Gaston & Catawba

County has 5 locations to discard Christmas trees

Christmas tree recycling: Christmas trees and other natural decorations are being collected at all five Solid Waste Convenience Centers around Catawba County through Jan. 31, and curbside on regular garbage pickup days through Jan. 26.

No ornaments, bases or other decorations should be on trees.

Some municipalities in Catawba County are handling tree pickup separately within their boundaries. Residents of municipalities should check with their city or town for details.

The county’s five Solid Waste Convenience Centers are on Rocky Ford Road off N.C. 10 West in Newton across from the Blackburn Landfill, on Bethany Church Road in Newton, in the Cooksville Community on Rhoney Farm Road, in the Oxford Community on Lookout Dam Road and on Sherrills Ford Road. Christmas trees are also accepted at the Blackburn Construction and Demolition Landfill.

For details and hours of operation, visit

Moonlighters officers and awards: At a recent ceremony, the Carolina Moonlighters installed officers for 2015 as follows: president and secretary, Roger Beaver, Hickory; program vice president, Barry Smith, Hickory; treasurer, Ed Walk, Conover; music vice president, Don Lang, Hickory; membership vice president, Gardner Seese , Hickory; board member at large, Isaac Stewart, Conover; event chairman, Bob Johns, Granite Falls; publicity vice president, Bill Jones, Hickory.

Also at the ceremony, Lang and Dennis Kimbleton of Granite Falls were named co-winners of the Barbershopper of the Year award for their contributions to the Moonlighters.

The Moonlighters provided holiday entertainment to residents of Pinecrest Independent Living, Abernathy Laurels Village and Kingston Residence in December. The Moonlighters sing a cappella music in the barbershop style. Rehearsals are held at 7 p.m. Thursdays evenings at in the Arts Center Annex on the SALT Block, 243 Third Ave. N.E., Hickory. Men interested in singing are welcome to attend. For details, call Roger Beaver at 828-327-2490.

Spirit of King Award nominations: Nominations for the 2015 Spirit of King Award will be accepted until Jan. 5. The annual Spirit of King Award is given to an individual whose life and work embodies the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy – the inclusion of people of all races and cultures.

Nominations should include basic information about the individual being nominated and a 300-word description of how the person meets the award’s criteria. The award is sponsored by The Greater Hickory Ministerial Alliance and Hickory Area Ministers. The winner will be announced at the annual Spirit of King Celebration and Worship Service at 3 p.m. Jan. 18 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 52 16th Ave. N.W., Hickory.

Nomination forms and details are available at both the Ridgeview and Patrick Beaver branches of the Hickory Public Library, or by contacting the Rev. Whit Malone at 828-322-6343 or Nominations can be submitted to Malone by mail at 237 Second St. NW., Hickory, NC 28601.

Drawing winners: Lesly Quintana’s name was drawn from a pool of nearly 300 to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook in a recent drawing sponsored by the Hickory Public Library. Lynette Stilley and Rocio Hernandez each won a book-themed gift basket in a separate drawing that included the names of everyone who had participated in the focus groups and interviews for developing a new strategic plan at the library.

The Friends of Hickory Public Library provided funding to buy the Nook and created and donated the gift baskets.

The new strategic plan will meet the needs of the community for public library services for the next three to five years. The strategic planning process is made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

Food for Fines: Catawba County and Hickory Public library systems partnered Dec. 1-12 to conduct the Food for Fines Amnesty effort, which allowed the public to pay library fines with nonperishable food at the rate of one item for each dollar in fines.

The systems collected at least two pickup truck loads for local pantries operated by Department of Social Services, the Department Public Health and Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministries. $1,566.10 was waived by the county library during the amnesty period, while Hickory Public Library System waived $1,320 in fines.

Some patrons donated food though they did not owe any fines. The amnesty weeks have been held for several years in December.

Holiday gifts: Residents at Abernethy Laurels retirement community recently provided holiday gifts to boys and girls of the Catawba County Parenting Network- Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program. Following a kid-friendly meal, the 10 children gathered around the largest Christmas tree on the campus of the retirement community to open presents bought by residents of the Abernethy Village Association.

The goal was to help grandparents give their grandchildren a memorable holiday experience. Each holiday season the Abernathy Village Association seeks opportunities to help local families and organizations in need. Earlier this month they donated more than 500 pounds of food to the Corner Table, a local soup kitchen.


New personnel: Justin Sigman was recently hired as a fire mechanic for the Hickory Fire Department. Before employment with the department, Justin worked at the Mack Dealership for three years. He has several years of experience working on vehicles including heavy-duty trucks and diesel performance equipment.

He will work in the Fire Maintenance Facility on Sweetwater Road behind Fire Station No. 5.

Retirement: Wilce Martin, served six years as director of public works and utilities for Newton, retired Dec. 19. He held the position since Dec. 15, 2008, after serving as public works director for the town of Stanley. At a retirement luncheon, his coworkers presented him with a toilet plunger spray-painted gold and emblazoned with the words “Golden Scepter” and four economy-size boxes of Cheez-It crackers.

Retirement: After a 34-year career with the city, Newton Water Treatment Facility operator Rick Sims retired on Dec. 19. Hired Aug. 11, 1980, Sims helped keep the facility operating during the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo in September 1989 and the July 2013 flooding in Catawba County. Compiled by Gina Smith