Stories and photos by Wingate Lassiter unless otherwise noted

This week's sponsors:
7th Street Marketplace; Carroll Pharmacy; Pernell Inc.;
W. Landis Bullock; John H. Scovil & Associates;
Attorney Allen H. Wellons

Johnston County school board's March 12 monthly meeting

Smithfield-Selma High School wants

to open a medical clinic for its students

SSS principal

Principal David Allen and staff want Smithfield-Selma High School to provide a daily medical clinic on campus for students. He outlined plans for the project before the Johnston County Board of Education during its monthly meeting Tuesday evening.

The SSS staff has identified potential space for the clinic that can be remodeled at an estimated cost of $45,000. Staffing the clinic could be done in a variety of ways, including partnerships with Johnston Health (the county's hospital system), the county's Health Department, local physicians in private practice, or employment of professional clinicians by the school system.

Principal Allen said the clinic, to be called the "Spartan Health and Wellness Center," would address attendance and disciplinary issues at SSS, which has a student population with a 67-percent rate of participation in free or reduced-price lunches (the national average is 43 percent). The need for medical services on campus is "particularly critical for male students," Mr. Allen said.

Neighboring Wayne County already has six schools with clinics, he noted. North Carolina as 90, and nationally the number exceeds 2,000, he added.

School board members welcomed Principal Allen's proposal but took no action on it at Tuesday's session.

This week's editorial comment about school safety on OPINIONS>

7th Street Marketplace & The Chicken Barn

  Market Street (US 70 Business) at 7th Street, Downtown Smithfield

School calendar for coming year similar

to this year's, but change still possible

Johnston's school board this week reluctantly adopted a calendar for the 2019-20 school term, with fading hopes that it can be modified if the N.C. General Assembly adopts legislation giving local school systems more flexibility in scheduling.

The adopted calendar calls for the term to open this August 26, as required by current state law. Similar to this year's calendar, it shortens the first semester so exams can be completed before the Christmas holidays. The last day of school in 2020 is now scheduled for Friday, May 29 (this year's term ends May 31).

Brian Vetrano, Johnston schools' chief of human capital, presented the 2019-20 calendar as recommended by a committee that included school system staff as well as parents and students. He said several bills before the Legislature to allow local calendar flexibility "look promising" but "at this time there is no action on those."

Board member Todd Sutton conceded that leaders of the Legislature may not take action this year "but they hear us loud and clear" and are moving closer to doing what Johnston and numerous other counties are seeking.

One common thread among the local proposals is to align public-school calendars with the academic sessions of community colleges, which open their terms in mid-August rather than later in the month. The earlier opening would enable public schools to finish the fall semester before the year-end holidays without cutting the number of days in class.


READ MORE from Tuesday's monthly meeting of the school board>

"Trusted by families since 1977"

Often overlooked landmarks of Smithfield

There are many oak trees in Smithfield, but none, perhaps, as amazing as old "Oakey" that likely has survived for two centuries and then some --- embedded in the Neuse River's rocky embankment below the Town Commons "riverwalk" near the boat ramp.

In fact, a botanist years ago said this particular oak is almost certainly older than the Town of Smithfield, which was
in 1777 --- 242 years ago.

SEE MORE photos of often overlooked landmarks in the heart of town,
all of them man-made, on today's FEATURE PAGE>

Spring officially arrives next Wednesday

At 5:58 p.m. next Wednesday, March 20 occurs the astrological vernal equinox, which signals the official arrival of Spring in the northern hemisphere. The equinox is when the sun is lined up with the earth's equator, giving us equal hours of day and night. The days will continue to get longer until June 21, the summer solstice, when the earth's tilt starts moving the sun back toward the autumnal equinox and the days grow shorter.

High School Scoreboard on SPORTS & RECREATION>


County Commissioners to hold annual

"work session" Tuesday on major topics

The Johnston County Board of Commissioners will spend next Tuesday (March 19) discussing "big picture" items facing County Government in the year to come. The board's annual "work session," open to the public, begins at 8 a.m. in the conference room of Johnston Regional Airport on Swift Creek Road off US 70 Business west of Smithfield.

