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Registration For Kids Summer Learning At Library Is Now Open

Newton, NC – Do you know that children who don’t read over the summer can lose up to three months of reading achievement? The American Sociological Review reports that summer learning loss accounts for about two-thirds of the ninth grade achievement gap in reading.

Library Summer Learning Programs are designed to keep kids engaged in learning all summer long.

Families can prevent that summer slide and join the Catawba County Library System for exciting interactive programs that encourage kids and families to read and learn together. Participants keep a reading log to earn incentives and a chance at a drawing for prizes!

This year’s summer learning theme is “Build a Better World” with interactive programs at all seven Catawba County Library locations, including live animal adventures with the Schiele Museum, musical theater with the Green Bean Players, physical fitness with In the Mix Fitness, STEAM programs, and much more.

Four of the county library locations (Newton, St. Stephens, Southwest and Claremont) will be providing free lunch to all children age 2-18, Monday through Friday from 12:30 – 2:30 pm (Tuesday – Friday at Claremont).

System-wide registration begins May 15th with summer learning programs kicking off on June 12th. All ages are encouraged to register online or at your local branch. Call 828-465-8664 for more information.

For more information, visit www.librarynews.catawbacountync.

Let’s Learn Spanish Together At The Library On Thursday, May 25

Newton, NC – The Catawba County Library is a great place to learn, act, and grow in a variety of ways. The Main Library in Newton is introducing a monthly program called, “Let’s Learn Spanish Together!” on Thursday, May 25th at 3:00 pm.

Whether you want to enhance your communication skills on the job, you’d like to learn the basics for a trip, or you just want to exercise your love of learning new things, this Spanish class is for you.

Participants will be using the Library’s fun and easy Pronunciator language learning software to learn, speak, and understand Spanish. You don’t need to worry about getting left behind since the class will go through the lessons together each month.

Pronunciator is a language learning software database you can use to supplement your coursework, maintain and improve your language skills, or just learn a new language in ways that can be playful and fun, including a virtual tutor and language learning (for the most common languages) through movies, poetry and music.

Pronunciator includes tools to learn 80 different languages.

The Catawba County Main Library is located at 115 West C Street, Newton NC, 28658. Call 828-465-8664 for more information.

For the latest in library news, visit or stop by your local branch.

Set An Appointment To Learn How To Use NC

Digital Library On Your Device On Friday, May 26

Hickory - Do you have an e-reader or tablet and would like to learn how to use the North Carolina Digital Library to get free materials?

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is offering people with an active Hickory Public Library card the opportunity to sign-up for one-on-one appointments on Friday, May 26th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. to learn how to borrow e-books and more through the North Carolina Digital Library.

Please bring your device and the cable for your device to your appointment. You will also need to be comfortable using your device and know any usernames and passwords associated with your device. During your appointment, you will learn how to download the NCDL software, how to sign-in to your NCDL account, and how to explore, borrow, and return a NCDL item with your device.

Appointments are limited so registration is required. Patrons may sign-up for an appointment by calling 304-0500 ext. 7235. Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is located at 375 3rd Street NE on the SALT Block.

Renaissance Festival Auditions Set For June 10 - 17 In Concord

Concord, NC - Jesters! Peasants! Nobles! Knights! The Carolina Renaissance Festival, a combination of outdoor theater, circus, arts and crafts fair, jousting tournament and feast, will hold open auditions on Saturday, June 10th from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and Saturday, June 17th from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM at the Cannon School located at 5801 Poplar Tent Road, Concord, NC 28027.

The Festival is calling for actors, entertainers, musicians, performers and colorful personalities of all types to inhabit the Festival’s make believe Village of Fairhaven. Amateur and professional opportunities are available. Prepared material, head shots, and resumes are appreciated but not required.

Auditionees should be age 13 or older. Audition details and registration is available online at

The Carolina Renaissance Festival returns for its 24th season on weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, September 30th through November 19th, on a 325 acre site minutes north of Charlotte, between Concord and Huntersville, at the junction of NC 73 and Poplar Tent Road.

This information and more can be found online at

Uni4Artists’ Art In The Hall Starts June 1 At Morganton City Hall

Morganton, NC - Uni4Artists will be participating in Art in the Hall, a public display of two-dimensional artwork at Morganton City Hall. The artwork will be in a variety of mediums including acrylics, watercolor, oils, mixed media, collage and more. The show, which is free, will run from June 1- July 31 with a reception on June 22 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm.

The group, whose purpose is to promote visual artists of the Unifour area, and enhance the quality of life for everybody in the Community through the Arts, welcomes artists of all levels. Uni4artists meets every other month at Hickory Museum of Art. For more information visit


Hickory Youth Council Is Recruiting New Members

For Next School Year Until June 2

Hickory – The Hickory Youth Council is recruiting new members for the 2017 - 2018 school year.

