KFP: Bringing the community together


From left, volunteers Jeanene McBride, Stephen Fulton and Jennifer Hodges paint brick edging Saturday during Community Day at Rochelle Middle School.

Janet S. Carter / The Free Press

With the 2013-14 school year a little more than two weeks away, members of the community wanted to make Rochelle Middle School look ready for new and returning students.

Staff members, parents, students and other volunteers came out to the school’s Community Day to assist before the first bell rings on Monday, Aug. 26. Volunteers helped out by doing things such as planting, painting, building brick borders and clearing debris.

“We’re just trying to get the school ready for opening day,” Rochelle Principal Maya Swinson said. “The community, along with staff members, has helped to clean it up some.”

Among those volunteering was Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, who went to the middle school growing up.

“I came out to help make my old middle school and also show support for the new principal,” Murphy said. “She has a bright future ahead of her, the kids love her and the community needs to support her efforts.”

Kinston City Councilman Robbie Swinson, the principal’s wife, is another graduate of Rochelle Middle School and was on campus Saturday to assist with the cleanup.

“For me, this school is near and dear to my heart,” Swinson said. “I love all schools in Lenoir County, but especially this one since I went here and my wife is now the principal. I wanted to give back to the community and what other way than to help out here on this day?”

Nicole Miller — who will be a first-year guidance counselor at Rochelle — was impressed with the people who showed up to assist in the process of getting the school looking right for the upcoming year.

“With me being new to the school and the community, it’s encouraging to see the support the people gave us,” Miller said. “They really care about the school.”

Alena Rivers and Lesley Sutton — who are both in the sixth grade and start the transition to Rochelle Middle School — both wanted to show their enthusiasm for their new school and help in the community.

“Jesus said, ‘The greatest of you is a servant,’ so we’re just trying to do our part,” Rivers said.

Sutton added, “Where there’s unity, there’s strength, and Rochelle is on its way.”

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.

KFP: Kinston Community Health kicking off week of activities

health week

Mayor B.J. Murphy presents Kinston Community Health Center’s CEO, Sanja Hudson, with the 2013 Proclamation for National Health Center Week on Monday. Saturday kicks off events through the week, culminating in a health fair Aug. 17.

Submitted photo

Published: Friday, August 9, 2013 at 19:56 PM.

Health centers nationwide are celebrating Community Health Center Week next week, and Kinston Community Health Center is no exception.

The downtown center, 324 N. Queen St., has likely been celebrating the special week of health activities since the center was built in 1995, according to officials.

It’s part of giving back to the community, KCHC’s CEO Sanja Hudson said.

“If you are in the community,” she said, “we are basically providing this free of charge.”

This year’s theme is “Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Transforming Health Care in our Local Communities.” Health Center Week raises awareness about community health centers as a solution for affordable and accessible health care.

Mayor B.J. Murphy signed a proclamation on Monday for the 2013 celebration that kicks off today with free vision screenings provided by the local Lions Industry for the Blind.

Residents are invited to stop by and get their vision checked between 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Lions van outside the clinic.

A “Jail and Bail” fundraiser will take place on Tuesday.

“This is the first year we are basically doing the Jail and Bail,” Hudson said.

The center’s board members will be “arrested” and sent to one of two jails, provided by the Big Blue Store, that will be set up in the two clinic lobbies.

The “judge” will be retired veteran, Chuck Kienest.

“He’s going to be ‘sentencing’ board members,” Hudson said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

About 10 board members will be sent to jail for such infractions as leaving board meetings early or using their cell phones during meetings.

Some will be fortunate enough to pay their bail and avoid jail time. Others will sit in jail waiting for kind-hearted family members, friends and residents to pay their $500 bond. The event will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Chronic kidney screenings will be held in the UNC-Chapel Hill kidney van from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday. Residents can pre-register for the free screenings today. There are 40 slots, but they are filling up.

“We would encourage people who are diabetic or think they are diabetic,” Hudson said, “or have some type of heart problem.”

