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$5,000 reward available in animal-cruelty case
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HENDERSON — There’s a $5,000 reward available for anyone who can give local officials information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the deaths of a pair of dogs they found in crates on the side of Pool Rock Road.

Animal Services Chief Frankie Nobles said the Ruin Creek Animal Protection Society put up the money a day after Animal Control officers found the two dogs.

Officials want to find the person who put the dogs out. But so far, “we have no information on anybody at this time,” he said.

Nobles said anyone with a tip to share can call Animal Services at 252-492-3136, or email the Ruin Creek Animal Protection Society at info@rcaps.org.

“Any information that we get, we can look at and see,” he said.

The deaths were the second of two significant animal cruelty or neglect cases the department took on in mid-February.

Two other dogs came in, alive, thanks to what officials have termed a “caring citizen” who brought them in after finding them. Their coats were badly matted and their nails, ears and teeth were also in poor condition.

Contact Ray Gronberg at rgronberg@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.

An intense rain squall made the going treacherous on Monday afternoon for pedestrians along Dabney Drive in Henderson.

Stepping carefully

CCS ends tough season with loss to Cape Fear Christian Academy
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ERWIN — Capping a year of adversity for the Crossroads Christian men’s basketball program, the Colts on Saturday evening suffered a loss to Cape Fear Christian Academy, which used its superior athleticism to dominate the game and win 79-38.

Crossroads ended up finishing the season with a 4-11 overall record, but head coach Scottie Richardson said the final total was nowhere near indicative of how hard his players worked to improve while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We won the season,” Richardson said. “It’s been such a crazy year, and for this team to make the Elite 8 with all of the adversity we’ve been through is amazing. We could have lost by 100 and still won.”

Although Cape Fear established a presence underneath the rim early, the Colts initially kept pace thanks to efficient shooting from senior Asher Fulk, who knocked down three early triples to give his team an early lead.

Once Fulk had to go to the bench with his second foul in the first quarter, Cape Fear took advantage and began attacking CCS from every angle. A 10-point deficit for Crossroads at the end of the opening quarter quickly festered to 28 points, with another three from Fulk being CCS’ only points in the second quarter.

Cape Fear only added to its advantage during the final 16 minutes and advanced into the Final Four of the NCISAA 1A playoffs with the 41-point win.

Having previously lost to Cape Fear by a score of 90-59 to open the season on Nov. 13, Richardson did not expect anything to come easy on Saturday afternoon and is confident that Cape Fear is a favorite to win the state championship following its performance against CCS.

“They added a couple of new pieces that we didn’t play against in the first game,” Richardson said. “We played hard early, but we knew that it was going to be a tough task and that this would be a game of energy. [Cape Fear] is a good team and they are No. 1 in the East for a reason.”

Saturday also served as the final game for Crossroads seniors Fulk, Colby Taylor and Noah Brantley, who Richardson praised for stepping up to guide their fellow teammates during a mentally straining campaign.

Fulk, who scored 17 of CCS’ 38 points against Cape Fear, considered himself honored to learn from Richardson during his final three years with the program. But he also believes the upcoming senior class will easily carry on the values and principles he, Brantley and Taylor instilled into the team this season.

“It was a good ride during my three years here,” Fulk said. “I’m just happy that me, Colby and Noah ended up leaving a legacy here, and I’m happy that we can pass it down. This isn’t the end of anything, but instead it’s the beginning of something these guys are going to do. We’re the foundation, but they’re going to keep building.”

Fulk intends to become a student manager at the collegiate level, with the goal to eventually become a head coach himself one day. He said that a year as challenging as the 2020-21 season provided him great practice on how to guide others through different types of situations.

“You just never knew what was going to happen,” Fulk said. “You had to stay on your toes and you couldn’t let anything get you down. Throughout the year, we had so many different themes that were designed to keep us going, with unity being the biggest thing. We had to stay unified through all this.”

Even though Fulk will no longer be a part of CCS basketball, the rest of the team’s starting lineup — juniors Andres Prince, Drew Rogers, John Eason Jr. and Trent Willingham — are all expected to return to the team next year.

Richardson said that the impact of Fulk, Brantley and Taylor will be seen throughout the program for many years to come. He is counting on the next senior class and the rest of the underclassmen to carry on that legacy and continue to make CCS competitive in basketball during what he hopes will be a more normal year.

“Continuity and chemistry are going to be important,” Richardson said. “There were a lot of things that we missed with all of the times we stopped and restarted, but we have to get better fundamentally and I think we can accomplish that.”

