Archive for the ‘News section’ Category

5-20-2022 – Phipps named Region Seven Superintendent of the Year

Posted on: May 23rd, 2022 by admin No Comments


May 20, 2022




May 20, 2022


LENOIR — Caldwell County Schools Superintendent Donald Phipps was named the Region Seven Superintendent of the Year by the Northwest Regional Educational Service Alliance (NWRESA) for 2022-2023.


NWRESA is an organization that provides professional services, staff development and support for public schools in the northwest region of North Carolina.


The Regional Superintendent of the Year Award winner is chosen by fellow superintendents from the 13 school districts in Northwest North Carolina. Phipps is one of eight superintendents in the state recognized for this honor and it places him in the running for State Superintendent of the Year.


Phipps joined CCS as superintendent in July 2018. Prior to that, he served the Beaufort County Schools as superintendent for 8.5 years. Dr. Phipps’ 28-year professional career has been entirely in education. He has been a school psychologist, nonprofit director of research and development, university professor and department chair, assistant principal, principal, executive director, and superintendent. His work career has involved the Cumberland County Schools, Smart Start of Cumberland County, Pfeiffer University, Beaufort County Schools, and Caldwell County Schools. He has taught in adjunct roles at several colleges and universities.


He has earned the following degrees: Bachelor’s degree from Methodist College (now Methodist University) in Psychology and Management Psychology; Master’s Degree and Certificate of Advanced Study from Appalachian State University in School Psychology; Education Doctorate degree from Appalachian State University in Education Leadership; and a Master’s of Education degree from UNC-Charlotte in Instructional Systems Technology.


Phipps is actively involved in public education locally and across the state. He has presented to the NC General Assembly, the Hunt Institute, NC State Board of Education, and at many professional conferences across the state, as well as regional and national conferences. He also serves on several local and state-level committees and boards. He has served as the President of the Northeast North Carolina Superintendents RESA as well as the Northwest North Carolina Superintendents RESA, the Chair of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Testing Compliance Commission, Vice-President of the Northwest North Carolina Superintendents RESA, and on several committees/teams with DPI. He was named Region 1 Superintendent of the Year in 2015 and Pfeiffer University professor of the Year in 2001.


Phipps is also actively involved in volunteer work throughout the community. As a charter member of the Foothills Rotary Impact club and other affiliations, his service within the community stretches far and wide. Dr. Phipps leads by example and his belief that the greatest way to lead is to serve is on display in many ways.


He is married to Nancy and they have four children and two grandchildren.

5-19-2022 – Registration now open for CCC&TI’s career and continuing education

Posted on: May 23rd, 2022 by admin No Comments


May 19, 2022




May 19, 2022


HUDSON — CCC&TI is now registering for several upcoming continuing education and workforce training courses. Following is a schedule:


BioWork Process Technician — CCC&TI will offer a BioWork Process Technician course Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., from May 25 to July 14 on the Caldwell Campus in Hudson. The course provides basic preparation for process technician jobs in bioprocess manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing and chemical manufacturing. The course will include understanding the role of a process technician, safety, quality processes, measuring process variables, transforming matter, process technology (including processing equipment and plant utilities), controlling the process, maintaining sterile processes and growing living cells. The course combines classroom lecture and online instruction. Tuition for the class is $182, plus $80 for the textbook. For more information or to register, please call 828-726-2242.


Electrical Lineworker I — CCC&TI will offer an Electrical Lineworker I course Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., from June 6 to July 25 on the Caldwell Campus. The Electrical Lineworker Institute prepares students for a career as an apprentice for a journeyman lineworker. In this program, students will develop the knowledge and skills to install, operate, maintain, and repair outdoor residential, commercial, and industrial electrical systems, and associated power transmission lines. For more information or to register, please call 828-726-2242.


Intro to CNC — CCC&TI will offer an Intro to CNC course on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., from June 7 to June 30 at the Paul H. Broyhill Center for Advanced Technologies. The course introduces the concepts and capabilities of computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools. Topics include setup, operation and basic applications. Upon completion, students should be able to explain operator safety, machine protection, data input, program preparation and program storage. For more information or to register, please call 828-726-2242.