The Hickory Youth Council was established in 2000 by the Hickory City Council to give the city’s youth a voice in city government. All rising 9 - 12 grade high school students, living in the Hickory city limits or extra-territorial jurisdiction, are eligible to apply.

The Youth Council consists of 30 high school students who learn about city operations, participate in community service projects, and advise the City Council about issues and policies that affect the youth of Hickory. The Hickory Youth Council is also a chartered member of the State Youth Council of North Carolina. This organization offers opportunities for leadership training, community service, and networking opportunities for high school students across the state.

“I feel that Youth Council allows you to learn about all aspects of city government that you wouldn’t otherwise learn,” shared Youth Council Chair, Chase Delcharco. “It’s also really exciting to be able to work on service projects and give back to the community.”

“The students involved in the Hickory Youth Council have a voice in local government. They have the opportunity to meet with and confer with the Hickory City Council on items that affect youth in this area,” said Dave Leonetti, Hickory Youth Council Liaison. “They plan fundraising events, attend seminars and conferences, and they have the opportunity to get to know and work with their peers who may attend other area schools.”

All applications must be received by close of business on Friday, June 2, 2017.

For more information about the application process or to download an application please visit Any questions about the application process should be directed to Dave Leonetti, Youth Council Liaison, at (828) 261-2227.

Art on the Greene Creates An Outdoor Gallery• May 27-28

Banner Elk, NC – Art on the Greene transforms the grounds of the Historic Banner Elk School into an art gallery filled with works from local and regional artists, May 27-28.

The Memorial Day weekend show is the first of three shows that take place throughout the summer. The second show will be July Fourth weekend, July 1-2, and the final show will be Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-3.

The Memorial Day show includes approximately 40 artists from up and down the East Coast, as well as some from the Midwest. They represent a variety of media, such as metal, glass, ceramics, wood, watercolor, acrylics and oil. The July Fourth show is expected to be the largest with 60 artists attending.

“I hope attendees find our town to be a place they want to return and tell other people about,” says Kimberly Tufts, show director. “I also hope they leave with something tangible, that they find a new piece of artwork and build a relationship with an artist that enriches their life.”

Art on the Greene 2016

Proceeds from artists’ booth rental fees go to renovation efforts at the Historic Banner Elk School. Funds from previous art shows have helped restore heat to the school gymnasium and freshen the paint, as well as contributed to the town’s payments on the property.

The 1939 school was built as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the Great Depression. The Town of Banner Elk owns the school, which is home to the Banner Elk Book Exchange, professional theater company Ensemble Stage and a lifestyle magazine.

“We have a rich heritage that makes us special, and I think people feel that when they’re here,” Tufts says. “Banner Elk is also a very friendly town in a beautiful location. We have wonderful restaurants and so many things to do outdoors, which make this place a destination.”

Art on the Greene has no admission fee. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Food vendors will be on hand, complementing the offerings at local downtown restaurants.

For information, visit or call 828-387-0581.

You Could Win The $10k Grand Prize At HCT’s Vacation

Extravaganza On Monday, June 12

Hickory - This year, the Hickory Community Theatre’s annual fundraiser, “The Vacation Extravaganza,” will take place on June the 12th, beginning at 6:30pm. Tickets are $125, which admits two for the party. The ticket also provides one chance to win either of two prizes, the $10,000 grand prize or the new $1,000 “second chance.” Although the event retains its traditional name, the winner of either prize receives a cash payout.

“The ‘second chance’ prize is something we’ve been mulling over for the last several years,” said John Rambo, Managing Director. “The grand prize drawing is a ‘draw down’ raffle where the last remaining ticket is the winner. After the main drawing we will put all the other tickets, excluding the winner of the grand prize, back into the hopper and the first ticket drawn will win the second chance prize.”

The 2017 Vacation Extravaganza is sponsored by Catawba Valley Medical Center, Dr. George and Mrs. Sandra Clay, III, DDS, David and Gena Small, Backstreets Bar & Grill, Broome Associated Insurance, Hilton Garden Inn, and Adam & Meredyth Neilly. The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

PHOTO: A visit to “Hobbiton,” in New Zealand, the jumping off point for “The Lord of the Rings” films, is a luxury vacation that could be made possible with the $10,000 grand prize in the Hickory Community Theatre’s Vacation Extravaganza. Tickets are $125 for the party, which benefits the Hickory Community Theatre. Call 828-327-3855 or click for information and tickets.

Catawba County Attorney To Speak At CVPA On June 13

Hickory - The Catawba Valley Paralegal Association (CVPA) will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at the Catawba Valley Community College west wing Room 120 in Hickory, NC.

Debra Bechtel, Catawba County Attorney, will present “Local Government Legal Issues – What’s going on in Catawba County.” Topics of discussion will include Local Government, Plan for Catawba County, Tax Foreclosures, Courthouse Changes and Service Animals in Public Buildings.

One hour of general CPE (Certified Paralegal Education) credit has been approved by the North Carolina State Bar. There is no charge for CVPA members in good standing to attend.

