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Century-old red wooden caboose  is home in Ellenboro
Century-old red wooden caboose is home in Ellenboro

The Clinchfield Carolina and Ohio (CC&O) caboose 1021 came to its new home in Ellenboro from Erwin, Tennessee last month to a crowd of well wishers cheering its arrival.

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Josephine Nsubuga visits Rutherford County
Josephine Nsubuga visits Rutherford County

Standing at a long table on the patio at On Main in Spindale recently, Josephine Nsubuga of Uganda, Africa, greeted visitors as they looked at the beautiful, colorful handmade crafts she brought to Rutherford County from her home 7,500 miles away.

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25 students have life altering experiences on LEAP tour
25 students have life altering experiences on LEAP tour

Twenty-four high school and middle school students from Rutherford County and one from Cleveland County visited college campuses during a Spring Break tour across the southeast sponsored by LEAP -- Leaders & Entrepreneurs for the Advancement& Promotion of Youth--a nonprofit begun in 2020 in Forest City.

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The Church of  The Exceptional is 50 years old
An anniversary gathering at the church some time ago.
The Church of The Exceptional is 50 years old

Little Charlie wasn't expected to ever be able to speak after he was born with complications that would hinder his speech. Some years later he was brought to The Church of the Exceptional where he attended church with others with special needs from across the county.

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Ruff'ton Roots Plant Sale Saturday, April 27
Ruff'ton Roots Plant Sale Saturday, April 27

Ruff'ton Roots Community Garden is hosting its Plant Sale on Saturday, April 27 under the shade sails at 128 Hospital Drive, Rutherfordton. The sale begins at 10am and continues until 1pm or until sold out.

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Beloved Cliffside locomotive being restored
Beloved Cliffside locomotive being restored

(Angela Bendord Jamison wrote portions of this story, published some years ago in Carolina Country. The story is relevant today as the New Hope Valley Railway celebration the weekend of April 20 and April 21 includes an exhibit of Cliffside Railroad 110. Jamison runs Communicopia Marketing Services in Wake Forest.)

The New Hope Valley Railway (NHVR) in Bonsal acquired the historic steam locomotive, "Cliffside Railroad 110," about a decade ago and is in the process of restoring it. The steam locomotive was in residence at Stone Mountain Park, Ga. for about 60 years, before it was returned to North Carolina. The Stone Mountain Memorial Association, which manages the park, gave this old-time engine to NHVR located in Bonsal, below Apex in southwestern Wake County.

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Training  Service Dogs became a beacon  of hope; Saving lives is what the dogs do
Training Service Dogs became a beacon of hope; Saving lives is what the dogs do

Sitting in a college class some time ago, a K9 handler with her service dog at her side heard her dog whimpering and would not stop. The handler (who asked not to be identified) and dog Oliver Queen walked to the front of the room where the professor stood. The handler asked several questions of the professor regarding possible medical issues and the professor said he was fine. Oliver tapped the professor on his chest and the handler asked if he had heart issues. The professor did and was advised by the handler to seek medical attention. His life was saved. The service dog detected a serious heart issue.

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Agriculture meets environmentalism
Agriculture meets environmentalism

Moss and Thistle Farm is a place where agriculture meets environmentalism, says Gabe Isaac, executive director of the nonprofit Rutherford Outdoor Coalition (ROC).

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Two runners wanting  to make a difference began  Byrd & Bear 5K trail race
Two runners wanting to make a difference began Byrd & Bear 5K trail race

A college freshman who struggled with autism as a child and as a teenager, decided a few years ago he wanted to help others who also struggle.

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Area writer shares  World War II love story of his grandparents in new book
Area writer shares World War II love story of his grandparents in new book

World War II changed the lives of most people on earth at the time, says author Matthew Tessnear. The war led to death and destruction for millions who faced dangerous conditions almost unimaginable today. But the time period also resulted in new life through the numerous romances that blossomed as brave service members exchanged letters with their sweethearts back home.

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Outer Banks VIPs fishing trips rank way above average
Outer Banks VIPs fishing trips rank way above average

When Johny Carson, 70, of Rutherford County got on a van for the annual Visually Impaired Persons (VIP) Fishing Trip to the Outer Banks, he was beyond excited. It was not just an average fishing trip to the Outer Banks and it was not Johny's first VIP trip. It won't be his last either. He's already planning for the next trip in October.

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Hello! Bonjour! Aloha! Ohayo!  ESL classes are like one big family
Left to right: Natalia Zaikina (Russia), Maggie Archer (China), Johanna Pina (Ecuador), Mayra Sinchi (Ecuador), Lori Greene and Phil Archer. Mike Gavin Photo.
Hello! Bonjour! Aloha! Ohayo! ESL classes are like one big family

Gathered around a table in the English as a Second Language (ESL) evening class at Isothermal Community College recently, students from several countries talked with each other and shared laughs as if they were family.

