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Celebrate New Year’s At The Cotton Club Benefit In Lenoir

Lenoir, NC - The Roaring 20’s comes to downtown Lenoir on New Year’s Eve with The Cotton Club. The once-a-year nightclub bring back the sounds of Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Lena Horn, Billie Holiday and more. Tunes such as, “Who’s Sorry Now?”, “(Take the) A-Train,” “Ain’t Misbehavin,’” “In the Mood” and others which will be performed by the Silvio Martinat Swing Band of Lenoir.

The party will be held in the Lutz Building, located at 1001 West Ave. N.W., in downtown Lenoir. Doors open at 7 p.m. A buffet starts at 7:45 p.m. and the show beings at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person, $90 per couple and $360 for a table of eight. A cash bar will be available. Tickets are available by calling Delk Law Firm in Lenoir at 828-572-3285 or by emailing judy@delklawfirm.com.

The holiday event is a fundraiser for the Pop Ferguson Blues Heritage Festival VII, which will be held June 12-13, 2015 in Lenoir.

The swing band was created by Dr. Robin Gatwood, a retired Lenoir Rhyne College music professor. Upon his death in 1993, Silvio Martinat purchased the band and renamed it. In 2012, John Craig took the director’s baton.

During the past 25 years, the band has been a mainstay at the historic Green Park Hotel in Blowing Rock. The band continues the tradition of performing the style of the Big Band Swing era.

The Cotton Club was one of the most famous nightclubs in Harlem. It operated during the Prohibition, as well as the Jazz Age. Entertainers like Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others, performed for a typically white audience. It was considered a swanky place to be on Sundays for “Celebrity Night,” when George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Mae West, Jimmy Durante, and others, made appearances. The nightclub opened and closed a few times, but officially closed in 1940.

Film director Francis Ford Coppola brought The Cotton Club to the big screen in 1984. He focused upon the notorious crime which was so rampant during the Prohibition. However, the speakeasy was recognized as the launching pad for many top entertainers and musicians. Duke Ellington rose to fame there, as his orchestra played there until 1931. The club soared with glittering reviews and commanded attention by the “cream of New York society,” according to PBS’s website.

Men patrons probably donned zoot suits, with tight-cuffed, pegged trousers and a long coat with wide lapels and shoulders. Women’s fashion was ultra-feminine and very tailored. Evening outfits may have included a dress with a defined waistline, puffed sleeves, nylon hosiery, sandals, long strings of pearls and a hair bandeaux decorated with jewels and feathers. It was during this time that Max Factor started reeling in the sales, as his make-up gave women a natural pinkish ivory, or lighter, appearance. Persons attending the Lenoir party are invited to dress for the style of the event.

The Cotton Club and the Pop Ferguson Blues Heritage Festival are produced by the non-profit organization, Pop Ferguson Blues, Inc.

Tractor Shed Theatre Presents Stories Of Foster

Children At Benefit For GAL, Thursday, Dec. 18

Hickory - Since 2010, Play Production (an auditioned troupe of artists) has collaborated with a chosen local charity/organization to raise awareness and/or funds to foster communication and art between teens and the community.

We have had the honor to work with Children's Advocacy Center, Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, the Women's Resource Center, the Family Guidance Center, Pace@Home (All-inclusive Care for the Elderly), and The Grace House Day Shelter for the Homeless.

The company of players

This year we are voicing the stories of abused and neglected children by partnering with the Catawba Valley Guardian Ad Litem Association (GAL).

The Tractor Shed Theatre will present a unique and original walk-through performance sharing the stories of foster children in our area.

Please join us for this very special night: Hickory Museum of Art (SALT Block), Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at 6:30pm. Cost: $10 (all proceeds will go to the Children's Assistance Funds). Drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

Online: www.cvgal.org

The mission of the NC GAL program is to provide trained, independent advocates to represent and promote the best interests of abused and neglected children in the court system and to work towards a plan that will ensure these children are in a safe, permanent home.

March 28, 2015, Is New Date Of Shakespeare Competition

Lenoir, NC - High school students from traditional, home and Christian schools in Caldwell and contiguous counties are invited to participate in the 3rd annual High School Shakespeare Monologue Competition sponsored by the Caldwell Arts Council and Caldwell County Schools.

This competition is an exciting way for students to increase their appreciation for language and to demonstrate their mastery of public speaking.

This year’s competitors are expected to memorize and recite a Shakespeare monologue of 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 minutes in length. 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 determine the Shakespeare Monologue Competition coordinator in each school. Home school students and students from outside Caldwell County should contact the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-2486 or info@caldwellarts.com.

Applications will be accepted now through March 6, 2015 – first come, first served on monologue selection.

The final competition will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at the JE Broyhill Civic Center.

