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.

Giving everything for her baby

At 27 weeks, expectant mother Taylor Bullins had just one request as they wheeled her into the operating room at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center: “Above all else, save my baby.”
Dr. Jon Rosnes, medical director of maternal-fetal medicine, did just that by performing two lifesaving blood transfusions for the baby, while also caring for Bullins who was diagnosed with parvovirus and preeclampsia.
A few days later, with a room full of emergency medical personnel on hand, Bullins delivered her 2-pound, 8-ounce baby girl into the world. Tiny Norah Bullins gasped for air and then turned blue. The real fight for survival had just begun.
Bullins is a strong and independent single mother from Kernersville, North Carolina. At 25, she attributes her inner strength and fortitude to her parents, who taught her to rely on her faith and to love her way through trials.
Love and faith were both needed when Bullins found out that she was expecting. “At first I didn’t believe it,” she said. “So I took two more tests and they confirmed it. I cried, told my parents, then reminded myself that, this baby is a blessing and I’ve got what it takes to be a mom.”
Bullins’ relationship with her own mother Tracie grew stronger at each prenatal appointment. “It was amazing to hear my baby’s heartbeat for the very first time,” she said. “And to share that moment with my mother, made it even more special.”
On Nov. 5, Bullins had a follow-up sonogram at Novant Health WomanCare in Winston-Salem where they determined that there was fluid in the baby’s belly, and referred her to the new obstetric emergency department (OB-ED) at Forsyth Medical Center. 
Bullins was immediately evaluated by Rosnes who determined that the baby was severely anemic and diagnosed her with hydrops fetalis, a serious condition in which abnormal amounts of fluid collect in two or more areas of the body. If left untreated, it would be fatal to the baby.
Maternal blood testing subsequently determined that the baby was infected with parvovirus, more commonly known as fifth disease. About half of pregnant women are immune to parvovirus B19, but in rare cases, it can cause mild illness in the mother and severe anemia, or lack of adequate oxygen blood flow to the baby. 
Two days later, Bullins was admitted to the hospital at 26 weeks.
“I was in denial at first,” she said. “We left the house that morning just wanting to see baby’s face on an ultrasound. Then I found out that my life and my child’s life were both at risk.”
Rosnes recommended an in-utero blood transfusion to save her baby’s life. He explained that he would insert a hand-guided needle into the umbilical cord to perform the procedure. The goal: replace baby’s blood with healthy adult blood to correct the anemia and improve the baby’s blood oxygen level.
But there were also risks to be considered. The baby’s health was already fragile and a transfusion carried a serious risk.
“They did a really good job of preparing us for what to expect should something go wrong,” said Bullins. “But I was ready to do whatever it took.”
The transfusion happened Nov. 8, on Bullins’ birthday. “For safety reasons, I had to remain awake for the procedure,” she said. “And I remember there were about 15 people in the operating room, all waiting at a moment’s notice to jump into action should something go wrong.”
About halfway through, Bullins asked to remove the curtain so she could see her baby on the monitor. “It was wild and nerve-wracking to see your child, not moving on the screen, as a needle is placed inside your body.”
The blood transfusion successfully increased her baby’s oxygen (hemoglobin) level. Victory was short lived however, when a few days later a subsequent sonogram revealed a second transfusion was needed.
As the days progressed, Bullins noticed increased swelling in her feet and legs. Her blood pressure was rising and she had bouts of nausea. The culprit: high blood pressure during pregnancy called preeclampsia.
If left untreated, preeclampsia can cause serious risks in mother and the baby. Ultimately, the treatment of preeclampsia is delivery of the infant.
And so, at 27 weeks and 6 days, as a third transfusion was being prepared, Bullins’ condition worsened and a cesarean section was performed by Dr. Samantha Sinclair to deliver Norah Jayne Bullins on Nov. 19.
Tracie, always at her daughter’s side, said, “We were delighted to hear Norah cry out, but I had to turn away when she started to turn blue.”
A team of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses and doctors sprang into action and whisked off the 2-pounds, 8-ounce, Norah to the NICU. The 56-bed unit specializes in caring for premies and cares for some 1,100 premature babies every year.
“We were prepared for Norah to give up,” said Bullins. “But she defied so many odds, she is my little warrior.”
For Bullins, the hardest part was going home without her baby.
“You can’t imagine how hard it is to go to the grocery store, and see the other new moms with their babies while yours is still in the hospital,” she said. “Norah spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in the NICU.”
Each day Norah grows stronger. At last check, she was up to 2 pounds, 15 ounces and her care team expects her to graduate from the NICU and go home within a few weeks.
“I can’t say enough about the care she has received in the NICU,” said Bullins. “Somedays I just went in there and cried, and the nurses were always there to hold me.”
Tracie added, “What impressed me the most is the tenure of the staff. We haven’t met a nurse yet with less than 10 years of experience. I don’t worry about Norah here. It is amazing that strangers have so much compassion and empathy.”
When asked what she is looking forward to most, Bullins said, “I can’t wait to stay up all night with my baby. I want to experience a sleepless night in the rocking chair. I want to give her a bath and just take her home. I’m grateful that I’ll get to do that soon.”

