Gaston & Catawba

Students compete in countywide science fair

Science fair winners: Catawba County 4-H and Catawba County Schools partnered to offer the Catawba County Science Fair, which culminated with the county contest in November.

First-place winners in the elementary division were Annalee Smith and Makayla Little. Annalee’s project, “Ready, Set, Remember,” focused on the impact of gender in short-term memory. She is a fourth-grader at Maiden Elementary. Makayla, a third-grader, titled her project “Egg-splorer.” Lawson Hicks, a fourth-grader from Sherrills Ford Elementary, and Adrena Moore, a fifth-grader from Startown, tied for second place.

Maiden Middle School students Adysen Hudson and Samantha Wilmoth won first place in the Biological Sciences category with their project, “Speeds vs. Breeds.” Abbey Smith, also from Maiden Middle, earned first place in Behavior and Social Sciences for her project, “Total Recall: Does Age Effect Short-term Memory?”

Josh Wilson, a home-school 4-H member, earned first place in the chemistry category for “Starch Your Engines,” a project based on food chemistry. Cordella Morgan of Startown Elementary won second place in chemistry. Top winners in the physics category were Riverbend Middle School students Tyler Long and Cassidee Bruce, both eighth-graders.

Selected students will advance to the regional science fair contest in December at Appalachian State University in Boone.

Regional winners will advance to the North Carolina Science Fair. For details about the science fair or science learning opportunities offered through 4-H, contact Donna Mull, at 828-465-8240 or

Holiday song: Hickory resident Tom Martin has collaborated with former Beach Boys band member Chris Farmer to produce a new rockabilly holiday song, “Born on Christmas Day.” The song is based on the real-life experience of Martin’s daughter, Caroline, who was born on Christmas Day.

Martin met Farmer when they toured with The Beach Boys in the 1990s. The two collaborated on the song when Farmer came to Hickory for a concert at Lenoir-Rhyne University in May. Martin wrote the lyrics and Farmer created the music and vocal arrangement.

“Born on Christmas Day” is co-produced and engineered by Gary Griffin at Supreme Hall of Sound in Los Angeles. To listen to the song, visit or request it from your local radio station.

Photo competition winners: The Catawba Valley Camera Club has announced the winners of its photographic competition for its Nov. 19 meeting. The competition was for projection images with the assigned topic of “Field Trip Images.”

The Accomplished Division winners were: first place, Doreen Sugierski with “Hunting Island Lighthouse with Star Trails;” second place, Stan Bolton with “Koala Portrait;” third place, Ed Lane with “Green Tree Snake;” honorable mention, Ed Lane with “Live Oaks.” The Intermediate Division winners were: first place, Chip Young with “Plantation Row;” second place, Dennis Hacker with “Husband and Wife;” third Place, Cindy Martin with “Getting Air;” honorable mention, Dean Powell with “Lioness.”

The Catawba Valley Camera Club meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of every month in the North Annex of the Arts Center, 243 Third Ave. N.E., Hickory. Meetings are open to the public and consist of competition among members and instructional lectures. For details and to view the winning photos, visit Details are also available by calling Mike Morrison at Viewmont Camera, 828-327-2959.

Vitamin Drive: In lieu of the typical annual canned-food drive, Davidson, Holland, Whitesell & Co. held a two-week Vitamin Drive for the Hickory Soup Kitchen in November. The accounting firm chose the Hickory Soup Kitchen as the recipient of proceeds from its charity efforts for the coming year, and the Soup Kitchen had expressed a need for vitamins for its clients.

David, Holland, Whitesell & Co. employees donated 44 bottles of multivitamins, children’s and seniors’ vitamins and prenatal vitamins.

Pathfinder Dinner: The Piedmont Council of the Boy Scouts of American held its annual Pathfinder Dinner on Nov. 28 with a full-capacity crowd in attendance. Many of the civic and business leaders from the council’s 11-county area were present.

The theme of the evening was “The Legacy of Scouting,” highlighting families who have carried on the tradition of Scouting through multiple generations. Members of Boy Scout Troop 1 from Corinth Reformed Church in Hickory started the evening with a flag ceremony. Pathfinder Dinner Chairman John McGill welcomed the crowd.

The evening served as a catalyst for the Friends of Scouting fundraising campaign. Donors were recognized, including four supporters who had reached the Diamond Eagle level by giving more than $50,000. Diamond Eagle supporters were honored with large eagle statues. Attendees were given the opportunity to make donations at the event, raising about $500,000 for the Piedmont Council. For details about or to support the local Boy Scouts of America program, call Connie Bowes at 704-864-2694 ext. 105 or visit

Vaccine special: A vaccine special is available through the end of December at the Foothills Wellness Clinic at Humane Society of Catawba County. The Feline Distemper Combo Vaccine, which is for feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia, is $10. To make an appointment for vaccines or a heartworm test, call 828-464-8878 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Services are available to the public and are not limited to residents of Catawba County.

Food for Fines: Catawba County and Hickory public libraries recently accepted donations of nonperishable food items in lieu of payment for library fines during the annual Food for Fines program. Through Dec. 12, library customers were able to pay their fines with nonperishable food at the rate of one item for each dollar in fines. The donated items were given to local food pantries.


Fire department grant: A recent grant from FM Global is helping equip Newton Fire Department vehicles with Apple iPads loaded with lifesaving technology. On Nov. 26, David Peckham, FM Global senior consultant engineer, presented Newton Fire Department Chief Kevin Yoder and Battalion Chief Randy Walker with a check for $2,794 to buy three iPads, along with compatible cases and vehicle mounts.

Once the three new tablets are installed, all 17 of the fire department’s vehicles will have iPads. Firefighters use the iPads to conduct pre-fire planning and building inspections. Information, including floor plans, locations of hazardous materials and quality of fire-suppression systems, will be saved on the iPads for use during emergency calls.

FM Global provides commercial and industrial property insurance, risk management, property loss prevention research and claims handling.

Grant: The Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry recently receive a grant from Corning Inc. Foundation to help buy medications and supplies including a pill counter, scanner and signature pad software for use in its pharmacy.

Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, the Community Health Center at Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry has provided 8,292 patient encounters for 1,359 patients. The value of these services is $736,016. Through October, the pharmacy has dispensed 32,325 prescriptions at a value of $3.8 million.

Guardian of Excellence: The Catawba Valley Medical Center was recently named a 2014 Guardian of Excellence Award winner by Press Ganey Associates, Inc. The award recognizes top-performing health care facilities that consistently achieve the 95th percentile of performance in Patient Experience metrics.

Catawba Valley Medical Center sustained a top 5 percent performance in measuring, understanding and improving patients’ experiences during the annual reporting period tracked by Press Ganey. Partnering with more than 11,000 health care facilities, including more than half of all U.S. hospitals, Press Ganey’s mission is to improve the overall health care experience.

Mammography designation: Catawba Valley Medical Center’s breast imaging center, Catawba Valley Imaging, was recently designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. The Breast Imaging Center of Excellence status recognizes achievements in mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, breast ultrasound and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy.

CVMC received the designation after peer-review evaluations, conducted in each breast imaging modality by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field, determined that the facility has achieved high practice standards in image quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs.

Compiled by Gina Smith