Stories and photos by WINGATE LASSITER unless credited otherwise
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School board winners: Tippett, Donovan, Antoine;

school bonds approved by a comfortable margin

Duplicating their finish in the 13-candidate Primary Election race in May, the trio of Terry Tippett, Kevin Donovan, and Michelle Antoine (pictured left to right, in order of votes they received) will join Johnston County's Board of Education as new members next month. All three were candidates endorsed by Citizen Advocates for Accountable Government, which organized protests this past year against mask mandates and alleged teaching of Critical Race Theory in Johnston's public schools.

They'll join Lyn Andrews, Kay Carroll, Ronald Johnson, and Mike Wooten on the school board. Giving up seats are Chairman Todd Sutton and Vice Chair Terri Sessoms, who chose not to seek re-election, and Al Byrd, who fell short of winning renomination in the May Primary. As a result, the reconstituted board will elect a new chairman
when it meets for the first time in December.

The $177-million school-bond issue on Johnston County's ballots this fall won approval from just under 65% of voters: 45,996 said yes, 25,012 said no. School leaders have said this is likely the first of three bond referendums – the second in 2024, the third in 2026 – that will be needed to build new schools and expand others to keep pace with Johnston's projected growth by the end of the decade. County officials have said the $177-million issue can be phased in over the next couple of years without raising property taxes.

Board of Education (3 seats)
Terry Tippett 36,542
Kevin Donovan 30,380
Michelle Antoine 29,667
Melissa Bowers 23,884
Rick Mercier 22,324
Mark Lane 22,075
County Commissioner, Dist. 4
April Stephens 46,765
Evelyn L. Sanders 26,331
N.C. Senate, District 10
Benton Sawrey 47,887
Gettys Cohen Jr. 26,792
N.C. House, District 28
Larry Strickland 18,769
Wendy Ella May   7,269
U.S. House, District 13
Bo Hines 46,021
Wiley Nickel 28,785
U.S. Senate (statewide seat)
Ted Budd 46,058
Cheri Beasley 27,739

The table on the right shows how Johnston
County voted in key races of local interest (numbers released by the Board of Elections on Wednesday, but not yet official):

Democrat Wiley Nickel won election to represent the new 13th Congressional District that encompasses all of Johnston County, parts
of Harnett and Wayne counties, and southern Wake. His election helps produce an evenly divided Tar Heel delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives – seven Democrats and seven Republicans – for the first time in two decades.

While voters in Johnston, Harnett, and Wayne gave Republican Bo Hines large majorities, almost 62% of Wake County's votes went to
Mr. Nickel, who won the district as a whole by
a vote of 140,531 (51.32%) to 133,291.

Republicans won all local races on the ballot. That includes contests for seats in the N.C. General Assembly: Benton Sawrey over Democrat Gettys Cohen Jr. for Johnston's lone seat in the N.C. Senate, incumbent Larry Strickland over Democrat Wendy Ella May for
the District 28 seat in the N.C. House of Representatives (covering Smithfield and most
of Johnston County), incumbent Donna White
over Democrat Linda Bennett for the District 26 seat in the N.C. House (covering Clayton and Archer Lodge), and Howard Penny Jr. for the District 53 seat (McGee's Crossroads area and westward).

Only one of four seats on the Johnston County Board of Commissioners up for election this fall was contested: Recently appointed Republican Commissioner April Stephens defeated Democrat Evelyn L. Sanders for the District 4 seat (representing southernmost portions of the county).

In a non-partisan race for Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor, John Michael Langdon out-polled Dewitt Hardee.

Republicans won all contests for offices elected statewide. For U.S. Senator, Ted Budd got 1,891,342 votes (50.71%), Democrat Cheri Beasley 1,755,716. Republicans Richard Dietz and Trey Allen won two races for N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice (giving Republicans a 5-2 majority on the state's highest court) while Julee Tate Flood, Donna Stroud, John M. Tyson, and Michael J. Stading won four seats on the N.C. Court of Appeals.

VISIT the N.C. Board of Elections website to find vote totals for all contests>

Re-elected without opposition on this fall's ballots were incumbent Superior Court Judge Tom Lock, newly elected Superior Court Judge Paul Holcombe, District Court Judge Joy Jones and newly elected judges Travis Wheeler and Jason Kimble, District Attorney Susan Doye, County Commissioners Dickie Braswell, Patrick Harris, and Butch Lawter, Clerk of Superior Court Michelle Ball, Register of Deeds Craig Olive, and Sheriff Steve Bizzell (opposed by a write-in candidate who fell way short of making it a contest).

Among incumbents running without opposition, Register of Deeds Olive garnered the highest vote total – 55,137 – of anyone on Johnston's ballots.

