Editorial: I’ll stand by you, and you’ll stand by me

Editorial: I’ll stand by you, and you’ll stand by me

By Jessica Hendrix Brown • News-Journal Publisher • I walked into a meeting this week and as I sat down, the person beside me sneered and moved away as if I was rotten trash. It’s okay. I know it’s human nature to be a petty jerk sometimes and I try not to expect anyone to be anything more than human. That...

A talk with Hoke High School’s new principal

A talk with Hoke High School’s new principal

Catharin Shepard • News-Journal Editor • Colleen Pegram-Wike is the new principal of Hoke County High School. After years of serving as principal of SandHoke Early College High School, she’s bringing her leadership and educational philosophy to the much larger campus of Hoke High. What are her thoughts on education? What can students expect to see? What are her goals...

Kids, teens in Hoke County can get free summer meals

Children and teenagers 18 and younger can get free meals this summer through Hoke County Schools and other community partners that are working with the North Carolina Summer Nutrition Program. Kids and teens 18 and younger can receive free, healthy meals on weekdays from June 10 through August 2, 2024. No identification or registration is required. Meals are served and...

Cheers, happy tears at Hoke High Bucks graduation

Cheers, happy tears at Hoke High Bucks graduation

[Photo: Students walk into the stadium at Hoke High for the 2024 commencement ceremony. Photo by Carrie Palm, see more graduation photos in this week’s issue of The News-Journal, available in stores around the county.) By Catharin Shepard • Editor • The Hoke High Class of 2024 began their high school experience with the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, and ended...

County shuns News-Journal, sends planning notices to Fayetteville newspaper

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • After the News-Journal filed a lawsuit over public records, Hoke County Commissioners told at least one county department to post local public notices in the Fayetteville Observer instead of the News-Journal. Public notices about a proposed rezoning and an application for a special use permit in Hoke County were posted in the Fayetteville Observer...

Rockholt pleads guilty, sentenced in 2019 “Ratty Shack” murder

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • John Brian Rockholt last week pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2019 slaying of Hoke County machinist and motorcycle designer Galen Christopher DeBruler, and was sentenced to at least 18 years in prison. Rockholt was originally charged with first-degree murder. Attorneys negotiated a plea deal, and Rockholt pleaded guilty to the lesser charge....

News-Journal hires lawyer (Originally published May 8, 2024)

(This story was originally published May 8, 2024) By Catharin Shepard • Editor • The News-Journal has hired a lawyer to represent the newspaper in its public records lawsuit against Hoke County. With support from the North Carolina Press Association (NCPA), the newspaper has retained attorney Mike Tadych of the Stevens, Martin, Vaughn and Tadych law firm, based out of...

Help needed for Habitat for Humanity projects

It’s time to put on the work gloves to help others in Hoke County have safe housing through upcoming Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills projects. Volunteers are needed for several work efforts, and the nonprofit will soon open applications for qualified people interested in becoming Habitat homeowners. The organization is also planning several upcoming events to raise money,...

Signs point to growth at Hoke community forest

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • New trail markers at the Hoke Community Forest will help guide the way for hikers, bikers and horseback riders as part of planned improvements to make the public land more inviting. Hoke residents have hiking trails just off of Vass Road at one of the southeast’s only community forests. Work has been ongoing at...

“Exactly, sweetheart”: Hoke County lawyers up in News-Journal lawsuit

“Exactly, sweetheart”: Hoke County lawyers up in News-Journal lawsuit

[Photo: Lisa Maynor is ejected from the meeting after she and another person spoke up. Members of the public were not allowed to speak or ask questions at the called meeting. (Photo by Catharin Shepard)] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Hoke County Commissioners hired a lawyer Tuesday to represent the county in the News-Journal’s public records lawsuit, and the...

News-Journal sues Hoke County

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • After months of asking for and not receiving requested public records, The News-Journal filed a lawsuit Monday in Hoke County Superior Court asking the court to order Hoke County to turn over the records. The News-Journal and owner Jessica Brown filed the lawsuit under North Carolina’s Public Records Law, N.C. General Statute § 132....