There is a $25 fee for visitors requesting a CPE credit. The general public is welcome to attend at no charge. WPCC, CCC and CVCC students are encouraged to attend.

Debra Bechtel

CVPA is a non-profit organization which encourages ethical and professional conduct within the paralegal profession, and promotes paralegal careers in Catawba, Burke, Caldwell, Lincoln, Alexander, Cleveland and surrounding counties.

Membership in CVPA is open to paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries, students enrolled in paralegal programs, paralegal educators, employees of judicial entities, other recognized legal agencies, and anyone interested in the legal or paralegal profession.

For more information, visit:

Get Your Children Vaccinated Before Summer Break

To Avoid The Back-To-School Rush

Hickory – Is your family preparing for summer vacations? Before you go, consider checking with your child’s medical provider to ensure your child is caught up on immunizations.

With the rush to prepare for school in July and August, immunizations aren’t always at the forefront of our minds. By getting them done early – before vacations begin and summer flies by – last-minute appointments for shots will be one less thing parents have to worry about.

Vaccinations may not seem important when you’re on a beach, lounging by a pool, visiting with Mickey Mouse or enjoying the mountain scenery, but they’re protecting children and families every day from diseases such as diphtheria, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and more.

Because vaccines prevent disease so well, some parents may not know some of the serious diseases they prevent; however, those diseases do still circulate. Within the last few years, a mumps outbreak hit neighboring Iredell county, and Catawba County investigated a pertussis case last year.

Children who are entering child care or school environments are more at risk for coming in contact with a vaccine-preventable disease, making vaccinations before entrance a critical step for parents to take. Not having required vaccinations can delay a child’s entry into child care or kindergarten, as vaccinations are required within the first 30 days of school. Rising seventh-graders must also have a dose of the Tdap vaccine, which covers tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, as well as one dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine prior to the start of seventh grade.

The goal is to provide children with immunity early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccines protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (pertussis), haemophilus influenzae type b, polio, pneumococcal, rotavirus, influenza, chickenpox, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, and measles, mumps and rubella.

Despite the benefits of vaccines, they can be expensive for some families. North Carolina’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines to children who are underinsured or whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. The free, state-supplied vaccines are provided to children who are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, American Indian or Alaska Native, or whose insurance will not cover the vaccines for various reasons. To find out if your child qualifies, ask your child’s doctor or call Catawba County Public Health at (828) 695-5800.

For more information on required vaccinations, go to

Catawba County Public Health, located off Fairgrove Church Road behind Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory, N.C., works to protect and promote the health of all county residents. For more information, please call (828) 695-5800 or visit

CVCC’s Summerscapes Kid Camp Registration Is Now Open

Hickory - CVCC is now accepting registrations for its Summerscapes camp for children ages 5 to 16. More than 80 different sessions dealing with art, cooking, reading, math, science, and more are available. Register soon to reserve your child’s spot in Summerscapes. Popular sessions fill up quickly.

Most classes are $75 unless otherwise specified. For a complete list of camps available, visit

For more information, contact Cheri Toney, 828-327-7037, or

FCA Announces Winners For Tiny Arts Show • Exhibit Ends June 10

Hickory - Full Circle Arts is pleased to announce the winners in its exhibition entitled “Tiny Arts”. Our judge for this year’s event was Jeff Kiefer, Art Instructor at Catawba Valley Community College. We had 22 people enter this year’s competition and approximately 100 works of art to be considered for prizes and Honorable Mention awards. Mr. Keifer was methodical about his judging and impressed with the variety of work and the thought and detail that went into these tiny masterpieces. Prices for the works run from $10 - $500. Artists from as far away as Hillsborough, Boone and Richburg, SC are participating.
The winners for this exhibition are as follows:

First: Karen Parker for Tulips and Propane, oil on panel

Second: Eugenie B. Fein for Evening Stroll, collage

Third: Zan Thompson for Georgetown Waterfront Cafes, watercolor

Honorable mentions:

Carla Brandel for Coffee Cup, clay - wood fired

Mark C. Hickman for Bread Butter & Bullet Holes, color inkjet/varnish/canvas

Beth Oczkowski for untitled, paper

Anita Rhoney for The Incredible Ball, etching (intaglio)

Carla Brandel for Starburst, clay - obvarra pot

The show runs from May 11 through June 10, 2017. Reception and awards for the event will be Thursday, May 11, 6 - 8pm.

FCA is an artists’ cooperative located in downtown Hickory, 42-B Third Street NW. More information about Full Circle Arts, classes, membership, or other upcoming events is available at 828-322-7545. You may also write to Full Circle Arts, PO Box 3905, Hickory NC 28603, or email Please visit our website at

CCC&TI Offers Super Summer & Kids In The Kitchen Camps

Hudson, NC - This summer, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Continuing Education Division will once again offer “Extreme Super Summer Camp” for kids ages 5 and up and “Kids in the Kitchen” camps for kids ages 9 and up. The programs will feature week-long courses and daily activities Monday through Friday.

