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Drugs in the neighborhood
HIGH traffic: Does a dealer live next door?
(Editor's note: This and the companion stories on this page are the second installments in a series outlining the problem of illegal drugs in Wilkes County.)

Record Editor

       At 7:15 p.m. one Friday evening, a car pulled up and parked at a Wilkes County home. A passenger got out and went inside. The man stepped out the front door at 7:18 p.m., got back into the car and left. Ten minutes later, a pickup truck stopped at the home. The driver was in and out in two minutes, stuffing something into his pants pocket as he walks to his vehicle. Over the course of the evening, around a dozen similar short visits took place. While neighbors may wonder what's going on, law enforcement officers have a good idea. "A place like that is more than likely a drug house," said North Wilkesboro Police Chief David Pendry. The scenario is similar everywhere, Pendry added. "People drive up, stop, then leave after a short while. It's just like a traffic stop." A house at 904 Seventh St. in North Wilkesboro fit that bill, Pendry said. Town Commissioner Faye Cox, who lives a few doors up on Hinshaw Street, compared the house to a "McDonald's drive-through window." Cox and fellow Commissioner Mary Cashion, a resident of Seventh Street, had received complaints from neighbors about suspicious activity at the house. When the commissioners contacted Pendry, he passed the word to officers and found that they were already on the case. Many in the neighborhood noticed the constant parade of vehicles at the Seventh Street house. Robert Kyle of Hinshaw Street was one of those residents. "It was just party, party, party over there," Kyle said. "There was groups of people in and out every few minutes." Kyle, a retired police officer, said the increase of traffic at the rental house began about three days after the tenants moved in. "After that, it was continuous," he said. "All these differ-ent cars and pickups started coming in and out. It was enough to make you really wonder what was going on." The night of July 12, the traffic stopped.

       A man who had been arrested on charges of felony cocaine possession told Wilkes sheriff's deputies that a fugitive was living at the house on Seventh Street, Pendry said. Police, armed with an arrest and search warrant, surrounded the rental home at 10:45 p.m. that night, according to the STAR (Special Tactics and Response) Team report. The fugitive, Torrence Duckmore, climbed into the attic of the small house. Iredell County officials wanted Duckmore for shooting at a police officer and shooting a woman, the report states. There were also outstanding warrants for Duckmore in Alexander County in connection with felony drug charges. Officers had been told that Duckmore was armed with an automatic weapon, Pendry said. Several of the neighbors were evacuated from their homes. "Three of the ladies came to stay with me," Cox said. "They were scared to death, but they were glad something was being done." North Wilkesboro Det. Randy Rhodes, who serves as the team's negotiator, talked Duckmore out without incident. Pendry said that a quantity of crack cocaine was later found in a vehicle that had been seized from the home. Things seem quieter on Seventh Street since the night of the raid. No one stirred at the house at 904 on Monday. No cars were parked out front. The only sign that someone had once lived there was a bilingual "Beware of Dog" sign stuck to the front door. Kyle said he believes the occupants have moved. Cox says the neighborhood appears to have returned to normal. "Everything seems to be much better now," she said. But victories like this can't allow officers to let their guard down, Pendry says. Quick action is the only deterrent to drug dealers sitting up shop in neighborhoods. "If we hear about something like this going on, we've learned to move on it immediately," he said.


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Taking back Third Street

Record Editor

North Wilkesboro Police Officer Ann Williams is among those keeping vigil on Third Street. Residents there credit the police is ridding the area of drugs.                                                Record photos - Lankford

