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Exodus Homes’ 2016 Mangum Honor Cards Now On Sale

Hickory - Exodus Homes' 2016 William Mangum Honor Cards are now available for the holidays. The faith based United Way agency provides supportive housing for homeless recovering people returning to the community from treatment centers and prison. The annual sale of Honor Cards is a primary source of funding for the organization.

William Mangum is a well known Greensboro artist who befriended a homeless man in 1987, and the experience inspired him to use his artistic and publishing skills to make The Honor Card program one of the most effectively managed charitable programs in the country. Within each beautiful annual painting is the subtle image and story of a homeless person. With underwriting support from Wells Fargo Bank along with Mike and Sarah Kearney, The Honor Card program has expanded to thirteen communities in N.C., and has received national attention for helping organizations who serve homeless and needy people. Exodus Homes is The Honor Card program for the Foothills area.

This year's Honor Card is entitled "Hope in Front of Me", and was inspired by Psalm 9:18 “God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish”. "Hope is a vital necessity of life--a gift that God wants to give to everyone in a world. We must remind homeless people that what they’re going through isn't the end of the story...it's simply the rough journey that leads to the right destination. Solid, stable, sure hope. Hope to press on. Hope to endure. Hope to stay focused. Hope to see new dreams fulfilled", says Mangum.

Hope in Front of Me card

"Hope in Front of Me" Honor Cards are $5.00 each. On the inside, the recipient is informed that someone made a gift to to Exodus Homes in their honor and gives information about the supportive housing program. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of Honor Cards goes to support the operating expenses of Exodus Homes. Today, The Honor Card program is in it's 29th year, and has raised over six million dollars to support homeless and needy people in our state. "We have been getting calls for weeks about the 2016 Honor Card. It has become a gift-giving tradition in this area, and the funds we raise are vital to meet our annual budget goals," says the Rev. Reggie Longcrier, executive director of Exodus Homes.

The "Hope in Front of Me" Exodus Homes Honor Card can be purchased online at www.exodushomes.org or at the following locations:

Exodus Homes 122 8th Ave Dr. SW Hickory 28602

Exodus Works 510 1st Ave SW Hickory 28602

Taste Full Beans Coffee House 29 2nd St NW, Hickory, NC 28601

SALT Block Gift Shop 243 3rd Ave NE Hickory 28601

Catawba County Chamber of Commerce 1055 Southgate Corporate Park SW, Hickory, NC 28602

EcoDental 300 29th Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Packets of cards for sale and display easels are available for local churches and businesses who would like to support Exodus Homes by participating in The Honor Card program.

For more information about helping sell or purchasing "Hope in Front of me" Honor Cards, please contact the Rev. Susan Walker at 828-962-8196 or revsusanwalker@gmail.com. A video about this year's card can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KArHXydsFwk

B’way Hit Peter And The Starcatcher Features

Adult & Youth Actors; At HCT, Dec. 2 - 18

HIckory - The cast of Hickory Community Theatre’s upcoming mainstage production of the Broadway hit Peter and the Starcatcher includes three theatre enthusiasts: Nathan Crabtree, Gavin Dagenhardt, and Coleson Berlin.

This recent Broadway hit reimagines the century-old story of how a miserable orphan boy becomes the legendary Peter Pan. In an all-male cast, with the exception of the lead female Molly, Crabtree plays the dual roles of Mrs. Bumbrake, Molly’s stereotypical British nanny, with mature and enticing charm, as well as the stern Teacher of the orphan boys. Dagenhardt and Berlin play two of those orphan boys, Prentiss and Ted, respectively. Prentiss is ambitious and logical with a touch of cowardice, and Ted is a natural performer with an obsession with food. They accompany Boy (Peter) on his journey to a distant island where humor, peril, and magic ensue.

Nathan Crabtree is a local theatre favorite who has been living and performing in the Hickory area for 23 years. Favorite credits include “Bill/Big Bud/Coach” in Heathers: The Musical at Queen City Theatre Company, “Stone” in City of Angels at Lenoir Rhyne University, “Thenardier” in Les Misérables at Hickory Community Theatre, and “Lancelot” in Spamalot at HCT as well. Crabtree is the music teacher at Catawba Elementary School and music director at Northminster Presbyterian Church. He is the proud father of his three daughters: Clare, Tess, and Samantha.