Super Summer Camp sessions are held on the Caldwell Campus from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. daily. Each Super Summer session covers two topics with students separated into different age groups to allow each program to be customized with age-appropriate activities.

Early drop-off times will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Late pick-up times will be from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Cost per session is $90 and includes early drop-off, late pick-up, two programs and a snack between programs.

“Kids in the Kitchen” camps are offered on both the Caldwell and Watauga campuses and are held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Kids in the Kitchen sessions are $150.

Registration for “Extreme Super Summer Camp” is ongoing and space is limited. To register, or for more information, call 828-726-2242.

Following is the program schedule for each week:

Super Summer Camps
June 19-June 23

Steps Ahead Fitness: Basketball Camp; Kickin’ Martial Arts
June 26- June 30

Power Cheer:
Cheerleading/Dance, Gymnastics/Dance
OR Little Robots (ages 5-8 only): Building Robots; Robots Everywhere!
July 10 - July 14

Destination Science: Mad Science!; Science Adventures
OR Bigger Bots (ages 9+ only): Building Robots; Robots Everywhere!
July 17 - July 21

Speed Camp: Aerodynamics; Pinewood Derby
July 24 - July 28

Art Expo: Foam Magic; Art: A Little Bit of Everything
Caldwell Campus - Kids in the Kitchen (Ages 9 and up only. Cost $150)
Baking Magic – June 26 – June 30; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Chocolates and Candies: Sweets! Sweets! Sweets! July 10 – July 14; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Pizza! Pizza! – July 24 – July 28; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Watauga Campus - Kids in the Kitchen (Ages 9 and up only. Cost $150)

Pizza! Pizza! – June 19 – June 23; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Also offered July 24 – July 28, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Baking Magic – June 26 – June 30; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Also offered July 31 – Aug. 4; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Chocolates and Candies: Sweets! Sweets! Sweets! July 10 – July 14; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Cooking 101 – Teenage Style – July 17 – July 21; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Registration Is Open For HMF’s Rock Camp • Ages 11-17

Hickory - Guitar instructor Tony Eltora and drum instructor Rick Cline, will host Hickory Music Factory’s (HMF) annual Rock Camp. 25 lucky students will form bands and have the opportunity to be part of a weeklong camp and see what it’s like to be in a rock band.

Throughout the week, the students will rehearse with their band and learn the essentials needed to perform on stage. There will be classes/clinics focusing on song writing, stage performance, music history, tone and dynamics, as well as, music theory. The week will end with the students playing a concert on Friday July 14th at the SALT Block Auditorium 7pm. All groups will also have the opportunity to perform at the HMF Stage at this year’s Oktoberfest in downtown Hickory.

The camp will take place at the Hickory Music Factory from 9am-2:30pm July 10-14th Students will be required to bring their own equipment, which will be locked up when not in use. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your equipment at the HMF facility, you may take it home after each day. Students will also need to bring their own lunch to camp. The camp will provide drinks (sodas, water, etc.) for the students through the week.

The cost of the camp is $225 for HMF student members and $250 for non-members and needs to be paid in full by July 1st. You may also choose to set up a payment plan which still needs to be paid in full by July 1st. If you pay by check please make it out to hickory music factory. For more info., please contact the Hickory Music Factory at: 828-308-5659 or

Former Rock Camp participants

Senior Games And Other Activities Planned In May

For Catawba’s Seniors Morning Out Program

Hickory – Seniors Morning Out participants will participate in a number of activities in May, including participating in Senior Games. All sites will be closed on Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day.

Seniors Morning Out operates from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday in five convenient locations. A hot, balanced lunch is also served. Any county resident who is 60 or better is invited to participate. The program is free to participants, although donations are accepted. Bus transportation is available in some locations for those who do not drive. If you would like to participate in any or all of these activities, contact the site supervisor at least 48 hours in advance.

On Tuesday, May 16, participants from the West Hickory, Newton, and Catawba sites will gather at the Huntington Hills Church of God to participate in Senior Games, an athletic program for senior adults.

A few of the program highlights are as follows:

At the West Hickory SMO site, located at West Hickory Senior Center, 400 17th St. SW, Hickory: May 4: performance by the Ridgeview Sliders dance team; May 9: Anti-Anxiety Medications with Denee Shipman, RN, of Vaya Health; May 18: Shopping at Walmart followed by game day and adult cooking and sewing project; May 24: Scavenger Hunt Day and program on Emergency Preparedness by Jim Dickerson of Catawba County EMS. To reserve your place at any of these activities, contact Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

At the Newton SMO, located at First Presbyterian Church 701 Main Ave., Newton: May 8: Program on Medicare Fraud by Diane Trainor; May 15: Performance by Bandy’s High School Choir; May 22: Presentation on Parkinson’s Disease by Annie Williams; May 25: Program on Captel services by Ashley Trotter. To reserve your place at any of these activities, contact Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