KidsCreate Craft Market

After finishing up a successful third year, the KidsCreate Craft Market raised over $2,750, which founder Avary Anne Herman donated to the Kernersville Foundation during a Rotary Club meeting in December.
Over the past three years, the KidsCreate Craft Market has raised a total of $7,450 through 27 sponsorships, booth rentals, and donations.
Herman started KidsCreate Craft Market with the help of the late Arnold King in order to give children an outlet to create and sell craft items, as well as to help local non-profits. Donating the funds to the Kernersville Foundation allows her to do that, as the Foundation provides grants to 16 non-profits in Kernersville each year.
Last year, the Kernersville Foundation provided funds to CareNet Counseling, Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, Crisis Control Ministry, Friends of the (Kernersville) Library, Kernersville Cares for Kids, Kernersville Museum, Kernersville Little Theatre, The Shepherd’s Center of Kernersville, Lamb Foundation, Kernersville Cycling Club, Körner’s Folly, Next Step Ministries, Kernersville Downtown Council, Kernersville Family YMCA, Mayor’s Council for Persons with Disabilities and Kernersville Christmas Stocking
“Mr. Arnold King was always my biggest supporter and was always good at encouraging sponsors,” she said. “He helped me get the business started, get a spot at the Kernersville Farmers Market, and get support from the Rotary Club and the Town of Kernersville. I started the market in third grade after I emailed Mr. King. He met me for coffee at Panera and was on board.”
She continued.
“Mr. King was a mentor and someone I really looked up to. He was one of my heroes who always modeled hard work, dedication to commitment and community service.”
At the end of the market every year, Herman briefs the Rotary Club on how she’s doing since they are one of her biggest supporters. This is also when she usually presents her donation to the Kernersville Foundation.
Herman is now a sixth grader attending Hanes Middle School, where she plays tennis and is a member of the Battle of the Bowls team.
Herman explained that kids selling items at the market learn valuable lessons.
“Kids learn about creating and marketing a product, budgeting and pricing, supply and demand, how to count change, talk to new people, and operate a business all while trying to make a profit,” she said, adding that the market is also a lot of fun. “The markets are so much fun and I have really enjoyed meeting so many crafty kids from our community over the last three years.”
The kidpreneurs at KidsCreate Craft Market sell their homemade goods at the Kernersville Farmers Market the second Saturday in June, July and August from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., during Miss Mary’s Children’s Parade, and at their annual Holiday Market in the cafeteria at Kernersville Elementary School during the Rotary Club’s Pancake Supper following the Christmas Parade.
Herman said she has also shared her knowledge as a kidpreneur with other kids. She mentioned that Kernersville Parks and Recreation Department had her talk to the fourth graders at Cash Elementary School during their entrepreneurship unit.
Herman noted that some of the items she recalls kidpreneurs selling last year are windchimes, paintings, jewelry, face painting, handmade signs, potholders, suncatchers, Hot Wheels car garage, candy dispensers, pet accessories and pet photos.
To make a little extra money for KidsCreate Craft Market, Herman sold t-shirts during the first two years to honor the sponsors, but now usually sells vases or does some type of raffle. Now that she isn’t selling t-shirts with the sponsors’ names and logos, she honors them through a giant stamp and repeat banner. This allows their logos to be viewed when people visit the market and take a picture and then post it on social media or share it with others.
KidsCreate Craft Market is for kidpreneurs ages 5 – 14. The cost to have a 10 ft by 10 ft booth during KidsCreate Craft Market is $10. Kidpreneurs must bring their own tables and displays. No food or bath and body items are allowed.
To apply to be a kidpreneur or for more information, visit www.facebook.com/kidscreatemarket, send an email to Kidscreatemarket@gmail.com, or call 336-457-0409. They also have an Instagram account.

