KFP: Key Citizens

Key to the City
In the left photo, John Jones, right, speaks to the crowd after being presented a key to the city by Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, left. In the right photo, Shirley Herring is embraced by Murphy after being awarded the key to the city.
Photo: Zach Frailey / The Free Press, License: N/A
By Junious Smith III / Staff writer
Published: Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 17:36 PM.

During the activities of the 33rd Annual BBQ Festival on the Neuse on Saturday, two Kinston residents were honored by the city’s mayor.

B.J. Murphy honored John Jones and Shirley Herring during the “Key to the City” ceremony at Pearson Park, where each was presented with a ceremonial key to Kinston and a dedication.

Murphy said he didn’t make his decision alone on honoring the two.

“I asked for Mayor Pro Tem Joe Tyson to assist me in the deciding process,” Murphy said. “Certainly, the two people we’re recognizing have gone above and beyond what a citizen is asked to do in Kinston.”

Jones, a 1968 graduate of Adkin High School, was an active member of Kinston public schools, serving as a teacher, guidance counselor or principal at several schools, including Rochelle Middle School and Kinston Charter Academy.

“It is indeed a pleasure to receive this award,” Jones said, addressing the crowd in attendance. “I accept this award on behalf of my family members, community and everyone who has impacted my life — positively or negatively.”

Herring is currently the chairman of Pride of Kinston and has worked with the organization for 28 years.

“This is truly an honor and I never dreamed of this,” Herring said. “I want to thank everyone who has been working on downtown Kinston. It brings me pride and joy to help in the beauty and progress of the city.”

Tyson said Jones and Herring deserved the recognition.

“When you look throughout the community and look at individuals who serve the community, there are several in the city who would qualify, but we can’t elect everyone,” Tyson said. “We recognize those who don’t get awards every day, but are great citizens who represent Kinston well. John Jones is someone who was committed to mentoring, helping young people, coaching and was a highly respected citizen.
“Ms. Herring is someone who dedicated her time to help improve the city of Kinston. She is an outstanding leader, and when it comes to volunteering and services, she gives and asks for nothing in return. She exemplifies a good citizen of Kinston.”

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

Week of the young child

Young Child week

Pictured are Mayor BJ Murphy and Partnership for Children Community Outreach Coordinator, Molly Taylor proclaiming April 6-12, 2014 as ‘Week of the Young Child.’ ‘Week of the Young Child’ is the national recognition of early childhood education.

Submitted photo

K-Day Celebration

KFP: K-Day shines through rain

By Junious Smith III, Staff Writer

Lori Carmon wasn’t sure if people were going to show up to K-Day because of rain in the forecast, but inclement weather turned out to be a nonfactor.

Despite periods of rain throughout the day, hundreds showed up to the sixth annual K-Day celebration at the Georgia K. Battle Community Center, an event Carmon founded with the inspiration from the late Delmont Miller.

“I really didn’t know what to expect, but believed in the people,” Carmon said. “It’s a great turnout to be raining and I’m already looking forward to next year being bigger and better.”

Mayor B.J. Murphy delivered the proclamation for K-Day, which has grown in popularity each year with activities for the children, food and musical entertainment.

The Kinston High School football team was also honored at the event for their work on and off the field.

“The kids feel really good about getting honored by the community they live in,” Kinston head coach Ryan Gieselman said. “It’s special to them knowing the hard work they’ve put in is supported by the community.”

Linebacker Javon Baylor felt the team could use this day as motivation.

“We’re always striving for the best,” Baylor said. “It’s good to see the community behind us and knowing they have our back.”

Quarterback Tyquan Canady said the rain wasn’t a deterrent for him, adding this was the first K-Day he had been to.

“It’s a good event and keeps the kids out of trouble,” Canady said.

IndyLeft PAC founder David Bell attended the event to give support to Kinston High School during its homecoming weekend, as well as to Carmon for making the event possible.

“This is a great thing Lori is trying to do and we need to give her as much support as possible to keep it going,” Bell said. “The kids are having fun and enjoying activities on the East side of the community.”

Bell, a local political activist, also used the time to talk with Murphy about an important issue.

“I had the chance to speak with the mayor discussing bipartisan efforts to attack poverty in the city,” Bell said.

Sherri Jackson, co-owner of The Platinum Club, helped prepare food for K-Day. She said it was great to have an event promoting togetherness in the community.

“We want to give back to the community, especially the kids and the elderly,” Jackson said. “They definitely deserve it.”

Annie Ralph, an eldress at St. John Free Will Baptist Church, volunteered to cook as well.

“I love to help out, so I decided to come out,” Ralph said. “I love to cook and love the kitchen.”

Many kids enjoyed themselves at the event, including 8-year old Khari Hatfield.

“It’s good for everyone to enjoy themselves, play and have fun,” Hatfield said.