At the Catawba SMO, located at Center United Methodist Church, 4945 Sherrills Ford Road, Catawba: May 10: Easy Coffee Cake cooking class; May 11: Medicare Fraud and Scams by Diane Trainor; May 25: Poem of the Day and Crafts with Tonya Jarnac; May 30: Music by Lonesome Road. If you would like to attend any of these programs, contact Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

At the Maiden SMO, located at the Maiden Community Center at the corner of East Second St. and Klutz Street: May 8: Cooking class: Mother’s Day Parfaits and Ice Cream Social; May 17: Medicare Fraud with Diane Trainor and Group Walking; May 22: How Advertisers Get Us to Buy Things” by Ann Simmons of the Agriculture Extension Service; May 25: Senior Games Fun Walk and Cook Out in Maiden Park. Sentimental Journey band to perform. To participate in any of these activities, contact Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

Seniors Morning Out is operated by Senior Nutrition Services of Catawba County Social Services. In addition to SMO, Senior Nutrition Services operates Meals on Wheels and related programs in the county. This program relies on donations by local individuals and businesses. If you would like to make a donation, you may go to and click on the red “Donate Now” button. Be sure to choose Meals on Wheels or Seniors Morning Out from the drop-down menu. You may also write a check to Catawba County Social Services and write “Senior Nutrition Services” in the memo line. Mail your donation to Senior Nutrition Services, P.O. Box 207, Newton, NC 28658. If you or your group would like to sponsor a fund-raising event for Catawba County’s Senior Nutrition Services, contact Jan Shaffer at 828-695-5610.

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, except for holidays. For the latest updates, like their Facebook page at, or visit their website at

Catawba County Senior Nutrition Services is a United Way funded partner. Catawba County United Way’s mission is to increase the organized capacity of people to help others by mobilizing the caring power of our community. For more information, locate us on Facebook, 828-327-6851 or

L-RU Is Accepting Applications For Kids In College Camp

Hickory – Applications are now being accepted for Kids in College, Lenoir-Rhyne University’s summer enrichment program for children. The camp will be held June 19 – 23, with all sessions taking place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided each day for all attendees. Any student completing kindergarten through eighth grade is welcome to attend.

“The mission of Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Kids in College is to expose children to the university environment through challenging instructional camps that foster exploration, creative thinking, and enrichment,” said Michael Lemke, Director of Kids in College an instructor of education at LRU.

According to Lemke, the camp will have a STEM focus, meaning it will provide instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students will utilize 21st century skills including critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. Kids in College is designed for teacher-recommended students who meet any of the following criteria:

Identified as academically and intellectually gifted; Achieved a Level 5 on reading and/or math EOG; Maintained an “A” average in math and/or reading; Recommended by current teacher.

Experienced, AIG certified teachers will facilitate learning experiences throughout the week. Classes will be held in the Rhyne Building on LRU’s campus. Parents will be responsible for dropping off and picking up their children.

The cost of the program is $325 per week. A deposit of $50 is required for registration with the remaining balance due on May 13th. Additional information and registration forms can be found on the LRU website at

Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis for qualified students. Parents will be notified of acceptance as soon as the following requirements are received:

A completed application with teacher recommendation; Signed insurance and liability form; $50 deposit (returnable only if space is unavailable); Emergency Contact form.

For more information, contact Lemke at or 828.328.7189.

Blue Knights Of NC’s Poker Run Benefit For Caleb Benfield, 6/10

Hickory – The Caleb Benfield Benefit Poker Run is Saturday, June 10 beginning at Blue Ridge Harley Davidson in Hickory NC.

Sponsored by Blue Knights NC XI, the registration is 10:30 am till 1:00 pm. Cost is $20 single and $25 for a double and includes one event t-shirt per bike and food at end of ride.

Also, 50/50 and extra hands are available. All proceeds go the Caleb Benfield Challenge a Junior firefighter challenge held annually in Caleb’s memory.

For more information, contact Cecil Cook at 828-413-9706 or

Senior Artists Aged 60+ Invited To Take Part In June Art Exhibit

Charlotte, NC - Grace Ridge Retirement Community is pleased to announce the 3rd Annual Creative Age Senior Art Exhibit in Morganton, NC which will be held June 8-21, 2017. This invitational exhibit will recognize and celebrate the creative talent of senior artists throughout North Carolina.

All North Carolina artists, 60 years or older, professional or non-professional, are encouraged to enter up to two (2) works of art for consideration. Entry deadline is Friday, May 5, 2017. All major media types are welcome.

A $5 display fee (per selected submission) is required with all proceeds benefiting the Burke Arts Council. Additionally, a People’s Choice award will be presented to the artist who receives the most votes from exhibit attendees.

