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Kiwanis Golf Tourney To Benefit Children On Friday, Sept. 9

Hickory - CALLING ALL GOLFERS: The Hickory Kiwanis and the Kiwanis Club of Western Catawba County will host its annual Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, September 9, 2016 at Ole Still Golf Club, which at one time was known as Oliver’s Landing. The golf course is located out NC 127 north, cross the bridge and turn left at the traffic light.

All proceeds from this event will benefit children’s needs in our schools, the Kiwanis Park/Zahra Baker All Children Play Ground and most recently opened the Kiwanis Children’s Splash Pad, High School Key Clubs and College Circle K Programs, the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, Children’s Advocacy Center, Dictionaries for third grade students, Terrific Kids Kiwanis programs in the Elementary Schools as well as many other worthwhile programs that will benefit children in Hickory and Catawba County.

The tournament will kick off with a morning and afternoon tee times. The registration for the 8 AM tee time will be at 7:30 AM and the afternoon tee time will be at 1PM. Afternoon players will register from 11AM to 12:30PM. The format will be Captain’s Choice. SHOTGUN starts at 8AM for morning and 1 PM for the afternoon tee times. There will be several Hole in One opportunities like a new car sponsored by Jim Armstrong Subaru of Hickory, a one year membership to Ole Still Golf Club, $400 value hole in one for tires from Clark Tire of Hickory. Closest to the pins on all Par 3’s and the most accuracy drive will also be furnished by Clark Tire of Hickory. There will be a 50/50 raffle fundraiser, mulligan sales at $5.00 each - 2 per player; as well as a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place team prizes.

There will be water and soft drinks as well as snacks and goodie bags for all entries. Our lunch is provided by Texas Roadhouse of Hickory from 11:30AM to 1:30PM.

The entry fee is $220 per foursome or $55 per player. The tournament is opened to male and female participants. Brochures on the tournament will be at Ole Still Pro Shop or you can call or email the following Kiwanis Golf Committee members for brochures and questions:Bill Wiggs-828-640-4423 (billwiggs7@att.net), Steve Aaron -828-446-0480 (rsteveaaron@yahoo.com), Dr. Bill Straka-828-495-4828 (wstraka@charter.net), and Bob Roach-828-446-0033 (bobgeneroach@gmail.com). We are currently accepting applications for the event and team registrations will close on Friday, September 2.

Kiwanians are asking all golfers and the citizens of Hickory and Catawba County to come and join our efforts to continue the support of our children’s needs throughout the community.

Fundraiser For Randy Brendle, Sat., August 20, Shell's BBQ

Hickory - At Shell’s BBQ on Springs Road in Hickory on Saturday, August 20, from 6am-9pm, a fundraiser and raffle will be held for Randy Brendle, who was injured in a car accident June 7.

Come and eat, and he will receive a percentage of the sales. There will also be many items for raffle.

Randy was in a car wreck on June 7th and has been in CCU at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC, since then. He has undergone over 20 surgeries and has a long road ahead of him.

His wife has not left his side. Friends and family are raising money to help with bills and everyday expenses. Please come and support us. For more information, please contact Chasity Richter (828)485-6946.

There is also a GoFundMe account as well. Online, search GoFundMe.com, and search Randy Brendle to donate today.

Shell’s BBQ is at 2609 Springs Rd NE, Hickory, NC 28601.

Historic Morganton Festival Is Friday & Saturday, Sept. 9 & 10!

Morganton, NC - Join Morganton in celebrating 35 years of the Historic Morganton Festival sponsored by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge! The free festival features three national country acts, four stages, fun, games, and food for all ages, plus over a mile and a half of arts & craft vendors from all over the country!

This is your invitation to “come and play in the streets” of downtown Morganton during the 35th Annual Historic Morganton Festival presented by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge on September 9 & 10! Famous for its mile and a half of arts and crafts, the Historic Morganton Festival always offers free outdoor concerts, featuring a different national Country Music Star for the finale each night. Stay connected to www.morgantonfest.org for the latest news and information.

The weekend begins on Friday, September 9 at noon when the infamous Food Court tempts your taste buds with succulent aromas of gyros, BBQ, “chicken on a stick”, French pastries, homemade ice cream and much, much more. At 3:00pm the streets come alive with fun and excitement! Craft vendors will line the courthouse square and South Sterling Street offering a plethora of art, jewelry, pottery, soap, candles and more!

The ever popular Food Lion Kids Zone and Teen Zone will open with ticketed rides and games along with the FREE craft area known as Litter Critters, for children, grades 5th and under. The Food Lion Kid Zone Stage will present The Carolina Puppet Theater, Twist the Balloon Man, magic and more! For a full Kids Stage lineup, visit www.morgantonfest.org. For teens and fun-loving adults, the Teen Zone features a Wild West Mechanical Bull, a 4 Man Tug and Dunk, Obstacle Courses, and more. Don’t miss the wildly popular DJ Teen Dance Party at 9:00pm on Friday night located at the Pepsi Stage on North Sterling Street.