Registration is taking place at the Friends of the Homeless shelter, 115 N. Independence St., or the clinic. Call the shelter today at 252-522-2788 or KCHC at 252-522-9800, ext. 252, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sports physicals for middle and high school students will be offered for $20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday inside the clinic. No registration is required.

On Aug. 17, the concluding event will be the health fair, which will focus on military families and veterans of Lenoir County, as well as women’s health.

“There are going to be plenty of activities for the youth,” Hudson said.

There will be large tents outside with health information booths, vendors, medical screenings, veterans’ organizations and entertainment. One booth will focus on answering questions about the Affordable Care Act, Hudson said.

Seating will be available inside the clinic for those who need a cool place to sit, she said.

An opening ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and the day’s events will conclude at 3 p.m.


Margaret Fisher can be reached at 252-559-1082 orMargaret.Fisher@Kinston.com. Follow her on Twitter @MargaretFishr.

KFP: Reggie Bullock drafted by Clippers

Reggie drafted

Reggie Bullock, left, shares a light moment with high school friends, Dory Hines, Dajonte Wise and Curtis “Nootsie” Hines at Bullock’s NBA draft party at the Woodmen Community Center Thursday night.

Janet S. Carter / The Free Press

Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 at 00:05 AM.

Reggie Bullock is NBA bound.

Bullock, who decided to forego the bright lights and the limelight of television to be a part of a small gathering at the Woodmen Community Center in Kinston, was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers with the 25th overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft on Thursday.

Bullock’s selection made him Kinston’s sixth native to be taken in the draft, joining Cedric Maxwell (1977), Mitchell Wiggins (1983), Charles Shackleford (1988), Jerry Stackhouse (1995) and Herbert Hill (2007).

The announcement — Bullock watched on a pull-down screen in a side room at the Woodmen Community Center — came with an eruption of cheers and salutations for the biggest athlete basketball-wise to come through Kinston in quite some time.

“I just had to be patient and wait for my time; my time came at the right time,” an elated Bullock said. “I’m real comfortable with this position that I’m in, going to the Clippers. So, I’m just grateful — me, my family and friends.

“I’m just glad that everybody came out to support (me).”

Being drafted, no matter in what slot and to what team, has been Bullock’s goal all along.

“This is what I dreamed of, Day 1, since I played basketball at Holloway, growing up on Bright Street. This is what I’ve dreamed of,” the 22-year-old said. “My chance is here. One of the easiest parts is getting here. One of the hardest parts is staying. So I’m just going to go in there from Day 1 and work, and hopefully I’m just going to try and help the organization out as best as possible.”

Retired Rochelle Middle School basketball coach Alexander “Skeet” Davis helped mentor Bullock out at Holloway Recreation Center.

As he watched Bullock enter the Woodmen Community Center on Thursday, he was taken back to the days when Bullock would do anything to be on a basketball court.

“I’m blessed to see this day,” Davis said. “I didn’t do anything special. I just did what Mr. Davis wanted to do, and that’s work with the kids. I’m so proud for him, so glad for him.

“Reggie had that drive, that work ethic, he had the manners. He’s just one of a kind.”

Former Kinston High School principal Wynn Whittington had the privilege of watching Bullock grow into a talented young man.

Whittington knew Bullock had a special talent and was a special student at a young age.

“It’s special for all of us; it’s special for Kinston — not just the community but Kinston High School,” he said. “It’s another player who’s come through the ranks and had a tremendous impact on the school and the community and is a role model for younger folks. We’re just real proud of him and what his accomplishments are.”

Bullock’s draft day was something Whittington came to expect.

“Absolutely,” he said, when asked if he felt Bullock would someday play in the NBA. “Reggie’s work ethic and personality and the way he was raised — to work hard and to prioritize things — and he made school and basketball a priority, and he’s reaping the dividends today.”

For Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, Thursday’s achievement is something the community should be accustomed to.

