Weather Forecast | Weather Maps


Riding the GAP

November 25, 2015

fallingwaterAfter having completed the C and O (Chesapeake and Ohio) Trail in 2011, Wade Hampton and his daughter, Kate, decided to complete the second part of the trail, known as the GAP.
The GAP (Great Alleghany Passage), which runs from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a 150-mile rail-to-trail conversion with several trail towns along the route. The C and O Trail is 185 miles and runs from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, D.C. Both trails together equal 335 miles.
“When we finished the C and O, we knew we wanted to bike the GAP,” Hampton said. “We’d done things like the Virginia Creeper Trail, which is (roughly) 20 miles, and the New River Trail several times and we enjoyed riding in nature and being out in the woods.”
To train for the 150-mile bike ride, Hampton said he rode his bike around Salem Lake and the Salem Creek Greenway off of Salem Lake and by participating in Bike MS: Tour to Tanglewood.
“Kate lives in Washington, D.C. and she used the bike share program to train,” he said. “I rode a Trek hybrid and Kate used a mountain bike. They both worked well. The rail-to-trail was mostly hard packed gravel, while the toe path on the C and O was muddy with rocks and gravel at times.”
Hampton said there are a lot of supporting materials for both trails, including books and maps, as well as other information that tell how long the ride will be, what to bring and where to stay.
Hampton explained that he and Kate were on the GAP trail this year during the second week in October, which allowed them to see some great fall color. They spent four days and three nights on the trail, staying at bed and breakfasts (B&B) along the way.
“My wife and mother-in-law would follow us along and meet us at each B&B. The first night we stayed in Cumberland at The Inn on Decatur. Small trail towns like this have really started to cater to hikers and cyclists,” he said, noting they hiked between 30 – 40 miles each day.”
Each day, Kate and Wade took time to stop and see the many sights along the way.
“Both trails have a lot of historical aspects, so there was a lot to see and do,” he said. “On the C and O, we saw the Antietam National Battlefield, Harpers Ferry, where we stayed in a lockhouse one night. On the GAP, we saw Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater (house), built in the 1930s. It was amazingly modern looking. We went over the Mason-Dixon Line and went through a number of tunnels and trestles. One was 3,700 feet long. In Ohiopyle State Park, there were a lot of natural things with lots of kayaking, canoeing and camping in the area.”
Hampton said while they met people along the way, they also had times of solitude.
“There is a lot of solitude on the trail. You can go miles without seeing anyone, and then it can be crowded (on the greenways) in cities,” he said. “We talked to a couple that was on their second thru ride and another couple that had biked quite a bit. They told us about Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, South Carolina. Learning about other trails from riders is always fun.”
Hampton said while a majority of the trail was fairly easy, the first day was a little challenging.
“It was raining on the first day and that’s when we did most of the climbing, but the rest of the time was fairly easy. Having a good pair of bike shorts is important,” he shared.
Hampton said his most memorable moments were crossing the Continental Divide and riding beside the rivers for miles.
“We saw a lot of trout fishermen and a lot of natural beauty,” he said.
Hampton is a member of the Kernersville Cycling Club and was a member of the Pedestrian and Bicycling Committee for the Town of Kernersville before the cycling club was formed.
“I have been cycling all of my life, but I have been seriously cycling for 20 years,” he said.
Hampton enjoys cycling for many reasons.
“It’s easy on the knees and you can see more territory (than on foot),” he said.

