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Denise Taylor’s Conflict Resolution Course Begins Feb. 6, At WRC

Hickory - “Pieces of Me, A Perfect Fit,” a conflict resolution program that addresses many of the struggles that women face, is being offered by Women’s Resource Center beginning on Monday, February 6, 2017, and each Monday for 13 weeks, from 6:30-8 p.m. Well-known community facilitator and former radio personality Denise Surratt Taylor will lead the program.

“This program is designed to help individuals navigate through situations that cause pain and dysfunction,” says WRC Executive Director Cindy Rose. “The program helps women uncover and address the changes that take place when shedding old endings and transitioning to new beginnings. Denise has designed the program to give women the tools they need to achieve the wholeness they seek as they make significant transitions in their lives.”

Denise Surratt Taylor has a history of leadership on many levels. Her skills are a unique blend of management, teaching/facilitating, mentoring, development and strategic planning, and writing. In addition, she is sought after as a national speaker.

Denise has worked with communities for more than 30 years, in schools as a Substance Abuse facilitator; with churches such as Christian Heritage Worship Center in strategic planning; and as a group mentor for Christian Women’s Job Corp., Salvation Army and Recap Services.

Denise Surratt Taylor

She is a certified facilitator for Preventive Services, a state evidence-based-substance abuse program for middle schools and high schools. As a former radio host on WGIV Radio in Charlotte, she brought real stories to life on her Saturday program “Ask D.”

“One of my quests in life is to help individuals navigate through various issues to resolve them and find the freedom to live out their purpose and destiny,” she says. “I believe we can all triumph over any conflict given the tools to conquer them.”

The program cost is $5 per session and $10 to purchase the workbook (one-time purchase). Scholarships are available by contacting Women’s Resource Center at (828) 322-6333 or email director@wrchickory.org.

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

Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice At Old Rock School, Fri., Jan. 20

Valdese, NC – The Old Rock School in Valdese will welcome Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice to the stage on Friday, January 20th, as part of the annual Bluegrass at the Rock concert series. The box office will open at 6:30pm and the show will begin at 7:30pm.

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice is widely recognized as one of today's premier traditional bluegrass bands. Sisk's bluegrass pedigree runs deep - hailing from the Virginia Blue Ridge, he first made his mark as a songwriter in the early 1990s. Several years later, as a member of Wyatt Rice & Santa Cruz and Blueridge, he helped define the sound of driving, modern traditional bluegrass.

Sisk founded Ramblers Choice in 1998, releasing “Sounds of the Mountains” on Rounder Records. After a brief hiatus, he reformed the group and began a successful career with Rebel Records. His 2011 album “Heart of a Song” helped bring the band into the spotlight and reminded bluegrass fans of the power of tradition. The album's single "A Far Cry from Lester and Earl" became a rallying cry for a resurgence of traditional sounds in bluegrass and received the 2012 Song of the Year award from the IBMA. The band was further honored when “Heart of a Song” received IBMA Album of the Year.

More recently, Sisk was honored with the 2013 Male Vocalist of the Year award from the IBMA, the group was named 2014 SPBGMA Bluegrass Band of the Year, and the single, “Longneck Blues” received the 2016 IMBA award for Recorded Event of the Year.

Sisk plays guitar and provides the lead vocals, and he is joined by Jonathan Dillon on mandolin and vocals, Jason Davis on banjo, Jamie Harper on fiddle and vocals, and Kameron Keller on bass and vocals.

Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice is said to perform “industrial strength bluegrass from the Virginia Blue Ridge,” and audiences love the traditional bluegrass feel that they get from listening to Sisk. Larry Stephens, from Lonesome Road Review, states that "Junior Sisk plays—and, more importantly, sings— bluegrass the way traditional fans like it, and he’s one of the best on the road today."

“We are excited to have Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice as part of our Bluegrass at the Rock series,” states Morrissa Angi, the Director of Community Affairs and Tourism for the Town of Valdese. “They give a great performance and this is an excellent concert to kick off the New Year at the Old Rock School.”

The Old Rock School has become favorite venue for Bluegrass lovers. Each season of the Bluegrass at the Rock series brings both locals and visitors to Valdese. People come from several states to attend these concerts and enjoy the variety of Bluegrass musicians, and the quaint atmosphere of Valdese.

Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door and can be purchased by calling 828-879-2129, or by going to townofvaldese.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the Gold Mine in Hudson, Lenoir Music Center and Larry’s Music and Sound in Hickory.

Advanced Gardener Series At Libraries, Tues., Jan. 17 & 24

Newton, NC – The Catawba County Library is a great place to learn, act, and grow as they host the second year of the Advanced Gardener Series at two of their branch locations throughout 2017. The first presentation of the eleven month series will be, “Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage & More”.

Dr. George Place, Catawba County Cooperative Extension Director, will be talking about how to improve garden productivity of broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and more. The Advanced Gardener Series plays an integral role in the Farm and Food Sustainability Plan passed by Catawba County in 2013, which lays out clear action plans in working for a healthier county, while creating a local food system and preserving farmland. The Advanced Gardener Series was awarded “Best Adult Education Library Program” in North Carolina in 2016.

Participants that attend presentations and conduct twenty hours of community garden service in 2017 will receive certification as Advanced Gardeners.

2016’s Advanced Gardeners at graduation

In addition, they will receive gardening incentives, such as coupons and gift certificates from local garden supply businesses, and an Advanced Gardening T-shirt! More information on this program is available at each session.

The Catawba County Library presentations this month will be at the Main Library, Newton on January 17th at 6:30 pm, and at the Maiden Library on January 24th at 6:30 pm.

The 2017 series will include the following presentations:
February: Gardening with Chickens
March: Delicious Roots & Shoots
April: The Big 4 of Every Garden
May: Everything Herbs
June: Cukes, Squash, Melons, Pumpkins & More
July: Beans, Peas, & DIY Fertilizer
August: Grains and Your Garden
September: Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Asparagus & More
October: Leafy Greens & Garden Perennials
November: Berries & Fruit in Your Garden

For the latest in library news, visit www.librarynews.catawbacountync.gov or stop by your local branch.

