Features

New library director

Brian D. Hart took on the position as the new director of the Forsyth County Public Library System earlier this month after the retirement of Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin on December 30, after 40 years of service.
Hart, who lives in Kernersville, was raised in Columbia, South Carolina. After high school, he earned his bachelor’s degree in English from South Carolina State University and his Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina. He is currently working on completing his second Masters in Public Administration from Georgia College and State University.
Hart’s interest in serving in libraries started when he became a volunteer conversation partner in a program titled, “Let’s Speak English.”
“It gave me an opportunity to assist speakers of other languages with their command of the English language in a comfortable and non-judgmental setting,” he said. “This helped open my eyes to the breadth and depth of services that libraries offered to positively impact the communities they serve.”
Following his time as a volunteer, Hart found his first position as a library assistant and then a circulation supervisor at the Richland County Public Library in Columbia, SC.
Since that time, Hart has worked in numerous other roles in various libraries, including Howard County Library System in Columbia, MD as the teen instructor and research specialist; Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – Hickory Grove Branch in Charlotte, NC as a librarian and assistant branch manager; Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – BFR Regional Branch in Charlotte as the children’s services manager; Middle Georgia Regional Library in Macon, GA as the assistant director and head of public services; EveryLibrary in Riverside, IL as the director of special projects and initiatives; and more recently the Greensboro Public Library in Greensboro as the deputy director.
Hart took on the position as library director at the Forsyth County Public Library in Winston-Salem on May 4.
While his office is located at the Central Library in Winston-Salem, Hart mentioned that, among many other things, he works and supports a team of professionals and library staff across the county to provide vision and direction for all of Forsyth County Public Library’s 10 physical locations, to book mobiles, and the website, which offers residents access to a host of online databases, digital resources and virtual programs.
When asked why he chose to enter the library field, Hart said he really appreciates community.
“I just really appreciate community and the opportunity to assist in their advancement. From providing story-times that promote early childhood literacy and school readiness to regularly assisting individuals with resumes and other professional resources that promote workforce development and/or support their entrepreneurial efforts. Libraries help to enhance a community’s overall quality of life, so I am honored to be able to assist and positively impact Forsyth County in that way,” he said.
Hart said, naturally, he enjoys reading and noted that his favorite genre is nonfiction, particularly inspirational or self-help books.
In looking to the future during the COVID-19 coronavirus, Hart spoke to the interests of those wanting to know when libraries will reopen.
“Our staff is currently working on a phased re-opening plan that will eventually allow us to safely and responsibly reopen our physical locations to invite customers back into the buildings,” he said. “Until then, we ask that customers take full advantage of our ‘To-Go’ Library, which allows them to reserve or request materials from their homes and then visit their neighbor branch or preferred location to pick up the materials from our lobbies.”
To read more about Hart and his message to the community after being hired, visit the Forsyth County Library website, www.forsyth.cc/Library/directors_message.aspx.

