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‘Penny and Kenai’s Summer Adventure in Alaska’

Dave Boyer, a science teacher at Kernersville Middle School, along with his wife Amanda Boyer, a PE teacher at Kernersville Middle School, and their two daughters embarked on a 60-day road trip during the summer of 2023. The Boyer family traveled between national parks and other scenic spots from North Carolina to Alaska. After their trip, the Boyers wrote a children’s book dedicated to their daughter’s first grade teacher.
Before the trip, Ms. Musten, a first-grade teacher at Piney Grove Elementary School, gave their daughter Annabelle a pug stuffed animal with a note that read: “To Belle Belle, I have always wanted to see Alaska’s mountains! Can I come with you on your trip? I hope so!” signed by Penny the Pug. Both of Boyer’s daughters, Abigail and Annabelle, carried stuffed animals in the Kenai Fjords National Park. Abigail had a stuffed wolf and Annabelle carried Penny the Pug.
They hiked up more than 3,000 vertical feet towards the Harding Icefield where they stopped to take a picture for Ms. Musten to show that Penny the Pug had made it to see Alaska’s mountains. That picture spurred the creation of “Penny and Kenai’s Summer Adventure.”
“The picture grew into this idea of Penny and Kenai’s Summer Adventure. We’d like to dedicate this to Lisa Musten in thanks and appreciation for having such a positive impact on our daughters,” Dave Boyer said.
Boyer has the lifetime goal of reaching the highest point of all 50 states. He has climbed the highest points of 42 out of 50 states currently. Boyer found his connection to nature when he went to Tomoka State Park in Florida where he saw a manatee mother and her calf.
“My wife and I have been to all 50 states and have set a goal to take our daughters to see all 50 states. One of the pictures in the book was from the summit of Black Mesa, which is Oklahoma’s highest point.” Boyer said.
As a teacher and a parent, he notes the positive impacts that teachers have on their students.
“As a teacher that is also a parent, it has been awesome to see how much my daughters love their teachers and classmates and genuinely care about each other,” Boyer said.
He also credits his career change to become a teacher after being lost in the Amazon rainforest for six days in 2002.
“One revelation that came from that challenge was that I wasn’t sure how I would be remembered if I died. What impact had I made on the world? As I thought about how to make that kind of impact while I wandered the jungle, I concluded that teaching was a way to do that. If I could influence one student to become passionate about the Earth, then my impact would carry through both that student and myself. If I could influence one student per year and teach for 30 years, that’s 30 times the impact. It’s a ‘pay it forward’ or snowball kind of effect,” Boyer said.
During the process of writing a book, Boyer involved his whole family in the drafting process.
“They bounced ideas off each other and wrote some drafts of their own stories. We took more than 50 pictures while hiking with the two stuffed animals. When the summer ended and we returned to school, I took it upon myself to craft a story using our pictures. At first, I thought I could make the story follow a similar adventure as what my family had been on that summer, but I also wanted this to be a present for Ms. Musten that she could potentially use in her classes. So, I thought about read-along picture books that she could read to her students,” Boyer said.
To write a book on the first-grade level, Boyer researched the reading and writing standards for 1st graders in North Carolina. He used 1st grade vocabulary lists in order to communicate the scientific concepts that he usually taught in the 6th grade. The story also engages students with science concepts and enables students to connect Ms. Musten’s lessons outside of the classroom to the natural world around them.
In the future, Boyer hopes to write more Penny and Kenai books for each grade as his daughters move through elementary school. The books would have a focus on science standards for their grade level.
“My daughters love all of the teachers they have at Piney Grove. Every teacher at Piney Grove is deserving of recognition like this,” Boyer added.