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

Church Of Christ Begins Faith & Marriage Course Jan. 11, 2015

Hickory - Hickory Church of Christ, 1218 Fairgrove Church Rd in Hickory, will host a nine-week transformative marriage course, United, beginning January 11, 2015 at 3pm. The United course is one of several courses offered by the non-profit Christian ministry Family Dynamics Institute (FDI) of Franklin, TN (www.familydynamics.net). Family Dynamics, through therapists, marriage counselors, and ministers, representing different denominations, develops and provides hands-on marriage resources, such as United, to help busy couples.

This organization has been offering thought provoking, change-inspiring marriage building classes since 1994. Members of Hickory Church of Christ, Percil and Theresa Watkins, are certified facilitators of FDI’s transformative marriage courses and will lead the class which begins in January.

The Hickory Church of Christ Marriage Ministry is extremely excited to offer the United course, as a means of helping participating couples grow in their faith and marriage. Through this wonderful experience, couples will learn how to make their marriage all that God wants it to be, while working through a series of Life Lessons in Scripture, to explore the spiritual and emotional elements of a lasting, loving relationship.

Couples are encouraged to contact the Hickory Church of Christ office at 828-464-4983 today, to register for the class. The class is limited to 12 couples, so those interested should prayerfully call right away, and before 12/21, to get signed up. Those in the church’s marriage ministry, all of whom are certified FDI marriage course facilitators or have attended and benefited from FDI’s courses, speak favorably of their experience with the wealth of knowledge gained from FDI courses. Anyone interested in re-committing, together with their spouse, to their marital and spiritual journey would be doing their marriages a favor by joining in this United course. Engaged couples are also welcome to come and be a part!

The City Of Hickory Does Not Solicit Funds For Fire Department

Hickory - The City of Hickory Fire Department is not soliciting funds on behalf of the city’s fire department.

The city has received several complaints regarding a telephone fund-raiser in the name of the city’s fire department. A local firefighters union is conducting a telephone survey, but it has nothing to do with the City of Hickory Fire Department.

The only fundraiser the Hickory Fire Department participates in each year is the Christmas Bikes for Tykes program through the Catawba County Christmas Bureau.

Over the past few weeks, the city has received questions regarding telephone and letter campaign fundraisers in the name of the city’s fire department. Local and state fire organizations raise money for fire associations, but no funds from these campaigns will go to the City of Hickory or the fire budget.

“All salaries and operational costs are paid for by a budget that is approved and adopted by the Hickory City Council,” said Hickory Fire Chief Fred Hollar. “If there is a need for more resources, we go through the policy set up with the City of Hickory.”

Citizens can call the Hickory Fire Department at 323-7420 to check the validity of any solicitation related to the fire department. “Any time one considers giving any solicited donations, you should be sure where the funds are going,” said Hickory Chief Fred Hollar. “Don’t take the word of a telemarketer; research the agency before you give.”

Parenting Network Offers Love & Logic Program, January 8

Conover, NC - Are you a parent who is struggling with arguing or talk back from your children and interested in knowing some practical ways to be able to enjoy a healthy and happier relationship with them? You can find help with these parenting issues at the Catawba County Parenting Network’s Love and Logic program beginning Thursday, January 8th.

The six-session class series will be held at Tyndall Center in Conover on Thursdays, January 8th – February 12th from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. and will address the essentials for helping your child become more responsible and respectful. Parents will also learn tips to have more fun in the parenting role and establish healthy control without resorting to anger, threats, nagging, or engaging in power struggles. Parents will leave empowered, more relaxed and hopeful in their role as a parent. Advance registration is required for all participants.

Created in 1999, the Catawba County Parenting Network is a 501c3 non-profit organization strengthening families in the Unifour area with high quality parenting enrichment and support programs as well as timely referral to other family resources. To learn more about the programs of the CCPN or to register for Love and Logic, please contact the Parenting Network at 465-8151 or register online at www.catawbaparenting.com.

CVCC Offers Italian Cooking Classes, Level II, January 22

Hickory - The Catawba Valley Community College Learning & Personal Enrichment Innovation Center will offer Italian Cooking – Level II from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thurs., Jan. 22 through March 12 at CVCC’s East Campus, Room 1209.

Learn the art of cooking authentic Italian cuisine with Italian native, Tony Morello. Students will create delicious Mediterranean appetizers, entrees and desserts modeled from family recipes and build an understanding of the center of Italian culture: FOOD!

The cost of the class is $80. Supply list will be available prior to class. Participants must be 18 years old or older.

Registration deadline is January 15, 2015. For more information, contact CVCC’s Learning and Enrichment Continuing Education Center, 828-327-7037, or via email ctoney@cvcc.edu.