An Afternoon Of Music, A Free Concert, Is Sun., Jan 22, In Lenoir

Lenoir, NC - The Community Music Club of Lenoir presents “An Afternoon of Music.” FREE to the public, this concert features the talents of international, national and local musicians:

Michelle Lie, Violinist of the Award-Winning Tesla String Quartet; John Coffey, Renowned Pianist, Composer, Teacher and Director; Pianist Gregory Knight, a Finalist in the Van Cliburn Amateur Pianist Competition; Caroline Whisnant, Acclaimed Operatic Soprano; Kyle Melton, Tenor with OperaCarolina accompanied by Mary Ann Studenberg.

Gregory Knight

The concert will be held at 2:30 PM on Sunday, January 22, 2017 at the Lenoir Presbyterian Church, 1002 Kirkwood Avenue, NW, Lenoir, NC.

This project received support from the Caldwell Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources.

HMA Celebrates Contributions By Women Artists,

Opening Reception Is Thursday, January 19

Hickory – Celebrate contributions by women artists during an opening reception for the exhibition Woman Made: Women Artists from the Hickory Museum of Art Collection, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19 in Coe Gallery at Hickory Museum of Art (HMA), located on the SALT Block, 243 Third Ave., N.E., Hickory. Woman Made features more than 80 women artists and their works, including oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, prints, drawings, sculpture, pottery, glass and textiles.

Among selected artists are Elizabeth Catlett, Maud Florance Gatewood, Kara Elizabeth Walker, Berenice Abbott, Helen Frankenthaler, Ida Kohlmeyer and Anne Tabachnichk. Artists with North Carolina and local ties include Theresa Gloster, Kate Worm, Elizabeth Bradford, Wanda Clark, Pat Viles, Tammy Leigh Brooks, Addie James, Barry Huffman and more.

Maud Florence Gatewood Umbrellas

Meet guest curator Karin Borei, as well as some of the local artists featured in Woman Made, during the reception Jan. 19. Light hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine will be served. Admission is free and open to the public. Call HMA at 828-327-8576 to reserve space.

An evening dedicated to women artists continues on the SALT Block during the opening reception for Brushes with Italy: Works by Jean Cauthen and Friends, 5-7 p.m. on the United Arts Council of Catawba County Artist Wall in the West Wing. Meet artists Jean Cauthen, Judy Rider, Susan Grant, Susan Powers and Juliette Price, and enjoy food, beer and wine. No reservations are required. For more information, call the United Arts Council of Catawba County at 828-324-4906.

2017 Woman Made exhibition calendars will be available for purchase during the reception at HMA on Jan. 19. Orders for exhibition catalogs, which are still in production, will be taken at a special pre-sale price. Woman Made calendars and catalogs will also be for sale in the Museum’s store, shop HMA. View Woman Made: Women Artists from the Hickory Museum of Art Collection in HMA’s Coe Gallery through April 23.

The Queen & Tom
Tammy Leigh Brooks

Woman Made is sponsored by HMA Guild, Hickory Printing Solutions, Buck & Helgi Shuford, Target Corporation, and Angela Simmons & Jeffery Behmer. This project is supported by 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.

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

Visiting Writer Series At LRU Welcomes

Author Leslie Rindoks On Thurs., January 19

Hickory – As part of the 2016-17 Visiting Writers Series, Lenoir-Rhyne University will welcome Leslie Rindoks on Thursday, January 19 at 7 p.m. in Belk Centrum.

Rindoks, who writes under the nom de plume of Avery Caswell, has had numerous essays published in Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Style and the literary journal Welter. Her manuscript Fall placed in the top 20 percent of new American fiction in 2012 and was a runner-up for the Hub City fiction award. Rindoks, who has a passion for combining words and images, has taught Illustration and Photoshop techniques at Pheiffer University. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kent, a Master of Fine Arts degree from Purdue, and studied at the Iowa Writers Workshop. Her illuminated novel, Conjure, Silver — which includes the history of Pope Innocent, the migration of gypsies from India to Lithuania, and the medicinal properties of beets — sheds light on how certain stereotypes have become part of our common vernacular.

LRU’s Visiting Writers Series will continue its season with the following writers:

February 9 - Denise Kiernan, Belk Centrum

February 23 - Reginald Dwayne Betts, Belk Centrum

Leslie Rindoks

March 9 - Erik Larson, P.E. Monroe Auditorium

April 1 - Dan Santat (The Little Read author), P.E. Monroe Auditorium

All events begin at 7 p.m., with the exception of Dan Santat who will present at noon.

Sponsors of the 2016-17 Series include:

Sponsors of this year’s Visiting Writers Series include Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Crowne Plaza-Hickory, Hickory Public Library, National Endowment for the Arts, North Carolina Arts Council, Our State: North Carolina, The Beaver Family Foundation, Inc., and WFAE 90.3 FM. The series is also sponsored and supported by 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.

All events are open to the public, and free for all guests. No tickets or reservations are required.

Tony Eltora’s CD Release Party Is Sun., Jan. 22, Crescent Moon

Hickory - Imagine Van Morrison hanging out with Paul Simon playing Muddy Waters songs, this is what Tony Eltora's music sounds like.

Tony Eltora was born in Jessup Pennsylvania to a rather normal middle class Italian/Polish family before eventually moving to a suburb outside of Richmond, VA at the age of 10. As a young boy Eltora was what he would like to call a “creative introvert” spending most of his time with his head in the clouds. Shortly after moving to VA, a friend from the neighborhood was starting a band and needed a guitarist, so Tony persuaded his mother to go down to the local music/jewelry/Christian nicknack/I’ll sell anything to make a dollar store and buy him a guitar. From that point on, the guitar never left his side. Music was the perfect vehicle for Eltora to express himself creatively and emotionally.

Influenced by blues, rock and jazz music, Tony began writing and performing with local bands at clubs and festivals in the Richmond area. Known for his raw soulful playing and smooth guitar tone, Tony slowly began turning heads as people started to take notice of his talents. Wanting to further his knowledge of music, Tony left the small town life and moved to the city where he began going to school for music.

While living in Richmond, he started to fall prey to city lifestyles that you find in dark alley’s and began a downward spiral that landed him broke, dropping out of school and disenfranchised with playing music.