Gavin Dagenhardt is a junior at Hickory High School. Active in both theatre and school, Dagenhardt is a member of Interact Club, Beta Club, and student council, as well as his church youth group and band. An active participant in local theatre, he has appeared in several productions including West Side Story at the Green Room Community Theatre, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Hickory High School, The Little Mermaid, Jr. at Hickory Community Theatre, and A Christmas Story at HCT where he played the lead role, Ralphie.

Coleson Berlin is a sophomore at Saint Stephens High School. A kid who grew up on the stage, Berlin is no stranger to local theatre. Berlin has appeared in several recent productions­­­­­­­­- both musicals and straight plays. Favorite shows include Shrek the Musical, The Music Man, and Dr. Doolittle, all at Hickory Community Theatre. One of his fondest theatre memories was playing Billy Ray alongside the beloved and talented James Best in On Golden Pond at HCT in 2014.

Peter and the Starcatcher opens December 2nd and runs Thursdays (Dec 8, 15) at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays (2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17) and 8:00pm, and Sundays (Dec 11, 18) at 2:30pm. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (only $16 on Thursdays for both adults and seniors), and $10 for youth and students. Tickets may be purchased online at www.hickorytheatre.showare.com or at the Theatre box office, which is open 12-5 Wednesday through Saturday, in person or by phoning 828-328-2283.

The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. Peter and the Starcatcher is the fourth show in the Theatre’s 68th season, sponsored by Paramount Automotive, and is produced by Alex Lee Inc.

Photo: Gavin Dagenhardt (left) is Prentiss, Nathan Crabtree is Mrs. Bumbrake/Teacher and Coleson Berlin is Ted in Peter and the Starcatcher, opening December 2nd at the Hickory Community Theatre. For tickets and information call 828-328-2283 or go to www.hickorytheatre.org. Photo is by John Koval. Gavin Dagenhardt, Nathan Crabtree & Coleson Berlin

Newton Train Museum Hosts Polar Express Events In Nov. & Dec.

Newton, NC - The Newton-Conover Auditorium and Southeastern Narrow Gauge & Shortline Museum will host three Polar Express events this holiday season.

The Newton-Conover Auditorium is presenting its Polar Express Experience on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the auditorium. There will be showings of the interactive movie at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Contact the auditorium at 828-464-8100 to reserve tickets. Tickets are $5 in advance or $6 at the door, and fun packs to add to the experience are $5. The Southeastern Narrow Gauge & Shortline Museum will have an O-Scale model train layout of the Polar Express train on display at the auditorium during the month of December. The auditorium is located at 60 West 6th St., Newton.

To promote the Polar Express Experience, two free events will be held prior. On Saturday, Nov. 26, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the museum will host a Hot Cocoa with the Conductor event, where families will be able to have hot cocoa and spend time with the auditorium’s Polar Express Conductor, who will read the Polar Express story. The museum will unveil an interactive Polar Express layout at the as part of the renovation of the O-Scale layout. This event will be in the museum’s welcome center at 1111 North Main Ave., Newton.

The auditorium and the museum will also appear at Newton’s annual Light up the Town celebration, where the Polar Express Conductor will be on hand and the Polar Express layout will be operating. Light Up the Town is on the Courthouse Square in Downtown Newton from 5-8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27.

The Southeastern Narrow Gauge & Shortline Museum is owned and operated by two main groups: the Newton Depot Authority and the Alexander Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. The museum is located in the historic Newton Depot at 1123 North Main Ave., Newton. The welcome center is located next door to the depot at 1111 N. Main Ave. The museum is open every Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with private tours available by request. Monthly Alexander Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society meetings are held at the museum on the first Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. and are open to the public.

Contact: James Glenn, Museum Coordinator, 980-858-4266.

Email: newtondepotauthority@gmail.com.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 267 Newton, NC 28658.

www.newtondepot.com

Jennifer Licko Band’s A Celtic Christmas, Is Wed., Dec. 14

Hickory - A Celtic Christmas! The Jennifer Licko Band featuring the only four time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion will be in concert on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 7:pm – 9pm at Drendel Auditorium on the SALT BLOCK. Doors open at 6:30 PM.

The music of the holiday season has strong roots in Celtic traditions; “We have learned that there are some songs that resonate with our audiences because of familiarity.” says Jennifer, “This is important to us because while we love introducing more eclectic pieces on other tours, Christmas is the time of year where traditions and familiar sounds are an important aspect”. All of the traditional carols will be sung in English (We Three Kings, The First Noel), audiences will also hear songs in Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, and French. An evening of Celtic Christmas traditions, songs and some blazing yuletide tunes on the fiddle; will be a highlight of your Christmas season.

