Gaston & Catawba

Unifour Church sponsors second Amazing Race

Amazing Race: The Unifour Christian Fellowship Church, also known as Unifour Church, will sponsor its second annual Amazing Race event Nov. 21-23 in the Hickory area.

The race begins at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at the church at 2257 Old Conover-Startown Road, continues at 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 22 with the last leg starting at 10 a.m. Nov. 23. The event is open to teams of four who will compete to win $1,000 for a local nonprofit agency of their choice.

The event is similar to the CBS television show. All portions of the race will take place at interesting locations in the Hickory area. The Road Blocks can be either mental or physical, but the race is not physically demanding, and all ages are encouraged to participate. The most important skill needed is the ability to read and follow directions.

Entry is free. The registration deadline is Nov. 16. Interested teams can register by emailing or calling 828-466-7400 or 336-749-0816.

Talent competition: Registration is open through Dec. 1 for Green Room Community Theater’s inaugural “So You Think You’ve Got Talent” completion. The semifinals will be held on Jan. 9, and the finals will be held Jan. 16. The competition is a fundraiser for The Green Room Community Theatre.

Contestants will compete for cash prizes of $2,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for Audience Favorite. Twenty acts will be chosen to participate in the semifinals, and 10 acts will advance to the finals.

Contestants are required to attend rehearsals. Performance categories include but are not limited to: singer, actor, musician, dancer, rapper, comedian, magician, ventriloquist and circus skills. Acts must be between two and four minutes each. Material must be family-friendly.

Auditions will be held 5-9 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15. A $5 entry fee per person will be collected. For details and to register, visit and click on the green “So You Think You’ve Got Talent” button at the bottom of the page. Details are also available by calling 828-464-6583.

Christmas concerts: The Hickory Rings! handbell choir will hold its third annual Christmas concerts at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at Woodlawn Baptist Church, 440 Seventh St. Place S.W., Conover, and at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at First Baptist Church, 339 Second Ave. N.W., Hickory. Both concerts are free and open to the public.

The performances will include the music of Moklebust, McChesney, Griffin, Hilty, Krug and Dobrinski. A special feature will be the choral singing of Hickory Rings! and its Four in Hand Quartet.

The group includes musicians from Catawba, Alexander, Iredell, Caldwell and Lincoln counties representing 11 churches, 10 area schools, colleges and universities and more than 25 professional organizations. Membership is by audition. For details, email director Mike Watson at

Free computer workshops: The Catawba County Library is offering free one-hour computer sessions this month. Registration is required. To sign up for any workshop, contact the appropriate location: Conover, 828-466-5108; Claremont, 828-466-6817; Maiden, 828-428-2712; Newton, 828-465-7938; Sherrills Ford-Terrell, 828-466-6827; Southwest, 828-466-6818; St. Stephens, 828-466-6821.

Classes include:

iPad Basics: 10 a.m. Wednesdays in November, St. Stephens Branch, 3225 Springs Road N.E., Hickory

“App”-alooza: Learn the ropes of mobile apps. 6 p.m. Nov. 11, Sherrills Ford-Terrell Branch, 9154 Sherrills Ford Road, Terrell

Intro to Email: 10 a.m. Nov. 12, Maiden Branch, 11 S. A Ave., Maiden

Intro to Excel: 10 a.m. Nov. 14 and Nov. 21, Southwest Branch, 2944 N.C. 127 S., Hickory

Resume Builders: One-on-one resume coaching. By appointment starting at 10 a.m. Nov. 19 and 20, Claremont Branch, 3288 E. Main St., Claremont

Rocket Languages: Online tool for learning foreign languages. 10 a.m. Nov. 19, Main Branch, 115 W. C St., Newton

EBook Extravaganza: Learn how to use reading devices such as Nook, Kindle, iPad and more. 6 p.m. Nov. 25, Sherrills Ford-Terrell Branch, 9154 Sherrills Ford Road, Terrell

Pottery talk: Lincoln County archeologist January Costa will give a pottery talk at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at Maiden Branch Library, 11 S. A Ave., Maiden. The talk is free and appropriate for all ages.