Oaklawn Baptist Pastor

November 25, 2015

pastorHaving wanted to be a pastor since he was a young boy, Jay Boyce’s dreams have been fulfilled as he takes over as lead pastor at Oaklawn Baptist Church.
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Boyce attended Lake City Baptist Tabernacle, where he developed his interest in becoming a pastor.
“It’s all I have really ever wanted to do,” he said. “I think my mom even has cassette tapes of me preaching when I was young.”
After high school, Boyce attended Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida, where he met his wife, Samantha Swift Boyce. There, he also took courses in church ministries and music, concentrating more on vocal training. Boyce graduated from Trinity Baptist College in 1995.
“My wife is a Kernersville native, so that is how we ended up back here in Kernersville,” he said.
The Boyces have two sons, Grady and Judah, who both attend Triad Baptist Christian Academy.
Boyce found his first position in the ministry at Tabernacle Christian School, a Christian school in Alabama. After that, they moved to Kernersville, where Boyce worked in a secular job for six years and attended Gospel Light Baptist Church and got involved with the youth ministry.
“My first full-time church job was in 2001 at Trinity Baptist Church in Asheville,” he said, noting they were there until 2009 before moving back to Kernersville. “I was the college and career pastor and the music minister there.”
Once they moved back to Kernersville, Boyce was hired to work at Oaklawn Baptist Church as the worship pastor (music minister), and in 2011 he took over as the youth pastor as well.
“In July of this year, I took over as the lead pastor,” he said noting that he continues to lead the music ministry. “When people come here, they’ll see that I wear two hats, but while I am thankful for the gift of music, pastoring has always been my first love.”
Boyce said one of the things he enjoys most about being a pastor is visiting with people.
“I love the people, which is important for a pastor’s role. I also enjoy doing pastoral care and visiting people. Our challenge here is that we want to reach people with the Gospel and be known as the church that loves and cares for people,” he said. “This area is becoming diverse and that’s also what I want us to be. I want us to care for all people and I want our congregation to be diverse.”
Boyce said within the church there are several groups and ministries, but their main goal is to preach.
“We want to preach Christ to the world and be known as the church that cares and loves people. That is very important to me,” he remarked.
When it comes to his style of preaching, Boyce said he has been told he is very animated.
“I preach expositional, explaining the scripture verse by verse,” he said. “It’s not about opinions and I don’t get into politics from the pulpit. I just keep it biblical, preaching truth and love.”
Boyce noted that of the ministries at Oaklawn Baptist Church, there are three fairly new ministries, including their mobile soup kitchen, clothing closet, and food pantry.
Boyce said they held their first mobile soup kitchen recently by taking food to downtown Winston-Salem on the corner of Northwest Boulevard and Patterson Avenue, where they fed about 100 people.
“Whoever came by, we fed them. There were several people who were homeless that came by and we fed them and prayed with them,” he said. “We fed so many people that we ran out of food. We are doing another mobile soup kitchen on December 5.”
As for their food pantry, they will be holding their second one today from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
“We basically fill 30 – 40 bags of groceries that will feed a family for three to four days,” Boyce said. “Last month was our first time doing this and it was a great success.”
He said they are still in the process of getting the clothing closet together and are still collecting items.
“We are still in the process of getting that rolling, but we would like to provide coats for kids and things like that,” he said. “We have a mission team that has been community driven to help families in need.”
Oaklawn Baptist Church is located at 3500 Kernersville Road. For more information, visit

New Pastor

November 5, 2015

pastorProvidence Baptist Church will install their new pastor, Minister Keith Vereen, on Saturday, November 7 at noon.
Vereen, originally from Fayetteville, grew up attending Parks Chapel Freewill Baptist Church, hearing the call to minister in his early teens.
“I probably started feeling the call around 13 or 14-years-old, but I actually ran away from it. I didn’t want to accept it,” he said. “I decided to accept it in 2011. God came to me, and basically it was a divine appointment from Him. He had allowed me to do my own thing through freewill, but now was the time and He was not going to accept no for an answer.”
Before accepting the call, Vereen served in the Army from 1986-1995 at Fort Bragg in the Airborne Division. Having to retire early due to an accident in 1992, he went to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to earn a degree in social work. From there, he worked with the homeless at The Bethesda Center.
“I was hoping that would suffice with God, but that wasn’t enough for Him,” Vereen said. “When I heard God’s voice again, I said, ‘I need to go to school to learn what it means to serve God and learn more about the Word of God so I would know more about what I was sharing with God’s sheep.’”
Before Vereen declared ministry, he enrolled in Carolina Christian College in Winston-Salem, where he earned a Master of Arts of Religious Education with a concentration in Christian Education. He is currently working on his Doctorate of Divinity.
While working at The Bethesda Center, Vereen said it allowed him to share the Gospel.
“I was allowed to share the Word of God with my clients, but I actually left The Bethesda Center to attend law school at Wake Forest. That’s when I started hearing the calling from God that this was not the path for me,” he shared.
Though the position at Providence Baptist Church is his first appointment, Vereen is excited as he will be ministering to a congregation he has been part of for several years.
After he and his wife, Yolanda, transferred to the area, they stumbled upon the church, which was in their backyard.
“One Sunday I had my children (two sons, Jonathan and Jordan) at the park, and I saw people leaving the church. I heard a voice telling me that I needed to attend there,” he said, noting he began attending in 1998 and officially joined in 2000. “I was serving as the Administrative Board president. When the previous pastor resigned, I filled in as interim pastor and will be taking over in full effect on November 7.”
Vereen noted that he was not a shoo-in, as 27 people applied for the position.
He shared that he is looking forward to leading the church.
“I am just looking forward to continuing to do God’s Will and exactly what He tells me to do,” he said.
He added that he would like for the church to be more in tune with the needs of the community and to serve as a light where they are located.
“I would also like to continue to make disciples and teach people about the Word of God,” he remarked.
Vereen said he has seen the power of God firsthand through his own battles.
“One of my greatest challenges has been battling cancer and seeing the way God delivered me from that. I was also in an accident in 1992, which is why I retired early from the military. I spent 18 months in the hospital and have had 27 surgeries. When I was in the hospital, it gave me time with God one-on-one, which clarified what He wanted as well,” Vereen explained. “Having seen the power of God firsthand has helped me to remain humble. I can accomplish all things through Him.”
Providence Baptist Church is located at 319 Nelson St. For more information, call 336-996-6284 or visit

