ONLINE MARCH 7, 2019
Stories and photos
Lassiter unless otherwise noted
This week's sponsors: Attorney Allen H.
Wellons; 7th Street Marketplace;
Realtor Susan Lassiter; Pernell Inc.; W.
Landis Bullock; John H. Scovil &
Inside pages: FEATURE
& RECREATION / OPINIONS
County Commissioners / Smithfield
SMITHFIELD'S "GREAT WHITE WAY"
The Bradford Pear trees that have
lined South Second Street for almost half a century
were still blooming on Ash Wednesday despite a "cold
snap" that produced a high temperature of just 43 for
the day (after a morning low of 27). Lining many of
our principal streets with flowering trees was a
project of the Smithfield Appearance Commission dating
back to the 1970s.
Radio icon Carl
Lamm retiring at 92;
of broadcast station(s) uncertain
Smithfield's "Mr. Radio" for six decades, announced
this week that he will retire March 31.
|Photos from the
cover of Carl Lamm's autobiography,
Sixty-Three Years on the Air, published
nine years ago.
What's more, his Radio Station WTSB will cease
broadcasting at the same time.
It will be the second of his local stations to leave
the airwaves. WMPM, which he joined as a part-owner in
1958, hasn't been broadcasting since the first of this
The future of both stations has not been determined,
according to Mickey Lamm, Carl's son and partner in
the family business, which also includes his sister,
Lynda Lamm Carroll, who was most recently WMPM's
Meanwhile, the Johnston County Report (a.k.a.
"JoCoReport") will continue to operate, said Mickey
Lamm, who assembles the stories for that online news
service that's updated daily.
WMPM, Johnston County's first commercial radio
station, went on the air in 1950.
READ MORE in a fuller story
published earlier this week by the JoCoReport>
RUNNING ROBOTS BUILT WITH LEGOS!
These students from Neuse Charter
School, with coaching from older "experts" at
Smithfield-Selma High School, spent last Saturday honing
their skills controlling robots made out of plastic
Legos. Competition in the "First Lego League" was one of
several activities at the second annual "FIRST Robotics
Expo" hosted by the SSS robotics team, led by David
Brooks and Kaylee Myer (wearing the orange toboggans).
Neuse Charter students "doing their thing" are (left to
right) eighth-grader James Atkisson and fifth-graders
Jackson Williams and Gabrielle Mejia. The acronym FIRST
is "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and
Technology." Kaylee, administrative captain of the
student-run SSS team, said another project to build
interest among local youngsters in this "sporting event
with robots" is to offer summer camps, which also raise
money for the team's expenses. To learn more about it
all, visit the team's website at frc6004.com.
IB programme may be expanding to more
schools in Smithfield and Wilson's Mills
Smithfield Middle, Smithfield
Elementary, and Wilson's Mills Elementary hope to join
Smithfield-Selma High School in offering International
Baccalaureate's challenging courses of study. News release from Johnston County
SOCIAL WORKERS GET THEIR DUE
Public Schools observed National School Social Work
Week March 4-8. More than 37,000 students in the
county's 45 public schools are served by 17 social
workers. "The connections and relationships that are
built through the efforts of social workers enable
students to find success both in school and in future
endeavors," said Amanda Allen, the school system's
director of social and emotional learning. Johnston
social workers in the picture are (left to right):
front row --- Kristen Percy, Phyllis Brown, Ashlie
Pope, Elizabeth Ashley, Susan Kelly, Nan Jones; second
row --- Danielle Pleasant, Serreda Jenkins, Michele
Norman, Jamie Sessoms, Whitney Kelbaugh, Julie Hodge,
Carla Pearce; third row --- Anita Godwin, Brittany
Shedrick, and Gay Hicks.
Johnston County Public Schools photo
County Board of Education
meets next Tuesday, March 12
Open business session at 4 p.m.
Public comment session at 6 p.m.
Evander S. Simpson Building, 2320 U.S. 70
Business East, Smithfield
The agenda was not published by the Sun's "press
time" on Thursday;
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
County Commissioners pledge funds
for police officers at all middle schools
Johnston's County Commissioners
agreed this week to appropriate $120,820 in the coming
year's county budget to match a state grant for seven
"school resource officers" to be employed by the
Sheriff's Department for duty at middle schools.
Officers are currently in place in middle schools at
Smithfield, Four Oaks, Benson, Clayton, and Riverwood
--- provided through municipal police departments. The
remaining seven schools include Selma, North Johnston,
Archer Lodge, Swift Creek, Cleveland, McGee's
Crossroads, and Meadow.
The request to commissioners for county
funding was made at Monday evening's session by
Superintendent of Schools Ross Renfrow, who
explained that the state has approved a
"two-for-one" matching grant that's "very likely" to
be extended for a second year and perhaps beyond
Sheriff Bizzell said he would "find a way to get the
vehicles and equipment to carry this out" by the
opening of next year's school term this summer. "The
No. 1 priority of government is public safety," he
Presently, all of Johnston's high schools have
"resource officers" in place. The county's
elementary schools do not.
MORE from Monday's sessions of the County
Smithfield Council orders water-rate
study after complaints from citizens
The Smithfield Town Council
agreed Tuesday night to bring in a previously trusted
consultant to evaluate costs of the town's water service
and rates to be paid by all classes of customers before
proceeding with expansion of the town's water-treatment
That unanimous decision by council followed repeated
complaints from Emma Gemmell and Pam Lampe that
Smithfield's water rates are trending higher than
necessary to cover the plant's expansion, which they
claim isn't needed to serve the town's customers.
"Do we want to subsidize the county or do what's best
for the Town of Smithfield?" Mrs. Gemmell asked.
The two women, who reside near the water plant in North
Smithfield, believe the town's plant is being enlarged
to serve the county's customers at the expense of the
town's customers. (The County of Johnston operates its
own water plant near Wilson's Mills but continues to
purchase water from the Town of Smithfield.)
Councilman Travis Scott made the motion calling for "a
further assessment of our water rates" by Utility
Financial Solutions, a national firm based in Michigan
which the town has used before to evaluate electric and
sewer expenses and revenues. "We need to stay
competitive with our rates," Mr. Scott said.
He also suggested the town set up a Utilities Advisory
Board, including citizens, to review rates and services
in the future. Mayor Andy Moore called that "a good
MORE from Tuesday's Town Council session>