President’s Award

After having been awarded the President’s Award for his continuous efforts on writing grants for Piney Grove Fire and Rescue Department (PGFRD), Assistant Chief Chris Klutz was humbled and eager to give credit back to his department.
During the PGFRD awards banquet, where Klutz was presented with the award, Chief Jimmy Barrow went into depth as to why Klutz was being given the President’s Award.
“Chris serves as Assistant Chief at Piney Grove Fire Rescue Department. He received the President’s Award for his continued support of the department over the years. He has been instrumental is obtaining grant funding for the department at state and federal levels,” he said. “In the last four years, he has obtained grant funding in the amount of (around $800,000 – $850,000).”
Barrow further explained that Klutz has obtained funding for recruitment and retention of volunteer staffing as well as for equipment, including the recent grant they received for $76,806 that has allowed them to replace the entire hose loads on all fire apparatus.
“Much of the hose is approaching 20 years old and is now failing annual service testing,” he said.
After learning that he was receiving the award, Klutz responded by giving credit back to his department.
“Piney Grove has approximately 37 members on the roster. We depend on several others to ‘keep the wheels greased,’” he said. “It takes a lot to run an organization such as ours, especially if you are trying to stay ahead of the curve and be progressive. There were certainly other deserving candidates.”
He continued.
“It’s a nice gesture from the Board and Corporation. A lot of effort gets invested. If the department is successful, then I am successful. I am thankful for the opportunity to improve the department and grow professionally.”
Klutz explained that he grew up as a “military brat,” traveling all over the country, until he settled in Kernersville in 1999.
He shared that he first knew he wanted to be a firefighter shortly after 9/11.
“I never thought about the fire service until after 9/11,” he said. “Shortly after, I joined the fire service in 2003.”
Klutz began his fire service career at Walkertown Fire Department. He joined PGFRD in December 2007.
“I worked full-time for PGFRD for a year prior to accepting a position with Forsyth County EMS in December 2008,” he said. “In 2012, I accepted a position with the City of High Point Fire Department.”
Along with working at PGFRD, Klutz continues to works full-time for the City of High Point.
Klutz said what he likes most about the fire service is that every day presents a new challenge.
“There’s still an adrenaline rush when the bell goes off. You never know what you are going to see or what you’re going to do. There’s an old adage, ‘We are at our best when people are at their worst.’ At the end of the day, we are here to make a difference,” he shared. “Being a firefighter is still arguably the most noble of careers and we have the ability to touch the lives of our communities, especially the youth who look up to us.”
In his role as assistant fire chief, Klutz said his goal has been to leave the department better than it was when he walked in.
“We have a fairly young department, but we do have some seasoned folks that work for us. The department faces several challenges moving forward into the future. Many of our folks look to me to find solutions to problems that pop up, whether they are operational issues or administrative or strategic concerns,” he said. “My goal upon taking the assistant chief position merely was to leave the department better than it was when I walked in. The department has accomplished a lot in recent years – a Class 3 ISO rating, implementing a lot of new equipment and technology, increased staffing, doing more for our volunteers and paid staff, and greater training opportunities.”
Over the years, Klutz said he has been fortunate enough to have learned a lot about state and federal grants, as well as private foundational grants, allowing him to help bring in around $800,000 – $850,000 in grants to the department, which have provided them with various new equipment including breathing apparatus, hose and nozzles, turnout gear, and recruitment and retention.
“I was fortunate to connect with someone that helped me with my first grant opportunity, something I am very thankful for. I have also served as a grant reviewer for FEMA, which was a great learning opportunity,” he said. “These opportunities have all helped the department improve in a relatively short time period, many of which we could not do within the confines of our annual operating budgets.”
Being a firefighter, the job can be scary and stressful. Klutz said things can “get hairy” on calls that firefighters respond to, especially medical calls. He explained that they always try to maintain situational awareness, but said some things are inevitable.
“Patients with weapons on them or near them tend to make you perk up,” he stated.
When it comes to the stress of the job, Klutz said it’s the same with many other jobs.
“Some stress is good; some stress is bad. Some handle stress better than others,” he said. “For me, it’s knowing when to take some time off and when to step away from something to regroup. A good cup of coffee, a chat with old friends, and a long walk with your dog goes a long way. Of course, a vacation with your spouse usually does not hurt either.”
In staying calm on a scene, Klutz said there is a well-known acronym in the fire service, known as CHAOS or “Chief has arrived on scene.”
“We try not to live up to that. My job is to stay calm. Followers tend to emulate their leader’s behavior and demeanor. If I am not calm, regardless of the situation or environment, chances are, my firefighters aren’t either,” he explained. “Sometimes, it’s hard to step back and take the 5,000-foot view of the situation, but we have to do it. It’s easy to get tunnel vision. Sometimes, you just have to take a deep breath and regroup. Experience and familiarity to similar situations helps a lot.”
Although there are scary and stressful moments, Klutz said he enjoys his job, especially when it comes to being a mentor.
“I have had the chance to mentor quite a few people since I started in the fire service. When someone new walks through the door, I make it a point to sit down with them and see where they want to go and what their goals are,” he said. “Many people use the volunteer fire service as a stepping stone to transition into a paid career firefighter. Whatever their aspirations, we can lay out a plan to get them there.”
As assistant chief, Klutz said the hardest part about his job is interacting and building relationships with people. Not just interactions with the public in their time of crisis, but with personnel and the personnel of their neighboring departments.
“We all have different personalities and beliefs. We all have different motivations that drive us. Piney Grove is a combination department. We have full-time, part-time and volunteer staff, all of which have different desires and motivations to engage and satisfy,” he explained. “When personalities clash and problems arise, it’s my job to help mediate them. Sometimes, being a chief officer is more about being a counselor. The majority of problems can be resolved through effective communication.”
Along with working at PGFRD and High Point Fire Department, Klutz is working on his Master of Public Administration Candidate at Appalachian State University, on target to finish this fall.
In his spare time, Klutz said he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, traveling to the mountains to fly fish or kayak, and going to the beach.

