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Register For Hickory’s Bumble Bee Soccer Program, Starts 8/29

Hickory - Registration for Bumble Bee Soccer is now underway at the Hickory Parks and Recreation Department Administrative Offices located at 1451 8th St. Dr. NE, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Bumble Bee Soccer Program is open to boys and girls ages 5 and 6 (must be 5 before August 31, 2017 and cannot be 7 before August 31, 2017).

Any child that has previously participated through our master registration system may call 322-7046 to register or register on line at www.hickorync.gov/recreation. Any child that has not participated in a program may register on line and once registration is complete, a parent will need to come by the Parks and Recreation Department administrative office and sign a waiver. A birth certificate must be presented at time of registration along with a $40.00 non-resident fee for persons living outside the city limits of Hickory.

All children participating in Bumble Bee soccer are encouraged to purchase accident insurance coverage. The $6.00 insurance fee covers the participant for a one-year period from March 1, 2017 to February 28, 2018 in all activities sponsored and supervised by the Parks and Recreation Department and must be paid at registration. The $250,000 coverage is primary coverage that pays regardless of other insurance, directly to the participant, doctor, or hospital.

The program will begin on Tuesday, August 29 at 5:30 p.m. at Henry Fork River Regional Recreation Park located at 5655 Sweet Bay Lane.

Practice sessions will be held on Tuesdays and Fridays for all new five (5) and six (6) year olds from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Returning players from last year will join the team after a week and a half of instruction and will be contacted by the league coaches of their practice time.

The purpose of instructional league is to introduce and explain the basic fundamentals of soccer to the children. Instruction will be divided into three sessions: dribbling and passing, and offensive tactics; ball juggling, goalie and defense.

At the conclusion of the instruction, the children will be taught the rules of the game. After the instructional sessions, the children will be divided into teams and will play actual games against the other teams.

Make Beach-Inspired Candle Holders At Beaver Library July 22

Hickory - July means time for the beach! Let library staff help you create a pair of beach-inspired candle holders using a glass cylinders, sisal rope and shells on Saturday, July 22nd 10:00 am - noon. Glass cylinders, sisal rope and shells are provided.

The program is free, but space is limited, so registration is required.

Call 828-304-0500 ext. 7235 to register. Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is located at 375 3rd Street NE on the SALT Block.

Annie Auditions July 24 (Sandy!) & 7/31 & 8/1, Adults & Non-Orphans

Hudson, NC - The classic Broadway musical, Annie will be presented as the 2017 Fall Hudson Dinner Theatre Production. The play will be performed on Thursday through Saturday, October 19th, 20th, 21st, 26th, 27th and 28th at the Hudson Uptown Building (HUB), 145 Cedar Valley Road, Hudson. 

Auditions for the role of Sandy the dog will take place on Monday, July 24th at 6:30 PM at the HUB. Please bring your dog/dogs. We need a sandy colored dog for the role of Sandy but also another dog who is on the streets of New York.

Auditions for adults and non-orphan girls and boys will be held on Monday and Tuesday, July 31st and August 1st at 6:30 at the HUB. There are 40 parts for folks 8 to 70 at these general auditions. All roles are open with the exception of that of Daddy Oliver Warbucks, which has been precast. We need a ventriloquist, a sound effects person, actors, singers, dancers and technicians.

Please wear comfortable clothing and closed toe shoes, as you will be asked to move and do some basic dance steps. Please bring a copy of the sheet music with which you plan to audition, preferably a musical selection from the play, Annie.  Your piece should be memorized. 

There will be no singing with phones or other recording devices, as an accompanist will be provided.  The audition will also include cold reading from the script. 

The show’s Director and Music Director is Keith Smith. Choreography will be by Leanna Bodnar.  The cast pianist is Gregory Knight.  For further information or for other questions, please call Director Keith Smith at Hudson Town Hall Monday through Friday from 8:30 until 5:00.  The number is 728-8272.

Save The Date: OUTright Youth’s Amazing Race Is August 19

Hickory - Are you amazing, love challenges and get excited about cash prizes?! If so,gather up teammates and enter in OUTright Youth’s Amazing Race around Hickory on Saturday, August 19, 9am-4pm.

Patterned after the CBS show The Amazing Race, OUTright’s Amazing Race combines challenges that are physical, mental, and sometimes even silly which will send teams of two to four all over the Greater Hickory Metro area as they compete for cash prizes and bragging rights.

Teams will leave the OUTright Center exactly at 9 AM on their way to their first stop.  (Head down to The Sails on the Square to catch the start of the action!)  With 10-12 action-packed stops around Hickory, there may be a detour or two in their future!

Throughout OUTright’s Amazing Race, our social media team will be announcing the location of the next stop and posting photos and videos of the teams battling for first place.

And you certainly won’t want to miss seeing the winning team race down Victory Lane and jump on OUTright’s Amazing Race Victory Mat!

Races are not your thing? Come to our Food Truck Invasion in our parking lot to cheer on the teams as they cross the finish line. Enjoy lunch from food trucks, drinks from local breweries and live music from amazing bands. Best part, admission to the after party is FREE! It’s sure to be an amazing party!

It all happens on Saturday, August 19. The Race starts at 9 am, Food Truck Invasion at 11 am.

Check out the website for registration details on a Saturday event not to be missed. www.outrightsamazingrace.com

The start/finish line will be at the OUTright Center at 748 4th St. SW, Hickory 28602.

