Stories and photos by Wingate Lassiter unless otherwise noted

News to follow, but first a word about our sponsors....

The Sun has half a dozen sponsors who are supporting this newspaper through the month of February: Carroll Pharmacy, Pernell Inc., W. Landis Bullock, John H. Scovil & Associates, 7th Street Marketplace, and Realtor Susan B. Lassiter. Their advertisements appear between news items on the page below....

monthly meeting held Monday, February 4
monthly meeting held Tuesday, February 5

Years between real-estate revaluations

will be shortened to six, then to four 

Following a recommendation from County Manager Rick Hester, Johnston's County Commissioners on Monday agreed to reduce the time between real-estate revaluations from eight years to six (with the next round coming in 2025) and then every four years after that.

READ MORE about that and other actions taken by County Commissioners during their monthly sessions this past Monday>

"Trusted by families since 1977"

Tax-cut incentives approved for three

projects: two at Selma, one at Clayton 

The County Commissioners on Monday approved property-tax relief for three projects if they meet economic-development goals set forth in their contracts.

The projects at Selma are: (1) a proposed 353-acre complex east of I-95 with plans for an industrial park, hotels, medical offices, retail shops, a senior-living center, and residences; and (2) an automotive-components manufacturer that will occupy a former metal-forging plant in Oak Tree Corporate Park.

At Clayton, retailer Dollar General plans to occupy a large portion of the Carolina Distribution Center where it pledges to provide 105 jobs with an average salary of $33,280. For an investment of $13 million, the company will get back 50 percent of property taxes paid to the county: an estimated $46,000 annually for five years.

AdVenture Development LLC will get 70 percent of its yearly property-tax obligation returned from the county starting in 2023 provided it meets its initial investment goal of $40 million in the proposed "Eastfield" complex at Selma. That "incentive grant" will continue for seven years as the company moves toward its target of $200 million invested by 2031. Estimated tax savings: $218,400 annually. The project could generate 3,140 jobs in years to come, commissioners were told.

Linamar Seissenschmidt Forgings Group will be relieved of half its property-tax obligations to the County of Johnston and the Town of Selma for five years by creating 24 jobs paying an average salary of $54,378 and investing $3 million in the reconstituted Selma plant. Those tax rebates are estimated at $11,700 a year from the county and $8,100 from the town.



This view of Booker Dairy Road's realignment under construction is looking eastward just short of the wide right-hand turn the current roadway takes. The new leg straight ahead will connect to Highway 301 via Ava Gardner Boulevard. Booker Dairy Road coming from the right will join the new alignment with a T intersection.

Commissioners get road-work update 

The County Commissioners on Monday got an update from District Engineer Sam Lawhorn of the N.C. Department of Transportation on major road construction in Johnston. Listed are current projects with expected completion dates:
• Ricks Road widening to three lanes in Selma - February 2020.
• Booker Dairy Road widening to four lanes, Buffalo Road to US 301 - March 2020.
• I-95 overhead bridge replacements north of Selma - early 2021.
• NC 42 widening east of Clayton to Buffalo Road - February 2023.

Seven more projects have funding in place
for work to begin within the next five years, Mr. Lawhorn said. They are listed with dates of contract awards:
• Upgrading US 70 to Interstate standards with two new interchanges replacing stoplights at Wilson's Mills - September of this year.
• Upgrading US 70 to Interstate standards with new interchanges at Princeton - December of this year.
• Reconfiguring I-95 interchange with US 70 Business, Smithfield - July 2020.
• Widening NC 42 to four lanes from Clayton to NC 50 - January 2021.
Reconfiguring I-95 interchange with US 701, Four Oaks - October 2021.
• Buffalo Road widening to three lanes, US 70 to Old Beulah Road, Selma - September 2022.
Reconfiguring I-40 interchange with NC 42 and constructing a new interchange with Cleveland Road (SR 1010) - next phase of a project just beginning that includes widening I-40 to eight lanes from Garner to the US 70 Clayton Bypass.

To read the editor's comments about a major local project that isn't on the drawing boards, proceed to the Sun's page for OPINIONS>

Highway 70 West Business, Smithfield    919-934-1174

Pine Acres neighborhood's place in history

Mayor Andy Moore presented a resolution on behalf of the Smithfield Town Council Tuesday evening celebrating the historical significance of the Pine Acres neighborhood across East Market Street from Johnston Community College.

Established more than half a century ago, "Pine Acres was developed in partnership with the Johnston County Training School and the Johnston County Board of Education to provide home-ownership opportunities for African-American educators, business people, health professionals, and others in the Town of Smithfield when there were none," according to the proclamation.

It goes on to note that residents of Pine Acres "were instrumental in the integration of Johnston County Schools during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s."

Rachel Ayers, a resident who's a member of the town's Historic Properties Commission, did the research that led to the proclamation. Here's a link to more information about the Historic Properties Commission.

February is observed nationally as Black History Month.

READ MORE about actions taken by the Smithfield Town Council during its monthly session this past Tuesday>


Anthony Council gets Extra Effort Award   

The Smithfield-Selma Spartans' high-scoring basketball player has received WRAL-TV's Tom Suiter Extra Effort Award.
Here's Channel 5's story with video.

for high-school scores and more>

Johnston's "Innovative High Schools"

Johnston County Public Schools offers alternatives to the traditional high-school setting for students. Several are done in collaboration with Johnston Community College (JCC), one is a partnership with the University of Mount Olive, and the newest is "JoCoTeach," a partnership with JCC and N.C. State University.

Others under the heading "Innovative High Schools" include a program called AVID, a Career & Technical Leadership Academy, an Early College Academy, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Smithfield-Selma High School, and more.

The school system says now is the time for interested students to apply for
these programs. For more information, including a complete list of what's offered,
follow this link to a page on the Johnston County Schools website>

meets at 2 p.m. next Tuesday, February 12

Evander S. Simpson Building, 2320 U.S. 70 Business East, Smithfield
The agenda was not published by the Sun's "press time";
however, this link will lead you to it once it's posted online.

7th Street Marketplace & The Chicken Barn
  Market Street (US 70 Business) at 7th Street, Downtown Smithfield


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.

PHILLIP EDDIE BATTEN, 75 - died February 6

ALLYSON LYNN JUSAITES, 59 - died February 4



WOODY HOWARD WILKINSON, 68 - died February 1

JANICE JERNIGAN LYNCH, 75 - died January 31


Smithfield real-estate broker



"Building the Black Community --- 1865-1900":
New exhibit at Heritage Center opens Saturday

An exhibit entitled “Building the Black Community – 1865-1900” will be unveiled at the Johnston County Heritage Center in Downtown Smithfield at 11 a.m. this Saturday (February 9).

“The story told in this exhibit goes from jubilation to utter tragedy in three short decades,” said Heritage Center Director Todd Johnson. “We try not to overlook anything that’s important, good and bad, because there are important lessons in both.”

The exhibit opening will feature a screening of the recent film documentary, “Wilmington on Fire,” which tells the story of the Wilmington Race Riot in 1898. One of the key personalities in that tragic turn of events was a young African-American newspaper editor, Alexander Manly (pictured), who was born in Raleigh and grew up in Selma.

The Heritage Center is located at 241 East Market Street. Admission is free of charge. For more information, phone 919-934-2836 or send an e-mail to


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