AED donation

Lifelong Kernersville resident and longtime alderman Joe Pinnix and his wife, Kay, recently made a donation to the Kernersville Police Department (KPD) that may help save lives in the future.
“Alderman Joe Pinnix, Jr. and his wife, Kay, donated four automated external defibrillators (AED) to the Kernersville Police Department. With the donation of the AEDs, our hope is to start rendering emergency aid to patients without delay. Kay Pinnix and I discussed how easy the operation of an AED with the voice prompts walking the user through the administration of the AED on the patient,” said KPD Sgt. Nicole Smith, Special Operations Division/Personnel & Training/Community Engagement.
An AED is a lightweight, portable device. It delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart when it detects an abnormal rhythm and changes the rhythm back to normal. AEDs help people who have a sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating regularly. This happens when the heart’s natural electrical system doesn’t work correctly. If not treated within minutes, cardiac arrest quickly leads to death.
Pinnix’s motivation was both personal and was for the best interest of the community.
“There were several reasons. Both of our fathers died from cardiac arrest years ago. Kay’s daddy was at home. My father passed away when we had just opened the drug store. It was just him and me together. You don’t get something like that out of your mind,” Pinnix said. “Back then, no one had heard of an AED and they weren’t available. The technology now is just so amazing. I guess what solidified it was we were watching a Monday night football game in January and a Buffalo Bills player (Damar Hamlin) just collapsed on the field. They rushed down field and saved his life with an AED. He actually died and they brought him back to life with that. When I was talking to Tim Summers (the Former KPD Chief), he said the software changes, just like it does with computers, so rapidly that their AEDs were out of date and they could use some more up to date. The EMS and fire departments are often first to a scene and their AEDs were up to date. But Summers and Chief Tilley told me that a lot of times they arrive before the firemen and every minute counts. Every minute that goes by you lose a 10% chance of surviving. I started reading about them and they have saved so many lives. If you are on the scene with one, you don’t have to wait one. The AEDs Kay and I got are the latest ones and they (the KPD) will have all of their officers have training on them. We have always been big supporters of the KPD. Kernersville is so fortunate to have a police department like we have. They are wonderful men and women. It has always been this way. I told the KPD I hope you never have to use these AEDs, but if you do and it saves one life it is worth having.”
AEDs do save lives. A person’s chance of surviving drops by 7% to 10% every minute a normal heartbeat isn’t restored. Immediately beginning CPR and AED use can double or triple the person’s chance of survival. CPR combined with using an AED provides the best chance of saving a life.
Smith said changes in the communication system could result in the KPD getting to a scene first where somebody needs help more frequently.
“We were not getting to the calls as fast as they (EMS and Fire & Rescue) were. Now a call goes to Fire & Rescue and EMS and they notify us right away. Now we know within 30 seconds. Especially if we have officers available, we can get there quickly. Officers are out and about covering more ground. We have not had to administer an AED because at that point, we were not finding out at the appropriate time. It was one of those kinds of equipment we had never had to use, but now we are available to do it. The AEDs will definitely be a benefit in those times,” Smith said.
KPD Cpt. Damien Marotz said the KPD has four shifts and AEDs are available for all of them.
“One of them is dedicated to the patrol division, which was very helpful because you don’t know when you will need it,” Marotz said.
AEDs are not just useful for police, EMS and Fire & Rescue. AEDs may be available in public or private locations where large numbers of people gather. Smith stated that most churches in town have them, large businesses have them, and the schools have them. Smith recommended for anybody that has a pool to have an AED and recommended for community pools to have one. AEDs are also recommended for households of individuals with heart issues. Pinnix said he had ordered another AED for the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex, which often has large events with many people.
AEDs are intended for use by anyone in the general public. Upon opening an AED, the AED will talk to the user providing voice prompts during the process. Non-medical personnel, such as police, firefighters, flight attendants and security guards, are trained to use AEDs. Other people who have been trained in CPR also can use them. Although formal AED training isn’t required, it’s recommended to help you increase your level of confidence using it. AEDs are very accurate in detecting when (or when not) to deliver a shock.
“It is voice prompted. It will tell you to apply the AED pad. The instrument talks to you and until you move to the next step, it will repeat it. Some AEDs have more stages than others and some may combine two steps into one, but they are all administered the same way. They all work and should work the same way,” Smith concluded.