Costa has been involved in a dig at Holly Bend, a plantation house along the Catawba River near Cornelius in Mecklenburg County, that has produced a number of recovered ceramics. For details, call the Maiden Branch at 828-428-2712.

Crafts at the library: Free fall crafts will be offered this month at the Sherrills Ford-Terrell Branch Library, 9154 Sherrills Ford Road, Terrell. To reserve a spot, stop by the library or call 828-466-6827.

Workshops include:

Fall leaf candle holders: 5:30 p.m. Nov. 10, for ages 7-12

Bejeweled T-shirt tote bags: 4 p.m. Nov. 19, for ages 12-18

DIY faux flower candle wreath: 4 p.m. Nov. 20, for adults

Fall wreaths: 5:30 p.m. Nov. 24, for ages 7-12

Costume contest winners: The Hickory Downtown Development Downtown Candy Crawl and Costume Contest was held Oct. 29 under the Sails in Union Square. Downtown participating businesses gave away candy and treats as costumed kids aged 12 and younger visited door-to-door throughout downtown.

The winner of the family category was the Baker family of Wesley, Mary-Margaret, Charlotte and Sullivan Baker. The family was dressed as Abe Lincoln, Ben Franklin, George Washington and Lady Liberty. The winner of the 0-6 age group was Carrington Grace McDade dressed as a pirate, complete with a moving pirate ship. The 7-12 age-group winner was Ian Parsons dressed as a Hot Wheels package.

Winners received tickets for a family of four to see “Shrek the Musical” at the Hickory Community Theatre. The Hickory Community Theatre Guild judged the costume contest and presented the prizes to the winners. WHKY “First Talk” host Hal Row emceed the costume contest.

Orchid meeting: The Catawba Valley Orchid Society will meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 in Room 715 of the Life Science Building on the campus of Catawba Valley Community College, 2550 U.S. 70, Hickory. The speaker will be David McAdoo, co-founder and president of the Native Orchid Conference.

McAdoo is an author and photographer who has contributed to the American Orchid Society and the Smithsonian. His program will be “Wild Orchids of North Carolina.” Meetings are free and open to the public. For detail, call Mary Yoder at 828-464-5117.

Castle of Cans: The 2014 Susan L. Coleman Castle of Cans collected 12,361 pounds of food during the recent 2014 Hickory Oktoberfest. The food will be distributed to eight agencies: Corner Table of Newton, Eastern Catawba County Cooperative Christian Ministries, Exodus Homes, Family Care Center, Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministries, Hickory Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army and Second Harvest Food Bank.

Hickory Downtown Development Association sponsors the Castle of Cans, and the project is coordinated by St. Alban’s Episcopal Church. Boy Scout Troop No. 903 from First Presbyterian Church in Newton and Catawba Valley Community College Circle K Club members assembled the castle, and it was dismantled by Boy Scout Troop No. 726 from Church of the Ascension in Hickory

Bandys High School collected the most cans – 2,014 pounds worth. The elementary and middle school challenge winners are: Ms. Warren’s first grade at Clyde Campbell Elementary, donating 11.78 cans per student and Ms. Clark’s seventh grade class at Arndt Middle school, donating 7.42 cans per student. These two classes will receive pizza parties donated by Papa John’s Pizza.

Community focus group: In connection with Hickory Public Library’s strategic planning process, the public is invited to share input about public library services at the first community focus group to be held 5:30-7 p.m. Nov. 11 at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library, 375 Third St. N.E., Hickory. Anthony Chow, consultant, will facilitate the discussion.

Questions are based on topics such as how individuals and families use the library, relevancy and strengths of today’s public library, areas for improvement, importance of technology, the library’s role in the economic health of its community and what an ideal library would look like.