The exhibit will be open to the public June 8-21 at Grace Ridge Retirement Community in Morganton. A VIP reception on June 7 will give the media and area civic and business leaders a sneak peek before the exhibit opens for public viewing. Selected artists are invited to attend the reception. Watch the recap video from last year’s event:

To learn more or to submit an entry, visit For additional questions, send an email to

In Hickory, First Step Domestic Violence Services Helps Victims

Hickory – If you were the victim of domestic violence, would you know where to find help? Would you even realize that you were being abused?

Surprisingly, some victims do not realize that domestic partners who insult, humiliate, push, kick, slap or threaten them are being abusive, according to Ann Peele, executive director of the Family Guidance Center. This may be because the victim has had her self-confidence destroyed and feels she is causing the problem. The victim may have been raised in an abusive household and may consider such behavior normal. The victim may also be afraid to take action because she fears the abuser or because of financial concerns. For these reasons, domestic violence victims often feel trapped.

The good news is that there is a way out. First Step Domestic Violence Services offers information, counseling and also a shelter that provides a safe place to live while the woman is rebuilding her life and preparing for the future. First Step is a service of the Family Guidance Center, one of the oldest non-profit agencies in the county. It was founded in 1958 to provide the first counseling and mental health services in the county. Over the years, the Family Guidance Center has grown to offer numerous other services, including First Step Domestic Violence Services.

Peele, who has been the Director at the Family Guidance Center since 1985, has seen an increase in the amount of domestic violence as well as an increase in its severity. In the past 13 months, there have been six homicides resulting from domestic violence in Hickory. Another death in the county may have been the result of domestic violence. Domestic violence hurts the entire family, she said. For example, the six homicides in the past 13 months have left eight children without a parent to care for them. Even if they are not themselves abused, children who witness domestic violence in their homes often experience long-term negative consequences.

First Step offers three major services. It provides a shelter for abused women and their children. The shelter can accommodate up to 20 people, but the number depends on the family groups’ composition, since mothers are housed together with their children. Court accompaniment/advocacy is provided to any victim using legal remedies.

First Step also provides a class for women called Life Skills that includes information about domestic violence and what to do about it. Sometimes, when Child Protective Services social workers investigate a report of child abuse, they discover that the woman in the home is also being abused. However, the woman may have become so accustomed to the situation that she may not recognize that she is a victim too. First Step also has a yearlong treatment program for male abusers.

Last year, First Step served over 1,500 persons through its three programs. About 150 of them were served by the domestic violence shelter. Some domestic violence victims served by First Step counseling do not have to leave home due to a court order removing the abuser from the home. In other cases, the victim is able to move in with a friend or relative.
Women who spend time at the shelter are coached in independent living skills and receive counseling to help them deal with the abuse. The goal is to help them heal and prepare them for life on their own, Peele said. Services are also available to male victims of domestic violence, although they report it far less often.

According to First Step, victims of domestic abuse are often:
Emotionally or financially controlled.
Called humiliating names or cursed.
Threatened, pushed or shoved.
Slapped, hit, kicked, beaten or stalked.
Persons who feel they need help with domestic violence may call 828-322-1400. After hours and on weekends, call 828-228-1787.

The Family Guidance Center is a non-profit organization that serves Catawba County with individual and family counseling, consumer credit counseling and domestic violence services. Counseling services are offered on a sliding fee scale. The First Step shelter for abused women never charges a fee for its services. The Family Guidance Center is a partner agency with the United Way of Catawba County. It also relies heavily on donations to continue its important work. For more information about services offered, or how you can help support the Family Guidance Center, go to, or call 828-322-1400. For the latest updates, like the center on Facebook at

You may also help support First Step Domestic Violence Services by shopping at or donating items to the Purple Ribbon Thrift Store, located at 360 Highway 70 SW Hickory. The phone number there is 828-322-3423. All proceeds from sales at the store benefit First Step’s shelter for battered women.

Hickory Museum Of Art Summer Art Camps Open Registration

Hickory – Registration is now open for summer art camps at Hickory Museum of Art, 243 Third Ave. N.E., Hickory. Camps for children ages 4 to 14 will be offered Monday-Friday, June 12 – August 18, with morning (10 AM -12 PM) and afternoon (1 PM -3 PM) options available.

Twenty different art camp themes will be offered throughout the summer, giving participants a chance to create superhero and fairy tale inspired art, learn the basics of drawing and painting animals, make 3D art and sculptures from clay, form fantastic masks and more.

Several new camps are coming to HMA this year, including “Monsters & Zombies”, which will allow children ages 7-9 the opportunity to bring creatures from children’s literature to life in a fun and imaginative way. Youngsters 4-6 are able to attend a new “Secret Garden” camp that focuses on the natural environment in their arts and crafts.

The “Museum Sleuth” camp gives participants ages 7-14 a chance to explore the museum with a set of clues in search of a specific piece of artwork that will inspire that day’s project.

The same age group can also attend the “Sculpture” camp and discover a variety of media with which to create 3D art – much like Jonathan Brilliant will be doing in the live construction of the upcoming Hickory Sticks exhibit between April 26th and May 4th. (The exhibit itself runs through September 9th.)