Let’s Talk About It, Free Book Discussion—Sign Up Begins Dec. 16

Hickory - Any adult community member who enjoys reading and discussing literature is encouraged to sign up for The Let’s Talk About It program that is offered free to participants at the Bethlehem Branch Library. The series consists of five books (provided) to be read and discussed over a nine week period beginning January 13, 2015 and ending March 10, 2015.

The theme this year is: “Discovering the Literary South: the Louis D. Rubin.” The books in this series were published within the last twenty years by writers who have moved beyond the Southern hometowns of their youth. Yet they take a long look back, not for nostalgia's sake but to bear witness to the full panoply of time's interactions with place, memory and family."

Sessions and Books
Tuesday, January 13 - Gap Creek by Robert Morgan
Tuesday, January 27 - A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons
Tuesday, February 10 - The Jew Store by Stella Suberman
Tuesday, February 24 - Clover by Dori Sanders
Tuesday, March 10 - The Coal Tattoo by Silas House

Those who want to participate may sign-up at the Bethlehem Branch beginning Tuesday, December 16th, 12-7 pm or until enrollment reaches a limit of 25 participants.This project is made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in partnership with the North Carolina Center for the Book, a program of the State Library of North Carolina."

Earnhardt Offers Free Services In Exchange For Food Items

Newton, NC - Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet is proud to kick off the Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Food Drive. This is a month long event where Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet foregoes the normal business operation of charging customers for their oil changes and tire rotations. Instead they simply ask for a small donation of 10 non-perishable food items.

This means that people can get a free oil change, tire rotation and 27 point inspection, a $35 total value, for free on any General Motors vehicle. All they have to do is to bring in 10 non-perishable food items. They run this special from 12/1/14 to 12/24/14.

The reason for this event is to raise food and awareness for The Corner Table of Newton, NC

The Corner Table has been serving the homeless, helpless and needy since January 8th, 2002. Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet is deeply committed to helping those in need, just as their founder Dale Earnhardt was.

The Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Food Drive is an annual event and, in the past, hundreds of pounds of food have been donated to help make the holidays a little more brighter for those in need. For more information: http://www.earnhardtchevy.com/fooddrive.http://thecornertable.org/index.html

Puddingstone Christmas Concert Is Friday, December 19 At OPOP

Newton, NC - The Green Room Community Theatre and the Old Post Office Playhouse are pleased to present a Christmas concert by the musical group Puddingstone on Friday, December 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm. Hailed as “the best kept secret in North Carolina,” Puddingstone plays a wide range of genres from Americana, such as fife and drum, to Celtic, Folk, New Age, Flamenco, Renaissance, and even some classical such as “Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring” and “Pachelbel's Canon.”

Puddingstone uses a dazzling array of ancient and modern instruments including hurdy gurdy, gemshorns, & viola de gamba as well as electronic wind machines and drum sets. The combination of the ancient and acoustic instruments with the electronic instruments produces Puddingstone’s signature sound. To learn more about Puddingstone, visit their website at www.puddingstone.jigsy.com.

Ticket prices for the Puddingstone Christmas concert are $15. Children age 12 and under are $5. Tickets are available by calling our Box Office (828) 464-6128 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am – 5:30 pm.

To learn more about The Green Room Community Theatre, please visit our website: www.thegreenroomtheatre.org.

The Green Room Community Theatre is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

December’s Seniors Morning Out Features Music, Parties

Hickory - Participants in Catawba County's Seniors Morning Out program will enjoy a variety of Christmas activities in December, including parties and musical entertainment.

Any county resident who is 60 or better is invited to attend the free, half-day programs. A variety of activities are offered and a balanced, hot lunch is provided. There is no charge to participants, although donations are accepted. SMO operates at five different locations throughout the county Monday through Thursday except for holidays. If you wish to attend, please contact the site supervisor at least 24 hours in advance. Bus transportation to and from the sites is available along limited routes.

All SMO locations will be closed the week of Dec. 22-26 in observance of the Christmas holiday. Some of the program highlights are as follows.

West Hickory SMO: Dec. 2, Recycling Old Christmas Cards into Gift Tags with Treva Sweezy; Dec. 9, Join Maiden SMO for fun, fellowship and dancing with the Ridgeview Sliders; Dec. 11, Christmas Luncheon at the Catholic Conference Center and music by Ethel Cuninghman and Grady Spruell; Dec. 15, Senior Safety with Sgt. Kelly Eckard of the Catawba County Sheriff's Department; Dec. 16, Christmas Party and Caroling with Home Schooled Children; Dec. 29, Learn to Make Origami Poinsettias. To reserve your spot, call Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

