Recent Programs featured at Caldwell Rotary Club
After 49 years in the restaurant business, Clarence and Betty Curtis have retired!
Three years ago, when the Caldwell Rotary Club needed a place to meet, "Clarence's Friendly Lunch" welcomed them with open arms. Yesterday, the club introduced them as new honorary members, and thanked them for their years of service to the community.
(Pictured above left to above right are club president Jeff Church, Clarence and Betty Curtis)
Rotarian Courtney Wright, principal at Hibriten High School, told members of Caldwell County Rotary Club that Hibriten is at 838 enrolled students for the current school year. About 80% of Hibriten students are involved in a hybrid learning model. This amounts to students being two days in class and three days online learning. All possible precautions are being made to prevent the COVID virus. Students are using chrome books and taking advantage of mobile hot spots in the community. Student class ratio is about 10:1 when students are in class. Almost 88% of students entering the 9 th grade in 2016, graduated in 2020.
Rotarian Kay Crouch, a retired music educator and prominent local musician, gave members of the Caldwell County Rotary Club an overview of local music history.Crouch began back in the 1760s, when Lenoir was known as Tucker’s Barn. The barn was the actual gathering place, a store, and voting precinct. Doc Watson recorded a song about “Tucker’s Barn” in 1964. Crouch included references 20th and 21st century musicians including Etta Baker, gospel singer George Younce and country music artist Eric Church in her presentation.
David Barlow, right, former Mayor of Lenoir and a long time realtor, told members of the Caldwell County Rotary Club about the current trends in the real estate market. Barlow said the market is seeing unprecedented activity due to an increased demand and low interest rates. Sellers are seeing their properties sold rather quickly. Locations in demand are seeing premium prices being paid by buyers. Rotarian Bill Sproul, left, arranged the program.
This morning, Caldwell Rotarian Kent Spears spoke to the club about preparations for the upcoming Cookout for Wig Bank on October 3rd 5-9pm at Liquid Roots Brewing Project in Lenoir. Caldwell Rotary will sell burgers, hotdogs, and grilled chicken sandwich plates as a fundraiser for the Wig Bank of Caldwell County.
Liquid Roots will also donate $1 for each pint of their craft beer sold! Event sponsors include Hickory Falls Health &Rehabilitation, CarsPlus, and B&L Telephone.
Rotarian Kent Greer, general manager at FORTRAN Corporation, demonstrates for members of Caldwell County Rotary the TempuCheck system marketed by FORTRAN. The thermal imaging system utilizes facial recognition and conducts thermal temperature checks for individuals who desire entry into a building. Eleven of these units are being installed in certain schools in Caldwell County. Based in Conover, North Carolina, FORTRAN Corporation is a system integrator dedicated to designing, implementing, and maintaining complex communication solutions.
The third of three scholarship recipients was recognized by Caldwell County Rotary today. Molly Hagerty, center, graduated from South Caldwell High School. She is the daughter of Jamie and Melanie Hagerty. She plans to attend the University of North Carolina and pursue a degree in Global Studies and Russian. The scholarships, valued at $1000, are given annually in memory of two deceased club Presidents, Carroll Laxton and Steve Jaynes. From left to right: Rotarian Kay Crouch, Melanie Hagerty, Molly Hagerty, Rotarian Bruce Cannon. Jamie Hagerty is in the rear. Two other recipients, from West Caldwell and Hibriten, were recognized last month.
Caldwell County Rotary Club marked it’s 38th year of service to the community with the awarding of $1000 scholarships to deserving high school seniors. Since the club’s founding in June 1982, Caldwell Rotary has awarded three scholarships annually, one for each high school. Over the years, the value of the scholarships have totaled nearly $135,000. Two of the three recipients were able to attend. Jordan Dalton Bowman is the son of Daniel and Jennifer Bowman. Following his graduation from West Caldwell, Bowman will attend UNC-Charlotte in the fall pursuing a nursing degree. Jackson Norwood is the son of Paul and Janet Norwood. Following his graduation from Hibriten, Norwood will attend Appalachian State University in the fall. He is undecided as to a major, but leaning toward the medical field. A third recipient, Molly Hagerty, from South Caldwell, was unable to attend. Members of the club’s scholarship committee are pictured with the recipients. From left to right: Rotarian Kay Crouch, Jordan Bowman, Rotarian Bruce Cannon, Jackson Norwood, Rotarian Dr. Jeff Church. Caldwell County Rotary has returned to meeting weekly at 6:44 a.m. at Clarence’s Friendly Lunch.
