Year: 2023

Home 2023
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On the brighter side of 2023

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • While there was controversy, crime and the lingering effects of COVID-19, the year 2023 also had its brighter sides. Here are a few of the good things that happened in Hoke, large and small, to end the year on a positive note – and in 2024, don’t forget to...

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N.C. 211 widening to kick off in summer 2024

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • While 2023 saw the very beginnings of work to clear the way for widening N.C. 211 to a four-lane road between Raeford and Aberdeen, 2024 will see the start of the next phase of the project that’s been years in the making. Questions among Hoke residents of “why did...

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Hoke school board directs members to repay “any unauthorized compensation”

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • The Hoke County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to direct each individual board member to repay “any unauthorized compensation” by June of next year. Rosa McAllister-McRae made the motion, “I move that the Hoke County Board of Education direct its individual members to each repay to Hoke...

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Hoke school board could face charges

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Hoke and Moore County District Attorney Mike Hardin made it clear in a Superior Court hearing Monday that he is looking into the Board of Education members receiving “staff retention” bonuses as a criminal matter, not a civil matter. “I am considering whether to charge the school board members...

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Sex offender sentenced to 75-105 years in prison

A registered sex offender was found guilty last week of sexual crimes against a child, and sentenced to 75-105 years in prison. Investigators with the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office arrested Raheem Davis in August 2022 on three counts of statutory rape of a child by an adult, and three counts of indecent liberties with a...

Banquet honors Blue, helps youth
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Banquet honors Blue, helps youth

[Photo: Surrounded by family, Linda Blue gets a hug at the HNASA banquet, held last Friday night to help send local youth to college. Blue was the recipient of the Mitch Tyler Award.] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • A teacher assistant who has dedicated decades of her life to helping children learn was named...

Veterans Day ceremony honors sacrifice, patriotism
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Veterans Day ceremony honors sacrifice, patriotism

[Photo: George Balch (at left) and John F. Harry, both Hoke County veterans, received honors at the ceremony held Saturday at City Hall in recognition of their hard work and many contributions to support other military veterans in the community and beyond.] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Veteran’s Day is “a day to celebrate...

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Recount confirms Raeford City Council election results

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • A recount Tuesday night of all the ballots cast in the recent Raeford City Council election confirmed the unofficial results announced last week. Ricky Sandy, Johnny Boyles and Jackie McLean remained as the top three candidates that voters chose to take seats on the city council in December, with...

Stewart’s Tavern bringing barbecue to downtown Raeford
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Stewart’s Tavern bringing barbecue to downtown Raeford

[Photo: James and Kimberly Stewart are new business owners opening a restaurant on Main Street.] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Downtown Raeford is getting a brand-new restaurant that will serve up barbecue and a family-friendly atmosphere, brought to life by a couple with close ties to Hoke County and the restaurant business. James and...

Raeford City Council candidates answer questions
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Raeford City Council candidates answer questions

The News-Journal asked all nine candidates running for Raeford City Council questions about why they’re seeking office, what they want to achieve and their thoughts on local issues. Read on to learn more about the people hoping to become Raeford’s next city council members. Voters will be able to select three new council members this...

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Board members arrange bonus payback

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • According to information from Hoke County Schools, Hoke County Board of Education members have either made arrangements to not accept their stipend in order to pay back the bonus money, or have outright paid it back. Documents showed at least four out of the five members specifically made arrangements:...

Military family gets home office makeover
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Military family gets home office makeover

[Photo: The Rever family of Hoke County came home from a “staycation” to see the newly renovated home office. T-Mobile, Blue Star Families and Brock Cabinets came together to make it happen. (Catharin Shepard photos)] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • When Alyssa Rever and her husband Matt Rever, a warrant officer at Fort Liberty,...

