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.
It’s not that Janice Tse isn’t used to being something of a fish out of water.
For Tse, a Lenoir native and recent UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, being uncomfortable is the whole point. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Tse attended Hibriten High School, went on to major in Asian studies at Carolina and studied abroad in China. It’s important to her to throw the door open to other cultures, she said – to get out of her comfort zone.
Still, none of her experiences so far quite measure up to what Tse is taking on next: living and working in Ethiopia for two years as a member of the Peace Corps.
Glenn Bolick strode across his property Saturday with the air of a proud father, weaving between dozens of visitors as he went from here to there in the miniature village of craftsmen that sets up every year around Bolick Pottery and Traditions Pottery for Heritage Day.
And one of the big draws of the annual event always happens nearly first – the opening of Bolick’s wood-fired kiln. The pottery than then is carried out and placed on a table for sale is not outwardly that different than what you might normally find coming out of the electric kilns he generally uses – except for the color.
“You can’t get the purple color in anything but a wood-fired kiln,” Bolick said. “We’re good, we just don’t know why we’re good.”
P.J. Witt is grateful.
That’s really the only way to describe Witt, 75, who lives in Lenoir and just published her third book, "Just Sometimes."
Editor's note: Josh Smith, an English teacher at West Caldwell High School, is taking a small group of students on a trip to Europe (England, France, and Spain) this summer. While they're overseas, those students are serving as our European correspondents, serving up (lightly edited) dispatches from abroad on the people they meet, the food they're eating and the lessons they're learning. The first one comes from sophomore Jordan Edmisten.
My name is Jordan Edmisten, and I'm a sophomore at West Caldwell. I signed up for the Europe trip because I have always wanted to travel, so when the opportunity arose I jumped at it.
If you’re trying to figure out where to get started turning an old car into a hot rod, you might do a lot worse than asking someone with a large trophy and eight plaques won from NASCAR for his car-building.
Gary Oliver has those awards lined up on the counter inside his shop, Oliver’s Hi-Performance Parts, off Fairview Drive in Lenoir. If that doesn’t convince you of his knowledge, in the garage end of his shop he’s building a new chassis for a local man’s 1932 Ford. Alongside it, he’s turning a 1957 Studebaker into a hot rod for himself and a friend.
If you think professional wrestling is just some muscle-bound guys heaving themselves across a ring, stop by Bulldog University, in a corner of Samson’s Gym on Morganton Boulevard in Gamewell. Chad Byrd, aka Bulldog, will educate you as long as you’re willing to listen.
The man who has chronicled much of Caldwell County’s history on film started out making horror movies.
To be fair, Lance Main is Caldwell through and through.
He was born in Lenoir at Caldwell Memorial Hospital, the son of factory workers. Much later, Main was hired to create the first of a series of documentaries on the county’s history, produced by the Caldwell Heritage Museum.
But before that, he made horror films.
On a gray-but-warm afternoon this week, Nina Propst was doing the same thing other 3-year-olds across the county were likely doing.
Freshly in from a bike ride, Nina sat in front of her parents’ television, bag of crackers in hand, watching as the typical children’s-show riot of color spread across the screen.
There was just one difference: Every line and lyric in the show was in German.
The people behind the Pop Ferguson Blues Festival are clear about the blues – what it is, and what it isn’t.
Ask Clyde Ferguson Jr., the organizer of the festival, or blues singer Barbara Carr, one of this year’s keynote acts.
Blues music isn’t rock and roll, Carr said. And it doesn’t go 169 beats a minute, Ferguson added.
“We don’t apologize for the blues,” Carr said.
This year’s festival, which starts this evening in Lenoir, will focus – unapologetically, of course – on women in blues.
For the second time in his life, David Greer needs a new kidney.
But getting one is only the second-best outcome he hopes for.
Topping it would be more people becoming organ donors so that other people in need of transplants have the kind of chances he has gained since he was 17 years old, when he had his first kidney transplant.