       Benny Hackett remembers Third Street the way it was - when it was a drug-infested breeding ground for crime. "Back then it was awful. You didn't even want to leave home because of all the tramps on the street," Hackett said. Drug dealers would stand in the roadway, waiting for potential customers. There were plenty, police say. When a car stopped, several young men would often push their hands into the open windows, trying to sell their drugs. The business was fiercely competitive. Standing near his pale green, wood frame house Monday afternoon, Hackett pointed his finger from one end of the street to another. "It was bad all through here," he said. "It was all cluttered with drug dealers and everything else." At night it was nearly impossible to pull his car into his driveway, Hackett said. "It was a real headache. You'd have to wait in line to get in. Sometimes you'd just have to get out and cuss 'em." That was in the early and mid-1990s. Then, Third Street had a reputation near and far as a hotbed of drug activity. The rapid decline of the neighborhood, which is made up of small private homes and dozens of public housing apartments, came in 1989 and 1990, said Lt. Tim Cheek of the North Wilkesboro Police Department. "That's when we first started seeing crack cocaine," he said. "It became an open air drug market." Vehicles would circle the block, return and the passengers would make drug transactions, Cheek said. The going rate was $20 for a pencil eraser-size rock of crack; $40 would get you a bigger one. Users weren't as open as the dealers, Cheek said. "We didn't see many of them smoking. But, we'd find where they'd been behind the apartments." It was common to see empty beer and soft drink cans, one side flattened with small holes poked into the aluminum. Cheek explained that users would place cigarette ashes over the holes, place the rock on the ashes and smoke the drug through the pop-top opening. "When an apartment became vacant, they'd break in and use it for a smoke house," Cheek said. The dealers on Third Street were brazen, Cheek added. "They'd ask anybody if they wanted to buy." One evening, two police officers, wearing only sports jackets over their uniforms, bought two rocks of cocaine within half an hour, Cheek said. "That's just how easy it was." The Third Street drug business was at its peak in 1992-93, Cheek said. "Crack was coming in from Winston-Salem and other places," he said. Along with the drugs came the dealers. "Some of the most violent dealers we saw came from Statesville and Lenoir."

       More industrious dealers chose to cook up the drug here. "Some of them were manufacturing it," Cheek said. "They'd get a block of powder (cocaine), cut it down with water to make a paste, then bake it in an oven or microwave." The attraction to crack cocaine is the purity and the intense high the user experiences. "When it's cooked down into crack, it's about 80 percent pure cocaine," Cheek said. Police intensified their work in the Third Street area. Officers increased patrols in cars and on foot. They set up undercover operations in the area. A satellite office was also estab-lished. Town and state ordinances, such as one that forbid the blocking of public streets were revived and enforced. The North Wilkesboro Town Board adopted a new ordinance creating a curfew for youngsters. The ordinance states that no one under 16 can be in a public place after midnight on Fri-day and Saturday nights or 11 p.m. any other night of the week. The ordinance is still in effect, but is seldom enforced. "Back then 75 or 80 percent of the people on the street were either dealers or users," Cheek said. "That ordinance helped us a lot." Patrol Officer Ann Williams took a job on the force in 1995. She was assigned to work the town's public housing area, which includes much of Third Street. Wheeling her patrol car onto the narrow, hilly street, she slowed at the intersection of M. "I had a lot of problems there," she said. She recalled answering many calls in the area. "A lot of them were child abuse cases," she said. Many of the stemmed from drugs users and sellers. But Third Street wasn't the only bad area in town. Nearby Skyview Village was another rough spot. Friday afternoon kids played in yards outside the apartments. They waved at Williams as she cruised by.

       "Most of the people up here are respectful to us now," Williams said. "Still, there's some that don't like me. They say it's because I do my job." Leaving Skyview Village, Williams drove to the west edge of town, veered right onto Boone Trail Road near Wilkes Regional Medical Center and headed toward Hickory Street. There, Williams slowed as she passed the neatly kept apartments. Some residents sat on small patios. They exchanged waves with the officer as she passed. Circling a parking area, Williams said, "There used to be broken bottles all in the street. There was trash all around and it was just messy." She smiled, then said, "It's clean now." And most of North Wilkesboro's public housing areas are clean of drugs, Cheek said. "In my opinion, Third Street is 100 percent drug free." Hackett and his family have lived in the neighborhood for 11 years. There's a big difference compared to the Third Street of the mid-1990s. "I give the police all the credit for that," he said. "They cleaned it up. Now it's a nice neighborhood. Now it's a place worth living at."


Crack cocaine easy to find

Record Editor

This pile of crack cocaine is worth about $500 in the local drug trade. A heavy user of the drug could consume this in one day, police say