Second Kiss, Beverly Biser’s Art Exhibit, Is Now Open At UAC

Hickory - Local abstract artist, Beverly Biser, will be the featured artist this summer at the United Arts Council, in Hickory, North Carolina. The exhibit Second Kiss opened July 10 and continues through September 25 at the Salt Block, West Wing.

Biser, who has been drawing since childhood, now focuses on commissioned artwork, tailoring each painting to the environment and personality of the person, family or business location.

Art by Beverly Biser

Her passion to beautify the world shines through in her paintings. “Beauty lives in color and movement” she commented. “Working with bright colors is inspiring, and the abstract style of my art is fun and energetic.”

“I find inspiration all around me, particularly in nature” Biser states.” It’s thrilling to see the paint hit the canvas and see the way the swirling forms and colors interact with each other.”

Using trowels and brushes, her trademark one-of-a-kind interpretative style, she pulls colors from your world and brings them into hers. Her favorite part is when the painting is hung in it’s new home, becoming the focal point in the room, each one a true stand-out piece!

Art by Beverly Biser

Biser’s new show will be marked by an exhibition celebration on August 24, from 5 to 7pm, with an opportunity to meet the artist, and a drawing for one of her paintings and consultations; this event is free and open to the public. For more info. visit her website at www.studiobev.com.

Storytelling Event At The Historic Newton Depot On Tues., July 25

Newton, NC — Newton’s own Southeastern Narrow Gauge & Shortline Museum will host its second Tales of the Rails: An Evening of Railroad Folklore and Music event in the historic Newton Depot’s Abernethy Meeting Room on Tuesday, July 25. There will be showings at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

This family-friendly event will be perfect for all ages, and will feature many stories and songs from America’s vast history of railroad folklore, including interactive songs geared toward children. The event is held in collaboration with the Catawba County Library, which will have a booth set up at both showings.

Stories and music will be performed by noted North Carolina storyteller Peg Kotlewski, husband and wife duo Bill and Kristin Morris (better known as Hobo Bill & Kristin), Conover Branch Librarian Jan Glenn, and Museum Coordinator James Glenn.

Light refreshments will be served, and the museum will be open 30 minutes before and after the program.

The Southeastern Narrow Gauge & Shortline Museum is the result of collaboration between two groups: the Newton Depot Authority and the Alexander Chapter of the NRHS. The museum is located in the historic Newton Depot at 1123 N. Main Ave. in Newton and the Welcome Center is located next door.

The museum is open every Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. with private tours available by request. Monthly Alexander Chapter NRHS meetings are held at the museum on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. and the public is invited and welcome.

Online Registration Is Now Available For Hickory’s Youth

Recreation Sports Programs

Hickory – City of Hickory’s Parks and Recreation Department is pleased to announce the launch of online registration for youth athletic programs.

Found on the city’s website at www.HickoryNC.gov/Content/Parks-and-Recreation, users can now register and pay online for upcoming youth sports programs.

“We always strive to provide quality athletic and recreational programming,” said Parks and Recreation Director Mack McLeod. “Having online registration is just another way to offer convenience and accessibility for our patrons.”

Registration and payment will still be accepted in person at Hickory Parks and Recreation Department Administrative Offices located at 1451 8th St. Dr. NE, Hickory.

Susan G. Komen’s Local Race For The Cure® Registration Is Open

Hickory – The eighteenth Susan G. Komen® Northwest NC (NWNC) Foothills Race for the Cure® 2017 will be held on September 30 as a kick-off to breast cancer awareness month. Komen NWNC proudly serves 22 counties including the Foothills and High Country regions of North Carolina. Online registration for the Race is now open.

The Timed Competitive 5K begins at 9:30 a.m. and the Untimed 5K Race/Walk begins at 9:45 a.m. The time of the One-Mile Fun Run/Walk will be announced soon. Survivor Café opens at 8 a.m. with the Survivor Processional starting at 9 a.m.

The Race will again be held at LP Frans Stadium at Winkler Park, located at 2500 Clement Boulevard, NW, Hickory. By moving the Race in 2016, it allowed for even more participants and additional participant parking and activities.

The Hickory Crawdads continue to be instrumental in partnering with the Race, allowing participants to cross the finish line at home plate. Teams can also participate in Team Tailgate, and Survivors will have their own designated area again. Race participants can also celebrate throughout the stadium concourse.

Participants and teams can register online at www.komennorthwestnc.org, by clicking on ‘Events’, then ‘Foothills Race for the Cure’. The online registration fee is $25 for untimed participants and $35 for timed participants. The youth fee is $15 and free for children under five. The $5 early-bird discount code “Early17” runs through July 31.

Paper Race Registration Forms and team information can be downloaded from the website up until Race day. The website also contains Race Day information and Frequently Asked Questions. Register and/or start a team today and save money, while saving lives in this community.

Visit Komen NWNC’s website at www.KomenNorthwestNC.org to learn more about their local impact and all the unique mission programs they offer, and to find out how you can volunteer.

If you have any questions please call (336) 721-0037. Komen NWNC is about impacting local lives.

RugBug Theatre Casts First Show Of The Season, Dragon Stew

Hickory - Director Murray Phillips has just announced his casting choices for Dragon Stew, the first show in this summer’s RugBug Theatre season.

In the story of Dragon Stew, Drew the Dragon has to work out a plan so she doesn’t become the main ingredient in the queen’s new recipe.

Drew is played by Angelina Prendergast and Carolina Edsjo is the Queen. Allison Sigmon and Ivey Rogers the Queen’s minions, Cookie and Yonkee. Caleb Sigmon and Brianna Sigmon are Drew’s friends, Georgie and Piper.

