Commissioners to talk courthouse, school, other items Monday

The Hoke County Board of Commissioners will meet Monday, January 30 in a special called session to talk about a number of important projects. See the meeting notice below: NOTICE OF A SPECIAL CALLED MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR THE COUNTY OF HOKE Notice is hereby given that a special called meeting of the BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR...

Sheriff: “People are dying,” community fights violence

Sheriff: “People are dying,” community fights violence

[Photo: Participants at the meeting gathered to address the rise in shootings and other violence in Raeford and Hoke County. (Catharin Shepard photo)] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • A community meeting held last Thursday night gave citizens a chance to voice their concerns and their ideas for how to make Hoke County a safer place. About 100 people turned...

Service celebrates MLK Day with song, prayer

Service celebrates MLK Day with song, prayer

[Photo: A Unity March through downtown Raeford this Monday also honored the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Catharin Shepard photo) By Catharin Shepard • Editor • The Rev. Stackhouse of Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Hoke County had one word to sum up what the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day service was all about. “We’re here...

County chairman talks 2023 priorities

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Education, construction projects and future development are some of the priorities for the Hoke County Board of Commissioners going into 2023, Commission Chairman Allen Thomas said. Thomas sat down with the News-Journal last week to talk about what’s going on in Hoke, what commissioners discussed at a recent retreat and what the elected leaders...

Recent shootings may related to gang rivalries, sheriff says

The Hoke County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Roderick Virgil issued a statement this week in the wake of multiple shootings, saying that the increased violence appears to be because of gang activity. The agency is working with other law enforcement entities to investigate the crimes and prevent future acts of violence, Virgil’s office said. “The Sheriff’s Office is acutely aware...

Space, budget tight for new courthouse plans

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Both the available space to build a new Hoke County Courthouse in downtown Raeford, and the state-funded grant money available to build it are going to be tight as commissioners work out details of the project. Commissioners will have to decide how to proceed after two board members heard concerns from stakeholders at...

Raeford police shoot, kill armed man

Two Raeford police officers shot and killed an armed man Monday night when he drew a handgun and pointed it at them, the Raeford Police Department announced. Tavares Harrington, 34, of the 300 block of East Sixth in Raeford was fatally shot in what Raeford Police Chief Marc Godwin said was an act of self-defense by the officers. “The assailant...

Virgil sworn in as Hoke County sheriff

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Just a few days after his 43rd birthday, Hoke County Sheriff Roderick Virgil raised his right hand and took the oath during a ceremony that marked the start of his first full four-year term in office. The service held Monday at the Mt. Pisgah Community Resource Center saw Virgil and his staff sworn...

Hometown Christmas is this Friday on Main Street

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Santa Claus is coming to Raeford this Friday for the seventh annual Hometown Christmas, and so is the Grinch. Santa will arrive in town at 5:30 p.m. December 2 to help with lighting the Christmas tree at Freedom Park, located at the corner of Main Street and East Central Avenue.  Afterward, he’ll stick...

Woman gets new home through ReBuild N.C.

Woman gets new home through ReBuild N.C.

[Photo: Karen McLean celebrates getting the keys to her new home from contractor Eric Pender of Shepherd Response.] By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Karen McLean’s home on Cumberland Avenue was so badly damaged by Hurricane Matthew that come winter time, she had to put flannel sheets and thick plastic on the cinder block walls to keep out the...

Shooting range could go by treatment plant

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • After rescinding original plans to put a law enforcement gun range near the Hoke County animal shelter, county commissioners will instead consider putting it at the back of wooded property at the county’s wastewater treatment plant. First, they’ll hold a public hearing to get feedback from any citizens who might have concerns about...

Recreation center, swimming pool construction still underway

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Construction crews are still hard at work building the James Leach Hoke County Aquatic Center and will probably be working until the end of December to complete the project, according to county officials. Commissioner James Leach, the building’s namesake, said he visited the building site last week and got an update on where...

Local emergency planning committee holds kickoff meeting

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • When Alfred K. “Dooie” Leach got word that one of FCI Inc.’s facilities was on fire on New Year’s Eve, at first he thought it might be the company’s office headquarters, not one of the buildings that works with farm chemicals. When he arrived at the scene on St. Pauls Road and saw...