Pictured above right is Brandee Jones, Administrator of Hickory Falls Health and Rehabilitation, who spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club members on Tuesday. Jones has been with Hickory Falls since 2006. Hickory Falls, located on Sunset Street in Granite Falls, is affiliated with Sanstone Health, which has 17 facilities, all within North Carolina. Hickory Falls' services include rehabilitation, long-term care, physical therapy, etc. The program was arranged by Rotarian Kent Greer (pictured on left).
Pictured is Caldwell County Schools Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps (above left) and Rotarian David Gray. Dr. Phipps spoke to the Caldwell Rotary members Tuesday about news and issues related to the county's school system, including budget, enrollment figures, and teacher-student ratios. Also mentioned was the upcoming Ag Expo, tech training for students, financial literacy classes, as well as increasing efficiency in the bussing of students. The program was arranged by Rotarian David Gray.
Pictured above is Caldwell Rotarian Chris Cole, who spoke to the club Tuesday about First Horizon Bank, which has three Caldwell County branches. The former Bank of Granite locations are now branches of First Horizon, which originated in 1864 in Memphis as First Tennessee Bank. First Horizons has branches throughout southeastern United States.
The Caldwell County Rotary meets each Tuesday at 6:44 am at Clarence’s Friendly Lunch.
West Caldwell High School principal Craig Styron spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club on Tuesday, February 18th. Styron (pictured above center, along with Rotarians Ron Beane, above left, and Jeff Church, above right) discussed the mission and vision of the high school, which has a current enrollment of 724. Mr. Styron highlighted positive changes in the areas of academic progress, including the fact that West Caldwell had the largest one year turn-around academically (NC), and was only one of nine NC schools (any level) which had positive growth related to academic scores. Also noted were recent facility upgrades and progress related to athletics. Rotarian Jeff Church (above right) arranged the program.
Retired Marine and retired U.S. Secret Service Agent Jim Hale (above right) told members of Caldwell Rotary of his career and service to U.S. presidents and their families. Mr. Hale is a Caldwell County resident who joined the Marines at age 17. He was trained in the military in the areas of translation, interrogation, and counter-intelligence. One role he held while stationed in Japan during the Vietnam War, was to debrief American POWs following their release. After leaving the military, he eventually became employed in the Secret Service and was assigned to security detail at President Reagan's ranch in California. Hale became a driver in presidential motorcades and participated in driving duties in the U.S. as well as many foreign countries. He also became the assigned driver for first ladies Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton. Rotarian Charles Beck (above left) arranged the program.
Lenoir City Council member Ralph Prestwood (pictured above on right, with club president Kevin Miller) told members of Caldwell County Rotary Club about the organizational structure of the City of Lenoir government, and about each specific role of the members within the structure. As set forth in the city's charter, the Mayor is an elected position which serves as Lenoir’s chief administrative officer, and the elected council serves as the City of Lenoir’s legislative body. The City Manager of Lenoir, Scott Hildebrand, oversees department heads such as Fire Chief, Police Chief, Public Works Director, etc. One of the key responsibilities of the City Manager, city council, and Mayor are overseeing and maintaining the city’s infrastructure. And, the city attorney serves by acting as a general counsel and gives legal advice for city departments. Many of the council meetings are open to the public; however, there are particular meetings involving matters such as personnel matters, property acquisition, etc. that are closed to the public.
