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Grace McLeod Fund Makes Life Easier For Elderly & Disabled

Hickory - Catawba County residents are encouraged to make a donation to the Grace McLeod Fund, which will make life easier for low-income elderly or disabled persons served by Adult Services Programs of Catawba County Social Services.

Items purchased through the fund are limited to $50 or less and are not covered by Medicaid or any other source.
Rodney Franklin, the social work supervisor who oversees the fund, said, "The fund is running low, and we hope Catawba County residents will open their hearts to meet this need."

The items purchased can be as simple as a basket for a walker, a blood pressure monitor, or a "grabber" that allows a person in a wheelchair to reach items on a high shelf. In one case, the fund was used to buy an electric can opener for a county resident with severe arthritis.

The Grace McLeod Fund, named in memory of an Adult Services Program manager, is maintained through donations from the public. The social worker assisting the disabled person submits the request, which is reviewed and approved by a social work supervisor. The client receiving the item signs a form when it is delivered.

"We try to use the fund wisely," said Franklin. Sometimes the client is living at home with a caretaker. In these cases, the fund may help purchase a monitor so that the caretaker can keep watch on an elderly or disabled relative. Other times, the fund has been used to purchase door chimes to alert a relative that a patient with dementia has opened an outside door.

Grace McLeod, after whom the fund is named, began working at Catawba County Social Services in 1985 as a Social Worker III, Community Alternatives Program case manager, helping elderly and disabled citizens remain at home rather than moving to a nursing home. In 1993, she was promoted to manager of the Adult Services Program. Under her leadership, the division grew to include 60 employees and more than 20 different programs.

"Although we receive most of our donations right before Christmas, there is a year-round need," Franklin said. Anyone wishing to make a donation may do so online by going to and clicking on the red "Donate Now" button. Just select the Grace McLeod Adult Services Fund from the drop-down menu.

Donations may also be made by check. Please make the check payable to Catawba County Social Services and indicate "Grace McLeod Fund" in the memo line. The mailing address is Catawba County Social Services, P.O. Box 669, Newton, NC 28658. For additional information about the Grace McLeod Fund and how you or your organization can help, contact Rodney Franklin at 828-695-5619 or

Foothills Theatre Presents God’s Man In Texas, July 17-26

Hudson, NC - Foothills Performing Arts will wrap up its 39th season with God’s Man in Texas, a poignant drama of the power struggle between the leaders of Houston’s Rock Baptist megachurch. When the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Mears (Yulson Suddreth) is called to co-pastor with the senior Rev. Dr. Philip Gottschall (Dennis Buff), the audio-technical all-around general handyman, Hugo Taney (Tim Gordon), who has issues of his own, finds himself caught in the middle.

Jill Roberts serves as Artistic Director with Peyton Roberts as Stage Manager, Tom and Gwen Gibson as Technical Directors, and Marty McCall will run lights and sound. The production, published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc., is rated PG.

Performance dates are July 17-19 and 24-26, 2015, with Friday and Saturday performances held at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3:00 p.m. The box office opens 1 hour before each show. Ticket prices are Adult - $10.00, Senior (55 and older) - $8.00, and Student and Children - $6.00. Tickets for groups of 10 or more are priced at $6.00 each.

Foothills Performing Arts is located in B-Building on the campus of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, NC on Hwy. 321. For reservations or other information, please phone 828-726-2318.

Photo cutline: Cast members (L-R) Yulson Suddreth, Dennis Buff, and Tim Gordon
Photo by Jill Roberts.

Seniors Morning Out In July Has Carolina Style Chorus & More!

Hickory - The Carolina Style Chorus will perform for Seniors Morning Out participants the morning of July 21 at Huntington Hills Church of God in Hickory. Lunch will be provided free of charge following the performance. Any Catawba County resident who is at least 60 years old may attend, but advance reservations are required.

The Carolina Style Chorus is a women's chorus specializing in performing four-part, a cappella music in the barbershop style. The group recently placed second overall in Division AA competition in Winston-Salem. The chorus is affiliated with the Sweet Adelines International. More information about the Carolina Style Chorus is available on their website at

The Carolina Style Chorus performance is supported by a grant from the United Arts Council of Catawba County through the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. Additional support for art and science programming at Seniors Morning Out is provided by community donors.

"We are very excited to have this dynamic group of performers entertain us," said Jan Shaffer, supervisor of Catawba County Senior Nutrition Programs, which includes Seniors Morning Out, Meals on Wheels and related programs. "This type of high-quality programming would not be possible without the support of the United Arts Council of Catawba County and our community supporters. We encourage any individual or business who would like to support upcoming arts and science programming for our seniors to contact us at 828-695-5610 for more information.

The special performance by the Carolina Style Chorus is only one of the programs offered for seniors by Seniors Morning Out, which is offered from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Carolina Style Chorus

Monday through Thursday in five convenient locations throughout the county. The program is free of charge to any Catawba County resident who is 60 years old or better. Informative and entertaining programs are offered as well as a balanced hot lunch. Bus transportation is provided along limited routes. Those wishing to participate are asked to contact the site supervisor at least 48 hours in advance.

Additional highlights of the program in July are as follows.

At the West Hickory site, located at West Hickory Senior Center, 400 17th St. SW, Hickory: July 1, Cooking class, fruit kabobs, and Family Feud with Randy VanderWeit; July 2, Craft activity, bring a scarf to make a beaded necklace; July 7, Bingo, cupcakes, Uncle Sam Sing-Along with Nancy Frady; July 13, Cyber Seniors (computer class) with Caitlin Sigmon at Southwest Library; July 27, Cooking Summer Fruit Bruschetta, and The Not Always So Golden Years with Tracy Paul of Catawba County Public Health; July 30, Bingo and birthday party with entertainment by Sentimental Journey. To reserve your spot, call Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

At the East Hickory site, located at Huntington Hills Church of God, 2123 Fifth Street NE, Hickory: July 1, Dance to the music of Sentimental Journey; July 7, Meet Woodwright Eddie Hamrick at the Hickory Museum of Art and see display of his work; July 14, Ice Cream Social; July 15, Visit to Farmers Market; July 22, Program by Greg Morgan with Services for the Blind; July 28, Cyber Seniors (computer class) with Caitlin Sigmon at St. Stephens Library. To reserve your spot call Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

At the Newton site, located at First Presbyterian Church, 701 N. Main St., Newton: July 1, Learn to Make Banana Pudding; July 6, Blueberry Pancake Breakfast and Soccer; July 14, Hoedown with the Joymakers from Highland Baptist Church of Hickory; July 15, Visit Farmers Market; July 21, Cyber Seniors (computer class) at Newton Library; July 27, Gospel Music by Damascus Road. To reserve your spot, call Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