Tony Eltora

Watching friends and family struggle with addiction and alcoholism and slowly becoming a statistic himself, he found himself virtually homeless. Later that year a chance opportunity to go to Africa came from a friend and Eltora decided to go. His life would suddenly take a drastic turn and Tony would make a move to Lenoir, NC. While in NC, Eltora began working as a counselor with troubled youth and rediscovering the joy’s of writing and playing music again. He would once again start playing and touring with a few local and regional bands and start teaching private music lessons at a local music store. Because of his love of teaching kids and believing in the therapeutic power of music, Tony helped found the Hickory Music Factory in 2012, a non profit organization in Hickory, NC with the mission to build futures through music by teaching, performance and community outreach.

Eltora has shared the stage with many national and regional musicians including, Tim Reynolds, Sam Bush, Keller Williams, George Porter Jr, Oteil Burbridge, and Acoustic Syndicate, to name a few. His debut CD “Between Love and Tragedy” showcases Eltora’s guitar playing along with his insightful and thought provoking lyrics. Telling stories of love, loss and rebirth, the CD highlights the influence that blues, jazz and world music has had on him.

Tony Eltora and his full band is scheduled to play at the Crescent Moon Cafe on Sunday January 22nd at 6:30. The CD Release Party will feature Daniel Flynn (drums), Rick Cline (percussion), Jason Atkins (keys), Marcus Harmon (sax), Phillip Howe (trumpet), and Jack Kinder (bass). Sycamore Bones set to open. Tickets are $10 at the door. For more info visit: www.tonyeltora.com

Tesla Quartet Performing At Two Concerts, Jan. 20 & 21

Hickory - Returning from an incredible concert tour in China and South Korea, the Tesla Quartet is back in Hickory to perform two concerts in January. The first concert will be in conjunction with the very popular Soup, Salad & Strings luncheon series. For those that prefer a more relaxed concert during the day, the second Soup, Salad & Strings concert will be on Friday, January 20 and 11:45 am in the Keiser Community Room on the SALT Block. Tickets are $35 for lunch and concert. The luncheon will be catered by Charlie Graingers, Café Rule and Hav-a-Cup.

The Friends of the Quartet Chamber Classics II concert will be held in the Drendel Auditorium (SALT Block Auditorium) on Saturday, January 21 at 7:30 PM.

The quartet will perform selections by Schubert and Brahms. Tickets range from $22 to $32. Reception with cash bar follows the concert.All tickets are available at Etix.com, (828)324.8603, or info@wpsymphony.org. Enjoy an evening or afternoon of beautiful music performed by our international, award-winning young musicians.

Western Piedmont Symphony is a grant recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council and a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. Business offices are located on the SALT Block at 243 Third Avenue NE, Hickory. Box Office hours are 10:00 am until 2:00 pm daily. Visit the Symphony’s website at www.WPSymphony.org.

Don’t Miss The Comedy Glorious! Opening This Friday At HCT

Hickory - Glorious!, the warm and witty comedy about Florence Foster Jenkins, the famously awful singer, opens its 10 performance run this Friday, January 13th at 8:00pm in the intimate Firemen’s Kitchen cabaret at Hickory Community Theatre.

With a talented cast under the leadership of director Peter Bost, this comedy about a woman of indomitable spirit, is both hilarious and heartwarming. Even though she could not sing in tune, Foster Jenkins insisted on forcing her vocal renditions on the bemused citizens of New York during the 1940s. The play is a more intimate look at her life than the recent film version of her life as portrayed by Meryl Streep.

Glorious! runs Thursdays (Jan 19, 26) at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays (Jan 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28) at 8:00pm, and the newly-added Sundays (Jan 22, 29) at 2:30pm. Tickets are $16 for all performances and available online at 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. Glorious! is the fifth show in the Theatre’s 68th season, sponsored by Paramount Automotive, and is produced by Robert Abbey Inc.

Photo By Ken Burns: Aaron Ames (left,) Jill Grose and Tim Bolick star in Glorious! opening Friday in the Firemen’s Kitchen at Hickory Community Theatre. For tickets and information go to www.hickorytheatre.org or call 828-328-2283.

Underground Railroad Heroes, Aesop’s Fables, Sat., Jan. 21

Hickory - Bright Star Theatre, a national touring theatre company based in Asheville, NC, returns to Hickory on Saturday, January 21, 2017, with two different plays for families to enjoy. Aesop’s Fables is a 45-minute whirlwind adventure through the beloved 2600-year old tales. The fast-paced, high energy production will have audiences laughing in the aisles. Aesop’s Fables will begin at 10:30am at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library.

Heroes of the Underground Railroad will be the afternoon performance at Ridgeview Library. The public is invited to join us for an inspiring exploration of the lives and work of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and other heroes of the Underground Railroad at 2:00 pm at the Ridgeview Library. People of all ages and abilities are welcome to attend both performances.

For more information about this or other programs for children and families, please call Lisa Neal at the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library, 828-304-5000 ext. 7271 or Carole Dennis at the Ridgeview Library, 828-345-6037. Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is located at 375 Third Street NE on the SALT Block. Ridgeview Library is located at the corner of 1st Street SW and 7th Ave.SW, beside the Ridgeview Recreation Center.

Catawba County Medical Center & YMCA

Bring LIVESTRONG To Adult Cancer Survivors

Hickory – Catawba Valley Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Center is partnering with the YMCA of Catawba Valley to offer a free twelve-week, small group program designed for adult cancer survivors. The program is facilitated by the Adrian L. Shuford, Jr. YMCA branch in Conover. Cancer is a life-changing disease that takes a tremendous physical and emotional toll on those affected. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA helps participants move beyond cancer in mind, body, and spirit.

“We are excited to bring LIVESTRONG at the YMCA to our community,” said Jolleen Christians, Health and Wellness Director for the Adrian L. Shuford, Jr. YMCA. “At the Y, we believe that in order to bring about meaningful change, individuals affected by cancer need ongoing support, encouragement and connections to others—all of which LIVESTRONG at the YMCA provides in abundance.”

Melanie Lutz, Director of the Cancer Program at Catawba Valley Medical Center says, “This program fulfills the important need of supporting cancer survivors who find themselves in the transitional period between completing their cancer treatment and the shift to feeling physically and emotionally strong enough to attempt to return to their normal life or their ‘new normal’. The program is conducted outside of medical facilities to emphasize that LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is about health, not disease.”