Qwonrice Cole, 10, liked the social aspect of the event.

“It’s fun to get out and learn about one another,” Cole said. “We’ve been making friends out here.”

Isaiah Hatfield, 10, looked at K-Day as an escape from school.

“K-Day is a good day for the kids to come out,” Hatfield said. “It’s Saturday, and we need a little break from class. I wish they could do this every weekend.”

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


WNCT-9: “K-Day” goes on despite bad weather

By Erica Anderson, Digital Journalist

KINSTON, N.C. -People in Kinston braved the bad weather to celebrate “K-Day”.

Saturday, marked the sixth year for the event. Making this year even more memorable, Mayor BJ Murphy read a proclamation at Saturday’s celebration.

“K-Day” was started back in 2008 by Lori Carmon. Carmon says, Kinstonian Delmont Miller, inspired the event; however, miller passed away before the first “K-Day” celebration.

The event aims to gather past, present, and fans of Kinston High School. Carmon says “K-Day” is not just for Vikings, but for the entire community.

“If you ever lived in Kinston, if you ever attended a school, if you know someone that attended a school, it’s just unity in the community. Kinston finally has a day!” said Carmon.

Carmon says the event grows every year.

This year’s event featured performers, music, a clown, free balloon animals, and free barbeque.

Proclamation: ‘Let’s Talk’ to encourage closer families


Mayor B. J. Murphy, center, has acknowledged a proclamation with the Young Women’s Outreach Center’s Executive Director Joyce Clark, left, and Brenda McLamore, the Community Outreach specialist, for the community to come together to ‘Let’s Talk’ and celebrate families.

Submitted photo

‘Let’s Talk’ to encourage closer families

October nationally is designated “Let’s Talk Month” and The Young Women’s Outreach Center is sponsoring a Community Family Affair Day as part of its local recognition.

The all-day family event will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 5 at Pearson Park. It also is sponsored by P.E.A.C.E Foundation, Kinston Department of Public Safety, Elks Lodge, Eastpointe, and various other agencies and churches.

The day will start at 10 a.m. with a parade starting by Hardee’s on Herritage Street, marching up to Gordon Street, near the ship, into Pearson Park on Mitchell Street behind the Lenoir County Farmer’s Market. Immediately after the parade, festivities in the park will include vendors representing food, educational, health and fitness resources, fun, games and entertainment.

Families can register for a game of “Family Feud.” The team must consist of four members – two adults and two youth or one adult and three youth. The deadline to register a family team is Sept. 30.

Free items will be given to the first 100 people. Bring lawn chairs, claim prizes and join the celebration of families in the park.

Contact the YWOC office to register and get more information. Call 252-527-7844 between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. weekdays.


KFP: The Olympic experience



Lauren Perdue Mayor BJ Murphy 2013-08


By Jessika Morgan / Sports Editor 

                It was the only thing Lauren Perdue ever dreamed of.

                Growing up in a competitive swim family, she knew from an early age it was the sport for her. Perdue, a Greenville native, said she and her family would be “glued” to the television every four years to watch the USA swimmers compete on the Olympic stage.

Becoming an Olympian came to bePerdue’s highest objective in life.

At 22-years old, she exceeded that goal and became an Olympic gold medalist.

“It’s something I dreamed of my entire life. To actually have that happen is just phenomenal,” said Perdue, who won a gold medal in 4×200 meter relay last August.“It was just an amazing experience.”

Perdue visited Rotary Club of Kinston Thursdayto share her journey to the 2012 Olympics in London. From a discouraging back injury that ended in surgery to the opening and closing ceremonies, Perdue told her story to nearly 100 people and received a Kinston proclamation in return.

The beginning

Perdue realized when she was 8-years old, if she wanted to have a shot at the Olympics, she had to make an ultimate commitment.

“Trying out to make the Olympic team wasn’t just a last-minute decision for me — it was years in the making,” she told the Rotary group. “Every swim practice … was a stepping stone to accomplishing my Olympic aspirations.”

She added, “I began to swim year-round and was diligent in missing as few practices as possible.”

Perdue’s family offered a lot of support and understanding, as both her parents and two siblings had competitive swimming backgrounds. She grew up swimming in oceans, lakes and other arenas and said there wasn’t time for much else.

“There weren’t actually any challenges (growing up in a swim family); it was just a lot of support,” Perdue said. “My parents understood what I was going through because they’d been through it.”

Her father, Philip Perdue, was himself an All-American at the University of Virginia and competed in the Olympic trials in 1980, the year the games were boycotted.

Lauren Perdue’s undying efforts awarded her swim scholarship to UVA in 2009. The 2012 Olympics were that much closer, but two years into college, a back injury almost changed everything.


The Injury

Perdue suffered a stress fracture in her lower back during her sophomore year in college. After multiple attempts to repair an injury she said doctors were uncertain about, the only thing left was to perform back surgery.