At the Claremont/Sherrills Ford site, located at Center United Methodist Church 4945 Sherrills Ford Road, Catawba, NC 28609: July 7, Game Day with card and board games; July 9, Bingo; July 15, Visit Farmers Market; July 21, Making Ice Cream in a Bag and Treatment and Signs of Dehydration; July 23, Cyber Seniors (computer class) at the Claremont Library. To reserve your spot, call Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

At the Maiden site, located at the Maiden Community Center, E. Second St. and Klutz St., Maiden: July 7, Bad Bugs of Summer with Petty Messick from Health First and What is Probiotics?; July 8, Hangman Game and Would you Recognize Dehydration; July 14, Blood Pressure Checks and Corn Hole Game with Catawba County Home Health; July 15, Trip to Farmers Market; July 21, Music by Sentimental Journey; July 22, Cyber Seniors (computer class) at Maiden Library. To reserve your spot, call Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

For more information about Catawba County Senior Nutrition Services, call 828-695-5610 during regular office hours or go to Volunteers and donations are needed. For the latest updates, like us on Facebook at

Photo Caption: The Carolina Style Chorus will perform for Seniors Morning Out participants July 21 at Huntington Hills Church of God in Hickory. Any Catawba County resident who is 60 or older is invited to attend this free, special event. Lunch will be served following the performance. To reserve your place, call Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963 at least 48 hours in advance.

Plan Now For The 4th Of July With This Listing Of NC Events!

This event listing is compliments of Macaroni Kid’s website. Macaroni Kid Hickory/Western Piedmont is a free weekly e-newsletter and website informing Hickory, Newton-Conover, Lenoir, Morganton, Taylorsville and surrounding area moms and dads, and grandparents and caretakers too, of all the family-friendly local events to entertain, educate and exhaust their kids. Be in the know by signing up to receive your free weekly e-newsletter at and follow us on Facebook at”

Thursday, July 2, 2015

• Happy Birthday America Family Sing-Along & Parade (Hickory) - Patrick Beaver Memorial Library's annual 4th of July celebration. The Patriotic Sing-along with Sharon Clarke begins at 11am and the parade will immediately follow. Participants are encouraged to decorate their “wheels” in holiday red, white, and blue.

Friday, July 3, 2015

• Independence Day Splash Blast (Newton) - Join in pool games, karaoke, ice cream and fun activities for the entire family at the Newton Recreation Center swimming pool from 1-5pm.

• Hickory Crawdads Independence Day Celebration (Hickory) - Come out and enjoy America's favorite pastime with Hickory's favorite team, and round out the night with their biggest fireworks show of the year following the game!

• Valdese Independence Day Celebration (Valdese) - Classic & Antique Car Cruise in on Main Street, live music by Too Much Sylvia, shopping, dancing, food & Valdese famous fireworks at dusk!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

• Blowing Rock 4th of July Festival and Parade (Blowing Rock) - Games, music, and fun! Plus the best small-town Main Street parade at 2pm and fireworks at 9:30pm.

• Fort Defiance 4th of July Celebration (Lenoir) - Hands-on history in the historic house with interactive activities, free homemade ice cream, children's games & dress up area, an archaeology dig and more!

• Glen Alpine 4th of July Celebration (Glen Alpine) - Parade at 10am followed by live music, free watermelon, food for purchase and more!

• Kiddie Car Parade (Hudson) - Children decorate bikes, wagons, skateboards and themselves for a march from The HUB to Redwood Park for a free afternoon of swimming at the pool. Line up begins at 9:30am and parade starts at 10am.

• 4th of July Edith Pirkle Parade (Maiden) - Assemble at the Maiden Library at 10am for parade at 10:30 followed by festivities at Cornerstone FLC beginning at 11:15am.

• Old Time July 4th Fireworks Celebration (Morganton) - Games, music, vendors, and much more at Catawba Meadows Park starting at 2pm! Fireworks show at 9:30 pm.

• Collettsville Ruritan's Independence Day Celebration (Collettsville) - Parade at 4pm, opening ceremony at 5pm, food and entertainment throughout evening with fireworks at dark.

• Marion 4th of July Celebration (Marion) - Parade at 6pm with food, games and music until the fireworks show at 9:45pm.
• Trail of Faith July 4th Celebration (Valdese) - Join us as we honor God and Country! Entertainment, games, food, activities and more from 6-10pm.

• Lincolnton July 4th Celebration (Lincolnton) - Free children's activities from 6:30pm, parade starts at 8:30, followed by fireworks at 9:45 p.m.

• Lucky Strike Mine Independence Day Celebration (Marion) - BBQ, music and activities followed by a fantastic fireworks display.

• Lumberjack Boom (Hickory) - L.P. Frans Stadium will host a special Independence Day show with a Lumberjack competition on the field at 7pm capped off with a fireworks show!

• July 4th Fireworks at Tweetsie Railroad (Blowing Rock) - Enjoy the most spectacular fireworks show in the High Country starting at 9:30pm. Parking $10 per car; call Tweetsie at 1-828-264-9061 for more information.

• SkyShow 2015 (Charlotte) - Street Party from 2-10pm with face painting, balloon animals, games, cooking demos, live music, food and prizes. Team USA vs Cuba baseball game, with first pitch at 6:05pm. Patriotic flag ceremony and the largest fireworks display in the Southeast following the game.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

• Alexander County Independence Day Celebration (Taylorsville) - Kiddie Patriotic Parade at noon, followed by old-fashioned games, firemen competitions, food/arts/crafts vendors, live music and more, concluding with a free fireworks display at dark!

In His Steps Offers Free Summer Dance Camps To Area Girls

Taylorsville, NC – In His Steps, a local, non-profit dance ministry for girls, continues to offer their FREE annual summer camps for girls ages Pre-K through 12th grade in Mooresville, Statesville, Taylorsville, Salisbury and Cornelius, NC. Participants can choose from one of the summer camp locations or come to them all. Camps will be filled with fun learning about dancing for Christ, some awesome dance moves and how we can have fun in our joy in Christ.

In His Steps is a ministry that also offers weekly dance classes free of charge, along with spiritual development through biblical-based devotions. Their dance season runs from September through March of each year. Now in their 7th year, In His Steps started as a way to reach out to girls. The ministry focuses on giving girls a safe place to learn about Christ, as well as to develop a positive self-image and share the challenges they face on a daily basis in their lives.

In a time when many dance studios focus heavily on girls’ bodies, appearance and technical ability, Founder Donna Smith said she wants to create a safe environment where all girls are appreciated no matter how they look, their size, economic status or how skilled they actually are at dance. Smith said the camps provide girls with an inspiring environment about self-worth and teach them how to apply biblical lessons to their lives.

“Many activities are so expensive, our camps offer girls a free way to learn to dance and get exercise. They can invite their friends, dance and hang out in a safe place, that doesn't cost them a thing,” Smith said.

The summer camps, along with weekly classes that begin again in the fall, are lead by numerous volunteers that love and enjoy teaching and spending time with the girls. Each class and camp includes dance and devotions about relevant issues the girls may be facing. Additional volunteers, as well as tax-deductible donations, are encouraged and needed in order to make these classes, along with other In His Steps events, a success and a service to the community.

To check out more info about the camps and classes, check out their website at, email at: , call 704.650.4089 or

HSCC Offers Fix A Pit, $50 Surgery By Appointment In July!

Hickory/Newton, NC - Humane Society of Catawba County is offering spay or neuter surgeries in July at just $50 for Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes. Vaccines and testing are available on the surgery day at an additional cost.

Schedule is limited. Foothills Spay/ Neuter Clinic offers low-cost spay and neuter surgery Monday-Friday at Humane Society of Catawba County.

Pets are dropped off at 8 am on their scheduled surgery day and picked up the same evening with post operative instructions.

Come by to make an appointment or call (828) 464-8878 during business hours, Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. HSCC and Foothills Spay/Neuter Clinic services are available to any member of the public and are not limited to residents of Catawba County.

Photo: Aretha is available for adoption

Newton’s 126th Soldiers Reunion Begins Sunday, August 16

Newton, NC – Mark your calendar and set aside a week for cruisin’, musical entertainment, beauty pageants, a parade and athletic events when the 126th Soldiers Reunion returns to Downtown Newton.

Reunion Week kicks off Sunday, August 16. Events continue through Reunion Day on Thursday, August 20. The showcase Soldiers Reunion Parade will take place on Thursday. About 10,000 people visit Downtown Newton throughout the week to take part in the festivities. American Legion Post 16 and the Newton Merchants Association sponsor and organize the week-long celebration.

The Soldiers Reunion celebration in Newton is believed to be the longest-running patriotic celebration in the United States not based on a holiday. The tradition began in Newton on July 4, 1889, when Civil War veterans answered a statewide call for recognition of their wartime efforts and to receive their pensions. The gathering in Newton led to annual reunions, starting the popular patriotic Soldiers Reunion. Today, the celebration offers a variety of family-friendly activities and events for veterans and the community to enjoy, many of which are centered around the iconic 1924 Courthouse Square.

The week kicks off with the Cruisin’ Car Show on Sunday, August 16. Vintage cars and trucks from across the decades up to 1972 will be on display beginning at 2:30 p.m. The classic vehicles will cruise the city’s streets starting at 6:30 p.m.

Participants from past a Soldiers’ reunion

Concerts entertain the crowds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday beginning at 7:30 p.m. on the Courthouse Square. Gospel music fills the air August 17, beach music gets everybody moving on August 18, and plans are in motion for a country music concert on August 19.

The annual Baby Parade takes place Wednesday, August 19, on the east side of the Courthouse Square. Children are judged based on their patriotic outfits. Winners are selected in various age categories.

The week peaks on Thursday, known as Reunion Day. The day begins around 9 a.m. as artists, craftsmen, local businesses and food vendors set up around the Courthouse Square. A jazz concert runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The American Legion hosts a mid-day fish fry at its headquarters for veterans. At 4 p.m., the Reunion Service begins on the west side of the Courthouse Square. The beauty pageant winners are introduced, and a guest speaker delivers a keynote address.

The Soldiers Reunion Parade immediately follows the Reunion Service, and the keynote speaker typically serves as the grand marshal, leading the parade on a one-mile route through Downtown Newton. The parade attracts 8,000-10,000 visitors due to the numerous entries and floats, all of which must have a patriotic theme.

Businesses and groups are charged $380 to enter a float in the parade. Local businesses that decorate a vehicle to advertise their company will be charged $50. Any church, school or other nonprofit organization may participate in the parade at no cost. For information on entering a float in the parade or for information on becoming a vendor during Reunion Week, contact Wayne Dellinger or Eric Dellinger at 828-464-3906 or 828-464-1500.

CCCTI Offering Summer Culinary Classes

Lenoir, NC - Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Continuing Education Division has announced that it will offer several weekend culinary classes this summer.

Cooking Creole Cuisine will be offered on Saturday, July 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost of the course is $121 and includes registration fee, a culinary program apron, chef’s knife and recipe packet. The course will also be offered again on Saturday, Aug. 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In this course, students will learn how to prep and produce classic dishes from New Orleans and Southern Louisiana, including gumbo, etouffee, shrimp creole and sweet beignets. The course will include lecture, sanitation and safety, basic knife skills and basic cooking fundamentals.

CCC&TI Culinary Instructor Chef Corey Hooks will lead each of these classes. Hooks is a Johnson & Wales trained chef with more than 10 years experience in the industry, including work as Executive Chef and Lead Chef at Bistro 127 and Youssef 242 in Hickory. Hooks also served on the culinary staff for the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. He holds four national culinary certifications and is an American Culinary Federation Certified Culinarian. Chef Hooks also currently serves as the Corporate Chef for The Natural Olive, a gourmet oil and vinegar retailer in downtown Hickory.

These classes will be held in the professional-grade kitchen used by CCC&TI’s Culinary Arts students located in K Building on the college’s Caldwell Campus.

For more information or to register for these courses, call CCC&TI’s Continuing Education Division at 828-726-2242.

The Family Care Center Needs Donations & Has Great Sales!

Hickory - We are getting very low on canned meats that we give to our families in our program to help them stretch their food stamps and dollars.  Please donate any canned meat, spaghetti or soups. Our families thank you!

A very special thank you to our paper towel and toilet paper angels who sent us a wonderful supply last month.

The Family Care Center Thrift Store has special sales all month long in June. 50% off Sale the last weekend of every month! Seniors age 55+ get 20% off every day.

Come out and shop for new and gently used treasures as new items arrive every week. Your purchase helps not only our families but also our community by giving folks a place to work their Community Service hours; it gives those in need a chance to work through Work First; it gives service clubs and students the opportunity to learn about non-profits and complete required work hours. We re-purpose many donations and are so appreciative of your donations of housewares, furniture, clothing and more. Call our Thrift Store at 828-327-4796 for more information.

We need you! Become a front desk volunteer at Family Care Center. You'll answer the phone, greet visitors and put away donations. It's only a three hour shift but it helps our staff out so much. Please email us at NE Hickory, NC

Here's a great Father's Day gift idea! Help us pave the way for homeless families to stabilize, work, save and move into their own housing. Buy a brick in honor or memory of a loved one. Bricks will be displayed in front our our Resource Center or they may be taken home.

More details available at     

The Family Care Center is located at 2875 Highland Ave. NE Hickory, NC,28601, phone 828-324-9917.

The Little Free Library On L-RU Campus Is ‘Give One, Take One’

Hickory - Anyone who has visited the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne University may have noticed a new, birdhouse-like box located in front of The Charge (the large bear statue across from Shuford Gym). That box is a Little Free Library and, though it is small, it has a big purpose: to encourage the love the reading by making books readily available to anyone who may want one.

The Little Free Library is always open, never locked, and operates under a "give one, take one" policy. Everyone is invited and encouraged to take a book(s) from the library or to donate books others may enjoy. The Little Free Library is available to the LR campus community as well as the public. It is part of a national effort to provide a gathering place where neighbors can share their favorite literature and stories.

LR student Jordan Makant was instrumental in implementing the Little Free Library. He worked in conjunction with members of the LRU Student Government Association (SGA), faculty, and staff to develop the library, soliciting donations of books for readers of all ages to create a diverse inventory. Additionally, all members of the LR campus community were informed about the project and asked to support it through their own donations.

“We hope everyone who has a love of reading will share their favorite books and find new ones through the Little Free Library,” said Makant. “My goal in bringing the Little Free Library to campus was to encourage a love of story as well as create a sense of community throughout Lenoir-Rhyne and Hickory.”

Makant is a sophomore majoring in English and History at LRU. He is a member of the Honors Academy, Lineberger Fellows, and Playmakers (LRU’s theater production program).

For more information about the Little Free Library program, visit

County Libraries Offer A Variety Of Activities This Summer!

Ready to Learn Storytimes
Early Literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they actually read and write. Research shows that children arriving at kindergarten early literacy skills are more likely to be successful in learning to read and write. Our Ready to Learn Storytimes are literacy programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Conover Little Learning Party
Tuesdays, 11 am
Baby Bounce Wednesdays, 10 am, (Ages 3 -18 months)
Maiden Branch
Thursdays, 9:30 am
Southwest Branch
Wednesdays, 10 am
Thursdays, 11 am
Main Library
Wednesdays & Thursdays, 10 am, (Ages newborn - 5)

Sherrills Ford-Terrell Branch
Wednesdays, 10 am
Thursdays, 10 am
Baby Bounce Tuesdays, 2 pm
(Ages newborn - 23 months)

St. Stephens Branch
Tuesdays, 6 pm
Wednesdays, 10 am
Thursdays, 10 am

Contact your local branch or for additional information on library events. Be sure to register for the Summer Reading Program, if you have not already!

Helene & Stephen Weicholz Film Series At App Summer Fest

Boone, NC - An Appalachian Summer Festival will showcase an exciting lineup of the best in music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film this July for its 31st season in the mountains of North Carolina. This summer the festival is hosting seven films as part of the Weicholz Global Film Series.

Global Film Series

The Weicholz Global Film Series strives to select foreign and independent films that have won awards or received critical audience acclaim at major international film festivals. This year's lineup includes films from the United Kingdom, Israel, Denmark, the United States, Kashmir, Brazil, and Australia. Prior to each screening at 7 p.m., film advisor Dr. John Pfeifer will host a discussion and share behind-the-scenes information about the film. All films are held in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts and will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. For more information and to view the trailers to these films, visit

•“Pride” – July 1
Inspired by actual events, director Matthew Warchus' “Pride” details the unlikely friendship forged between a small community of striking miners in Wales and London-based gay and lesbian activists who raise funds to feed their families in the summer of 1984. With no end to the strike in sight, the urban activists venture into the countryside to deliver their donation in person and find they have more in common with the people of this struggling community than anyone on either side could have expected.

United Kingdom; Rated R; Directed by Matthew Warchus (2014); 119 minutes.

•“GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” - July 8
An Israeli woman seeking to finalize a divorce from her estranged husband finds herself effectively put on trial by her country’s religious marriage laws in this powerhouse courtroom drama. In Israel, there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce; only Orthodox rabbis can legalize a union or its dissolution, which is only possible with the husband’s full consent. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Viviane Amsalem has been applying for a divorce for three years, but her religiously devout husband, Elisha, continually refuses. His cold intransigence, Viviane’s determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the rabbinical judges shape a procedure where tragedy vies with absurdity and everything is brought out into the open for judgment.
Israel; Not rated; Directed by Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz (2014); 115 minutes.

•“The Hunt” - July 15
This film is a disturbing depiction of how a lie becomes the truth when gossip, doubt and malice are allowed to flourish and ignite a witch-hunt that soon threatens to destroy an innocent man’s life. Lucas is a former schoolteacher who has been forced to start over having overcome a tough divorce and the loss of his job. Just as things are starting to go his way, his life is shattered when an untruthful remark throws his small community into a collective state of hysteria. As the lie spreads, Lucas is forced to fight a lonely fight for his life and dignity.
Denmark; Rated R; Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (2012); 111 minutes.

•“Twenty Feet From Stardom” - July 22
Filmmaker Morgan Neville pays homage to some of the greatest vocalists you've never heard of in this remarkable documentary. While the lead singers in rock, pop, and R&B are the ones who get the glory, knowledgeable music fans will tell you the backing vocalists often add the touches that make a performance truly memorable, and though many backup singers have the respect of their peers in the music business, they're all but unknown to the average listener. “Twenty Feet From Stardom” pays tribute to some of these unsung heroes, including Darlene Love, Merry Clayton and Lisa Fischer. The film also includes interviews with superstars such as Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and Mick Jagger on the role backing vocalists’ play in music and the music business, while a number of veteran singers share their stories of the ups and downs of their careers.

United States; Rated PG-13; Directed by Morgan Neville (2013); 91 minutes.

•“Valley of Saints” - July 29
In war-torn Kashmir, a lakeside city is plunged into a military curfew. Stranded together on breathtaking Dal Lake, a working-class boatman and a beautiful young scientist form an unlikely bond. But as violence spills in from the city, their budding romance may not survive.
India/Kashmir; Not rated; Directed by Musa Syeed (2012); 82 minutes.

•“Reaching for the Moon” – August 19
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Bruno Barreto returns with a sophisticated tale of an unlikely romance between two extraordinary artists set against the backdrop of political upheaval and a clash of cultures. Grappling with writer’s block, legendary American poet Elizabeth Bishop travels from New York City to Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s to visit her college friend, Mary. Hoping to find inspiration on Mary’s sprawling estate, Elizabeth winds up with much more — a tempestuous relationship with Mary’s bohemian partner, architect Lota de Macedo Soares, that rocks the writer to her foundation. Alcoholism, geographical distance and a military coup come between the lovers, but their intimate connection spans decades and forever impacts the life and work of these two extraordinary artists.
Brazil; Not rated; Directed by Bruno Barreto (2013); 118 minutes.

