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Andrews Appointed To JCC Board Of Trustees

W.E. Bud Andrews is the newest member of the JCC Board of Trustees. Pictured (left to right) Andrews receives his oath of office from Johnston Clerk of Court Will R. Crocker.

W.E. Bud Andrews has been appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory to serve a four-year term on the Johnston Community College Board of Trustees.

A retired colonel in the National Guard, Andrews is also a retired senior vice president with First Citizens Bank. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Campbell College, now Campbell University. He continued his studies and graduated from the U.S. Army War College.

An Eagle Scout, Andrews is a lifetime Jaycee, a life member of the Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Central Johnston County Rotary, the American Legion, and the Loyal Order of the Moose. He also serves as a trustee of Goldsboro Friends Meeting, where he attends church. Some of his accolades include being named the Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen and Citizen of the Year, a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International, and receiving the Governor’s Award for Volunteerism and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

“The community college is where the rubber hits the road to people who need retraining and the younger people who want to go to college and stay in the area,” Andrews said. “I am looking forward and am excited about the opportunity to add gas to their fire.”

Andrews and his wife, Dianne, live in Smithfield. They have two grown children and three grandchildren.

Andrews replaces Robert W. “Bob” Bryant, Jr. whose term ended in 2014. Bryant served as a college trustee for 15 years. Andrews was officially welcomed and received his oath of office July 10 at the regular board meeting.

Autopsy: Fuquay Varina Men Died From Gunshot Wounds

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office is treating the shooting deaths of two Fuquay Varina residents as a double homicide.

Around 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon, deputies responded to a call on Howard Road, outside of Fuquay Varina. Deputies found the bodies of 66 year-old David Eugene McKoy and 78 year-old Arthur Lee Brown, both residents at that address, dead inside the home.

A preliminary autopsy from the State Medical Examiner’s Office indicated both McKoy and Brown died from gunshot wounds.

Sheriff’s investigators have not released any additional information about the possible suspect or suspects in the case. Photo courtesy JoCoFire.com

Fugitive From Pennsylvania Arrested In Clayton

Following a tip from Pennsylvania State Police, a Clayton woman was arrested on a fugitive warrant Wednesday.

Clayton Police received a tip Frances Minelle Bracer Comulada was at an address on Commodore Street.  Comulada was wanted by Pennsylvania authorities for grand larceny.

Police checked the address on Commodore Street Tuesday but could not find the 36 year-old woman. Police returned to the residence on Wednesday and located Comulada, according to Town of Clayton Public Information Officer Stacy Beard.

She was transported to the Johnston County Jail and held without bond on the fugitive warrant pending extradition to Pennsylvania.

Johnston Man Charged In Cary Fraud Case

A Johnston County man has been arrested by Cary Police on a fraud charge.

Shaun Michael Hickey, 26, of Dixie Drive, Selma was arrested Saturday by Selma Police. 

According to Cary Police, Hickey went to Lowes Home Improvement on Walnut Street in Cary on June 30 or July 1.  He reportedly purchased two power washers, valued at $450 and $713, through the business account of a company he no longer worked for, according to Captain Don Hamilton with the Cary Police Criminal Investigations Division.     

Captain Hamilton said one of the two power washers was later recovered.

Hickey was charged with one felony count of obtaining property by false pretenses.  He was given a $20,000 bond on the charge and ordered to appear in Wake County District Court

Police: Man Doing Jumping Jacks, Push-Ups In Roadway Arrested On Meth Charges
Selma police officers responded to an unusual 911 call on July 8. A person called 911 reportedly claiming they witnessed a man had stopped his vehicle in the middle of the highway, got out, and started doing jumping jacks and push-ups.  The man then got back into his car, traveled a short distance, got out of his car again, and continued doing more jumping jacks and push-ups.

Selma Police said they located Danny Ray Hodge, 42, of John Street, Goldsboro on his hands and knees beside Jones Street. 

Officers said once Jones spotted police he ran back to his car and got in the drivers seat.

During a search of his vehicle, Detective S.C. Richardson said a jewelry box was located. Inside the box were 6 small baggies, each containing suspected methamphetamines.

Detective Richardson said Hodge was currently on probation and wearing a GPS tracking device, and had been out of prison about 3 years.

Richardson said the suspect had a lengthy criminal history for rape, kidnapping, larceny, and drug possession.

Hodge was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver meth, and maintaining a vehicle to keep a controlled substance. He was confined in the Johnston County Jail under a $40,000 bond.

“Methamphetamine has became an epidemic in the United States and this drug effects communities, big and small, including towns like Selma,” Detective Richardson told WTSB News. “Until regulations can be made to control pseudophedrine, which is the main ingredient in making of methamphetamine, the methamphetamine epidemic is going to turn catastrophic.”

Richardson said citizens should not hesitate to call 911 if you suspect or know someone that is cooking or selling methamphetamine. “Coming together as a community is one way to combat this methamphetamine epidemic.”

Clayton Considers Its Options Regarding County Recreation Grant
The Town of Clayton is weighing its options regarding its application for a Johnston County recreation grant.

Parks and Recreation Director Larry Bailey (pictured left) told the Town Council this week that Johnston County Commissioners has set aside $17,113 in Open Space funds for the Clayton High School district.

In addition to municipalities, the County will also consider awarding grant funds to public schools, and rural athletic associations.

Those who receive grant funds from the county must contribute at 5% match.

The Open Space Funds may be used to purchase, develop, or improve existing or new properties for recreational use.
Bailey proposed the Town to either consider applying for funds to expand the parking lot at the Sam’s Branch Greenway on North O’Neill Street or the development of additional pickleball courts.

Bailey said pickleball is popular especially among senior adults who are no longer able to play tennis.

Pickleball is a racquet sport, which combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis.

According to the USA Pickleball Association, there are now over 100,000 players actively playing pickleball. 

Johnston 4-H Youth Participates In State Livestock Judging Contest

Top Right (Left ro right) Deborah Johnson, CEO of the NC Pork Council, Johnston 4-H Junior team members Justin Wood, Brittany Beasley, MaKayla Byrd and Katelyn Brewer, and Johnston County Livestock Agent, Dan Wells. (Lower right) Deborah Johnson CEO of the NC Pork Council, and Johnston 4-H Senior team members , Macy Massengill, Joy Leigh Hinnant, Kelsey Bentley, and Johnston County Livestock Agent Dan Wells.

The Johnston County 4-H Livestock Judging Team recently participated in the state 4-H Livestock Judging Contest at North Carolina State University.

Junior participants (ages 9-13) from Johnston County included Kaleb and MaKayla Byrd of Smithfield, Brittany Beasley and Taylor Rhodes of Four Oaks, Justin and Mary Elaine Wood of Willow Springs, Kadence Overby of Selma, and Katelyn Brewer of Wendell.