Camp descriptions, cost and registration forms are available for pick up at Hickory Museum of Art in the Galleria shop or at the Museum’s second floor offices. Download a Summer Art Camp brochure and registration form at

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

Child Safety Seat Inspection Is The 1st Tuesday Of Every Month

Hickory - Nine out of 10 car seats are improperly installed. Could yours be one of them? Come talk with a certified technician to learn more about safely installing your seat every time.

Ask about our citation diversion program if you have received a ticket related to a child seat violation.

The Inspection Station will be set up each first Tuesday of the month in the parking lot of Catawba County Health Department, 3070 11th Ave Dr SE, Hickory from 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM. Call the Health First Center at 828-485-2300 ext 6204.

LRU’s Summer Youth Music Band Camp Is Set For July 10 - 14

Hickory - Registration is now open for Lenoir-Rhyne University’s fifth annual Summer Youth Music Band Camp. The camp provides middle school and high school students an opportunity to enhance their musical talents through instruction by professional clinicians. This year’s camp is scheduled from Monday, July 10 through Friday, July 14 in the Mauney Music Building, located on the campus of LRU. Instruction is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with supervised early drop-off in the morning, beginning at 8 a.m., and afternoon recreational time until 5:30 p.m.

“The band camp at Lenoir-Rhyne continues to grow in popularity every year,” said Dr. Christopher Nigrelli, Professor of Music at LRU and camp director. “The purpose of the camp is to help students continue to develop their skills as young musicians in a fun, interactive learning environment.” Dr. Nigrelli added that families interested are encouraged to register early due to limited space in the program.

Tuition for the camp is $180 for the week, which includes lunch each day and a music camp T-shirt. To register, visit or contact Dr. Nigrelli at for more information.

About Lenoir-Rhyne University:

Lenoir-Rhyne University was founded in 1891 and is a private, Lutheran, coeducational university with its primary campus in Hickory, NC. Academic programs include more than 50 undergraduate majors and 26 graduate programs. Other campus locations include the Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville, NC, the Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia, SC, and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary also in Columbia. Today, more than 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled across all campuses. Lenoir-Rhyne is affiliated with the NC Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and welcomes students from all religious backgrounds. The website is

Photo: Participants from LRU’s Summer Youth Music Band Camp 2016

Catawba Co. Public Health Offers Women Free Or

Low Cost Breast & Cervical Cancer Screenings

Hickory - Even though Breast Cancer Awareness Month is over, women should not forget about getting checked for the deadly form of cancer that the state estimates will kill more than 1,400 women statewide this year.

In North Carolina, 9,320 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 – that’s more than 25 women a day! In 2014, 1,308 women in North Carolina died of breast cancer, and the state projects 10,052 women will be diagnosed in 2016 while 1,416 will die from it this year alone.

Any woman can get breast cancer, but as women age their chances increase. The good news is that the earlier cancer is found and treated, the better the chance for living for many more years. Although fewer people were diagnosed with breast cancer in Catawba County, 15 out of every 100 cases diagnosed in 2014 were in stage III or IV. Diagnosis at a later stage can make successful treatment more difficult. From 2009-2013, one in five breast cancer patients died of the disease.

Since 2011, Catawba County has seen an increase in the number of breast cancer deaths, which is one reason why early detection and treatment is critical. For some women, though, getting access to preventive care can be a challenge. That’s why Catawba County Public Health offers free or low-cost screenings, education and referral services to eligible women through the North Carolina Breast and Cervical Cancer Control program (BCCCP).

This program highlights the importance of early detection as the best protection against breast and cervical cancers. Established in 1991, the North Carolina Breast and Cervical Cancer Program offers the following services: clinical breast exams, screening mammograms, pap tests and HPV tests, diagnostic procedures (mammograms, ultrasounds, colposcopies, breast and cervical biopsies) if screening results are abnormal, medical consultations, and referrals to treatment if cancer is found. Women who are enrolled in BCCCP and who are found to have cancer during their screening are eligible to receive free or reduced cost treatment with special Breast and Cervical Cancer Medicaid funds.

Through a partnership with Catawba Valley Medical Center, women in the BCCCP program are able to obtain screening and diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds at the best rates possible. The hospital even brings their mammogram bus to the Public Health parking lot to provide services at a location that is comfortable and convenient to clients.

Each year, more than 12,000 women in North Carolina receive breast and cervical screenings through the BCCCP program. In Catawba County, more than 175 women received BCCCP screenings, with the majority of them falling between the ages of 35 and 54. More than a third of the women accessing services primarily speak Spanish.

In order to be eligible for the services offered in Catawba County, women must be:

· Uninsured or underinsured

· Without Medicare Part B or Medicaid

·Between the ages of 40-75 for breast screening services

·Between the ages of 21-64 for cervical screening services

·Have a household income below 250% of the federal poverty level

·Must reside in Catawba County

To learn more about the North Carolina Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program at Catawba County Public Health or to make a screening appointment, call (828) 695-5800.