       You don't have to look far to find crack cocaine. "There's a half-a-dozen places ten minutes from the police department that you can go and spend every dime you have on it," said North Wilkesboro Police Lt. Tim Cheek. Although the Third Street and public housing areas of town have apparently been cleansed of the drug, there's still plenty out there, Cheek said. Drug dealers didn't disappear, they simply moved. Cheek said most of them hover just outside either North Wilkesboro or Wilkesboro town limits. "There's two places on 18 North," Cheek said. "There's another place outside Wilkesboro on 16 South. Those are the places that are really active now." Why don't officers shut down the drug operations? "We have to get someone in there to make buys," Cheek said. "We have to be able to document the traffic." Dealers don't sell their drugs on the streets and sidewalks anymore. Drug houses have become less common. Telephones and beepers have become a vital part in perpetuating the drug trade. "There's not as many crack houses now," Cheek said. "Now they (dealers) play beeper tag." A person wanting to buy drugs simply pages the dealer. Codes are used to signify the quantity a buyer wishes to purchase. For example, "**100" means $100 worth of drugs, Cheek said. "Then the dealer calls back, they set a meeting place, do a hand off and go their separate ways," he said. One day last week, North Wilkesboro officers studied a small black beeper at the dispatcher's desk in the police department. One officer found a phone number stored in the device's memory and called. He apparently wasn't surprised by the tone of the short conversation. "It was drugs," he said. Police are sometimes able to use beepers to their advantage. "If we get one, sometimes we call the number on the pager and set up a buy," Cheek said. "Sometimes they show up and we search them and find drugs." It's hard to infiltrate the world of a crack cocaine dealer. "They're very clannish. These folks stick together like glue." They are also ruthless in their trade. Both Cheek and Wilkes Sheriff Dane Mastin say they've heard nightmare stories about the degradation that occurs in the local drug trade. Cheek told of an incident where four or five dealers lined up behind a Third Street apartment paying a young woman $5 a turn for sexual favors. "When she was done, she was able to buy a $20 rock of cocaine," he said.

       "It can really get that bad," one Wilkes woman, and former crack cocaine user, said. "Some people would do anything for a rock." She's heard the stories told by Mastin and Cheek. "I know that girl," the woman said. "As far as I know, that's all true." Other drug users avoid crack dealers, one young Wilkes man, and a marijuana user, told The Record. "I try to stay away from those people. It's usually big money they're dealing with and they're a bunch of mean rednecks that would probably kill you," the man said. "Some people get into that, but that's something I'd rather stay away from." It used to be that crack dealers would roll up their left pants leg as a signal to buyers that they had the drug. "Now the only ones that do that are wannabes," said North Wilkesboro Pa-trol Officer Robby Thornburg. There seems to be less emphasis now on image and more on money. That money and the demand for the drug keep it here. "It'll never stop," Cheek said. "I don't foresee it ever leaving here. We'll just keep scratching at it."



GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Richard Vinroot Visits Wilkes

Record Correspondent


       Republican gubernatorial hopeful Richard Vinroot promised integrity and honest solutions if elected when he addressed an enthusiastic crowd of about 100 at North Wilkesboro's Elks Lodge Saturday eve-ning. Among his solutions was proposed Taxpayer Protection Act, a local version which was successfully enacted in Charlotte in 1985 during his tenure as mayor. State government spending was up 10 percent in 1998, more than four times the rate of inflation, Vinroot said. The Protection Act would limit the annual increases in government spending to no more than the combined inflation rate plus the population. "We're not getting our money's worth, the way I see it," Vinroot said of current North Carolina state government spending. Vinroot pledged to make improvements in the state's roads system, ranked the fifth best in America in 1992 under Gov. Jim Martin, but now rated 35th. He promised sufficient funding for the judicial system to handle felony cases and "take criminals off the streets." A founder of one of the state's largest charter schools, Vinroot supports educational alternatives, test-ing for teachers, and merit increases for teachers. "I want more charter schools and options," he said. "We (charter schools) are forced to perform to stay in business. Forty-eighth (in education among the 50 states) is not where I want us to be when I finish being governor of this state."

       In reference to his Democrat opponent, Vinroot noted that $1 million in public funding earmarked for education was spent by Attorney General Mike Easley's office on "public service announcements." The "Citizens Alert" format prominently featured the attorney general warning the public of potentially fraudu-lent lending practices of mortgage companies. The ads have since been traced to the Democrat nominee's campaign strategist and are regarded by many to be designed to aid his campaign for governor. "If he'll do that to get elected governor, I don't know what he'll do with his hands on the throttle," Vinroot said. Interspersed among his political remarks were nuggets of biographical information. A big part of what makes him tick, Vinroot said, was his Boy Scout experience. A former Eagle Scout, Morehead Scholar, and UNC-Chapel Hill basketball player, Vinroot was not drafted for service during the Vietnam was because he was, at 6'8", too tall. He volunteered and served a tour of duty, then returned to Charlotte. There, he was an attorney and remained active in scouting, leading an inner city Boy Scout troop for seven years. "If you feel strongly about doing the right thing and have the courage to do it, it will work out," said Vinroot, a Sunday school teacher.

