising events, attend seminars and conferences, and they have the opportunity to get to know and work with their peers who may attend other area schools.”

All applications must be received by close of business on Tuesday, May 31, 2016.

For more information about the application process or to download an application please visit www.HickoryNC.gov/youthcouncil. Any questions about the application process should be directed to Dave Leonetti, Youth Council Liaison, at (828) 261-2227.

Call For Artists For Oktoberfest’s Juried Arts & Crafts, Vendors

Hickory - Be a part of Downtown Hickory’s 31st Annual Oktoberfest!!

Hickory’s Oktoberfest 2016 is now accepting applications for Arts and Crafts vendors. Celebrating its 31th year, this annual festival will be held October 7, 8, and 9, 2016 in Downtown Hickory NC. Estimated attendance is 100,000 for the three day event.

Hickory's Oktoberfest is an outdoor festival held annually on the second weekend in October. It features four stages of non-stop live entertainment ranging from traditional polka to rock & roll, two beer gardens, amusement rides and carnival games, a juried arts and crafts show, and hundreds of food and commercial vendors.

Oktoberfest’s Juried Arts and Crafts show is a juried event, with prizes given for the top three artisans. The Arts & Crafts area includes paintings, sculpture, pottery, handmade swings, candles, jewelry, photography and more. Booth spaces are 10 x 10 and limited to one craftsperson per booth. Registration will be accepted until Thursday, August 1, 2016. Booth fees are $200.00 for all three days with electricity available for an additional $25.00. Applications and guidelines are available on line at www.hickoryoktoberfest.com.

Other vendors include foods from around the world, commercial businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Applications for Commercial and Non-Profit vendors are available online at www.hickoryoktoberfest.com. Food vendors are welcomed into the festival by invitation only. No food vendor applications are provided online.

For more information on Oktoberfest 2016, applications and guidelines or sponsorship information please visit the website www.hickoryoktoberfest.com and click on vendor applications or email info@downtownhickory.com.

Catawba Co. Social Services Supports Adults’ Life Changes

Hickory - Catawba County Social Services continues to offer Information and Options Counseling to adults in the county who are experiencing a major life transition and need assistance discovering and navigating the services that may be available to them. Information can be provided about services ranging from in-home assistance and adult day care services to assisted living or nursing home placement. Some examples of individuals seeking this service include: aging individuals wanting to discuss options to sustain health, wellness, and independence; individuals returning home from a rehab center following a surgery; or an individual having increased difficulty managing household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, but who wants to remain at home.

This service is designed to help the person identify options, weigh the pros and cons of each, and make an action plan to help meet their goals. The counselor will work with the person to discuss their preferences, values, service needs and circumstances. The counselor will provide information about various options so the person can make informed choices about long-term services and supports. Information and Options Counseling provides valuable information to individuals who may not be aware of what services are available.

While Social Services has always provided information and referral services to persons who need to make decisions such as these, the Information and Options Counseling service is a more in-depth and personalized approach.

The goal is to offer decision support to individuals making decisions about their own care. To make use of this service, the person in need of care must be able to make their own decisions. However, caregivers or family members are invited to participate in the process if they wish.

To schedule an appointment with a certified Information and Options counselor, call Catawba County Social Services at 828-695-5609.

HMA Summer Art Camps Are Registering Now; Begin June 13

Hickory – Registration is now open for summer art camps at Hickory Museum of Art, 243 Third Ave. N.E., Hickory. Camps for children ages 4 to 14 will be offered Monday-Friday, June 13 – August 19, with morning (10 a.m. -12 p.m.) and afternoon (1-3 p.m.) options available.

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

Back by popular demand, the weeklong drama camp “Lights, Camera, Action,” invites kids ages 7 to 14 to act out a short play, which will be performed at the end of the week on stage in the Drendel Auditorium. Also, participants ages 7-9 can sign up for the “Comic Book Clinic” camp, which will allow the opportunity to develop original comic book characters and tell their stories.

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

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

Photo: Isabella Hargrove is pictured alongside her colorful artwork, created during last summer’s art camps at Hickory Museum of Art.

Hickory Music Factory Sets Dates Summer Music Camps

Hickory - Attention musicians 11-18 years of age. The Hickory Music Factory (HMF) is offering two summer camps in July. The first is the annual HMF Rock Camp (July 11-15, 9-2:30pm). Students will rehearse throughout the week with their band and learn the essentials needed to perform on stage.

There will be classes/clinics focusing on song writing, stage performance, music history, and music theory. The week will end with the students and their band playing a concert on Friday night at the SALT Block Auditorium. Bands for the HMF Rock Camp will also have an opportunity to perform at this year’s Hickory Oktoberfest.