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

Can You Help? Women’s Resource Center

Needs Items For Emergency Pantry

Hickory - We are very grateful for your past support in donating items for our Emergency Pantry. These items are provided to women and families who are undergoing financial hardship and unable to afford them. Our pantry is getting low in the following products and we hope you can help us.

Laundry Detergent, Bathroom Cleaner, Liquid Hand Soap, Window Cleaner, Fabric Softener, Disinfectant, Dryer Sheets, Mouthwash, Bleach, Body Wash,

Dish Detergent, Hair Spray/Gel/Mousse, All Purpose Cleaner (409,etc), Hair Conditioner, Paper Towels, Q-Tips, New Makeup & Skin Care Products.

Donations can be dropped off at Women's Resource Center between 9AM and 4PM, Monday thru Thursday. For more information on our Emergency Pantry, visit

Every donation is appreciated and will help the women and families we serve.

The Women’s Resource Center is located at 125 3rd St. NE, Hickory, NC 28601.

Yoga For Seniors Each Thursday, 10am, At Newton Rec Center

Newton, NC - The Newton Parks and Recreation Department and the Catawba County Council on Aging offer Yoga for Seniors every Thursday at the Newton Recreation Center.

The classes are held on Thursdays from 10-11 a.m. The cost is $4 per person per class. Each class is specially designed for those 50 years old and older. The Newton Recreation Center is at 23 South Brady Ave.

Participants are introduced to basic postures and techniques used in yoga to relax the body and calm the mind.

Instructor Marjorie Blubaugh is certified to teach yoga and has more than 20 years of experience practicing and teaching yoga. She provides individual attention to physical limitations presented by each class member and offers alternative movements to prevent discomfort. For more information, call the Newton Parks and Recreation Department at 828-695-4317 or visit

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAFE Connect Offers Resource Website To Assist Homeless

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

A new website hopes to correct that problem, providing a virtual portal for citizens, law enforcement, or nonprofits to quickly refer persons experiencing homelessness to resources and information. It can be accessed at 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.

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

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.

Family Guidance Center Offers Support, Insight On Verbal Abuse

Hickory - The mission of Family Guidance Center’s First Step Domestic Violence Program is to provide needed services to victims of domestic violence and to increase the community’s awareness of the problem.

Verbal abuse is a type of abuse that can leave deep wounds. There are no bruises or marks on your body, but verbal abuse pierces you to the core—it is the Hidden Hurt of domestic violence. Some forms of verbal abuse are obvious, such as name calling or sneering, but many more forms are less obvious and not as easy to recognize. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are being verbally abused:

Does your partner speak to you differently in private and in public?

Do you often leave a discussion with your partner feeling completely confused?

Does your partner deny being angry or upset when he/she very obviously is?

Does your partner act as though you were attacking them when you try to explain your feelings?

Does your partner discount your opinions or experiences?

You feel as though no matter how hard you try, you just don’t seem to be able to communicate your thoughts and feelings to your partner as he/she always seems to misunderstand you and/or it always seems to cause an argument no matter how you try to approach the subject?

Do you feel nervous or avoid discussing issues which disturb you with your partner because you ‘know’ that trying to discuss them will just leave you feeling even more upset?

Do you feel as though your self-esteem and your self-confidence have decreased?

Do you find yourself spending a lot of time working out either how not to upset your partner or wondering what you did or said which did upset your partner?

Facts which generally apply to verbal abuse:

Verbal abuse tends to be secretive.

Verbal abuse tends to increase over time.

Verbal abuse discounts your perception of reality and denies itself.

Verbal abuse is usually a part of a pattern which is difficult to recognize and it leaves us with a feeling of confusion and upset without really understanding why.

Verbal abuse uses words (or silence) to gain and maintain control.

From time to time, we may all be guilty of saying something which is nasty or abusive to our partner. But when we realize that what we said was hurtful, we regret it and apologize to our partner. Verbal abusers; however, are not likely to apologize. They are not sorry for what they said because hurting you was their intent!

Contact The Family Guidance Center at 828-322-1400. Located at #17 Hwy. 70 SE, Hickory, NC, 28602.

Women’s Resource Center Needs Daily Volunteers

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

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

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

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

Social Workers Partner With Lions Clubs To Help The Blind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Child Wellbeing Project Offers Post Adoption Support

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hickory’s Angel of Hope House Requests Help

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

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

Items Needed:

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

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

Volunteers Needed To Deliver Meals On Wheels

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

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

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

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

How To Get Your Event In Focus

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

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

Health-Care Pro Discusses The Many Warning

Signs And How To Spot A Victim Of Domestic Violence

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

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

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

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

Linda O’Dochartaigh reviews some of the warning signs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family Finders Helps Foster Kids Connect With Extended Family

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

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

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

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

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

Sid Daniels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loving Our Enemies

By Rev. Susan Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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