       The former mayor of Charlotte and his wife, Judy, mingled with supporters at the reception prior to his remarks. Elected officials attending included State Senator John Garwood, who served as master of cere-monies; District Court Judge David Byrd, who offered the invocation, and county commissioners Roy Ab-sher and Jack Welborn. Tracy Walker, the Republican nominee for state house who is unopposed, led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Also speaking was former Wilkes County Commissioner Dr. Tom Bowman, who serves as county fundraiser for the Vinroot campaign. Prior to introducing Vinroot to the crowd, Dr. Bowman noted that Wilkes County was the 4th highest producing fundraising county in the state for the Vinroot campaign.





Three-Generation Rodeo Family Still Going Strong - and That's No Bull

Record Correspondent

       He drove a truck for 20 years. She worked third shift at Cannon Mills. They had five children. Every Friday, he would come home, and she would have already fed the children, packed up the camping gear, loaded the livestock, and prepared for a weekend of traveling and rodeoing. Then, off they would go, often taking other families' teenage rodeo riders along with them. Something like a youth group, with hooves. Lots of hooves. Do you feel lazy? The energetic couple is Elvin and Jean Mesimer of the Windy Gap community. And Elvin, now a youthful 70 years old, is still going strong in rodeo. He stopped riding at age 43 in order to better help the youngsters ride, but he is still an organizer, director, and supporter of rodeo sports. His love of rodeo began in the early '50s, and it was then that he and a handful of others helped organize the Southern Rodeo Association (SRA). Jean was one of the first three women to join. Mesimer was a member of the board of directors and a winner of the sportsmanship award representing seven southern states. Exciting accomplishments, to be sure, but if you really want to see him get worked up, let him tell you about his kids. All 2000 of them.

       The Juniors class of the rodeo association had a reputation for tolerating smoking, drinking, and drug use until "Mom" and "Pop" Mesimer came along. ("I'm a firm believer in the rules," Mesimer said, and has indeed prevented drunk riders from competing.) From 1966 through 1986, the Mesimers supervised 2000 aspiring rodeo stars. Many of them became good riders. Mesimer counts among his proteges Charles Atwell, who was the 1979 Rodeo Association Rookie of the Year. Mesimer laughed, recalling a 1973 road trip to the Denton/Texarkana, Texas rodeo. He opened his trailer and 10 kids fell out. A passerby asked if they were all his, and he said yes. That evening, he was startled to hear announced over the PA system that the rodeo welcomed "the North Carolina man with 10 kids!" "It was a family thing," said Mrs. Mesimer. "We would camp out, sit by the campfire and talk. Many was the time we would have stayed up all night until 5:00 a.m. talking, having a good time, and then be back up at 7:00 p.m. We caught and roasted rabbits, roasted pigs, we'd have birthday parties on the road." During that time, the Mesimers served as stock contractors, hauling their own horses, cattle, bulls, calves and goats in trailers, along with a traveling rodeo arena and bucking shoots, to the contests. And they won championships while they were at it. All five of the Mesimer children have won saddles and a "truckload of belt buckles" at competitions, Mesimer said. Son Edwin won two or three times at Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. George won the U.S. finals in the high school division, earning a four-year scholarship in rodeo to the University of Tennessee at Martin. He then won the world championship in the college division. In 1986, he was ranked 11th in the world in bareback riding in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys' Association.

       David was a saddlebronc rider, spending nine years ranked in the top 10 in the SRA. Dale, a bull rider, was one of the first juniors to win the sportsmanship award. Daughter Shirley was a prizewinner in barrel racing and goat-tying. Her daughter, Shannon, followed in her mother's events to earn a two-year scholarship to Marshall Valley School in Missouri. Brother Jay was ranked third in team roping in Tennessee high schools and has been offered a four-year scholarship to Huntsville, Alabama. Whew! It's amazing what children can accomplish when they don't have a video game stuck in front of their faces! Sometimes, the price has been high. Several in the family have suffered some rodeo-related injuries. Elvin broke his elbow three times. Edwin has one steel pin in his elbow and another in his ankle. George received a crushed collarbone in one event, and also sports a 9' steel plate in his right thigh. "He sets off every metal detector in the airport," Mesimer laughed. This weekend, Elvin and Jean Mesimer will be back at the ring at Yadkin Valley Ranch, between Union Grove and Elkin, for a championship rodeo. Elvin will serve as arena director. He is also now a rodeo scout, helping colleges and universities scout the circuit for talented ropers and riders.

