Archive for April, 2022

4-29-2022 – CCC&TI celebrates new Electrical Lineworker facility

Posted on: April 29th, 2022 by admin No Comments


April 29, 2022




Apr 28, 2022


HUDSON — Against the backdrop of blue skies and sunshine on Wednesday (April 27), Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute celebrated a new building that will enable students to continue their training when the weather isn’t so cooperative.


In front of a crowd of elected officials, business leaders, educators and corporate partners, CCC&TI hosted the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Electrical Lineworker Training Center. The 7,500-square-foot building, located on Roy E. Coffey Drive in Hudson adjacent to CCC&TI’s outdoor Electrical Lineworker pole yard, opened in 2021 but the ribbon cutting was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The facility features a large main room with four 33-foot poles, modern classrooms and faculty office space, with a goal of providing an indoor space for training in evenings and during inclement weather, as well as additional capacity to produce more graduates.


“This facility is like none other in the Southeast United States,” CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch said. “This facility will take weather out of the equation and move students through the program quickly and into the workforce. It allows us to have students in the building at the outdoor pole yard simultaneously so we can produce graduates in a shorter amount of time.”


For energy providers, the program and the new building will help with filling essential technical positions.


“(The program) is recognized as one of the top programs throughout the state,” said Robin Nicholson, Duke Energy Government and Community Relations District Manager. “We’re very proud to be a part of that and to be standing here before you today to dedicate and have a ribbon cutting for such a great facility.”


Doug Johnson, CEO of Lenoir-based Blue Ridge Energies, sees the new facility as the first step toward additional growth for the program.


“Conversations have already begun about what’s next beyond lineworker (training),” Johnson said, adding that plans for substation and operational technology training programs are being discussed. “How do we train those other types of employees that we’re going to need in the future? … The future is bright.”


Caldwell Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray described the project as part of Caldwell County’s overall strategy for new growth.


“This expansion and dedication is more important for all of us in the future,” Murray said. “Now, more than ever, we will need and appreciate the folks who will train here and accommodate the next wave of success in Caldwell County.”


The cost of the facility was $2 million, with funding from the Connect NC Bond from 2016 and additional financial support from Duke Energy, Blue Ridge Energies and the Cannon Foundation.


The investment continues to pay dividends for one of CCC&TI’s most popular workforce training programs. According to a recent economic impact study, for every dollar a student spends attending the Electrical Lineworker program, they get a $9.20 return on their investment. The program has a nearly 100-% job placement rate with starting salaries well above the area’s average income.


Students from 16 states have traveled to Hudson to enroll in the program, from as far away as California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Wyoming and Pennsylvania. The current class includes students from Colorado, Nebraska, New Jersey and the Virgin Islands. Poarch said two students from Alaska are registered to attend this fall.


As the program attracts students from across the country, town of Hudson Mayor Janet Winkler showed her appreciation for what CCC&TI and its students bring to the community.


“We are thrilled to have you right in the middle of Hudson and certainly in Caldwell County,” she said of the new building and the current lineworker students on hand for the event. “Thank you, guys, for studying this program and I hope you go back to your respective areas and become very, very successful.”


The 14-week Electrical Lineworker program prepares students for entry-level jobs as electrical line technicians. The cost for the program is approximately $1,140 with classes offered throughout the year.


The next Electrical Lineworker class at CCC&TI begins on June 4 and seats are still available. To reserve a seat in a future class, prospective students can call 828-726-2242 for information.

4-27-2022- Blue Bell has formally opened

Posted on: April 27th, 2022 by admin No Comments


April 27, 2022




Apr 26, 2022


LENOIR — The Blue Bell at Lenoir Mills has officially opened, offering residents spacious loft living in downtown Lenoir.


Developers Yorke Lawson and Tom Niemann held a ribbon cutting for Blue Bell at Lenoir Mills Thursday, April 21 to officially open the Blue Bell loft apartments in downtown Lenoir. Nearly 200 people attended the event, including N.C. Senator Warren Daniel, N.C. Senator Ted Alexander with Preservation North Carolina, N.C. Representative Destin Hall, N.C. Representative Jay Adams, Mayor Joe Gibbons, Councilmen Jonathan Beal, Ralph Prestwood, and Kent Greer, County Commissioners Randy Church and Mike LaBrose, and representatives from the State Historic Preservation Office.


During the ceremony, Niemann gave a brief history of the project that’s been six years in the making, and he thanked the city’s “Dream Team,” consisting of Mayor Gibbons, City Manager Scott Hildebran, Downtown Economic Development Director Kaylynn Horn, and Planning Director Jenny Wheelock, for helping bring the project across the finish line.