“It’s always good to celebrate successes in the community, especially when it’s one of your native sons achieving a tremendous amount of success. And the good thing is, Kinston should be used to it,” Murphy said. “This is really a standard of who we are, and that’s why we’re so proud of Reggie. He’s continuing to meet that standard.”


Ryan Herman can be reached at 252-559-1073 orRyan.Herman@Kinston.com.


KFP: Wayne Brock, the top Boy Scout executive, receives ECC Citizen of the Year award


Wayne Brock, chief Scout executive of the Boy Scouts of America, center, takes a photo with attendees of the BSA luncheon Tuesday at the Woodmen Community Center. Brock, who grew up in Deep Run, was named the Distinguished Citizen of the Year by the Caswell District of the East Carolina Council of the BSA.

Janet S. Carter / The Free Press

One of Lenoir County’s own has not only risen to the top of one of America’s favorite national organizations, he was honored with a prestigious award Tuesday.

Wayne Brock, chief Scout executive of the Boy Scouts of America since September, was honored as the Distinguished Citizen of the Year by the Caswell District of the East Carolina Council of the BSA at the Woodmen Community Center.

To some, Brock, who grew up in Deep Run, is a member of the Lenoir County family.

Ford Coley, Caswell District chairman, considers him as a “local son” who has come back home to be recognized for his “journey in life.”

“It’s a recognition of an individual who has been unselfish in pretty much everything he or she has done,” he said, “and in this particular case, of course, Wayne Brock has been totally committed to the Scouting organization.”

Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy said he is excited Brock chose to come back to Kinston to give back to the community in which he grew up.

“The city is glowing today,” he said, “because we’ve got one of own sons here that has made it to the big stage.”

Brock, 64, has been involved in Scouting for 56 years, including more than 41 years employed by the Boy Scouts.

His father, a highway patrolman in Pamlico County, had seen enough of young people with the proverbial idle hands and who were frequently in trouble with the law to know he needed to keep his two sons busy and out of trouble.

“So one day when I turned 8,” Brock said, “he literally just took me across the street to Mrs. Woodard’s house — who was a den leader — to join the Cub Scouts. He didn’t ask me. He just took me across the street, which I’m very thankful that he did because that started me on this journey today.”

That journey continued when his family moved to Lenoir County when he was in the sixth grade and he joined the Boy Scouts under Scoutmaster Jack Everette. He worked on Camp Charles, owned by the East Carolina Council, and later earned the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and the Arrow Distinguished Award.

Ray Franks, Scout executive of the East Carolina Council, said Brock taught him how to swim, and the two of them were members of the Council back in 1975 when it moved from Wilson to Kinston.

“We’re very proud of Wayne,” Franks said, “and the leadership he’s provided to the Boy Scouts of America, nationally.”

A graduate of South Lenoir High School, he earned a degree in music from East Carolina University. He began his career in Scouting through the urgings of his brother-in-law, a Boy Scout employee.

“I know what it did for me personally,” he said about Scouting. “… I taught school for a year, but then I decided to go to work for the Boy Scouts because I just knew the benefit that it had for young people.”

Those benefits start with a strong dose of leadership. Starting around age 12, boys are selected to head up patrols of six to eight younger boys. They are responsible for such tasks as planning menus, overseeing camp setup and making sure their patrol members carry out their duties, Brock said.

“You really learn leadership by doing it,” he said. “And Scouting’s a safe environment for you to fail. And that’s important, too. Sometimes you learn as much from your failures as you do your successes.”

It seems to have worked for Brock, who continues living the lessons he’s learned and later taught.

“I just always just try to do the best job I can do,” he said, “and, hopefully, if I did the best job I could do, people would recognize that and they would want your talents.”

That recognition has taken him up the ranks through many packs, troops, posts and now to the top. However, according to the national Boy Scout bylaws, the chief executive must retire at the age of 65. Brock is 64 now.