The RugBug Theatre is a “by kids for kids” theatre program where young actors, ages 6-16, perform plays for young audiences, ages 3-10.

Performances are Thursdays at 2:30pm, Fridays at 11:30am and Saturdays at 2:30pm, July 20th through 29th.

Tickets are $5 each and may be purchased or at the door one half hour before performance time. Seating is general admission.

PHOTO: Angelina Prendergast, Allison Sigmon, Ivey Rogers, Carolina Endsjo, Brianna Sigmon and Caleb Sigmon are the cast of Dragon Stew, a RugBug Theatre for Children production at the Hickory Community Theatre, July 20th through July 29th. Call 828-327-3855 for more information. Photo by Ashley Walker.

Annual Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention Is September 1-3

Lenoir, NC - The Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention is devoted to the preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage and resources of the Happy Valley/Yadkin Valley through an annual music festival that highlights traditional old-time and bluegrass music and rural traditions. It’s a fun, family-friendly event and features musicians from all over the United States.

This 13th annual event occurs Labor Day Weekend, September 1 – 3, 2017 on the Jones Farm on Highway 268 between Lenoir & North Wilkesboro – 3590 NC 268, Lenoir, NC.

Friday evening’s events start at 7:00 p.m. and feature music, a cake walk, and dances. Entry fee is $5.00/person (age 15 & under free).

Saturdays events start at 10:00 a.m. and include continuous music competitions, a flatfoot dance workshop and demonstration, instrument makers tent, Junior Appalachian Musicians showcase stage and children’s activities, storytelling and historic information. Entry fee is $10/person (age 15 & under free).

Sunday’s concert begins at 10:00 a.m. and features big names from far & wide, including Kruger Brothers and Dom Flemons, The Harris Brothers and more! Entry fee is $10/person (age 15 & under free).

Primitive camping is available for $25 for the entire weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Camping fee does not include admission.

Being a not-for-profit event, all funds beyond those necessary to ensure the continuation of the festival will go to youth scholarships and music programs that preserve traditional music, dance and instrument making activities.

All details for competition registration and event attendance are on the website www.happyvalleyfiddlers.org. As this event is now a program of the Caldwell Arts Council in Lenoir, advance discounted tickets will be available there starting mid-August. For any questions, call Tony Deal at 828-758-9448 or email tonyraydeal@gmail.com.

Register Now For Sat., December 9th’s Mel’s Jingle Run 5K,

Benefiting WRC & Operation 300

Hickory – Saturday, December 9, the third annual Mel’s Jingle Run 5K will be held in Downtown Hickory in support of Operation 300 and the Women’s Resource Center.

Mellow Mushroom Hickory is teaming up with RunTimeRaces to create the area’s premier Christmas-themed 5K run/walk. The timed race is family friendly, with all ages invited to participate, and will have entertainment for kids as well, like Becki the Balloon Lady and Mel the Mushroom.

In addition to medals awarded to those who place in the race, there will also be awards given for the most “jingled out” or festive costumes and race apparel.

Operation 300 is a non-profit organization that hosts adventure camps for children who have lost their fathers as a result of military service and seeks to honor the families of the Fallen. Operation 300 provides these children much needed encouragement and inspiration. Not only do the kids have fun at camp, but they also bond with other kids who have experienced the same tragedy. For these children to realize that they are not alone is a huge source of comfort.

The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) offers assistance to women in Catawba, Caldwell, Burke, and Alexander Counties, by offering programs that include workforce development and support, transition and goal planning services, substance abuse support groups, educational and enrichment programs, and help with challenges due to separation, domestic violence, or divorce, among many others. The WRC assists countless women and families in the region, offering help to those in need, affirmation to those in transition, encouragement to those seeking growth, hope to those who are searching, and empowerment to all who desire whole, healthy, and vibrant lives.

To learn more about these charitable organizations, visit www.Operation300.com and www.WRCHickory.org.

Race participants will also be asked to bring an unwrapped, new toy on race day for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. The toys will be presented to Santa Cops, a charity of the Conover Police Department.

The race will begin on December 9 at 8:30 a.m. at the Sails on the Square in Downtown Hickory and will finish at the same location. As a RunTimeRaces produced event, this event will be well organized and leave participants with an awesome race experience.

Online registration for this event can be found at www.RunTimeRaces.com.

Seeking Food And Craft Vendors For Bethlehem Day Fest., Sept. 16

Bethlehem, NC - The Bethlehem Community Development Association is now accepting applications for the 8th Annual Bethlehem Day Festival to be held on September 16th, 2017 at the crossroads of Shiloh Church Road and Rink Dam Road in Bethlehem (Alexander County).

Cruise-In At Bethlehem Days

Applications fees are $30 for craft and information vendors and $45 for food vendors and must be pre-registered by September 8th. For more information contact Donna Reid 828-234-6690 or 828-495-1057. Applications are available at www.Bethlehemcda.org or can be requested at bethlehemday@gmail.com.

Two Grant Writing & Research Workshops,

State & Federal Or Foundation, Aug. 21 & Sept. 19

Charlotte & Hickory, NC - Join Funding For Good and Amy Clinton & Associates in Charlotte, NC, August 21st to learn all about State and Federal grant writing.

To succeed with state and federal grants, you need to plan ahead, way ahead. You also need to step up your writing, program development and ability to follow instructions and be concise.

Join us for this workshop to learn how to interpret federal grant application guidelines, establish standards for proposals that will be deemed highly competitive, dive deeper into compelling needs statements and the research that helps create them, while exploring best practices, budgets and other nuts and bolts of federal grant applications. This workshop is sure to get your wheels turning and help you determine if you are ready to step into the world of federal grants.