November 5, 2015

serveEarlier this month, members of The Summit Church and numerous other churches took part in The Big Serve, an annual event where church members volunteer to help organizations in the community over a weeklong period.
Amy Loflin, The Big Serve coordinator for The Summit Church at the Oak Ridge location, explained that The Big Serve ran from October 3-11, but continued out further because of rainy weather this year.
“We typically focus it to be a really strong blitz throughout our community in a short amount of time,” she said.
Loflin added that they had roughly 60 projects around the community this year, with close to 1,000 volunteer slots that were filled between The Summit’s Kernersville and Oak Ridge locations.
“Volunteers sign up on to send in project requests, but we also send cards out to projects we did the previous year and ask them to dream big. Maybe they didn’t get the funds to accomplish them and we try to fulfill that,” she said. “We are always looking for new projects as well.”
Loflin shared that while there are many volunteer slots to fill, they set the website up to help people find a project they can enjoy.
“We try to filter the projects by category – beautification, construction, helping hands and landscaping,” she said. “The people we help typically have to be non-profits. Some of the organizations are able to provide their own materials, but if not, we help supplement that through our Big Serve budget.”
Loflin said the purpose of The Big Serve is to not only help people, but to create a buzz in the community to get people interested in what is going on and to get people involved in helping others.
“It’s an easy opportunity to give people a taste of serving in a project that is hopefully near and dear to their heart. It’s a first step. We don’t want them to just serve with The Big Serve. We want them to have God in their hearts and hopefully connect with the organization they are working with and come back and help there again,” she said.
Several volunteers shared what they did during The Big Serve and what they enjoyed about volunteering.
Rodney Nail, project leader at Oak Ridge Elementary School (ORES), said he has been leading the project for three years.
“Since Oak Ridge Elementary School is our satellite location for The Summit in Oak Ridge, it’s vital that we continue our tremendous partnership with them. The administrators and staff are so appreciative every year when they arrive on campus after our Big Serve weekend,” he said. “We do outdoor beautification every year with new mulch, trees and hedges trimmed, and anything else on the staff’s wish list.”
Nail said this year, in addition to the outdoor projects, a team painted the bottom portion of the walls in the school’s hallways.
Nail added that The Big Serve is just a small gesture of gratitude they give back to the school and community as a way of demonstrating the love of Christ.
“Christ was a servant to mankind and gave His life for us. The least we can do is serve our fellow man and our local community,” he shared.
Nikki Honeycutt said this is the third time she and her family have participated in The Big Serve.
“We love it,” she remarked. “I used to hear people say we are Jesus’ hands and feet, and I always thought that was odd sounding. After doing The Big Serve, I get it. Loving people right where they are at, no matter what, everyone wants to be loved.”
Honeycutt shared that she works with juniors and seniors.
“My girls went with me to Lot 2540 in Madison. They get their name from the Bible in Matthew 25:40, ‘The least of these,’” she said. “They restore old things and they restore lives. We washed produce for the open market, where they allowed people to come through and get a variety of food for anyone in need.”
Honeycutt said at one point, she served an older gentleman who appeared to have no one and nothing.
“He just wanted someone to talk to and to listen,” she shared. “I just wanted to take him home with me and show him there is someone who loves him no matter what his circumstances or his life choices have been. It was awesome to see my teenagers love these people by cooking lunch for them and just serving them. I am planning on taking my family back in December so we can do this again.”
Honeycutt said she has learned that you don’t have to be talented to help others.
“The greatest thing I have learned through The Big Serve is anyone can do it. You don’t have to be super talented or gifted; you just have to be willing to love people,” she said.
One of the recipients of The Big Serve, who is continuing to benefit, is The North Carolina Leadership Academy (NCLA). Renee Faenza, principal of The NCLA, said she is thankful to have help from The Summit.
“It’s unusual to find a place that practices what they preach. I’m Catholic, and we’re a good church too, but it’s like these people have taken service to a whole other level,” she said. “Their theme is making everybody feel welcome and like they are somebody.”
In one of their ways of giving, The Summit has offered space for The NCLA students as they are already starting to outgrow their school and are waiting for a modular building to be built.
“They have wanted to make the children feel welcome, so they bought all 126 children and teachers lunch one Friday,” she said. “On the first day of school, they provided coffee and refreshments for our parents, and every Friday, they have to tear down the kids’ stuff and prepare for church and then set it back up for the kids.”
Faenza said volunteers from The Summit have also done some beautification around the school.
“They’ll offer their volunteers to come over. They have planted trees, helped us build a playground – offering their labor, and just being good to their neighbor,” she said.
Faenza said students at The NCLA are making cards and are in the process of creating their own version of The Big Serve. They plan to make lunch for the volunteers and members.
Loflin said what she enjoys about The Big Serve is seeing everyone come together.
“I just like seeing everyone coming together with a positive attitude and carving time out of their Saturday to help others and to see how much fun we can have coming together as the church, and not just The Summit, but being Christians and making a big impact,” she shared.
For more information about The Big Serve, visit