Newton SMO: Dec. 1, Learn to Make Christmas Wreath and Snowman Ornaments; Dec. 2, Music by Prodigal Sons and Daughters Gospel Group; Dec. 8, Applications Accepted for Low Income Energy Assistance Program; Dec. 16, Learn to Make Cinnamon Glazed Walnuts, Music by Sentimental Journey; Dec. 17, Christmas Music by The Joymakers; Dec. 30, Bowling at Pin Station and Shopping at Honey's IGA. To reserve your spot, call Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

Maiden SMO: Dec. 3, Holiday Music Trivia 101 and Music by Mt. Ruhama Senior Choir; Dec. 10, Christmas Sing Along with Capt. Alton Price of the Sheriff's Office; Dec. 17, Low Income Energy Assistance Program Applications Accepted; Dec. 18, Music by West Side Baptist Church Choir. To reserve your spot, contact Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

East Hickory SMO: Dec. 3, Dancercise, Decorate the Tree and Hot Chocolate; Dec. 8, Shopping at Hamricks and Lunch at Arby's; Dec. 10, Marking Christmas Cards and Apply for Low Income Energy Assistance; Dec. 18, Christmas Party. To reserve your spot, contact Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

Claremont SMO: Dec. 2, Music by Sentimental Journey; Dec. 3, Neighbors Network Presentation by Diana Plover; Dec. 4, Trip to Sherrills Ford Library and Christmas Craft; Dec. 15, Alzheimer's Dementia and Normal Aging by Meghan Lawton of the National Alzheimer's Association; Dec. 18, Music by Bunker Hill High School Chorus Ensemble and Christmas Party; Dec. 31, Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Treatment by Tracey Paul of Catawba County Health Department. To reserve your spot, contact Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

For more information, call the Senior Nutrition Services office at 828-695-5610. You may make a donation by writing a check to Catawba County Social Services and putting Senior Nutrition Services in the memo line. Mail your donation to Catawba County Senior Nutrition Services, P.O. Box 207, Newton, NC 28658. You may also make a secure donation online by going to http://www.catawbacountync.gov/dss and clicking on the red "Donate Now" button. For the latest updates on this program, like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty.

CVCC Potters’ Workshops Begin In January 2015

Hickory - There is nothing quite like pulling a newly crafted pottery piece out of a warm kiln. Create such an experience at the CVCC Potters’ Workshop; non-credit pottery classes begin in January, and run through March. No experience necessary, and the only requirements for students are a tool kit, purchased at the CVCC bookstore or local craft store, and a desire to create. All classes are $111.25, and include $70 registration fee, $40 supply fee and $1.25 insurance fee.

Hand Building I with Evelyn Arnold
Wednesdays, Jan. 14 – Mar. 4, 2015; 6-9 p.m.

This course is designed for students of all skill levels, and provides instruction on basic hand building techniques. Students will create a variety of functional forms such as mugs, bowls and platters without the use of the potters’ wheel. Topics include methods of pinch, coil and slab construction, applying glaze and introduction to loading and firing an electric kiln.

Pottery on the Wheel with Evelyn Arnold
Mondays, Jan. 12 – Mar. 9, 2015; 6-9 p.m.. No Class Jan. 19.

This class is designed for the beginner through intermediate level potter. In this course, students will become familiar with turning methods and materials used in creating basic forms with the potters’ wheel. Topics include clay preparation, turning techniques, and basic glaze application. Upon completion, students should be able to center, turn basic forms such as bowls and mugs, apply basic glazes and be familiar with loading and firing an electric kiln.

Functional Pottery II with Kim Ellington
Wednesdays, Jan. 14 – Mar. 4, 2015; 6 -9 p.m.

The second in a series, this class is for experienced students to focus on making pottery for everyday use in the home. Forms will include baking and serving dishes, cream and sugar sets, bowls, mugs and teapots. Students will use the potters’ wheel to learn production techniques for making sets, as well as develop their skill level and personal style. Upon completion, students will have advanced knowledge of using the potters’ wheel, various glazing and decorating techniques, along with loading and firing a pottery kiln.

?Independent Study with Kim Ellington
Tuesdays, Jan. 13 – Mar. 3, 2015; 6 – 9 p.m.

This class offers students with prior experience on the potters’ wheel the opportunity to work on individual clay projects of their own choosing. The purpose of the class is to enable students to work at their own pace to develop skill level and personal style, while receiving guidance and instruction from a working, professional potter. Students will have full use of workshop facilities including glazes and kiln. Open Lab time outside of regular class hours is also available. Upon completion, students will have an advanced understanding of working on the potters’ wheel, glaze preparation and kiln firing.

Class space is limited. For more information and to register for classes, please visit www.cvcc.edu/Potters_Workshop, or call the Workshop at 828-327-7000 ext. 4032. To register for classes by phone, please contact Donna Davis at 828-327-7000 ext. 4319.

