Mark Bumgarner started playing music as a high school student, “beating and thrashing around,” as he describes it, the beginning of a long musical journey.
On Saturday, he’ll come back to his hometown to play a show at 7 p.m. Saturday at 1841 Café with Jaret Carter, Patrick Crouch and Ron Shuffler. The show is also a warm-up for the four musicians before they head off to Merlefest in Wilkesboro, one of the largest music festivals in the country, where they’ll play at the Plaza Stage on April 26 at noon and 6 p.m.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eric Stafford got an email about 9 a.m. Monday, telling him he’d be on that night’s episode of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
The growing season is over for most farmers, but the Lenoir’s Indoor Farmer’s Market remains open.
Jeff Crane, president and co-manager of the year-round indoor market, said the market draws customers not only for such things as produce and local eggs but crafts -- some customers are looking for a Christmas gift with a local touch.
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.
As they do every year, deal-crazy shoppers lined up early, and this year the first lines formed while some people were still eating their Thanksgiving dinner.
But even as shoppers flooded stores, in interviews the feelings most expressed about the economy weren’t optimistic.
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.
Joseph Earp has been the band director at Cox Mill High School in Concord for all five years of its existence, building the program from a small group of 30 students who struggled to play the B-flat scale, to a group that has grown to 200 young musicians who have won consecutive superior ratings and numerous first place awards.
On Sunday, he’ll bring the “Spirit of Cox Mill” symphonic band to perform in Lenoir, and learn about the history of school bands in Lenoir, which he said helped to shape school bands across the state and greatly affected hiw own life and music. Earp is a Lenoir native and graduate of West Caldwell High School.
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.
Fort Defiance, Gen. William Lenoir’s 1792 home in the Yadkin Valley, hosts its annual Living History Days event this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The public will have the opportunity to tour the general’s 1792 home and see numerous items used by the Lenoir family throughout their six generations of occupying the house. Fort Defiance is considered to be one of the most unique restorations in the country and boasts of more than 300 pieces of original furnishings and artifacts, making the home unlike any other in western North Carolina.
William Jackson and Grainne Hambly, considered the foremost harpers of Ireland and Scotland, will be in concert at the Chapel of Rest in Happy Valley on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 4 p.m.