Last night, as the first city council meeting in nearly 15 years started without him sitting on the council, Lewis Price’s tenure with the city of Lenoir came full circle.
A pipe that Lenoir officials didn’t even know existed caused a sinkhole and related problems that could cost $1 million to fix, an expense no one anticipated.
And that essentially sums up a major issue confronting the city.
Jason Howard is a brewer. He handcrafted his own recipes, continuously honing them in his home for more than a decade before making it a career – and making those beers the backbone of a thriving Lenoir brewery.
Giorgio Corso’s grandfather founded a small, metal-drawing lubricants company called Lubrimetal in Italy in 1959. Today, the company is truly global, with locations in Brazil, India and Caldwell County.
As executive vice president, Corso flies back and forth every few weeks to Italy and Granite Falls, where Lubrimetal’s American manufacturing facility is located.
In Meleah Mikeal’s bedroom, framed photos of her crossing finish lines with a paper number pinned to her shirt, exausted from miles of continuous running, share wall space with the numerous medals she won.
On Saturday, she crossed the finish line of a half-marathon named in her honor, but this time she crossed the line in her wheelchair.
Ester Farthing, 67, began working in cotton and hosiery mills in her 20s. Day in and day out, loud machines touted high-frequency noise as she worked for years, mostly without hearing protection.
Over the nearly 40 years working with the noise, her hearing deteriorated until she was nearly deaf in her right ear, and could hardly hear her daughter’s words when they spoke.
Hundreds of people filed into pews Thursday night, gathered with one thing in common: They were touched by a person who was taken in the past year by cancer, and those in the pews were there to celebrate the legacies those people left behind.
At The Wig Bank of Caldwell County’s 11th annual Legacy Banquet, Greg Barrett, Ruth Bolick, Walter Soots, Betty Storie, Kylee Walker and Jerry Woods were celebrated and remembered for the lives they affected pacted and the brightness and joy they gave to the world.
The bright November sun shone on a table set for one, an empty chair, a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of salt on the lone plate that adorned the white tablecloth, accented with an upside-down glass and a single rose, its vase tied in a red ribbon.
Behind the table, a Navy veteran spoke of the sacrifices of veterans and explained the empty table: signifying prisoners of war and those service members who remain missing in action.
Most kids dream of being cowboys.
But 7-year-old Tyler West of Lenoir already is one.
Tyler rides in rodeos — riding sheep, for now. If he sticks with it (and he plans to), he’ll move up to calves, then steer, then bulls.
It’s not always the father, but often it is, who gets upset when someone turns the air conditioning down low in the summer or turns the heat up high in the fall and winter.
At least, that’s how it was at my house.
It must also be how it was for most of my friends growing up because at this time of year, almost all of them hold off turning on the heat. They see how long they can last without it.
An oxen walked up the hill toward the old plantation house in the frosty Saturday morning, a potter sat in the sun, crafting pinch pots, women cooked over an open fire and girls made cornhusk dolls.
As the sun began to break the cold, it looked like nothing had changed at the homestead of William Lenoir, surveyor, politician, war hero and namesake of the city of Lenoir, who completed construction of his iconic house in 1792.
The house still stands as it did then, with the original beams, bricks and floors. Not to mention the more than 300 original pieces in the home – not just original to the time period but original to the Lenoir family, even the furniture and bedspreads.
When Donald Kincaid first decided to get into the insurance business for himself, he had to take out a second mortgage on his home, and his wife, Syretha, “chewed me out pretty good,” he said.
Kincaid started out by himself selling insurance part-time, but today he owns two offices, employing nine full-time employees and one part-time. His company will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the end of this year.
The key to his company’s success? “Persistence, probably. Hard work,” Kincaid said but added that he could not have done it without his staff and family.
Tucked away in the Yadkin Valley on a 649-acre campus just across the Wilkes County line, broken young lives get second chances, thanks to the legacy of a family drug-store fortune born 600 miles away.
It is one of two campuses in North Carolina where the N.C. Department of Public Safety’s Division of Juvenile Justice partners with Eckerd -- a foundation focused on helping troubled youth and their families -- for short-term rehabilitation programs for boys 13 to 17. The program signifies a shift in the way juvenile offenders are treated. The hope is that those passing through the program will help them move out of the justice system and go on to lead productive lives.
Lenoir American Legion Post 231 was down to just five members a few years ago, nearly losing its charter. Today, Post 231 is 40 members strong, and the effort to attract new and younger members continues.
But membership is not the only thing getting rebuilt at Post 231. Post members are working to remodel and refurbish their old and neglected building.
Lenoir was built on music. At Tucker’s Barn in the late 1700s, area residents would gather for everything from voting to frolicking at the meeting place that would become the city of Lenoir.
The music that was played there must have stuck in the dirt and air, because it’s still there today, says J. Neal Isaac, organizer of Loving Lenoir 2013, the third annual celebration of the city’s musical heritage.
Once, the Happy Valley 4-H clubhouse was new and covered in fresh paint, winking bright green at drivers who passed it on Roby Martin Road. The club stopped meeting in the 1980s and the clubhouse did what old buildings tend to do: It fell into disrepair.
Last week, a group of 4-H club members and their parents came to Bryant’s house armed with rakes, gloves and power tools. To mark National 4-H Week, Oct. 6-12, they cleared brush, rolled away tires and unearthed the little clubhouse.
In the sanctuary at First Baptist Hickory last week, a journey started that will end oceans away.
For 20 years, Operation Christmas Child has offered hand-packed shoeboxes full of small gifts for children in countries around the world. It’s a project overseen by Samaritan’s Purse, the international relief charity founded by Billy Graham’s eldest son, Franklin.
Since 1993, more than 100 million of the shoeboxes have been given away.
A gunshot set the group running up the hill away from the pond, starting the 2.5-mile route through the fields and woods that looped back to hay bail obstacles and then down toward the pond, where the trail disappeared into the woods. Before they finished they had to navigate a Slip'N Slide, a “swamp tromp,” then lift tires and haul cinder blocks before reaching the finish line, marked by a shower.
This was the inaugural Soldier Run, an obstacle course that tests more than a person’s running speed and stamina, but pushes athletes to work through tough obstacles. The race was part of the Endure event Saturday, hosted by the Dudley Shoals Baptist Church, featuring a 5K trail run and a family fun run. Organizer Patti Lail said more than 300 runners registered.
West Caldwell High School's speech and debate course launched last year and is sharing a time slot this year with a new honors class for returning students. On Oct. 12, students in the honors class will travel to North Mecklenburg High for their first debate tournament – making them the first competitive high school debate team at West and, at least for now, the only one in the county.
Native to Korea, brown marmorated stink bugs first crawled their way into North Carolina in 2009, after entering the United States in 2001. These insects start making their way into warm structures – like your house – in September and October, seeking winter shelter. They can’t harm people, but they do, true to their name, secrete a chemical that doesn’t smell particularly pleasant if you squish them.
Before the next time it rains, go out and look at the sidewalks surrounding the square in downtown Lenoir.
There you’ll be able to see, in sprawling pastel color, the things that make second-graders happy.
The Caldwell County Agricultural Fair started in 1946 when a group of county farmers joined together to celebrate their harvest but has grown into one of the largest annual events in the county, drawing some of the largest crowds.
The fair has not lost its connection to those first farmers, though. This year’s theme, “Reap What You Sow, Eat What You Grow,” focuses on values, "being good, honest, caring people, especially during difficult socioeconomic times, and preserving a lifestyle that is prominent in many counties of Western North Carolina,” president Janice Moses wrote in this year’s fair program.
On Friday, red- and blue-shirted players tangled on the ball field at Redwood Park in Hudson. Spectators perched on the bleachers and watched. Reporters, desperate to find a story to file, patrolled the sidelines with their notebooks.
But the action on the field was academic, not athletic. It was the “Battle of Redwood,” a first-time event that aimed to teach students, in short, about perspective – and how immediate, primary sources differ from later historical accounts.