Alaskan Summer

November 5, 2015

alaskaWith a love for the outdoors and children, Laura Barnhardt, a third grade teacher at Caleb’s Creek Elementary School, enjoys spending her summers in the great outdoors teaching children about nature, and bringing what she has learned back to her students in Kernersville. This year she traveled to Sitka National Historical Park in Alaska.
Last year, Barnhardt went through the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Program at Mount Rainier. She wanted to do something similar again this past summer; however, having already gone through the program, she wasn’t sure what would be available.
“This year, I volunteered as a park ranger,” she said. “I had to apply through the National Park Service.”
Barnhardt wasn’t the only volunteer working at the park this summer. She had two roommates who were volunteering as well.
“The program provides housing. I had two roommates who were in their 60s,” she said.
Though much older than her, Barnhardt said her roommates were a lot of fun.
“They were awesome. Of course, they took me under their wings, but we went out and did everything together,” she said. “One lady was a retired accountant, so she did a lot of the books for the store at the National Park, and the other lady was a retired teacher, so she worked at the visitor center.”
Although this year she was volunteering, Barnhardt was still required to do an assignment.
“This year, I developed a monthly preschool story hour, but I had to (first) learn about the park itself and the town of Sitka,” she said. “I also visited the town’s library to observe their preschool hour, and from there I figured out how I was going to do my story hour.”
Barnhardt developed a theme for each month, with the first month being about salmon.
“The salmon start coming up the rivers from the ocean to lay their eggs. After they lay their eggs, they die. This is also the time when all the bears come down from the mountains,” she said. “The salmon do this in August, so since it was August, I was able to teach the first lesson. I came up with a craft, we had a snack, played games, sang a song and I told a story about salmon.”
Other themes Barnhardt created were about bears, whales, and snow. She also did a theme on the rainforest and totem poles.
“I did a theme about totem poles because they are very important to the Tlingit tribe, a native tribe of Alaska,” she said. “I also did a theme about the rainforest because it is considered a rainforest there, which a lot of people don’t know.”
Barnhardt noted that she saw firsthand the amount of rain Sitka receives, and why it is called a rainforest.
“I was there five weeks and there were only six days that it didn’t rain,” she said. “My main mode of transportation was a bicycle, so I biked everywhere in the rain.”
Along with creating a preschool story hour at the park, Barnhardt worked at the visitor center, where she said she did a lot of interpretation for tourists who came off of cruise ships on a daily basis. She also worked at a camp for local children.
“The kids were a lot different than kids here,” she said. “They are very outdoorsy. They get really excited about being outside.”
Barnhardt said she was impressed that the children enjoyed playing in the rain.
“That’s what they are used to because it is always raining,” she remarked. “We went to the ocean and the children would play in the tide pools. They would find different sea creatures like purple crabs, sea stars and sea cucumbers.”
When Barnhardt wasn’t working, she did a lot of fishing and hiking.
“We met some locals who took us fishing. The first line I threw in I reeled in a 26 pound Alaskan King Salmon,” she said. “I learned how to cook fresh salmon and never had to buy any other meat while I was there. I have never had so much fresh salmon in my life.”
Barnhardt said Sitka was very mountainous, and she always had to be alert while hiking because of the grizzly bears.
“I ran into two of them and that was the one time I didn’t have my bear spray. We had to act very big and they finally ran off,” she said as she noted that there is one grizzly bear per square mile on Baranof Island.
She was also amazed at how many bald eagles she saw.
“It was neat to see so many in person,” she said.
Barnhardt said she learned a lot on her trip, which she plans to share with her students.
“It was in the 40s and 50s and rainy all summer, and the kids loved playing in the rain and creeks. One day they dressed up like bugs,” she recalled. “When I got back, one of the lessons I did with my students was that I dressed up like a flower and we did some gardening together.”
Since Russians settled Sitka, Barnhardt plans to teach a lesson on Russian-American history.
“I don’t think people know about how much the Russians have to do with Alaska,” she said.
Barnhardt shared a few interesting facts about Sitka.
“The time difference there from North Carolina is four hours and we only had about four hours of darkness at night. Also, Sitka is on Baranof Island, which is where the Russians first came. Sitka was the capital of Alaska, although Juneau is now the capital,” she said.
She also plans to stay in touch with the island of Sitka by Skyping with the lead ranger.
“They are starting a distance learning program in Sitka,” she shared.
Barnhardt said she loved experiencing a new culture and a different way of life.
“There were no Walmart stores and everything at the grocery store was expensive because it has to be brought in. They have a very simple way of living and I loved it,” she said. “I would go back in a heartbeat. Everyone was so welcoming. I was only there for a little over a month, but if felt like I had lived there for years.”

Persimmon Festival

November 5, 2015

persimmonThe 8th annual Colfax Persimmon Festival will be held Saturday, November 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Historic Stafford Farm, located in Colfax.

Since the beginning of the Colfax Persimmon Festival, persimmons have become popular and are making their way around the Triad.

“Earlier this year, my friend Kenny Hamilton entered persimmon wine, made with persimmons from the Historic Stafford Farm, in the Dixie Classic Fair and won a gold medal, first place in the amateur division,” said Gene Stafford, event organizer and owner of the Historic Stafford Farm. “Hoots Roller Bar is planning to brew a beer with persimmons from the Stafford Farm.”