HSCC Wellness Clinics Set For December Pet Vaccines

Hickory/Newton, NC - Foothills Wellness Clinic at HSCC offers low cost vaccines, heartworm tests, and pest solutions for pets. The upcoming clinic dates at HSCC-Hickory are Friday, December 5th, 12 – 4:30 pm; and Friday, December 19th, 12 – 4:30 pm. There will also be an additional Wellness Clinic on December 12th, 12-4pm held at HSCC-Newton.

A vaccine special is available at all of the clinics and during spay/neuter surgery, now through the end of December: $10 Feline Distemper Combo Vaccine, FVRCP which stands for feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), calicivirus (C), and panleukopenia (P).

Samantha is available to adopt

At these upcoming clinics, bring a 25lb bag of clay, non- clumping cat litter, laundry detergent, or two gallons of bleach and receive a free rabies vaccine or gift certificate for a free rabies vaccine ($10 value). Heartworm, flea, and tick prevention are available for purchase during normal business hours.

To make an appointment for vaccines or a heartworm test, call (828) 464-8878, Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm. HSCC and Foothills Spay/Neuter Clinic services are available to any member of the public and are not limited to residents of Catawba County.

A Mancini Christmas Concert Sat., December 20, At HCT

Hickory - Award-winning vocalist Jackie Finley, national recording artist Nathan Hefner, award-winning percussionist Rick Cline, Jennifer Canterbury [lead actress in The Little Mermaid] and Allen Finley will present their ninth annual“A Mancini Christmas Concert” at 8 pm December 20 in the newly renovated, award-winning Hickory Community Theatre. The event will showcase music by world-renowned composer Henry Mancini, such as “Moon River,” “Pink Panther” theme, “Peter Gunn” theme and “Days Of Wine & Roses,” as well as traditional Christmas music.

Finley has opened for country music stars Travis Tritt and JoDee Messina; performed at Nashville’s World-Famous Tootsie’s Orchid; won the 2007 NFDA Idol competition in Las Vegas; and holds six Kay Awards for acting.

Hefner performed at Reese Witherspoon’s wedding and has opened for music star Patti Page.

Sponsors for this year’s show include: A. Sign Co, ABS Legacy Partners, CopyMasters, Darlene’s Catering, Century Services, Equipment Ltd, Finley Advertising, Food Matters, Graystone Eye, Highland Ave. Restaurant, Martin Starnes CPAs, Reflections Furniture, Roll-Tech, Turf Pro/Fence Pro, and many others. Additional Sponsorships and Program Ads are still available.

Individual tickets are $22, and are available at Hickory Community Theatre, www.hickorytheatre.org, 828 328 2283; Finley Advertising 828 324 6700; 828 322 4738 or nathanhefner.com Special rates are available for groups of 20 or more.

Photo of Jackie Finley & Nathan Hefner courtesy of Fanjoy-Labrenz Photography

Photo: Jennifer Canterbury

Arts Council Of Lincolnton Amateur Photo Contest

Lincolnton, NC - The Arts Council of Lincoln County is once again sponsoring its annual Amateur Photography Competition. Entries will be accepted 10am until 4pm Friday January 2 and Monday January 5th at the Lincoln Cultural Center, 403 East Main Street in Lincolnton. For additional arrangements, please call (704) 732-9044 or email us at artslincolnnc@gmail.com. The show will be on exhibit in the Carolina Mills and Cochrane Galleries of the Lincoln Cultural Center from January 11th through January 30th.There will be an opening reception and awards presentation for the artists and public on Friday evening, January 9, 2015 from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm.

All entrants must be 18 years or older and must engage in photography for pleasure rather than financial gain or professional reasons. Entrants must not hold a photographer’s license or make their living at photography. Photo entries should be original photographs that have not been reproduced for public sale and have not been exhibited in any Arts Council of Lincoln County events in the past. Entry fee is $20.00 for up to 3 photographs with a limit of 2 entry fees per participant. Categories for photographs are: plant life / landscapes, people, animal life, abstract / special effects, miscellaneous and black & white. All entries must be framed and ready to hang. No saw tooth hangers, hooks or desktop frames allowed. All frames must have wire hangers. All work must remain on exhibit until the end of the show.

Judging will focus on mood, impact, composition and quality. Awards are: $125 Best of Show, $25 1st place, $15 2nd place and $10 3rd place in each category.

For more information, please contact the Arts Council of Lincoln County at (704) 732-9044 or email artslincolnnc@gmail.com

This project is supported in part by a grant provided through the Grassroots Arts Program of the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.

Funds Available For Low-Income Persons To Pay Energy Bills

Hickory - Low-income elderly or disabled persons in Catawba County may apply for help paying their heating bills at the Salvation Army in Hickory beginning Dec. 1.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is offered each year, with low-income elderly or disabled persons receiving first priority. Even those who have received LIEAP funds in the past must reapply each year.