With absentee, provisional, and transfer ballots yet to be counted, at least 75,718 Johnstonians voted in this fall's election – 38,859 (51.3%) at early-voting sites, according to the county's Board of Elections. The total counted so far is 49.8% of Johnston's 151,952 registered voters. This fall's showing is well short of a record turnout of more than 110,800 Johnston County voters in the 2020 General Election – a number that was 77% of registered voters at the time.

COMPLETE Johnston County results posted on the Board of Elections website>



trucks in a
smaller way

The 7th annual Junior Women's League Touch-A-Truck fund-raiser last Saturday was mostly about really big trucks and other such stuff. But for some kids, playing with the miniature models in a sand pile was a fun thing, too.

Proceeds from the event will boost Junior Women's League initiatives like Blessing Boxes and Peanut Butter Buddies. "Funds also support grants for other Johnston County non-profits to assist with the development of programs benefiting women and children," says the League on its website. "JWL has awarded over $135,000 in Community Impact Grants since its inception in January 2016."



Our signs have changed
with the change in our seasons.

to make sure you're ready
for colder days coming our way!


County OKs $138.5 million for water/sewer projects

In an effort to stay a step ahead of Johnston County's unprecedented real-estate development and population growth, the County Commissioners Monday approved funding plans for expansions of its water-treatment plant and a new sewage plant already under construction. Total projected cost of it all: $138,538,680.

The breakdown of funding sources: $19,686,695 from a state Clean Water loan at 1.1% interest over 20 years, an allocation of $34,665,833 from the county's share of federal American Rescue Plan Act funding related to COVID relief, $2,373,000 from reserves set aside from monthly fees paid by the county's water and sewer customers, and $780,735 from System Development Fees paid by residential subdivision builders.

The Timothy G. Broome Water Treatment Plant on the Neuse River at Wilson's Mills will be expanded to treat 18-million gallons a day – up from its current capacity of 14-million gallons. T.A. Loving Company of Goldsboro got commissioners' approval of a design-build contract for that project, budgeted to cost $7,029,417.

The new 210 Wastewater Treatment Plant under construction near the county's landfill west of Smithfield will be enlarged from an initial capacity of 4-million gallons per day to 8-million gallons. Included in that project is construction of a sewage "force main" with pipes 30 inches in diameter leading to the new plant. Low-bidder Sanford Contractors won approval of a contract to do that work at a cost of $17,271,430, bringing the revised budget for the sewage plant's expansion to $129,506,263.

Commissioners want closing of NC 210 bridge reconsidered

Instead of approving an easement agreement to allow the N.C. Department of Transportation to move ahead with replacement of the NC. 210 bridge over Middle Creek, commissioners asked for a meeting with NCDOT officials about options that could keep the bridge open to traffic.

The board was told that the replacement as proposed would require a 10-mile detour for eight months. Commissioner Ted Godwin asked if the project could include a second parallel bridge for 210's future widening in response to western Johnston's growth. That could be built while the existing bridge remains in service; then the older structure could be demolished and replaced, with the second bridge maintaining traffic flow through the project's duration.

Contract awarded for 2025 countywide real-estate revaluation

The board approved staff's recommendation to employ Pearson's Appraisal Services of Wilson and Richmond, Va. to begin preparations for the next countywide revaluation of real estate for taxation just two years from this January. After the last revaluation was done in 2019, commissioners decided to shorten the lapse between revaluations from eight years to six this time and then every four years after that in an effort to keep pace with a rapidly changing real-estate market.

Under the contract approved Monday, Pearson's will be paid $22.90 per parcel for an estimated 110,000 parcels of property in Johnston County to be reassessed.

Additional maintenance position added for two new buildings

The board authorized Facilities Director Daniel Clifton to add a 10th employee to the maintenance staff of the county's Building & Grounds Department to handle increased workloads associated with the new Detention and Public Safety centers under construction beside US 70 Business east of Smithfield.

Mr. Clifton said the additional expense can be covered by not immediately filling a housekeeping position already in the current year's county budget. The Detention Center is "likely to be open" in January, with the Public Safety Center to follow next July, County Manager Rick Hester told the Weekly Sun.

READ the board clerk's summary of Monday's morning session>
READ the clerk's summary of the evening session>


HOME FOR SALE IN SOUTH SMITHFIELD:  2,427 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2-car garage. 811 Baker Street (MLS# 2478008). Asking price: $410,000.


Colorful reminder
for breast-cancer awareness at SSS

Storm Turner of the Smithfield-Selma High School Fire Academy painted this fire hydrant on the grounds at SSS to remind students, staff, and visitors about the importance of screening for breast cancer.

The school's Fire Science program and Fire Club are led by Chief Edward Twigg and currently involve 50 students in a variety of community projects such as building fire props for training, maintaining fire trucks, and holding fund-raisers to help meet the needs of local firefighting services. (Photo from SSS)



Smithfield-Selma shut out 3-0, ending 9-win season

For the second time in the last three games of the season, the Spartans failed to score, this time losing 3-0 to Quad County Conference foe Wilson Hunt in the first round of the state 3-A playoffs. Two months ago SSS defeated Hunt 21-17 on the Warriors' home turf. Last Friday's playoff loss occurred here at home.