WCS teacher was recognized by DPI
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WARRENTON — Kirby Alston, an Exceptional Children’s Teacher at Mariam Boyd Elementary School, has been honored by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

“It is truly an exciting honor,” she said. She teaches kindergarten through fifth grade. “I was very shocked. But, I’m excited and it is such an honor.”

In lieu of the regular Educator of Excellence celebration, which did not happen this year because of the cancellation of the annual Conference on Exceptional Children, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Exceptional Children Division has forged a new way for districts to recognize “outstanding educators, related service personnel and special education support staff providing services to students with disabilities during this unprecedented time,” according to Warren County Schools’ website.

Exceptional Children Program directors and coordinators were invited to recognize “Extraordinarily Exceptional Educators” in their district throughout the 2020-21 academic year. Alston was one of the teachers in North Carolina to be recognized as an “outstanding teacher, related service personnel, and special education support staff serving students with disabilities in their district, charter school, residential school, or state-operated program for fall 2020,” according to the WCS website.

Hard work was among the topics she brought up during a phone interview.

She said she isn’t sure why she was honored, but said “guess maybe just my hard work and dedication to the job.” She said she tries to give her all each day.

“I know this year [has] probably not been easy for any teacher, with all of the virtual going on and the COVID and everything,” she said. “But each day I just try to give [it] my all and stay positive.”

Alston loves the students she works with and loves her job.

She has taught many new skills to students. “That’s my main thing, just to see growth,” she said. “Teaching them a skill that maybe they didn’t come into my class knowing how to do. That’s my goal. If I’ve taught them at least one thing.”

April love
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I tell folks that Petey was my first love.

But that’s not true.

His name was Lancelot.

My parents bought him for me the April I turned 16. He cost $500.

He was a 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger. It was love at first sight. He was white with a green faux leather top. He had the kind of windows where when you rolled down both front and back, there was no center bar so the whole side of the car was open.

It was a kinda-convertible.

He didn’t have AC, but there was a vent with a little door next to the brake. I could slip off my left shoe, and while barreling down the road, use my toes, turn the latch, and open the little door smooth as silk.

In 1981, my best friend Kitty and I saw the movie “Excalibur.” It was wonderful and we loved it; the cast includes Dame Helen Mirren, as Morgan Le Fey, and Sir Patrick Stewart. If you haven’t seen it, do so with all due haste, Gentle Reader.

King Arthur was handsome, kingly, and dignified.

But Lancelot.

Chiseled cheekbones and jawline, dark curly hair, and eyes of sapphire blue. Kitty and I fell in love. We became obsessed in the way that only teenage girls can be. And somehow, my dreamy ride was christened “Lancelot.”

My little brother stenciled the name on the back bumper.

Two things; at the time, there was no “click it or ticket” law. And, Lancelot had bench seats in the front. I’m sure you know where I’m going here.

Because although the car usually contained only Kitty and me, there were times when every possible inch of seat was full of friends, with more kids sitting on laps. In this Jenga-like manner, I could fit a total of 11 people in the car.

One of the first “death-defying” adventures we had happened on the way home from school. The car was about three-quarters full, the music was on full blast, and we were flying down the road.

On Halstead Boulevard, there was a railroad crossing without lights or gate. We saw the train coming, but being a neophyte driver, I didn’t yet have the experience to judge the distance and speed very well. Nowadays I would just wait for the train.


But I was a dumb kid, with a car full of dumb kids. And as such, we were foolhardy and immortal. So, I sped up. We crossed, it seemed, with inches to spare. Every one of us was screaming bloody murder. After the crossing, I pulled over to catch my breath from our brush with the Grim Reaper.

In all truth, it probably wasn’t that close of a call, but again, a car full of dumb kids full of drama and imagination.

I loved Lancelot with every bit of me. That car was my freedom and my sanctuary.

But, I was also careless with him.

Before my dad let me pull the car out of the driveway the first time, I was trained to change a tire, check the fluids, and add oil.

Unfortunately, I never bothered to perform this maintenance. You’d think the first time I ran it without oil for so long the engine seized up and my dad had to replace it, I would learn.

You would be very wrong.

I can still see my dad, the day the second engine seized and expired.

He was standing next to Lancelot, whispering, “Never, ever let this happen again.” What really made an impression and kind of scared me though, was the way he was gently banging his head against the garage wall.

Thanks for your time.

Contact Debbie Matthews at dm@bullcity.mom.