       "I'll do this as long as I'm able to walk!" he said. "I've been at it so long. I'm not going to quit and sit down. When it's Tuesday, I'm looking for Friday!" he said, anticipating the weekend's rodeo. "The good Lord has blessed me," Mesimer said. "I put Him first." He does not look his age, and credits God, rodeo, and Native American blood for his youthful appearance. Jean has served as timekeeper and secretary at rodeos, and was a barrel racer at one time. They married one year out of high school, and are celebrating their 48th anniversary this year. Working third shift, rearing five children, and going to rodeos every weekend (the Mesimers have traveled throughout the U.S., except for a few northeastern states) didn't leave much time for sleep. It has been a hard, busy life, but one full of both tangible and intangible rewards. "If I had it to do over, I'd go back over the same track," Mesimer said with satisfaction.




China: an eye-opening experience

Record Correspondent


       My time in China has proved an eye-opening and educational experience, to put it mildly. When my two-month program of study in Shanghai ended, I owed innumerable thanks to my best friend and classmate, Mia, a Chinese-born American who served as my eyes and ears on countless occasions. Because of her, I had so far been able to understand China on a level that foreign students and tourists rarely get the chance to see it. But that wasn't the half of it: school was out in Shanghai, and we still had a month of freedom before returning home to normal lives. Following exams, I had a day to pack my things and make a trip to the post office to ship home what wouldn't fit in my suitcases. Bicycling down city streets, driving with one hand and carrying a 40-pound bag of loot in the other, I was lucky to reach the post office before closing time. All the forms I was required to fill out were bilingual--in Chi-nese and French--and a helpful English-speaking bystander translated the forms for me. Early the next day, Mia and I said our good-byes to Fudan University and took a taxi to the airport. During our re-maining month in China, we planned to visit some of her relatives who live in inland Sichuan province. We arrived an hour early for our flight to Chongqing, only to find that it had been delayed for five. I had heard horror stories about this sort of thing happening in Chinese airports, and was already wondering how I would while away the hours on those hard terminal seats. But Mia quickly fabricated a story about an urgent business meeting the delayed flight would cause us to miss, and we were squeezed onto an on-time flight.

       TDuring all those hours over the summer that I spent withering away in a classroom, I'd wanted to get an even closer look at everyday Chinese life; now I was getting the chance. Of course, a phrase like "typical Chinese life" is ambiguous, something that simply can't be defined. In a country of 1.3 billion people, words like "typical" or "com-mon" lose all meaning. After a two-hour flight on a mid-sized Airbus, we were greeted at the airport by Mia's uncle, whose family lives on the higher portion of the hog. A successful businessman in Chongqing (previously known to Westerners as "Chungking"), he owns a car; he and Mia's aunt have a personal computer in their apartment, and their son attends university in the United States. Not many families in China can afford these luxuries. They were wonderful, gracious hosts to us, and I owe them many thanks for their hospitality. Chongqing is a huge, hilly industrial center whose factories belch smoke all day and deposit haze in the sky, dust onto the streets, and who-knows-what into the inhabitants' lungs. One thing I could never love about Chinese cities is the quality of the air. The site of the huge Three Gorges dam project is within the boundaries of Chongqing, and I was initially interested in going to see it. Then I heard that the site lies about two days downriver by boat. After some re-search, I found out just how big the city is: slightly larger than the state of South Carolina. During our week in Chongqing, we spent many lazy afternoons in the house of Mia's maternal grandmother, play-ing mah-jong and eating delicious, home-cooked Chinese meals. Houses in Chinese cities these days are an anomaly, an anachronistic reminder of times long past. This one has been in the family since before the Communist revolution of 1949 and sits near downtown Chongqing, alone in the midst of apartment high-rises that have since sprouted on all sides. What must it have been like for those behemoth high-rises to be under construction just feet from the living-room window? I was amused by rooster-crows that came from a nearby apartment window.