In the Senior division (ages 14-18,) Macy Massengill of Princeton, Joy Leigh Hinnant and Kelsey Bentley of Kenly, and Travis Anderson, Rachel Murphy and Sarah Allen of Four Oaks represented Johnston County.

The Junior A Team consisting of MaKayla Byrd, Justin Wood, Brittany Beasley and Katelyn Brewer ranked fifth in Sheep, third in Meat Goats, and first in Beef, Swine and Reasons on their way to a first Overall finish. The Junior B Team of Kaleb Byrd, Mary Elaine Wood, Kadence Overby and Taylor Rhodes ranked fifth in Swine and fourth in Oral Reasons. In individual Overall rankings, Kadence Overby was ninth, Brittany Beasley fifth, and MaKayla Byrd was first.

The Senior A Team of Joy Leigh Hinnant, Kelsey Bentley and Macy Massengill was second in Meat Goats and Swine, and first in every other category for a decisive first place Overall Team finish. 

In a nearly unprecedented showing, the Senior A Team members ranked first through third in individual Overall rankings, with Joy Leigh Hinnant first, Kelsey Bentley second and Macy Massengill third, respectively. The Senior B Team of Travis Anderson, Sarah Allen and Rachel Murphy won fifth in Sheep and fourth in Swine and Oral Reasons.

Wiley Graduates From Infantry Training
Army Pvt. Matthew B. Wiley has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier received training in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army history, core values and traditions. Additional training included development of basic combat skills and battlefield operations and tactics, and experiencing use of various weapons and weapons defenses available to the infantry crewman.

Wiley is the son of Roosevelt and husband of Shaunisha Wiley of Selma. He is a 2008 graduate of Hugh M. Cummings High School in Burlington.

Suspect Suffers Heart Attack After Being Detained By Police
A man who went inside the West Smithfield McDonald’s Tuesday night causing a disturbance is now in the hospital in intensive care.

Smithfield Police have not released the name of the suspect but say he was a wanted felon from Dunn.

Around 9pm, Smithfield Police were called to the fast food restaurant after the suspect reportedly went inside and became extremely belligerent. Before officers arrived, the suspect took a cane from an elderly man then threatened employees.

Officers arrived and said after the suspect refused to obey their commands, he was tasered and pepper sprayed with no effect.

Police were finally able to subdue the man and taken him to Johnston Medical Center in Smithfield for evaluation. While in the Emergency Department, Police Lt. R.K. Powell said the man continued being combative with medical personnel and a short time later suffered a heart attack.

The man is now in intensive care in serious but stable condition.

Lt. Powell said the suspect appeared to have been intoxicated or on some form of narcotics. 

Misdemeanor charges are pending from the McDonald’s incident. 

Police said the man was wanted by Harnett County authorities for breaking and entering, common law robbery, possession of stolen property, robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm by a felon.  

Lt. Powell said police are temporarily withholding the man’s name so relatives can be notified of his whereabouts and medical condition.

Repaving Project To Impact Downtown Smithfield Traffic
Motorists who travel along Market Street through Downtown Smithfield may want to find an alternate route of travel due to a repaving project.

Weather permitting, highway crews will resurface Market Street from Brightleaf Boulevard (US301) to the Neuse River Bridge.

The work will take place beginning Thursday between 7pm until 7am and continue for the next 5 nights, or until completed.

During the nighttime work, Market Street will remain open to traffic, but cars will not be able to park in on-street parking.  Drivers can also expect to experience some delays and should use an alternate route if possible. 2012 File Photo

Clayton Honors Retired Firefighter

(L to R) Retired Clayton firefighter Jason Barbour receives a proclamation from Mayor Jody McLeod thanking Barbour for over 22 years of service to the Town. WTSB Photo

The Clayton Town Council honored retired firefighter Jason Barbour on Monday night. Barbour retired in April after over 22 years of service.

Barbour began his career with the Town of Clayton Fire Department in November 1991 and served in various officer positions within the department.

In its proclamation presented to Barbour, the Town Council said “Jason’s dedication to our community and devotion to duty has had a valuable effect on the efficiency and morale of his colleagues.”

Mayor Jody McLeod said he wished to extend to Barbour “his sincere appreciation for his outstanding performance of duty.”

Barbour is also the Johnston County 911 Director.

Benson Woman Charged With Obstructing Justice
A Johnston County woman has been charged with obstructing justice after reporting her motorcycle stolen.

In October 2013, Sharon Sells Goodwin, 48, of Noah Road, Benson reported to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office her 2000 Harley Davidson had been stolen.  A week later, deputies charged a 37 year-old man from Newton, NC with the theft.

During a February 2014 probably cause hearing, Goodwin reportedly recanted her story and testified the suspect did have permission to have the motorcycle.

A felony larceny charge against the suspect was dropped.

Goodwin was charged Tuesday with obstructing justice, a felony offense. She was given a $10,000 secured bond on the charge.

Suspect Charged In Baseball Bat Assault
A 42 year-old man was arrested Tuesday night charged with attacking a woman with a baseball bat during a domestic altercation.

Johnston County deputies were called to a home on Carrington Drive, Garner around 10:20pm after a 43 year-old woman reported she was struck in the head with a baseball bat during a dispute with Roderick Andre McKoy of Carrington Drive.

McKoy was arrested at the scene and charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. 

Traffic Stop Leads To Pill Charge
A routine traffic stop on Highway 210 near McGee’s Crossroads Thursday night led to the arrest of a Wake man for alleged drug trafficking.

Around 10:18pm, a Johnston County deputy stopped a car for a traffic violation. During a search of the vehicle, a pill bottle missing a label was located. Authorities said the bottle contained 19 hydrocodone pills.

Jeffrey Wayne Brooks, 36, of Highway 97 West, Zebulon was charged with trafficking in opium or heroin. He was given a $50,000 bond on the single felony charge.


Clayton Town Clerk Resigns
Clayton Town Clerk Sherry Scoggins has resigned to become the new Cary Town Clerk.

Mayor Jody McLeod announced Scoggins’ resignation Monday night at a Clayton Town Council work session.

Scoggins has served as Clayton’s Town Clerk for 11 years, since January 21, 2003.

Mayor McLeod presented Scoggins with a proclamation approved by the Town Council and a plaque. Scoggins said she has been fortunate as Clayton’s Town Clerk to serve with dedicated elected officials.

The Town’s proclamation said, “Mrs. Scoggins made a lasting contribution to the Town of Clayton by performing all the many tasks required of a municipal clerk. During her time at the Town of Clayton, Mrs. Scoggins did whatever was necessary to assure that the Town of Clayton was just the way it should be for the benefit of all. She showed exemplary pride in every aspect of her job.”