Red Hat Administration I — CCC&TI will offer Red Hat Administration I from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 6 to Sept. 1. The 12-week format is online with an open lab component. The course covers the core system administration tasks needed to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers. The cost of the class is $240, which includes the registration and license to access content. For more information or to register, please call 828-726-2242.


Free Training for Advanced Manufacturing Careers — CCC&TI’s free IMPACT Institute prepares students for entry-level advanced manufacturing jobs and qualifies them for scholarships to continue their education in: Industrial Maintenance, Machining, Mechatronics, Mechanical Engineering and Welding. Students must be at least 18 and have earned a high school credential. There are two options for interested students. The daytime IMPACT Institute meets on the Caldwell Campus in Hudson 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, June 13 to Aug. 8. The evening IMPACT Institute meets on the Caldwell Campus in Hudson 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, June 14 to Aug. 9. For more information or to register, visit or call 828-726-2242.


Class B Truck Driving — CCC&TI will offer a Class B Truck Driving class on the Transportation and Public Services Center in Hudson, July 12 through Aug. 16. The class meets 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The course teaches proper driving procedures, safe driver responsibility, commercial motor vehicle laws and regulations, and the basic principles and practices for operating a Class B vehicle. Course work includes motor vehicle laws and regulations, vehicle maintenance, safety procedures, daily logs, and defensive driving. Highway driving training exercise and classroom lectures are used to develop the student’s knowledge and skills. Upon successful completion, students are qualified to take the Commercial Driver’s License exam and are employable by commercial trucking firms. They may also become owner-operators and work as private contract haulers. Tuition and fees are $1,000. To reserve your seat in the class, call 828-726-2380.


Intro to CAD/CAM — CCC&TI will offer an Intro to CAD/CAM course on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., from July 12 to Aug. 4 at the Paul H. Broyhill Center for Advanced Technologies. The course introduces CAD/CAM with an emphasis on transferring part geometry from CAD to CAM for the development of a CNC-ready program. Upon completion, students should be able to use CAD/CAM software to produce a CNC program. Students will train on MasterCAM. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


HVAC I — CCC&TI’s Caldwell Campus will offer Introduction to HVAC on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 22 through Dec. 14 in J-232. This course serves as the entry-level requirement for all other courses in the HVAC program. The curriculum focuses on basic carbon steel piping practices, basic copper and plastic piping practices, basic electricity, intro to heating, cooling, and air distribution systems, soldering and brazing and trade mathematics. The cost of the class is $182. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Plumbing I — CCC&TI’s Caldwell Campus will offer Introduction to Plumbing from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Aug. 23 through Dec. 15 in J-220. The class serves as the entry-level requirement for all other courses in the Plumbing program. This course introduces basic plumbing tools, materials and fixtures. Topics include plumbing materials, different types of fixtures, proper tool selection and basic plumbing systems. The cost of the class is $182. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Furniture Technology Institute: Industrial Sewing — CCC&TI’s Furniture Technology Institute will offer Intro to Industrial Sewing on Mondays and Wednesdays, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., from Aug. 22 to Dec. 14 in J-121 on the Caldwell Campus. Introduction to Industrial Sewing is designed to train students in the manufacturing concepts, tools, safety and the communication skills that will help prepare them for a career as a sewer in various manufacturing settings. Emphasis is placed on machine operation, setup and maintenance, threading, sewing straight lines, corners, curves and welts. Upon completion, students should be able to set up and operate a variety of industrial sewing machines. The cost of the class is $182. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Industrial Maintenance I — CCC&TI’s Caldwell Campus will offer Intro to Industrial Maintenance on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Aug. 23 to Dec. 15 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in S-103. This course is designed to provide students with the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair equipment found in a variety of industries. Designed for the “jack-of-all trades” technician, this course covers all five major areas of industrial maintenance knowledge: Electrical Maintenance, General Maintenance, Mechanical Maintenance, Preventative Maintenance and Welding. The cost of the class is $182. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Furniture Technology Institute: Intro to Upholstery — CCC&TI’s Furniture Technology Institute will offer Introduction to Upholstery on Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., from Aug. 29 to Dec. 14 in J-118 on the Caldwell Campus. The course is designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to become an entry-level upholsterer. In addition, students will learn the soft skills needed for employment. The course includes core skills, training in upholstery manufacturing concepts, tools and safety and training in employability skills, communication, problem solving and critical thinking. The cost of the class is $182. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