       Having already visited seven Chinese cities, I was eager to spend some time in the countryside, maybe hoping to find some reminder of the Wilkes landscape that I was beginning to miss. Early one morning, Mia and I joined an ex-cursion into the country town of Dazu. We traveled in a sort of mini-minivan called a "bread car" because of its resem-blance to a loaf of bread--and really maximized the efficient use of space by cramming eight people in there. As we hurtled down the four-lane highway, we tunneled through lots of mountains. Along the side of the road, a dump truck was parked as it received a rear-axle transplant. Four-lane country highways are a curious thing in China; the outermost two lanes are occupied by bicycles, handcarts, and general loiterers. Only the two inner lanes are usable to traffic. Dazu is a small farming town, whose main attraction is its Buddhist "grotto art," or mountainside carvings. The statues carved from stone are intricate, colorfully painted, and incredibly lifelike; they're mostly illustrations of the Buddhist teachings, which I haven't even begun to understand. Anyway, they're still quite something to look at. After looking at the grotto art, we wandered through the streets of the town. In one restaurant window, big Chinese characters boasted the specialty dish: "boiling water, live rabbit!" We spent the night in Dazu at an incredibly beautiful hotel that was built on a pond, amid a sea of lotus plants. The larger-than-life lotus leaves stretched into the distance in all direc-tions; save for the bloodthirsty mosquitoes, it was a perfect paradise. In a snap back to reality, we rode back to Chongqing the next day on a rickety, rattling old amenity-less bus with barely enough legroom for the average Chinese, let alone for mine. A couple hundred ducks, tied together by the feet in bundles of ten, were strapped to the roof of the bus; every time the bus stopped, their quacks could be heard above the idling of the engine. When we got to Chongqing, the bundles of the still-quacking ducks were unloaded one by one; each one thumped the side of the bus as it was dangled down from the roof. They were carried off, on bamboo sticks slung across men's shoulders, to be sold at market. I'm sure they made delicious soup.





The Wilkes County Public Library Chess Club meets every Saturday from Noon to 3:00 p.m. in the Friends of the Library’s Meeting Room. If you are interested in a good game of chess and meeting other players from this area, stop by for an hour or two. Chess boards will be provided, and the club is free and open to all levels of  players. The August 19 meeting has been canceled, the club will resume Saturday, August 26.


Attention West Wilkes Class of 1975 Silver Anniversary Reunion will be Oct. 13-14. We need classmates addresses! Contact Tim Foster at 973-4150 or email: West Wilkes


Family-To-Family Support Group of Wilkes will meet at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the  New River Behavioral Health Care Center, 1430 Willow Lane, North Wilkesboro (The former Brands Building). Family-to-Family is a support group offered to family members and friends of persons with mental illness. For more information Please Call NAMI OF WILKES at 973-3382 or 835-3629.


“From Ginseng to Jack-in-the-Pulpit,” an illustrated talk on Homoeopathy with slides of Appalachian medicinal plants, will be given by Janice McGrady on Tuesday, August 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wilkes County Public Library’s Meeting Room. For more information contact the Reference Department at 838-2818.


Wilkes Central High School Class of 1965: Anyone interested in helping organize reunion and locate class members, please contact Marcia Little at 667-6272 (office), 667-3095 (home) or email MBLITTLE99@ AOL.


The United Way Agency of SAFE will be sponsoring a Domestic Violence Support Group for Women on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. The primary goal of the support group is to offer a safe environment to allow women to talk about what they’re going through and to find understanding and support. The group will cover topics such as: Cycle of Violence, anger, signs and types of abuse, safety plans, parenting issues, etc. For more information and location call 667-7656.


The United Way Agency of SAFE will be sponsoring a Support Group for Parents and Loved Ones whose adolescent and young adult children have been raped and sexually assaulted. It will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. The primary goal of the support group is to offer a safe environment to allow parents and loved ones to express their fears and concerns and to explore ways to cope with stress and frustration so they can be better equipped to support their children. For more information and location call 667-7656.


Poetry Reading will be held on  Thursday, September 21 at 7 p.m. in the Friends of the Library Meeting Room. If you are a poet or someone who just likes to listen to original poetry, come to the library for an interesting and thoughtful evening of original poetry.


TOPS (Take off pounds sensibly), join us every Monday at 5 p.m. at St. John’s Church, located at 275 C.C. Wright School Road. For more information call 696-2442 or 696-4874.