Harpist Taylor Fleshman

Taylor Fleshman, a Kernersville local, recently
earned the only harpist position on The President’s
Own United States Marine Band.
“The President’s Own United States Marine Band’s
mission is to provide music for the president of the
United States and the Marine Corps,” Fleshman said.
“That is our sole mission in the organization. We also
provide music for public concerts, all of which are free
to the general public. We also do a lot of educational
outreaches in the public schools.”
This band is the oldest and most consecutive professional
music organization
to run since its
inception in 1798.
“We provide music
for the president and the Marine Corps and we also play for the ceremonies, which includes the presidential inauguration and full honors funerals at Arlington National Cemetery,” Fleshman explained. “We do evening parades at the barracks. So, we do a lot of different things, wear a lot of hats, but our sole mission is to provide music for the president and the Marine Corps.”
Fleshman began playing harp nearly 20 years ago when she was only seven years old. However, she first began her “musical adventures” when she was just five years old.
“I started on piano at around age five. Many people in the school system I was in had started taking a second instrument,” she said. “My parents thought that maybe I should also go down that path, but they weren’t sure what instrument because neither of my parents play any instruments.”
Fleshman lived in Kernersville from the time she was in second grade until high school. Before university, she studied harp with Julie Money. While attending North Carolina School of the Arts’ high school program, she studied with Jacquelyn Bartlett. During her undergraduate at University of Cincinnati, she studied under Dr. Gillian Benet Sella. Then, during her graduate degree, she studied with Florence Sitruk.
After school, she landed a job with Orchestra Now in New York, which is a job for pre-professional training to help prepare musicians to transition from collegiate life to their profession.
The story about how Fleshman began playing the harp came from a troubling tale of a young girl named Elizabeth Smart who was abducted when she was only 14 years old. After Smart was found and went on to pursue her career, she began playing the harp. Fleshman explained that while her parents were watching this documentary, they recalled how unusual it was to play harp and had never even seen one played in person.
“One day on the way home from church, my dad asked me if I would be interested in playing the harp and all I knew about the instrument at the time was that David played the harp in the Bible,” she said. “I just really enjoyed it and it came to me rather quickly. So, we just did that and here I am now.”
Two months before the audition, Fleshman was sent music to practice for the audition. Her audition was on March 13 of this year. She had to drive to Washington, DC with her instrument at her own expense, like most auditions.
It was a blind audition where the judges were not able to see who is playing. Both rounds were done in one day and she found out the results the same day.
“In addition to winning the audition, the person who wins must be capable of passing a medical and mental screening because the band is part of the Marine Corps,” Fleshman said. “I am an active-duty enlisted personnel and I am in the Marine Corps. So, everybody who’s in the band must be able to do more physical requirements.”
She continued, by sharing the story about her family’s reactions.
“I called him (Fleshman’s dad) and told him, and he was in tears. Him and my mom both were very excited and very proud and had their fingers crossed for me to be a part of this organization.”
She enlisted on June 8th of this year and took the oath to be a Marine.
“It was really important to me because I found it was a very unique way to serve my country. I’m very small. I’m about 4’11” and being on the combat side would never really work for me,” Fleshman said. “I’ve always really enjoyed the harp and I really wanted to pursue that interest. So, when this audition opened up, it was a unique chance for me to have both of them to be able to serve my country, doing something that I really love.”
Fleshman shared that when she realized she had won the audition, she could not believe it.
“I’ve taken many auditions. Some of them have good outcomes, some of them don’t. You never know because you have good and bad days, but I went into the process feeling very comfortable with the music,” Fleshman said. “Of course, I had high hopes, but when they called my number out, it was kind of surreal. I was number 12 and when everybody looked at me, I was like, ‘oh, that’s me.’ It was definitely a surreal moment, and it didn’t hit until much later. I called my parents and my friend. It took a while for it to settle in that I won the job.”
Prior to Fleshman taking the position as the only harpist for The President’s Own United States Marine Band, Harpist Master Gunnery Sergeant Karen Grimsey held the position for almost 30 years. According to Fleshman, she retired last week.
“She (Grimsey) had come to the School of the Arts many years ago when I was probably in middle school and she had talked to a group of us local harpists about her job, what it looks like, what it entails and neither me nor my family knew that any of these bands had a harpist and we thought, ‘that’s so cool,’” Fleshman said.
She recalled that after the school experience, she thought it would be an “awesome job” that does not come around often.
“When I heard that it opened, I knew I really wanted to give it my best and try to be a part of this organization,” Fleshman said.
The President’s Own Marine Band has about 160 members and is located at the Marine Barracks Annex in Washington, DC.
“My favorite part about this job that I’m looking forward to is the versatility and the diversity. As part of the mission of the band, I will be able to provide music for the president of the United States,” she said. “I will also get to play for the Commandant of the Marine Corps, so I’ll play for different state dinners and whenever they request it. I will also have opportunities to do educational outreach and bring my instrument as a representative of the Marine Band to those students. I will also get to perform public concerts with the Marine Band and the Marine Chamber Orchestra. It will have a nice variety and every minute will be exciting. It’s not like your regular 9 to 5 job where you’re doing the same thing every day. It’ll be new music, it’ll be new people, seeing new faces, being in new venues. That’s what will be most exciting.”
Fleshman relocated from Kernersville to Washington, DC in early July and is still considered to be new to the program. Once there, she entered a six-week training program to get acclimated to training, learning customs and courtesies.
“The Marine Band was established in 1798 by President John Adams. It is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization, which is really neat. So, there’s a lot of history behind it,” she shared. “We played at our first inauguration in 1801 for President Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson is credited with giving The President’s Own its title because he was a big musician himself and he was a big fan.”
To learn more about The President’s Own Marine Band or to find a schedule of public events, visit