Forty-three of the 46 market-rate loft apartments have been leased. Amenities include fibre Wi-Fi throughout the building, side-by-side washers and dryers, full kitchen packages, a fitness center, bike storage room, individual storage compartments for residents, and much more.


This project has successfully saved an historic mill and brought more upscale residential units to the city. Presently, quality, market-rate housing is the biggest need in Lenoir and Caldwell County, and the Blue Bell demonstrates that prime housing in the downtown area is welcome and supported.


Visit for more information about the property.

4-26-2022 – Expo helps young students find their business passion

Posted on: April 26th, 2022 by admin No Comments


April 26, 2022




Apr 21, 2022


HUDSON — The Small Business Center at The HUB Station, together with the IMPACT by Rotary Club of the Foothills and the town of Hudson, will be hosting a Small Business and Entrepreneurial Expo on Thursday, April 28, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Expo will take place during their three-day Camp Enterprise event for 20 rising 10th and 11th graders in the county.


“We want to encourage and inspire those young people to have that dream and start their business here,” said Carmela Tomlinson, director of the Small Business Center for CCC&TI. “There’s been an increase in start-up businesses in North Carolina since COVID, and we need to keep those young people here.”


The Small Business and Entrepreneurial Expo is a free event that is open to the public. Community leaders and business entrepreneurs are invited to join other business owners to get the latest information on cyber security, legal planning, marketing strategies, financial planning, and business operations. The keynote speaker for the evening will be Pace Bradshaw, deputy head of U.S. Government Relations with VISA. The CCC&TI culinary department will provide light hors d’oeuvres, and 3 Doors Down Beverage Co. will be open for attendees to purchase beer and wine.


“When the students finish here, they’ll have connections with leaders, mentors, and coaches in the community,” said Tomlinson.


Camp Enterprise will start on Wednesday, April 27 and continue until Friday, April 29. Twenty rising 10th and 11th grade students will be divided into four teams, and each team will have a coach. Every student will be learning about various topics related to business, such as the operational needs of business, financial and marketing advice, how to research and implement a business plan, and more. All four teams will pitch their business plans and ideas on Friday, April 29, and the winning team will receive $1,000 in scholarships each.


“For the kids, obviously it’s good for them to come and see, be a part of the networking experience,” said Tomlinson. “They’re going to gain a lot of knowledge.”


There will be more speakers coming to talk to the students about business during the three-day Camp, including Bob McCreary of McCreary Modern, Dr. Don Phipps, the superintendent for Caldwell County Schools, Kenston Griffin, owner of Dream Builder’s Communications, Inc., Bill Warren, owner of the Gold Mine in Hudson, and others coming in from out of state.


Camp Enterprise was established by Ann Smith, who is the first female Rotarian in Caldwell County. Along with Kathy Carroll, a member of IMPACT, Smith wanted to create an entrepreneurial camp for students in this county.


“You’re catching these kids at the right time,” said Patrick Longano, president of IMPACT by the Rotary Club of the Foothills. “They’re making decisions about what they’re going to do. If this county is going to continue to grow, we need to retain that talent here. If we can get in their minds that there are resources here to help, then with their goals of starting a business, we’re going to affect the way that we do things overall in the county.”


The Small Business Center, in partnership with the town of Hudson, is the business center hub and serves the entire county. The main goal of the Small Business Center is to help businesses get started, to grow and expand businesses, and to create and retain jobs within North Carolina.


IMPACT by the Rotary Club of the Foothills is a service-oriented rotary club that began over two years ago in Caldwell County and has since grown to 70 members who are passionate about service.


Email Carmela Tomlinson at or Patrick Longano at for more information. To register for the Expo online, visit, or find the “Small Business & Entrepreneurial Expo” event page on Facebook.

4-18-2022 Climate Change Event – JE Broyhill Civic Center

Posted on: April 18th, 2022 by admin No Comments


April 18, 2022



CCC&TI Small Business Center will be offering an event on Climate Change with special speaker Ron Sznaider. Mr. Sznaider is speaking in Lenoir at the JE Broyhill Civic Center on Tuesday, April 19th from 10:00-11:30 am. This leadership presentation will focus on “Climate Change: Today’s Reality and Tomorrow’s Future, Global Warming and Local Impacts, Leadership Needed to Preserve our Future Generations”. Because this topic is important and vital to our community, I see it as a benefit to businesses, anyone concerned about climate change and how it affects us locally including our economy. Mr. Sznaider is a global expert and has testified at the US Senate in Washington DC to explain how the changing weather may impact the economy. 

Mr. Sznaider is speaking at ASU the day after our event so I want to get as many people as possible participating at CCC&TI. I have attached flier (PDF and jpg) if you could send to your business contacts to help promote the event. CCC&TI has set up this event on our website: with a link to register. It’s a FREE event but registration is required due to limited space.