Revival Services will be held August 23-25, 7 p.m. nightly at Power Outreach Ministries on Hwy 115, Balls Mill Road. The speaker will be Elder Ruben Lineberger.

Attention: West Wilkes Class of 1980 - be a part of our celebration. Our 20 year reunion will be held on Saturday, September 9 at the Merle Watson Stage Area at Wilkes Community College. If you have not received your information regarding the reunion, please call Teresa Miller at 336-838-5610. If you have received a mailing, please return it as soon as possible. Hope to see you there!


The Library is sponsoring a program on alternative health and medicine. This program will bring the Herb Lady, Peggy Knight Osborne, to talk about useful remedies for the coming Cold and Flu season on Tuesday, September 12,  at 6:30 p.m. in the Friends of the Library Meeting Room.


The Library is sponsoring a program on alternative health and medicine. This program features Midwife and Homebirth expert Karen Valcourt, who has been practicing Midwifery for over 15 years in this area, will be held on Tuesday, September 26, starting at 6 p.m. in the Friends and the Library Meeting Room. For more information, please contact the Reference Department at 838-2818.


A Non-Denominational Bible Study Luncheon will be held each Thursday from 12 noon until 1 p.m. at the Mayflower Seafood Restaurant in Wilkesboro. For more information call Joe Owings at 927-2727; 903-1641 or Mike Kerhoulas at 903-0300.


There will be a revival at Vision Baptist Church from August 28 through September 1 starting at 7 p.m. There will be a prayer room before each service. Evangelist Norman Glasso will be preaching. For more information call 696-2389.


Register now for horticulture, ceramics, pottery, landscaping, oil painting, crafts, sewing and many other classes offered at the Wilkes Senior Center. Open to all adults. Age 65+, no fee. To pre-register or for more information call 670-2644.


Wilkes Senior Center trips are open to all adults: Smith Mountain Lake, Callaway Gardens/Lake Lanier & Biltmore. Call 670-2644 for more information.


Job Fair: Tuesday, August 29 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Wilkes Community College, Student and Learning Resources Center (the new building). The Employment Security Commission and local temporary employment agencies will be represented. We will have career exploration, job search, and education and training information. The JobLink Career Center, Wilkes Community College will present this event to the public free of charge. For more information, please call the JobLink Career Center at 838-6200.


Union United Methodist Church, located above the Wilkes Mall on the left, will sponsor a chickenque on Saturday, August 26 beginning at 11 a.m. Each plate consists of barbecued chicken, slaw, green beans, roll and homemade pound cake. Plates are $5.00 each. Curb service is provided.


There will be a revival at Gospel Light Tabernacle in West End Elkin August 31 thru September 2 at 7:30 nightly. Speaker is Evangelist Tim Byrd with special singing nightly. For more information call 838-4549.


Plan to attend Boone United Methodist Church’s 16th Annual Fall Bazaar Friday, September 22 from 7:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday, September 23 from 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the church’s new location on New Market Boulevard behind Lowes Foods.

There will be a singing by The Winston’s at the Shew Ridge Mission September 10 at 6:30 p.m. Everyone welcome.


There will be a homecoming August 27 at Liberty Grove Baptist Church on Hwy 268 E, Sunday School - 9:45 a.m. and Worship - 11 a.m. Lunch will be in the fellowship hall after worship. Pastor David Sparks welcomes everyone. Bring a covered dish.


JesusFest 2000 will be Saturday, August 26 at 11:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. at Smoot Park in North Wilkesboro. Free admission. Bring blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy live Christian music throughout the day. Food vendors on site or bring your own. Smoot Park offers volleyball, basketball, horseshoes, tennis, softball, playground and swimming. Free swimming from 6-9 p.m. A love offering will be received. We ask that each person bring one canned food item. Canned food will be donated to the Samaritan Kitchen. For information call 838-0679 or


The Family Center (651-8547) - Friday, September 1, Clinic 10 a.m.- 5p.m.; Monday, September 4, Clinic closed; Tuesday, September 5, Clinic 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Wednesday, September 6, Clinic 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Lamaze 6:30 p.m.


There will be a hamburger, hot dog and BBQ sandwich sale at Dehart/Walnut Grove Community Center on Saturday, August 26 starting at 11 a.m. until. Proceeds will go to upkeep the building.

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