Scoggins, age 47, was selected from a pool of 159 candidates from across the country for the Cary Town Clerk position and will assume her new duties on July 28th

The Town of Clayton has posted the Town Clerk vacancy on its website. The salary range is $46,000 to $73,000 with a typical starting salary from $46,000 to $48,500 per year. The closing date is August 1st.

Clayton Considering Bow Hunting Ordinance

(Top Left) NC Wildlife Resource Commission Sgt. Kelly Brantley told the Clayton Town Council how the urban archery program works. Clayton resident Jay Hall (Lower left) has requested town officials consider bow hunting as a way to control the growing deer popualation in the Clayton city limits. WTSB Photos

The Clayton Town Council is considering allowing bow hunting within their town limits, and with specific safety guidelines to protect residents. 

At Monday nights Town Council meeting, Mayor Jody McLeod and the council heard a presentation from Sgt. Kelly Brantley of the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission.

Brantley said urban archery is a good way to allow hunters to put deer to good use. He said urban archery is safe and that in over 23 years he’s never had to investigate a bow-related hunting accident.

Clayton resident Jay Hall, who asked the Town Council in May to study the possibility of urban deer bow-hunting within the Town of Clayton to thin the deer population. He thanked the council for inviting Brantley and for considering the idea.

More than 40 towns across North Carolina, including Archer Lodge and Smithfield, allow the special season regulated by the state Wildlife Resources Commission.
In North Carolina, according to the state Department of Transportation, there are 20,000 animal related car accidents every year, and 90 percent of those involve deer.

JCSO: Drug, Cash Found During Vehicle Stop

A Johnston County man was arrested on drug charges Monday afternoon during a traffic stop by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) on Highway 50 about 7 miles south of Benson.

Around 2pm, a SAFE Team sheriff’s deputy stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation. During a search of the car, authorities allegedly found 11 grams of methamphetamine, 24 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and about $1,400 in cash.

The driver, Richard Glen Turnage, 53, of Godwin Lake Road, Benson was arrested on three felony and two misdemeanor drug charges.

Turnage was booked into the Johnston County Jail under a $41,000 bond.

Hobart Award Presented To Dr. Norwood Williams

JCCF presented the 2014 Hobart award to Dr. Norwood Williams, center. He donated his gift to Serve the Need in Johnston County. Royal Williams, executive director of Serve the Need is on the left and Francis Hobart, the award's namesake, is on the right. Contributed photo
The Johnston County Community Foundation awarded the annual Frances Finch Hobart for Voluntary Community Service to Dr. Norwood Williams. The award was established in 2006 to recognize and honor the tireless efforts of Frances Finch Hobart and the countless hours of community service she has given through the years.

The intent of this award is to recognize an individual from Johnston County who demonstrates "vision, vitality, determination, selflessness, generosity and a full caring heart to his or her community."

Junior Leagues Places 2nd In State Tournament

The Johnston County Junior League team participated last week in the Tarheel State Tournament in Hickory, NC.

The team finished second in the four-day tournament losing the championship game to Shelby. 

Pictured front row from L to R: Carter Beal, Chandler Bailey, Matthew Messer, Dalton Benson, Justice Hewitt, Trey Whitley. Back row: Coach Paul Bailey, Coach Anthony McLamb, Joshua Parker, Kayne Nesbitt, Zachary McLamb, Ben Stafford, Austin Renfrow, Coach Wallace Renfrow. Contributed photo

South Johnston Skills USA Team Places In Top 10 At National Conference

South Johnston High School SkillsUSA team members on the front row (from left) are Rachel Sauls, Sydney Wheeless, Alicia Lee, McKinley Johnson, and Paige Evans (Advisor). Middle row: Destiny Norris, Kara Johnson, Dava McLamb, Taylor Lee, Avery West, Nicole Autry, Briana Williams, Carson Denning, Madison Byrd, Sarah Pierce, and Anna Webster. Back row: Caleb Cox, Ryan Dunn, Dillon Austin, Evan Raynor, and Andrew Rhodes.

Twenty-one students represented South Johnston High School and the state at the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, Missouri the week of June 23-28.

South Johnston students competed in Chapter Business, Quiz Bowl, Outstanding Chapter, Opening and Closing, and Carpentry. The SkillsUSA team placed in the top 10 in the nation in the following contests: 7th place Carpentry, 8th place Chapter Business, and 10th place Outstanding Chapter.

Princeton Woman Killed In Selma Crash
Selma Police have asked the NC Highway Patrol to assist them with a fatal accident investigation. It happened Saturday afternoon on US70 near Industrial Park Drive.

The two-vehicle wreck claimed the life of Dana Edwards Dale, 46, of Bugshop Road, Princeton.

Police said Dale was traveling westbound on US70 around 2:08pm and was attempting to turn across the two eastbound travel lanes towards the KFC parking lot.  Her 1999 Mercury was struck in the passenger side door by an eastbound 1997 Jeep operated by Emarion Jevante Dixon, 22, of East Jones Street, Selma.

Selma Police said Dixon told officers he was traveling between 30 and 35mph at the time of the accident.

According to an accident report, Dixon told police he started into the intersection of US70 and Ricks Road/Industrial Park Drive as the traffic light was yellow. He reportedly told police, "As I went under the light, it was red.” 

Officers said Dixon told them, “I realized that I was going to hit her and let off the brakes and let it happen.”    

Police noted 100 feet of skid marks left by the Dixon’s Jeep before it struck Dale’s Mercury. 

Police estimate Dixon was traveling 57mph in a 45mph zone prior to the collision and 37mph at the time of impact. Police estimate Dale was traveling about 10mph as she attempted to turn into the parking lot.

Dixon was taken to Johnston Medical Center in Smithfield for treatment of non life-threatening injuries. Dale died at the scene from her injuries.

Police spoke with at least three witnesses to the crash.

A Highway Patrol Accident Reconstruction Team has been asked to assist police with the investigation into the fatal mishap.

So far no charges have been filed.  Contributed photo

Arrest Made In Fatal Downtown Clayton Stabbing
It didn’t take Clayton Police very long to solve their first homicide in seven years.

Around 10pm Saturday, police responded to a stabbing behind the Clayton Mart at 208 East Main Street. 

Detectives said two men were arguing when 50 year-old Carlos Luis Rubio of West First Street was stabbed twice.

The suspect, Jose Louis Ramirez Delgado, 53, of South Lombard Street, had fled from the scene on foot before police arrived.

Rubio was rushed to WakeMed but he died a short time later.

Police said they located Delgado hiding under a nearby warehouse.  He was charged with Rubio’s murder and was confined in the Johnston County Jail without bond.