Households including elderly or disabled persons have first priority and may apply Dec. 1- March 31, or until the funds are exhausted. Only households containing an elderly person age 60 or older, or a household with a disabled person receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services are eligible to apply during this priority period. Disabled persons are defined as those receiving SSI, SSA or VA disability.

Payments will be sent directly to the primary heating provider, such as the electric, gas, or heating oil company.

Assistance is based on household income and the number of persons living in the household. To be eligible, households must have total resources of $2,250 or less. "Resources" may include checking and savings accounts, cash, certificates of deposit, etc. The household must be responsible for paying the heating bill.

Eligibility is based on income. The income of everyone in the household is counted. For example, if there is one person in the household, the maximum monthly countable income must be $1,265 or less; two persons, $1,705 or less; three persons, $2,144 or less; four persons, $2,584 or less; five persons, $3,024 or less; six persons, $3,464 or less.

Low-income households that do not include an elderly or disabled person may apply for LIEAP funds Jan. 2-March 31, if funds are still available at the time.

To apply, you must bring verification that you meet these criteria to the Salvation Army. You should bring identification, Social Security numbers for everyone in the household, verification of income/resources and your most current heating bill. Those applying under the early deadline must also bring proof of age, disability, and services received from the Division of Aging and Adult Services. For additional information about this program, contact Catawba County Social Services at 828-695-5625.

ReasonCon 2015 Tickets On Sale Now For April Event

Hickory – “It was beyond anything I would have imagined for such a small town. To see what these groups pulled together-created for themselves-was an inspiration. In fact, every time I turned around, I felt inspired this weekend. The people, the event, the attitudes and dedication-were all inspiring,” Tracie Harris, speaker at ReasonCon One in 2014.

ReasonCon is an event to showcase the existence of a secular community in the southeastern United States. It is a gathering of atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, believers, and everything in between to join the conversation about what it means to be secular, and the benefits for all in the continued and vigilant separation of church and state.

This is also an opportunity for people in the Hickory area to learn more about what it means to be an atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, etc. This year, ReasonCon 2015 is being hosted by the Hickory Humanist Alliance, a local chapter of the American Humanist Association with 2 affiliate groups of their own, which gather in the Hickory area once a month.

Over 400 people attended ReasonCon One, as it was called, in May of 2014. The event took place in the Crowne Plaza Hotel and featured a day full of speakers talking about everything from using analogies in explaining secularism to the question of the authenticity or existence of an historical Jesus.

ReasonCon 2015 will take place on April 24th and 25th, with a VIP dinner on Friday night at which attendees can meet, chat, and dine with the event’s guest speakers, and then a full lineup of speakers and other events throughout the day on Saturday.

Guest speakers will include: Tracie Harris and Beth Presswood of the Austin Atheists, both of whom frequently appear on The Atheist Experience television show; Ryan Bell, the pastor who decided to try a “year without God”; Heina Dadabhoy, a feminist secular humanist author and blogger; Phil Ferguson, founder of Champaign Urbana Freethinkers and investment advisor; and David Fitzgerald, author, activist, and co-founder & director of the world’s first Atheist Film Festival.

Tickets for ReasonCon 2015 are on sale at http://www.ReasonNC.com. Early Bird prices will last between November 1 and December 20, 2014, and give attendees a discount for purchasing tickets early. (All ticket prices will be listed on the website.) Those who purchase tickets after December 20, 2014 will pay full price. Official ReasonCon T-shirts will be available for separate purchase at a later date. In the meantime, follow @HickoryHumanist on Twitter, or Hickory Humanist Alliance on Facebook to get further updates, watch for #ReasonCon2015, see the ReasonCon 2015 trailer, and see sneak previews of the events.

Taste Full Beans’ Artists’ Work On Display Through 2014

Hickory - Taste Full Beans' most popular artists of the year will be featured in a double-length "Encore Show" at the downtown coffee shop and gallery throughout November and December.

Michelle Oxenberg Jordan

Local artists Leslie Hamlin, Beth Oczkowski, Amanda Dobbins, Charles Kimso, John David Brown, Michelle Oxenberg Jordan, and Maria Headrick were well-received by area art buyers in their first shows at the shop earlier this year and will bring amazing diversity to the Encore Show. Acrylics by Brown and Kimso will be joined by Dobbins' pottery, Hamlin's painted windows and felted dolls, Ockowski's quilling, Headrick's mosaics, Jordan's digital images, and Kimso's furniture and jewelry.

Maria Headrick works in Mosaic using a variety of materials including tile, stained glass, colored mirror, beads, broken china, and found objects.