Front line news on Covid-19

After agreeing to travel to New York City (NYC) to help patients with COVID-19 in one of hardest hit cities in the nation, Tara Tomlinson, a critical care nurse with Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center (KMC), shares what it was like to serve on the front lines.
Tomlinson has been a nurse for almost 12 years and has worked at KMC for a little over two years.
Tomlinson said she signed up to go to NYC to help because they were getting burdened with the lack of staff there.
“I just wanted to see if I could go up there and help,” she said, noting that the agency chose the location where she would be working. “I was there for two weeks, from April 12 – 26.”
After finding an agency that would allow her to go on a short-term assignment, Tomlinson took a short-term leave of absence from KMC to head to work at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, which she explained is a large teaching hospital with a large ethnically diverse Hasidic Jewish population.
“I ended up being at a very high need hospital in that area and some of it did relate to some cultural reasons,” she said, adding that pretty much the entire hospital was filled with people who had been diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus.
While in NYC, Tomlinson said she worked in a variety of intensive care units (ICU), adding that the hospital turned “every nook and cranny” into an ICU due to the intense need. She mentioned that some units even had two patients to a room where there would normally be one.
Tomlinson said it was a scary experience.
“I think it is scary because of what you’re dealing with. I think it’s a little more somber and quieter than we’re used to a hospital being, but it was always very busy,” she shared.
Like many hospitals right now, Tomlinson said there wasn’t a lot of visitation, so she didn’t have a lot of interaction with families, but she said there were a few cases where a rabbi would be in a room with a patient.
Tomlinson said almost every patient she had was intubated, so she didn’t interact with them.
“There weren’t any quick ICU patients, and most were there for extended periods of time,” she said. “The patients are really sick.”
The youngest person Tomlinson said she saw in the ICU was in their 30s and noted that she easily saw patients in their 40s that weren’t going to make it out.
Tomlinson said she took care of a male patient who had been there for three weeks in the ICU, who was in his 40s, had kids and didn’t have a lot of past medical history.
With the number of people that were taken by the virus, Tomlinson said there was a refrigerated area that had to be set up next to the hospital to make room for the bodies because they ran out or room in the hospital morgue.
“There was an overwhelming sense of sadness there,” she said, noting that every day that she walked to the hospital, the refrigerated area outside of the hospital would grow due to the number of bodies being stored there.
“These patients aren’t numbers; they are real people with families,” she said. “I think it is easy to look at all of these numbers, but we have to remember that these numbers are fathers, mothers, aunts and uncles, family members and rabbis. It’s difficult to look at these patients and think they aren’t going to make it.”
To protect herself and the people around her, Tomlinson wore her personal protective equipment (PPE) about 13 hours a day, and had marks on her face at the end of each day after removing her glasses, mask, and face shield.
Outside of the hospital, Tomlinson said it wasn’t much different in regards to being quiet and somber.
She stayed in a hotel near the hospital mostly walked to work. She also took the subway some.
“I’ve been to NYC before and how quiet the city was, it was like a ghost town. It’s nothing like the NYC you know. Usually, it’s noisy all the time and there weren’t many cars on the road,” she said.
While it was somber, Tomlinson explained that there was a sense of hope from those she came across who had a deep respect for medical staff.
She said in the elevators, there were cards posted and she had a little area in her hotel room where she kept cards and flowers she received from friends, staff from KMC and her family.
“My grandkids sent me pictures, so every time I came (to my hotel), I saw them,” she said. “Even walking along the street the first night there, when I started thinking ‘what have I done’ after doing orientation, there were three or four people who put their heads out of their window and said, ‘We love you.’ It was just so encouraging.”
Another day Tomlinson said she felt encouraged was when she was walking on the sidewalk and a guy, in what she called true NY fashion, waited until he was right next to them as he passed, put his head down and said, “Thank you guys.”
“It’s those non-grand gestures that really keep you going when you reach the end of your rope,” she shared.
After returning from spending two weeks in NYC, Tomlinson had to self-quarantine for two weeks before she could return to work. She also explained that her husband is in a high-risk category, so she had to stay confined to a room in her home, where her kids set up a room in their house with a mini-fridge to help make those two weeks a little more comfortable.
Having spent two weeks in an area with so many cases, Tomlinson said it made the pandemic and the threat very real for her.
“I have dealt with patients before, but this made it so incredibly real. There wasn’t a patient that wasn’t positive. The suffering is real and it makes you realize how bad it can get,” she said. “So, now that I’m here and people aren’t taking it seriously, it is hard because I’ve seen the worst-case scenario.”
Having been on the front lines with dying patients and seeing the pandemic first hand for all that it can be, Tomlinson has a message for those around her.
“I want people to realize that not only are these actual people’s families, but this also isn’t a time for paralyzing fear or a time for blatant disregard. We need to respect it and take it seriously,” she said. “We are doing these things to not only protect ourselves, but also all the people in the community.”
Tomlinson added that as restrictions are being lessened, she wants people to remember that it doesn’t mean the virus is gone.
“We still need to be cautious and continue to take it seriously,” she said. “A lot of what we are doing is to protect other people. There are a lot of people that are in an uproar over wearing a mask, but we’re protecting others. You can be asymptomatic and easily pass it on to someone.”
While Tomlinson took a risk to help people in NYC, she said it feels small in comparison to what other medical staff there have been doing.
“I feel like what I did was very small compared to what those NYC nurses had gone through. It was overwhelming and life changing,” she said.

‘La Pieta’