“So our board made a one-time waiver to that rule so that I could serve until age 67,” he said. “So that’ll be in 2015.”

Brock, now based in Irving, Texas, has made significant contributions through the years to the BSA. One was a program he developed in the classroom that increased the percentage of children joining the Scouts. He was also successful in fundraising efforts.

Those two areas, programming and finances, are vital considerations when selecting the Citizen of the Year candidate, John Leighton, Caswell District Friend of Scouting chairman, said.

“I think (Brock’s) extremely qualified — 41 years in Scouting,” Leighton said.

The Caswell District, which includes Lenoir and Greene counties, raised about $36,000 during Tuesday’s event, bringing the total funds raised to about $67,000 towards its $90,000 goal this year, he said.

Brock has been married to Kinston native Ernestine for 45 years. The two dated through high school and have a grown son who was a Boy Scout, like his father. Ernestine Brock said it’s an honor and “icing on the cake” for her husband to receive the Citizen of the Year award.

“I attribute Boy Scouts and his parents to the man he is today,” she said, “which is a wonderful father, wonderful husband and a fantastic leader.”


Margaret Fisher can be reached at 252-559-1082 orMargaret.Fisher@Kinston.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kinston.com.

KFP: Celebrity dealers prepare to show their hands

KFP0127 LVG LCC Casino Night Murphy.jpg

By The Free Press 

You can bet on one thing: Kinston’s Mayor BJ Murphy plans to bring a lot to the table at the first Lenoir Community College Foundation Casino Night set for Friday in the school’s Culinary Arts Center. Whether you like to hold ’em or fold ’em, this is sure to be a night to remember.

Murphy is one of nine celebrity dealers who will be showing his hand to guests all over Lenoir County. When the chips are down, Murphy is all in to support the LCC Foundation. He has served Kinston since 2009 as mayor and was chosen the 2011 Young Professional of the Year in Lenoir County.

In 2012, he was selected as one of 13 E.A. Morris Fellowship recipients across North Carolina. He also is on the Lenoir County Transportation Committee.

He said the best educational decision of his life came when he decided to attend LCC for his freshman year. In 2002, he graduated from ECU with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. He is a group benefits specialist with LegalShield.

He and his wife, Jessica Barwick Murphy, who also attended LCC, have two daughters — Gracyn, 4, and Kathryn, 1.

Another celebrity dealer is Debbie Chused. In January 2002, Chused started Coastal Connections Marketing, Inc., a promotional products company.

She is active in community affairs and, in 1992, was presented the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, which recognizes outstanding women in business and society. In 2000, she was chosen Kinston-Lenoir County’s Citizen of the Year.

Chused is on the board of directors for the Committee of 100, Caswell Foundation, BB&T and Westminster United Methodist Church. She was past campaign co-chairman and president of the Lenoir County United Way, co-chairman of Relay for Life for three years, vice chairman for the Lenoir County Airport Commission, president of the Boys and Girls Club and board member for 13 years, and a board member of the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce for six years.

Married to Paul Chused for almost 25 years, the couple has three children and six grandchildren. She is the daughter of Pat and Rocky Rockenhauser, and her hobbies include playing with grandchildren, traveling, kayaking, swimming, golfing, taking pictures and being with friends and family.

Native Kinstonian Bobby Merritt is another celebrity dealer. By day, he is the director of Customized Industry Training for LCC in Lenoir, Greene and Jones counties.

He is also a Kinston city councilman and serves on the Lenoir County Economic board, Community Council for the Arts board, Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce board, Pride of Kinston Incubator Board, and a charter board member for the N.C.-Aerospace Alliance.

He is a member of the Lenoir County Manufacturers Association, the Kinston Evening Rotary Club and the Lenoir Committee of 100. He and his wife, Alison, have three children — Ramsey, Jeremy and Blaire.

Merritt has been playing the guitar for more than 40 years, and nearly 30 years with the Ray and Bobby Band. He says he intends to play for 30 more years and loves traveling with his wife in their motor home, playing golf and especially spending time with his family.

