ONLINE JANUARY 31, 2019
Chamber of Commerce salutes good citizens
Honorees at Monday's Chamber of
Commerce banquet: (left to right) in front - Kathleen
and Tom Hinnant, Selma "Distiniguished
Citizens"; second row -
Andy Moore, Smithfield "Distinguished
Citizen"; Warren Grimes, "Citizen of the
Year"; Jennifer Holloman, Kenly
"Distinguished Citizen"; Melissa Overton,
"Small Business Person of the Year"; Shanna
Capps, outgoing Chamber board member along
with Keith Brinson (not present); Eric
Brownlee, Chamber's board chair; in back - Johnny
Eason, Wilson's Mills "Distinguished Citizen";
Carlyle Woodard, Princeton "Distinguished
Citizen"; Kitty Johnson, Chamber Board
Member of the Year; Christina Peterson,
Chamber Ambassador of the Year; Carlton and
Jimmy Pernell, honored as Chamber "Life
Members" along with Tom Berkau (not present)
upon their retirement from business.
The stories of three Smithfield
GRIMES, "Citizen of the Year">
MOORE, "Distinguished Citizen">
OVERTON, "Small Business Person of the Year">
Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce
re-branding itself as "Triangle
The 49th annual banquet of the Smithfield-Selma Chamber
of Commerce made history with the formal launching of a
new name for the organization, henceforth to be known as
the Triangle East Chamber of Commerce.
Under the leadership of Mike Mancuso, finishing up his
first year as the Chamber's president, Triangle East
will operate as a consortium promoting the economic
development interests not only of Smithfield-Selma but
also of Kenly, Princeton, and Wilson's Mills.
It was 49 years ago, in 1970, that chambers of commerce
at Smithfield and Selma joined forces. That coincided
with the opening the previous year of consolidated
Smithfield-Selma High School and the realization by
local leaders that the two neighboring communities were
growing together, literally and figuratively.
Keynote speaker for Monday's Chamber banquet (billed as
its "annual meeting") was Ryan Combs, executive director
of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, a
marketing consortium for 10 counties around
Raleigh-Durham, including Johnston. He touted the
region's numerous selling points to prospective
employers from around the world.
"Our Southern hospitality" is one of the things that
sets us apart, he said. The region's population today
surpasses 2-million, it has 10 traditional colleges and
universities plus seven community colleges, an airport
that hosts 11 commercial carriers, and more than 500
"life science" companies that help make the Triangle
region the second fastest-growing "technology hub" in
the nation (behind California).
"Talent is, hands down, the most important piece in
economic development," Mr. Combs told the Chamber
audience as he stressed the importance of boosting
education. Toward that end he praised Johnston County
citizens for supporting school-bond issues totaling more
than $550 million over the past couple of decades and
Johnston Community College for its programs supporting
the job-training needs of companies that have located
Coincidentally, the N.C. Tech Association released a
report this past week that listed Johnston as one of 10
counties in the state where "tech occupations" make up
more than 6 percent of total employment. (Tech
occupations are defined by the report's author as
computer and engineering-related jobs.) Of those 10
counties, five are in the Research Triangle region,
including Wake, Durham, Nash, and Person in addition to
It was somewhat
ironic that the location of
Monday's Chamber banquet promoting the region's
re-branding was The Farm at 95, a venue off I-95 north
of Selma that in 2016 was "ground zero" for opposition
to a proposed intermodal container "hub" that CSX
Railroad wanted to build nearby. That opposition
prompted the company to take its plan to a site north of
Rocky Mount. At last report, the CSX "Carolina
Connector" is scheduled to go into operation in 2020.