Celtic Album of the Year recipient (Celtic Music Radio), Jennifer Licko, has proven herself as a respected musician within the Celtic genre while acquiring fans outside of that niche. Jennifer masterfully combines the Appalachian music of her North Carolina roots with the traditional Celtic music of her ancestors. "Jennifer Licko could very well be the heir-apparent to Canada’s Loreena McKennitt and Clannad’s Maire Brennan,” says Celtic Life Magazine.

Dylan Foley, a four-time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, was a student of the great Rose Flanagan (from Cherish the Ladies). He is a vibrant stylist whose playing has been called “impeccable and spirited.” Dylan has played on Jay Unger’s Dancing On the Air show on WAMC four times. Two more band members include Irish guitarist, Brian Miller; and Jennifer’s long time British producer Bob Noble on keyboards and vocals. Noble’s credits include keyboardist for AHA, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Joan Armatrading, Cliff Richard, Bob Geldof and more. Miller has been featured for his guitar work on MPR’s All Things Considered, CBC Radio’s Canada Live, and Ireland’s RTE television, RTE radio and TG4 television.

Jennifer’s most recent album ‘Sing’ has been receiving critical acclaim from the Celtic/Folk and World music community and is receiving national radio airplay. The Celtic Music Fan Magazine writes, “Sing shines a musical light on every corner like a summer morning.”

This year the band will be launching their first Celtic Christmas CD, ‘The Lights of Christmas’ which includes the most requested and favorited songs from the Celtic Christmas Concert. The album includes musicians from Jennifer’s band such as fiddle player Patrick Mangan from RIVERDANCE; the original Irish music & dance hit production, Patsy O’Brien, and Bob Noble.

The SALT Block is at 231 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory, NC 28601. Advance tickets are $15, at the door is $20.

Start this Holiday season off Celtic style! Get your tickets early because many shows sell out! Tickets and information available at www.jenniferlicko.com or by calling 561 670 5534.
A special thanks goes out to our sponsor Emerald Isle Realty.

The Jennifer Licko Band

Catawba Valley Guardian ad Litem’s Wish Upon The Moon

Benefit Is Sat., Dec. 3, 12-8pm

Hickory - The Catawba Valley Guardian ad Litem Association is a non-profit 501-c-3 organization that provides abused and neglected children in Burke, Caldwell & Catawba counties with educational needs to help them be successful and the opportunity to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities such as art, music, and band.

We are hosting our second annual Wish Upon the Moon, a fundraiser and silent auction at Crescent Moon Cafe on Saturday, December 3rd from 12-8:00pm to raise money for this awesome program.

Several local breweries including Granite Falls Brewing, Olde Hickory Brewing, New Sarum, and Catawba Brewing have donated craft beverages for the event and 100% of the sales will go to CVGAL. Lots of great silent auction items and gift baskets will be available from local business such as Rock Barn Golf & Country Club, King Suzuki, Hops & Grapes, The Hickory Tree, and many more!

All of the funds raised from this event will be used to support the CVGALA work in our local community. So stop by Crescent Moon and bid on a great early Christmas gift or enjoy a craft beverage and help grant a wish for a local foster child!

For more info, contact: cvgala@bellsouth.net. Phone: 704-995-4950

ACAP Presents Laughter Is The Best Medicine On Tues., Dec. 6

ACAP-Hickory (Adult Children of Aging Parents) will present, "Laughter is the Best Medicine!" on Tuesday, December 6, 5:30-7:00 pm, in the Fellowship Hall of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Hickory. Presenter for the program is Meghan Lawton, Senior Membership Director, Hickory Foundation YMCA and former Regional Manager, Foothills Office, Alzheimer's Association Western Carolina.

Laughing is good for us! Research shows that laughter provides significant physical, mental and emotional benefit, particularly during stressful times. The December ACAP program will provide lots of opportunities to laugh and strategies for finding humor in the midst of difficult circumstances. Specifically, program attendees will learn the physical benefits of laughter, discover how humor can mentally bring us to acceptance, gain understanding of how humor can emotionally change our perspective, and become aware of how laughter is good for the caregiver as well as the care recipient. Particularly at this time of year with all-too-often increased stress, this program on humor and caregiving is of particular benefit.

The ACAP-Hickory program is free. To register, please email fhall@ACAPcommunity.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-599-ACAP (1-877-599-2227). Feel free to invite family and friends to attend, also.

ACAP gratefully acknowledges Seniors Helping Seniors and Catawba Valley Living at Rock Barn as sponsors for the December program.