Celebrity dealer Ed Mills retired from LCC as the dean of student services after 33 years of service. He worked many of those years in the Continuing Education Division.

He is a member of the Greater Mount Zion Church.

He and his wife, Carolyn, have three children — Kathy, Michelle and CJ.

Other celebrity dealers include Bobby Taylor of Greene Ridge Racquet Club of Snow Hill, Lenoir County Parks & Recreation Director Bill Ellis, John Marston with Northeastern Mutual Insurance, Kinston City Manager Tony Sears and Rochelle Middle School Principal Nick Harvey.

Tickets are $50 per person, which includes admission to the event, beverages and hors d’oeuvres, gaming floor and silent auction registration number. LCC anticipates a full house, so purchase your tickets early. All proceeds benefit the LCC Foundation Scholarship Program.

Prizes for the evening include an Apple iPad, $350 value; golf package, $500 value; two $500 cash prizes; VIP bluegrass package featuring Gene Watson and Rhonda Vincent, $250 value; and a set of Michelin tires, $600 value.

Other prizes include a tennis package, dinner with a DJ from the WRNS Morning Team, a makeover package, a weekend at the beach, horse riding lessons, teeth whitening session, a photo session and 11- by 14-inch portrait, half day charter fishing trip, free rent for an event at the LCC Culinary Arts Center, a month of personal self-defense classes at Stroud’s School of Martial Arts and uniform, a Valentine package featuring dinner at Chef and the Farmer and dessert at The Peppered Cupcake and flowers, two sets of pearls and dinner at Lou Lou’s Oyster Bar, and more.

Event sponsors include: Cutter Creek Golf Club, Kinston Country Club, Greene Ridge Racquet Club, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar “Skip” Green, Halcyon Stables, WRNS 95.1, Down East Guide Service, Vick’s Cleaners, The Hair Gallery, The Face Place, Eubanks Tanning, Pizza Hut, The Galaxy of Sports, Potter Photography, Lou Lou’s Oyster Bar, Kinston Dental Associates, Davis Wholesale Tires, The Chef and the Farmer, The Peppered Cupcake, Lynn’s Hallmark and Stroud’s School of Martial Arts.

Tickets are limited. For more information, call LCC Director of Institutional Advancement Jeanne Kennedy at 252-233-6812.


Casino Night

7 to 10 p.m. Friday

Culinary Arts Center

Lenoir Community College

Tickets: $50 per person

Info: Sherry Irsik, 252-233-6865 or sirsik@lenoircc.edu

KFP: Sponsors sought for 2013 Freedom Classic

Donations also encouraged for military members to be admitted free to the games

Officials are gearing up for the third annual Freedom Classic to be held at Grainger Stadium in February.

Last year’s event drew about 4,000 people, despite a rain-out resulting in only two game days.

Jenny Inabinet, event chairwoman, said U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy players were so impressed last year, they wanted to come back.

“They were absolutely amazed at how they were treated,” she said, “and they said they’d like to come back for a third year.

“We would like them to come back, too.”

Inabinet said organizers are looking for sponsors for the three-day baseball series.

“I’m really excited about this event,” Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy said. “Kinston is not a military town, but we pride ourselves on the support of our active duty and our veterans.”

New this year is a unique sponsorship that pays for military members’ tickets.

Anyone who would like to support military troops can contribute $20, which will pay for five service members to watch a game at no cost to them, Inabinet said.

Contributors will get their names written in a supporter list in the event’s program book.

Currently, officials at Camp Lejeune have said they have as many as 45 single Marines that would like to come, Inabinet said. Active duty airmen from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and other military installations are encouraged to come to the games.

“We want to pack the park with 1,000 Marines, airmen or soldiers at each game,” said Bill Ellis, the Kinston/Lenoir County Parks and Recreation director.

Inabinet added, “The key is, we have to have those supporters paying for them to come in.”