Caring for Kernersville’s children

On July 11, 1988, Dr. G. Kirk Walker began working as the first pediatric doctor at Forsyth Pediatrics Kernersville, now known as Novant Health Forsyth Pediatrics – Kernersville. This year, Walker is celebrating 35 years of practice in Kernersville.
Walker was born in Mountain City, Tennessee but moved to Kernersville with his family when he was 12. He graduated from Kernersville Wesleyan Academy in 1975 and then attended UNC Chapel Hill, where he majored in biology and psychology. Walker then attended Bowman Gray, now known as Wake Forest University Medical School, where he graduated in 1985. He graduated ninth in his class.
“Being a pediatrician wasn’t my intent,” he said. “I was always very interested in, I thought at the time, surgery. As a matter of fact, up to almost the end of fourth year, I had decided that I wanted to be an ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon. Then I started to realize that it was not so much what I was doing, but the people that I was seeing. I was enjoying working with the kids way more than I did adults.”
When Walker realized that he wanted to pursue pediatrics instead of ENT surgery, he immediately told the head of the department at that time and his wife, Sandy.
“It was a good decision. I come from a family of teachers. My mom was a teacher, grandmother was a teacher, my great grandfather was a teacher. My grandfather used to say that if you wanted to be successful, always do something with alcohol, tobacco or children. So, children seem to be the more socially acceptable, I guess,” Walker joked.
Walker was offered a job in Kernersville by Jim Earnhardt, Bill Sayers and Mike Rogers. This was the first satellite office of Forsyth Pediatrics. At the time, there were only two pediatricians in Kernersville, Dr. Steve Levin and Dr. Jerry Bennett.
“We started in 1988 and it just opened all sorts of doors and grew. When we started here, it was me and two nurses and a front office person,” he said. “And about 150 patients that identified themselves as Kernersville residents. Now, we have five offices and 20 providers.
In 1996, Novant Health took over the practice.
Walker insists that three and a half decades doesn’t seem that long at all.
“It doesn’t seem that long. I think it was like yesterday, but it certainly has changed. What we do at the office level really hasn’t changed, but certainly medicine has changed with different organizations and everything. But the way we practice and the structure of our practices is the same as when I first started,” he said. “I think the key to our success is that where a lot of practices are just sort of a practice within the town, we’ve tried to maintain ourselves as the practice for the town. Each of our offices is associated with a specific community.”
Walker explained that Novant Health Forsyth Pediatrics has offices in Walkertown, Oak Ridge, Union Cross and a new one is about to open in Summerfield.
“I think to continue to identify ourselves as sort of the community practice is really important and one of the key factors for our growth and that’s part of it too,” he said.
Walker said many people have played a significant role in his life and helped him get to where he is today.
“There are so many people here that were influential in the direction that I went and helped me get through school. I was thinking about it, my minister, he sat on the board of Baptist. He was always dropping my name when I was trying to get into medical school,” he said. “There’s one physician who lives here, Dr. Hopkins, who’s a pathologist who’s retired now. He likes to say he was the reason I got into medical school. I was working in the labs at Baptist at the time and he was the one that got me in. So, I let him continue to say that. At the time, it was certainly an expensive proposition.”
Although his celebration of serving 35 years has come and gone, he explained that there wasn’t much of a party. He shared that he celebrated his 35 years by working.
“I have a wall at the office where they posted a lot of pictures from along the way. So, all the parents get to help me celebrate,” Walker said. “It’s been a week long sort of thing. What’s really been great for me is that I’ve been here long enough that I’m taking care of a lot of my former patients’ kids. Most of my patients are the children of kids that I took care of. By default, I’ve become sort of, everybody’s grandpa or something, and it makes it easier since I’ve known many of these families. It’s a generational thing…that trust that’s been built up over a long period of time.”
He shared that being in this practice as long as he has, has created a wonderful and unique opportunity to take care of multiple generations and to see many children grow and mature through young adulthood and even further.
“I think that’s what makes pediatrics unique. I get to see them all the way along the line. We take care of the kids through college,” Walker said. “I get to see them when they were yelling and screaming and biting me and I get to send them off to college and see where they ended up. I feel like along the way, you’re more than just the provider. You’re sort of part of their family too, a very large family.”
Walker said there is no way he could possibly calculate how many patients he has seen through the years, but he estimates that it is over 175,000 children, not including babies in nurseries or children in hospitals.
Walker shared that in the next five years of his career, he is most looking forward to continuing to work and doing what he does best.
“If you do what you love, you never work a day in your life, right? I can’t imagine me doing anything else and I’m enjoying it as much as I ever did. So, I don’t really need to slow down or stop,” he said.
Kernersville is a great place to live and raise kids, Walker said. This area has expanded and grown so much.
“The support the town has for us has always been tremendous. The staff that we have here, as a matter of fact, two of the nurses that I started with still work for us,” he explained. He continued to share that many nurses and other providers have been with the practice for a long time.
“I think continuity has been important and certainly made it a really great place for me to be,” Walker said. “We continue to grow and be invested in the practice and the people that are here have been here for a good bit, and we’re constantly bringing on new providers as we continue to grow. So, we’re just expanding our family.”
Novant Health Forsyth Pediatrics – Kernersville is located at 240 Broad Street in Kernersville.