“Here I am thinking that my career is over,” Perdue said. “I was terrified; I was disheartened; I was angry and I was crushed.”

She went under the knife in March of 2012, three months shy of Olympic trials. Although she was diligent in rehab, Perdue said she wasn’t prepared to make the 2012 team because there wasn’t enough time.

Perdue still attended Olympic trials to support her teammates and do what she does best: swim. As time went on, her back started healing.

“My back miraculously hurt less and less,” Perdue said about the trials. “In the final heat of the 200 (meter) freestyle – in less than two minutes – my life changed forever and the rest is history.”

The Olympic Experience

Perdue placed fourth in the event to make the Olympic team. She would go on to win a gold medal in the 4×200 freestyle relay on Aug. 1, 2012, along with Missy Franklin, Allison Schmitt, Dana Vollermer and Shannon Vreeland. Their time was 7:42:92, an Olympic record.

“I’m super proud,” Philip Perdue said about his daughter’s accomplishment. “It’s one thing for me to compete and try to have made the Olympic team, but it’s much more gratifying for her to actually make it. It was a family effort … it’s just a dream come true.”

When Lauren Perdue made the team, she didn’t have much time to prepare for travel as she wasn’t expecting to get a spot.

She showed the Kinston Rotary a slide show of pictures from her first training camp in Tennessee to her Olympic experiences in Paris and London.  All heads were glued to the series of remarkable photos, which helped tell Perdue’s story from opening to closing ceremonies. Team USA swam in pools where 15,000 to 20,000 spectators were looking down, flashing cameras and cheering.

Perdue, in earning an Olympic gold medal, gained “lifelong friendships and unforgettable memories” in her quest.

She brought her gold medal to Kinston, while receiving a city seal medal, as Mayor B.J. Murphy named Aug. 29 Kinston’s “Lauren Perdue Day.”

“It was so nice,” Perdue said of the gesture. “Everyone was so supportive. …I’m just so flattered to receive so much of a welcome.”

Perdue will move to Charlotte in October to swim professionally with Team Elite. In the meantime, she swims at a club in Greenville. A few young swimmers from the club were in attendance Thursday, walking away with a lesson from Perdue.

“I’ve been going through a very tough time lately, personally,” said 13-year-old Grace Fountain. “She’s taught me to never give up and keep your dream in sight. She’s really motivated me to keep swimming.”

Perdue said she was honored to share her story and provide encouragement, as she learned from the Olympics to stay humble.

“I was in the same position as many of these younger swimmers who had the same Olympic aspirations as I did,” she said. “Having a gift in swimming — or in any sport or any hobby for that matter — you’re born with that. It does obviously take hard work and dedication on your part, but I think that it has to be a gift from God.

“It really just took my faith in God and just realizing there is a plan for my life far bigger than what I could have ever imagined.”

Jessika Morgan can be reached at 252-559-1078 andJessika.Morgan@Kinston.com. Follow her on Twitter @JessikaMorgan.

Published: Sunday, September 1, 2013 at 18:24 PM.

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: Annual health fair at KCHC

by David Anderson

For Carolyn Fredericks, Saturday’s annual health fair at the Kinston Community Health Center was an opportunity to learn about health resources available through the KCHC and other community providers.

For her three grandchildren, it was an opportunity to get their faces painted.

“They love the face painting part of it,” Fredericks said of 3-year-old Jayonia, 4-year-old Brianna and 9-year-old Jaheem Pullen.

The girls had brightly-colored butterflies; Jaheem had a vampire on his face.

“I like a lot of the information that they’ve got out here,” said Fredericks.

The KCHC has hosted a health fair for at least six years, in conjunction with National Health Center Week, which runs from today to Aug. 11.

Local Boy Scouts presided over a flag-raising ceremony Saturday morning, and Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy read a proclamation in honor of National Health Center Week.

“What they do to save emergency room visits is very unique, and is of great benefit to not only the citizens of Kinston and Lenoir County, but the surrounding areas,” Murphy said later.

The KCHC serves thousands of patients each year from Kinston, Lenoir County and the surrounding areas. It provides medical, dental and pharmacy services.

Patients without insurance are charged on a sliding scale, said board Chairman Courtney Patterson.

“We try as much as we can to make sure health care is available to every individual,” he said.

Patterson said the annual health fair is designed to let the public know about the services available through KCHC.

“And hopefully, they’ll come back and take advantage of some of the services,” board member James Wilkins added.

Saturday’s fair included hot dogs and hamburgers, giveaways of food and water donated by the Food Bank of Eastern North Carolina, health screenings, children’s activities, and local and national services for veterans.

A mobile Vet Center from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was parked in the KCHC lot, with staffers available for questions.