It’s recommended groups contact Inabinet at 252-939-3338.

Businesses and individuals are also encouraged to purchase sponsorship ads, including the three Red, White and Blue sponsorship levels.

Red level sponsors will get a box, which has nine seats, and recognition on the sponsor board. White level sponsors also receive a box seat, and the blue level receives four tournament passes.

“Becoming a sponsor helps ensure that we’re able to treat these young men to a first-class event in Kinston,” Murphy said, “and I would even encourage individuals and businesses to purchase tickets so we can give them away to active duty men and women.”

Parents of ball players are expected as far away as Hawaii andCalifornia, and veterans groups are coming from as far away asCharlotte, Ellis said.

“We’re always excited to have the Freedom Classic in Kinston,” he said. “It honors our veterans to recognize the academy ball players for what they do, and it’s just great baseball.”


Breakout box:

What: 2013 third annual Freedom Classic

Who: Navy vs. Air Force

When: Feb. 22-24; games are at 6 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday; 12:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Historic Grainger Stadium

Cost: $5 adults; $4 seniors, active duty, retired military, veterans and students

For information about the Freedom Classic sponsorships or to donate for military members to attend free, call Jenny Inabinet at 252-939-3338.


Margaret Fisher can be reached at 252-559-1082 orMargaret.Fisher@Kinston.com. Follow her on Twitter at MargaretFishr.

Pride of Kinston: Holly Days



An abbreviated ceremony to light up Kinston’s community Christmas trees at the Lenoir County Courthouse and along Queen Street was held under perfect Fall skies November 30, 2012.

Mayor Murphy and assistants throw the switchKinston Mayor B.J. Murphy gathered a group of youngsters who showed up for the ceremony to help him trip the switch at 5:00 PM which illuminated the huge tree on the courthouse lawn and all the lights wrapped around the hollies lining the city’s main drag.

He told the group who came to witness the event that rain on the original date (November 27, 2012) “may have dampened our plans for last Tuesday night, but it did not douse our spirits for this special time of the year.”

TreeA more elaborate event featuring music, horse and buggy rides and other activities along Herritage Landing was cancelled the previous Tuesday due to rain.

The mayor thanked all those who were prepared to participate in the Nov. 27 version of Holly Days, coordinated by Pride of Kinston:

  • Kinston High School Band
  • Woodington Middle School Band
  • Parrott Academy Chorus
  • Parrott Academy Orchestra
  • Vocalist Bonita Simmons
  • First Presbyterian Church choir
  • Flimsey the Clown
  • A special horse and buggy
  • The Kinston Public Library and Friends of the Library
  • All the shop owners along Herritage Landing
  • Farmers Market
  • And the partnership between Pride of Kinston, the City of Kinston, especially Parks and Recreation, Public Services and Public Safety.
  • We also owe a debt of gratitude to David Sawyer and all his colleagues at WNCT for participation in years past and for their plans to carry our tree lighting live throughout Eastern North Carolina.

For more information, contact:
Pride of Kinston
327 N. Queen St.
Kinston, North Carolina 28501
ph: 252-522-4676
fax: 252-527-6718

Past issues of our newsletter can be found on our web site.


KFP: Chamber dedicates new sculpture, time capsule

By Bryan C. Hanks / Managing Editor
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 19:58 PM.

The steel “hands” come together, holding the planet. The treasure the sculpture protects is one that will be opened in 50 years — showing future generations of Kinstonians and residents of Lenoir County what life was like in their home from 1911-2012.

A beautiful stainless steel and granite sculpture now rises about 10 feet above Centennial Corner at the corners of King and Herritage streets, above a time capsule that holds artifacts from Kinston and Lenoir County collected from the past century.

A ceremony dedicating the sculpture and time capsule was held Tuesday afternoon at Centennial Corner. The sculpture was the vision of Stephen Hill, the philanthropic businessman whose efforts have helped dramatically reshape downtown Kinston over the past decade or so.