Local artist CJ Howard, who has traveled the world and learned a wealth of knowledge from other cultures, is currently working on a series from her heart titled “La Pieta” as a way to encourage mothers everywhere. The series is being launched in June.
CJ Howard graduated from East Forsyth High School (EFHS) in 2005. After high school, she traveled to Barnard College in New York to research art further. While she graduated with a degree in contemporary African Art History, Howard is currently on the other side – instead of showing other artists work, she is making her own.
Howard mentioned that she attended Barnard College because it is the best place to research art.
 “The first class I took, I knew it was my calling. I just loved it,” she said, adding that she did her first residency in South America. “That was a really fascinating world, having studied all of these people.”
Howard explained that she studied contemporary African Art History with the hopes that she would spend her career working in an art museum; however, after graduating, the 2008 recession had hit and there were no jobs available.
“I had to rethink my priorities of what I would be doing. That’s how I ended up painting for myself and working on my skills. It gave me something to focus on,” she shared.
After college, Howard moved to Durham and in 2013, she returned to South America, and then traveled to other parts of the world.
“I traveled a lot, especially in 2013. I did a kick starter outside of Cape Town, South Africa and did a lot of projects with daycares. I had always felt a calling to go there and just give back in whatever way I could,” she said as she explained that she wanted to use her skills to engage the community, get to know the people and learn from them. “It was so fulfilling, inspiring and unique.”
Howard said she went to a total of nine countries to work with artists and do community projects with them. She noted that she visited Finland, Germany, Johannesburg in South Africa (second time), Zimbabwe, Dominican Republic, Canada, Mexico, Beijing and Hong Kong.
Howard said she traveled for about two years total.
“It was really surprising how styles of art and methods and techniques were so different, she said as she explained that in Finland it was about documenting places and how the people connected to the land, while in Mexico artists were passionate about teaching literacy through different techniques; and in Beijing, they used art to secretly protest against the Chinese government. “There was such a wide array of how art can be used as a meaningful engagement with the community.”
Howard said she learned so much and took so much from each place she travelled, adding that she still uses some of her photos from her travels as reference paintings.  
“I’ve been trying to figure out how I can make my own art meaningful at home with a toddler,” she said.  
Howard explained that after having her son, Bjorn, 2 ½, she moved back to Kernersville to be closer to her family.
While Howard was mostly interested in art history, she said she has always done a little artwork. She explained that she has little drawings from when she was two and three years old and shared that she has a memory that was brought back up to her by a friend a few months ago from when she was a student at Kernersville Elementary School.
“Apparently, when I was in third or fourth grade, I had designed the cover of that year’s yearbook,” she said. “I didn’t remember doing that.”
In high school, along with taking AP art history classes, Howard also took AP art classes and when she went to college, she enjoyed taking art classes on the side. It was in college when she took her first oil painting class.
Now, that she is working at home with her son, she is learning to incorporate Bjorn into her work.
“I started involving him about a year ago. I would bring him to my studio in Winston-Salem because I didn’t have childcare at the time,” she said, as she explained that he kept entertained, playing with paintbrushes and glue sticks. “It wasn’t until I brought everything to our house that all of the sudden he was involved, and I had to be okay with him contributing to what I was working on – making marks.”
Now, everything that she works on, Howard said Bjorn usually has some of his own touch added, using pastel, oil or crayon, usually at the bottom of the painting.
“He works hard and I feel like it made it a lot easier to work (allowing him to contribute). I feel like it has added a depth to what I’m working on and I don’t feel like I have to focus on what I’m doing,” she said. “But it was harder for me to be okay with what he’s doing. It was a real lesson in not controlling all the outcomes. I feel we all need help with that. I think the unexpected in sometimes more interesting.”  
Howard explained that her works are done with oil paint and she mostly does portraits and figures. She has also started doing some abstract with Bjorn.
“I really hadn’t done much (abstract) beforehand. I would take an old piece that I wasn’t interested in sharing with anyone and let him draw all over it. Then we would cut it into pieces and fill in the areas that were leftover with paint,” she explained. “It created these really beautiful abstract pieces. He created the structures and I just finish them. It was a blast.”
With those pieces, Howard said they put on a little show in Carrboro, which was one of Bjorn’s first art shows, although, he has gone to every one of Howard’s art shows since he was born.
Howard said she enjoys making art because it allows her to feel connected to everyone who has ever existed through time.
“We’ve all desired to create beauty. We all feel this impulse to make the world beautiful and I love that,” she said. “The challenge is not judging yourself for being terrible.”
“Right now, I’m working on a series of seven-foot tall paintings of mothers,” she said as she explained that she is trying to show how powerful mothers are without making them look one dimensional as they often do throughout art history. “Mothers are so much more complex.”
Of all of her work, Howard said her favorite pieces are the ones she is currently working on, which will be launched in June.
 “I think in this time, we are feeling really isolated and we’re not good at parenting or being creative, and I just want to provide a little note that it doesn’t have to look good the way it used to,” she said. “Whatever you’re doing right now is awesome. We are all doing great considering how the world is right now. I feel like other moms need to feel that.”
To see Howard’s upcoming artwork, visit her website www.cjhowardart.com.

Celebrating 90 years

Daisy McNeill Jordan will be celebrating a major milestone with family next Friday as she turns 90 years old.
Daisy was born on May 22, 1930 in Biscoe, NC as the youngest of two brothers and four sisters. She shared that her mother was a homemaker and her father had a “traveling” sawmill.
As a kid, for fun, Daisy said they played horseshoes, croquet, dodgeball and family games. They also went to the movies a lot. She recalled being able to attend a movie for a mere 20 cents and getting popcorn and a drink for an additional 20 cents. Since they didn’t have a TV until later, Daisy recalled having a radio as their main form of technological entertainment in the home.
“I remember Dad always liked to listen to Amos ‘n’ Andy because there was some humor to it,” she said.
While they did have a small garden, they used for fresh produce, Daisy said they would get other staple items from Ewing, a local grocery store.
Daisy was active in school, which she walked to only three blocks from her house. She noted that all grades were in one school, Biscoe School, where she graduated from with only 13 in her class. At school, she played basketball all four years and was a member of the Glee Club. She noted that during that time, girls wore mostly dresses, not slacks, to school.
When they weren’t in school, Daisy said she enjoyed roller skating.
“We roller skated on the road. There were no cars on the highway, so we had a straight stretch for miles,” she said. “We all went to (ball) games and I have two or three friends. There weren’t many other girls in our class. Our class was mostly boys.”
Daisy said she also had a job while in high school as the manager of a dime store in town, which afforded her a little bit of spending money.
While her senior class was made up of mostly boys, Daisy said she actually met her husband, the late Perry Jordan, from Candor School, which was about 10 miles away.
“I met him when our teams were playing basketball. He would go to the games,” she said.
Daisy’s daughter, Lynn Jordan Kelly, recalled her father telling her that her mother always had to have a hamburger with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise and an orange drink when they went out on a date.
The Jordan’s were married on November 4, 1952, while Perry was serving in the military.
“He was drafted into the US Army and was stationed in Germany,” she said.
While stateside, stationed in Virginia, Daisy said she and some of her friends used to drive onto the base, hide Perry in the truck and sneak him off base on the weekends.
“We would kidnap him because they weren’t allowed to go off base,” she laughed.
In 1954, Daisy and Perry had their first daughter, Lynn. Six years later, they had their second daughter, the late Leigh Jordan McPherson. Daisy now has four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Daisy and her family lived on the coast in Virginia for a few years, so for vacations, they often went to the mountains, and particularly enjoyed visiting Cherokee, as well as family in Montgomery County.
One big trip Daisy recalled was a cross-country trip from their home on the East Coast to California, where they stayed with Perry’s brother, Bobby, for two weeks. On their way to California, she said they took their time and stopped to see things on the way, but traveled on through on their way back home
“That was a fun family trip,” she remarked.
Over the years, Daisy said she enjoyed other vacations, including a trip to Las Vegas and a cruise with Leigh and her family, adding that the cruise was the best vacation she ever went on.
Daisy and her husband moved to Kernersville in 1969.
While Daisy’s girls were in elementary school, she went back to school for early childhood development and started working in local childcare centers, including First Baptist Church and Edgewood Daycare. She also worked as a manager at a gift shop and later she and Perry bought the gift shop at the Four Seasons hotel in Greensboro.
After Perry passed away in 1998, Daisy began helping Lynn in the school system.
One historical memory that Daisy recalls is the launching of the USS Enterprise in 1961, where she saw numerous celebrities and Jackie Kennedy.
“When we had the gift shop, there were a lot of celebrities that would come in there that were staying in the hotel, too,” she shared.
Since living in Kernersville, Daisy has been an active member of First Baptist Church and is part of the Dorcas Sunday School Class, and the Be Friendly Group, which meets once a month.
In her free time, she also enjoys playing cards and Scrabble, and spending time with Lynn and her dog, Jordy.
Of her best memories from life, Daisy said her best ones have been being loved by her family and going places with them.
When asked what she attributes to her long life, Daisy said, “Lots of love.”

