As it turned out, one of the first tasks the Rockit presented for its first staff – after that inappropriate word made it on the air – was sifting through those files of music to figure out which songs could stay.
But that task was tackled, and now the Rockit is celebrating its 10th anniversary. South may be the only high school in the state to have a station licensed by the FCC and broadcasting throughout the county instead of on a closed circuit within the school.
Caldwell Friends, a nonprofit based in downtown Lenoir, pairs at-risk kids referred by school counselors with volunteer mentors, who spend at least two hours with them every week. The goal, program manager Liz Eller said, is to “inspire, enrich and enable” kids.
During those weekly visits, mentors often set up activities, but it can also be something as simple as running errands together.
Marty G. Waters founded Marlin Company Inc. with his mother, Linda K. Waters, in 1992, when he was the only employee, but today Marlin occupies more than 100,000 square feet and employs 30 people while producing about 1.8 million pounds of chemical products each month.
The Marlin name is a combination of the two founders, Marty and Linda, and that same family and community cohesion has pervaded the company since, now including Marty’s father and a strong presence in Lenoir.
The contents of classroom-sized area at the Lenoir Police Department changes constantly. About 60 new items come in each week -- mason jars of moonshine, Bibles, guns and ammunition, credit cards, clothing, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, electronics, jewelry, keys, cash, camping equipment, brass knuckles, swords, a gumball machine, urine (yes, urine!) and more. Even a diaper pin.
A sign atop the entrance of a plain, one-story building in a sharp bend of Hartland Road near the Burke County line says "Hartland Coffee Shop," but the building sits empty most of the time.
In a Hickory gym where the floor springs and the smells of sweat and chalk swirl together, two Caldwell County gymnasts flip, vault and twirl four nights a week.
The two of them have crossed “go to nationals” off their bucket lists, but “graduate from middle school” – well, that one’s still in progress.
Isaac Bast, 12, a student at William Lenoir Middle School, and Carter Lewis, 12, a student at Hudson Middle, are competitive gymnasts at Foothills Gymnastics in Hickory. Both competed in April at the Men’s Junior Olympic National Championships in Portland, Ore., and Isaac placed fifth on still rings.
Just inside the front door of JoAnn Nichols' home sits a gray recliner, a half-finished quilt furled at its feet. A large, surgical-looking lamp reaches above the chair from an end table, and a bag of needles and thread sits beside it.
This is the chair where Nichols quilts. Mostly. She has a sewing room with machines, fabrics and all the works, but the chair, beside an identical one where husband, Lloyd, sits, is where most of the work on her quilts is done, some of them taking up to two years to complete.
The T.H. Broyhill Walking Park will be abuzz Saturday with artists registering and setting up for the Sculpture Celebration, which opens to the public at 9 a.m. The event is free. The judge's walking tour of the winners starts at 3:30 p.m.
This weekend’s is the ninth annual Happy Valley Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, which takes place in a cleared field between N.C. 268 and the Yadkin River, with small mountains looming up on the south side of the river. The edge of the field near the river is lined this weekend with a couple dozen camp sites, where the distant music from the convention site blends with the rushing of the river and the occasional nearby informal jam session.
Following a community dance on Friday and a slate of competitions on Saturday, the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention will present a lineup of nine bluegrass acts on Sunday. Here's a little bit about three of them, the South Carolina Broadcasters, The Edwards Family, and the David Wiseman Band, in a question-and-answer format. Learn about more in the Friday and Saturday editions.
Before Caron Baker Wike was a full-time potter, she made pottery as a hobby. Before that, it was an interest. Even before that, she played in the mud.
“It was just a natural thing,” she said. At a year old, she was tagging along with her grandmother to sculpture class.
Today, Baker Wike spends her time at her studio in the old Lenoir High School creating, teaching and firing up kilns in what used to be the boys locker rooms, looking down on the old football field.
Mikeal Knight spent much of the past 44 years making sure the News-Topic got printed, from the days of having to cut and paste the pages together by hand to getting computer-generated printing plates shipped electronically from Kentucky.
Wednesday was the last time.
Rufus Eller and Wallace Walker wake up every Saturday morning and get down to the grocery store. They stock up on candy, apples and, most of all, bananas, delivering them to local hospice centers.
It started seven years ago, after Eller’s wife, Lennis, was admitted to hospice care. After seeing the joy and nourishment a banana brought to a particular hospice patient, it was evident that a simple fruit could do a lot of good.
Two guitars take a prominent place in his spacious den. He grabs his favorite, a Martin DX1R acoustic, and quickly tunes it up. He sits down on his patio and belts out an original tune dedicated to his mom, who died eight years ago of cancer.
"I ain't forgot where I come from," he croons in his raspy voice tailor-made for country music.
Lenoir City Councilman Lewis Price has spent the majority of his life working for local governments, including a few decades in Lenoir. But as filing for the next round of local elections closed July 19, he left his name off the list of candidates.
The view from the house on Rocky Knob Road just south of Blowing Rock that Pat Reighard and his wife, Fredel, had built in 1984 is postcard-perfect. From the large picture window is a bird's-eye view of the Pisgah National Forest, Grandfather Mountain and Table Rock. On really clear nights, the lights of Morganton are visible.
At an altitude of 3,333 feet, Reighard also has a front-row seat to the ridge line's fickle weather and clouds that often roll in unnanounced. Watching it fed a growing fascination with the weather and turned into a new hobby for the retired Appalachian State University communications professor.
Lynn Story Downham was a nurse, but she wanted something else.
“I wish I could become an artist like you,” she’d tell her mother, Shirley Story.
Eventually Downham quit her job and became an artist. A while after she started painting for a living, Downham started hinting to her mother that they should pair up for a multi-generational art show. Now, that show finally will debut. It’s called "Five Artists, Four Generations" and will be on display at the Wilkes Art Gallery in North Wilkesboro July 12-Sept. 14.
The car is baby pink, with a hot-pink breast cancer ribbon on the hood. Sam lets fans at the speedway sign the hood of the car, scrawling their names in dry-erase marker on the white part of the ribbon.
Sam said he hopes the pink car will inspire women to stop, take notice, and schedule a screening for breast cancer. If it helps just one person, he said, it’ll be worth it.
Shew has been around horses for as long as he can remember. For the last 25 years, he has been offering a horse-drawn hearse for hire at funerals, and a horse-drawn carriage for the bereaved family, when it’s requested.
Shew’s hearse is, in a word, grand. The exterior is glossy black with panels of glass allowing people to see where the coffin rides. Taupe curtains swoop in elegantly, framing the glass. As he drives, Shew and his horses alike are dressed in traditional 19th-century garb, matching the era that the hearse was designed to mimic.