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute President Dr. Mark Poarch (pictured on left) told members of Caldwell Rotary of news concerning the community college. CCC&TI enrollment now includes 104 student-athletes, including seven who had 4.0 GPA last semester, along with seventeen making the dean's list. The CCC&TI Cobras' men's basketball team pushed their perfect record to 16-0, and is now ranked #12 in Junior College Division I. The Cobras' women's basketball team is 10-5. Men's baseball and women's softball teams begin their inaugural seasons in February, playing at Walker Stadium and Lenoir Optimist Field, respectively. With the spring semester now underway, total enrollment is up over 300 students compared to last spring. There are now 1,300 high school students taking at least one class thru CCC&TI (at either Caldwell or Watauga campus). There is no tuition cost to high school students taking classes for college credit. And 38% of CCC&TI's enrollment is high school age students.A new electrical lineman training facility is coming to CCC&TI in late 2020, which features indoor training space. In summer of 2020, the former Hudson Rite Aid building will become CCC&TI's Center for Advanced Technologies. Currently, J Building is being renovated, and to house a new Bio-pharmaceutical Tech Program, which will be the second in NC outside Wake Tech. Rotarian Ron Beane, above right, arranged the program.
Chris Eidse, above right, Connections Pastor with WaterLife Church spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club on January 7th. WaterLife has been a portable church for the last 8 years. About 2 years ago they purchased the former Belk building in the Lenoir Mall. They hope to have their first service in their new 60,000 sq.ft. facility in early February. Eidse described a number of service projects that WaterLife conducts throughout the year. Rotarian Kelly Smith, above left, arranged the program. Caldwell Rotary meets each Tuesday at 6:44am at Clarence's Friendly
Lots of service in the last 10 years to the community and world.... from just one of many Rotary clubs around the USA/world!
HAPPY NEW YEAR from Caldwell Rotary Club!!
Our last meeting and program of 2019 included Christmas music by our own Kay Crouch and her husband Patrick, as well as monetary presentations to five local programs: Lenoir Soup Kitchen, Yokefellow, Caldwell DSS Christmas party for foster children, Helping Hands Clinic, and The Shelter Home of Caldwell County.
Pictured above with club president Kevin Miller are Sharon Harmon (Yokefellow) and Will Wakefield (Caldwell Dept. of Social Services).
George McDonald, above right, Vice President of Operations at Fairfield Chair Company, told members of the Caldwell County Rotary about on-going efforts to streamline its plant operations. The 100 year old manufacturer employs about 450 people at two plants. McDonald said there’s a demand for craftsmen and that Fairfield is currently recruiting. Staff has been studying ways to reduce the lead time in product development. Efforts are underway to lower the process from 12 weeks to 6 weeks and sustain quality. Fairfield recently earned an economic grant to partially fund 32 new positions. Rotarian Thomas Welch, above left, arranged the program.
Brent Brinkley, above right, Manager of Foothills Airport, updated members of Caldwell County Rotary Club on the activities at the airport. Supported by Burke and Caldwell Counties, along with the Cities of Lenoir and Morganton, the airport has some 60 private aircraft based there. Air traffic averages some 15 departures and arrivals daily. Any aircraft smaller than a 737 is capable of using the runway. There are plans being developed to increase the runway from 5500 feet to 6000 feet. The airport has three instrument landing approaches available. About 25 local and regional business use the airport for people and freight. Rotarian Bud Watts, above left, arranged the program.
Kent Spears, chairman of the Downtown Lenoir Christmas Tree Festival, updated members of the Caldwell County Rotary Club about the event. Now in it’s seventh year, the Festival is Saturday October 23rd in downtown Lenoir. Nearly 60 vendors will be participating, with musical entertainment on the square, and a variety of other events in conjunction with the Festival. Sponsors for the event include Chick fil a of Lenoir, Serve-Pro, and Cars Plus. Proceeds from the Festival go to fund scholarships for graduating high school seniors in the spring.
David Cloer, above right, owner of Bonnie Mist Car Wash, told members of Caldwell County Rotary about the changes in technology to his business over the 50 years it has been open. Started by his father, Barney, in 1969 at the Morganton Boulevard location, the business has grown to five car wash locations in Caldwell County, and a new sixth location in Morganton. Cloer says Bonnie Mist is good for the environment, as it uses about 40 gallon of water per wash, with 80% of the water being reclaimed. The typical home driveway car wash uses 150 gallon of water. All sites are protect by surveillance security cameras. The car wash serves about 45,000 customers per year. Rotarian Bill Sproul, above left, arranged the program.
