Hunched over a ceramic tile, 9-year-old Ashley Moreira watched with apparent concern Monday as Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons dipped his brush into light blue paint, then swept it across the tile.
“You’ve got to make it perfect,” Ashley told him.
Gibbons and Councilmen T.J. Rohr and Ben Willis joined West Lenoir Elementary School students to paint tiles for the Caldwell Community Gardens wall mural. Each sat down with one or more students to create his piece of artwork.
Philip Wike was raised in farming cattle. His father and his grandfather before him raised cattle, and today the family owns and rents farms in Caldwell County, raising cattle, chickens, corn and more.
With farming, each day is a new experience, and he gets to work outdoors. But, he said, the most rewarding is getting to see things grow up, seeing the fruits of his labor, working for himself and being his own person.
For Wike, the newly elected president of the Caldwell County Cattlemen’s Association, there’s no other way to live.
Inside a small, brick building in Hudson, over the sound of scissors slicing into hair, the conversation flows without stalling, as it has for 45 years.
Opened as Hall’s Barbershop in 1969, under owner Stanley Hall, the building serves an identical purpose today. It’s now Andy’s Barbershop, operated by Andy Johnson, a barber who got his haircuts at Hall’s as a kid.
But calling Johnson a childhood customer of Hall’s is probably underselling the relationship.
After hearing of Blue Ridge Tissue Company for the first time, one would think that the product would be narrowly focused -- maybe a few varieties of tissue paper.
But from the company’s 78,000-square-foot facility on Yadkin River Road in Patterson, 25 distinct grades of tissue and nearly 2,000 other products are produced and shipped internationally.
At each of eight tables, students hovered over a black, metal box, unpacking rainbow-colored wires and shining metal parts, diving in to assemble the pieces, looking more like surgeons on the operating table than students putting together computers.
Thursday was the third annual computer-building workshop with Google, and this year the focus was on teaching kids just what it takes to work in the technology and computer-based fields, including more than just the working parts of a computer.
Now just a cotton-pickin’ minute here.
Do you mean to tell me that someone is trying to move Mayberry out of North Carolina to some spot way up North?
Uh-uh, naw sir, that won’t do. That won’t do ay-tall.
On acres of sloping land dotted with grazing horses, and inside a building where rows of nameplates spell out horses’ names, Amber Gelinas is living a dream.
Gelinas, a lifelong lover of horses, came to Lenoir from Mooresville along with Matt Hartline and their daughter, Matilyn, to open Oakwood Stables on Pisgah Church Road. For the last year and a half, they’ve offered boarding and lessons in various riding styles, along with birthday parties, guided trail rides and monthly game nights.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, lovingly known as “America’s Favorite Drive,” has been riding a roller coaster of funding challenges over the past three years, taking the biggest hit in March 2013 from budget cuts forced by the sequester.
Once a week at Baton Elementary School, a 29-member archery team composed of fourth- and fifth-graders meets to practice. On Thursday, they competed in National Archery in Schools’ North Carolina state tournament.
Whether they’re on the team or not, every fourth- and fifth-grader at Baton gets to learn archery. It’s part of the National Archery in Schools program, which in North Carolina is administered by the state Wildlife Resources Commission.
Raylo Smith hit the gym Tuesday, the first step toward getting his strength back and getting back to the work he knows best – laying brick.
He walked through the lobby of Quest 4 Life Wellness Center and rode up the elevator, receiving waves and brief greetings from people already working out. He climbed on the treadmill and started walking. Easy.
In Lenoir, as Black History Month gets off the ground, organizers are working to make a real impact on the area’s youth, keeping the focus on history that’s close to home.
Lester Whittington, supervisor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, said this year the focus is on students, educating them about the history of the black community in Caldwell County and working to get young people involved in carrying on the community’s legacy.
Rose Noakes came to Lenoir deliberately, scrutinizing cities in the Southeast, staying in hotels for weeks at a time trying to find the place with the right ingredients — community, culture, people.
It wasn’t an easy journey, but when she got to Lenoir, it was an easy choice. Noakes was looking for a place to start her dream.
