James Miller Whisnant walked into his first class at North Carolina State University nervous and concerned. He wondered how he would stack up against students from cities like Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh. Born and raised in a rural, country setting between Whitnel and Baton, Whisnant thought that maybe his education at Hudson High School wouldn’t stack up at N.C. State. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Alisha Little says she has always been running. It's one of the things she does for herself. Her job, and one of the things she does for others, is working with children who have been victims of physical or sexual abuse. On April 24, she will blend the two and take on the Boston Marathon while wearing colors in support of Robin’s Nest Children’s Advocacy Center in Lenoir.
Though film versions of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" focus much attention on the Queen of Hearts, the mythical monster the Jabberwock takes center stage in the adaptation that opens tonight at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center.
Getting expelled from school helped Magruder Hill Tuttle Jr. realize his love of learning. When Tuttle was in ninth grade in the mid-1920s, he and his friends took a cherry bomb firecracker and set it off outside a classroom at Lenoir High School. They laughed with glee as it exploded with a shocking boom, rattling the schoolhouse windows. Tuttle was expelled, but he eventually realized that school was where he needed to be.
Today is Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute's birthday. Sort of. The college's charter was signed on this day in 1964. But in 1964, there was no campus.
At Hibriten High School, Charlie Davis, Hunter Justice and William Kent gathered with pride and beaming smiles around the mostly finished car they are building. The fire-engine-red body shimmered in the light from the recently applied spray paint. The car still had no steering wheel, and two of the wheels will be replaced with more road-friendly tires.
The Rev. David Smith looked out at the rows of pews on a sunny, brisk Wednesday, four days before he was to deliver his last sermon from the tall, white pulpit of First Baptist Church in Lenoir.
As the sunlight burned through the stained-glass windows of the sanctuary, he remembered the faces and lives that have filed in and out of the rows of burgundy cushions in front of him.
Lisa Ward’s ears perked up when her metal detector sounded a “hit” on an object beneath the dirt last weekend in the woods on on Vaiden Street near the Caldwell Heritage Museum in downtown Lenoir. The land once was the homestead of Dr. Alfred A. Kent, a wealthy medical doctor and state legislator.
After digging down nearly a foot, they found a leathery flap, turquoise on one side. Digging farther, they uncovered more flaps and eventually realized the ragged pile once had been a wallet.
After a month of being in a Charlotte hospital, recovering from being hit by a car, Grayson Walker came home Wednesday.
To the sight of “Welcome Home” balloons bouncing in the wind outside his family's house in Hudson, Walker, 15, walked in wearing a blue helmet over the spot where he is still missing a section of skull, and a bright smile on his face.
Volcanoes erupted. Small black scorpions turned blue. Mouse ribcages were plucked from owl pellets, and all the while, Buff the stuffed owl watched over the “Scorpions, Owls and Bears, Oh My!” science festival.
A bright red crawdad, towering over 6 feet tall, ambled through the hallways of Sawmills Elementary School. Dressed in a Hickory Crawdads baseball T-shirt and Hawaiian-print shorts, the crustacean mascot was on his way to deliver news to fourth-grader Nathan Connor.
It’s Saturday, and the halls of South Caldwell High School are quiet.
That is, until a shout of “No running in the halls!” echoes around the corners of shining lockers and squeaky floors as a blur of neon-clad runners whiz by.
The halls nearby reeked of formaldehyde. In the classrooms, groups of four gathered around a tray full of juices and dead pig on its back, its legs splayed out to expose its belly. Volunteers from Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, including Mark Bodnar and Kelsey Toliver, coached the students through the assignment.
Tuttle Educational State Forest, located in southwest Caldwell County, is home to many hands-on learning activities and programs, including several amphitheatres, the Forestry Center and more talking exhibits. Every pathway in the 300-acre forest strives to educate on soil, water, wildlife and forestry.
Amos Rutherford has held many different titles in his lifetime – farmer, soldier, mechanic – but on Saturday, he earned a new one: centenarian.
March 15 was Rutherford’s 100th birthday, a warm day made warmer by the presence of friends and family gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Lenoir to celebrate the life of the man they call Pops. And from his days with the Army to his days working at Don Campbell’s Exxon in Lenoir, Amos has had no shortage of friends.
In her room at Gateway Nursing Center in Lenoir, Ethel Crump is passing the last days of her 99th year, full of memories still.
Crump, who will turn 100 on Saturday, spent much of her life in Caldwell County. As a child, she lived in Mortimer. As far as her family knows, she may be the last person surviving who remembers living in Mortimer before it was effectively wiped out by flooding in 1940. As an adult she lived in Lower Creek and the Globe, and until her move to the nursing home she lived on Staircase Mountain with her late husband, Carl.
At nearly 100, it’s harder for Crump to tell her stories. Her family remembers them coming constantly in earlier years, a rain of stories, trickling down through their shared histories. She built her life on them.
The Junior Appalachian Musicians program offers students a low-cost opportunity to study old-time fiddle, old-time guitar, blues guitar, songwriting and old-time mandolin. The program began in the fall of 2011 through a Traditional Arts Program for Students grant from the North Carolina Arts Council for after-school programs that bring local traditional arts to students, Program Director Adrienne Roellgen said.
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.