Charles Kimso

Amanda Dobbins makes beautiful hand-thrown and painted mugs, vases, pitchers, bowls, flasks, and serving ware in a variety of colors.

Creative Director of the Green Room Theater, John David Brown’s acrylics on repurposed theatrical prop and set remnants are known for their bright colors and sense of whimsy.

Charles Kimso makes remarkable handmade jewelry, furniture, and acrylic art.

Beth Ocskowski is known as the area’s most prolific and polished practitioner of quilling, the art of paper filigree.

Leslie Hamlin is best known for her images created on repurposed house windows. She also uses tin, other types of metal and repurposed materials, and creates felted dolls.

Leslie Hamlin

Michelle Oxenberg Jordan’s digital graphic arts give already resonant imagery a sense of timelessness.

County Senior Nutrition Services Annual Drive - Please Donate!

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

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

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

A gift in any amount is appreciated, she explained. A donation of $21 pays for one week of meals for a senior, $91 pays for one month of meals, and $1,092 pays for an entire year of meals. During Fiscal Year 2013-2014, a total of 1,539 seniors were served through these programs.

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

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

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

None of these programs is income based. Any Catawba County resident who is 60 or older may participate. Individuals, groups, or businesses may participate by volunteering or making a donation. Groups are encouraged to organize fund-raisers to benefit these programs, or to designate part of the proceeds from an existing fund-raiser. For more information about how to get involved, contact Jan Shaffer, supervisor of Senior Nutrition Services, at 828-695-5617. To donate by check, make out your check to Catawba County Social Services and write "Senior Nutrition Services" in the memo line. Mail your check to: Senior Nutrition Services, P.O. Box 207, Newton, NC 28657. You may also donate securely online by going to http://www.catawbacountync.gov/dss and clicking on the red "Donate Now" button. To receive an acknowledgement letter for tax purposes, be sure to include your name and address.

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

Lions & Duncan’s Auto Team Up To Help Heal Hunger In NC

Lincolnton, NC - "A hundred years from now it will not matter what your bank account was, the sort of house you lived in, or the kind of clothes you wore, but the world may be much different because you were important in the life of a child."~ Author Unknown

· "America is the richest country in the world. And yet tonight, thousands of your neighbors will go to bed hungry. It may be your child's schoolmate who is undernourished and has difficulty learning on an empty stomach. Or it could be a co-worker, a working mother whose low-wage job doesn't make ends meet. Perhaps it's an elderly neighbor who has to make a decision whether to delay filling a prescription or buying groceries. The faces of hunger are as broad as the faces of America."- David Nasby, General Mills

· “35 million people in the U.S. are hungry or don't know where their next meal is coming from, and 13 million of them are children. If another country were doing this to our children, we'd be at war.”—Jeff Bridges, Hollywood Actor

·“It saddens me to think that there are children in America who are hungry every day of their lives. No one can live — and grow — without such a fundamental necessity as food. If we Americans reach out to our own communities, we could end this crisis.”-- Tim McGraw, singer

In keeping with the theme of these quotes about hunger, Duncan’s Auto Repair and The Lincolnton Lions Club have teamed up with Christian Ministry of Lincoln County to collect non-perishable items throughout the months of November and December, 2014.

While grocery shopping, Duncan’s Auto Repair and the Lincolnton Lions Club encourages you to purchase one or more of the non-perishable items and bring them to Duncan’s Auto Repair,1116 B East Main Street in Lincolnton to be deposited in a Christian Ministry of Lincoln County barrel. For directions to Duncan’s Auto Repair, please call 704-748-9292.

After depositing your donated items, either Duncan’s Auto Repair owners or Lincolnton Lions will deliver them to Christian Ministry for their Food Pantry and/or Soup Kitchen. The desperately needed items s by Christian Ministry for them to distribute to their clients are include: Dry Beans, Can Beans, Kleenex, Rice, Grits, Oatmeal, and Large Boxes of Cereal

Macaroni & Cheese, Toilet Paper, and Paper Towels.,Bar Soap, Cooking Oil, Flour. Pots – Pans, Plates, Silverware, Razors, Feminine Hygiene Products,Laundry Detergent.,Big Bags of Sugar and Coffee for Soup Kitchen.

Satie’s Holiday Show & Sale Is Seeking Handmade Crafts

Lenoir, NC - The Caldwell Arts Council is seeking artists & crafters to participate in our annual Satie's Holiday Show & Sale, December 5 - 24, when the entire Arts Council is converted to a gift shop full of locally handcrafted items for holiday sales.

Items for the holiday sale will be juried by our Satie's Holiday Committee. All items must be handmade of quality materials and construction, and the most successful items each year are those priced less than $50. We are always looking for a variety of exciting new gift items. We especially need items for children and men, and we also like having new food items (cookies, cakes, candies, mixes) for this sale.