4-6-2022 – Lake Hickory bridge to undergo repairs

Posted on: April 6th, 2022 by admin No Comments


April 6, 2022




Apr 4, 2022


HICKORY — Repairs to the bridge at Lake Hickory on US Highway 321 are underway this week.


The southbound bridge carrying U.S. Hwy. 321 over Lake Hickory will close on weeknights, narrowing the road to one lane in each direction, as reported by the Hickory Daily Record.


Repairs are scheduled to take place starting as early as Wednesday, April 6th from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The bridge work is expected to take seven months, with a tentative completion date of Wednesday, Nov. 30th. The road will not be closed on weekends or holidays.


When the southbound bridge is closed, drivers heading south will cross onto the northbound bridge, which will carry one lane in each direction.


The southbound bridge is in need of repairs to the steel beams holding it up and the asphalt on top.


According to the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT), the bridge was built in 1962, and over the years the steel beams of the southbound bridge have weakened and now require regular maintenance. The asphalt overlay placed on the southbound lanes nearly two decades ago is also worn down and often creates potholes. Repairs to the steel beams and removal and replacement of old concrete will eliminate the need for frequent maintenance.


Both the north and southbound bridges are expected to be replaced entirely when U.S. 321 is expanded to six lanes, according to NCDOT. The expansion project is not scheduled to begin for several years.

4-6-2022 – JD’s Smokehouse anticipates May opening

Posted on: April 6th, 2022 by admin No Comments


April 6, 2022




Apr 5, 2022


LENOIR — Just in time for summer BBQ, JD’s Smokehouse in Lenoir anticipates opening in mid to late May.


When Jim and Debbie, “Jowls & Dimples” Goare opened JD’s Smokehouse in Rutherford College in 2013, they did not anticipate the smokehouse’s reputation would catch fire and spread so quickly.


The smokehouse was intended to be a small mom-and-pop style restaurant as part of the couple’s retirement, but its reputation grew, making JD’s Smokehouse one of the Unifour’s premier BBQ destinations.


Prior to coming to North Carolina to be closer to family, Jim and Debbie owned a restaurant in Georgia. Jim has worked in the hospitality food industry since he was a teenager. He jumped started his career at the age of 15 at the Holiday Inn in the 1970s. On the day he turned 18, he was promoted to the director of food and beverage at the hotel.


The plans to open the Lenoir location were snuffed out the day the owners signed the contract on March 17, 2020, the same day COVID restrictions led to the closing of dine-in restaurants. Now, the plans to open the Lenoir location have been rekindled and progress is blazing.


Overall, the kitchen is ready to roll, but they are still working out a few quirks with equipment. In addition, the general manager and operations manager are putting the finishing touches on the interior, including finishing construction of the booths.


Although there have been a few challenges to overcome, Matt Goare, manager, said that there have been no major issues.


To keep the restaurant from feeling corporate, family heirlooms and collectibles, as well as memorabilia from the JD’s Smokehouse in Rutherford College, are used to decorate the restaurant and sets the tone for a friends-and-family oriented dining experience.


The large A-framed wrap around porch creates an open air breezy feeling and begs for rocking chairs. Inside, dropped lighting that is designed from wooden Coca-Cola crates and large mason jars accentuates a large stone bar, creating a feeling of warmth.


As folks walk into the restaurant they will be greeted by a host, or hostess, who will take their order, then seat them for service. When customers leave, there is no waiting for the check.


Local wood is used to fire up and fuel the high tech BBQ smoker and is supplied by Barry Austin, who lives in the Patterson area. Austin was putting the finishing touches around the exterior of the building, as Matt Goare spoke with a contractor about the smoker.


The Lenoir restaurant offers over 100 years of combined experience, in a nine-year period.


Nick Burban, general manager, brings with him restaurant management experience from Atlanta. Burban and his wife moved from Atlanta to help open the JD’s Smokehouse restaurant in Lenoir in 2020. Burban and Goare have known each other for years and have a long-standing professional relationship.


Daniel Cox, operations manager, has been with JD’s Smokehouse since the beginning. Cox brings with him his experience with the restaurant in Rutherford College. Cox, who lives in Lenoir, said he is looking forward to having a 4-minute drive to work.


Clayton Huffman, who is a student at Western Carolina University where he is triple majoring in business management, hospitality/tourism, and marketing stopped by to visit the restaurant. Huffman, as well as his two younger sisters, have all worked with the smokehouse for years. One of his sisters, Catherine Lunsford, is currently the front-end manager at JD’s Smokehouse in Rutherford College.


JD’s Smokehouse, located at 2731 Morganton Blvd. SW in Lenoir, is recruiting individuals who have a dedication to providing exceptional customer service. Visit their website at to find out how you can become part of their team.


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