3 Charged During Four Oaks Drug Bust

(L to R) Robert Leevon Williams, Olivera Danielle Amerson, and James Paul Smith all from Temple Street, Four Oaks were arrested during on drug charges during a search warrant at their home on Saturday.

Three people were arrested after the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division executed a search warrant at a home on Temple Street in Four Oaks around 6:30pm Saturday.

27 grams of marijuana and 1 gram of cocaine were seized, according to Tammy Amaon, Public Information Officer, with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.

Robert Leevon Williams, 35, and Olivera Danielle Amerson, 35, were both charged with felony possession of cocaine, felony possession with intent to sell or deliver a controlled substance, felony maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for a controlled substance, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

James Paul Smith, 56, of the same address, was charged with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. 

Downtown Gas Leak Prompts Evacuation
Several homes and a church were evacuated Saturday morning in Downtown Clayton after a resident mistakenly cut a natural gas line while working on a fence.

The incident happened just before 10am in the 200 block of South Church Street.

All nearby homes in the block and several people at Horne Memorial United Methodist Church were evacuated as a precaution. 

The Clayton Fire Department stood by at the scene and Clayton Police assisted with traffic control. 

Piedmont Natural Gas workers responded and capped off the line a short time later.  Photo courtesy JoCoFire.com 

Teen Injured In Crash
A teenager was seriously injured in a single car accident Friday afternoon in the 200 block of Lee Road.

The young driver was found on the ground beside her overturned car. 

The victim was taken to WakeMed for treatment of her injuries. 

The NC Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.  Photo courtesy JoCoFire.com


Suspect Accused Of Attacking Man With Rake During Attempted Auto Theft
A Four Oaks man is facing several charges after he reportedly attacked a Smithfield man with a rake while trying to steal the victim’s van.

Around 10pm Friday, Smithfield Police said they were called to a home in the 900 block of South Brightleaf Boulevard. 

Captain Bruce Gentry said the suspect, David Callejas Arroyo, 33, of Boyette Road, Four Oaks went to the address and was in the process of trying to steal a van. The 59 year-old homeowner confronted Arroyo who allegedly fought back, striking the victim in the head with a rake.

Arroyo was still on the scene sitting in the van when officers arrived.

He was charged with felony breaking and entering a motor vehicle, felony assault with a deadly weapon, and misdemeanor resisting a public officer.  

DWI Suspect Accused Of Damaging Farmers Crop
Smithfield Police arrested the driver of a pickup early Sunday morning for allegedly driving drunk and four wheeling through a farmers soybean field near his residence.

Officers were called to Barbour Road in West Smithfield around 3am for a truck driving recklessly in a field. 

Police Captain Bruce Gentry said the suspect, Lucas Tyler Davis, 25, also of Barbour Road, Smithfield was located and arrested.

Davis registered 0.18 on the Breathalyzer, more than double the legal limit of 0.08 in North Carolina.

Police said Davis caused about $5,000 in damage to the soybean crop of Wayne Barefoot of Four Oaks.

Davis was charged with driving while impaired, damage to property, and trespassing. Bail was set at $6,500. Davis was also given a court date of August 6th on the charges.

Smithfield Man Charged With DWI

A 31 year-old Smithfield man is facing drunk driving charges after being stopped by Smithfield Police around 12:11am Saturday. 

Officers stopped a vehicle in the 1500 block of East Market Street for a traffic violation.

The driver, Jerome Dannel Sanders of East Davis Street, Smithfield was charged with DWI.  Police Captain Bruce Gentry said Sanders registered 0.15 on the Breathalyzer, above the legal limit of 0.08 in NC.

Sanders was later released on a $1,500 bond pending an August 7th court appearance.

Neuse Little Theatre Holds Awards Ceremony
A large crowd attended the Neuse Little Theater's (NLT) recent membership meeting and awards ceremony marking its 40th season. 

Cannon Awards for outstanding acting were as follows: Best Actor, Darius Rose of Smithfield and Best Supporting Actor, Reg Parker of Four Oaks, for their roles in "Sex Please, We're Sixty"; Best Actress, Nancy Gibbs of Four Oaks, Best Supporting Actress, Francis Stanley of Garner, Best Supporting Actor (tie) Darius Rose and Best Cameo Performance, Mary George Narron of Smithfield for their roles in "The Red Velvet Cake War"; Daniel Collier (tie) Best Cameo Performance for his role in "A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody".

NLT president Ruth Mills presented the President's Award to 9 year-old Jake Roberson of Clayton for his role in "The Music Man".

Meta Toole of Smithfield was honored for directing "Sex Please, We're Sixty", voted best show of the season. She also was presented an NLT Lifetime Membership for outstanding work with the theater for a number of years.

Other awards went to Anita Liverman and Bridget Reid, Volunteers of the Year; Betty Harris, Newcomer Award; Theressa Rose, Above and Beyond Award; and Tyler Langston, Out of the Limelight Award.

The NLT's 41st season will begin in September with "Auntie Mame", directed by Ruth Mills. Other shows will be "Wait Until Dark" in November; "Blithe Spirit" in February; "Death of a Salesman" in April; and "Last of the Red Hot Lovers"; in May.

State Fair Tickets Go On Sale Aug. 1

State Fair concert tickets and discounted admission tickets and ride sheets will go on sale at 10 a.m., Friday, Aug. 1, at www.ncstatefair.org

Concert ticket prices ranging from $5 to $17. Advance admission tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for children. These prices reflect a savings of $2 per adult gate admission ticket and $1 per child’s gate admission. Adult admission tickets for groups of 40 or more are $5. The child group ticket for groups of 40 or more will sell for $2.

Children 5 and under and adults 65 and over get in free. Members of the military and family members with proper ID can purchase tickets at the gate for $5, but not in advance.  An 18-ticket ride sheet is $10 in advance, saving fairgoers $8 off the regular price.

Fairgoers can also take advantage of the Early Bird Special during the month of August. Ticket buyers can earn up to three free adult admission tickets based on the total purchase amount in a single order before convenience fees. Spending between $50 and $100 earns one free ticket. Purchases of $100.01 to $200 will earn fairgoers two free tickets, and purchases of more than $200 earn three free tickets.

Online admission, ride, grandstand and Dorton Arena concert tickets apply toward the Early Bird Special purchase total and orders must be completed before 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 31.

Police Investigating Report Of Sexual Assault At Smithfield Rest Home
Smithfield Police are investigating the alleged sexual assault of a patient in a local rest home.

WTSB News has learned a disabled female patient at Smithfield House West, located at 303 Hospital Road, was in her room around 5:30 Wednesday morning. Police said the woman was awakened by a man in her bed who was sexually assaulting her.