To register please go to www.fundingforgood.org/store , early bird rate for the workshop is $147.

Join Mandy Pearce of Funding For Good in Hickory, NC, September 19th to learn all about Foundation Grant Writing & Effective Research.

If you are new to grant writing and research or find yourself with experience writing grants without receiving funding, this is the class for you.

This one day class is designed for beginners, as well as practiced grant writers who need to understand the elements of a proposal and how to successfully integrate each into a successful proposal, as well as the process for successful grant research.

This workshop will cover basic grant writing objectives, the seven elements of almost every proposal, formatting, how to customize proposals to the granting organization, developing relationships with donors and grant management.

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

To register, please go to www.fundingforgood.org/store. Early bird rate for the workshop is $147.

Meeting For Hickory’s Dodgeball & Kick Ball Leagues On Aug. 7

Hickory - The Hickory Parks and Recreation Department would like to announce an organizational meeting for the upcoming Men's and Women's Dodge Ball and Kickball Leagues.

The meeting will be held on Monday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Parks and Recreation administrative office at 1451 8th St. Dr. NE.

Rules and regulations will be discussed at this time. The entry fee is $242.00 per team and four teams are needed in order to form the league.

A $40.00 non-resident fee persons living outside the city limits of Hickory must accompany the roster. Regular season play is scheduled to begin in September.

For more information, please contact Sherry Morgan at 261-2255.

Motorcycle, Truck & Car Show Classic Is July 22 In Newton

Newton, NC – Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! The Newton Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring the annual Motorcycle, Truck & Car Show Classic at Southside Park on Saturday, July 22.

The gates will open at 11 a.m. and will close at 5 p.m. General admission is $2. Children 12 years old and younger will be admitted free. Concessions will be available. Southside Park is on U.S. 321 Business behind the National Guard Armory.

For show participants, the preregistration deadline by mail is Friday, July 14, with a $12 entry fee. Registration the day of the show will be allowed until 3 p.m. with a $15 entry fee.

Judging will begin at 3:30 p.m. for all classes. Trophies will be awarded in each class for winner, runner-up, and best of show.

Special club participation trophies will be awarded for farthest distance traveled, best dressed, and most members. All motorcycle or car clubs must have six or more members present to be considered for club participation awards.

A variety of special activities are planned for the event from noon to 3 p.m. A Horsepower Shoot-Out featuring dyno testing courtesy of Max Power Mobil Dyno Service of Concord will be a special highlight. Dyno testing will be free until 3 p.m. A $10 fee will be charged for dyno testing after 3 p.m.

In addition, the Christian Motorcyclists Association will sponsor Motorcycle Games with the Harley-Davidson Riders vs. Sport Bike Riders.

Show exhibitions will include: Kawasaki/Yamaha/Suzuki of Hickory, Blue Ridge Harley Davidson & Buell of Hickory, Honda/Yamaha/Suzuki of Statesville, Benson’s Cycle Salvage of Newton, AutoZone Auto Parts of Newton, O’Reilly Auto Parts of Newton, NAPA Auto Parts of Newton, Advance Auto Parts of Newton, Subway of Newton, and Amalfi’s Pizza of Conover.

For more information, please contact Newton Recreation Program Coordinator Charles James at 828-695-4317 or 828-217-4446.

HSCC Has $10 Off Spays In July

Hickory - Humane Society of Catawba County is offering $10 off female cat and dog spay surgery paid in July.

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

Come by to make an appointment or call (828) 464-8878 during business hours, Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

HSCC and Foothills Spay/Neuter Clinic services are available to any member of the public and are not limited to residents of Catawba County.

Photo: Wanda is 2 month old kitten and available for adoption at Catawba County Humane Society.

Oktoberfest Calls For Artisans For Juried Arts & Crafts Show

Hickory - Hickory’s Oktoberfest 2017 is now accepting applications for Arts and Crafts vendors. Celebrating its 32nd year, this annual festival will be held October 13, 14, and 15, 2017 in Downtown Hickory NC. Estimated attendance is 100,000 for the three day event.

Hickory’s Oktoberfest is an outdoor festival held annually on the second weekend in October. It features four stages of non-stop live entertainment ranging from traditional polka to rock & roll, two beer gardens, amusement rides and carnival games, a juried arts and crafts show, and hundreds of food and commercial vendors.

Oktoberfest’s Juried Arts and Crafts show is a juried event, with prizes given for the top three artisans. The Arts & Crafts area includes paintings, sculpture, pottery, handmade swings, candles, jewelry, photography and more. Booth spaces are 10 x 10 and limited to one craftsperson per booth.

Registration will be accepted until Thursday, August 1, 2017. Booth fees are $200.00 for all three days with electricity available for an additional $25.00. Applications and guidelines are available on line at www.hickoryoktoberfest.com.

Other vendors include foods from around the world, commercial businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Applications for Commercial and Non-Profit vendors are available online at www.hickoryoktoberfest.com.

Food vendors are welcomed into the festival by invitation only. No food vendor applications are provided online.

For more information on Oktoberfest 2017, applications and guidelines or sponsorship information please visit the website www.hickoryoktoberfest.com and click on vendor applications or email info@downtownhickory.com.

Newton Seeks Badminton Players

Newton, NC – The Newton Parks and Recreation Department is looking for any adults interested in playing badminton on a regular schedule at the Newton Recreation Center.

Badminton is a sport played using racquets to hit a shuttlecock across a net. Although it may be played with larger teams, the most common form of play is with singles and doubles.