“Art is a big part of my life and a big part of the life of my family,” Hill said. “It’s great to give back something to the community that’s such a beautiful piece. It’s public art and it’ll be here for decades to come.”

The piece was sculpted over the past three months by local artists Hanna and Jodi Jubran.

“I’m so glad the Hill family is making Kinston better every day,” Jodi Jubran said.

The significance behind the sculpture is special, Hill said.

“For hundreds of years, Kinston has sent things like cotton and tobacco into the world,” Hill said. “The hands are holding the world here; we’re going out into the world, but the hands of this community hold it all together.”

Photos and documents from the 100 years of the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce are in the time capsule, including special copies of The Free Press over the past century. There are also pieces and memorabilia from important Kinston businesses and organizations, including Lenoir Memorial Hospital, H. Stadiem and the Caswell Center.

“To me, one of the most interesting pieces in the capsule are the original copies of the Chamber minutes,” said Jan Parson, the director of special projects and events for the Chamber.

Kinston Mayor Pro Tem Joe Tyson greeted the 50 or so people at the rainy ceremony before turning the proceedings over to Arts Council Director Sandy Landis, who introduced the sculptors and the Hill family.

After the ceremony, Tyson said Tuesday’s was a historic ceremony.

“A day like this, along with the 250th anniversary, shows Kinston is moving forward,” Tyson said. “We have a grand history we should be proud of. Looking at our history, we see we should be able to continue to do grand things for another 100 years. This is a milestone and a great accomplishment of this city and this county that has every reason to move forward.”

Gracyn Murphy, Parson’s 4-year-old granddaughter and the daughter of Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, clung tight to her grandmother while photos were being taken after the ceremony. Parson said she is excited about Gracyn — and the other dozen or so children who witnessed Tuesday’s ceremony — being in attendance at the capsule’s opening in November 2062.

“She can say, ‘I was here when it was buried and I was here when it was opened,’ ” Parson said. “Imagine how interesting it will be for her.”


Bryan C. Hanks can be reached at 252-559-1074 or atBryan.Hanks@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at BCHanks.

Speech/Welcome at Salute! Veterans Day Parade

11/10/2012 Salute! Veterans Day Parade

Good morning and welcome to downtown Kinston.  Happy birthday United States Marine Corps.

I’d like to recognize Mayor Pro Tem Joseph Tyson, who was helping the ROTC today.  We also have County Commissioners Reuben Davis and Eric Rouse with us.

On behalf of our community, I’d like to say thank you to our Salute! committee. On behalf of the citizens of this great nation, I’d like to thank all of our veterans here today and those who could not be with us.

I am a veteran’s son, but not a veteran myself. It’s because of my father and the men and women here today that I got a choice: 1) get a job, 2) join the service, or 3) go to school.

I chose school and now serve my community through elected office.

Make no mistake, your sacrifices allow this country to defend our Constitution, to ensure we maintain the freedom of speech, press and religion, and the right to bear arms.

We have some World War II veterans with us today.  One of them, my friend Guy Skinner, recently told me this:

Watch your thoughts. Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character because it will become your destiny.

His remarks after 94 years have made an impression on me. To all of our veterans – thank you.

Our community loves you.  This community embraces you.

And to those who didn’t receive this – Welcome Home.

KFP: Happy 250th, Kinston!

By Margaret Fisher / Staff Writer
Published: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 21:36 PM.

KFP1104_250th festival 1

Adrian King, executive director of Pride of Kinston, left, and Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy unveil a polished granite stone commemorating Kinston’s 250th anniversary Saturday during a festival on Herritage Street. The stone will be permanently displayed at City Hall.

Zach Frailey / The Free Press

Gov. Richard Caswell read the proclamation of 1762 creating Kingston, now the city of Kinston. The church bells rang in the distance, a birthday tune was played and an enormous anniversary cake was cut for the crowd gathered on Herritage Streeton Saturday.