The mission of ACAPcommunity is to provide information, resources, support and community for adult-child caregivers as we care for our aging parents and for ourselves. ACAP-Hickory, the local chapter of ACAPcommunity, offers free educational programs the second Tuesday of each month (first Tuesday in December), 5:30-7:00 pm, in the Fellowship Hall of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church. Although designed for adult-child caregivers, programs are open to all. To reach the Fellowship Hall: From N. Center Street / Hwy. 127, turn beside Mt. Olive Lutheran Church (2780 N. Center Street, Hickory) onto 28th Ave. NE. Park in the parking lot at the back of the church, and enter the fellowship hall via the door under the portico.

In addition to monthly educational programs offered through local chapters, ACAPcommunity provides audio podcasts and other resources addressing a variety of caregiving issues. Please visit our website, www.ACAPcommunity.org, for further information.

Caldwell Arts’ Holiday Sale Begins Friday, Dec., 2, In Lenoir

Lenoir, NC - Everyone is invited to attend the Grand Opening of the annual Satie's Holiday Sale at the Caldwell Arts Council, Friday December 2nd, open 9am-7pm with refreshments served by the Caldwell Women's Club beginning at 5pm, and live music featuring Trevor and Bailey Woods.

The Satie’s Holiday Sale will continue through December 24th, with the Caldwell Arts Council open Mondays-Thursdays 9am-6pm, Fridays 9am-7pm and Saturdays 10am-3pm.

NEW THIS YEAR – Snowflake Socials & Gallery Crawls each Friday, with downtown art & craft galleries (Caldwell Arts Council, Charles Babb Designs, Chix With Stix, Frye Art Studio/Folk Keeper Gallery, My Happy Place Gallery, Sevenfold and the City of Lenoir Pottery Studio) and other stores open til 7pm! Enjoy the children’s decorated trees and holiday music while shopping for locally handcrafted gifts.

Caldwell Arts Council is located at 601 College Avenue SW in Lenoir. For more details, call 828-754-2486 or visit our website: www.caldwellarts.com.

26th Annual Conover School Toy Run Is Sat., Dec. 3, Wizard Saloon

Conover, NC - Please join us for our 26th Annual Conover School Toy Run hosted by The Wizard Saloon on Saturday, December 3rd. Registration will start at The Wizard Saloon at 10am and the bike parade will leave promptly at 12:15.Food will be served after the ride, back at The Wizard. Rain or Shine! All Motorcycles Welcome! All proceeds go to the kids at Conover School. $15 per person.

Our Toy Run is different from others. You do not bring a toy to this run, you pay a registration fee, because we purchase the toys.

The teachers at Conover School will give us a list of what each child would like to have and we buy and wrap the toys and the children are given their toys by Santa the day of the ride.

The children put on a play for everybody that participates, which they have worked on all year and this is something you don't want to miss! Any and all donations welcome, please come out and join us for this awesome occasion. We hope to see you there!

For more info. email: toyruncrew@hotmail.com

Catawba County Senior Nutrition Fundraising Drive Has Begun

Hickory - Catawba County's Senior Nutrition Services is conducting its annual fundraising drive, which helps pay for Meals on Wheels and related programs in the county.

Senior Nutrition Services, a part of Catawba County Social Services, operates Meals on Wheels, Frozen Meals, Seniors Morning Out, and the Nutritional Supplement programs. Each of these programs is designed to give seniors the option to remain in their homes as long as possible.

"We rely heavily on donations from local individuals, churches, civic groups and businesses to help fund this program," explained Jan Shaffer, supervisor of Senior Nutrition Services. "We hope that our community will give the gift of meals to local seniors during this holiday season."

A gift in any amount is appreciated, she explained. A donation of $21 pays for one week of meals for a senior; $91 pays for one month of meals; and $1,092 pays for an entire year of meals. During Fiscal Year 2015-2016, a total of 1632 seniors were served through these programs.

Meals on Wheels delivers five meals a week to seniors who are unable to shop or prepare their own food, and have no one in their home who can do so. The meals are delivered by volunteers, who can volunteer as little as one day a month. It takes about an hour and a half to deliver meals on a Meals on Wheels route. More volunteers are urgently needed.

Frozen Meals are delivered to recipients who qualify for Meals on Wheels, but who do not live near a Meals on Wheels route. Frozen meals are picked up monthly by a friend, relative or volunteer. The Nutritional Supplement Program provides a case of Boost or Ensure once a month to seniors, who must obtain a note from their doctor.