•“Oranges and Sunshine” – August 26
Director Jim Loach and screenwriter Rona Munro collaborate to adapt Nottingham social worker Margaret Humphreys' autobiographical account of her noble effort to expose the systematic deportation of British children to Australia and to reunite them with their devastated families.

United Kingdom/Australia; Rated R; Directed by Jim Loach (2010); 105 minutes.

For videos, images and detailed information about each performance, visit Tickets:

With ticket prices ranging from $5-$50, as well as several free events, the festival offers unique opportunities for residents and visitors to create arts experiences suited to their individual artistic tastes and budgets. To purchase tickets, call or visit the Schaefer Center box office at 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046. Tickets can also be purchased online at

About An Appalachian Summer Festival

An Appalachian Summer Festival is presented annually in July by the university’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs. Beginning as a small chamber music series, the festival has emerged as one of the nation’s most highly regarded, multi-disciplinary art festivals, designated one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society. True to a university-based arts festival, educational experiences such as lectures and opportunities to meet artists, artistic directors, competition jurors and other experts, have always been an important component of festival programming.

Hickory Music Factory Offers Rock & Recording Camps In July

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 6-10, 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, tone, and dynamics, as well as music theory. The week will end with the students and their band playing a concert on Friday night at he SALT Block Auditorium. Bands for the HMF Rock Camp will also have an opportunity to perform at this year's Hickory Oktoberfest.

HMF Rock Concert

The second camp is the HMF Recording Camp (July 13-17, 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 or email

Nate Bolick Memorial Rag Ball Tournament, Sign Up By July 10

Mountain View, NC - Nate Bolick was a young man that was full of life. At 19 years old he was the assistant grocery manager at Lowes Foods. He was also on a scholarship at CVCC with hope of becoming a store manager at Lowes Foods in the future. On the way home from a family beach trip back in February, Nate was hit head on by another driver. After fighting for his life for 3 days at Moses Cone Hospital, God decided to take him home. In his memory, his family has set up a memorial scholarship fund that will be given out to chosen kids in the hickory area. This is one of many fundraisers that are to come!

Date: July 18th (times TBA, will play on Friday night if needed)

Place: Mountain View Recreation (Huffman Park)

Cause: In memory of Nate Bolick, there is a scholarship that will be given out to different young kids in the Hickory area. This fundraiser is to fill that fund!

Fee: $100 per team ($10 per player)

Nate Bolick

There will be concessions, T-Shirts, a home run derby, and much more!

Please contact Savannah @ 828-514-1743 to get more information or to sign up for the tournament!

The cutoff date to sign up will be: July 10th!!!

** To read about Nate Bolick’s story or to keep up with his fundraisers, please visit

**All teams will need to provide two Incrediballs and two rag balls to play. Men 16 and older will have to play on co-ed team, younger than 16 years of age may play on an all-boys team. Ladies of any age are allowed to have a team of all females.
Nate Bolick

L-RU’s Summer Band Camp Is Monday, July 13-17

Hickory - Lenoir-Rhyne University is hosting its third annual Summer Youth Music Band Camp for high school and middle school students. The camp is scheduled from Monday, July 13 through Friday, July 17 in the Mauney Music Building, located on the campus of LRU. Instruction is from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with supervised early drop-off in the morning, and afternoon recreational time until 5:30 p.m. Applications for the program are due by Monday, July 6.

The camp offers students a fun way to continue to develop their skills as young musicians, and provide an opportunity to keep active with music during the summer. Tammy Reyes, band director at Grandview Middle School and formerly of Hickory High School, will conduct the high school band. Jerry Lowe, band director at North Lincoln Middle School, will conduct the middle school band. Director of the camp is Dr. Christopher Nigrelli, Professor of Music at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Tuition for the camp is $175 for the week, which includes lunch and a music camp T-shirt. For more information and/or an application, please visit or contact Dr. Nigrelli at

About Lenoir-Rhyne University:

Lenoir-Rhyne University was founded in 1891 and is a private, coeducational university with its primary campus in Hickory. Academic programs include more than 50 undergraduate majors and 24 graduate programs, the Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville, NC, the Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia, SC, and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary also in Columbia. Today, more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled across all campuses. Lenoir-Rhyne is affiliated with the NC Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and welcomes students from all religious backgrounds. The website is

Photo: Participants from LRU’s Summer Youth Music Band Camp 2014

Volunteer For Appalachian Trail Crew For Summer, June-August

Asheville, NC – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) seeks volunteers, 18 and over, to help maintain the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as part of the Smokies Wilderness Elite Appalachian Trail (S.W.E.A.T) Crew for the 2015 season. A position on the S.W.E.A.T. Crew is physically demanding and is designed for experienced hikers who love to work hard, live in the backcountry, and create lasting friendships.

S.W.E.A.T. Crew is a mobile group that focuses on trail maintenance in the heart of the Smokies on sections more than five miles from the nearest road. Crew members carry tools, water, food, and camping supplies to support their work. Each session lasts six days in the field where the crew focuses on clearing the A.T. and repairing it with materials they find. Food, lodging, training, equipment and transportation to and from the work site is provided.

"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy encourages all hikers and Appalachian Trail supporters to get involved with a Trail Crew," said Chris Binder, the ATC's trail specialist.

2013 S.W.E.A.T. Crew

"These all-volunteer crews are instrumental in completing large-scale projects along the Trail."

Members of the S.W.E.A.T. Crew arrive at the ATC’s base camp the day before their crew session begins to meet the professional crew leaders, prepare for the work trip and check out any gear they need. The next day the crew enjoys a family-style breakfast and loads up in an ATC vehicle and drives to a nearby trailhead in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After a challenging hike in, often up to 10 miles long while carrying a 50- to 60-pound backpack, the crew establishes the campsite they will work out of for the next five days. The crew repairs, reconstructs, and maintains some of the most isolated and stunning sections of the A.T., often working at elevations of more than 6,000 feet for the entire work week.

2015 S.W.E.A.T.
Crew Calendar:


Session 4, July 8 to 13, 2015
Session 5, July 18 to 23, 2015
Session 6, July 28 to August 2, 2015
Session 7, August 7 to 12, 2015
Session 8, August 18 to 22, 2015

For more information about the ATC’s S.W.E.A.T Crew program, or to volunteer, visit

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy:

The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,185 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit

Woven Together: From Lesotho To Carolina, At Hickory Museum

Hickory – “Woven Together: From Lesotho to Carolina” is a changing exhibition scheduled to run at the Hickory Museum of Art until September 6, 2015 in the first floor Shuford Gallery. The exhibit features tapestries woven by the Maseru Tapestries Cooperative in Lesotho, Africa. Individual weavers designed and produced some of these tapestries, while two artists, Lillian Trettin and Linda Elksnin, both of whom live in North and South Carolina, designed others and commissioned their production by the Maseru weavers. In addition to the tapestries, the exhibition features photographs of the tapestry-making process by Carl Trettin, an environmental scientist working in Africa, and the two artists’ mixed-media works related to tapestries in the show.