YMCA staff, trained in supportive cancer care will work with participants to achieve their goals such as building muscle mass and strength; increasing flexibility and endurance; and improving confidence and self-esteem. In addition to physical benefits, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA focuses on the emotional well-being of survivors by providing a supportive community where people affected by cancer can connect during treatment and beyond.

Victoria Klimovich, a previous LIVESTRONG participant and 3-time cancer survivor, says that she is grateful for the care and support of the Y staff and other program participants who have been therapeutic and motivating. “I’ve felt myself getting stronger, losing weight and feeling better about myself,” said Klimovich.

Registration is currently open for the session that begins on January 17, 2017. Classes are held on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 1:00 to 2:30pm for 12 weeks. Class sizes are limited to provide individualized attention; and therefore, space is limited. Additional sessions planned for 2017 include 12 weeks beginning February 27 (evenings) and 12 weeks beginning August 28 (afternoons). To register or for more information on the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program offered at the Adrian L. Shuford Jr. YMCA located at 1104 Conover Blvd E, Conover NC 28613, please call 828.464.6130.

Photo: Pictured left to right are recent LIVESTRONG participants Victoria Klimovich, Jeff Guiton, Jolleen Christians (LiveStrong at the Y Instructor), and Nancy Briggs.

CVCC Writing Club Hosts Author Angela Pisel On Wed., Jan. 25

Hickory - Catawba Valley Community College’s “The Write Stuff” Creative Writing Club will host a campus visit by author Angela Pisel on Wed., Jan. 25, at noon in the East Wing Auditorium located on the Main Campus on US Hwy. 70 SE in Hickory.

“With Love from the Inside” is Pisel’s first novel. The North Carolina resident has worked as a therapist and life coach, mentoring women through various stages of their lives.

Her novel’s main character is on death row for the murder of her infant son, and all appeals have been exhausted. Her execution date has been set and she wants her now-married daughter, Sophie, to know the truth about what really happened to her baby brother William.

Angela Pisel

“I decided to write the book because of my obsession with TV trials,” explained Pisel. “I began researching women on death row, read their stories, and wondered about their children. I tried figuring out why they ended up on death row. I wanted to explore the entire issue and determine what went wrong in their lives.”

Pisel volunteers with an organization in North Carolina www.forgivenministry.org that seeks to break the cycle of recidivism by promoting healthy relationships between children and their incarcerated parent.

Community members are invited to attend Pisel’s presentation. If you need accommodations, please contact Wanda Horvath at CVCC, 828-327-7000 ext. 4222, whorvath@cvcc.edu.

For more details, contact CVCC English faculty member Polly Watson, 828-327-7000, ext. 4209, pwatson@cvcc.edu.

Free Radon Tests Kits Available During Month Of January

Hickory – In honor of National Radon Action Month, Catawba County Public Health is partnering with the North Carolina Radon Program to provide free short-term radon test kits to Catawba County residents during the month of January.

Free kits are available at the following locations while supplies last:

• Catawba County Public Health, 3070 11th Ave. Dr. SE, Hickory, NC 28602

• Catawba County Environmental Health, located in the Permit Center at the Catawba County Government Center, 110 A South West Blvd., Newton, NC 28658

The North Carolina Radon Program website, www.ncradon.org, will also offer a limited supply of kits that may be ordered at no cost. Once the supply of free kits has been exhausted, the North Carolina Radon Program website will offer short-term radon test kits at a reduced cost of $6 (valued at $15).

Radon is the odorless, colorless gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), radon gas occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. Radon gas can seep through the cracks in buildings, and high levels can lead to severe health problems.

The North Carolina Radon Program of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services educates families and homeowners about radon gas, how to test for radon gas, and how to lower the radon levels within a home. For more information about radon and radon testing, including potential financial assistance with radon mitigation, visit the North Carolina Radon Program website at www.ncradon.org.

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

HCT Announces Cast For Hamlet, Opening February 3

Hickory - Artistic Director Pamela Livingingstone has announced her cast for the Hickory Community Theatre’s upcoming production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This modern take on the classic tragedy will feature multimedia effects and other surprises.

Josh Yoder has the title role of Prince Hamlet, known not only for its iconic soliloquies but also for having the greatest number of lines. The rest of the royal family and Danish court are Beth Woodard as Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, and Mark Woodard as King Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle (and now stepfather.) Jonathan Ray is Polonius, adviser to the King and Queen, Carolyn Oursler is his daughter Ophelia and Donovan Harper as his son, Laertes. Justin Thomas and Andrew Dennis play Hamlet’s friends and companions Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Ingrid Keller is the Norwegian ambassador, Voltimand.

The other members of the ensemble each play multiple roles. David Abernethy is the Gravdigger, Chris Kerley plays the ghost of the recently dead King, Hamlet’s father as well as the Player King and a Lord of the royal court. Jill Roberts is Marcellus, the Player Queen, and a Lady of the court. Thomas Townsend has the roles of Fortinbras, Bernardo and Lucianus.

Hamlet is considered by most to be Shakespeare’s greatest tragic play and by others as his best work. It tells the story of a prince returned home to find his father, the king, dead and his mother now married to his uncle. When suspicions about the death of the king are cast upon Hamlet’s uncle he struggles to decide what to do. But since the source of these suspicions is a ghost who only speaks to Hamlet, is it possibly he’s gone mad?

Performances are 8:00 pm Fridays & Saturdays, 7:30 pm Thursdays, and 2:30 Sundays February 3-19, 2017. Tickets are $18. There is a senior discount of $2 and tickets for students and youth 18 and under are just $10. Tickets for Thursday performances are $14 for adults and $10 for students and youth. Tickets may be purchased online at www.hickorytheatre.showare.com or at the theatre box office. The box office is open 12-5 Wed through Sat in person or by calling 828-328-2283.

Photo by John Koval:

The cast of Hamlet features [Bottom Row (L-R): Justin Thomas, Thomas Townsend, Andrew Dennis; Middle Row (L-R): Benjamin Thomas-Reid, Beth Woodard, Joshua Howard Yoder, Jonathan Ray; Top Row (L-R): David Abernathy, Chris Kerley, Mark Woodard and Donovan Harper.

Not Pictured are Carolyn Oursler, Jill Roberts, and Ingrid Keller.]