The only score in the game came with just over six minutes remaining. The 30-yard field goal that won it for Hunt followed a Spartan miscue at the SSS 36-yard when the punter's knee touched the ground before the ball took flight. The SSS kept the Warriors from advancing beyond the 15-yard line, but that was enough to set up the game-winning score.

The Spartans had an opportunity to put points on the board in the second quarter after moving the ball downfield to the Hunt 19-yard line, but a quarterback sack on fourth down ended the threat.

According to a report in The Wilson Times, the Spartans' offense was limited to just 48 total yards in the game – 34 on passes and just 14 net yards rushing. SSS held Hunt to 140 total yards.

The loss ends the most successful season for Smithfield-Selma in more than two decades, with a record of 9-2 this year following an 8-4 mark last year. Ironically, conference foe C.B. Aycock, which had beaten SSS by a score of 7-0 three weeks ago, was also upset for elimination from the playoffs last Friday. The two would have faced off again this Friday if both had won last week's games.


Last week's football scores for other Johnston County schools
Clayton (6-5)                10
Millbrook                      27
Cleveland (11-0)          42
Topsail                         14
North Johnston (3-8)   12
Nash Central               60
Princeton (10-1)           64
Goldsboro                     8
South Johnston (5-6)    0
Seventy-First               62
Results are from Round 1
of N.C. high-school playoffs

Neuse Charter basketball teams win opening games

The Cougars' boys basketball team opened the season with two smashing victories this week: 84-22 against Southern Wake Academy at Holly Springs on Monday and 113-12 against American Leadership Academy-Johnston at home on Tuesday.

Senior Sire Holmes scored 33 points Monday and 19 Tuesday to lead the Neuse Charter attack. Senior Philip Sullivan scored 16 Monday and 25 Tuesday, junior Jayvin Bradley 13 Monday and 15 Tuesday. Senior Donollyn Tyrell contributed 21 points in Tuesday's runaway.

The girls basketball team also opened the season with wins: 36-13 over Southern Wake Academy on Monday and 50-11 over ALA-Johnston on Tuesday. Sophomore Cayley Cochran led the Cougars with 9 points Monday and 20 Tuesday; senior Lyndsy Parrish added 7 Monday and 9 Tuesday.


The Johnston County Courthouse was lit up for Operation Green Light this week in advance of Veterans Day – in keeping with a national initiative of the National Association of Counties to "raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by many veterans" of the nation's armed forces. (County of Johnston photo)


Veterans Day observance returning to SSS; fireworks axed

Friday is Veterans Day – observed every year on November 11, the date the Armistice was signed in 1918 to end the "Great War" (World War I). The day will be marked again this year by the 11 a.m. commemoration at Smithfield-Selma High School, hosted by Johnston County Public Schools. The Town of Smithfield had planned its own celebration with fireworks Friday evening at Community Park but decided Wednesday to cancel it because of the threat of severe weather associated with Tropical Storm Nicole.

Kiwanis Pancake Supper at Centenary Church this evening

The Smithfield Kiwanis Club's Pancake Supper – dating back three-quarters of a century – will be offered from 5 to 8 p.m. today (Thursday) at Centenary United Methodist Church. Cost for either eating in or taking out a plate is $8, with the proceeds benefiting the club's community-service projects.

Neuse Little Theatre offers a "farce" – opening this Friday

"Boeing Boeing" is the troupe's 173rd production in its 48th year, with shows this weekend and next at The Hut beside the river in Smithfield. Here are the details:



Click on the name to read an obituary, usually posted by the funeral home

MARY LOU ABDALLA ATTAYEK, 93 – died November 8


MARY JO LANGDON (CONNIE) PEARCE, 81 – died November 6

LILIAN RAE BLACKMAN, 5 – died November 4

LINDA SUE HALES, 75 – died November 3

JAMES RAEFORD MASSEY SR., 86 – died November 3

META GRAY THOMPSON HAYES, 66 – died November 2

RICHARD LOUIS WILLIAMS, 88 – died November 2



Looks like this technology is slowing folks down...

We're seeing more and more of these devices at work in cities and towns in an effort to slow down speeding motorists, especially in residential neighborhoods like this one on Smithfield's North Second Street. The flashing signs free police officers from time-consuming stake-outs along troublesome roadways, and they're "on duty" 24/7.

North Second is an especially busy neighborhood street, serving as the principal route from West Smithfield to destinations north of Downtown. Not only are the residents there having to put up with speeders during busy daylight hours; they're also being disturbed by noisy vehicles at night, so the Town Council was told last week. Putting a stop to that may take more than automated signage.

Speaking of motorists racing through neighborhoods, whatever happened to the idea of placing speed bumps or humps on streets in West Smithfield (and elsewhere throughout town) to slow folks down?


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