90th birthday

In spite of being quarantined away from family and friends, long time Kernersville resident Mary Rose Brown Vanhoy was able to celebrate her 90th birthday in style from a distance on Friday, April 24.
To celebrate her birthday, Mary Rose’s family surprised her with Card My Yard that read, Happy 90th Birthday. And they surpassed their goal of getting 90 birthday cards sent to her. Also, no birthday would be complete without birthday cake, so they purchased a cake for Mary Rose as well as an additional 100 cupcakes for the staff of the assisted living center where she currently lives.
Rachel Vanhoy, Mary Rose’s daughter-in-law, explained that they received about 145 birthday cards and were able to sing Happy Birthday to Mary Rose over the phone once the assisted living center staff surprised her with the birthday cake.
“Our goal was that we would get 90 birthday cards for her and we ended up getting 145 cards. Her church and family, everyone, did a great job coming together to send her cards,” Rachel said. “She was shocked when we showed up (outside) because she thought all she would get was the (Card My Yard) signs.”
“I was shocked and so happy,” Mary Rose replied.
Mary Rose was born on April 24, 1930 in Oak Ridge and moved to Kernersville when she was seven years old. She noted that she had one younger sister, Gayleene Brown Campbell, and a single mother who worked at Adams-Millis; however, her mother died when Mary Rose was 13 and she and her sister had to move in with their grandparents.
Mary Rose said she has worked all of her life, often helping with tobacco on farms in the area when she was younger.
“I’ve always worked,” she said.
When she wasn’t working, Mary Rose said they would have lawn parties on Saturdays.
“The young people got together at somebody’s house and we would be outside. Back then, we didn’t have any money much, so we just made do with what we had,” she said.
Mary Rose also recalled spending time at Pinnix Drug Store, where they would sit in a little booth enjoying a fountain drink and watching the traffic go by. It was at Pinnix Drug Store that Mary Rose saw the first TV.
“We also had the Justice Theatre and got to go to movies there,” she said.
Mary Rose also recalled Musten & Crutchfield, P&N dime store that was located where Richard Hedgecock Framing Studio is today, as well as Spiros, a little café across the street from P&N where they could get a hot dog for a nickel.
“And we always went to the Fourth of July Parade. We didn’t have a car, so we had to walk up there,” she shared.
Because they didn’t have a lot of money, Mary Rose said they made their own clothes.
“Flour came in sacks with flowers on them and after we emptied them, my grandma made dresses out of them,” she said. “I never had a store-bought dress until I started working.”
Mary Rose recalled growing up with a radio in the home as they didn’t have TVs at the time. She recalled listening to shows such as “Amos and Andy.” She also remembered having an ice box before refrigerators came out.
“We’d buy a chunk of ice and put it in an ice box and it would last for several days,” she said, adding that they also had a small garden and canned their own food.
From a young age, Mary Rose attended First Baptist Church, which she said originally was on Main Street, though now it is on Oakhurst Street. Over the years, Mary Rose has continued to attend the church and is one of the oldest members.
“There are two or three of us,” she said, adding that she has been very involved with the church throughout her life. “I was involved with the senior citizens when I retired and my Sunday school class and about everything they had, except I couldn’t sing in the choir.”
Mary Rose attended Kernersville School, graduating in 1948 with only 22 in her class.
“The last reunion we had was our 50th reunion,” she said.
After graduating high school, Mary Rose went straight to work for Sears for 41 years, until she retired. She also worked for five years at Susie’s Diner, where Sixty-Six Diner is now located.
She also worked for three years at Musten & Crutchfield after she retired.
During her career, Mary Rose was named the American Business Woman’s Association Woman of the Year in 1975.
After she retired, Mary Rose said she enjoyed spending time working in her yard and exercising at the Senior Center.
While she spent many years working, Mary Rose did have the chance to travel with friends, family and her church. She shared that she has been to Alaska and all down the Pacific Coast.
“After I got a car, I used to go to the beach a lot,” she said.
Mary Rose mentioned that she had a close-knit family, who always made a point to get together during the holidays and hold their annual Brown family reunions with nearly 100 people at each gathering, including her son, Steve, daughter-in-law, Rachel and her one grandchild, Madison.
Reflecting on her 90 years, Mary Rose noted some historical events that she remembers well, including WWII and the Pearl Harbor attack.
“It was scary. I had an uncle in the service and they were so glad to get home,” she said. “I also remember when man went to the moon. I thought that was really interesting. And, I remember when President Kennedy died. I thought that was really sad.”
Some personal memories Mary Rose mentioned that meant a lot to her included having her own home, which she still owns, and being able to do yard work, cut the grass and tend to her flowers. Other memories include the day she retired and spending time with her son. She noted that she enjoyed attending his Boy Scout activities, Little League baseball games and sporting events when he played at East Forsyth High School.
When asked what she thinks has contributed to her long life, Mary Rose said, “I think eating right, working out and having a strong faith.”