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A tragedy created a desire to  Pay It Forward, selling Homes for Heroes is now this woman's goal
A tragedy created a desire to Pay It Forward, selling Homes for Heroes is now this woman's goal

A Connecticut couple who transferred to Rutherford County in 2020 for a job, would experience unbelievable tragedy less than three years later and yet the outpouring of love and friendship after the tragedy changed their lives forever.

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 Former Forest City native appointed an Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia
Helvi Luckadoo of Forest City and son Tommy Luckadoo at the ceremony to open the Honorary Consulate office in Hickory. The sign reads "Republic of Estonia Honorary Consul." The event was held Jan. 22 at Appalachian State University's campus In Hickory.
Former Forest City native appointed an Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia

Approximately eighty years after Estonia refugee Helvi Luckadoo fled the European country during World War II, her son Tommy Luckadoo, formerly of Forest City and now Hickory, has been appointed an Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia.

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Menu changed, but the purpose is the same
Menu changed, but the purpose is the same

For decades the Mt. Vernon Community Club has hosted its popular mouth-watering, delicious country ham and chicken pie suppers. In addition to the fellowship of the people, proceeds from the supper were given to various nonprofits and groups in the area.

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Kenneth Rice sets world record  at first ever powerlifting event
Kenneth Rice sets world record at first ever powerlifting event

Kenneth Rice of Rutherfordton had never participated in a United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) event until last month when he competed in the Blue Ridge event in Hendersonville.

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NASCAR Roots Run Deep In Rutherford County
NASCAR Roots Run Deep In Rutherford County

Jimmy Means made one of his final public appearances last summer at Tri-County Speedway's Pepsi Firecracker 400 for a pre-race autograph session in Granite Falls. Means and members of his team and family met the public on the bright sunny day, signed autographs and talked about his history in racing for more than 50 years. Twenty of those years Jimmy took the wheel of the race car and enjoyed racing all over the country. For the next 30 years he'd continue to race his cars with different drivers and was successful in the business as an independent racer.

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Rutherford County fan recalls
Rutherford County fan recalls "close friend" Earl Scruggs; celebrating Earl's 100th

The celebration of Earl Scruggs' 100th birthday on January 6 - his actual birth date - at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville was truly an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime event, Mary Beth Martin said. Martin, the executive director of the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, was among the packed crowd at the Ryman as bluegrass artists from across the the country paid tribute to the Cleveland County native.

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Salvation Army has new administrators
Joseph and Patti Rodgers.
Salvation Army has new administrators

Sgt. Joseph Rodgers and Sgt. Patti Rodgers came to the area six months ago for their first assignment with the Salvation Army. The couple, married 31 years, are the administrators of The Salvation Army of Cleveland and Rutherford Counties.

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"22aday" event comes to American Legion Post today

Michelle Hendrix said after her brother Brent's death, "she was lost." She relied on her brother for strength and support.

The former Chase High graduate and US Army infantryman in 2003, Brent "Hoss" Hendrix died on April 23, 2020 in Cincinnati after taking his own life. Hendrix lost a leg in the Iraq war in 2006 and for the next 14 years was haunted about the day his Jeep hit an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) while on duty. He would later say he was "blown up" and didn't remember the horrible accident. He would undergo more than 100 surgeries, was hospitalized at Walter Reed and other hospitals.

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Women finding sobriety and a future through Hope & Recovery
Women finding sobriety and a future through Hope & Recovery

A nonprofit organization in Rutherford County is successfully helping women transition from addiction to sobriety. There are 14 women in the Hope Network where they are attending meetings, studying the 12-step program and the Bible curriculum SALT. Most of the women have jobs and are working toward a better future.

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Forest City native visits his boyhood home just before Christmas
Forest City native visits his boyhood home just before Christmas

Robert B. "Little Jess" Hendrix returned to his hometown of Forest City recently with his wife Rilda and their daughter Ava Kennedy and visited some of the places he knew as a boy.

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Rutherfordton Christmas tree still brings families to town
Rutherfordton Christmas tree still brings families to town

More than 90 years ago members of the Rutherfordton Junior Woman's Club planted a medium-size, seven-foot tall Deodar cedar tree on the Rutherford County Courthouse Lawn.

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Ron McKinney's airport cafe career took him to heights beyond what he could've imagined
Ron McKinney behind the counter. Jean Gordon Photo.
Ron McKinney's airport cafe career took him to heights beyond what he could've imagined

When Brian Thomas and his five-year-old son Banks flew into the Rutherford County Airport on a bright sunny day recently, it was for the purpose of having a final meal with chef Ron McKinney at 57 Alpha Cafe.

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In short, corridor between Spindale & Rutherfordton will be a big deal
In short, corridor between Spindale & Rutherfordton will be a big deal

Funding from the Biden administration will help Spindale and Rutherfordton transform the congested thoroughfare between them into a pedestrian-friendly 'complete street' rarely seen in rural areas.

The walk along Main Street in Rutherfordton, a town older than the Constitution, takes you past ice cream and fudge shops; a barber and a children's museum; and a tiny park with flower gardens, fairy lights, and benches in the shade.

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