Stelling (in the yellow smock) travels
up and down the East Coast restoring
historical markers and plaques in public
places. He was at work last Saturday
repainting this marker that stands on the lawn
in front of the Johnston County Courthouse.
Fabricated from aluminum, it was erected in
1996 by Smithfield's Historical Properties
Commission to tell a remarkable story related
to the end of the Civil War not long after the
bloody Battle of Bentonville in southern
Johnston County. David Stephens (pictured), a
former member of the Smithfield commission who
recently noticed the sign's paint was peeling
badly, took it upon himself to employ someone
with Mr. Stelling's expertise to carry out the
Stelling was at work, a county employee saw what
he was doing and engaged him to repaint the
plaque at the base of the World War I monument
at the Courthouse. That plaque lists, in gold
letters, the 49 Johnstonians who perished in
"The Great World War 1917-1919."
Above the plaque is a bronze statue of a soldier
in arms that was erected upon completion of the
present-day Courthouse in 1921 --- when no one
envisioned a Second World War that took the
lives of more than 140 Johnstonians.
Mr. Stelling was able to repair both the Sherman
sign and the World War I monument before day's
end on Saturday. He's a retired newspaper
pressman from Daytona Beach, Florida.
The U.S. Census Bureau's latest
population estimate puts Johnston County over the
200,000 mark for the first time: 202,674 as of last July
1. That's an increase of almost 34,000 since the 2010
Census was taken --- a gain of 20% in eight years.
The county's population began growing at record levels
in 1990, the year Interstate Highway 40 opened into
western Johnston from Raleigh and the Research Triangle.
The 2000 Census showed a gain of more than 40,000
(almost 50%) during I-40's first decade: from 81,306 to
121,965. The 2010 Census put the county's population at
168,878 --- an increase of almost 47,000 (38%) during
Neighboring Wake County, meanwhile, has grown from
900,993 in 2010 to 1,092,305, according to the latest
Census estimate. That's an increase of almost 200,000
(21%) in less than a decade.
County Public Schools will be closed to students with
an optional teacher workday next Wednesday, May 1.
School officials based that decision on the number of
teachers, teacher assistants, bus drivers, and other
school-system employees who have elected to take leave
that day. That number exceeded 500 by the end of last
Several schools will open their cafeterias May 1 for
breakfast and lunch: West Smithfield Elementary, Selma
Elementary, Four Oaks Elementary, Princeton
Elementary, Micro Elementary, Corinth-Holders
Elementary, and Clayton's Cooper Elementary.
Anyone with hazardous materials
in their household that need to be discarded may get
that done, free of charge, from 8 a.m. till 1 p.m. this
Saturday (April 27) at the Johnston County Livestock
Arena beside the landfill off NC 210 west of Smithfield.
The Johnston County Board of
Education will meet in the Simpson Building on US
70 Business East at 5 p.m. Monday (April 29) to
begin public deliberations regarding Superintendent Ross
Renfrow's "draft" local budget for Johnston's schools.
The Smithfield Town Council will meet in Town
Hall at 7 p.m. Tuesday (April 30) for a third
time to consider budget options for the fiscal year
Johnston's County Commissioners won't begin their
budget sessions prior to a public hearing June 3 on
County Manager Rick Hester's proposal, which he plans to
release in the latter part of May.
The new fiscal year for state and local governments in
North Carolina begins July 1.
Jones (right), receives the Hospice Angel
Award from Wanda Johnson, volunteer
coordinator for Johnston Health Home Care
Hospital volunteers worth a million bucks
with their service
& photo from Johnston Health
Their record of service is
quite impressive, from awarding scholarships to
running gift shops to assisting hundreds of patients
a day. In fact, the 214 men and women who volunteer
at Johnston Health gave a combined 41,990 hours last
year valued at more than $1 million.
During the 39th annual
Volunteers Appreciation Luncheon last week, Johnston
Health applauded the service
of its volunteers. "You are all critical to the
operation and success of our organization," said
Chuck Elliott, president and CEO. "We could not do
our jobs without you."
Eric Janis, M.D.,
chairman of Johnston Health's board of directors,
unveiled a $1-million "check" representing the value
of the volunteers’ hours. "We respect, admire, and
appreciate what you do," he said. "You make a
difference because you care, because you’re present,
and because you know the right things to do and
While all of the
volunteers received certificates, four were honored
with special awards:
• Iris Hocutt, a chaplain volunteer,
received the Overa S. Stevens Award for faithful
• Phyllis Toole and B.J. Christensen,
hospital volunteers in Smithfield and Clayton,
respectively, received the Sue Archambeault Award
for "exemplary volunteerism."
• Carolyn Jonesreceived the Hospice
Angel Award for "lifting spirits, and quietly
April Culver, vice
president of marketing/communications and strategy,
thanked outgoing hospital volunteers' president Gale
Cass for her leadership, energy, and
initiative. In the nine years since joining the first
group of volunteers at Johnston Health Clayton, she
has also donated her time to hospice, the Johnston
Health Foundation, and as a patient and family
In addition, retiring volunteers Charles
and Pat Wall, Mary Williford, Linda
Barefoot, and Margie Gower were honored
with donations made in their names to the foundation.