Love of birds

Having never had any formal training, artist Joseph Rosselli worked as an artist for various companies and has published two books featuring his love of birds.
Rosselli grew up on a farm in Wilkesboro and left at the age of 20 to pursue his creativity. He explained that he went to church with someone that worked with an architect, who was looking for someone to draw floor plans. Although Rosselli had no training, he started his first job with the architect company around 1962.
Later, after he and his wife, Connie, were married, they moved to Long Island, New York to live with his brother who told him he could make a better living there. While living in an upstairs apartment, Rosselli went to work for ISC telephonics, an electronics company.
“It was the same type of thing – I told them I’d never worked with electronics before. Everywhere I went, I had to learn something new,” he said, noting that he worked there for about three years doing schematics. “At that time, the Bowing 747 jumbo jet had just come off of the assembly line out west and the facility I was working at wanted us to do the entertainment system for the jet.”
While Rosselli had a good job, he and Connie got homesick for NC. After finding a job with Western Electric, they relocated to Winston-Salem, where he drew Bell Telephones and other things related to the Bell telephone system. Rosselli was there for about two years when a fellow co-worked told him about a possible art position with Bowman Gray School of Medicine.
“I called ahead and got an interview with the supervisor in the art department and took some samples of my artwork. He only had one other artist in his department at the time – himself and a young girl under him,” he said.
The job was to draw different parts of the body for medical books and journals, but since Rosselli didn’t have any training in that sort of thing, the supervisor said he would hire Rosselli under the stipulation that he take a whole year of classes in order to learn about the different parts of the body. Rosselli mentioned that along with taking classes, he also used the many resources available at the school’s library
“My drawings didn’t have to have real explicit detail, but they had to be accurate,” he said.
After working for the Bowman Gray School of Medicine’s art department for 24 years, Rosselli retired in 1999 and now continues to do artwork for pleasure.
He explained that he has always enjoyed birds and decided to begin drawing them. One day while at the bank, he said one of the tellers asked him to draw her 12 different owls.
“That’s what got me started drawing birds,” he said.
From there, Rosselli began drawing chickadees, bluebirds, Blue Jays, and all types of North American birds that one might find in their backyard.
“One day, my wife said, ‘Why don’t you have all those pictures put together in a book,’” he shared, noting that was his first book on birds.
Rosselli mentioned that after completing the book, which is all sketches of North American birds in black and white, he wanted to do birds in color. After picking his granddaughter up from school one day, he said he got an idea.
“We picked our granddaughter up from school one day and she said they were learning about South America. That gave me an idea because that’s where all the colorful birds are,” he said, as he shared that he began researching birds in the tropics of Africa, Australia, South America and Central America. “I started looking at all the countries in the climates that are warm around the world.”
Rosselli said this is where his second book came from, which he finished a little over a year ago.
While he enjoys painting and drawing birds, Rosselli said he also enjoys drawing and painting landscapes, flowers and recently started drawing seashells.
“I love seashells and have collected them for years,” he said.
Rosselli noted that he has never had any formal art lessons and recalled his first memory of drawing.
“When I was small, I used to love to draw. My mother had a small collection of Collier Encyclopedias in her bookcase,” he said. “I was always looking for a blank page and used to pull those books out and draw on the first and last pages, which were blank. I don’t ever remember getting scolded for drawing in them. I’d draw on anything that had a blank page.”
Rosselli said he also remembered his mom, who lived to be 101, told him that when he was two years old in a high chair, he drew a bird.
“And, I do have one fragile finger painting that I did in kindergarten that I still have. It’s a scene with a big ole’ rabbit in the corner,” he said.
Of all the artwork he has done, Rosselli said his favorite piece is a snow scene of an old farm house he did in oil in the 1980s. And while he did that with oil paint, Rosselli said he usually paints in watercolor.
He added that he once taught adult watercolor classes through AC Moore, as well.
“I’ve been doing watercolor painting since I was a kid when my mom got me a little tin paint box,” he said.
Just as he has used his talent to the best of his ability over the years, Rosselli said he feels everyone should use their talents.
“The Good Lord has given us all some kind of talent. Whatever it may be, use it to the best of your ability and it will not only be good for you, but also for others,” he said.
Rosselli and Connie have three daughters, Trudy, Cathy and Maria, as well as numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.
If interested in a copy of one of Rosselli’s bird books, contact him at 336-776-8454.

‘I Love Me’