As happens each Valentine's Day, a slew of couples filed into the city-county chambers of the Alden E. Starnes Administration Building in Lenoir, all set to get married. There were 17 of them, some in jeans or leggings, some in wedding dresses. Some brought full wedding parties along, while others got married alone.
It’s a product that’s uniquely Western North Carolinian, conjuring images of backwoods mountain men brewing spirits in copper stills nestled in hollows.
And soon, perhaps, a batch of traditional mountain apple brandy distilled in Lenoir could be bought halfway around the globe in China.
Winter has worn out its welcome.
The brief spell of spring-like weather at the beginning of last week drove home that my body is ready for winter to be over. A couple of days after the high temperature peaked in the 60s, we had high temperatures in the 40s and lows in 20s. In January that would have felt positively temperate. Not now.
The iconic artist Andy Warhol used Polaroids and black-and-white prints to document the world around him, in painstaking detail.
This month at the Caldwell Arts Council, a collection of the prolific pop artist’s photographs are on display alongside the work of Lenoir photographer Bob Phipps and strobe-photography pioneer Harold “Doc” Edgerton.
The Hibriten chorus program, which has ballooned from 30 students to 70 in the last two years, is working to pay for its April trip through two Disney-themed fundraisers, both scheduled for Feb. 15 at the Hudson Uptown Building: a “Royal Tea” for kids at 1 p.m. and a “Magic Kingdom Dinner Theater” at 6:30 p.m.
In March, Lee Huffman hopes to throw a birthday party for the oldest member of his family -- 100 years old, bright red and weighing 6,500 pounds.
On Saturday morning in Lenoir, bundled-up girls waved signs by the road and arranged stacks of lemon- and mint- and grape-colored boxes.
It’s Girl Scout cookie time.
The walls of Hibriten High, like the walls of many other high schools, are made of cinderblock and covered in industrial, cream-colored paint.
The walls of Hibriten, though, are dotted with classic paintings. Picassos. Michaelangelos. Van Goghs.
The thought of fitting together 24,000 jigsaw puzzle pieces into one giant mosaic would be daunting to most. But not for 63-year-old Wayne Douglas, who spent nearly 500 hours and six months hunkered over a large table at the Satie and J.E. Broyhill Caldwell Senior Center.
The completed puzzle, called "LIFE - The Great Challenge," measures 5 feet by 14 feet and now hangs on a wall in the center's activity room.
A champion is a person who takes on a cause with passion, and fights for that cause.
Thursday night, at the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce’s 94th Annual Dinner, “A Celebration of Champions,” members of the Caldwell County community who have done that were honored. Members of Caldwell County governments, businesses, schools, hospitals and more gathered for the dinner and to hear the legacies of three individuals who have given themselves and their works to Caldwell.
When you see a pair of Mormon missionaries riding their bikes, wearing their black nametags and pressed white shirts, raising their hands to knock on doors, it’s easy to think of them as anonymous. Transient. Simply part of one massive group.
But, of course, they aren’t actually anonymous. The five Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionaries currently assigned to Caldwell County are 21-year-old Cody Troseth, 19-year-old Quinn Miles, 19-year-old Will Richardson, 20-year-old Jessica Campos and 20-year-old Emily Ashcraft. (They don’t call each other by those names -- LDS missionaries are referred to as “Elder or “Sister, based on gender.)
In a classroom-style building tucked into the corner of one of the old Shuford Mills buildings, all chipping paint on brick walls, 10 sixth-graders from Granite Falls Middle School wearing safety glasses put parts and pieces together, making robots.
The students spent their half-day on Friday making what they called eggbots — basically, robots capable of drawing on spherical surfaces the size of eggs — at Foothills Community Workshop. In this case, the spherical surface used was ping-pong ball.
On a cold, clear Saturday morning, Jeff Welch, Sean Moore and a group of dedicated volunteers trudged through the frost and woods, lugging shovels, rakes and picks – finally breaking ground on a project that has been years in the making.