Rotarian Seth Nagy, above right, Caldwell County’s Extension Director, told members of Caldwell County Rotary Club that his office has seen a recent uptick in inquiries about the growing of hemp. Nagy said 9 industrial hemp sites are currently operating in Caldwell County. It may become the new cash crop for farmers, replacing tobacco. Hemp growers are required to be licensed by the NC Hemp Commission. The first year license is $500. It reduces to $250 In the second growing season. Three of the sites are for research projects. Knowledge about the variety of uses for the crop continue to expand and evolve. The hemp being grown does not have the controversial “THC” component. Club President Kevin Miller, above left, introduced the program.
Jared Wright, above left, Director of Public Works for the City of Lenoir, told members of Caldwell County Rotary about plans for the City’s conversion to Automated Garbage Collection. Transition should begin in the spring of next year. Under the new system, garbage must be in a container to be picked up. The change coincides with upgrades to service vehicles and collection containers as the city transitions 7500 residential customers into the process. Rotarian Courtney Wright, above right, arranged the program.
Thomas Welch, above left, and Kelly Smith, above right, are the newest members of Caldwell County Rotary Club. Both gave their “baby Rotarian” speeches to complete their club initiation. Smith, principal at Sawmills Elementary, told members about the steps along her career that brought her to Sawmills. Welch, who serves as Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners, discussed his various duties in that role. Both are South Caldwell graduates. Smith has her undergrad and Masters from App State. Welch graduated from East Carolina University.
Mark Fucito, above left, a financial advisor with Edward Jones, told members of Caldwell County Rotary Club that he was generally optimistic about the local and national financial future, but added to expect some bumps along the way. Fucito noted the nation is at it’s lowest poverty level in 17 years. He also noted that local, state and national unemployment is at, or near, 50 year lows. He added that most investors follow the Dow Jones Industrial average, but noted that the S and P 500 index is a better forecaster of where the market is. Rotarian Kay Crouch, above right, arranged the program.
Michael Filip, above right, a Hickory businessman and supporter of the musical arts, told members of the Caldwell County Rotary Club that the upcoming Showcase of Stars at the J.E Broyhill Civic Center gives residents several opportunities to see world class entertainment. He encouraged citizens of the community to support the arts by purchasing season tickets and attending the offerings. He particularly noted a coming performance of the Vienna Boys Choir on November 2nd. He added how rare it was for a community the size of Lenoir to have the opportunity to host such an event. Rotarian Kent Greer arranged the program.
Tiffany Ervin, above left, Governor for Rotary District 7670, told members of Caldwell County Rotary she believes her job as District Governor is to be “responsible for the success of others”. She noted Rotary’s history of service to mankind as the organization’s legacy. In her official visit to the club, she stressed two themes: “Have fun!” and “Do good in the world.” Ervin lives in Hendersonville. Assistant Governor Rich Bolick, above right, from Granite Falls, introduced Ervin. Caldwell President Kevin Miller, above center, presided at the meeting.
Angie Wright, above right, with the Wig Bank of Caldwell County, updated members of Caldwell County Rotary Club about the efforts by the non-profit to assist those going through chemotherapy and experiencing hair loss. Free wigs is just one of the services provided. The Wig Bank also offers scarves, hats and turbans for women and children. Each wig is specially selected and styled by a volunteer stylist. Located at 226 Mulberry Street SW, the Wig Bank receives no government funding. With one part-time employee and about 20 volunteers, the Wig Bank is looking for more people willing to volunteer. The Wig Bank Barn Dance is Saturday September 7th from 6 p.m. to 19 p.m. at the Red Cedar Barn, 5775 Charlie Little Road, Granite Falls. Tickets are available for $50 per person for the evening of food and music. Rebecca Hites, above left, and Susan Gray, above center, are active volunteers. Rotarian Dr. Jeff Church, above rear, arranged the program.
Lesley Mason, above right, Library Director for Caldwell County, told members of the Caldwell County Rotary Club that a recent grant from Google has given the library the technology of T-Mobile hot spots to be checked out. The one year pilot project could become a permanent addition. About 40,000 residents of Caldwell County have library cards. The Library marked nearly 300,000 individual transactions last year. The acquisition of an old ambulance has sparked interest in repurposing it into a mobile library unit. Rotarian Bruce Cannon, above left, arranged the program.