Friday night, the music begins on the Coors Light Stage in the Beer Garden at 6:30pm with “Red Dirt Revelators” (Blues) followed by the wildly popular Throw Down Jones (rock).

City Stage will host National Country Music Artists, “Mo Pitney” and “Chase Bryant” starting at 8:00pm.

Start Saturday morning at 8:00 am with a 5k or 10k by participating in the Sunrise Run on the Greenway! The Student Fitness Challenge by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge and 1 mile Fun Run/Walk starts at 9:30am. Students should pre-register with their Physical Education teachers for the Student Fitness Challenge (elementary and middle school’s only); adults can pre-register for the 5k, 10k or 1 mile Fun Run/Walk on-line at www.morgantonfest.org . The course has been certified and will be chip-timed!

After your run, head to the Festival where booths open at 9:00am with even more artists and crafters than on Friday. Yard art, baskets, crafted toys, jellies, wines, clothing, carvings, baskets, plants, pottery and lots of jewelry can be discovered over eight city blocks! Civic organizations, crafters, artists and businesses are out on the streets waiting for the ever-popular festival shopper. Throughout the day there are activities for the entire family.

Saturday evening, the streets will again heat up with live music at the Coors Light Stage hosting local favorites Sweet Revenge (classic rock) and The Roadrunnerz (rock).

City Stage features National Country Music Artist, Love & Theft! Whiskey On My Breath – the duo’s third album – marks a significant creative statement for the two singer-songwriter-guitarists, whose resume already includes a long series of career highlights. Having already established themselves as one of country’s hottest young acts with such memorable hits as the #1 country smash Angel Eyes and the Top 10 hit Runaway and their widely acclaimed albums World Wide Open and Love and Theft, the ACM/CMA/CMT-nominated twosome take their music to the next level on their newest album, Whiskey On My Breath.

ALL CONCERTS ARE FREE!

Be a part of this memory making event and mark your calendars for a great weekend of fun, September 9 & 10 in downtown Morganton. The festival is an animal-free event and will go on rain or shine. For a complete listing of all the events including the Sunrise Run, music acts, shuttle bus routes, and more, contact us by phone at 828-438-5252; by email at info@morgantonfest.org; or check out the website www.morgantonfest.org.

Last year's music-loving crowd at the Festival

Cast Set For HCT's The Wiz! Opening Friday, Sept. 2!

Hickory - Vanessa Adams-Harris, the director of the Hickory Community Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Wiz,” has just announced the cast of the musical adventure, which sets the classic story of “The Wizard of Oz” to a soulful, rock score.

Nauria Mitchell is Dorothy, Tiffany Gray is Aunt Em. Niyesha Green and Thelma Eley play the good witches, Glinda the Witch of the South and Addaperle the Witch of the North, respectively. Kecia Hopper plays the villainous Evilene, the Wicked Witch of the West and Malik Hill is her Lord High Underling. Of the friends Dorothy meets first on her adventure through Oz, Naomi Segers is the Scarecrow, R.J. Christian is the Tin Man and Donovan Harper is the Cowardly Lion. In the Emerald City, Marcus Phillips is the Gatekeeper and David Ingle is The Wiz.

The ensemble actors play a variety of characters and creatures, including citizens, messengers, mice, monkeys and Munchkins. This ensemble features Denise Bukovan, Rihanna Carson, Tiffany Christian, Amanda Foster, Byron Phillips, Nathaniel Phillips, Dayln Sigmon, Emily Stober, Keora Turner and Kenna Walton.

Performances of “The Wiz” are Fridays and Saturdays – September 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 8:00pm; Thursdays – September 8 and 15 at 7:30pm; and Sundays – September 11 and 18 at 2:30pm.

Tickets for Friday through Sunday performances are $20, with a $2 discount for seniors and half price for students and for youth 18 and under. Thursday night performances all adults are $14 and youth and students are $10. Tickets may be purchased online at www.hickorytheatre.showare.com or at the Theatre box office, which is open 12-5 Wednesday through Saturday, in person or by phoning 828-328-2283.

The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. “The Wiz” is the first show in the Theatre’s 68th season, sponsored by Paramount Automotive, and is produced by Cargo Transporters, Corning Optical Communications, Dr. Kimberly S. Jones DDS and TRUMPF, Inc.