Anyone interested in playing badminton one or two days each week during the mornings or evenings is asked to contact the Newton Parks and Recreation Department at 828-695-4317 or Jerry Hodge at jthodge@charter.net.

Newton’s Appearance Commission Holds Paint The Town

Red, White & Blue Contest, Enter By August 9

Newton, NC - In honor of the 128th annual Soldiers Reunion, the Newton Appearance Commission is sponsoring the Paint the Town Red, White and Blue patriotic decorating contest.

Residents and businesses within the city of Newton are invited to decorate their homes, yards, or businesses with a patriotic theme for the chance to win cash prizes.

Judging will take place from Friday, Aug. 11, through Saturday, Aug. 12. Decorations must be in place during that time to be considered for the contest. Winners will be announced on the Appearance Commission’s Facebook page. They will also be posted on the city of Newton website and at the Appearance Commission’s booth on Reunion Day.

The Appearance Commission hopes members of the community will show off their patriotic spirit during the upcoming Reunion Week activities and show our city’s patriotic pride.

One winning business and one winning home will each receive a $75 Lowe’s gift card. One honorable mention business and one honorable mention home will each receive a $25 Lowe’s gift card.

Decorating Contest Instructions:

Registration is required. Registration forms are available at the Main Library in Newton, Newton City Hall, the Newton Recreation Center, and at www.newtonnc.gov/patriotic.pdf.

Entries must be received by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9.

Registration forms may be submitted to the drop box at Newton City Hall or emailed to newtonpatriotic@gmail.com.

Decorations must be a patriotic theme and be visible from the street. There is no fee to enter. Please contact Appearance Commission Chair Collette Touchette at newtonpatriotic@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Soldiers Reunion 5K Run/Walk & One-Mile Fun Run Is Sat., Aug. 19

Newton, NC – The Newton Parks and Recreation Department will sponsor the 28th Annual Southern Biscuit Soldiers Reunion 5K Run/Walk and One-Mile Fun Run on Saturday, Aug. 19.

The family friendly event will begin at the Newton Recreation Center at 8 a.m. with a one-mile fun run. The 5K run/walk will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Trophies will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers in the 5K overall, as well as in each age division, with awards presented for first place only in each age division for the one-mile fun run.

Preregistration is $20 for the 5K run/walk and $10 for the one-mile fun run. Preregistration is open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16. Late registration runs through 7:30 a.m. on race day for $25 for the 5K and $15 for the one-mile fun run.

Race applications are now available at Newton City Hall, the Newton Recreation Center, participating sponsors, and online at www.newtonnc.gov/reunionrun.pdf.

The event is sponsored by BB&T, Bennett Funeral Service, Carolina Glove & Safety Company, Cook’s Sporting Goods, Emerge Ortho, Fleet Feet Sports, Geppeto’s Pizza & More, Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo L.L.P, Lee Industries, PDQ, Pepsi, Southern Biscuit, Subway, Therapeutic Solutions, Tadlock’s Trophies, and Texas Roadhouse.

The Newton Recreation Center is located at 23 South Brady Ave. For more information about the 28th Annual Southern Biscuit Soldiers Reunion 5K Run/Walk and One-Mile Fun Run, please call the Newton Recreation Department at 828-695-4317.

Library Accepts School Supplies & Gently Used

Prescription Eyeglass Donations To Help Foster Kids

Newton, NC – The Catawba County Library is half way into this year’s Summer Learning Program which is themed, Build a Better World. All summer long, books, programs, and events are focusing on how every person can contribute to a better community and world. Beyond learning about it, the library is giving kids and adults real life opportunities to put the theme into action.

Throughout the month of July, the library is collecting donations for three different projects to help people locally and around the world.

The entire library system is partnering with the adoption and foster care division of Catawba County Department of Social Services to collect gently used luggage and duffel bags.

As foster children are moved, they often have to use a garbage bag to carry their items, so your donation will make a significant difference. Donations can be dropped off at any one of the Catawba County Library’s seven locations.

The Main Library in Newton and Maiden Branch Library are partnering with the United Way of Catawba County to Stuff the Bus with school supplies to ensure that students in all three of our school systems have the supplies they need in the coming school year.

Donations can be dropped off in collection barrels at either location. Suggested donations include paper, notebooks, pencils, pens, tissues, crayons, safety scissors, glue sticks and highlighters.

The Main Library in Newton is also partnering with Eye Make a Difference, a VSP Global Eyes of Hope program to build better global vision through an eyeglasses collection. Two billion people worldwide do not have access to much-needed eyewear due to income, distance, or disaster.

Your gently used prescription glasses or inexpensive reading glasses can give someone in need a new outlook on life. The collection box is located at the Reference Desk at the Main Library in Newton.

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

Soldiers Reunion 30-60-100 Mile Century Bike Ride Is August 20

Newton, NC – The annual Soldiers Reunion 30-60-100 Mile Century Bike Ride will be held Sunday, Aug. 20. The event begins with a mass start at the Newton Recreation Center at 8 a.m.

All bicycle rides will be conducted at each rider’s pace, with three ride lengths mapped throughout Catawba County. Each ride offers scenery and hills for cyclists to enjoy. The ride is open to everyone, but riders younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian while participating.

Annual Century Bike Ride Is August 20 In Newton

First aid, refreshments, T-shirts, and more will be provided for all participants.

Preregistration is $20 and will be accepted until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16. Late registration runs through 7:30 a.m. on ride day for $25.

Ride applications are available at Newton City Hall, the Newton Recreation Center, sponsoring locations, and online at www.newtonnc.gov/reunionride.pdf.