Performances are Feb 3-29. For tickets and information call 828-328-2283 or go to www.hickorytheatre.org.

Lincolnton Lions Are Recycling Eyeglasses

For Those In Need - Read Below, Donate Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art Will Be Made At Seniors Morning Out In January!

Hickory – Participants in Catawba County’s Seniors Morning Out program will make an art project with Ellen Ball, listen to musical performances, and learn important health information during January.

Anyone who is 60 or better who lives in the county is invited to join the SMO program, which meets in five different locations throughout the county. The program operates Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. In addition to fun and informative activities, a hot balanced lunch is served. This program serves all county residents; there is no income requirement. Bus transportation to and from the sites is available in many parts of the county. If you would like to participate in one or more activities, please contact the site supervisor at least 48 hours in advance.

Participants at several locations will learn to make a piece of art in an activity led by local artist Ellen Ball. Her program is supported by a grant from the United Arts Council of Catawba County through the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

Ellen Ball

The SMO program will be closed on Jan. 2 in observance of the New Year’s holiday. It will also be closed on Jan. 16 in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Below is a partial list of activities by location.

At the West Hickory SMO, located at the West Hickory Senior Center, 400 17th St. SW, Hickory: Jan. 4: “Senior Financial Exploitation and Physical Abuse” program by Denise A. Lockett, an attorney with Legal Aid; Jan. 10: “Tax Reduction for Seniors” by Cho Lor of the Catawba County Tax Office; Jan. 12: Dancing to the music of Sentimental Journey; Jan. 18, Learn about Cooperative Christian Ministries with Linda Gensheimer, community outreach coordinator; Jan. 24: Teen Up Senior Interviews; Jan. 26: Celebrating birthdays in song with the Mt. Zion Men’s Choir. For more information, or to reserve your place, contact Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

At the East Hickory SMO, located at Huntington Hills Church of God, 2123 Fifth St. NE, Hickory: Jan. 5, Learn about the Low Income Energy Assistance Program with Beth Smith of Catawba County Social Services; Jan. 11, Create a pine cone bird feeder with Suzy Killian and the site supervisor; Jan. 17, Create an art project with Ellen Ball; Jan. 25, Sing along and dance with Slim Jim Phillips. To reserve your place, contact Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

At the Newton SMO, located at First Presbyterian Church of Newton, 701 N. Main St., Newton: Jan. 3, Learn about the Low Income Energy Assistance Program with Beth Smith of Catawba County Social Services; Jan. 5: Martin Luther King’s Birthday with Pastor George Coates of Hartzel and McQueen United Methodist churches; Jan. 9, Tax Relief for Homeowners by Cho Lor, Catawba County Tax Department; Jan. 12: Watch the movie “Selina” at the Main Library in Newton; Jan. 17, Sing along with Sentimental Journey; Jan. 24, Inflammation 101 with Ann Simmons of the Cooperative Extension Service; Jan. 30, Game Day with various board games, and gospel singing with the Clontz Family. To reserve your place, contact Robyn Curtis at 838-455-4133.

At the Catawba SMO, located at Center United Methodist Church, 4945 Sherrills Ford Road, Catawba: Jan. 5, watch the movie “Risen” at the Sherrills Ford Library; Jan. 12, Sleep Apnea Disorders with Kayla Hefner of Catawba Valley Medical Center; Jan. 24, Are You OK Program by Lt. John Helton, Catawba County Sheriff’s Department; Jan. 26, Make an art project with Ellen Ball. To reserve your spot, contact Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

At the Maiden SMO, located at the Maiden Community Center, at the corner of East Second St. and Klutz St. in Maiden: Jan. 11, Frisbee Toss Game and Most Beneficial Exercise for Seniors; Jan. 18: Bingo followed by a program on Diabetes; Jan. 19: Stress Management by Terry Spender; Jan. 23: Corn Hole game and Do we need to limit healthy snacks?; Jan. 31, Bingo and Do you know how to stay safe in cold weather? To reserve your spot, contact Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

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

Pop Billboard Artists’ Exhibit Opens Saturday, January 21,

At Gallery 27, Lincolnton

Lincolnton, NC - Art Pop Billboard Artists Mark Doepker (2017) and Laura Rasmussen (2016) bring their world of colorful and diverse faces to Gallery 27 in the first of our 2017 Visiting Artists Series.

The exhibit will run January 21 – February 8, 2017, with an opening reception on January 21, 2017, from 7:00 – 9:00 PM

Mark Doepker is a self taught artist whose work explores the human condition in an explosive rainbow of colors. His figures and faces convey a deep sense of emotion that seems to pulse on the very surface they inhabit. Mark’s work can be found in various locations in and around Charlotte, NC. He is represented by Pura Vida Worldly Art in NoDa. Check out more of Mark’s work at http://www.rawartists.org/markdoepker

Thespian, Mark Doepker

Laura Rasmussen’s mixed media paintings center on themes of nature, magical realism, and especially a strong, feminine spirit. Laura does not work from sketches; rather she relies solely on her intuition to guide her to the image that will ultimately occupy the canvas. “I know these women. They are the mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, goddesses, matriarchs, and mother earth, herself. They are the women that came before us. They know who they are. They have stories to tell.” You can learn more about Laura and her work by going to her website www.laurarasmussenart.com

Gallery 27 is the premiere art gallery in Lincoln County, bringing the finest in both local and regional art to the area for the past three years. The mission of Gallery 27 is to instruct, inform and inspire our artists and collectors by providing a source of high quality of visual art, create an exciting venue where artists can exhibit and sell their art, facilitate opportunities for artists through marketing, promotion, commissions, and sales, provide high-quality classes and workshops for adults and children in a barrier-free setting that is designed to inspire while providing fun and educational art experiences for all ages and abilities.

For more information please visit our website at www.ncgallery27.com. Gallery 27 808 Hwy 27 West, Lincolnton, NC 28092 704-240-9060. Hours of Operation: Wednesday-Thursday 11am-5pm, Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 10-3 pm. Contact: Liz McKay, Gallery Manager or Stacey Pilkington-Smith, Owner.

By Laura Rasmussen

Workshop For Experienced And Beginning

Grant Writers Is Monday, January 23

Hickory - If you are new to grant writing and research, or find yourself with experience writing grants without receiving funding, this is the class for you, Writing & Research Workshop in Hickory, Monday January 23.