Photo: The cast of “The Wiz” (Floor: Amanda Foster, Nathaniel Phillips, David Abernathy Byron Phillips, Marcus Phillips; 1st row: Rihanna Carson, Kenna Walton, Dayln Sigmon, Tiffany Gray; 2nd row: Malik Hill, Kecia Hopper, Keora Turner, David Ingle, Nauria Mitchell, Naomi Segers; 3rd row: Tiffany Christian, Niyesha Green, Denise Bukovan, Donovan Harper, and R.J. Christian,) opening September 2nd at the Hickory Community Theatre.

For tickets or more information go to www.hickorytheatre.org or call 828-327-3855.

Photo by John Koval

Hickory Fire Dept. Charity Golf Tourney Is Friday, Oct. 14

Hickory - Hickory Fire Department will host its 6th Annual Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, October 14, at Rock Barn Golf & Spa. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Bikes for Tykes program. The tournament will kick-off on Friday, October 14, at Rock Barn Golf & Spa with lunch at noon and tee off at 1:30 p.m. Following the tournament, an awards and recognition ceremony will be held.

“All kids, including the less fortunate deserve a gift for Christmas and this tournament is a great way for firefighters and friends to raise money for a wonderful charity that helps to make that happen,” said David Mills, Hickory Firefighter and Golf Tournament Director. “All of the proceeds from this event will go to the Bike for Tykes program.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer, play or sponsor a hole, should contact David Mills at (828) 404-2474 or dmills@hickorync.gov. Registration is limited to the first 30 teams to sign up.

About Bikes for Tykes

The "Bikes for Tykes" program is an effort to benefit needy children served by the Catawba County Christmas Bureau. Bikes and toys are distributed through the Catawba County Christmas Bureau in December.

Crawdads & Jaycees' Bases & Brews Is Saturday, Sept. 3

Conover, NC – The Hickory Jaycees are excited to announce the return of Bases & Brews – a craft beer festival in partnership with the Hickory Crawdads. The event will be held on Saturday, September 3, 2016 and will feature a selection of North Carolina craft beer for tasting. Local band TEN-EIGHTEEN will perform during the event and concessions will be available for sale.

Bases & Brews will be held at L.P. Frans Stadium, 2500 Clement Blvd, Hickory. Tickets are on sale now through the Hickory Crawdads box office. VIP entry begins at 2pm, general admission begins at 3pm and the event ends at 6pm. All tickets include entry to the Hickory Crawdads game at 7pm. Come for the beer, stay for the game!

The Hickory Jaycees are a young professionals’ civic engagement organization. Through business projects, we gain professional experience while raising funds to support community projects like Christmas for Teens with Department of Social Services, GrandPals through Meals on Wheels, NC Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Chapel Hill, Duke Cancer Center and the Boys & Girls Homes of NC at Lake Waccamaw. We also work with local food pantries, soup kitchens, housing programs and animal shelters to raise funds and awareness about local needs to make our community a better place to live and work.

For more information, please contact the Hickory Jaycees at hickoryjaycee@yahoo.com.

GMC Jazz Band At Soldiers Reunion, Thurs., August 18

Newton, NC - The memorable sounds of “In the Mood,” “Take the A Train,” “Satin Doll,” “American Patrol” and many more great tunes from over the decades will be filling the air on Courthouse Square in Newton during the lunch hour on Reunion Day, Thursday, August 18.

As part of the 127th annual patriotic festival to honor all local military veterans, the GMC Jazz band will provide musical entertainment for those enjoying lunch in the downtown area. The performance will continue from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p. m.

The midday music program is sponsored again this year by Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet, Inc. of Newton. Musicians making up the GMC trio ensemble are Guy Rudisill of Lincolnton, sax; Chris Heavner of Iron Station, keyboard and keyboard bass; and Mike Sherrill of Newton, drums.

GMC Jazz band, 11:30am, Aug. 18

Rudisill and Heavner have played extensively throughout the area with many combos and big bands. Sherrill plays with a number of local groups and hosts North Carolina’s longest-running weekly jazz show, “Jazz Trackin’,” on Sunday nights on Newton radio station WNNC. The band will play a wide variety of familiar jazz tunes from the World War II era and beyond. The musicians will be located outdoors on the west side of the former courthouse on The Square.

“Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet hopes everyone will come and enjoy this popular music feature of Soldiers Reunion,” Tommy Cross, general manager of the dealership, commented.

Beach Music Night Is Tuesday, August 16, With The Embers

Newton, NC - The Carolinas’ own beloved contribution to melodic sounds that has become the stuff of legends throughout the country, beach music, returns in full glory to Catawba County on Tuesday night, August 16. The Beach Music Night tradition of many decades is part of the week of Soldiers Reunion patriotic festival.

The seven-member ensemble that is cited as the royalty of this special Carolinas musical genre, The Embers, returns to perform for what is anticipated to be an audience of hundreds of faithful fans. The outdoor concert on the east side of Courthouse Square is set to begin moments before 7:30 p.m.