The Newton Recreation Center is located at 23 South Brady Ave. For more information on the 30-60-100 Mile Century Bike Ride, call Newton Rec. at 828-695-4317.

Hornets Sponsor Football Clinic On Saturday, July 22 In Newton

Newton, NC – The Newton Parks and Recreation Department and the Catawba County Hornets will sponsor a football skills clinic for boys and girls ages 4-12 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, July 22.

The clinic will be held at Westside/Jaycee Park, which is located at the intersection of Southwest Boulevard and West J Street. A $5 donation is suggested from participants. Participants will learn football fundamentals and coordination skills at several stations according to ages. All participants will receive a T-shirt and lunch.

Newton Parks and Recreation Department and Catawba County Hornets participation waivers are required. Waivers are available when registering at the Newton Recreation Center, 23 South Brady Ave. No child will be allowed to participate in the camp without properly signed waivers.

For more information, call the Newton Parks and Rec Dept at 828-695-4317 or visit www.newtonnc.gov.

FUMC Of Hickory Hosts Two Free Programs For Aging Adults In July

Hickory - There are several free July programs at First United Methodist Church of Hickory, located at 311 3rd Avenue, NE, Hickory, NC, 28601 in the Scout Room.

On Wednesday, July 12, from 4pm-5pm the Frye Regional Medical Center’s Occupational Therapy Department will present its Senior Driving Assessment program and how it can benefit families and aging adults.

On Wednesday, July 26, from 4pm-5pm, the Alzheimer’s Association will present Understanding and Responding to Dementia Related Behavior.

For questions or to RSVP, please contact Jamie Hawley at (828) 726-7261 or jamie.hawley12@gmail.com.

Enjoy The Farmers Market And Other Activities

In The Month Of July With Seniors Morning Out

Hickory – Participants in Catawba County Seniors Morning Out will enjoy a variety of fun and informative activities during the month of July. Some of these include trips to the local Farmers Market, music performances, craft day, and programs provided by Vaya Health. Seniors Morning Out will be closed on July 4 to observe Independence 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.

A few of the program highlights are as follows:

At West Hickory SMO, located at the West Hickory Senior Center, 400 17th St. SW, Hickory: July 3: Patriotic Sing-a-Long with Nancy Frady; July 10: Bingo; July 11: Watercolor with Lisa Adams; July 13: Farmers Market at Public Health; July 17: Safe Strides with Robbie Anderson from Gentiva Home Health; July 20: Music by Sentimental Journey; July 25: Heath Benefits of Pineapple and blood pressure checks; July 26: Bingo; July 27: birthday party and singing by Charles Ballard. To reserve your place, contact Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

At the East Hickory SMO, located at Huntington Hills Church of God, 2123 Fifth St. NE, Hickory: July 5: Sentimental Journey; July 11: Depression /Suicide in Older Adults by Jeff Dula; July 12: Blood Pressures checks and Nutritional Facts about Pecans; July 17: Gospel Sing a Long with Charles Ballard; July 18: Bingo; July 24: CapTel captioned telephone program with Kristine Beatty, to reserve your spot, contact Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

At the Newton SMO, located at First Presbyterian Church 701 N. Main Ave., Newton: July 5: Music by Fred Wilson; July 11: Blood Pressure checks; July 12: How to Make Cracker Candy; July 17: Painted River Rocks; July 18: music by Sentimental Journey; July 24: Bowling at Pin Station; July 25: Anxiety Disorders by Terry Spencer with Smoky Mountain Behavioral Health; July 31: Movie Day “By Dawn’s Early Light.” To reserve your place, contact Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

At the Catawba SMO, located at Center United Methodist Church, 4945 Sherrills Ford Road, Catawba: July 3: Bingo; July 5: Bowling at Pin Station; July 6: Blood Pressure checks and Fall Prevention by Kayla Hefner Catawba Valley Medical Center ; July 13: Music by Fred Wilson; July 18: Indoor Beach Party, food and games; July 19: Cooking Class on Roasting Vegetables; July 20: Sing- a- long with Camilla Fogle, July 26: Parkinson’s Disease by Annie Williams; July 27: Craft with Tonya Jarnac; To reserve your place, 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, Maiden: July 3: Red, White, and Blue Party; July 6: Singing by West Side Baptist Church ; July 10: Recognition of Pecan Pie Day and tasting; July 11: Corn hole; July 13: Trip to Public Health Farmers Market ; July 20: Personality Disorders by Terry Spencer with Smoky Mountain Behavioral Health; July 25: Bingo; July 31: Music time with Camila and Larry Fogle- Victrola and 78 Record Music. To reserve your place, call 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 www.mealsonwheelsofcatawbacounty.org 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 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for holidays. Like their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty, or visit their website at www.MealsonWheelsofCatawbaCounty.org.

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 www.ccunitedway.com

Photo: Farmers Market

Newton Library Is Gearing Up For Annual Book Sale On August 10

Newton, NC – The Catawba County Friends of the Library group is gearing up for its biggest and most popular fundraiser of the year - the Annual Friends of the Library Book Sale. In anticipation of this event, the Friends seek donations now and throughout the year.

The Friends appreciate all book donations in good and clean condition. It is a good practice to donate books while they are still in a good shape to be enjoyed by the public.

The Friends are looking for a variety of materials including fiction and nonfiction books for children ages kindergarten through high school. Audio books, video games, DVDs and CDs, VHS tapes are also accepted.

There are a number of items the Friends do not need for the book sale because there is currently not a market for them with the buying public. These items include: encyclopedias, magazines, textbooks, and computer manuals.