Input from the public is also being solicited through surveys, available in English and Spanish, at and in print through Nov. 21 at both Patrick Beaver Memorial Library and Ridgeview Branch Library. For details, contact Louise Humphrey at or 828-304-0500, ext. 7275.

100th birthday party: About 70 friends and family of Pearl Hepler gathered Nov. 1 at First United Methodist Church in Hickory to celebrate her 100th birthday, which falls on Nov. 13. Family members attended the event from as far away as Florida and California.

Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright issued a proclamation during the party declaring Nov. 1 as Pearl Hepler Day in Hickory. Assistant city manager Andrea Surratt presented Hepler with the proclamation and a key to the city.

Hepler retired after about 25 years as a waitress at Mull’s Restaurant and was married for 58 years to her late husband, Roy, who retired from Centel/Central Telephone Co. She is the mother of the late Jennifer Derrick, and sons Sid Hepler and Robert Hepler, both of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She also has three granddaughters, Cami and Lea Hepler of Hickory, and Erena Hepler of San Diego, Calif.

Seniors Morning Out: Seniors in Catawba County are invited to participate in activities this month at the county’s five Seniors Morning Out locations. Seniors Morning Out is open to Catawba County residents ages 60 or older. Participation is free, but donations are accepted. In addition to the activities, a hot, balanced lunch is served.

The program operates Monday-Thursday mornings. All locations will be closed Nov. 27 for the Thanksgiving holiday. To attend one or all of the programs, contact the site supervisor at least 24 hours in advance. For details about sites or programming, call the Senior Nutrition Services office at 828-695-5610 or visit

Site contacts are as follows:

Maiden: Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966

East Hickory: Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963

West Hickory: Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746

Newton: Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133

Claremont: Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434

Foster and adoptive parent meeting: Family Builders of Catawba Valley will host a Family Resource Meeting for those interested in fostering or adopting a child 6-7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Family Services Center, 3050 11th Ave. Drive S.E., Hickory, behind Catawba Valley Medical Center.

There is an urgent need for foster parents and therapeutic foster parents, especially those who can accept sibling groups. Resource families include family foster homes, therapeutic foster homes and adoptive homes.

For details about the meeting or to schedule an individual appointment to discuss becoming a resource family, contact Sharon Hamby at Family Builders of Catawba Valley at 828-695-4553 or For details on all services offered by Family Builders of Catawba Valley, visit

Southern Christmas Show tickets: The Newton Parks and Recreation Department is selling discount tickets to the Southern Christmas Show, which will be held Nov. 13-23 at The Park Expo and Conference Center in Charlotte. Advance adult tickets are $9.50. No children’s tickets are available at the Recreation Center. For details, call the Newton Parks and Recreation Department at 828-695-4317.

Girl Scout Gold Award: Niamh Sinclair of Conover recently earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting. Sinclair is the daughter of Gavin and Elayne Sinclair and a member of Troop 10557. Her Gold Award project focused on academic stress and how it affects adolescents. She put together information and a selection of coping techniques and distributed them to local teachers.

The Gold Award recognizes girls in ninth to 12th grades who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Each girl must dedicate at least 80 hours to planning and implementing a project, which must have a long-lasting beneficial impact on her community.

Exhibition extended: The Catawba Science Center has extended its Furniture Well Crafted exhibition until Nov. 16. About 20,000 people have visited Furniture Well Crafted since the exhibition opened, and more than 30 local companies from the Catawba Valley provided materials for the exhibition. The Catawba Science Center is at 243 Third Ave. N.E., Hickory. For details, visit

Gardening for Wildlife: A Gardening for Wildlife Class will be offered at 1 p.m. Nov. 11 at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library, 375 Third St. N.E., Hickory. Kelly Groves of the Catawba County N.C. Cooperative Extension will discuss what you can do in your yard to attract a diversity of wildlife. The class is free but registration is required. To register, call 828-304-0500 ext. 7235.