The exhibition is sponsored by Valdese Weavers which will begin its Centennial Anniversary Celebration with the “Woven Together” exhibition. Valdese Weavers’ Vice President Christy Almond is excited about the company’s partnership with the Hickory Museum of Art on this project. “I really love the connection with this community that we’ve had for the past 100 years. Continuing that heritage is so important.”

About Maseru Tapestries Cooperative:

Maseru Tapestries is a small weaving cooperative in Lesotho, in southern Africa. Lesotho, an autonomous kingdom surrounded by South Africa, is a mountainous country whose rural residents depend on herding goats and sheep for subsistence income. Men raise the livestock and manage its sale and distribution in cooperatives.

Opportunities for women who are "head of household" are limited, but in the 1980’s several women-owned tapestry businesses were organized and local women trained to become spinners, dyers, and weavers. These businesses were sustained with involvement of European mentors until the 1990’s, when the local women took them over as cooperatives.

Maseru Tapestries Cooperative was organized in 1999. It is a typical cooperative that employs women so that they can provide better nutrition, healthcare, and education for their children. The co-op buys mohair (sheared from local angora goats) and merino wool (sheared from local sheep) to use for weaving. Members spin and dye the fiber, and then trained weavers produce the tapestries. Hotel gift shops sell a few of the tapestries, and a limited inventory is kept on hand for sale at the co-op shop. However, most sales are by special order or commission.

About the Hickory Museum of Art:

The Hickory Museum of Art is located in the Arts & Science Center of the Catawba Valley, 243 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory. Admission is free. For more information please visit or call 828-327-8576. Images: Linda Elksnin, “Jonah in the Whale’s Belly”, mixed media; Lillian Trettin, “Mountain Shaman”, cut-paper collage on paper.

Lincolnton Lions Make Recycling Smart Phones Easier

Lincolnton- Did you, a family member, friends, or coworker receive a new cell phone, smart phone, blackberry, or i-pad as an anniversary, birthday, or graduation gift? Or maybe some of these electronic devices stashed somewhere with plans to dispose of them someday. Unfortunately, what people don’t realize the recycling of these electronic equipment or “e-waste” is just as important as recycling glass, plastic, and paper products to our environment.

According to the wireless industry, Americans upgrade their cell phones, smart phones, i-phones, and i-pads every 12 to 18 months. Many homes have multiple 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. Studies conducted by the US Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) estimates recycling one million cell phones is equivalent of removing 33 cars off the road for one year in terms of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. If all of the discarded cell phones in America were recycled rather than throw away this year, it would save enough energy to power 25,000 US households with electricity for one year.

Recycling cell phones, smart phones, i-phones, and i- pads has become easier in Lincoln County due to the Lincolnton Lions Club strategically placing one of their eyeglasses and cell phone recycling boxes at the following locations throughout Lincoln County:

Lincolnton Locations:

1)City Lunch-113 S.E. Court Square; 2)First Citizen Bank- 425 East Main Street; 3)Lincolnton/Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce- 101 East Main Street.

Drug Stores And
Health Care Providers

1)The Drug Store- 626 Center Drive; 2)Keever Pharmacy- 102 Doctor’s Park; 3)Carolina Eye Care- 231 North General’s Boulevard; 4)Graystone Ophthalmologist- 2311 East Main Street; 5)Lincoln Eye Center- 110 Doctor’s Park.

Denver Locations
Health Care Providers

1)Advance Family Eye Care- 7547 Waterside Loop Road; 2)Carolina Eye Care-324 North Highway 16
Vale Locations
1)The Drug Store- 9576 NC Highway 10

Lincoln County Government

1)Lincoln County Senior Center- (2nd Floor) -514 South Academy Street; 2)Jerry Cochrane Computer & Cosmetology Building- Lincoln Campus of Gaston College; 3)Lincoln County Veterans Services- 206 Gamble Drive, Lincolnton. (Please give your recyclable cell phones and eyeglasses to their Office Assistant in their 1st floor office in the former CMC- Lincoln medical office building); 4)Lincoln County Landfill -5291 Crouse Road or any of their convenience sites: a)Airport Road Convenience Site,112 Jack Dellinger Road, Iron Station; b)Car Farm Convenience Site- 815 Car Farm Road; c)North Brook Convenience Site- 616 Highway 274, Vale; d)Optimist Road Convenience Site- 7914 Optimist Road, Denver; e)Owls Den Convenience Site- 701 Owls Den Road, Vale; f)Tin Mine Convenience Site-1879 Tin Mine Road, Lincolnton; g)Webb Convenience Site-7889 Webb Road, Denver.

Before donating, depositing, and recycling your cell phones, smart phones, i-phones, and i-pads in any Lincolnton Lions Club recycling boxes, please erase all personal information. Cell phones will be refurbished and programmed for 911 and donated to needy. Also, i-pads will be refurbished and donated to charity.

LIONS CLUB INTERNATIONAL, the world’s largest coeducational service organization with 1.4 million members in 47,000 clubs and 755 districts in 210 countries and geographic areas will be celebrating 100 years of service in a couple of years. To learn more about LIONS CLUB INTERNATIONAL, N.C LIONS, INC. or the LINCOLNTON LIONS CLUB, please check out their websites as follows: LIONS CLUB INTERNATIONAL -; NC LIONS,INC.-; LINCOLNTON LIONS CLUB-

Lincolnton Arts Council Offers Students Summer Seminars

Lincolnton, NC - The Arts Council of Lincoln Council will offer three summer art seminars instructed by local artist Kathryn Berkowitz for student’s 9-15 years of age.

Cardboard Caper- Monday & Tuesday, July 20 & 21, 10-12pm

Mystical Mandalas- Monday & Tuesday, August 17 & 18, 10-12pm

Each workshop will feature four hours of instruction and be held at the Lincoln Cultural Center, 403 East Main Street Lincolnton.

Cost per participate is $45 per seminar. For registration or more information contact the ACLC at (704) 732-9044 or by email,

Fun Updated Daily In Burke County Lists 100 Activities

Morganton, NC – Looking for enjoyable things to do this summer? Burke County has a hundred of them.

An initiative called Fun Updated Daily began May 1 and spotlights 100 activities that make Burke County worthy of a visit.

The activities will be revealed each morning on Facebook, Twitter, the county’s tourism website, and on flyers available at the Burke County Visitors Center, 110 East Meeting Street in downtown Morganton.