K9 Knox retired

The Kernersville Police Department (KPD) has officially retired eight-and-a-half-year-old K9 Knox, who has been with the department for over seven years.
Knox’s only handler during his time at the department is KPD Officer Brandon Wemlinger. Knox will live out the remainder of his retirement with Wemlinger.
Knox is a male Belgian Malinois and Shepherd mix and was born in Hungary. He is trained to detect narcotics, search and locate articles and evidence, conduct building searches, human tracking, tracking lost objects and criminal apprehension. Wemlinger explained that he could basically do anything except detect bombs. He was also trained in obedience.
Wemlinger received Knox when he was only a year-and four-months-old during a six-week handler school at Southern Police Canine. After his initial training, he was released to Wemlinger to train 16-20 hours a month to help improve his skills for his in service to the KPD community. Knox holds a North Carolina Police Dog Association (NCPDA) certificate that is renewed yearly.
Knox first joined the KPD in April 2016 and officially retired on Friday, July 1.
Wemlinger explained that the retirement is “due to his age and to help him have some time to act like a dog and enjoy his retirement. With working dogs, there is a lot put on them, so hopefully he can enjoy some time in his kennel and doing whatever.”
Since Knox’s retirement, Wemlinger has applied for and been granted another K9 position and he will return to K9 school in October of this year. Once he has trained with his new K9, he will then return to the KPD.
“K9 Knox aided in the seizure of 1,562 grams of narcotics valued at over $52,000.00 and the apprehension of 21 suspects during his 7 years of service,” said a statement from the Town of Kernersville.
Wemlinger explained that ever since he received Knox, they would work night shifts together and he would be used up to eight times a shift depending on what was needed of them at that time.
“He was used a lot and had other opportunities where we could use him. He was definitely a great tool and protector for myself and the Kernersville Police Department over the years,” he said.
Wemlinger has been with the KPD since fall of 2015. He was with the Winston-Salem Police Department from 2009 until his time at the KPD.

Trail Sisters Piedmont Triad

The Trail Sisters Piedmont Triad Group is a local running group that is part of a national Trail Sisters group. This national group is a women’s running trail community that is all inclusive and open to community members.
“The mission of the group is to ‘increase women’s participation and opportunity in trail running and hiking through inspiration, education, and empowerment.’ The Trail Sisters community also welcomes and encourages inclusion from all who identify as women, no matter their pace, size, shape, experience level, whether hiking, running or racing,” said Jennifer Eminger, Trail Sisters Piedmont Triad member and group leader.
There are around 175 regional and local Trail Sister groups throughout the United States. Within North Carolina, there are local groups in areas such as Charlotte, Lake Norman, Raleigh-Durham and Asheville. Many of these groups that are geographically close to one another are even able to host and work together to create meetup events.
“Trail Sisters Founder Gina Lucrezi started the nonprofit organization to ‘constitute for an equitable outdoors both recreationally and throughout the (running) industry. Female voice and representation are essential in the future of our outdoors, impacting the role we play both on and off the trails,’” Eminger said. “(Lucrezi) also started the group to break through the long-standing barriers. The nonprofit generates educational content and resources, while fostering an inspirational community that encourages self-advocacy and life-long friendships.”
Lucrezi began the Trail Sisters group in 2016 and the Trail Sisters Piedmont Triad chapter began a little over two years ago.
“I first started the group as a women’s only Facebook trail running group, but after applying to become a chapter with Trail Sisters, we officially joined the group,” Eminger said. “Anyone can find our chapter on both the Trail Sisters website and on Facebook.”
Many of the groups are located regionally or within cities. The Piedmont Triad group covers a large area, including Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point, and every small town or city in between.
“I started the chapter as a group leader because I wanted to find other like-minded women to run with and many women feel safer running with another person or in a group,” she said. “As women, we have to always be aware of our surroundings when we are alone, whether hiking or running. Being in a group not only allows for safety in numbers, but also allows women to have deep conversations and develop lasting friendships.”
In 2023, Sarah Cronin and Michele Brooks were added to the Piedmont Triad group as leaders.
“Trail Sisters Piedmont Triad, with our new leaders, has really just gotten started. So far this year, we have held about 4-5 events. Our upcoming events include a group run at Hanging Rock on July 15 at 9 a.m. The run is open to both runners and hikers and is a no-drop run, meaning no matter what pace you run, you will not be left behind,” Eminger said. “Depending on if there are different paces in the group, we sometimes will break off into smaller groups, but as leaders, we make sure our members are never left behind. There will be two distances at Hanging Rock, including 5.8 miles and 10.5 miles. Our next event will be held on July 29 at 8:30 a.m. at Bur-Mil Park, running the Owls Roost Palmetto Trail. There will be two distance options – 5 miles or 8 miles.”
There is no cost to join the Trail Sisters or the Piedmont Triad Trail Sisters group. People who are interested in joining can go to and join the Piedmont Triad group as well as join the group Facebook page by searching the group name “Trail Sisters Piedmont Triad.”
“There is no cost to be a member of Trail Sisters or Piedmont Triad Trail Sisters,” she said. “All group runs are free; however, it is required that women sign a waiver and sign in and out. This is only required of Trail Sisters’ official group runs. It is not required of any gathering made on the Facebook page or Trail Sisters website to just go running with a friend.”
The Piedmont Triad Trail Sisters Facebook page has about 315 members and on their website they have about 44 members. Events and runs are posted on both platforms.
“One of my favorite things about the group is just running, the conversations, and learning from the other ladies,” Eminger said. “Sometimes you cry, sometimes you laugh, and you learn that you can do hard things. Hitting the trails not only allows you to see some beautiful and exciting things, but for me, running keeps my mind clear and happy.”
She shared that although they are trying to grow their members on their platform and move more members to their website, there is a lot more activity for some groups on Facebook pages. Not only do they post events but it is a great place to ask questions, find running spots and find a running buddy.
“Another great thing about the group is that if you are traveling and want to go running, all you need to do is look up the local Trail Sisters group in that area and find a running partner(s), who will not only make you feel safe, but also show you where the best running trails are in that area,” Eminger said.
If anyone wants to learn more about the Piedmont Triad Trail Sisters running groups or wants to learn more about running, get into the sport, support other women within the running community or to make some friends, people can find this group on their Facebook page and website,