At least one other patient confirmed seeing the man as he fled out the door, according to Smithfield Police Lt. R.K. Powell.

Police said the victim and witness did not recognize the individual.

Wes King, a manager with the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services in Raleigh, said he could not comment as to whether his department is investigating the incident, or whether it had been reported to state officials by the facility. 

Anyone with information about the sexual assault of a patient at Smithfield House West is asked to contact Smithfield Police at 919-934-2121 or the Smithfield Police Tip Line at 919-989-8835. 

Momentum Building For Miracle Project

The Town of Smithfield has been awarded a NC Parks & Recreation Trust Fund Grant to fund the “Partnership to Build a Miracle” project. Partnership to Build a Miracle is a large natural park that allows children of all abilities to play together and a baseball field designed for children with special needs. The park and ball field will be the only recreational space of its kind in all of Johnston County.

Sixty-four local government were seeing funding. Only 17 projects received grants totaling $4.1 million. Smithfield ranked eighth out of the 17 projects to received funding.
The $350,000 grant, Smithfield’s fifth from the Parks & Rec Trust Fund in 19 years, will allow groundbreaking for the project to begin on schedule in August.

Partnership to Build a Miracle was recently named a semi-finalist in the nationwide, Guarantee Rate Ty Pennington Giveback challenge and is the result of four years of effort by a dedicated group of volunteers and two non-profits, the Partnership for Children and the Miracle League, both of Johnston County.

Campaign chair Chris Key said, “I got involved in this when I met a mom who had a child with special needs and one without. She said she couldn’t take her kids to parks because one could play and the other had to sit and watch. I knew we had to change that.”

There are an estimated 4500 children with special needs in Johnston County and the community has come together to support the project. The land was generously provided by the Town of Smithfield, and donations from individuals, businesses, civic organizations and the faith community helped make the dream a reality.

The core team of Chris Key, Dwight Morris, Zach Thornton, Monty McLamb and Beth Moore, along with the staff and families of both non-profits and other volunteers, have persevered for four years to build this miracle. Without their vision and commitment, the park would be nothing more than a dream.

“I can’t believe it’s finally happening,” says Beth Moore. “Every family in Johnston County will love the park and field. And for the families of children with special needs, it really is a miracle.”

Partnership to Build a Miracle is a collaborative effort between the Partnership for Children of Johnston County and the Miracle League of Johnston County to build an Inclusion Park and Miracle Field for children of all abilities in Smithfield.

Smithfield Man Beaten, Robbed
A Smithfield man was beaten and robbed while walking home Thursday night.

Shortly before 9pm, the 31 year-old man said he was walking near the intersection of Packing Plant Road and Galilee Road when he was struck from behind. The victim fell to the ground and was kicked repeatedly. The man said he was robbed of a knife and a necklace. 

Smithfield Police Lt. R.K. Powell said there may have been 3 suspects involved in the robbery. Officers are looking for witnesses to the incident.

The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.  

Benson Carlie C’s Robbed

Employee sprays suspects with Lysol

Benson Police are currently on the lookout for three suspects in connection with the armed robbery of Carlie C’s IGA. The suspects, wearing wigs and masks, entered the store last Saturday night around 10pm

A store employee said she initially noticed only two suspects — one reached over the customer service area divider, where the safe is located, and opened it. The other suspect yelled, “Everybody don’t move! Get down.”

The employee told police she met the two suspects at the door and sprayed them with a can of Lysol, but they continued out of the store to meet a third suspect. 

The three men were last seen running through a field behind Wal-Mart Express, adjacent to the grocery store. An undisclosed amount of money was taken from the store safe. 

The three suspects reportedly had on book bags, basketball shorts and black coats.

Benson Police Lt. Greg Percy said the investigation remains ongoing.  Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Benson Police Department at (919) 894-2091. Courtesy The Daily Record

Reward Offered In Clayton Pawn Shop Break-In
Clayton Police need your help catching two suspects who broke into a local pawnshop and stole more than $2,000 in jewelry.

The Clayton Pawn Shop at 10522 US 70 Business West was broken into around 4:30am last Friday, July 11th.  Police responded to a burglar alarm and found the front door broken open and the items missing.

Surveillance video shows the suspects, wearing masks and armed with a crow bar, make their way through the store.

Anyone who may recognize the suspects or has information about the break-in is asked to contact Clayton Police Detective J.P. Linder at 919-553-4611or contact Clayton Crime Stoppers at 359-TIPZ (8479) where a cash reward is being offeredfor information that leads to the arrest of the suspects.  Callers can remain anonymous. 

April Murphy Named Officer Of The Month

(L to R) District Attorney Susan Doyle presents the Law Enforcement Officer of the Month Award to Johnston County Probation Officer April Dean Murphy. Contributed photo

April Dean Murphy, a probation officer with Johnston County Probation and Parole has been named the July Law Enforcement Officer of the Month.

The recognition is from Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle. Each month, Doyle and her office recognize an officer for their hard work and dedication to the citizens of the county.

Doyle said, “Officer Murphy serves in a completely thankless job, yet finds a way to be positive every day.  She treats all of the defendants she supervises on probation with respect and genuinely cares about their well being.  She is such a shining star in the courthouse.” 

“She has gained the respect of judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys for how conscientious she is on each and every case.  She deserves to be recognized for her amazing attitude and the exceptional way that she performs a very difficult and demanding job,” Doyle said.

Murphy received her recognition during a session of Probation Violation Court before Judge Resson Faircloth.

Murphy is originally from Mount Olive but now lives in Clayton.  She has been working with probation for 11 years.

Lane Closures On I-95 Begin Monday
Contractor Klicos Painting Company, Inc. of Parkville, Md. will begin work Monday, July 21, on part of a $1.3 million contract to clean and paint 14 steel bridges along 1-95 between the Gold Rock Exit (145) and the Virginia State Line.

The NC Department of Transportation determined this project was needed to protect the steel and extend the life of these bridges, which were all built in the 1960s.

The work will require periodic daytime and nighttime lane closures on both northbound and southbound I-95.

However, to minimize the effect on traffic, closures will not be allowed between 12 Noon on Fridays and midnight Sunday, when traffic is expected to be unusually heavy, or during holidays and holiday weekends.

The work is should be completed by November 15th.

This work is part of the DOT’s State-Funded Bridge Improvement Program, through which the department is investing about $800 million in state funds over four years to not only replace, but also strategically preserve or rehabilitate existing bridges to extend their lifespan.

Ramirez Completes Basic Training
Army National Guard Pfc. Justin L. Ramirez has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier received training in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army history, core values and traditions.  Additional training included development of basic combat skills and battlefield operations and tactics, and experiencing use of various weapons and weapons defenses available to the infantry crewman.