A few examples of the activities are: kayaking the Johns River, hiking Shortoff Mountain, bird watching on the NC Birding Trail, attending the outdoor drama From This Day Forward, swimming at Lake James State Park, hiking to a waterfall at South Mountains State Park, and enjoying the splash pad at Martha’s Park in downtown Morganton.

Martha’s Park in Morganton, NC

“People asked me, ‘Can you really find 100 things to do in Burke County?’ Actually, it was pretty easy,” said tourism director Ed Phillips. “We have several small towns, a thriving music scene, lots of arts and crafts, superb dining, the Blue Ridge Parkway, two state parks, and great fishing and water sports.”

The list includes a nice combination of indoor and outdoor activities, as well as a mix of free and paid activities.

“We’re trying to give people something they will look forward to seeing every day in social media feeds and on our website and in our Visitors Center. Each day a new flyer will be posted that has the same format. It includes a paragraph on the activity, along with a phone number, website, hours, and a color photo.” Phillips said. “And we will keep a running list for people who wish to pursue other activities.”

To sum it all up, Phillip said Burke County has everything from A (apple picking) to Z (zip-lining).

For more info about Fun Updated Daily, call the visitors center at 888-462-2921, or go online to:

Meals On Wheels Volunteers Honored - More Are Needed!

Hickory - Catawba County's Senior Nutrition Services recently recognized the volunteers who deliver Meals on Wheels with an appreciation breakfast held at J&S Cafeteria. The western-themed event was attended by 182 volunteers.

County Commissioner Sherry Butler addressed the volunteers. Jan Shaffer, Adult Services supervisor, told the volunteers they are our heroes, feeding the hungry and helping their fellow man. They were described as rays of hope to homebound seniors. One hundred local businesses participated by donating door prizes.

More volunteers are needed to deliver Meals on Wheels throughout the county. It only takes an hour and a half a month to deliver Meals on Wheels. The volunteers pick up the meals at one of several pick-up stations throughout the county and deliver them to the seniors on their route.

In March, there were 768 Meals on Wheels volunteers in Catawba County. Between July of 2014 and March 2015, 415 seniors were served. There are currently 51 persons on the waiting list. Additional volunteers would allow more of these seniors to receive meals.

To be eligible to receive Meals on Wheels, a person must be at least 60 years old and be unable to shop or prepare their own food. There are no income requirements for this program. Anyone who meets the requirements may receive the meals, which are free to participants.

"Because the typical volunteer only delivers Meals on Wheels once a month, we need to have a large number of volunteers to meet the need," said Vickie Redden, volunteer coordinator. "Our volunteers tell us that they are blessed to deliver the meals. They are often the only person the recipient sees all day and provide a vital link to the community. Because of Meals on Wheels, many seniors are able to remain in their own homes."

If you are interested in becoming a Meals on Wheels volunteer, call 828-695-5610 Monday through Friday during business hours. Senior Nutrition Services is also looking for local businesses who are willing to organize a team of employees to deliver meals. In addition, local donations are needed to support this service.

For additional information, call 828-695-5610, go to, or like the Facebook page at

Photo: Helen Brigham, Dale and Debra Zimmerman are some of the volunteers recognized at the annual Meals on Wheels Appreciation Breakfast. More volunteers are urgently needed. To find out more, call 828-695-5610 or go to

Bethlehem Day Festival Set For Saturday, Sept. 19

Bethlehem, NC - The Bethlehem Community Development Association announces the 6th Annual Bethlehem Day Festival and Classic Car Cruise In is set for Saturday, September 19th, 2015 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Bethlehem Day will be located in same NEW location as last year at the crossroads of Shiloh Church and Rink Dam Road in Bethlehem (Alexander County).

The annual fall event features live music, entertainment and activities for children, arts & crafts, food & drinks. Craft and food vendor applications are $25.

All applications are available at or can be requested at

Applications with fees made out to BCDA should be mailed to BCDA, PO Box 6370, Hickory, NC 28603.

For more information contact Bud & Judy Caywood at 828-495-1057, or

CSC’s Summer Science Camps For Kids Announced

Hickory - Catawba Science Center is excited to unveil the 2015 Summer Fun Science Camps. Enroll your child into Catawba Science Center's Summer Fun Camps, and watch your child discover the joys of science and wonder for themselves! CSC’s Summer Fun is aimed toward rising Pre-K – 9th grade, though campers must be at least 4 years old, with a multitude of classes aimed at every age group within that range.

Join CSC’s own Lead Naturalist Bruce Beerbower in a class teaching all about what it takes to become a naturalist, or take a class to learn about the different galaxies scattered all around the universe. Campers can even embark on an African Safari, find out what the deal is with electricity and, of course, learn about dinosaurs!

CSC's Summer Fun is more flexible than ever. Now with hands-on SciFun classes, Sunrise Science and Afternoon Adventure options, it is easier than ever to work Summer Fun Science Camps into even the busiest schedules. Not to mention, after 6 SciFun classes have been purchased, a 7th SciFun class is awarded to the camper for free! Furthermore, every SciFun camper will receive a free t-shirt!

“We really wanted to make Summer Fun more accessible for potential campers,” said Lori Kistler, Public Programs Coordinator at Catawba Science Center. “It’s important to us that anyone who wants to attend Summer Fun is able to.”

All of this and more is available to aspiring campers. CSC’s Summer Fun Science Camps will run from June 15 to August 21, 2015

Scholarships and payment plans are available. CSC staff will be happy to answer any questions. To receive a brochure and registration form, please contact us at (828) 322-8169 or visit our webpage for more Summer Fun info at

Footcandle Film Society Sets Its First Film Fest For September

Hickory - 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, and an annual “Oscar Party,” the film society has built a community of over 500 members that support film efforts in our region.

With the growth of the film society over the past six years, and the desire to bring more film-related efforts to the local area, the Footcandle Film Society is announcing its very own film festival: the Footcandle Film Festival! This event will take place between September 25th and 27th, 2015, with plans to become an annual event.

The event will be held at the SALT Block Auditorium in Hickory, North Carolina, and is being coordinated through a partnership with the Hickory Museum of Art.

It will be a weekend-long event where between 10-20 films, selected from an open submission process, will be screened for both film society members and the general public. The weekend will also consist of an opening night reception, question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers following select screenings, a roundtable discussion on the future of independent film, and a special closing reception where festival winners will be announced.

Filmmakers from around the world are encouraged to submit their films to be considered for this historic event. For the festival’s first year, there are no limited categories or themes for submissions; all film lengths, types and content matter are welcomed and will be considered for this inaugural year. There will be a “Best of the Festival” award given as selected by our jury, as well as an “Audience Favorite” selected by festival attendees, both with prize money to be awarded.