View roster of the Chamber of Commerce
Board of Directors for 2019>
LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENDAS
Johnston County Board of
10 a.m. & 6 p.m. Monday, February 4
Johnston County Courthouse, 207 E. Market Street,
During its morning session, the board will receive the
audit report for the fiscal year that ended last June
30. Commissioners will hear two requests for
economic-incentive grants: one for unnamed "distribution
facilities," the other for an unnamed "mixed use
development" to include three hotels, a retail and
commercial complex, residential units, a medical office
park, and an industrial and business park. Johnston
County Farm Bureau President Dennis Durham will address
the board regarding development and agriculture.
During its evening session, the board will hear another
request for an economic-incentive grant, this one in
conjunction with the Town of Selma, for unnamed
View the agendas for both sessions
7 p.m. Tuesday, February 5
Town Hall, 350 E. Market Street, Smithfield
View the agenda with supporting
documents (large PDF - may be slower to load)
This month's agenda includes a couple of rezoning
requests: one to switch from the county's
Agricultural-Residential zoning district to the town's
Residential-Agriculture district 21.26 acres on Black
Creek Road southwest of Highway 210; the other to rezone
a 3.12-acre tract on the east side of U.S. 70 Business
West north of Cloverdale Drive from Highway Entrance
Business and Residential-Agricultural zoning to Light
The council will get an update on plans to expand the
town's water-treatment plant.
How cold did we get from "polar vortex"?
The big weather news across the nation this week has
record low temperatures caused by the
"polar vortex." Minnesota recorded a minus-48
Chicago got down to minus 23 (and those readings
factor in the frightening "wind chill").
Meanwhile, the "vortex" didn't quite make it to
our region. The National Weather Service reading
at Johnston Regional Airport northwest of Smithfield
this morning (Thursday) was a modest 23 degrees (that's
23 degrees positive, not negative).
Back on January 10, the official recorded low here was
21.9 degrees --- the coldest so far in 2019. Two days
before that, on January 8, we experienced a high of 70.
And on New Year's Day it reached 77.
There's an "axiom" of sorts from folks around here:
"Don't like the weather we're having? Don't worry: it
won't last." And that's usually the case one day to the
Here's a handy link to The Weather
Channel's hourly forecast for Smithfield>
JCC students selected for "Pirate Promise"
Smithfieldians are among 28 students at Johnston
Community College selected for East Carolina
University's "Pirate Promise" program that offers
guaranteed admission to ECU for qualifying students who
complete requirements for an associate degree at JCC.
The Smithfield students are Rachel Lee, Shannon
and Christopher Raynor.
READ MORE about the program here>
Time to sign up for 32nd Johnston Senior
Here's a flyer with the
For high-school scores and other upcoming Parks and
Recreation activities, visit
our SPORTS PAGE>
This week's editorial comments:
• Good news on the teacher-recruitment front
• More about new-housing starts in Smithfield
OUR 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.
ABRAMS JONES, 66
EILEEN FRANZEL (GERTIE) JOYNER, 97
SANDRA CAMILLE LOWE, 56 -
WOOD PARRISH, 89 -
ANNIE MAE NICHOLS MASON
- died January 24
Top 10 names for 2018 babies?
Here's the JOHNSTON COUNTY LIST from
Register of Deeds Craig Olive>
public service announcement
Johnston Community College, Smithfield:
hosted by the Johnston County Arts Council.
This exhibit will run
through February 24.
Gallery hours are Saturdays
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays 1-5 p.m.
THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS
Joe Grimes (far right) was named "Citizen of the
Year" at the January 1962 annual banquet of the
Smithfield Chamber of Commerce (eight years before it
merged with Selma's Chamber). He was the father of
Warren Grimes, this week's recipient of that same award.
Joe Grimes was a leader in Smithfield's downtown
revitalization movement in the early 1960s and went on
to serve as mayor of the town in 1965-67. Others in this
Smithfield Herald photo from the archives of the Johnston
County Heritage Center: (from the left) Ed
Woodall, named "Distinguished Citizen"; Nelson Nash, Chamber president; and William
T. Piper, president and chairman of Piper Aircraft
Corporation who was the banquet's keynote speaker.
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.