Stories and photos by Wingate Lassiter
unless otherwise noted

SPORTS & RECREATION: Sign-up time for summer camps
FEATURE PAGE: Smithfield's "SRAC" is 10 years old
OPINIONS: No history without local newspapers

How HOT can it get?!!!

The National Weather Service reporting station at the Johnston County Airport northwest of Smithfield recorded a high of 97 on Tuesday and again on Wednesday, following a high of 91 on Monday and 95 on Sunday.

The historical average high for us in May is 79, rising to 86 in June.

The forecast for today (Thursday) is a high "near 98" but Friday's forecast calls for a high of 91 followed by highs in the 80s into next week.

A little rainfall would be welcome, too.

Four Oaks lands home-furnishings

distribution & call center with 161 jobs

The County of Johnston and the Town of Four Oaks nailed down a major new employer on Tuesday that pledges to invest $16 million in a distribution and customer-contact center employing at least 124 persons, and perhaps 161, paying salaries averaging just under $40,000, close to the current countywide average, officials said.

Broad River Retail in partnership with the Keith Corporation will build the facility at the intersection of NC 96 and Brewer Road beside I-95 on the east side of Four Oaks. Broad River is a franchisee for Ashley HomeStore, one of the nation's leading merchandisers of home furnishings.

At a joint meeting Tuesday, the County Commissioners approved an agreement that will refund a portion of property taxes assessed on Broad River's facility over the next seven years and the Four Oaks Town Council approved an agreement to extend sewer service to the new center at no cost to the company.

READ MORE in a news release from Johnston's Office of Economic Development>


Johnston County veterans of the Vietnam War were given special recognition during Monday's Memorial Day observance inside the Courthouse. Johnston's Council of Veterans Organizations hosted the event, which featured an address by retired Command Sergeant Major Benny Dobbs Jr., who reminded those in attendance that "every day is Memorial Day for those who lost a loved one" in defense of the U.S.A. He noted that 1.2-million Americans have died in wartime military service during the nation's history. That number includes about 250 Johnstonians from the First World War till now.

A busy weekend heading into summer:

Graduation at Smithfield-Selma High School --- 7 p.m.
More information>
Ava Gardner Festival Opening Night Party --- 7 p.m. Details in advertisement below.
Neuse Little Theatre's "Savannah Sipping Society" --- 8 p.m.
More information>

Fifth Street Community Garden ribbon-cutting --- 10 a.m.
More information below.
AVA GARDNER FESTIVAL --- 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. More information>
Neuse Little Theatre's "Savannah Sipping Society" --- 8 p.m.
More information>

Teresa Daughtry   919.585.5327 (D)

     Principal / Broker         919.669.4748 (C)


The Smithfield Recreation & Aquatics Center --- a.k.a. SRAC --- celebrated its 10th birthday this week, including a free hot-dog lunch served on Wednesday. SRAC "regular" Lauren Strogen (right) fills a plate for herself and her family as SRAC staffers T.J. Altman (from left), Aquatics Director Laura Crumpler, Naelee Stone, and SRAC Director Dale Ham make sure she's well served.

Learn more about the SRAC on today's FEATURE PAGE>



Proposed Smithfield budget: the numbers behind a call for higher property taxes

Smithfield's Town Manager Mike Scott has released the full contents of his proposed budget for Fiscal 2019-20 that begins July 1. Following directions from the Town Council, he has assembled the numbers without changing Smithfield's property-tax rate of 57 cents per $100 assessed valuation of real estate.

If that holds, it will mean an increase in taxes for most Smithfield residents and business who have received higher real-estate assessments resulting from county revaluation taking effect this year after eight years without across-the-board changes.



Johnston County Board of Commissioners
10:00 a.m. & 6:00
p.m. Monday,
June 3
Johnston County Courthouse, 207 E. Market Street, Smithfield
• At the morning session,
the board will conduct a public hearing on the proposed county budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20 at 10 a.m. Following the hearing, commissioners will hear from leaders of Johnston's public schools regarding their funding request, which is considerably higher than what's in the proposed budget.
• At the evening session the board will consider rezoning requests in Banner, Elevation, and Pleasant Grove townships.
View the full agendas for both sessions>

Smithfield Town Council
7:00 p.m. Tuesday,
June 4
Town Hall, 350 E. Market Street, Smithfield
Among items on the agenda:
Public hearing on proposed town budget for 2019-20.
• Public hearing on an application for a $750,000 Small Cities Community Development Block Grant to be used for housing rehabilitation in low-income areas.
Public hearing on changes in the town's rules to allow "food trucks" to operate in Office and Institutional (O/I) and B-1 and B-2 business districts. Currently, they are only permitted in B-3 business districts. The change will legalize food trucks operating in town parks and at events such as the Ham & Yam Festival --- a practice that has been allowed up to now without legal authority.
View the full agenda with supporting documents>

Attorney at Law
102 S. Third Street
Downtown Smithfield


Community Garden is coming alive again

The Town of Smithfield's Fifth Street Community Garden, neglected in recent years, is "back in business," thanks to organizer Brandie Davis (pictured with her daughter Evelyn) and a cadre of volunteers.

The Community Garden is a "100% volunteer" operation giving Smithfield residents a chance to grow, and learn to grow, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Many of the cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, squash, and more have already been planted, and soon folks will be able to partake of the bounty.

A ribbon-cutting officially re-opening the garden will take place at 10 a.m. this Saturday (June 1). The garden is located on the east side of South Fifth Street, beside Spring Branch, between Church and Woodall streets.

  real-estate broker


My Kid's Club campaigning for donations

Earl Worley (left) and Harold Keen of KS Bank present the ceremonial check. (Photo from My Kid's Club)
KS Bank of Smithfield has donated $1,000 to the annual campaign to benefit My Kid's Club, successor to the Boys and Girls Club of Johnston and Wayne counties that shut down local operations last year.

My Kid's Club is housed at Selma Elementary School until the former Boys and Girls Club building ruined by Hurricane Matthew can be re-opened.

Meanwhile, the club plans
to host two-week summer camps at South Smithfield Elementary School and the Benson Resource Center, beginning in June.

"The mission is My Kid's Club is to encourage and empower youth to grow in character and understanding through studies and opportunities for academic success, civic engagement, and habits that underscore health living to achieve their potential as responsible and caring citizens," reads the statement of purchase on the club's website at

For more information or to contribute to the 2019 campaign, call 919-351-1559.