Inductees into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame and South Carolina Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame, the band boasts an average of 225 shows per year. Now carrying the moniker of North Carolina’s Official Ambassadors of Music, the band has have been playing since 1958.

The Embers play Tuesday, Aug. 16, in Newton

That year a couple of enterprising high school boys in Raleigh formed a group to play for school dances and parties. As The Embers they still play the timeless rhythm and blues style as popular now as it was in the 1950s and 60s. That style laid the foundation for soul and the Motown sound, but throughout the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and Alabama, rhythm and blues means beach music.

“The Embers are a musical institution,” declared the long-time general chairman of Soldiers Reunion, former Newton mayor Wayne Dellinger.

With up to 300 concerts a year, they travel to Canada and Hawaii as well as around the U. S. in the bright red tour bus.

LRU Announces 28th Season Of Visiting Writers Series

Hickory - Returning for its 28th season, Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Visiting Writers Series will begin the 2016-17 season on Thursday, September 8. For nearly three decades, the series has brought world-renowned authors to members of the LRU campus and the citizens of Hickory, NC.

The North Carolina Arts Council will kick off the series with three award winning writers presenting Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in Belk Centrum.

Alina “Tita” M. Ramirez, Anna Lena Phillips Bell, and Julie Funderburk are all recipients of the NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award in the literary category. The award recognizes individual artists for excellence and achievement within their art forms or traditions. The three writers were among 18 artists to receive the award out of more than 260 submissions from across the state.

The complete season listing is as follows: All events begin at 7 p.m.

October 13, 2016
Marlon James
Belk Centrum

Marlon James has taught English and creative writing at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota since 2007. His most recent novel, 2014's A Brief History of Seven Killings, explores several decades of Jamaican history and political instability through the perspectives of many narrators. It won the fiction category of the 2015 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, having been the first book by a Jamaican author ever to be shortlisted.

October 27, 2016
Sarah Vowell
PE Monroe Auditorium

American author, journalist, essayist, social commentator, and actress, Sarah Vowell, is often referred to as a “social observer.” Vowell has written seven nonfiction books on American history and culture. She was a contributing editor for the radio program, This American Life on Public Radio International from 1996 to 2008. She was also the voice of Violet in the animated film The Incredibles.

November 17, 2016
Marie Howe
Belk Centrum

Marie Howe was the Poet Laureate of New York State from 2012 to 2014. She published her best-known book of poems, What the Living Do in 1998. The title poem in the collection is a haunting lament for her brother with the plain-spoken last line: "I am living, I remember you."

January 19, 2017
Leslie Rindoks
Belk Centrum

Leslie 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 Hub City fiction award.

February 9, 2017
Denise Kiernan
Belk Centrum

Denise Kiernan is an American journalist, producer and author who lives in Asheville, North Carolina. She has authored several history titles, including Signing Their Lives Away, Signing Their Rights Away, and The Girls of Atomic City. She started out in journalism and has covered everything from women’s issues, sports, and history to food, travel, and education in places like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Saveur, Discover, Ms., Reader’s Digest, and others. Kiernan has also worked as a head writer for ABC's "Who Wants to be Millionaire" during its Emmy award-winning first season, and has produced for ESPN, MSNBC, and a variety of independent productions.

February 23, 2017
Reginald Dwayne Betts
Belk Centrum

Poet and criminal justice reform advocate, Reginald Dwayne Betts says one book completely changed his life: The Black Poets. At 16 he was arrested for carjacking and sentenced to nine years in prison. While he was in in solitary confinement, the anthology was slid under his cell door. The book opened up a world of possibilities for Betts, and he has since written two volumes: Masters of the Reagan Era, which received a PEN New England Award for poetry, and Shahid Reads His Own Palm. His memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, tells the story of his confinement in some of Virginia’s worst prisons; The Baltimore Times called the book a “must-read”. He has also been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. This event is co-sponsored by Exodus Homes, Hickory.

March 9, 2017
Erik Larson
PE Monroe Auditorium

Erik Larson is author of five New York Times bestsellers, his most recent being, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. His book The Devil in the White City stayed on the Times’ hardcover and paperback lists for a combined total of over five years. It won an Edgar Award for nonfiction crime writing and was a finalist for a National Book Award. The option to make a movie of the book was acquired in November 2010 by Leonardo DiCaprio, and in August 2015, he formed a new alliance to make the film, in which Martin Scorsese will direct, and Billy Ray will write the screenplay. Paramount will be the backing studio. This event is co-sponsored by the Hickory Public Library.

April 1, 2017 – The Little Read: Dan Santat
PE Monroe Auditorium
*Please note this event will take place at 12 noon*
Dan Santat is an American author and illustrator known for his children's book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, which won the 2015 Caldecott Medal for distinguished illustration. He also wrote The Guild of Geniuses and created the Disney Channel animated series The Replacements.

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.