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Hoke commissioners deny rezoning, approve subdivision

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • After the county Planning Board unanimously recommended denial, and after hearing concerns about the process and the proposal from residents, the Hoke County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to deny a rezoning request for property on Rockfish Road. The rezoning request, application for general use rezoning RZ-23-14...

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$15 million in state budget for Hoke, Raeford

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • The North Carolina General Assembly’s budget, which passed last Friday, contains about $15.7 million for infrastructure projects and other improvements in Raeford and Hoke County. Hoke’s elected state leaders, Rep. Garland Pierce and Sen. Danny Britt, announced the funds once the budget passed the General Assembly in the early...

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Hoke High staff hurt while breaking up fights

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Two Hoke County High School staff members went to the hospital Monday, one with a laceration to the forehead and the other for back issues, after breaking up fights on the high school campus. Two teachers were also checked out for “cuts and abrasions,” and two safety monitors had...

Hoke Reading and Literacy Council celebrates 45th anniversary
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Hoke Reading and Literacy Council celebrates 45th anniversary

[Photo: Attendees enjoyed the celebration last week at the Robert A. Wright Agriculture Building in Hoke County.] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Cosandera Melvin had a computer at home, but didn’t know how to use it.  While getting her hair done one day, a friend told her about the Saturday computer classes at the...

Local ‘studs’ serve up sliders at Habitat fundraiser
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Local ‘studs’ serve up sliders at Habitat fundraiser

[Photo: Raeford Police Chief Marc Godwin was among the volunteer men who served up some sliders at the Habitat for Humanity fundraiser.] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • It’s not every day Raeford’s mayor, police chief, assistant police chief and a city council member put on hard hats to wait tables, but it happened for...

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Hoke High improves, some schools slip in performance grades

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • No Hoke County schools flunked, and Hoke High improved to earn a B letter grade in the most recent round of statewide school performance grades. Hoke High and SandHoke Early College High School earned the only B and A grades out of the county’s 13 graded public schools this...

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“We’re facing embezzlement charges”: Court orders Hoke County Board of Education, Board of Commissioners to turn over records

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • The Hoke County Board of Education is facing a possible embezzlement probe, according to documents from the Hoke County District Attorney’s office and statements school board Chair Angela Southerland made last week. Southerland said “we’re facing embezzlement charges, which is a felony,” and later said the situation is in...

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News-Journal, EKOH Magazine win NCPA awards

The News-Journal and the EKOH Magazine won five awards last week in the North Carolina Press Association’s annual contests. The EKOH Magazine won first and second place in Magazine or Niche Publication Division A in the 2022-2023 News, Editorial and Photojournalism Contest. Newspaper Publisher Jessica Hendrix Brown won first and third place in Entertainment Ad...

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Schools hire Poyner Spruill law firm for legal counsel

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • After failed motions in two separate meetings, the Hoke County Board of Education voted 3-2 last Thursday to hire the Poyner Spruill law firm to be the board’s new legal counsel. At the board’s regularly scheduled workshop meeting last Tuesday evening, the school board came close to hiring a...

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Arabia residents win rezoning denial after overflowing county commission meeting

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Arabia residents who overflowed the county commissioners’ room Monday night burst into cheers and applause as a majority of board members pledged to vote against a rezoning request that would have cleared the way for a developer to build 352 homes on the former Upland Trace golf course. Instead...

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Duke Energy donates $12.5k to Hoke County Open Door Soup Kitchen

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • The Hoke County Open Door Soup Kitchen, which is seeing an increase in need in the community, will use a $12,500 grant from Duke Energy to help feed more people. The soup kitchen takes action to help people in need in the community by giving away boxes of groceries,...

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Heat safety tips from the American Red Cross as high summer temperatures blaze on

According to the National Weather Service, the majority of the U.S. will experience above-normal temperatures for as long as the next week. This summer is being recorded as the hottest ever and currently, nearly 80 million people are experiencing dangerously hot temperatures as a heatwave moves across the country. HEAT SAFETY TIPS The Red Cross offers...