Owensby passes away

Every town has within it, families that make up the cornerstones of the community. One of those pillar families in Kernersville lost a huge part of its heart on Thursday morning, Jan. 9, with the passing of Connie Carter Owensby. She was 73.
Connie was the epitome of grace and beauty, with a smile that would light up a room, a laugh that lifted spirits and a heart for friends and family that had no bounds. Connie’s contributions and legacy to the town through her family’s newspaper, the Kernersville News, are immeasurable and she will be missed and treasured by all who knew her.
Kernersville Alderman Joe Pinnix posted a touching online tribute to Connie after learning she had passed away. Both lifelong residents of Kernersville, the two attended school together.
“We lost another classmate today. Connie Carter was quiet in her beauty but compassionate in her beliefs. I was her friend from childhood until now. Connie Carter Owensby had the love for everyone with her infectious smile. I will never forget that smile … I will never forget Connie,” he wrote.
Connie was born in 1946, the daughter of the late Fred P. and Ruth Carter. Fred Carter founded the Kernersville News in 1938. After his passing the publication remained in the family, with Connie a major contributor to the newspaper’s modern-day success as first vice president and office manager, both positions she held for more than 30 years.
A member of the second graduating class of East Forsyth High School, Connie continued her education at Guilford College, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in biology. She completed graduate work as a medical technologist at Moses H. Cone Hospital in Greensboro. Connie spent 19 years as an assistant supervisor of microbiology at Forsyth Memorial Hospital in Winston-Salem, now Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center.
Connie is survived by her husband, John F. Owensby, of the home. The couple married on June 6, 1970 and has three children, Dr. John Paul Owensby and wife Susan of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, Meredith Owensby Harrell and husband Barry of Greensboro, and Jennifer Owensby Eminger and husband Corey of Kernersville. Also surviving are six grandchildren and a brother, Frederick P. Carter.
A funeral service will be held on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 2:30 p.m. at Main Street United Methodist Church, followed by a small graveside service in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends afterward in the Main Street United Methodist Church fellowship hall.

In need of a kidney

After having a kidney transplant in 2006, Stephen Bagby’s kidney is failing again and he is in need of another transplant and is looking to the community for help.
Stephen’s wife, Kesia Bagby, explained that in March 2006, when Stephen was 26 years old, was the first time he was diagnosed with end stage renal disease. She said he has no family history of kidney disease but it was a sudden onset of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare disease that caused his kidney failure.
Stephen began dialysis in 2007 while they were living in California. Shortly afterward, he and his family moved to North Carolina to be closer to family. In 2009, he was unexpectedly gifted a kidney by a family friend whose son had been killed in a tragic accident.
Kesia and Stephen started Cool Breeze 1250 Heating and Cooling in Kernersville at the end of 2012 and returned to residential work so they could have more flexibility for their family.
Kesia said Stephen has had to go to the doctor every three months for doctors to monitor his kidney functions and it was during a routine check-up in April 2018 that they saw something.
“They scheduled for him to have a biopsy and when they saw that his body was rejecting the kidney, they hospitalized him in July 2019,” she said. “He started dialysis in August 2019.”
Kesia explained that Stephen has gone through several life changes, including going on a renal diet and extra medications.
“We can’t eat out as much now and have to eat more home cooked meals so we can watch his sodium levels,” she said.
The biggest change Kesia mentioned is that Stephen is having to spend a lot of hours away from work for his dialysis, which he does three times a week for four hours. She said even when he was in the hospital, he continued taking calls from clients.
“He was still working and just at the end of December, he cut back on service calls. Now, he is in the office more,” she said, noting that because of the medications he has a lower immune system, making him more susceptible to catching viruses and getting sick.
Kesia said Stephen is one step away from going on the kidney transplant list. She explained that before he can be listed on the registry, they are encouraged to have $4,000 – $6,000 in funds saved up due to time out of work.
Kesia said they do not have any type of fund set up yet to take donations, but currently to help with saving funds, they are asking the community to contact them if they need a tune up or need their HVAC system serviced.
“We are blue collar, hardworking individuals just like you, with five kids, who struggle many times to make ends meet,” she said. “We go without so our employees can get paid. Many weeks we work seven days a week just to be able to ensure we provide enough work for our employees We have four other technicians besides Stephen who have been trained by him who are ready to work.”
Kesia said the average life of a cadaver kidney is about 10 years, but a kidney from a live donor gives significantly more time.
“We are praying for his speedy recovery and a kidney transplant so he can get back to living a semi-normal life to enjoy his kids and me,” she said.  
If you are interested in being tested to see if you can be a kidney donor, you must call Wake Forest Baptist Health and give them Stephen’s full name (Stephen Bagby) and birth date (12/7/1979).
To find out more about being a kidney donor, visit https://www.wakehealth.edu/Specialty/a/Abdominal-Organ-Transplant-Program/Living-Donor-Program. To contact Cool Breeze 1250 Heating and Cooling, call 336-497-1250.
The phone number for Wake Forest Baptist Health is 336-713-5685.

New book

In researching a dispute over land in their family history, Phyllis and Jeff Long uncovered the legacy of Wesley Fry, their own family history and a four-year legal battle over land, partially where Clodbuster Farms now resides through a book titled, Heirs-at-Law: The Lost Legacy of Wesley Fry.
For more, see the Thursday, January 23, 2020 edition.