Seniors Morning Out operates four mornings each week, except for holidays. There are five sites throughout the county where seniors meet to enjoy activities and a hot, balanced lunch. Keeping these seniors connected with their community has been shown to improve their health.

None of these programs is income based. Any Catawba County resident who is 60 or older may participate. Individuals, groups, or businesses may participate by volunteering or making a donation. Groups are encouraged to organize fund-raisers to benefit these programs, or to designate part of the proceeds from an existing fund-raiser. For more information about how to get involved, contact Jan Shaffer, supervisor of Senior Nutrition Services, at 828-695-5617.

To donate by check, make out your check to Catawba County Social Services and write "Senior Nutrition Services" in the memo line. Mail your check to: Senior Nutrition Services, P.O. Box 207, Newton, NC 28657. You may also donate securely online by going to http://www.catawbacountync.gov/dss and clicking on the red "Donate Now" button. To receive an acknowledgement letter for tax purposes, be sure to include your name and address. Additional information about Catawba County Senior Nutrition Programs is available at http://www.mealsonwheelsofcatawbacounty.org.

For the latest updates on Catawba County's Senior Nutrition Programs, like "Meals on Wheels of Catawba County" on Facebook.

Adopt A Senior Pet Month And Seniors For Seniors

At Humane Society Of Catawba County

Hickory - Humane Society of Catawba County knows senior pets still have so much love to give, and to celebrate Adopt a Senior Pet month HSCC wants to remind the community about the ongoing senior special, “Seniors for Seniors”. Dog or cat adoptions includes spay or neuter surgery, current vaccinations, microchip identification, deworming, heartworm test (dogs), FIV/Felv test (cats), a free veterinary exam certificate and a friend for life.

The criteria for this program are as follows:

• Classification of a “Senior” adopter will be a person over the age of 60 years old.

• If adopting a shelter animal 8+ years, the adoption fee (with an approved adoption application) will be waived. (Some exceptions apply.)

• If adopting a shelter animal up for general adoption (some exceptions apply, special does not apply to kittens or puppies) the adoption fee will be reduced by half.

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

Photo: Cassie is available for adoption as a senior.

Bikes For Tykes Program Has Begun, Donate By Dec. 8

Hickory – Do you have a bike that you do not need? If so, Hickory Firefighters would like it. The Hickory Fire Department in conjunction with the Christmas Bureau is asking for new and like new bikes and tricycles for needy children to be given out during the Catawba County Christmas Bureau.

In the past, bikes have been donated, fixed up and given to local children. Also due to some very generous people and local businesses, brand new bikes were also provided.

Bikes or tricycles to be donated can be dropped off at any of the Hickory fire stations between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Persons needing directions or having questions, call 828-323-7420. The last day to drop off is December 8.

The "Bikes for Tykes" program is an effort to benefit needy children served by the Catawba County Christmas Bureau. The toys will then be distributed through the Catawba County Christmas Bureau at the American Legion Fairgrounds on December 12 &13.

Photo: firefighters Harvey Notarus and Ryan Starnes at 2015 Christmas Bureau

Waldensian Trail Of Faith’s Lights Display Is Nov. 22 - Dec 24

Valdese, NC - The Waldensian Trail of Faith’s 18th Annual Christmas Lights display begins Tuesday, November 22 and continues through Saturday, December 24, in Valdese.

The display is lit 6 - 9:00 PM every night. Please note the Visitor Center is closed Christmas Day, and no lights will be lit Christmas Day. The Visitor Center is closed Christmas Eve, but lights will be lit on Christmas Eve.

The annual Lighting Ceremony will be held Tuesday, November 22, at 6pm. There will be the traditional reading of the Christmas Story and there will be special music by children from Glenwood Elementary School’s Music Club, led by Ms. Amber Houk. Three special children will be chosen to turn on the lights at the conclusion of the program.

In addition to the lights be sure to visit inside the Visitor’s Center for the Christmas Gift Shop and the concession counter where hot apple cider and hot chocolate are available for $1 per cup.

There is no admission fee for the Light Trail or Ceremony, however the City of Valdese gladly accepts donations to help pay for the cost of electricity.

Seniors’ Christmas Dance Is Thursday, Dec. 1, In Newton

Newton, NC — The Newton Recreation Department will sponsor its annual Senior Citizens Christmas Dance on Thursday, Dec. 1, from 7-10 p.m.

The dance will be held on the lower level of the Newton Recreation Center and is for those 55 years old and older.

