ONLINE JANUARY 24, 2019
and photos by Wingate Lassiter unless otherwise
This new house
under construction is the first residence to be
built in South Smithfield since 2006. That's quite a
change from the post-World War II new-housing boom
that was followed by an even bigger construction
bonanza after Sylvania opened its TV-assembly plant
here in 1967.
under construction: what's new?
The Town of Smithfield Planning Department is keeping
track of significant construction projects on the town's
website. Among the current highlights:
• Classic Ford's new home for the dealership (pictured
below) is nearing completion on the former site of
Jones Brothers Furniture on North Bright Leaf Boulevard.
• Smithfield Assisted Living Facility is under
construction on Kellie Drive (a new street) just off
Booker Dairy Road near the campus of Neuse Charter
• East River, a large residential subdivision
being planned on both sides of Buffalo Road just north
of Booker Dairy Road and Durwood Stephenson Highway has
received preliminary plat approval from the town.
• Hampton Inn is working on plans for a new
hotel beside the Golden Corral restaurant on the south
side of Market Street near the I-95 interchange.
And there's more....
To see what else is cooking, visit the Smithfield
Projects and Development web page and follow the links to "Current Activity"
and "Development Activity" to view site plans and other
Superintendent Renfrow's talk was "live streamed" on
the school system's website.
County Schools photo)
Schools Ross Renfrow
presents his "State of
the District" report
It wasn't like a "State of the Union" Presidential
Address. It was a not-as-formal "State of the District
Address" by Superintendent of Schools Ross Renfrow that
was "live streamed" over the Internet Tuesday evening by
Johnston County Schools.
The superintendent talked about measures now in place to
improve student safety at all of Johnston's 45 school
campuses, including front-door and interior cameras as
well as locked doors with entry protected by key "fobs"
and access cards.
He noted that Johnston's student population has grown by
771 students since the 2017-18 school term, putting the
total above 37,000 for the county. Responding to that
growth, he said all of the projects included in the
recently approved $61-million county bond issue for
schools will be completed within four years.
And he reviewed efforts to provide "personalized
learning" for students coupled with an emphasis on
professional development for teachers. "Every student
counts; every moment matters," he declared.
At the end of his 30-minute talk, about 500 "interactive
participants" representing all of Johnston's schools
provided "real time" feedback on issues of concern,
according to school officials monitoring the event.
MORE in news release from Johnston County Schools>
presentation covers even more details in Dr. Renfrow's
Partnership seeks new
teachers close to home
Johnston County Public Schools has signed an agreement
with Johnston Community College and North Carolina State
University that opens new opportunities for Johnston
County students to enter the teaching profession without
A major goal of "JoCo Teach" is to entice more of those
students to get their college degree and then practice
their profession here.
READ MORE on schools' website>
Three local attorneys
rated among state's best
Three Smithfield-based attorneys are
ranked among the state's "Legal Elite" by an annual
survey done for the monthly magazine Business North
John P. (Jack) O'Hale, once again, is listed among the
top-ranked criminal lawyers.
Luther D. (Lew) Starling Jr. is ranked among the best
attorneys in the litigation category. (Mr. Starling has
an office in Smithfield as well as Clinton, where he
serves as mayor of the town.)
James W. (Jimmy) Narron has been among the top-ranked
tax and estate planning attorneys for a number of years.
As a result, he was added to the rankings' "Hall of
Fame" in 2007.
Lawyers listed in the "Legal Elite" are determined by
ratings from their peers.
Read the complete list compiled by Business
North Carolina magazine>
SSS and Neuse Charter
Scores from high-school basketball games on this week's
Are we in line for
The editor shares his two cents' worth on this week's OPINION PAGE >
DEATHS & FUNERALS
Each week we'll post links to obituaries about persons
who have died during the past week. We will monitor the
websites of local funeral homes to compile our list, and
we welcome links provided by readers to obituaries of
persons with Smithfield connections who have died
outside our immediate area.
MILTON GENE AUTRY, 55 - died
ALBERT WALTER CURRIE, 94 -
died January 17
GRACE MASSEY CREECH, 86 -
died January 17
HEARD, 75 - died January
THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS
Innovation Academy: new
life for an old school
Johnston County Schools is using the former "South
Campus" school in Smithfield for an "Innovation Academy"
that focuses on "first-generation college-potential
students from impoverished areas" throughout the county.
South Campus was built in the 1950s as an addition to
all-black Johnston County Training School (later
Johnston Central High School) several blocks to the
north. It was closed following integration and
consolidation of local schools in 1969 and used for a
while as an administrative annex and warehouse for the
county's system. Later it housed an "alternative school"
for troublesome students.
The halls of South Campus are lined with panels telling
the story of Smithfield's African-American schools ---
much like the panels placed in halls of the old
Smithfield High School building when it was renovated to
house administrative offices supplementing the school
system's headquarters east of town.
READ MORE on schools' website about
the Innovation Academy>
information about our community, visit our
online "newspaper parent" via the link shown
below. This website is a handy "portal" to
important sources of current information about
Smithfield and Johnston County.