The second camp is the HMF Recording Camp (July 18-22, 9-2:30pm). Students will learn the essentials they need to properly mix and record music. There will be classes focusing on the history of recording, microphone placement, layering of instruments and phasing. Students will also learn how to use Pro Tool recording software and record a live band. Cost for each camp is $225 HMF Students and $250 non HMF Students and the camps will take place at the Hickory Music Factory. To sign up, please contact: HMF 828-308-5659 contact@hickorymusicfactory.com

Photo: Previous Rock Camp students

Hickory Brain Injury Support Group Meets Monthly

Hickory - Connect with survivors, families, and professionals at meetings that offer help, hope, and education, so you can live a happy and successful life after brain injury.

2016 Meetings: June TBD Crawdads Baseball; 7/26/16 Speaker; 8/23/16 Cookout at Glenn Hilton; 9/27/16 Speaker; 10/25/16 Spooky Bingo; 11/22/16 Speaker; and 12/13/16 Christmas Dinner.

Meetings are the fourth Tuesday of most months, 6:00 - 7:30 pm, at First United Methodist Church, 311 3rd Ave NE, Hickory, NC, 28601.

Times and locations sometimes vary, especially for social events. For more information, contact Travis Glass at (828) 781-0778 or travis@crossroadscounseling.org.

Also check them out on www.facebook.com/HickoryBlSG.

Tucker’s Barn Singer/Songwriter Series

Lenoir, NC – The Harper School of Performing Arts is proud to announce the start of the 2016 Tuckers Barn Singer Songwriters Series!

The dates are first Thursday of each month, June 2, July 7, August 4 and September 1. The location is the 1841 Cafe, 117 Main St. NW, Lenoir, 28645. The time is 7 – 9pm and there is no cover charge though donations are gratefully accepted. All proceeds benefit scholarship programs at the Harper School.

Tuckers Barn Singer Songwriters Series will start Thursday April 7th and be held on the first Thursday of every month through September. Each month performers come out to show case their talent by performing songs they have written themselves. April’s Kick Off showcase consists of Patrick Crouch, Kevin Leftwich and Chad Triplett. Please join us awesome music, good food, wonderful community sharing time and help us support and encourage our local artists. Stop by the school and experience “The Magic that Happens at the Harper School.” For more information on the Harper School, contact us at 828-754-2297, visit our new website www.theharperschool.org and “Like” our Facebook page.

Lincolnton Lions Offer Locations For Cell Phone Recycling

Lincolnton, NC - Did you know electronic waste is a huge problem in the USA and around the globe? The worst- case scenario is unwanted cell phones, SMART PHONES, and I-Pad’s. While one discarded CELL PHONE in the trash might appear on the surface as “no big deal”, a 100 million in the trash is an environmental disaster. The nickel, cadmium, mercury, and lead in these products can poison the Earth, taking 20 years or more to decompose. According to environmentalist, lithium, the main ingredient in cell phone batteries, can harm the nervous system and vital organs. Nickel, cadmium, and silver have been linked to organ damage.

According to cellular phone industry on the average, Americans upgrade their cell phones, blackberries, and PDA's every 12 to 18 months. Many homes have 2 or 3 of these wireless devices left over from their previous service provider. Cellular usage in the USA and globally is approaching 300 million and over 2 Billion respectively. Unfortunately, only a small percentage are recycled and end up in our landfills to contaminate your water supply with toxin chemicals. .

To encourage Lincoln County residents to donate, deposit, and recycle their unwanted BLACKBERRIES, CELL PHONES, I-PHONE, SMART PHONES, AND I-PADS, the Lincolnton Lions Club has strategically placed one of their eyeglasses, and cellphone boxes at the following Denver, Lincolnton, and Vale businesses, health care providers and governmental agencies:

BUSINESS
1. City Lunch- 113 South East Court Square- Lincolnton
2. Lincolnton/Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce- 101 East Main Street, Lincolnton
HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
1. Advance Family Eye Care- 7547 Waterside Loop Road, Denver
2. Carolinas Eye Care-231 General’s Boulevard, Lincolnton
3. Carolinas Eye Care- 623 North Highway 16, Denver
4. The Drug Store- 626 Center Drive, Lincolnton
5. The Drug Store-9576 NC Highway 10, Vale
6. Graystone Ophthalmology, PA- 2311 East Main Street, Lincolnton
7. Lincoln Eye Center- 110 Doctor’s Park, Lincolnton
8. Dr. Robin Owings & Dr. Rob Schick- ProWellness Family Chiropractic- 1814 North Aspen Street, Lincolnton

GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES
1) Lincoln County Senior Services (2nd Flo0r)- 514 South Academy Street Lincolnton
2) Jerry Cochrane Computer & Cosmetology Building- Lincoln Campus of Gaston College, 511 South Aspen Street, Lincolnton
3) Lincoln County Veterans Services- 200 Gamble Drive, Lincolnton

Before donating, depositing, and recycling your unwanted cell phones, i-phones, blackberries, PDA's and i-Pads in any Lincolnton Lions Club box, please erase all personal information. Cell phones will be refurbished and programmed for 911 and donated to the charities.I-pads will be donated to charities too. Unfortunately, the Lions Club is unable to accept and recycle landline telephones and answering machines.