Public notice of the meeting lists the following items to be discussed:
• Financial update, general budget, and capital needs
• Water and sewer
• Solid-waste disposal and decal program
• Sales-tax revenue
• Planning and zoning matters; transportation
• Economic development
• Parks and recreation
• Public information, marketing, and branding
• Other goals and objectives to meet short-term and long-term needs

"Please be advised that the board may or may not choose to take action regarding any of the above referenced items," the notice states.

Highway 70 West Business  •  919-934-1174  •

Photo from Rotary Club of Central Johnston County

Central Johnston Rotarians honor 30

first responders as Paul Harris Fellows

A gift of $1,000 to Rotary International's charitable foundation earns recognition of an individual as a Paul Harris Fellow --- a tribute named for Rotary's founder that honors exemplary community servants.

The Rotary Club of Central Johnston recently named not one, but 30 --- yes, 30 --- Paul Harris Fellows, all of them "first responders" as members of Johnston's fire departments and the county's Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

The firemen so honored (and their departments): Chris Hicks (Smithfield), Gary House Jr. (Selma), Jonathan Womack (Wilson's Mills),
Ryan Benson (Cleveland), Ronnie McLamb (Brogden), David Allen (Pine Level), Tim Purvis (Four Oaks), Caleb Thompson (Blackman's Crossroads), Daniel Bizzell (Strickland Crossroads), James Beasley (Bentonville), Tony Hall (Meadow), Bobby Braswell (Princeton), Earl Jones (Micro), Robert Biggs (Kenly), Ricky Weaver (Bethany), Austin Morgan (Thanksgiving), Jimmy Murray (Antioch), W. Ross Carroll Jr. (Corinth-Holders), Glenn Strickland (Archer Lodge), Ryan Tillerson (Clayton), Brian Newborn (50-210), Thomas Smith (Elevation), and Anthony Byrd (Benson).

Johnston County EMS personnel honored were Amy Boykin, Jason Garner,
Travis Johnson, Aaron Mack, Ryan Parker, Robyn Roberts, and Daniel Selph.

212 E. Church Street  •  919-934-1121 


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.

EDGAR WAYNE WARREN, 38 - died March 11

VALERIE WILLIAMS, 66 - died March 7

DENISE DARCEL LANEY, 64 - died March 6

WILLIAM JENNINGS JORDAN JR., 75 - died December 30
(open link, scroll down the page to locate)

141 E. Market Street  •  919-934-0553 



It's Spring 1957 and these costumed third graders are taking part in a program presented by the class of Mrs. Annie Laura Lewis not long after brand-new South Smithfield Elementary School opened its doors in February: (left to right) Carolyn Wood, Janet Richardson, Linda Lassiter, Margaret Ann Lee, LaRue Sanders, Cissie Hobgood, Emily Wharton, Janice Lee, Donna Sue Moore, and Mary Sanders.

The original South Smithfield School had two first, second, and third-grade classes and just one class for the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades (no public kindergarten in those days). Present-day Smithfield resident Margie Stubbs (Margaret Ann Lee in the picture) came up with this photo as she looked through childhood memorabilia.

South Smithfield School celebrates its heritage March 31

South Smithfield Elementary's "alumni" and anyone else with an interest in the school are invited to a "Dedication and Reunion" at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 31 as the school "proudly reflects on its heritage." A plaque about the school's opening will be unveiled and a "history board" will showcase the school's past, including the principals who have served the school through the years. Tours of the present-day campus will be given.

Principal Laura Makey is inviting all who have been a part of this 62-year history to attend the celebration. The school is located at the corner of Sanders and Vermont streets in heart of residential South Smithfield. The address is 201 West Sanders.


Visit our archives

For more information about our community, check out 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.
Here's what you'll find there:

• Local weather data, current & past
• Monthly jobs reports
• Quarterly retail-sales reports
• Official population estimates
• Agricultural statistics
• Local government links
• Things to see and do

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