Music will be provided by Shake Down Band, a variety band with more than 25 years of experience.

Tickets will be $8 at the door. No advance tickets will be sold.

This will be a festive holiday event, so mark the date on your calendar and join us for an evening of music, dancing and fellowship. Everyone attending is asked to bring finger foods. Soft drinks will be provided.

The Newton Recreation Center is located at 23 South Brady Ave.

For more information, please contact the Newton Recreation Department at 828-695-4317 or visit www.newtonnc.gov.

Hickory PD’s Cops For Tots Sets Wish House Dates,

Details For Making Donations For Children

Hickory - The Hickory Police Department has started collecting toys and monetary donations for the Cops for Tots “Christmas Wish House”. The program began in the early 1980’s by serving only about twelve families. It has expanded over the years and in 2008 almost 2300 children benefited from the Cops for Tots program.

The location of the Christmas Wish House will be the Winkler Park Activity Center (next to the Hickory Crawdads stadium) on Clement Blvd. The dates will be December 19th, 20th, and 21st. The hours of operation are from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm each of those days.

Schedule for serving families is as follows:

City of Hickory (residents can attend on the 19th)

Catawba County (residents can attend on the 20th)

Open to anyone meeting the requirements listed below

You will be required to show proof of address such as a utility, cable, or phone bill. Also, those families who are serviced by the Christmas Bureau in 2016 or have been serviced by the Wish House for the past three consecutive years will not be eligible to shop at the Christmas Wish House. Hopefully this will allow more children in need to receive toys. A parent or guardian of the child must present a photo ID of themselves along with the birth certificate or Medicaid card for each child. Children from birth to 13 years of age are eligible to receive toys. No social security cards will be accepted. No children are allowed inside.

Collection boxes for new or slightly used toys have been placed at the following locations: Lobby of Hickory Police Department; Lobby of Hickory City Hall; Jenkins, Longview, Oakwood, and Viewmont Elementary Schools; Lowes Foods (Belle Hollow and 14th Ave NE locations); Carmike Movie Theater; Snyder Paper and Health Smart Viewmont Pharmacy.

Monetary donations can be mailed to: Cops for Tots, Hickory Police Department, 347 2nd Ave. SW, Hickory, NC 28602. Make checks payable to “Cops for Tots”. Even with the amount of donated toys, there is always a need to purchase more. 100% of the monetary donations are used to purchase additional toys. Additional information on requirements for the Cops for Tots program may be obtained by calling 828-261-2691.

Newton Parks & Rec Canned Food Drive Is Through Dec. 16

Newton, NC - The Newton Parks and Recreation Department will sponsor a canned food drive to benefit the Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry (ECCCM) Hunger Prevention Program from Oct. 31 to Dec. 16.

Non-perishable food items accepted include canned fruits, canned soups, canned vegetables, boxes of grits, macaroni, rice, oatmeal, dried beans, and more.

The food collected will help local residents who may be disabled or handicapped, and those in need in the community.

Last year's contribution total was 350 pounds of food. This year, the city hopes to surpass that total, further helping those in need throughout the community.

Donation locations include:

» Newton City Hall (401 North Main Ave.): 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday

» Newton Recreation Center (23 South Brady Ave.): 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday

» Central Recreation Center (301 South Ervin Ave.): 5-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon-4 p.m. Saturday

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

Hickory Music Factory’s 1940s Christmas Radio Hour Is Dec. 17

Hickory - The Hickory Music Factory (HMF) hosts an old fashioned 1940s Christmas Radio Hour at SALT Block - Drendel Auditorium (243 Third Avenue NE Hickory, 28601) Saturday December 17, 2016. This fourth annual 1940s Christmas Radio Hour is HMF's primary fundraiser of the year.

The live performance features The Hickory Jazz Orchestra, actors in period costume, skits, and music and revives the spirit of the mid 1940s when families gathered 'round the wireless for news and entertainment. In our digital age, the chance to experience a live radio show is rare, unique and inventive. It’s a perfect way to recapture a bygone era around the holidays; as well as help fund the exceptional community programs of The Hickory Music Factory.