After getting inspiration from her own son, local author LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss wrote a picture book titled, “I Love Me.”
Middlemiss explained that she was first introduced to picture books as a new mom several years ago.
“My son really loved story time and I saw how engaged he was and how he’d request for me, or my husband, to read books again and again,” she said. “I loved finding new books to share with him, and that really opened my eyes to the vast landscape of picture books.”
At the time, Middlemiss wasn’t pursuing writing picture books. She said it actually came to her out of the blue in 2015.
“I was busy cleaning the house and thinking about my son and his bi-racial identity, and out of nowhere, the words of a book popped into my head. It was such an exciting moment. And that was the beginning for me, the first spark,” she shared, noting that she isn’t stopping with one book but has several in the works and many more ideas.
Middlemiss got the inspiration for her first book when she was trying to teach her son to say and sign, using ASL (American Sign Language), “I love you.”
“Instead, he would say, ‘I love me.’ Those words stayed with me. And, I began to think about how important it is to teach kids to love themselves, as they are, before society and outside influences start telling them they aren’t good enough,” she explained. “It began as a little sing-song rhyme I’d do as I was teaching him his body parts. I kept adding more lines and at some point, I wrote it down and started thinking it had picture book potential, maybe.”
Middlemiss said she enjoyed writing her book and venturing into unknown territory.
Middlemiss, a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering graduate from NC A&T State University, spent six years at home with her son, Ryan, before re-entering the workforce as an operations program manager for a large tech company.
“I had the challenge of moving away from the rhythm of how I said the words with my son. I did enjoy exploring and learning how to write it for a book. Sharing it with my critique group, hearing their thoughts and incorporating suggestions made the process fun,” she said.
While she enjoyed venturing into the unknown and the process of writing the book, Middlemiss said it wasn’t easy, as there was the challenge of suspending the sing-song way she read the story with her son.
“I had been saying it with him for quite some time, so I became a little attached to it, but this was crucial in order to sort out the meter to make it more book-friendly,” she said. “Saying or singing something doesn’t always translate well into written text nor does it provide the best meter, especially because when spoken, you can bend words, add cadence, and emphasize what doesn’t show up on the page.”
While she doesn’t personally know the illustrator, Middlemiss said she was very pleased with how she brought the words of “I Love Me” to life.
“Beth Hughes (illustrator) was chosen by my publisher and she did a phenomenal job, bringing the words to life,” she said. “I always wanted the book to be bold in its inclusivity. To represent children that don’t typically see themselves represented in books, with their diverse features, attributes and abilities. Fortunately, the editor believed in that vision and Beth embraced the idea and brought it to life in a fun, vibrant and fantastic way.”
She continued.
“I hope that the book connects, empowers and inspires all the little ones it reaches to love themselves for who they are.”
Middlemiss’ book can be purchased online through Barnes & Noble, Amazon or directly from BeamingBooks.com. For more information about Middlemiss and her book, visit www.iscribeisketch.com.

Face masks

While looking for ways not only to pass the time during the stay-at-home order, but to also help others, local women are putting their skills to use to make masks for the masses in order to ward off the spread of germs for those that must be out and about during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three local women spoke with the Kernersville News about mask making and they encourage others to step up just as the women who stepped up to help their nation during WWII, coining the term Rosie the Riveter.

Ginger Howlen, a nurse from Walkertown, said she began making masks to help people in the community.
“I think it’s safer to wear a mask than not to wear them,” she said. “People at the grocery stores are working their tails off and are touching products, produce and money. I was thinking of them and the elderly in our community, such as senior apartments, family, friends, people at the post office and at homeless shelters.”
Howlen said she started looking for patterns and researching the best fabric to use when it became evident of the need for masks. She said she is using two different patterns. One of the patterns looks like a simple surgical mask, is double sided and made of 100 percent cotton or a cotton blend, which she said filters out particles, according to Cambridge University.
“It is the best homemade mask for both the filtering and breathability, and they are relatively simple to make,” she said.
The other pattern Howlen said she is using is used to cover the N95 masks that medical professionals use.
“They poke out a little bit, but there has been a lot of interest because they say they might make the N95 masks last longer,” she shared.
Howlen noted that her niece is helping cut the patterns for her.
“I would love to see more people that sew do the same thing. For me, it’s a good way to handle stress,” she said.
To find the mask pattern mentioned by Howlen, visit www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask. Howlen added that if anyone has questions, they are welcome to contact her at Gingerhowlen@gmail.com.

Lisa Power Fowler started making masks after one of her friends in Kernersville posted on social media that a group in Nebraska was requesting masks.
“I jumped on the idea and have a lot of friends in the area that are requesting them,” she said.
New to sewing, Fowler said she found a pattern that a nurse friend of hers shared with her.
Fowler explained that she made one set of masks out of Thomas the Tank Engine curtains that were her son’s when he was younger. After making some masks and posting about it on social media, she said there was more of a need and she ran out of supplies.
“I reached out to some of my friends and we’re banding together to share supplies and make these masks,” she said, adding that Heather Bucher and Sherry Quinones were two local women who have donated supplies to her. “Heather spent her day pre-cutting the fabric she was donating to make my part easier.”
Fowler said the type of mask she is making can be used with the N95 masks.
“My understanding is that some of the hospitals are allowing these to shield the N95 masks so they can keep them on every day from patient to patient instead of throwing them away,” she said. “They are not a replacement, but are used to protect the N95 from germs.”
While some people are charging for the masks they are making, Fowler said she is making them to donate to people who have a need.
“I feel like it’s something you need to step up and do when your community needs it,” she remarked.
The pattern Fowler uses was one she found on Facebook.
“The guy who designed it, his wife is in the medical field,” she said.
To find the mask pattern Fowler used, visit www.freesewing.org/blog/facemask-frenzy/?fbclid=IwAR3NUJDmmVg9AHBrPRqXYXj7VO38oI7Bs0-h12TQ5LI-srOXCMjE8ZjjgZc. Fowler noted that of the three sizes listed on the PDF, medium is the preferred size.