Donations can be dropped off during normal business hours at any of the seven locations of the Catawba County Library System. Donors can check with library staff for best drop off locations and request a donation letter for tax purposes.

This year’s book sale dates are Thursday, August 10 from 2 pm – 7 pm, Friday, August 11 from 10 am – 4 pm, and Saturday, August 12 from 10 am – 1 pm. As in years past, anyone who belongs to the Friends group will be able to get first pick of the books for sale, prior to the public opening, on Wednesday, August 9 from 4-7 pm.

The membership fee to join the group is $10 for an individual, $15 for a family, and $25 for a business. Membership forms can be obtained at the library’s front desk or at the book sale’s front door.

“The Friends’ book sale is a great opportunity for booklovers to pick up some good deals,” said Library Director Suzanne White. “We’re so fortunate to have the Friends’ support and advocacy, and community donations, and the book sale’s proceeds allow the Friends to support expanded programs and services for the community.”

For questions, or to become a Friend of the Library, email mylibrary@catawbacountync.gov or call the Main Library, in Newton, at (828) 465-8664. The Catawba County Friends of the Library thanks the community for its continued support.

The Main Library in Newton is located at 115 West C St., Newton NC, 28658.

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

Boger City United Methodist Church’s Annual

Summer Lunch Program Runs Through August 11

Lincolnton, NC - Learning does not end when the school lets out for the summer. Neither does the need for good nutrition. Millions of children depend on free or reduced lunches and breakfast for 9 months each year.

For many children, summer vacation exposes them to an increased risk of hunger and developmental delays. Lincoln County Schools Summer Lunch Program, with the support from the USDA, gives Lincoln County children 18 years old and younger an opportunity to receive at no cost a bag lunch ( consisting of a sandwich, vegetables, fruit and milk) began Monday, June 19th and continues through Friday, August 11th @ strategically placed meal sites at different locations through Lincoln County.

For a complete list of Lincoln County School Summer Lunch Program meal site locations, please contact 704-736-4301 or go online to www.lcsnc.org/Page/2940.

What makes Boger City united methodist church summer lunch program unique?

“There are a variety of things making Boger City United Methodist Summer Lunch Program unique to other Lincoln County School meal sites,” said Robert Tomlinson, BCUMC Summer Lunch Program Coordinator. “Over the past two years, the number of children served at our church summer lunch meals site had increased. We are anticipating the number of children (18 years old and younger) served to continue expanded due to children returning, to increased publicity campaign, and to our implementing a variety of weekly educational and entertaining programs.

In addition to feeding the children’s bodies, one of the greatest successes of our churches’ Summer Lunch Program has been to give each child a book to take home daily.

During the summer of 2016, although lunch was served from 12:00 Noon to 12:30 pm at our churches Summer Lunch Program, we noticed children arriving with their parents earlier. As a result, we started showing free children’s movies from 11:30 am in our Fellowship Hall,” remarked Tomlinson.

“Due to the overwhelming positive response from children and their parents attending our 2016 churches summer lunch program meal site, we are planning to continue providing children an assortment of daily and weekly rewards including T-shirts, socks, dental hygiene products, and other surprises.

When adults accompany and remain with their children to Boger City United Methodist Church summer lunch meal site located at 2320 East Main Street in Lincolnton, they will receive a nutritious, healthy snack,” stated Tomlinson.

“Another destination between Boger City United Methodist Church Summer Lunch meal site from other Lincoln County School Summer locations will an assortment of free children’s movies, educational and entertaining programs will be held from 11:00 am to 11:45 am, Monday through Friday.

A partial list of educational, and entertaining programs include Conrad The Crawdad mascot of Hickory Crawdads Baseball Team, Schiele Museum Traveling Animal exhibit, Lincoln County EMS, NC Forestry Service, a local magician performing his magic and representatives from various city, county, and state agencies,” proclaimed Tomlinson.

For more information and directions to the 3rd Annual Boger City United Methodist Church Summer Lunch Program, please call 704-735-7513.

Library Adds Summer Lunches To Summer Reading Programs

Newton, NC - The Catawba County Library, in partnership with Catawba County Schools, is adding a new component to its Summer Learning Program with free lunches being provided at four branch locations.

Lunches will be served at the Main Library in Newton, St. Stephens Branch Library, and Southwest Branch Library Monday through Friday from 12:30 – 2:30 pm. The Claremont Branch Library will serve lunches Tuesday through Friday from 12:30 – 2:30 pm.

There are no forms to fill out or eligibility requirements to meet. Any child or teen, 18 years or under, is welcome to come eat lunch at the library. The Summer Lunches begin on Wednesday, June 14th and run through August 21st.

“We are very excited about partnering with Catawba County Schools to feed children this summer!” says assistant director Siobhan Loendorf. “The addition of free lunches to our Summer Learning Program allows us to nourish minds and bodies, keeping kids healthy, engaged in learning and positioned to succeed in school.”

This year’s Summer Learning theme at the library is “Build a Better World” and it includes interactive programs at all seven Catawba County Library locations.

Activities kick off this week with the Australian themed - Didgeridoo Downunder and continue through July with live animal adventures from the Schiele Museum, musical theater with the Green Bean Players, physical fitness with In the Mix Fitness, STEAM programs, and much more. Register online or at your local branch location.

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

Enter HSCC’s 2018 Furry Faces Calendar Contest By July 31

Hickory - Humane Society of Catawba County is currently accepting photo entries for the 2018 Furry Faces Calendar. “It’s a fun way to show off your four-legged family member, all while changing the lives of homeless animals in our community,” said Alicia Blackburn, marketing manager at HSCC. Contest ends July 31st at midnight.