Sandhills-born playwright, New York cast bring Gospel play ‘Yesterday is Here’ to Seabrook Auditorium

Sandhills-born playwright, New York cast bring Gospel play ‘Yesterday is Here’ to Seabrook Auditorium

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • A playwright who grew up in the area is returning home this month and bringing with her an original Gospel stage play, “Yesterday is Here.” Arlean Wells founded her own production company, A.N. Wells Enterprise. She writes, directs and produces her own plays, directs productions for other playwrights and also teaches acting and...

Incumbents return to commission, sheriff’s office, newcomers join school board

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Hoke voters returned incumbents to the county commission and sheriff’s office, and chose three new members for school board in the 2022 general election. Incumbent Hoke County Commissioners Tony Hunt, Harry Southerland and Allen Thomas, all Democrats, were voted back in for four-year terms over Republican candidates Johnny Boyles, David Frump and Chris...

Mill Prong opens for Christmas Open House Dec. 4

The Board of Directors of Mill Prong, Inc. is inviting the public to a Christmas Open House at Mill Prong House. The historic home is located at 3062 Edinburg Road, Red Springs (in Hoke County). The Christmas Open House is set for Sunday, December 4 from 2-5 p.m. In the late 1700s John Gilchrist, a Highland Scot, came with his...

N.C. Supreme Court rules in favor of funding Leandro plan

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • The North Carolina State Supreme Court ruled Friday that a judge did have the authority to order the state to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to fund a remedial education plan meant to bring public schools into compliance with the Leandro court decision. The justices ruled 4-3 to uphold a lower court’s...

Brock book signing is Saturday at library

Rockfish author and family genealogist Claudyne Brock will hold a book signing at the Hoke County Public Library Saturday, November 5 to celebrate the reprinting of her first book. Brock’s children’s book, “Little Johnny Goes to Bible School,” has been updated with new photos, cover art and more as part of its reprinting. She will sign copies of the children’s...

Early voting closes Saturday, election is Tuesday

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • With a few days still to go in the one-stop early voting, turnout ahead of election day continued to be strong as people go to the polls to choose local, state and federal elections. By close of day Monday over 4,760 Hoke County voters had cast an early ballot during the one-stop voting...

Have you seen ‘Snuggles’? Pet cockatiel is on the loose in East Hoke

Have you seen ‘Snuggles’? Pet cockatiel is on the loose in East Hoke

[Photo: Park and Snuggles (Submitted photo)] A Halloween decoration proved to be too scary for an East Hoke resident’s pet cockatiel, and there’s a $1,000 reward offered to anyone who can get the beloved bird safely back home where she belongs. Moon Park’s grey female cockatiel, Snuggles, got the fright of her feathered life around 2 p.m. Saturday, October 22....

Hometown Christmas returns Dec. 2

It’s almost that time of year again as the Raeford-Hoke Chamber of Commerce prepares to present the annual Hometown Christmas in downtown Raeford. This year Hometown Christmas will be held Friday, December 2 from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Local businesses will deck the halls with lights and decorations and stay open into the evening for shoppers to see what downtown Raeford...

Early voting opens ahead of Nov. 8 election

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • One-stop early voting is now open at two sites in Hoke County for voters to cast a ballot ahead of the Tuesday, November 8 election day. This year’s election will decide multiple local races including three seats on the Hoke County Board of Education, three seats on the Hoke County Board of Commissioners...

Hunt, Wright win LRCOG awards

Hoke County Attorney Grady Hunt and Raeford-Hoke County Economic Development Director Will Wright received awards this month from the Lumber River Council of Governments (LRCOG) for their efforts serving with the organization. Hunt received the Rural Planning Organization Transportation Advisory Committee Member of the Year award. Hunt has served as Hoke County local government legal counsel since 2012. He has...

When does Raeford & Hoke County trick-or-treat?

This is a question we get asked a lot, but there’s not an “official” answer! Local governments in Raeford and Hoke County don’t typically set “official” trick-or-treating hours. Unofficially, most people in the area tend to go out with their little ghosts and goblins on Halloween night around the time the sun starts to set for maximum spookiness. Though, plenty...