Fisher’s Mini Donuts

Opening a business is no easy feat especially for an 11-year-old. Fifth grader Fisher Carter opened Fisher’s Mini Donuts food truck a little over a year ago and hopes to open more businesses in the future.
The inspiration for this business came from his time in Boy Scouts when he was selling popcorn for his troop. Selling came naturally to Fisher and he believes that is what inspired him to open this business to begin with.
“I feel like donuts would be a good thing because you don’t really see that many donut businesses around. It’s just like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts and those aren’t really around that much,” he said.
Fisher explained that he has a lot of time over the summer and that is another reason he wanted to start this business.
“It’s a sweet treat and no one can really say no to donuts,” he said. “It’s like a mixing of ice cream. You want it, but a lot of the time you just don’t get it and it’s not really around that much.”
When Fisher told his family that he wanted to start his business, his family was shocked but they were supportive all the way through the process.
For Christmas, Santa gave him a donut machine that would help him make his dream of opening a business come true. The food truck was given by a friend of Fisher’s dad, Clint Carter.
“I told him, ‘look, I’ll finance this for you and I’ll pay for it up front and when it’s done, we’ll talk about how you’re going to pay it back when we got it done,” Clint said. “I sat him down and I said, this is what we spent, and everything. I told him as we went, you know, look, this is how much this cost and this is how much it’s going to cost to do this.”
Although his parents helped pay for this project, most, if not all, decisions were made by Fisher himself.
“As far as building it and then after we got done, I sat him down, I said, ‘this is our total of what you have in the trailer and you can make payments, you can set your own payment at what you want it to be,’” Clint said. “So, he told me that he wanted to make payments at $200 a month. So that’s what we set the payment at and he’s almost got it paid off.”
It took almost a year to complete the truck to repair it and make it fully functional for Fisher’s business.
“I had an idea of it when I was younger but it wasn’t really this big, it wasn’t donuts,” Fisher said. “All I had dreamed was me selling a product, basically becoming a business (owner). But not specifically donuts or that sort of food.”
He shared that he is most excited for the future of his business and expanding it and maybe even becoming a worldwide business.
“It feels like an achievement but it’s just a lot harder at my age because you have to worry about school,” Fisher said. “So, for anyone who really wants to start a business at a young age, you have to make sure that school comes first because if you don’t go to school, you can’t really become a business (owner). You need to learn the basics of school before you do anything.”
Clint explained that his son is very independent and self-sustained with his business practice and he is very proud that he wanted to support himself at this young of an age.
“He’s just got good work ethic and he’s never really minded helping out at home and stuff like that,” he said.
The first year of business for Fisher has been an achievement and he has even already bought a second donut machine and wants to start the process of making another trailer. Fisher is thinking of maybe even franchising it out to his brother, Hunter.
“When they get to talking and they talk percentages, I just stay out of it,” Clint laughed. “I told him, ‘you can franchise it to your brother and your brother can pay for his own.’ His brother is 16.”
Even though the business is year-round and has multiple events that they attend throughout the year, Clint explained that Fisher has full control on what events he would like to do; however, he hasn’t turned anything down so far.
“Young people who want to sell or to make a business need to have work ethic. Our generations depend on you but they don’t depend on them themselves, not other people and other generations,” Fisher said. “So, what I have seen is our generation is not wanting to work, they need to work and try to be successful.”
To learn more about Fisher’s Mini Donuts, go to