This one day class is designed for beginners, as well as practiced grant writers who need to understand the elements of a proposal and how to successfully integrate each into a successful proposal, as well as the process for successful grant research.
This workshop will cover basic grant writing objectives, the seven elements of almost every proposal, formatting, how to customize proposals to the granting organization, developing relationships with donors and grant management.

This workshop is will also help you learn the details needed to begin research, to conduct successful grant research, and the skill set to help save you time in your searches so you can actually begin writing. We will cover the details needed before you can begin any research, management of research to make efficient use of your time, how to locate available grants on the local, state and government levels, how to navigate organizational websites to locate funding opportunities, grant databases and other resources that fit your specific needs, as well as pitfalls to avoid that will save you time and cut down on frustration as you work to locate donors whose priorities match your needs.

During the 8 hour workshop you will hear real stories from the non-profit world, do’s and don’ts of grant writing, you will have access to successfully funded proposals and you will leave with the skill set to begin writing quality grant applications.

Cost is $147. January 23, 2017, 9 am–5pm. CVCC Corporate Development Center, 2664 Highway 70, Hickory, NC 28602. Register by December 31st and save! http://fundingforgood.org/product/grant-writing-research-workshop-hickory-jan-23/

FCA Call For Artists: 50 Shades Of Black & White Photography

 Hickory - Full Circle Arts of Hickory will be having a photography exhibition/competition from January 19 until February 25, 2017 and are looking for photographic entries from artists in the greater Hickory area. The exhibition is entitled “50 Shades: Black and White Photography”. We believe that this medium will focus the artists and visitors to the show to concentrate more on the impact of the form and shapes and subject matter in the work than on any color distractions.     
  
The show will be judged and juried for acceptance by Clayton Joe Young, award winning photographer with a background in photojournalism. Mr. Young holds an MFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design. He is currently Program Director and Lead Instructor of the Photographic Technology Program at Catawba Valley Community College. He will be awarding ribbons for First through Third place winners as well as several Honorable Mentions.   
          
Artists are allowed to enter up to 3 photographs for a fee of $10. Nothing larger than 48” in any direction and all work must be framed and properly wired for hanging. Photographs should be hand delivered to our gallery, 42 -B Third Street NW, Hickory from Jan. 12 - 14, 2017 during our normal business hours, Thurs. and Friday 11am-5pm and Sat., 10am - 2pm.         
   
We will have an opening reception for the show on Thursday, January 19, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, where refreshments will be provided. 

Full Circle Arts will retain a 35% commission on any work sold for non-members, 30% for Associate Members and 20% for Exhibiting Members.        
      
FCA is a non-profit artists’ cooperative located in downtown Hickory, 42-B Third Street NW.  More information about Full Circle Arts, classes, membership, or other upcoming events is available at 828-322-7545.  You may also write to Full Circle Arts, PO Box 3905, Hickory NC 28603, or email info@fullcirclearts.org. Please visit our website at www.fullcirclearts.org

RiverRun Retro Barbara Stanwyck Film & Book Signing Is Feb. 2

Winston-Salem, NC – RiverRun International Film Festival’s RiverRun Retro presents a film screening of “Stella Dallas,” starring Barbara Stanwyck, and a discussion with Stanwyck’s biographer, Victoria Wilson, followed by a book signing of her biography, A Life of Barbara Stanwyck Steel – True: 1907 – 1940. The event will take place on Thursday, February 2, 2017, at 7:00 p.m., at Hanesbrands Theatre, located at 209 W. Spruce Street, Winston-Salem.

The 1937 version of “Stella Dallas” is the second of three screen versions of the story based on a novel by Olive Higgins Prouty. Stanwyck received her first Academy Award for Best Actress for playing the title role. At the time of its release, Variety magazine called it “A tear-jerker of ‘A’ ranking.” Stanwyck received numerous accolades for her performance, including from the New York Times, whose reviewer noted, “Miss Stanwyck’s portrayal is as courageous as it is fine.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the conversation with Victoria Wilson will begin at 7:00 p.m., followed by the screening of “Stella Dallas.” BookMarks will have copies of Wilson’s book available for purchase prior to the event and during the reception and book signing following the screening.

The reception will feature light hors d’oeuvres from Mooney’s Mediterranean Café, craft beer from Hoots Beer Co. and wine from McRitchie Winery.

Barbara Stanwyck in Stella Dallas

General admission is $15 for adults and $10 for students with a valid student ID. Tickets will be available online at http://www.rhodesartscenter.org/

Victoria Wilson grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and in New York City. She is a vice president and senior editor at Alfred Knopf and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the US Commission on Civil Rights. She lives in New York City and upstate New York.

In her book A Life of Barbara Stanwyck Steel True: 1907 – 1940, Wilson gives the first full-scale life account of Barbara Stanwyck, whose astonishing career in movies (88 in all) spanned four decades beginning with the coming of sound, and lasted in television from its infancy in the 1950’s through the 1980’s—a book that delves deeply into her rich, complex life and explores her extraordinary range of motion pictures, many of them iconic.

Written with the full cooperation of Stanwyck’s family and friends, and drawing on more than two-hundred interviews with actors, directors, cameramen, screenwriters, costume designers, et al., as well as making use of letters, journals, and private papers, Victoria Wilson has brought this complex artist brilliantly alive. Her book is a revelation of the actor’s life and work.

RiverRun Retro is a year-round initiative of RiverRun International Film Festival spotlighting individuals and films, which have contributed to the cultural and commercial fabric of motion pictures. By bringing in special guests to discuss their careers or film history topics, RiverRun Retro pays tribute to those who have influenced the medium, and audiences are exposed to the fascinating history and backstory of the art form as a supplement to RiverRun International Film Festival, which takes place annually in April.

ABOUT RIVERRUN: Now in its 19th year, RiverRun International Film Festival will run March 30 – April 9, 2017, in downtown Winston-Salem. The RiverRun International Film Festival is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to the role of cinema as a conduit of powerful ideas and diverse viewpoints. Founded in 1998, RiverRun is a competitive event that annually showcases new films from both established and emerging filmmakers around the world. Each spring, RiverRun screens new narrative, documentary, short, student and animated films, offering both audience and jury prizes in competition categories. To become a member and view more information about the Festival, visit www.riverrunfilm.com.