Ramirez is the son of Nanette Jimenez of Fayetteville, NC and Joe Ramirez of Rock Hill, SC. He is a 2009 graduate of Clayton High School.

Woman Charged With Money Order Fraud
Following a six-month investigation, Selma Police have made an arrest in a theft that occurred at the Selma Post Office.

On January 3rd, a 61 year-old Selma woman said she obtained several money orders from the post office but lost a $350 money order before leaving. 

Selma Police later found out the missing money order had been cashed at the State Employees Credit Union in Smithfield.

On July 12, an officer said he spoke with the woman who allegedly cashed the money order, 43 year-old Rachael Ramos Diaz of Trailwood Drive, Selma.

Diaz reportedly confessed to signing the money order and obtaining the money.

On July 13, Diaz was charged with obtaining property by false pretenses.  She was booked into the Johnston County Jail under a $20,000 bond.       

Drug Suspect Accused Of Trying To Destroy Evidence
A Wake County man was arrested on serious drug charges Monday night. It began after Selma police officer stopped a car for running a red light on South Pollock Street. 

Police said the driver, Jeremy Dereginald Bridges, 27, of Hightower Street, Raleigh was acting very nervous during the traffic stop.  Officers requested permission to search his car but Bridges reportedly denied. A Selma Police K-9 was brought to the scene and alerted on the vehicle.

During a search of the car, 36 grams of suspected marijuana was located in the trunk concealed in two mason jars inside of a book bag, police said. 

While being transported to jail, Bridges allegedly spit marijuana out of his mouth and onto his lap.

He was charged with three felonies: possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana, maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for a controlled substance, and altering or destroying criminal evidence.  He was also cited for a stop sign violation.

Bail was set at $45,000.

Two Charged With Assault Man With Gun, Bat
An altercation with a neighbor has landed two Selma men in jail. Gary Wayne Johnson, 42, (left) and Gregory Dwayne Johnson, 38, (right) both of Micro Road, Selma were arrested Monday.

On July 11th, deputies allege Gregory Johnson retrieved a baseball bat struck his 46 year-old neighbor while Gary Johnson retrieved a gun and pointed it at the victim during the incident.

The victim was taken to Johnston Health in Smithfield for treatment.

Both suspects were charged with assault with a deadly weapon.  

Cocaine Found During SAFE Team Checkpoint
A Benson man is facing felony drug possession charges after he pulled up to a license checkpoint on Holley Grove Road at Lee Johnson Road in the Meadow community on Friday.

SAFE Team deputies cited Antonio Lopez Brown, 49, of South Maynard Street, Benson for driving on a revoked license. Officers became suspicious about what might be inside the vehicle and after being given permission to search Brown’s car reportedly found two pieces of suspected crack cocaine and a glass smoking device.

Brown was charged with felony possession of cocaine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.  He was confined in jail under a $10,500 bond.     

Police Investigating Theft Of Town Truck
Selma Police are investigating the theft of a town owned truck.

On Saturday, someone broke the lock off a fence at the Selma Public Works Building on South Webb Street, entered the parking lot, and then left with a town work truck. 

The truck was recovered on Monday on East Jones Street.  So far, no arrests have been made.  

5 Arrested After Missing Virginia Teen Found In Benson

A total of five have been arrested after a missing teenager, the focus of an Amber Alert in Virginia, was found in Johnston County.

Authorities said the teen, identified as the son of Denise Michelle Shaver, 39, (top left) of Standardville, VA had been abducted from a foster home by Shaver and her boyfriend, Kevin Parrish, 24, (top right) of Charlottesville, VA.

Sunday morning, Benson Police Chief Kenneth Edwards said his department received a tip from the Pittsylvania County, Virginia Sheriff’s office the missing teen and the two suspects were at a home on North Railroad Street.

Chief Edwards said all three individuals were located at the address. Shaver and Parrish were taken to the Johnston County Jail where they were held on fugitive warrants, without bail, pending extradition to Virginia.

Officers said the 15 year-old was taken to the police station to be turned back over to Virginia authorities. But during the 6-hour wait, the teen slipped out of the police station and ran away.  He was located Tuesday and returned to Virginia.

Police said three local residents assisted him by cutting his hair to change appearances and hiding the juvenile in their home, even though they knew lawmen were looking for him.

(Second row: left to right) Anna Murray King, 49, Richard Clay King, 29, and Bryan Allan King, 28, all of East Hill Street, Benson were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and resisting and obstructing an officer. All were given $7,500 bond after being booked into the Johnston County Jail.

Man Accused Of Pulling Gun During Road Rage Altercation
A Garner man has been arrested on charges of going armed to the terror of the public after reportedly pulling a gun on another man in the parking lot of Wal-Mart on Highway 42 in the Cleveland community.

Johnston County Sheriff Captain D. Johnson said it began as a road rage incident around 9am Wednesday that spilled over into the parking lot of the business.

Milton Earl Carey, 50, of Richard Drive, Garner was allegedly engaged in a verbal confrontation with the other party when deputies said he pulled out a gun and pointed it at the individual.

Carey was still in the parking lot when deputies arrived. He was charged with going armed to the terror of the public and assault by pointing a gun. The other person involved in the incident was not physically harmed.

Search Underway For Missing Man
The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is asking for helping locating a missing man.

Twenty-eight year-old Charles William Tobin was reported missing last Saturday. Tobin is from Seven Springs and is known to frequent the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park.

Tobin is a white male, 5 foot 6, 130 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. He is believed to have left walking. 

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Charles Tobin is asked to contact the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office at 919-731-1480.

JCC Invites Alumni to Come Back To Class
If you received a curriculum certificate, degree, or diploma, GED credential or adult high school diploma, or graduated from Johnston Community College with a certificate in Biowork, EMS, fire 1 or 2, nursing assistant 1 or 2, or phlebotomy, you could be eligible to receive a scholarship to come back to class.

Scholarships will pay for tuition for up to three curriculum hours, including student fees or one continuing education class, including student fees. Books and course materials are not covered through the scholarship.

To apply for the Back to Class scholarship opportunity, alumni must attend the registration session on Thursday, July 24th, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Learning Resource Center on the main campus.

Interested alumni should register for this session by contacting the Foundation Office at (919) 209-2222.

Women Charged With Fighting Inside Courthouse
Deputies said they had to separate two women fighting inside an elevator in the Johnston County Courthouse. The incident happened Friday morning after the pair attended court on the same case involving a child support matter.

Kaysi Mae Autry, 25, of Hannah Creek Road, Four Oaks and Kelly Marie Myles, 28, of Allen Court, Four Oaks were charged with simply affray.

Both were taken before a magistrate and released from the county jail under a $1,000 bond.