Jon Younce, above left, President of First Impressions Dental Laboratory in Granite Falls told members of Caldwell County Rotary how changes in technology have impacted the dental crowns and bridges industry. Younce worked in the industry for a number of years before beginning his own business in 1999 in a basement of a dental office with one employee. He now employs 38 people in the Granite Falls lab. Once a handmade craft, dentures have been transformed by technology to allow more precise development and give consumers a better fitting denture. Rotarian Charles Beck, above right, arranged the program.
Chassidy Triplett, above left, Executive Director of Koinonia told members of Caldwell County Rotary about activities related to the 40th anniversary of the senior housing center. Opened in 1974 at the site of the former Carlheim Hotel, the facility was expanded in 2000 to 126 units. Rents are based upon income and medical expenses and currently range from $100 to $755 per month. The non profit is looking at ways to help with the nutritional needs of the residents. Plans are being developed to expand the current kitchen capacity. Rotarian Ron Beane, above left, arranged the program.
Jeanna Price, above center, and John Francis, above right, from Helping Hands Clinic updated members of Caldwell County Rotary about efforts of the non-profit to furnish health.The free medical clinic and pharmacy assists the uninsured. Estimates range as high as 13,000 uninsured adults in Caldwell County. About ten percent, or, 1300 patients are receiving services. Some 8000 do not qualify for Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act. Two out of three patients who come to the clinic are employed. About 17,000 prescriptions are filled by the pharmacy. Six medical professionals are providing care. Helping Hands also partners with West Caldwell Health Council and the Caldwell County Health Department for services. Rotarian Bud Watts,above left, arranged the program.
Sarah Moyer, left, Caldwell County Extension Agent in charge of the 4-H program, told members of Caldwell County Rotary Club that some 140 young people participate in the 4-H program. The program involves youth from age 5 thru 18. The 4-H motto of Head, Heart, Hands Health remain the bedrock of the program. Moyer, a Kansas native, recently began her duties in Caldwell County following her graduation from Kansas State. Rotarian Charles Beck, right, introduced the program.
Katie Burns, left, is a recipient of a Caldwell County Rotary Scholarship following her recent graduation from the Caldwell Early College. Burns is the daughter of David and Kim Burns of Granite Falls. She plans to attend Queens University in Charlotte and pursue a double major in Accounting and Marketing. Two other students had previously been announced. Rotarian Bruce Cannon, right, chair of the club’s scholarship committee, introduced Burns. Cannon, a local attorney, was also recently recognized for 37 years of perfect attendance.
Bryson Avery, above right, a West Caldwell student, told members of Caldwell County Rotary Club about his Eagle Scout project. Avery has received permission from the Cajah Mountain Town Council to erect a small monument honoring military veterans. Total cost of the project is estimated to be $6000. Fundraising is already underway. Donations may be left at the town office or sent to Avery at 3568 Cordell Court, Lenoir, NC. Avery also reviewed the Scouting program. He is a member of Troop 271, headquartered at Whitnel United Methodist Church. Only about ten percent of scouts achieve the rank of Eagle. Rotarian Kent Spears, left, arranged the program. Also, pictured above is the monument Avery plans to place in the Cajah's Mountain community.
Assistant Governor Rich Bolick, above right, a member of the Granite Falls Rotary Club, told members of Caldwell County Rotary about the goals for District 7670 for the Rotary year that began July 1st. Bolick said emphasis will be given to growing Rotary’s membership. He ask Rotarians to have their “elevator speech” ready and to recruit new members. He also reviewed a variety of project ideas that clubs could adopt during the year. Club President Kevin Miller, above left, introduced the program.
Caldwell County Sheriff Alan Jones, above center, told members of the Caldwell County Rotary Club that illegal drugs and the impact upon our county have been devastating. Ten deaths have been attributed to drug overdoses. Drug abuse has been a constant over the decades, but the newest drugs of choice too often have deadly consequences. Jones said the County needs more and better drug treatment facilities to help fight the problem. Jones also introduced several key members of his command staff. Above Left to right: Lieutenant Ethan Clark, Captain Mark Shook, Jones, Chief Deputy Kevin Bean.
Today’s department has 156 full time and reserve staff. Rotarian Jeff Joines, above right, arranged the program.