The show is an interactive experience and audience members are encourage to dress in period attire for added fun. In a world of instant gratification and speed, the 1940s Christmas Radio Hour encourages people to slow down, enjoy the season and make a special evening out of the event. The VIP package is especially enticing as a fine way to enjoy the night. A VIP ticket includes preferred seating, a special pre-show VIP area with drinks and light Hors d'oeuvres. General admission tickets for the 2pm matinee show are $15 and for the 7pm evening show are $15 18yr and under (must be bought at the door), $25 general admission and $40 limited VIP seating. Tickets can be purchased at Larry’s Music & Sound (266 Union Square, Hickory 28601) or online at www.hickorymusicfactory.com. For more information contact (828)-308-5659 or contact@hickorymusicfactory.com

Harper School’s Home For The Holidays Benefit Is Dec. 10

Lenoir, NC - Home For The Holidays benefit for The Harper School is on Saturday, December 10. Celebrating ten years of quality music, there will be a Neighborhood Music Crawl, music and community sharing,

Host Homes with performers, refreshments, a Silent Auction and a Finale with a Swing band/Jazz ensemble. Also, a Gingerbread House contest, 50/50 Raffle and caroling in the neighborhoods.

The time is 3pm until 7pm. Tickets are now available, $25 (children under 17 free with adult); and $15, for the Finale only.

For more information and to purchase tickets, contact the school at 754-2297 or admin@theharperschool.org or visit the school at 1113 College Avenue in Lenoir, NC.

Mel’s Jingle Run 5K December 3 Benefits Hickory Soup Kitchen

Hickory – The 2nd Annual Mel’s Jingle Run will be held in Downtown Hickory on Saturday, December 3. The race is a festive 5K that helps feed the hungry in our local community and supports Gold Star families across the nation. Mellow Mushroom Hickory and owner Leslie Knapp are teaming up with local partners to organize this 5K, scheduled for Saturday, December 3 at 9 a.m. in Downtown Hickory. Proceeds will go to Operation 300 and to the Hickory Soup Kitchen.

Operation 300 is a non-profit organization that hosts adventure camps for children who have lost their fathers as a result of military service and seeks to honor the families of the Fallen. This cause is personal to race co-organizer, Sarah Prencipe. Having lost her brother-in-law in a Coast Guard helicopter crash, she has witnessed the hardship of her sister and two young nephews dealing with the death of a husband and father. Operation 300 has provided them much needed encouragement and inspiration. Not only do the kids have fun at camp, but they also bond with other kids who have experienced the same tragedy. For these Gold Star children to realize that they are not alone is a huge source of comfort.

Mellow Mushroom nationally sponsors the No Kid Hungry campaign. Locally, Leslie Knapp supports efforts to fight hunger in our community, through organizations like the Hickory Soup Kitchen. The Soup Kitchen is a staple in Catawba County and is a beacon for the homeless and underemployed. In one year alone, they served 46,336 people and 70,818 plates of food. They open their doors to the neediest in the community and Mel’s Jingle Run is striving to reflect that generosity.

Last year’s race was a great success, raising over $13,000, thanks to generous sponsors and participants. Once again, we are seeking the community’s support to make Mel’s Jingle Run a fun community event, while also helping our impoverished neighbors and honoring Gold Star families across the nation.

For additional information about sponsorship levels, please contact Sarah Prencipe at (828) 446-4248 or email melsjinglerun@gmail.com. To register as a race participant, sign up at https://runsignup.com/Race/NC/Hickory/MelsJingleRun5K.

Foothills Painters’ Exhibit At HMA Through Feb. 12

Hickory - The members of Foothills Painters, a long standing group of artists who come together on a monthly basis for discussion about art and to critique each other's work, would like to announce their upcoming exhibition Different Strokes by Different Folks at the Hickory Museum of Art. The show will be on exhibit in the Regal and Gifford Galleries of the museum from October 15, 2016 - February 12, 2017.

This opportunity for the group to display their work at HMA has been long awaited and the public can expect to see some extremely fine and varied work. The members of the Foothills Painters come from Catawba County and the surrounding counties of Burke, Caldwell and Alexander. Our work spans several different media, but as our name implies, we are all painters. The public is invited to come and meet the artists at the opening reception Friday, October 21 from 6:00 - 7:30 PM. Refreshments are provided by the group. Visit us online at www.foothillspainters.com.

Unifour Christian Singles & Seniors Offer Upcoming Events

Granite Falls, NC - Unifour Christian Seniors and Unifour Christian Singles (over age 45) have announced upcoming events.

Senior Salt Sing and lunch on Wednesday, December 14, at 9am at Billy Graham’s The Cove, in Asheville, NC. Unifour Christian Seniors invite other seniors in the area to join us. Group to leave from Walmart in Granite Falls at 9am.