Convicted Felon Behind Bars Facing 20 Charges

A Benson man has been arrested on 20 criminal charges.  Lawmen had been looking for Marcus Anthony Currie, 22, of Shadow Wood Road since November 2013 when warrants were obtained for his arrest for injury to property.

On June 30th, Selma Police received a tip Currie was in a car in a convenience store parking lot.  While attempting to take him into custody he resisted arrested, struck the officer in the face, and then fled from the scene, police reported.

Currie was located Wednesday night at an address on White Street in Selma.

Currie is facing a long list of charges including: failure to appear in court, probation violation, assault on a law enforcement officer, communicating threats, assault with a deadly weapon with a minor present, and disorderly conduct.

Currie was booked into the Johnston County Jail under a $327,000 bond.       

According to the NC Department of Corrections website, Currie, a convicted felon, was released from prison in July 2012 after serving 8 months behind bars for a breaking and entering conviction.

ER Patient Arrested On Fraud Charge
A 44 year-old man was arrested at Johnston Health in Smithfield Wednesday night. 

Police said David Blancy Hocutt of North Street, Smithfield went to the emergency department to have stitches removed. While there, Hocutt reportedly ask for pain medication. 

Lt. Keith Powell said hospital officials determined Hocutt had received a prescription for pain medication 7 days earlier.

Police were called and arrested Hocutt on a felony charge of attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud.

Hocutt was booked into the Johnston County Jail in lieu of a $10,000 bond.


Town Asks DOT Not To Raise Speed Limit In Deadly Curve

(Right) Two people were killed in a head-on collision in November 2013 on Covered Bridge Road in Archer Lodge. Now the DOT wants to raise the speed limit along that stretch of highway. 2013 photo courtesy JoCoFire.com

The Archer Lodge Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to ask the North Carolina Department of Transportation not to raise the speed limit on a section of Covered Bridge Road.

The DOT wants to raise the speed limit from 35 to 45 mph on a curved section of Covered Bridge Road near Buffalo Road.

During the public comment period, Archer Lodge resident Martha McNeill urged the council to request the speed limit remain at 35 mph.

In a letter to Mayor Mike Gordon, Amy Thompson, of 7415 Covered Bridge Road, wrote that residents who live on her section of Covered Bridge have witnessed numerous accidents on that section of road.

Thompson cited a fatal two vehicle accident in November 2013 that claimed the lives of Thomas and Carol Dehlinger, both age 64. Troopers said Erica Stone, 18, of Smithfield reportedly crossed the centerline and collided head on with the couple’s pickup as they were headed to church. Their grandchild, who was riding in the back seat, survived.  Troopers said at the time of the crash speed may have been a factor. 

Stone was charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and one count of reckless driving. Stone is set to go on trial on the charges next month.

In an email to the town, Archer Lodge resident Karen Holland said, “the wrecks are caused by people going too fast causing them to cross the center line in a tight curve.” Holland said she’s had to “pull to the side many times to avoid someone going too fast.”

Another concern Holland cited are the people who live in the curve. “There are children and elderly people living in that curve. It is dangerous to allow cars to go even faster and potentially run into someone standing in their yard.”

Woman Killed In Clayton Wreck

Clayton Police are investigating a fatal accident that occurred Wednesday morning. Around 7am a car ran a stop sign on Dairy Road at Barber Mill Road. The vehicle then crashed into a tree.

A passenger in the car, Ruby Lee Walters, 86, of 303 Dairy Road, Clayton died at WakeMed from complications caused by the accident, according to Stacy Beard, Public Information Officer for the Town of Clayton.

The driver, Sandra Lee Culhane, 67, also of 303 Dairy Road, was taken to Johnston Health in Clayton then transferred to WakeMed for treatment of her injuries.

Police are consulting with the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office to determine if any charges will be filed. Photo courtesy JoCoFire.com

Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested In Alabama

FBI agents in Alabama have apprehended a woman reportedly behind the April robberies of Benson’s First Federal Bank and the First Citizens Bank in Apex.

Florence, Alabama Police said that Kimberly Michelle Little, 38, of Lauderdale County, Alabama had been arrested by the FBI and had allegedly confessed to both robberies, providing specific details related to each. 

On April 28, Benson Police said a female walked into First Federal Bank and presented a handwritten note to the teller. The note demanded a specific amount of money. After receiving the cash, the woman left the bank in a silver newer model four-door vehicle.

A few days later, Apex Police reported a woman entered the First Citizens Bank on Vision Drive and took an undisclosed amount of money during a similar robbery. The suspect was seen leaving the scene in a grey Ford Focus with a 30-day license plate, matching a previous vehicle description in the Benson case.

Little reportedly ask for $650 in the Benson robbery. During questioning she allegedly told agent she needed the money for rent.  Little also reportedly told investigators she was addicted to pills at the time of the robberies and needed money from the Apex robbery to pay a drug debt.

A break in the robberies came when a palm print lifted by crime scene technicians at the Apex bank was linked to Little.

Little is currently in custody at the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office detention center awaiting extradition to North Carolina. Courtesy The Daily Record

Man Accused Of Taking Music Equipment From Church
A Johnston County man has been arrested on charges he broke into a Clayton-area church last week and stole nearly $3,000 in property.

Nicholas Keith Debord, 21, of Keri Drive, Garner was arrested Tuesday by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.

Debord is accused of taking musical equipment from Hope Church on Amelia Church Road. The items were reportedly taken to Raleigh and sold to a music equipment business. All the property was recovered from the store and returned to the church.

Debord was charged with two counts of larceny.  He was confined in the Johnston County Jail under a $30,000 bond.

Two Generations Of Rotary Club Presidents
Dunn & Dunn, CPAs, PLLCs is a father and son business who are making history by being the first family to have a second generation president at the Rotary Club of Central Johnston County.

Claud Dunn, past president of the Rotary Club of Central Johnston County, began his business back in 1978. Fast forward, and years later, his son John Dunn joined him at his firm. The two not only work side by side in business, but they also work together in their volunteer endeavors. John is following in his father's footsteps and taking on the role of Club president this month.

“I could not be more proud of my son for taking on such an important role in a civic club,” said Claud Dunn.

John is very excited to help grow membership in the Rotary Club and establish a Rotary Day for community members to come and meet local Rotarians and learn about the local, district and international work.

“I will look to my dad for assistance along the way. I have been doing that for many years with our business, so I am used to following his lead,” said John Dunn.

The role of the president is to lead the board members towards establishing programs and set fundraising goals to help fund important projects in Johnston County as well as throughout our district and even the world. John will also run the Thursday Noon meetings for the year.

The Club has been serving the Central Johnston Community since 1988. 