Hillcrest fire chief injured in fall from truck

Hillcrest fire chief injured in fall from truck

[Photo: Fire Chief Michael Scott; photo from Facebook] Catharin Shepard • Editor • Hillcrest Fire Department Fire Chief Michael Scott suffered a head injury Tuesday when he fell from one of the station’s fire trucks, according to the department. “On Tuesday afternoon, the Fire Chief was assisting with vehicle washing and maintenance when he fell from the fire engine and...

Late audit shows Hoke County had to pay big water bill, fund balance hit record high

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Although the audit was submitted late, the news Monday night was mostly good for Hoke County when an auditor presented the annual report to commissioners. The county’s available general fund balance hit a new record high, after successive years of commissioners putting money aside into the fund. At the end of fiscal year 2023,...

Tylertown celebrates improved fire rating

Tylertown celebrates improved fire rating

[Photo: Tylertown Fire Department Chief Hervon McCollum gets a celebratory hug at the announcement of the fire department’s new, improved ISO rating. (Catharin Shepard photo)] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • For two years the volunteer firefighters of Tylertown have trained, responded to emergency calls and sought out equipment to provide fire protection in the district. For years before that,...

Hoke County commission candidates answer Q&A

Hoke County commission candidates answer Q&A

The News-Journal sent out questions to candidates seeking election to two commission seats in Hoke County in 2024. The questions were sent out by email and letter mailed to the address on record when the candidate filed. Here, we share their responses. The partisan primary election is Tuesday, March 5. The candidates who responded were Democrats Lent C. Carr II,...

School Resource Officer struck by vehicle

A Hoke County School Resource Officer was hit by a vehicle Wednesday morning while directing traffic at Sandy Grove Elementary School. The officer was expected to make a full recovery, according to the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office. The law enforcement agency released the following statement: “Our thoughts and prayers are with one of our own officers today. One of our...

Raeford Kiwanis Club scholarship applications open

The Raeford Kiwanis Club will award three scholarships of $500 each to a high school senior who resides in Hoke County. Procedure and qualifications are as follows: •Students will apply for the scholarship using the form entitled “Raeford Kiwanis Club Scholarship Application Cover Sheet” and following the instructions contained therein. •Students shall have a minimum of 2.5 GPA •Students must...

New courthouse construction set to get underway in Hoke County

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Hoke County will break ground on a long-awaited new courthouse at a ceremony set for 11 a.m. Thursday, February 29, 2024. Hoke County Manager Letitia Edens and county commissioners confirmed the date at the board’s meeting Monday night. Commissioners approved a change order for the bulk of the construction work on the project. The...

Voter registration deadline for primary election is this Friday, February 9

To vote in the upcoming partisan primary election scheduled for Tuesday, March 5, 2024, prospective voters will need to have registered to vote by this Friday, February 9, 2024. Voters will also need to bring a photo I.D. in order to vote in the election. The civilian voter registration deadline in North Carolina is 25 days before the election, according...

Voter registration deadline for primary election is this Friday

To vote in the upcoming partisan primary election scheduled for Tuesday, March 5, 2024, prospective voters will need to have registered to vote by this Friday, February 9, 2024. Voters will also need to bring a photo I.D. in order to vote in the election. The civilian voter registration deadline in North Carolina is 25 days before the election, according...

A new store for the “Weknd” warriors

A new store for the “Weknd” warriors

[Photo: Harley Locklear is preparing for the January 20, 2024 grand opening of the second Weknd Warrior Trade Company location, in downtown Raeford.] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • After over seven years of success in Scotland County, the Weknd Warrior Trade Company is opening the doors of its second shop in downtown Raeford. The business is, as the name...

Plant longleaf pine seedlings this Saturday

The Sandhills Prescribed Burn Association (Sandhills PBA) will be hosting its first event of the year this coming Saturday, January 13, 2024, and is inviting the public to lend a hand planting longleaf pine tree seedlings at one of the Sandhills PBA’s newest landowners’ property. “This Saturday come join us and learn how to plant containerized longleaf and how to...

Open Door Soup Kitchen moving locations, seeks expansion

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • The Open Door Soup Kitchen will be changing locations at the end of January, and hopes to resume offering hot meal service in the future as well as giving away boxes of groceries. More than that, the organizers plan to kick off a fundraiser soon to raise money to go to support helping even...

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 look on the bright side....

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 they remove those trees?” and...