Endurance Run

Brittany Grubbs, 35, ran her first ever 100-mile event on April 1 and 2 at the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run in Raleigh.
“I wanted to complete a 100-mile event mostly to see if I could do it,” Grubbs said. “This distance adds a lot of elements and unknowns that are not really factors in shorter distance races. Also, one of my running friends, Judy, basically talked me into signing up for this particular race because she was going to do it as well. It was nice to have a running partner at the race, as well as our friends and family who came to help pace us at the race and provide support as our race crew.”
Although this was Grubbs’ first 100 miler, this was not her first ultra-marathon, which is any distance over 26.2 miles. Prior to this race, she used a 24-week training program that allowed her to prepare for the race. She participated in multiple 50K and 50-mile events. Her official time for the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run was 28:42:45.
“I definitely had a lot of time to think,” Grubbs said. “I tried to keep my thoughts positive, but there were definitely times when I was wondering why I signed up for this race. I also thought a lot about how cool it was that I was actually there, running the 100-mile race and how crazy it was that it was actually happening. Toward the end, I was thinking about my pace and wanting to make sure I was going to finish before the time cut off.”
The Umstead 100 Ultra race is considered an endurance run through the William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh. The race has a time limit of 30 hours to complete.
“It was a challenging course,” she said. “The back side of each of the 12.5-mile loops was quite hilly and the terrain caused terrible blisters on my feet. I had never gotten blisters nearly as bad as what I experienced at this race. This definitely made it challenging to keep going.”
Grubbs enjoys running because of the way it makes her feel.
“I enjoy the stress relief aspect of running as well as the camaraderie of running with my running friends,” she said. “I also have gotten to see some pretty cool locations by running races there.”
One of her motivators in this race was her friend, Judy, who was also running in the race.
“We were also allowed to have pacers run with us after we got past the 50-mile mark, so we had some friends and family who graciously offered to run laps with us in the dark,” Grubbs said.
Her biggest supporter for her running is her husband.
“My husband, Patrick, has been my biggest supporter, especially when I would get home from a really long run on Saturday and pretty much only feel like lounging around the house the rest of the day,” Grubbs said. “He was also an excellent crew member at my race, making sure I had everything I needed and taking care of my blistered feet each time I came into the aid station.”
Grubbs has lived in the Kernersville and the surrounding area her entire life. She works as a solution expert at Volvo Financial Services in Greensboro.
The 28th Annual Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run is scheduled for April 6-7, 2024. Registration begins on Sept. 13, 2023 at 8 p.m.

Puddle Proof Shoes

Martha Howell, instructional technology facilitator at Cash and Walkertown elementary schools, recently wrote and published a first draft of her children’s book titled, “Puddle Proof Shoes.”
Howell said the inspiration for her book came from a friend’s daughter, who she said called her rainboots puddle proof shoes.
What makes this book unique is that Howell used artificial intelligence (AI) to illustrate it. While the story was written years ago, Howell knew she would have to find just the right illustrator to create the perfect book she envisioned. AI did just that.
“I tried for several years to find an illustrator, but I could never find someone to commit,” she said about why she turned to using AI to illustrate her book.
After seeing the illustrations, Howell said she was shocked.
“I was initially shocked, but overwhelmed with joy as AI brought the dream of my book to reality,” she shared.
The book is about a young girl (based on her granddaughters) who loves to jump in puddles but always ends up with wet socks and shoes. She wears a special pair of “puddle proof” shoes that keep her feet dry no matter how much she splashes in the water. The story incorporates rhyming and repetition and includes a sweet message to adults.
To illustrate the book, Howell used AI software that allowed her to create custom illustrations based on her written descriptions of the characters and scenes. This approach gave her more creative control and flexibility than traditional illustration methods. Howell credits Dall*E with the beautiful pictures it generated based on lines from the story and instructions to illustrate with impressionism.
“I’ve always been interested in exploring the common lines where technology and creativity intersect,” said Howell. “Using AI to illustrate the book was a challenging but rewarding experience, and I’m excited to share the final product with young readers.”
The book has already received positive reviews from close friends and educators alike, who praise the engaging storyline and vibrant illustrations. It has also been used as a teaching tool at Cash and Walkertown elementary schools. Howell is using it as a platform for students to write their own class books this year. In Mrs. Shrewsbury’s first grade class at Walkertown Elementary, students are writing about Shrewsbury pies and in Miss Belsterling’s class, first graders are writing about their teacher’s magical collection of sterling silver bells.
As she uses AI in the classroom, Howell said the students are excited about it.
“The excitement is grand,” she remarked. “Students have the best way to show and share joy when they get to create something real.”
While, for some, AI may seem like something out of a science fiction movie, it is very real and Howell feels that it is important to share the knowledge about AI with students.
“We are in the beginnings of learning about artificial intelligence, but our students are resilient and want to learn everything they can,” she said. “Many of them were ‘born’ with devices in their hands and they have so much to teach us.”
“Puddle Proof Shoes” isn’t the end for Howell, as she shared that she has another book in the works.
“My next book title is ‘Baseball Cat.’ It is a book about a little orange tabby cat that visits my grandson and his team every day at the Sandlot in Kernersville,” she said. “I am looking forward to getting his input in helping me write and illustrate this next project.”
Howell started in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools district in 2009 at Union Cross Elementary School as the computer education specialist and has always been well regarded by her peers. Her hard work and dedication to education is stellar. Howell was awarded Certified Instructional Support Person of the Year this year at Walkertown Elementary. Howell has always been able to adapt to changes in technology and the times. During the pandemic, several teacher friends from Union Cross contacted her immediately to help guide them as they worked together and determined how to adapt the Canvas Learning Management System to elementary students. “Martha is an incredibly talented educator, and we’re lucky to have her on our team,” said Jennifer Swofford, Cash Elementary School principal. “Her book is a testament to her creativity and dedication to helping children learn in innovative ways.”
“Puddle Proof Shoes” will soon be available for purchase online. With its unique approach to storytelling and illustration, it’s sure to become a favorite among young readers and educators alike.