Smithfield Rejection Of Solar Farm Challenged In Court

(Right) Keith Colson, Vice President of Operations for Sunlight Partners, appeared before the Smithfield Town Council in June. In a 7-1 vote, his company was denied a permit to build a solar farm east of Smithfield. The company has now appealed the council's decision to court. WTSB Photo

A Mesa, Arizona-based solar farm corporation has appealed a decision by the Town of Smithfield to Johnston County Superior Court.

In June, the Council refused to grant a permit for Sunlight Partners to build a solar farm.  The proposed farm would be located on a tract of land on US 70 Business near Hill Road that is owned by Albert Peedin Jr. and Kathy Peedin.

The appeal was filed July 9th in Johnston County Superior Court.

Specifically named in the court action are Smithfield Mayor John Lampe and Council Members Andy Moore, Emery Ashley, Charles A. Williams, Marlon Lee, Perry Harris, Travis Scott and Roger A. Wood.

Sunlight Partner's Vice-President of Operations Keith Colson declined to comment. Town Manager Paul Sabistion also refused to issue a statement on the appeal.

At the same June meeting, the council also rejected a request from Ashley Spain for a solar farm on his property on Yelverton Grove Road. Spain appealed the decision back to the town council in July.  In the July meeting, the council reversed their vote, unanimously granting Spain the required permit.

In the Superior Court appeal by Sunlight Partners, they have asked the court to require the Town of Smithfield to submit “a complete record of all proceedings, including its entire file, all documentary evidence and a verbatim transcript of the testimony and deliberations related to the Petitioner's application and the Town Council's decision” within 60 days. 

Smithfield Parks And Recreation Director Stepping Down

Smithfield Parks and Recreations Director Tim Johnson is retiring from the Town, but he will go to work immediately as the Grants Manager of the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF).

Johnson will leave at the end of the July, after 30 years of service to the Town of Smithfield.

In an interview with WTSB News, Johnson said the number one thing he’s enjoyed are the children that he’s seen come through the Town’s many programs and then watched them as parents bring their children back through the same programs. 

“The other part I have enjoyed most is seeing all of the people that the Parks and Recreation Department serves enjoying our services and facilities,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that between the Community Park and the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatics Center (SRAC), Smithfield has had several large events take place. One event had 5,000 visitors in the Smithfield area in a single day. 

“That’s what it’s all about and there’s true value in that,” Johnson said.

What have been some of the biggest changes Johnson has seen in his 30 year career?

“When I started 30 years ago, we probably served about 10,000 to 12,000 people a year…. Last year our department served about 250,000 folks,” Johnson said. 

Sometimes Johnson said he thinks it’s difficult for some politicians or leaders who are not involved to recognize the importance of Parks and Recreation.

“But I think they’d find out pretty quick if they tried to diminish the services,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Parks and Recreation play a key role in Smithfield’s continued growth. “Parks and Recreation services have been and will remain one of the top 3 to 5 things people look at when moving to a community,” Johnson said. “Families want to know the kind and quality of leisure/recreation opportunities that communities offer because it effects their quality of life.” 

In his new role as Grants Manager of PARTF, Johnson said he’ll be working closely with and advising local government entities across the state in regards to the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. 

The PARTF program provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants to local governments for parks and recreational projects to serve the public.

PARTF is the primary source of funding to build and renovate facilities in the state parks as well as to buy land for new and existing parks.

“Since 1995 Smithfield has been the beneficiary of almost $2 million from these funds and that has obviously made a huge impact on the facilities our citizens enjoy,” Johnson said.  He said that because he could retire at such a young age his plan have always been to have a second career.

“A good friend told me a while back, ‘when the time is right, you’ll know it,’ Johnson said. “The time is definitely right and this is a great opportunity for me to go to work with and for some great folks.  I think it will be both challenging and rewarding.”

Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Gary Johnson will become the interim director when Tim Johnson retires at month’s end.

Town Manager Paul Sabiston said the Town will advertise for the vacancy.

“It will be open for both external and internal applicants,” Sabiston said. “Staff will advertise, interview and select the replacement rather than hiring an outside agency,” Sabiston said

Sabison said he has the absolute highest regard for Johnson and will miss him greatly.  “He is leaving some very large shoes to fill. The Town is losing a tremendous asset.  As both an employee and citizen, Tim has always done what he thought was right and what he thought was best for all of those he served.

Sabiston said he wishes Johnson all the best with his new career and is greatful Johnston will continue to volunteer with the Smithfield Fire Department. 

“It is hard to imagine many more people than Tim Johnson who have had such a positive influence on our citizens – from childhood through adulthood,” Sabiston said.

County Commissioner Godwin Appears At Selma Town Council

Johnston County Commissioner Ted Godwin presented an update to the Selma Town Council last week.

Commissioner Godwin told the mayor and town council he planned to make regular appearances before council.

He said the county recently approved a $189.3 million budget for the new fiscal year that began July 1st. The budget is up $7.3 million from the previous year.  The county’s fund balance now stands at 19%, which is 4 percent higher than their minimum goal of 15%.

Godwin said the Town of Selma, with two industrial state certified sites, is in an enviable position for economic growth and development.

Selma’s two sites are the Oak Tree Industrial site on Baugh Road and the Selma Crossings Industrial Site on Pine Level-Selma Road.

Godwin praised the Town for its role in developing the new Harrison Center For Active Aging, which recently held its grand opening. “It wouldn’t have happened without the Town’s support,” Godwin said. WTSB Photo


Archer Lodge Council Member Resigns
Archer Lodge Council Member Jeff Barnes has resigned effective immediately, citing health reasons.

The specific medical reason was not disclosed.

Mayor Mike Gordon made the announcement at Monday nights Archer Lodge council meeting. Barnes was not present.

Mayor Gordon called Barnes “an asset to the Town and entire Archer Lodge community.”

Mayor Pro-tem Carleton Vinson said the Town “owed a debt to Barnes for making the sacrifice to step aside for the good of the community.” He said Barnes decision to resign “took great courage.”

Gordon said within the next 30 days the Town will appoint someone to serve out the remainder of Barnes term, which runs through 2015.

Barnes is a life-long resident of Archer Lodge.

Barnes became a member of the Archer Lodge Volunteer Fire Department in 1972 and served as Fire Chief for 13 years, from 1987-2000.

He is past president of the Johnston County Fireman’s Association and the Johnston County Fire Chief’s Association.

Barnes successfully led the establishment of the Archer Lodge Water District. Barnes has been an active member and volunteer for the Archer Lodge Community Center since 1970.

He is a member of White Oak Baptist Church, a member of the N. C. Forestry Association, and an active tree farmer/wildlife manager. Barnes is retired from Bobbitt Design Build.