There will also be a pick up at 9:15 at Roses in Hickory and 9:30am at CVS in Rutherford College, NC. The cost for this trip is $45 each and is due by September 28th.

Movie Night, “Miracles from Heaven” and "Heaven is Real" on Saturday, October 8, from 5pm to 9pm. Annette’s house in Granite Falls, NC. Unifour Christian Singles (45 yrs and up) invite other singles in the area to join us. Everyone please bring food and let Annette know ahead of time what foods you will bring.

For more information on any event listed please contact Annette Strassner at 828-310-2977.

Satie's Holiday Sale, Dec. 2-24, Seeks Local Items For Event

Lenoir, NC - The Caldwell Arts Council is seeking artists & crafters to participate in our annual Satie's Holiday Sale, December 2-24, when the entire Arts Council is converted to a gift shop full of locally handcrafted items for holiday sales.

Items for the holiday sale will be juried by our Satie's Holiday Committee and will be placed here on consignment. All items must be handmade of quality materials and construction, and the most successful items each year are those priced less than $50. We are always looking for a variety of exciting new gift items and food items.

Please bring samples of your product to the Caldwell Arts Council by 5pm on one of the following dates: September 13, October 4 or November 1 for jurying. Visit our website for submission guidelines: http://www.caldwellarts.com/6-saties-gift-shop-and-holiday-sale/

For more information call the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-2486 or visit the website www.caldwellarts.com.

The Caldwell Arts Council is located at 601 College Avenue (corner of Norwood Street) in downtown Lenoir.

Lions Offer Chance To Donate Old Eyeglasses, Hearing Aids

Lincolnton, NC - Sight is a precious gift. Do you have unwanted eyeglasses and hearing aids laying around at your house, office, etc. Don't know what to do with them? Why not donate, deposit, and recycle them in a Lincolnton Lions Club boxes strategically located in the following businesses, optometrist, ophthalmologist offices, and funeral homes in Cherryville, Denver, and Lincolnton?

Businesses: Noblot Jewelers, 107 East Main Street (Downtown Lincolnton).

Audiologist, Ear Nose & Throat Physicians, and Hearing Aides Offices:

1) Alps Mtn. Affordable Hearing Aide- 1417 East Main Street, Lincolnton; Best Value Hearing Care Center-819 East Sycamore Street, Lincolnton; Carolina Ear, Nose, & Throat- 751 South Laurel, Lincolnton; Graystone Ear, Nose, & Throat- 1470 East Gaston Street, Lincolnton;

Lincoln Eye Center- 110 Doctor’s Park, Lincolnton.

Chiropractic Offices: Dr. Robin Owings & Dr. Rob Schick- Pro Wellness Family Chiropractic- 1814 North Aspen Street, Lincolnton.

Funeral Homes: Carpenter Funeral Home- 1110 East Main Street, Cherryville; EF Drum Funeral Home- 201 South Academy Street, Lincolnton; Good Samaritan Funeral Home- 3362 North Highway 16, Denver; Stamey-Cherryville Funeral Home- Cherryville; Warlick’s Funeral Home-125 Dave Warlick Drive, Lincolnton.

Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, Vision Care Centers: Advanced Family Eye Care- 7547 Waterside Loop Road, Suite A, Denver; Carolina Eye Center- 623 North Highway 16, Denver; Carolina Eye Center-231 North General’s Boulevard, Lincolnton; Cherryville Eye Care-201 West Church Street, Cherryville;

Graystone Ophthalmology PA- 2311 East Main Street, Lincolnton; Lincoln Eye Center- 110 Doctor’s Park, Lincolnton; Wal-Mart Vision Center-306 North General’s Boulevard.

Pharmacies: The Drug Store- 626 Center Drive, Lincolnton and Keever Pharmacy- 102 Doctor’s Park, Lincolnton.

Due state and federal public health laws, unwanted eyeglasses are shipped overseas. Contact lens are neither accepted nor recyclable for health reasons. Prescription sunglasses are especially needed in nations located near the Equator. There is always a shortage of recyclable children eyeglasses and sunglasses.

Imagine your personal satisfaction if your recycled eyeglasses help a child to read. An adult succeed in his job. A senior maintain her independence. Provide a community with more opportunities to grow and thrive. The Lions thank you for your support!

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

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

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

December 16th, 2016; January 20th, 2017; February 17th, 2017; March 17th, 2017; April 21st, 2017;;May 19th. 2017. To purchase a season ticket, call the Newton-Conover Auditorium at 828-464-8100.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAFE Connect Offers Resource Website To Assist Homeless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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