The top thirteen winners will be featured in the 2018 calendar which will be available for purchase in the fall. Please note this year the contest format has changed, and the photo you submit will likely not be used in the final calendar. A professional photo of your pet will be taken and used in the final publication. The winning contestants will be offered a photo shoot, and a final selection will be chosen from the photos taken. Arrangements for location of photo shoot will be made once the contest has concluded. “Our hope is that these images will allow for a high quality calendar, with a consistent and professional look; the photo you submit is for voting purposes only,” said Blackburn.

All votes placed and all dollars raised will help HSCC change the lives of homeless animals in need.

HSCC operates through the generosity and support of individuals in the community. HSCC does not receive any tax dollars, United Way funding, or receive portions of donations made to national humane organizations.

Each year HSCC finds homes for hundreds of rescue animals, provides low cost spay/ neuter and vaccine clinics, and offers humane educational programs. All donations are tax-deductible. Visit HSCC’s website to enter and vote: www.catawbahumane.org

2018 Sponsorship Opportunities: Any local business in the Unifour area, can sponsor one month of the HSCC calendar for $250 and receive a company logo featured on the sponsored month and 10 free calendars to give away to customers.

Cover sponsor level is $500, and will feature the sponsor’s logo on the cover and 25 free calendars. Interested sponsors call 828-464-8878 to speak with Alicia Blackburn.

Free Tai Chi Classes Monday Nights At Patrick Beaver Library

Hickory – Sessions of Tai Chi Classes will be offered at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library on Monday evenings at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. from June 19th – July 10th and July 24th – August 14th.

This low-impact exercise takes you through a series of martial arts motions that combines Qi Gong or breathing exercises and focused attention.

Instructor Diane Christensen

Classes will be led by Diane Christensen, a Hickory, NC resident and a certified Easy Tai Chi Instructor.

All levels of experience are welcome. Tai Chi can be easily adapted for any age or physical ability. Attendees should wear comfortable clothing for movement.

Participating in the Tai Chi Classes is free and open to the public. For more information, please call 304-0500 ext. 7235. Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is located at 375 3rd Street NE on the SALT Block.

Seeking Food And Arts & Crafts Vendors For

8th Annual Bethlehem Day Festival In September

Bethlehem, NC - The Bethlehem Community Development Association is now accepting applications for the 8th Annual Bethlehem Day Festival to be held on September 16th, 2017 at the crossroads of Shiloh Church Road and Rink Dam Road in Bethlehem (Alexander County). Applications fees are $30 for craft and information vendors and $45 for food vendors and MUST BE PRE-REGISTERED by September 8th.

For more information contact Donna Reid 828-234-6690 or 828-495-1057.

Applications are available at www.Bethlehemcda.org or can be requested at bethlehemday@gmail.com.

First United Methodist Church Offers Free & Low-Cost Classes

Hickory - First United Methodist Church of Hickory has the following FREE Health and Wellness programs available to the community.

"Inflammation and Your Diet" Educational program given by Holley Dagenhardt, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Learn dietary strategies that may help decrease inflammation in your body. Thursday, May 25, 6:30pm in Scout Room.

Zumba every Tuesday evening at 5:45pm. This class is a low-moderate intensity level.

Females in Action is an outdoor, peer-led workout with varying levels of intensity and modified to meet your needs. These workouts are offered Wednesday and Friday mornings at 5:30am-6:15am meeting in the parking lot of First UMC of Hickory. Friday mornings at 9:30am at Glenn Hilton park. Saturday mornings at 8:00am in the parking lot of First UMC.

Hopeful Heart Yoga on Monday evenings from 6:30pm-7:30pm. A time for gentle stretch and flow yoga. Increase flexibility and gain balance. Suggested donation of $1-$2.

For more information contact First UMC of Hickory at 828-322-6058, located at 311 3rd Ave. NE, Hickory, 28601.

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 www.fgcservices.com, or call 828-322-1400. For the latest updates, like the center on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thefamilyguidancecenter.

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.

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.

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 www.catawbacountync.gov/phealth.

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 http://www.wrchickory.org/product-pantry/

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 www.newtonnc.gov.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAFE Connect Offers Resource Website To Assist Homeless

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

A new website hopes to correct that problem, providing a virtual portal for citizens, law enforcement, or nonprofits to quickly refer persons experiencing homelessness to resources and information. It can be accessed at http://safeconnectcatawba.com. A multi-disciplinary team worked on the SAFE Connect project throughout 2015. The word "SAFE" in the name refers to the services that are often needed: shelter, assistance, food, and emergency care.

Now anyone with a computer or smart phone can access the site and immediately learn about available services and where they are located. The service can also use GPS to identify the closest service.

A person using the site selects the types of services they need and a series of links pop up listing the choices available in that area and how to contact them. Users of the service may also click on a button for immediate assistance, and a message is sent to a local person who can provide personalized information and assistance.

"We hope that governmental and non-profit groups in our area will use this site to refer persons experiencing homelessness to the most appropriate services," said John Eller, director of Catawba County Social Services. "Concerned citizens and persons who are experiencing homeless can also use the service if they have access to a computer or smart phone. The service is also a valuable resource when a person is at-risk for becoming homeless. This will be a great complement to United Way's 211 system and we will even have the 211 link visible so those interested can see their robust database should they want to obtain information other than homeless services."

The long term intent is for this service to eliminate the problem of persons contacting multiple agencies trying to find different kinds of assistance.

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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