ONLINE JULY 11, 2019 • VOL.
1, NO. 28
THE NEW "JAIL" COULD LOOK LIKE
Johnston's County Commissioners
Monday received Moseley Architects'
"schematic design" of the new Detention
Center to be constructed off US 70 Business
east of Smithfield. The architects said the
idea is to make the facility's entrance look
more like a commercial business office than
a jail. They also noted that the building
will be located on the back side of the
property, which wraps around the John Deere
dealership at the intersection of 70
Business and Yelverton Grove Road.
The architects estimate the
"probable total project cost" at $45
million, including a 15% contingency since
the start of construction is a year away.
The 112,000-square-foot detention center
will include 469 modular steel cells with
support facilities like kitchen and laundry
sized to accommodate 600 inmates in the
future. Completion is projected in December
Sheriff Steve Bizzell told
commissioners that average occupancy of the
present Courthouse jail is 263 --- well
beyond its ideal capacity. As a result,
Johnston sends inmates to Sampson and Wayne
counties for incarceration at a cost to the
county of $50 per day, the sheriff noted.
Attorney at Law
AN EARLY N.C. GOVERNOR GETS
Benjamin Williams came
of age in eastern Johnston County
wasn't a "native son" since he was likely born in what
is today Wayne County, but that shouldn't keep Johnston
County from recognizing one of its own who served as
Governor of the new State of North Carolina in 1798-1801
and again in 1807.
His name was Benjamin Williams, and he spent his
formative years on his uncle's Woodbury Plantation in
eastern Johnston County almost 10 miles from Smithfield.
An historical marker funded by the Johnston County
Visitors Bureau under auspices of the Johnston County
Heritage Center is being erected in the Governor's
memory near the easternmost intersection of Grabtown and
Brogden roads --- close to the site of his plantation
home no longer standing.
A ceremony unveiling the Williams marker
was held last Saturday inside the Smithfield Masonic Lodge
(because of uncertain weather). Hosting the event was
the Smith-Bryan Chapter of the DAR (Daughters of the
American Revolution), which helped pay for the marker.
Chapter regent Gayenell Gull (at left in the photo)
and state regent Carole Weiss handled the unveiling.
Heritage Center Director Todd Johnson talked about the
man Benjamin Williams, whom he described as a product of
North Carolina's "rugged aristocracy." Born in 1751, at
age 23 he represented Johnston County in the state's
First Provincial Congress that met in New Bern in 1774
"in open defiance of the British Crown." At age 24 he
joined the 2nd N.C. Regiment and fought for the cause of
Independence throughout the Revolutionary War, attaining
the rank of colonel. In 1780 he represented Johnston in
the new state's legislature.
He had moved his family to Moore County by the time he
was elected Governor.
Adding historical context to Saturday's marker unveiling
were musical performances by Gabrielle Langdon and Adam
Young (pictured above) along with George Langdon
--- of Johnston County's Camp Flintlock --- and a talk
by Roy Timbs, interpreter from the
House-in-the-Horseshoe State Historic Site in Moore
County where Benjamin Williams spent the last years of
his life. Deputy Secretary Kevin Cherry of the N.C.
Department of Natural and Cultural Resources also spoke.
"We do this to build community," Dr. Cherry said,
"because history is a part of building community." He
said his department over the years has erected more than
1,600 roadside historical markers throughout North
Carolina --- 35 of them in Johnston County.
The Benjamin Williams marker is one of five being
erected this summer by Johnston County to complement the
state's markers. The others commemorate the Freedmen's
Schoolhouse in Smithfield (erected 1868-69), Atkinson's
Mill north of Selma (established in 1757), Hinton's
Quarter courthouse site at Clayton (1759-1771), and site
of the Catch-Me-Eye wartime munitions explosion at Selma
in March of 1942.
Two incumbent councilmen file
Stephen Rabil (pictured) was among the
first in line at noon last Friday to file for municipal
offices up for election in Johnston County November 5.
Mr. Rabil is seeking re-election to a second four-year
term on the Smithfield Town Council.
Fellow Councilman John Dunn filed on Tuesday for
re-election, also to a second term. The third Smithfield
Council seat up for grabs this year is held by Emery
Ashley, who has said he will not run again.
The three council seats are elected "at large" by all
Smithfield voters rather than by districts, which means
the top three finishers in the November 5 municipal
election will begin four-year terms of service in
The filing deadline for candidates is noon Friday, July
19. All filings must be done at the Johnston County
Board of Elections office at 205 South Second Street.
Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Smithfield Council advised to put more
funding into stormwater management
An engineering consultant says the Town of Smithfield
needs to step up its replacement of aging infrastructure
as part of a plan to mitigate damage from flooding
caused by a rising number of heavy-rain events....
READ MORE from Tuesday's
monthly meeting of the Town Council>
Community Foundation awards $41,500
in public-service grants and scholarships
The board of
advisors of the Johnston County Community
Foundation recently awarded $41,500 in local
grants and scholarships.
Grant recipients include the Johnston County
Heritage Center, the Johnston County Animal
Protection League, the Johnston County Arts
Council, the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, My Kid's
Club, Episcopal Farmworker Ministry, Harbor Inc.,
Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action, the
Partnership for Children, and several other
College scholarships were awarded from several
named endowments to seven students: Michael
Burns, Lindsay Hall, Ashlyn Hogg, Nathan
Muhammad, and Linda
READ the complete list of
grant recipients on the foundation's website>
Gonna be a zany weekend in Smithfield!
The town's Parks and Recreation
Department is hosting the 2nd annual "River Rat Regatta"
Saturday afternoon, and the North Carolina Wiffle Ball
Tournament on Saturday and Sunday. READ
WHAT ELSE IS COMING UP?
A rundown of upcoming civic
and cultural opportunities in our community
that we've been told about or seen publicized in
MUSIC FOR THE LUNCH BUNCH
SERIES continues on Wednesday, July 17
at 12:15 p.m. at Smithfield's First
Presbyterian Church with a performance by
pianist Dexter Ruffin. View the full series
DOWNTOWN SMITHFIELD "RHYTHM
& BREWS" monthly
outdoor concert series continues
on Friday, July 19 from 7:00 till
9:30 p.m. on South Third Street
with "beach music" by Jim Quick
"BIRDS, BEES, BUTTERFILES," a symposium
on "Growing a Pollinator Garden," will be
hosted by Johnston County Extension's Master
Gardener volunteers on Saturday, September 14
from 8:30 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. at the Johnston
County Agricultural Center. For more
information, e-mail email@example.com;
to register, visit jocomgbbb.com.
DEATHS & FUNERALS
Each week we'll post links to obituaries about persons
who have died during the past week. We'll 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.
75 - died DATE
THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS