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Technology for the Future

February 9, 2016

adrian?Adrian Martinca, owner of A.M. Technologies, recently started a non-profit community program, Technology for the Future, to offer computers to those in need.
“I started my company as a way to help people have access to the technology they need for everyday life,” Martinca said. “We believe that with people’s current state of dependency on technology that everyone should have access to a computer, no matter their situation.”
Martinca explained that he has been involved in the sales and wholesale distribution for many years and, because of that, understands that affordability is out there.
“It is just a matter of ‘how do you bring that accessibility directly to people without incurring retail level costs?’” he asked. “Since there were many people and organizations for whom technology was seemingly inaccessible, my team and I decided to bridge that gap.”
Martinca explained that after pondering the question, he and his team got the idea of working with the community and sharing their system of technological resources to create accessibility and created a source of funding to make a difference in people’s lives.
“This is not only access, but also serves as a source of continuous funding for our effort,” he said. “Hence the birth of our online outlet,, that serves as a source of funding for our donations. In order for this program to be community oriented and involve the community more directly, our prices are increased by 30 percent across the whole outlet. But, this is used to create incentive for our customers to visit our program,, and attain a 30 percent discount code associated with one of our efforts – in other words, by picking an effort to support, you will save 30 percent on your entire purchase – plus a significant portion of the purchase is used to fund the project you decided to support.”
Martinca noted that if you do not have a specific project you would like to support, you can use their general discount code “community” where the funds go to support all the efforts they are trying to fulfill.
“In addition, for those who believe in our mission and would like to help, we created an affiliate program where you can be our partner, share our mission with your friends, whereby, you help us fulfill our goals and change the community,” Martinca said. “Our affiliate program pays a percentage of all sales directly to you. In this manner, people can make money from home, while supporting a valiant cause.”
Right now, Martinca said their goal is to find individuals and organizations to submit projects on the program’s website.
“It is for anyone in need. It could be kids, churches, or schools. Anyone. They can create a special project and request the number of computers needed,” he explained.
Martinca explained that when submitting a project, you must submit a video of how the technology will help the person or organization, why they feel they need the technology and what it will do for them.
“Once the video is approved, it will be posted to get funded,” he said. “After the resources have been funded and given to the individual or organization, there will be another video.”
A.M. Technologies welcomes donations and also recycle electronics. They offer free advice for technology needs.
If you would like to help be an advocate or know someone that could benefit from the organization, contact Technology for the Future at To help fund the project through the purchase of a computer, visit For more information, call 336-310-9644.

Race for our Heroes

February 1, 2016

soldierAs one of their major service projects for the year, Kernersville Interact clubs have collaborated to host a Wounded Warrior 5K, called Race for Our Heroes, at Fourth of July Park on Saturday, February 13 at 9:30 a.m.
The local Interact Clubs hosting the event include Glenn High School (GHS), East Forsyth High School, and The North Carolina Leadership Academy.
Sunni Lauten, liaison for the GHS Interact Club and a member of the Kernersville Rotary Club, explained that they chose to do a Wounded Warrior 5K because the Interact clubs wanted to do something that involved the community.
“The Interact clubs do two projects each year – one that impacts the community and one that helps people internationally,” she said, noting that they will be holding a bubble soccer game in March or April of this year to help raise money to build a well in Africa. “All of the Interact clubs have their own small projects, but collaborating together shows we can cross those competitive borders.”
Since it isn’t easy to get students from three schools together to plan an event of this magnitude, Lauten said there has been a lot of communication through group texting and emails.
Lauten said because the Town of Kernersville put on a Wounded Warrior 5K in the past, it helped them with a starting point.
Lauten said when holding a Wounded Warrior race, the organization or group holding the race must give it a name, so they decided to name it “Race for Our Heroes” in support of American soldiers.
Lauten said her son is a Marine and is planning to come to the race.
“These soldiers like to support each other,” she remarked.
Lauten said the Interact Club started with a summer camp this past summer at the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy. Once school started, Lauten wanted to start a club at GHS.
“We had 147 students join,” she remarked.
Bibiana Torres, a GHS student and project chairman, said she never thought she would have helped plan a 5K.
“I thought it would be a great experience,” she said. “Some students from Glenn are planning to run, and we have asked all the sports teams to participate. Hopefully, our ROTC groups will be up front.”
The race is being hosted by On The Mark and will be chip timed. There will also be trophies for all ages, as well as t-shirts and food trucks.
The 5K run/walk is $35/adults and $15/students until February 12.
The race will begin at Fourth of July Park and run through the neighborhood across the street. Fourth of July Park is located at 701 West Mountain Street. To register for the race, visit

Night to Shine Prom

January 28, 2016

promFirst Christian Church Ministries (FCCM), in conjunction with the Tim Tebow Foundation, is once again offering an unforgettable Night to Shine Prom on February 12 for those with special needs.
The event will be held from 6 – 9 p.m. and is for people with special needs, ages 16 and older.
Tracy Burkhart, media coordinator with FCCM, said last year was a great first year for the event.
“Last year was the first year the Tim Tebow Foundation put the event on. They reached out to mega churches and we jumped on it, realizing what a good outreach it would be,” she said. “There were 44 churches that participated last year in several countries. This year, there are 100 churches and we decided to reapply again.”
She added, “Last year was phenomenal. We planned for 100 guests and ended up with 125 and Tim Tebow showed up. We were really excited that he stopped by to visit.”
Burkhart said People Magazine featured pictures from the Night to Shine Prom last year, with most of the pictures featured from FCCM’s event.
She added that this year, they are accepting 250 guests. FCCM is still looking for both participants and volunteers.
“Anyone 16 and older can volunteer. You have to register on our website by January 31 and go through a background check,” Burkhart said. “I haven’t heard from anyone who said they were not truly blessed by volunteering last year.”
Burkhart added that volunteers fulfill the needs of many different committees during the night, including being a personal buddy to one of the participants.
“The buddy is someone who can help them navigate around the building and someone to encourage them to have fun. It allows their chaperones a night off, whether it’s a parent or guardian,” she said. “The chaperones are invited to a room to watch a movie and relax during the event. Sometimes (caretakers) need a stress free time to relax, so we wanted to give that to them too.”
Other volunteers, such as Dawn Chultz, helped with applying makeup last year.
“I just wanted to help,” Chultz said about volunteering last year. “The participants we had last year were so cheery, happy and grateful. They just wanted to sit and let you pamper them, and they set all their worries aside for the night. This isn’t something they can do very often or ever, so to be able to provide them this experience was a nice feeling and that was the goal. By the end of the night, we were already thinking about how to make it better this year.”
Chultz noted that last year they provided suits and prom dresses to the guests through donations provided by members of the church.
“We are accepting donations again this year of modest prom dresses, men’s suits and ties, shoes and accessories. We will take anything to help them get an outfit together,” she said. “Donations should be dropped off by Monday, February 1.”
Burkhart noted that the event includes limo rides, karaoke, shoe shining, hair and makeup, dancing, hors d’oeuvres, red carpet entrances with photo opportunities, crowns and tiaras, corsages and buttoners, and gift bags.
In sponsoring the event, the Tim Tebow Foundation provides each host church with up to $8,500 in addition to a detailed prom manual and prom kit full of special decorations and gifts for guests.
In the overview for the Night to Shine Prom, Tim Tebow said, “We want to show each and every guest that they are special and they are loved. This is a night to celebrate who they are as a child of God, and to remind them that in God’s eye, we are all kings and queens.”
To volunteer or become a guest, visit and find the link to register. Volunteers must register by Sunday, January 31.

January 21, 2016

100Dorothy Nord turned 100 on January 13. She was born January 13, 1916 in Bessemer, Penn., in Lawrence County. She is currently a resident at Robinwood Senior Living Center in Kernersville. Nord has been living at Robinwood for 20 years now, and knows everyone by name.
Friends from her musical group, Joyful Notes, held a birthday bash for Nord at Robinwood Center on Tuesday, January 12. Nord was joined by family and friends. Nord’s friends say her happiness is the key to her long life.
“I can’t believe that I’m 100,” Dorothy remarked, “There’s just no way in the world I’ve lived that many years.”
Among those greeting Nord was her last living sister Lucille, who flew in from Michigan to celebrate the joyous event. Lucille just turned 93 this past November and is the baby of the family.
Nord grew up in Bessemer, where she was raised by her parents, John Audle and Anna Elizabeth Johnson. John and Anna met and married in Harmony, Penn. in 1909, and then lived in Bessemer to raise their seven children. Nord had three brothers and three sisters, with Nord being the middle child.
Nord’s aunts, uncles and cousins lived close by, and she enjoyed a thoroughly connected life, close to the land and surrounded by family. Her father worked outside of the home at the Bessemer Cement plant and as the superintendent of the local high school. Nord said he was known as a leader within the community. Her mother stayed home and raised the children. Fondly looking back, Nord shared one of her favorite memories as a small child.
“We had an icebox until we got our electric refrigerator, the kind where we had to use chunks of dry ice to keep our food cold, and the farm near us delivered milk to our family on a daily basis. When it was cold weather, we would always try to rush home from school, and whoever got home from school first got the cream that settled on top of the glass milk container. It was so delicious and good.”
The Johnson family was the first in Bessemer to get an electric stove, and her mother was the first woman to drive a Studebaker in her town, Nord said.
“We had a radio in our home and my father loved listening to the famous radio programs, including one show called Amos ‘n’ Andy,” recalled Nord.
In high school, Nord was a standout athlete. She and her sister, Ester, played basketball together, with Nord playing forward.
“Both my sisters played pretty well,” explained Lucille. “Their coach called them Big Johnson and Little Johnson when they played. The irony was they were both quite petite in stature.”
Nord also played the saxophone in the high school band.
“The family grew up with a piano in the home, and everyone had to take piano lessons including me,” noted Lucille.
Nord graduated from Bessemer High School and then went onto Youngstown Business College in Ohio. She graduated from a two-year business course which specialized in secretarial skills. “They taught us to use machines like calculators, Dictaphones, typewriters, and telephones,” Nord explained.
After she graduated college, Nord landed her first job working for the Bessemer State Bank, where she remained for 11 years. It was during this time that she and Paul began to date seriously.
Soon the two were married, and so began a new chapter in Nord’s life. Over the course of the next five years, she dealt with the death of her mother and she gave birth to two healthy children: Kay and Cheryl. Both were born in the early 1940s.
“My dad (Paul Nord) was the baby of nine children. He always wanted to be a doctor, but he had to go to work at a young age to help support the family. He got a job at the Bessemer Cement plant. It was one of the two factories in the town. The town we lived in, everyone was practically related as both my parents came from large families, and we all knew each other,” explained Nord’s daughter, Kay Kinney.
Nord went back to work once her girls were of school age. While raising two daughters, being married and working outside the home, Nord always managed to find time to volunteer; she always made time for giving back to her community. She was a Girl Scout leader for almost 10 years; she delivered food while volunteering for the Meals on Wheels program; at one time she was president of the local women’s club in Bessemer; and she was active in her church, among other things.
“I didn’t know how to say ‘No,’” laughed Nord.
Nord became a widow at the young age of 49, when Paul passed away at the age of 53. She continued to work at the Bessemer Cement plant where she eventually retired at the age of 65.
Once retirement set in, Nord took on traveling. On one of her trips she flew to Jerusalem, to study and learn more about the Holy Land and Cairo. She even had the opportunity to ride a camel.
“I rode a camel at the age of 70; it was a lot of fun,” chuckled Nord.
Her favorite and most memorable trip was to the Holy Land.
“I got to go to the garden of Gethsemane and have communion there as well. I was able to ride on the Sea of Galilee and I watched people being baptized on the river of Jordan.”
Nord has traveled to many different places.
“I traveled with a friend and went on tours to such places as Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Austria, and Hawaii.”
After some years had passed and Nord was living in her home in Penn. by herself and realized she had enough of the cold and ice, she decided to relocate to the South. She followed her daughter and son-in-law to N.C. after Nord’s son in law took a job at Grass America a few years prior.
Many people in the area know Nord from her association with the Joyful Notes, a senior adult choir. She has been singing with the group for about five years. The group is part of the Main Street Baptist Church music program under Dawn Larkins, and meets every Tuesday for practice.
She is also well known at The Shepherd’s Center Senior Center of Kernersville, where she volunteered her time for almost 10 years. It was here that she obtained a counted cross stitch pattern and made a beautiful cross landscape of Körner’s Folly.
Nord said she met Carolyn Lowy at the Senior Center. Lowy was the one who made the pattern of the Folly from the famous 1993 painting that Kernersville artist Richard Hedgecock had painted, entitled “Spring Folly.”
Dorothy explained, “I went to her house to see her cross stitch that was up in her living room, and Carolyn gave me the pattern.”
When asked if she had any tips on living a long, full life, Nord simply recommended, “Get involved in the community and count each day as a blessing.”

Bear Donation

December 15, 2015

bearThanks to the efforts of a local civic group, the Kernersville Police Department will be able to comfort a few more children during traumatic situations.
On Wednesday, several members of the Kernersville Triad Ladies Civitan Club gathered in the lobby of police headquarters to present Chief Scott Cunningham, officers with the department and staff with more than a dozen stuffed bears and puppies they made at the Build-A-Bear store at Hanes Mall.
Chief Cunningham was appreciative of the gift. The stuffed bears and puppies will be distributed to officers within the department and will be stored in their patrol vehicles to be given out to children at any number of scenes to which law enforcement responds.
“We’re really thankful for the Civitan Club for helping out like this,” said Cunningham. “These stuffed animals are going to make life a little bit easier for a child.”
Each year, the KPD receives hundreds of donated stuffed animals that are then given to officers to have on hand at situations where children might be in distress. It could be one where a child’s parent is being arrested and placed into custody or an automobile accident. Each incident might be different, but no less traumatic to a child, said Cunningham.
“Stuffed animals like these take a lot of the edge off the incident. They help a child through that incident and also help foster a positive relationship with that officer,” he continued. “These bears will definitely go to great use and are very appreciated.”
The KPD first began collecting stuffed animals for officers to give to children in 1988 after the department was approached by the late Edith Iddings, a Kernersville resident who had collected hundreds of stuffed animals with her friend, Sarah Ballard. Iddings wanted to know if the KPD would be interested in the collection so that every officer could carry one in his or her patrol car as a way to comfort children who might need it.
At the time of her death in 2010, it was estimated that Iddings had donated more than 5,000 stuffed animals over the course of two decades. Today, the KPD still collects stuffed animals for its officer’s patrol vehicles, with hundreds of donations coming in each year.
According to club President Diana Ross, the Kernersville Triad Ladies Civitan Club is a community-based organization that works with area programs through service projects to “better our community.”
Ross was joined at Wednesday’s presentation by club members Hazel Farley, Barbara Craven, Erline Shelton and Linda Fulk.
In addition to the stuffed animals kept within officers’ patrol vehicles, the KPD also operates the Ted E. Bear program, an initiative where officers distribute donated stuffed animals to children in the community, usually at bus stops during the month of December.

70 Year Anniversary

December 15, 2015

anniversaryAfter celebrating their 70th anniversary this month, Kernersville residents Genette and Weldon Clinard still have the same sparkle in their eyes for each other.
Born in Surry County, Genette Bryant Clinard moved to Kernersville, off of Hwy. 66, with her family, including her parents and three brothers, and attended Union Cross and Kernersville schools. Meanwhile, Weldon attended Oakview School, living in High Point with his parents and five brothers and sisters, with one of his brothers being his twin, the late William Clinard.
Developing a friendship in the beginning, Weldon and Genette first met while Genette was selling watermelon at her home.
“My mom and daddy wanted some watermelon sold. I was seventeen at the time,” she said. “Weldon came up on his bicycle to look and see if he wanted some.”
Genette said they ran into each other several more times while she was working at dime stores in both Kernersville and High Point.
“We kept bumping into each other around town,” she recalled. “I was dating someone at the time.”
Weldon shared that their friendship continued to grow even after he was drafted into the Navy during WWII, writing her letters while overseas.
When he returned, Weldon learned that Genette was engaged to be married.
“He walked into my house and sat on the hearth and said, ‘Well, I’d’a married ya,’” Genette recalled, as Weldon shared, without hesitation, that Genette accepted his informal proposal.
“She took off the ring and threw it and said, ‘Okay,’” Weldon said.
Genette and Weldon had secretly loved each other. They both shared what they liked about each other as they reminisced back to those days.
When Genette’s daughter, Annette, asked her mom, “Was it the fact that Daddy was in the Navy that you liked him?” Genette replied, “Oh man, yeah!”
Weldon shared that what he liked about Genette was her “really pretty smile” and red hair.
“She was so sweet,” he said with a big smile.
After being married, Weldon and Genette said they had little money and lived in a stable, with only a small stove for heat.
“They didn’t have a bathroom or anything and would go over to daddy’s mom’s house to eat,” Annette said, as she recalled the stories her parents told her. “Momma didn’t cook in the beginning, but Daddy wanted her to.”
“I finally had to teach myself how to cook,” Genette remarked.
While living in the stable, Weldon first worked at Adams Millis and worked at several other places until he became a truck driver, working for Central Motor Lines for 25 years until he retired.
“He drove with his twin brother,” Genette shared.
After he found a job driving trucks, Genette and Weldon bought a house in Winston-Salem and started a family.
“I was pregnant with Michael, our oldest, when we moved in,” Genette shared.
Weldon and Genette moved back to Kernersville in 1957.
Throughout their marriage, Weldon and Genette said they never really argued, and when they did, it was in private.
Genette said their biggest argument was right after they were married.
“Weldon drove me to my parents’ house and dropped me off, and my daddy drove me back home and told us to work it out,” she said.
A little later in their marriage, Genette said they sat down and talked about what they didn’t like about each other and decided to make a change in themselves to make each other happy.
“Things were great after that,” Weldon remarked.
Annette shared that while her father was gone a lot for work, when they were together, they enjoyed their time as a family, especially on vacations.
“He would get about two weeks’ vacation, and we would go to the beach,” she said. “We would plan to go for a week and we would have so much fun that he would call in and take another week.”
Along with family vacations, Genette and Weldon traveled to Bermuda after winning a trip through ABF. Both Genette and Weldon have been active members of Hillcrest Baptist Church throughout their marriage, with Weldon having ushered for 45 years alongside his twin brother, and Genette having been the president of her Sunday school class.
When asked what has kept their marriage so strong over the years, Genette said, respect, as Annette reiterated those remarks as a witness to their success.
“They had so much respect for each other, and to this day, they both still have that same sparkle,” she said.
Annette said her mom, age 88, and dad, who will be 90 in February, still wink at each other often.
The Clinards had five children: Michael, Annette, David, Jenee’, and Angie.
They have 11 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild due in April.

Carol Hauser Retires

December 15, 2015

carolEnjoy it.
That’s the advice Carol Hauser, support services bureau manager for the Kernersville Police Department (KPD), has for her successor as Hauser closes a four decades-long chapter of her life.
Hauser, who has been a part of the KPD family since 1975, is retiring just shy of her 41st year with the department. Her last day in the office will be Wednesday, Dec. 16.
“Just enjoy it as much as I have,” Hauser said last week as she reflected on a career that was more than just a job for so many years of her life.
Hauser first came to work for the KPD when she was 18-years-old. The local law enforcement agency was a 13-member department at that time and hers was a new secretarial position provided by federal grant money.
She worked as then Chief Grady H. Stockton’s secretary. In October 1976, the job became permanent and Hauser was hired on full-time.
Things were different back then. The police department really didn’t have a records division, and it was Hauser’s responsibility to organize the KPD’s records. Back then, everything was handwritten and Hauser had to type up each and every crime report in triplicate.
“There were 100 tally sheets and someone said, ‘Here, do this,’” Hauser recalled with a laugh just a few short years ago when she was named the KPD’s Civilian Employee of the Year. “I didn’t know what a crime report was.”
Over the years, as the department grew, so did Hauser’s job. Her position became more than just a secretary to the chief. It took on an administrative role that has become one of the most diverse in the KPD, seeing her work under four police chiefs in all.
“It’s always been a diverse position. It’s also one of the hardest to answer when someone asks, ‘What do you do,’” she said in that same interview.
Hauser will leave the KPD this month as the Town’s longest serving employee, but she knows the department is in good hands. Natalie McGhee will move into Hauser’s position and Hauser has no doubt that the transition will go smoothly.
“This department has a wonderful future ahead of it,” Hauser said.
How long had Hauser been considering retirement? She could have retired after 30 years, she said, but wondered then what she would do to fill her days. That’s not the case anymore. Now it’s time.
“I’ve always been told, ‘You’ll know when it’s time,’” Hauser said. “I am at the place in my life where I want to have an opportunity for me. This will be my time.”
Hauser plans to spend more time doing things she enjoys most. That includes working in and around her house on projects she never had time to start before, working outside in the garden and spending time with her three grandchildren, one of whom lives here in Kernersville and the other two in Roanoke.
“Life is about your family and your friends and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to have the freedom to move,” she continued.
As much as Hauser is looking forward to embarking on a new journey, she is proud of her time at the KPD.
“It was such a great opportunity working here as far as the personal and professional growth, the trust and support I received from my bosses and the Town, and just to be able to grow with the department,” Hauser said of what is now an 89-employee agency. “I feel like I have been such a huge part of watching this department grow. I was blessed to be part of a high-energy and efficient team over the years.”
What will Hauser miss the most?
“I am going to miss the laughter and the hilarious conversations I’ve had with my coworkers over the years,” Hauser smiled. “It’s a family. It makes the severity of what we do more bearable. It’s been fun and I have cherished memories.”

Wagging Wednesdays

December 15, 2015

dogVisitors, patients, and staff at Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center (KMC) will now have the chance to feel more comfort when greeted by a four-legged friend on Wednesday afternoons.
On Wednesdays from 10 a.m. – 12 noon, with their first day having been last week, volunteer Jerry Grubbs and his therapy dog, Rusty, a six-year-old golden retriever, will have the chance to help visitors, patients, and staff feel a sense of comfort and calm as they walk into the hospital, wait in the lobby to see a doctor, or be visited in their own room.
According to Susan Parks, manager of volunteer services with Novant Health, PMC (Presbyterian Medical Center), PMC has been doing pet therapy for over 20 years, but they are starting the Pet Greeter program across all of the Novant Health hospitals.
“Pet therapy volunteers provide visitation for patients, guests and Novant Health team members on patient floors, in patient rooms and various departments throughout the hospital,” said Parks.
Parks shared that they got the idea from the Cleveland Clinic.
“Because of our affiliation/partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, several of our leaders visited the clinic. They learned of a pet greet program having dogs as greeters stationed in their lobby and loved it. It is in alignment with our vision of creating a remarkable patient and guest experience,” she said. “We recognize that not all guests are animal lovers so we have our greeters stationed in areas that allow folks not wanting to pet or engage with the dog to walk around him/her.”
Grubbs shared that Rusty has been a therapy dog for four-and-a-half years, having gotten his certification just before he turned two-years-old.
Grubbs decided to turn Rusty into a therapy dog having seen how helpful they can be to patients in hospitals.
“My wife’s father was in the hospital and he got a visit from a therapy dog. He talked about that until he passed away, and I thought it would be a good thing to do,” he said.
Having had a Golden Retriever/Collie mix, named Junior, previous to getting Rusty, Grubbs knew they were great dogs and decided to get another Golden Retriever, though Rusty is full bred. Junior passed away at the age of 18.
“Rusty has a good personality and is a great dog, so coming up to getting him, we thought it would be good to do (therapy dog training) with him,” Grubbs shared, noting that he has always enjoyed volunteering to help people. “We just enjoy doing this with the dogs and meeting people.”
Grubbs noted that he retired as a district fire chief and now volunteers at Beeson’s Volunteer Fire Department.
Grubbs and Rusty aren’t new to visiting hospitals as they visit two other hospitals throughout the month, giving others their time and offering comfort.
As a therapy dog, Rusty does several things.
“He goes around and greets people in the lobby and people can come up and meet him,” he said.
Grubbs explained that when visiting with children, who are often in need or want of exercising some energy, Rusty will play ball or play hide-and-seek with a toy or ball.
“If they can’t get up or aren’t mobile, he will visit with them,” he stated. “We put a sheet down, and he can jump up in the bed with someone or sit up and they can pet him.”
Grubbs shared one story of a young boy who had a broken neck that wasn’t able to move much and so, as to not cause further harm, Rusty sat in a chair next to the bed and put his paws and head on the boy’s bed so that he could pet him.
Grubbs noted that Rusty is certified through Therapy Dog International (TDI) and shared that in order to get certified, he had to undergo several months of training and take a test that included 17 stations, twice since both he and his wife are handlers.
“He has to be trained to go up to all types of people and equipment. He is trained not to eat off of the floor and to ignore food, and he is trained not to lick those that do not want to be licked and because people in hospitals often have IVs,” he said. “He has to behave and be polite when visiting somebody’s room.”
Grubbs laughed as he shared that one thing that Rusty really enjoys is being petted.
“He will go from one person to the other and it doesn’t matter who you are, he just loves to be petted,” he said.
Through their volunteer work, Grubbs shared that they have met a lot of people.
“It’s a good way to meet people. There are a lot of good stories that we come across, and from time-to-time you really know you have made someone’s day,” he said. “It’s kind of a hobby that we enjoy doing. I wish we could do it more, but there are only so many hours in the day.”
Parks noted the many benefits therapy dogs offer to patients.
“Dogs have forever been called, ‘man’s best friend,’ providing companionship to people in need. In hospitals, they provide moments of companionship, joy, comfort, distraction, and they are soothing to patients. But they are not just a benefit to patients. They are also a benefit to family members and staff at all levels, from our doctors and surgeons on down.”
Parks noted that the pet therapy volunteers visit many different areas of the hospital.
Parks urges anyone interested in being a volunteer with their therapy dog, to contact Novant Health.
“Just call the Volunteer Services Department here at Presbyterian Medical Center or any Novant Health hospital for more information,” she said. “Therapy dogs are in many places, like public libraries and schools, but being in the hospital is the most demanding place for dogs (hence the special training here). Some dogs can’t handle the smells, the noises, the elevators. It takes a special dog to be a TDI dog. It takes a remarkable dog to be a hospital pet therapy dog.”
Rusty and Grubbs are at Novant Health KMC on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For more information, contact Novant Health KMC at (336) 564-4000 or visit

Rabbit Hopping

November 25, 2015

bunnyA sport called rabbit hopping has long been popular in Scandinavia, originating in the 1970s. Now, decades later, the rest of the world is catching on. For the first time, this year’s N.C. State Fair featured a competitive rabbit hopping event. The five velvety, long-eared animals of various breeds competed against one another, wowing crowds with their agility and jumping abilities.
Paige Smith, a Kernersville teen, knows a bit about this up and coming sport. Smith, a 19-year-old certified nursing assistant, rabbit breeder/trainer and co-owner of Narrow Gate Farm, won first place in 2014 with her Rhinelander bunny “Hybusa” at the American Rabbit Breeders Association hopping contest.
“Paige has been involved with rabbits at the youth level since she was about six-years-old. She has been involved in all aspects – the raising of the rabbits, the showing of the rabbits and handled the organization of everything as well,” noted Brenda Smith, co-owner of Narrow Gate Farm. Brenda, Paige’s mother, is also president of the N.C. Rabbit Breeders Association.
When asked where her love of rabbits came from, Paige recalled, “When I was about five-years-old I rode horses and loved riding all the time, but I kept getting injured. I remember my family taking me to the Dixie Classic Fair. My sister (Kylee) and I started talking to the rabbits in the Expo area and immediately fell in love with them. From there, we kept bugging our parents about adopting a pet rabbit. Our mother agreed to the rabbits on two conditions, if we were going to have rabbits, we would have more than one rabbit that we keep in a cage and we would show them competitively. We got the greenlight from my father to adopt, and we came home that next weekend with six Holland Lops.
Thirteen years later, the farm boasts around 120 rabbits, including Jersey Wollies, Rhinelanders, Flemish Giants and Holland Lops. In general, Holland Lops are the most popular breed, where the Rhinelanders are the most active breed, making the Rhinelander the popular choice for rabbit hopping.
Paige has been involved with rabbit hopping since the fall of 2011.
“I saw someone doing it, and I thought, ‘That is so cool,’” said Paige, who shows and hops rabbits competitively on a regular basis. Soon thereafter, Paige and “Izzu,” her prized Rhinelander, started training. Within three days, he was ready for his first obstacle course.
The roots of rabbit hopping come from Sweden, where the sport began in the 1970s. Rabbit hopping (sometimes called rabbit jumping) is very popular in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and Germany where competitions can be found about every weekend and may have as many as 200 participants. Since the 1980s, rabbit hopping has slowly been gaining popularity in the U.S.
Rabbit hopping is a novel sport in which rabbits hop over barriers on a course that resembles that of a horseshow event, scaled down for bunnies. The long-eared animals of various breeds are led around by a leash through a gauntlet of 12 jumps.
The activity is a healthy way for rabbits to interact with their owners beyond the confines of the cage, said Paige.
“Owners and rabbits take the competition very seriously. Traditionally, it was a children’s sport, but increasingly adults are getting involved too,” said Paige.
While rabbits are natural-born hoppers, hopping over barriers around a course surrounded by spectators takes training and a lot of practice, say the sport’s proponents.
The first step, Paige said, is to get the rabbits comfortable wearing a harness and walking on a variety of surfaces. Once a rabbit gets used to the harness, the jumps are introduced.
Common mistakes of the novice rabbit hopper are trying to get the rabbit to jump before it is comfortable running in the harness and getting in front of the rabbit instead of allowing it to take the lead. By the time a competition rolls around, a well-trained rabbit is ready for action.
Rabbit hoppers stress that just about any rabbit will do when it comes to selecting a bunny for competitive jumping, but certain breeds make better hoppers than others. According to Paige, “Any rabbit that enjoys jumping can compete in the rabbit hopping competition.”
The sport, they say, is more about the fun of the experience for the rabbits and the owners than winning a trophy.
“We look for rabbits that are highly social and also enjoy agility,” said Paige. The rabbits aren’t motivated by treats to jump over hurdles, so they must naturally be interested in taking part. “Owners can help to gently coax them along the course by softly patting them with their hand. People who use force like kicking are immediately disqualified.”
While the sport may seem taxing on the little animals, rabbit hoppers will be quick to point out that not only are rabbits naturally adept at these sorts of skills, they also thoroughly enjoy them. In fact, most are naturals.
“We do train our own rabbits, but the rabbits really do their own training,” said Paige. A rabbit’s instinctive tendency is to run in zig-zags, attempting to confuse any predators. The rabbits will learn by example, however, eventually becoming excited enough to get out on the course.
As far as the joy of rabbit hopping, the owners seem to enjoy it as much as the rabbits themselves. “It’s lots of fun. I get to spend time with my rabbits and they get plenty of exercise, when they are not being stubborn,” said Paige. “This is a sport where the more you do it, the better your rabbit will respond.”
Paige said while training rabbits for competition, the focus should always be on the safety and happiness of the rabbit. She said a trainer first needs to have a rabbit that is energetic and naturally wants to hop.
“This is like a brand new sport. It came to the United States in the 80s, but it has suddenly gained more and more momentum. There are not many nationally sanctioned rabbit jumping events, and competitions are mostly organized by independent groups and private rabbit owners. However, streamlined national regulations for the sport are being developed by the American Hopping Association for Rabbits and Cavies, an organization chartered by the American Rabbit Breeders Association,” added Brenda.
Rabbit hopping is fun for children and grown-ups alike. Who says horses should have all the fun?

Relay for Life Award

November 25, 2015

teacherThe American Cancer Society gave Kernersville Elementary School (KES) Data Manager Kathy Amrich an Appreciation Award for being an Outstanding Volunteer after the school raised $6,750.84 this year during Relay for Life.
“This year, we were the first place fundraising team in Kernersville and our team got an award for ‘Pack the Track.’ That means Kernersville Elementary had the most team members on the track at the end of the event,” Amrich said.
To date, KES has raised over $100,000 to bring awareness to the different cancers and to raise funds to fight the battle against cancer.
“We’ve had so many folks here that have had so many different kinds of cancer,” Amrich remarked.
Amrich noted that they are gearing up for another year of participating in Relay for Life.
“A letter was sent out to parents on Friday, November 6 to let them know about our kickoff fundraiser for kids,” she said. “We usually raise roughly $2,000. This year’s theme is ‘More Happily Ever Afters.’”
During the student kickoff, which started on November 9, the school sold smiley faces for $0.25. The homeroom that sold the most smileys will be awarded with a treat party.
Amrich said they had a bake sale during the school’s annual Fall Carnival to raise money for the Relay for Life kickoff.
“We raised over $200,” she said.