Please bring samples of items you wish to sell to the Caldwell Arts Council prior to November 5 to be juried in. Visit our website for submission guidelines: http://www.caldwellarts.com/229-saties-holiday-sale/.

Thanks for considering joining us for this wonderful holiday show and sale. For more information call the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-2486 or visit the website www.caldwellarts.com. The Caldwell Arts Council is located at 601 College Avenue (corner of Norwood Street) in downtown Lenoir.

Genealogy Workshop Thursdays Returns To Library

Hickory – Why is genealogy one of the most popular hobbies today? Everyone has a different reason to get involved in the pursuit of family history. Some people are curious about their ancestors—who they were, what were they like and what experiences they lived through. Love of history prompts others. Another part of our passion for genealogy is unwrapping all the puzzling clues to solve the mystery of who we are. If the only barrier to your working on your family history is that you don’t know how to begin, join us to learn how to unravel your past.

Genealogy Workshop Thursdays is returning to the Carolina Room at Patrick Beaver Library. Twice each month beginning on October 2, 2014 and ending on May 22, 2015, Peggy Mainess, genealogy assistant, will lead sessions on genealogy research. Each session is a stand-alone class. Participants can choose which classes they want to attend whether it is one or all sixteen. The “Beginning Family Research” session on October 2, 2014 is a 90 minutes class. All other sessions will last 60 minutes. Registration will begin two weeks prior to each class date.

Please consult the following schedule for class dates.

1/08/2015: Land Records
1/22/2015: Military Records
2/05/2015: Religious Records
2/19/2015: Funeral Records
3/05/2015: Immigration Records
3/19/2015: Surname and Date Variations
4/10/2015: Using Maps and Geography in Genealogical Research
4/24/2015: Tracing Female Ancestry
5/08/2015: Special Circumstances
5/22/2015: Using On-Line Resources

The workshops begin at 7:00 p.m. and are free, but registration is required. Registration will open two weeks prior to each session. For more information or to register call 304-0500 extension 7235. Patrick Beaver is located at 375 Third Street NE.

Western Piedmont Symphony Announces 50th Season

Hickory/Lenoir, NC - Under the direction of Maestro John Gordon Ross, the Western Piedmont Symphony will be celebrating their 50th year of beautiful music. World renowned banjo master, Béla Fleck, will open this very special season. Fleck has received 15 Grammy awards for his banjo performances.

February 14, 2015 PE Monroe, LRU—Love & Death, WPS orchestra performing Romeo & Juliet.
Special Event for Valentine’s Day

March 28, 2014 PE Monroe, LRU, Classical Coffee House with Pianist Ursula Oppens

April 25, 2015 PE Monroe, LRU—Resurrection featuring the Hickory Choral Society

Concerts begin at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available through Etix.com, or email at info@wpsymphony.org, or call Symphony box office at 828.324.8603 from 10am-4pm M-F. Additional information can be found at www.WPSymphony.org.

The 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. Business hours are 9:00 am until 4:00 pm Monday-Friday.

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.

Newton Animal Shelter Is In Urgent Need Of Supplies

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

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

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

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

Social Workers Partner With Lions Clubs To Help The Blind

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

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

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

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

Catawba Science Center’s Free Fridays Will Continue

Hickory - Catawba Science Center is pleased to announce the continuation of the Free Friday admission program thanks to a $7,500 gift from the Unifour Foundation, a foundation associated with the NC Community Foundation.

The Free Friday program provides free admission to all individuals on the third Friday of each month, thus eliminating barriers caused by admission fees. This program was created with the intent of providing access to science experiences for financially challenged families and children.

Alan Barnhardt, Executive Director of Catawba Science Center stated, “We are fortunate that individuals and organizations in our region understand the importance of engaging children in science.

We see many instances where this has influenced their future choice of careers. The experience these children encounter at Catawba Science Center promotes problem-solving skills and promotes inquiry-based thinking.“

Last year over 130,000 individuals took part in programs at Catawba Science Center. This includes over 53,000 students and teachers from 24 counties in the Foothills and western part of our state.

The NCCF is a statewide community foundation serving NC and has made nearly $68 million in grants since it inception in 1988. For more information on Free Fridays or science programs visit www.CatawbaScience.org.

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.

Catawba County Library Offers Free eBooks For Kids

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

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

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

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

HSCC Is Looking For In-Home Heroes To Foster Animals

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

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

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

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

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

Health-Care Pro Discusses The Many Warning

Signs And How To Spot A Victim Of Domestic Violence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linda O’Dochartaigh reviews some of the warning signs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family Finders Helps Foster Kids Connect With Extended Family

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

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

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

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

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

Sid Daniels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loving Our Enemies

By Rev. Susan Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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