The Persimmon Festival was started as a way to try to save the Historic Stafford Farm.

“The farm is dated back to the 1780s, according to John Larson of Old Salem and someone from the Mendenhall Plantation. Supposedly, General Cornwallis stopped by here on his way to the Guilford Battleground during the Civil War,” said Stafford, who explained that he grew up on the working farm with his mother and grandmother.

Stafford said in 2008, when his mother died, he started doing restoration work to the farm as a way to honor and remember her. Before starting the festival, he had help from various people to restore the house, and at the end of each renovation he would celebrate with a chicken stew. Then he got an idea to have a Persimmon Festival because of the persimmon trees on the property and because it would be something unique.

Stafford said since the Persimmon Festival started, he has made several more renovations to the historic home, including restoring the chicken and hog houses, the tobacco stick shed, the root cellar, and he built a porch with windows where the Persimmon Queen sits each year. Also, for persimmon pulp sales and storage, Stafford rebuilt the garage building after a tree fell last year.

Stafford said the money raised at the Persimmon Festival goes toward the restoration of the farm, as well as promoting the vendors and the community. He feels that the restoration to the farm is a community effort. He looks for volunteers throughout the year for help on the house, as well as at the Persimmon Festival.

At the festival, the persimmons and persimmon items will be available while they last.

The festival will include food such as BBQ, chicken stew, Brunswick stew, hot dogs, funnel cakes, Muscadine juice, fried apple pies, and pork skins.

The Colfax band Cornbread Revival (A.K.A. The Persimmon Pickers), the Daniel Baker Band, and Tyler Millard Band will perform.

There will be various other art and vintage craft vendors; a nature walk to the big poplar tree; atlatl and primitive weapons (Tim Whaley); foot operated lathe; Dennis Maness will have a Revolutionary War camp and will be doing primitive cooking over a campfire; Civil War camp; Colfax and Stafford history; chainsaw artist (Randy Everett); molasses making demonstration; Model A Car Club Show; hit and miss machines from 1920s and 1930s; vintage farm equipment and tractors; and farm history tours.

The event will also feature a children’s area, which will include vintage games, corncob dart game; beekeeper, flintnapper (Mike Hill), persimmon hole (cornhole board using persimmon seeds instead of corn); and an arrowhead collector.

Joe Huygens, member of the Piedmont Region of the Model A Restorers Club, said Mark and Leigh Bodenhamer are hosting the club during the Colfax Persimmon Festival this year, which will feature several Model A cars.

“Randall and Tonda Strickland are bringing their 1922 Model T car, which was built in Kernersville. They are one of only three known owners,” Huygens said.

Stafford is looking forward to another great festival.

“I am looking forward to seeing a big turnout. I hope people enjoy the festival,” he said. “I also hope we raise enough money to continue the restoration of the farm.”

Stafford noted that upon cutting into a persimmon seed this year, he saw a spoon.

“That means we’re going to see snow this year,” he shared.

The Historic Stafford Farm is located at 558 N. Bunker Hill Rd. in Colfax.

The entry fee is $7. Children under the age of 12 get in free.

Parking will be located at Shady Grove Wesleyan Church, located at 119 N. Bunker Hill Rd. with a donation. Oasis Shriners of Greensboro will handle parking. This year, the shuttle services will include modern up-to-date buses for comfort taking visitors from Shady Grove Wesleyan Church to the festival.

If your vehicle has a current handicapped tag, ask about handicapped parking at the site.

Pets, coolers and alcohol are not permitted.

For more information, or if interested in volunteering, visit or call 336-682-5328.

Teal Pumpkin Project

October 22, 2015

pumpkinIf you don’t live with allergies every day, it is hard to imagine that something as miniscule as a sliver of a peanut can produce severe and even life-threatening reactions in those not immune. For those who do, vigilance is a necessary fact of life when it comes to the foods they not only eat, but those they touch.
For children with food allergies, it is up to their parents and other adults in their lives to provide that layer of protection. If they don’t, the consequences could be dire.
For one local couple and their 10-year-old son, holidays are especially challenging. That’s why they hope to raise awareness about food allergies by supporting the “Teal Pumpkin Project,” an initiative that encourages attention to the subject and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.
Natasha and Lee Canter have managed their son Nate’s food allergies since he was a toddler. In the years since, the couple has made their home a safe place for their son. If Nate can’t eat it, they don’t either. Neither does their younger son, Micah, who doesn’t suffer from food allergies.
“Nate was diagnosed with life-threatening peanut and severe tree nut allergies at two-years-old. Our lives changed from that moment. We decided our home would always be a safe haven for him, free of his allergens. Even the smallest trace could be a problem. He is now 10-years-old and thriving,” Natasha said.
Natasha said she and her husband first began noticing something different when Nate was about nine-months-old. He’d put a tiny piece of a peanut in his mouth and became violently ill for about an hour. Then, at around two, Nate became ill while Natasha was making peanut butter cookies.
“He got sick from just being around them,” Natasha recalled.
The Canters took Nate to be tested for allergies. A skin test revealed more than 40 allergens to which he was susceptible.
“He reacted to everything, plus he was diagnosed with asthma. We had food allergies and environmental allergies,” she said.
Ten years ago, food allergies weren’t as prevalent as they appear to be today, so there wasn’t a lot of information. Most of what the Canters have learned has come from their own research. Today, they carefully read labels on foods, which Natasha said can be misleading if one isn’t familiar with how food labeling works.
She explained about voluntarily disclosure and that while manufacturers are required to disclose a product’s ingredients, they don’t have to reveal if it was made on equipment with something else that might illicit a reaction – such as peanuts.
Needless to say, Natasha takes the warning “may contain” to heart. If those words are present, the Canters won’t be purchasing that particular item.
Because the family is so vigilant, Nate hasn’t had a reaction to peanuts since he was two. He did, however, develop a rash from drinking hot chocolate that was made at a plant where other tree plant products may have been produced.
While every reaction isn’t life threatening, Nate carries an epi-pen with him just in case, Natasha said.
Boys being boys, both Nate and Micah are eagerly looking forward to dressing up for Halloween; however, there will be a teal pumpkin on the Canter’s front porch promoting the Teal Pumpkin Project to raise awareness about the issue of food allergies during the holidays.
“Holidays can be challenging with the emphasis on food. Halloween is scary for him, not because of the ghosts and goblins, but because of the candy. He loves to dress up for trick-or-treating, but 95 percent of what he brings home he cannot eat. That’s tough for a child,” Natasha said. “The Teal Pumpkin Project is a wonderful campaign. It offers inclusion for all children with allergies or dietary needs such as diabetes or celiac disease. We hope to see some teal pumpkins on doorsteps this year, indicating they have safe non-food treats to share. We will be handing out both nut-free candies and non-food treats at our home.”
Don’t let the Canters be the only family in Kernersville sporting a teal pumpkin on their front porch. Paint one yourself and show your support for children with food allergies by providing non-food trick-or-treat items. Nate, for one, will be appreciative.

October 15, 2015

pumpkinMain Street United Methodist Church (UMC) encourages the community to purchase pumpkins from their annual pumpkin patch in order to continue their funding of the many organizations and ministries they support.
The pumpkin patch, in its 21st year, was originally started by the J.C. Grose Sunday School class as a way to raise money for missions. The pumpkin patch was later turned over to Director of Youth and College Age Ministries Wayne Purdy and Director of Christian Education Pastor Amy Burton.
“The money we raise does not stay here. It goes back into the community and is used toward missions in the U.S.,” Purdy said, noting the pumpkins are grown on an Indian reservation in New Mexico.
Purdy said with a willing effort from church volunteers on Saturday, the pumpkins were successfully set out on time.
“We had 175-200 church members unloading those pumpkins on Saturday in the rain,” he added.
Purdy said several of the organizations and ministries the church supports include The Shepherd’s Center of Kernersville, Crisis Control Ministry, Children of Zion, Appalachia Service Project, ReCreation Experiences Mission and Ministry, Next Step Ministries, Open Arms Ministry, and Bethesda Center, to name a few.
Dave Torbett, executive director for ReCreation Experiences Mission and Ministry, shared what the funding from the pumpkin patch means to them.
“Main Street United Methodist Church is a true testament to what the church is and should be. Over the last decade, they have been an incredible partner and community of support for the outreach ministry, ReCreation Experiences. Their Youth Ministry, led by Wayne, has continued to impact the community and the world through the good services to so many people in need. The adult members of the church reach out through service events and by supporting and encouraging a strong youth ministry. It is a privilege and an honor to be a partner with Main Street and the good people there,” he said.
Carol Fulton, senior pastor of Children of Zion Community Church and founder and executive director of Children of Zion Outreach Ministry, located in east Winston-Salem, shared how important the funds from Main Street UMC’s pumpkin patch are to her ministry. She noted that along with Main Street UMC, four other churches help support the Children of Zion Outreach Ministry.
“They prepare 160 to 175 meals and bring them to Rubert Bell Park off Mount Zion Place in Winston-Salem on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday after we hold a service in the park around 12:30,” she said. “They prepare hot meals, bag lunches and, in good weather, we play games and do activities.”
Fulton, a Kernersville resident, said she started out helping children, but has branched out to helping the homeless and people falling on hard times as well.
“The money goes to buy the food and clothing if anyone needs it,” she said, as she shared that she buys coats and jeans as the weather gets colder. “We had a family with eight children that needed clothes for back to school. That was a family in Kernersville.”
For Christmas, Fulton also gives the children a bag of items that include hats, gloves, a scarf, candy and a toy and shared that some parents have told her that is the only gift their child will receive for Christmas.
“The meal money they give us helps to free up other funds to do things like take children on field trips or to keep the lights on in a child’s house so they can do their homework at night,” she said.
Purdy said their pumpkins are priced higher than what you would find at a local grocery store; however, it’s for a good cause.
“It allows us to pay for the pumpkins and then keep a percentage. One hundred percent of the percentage we get to keep goes back out into the mission field,” he explained. “We average about $10,000 each year. We don’t keep any of the money, no matter how much we make. It all goes back out into the community.”
He added that they do not pay anyone to work the pumpkin patch.
“It’s a church-wide event and everyone pitches in. We organize volunteers to work in three-hour shifts from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays,” he said. “The pumpkin patch will be open until Halloween.”
Purdy also shared that they offer story time to groups of kids from Monday through Thursday, from 9:30 a.m. – noon. Those who are interested need to set up an appointment by calling Purdy at 336-993-3411.
Purdy said while most pumpkins range from $7 to $15, there are some smaller pumpkins and gourds that start at 50 cents, as well as very large pumpkins that range anywhere from $25 – $30.