Mountain Grit & Wit At Seniors Morning Out In August

Hickory – Michael Reno Harrell, a songwriter and storyteller, will present a program called “Mountain Grit and Wit” for Catawba County Seniors Morning Out participants on Aug. 16. This program will be offered at the West Hickory Seniors Morning Out location, at West Hickory Senior Center, 400 17th St. SW, Hickory. Any Catawba County resident who is 60 or better is invited to attend, but advance registration is required.

Harrell’s performances are 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.

Harrell's recordings top the Americana Music Association charts year after year. He has been a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival and a Teller-In-Residence at the International Storytelling Center. He has also performed at major music events like MerleFest and the Walnut Valley Festival. His recordings have for years received and continue to garner awards in Country, Americana and Folk circles.

Seniors Morning Out is a free program that is open to any Catawba County resident who is 60 or better. There are five convenient locations throughout the county. Programs are held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. A balanced hot lunch is also served each day. Bus transportation may be available in some parts of the county. If you wish to participate in any of the following programs, please contact the site supervisor at least 48 hours in advance.

Participants from all sites will travel by bus to the Hickory Farmers Market on Aug. 24. Other program highlights are as follows.

East Hickory SMO, located at Huntington Hills Church of God, 2123 Fifth Street NE, Hickory: Aug. 10: Forgetfulness: When Should You Be Concerned? By Rik Covalinski of Home Instead; Aug. 15: Let’s Do the Twist and Bingo; Aug. 16: Travel to West Hickory SMO to see “Mountain Grit and Wit,” presented by Mike Harrell, songwriter and storyteller; Aug. 30: Let’s Make S’mores for National Toasted Marshmallow Day. To reserve your place, call Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

Newton SMO, located at First Presbyterian Church, 701 N. Main St., Newton: Aug. 9, How to Buy, Store and Eat Peaches, and their Nutritional Value; Cooking Class: Making Perfect Peach Smoothies; Aug. 15: Gospel Music by the Clontz Family and Friends; Aug. 16: Music by Sentimental Journey; Aug. 18: Learn to Shag Dance with Ron Spencer and Carole Huffman. Wear beach attire; Aug. 22: Nutrition Made Easier by Mary Mitchell with Area Agency on Aging; Aug. 30: Bowling at Pin Station and Shopping at Honey’s Grocery. To reserve your spot, call Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

Catawba SMO, located at Center United Methodist Church, 4945 Sherrills Ford Road, Catawba: Aug. 9, Bowling at Pin Station and Shopping at Honey’s Grocery; Aug. 11: Music by Karen Kondas; Aug. 17: Morning Walk and Bingo; Aug. 18: How to Use Medications Safely by Jackie Saunders of Bayada Home Health; Aug. 30: Music by Sentimental Journey. To reserve your place, call Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

Maiden SMO, located at Maiden Community Center, East Second Street and Klutz Street, Maiden: Aug. 4: Group Walking and Fitness as We Age; Aug. 8: Depression in the Elderly by Thelma Horton with Smokey Mountain Center; Aug. 10: On This Day in History and Cornhole Game; Aug. 15: Depression in the Elderly with Thelma Horton; Aug. 23: Music by Sentimental Journey; Aug. 25: Bingo and Group Walking. To reserve your spot, call Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

West Hickory SMO, located at West Hickory Senior Center, 400 17th St. SW, Hickory: Aug. 9: Gospel Music with Morning Star First Baptist Church Youth Group; Aug. 11: Laughing Yoga with Judy Stowe and Dancing to the Music of Sentimental Journey; Aug. 16: “Mountain Grit and Wit” with songwriter and storyteller Mike Harrell; Aug. 22: The Path to Independence with Randy VanderWeit as Patrick Henry. To reserve your spot, contact Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

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. 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.

For the latest updates, like their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty, or visit their website at http://www.MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty.org.

HDDA Seeks Artists For Art Crawl Downtown On Thurs., Sept. 15

Hickory - The Hickory Downtown Development Association is seeking artists interested in participating in the Downtown Hickory Art Crawl on Thursday, September 15, 2016. The Downtown Hickory Art Crawl is a Juried Show with artists selected by a committee. Artists selected by the Jury will be invited with no participation fees required. There will be room for up to 30 artists.

Selected artists will be placed in a business that compliments their works or outside on Union Square. There is no charge to the artist for participation and no commissions are charged on items sold, but artists are required to pay all applicable NC taxes. Artists will need to bring all necessary display items and chairs. Failure to show for the event may lead to being banned from other downtown art events.

The Art Crawls are planned from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Artists selected to participate must be at their designated location by 4:30 p.m. unless other arrangements have been made with the business owner hosting them.

For an application, please contact Barbara at blsinclair1@bellsouth.net or Connie at info@downtownhickory.com or call 828 322 1121. Please follow the application process closely as incomplete applications will not be accepted or considered.