Thomas Wolfe Fiction Contest Entries Due By January 30

Asheville, NC - The 2017 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize is now open for submissions.

Awarded to a short story of 3,000 words or less, the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize honors internationally celebrated North Carolina novelist Thomas Wolfe. The winner receives $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review. The postmark deadline is January 30, 2017.

This year's final judge is Wiley Cash, The New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy, which are both available from William Morrow/HarperCollinsPublishers. Wiley is writer-in- residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Fiction and Nonfiction Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. A native of North Carolina, he lives in Wilmington with his wife and their two young daughters.

The 2017 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize is administered by the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. The program offers opportunities for writers of all levels to join a supportive learning community in which their skills and talents can be explored, practiced, and forged under the careful eye of professional writers. The program is committed to providing the community with affordable university-level classes led by published writers and experienced teachers. Each course carries academic credit awarded through UNC-Asheville.

The 2016 winner was Alli Marshall, author of the novel How to Talk to Rock Stars, for her short story “Catching Out."

The Thomas Wolfe Review is the official journal of The Thomas Wolfe Society, publishing articles, features, tributes, and reviews about Wolfe and his circle. It also features bibliographical material, notes, news, and announcements of interest to Society members.

North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938), was born in Asheville. His Look Homeward, Angel is considered one of the most important coming-of-age novels in the English language. Wolfe was considered at the time of his death to be the greatest talent North Carolina had given to American literature. His novels and collected short stories go beyond autobiography, trying to, in William Faulkner’s words, “put all the experience of the human heart on the head of a pin.” His intense poetic language and thoughtfully developed symbology, combined with his uncanny ability to enter the minds of his other characters and give them powerful voices, elevate the books from memoir to undeniable literary art.

Here are the complete guidelines:
The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication.

Submit two copies (if submitting by mail) of an unpublished fiction manuscript - short story or self-contained novel excerpt - not to exceed 3,000 words, double-spaced, single-sided pages (1" margins, 12-pt. Times New Roman font).
Author's name should not appear on manuscripts. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title. (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.)

An entry fee must accompany the manuscript: $15 for NCWN members, $25 for nonmembers.
The entry fee is per submission. You may submit multiple entries.
You may pay the member entry fee if you join the NCWN with your submission. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
Entries will not be returned.
The winner is announced each April.
Simultaneous submissions are ok, but please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
To submit online, go to https://ncwriters.submittable.com/submit. Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($15 NCWN members / $25 non-members). (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.)
To submit by regular mail:
Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize
Great Smokies Writing Program
Attn: Nancy Williams
One University Hts.
UNC Asheville, NC 28804

Questions? Please contact Nancy Williams at nwilliam@unca.edu or 828-250-2353.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.
Wiley Cash

WP Youth Symphony Auditions Are January 9 & 23

Lenoir, NC - Western Piedmont Youth Symphony will hold auditions for its 2017 Spring Season! Auditions will take place from 3:30-7 on January 9th, & 3:30-5 on January 23rd.

These auditions are for NEW members. Current members do not need to re-audition. All auditions are by appointment only!

*PLEASE NOTE* Auditions on January 9th are in 15 minute increments. January 23rd auditions are in 10 minute increments.

Sign up online at: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090c4ba5a62fa7f85-wpys1
WPYS Candidates should prepare the following for audition:
2 Major Scales in 2 or more octaves
1 minor scale (any of the 3 forms is acceptable) in 2 or more octaves
One prepared solo piece or etude
Each musician will also be given a short passage of sight-reading

Those selected to the WPYS have the opportunity to rehearse weekly January-April under the direction of Maestro Joby Brunjes and perform in a Spring Concert! There is no cost to audition. Tuition is $100 per year.

Auditions will be held in the Western Piedmont Symphony rehearsal hall in the Performing Arts Wing of the Arts & Science Center on the SALT Block. 243 Third Avenue NE Hickory 28601, Details: Call WPS at 828.324.8603 or email us at info@wpsymphony.org

Caldwell Arts Council Seeks Artists For Possible 2018 Exhibits

Lenoir, NC - The Caldwell Arts Council is currently accepting portfolios from local and regional artists for possible exhibitions in 2018.

Details for submitting your portfolio are available on our website at http://www.caldwellarts.com/157-guidelines/. Portfolios will be accepted through January 31, 2017 and may be delivered or mailed to Caldwell Arts Council Exhibit Selection Committee, 601 College Ave SW (PO Box 1613), Lenoir NC 28645 or emailed to office@caldwellarts.com.

About the Caldwell Arts Council

The Caldwell Arts Council is a regional arts center that presents monthly and quarterly exhibits, education and collection programs that foster cultural arts in Caldwell County. Our center is housed in an historic 100+ year old home at 601 College Ave SW, Lenoir NC. There are four gallery spaces that have been renovated as professional exhibit spaces. Exhibits range from contemporary to traditional and include 2-D and 3-D exhibitions. The Caldwell Arts Council exhibits artists from across the country and has a reputation for quality exhibits. For information on the gallery space or to see a list of upcoming exhibits please visit our website at www.caldwellarts.com.

The Caldwell Arts Council’s programs are supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and by individual and corporate donors.

HS Shakespeare Monologue Competition Is Sat., April 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Confidential NC Services Help Adoptees Find Birth Parents

Hickory - Many adults who were adopted as children want to find their birth parents. This search is often hampered by the fact that North Carolina adoption records are sealed by law, and may only be unsealed by a court order.

However, Catawba County Social Services, as well as several other agencies in the state, has a program that can help in some cases. It is called Confidential Intermediary. To apply, an adoptee must be over the age of 18 and must have been adopted through any North Carolina Department of Social Services. The service is also available to the biological parent of an adult adoptee, an adult biological sibling of an adult adoptee, an adult biological half-sibling of an adult adoptee, an adult family member of a deceased biological parent, an adoptive family member of a deceased adoptee.

There is a charge for this service, which helps to cover the staff time involved. An initial, non-refundable fee of $350 is required for standard confidential intermediary services provided to Catawba County residents and to non-county residents whose adoption was connected in any way with Catawba County Social Services.

An initial fee of $425 is required for standard confidential intermediary services provided to non-Catawba County residents whose adoptions were not connected to services of Catawba County Social Services.