It was the grand celebration of Kinston’s 250th birthday and one of a series of events held this weekend. This is the culmination of a celebration that began on Dec. 31, 2011, as the city entered its anniversary year.

“It’s been a pleasure,” said Caswell, portrayed by an actor from TryonPalacein New Bern.

Caswell, the state’s first elected governor, came to this area in 1746 and as a member of the colonial Assembly introduced the act that created Kingston, a name he chose to honor King George III. After the Revolutionary War, town residents decided to drop the “g.”

As Kinston, the town overcame a sluggish beginning to grow into a booming tobacco market and a center for commerce and trade in Eastern North Carolina.

The governor’s wife, Mary — another TryonPalaceactor — noted the change. “I’m pleased to see Kinstongrowing so well,” she said.

Mayor B.J. Murphy was pleased to see sunny weather for the outdoor event.

“We pride ourselves on our quality of life,” Murphy said to the audience, “from the arts to dining to recreation.”

The events featured welcomes by Murphy and Lenoir County Commissioner Jackie Brown, an unveiling of a polished granite stone commemorating the city’s 250th anniversary, a musical performance by Dick Knight, Bill Myers & Friends and a dance performance by Jonkonnu of Tryon Palace.

Adrian King, executive director of the Pride of Kinston, said the 250th anniversary isn’t simply a reflection of the past, but “to embrace hope and aspiration for the future.”

“Economic prosperity over the centuries has ebbed and flowed,” he said. “But what has been constant has been a ‘can do’ spirit, the Kinstonspirit.”

King and Murphy unveiled the stone — engraved with the 250th anniversary emblem — which will be placed in Kinston’s City Hall.

King said Kingston, which began with a warehouse and a church at Atkins Bank on the NeuseRiver, was the 20th town created by the colonial Assembly. But it’s one of just a few towns that have lasted.

“Kinston, make no mistake,” Murphy spoke to the crowd gathered, “we’ve had our challenges, but we should be proud of our heritage, our present and our future.”

Haron Beatty, a member of Jonkonnu, said the dances originated in the West African Caribbean islands when one day a year some plantation owners would do the unthinkable — allow the enslaved Africans to dance their traditional dance, shake hands with their master, come up on the master’s porch and be given a little money.

“It affected the social fabric of the day,” Beatty said. “It was progressively forward for the day.”

He added the “free day” tradition, shunned by some, was “evidence that society was changing.”

Church bells were rung by GordonStreetChurch, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and First Presbyterian Church.

Roy and Jeannie Highfill of Winston-Salemwere camping at the NeusewayNatureParkwhen they came upon the celebration.

“We walked over here today and this was here,” Jeannie Highfill said about the 250th. “This is an adorable little town.”

Roy Highfill said his first visit to Kinstonwas in May for the barbecue festival and he enjoyed the city so much he brought his wife so she could enjoy it.


Margaret Fisher can be reached at 252-559-1082 orMargaretFisher@Kinston.com.


Breakout box:


* 2 p.m.Sunday

Dedication of a Civil War battlefield site

Harriet’s Chapel / Starr’s Battery

(now the New BeaverdamPrimitiveChurch)

Hall of Heroes Induction Ceremony —

Dr. Lonnie Blizzard, project director

U.S.258 South

About a quarter-mile south of Kinston-LenoirCountyVisitorsCenter


4 p.m.Sunday

Community worship service with mass choir

Queen Street United MethodistChurch

Speaker: Lin Dawson, Kinstonnative, minister, 10 years with New England Patriots

500 N. Queen St.

Reception to follow at the Community Council for the Arts


* 6:30 p.m.Tuesday, Nov. 13

Lenoir County Historical Association hosts:

‘Who, What, When & Where’

Don Collins, EastCarolinaUniversityhistory professor

Speaking on the 1762 colonial legislation to create Kingston

WestminsterUnited MethodistChurch

1001 Westminster Lane

Dinner reservations required by calling 252-522-0421



* See more photos in the photo gallery section at Kinston.com