Applications are due by August 15 for the September 15, 2016 Art Crawl.

The Downtown Hickory Art Crawls are sponsored by the Hickory Downtown Development Association, Boyd & Hassell Industrial Commercial Real Estate, and the United Arts Council of Catawba County. The United Arts Council of Catawba County is committed to advancing the cultural life of Catawba County through grants, marketing, fundraising and facilities management. The council strives to provide awareness of the cultural activities in our area, as well as grant and contribution opportunities. http://www.artscatawba.org/

For more information on The HDDA, membership, businesses, other events and downtown Hickory, please call 828 322 1121 or email info@downtownhickory.com. Please visit the website, www.downtownhickory.com.

Catawba Hospice's Benefit Tennis Classic Is Sept. 23-25

Newton, NC – Catawba Regional Hospice’s 14th Annual Benefit Tennis Classic will be held on September 23, 24, and 25, 2016, at Rock Barn Country Club & Spa in Conover, NC. The presenting sponsor is HealthSmart Pharmacy (formerly Medicap Pharmacy).

The tournament is a men’s/women’s doubles and mixed doubles event. Registration for the first event is $30; for a second event, the cost is $20 (two-event limit). Registration includes tournament play, food, drinks, and player gifts. The deadline for players to register is September 19, 2016.

As an added perk, players who register by September 6, 2016, are guaranteed a complimentary tee shirt in their preferred size.

Tournament players take to the courts at last year’s Tennis Classic

Sponsorships are available as well, and businesses or individuals are invited to participate in the patient care fundraiser via a number of naming opportunities and supportive roles.

Proceeds from the tournament ensure that medical care, spiritual support, and other services are provided to patients cared for by Catawba Regional Hospice. The Hospice mission pledges to support all those in need, regardless of their financial means or lack of insurance coverage.

To register for the tournament or to become a sponsor, contact Sue Mulay, community development coordinator for Catawba Regional Hospice, at 828-466-0466, ext. 2357. Players and sponsors may also easily register online at www.TheTennisClassic.com.

For specific questions regarding tournament rules, please contact Scott Nestor, tennis pro at Rock Barn, at 828-459-3630 or snestor@rockbarn.com.

About the Organization:

Catawba Regional Hospice, founded in 1979 as one of North Carolina’s original three hospice providers, is a community-based organization providing hospice medical care, patient and family support, and spiritual comfort throughout the multi-county Catawba region. From Lake James to Lake Hickory to Lake Norman, we serve patients and families regardless of diagnosis, age, gender, nationality, race, faith, sexual orientation, disability, or ability to pay. CRH is licensed by the state of North Carolina, certified by Medicare and Medicaid, and nationally accredited. For more information about our programs of service, call 828-466-0466 or visit www.CatawbaRegionalHospice.org.

CVCC Offers New Computed Tomography

Program; Info Sessions On July 25 & August 18

Hickory - Catawba Valley Community College is launching a new Computed Tomography Program beginning Sept. 14.

Admission is open to technologists currently credentialed and working in the areas of Computed Tomography, Radiography, Radiation Therapy or Nuclear Medicine. Students currently enrolled in one of these programs may also be considered for admission.

Offered through the college’s Continuing Education Department, instruction will be offered online for the convenience of working technologists.

The program prepares imaging professionals to pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists certification exam in Computed Tomography once all didactic and clinical requirements are completed.

Information sessions for prospective students to meet faculty and ask questions will be held in the college’s Robert E. Papp Bldg., room 136 (radiography classroom) on:

·Monday, July 25, 7 p.m.

·Thursday, August 18, 7 p.m.

Reservations are not required.

For more details, visit www.cvcc.edu/Health_Services/Radiography/Tomography_Program.cfm

The deadline for completed applications is Fri., Sept. 2. Completed applications should be submitted to Robin Cornett, Radiography Director, CVCC, 2550 Hwy. 70 SE, Hickory, NC 28602 or rcornett@cvcc.edu.

Newton Parks & Rec Offering Water Aerobics Mon. & Wed.

Newton, NC – The Newton Parks and Recreation Department is now offering water aerobics classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Newton Swimming Pool. Classes run through Wednesday, Aug. 31, for those ages 16 and older.

The classes offer non-weight-bearing exercises to improve muscular endurance, core strength, endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular conditioning. The classes, which are a great exercise for pregnant women, help participants burn calories while keeping the body cool in a fun environment.

Cost is $3 per class. No refunds will be given. The Newton Swimming Pool is located at the Newton Recreation Center, 23 South Brady Ave. Classes will not be held Aug. 15 and Aug. 17. For more information, call the Newton Parks and Recreation Department at 828-695-4317 or visit www.newtonnc.gov.