General Contractor Exam Prep — CCC&TI will offer a General Contractor Exam Prep class from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Sept. 13 to Nov. 17. This 60-hour course prepares students for the General Contractor’s licensing examination. Emphasis is placed on blueprints, laws and regulations, employment security laws and workers’ compensation. Upon successful completion of the course, students are eligible to sit for the N.C. Contractor’s licensing examination. Cost for the course is $182. For more information on this course or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Red Hat Administration II — CCC&TI will offer Red Hat Administration II from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from Sept. 19 to Dec. 15. The 12-week format is online with an open lab component. Red Hat System Administration II serves as the second part of the RHCSA training track for IT professionals who have taken Red Hat System Administration I. The course goes deeper into core Linux system administration skills in storage configuration and management, installation and deployment of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, management of security features such as SELinux, control of recurring system tasks, management of the boot process and troubleshooting, basic system tuning, and command-line automation and productivity. The cost of the class is $240, which includes the registration and license to access content. For more information, or to register, call 828-726-2242.


5-16-2022 – NCDOT awards short line railroad grants

Posted on: May 16th, 2022 by admin No Comments


May 16, 2022



May 13, 2022


RALEIGH — Caldwell County’s short line railroad shared with Burke and Catawba counties is set to get a grant for upgrades.


The North Carolina Ports Authority and 13 short line railroads will be improving their rail infrastructure thanks to approximately $10.9 million in matching grant funds being awarded as part of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Freight Rail and Rail Crossing Safety Improvement program (FRRCSI).


FRRCSI supports rail infrastructure health, safety and performance throughout the state, enabling NCDOT to partner with rail companies on improvement projects to effectively move freight. This partnership helps railroads efficiently meet customer needs in cost-effective ways while preparing them for growing service demands and partnerships with new businesses and industries.


The awarded grants are matched with railroad investments to contribute more than $21.7 million in rail infrastructure improvements statewide. Together, these projects will upgrade more than 12 miles of railroad track and 35 bridges in North Carolina. The funds awarded are as follows:


Aberdeen Carolina and Western Railway: $3,563,324 for bridge improvements, siding construction and mainline track upgrades (Cabarrus, Montgomery, Moore, Stanly, Mecklenburg counties)


Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad: $419,175 for rail upgrades on the mainline (Hoke County)


Alexander Railroad Company: $218,660 for mainline crosstie upgrades and other track improvements (Alexander, Iredell counties)


Atlantic and Western Railway: $625,572 for switch upgrades, rail improvements and bridge improvements (Lee County)


Caldwell County Railroad: $73,125 for track alignment improvements, and track and crosstie upgrades (Catawba, Burke, Caldwell counties)


Carolina Coastal Railway: $1,113,500 for mainline bridge and track improvements (Beaufort, Greene, Johnston, Martin, Nash, Pitt, Wake, Washington, and Wilson counties)

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.


3-30-2022 – Students partake in a career fair

Posted on: March 30th, 2022 by admin No Comments


March 30, 2022




Mar 29, 2022


GAMEWELL — From the moment children are able to play dress-up and pretend to be an adult, they are asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”


Although some people enter the world with a calling, feeling inspired or driven, to do, or to be, others discover a career path through exploring opportunities that are available in their community.


Not everyone has a desire to attend a four-year college, or university, preferring rather to pursue a career in a skilled trade through apprenticeships, or certification programs.