Holiday musical: The Green Room Community Theatre’s upcoming holiday musical will be “Miracle on 34th Street.”

“Miracle on 34th Street” is produced by McCreary Modern and directed by John David Brown III, with musical direction by Cathy Banner and choreography by Sara Lane. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays Nov. 21-Dec. 7 at the Old Post Office Playhouse, 10 S. Main Ave., Newton.

For tickets, call 828-464-6128 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays. Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and students and $8 for children ages 12 and younger. The show is rated G. For details, call 828-464-6583 or visit

Catawba County University: Catawba County will offer a two night course on the programs and structure of the county government 5:30-9 p.m. Dec. 9 and 11 in the second-floor meeting room of the Catawba County Government Center, 100-A Southwest Blvd., Newton.

Catawba County University will focus on different areas of county service, with an emphasis on explaining programs and services through real-life stories. The class is free and will be limited to 30 participants. To register, contact Dave Hardin at or 828-465-8464. The deadline to register is 5 p.m. Nov. 26.

New offices: The Catawba Valley Community Foundation has moved to new offices in the Lyerly House, 310 N. Center St., Hickory. The foundation’s mailing address will remain the same: P.O. Box 2851, Hickory, NC 28603. The office’s toll-free phone number remains 888-375-8117. N.C. Community Foundation Regional Associate John Francis’ contact number is 366-745-1739.

The foundation’s previous office at 13th Avenue Northeast was sold. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Unifour Foundation Endowment, which is held by the CVCF. The Unifour Foundation Endowment is CVCF’s largest grantmaking fund and has contributed more than $3 million to the Catawba Valley area.

The CVCF covers Alexander, Caldwell and Catawba counties and was founded in 1997. It is an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation.


Emergency Department expansion: Frye Regional Medical Center is planning a $9.5 million upgrade to its Emergency Department to meet the growing patient demands in the Hickory area. The new department will utilize advanced equipment and double the number of treatment rooms from 13 to 26. Since the 18,000-square-foot department’s original construction in 1993, patient volume has increased by 50 percent annually.

The expansion project will also include a new Express Care room, for a total of six Express Care rooms; a psychiatric monitoring area; a pediatric area; updated equipment.

The estimated project completion date is in early 2017. The project will start with the construction of the clinical laboratory on the fourth floor, followed by the laboratory’s relocation and phased construction of the expansion.

Patient safety rating: Frye Regional Medical Center received the top grade of “A” in the Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2014 Safety Score. The Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Score is a rating system designed to give consumers information they can use to make healthcare decisions for themselves or a loved one. Visit for more details on Frye’s Safety Score.

New support coordinator: Tracey Bolick joined the Catawba Medical Foundation as support coordinator in October. Bolick has a strong background in marketing and communications including 13 years as the Hickory Furniture Mart marketing director. She graduated from UNC Chapel Hill where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science. She lives in Hickory with her family.

APICS Foothills meeting: The Foothills APICS Chapter will hold a dinner meeting and educational opportunity at 6 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Catawba Country Club, 1154 Country Club Road, Newton. The guest speaker, Clyde Parker, will present “The Seven Secrets of Six-Sigma.” Parker is recognized worldwide as a leader in Six-Sigma excellence and is identified as a “Guiding Star” by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

The cost to attend this event is $20 for nonmembers or $10 for APICS members, $5 for APICS student members and $10 for student/faculty guests. To register, email Bill Phillips at Registration at the event begins at 5:30 p.m.

APICS is a professional association for supply chain and operations management. The APICS Foothills Chapter serves Hickory, Lincolnton, Gastonia, Morganton, Lenoir, Boone and the surrounding areas. The chapter is committed to developing members’ professional education and networking opportunities and offers training to local businesses. For details, visit or email chapter president Mike Carpenter at

Compiled by Gina Smith