Call For Artists For Downtown Statesville Fall Art Crawl

Statesville, NC - Downtown Statesville Development Corporation is accepting applications from artists who wish to participate in the Downtown Statesville Fall Art Crawl on Friday, September 16, 2016, which will be held from 5:30-8:30 pm. The deadline for these applications is Monday, August 29, 2016. Visit our website www.downtownstatesvillenc.org/resources to download an application.

All artists, even if they are a past participant, must submit three images of their work, along with the application, and specify the medium used. All work must be original fine art created by the applicant. The Artist Fee for this event is $20.00 and artists are responsible for all items required to display artwork in their assigned location.

Complete PDF application, email to info@downtownstatesvillenc.org, & pay online at www.downtownstatesvillenc.org/tickets. Or mail application and fee to: Downtown Statesville Development Corporation, PO Box 205, Statesville, NC 28687.

This event is brought to you by Downtown Statesville Development Corporation, Iredell Arts Council, Iredell Museums, Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Sheri Bistreich and Associates, a financial advisory practice, Ameriprise Financial and Statesville Jewelry & Loan.

For more information about this event, contact the Downtown Statesville Development Corporation at 704-878-3436 or email: info@downtownstatesvillenc.org.

NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund For Returning Veterans

Raleigh, NC — With Independence Day just past, many homeowners are thinking about their vacation plans. However, for many military veterans in North Carolina who may be facing foreclosure after discharge from service, celebrating may be hard. But help exists.

The N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund, administered by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency using funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, can help cover mortgage and related expenses for military veterans while they look for work or retrain for a new civilian career.

“Not only has this program allowed me to get back on my feet and start caring about my future again, it has allowed me time to do so without the stress of making mortgage payments while I am in school,” said Nick Grady, who was discharged from the military in 2014 and went on to retrain for and pursue a civilian career while participating in the program.

“For the first time since I got out of the military I feel alive again and I can see a future. Not everyone tells the story of their struggle and most like me will not ask for help. My family and I will be forever grateful.”

The assistance offered by the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund is available in the form of a zero-interest, deferred loan of up to $36,000 to cover the mortgage and related expenses for up to 36 months. The Fund will provide monthly mortgage payments while veterans look for work or train for a job while enrolled in vocational rehab or other eligible VA program such as the GI Bill. To be eligible, veterans must provide:

A Certificate of Release of Discharge from Active Duty (DD214) with a separation date on or after Jan. 1, 2008

A VA-issued, non-expired certificate of eligibility

Proof of enrollment at an eligible VA-sponsored program or benefit

This program has already helped many North Carolina veterans like Grady keep their homes while they make the transition from military to civilian life.

“Our military veterans have sacrificed for their country, and they deserve to feel a sense of security on this most patriotic of holidays,” said A. Robert Kucab, executive director of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.

“The N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund can keep our veterans from going into foreclosure while they make the transition to civilian life. They protected us, now we want to help them protect their homes.”

To learn more about the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund and how it can help North Carolina veterans keep their homes, visit www.NCForeclosurePrevention.gov or call 1-888-623-8631.

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, a self-supporting public agency, has financed 242,000 homes and apartments since its creation in 1973. The North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund has helped nearly 22,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure since it began in December 2010.

Submit Nominees For Hickory Beautification Award By Sept. 12

Hickory – The streets of Hickory are lined with numerous landscapes and spaces that have been beautifully renovated or restored. Each year, the City of Hickory’s Community Appearance Commission (CAC) takes nominations for its annual Beautification Awards Program, which highlights these attractive areas.

Beautification Awards are presented to individuals and groups who have made an outstanding effort in crafting, developing, and maintaining a beautiful property either through landscaping or renovations and/or restorations to a building within the City of Hickory limits. The five awards will be presented in the following categories:

•Residential Landscape

•Residential Renovation and/or Restoration

•Non-Residential Landscape

•Non-Residential Renovation and/or Restoration

•Special Award – Boy Scout or Girl Scout Troop, non-profit organization, etc.

Strong nominations will include landscapes that are visually appealing, inviting, and utilize materials creatively. Overall enhancement to the neighborhood should also be considered, as well as whether plants are drought-tolerant and native or locally-adapted. It is important to note that any topped trees on a property will disqualify a project.

Non-residential renovation on 2nd Ave., NW

Nominations for the Renovation and/or Restoration Projects Award, in the Buildings and Structures category, should consist of properties with improvements that maintain and enhance the overall architectural character and integrity of the structure or the neighborhood and reutilize an existing structure.

“We have had fun with this program, being able to recognize the special pride that owners take in their properties.” said Andrew Straw, Chair of the CAC. “We have had both large and small businesses win, as well as individual homeowners.”