After years of the education system guiding students toward bachelor’s degrees, or beyond, or toward careers in science, technology, and math, there is a shortage of individuals with knowledge and experience in skilled trades, which has created a tight market and placed individuals with skilled trade knowledge in high demand.


“In Caldwell County we do the reality store — all eighth graders participate in the reality store. It is an introduction to financial literacy and career opportunities,” Jamie Watson, instructional leader and curriculum developer, Caldwell County Schools. “It’s important for these students to know that there are careers out there more than what mom and dad do — and also there are careers they can go into right out of high school. We don’t need to push all of our students to go to college.”


On Tuesday, March 29, Gamewell Middle School students had the opportunity to explore potential careers as they visited various exhibits hosted by members of the community who serve in various professional positions.


The professionals shared their knowledge and insights with the students as students asked questions about salary, education, required skills, number of hours work, and the use of technology within the field.


Kelli Kelly, family nurse practitioner, who operates her own business, Family 1st Healthcare, talked with student Aubree Hearn, 8th grader, about the traits needed to be a nurse.


“You have to be confident in anything you do as a nurse,” said Kelly.


The day’s event was about giving the students the opportunity to explore career possibilities, even if it was not their initial chosen career path.


“I think I want to be a librarian because I like to read and helping others find what they like to read as well,” said Hern, while visiting the booth for speech pathology assistant.


As students perused the exhibits and spoke to representatives, they asked questions and wrote down information that they may use in the upcoming Virtual Reality Store lesson.


“What’s your starting salary,” asked Alexis Smith as she visited Caldwell Pediatric Dentistry’s exhibit and spoke with Wyndy Gregg, dental assistant, and Stacy Ingram, dental hygienist.


Students learned that the starting salary depends on which career path you choose because of the different levels of educational requirements. As a dental assistant, one may expect to make around $30,000 per year, while a dental hygienist may make upward to $60,000, starting out.


“What type of education do you have to have,” asked Anna Triplett.


Dental hygienist requires an associate’s degree, while a dental assistant may require certifications.


Other questions related to how to prepare for a career.


“What advice do you have for someone interested in your line of work,” asked Zoe McElyea, as she spoke with representatives from the State Employee’s Credit Union (SECU).


McElyea said she wants to pursue a career as a forensic scientist when she becomes an adult.


Officer Causby with the Burke County Detention Center shared with a student that communication is very important and clarified that communication goes beyond being able to talk with people, but also being able to have an understanding of how people communicate through body language and with their eyes.


The career fair is a precursor to the upcoming Virtual Reality Store lesson.


Watson said that the Virtual Reality Store was designed by Anna Crooke, middle school education director, and features video interviews of different professionals, from various careers, introducing students to those careers and builds on their knowledge from the event.


Prior to participating in the upcoming Virtual Reality Store lesson, students will visit the College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) website to explore and be matched with careers they are interested in.


Students will select one of the careers from the CFNC website, then complete a mock job application for a position within that career field.


In addition, students will be prepped to participate in the lesson by learning about financial management.


Watson took the lead to organize the career fair made possible by members of the community and through coordination of the eighth grade teachers at Gamewell Middle School.


“All of the eighth grade teachers have worked hard in teaching the reality store lessons: Chrissy Byerly, Tori Greene, Carrie Holland, Babette Surratt, Leslie Nivens, and Beverly Norman,” said Jennifer M. Dineen, assistant principal, Gamewell Middle School, in an email


Representatives from the following agencies dedicated their time to spark students’ interest in the multitude of career opportunities available within the community: Berkshire Hathaway Realtors, August Creed Counseling, PLLC; UNC Blue Ridge, Speech Works Therapy Services, Gamewell Fire Department, Evans Funeral Services, Brushy Mountain Builders, Wells Fargo, Taste of Havana, Hickory Police Department, Burke County Detention Center, Waterlife, State Employees of Credit Union, Truist Banking, Caldwell Pediatric Dentistry, Family 1st Healthcare.

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