Barbara Osborne, who has about 50 years of experience in sewing, said she has been making masks for the VA Hospital.
“I made a couple and all of a sudden it snowballed,” she said, as she mentioned that she first started making them about two weeks ago. “My daughter is a nurse at the VA and I’m making the masks for the staff.”
Osborne said she was originally part of Project Mask WS (Winston-Salem), but then branched out on her own.
“They have a standard pattern they are using, but they didn’t fit quite tight enough as my daughter said they needed, so I found a pattern and modified it to fit them,” she said. “I am making the masks out of high-grade cotton batik fabric.”
So far, Osborne said she has made almost 80 masks and has an order for almost another 100.
While she has had some help from her grandson and one of her friends, Osborne said it still takes her about an hour to make each mask.
“The problem is that we are running out of elastic, everyone is, so we are trying to come up with an alternative. Right now, we are planning to use twill tape,” she said.
Osborne explained that she found the new template she uses on Facebook and then modified it to fit tighter, adding that she uses two templates. One of the templates is for a full face mask and the other is a 3D mask.
For the 3D mask, Osborne said she sews in a pocket to insert a HVAC filter that is rated for allergens, bacteria and viruses.
“I give everyone a filter when they get their mask and then tell them where they can get the filter replacements, which you can get somewhere like Lowe’s or Home Depot,” she said.
To find the mask pattern mentioned by Osborne, visit https://youtu.be/8RCuL1mX7eg https://youtu.be/vTJevg9i7XA.

Rent increase

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging across the country, substantial rent increases and renovation issues for tenants at Springbrook Apartments in Kernersville could not be happening at a worse time.
According to some tenants, much has changed, and not for the better, since Springbrook Apartments, located off Salisbury Street, changed ownership at the end of September 2019. Greystone Capital Kernersville, LLC based in Charlotte bought the apartment complex, which is one of the largest in the Triad, from Springbrook Associates, LLC of Kernersville for $19.4 million, according to the Forsyth County Register of Deeds filing.
A letter from Springbrook Apartments to a tenant with a one-bedroom apartment whose new lease, if signed, would begin on May 1, 2020, announced a rent rate increase from $420 to $650 with an added trash and grounds fee of $10 per month and a pest control fee of $3 per month.
The letter also outlined another significant and not appreciated change for tenants, which read as follow:
“If you find you will not be renewing your Lease here at Springbrook Apartments please remember you must give a Written 30 day notice of your intent to Vacate. If we do not hear from you and your Lease expires, you will be put on a Month to month Lease. That means you will be charged Market Rent+ $100 Month to Month Fee.”
According to a tenant, for those who don’t renew their lease the rent for tenants of one-bedroom apartments will be going up from $420 to $763 during this already very troubling time. In news articles about Greystone Capital’s purchase of Springbrook Apartments, Jim Zacharias, who is listed as Greystone’s manager and registered agent, was quoted as saying, “There will be a minor bump in the rent, but our goal is to keep every existing resident.” An increase of $420 to $663 is hardly a “minor bump,” and an increase of $420 to $763 for month to month renters is even worse.
Danielle White, who rents a two-bedroom unit at Springbrook Apartments, noted the difficulties many would have with the rent rate changes and other issues at the apartment complex.
“We have so many senior citizens with fixed incomes here, and some of these units still have window units and baseboard heat. If people can’t afford to pay the rent increase they will be adding another $100 a month. Month to month is not what they signed up for. I also question asking 30 days to tell them if you are going to move out,” said White.
The letter to a one-bedroom apartment tenant also stated that, “Once we have received notice of your intent to renew your Lease, and your new Lease has been signed, we will begin renovations to your apartment. These renovations include: painting of current cabinets white with new white shaker cabinet doors, new satin nickel hardware for cabinets, new appliances for kitchen, new faux granite countertops and making sure interior light fixtures are satin nickel.”
The rent raises, renovations and or lack thereof in some cases, and a lack of communication between apartment owners and people who work for the apartment has also been a problem, according to tenants.
“In October they promised all these renovations. The rent price after the renovation was $100 more. What they did was they took out the appliances and replaced them. The refrigerators don’t fit under the cabinets. The frig is out to the window. A good extra foot and a half of the fridge is hanging out into the kitchen and they are not big kitchens to begin with,” White said.
She continued.
“The dishwasher barely works, and it is supposed to be new. They were supposed to do new cabinets and new floors and they haven’t done that. Getting in touch with them is almost impossible. The one time I did it was to a leasing consultant who had no idea what was going on.
“The pest control comes out maybe every three months. The grass around the apartments had been up to your knees. They did the grass for the first time since November on Tuesday and they did a horrible job. In the middle of a pandemic, not only are they trying to do renovations but they are trying to kick people out. They can’t do it now (because of an order from Gov. Cooper), but they can keep charging, and by the time this is over people could owe thousands of dollars.”
Miranda Poe, who rented a three-bedroom apartment at Springbrook, also had some complaints about renovations, new developments at the complex, and one situation she said could have put some people at serious risk.
“Effective in April they put in water meters, which I assume means we will be charged for water now, and you can never get anybody on the phone. I got a letter at the end of February saying my rent would go from $700 to $850 plus. In March, I was on lockdown for COVID-19 and they wanted to put in the new countertops. I was still on lockdown and they wanted to change my air filter. I told them to take it up with the CDC,” Poe said. “On Feb. 17, they unlocked our door at 10:23 a.m. and the door was still unlocked at 3:45 p.m. Our laws say I have to secure my front door for my weapons to be secure. They exposed firearms to other people. They don’t feel like they have to tell us when they are coming when we are on lockdown.”
It should be duly noted that landlords and apartment complexes can legally raise the rent if they are doing renovations. However, during the COVID-19 crisis, job losses and the many people and their families being forced to stay inside, many tenants at Springbrook believe this is a horrible time for rent increases and renovations.
“They presented it as a ‘Mom and Pop’ Apartment complex and now they want to run it like an LLC. They are flipping everybody’s world upside down when our world is already flipped upside down,” said Poe.
Poe told the News that she was moving out of her apartment at Springbrook today, and she believes a number of other people will be doing the same in the future.
Attempts by the News to contact Springbrook Apartments via phone and email were not returned by the time of publication.