Decoding Dyslexia

October 15, 2015

dyslexiaThe Auchmuty family, founders of Decoding Dyslexia (DD), work to raise awareness about dyslexia. The family was presented with a proclamation that designates October as Dyslexia Awareness Month by Mayor Dawn Morgan and Governor Pat McCrory.
According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a language-based learning disability and refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services.
Since first finding out their son, Payne, had dyslexia, Penny and Neil Auchmuty have been fighting and working hard to find him the help he needs.
Neil and Penny first noticed there was something different about Payne when he was about seven-years-old. They explained that Payne has always been smart, but they had a heightened concern when they noticed he wasn’t doing well in school.
In the second grade at the time, Penny and Neil tried to address Payne’s issue; however, they ran into a roadblock, which caused them to start DD.
Neil said DD first started in N.J. with a group of parents who got together to discuss what was going on in their children’s schools. He said they decided to put together a handbook for parents in other states to start a grassroots movement.
“(DD) is parent-led and parent-driven,” he said. “Through Decoding Dyslexia, parents share ideas about how to get the help they need for their children.”
Payne explained what it’s like to have dyslexia.
“It makes it a lot more difficult to answer questions out loud in front of people or reading out loud, and I have a hard time organizing my thoughts,” he said.
Neil added, “Dyslexia is a spectrum disorder, so some people are very mild and others are more severe. Most people recognize it as reading letters backwards, but that’s just the small, well-known piece of it.”
Penny said 10-15 percent of students are dyslexic.
“We need to talk more about it, and with help of legislation, we can get help in our schools,” she said. “The big problem is that you can’t see it, so it’s hard to believe there is an issue.”
Neil said one of the reasons it is such a struggle for students with dyslexia to get help is because dyslexia is so varied. It can be difficult for schools to pinpoint that a student suffers from it, and because their IQ is always average or above average it makes it even more confusing.
Penny and Neil said there have been attempts made at various levels of government (state and federal) to help students with dyslexia. Two of those bills include NC House Bill No. 420 and NC Senate Bill No. 439. Those bills were shot down, Penny noted.
“They introduced these bills this year, but they didn’t go anywhere,” Penny said. “North Carolina Representatives (Debra) Conrad and (Donny) Lambeth were the primary sponsors of Bill No. 420 and North Carolina Senator Paul A. Lowe, Jr. was the primary sponsor of Bill No. 439. All sponsors on the bills were from Forsyth County. We would like to see the bills broken up a bit, but ultimately, it’s up to legislation.”
Although the bills were shot down, Penny and Neil encourage families to speak out.
“You can call your state representatives and share the story about your children in public schools dealing with dyslexia,” Penny said.
Although help specific to dyslexia has not yet made its way into the school system, Neil and Penny have found ways to help their son.
“We worked hard to get him an IEP in school and getting him accommodations, such as extra time, not being graded on spelling, reading quizzes and tests to him orally, and small group activities,” shared Penny. “We also used an Orton-Gillingham tutoring program. It’s a multi-sensory program.”
Penny said Neil and Payne will be attending Parent Camp USA in Washington, D.C. on October 26 at the U.S. Department of Education, which will bring together administrators, teachers, parents and students to talk face-to-face about what works best for kids with dyslexia. Although registration is closed, Penny noted that you can sign up online at to watch the event.
Payne is also doing his part to raise awareness by having participated in a dyslexia awareness video that was put together by Dyslexia Buddies Network’s Founding Mama Bear, Kristin Paxton, and the creator of the film, “Embracing Dyslexia,” by Luis Macias.
The video can be found by searching, “What I wish teachers knew about dyslexia” on YouTube.
“It was debuted at the Everyone Reading Illinois Conference on Tuesday to help spread dyslexia awareness and was shown to 300 teachers,” Penny remarked.
Neil and Penny have also contacted Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School principals.
“We shared the dyslexia awareness month proclamations and asked if they would help to spread dyslexia awareness, and some have,” Penny said. “Southeast Middle School has posted it on their roadside sign and Glenn High School has posted it on their website.”
Penny and Neil said they have also trained to become Augustine Literacy Project tutors through Read-Write-Spell (ReadWS) so they can help tutor students in schools.
Penny also encourages parents to become trained as an IEP (Individual Education Plan) partner through N.C.’s ECAC at (Parent Training and Info Center tab and click on IEP Partners).
“This is a way for parents wanting to make a different to get involved,” Penny remarked.
For more information or to find useful resources, visit one of the following sites: North Carolina’s Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center:; Dyslexia Advantage:; International Dyslexia Association:; Dyslexia Training Institute:; Eye To Eye:; The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity:; Bright Solutions for Dyslexia:; Headstrong Nation:; National Center for Learning Disabilities:; and Understood:

Food Truck Festival

October 15, 2015

brewerThe Brewer’s Kettle in Kernersville is hosting a Food Truck Festival on Saturday, October 24 from 3-9 p.m. to help raise funds for the Belle Raisers Foundation Inc., a local family raising funds and awareness for cystic fibrosis (CF).
The event will feature roughly 18 food trucks, live music from three bands, vendors, a raffle, and N.C. craft beer and wine.
Andy Kennedy, owner of The Brewer’s Kettle in Kernersville, said he chose to have the event benefit the Belle Raisers because of his connection with Mark and Jessica Hanson, whose daughter Annabelle has the unforgiving disease. Having met them at a previous event, he wanted to help.
Annabelle and her twin brother, Dominick, who does not have CF, were born one month early on May 19, 2011. Although they were early, Mark and Jessica were given no indication that there were any health issues with Annabelle, so they were released to go home. The only thing they recalled was that Dominick was one pound heavier than Annabelle, which they noted isn’t unusual for twins who are born early.
It wasn’t until one month later that doctors called to tell them Annabelle has CF. At this point, Dominick was three pounds heavier than his sister.
For Mark and Jessica, the idea of their daughter having a shortened life span and a more complicated life weighed heavy on their hearts.
Jessica explained in an earlier interview with the Kernersville News that CF affects multiple organs in the body, most specifically the lungs.
“People with cystic fibrosis are more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. Things that regular people are able to cough up, she isn’t able to do as well,” she said.
Fortunately, with the help of modern medicine and medical devices, Annabelle has managed to stay relatively healthy, but Mark and Jessica know she may not be healthy forever, as the median life expectancy for someone with CF is 37 years.
Mark said they recently celebrated Annabelle having gone a year without hospitalization, though she did have to go on some oral antibiotic medication recently.
“It’s the little things that are important,” he said.
Mark noted that in April of this year, The Belle Raisers gained their 501(c)3 non-profit status.
“We earned our non-profit status, but we have been active in raising money for cystic fibrosis since Annabelle was diagnosed. We created this vehicle to be a stronger local presence and (to put a face on CF),” he said, noting that you can donate to the Belle Raisers on “If you shop at and use Amazon Smile (, you are able to choose a non-profit and one half of one percent of what you spend on Amazon will go back to that non-profit. When you select a non-profit, look up the Belle Raisers Foundation Inc.”
Mark said the Belle Raisers Foundation is in partnership with the North Carolina Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“Since we have no overhead and are all volunteer based, all of the money we raise goes to help fund their research and patient care initiatives,” he said.
Last year, Mark shared information about a development in the drug industry for people with CF and recently mentioned that the drug Orkambi, a combination therapy, has been FDA approved, but it is currently only for children 12 years of age and older, so Annabelle is unable to take it.
“It’s great news and a big deal. They are going in the right direction. Her age group is not even in clinical trials. She is over four-years-old, so we just have to sit back and wait for now” he said. “It’s not a cure, but for the first time it’s something that will treat the underlying cause instead of treating the symptoms, and we expect bigger and better things to come.”
Mark said he is looking forward to the October 24 Kernersville Food Truck Festival fundraiser at The Brewer’s Kettle.
“We hope it’s a beautiful day. As a family and a group we are so thankful to have the support from the community and we are so thankful to Andy for all the hard work he put into this event. Everything he has done for us is a big deal,” he said.
The food trucks that will be featured at the event include: Bandito Burrito, Tipsy’z Tavern, Wright Up Ur Galley, Camel City Grill, Food Freaks, Munchie Wagon, Urban Street Grill, Jalapeño Truck, Rollin’ Sol, The Great Escape, Small Potatoes Mobile Kitchen, D’s Cakes in a Cup and More, King – Queen Haitian Cuisine, Mystical Sunshine Caribbean Food, Happy Plates Catering, Empanadas Borinquen, Mike and Mike’s Italian Ice, and more.
Bands for the event will include Turpentine Shine, Nitrogen Tone, and Disco Lemonade.
There will be various vendors including Peace Out Vapes, Lab Tattoos, and multiple craft vendors.
Water will be available and individual food trucks will serve non-alcoholic beverages.
Kennedy said attendees should bring cash for the food trucks. Tickets are $5 at the gate and beer and wine tickets will be sold for $5/drink. Beers will all be from North Carolina breweries.
A portion of the sales from the event will be donated to the Belle Raisers. There will also be a raffle for a guitar, donated by the Guitar Center.
The Brewer’s Kettle is located at 308 East Mountain St. For more information, call 336-992-3333, visit their website at or find them on Facebook at: The Brewer’s Kettle Kernersville.