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.

FOCUS Newspaper Is Now A FREE App, Too! Special

Introductory Ad Prices For Businesses!

FOCUS Newspaper is now available on smart phones and tablets!

Go to the App store for iPhones or Google Play Store and search Focus Newspaper NC and download it — it’s FREE!

Just launched February 22, the FOCUS App will have most of the content found in print and online at Focusnewspaper.com. Your favorite columnists, local news, national news and of course, Found Around Town photos, and much more:

An endless Events Listing will expand every day!

There’s an Eat & Drink section with GPS directions, phone numbers and a link to the establishment’s website. A Local Biz section with the same features as Eat & Drink.

And, an Around Me featuring Eat & Drink, Local Biz and Live Music. Again, it’s growing every day with content and ads, special deals and so much more!

If you’re a business owner - call FOCUS today and get on the App!

If you’re a FOCUS Newspaper fan, get the App right now!

Focus Newspaper NC - the new FOCUS Newspaper App!

For more info email FocusNewsApp@centurylink.net. Call FOCUS at 828.322.1036 to advertise on the App, in the paper or online.

Good Times & Great Deals on the FREE FOCUS App!

Bethlehem Library Accepting 2017 Artist Applications

Bethlehem NC - The Bethlehem Branch Library in Alexander County is now accepting applications for the Exhibiting Artists Series for the 2017 and 2018 schedules. All visual wall art mediums and photography may be submitted. Sculpture and wood carving is also now accepted for exhibition. Art is exhibited for two mnths with an Opening Reception and Gallery Talk on the first Thursday of the first month. The Bethlehem Branch Library has been one of the most successful and popular art exhibition venues in the region since its inception in 2010. The exhibition series is sponsored by the Bethlehem Friends of the Library and Bethlehem Community Development Association. Its purpose is to showcase local and regional artists work. For more information and submission guidelines contact Bud Caywood at caywoodstudio@charter.net. Visit the Library Gallery at 45 Rink Dam Road, Hickory, NC 28601.

Applications For Women2Work Workforce Program Available

Hickory - Practical help for unemployed or underemployed women is offered through the Women’s Resource Center’s Women2Work Workforce Development Program. The unique — and FREE — one-year program, designed to assist women in their job search, is now accepting applications.

“Women2Work is an advanced program that provides long-term support, resources, educational workshops and counseling,” says WRC Executive Director Cindy Rose. “The program is available to eligible unemployed or underemployed women in our communities and, since 2013, has successfully graduated eighteen women who have found secure employment. Currently 10 women are enrolled in the program, and we are currently seeking qualified applicants.”

Eligibility requirements include the ability to look for full-time work, a valid driver's license and reliable transportation, and the willingness to commit to a one-year program. Program participants must live in Catawba, Caldwell, Burke or Alexander counties and have no criminal record. For more information call Twila Hartford, Workforce Development Coordinator, at (828) 322-6333. Ext. 202.

The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) offers assistance to women in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties through workforce development, advocacy, enrichment programs and community partnerships.

Women’s Resource Center Seeks Items For Pantry

Hickory — The Women’s Resource Center’s personal products pantry, which provides personal and cleaning projects to women and families in the area who are struggling to meet basic needs is in critical need of supplies to replenish the pantry.

“We are asking for help in re-stocking our shelves,” said Executive Director Cindy Rose. Families receiving food assistance from the government cannot use their allotment for these products. We rely on the generosity of community members to keep the shelves stocked so that we can make the items available to women who meet the eligibility requirements.”

Products needed include laundry detergent, hand soap, fabric softener, dryer sheets, bathroom cleaner, window cleaner, disinfectant, mouthwash, body wash, bleach, dish detergent, and all purpose cleaner (409, etc.)

Donations can be dropped off at the Center at 125 3rd Street NE, Hickory, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. No donation is too small.

For additional information, visit the website at www.wrchickory.org.

The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) offers assistance to women in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties through workforce development, advocacy, enrichment programs and community partnerships.

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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