Straw added, “We have tried to make the nomination process very simple, and have included a special category for things like Eagle Scout and church group projects in addition to businesses and residences. The CAC members have been active in making nominations in the past, but I hope we can get more participation from the public at large this year. ”

To nominate a property, please submit a nomination form, which can be found at www.hickorync.gov/content/community-appearance-commission, along with at least one photograph of the property, to the Community Appearance Commission, Attention: Cal Overby, City of Hickory, P.O. Box 398, Hickory, NC 28603.

Nominations may come from individuals outside of Hickory City limits, but the nominated property must be within the City limits. Submittal deadline is September 12. Awards presentations will be made at a reception on October 18, prior to the regularly scheduled City Council meeting. Please call (828) 323-7422 for more information.

The mission of the Community Appearance Commission is to enhance the appearance of the City of Hickory by advising on, and implementing programs of general community beautification. Members help coordinate the activities of individuals, agencies and organizations, public and private, whose plans, activities and programs bear upon the appearance of the City.

Free Badminton At Newton Rec, Mondays & Thursdays, 6:30pm

Newton, NC – Grab your racquets and shuttlecocks and head to the Newton Recreation Department for free badminton open gym on Mondays and Thursdays from 6:30-9 p.m.

The badminton games will be played in the gym at the Newton Recreation Department, located at 23 South Brady Ave., Newton.

Players should bring their own badminton racquet, shuttlecock and shoes.

Badminton is a fun activity for all ages, and everyone is welcome.

For more information, contact Charles James at 828-695-4350 or cjames@newtonnc.gov.

Lions Offer Chance To Donate Old Eyeglasses, Hearing Aids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dates For Shindig On The Green & 89th Annual

Mountain Dance & Folk Festival Have Been Set

Asheville, NC – The Folk Heritage Committee announces its summer 2016 dates for two celebrated mountain traditions in Asheville, North Carolina: the 50th season of Shindig on the Green and the 89th Annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. Each event features long-standing as well as the newest generation of traditional and mountain string bands, ballad singers, and big circle mountain dancers and cloggers, resulting in fun-filled and authentic evenings enjoyed by kith and kin of all ages.

The 50th Season of Shindig on the Green, a free event in the heart of downtown Asheville, with a stage show and informal jam sessions, takes place on Saturday evenings.

2015: The Dixie Darlins by Wendy Olsen

Shindig on the Green will be held on August 20, 27, and September 3, 2016. Shindig returns again to the heart of downtown Asheville at Pack SquarePark’s Roger McGuire Green. The stage show takes place on the Bascom Lamar Lunsford stage, named for the founder of the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. Locals and visitors alike gather “along about sundown,” or at seven o’clock for those who wear a watch, for Shindig on theGreen. Since the outdoor event’s inception in 1967, hundreds of thousands of individuals from across the region and throughout the world have shared and enjoyed the rich traditional music and dance heritage of the Southern Appalachian Mountains in this outdoor setting.

The 89th Annual Mountain Dance and Folk and Festival, a ticketed event at Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville with a different show each night, takes place at 7:00 p.m. nightly, Thursday through Saturday, August 4, 5 & 6, 2016. The sister event to Shindig on the Green, theMountain Dance and Folk Festival was founded by Bascom Lamar Lunsford in 1928. The nation’s longest running folk festival, the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival showcases the bes tof the region’s mountain musicians and dancers during its three evenings of indoor performances.

The non-profit, all-volunteer Folk Heritage CommitteeTM’s mission is to preserve and present the musical heritage of the Southern Appalachian Mountains to audiences from throughout the region and world, for entertainment and education, by producing the annual Shindig on theGreenTM and the Mountain Dance and Folk FestivalTM events.

For more info about the 50th Season of Shindig on the Green or the 89th Annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, visit www.folkheritage.org or call Brian Carter: 828-335-1263.

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.

September 16th, 2016; October 21st, 2016; November 18th, 2016; December 16th, 2016; January 20th, 2017; February 17th, 2017; March 17th, 2017; April 21st, 2017;;May 19th. 2017. To purchase a season ticket, call the Newton-Conover Auditorium at 828-464-8100.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catawba Science Center is a nonprofit science and technology museum serving NC’s western Piedmont region. Special attractions include featured exhibits, a digital planetarium theater and a marine touch pool with live sharks and stingrays. A community asset and regional destination,

Catawba Science Center is dedicated to changing lives and inspiring learning through science and wonder.

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

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.

2016 Lincoln Idol Singing Contest Is Taking Applications

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

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

Contestant applications are available at ArtslincolnNC.org.

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

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

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

Foothills Folk Art Festival Is Taking Artists’ Applications Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hickory Brain Injury Support Group Meets Monthly

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

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

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

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

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

Tucker’s Barn Singer/Songwriter Series

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

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

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

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.

Bethlehem Library Accepting 2017 Artist Applications

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

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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