New police chief named

The Town of Kernersville introduced the Kernersville Police Department (KPD) Chief Jason Tilley, a former KPD patrol and SOD (Special Operations Division) commander, at a short ceremony on Monday at 2:30 p.m. at the Kernersville Police Station.
Tilley, a former captain at the KPD, is taking over the position from former KPD Chief Tim Summers, who served as chief from Jan. 31, 2017 until Monday afternoon. Summers replaced former KPD Chief Scott Cunningham. Cunningham was named KPD chief in June 2008.
Kernersville Town Manager Curtis Swisher explained the extensive process of how the Town made its decision on who would be the new police chief, and then introduced Tilley as the new KPD chief in front of dozens of KPD officers, as well as Mayor Dawn Morgan, Kernersville Aldermen John Barrow and Joe Pinnix, and Kernersville Town Attorney Edward L. Powell.
Tilley first thanked “Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior because none of this would be possible without him.” Tilley thanked the community for its tremendous support and stated the work of the KPD would not be possible without community support. Lastly, Tilley thanked his fellow officers and the civilian employees of the KPD.
“This profession is one where you can’t be successful on your own. You have to have a lot of support, and I want to thank all of you for your support over the years,” said Tilley.
Tilley has been with the KPD for 19 years and was promoted to captain in 2017. He feels very honored to be named chief and acknowledged the KPD chiefs before him.
“I am really excited about it. I am humbled. There is a long history here of great men as chief. We had Grady Stockton, Neal Stockton, Scott Cunningham and Chief Summers. Those are some big shoes to fill, and I am honored to come behind those great men,” Tilley said.
While he is excited to serve as Kernersville’s new police chief, Tilley will miss working for and with Summers.
“He is a great leader. He genuinely cares about this community and this Town, and with every police department employee he has their best interests at heart. He is a great mentor and a great friend,” said Tilley.
Summers was happy to see Tilley named chief and believes it is a testimony to the KPD itself.
“I think when your top two candidates for chief come from within, obviously we are doing something right. I think Jason Tilley has worked extremely hard to prove himself, and this promotion is well deserved,” Summers said.
Swisher stated that there were 20 applicants for the chief position, and some of them were out of state. The applicants were whittled down to three, two of which were internal from the KPD and one that was external. The application process included a written test and much more. After the field for the position was whittled down to three applicants, they went through four scenarios that they had to deal with in one day, with accessors keeping tabs on their progress.
Swisher said one of the required presentations was a 45 minute to one-hour presentation to the Board of Aldermen, represented by three assessors, where the applicants had to make a compelling case for boosting the number of KPD employees and negotiate pay raises.
Another exercise was to hold a community meeting arguing to keep the KPD in charge of SROs (Student Resource Officers) in town. The assessors at the meeting represented the Forsyth County sheriff, a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board member and a police lieutenant. Swisher said what made this part of the application more difficult was that the assessor playing the part of the Forsyth County sheriff actually was Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby F. Kimbrough, Jr.
“When we were done, Sheriff Kimbrough wondered ‘if he might have been too hard on the applicants,’” Swisher said.
The last part of the application process was a one-on-one interview with Swisher.
“For me, that was the easiest part, but maybe not for them,” Swisher said.
Swisher stated that in all aspects of the hiring process, the top two candidates were internal candidates.
Tilley acknowledged the application process was difficult, and he was happy with the results.
“It is very difficult. It is probably one of the hardest things I have done. I think some of the challenges were not only the process itself and the work that was involved, but also not letting people down and not letting the department down. I wanted to do well for everybody here,” Tilley said.