Additional charges are: $100 fee for the search of a family member not included in the standard services, and $75 for a facilitated meeting between the applicant and searched-for party.

To start the process, the person requesting the service meets with a social worker, providing a picture ID along with proof of age and other appropriate documents of identity and relationships.

The social worker then is able to access the original adoption records, and use other search tools, to try to locate the biological relative. Not all searches are successful, but many are. Only if both parties agree is a meeting arranged.

The first meeting is facilitated by a social worker. It is usually very emotional. Some meetings result in warm family reunions that lead to a continued relationship between the adult adoptee and their biological family. At other times, the meeting may be difficult, but the parties may have the satisfaction of knowing the answers they were seeking, often for many years.

To find out more about Catawba County’s Confidential Intermediary process, visit our website at http://www.catawbacountync.gov/dss/FamilyBuilders/Adult.asp, email Elaine Patterson at epatterson@catawbacountync.gov or call Family Builders at 828-465-8901.

CIP Can Help Eligible Households With Heating Bills

Hickory - Funds are now available for the Crisis Intervention Program, which helps people who are experiencing a heating-related crisis.

Households meeting certain income guidelines may apply for assistance if they have received a disconnect notice and have not exceeded the maximum limit for assistance from the CIP program. You must apply in the county where you live.

Catawba County residents may apply at the Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry, Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry or the Salvation Army. You will need to bring the following information:

1. A disconnect notice from your heating source provider.

2. A picture ID

3. A Social Security number or card for everyone in your household.

4. Income and resource verification for everyone in your household.

The income guidelines for this program are based on the number of people in your household and their gross (before taxes) income:

1. For a household of one, you may have a maximum monthly income of $1,485.

2. For a household of two, you may have a maximum monthly income of $2,003.

3. For a household of three, you may have a maximum monthly income of $2,520.

4. For a household of four, you may have a maximum monthly income of $3,038.

5. For a household of five, you may have a maximum monthly income of $3,555.

For more information about this program, contact Catawba County Social Services at 828-695-5728 (Leah Haas) or 828-695-5625 (Beth Jones).

Caldwell Arts’ Comedy Club FUNdraiser Is Sat., January 21

Lenoir, NC - The 5th Annual Lenoir Comedy Club fundraiser for the Caldwell Arts Council will be held Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm) at the JE Broyhill Civic Center.

Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door, or $200 for a table for 8; for tickets call 828-754-2486 or visit the website at http://www.caldwellarts.com.

This FUNdraising event will feature Lenoir native emcee Yulson Suddreth and comedians Jarrod Harris and Blayr Nias.

Yulson Suddreth

Jarrod Harris' comedy is best described as an atypical Southern comic. His comedy is autobiographical, silly, dark, and often times absurd. Jarrod started his comedy journey on "boo night" at Uptown Comedy Club, Atlanta's original urban comedy spot. He has since worked his way to headlining some of the best comedy clubs in America, appeared in the 2008 Boston International Comedy Festival, was a finalist in the 34th annual San Francisco Comedy Competition and was recently named Campus Activities Magazine's "2010 Hot Comedy Picks".

Jarrod's television credits include season 4 of Comedy Central's "Live at Gotham", NBC's Night Shift, WE Channel's,"Secret Lives of Women”, The George Lopez Show, and numerous appearances on Comcast Comedy on Demand.

Blayr Nias is not your average female comic. She lives by the credo “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll have to be a horrible warning.”

Jarrod Harris

When she hits the stage it’s with manic energy, high octane humor, and her trademark mega-watt smile giving her the nickname “GummyBlayr”. Winning audiences over across the country with a dynamic stage presence, she shares tales of her misadventures as ‘the bad girl next door’. This Massachusetts native graduated from the George Washington University with a degree in Theater and Creative Writing.

She performs at comedy clubs, corporate events, and colleges and universities such as West Virginia University and University of Kentucky. She has opened for Natasha Leggero, Ralphie May, Broken Lizzard (Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan) Josh Wolf, Tom Simmons, Chris Kattan, Neal Brennan, Chris Franjola, Jon Reep, Jamie Kennedy, Tom Green, and DL Hughley.

Blayr Nias

She has lived in the South for the past 10 years giving her a unique blend of Northern Aggression and Southern Charm. She has featured in the Pink Collar Comedy Tour at the Piccolo Spoletto Festival in Charleston, SC and performed in the Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival in Asheville, NC headlined by Jim Gaffigan.

This event benefits the Caldwell Arts Council, which provides art programming for Caldwell County including art exhibits, Artists-In-schools Programming, concerts, theatre and education to foster the cultural arts in Caldwell County.
For more information, call 828-754-2486 or visit the website at www.caldwellarts.com.

The Caldwell Arts Council’s programs are supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources and by individual and corporate donors.

Catawba Valley Astronomers’ 25th Annual BoBfest At

Catawba Science Center On Feb. 18, 2017

Hickory - The Catawba Valley Astronomers Club, along with the Catawba Science Center will be hosting the 25th annual BoBfest on February 18th, 2017. BoBfest is a regional meeting of amateur astronomers. Doors will open at 8:30 am and throughout the day the event will feature presentations, astrophotography displays, and door prizes. Equipment vendors will also be available as will information about local events and facilities, and the chance to engage with amateur and professional astronomers from the region.

BoBfest is open to the public. Attendees ranging from professional astronomers to those who simply have an interest in astronomy are welcome. Anyone looking into astronomy as a hobby is urged to come and ask questions of the more experienced astronomers. Jim Craig and Thomas A. Lesser, Ed.D. will be the key note speakers at this year’s event. Two of the vendors will include Camera Concepts, and MeteoriteUSA. Admission is free.

“BoBfest at its roots, is a fun event with activities for the entire family. It explores all aspects of astronomy, and is a great chance to catch up and connect with regional astronomers. Visitors come from all over North Carolina and the surrounding areas, and you meet a wide variety of people,” says Joe Heafner, president of the Catawba Valley Astronomers Club.

BoBfest is presented by the Cleveland County Astronomical Society, The Catawba Science Center, and the Catawba Valley Astronomers Club. The Catawba Valley Astronomy Club meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. For more information visit their website at www.catawbasky.org.

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

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.

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.

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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