“We wanted to integrate the veterans’ services and veterans’ resources into our health fair (this year),” said Anna Kinsey, community outreach director for the Health Center.

She added: “There’s a lot of veterans that have expressed interest in our clinic. . . . We’ll be here all the time for any information they may need.”

For more information on the Kinston Community Health Center, visit kinstonhealth.org, or call 252-522-9800.


David Anderson can be reached at 252-559-1077 or danderson@freedomenc.com. Follow him on Twitter at DavidFreePress.

KFP: Memories abound at fifth annual Lincoln City Reunion

by Wesley Brown

Mayor B.J. Murphy ,left, on behalf of the city council proclaimed Linicoln City will forever coincide with Memorial Day weekend. Janet S. Carter / The Free Press

Johnny Robinson Jr. did not complain, nor did he frown Sunday afternoon when the rains began to dampen the fifth annual Lincoln City Reunion.

The 60-year-old simply pulled up a chair next to his dear friend Karen Dixon, 51, and began to reminisce about their days growing up in the East Kinston community that was washed away in 1999 by Hurricane Floyd’s floodwaters.

Lincoln City residents have battled bad weather before.

Many had to abandon their homes for good after Floyd, but they continue to return to Kinston year after year — many from cities and towns all across the country — to reunite in memories forever instilled in their hearts.

“You’re more Lincoln City than I am,” Dixon said to Robinson with a smile.

“We have a real connection with the families that we grew up with back then,” Robinson said as Dixon chuckled.

Robinson’s and Dixon’s flashbacks to their adventures in Lincoln City at 6- and 7-year-olds, respectively, account for only a handful of the thousands of stories told during the two-day reunion at Holloway Park.

More than 3,000 people — some from as far as Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, and Texas — attended the reunion to chime in with their fondest memories. A good many people showed up to hear the tales, said Earth Mumford, a member of the Lincoln City Reunion Steering Committee.

“We can’t contain it,” Mumford said of the event, which has seen steady growth since 2008, when 50 people attended its inaugural reunion at the city’s Georgia K. Battle Community Center. “They’re people who do not even know about Lincoln City, including one family from Charlotte, that have come just to see what we’re doing.”

Robinson knows all about Lincoln City. As a second grader, he and a group of friends would embark on adventures, many of the them to the old railroad trestle in the woods behind the neighborhood, next to the Neuse River.

They would camp, play marbles and hide-and-go-seek and sometimes the girls would sneak back there to try “to scare us, to be funny,” he said.

“I never had that much fun,” Dixon interjected.

This was Dixon’s fourth reunion, an event she said truly captures what a typically weekend in Lincoln City was like — children playing touch football and grown-ups grilling food.

Dixon can visualize in it her head, life along University Street, where the homes of her extended family lined the 1300 block all the way down to Forest Street.

“We were family,” she said.

By 1914, Lincoln City became the nucleus of Kinston’s black community during a time of great segregation. The neighborhood birthed more than three dozen of Kinston’s historic black businesses, some of which remain open today.

Mumford said the steering committee and the community has erected a “Hall of History,” full of artifacts, photos and writings chronicling the times of the iconic neighborhood.

Someday, the hope is to build a museum in the community’s honor. On Saturday, Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy put that plan into motion, proclaiming, on behalf of the city council, Memorial Day weekend will forever coincide with the Lincoln City Reunion.

He also presented its steering committee with a plaque for its dedication to preserving Lincoln City’s history.

Mumford said the symbol of appreciation — as well as the reunion — helped ease the pain of a community that lost “its home.”


Wesley Brown can be reached at 252-559-1075 or wbrown@freedomenc.com.

Lincoln City Reunion Proclamation

WHEREAS, in 1898, Lincoln Barnett bought three parcels of land which soon became the economic center for black-owned businesses and schools; and,

WHEREAS, Lincoln City was first created around 1914 when black residents of then segregated Kinston began purchasing small plots of land in the southeast part of town and building houses; and,

WHEREAS, Lincoln City was initially comprised of three blocks along Oak, Lincoln, and University Streets; and,

WHEREAS, Lincoln City witnessed a major catastrophe in 1999 with Hurricane Floyd where several homes were destroyed and damaged structures were demolished while residents moved to other parts of Kinston and La Grange; and,

WHEREAS, Lincoln City former residents have met annually since 2008 on Memorial Day weekend to reflect and celebrate the pride and history of their childhood and the loving, kind, but disciplined upbringing within the tight Lincoln City community; and,

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BJ Murphy, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of Kinston, do hereby applaud the Lincoln City Reunion for their pride and proudly proclaim the weekend that coincides with Memorial Day as

“Lincoln City Reunion Celebration”

IN WITNESS THEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Official Seal of the City of Kinston this the 27th day of May, in the year of our Lord, two thousand and twelve.

BJ Murphy, Mayor