Filmmakers who want to submit their film should visit the festival’s web site, Submission fees are $10.00, with a deadline of June 1st, 2015. 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. Tickets for the festival screenings will go on sale to the general public shortly afterwards.

For any questions about the festival or the submission process, please contact the Film Society at or visit the festival’s web site at

Apply Now For Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Kids In College

Hickory - Applications are now being accepted for Kids in College, the Lenoir-Rhyne University summer enrichment program. The program will take place over two weeks this summer – one week for elementary students and one week for middle school students. The elementary Kids in College camp is scheduled for Monday through Friday, June 22th – 26th and is open to students completing kindergarten through 4th grade. The middle grades camp is scheduled for Monday through Friday, August 3rd – 7th and is open to students completing 5th through 8th grade. Both sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and lunch will be provided.

“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 4 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 1st. Additional information and registration forms can be found on the LRU website at 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

Parents of accepted students are invited to attend an informational meeting at 7:00 p.m. on May 19 in the Belk Centrum on campus.

For more information, contact Michael Lemke at or (828) 328-7189.

About Lenoir-Rhyne University: Lenoir-Rhyne University was founded in 1891 and is a private, coeducational university with its primary campus in Hickory, N.C. Academic programs include more than 50 undergraduate majors and 24 graduate programs, the Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville, N.C., the Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia, S.C., and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C. Today, more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled across all campuses. Lenoir-Rhyne is affiliated with the N.C. Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and welcomes students from all religious backgrounds. The website is

CSC’s Infinity Express Journeys Through Space & Time

Hickory - How big is the universe? Where does it end? Are we alone?

Explore these questions and more as the Catawba Science Center presents “Infinity Express.” This full-dome planetarium show takes you on an exciting journey through space and time.

The universe is slowly giving up its secrets. To present these secrets, “Infinity Express” uses a remarkable blend of science, art and entertainment.

Powerfully narrated by actor Laurence Fishburne of "The Matrix" fame, “Infinity Express” will take you on an exciting journey of discovery. From the exploration of our solar system to the mapping of the universe, “Infinity Express” will funnel you towards humanity's mission to explore what lies beyond Planet Earth.

“Infinity Express” is presented Tuesday through Sunday as part of the Superstar Triple Feature that also includes “Terminal Star,” a collaborative spectacular musical and visual experience of Catawba Science Center and the Western Piedmont Symphony, and “Seasonal Stargazing”. “Seasonal Stargazing” is a look at the current night sky above the Catawba Valley. With this presentation, the positions of the stars directly overhead become shown.

The triple feature, shown in the Millholland Planetarium, is appropriate for children of all ages, but is perhaps best suited for children in elementary and middle school. The triple feature showing “Infinity Express” plays Tuesday through Thursday at 2:30pm and Friday at 2:30 and 3:30pm. On the weekends, “Infinity Express” plays at 1:00 and 3:00pm on Saturday and at 3:00pm on Sunday.

Admission for “Infinity Express” and the triple feature is included in Science Center admission on a seat available basis. Catawba Science Center’s planetarium shows are currently sponsored by John and Eileen Leach. For more information please visit or call Catawba Science Center at (828) 322-8169.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

( ), and Lincolnton Lions Club ( )

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.

Women’s Resource Center Needs Daily Volunteers

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

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

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

If interested, please contact Cindy Rose, Executive Director at 828-322-6333 or email

Newton Animal Shelter Is In Urgent Need Of Supplies

Newton, NC - Opening the new animal shelter in Newton provides the opportunity to rescue so many more animals, but it also requires many more supplies. Between the Newton and Hickory shelters, Humane Society of Catawba County now cares for approximately 275 animals.

HSCC has several urgent needs for donations from the community. Laundry detergent (any variety, liquid or powder) and bleach, HSCC does many loads of laundry each day for the shelter animals and spay/neuter clinic. Donations of Dry Purina One Kitten, Dry Purina One Cat food, Dry Purina One Puppy or Purina Puppy Chow, and canned dog food will help feed the many shelter animals each day. Cat litter, inexpensive and non-clumping, is needed to accommodate the 115 cats and kittens staying at both shelters. Various cleaning products and supplies are needed for general cleaning and maintenance: window cleaner and OxiClean powder.

With the continued increase in adoptions and spay/neuter surgeries, there is a need for more computers. If anyone has upgraded their computer recently, HSCC needs working computers. HSCC is a 501(c) 3 non profit, no-kill animal organization serving Catawba County and the surrounding areas. All donations are tax deductable. HSCC does not receive any assistance from local or national humane agencies.

Drop off donations at the Newton shelter: 201 Government Services Drive, during regular business hours, Monday – Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 10am – 3pm, 828-466-7171 or the Hickory shelter: 3224 20th Ave SE, Hickory, 28602 (GPS: Newton) during regular business hours, Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, 828-464-8878.

Social Workers Partner With Lions Clubs To Help The Blind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To secure names, and contact information of other NC County Social Worker’s For The Blind not listed, please check out the NC Division of Services For The Blind website @

Child Wellbeing Project Offers Post Adoption Support

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hickory’s Angel of Hope House Requests Help

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

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

Items Needed:

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

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

Volunteers Needed To Deliver Meals On Wheels

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

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

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

For more information about these programs, and how you can help, go to or find the Meals on Wheels of Catawba County program on Facebook at!/MealsOnWheelsOfCatawbaCounty.

How To Get Your Event In Focus

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

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

Catawba County Library Offers Free eBooks For Kids

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

Find Tumblebooks at and click on the “E-resources” tab.

Tumblebooks can be viewed simply by clicking the blue logo on the left side of the kids’ web page.

For more information about this and other services for kids and youth, contact Youth Services at 465-8668.

HSCC Is Looking For In-Home Heroes To Foster Animals

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

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

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

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

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

Health-Care Pro Discusses The Many Warning

Signs And How To Spot A Victim Of Domestic Violence

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

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

There are several abuse resources available to women who are being abused, or friends of women who need advice, including:, National Domestic Violence Hotline, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, 1-800-799-SAFE (7223), provides unbiased, advertising-free mental health information to give people the self-help options to help people understand, prevent, and resolve life’s challenges, allows women to search for an offender in custody by name or identification number, then register to be alerted if the offender is released, transferred, or escapes, 1-888-7HELPLINE, offers crisis intervention and support services for victims of intimate partner violence and their families

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

Linda O’Dochartaigh reviews some of the warning signs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family Finders Helps Foster Kids Connect With Extended Family

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

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

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

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

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

Sid Daniels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, call 828-695-5600 or visit our website at
Or contact Sean Jarman at 828-695-2134 or

Loving Our Enemies

By Rev. Susan Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the complete text of this incredibly Christ-like message, go to:

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