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 their eyes flushed out due...

Hoke Reading and Literacy Council celebrates 45th anniversary

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 Hoke Reading and Literacy Council....

Local ‘studs’ serve up sliders at Habitat fundraiser

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 a good cause last week...

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 year. All of the county’s...

“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 “not just regular court, but...

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 Division A for advertising design,...

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 new law firm without having...

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, helping people pay utilities and...

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 steps you can take to...

9 file to run for Raeford City Council

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • With a few days still to go in the open filing period, nine candidates have so far filed to run for election to three seats on the Raeford City Council.  Cathy Brown, Jackie McLean, Ricky Sandy and Shelley Wilburn had added their names to the ballot by Monday, according to the Hoke County Board...

Shotwell interim contract through Sept. 30

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Interim Superintendent Dr. Rodney Shotwell will stay with Hoke County Schools until September 30, 2023, according to his contract with the school system. By that time, the district will likely have hired a permanent new superintendent to fill the vacant position, based on a projected timeline of the hiring process provided by the North...

Hoke County school board got $4,000 ‘staff retention’ bonuses

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Hoke County Board of Education members earlier this month got checks for $4,000 each as a “staff retention bonus,” according to financial documents provided last week to the News-Journal in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The board members additionally received checks for $600 or $1,200 each for a similar bonus...

County Approves $70 million budget

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • The largest budget yet in Hoke County’s history is now on the books ahead of the start of the new fiscal year July 1, after commissioners voted unanimously last week to approve a balanced budget ordinance. The Hoke County Board of Commissioners approved the budget during a resumed meeting Thursday, June 22. The board...

19 candidates vie for Hoke County Schools superintendent job

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • By the time applications closed last week, 19 candidates had submitted their paperwork showing their interest in becoming Hoke County Schools’ next superintendent. The applications came from people in nine different states, including North Carolina, the district announced this week. The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), which is assisting in the search, is...

New runway carries on airport’s legacy

New runway carries on airport’s legacy

[Photo: A skydiver comes in for a landing at Skydive Paraclete XP at P.K. Airpark in Raeford.] By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Skydivers might be at the mercy of the wind and weather when they jump, but they’re assured of a smooth take-off on their way into the sky thanks to a completed runway repaving at P.K. Airpark....

Free health screenings, education at Men’s Health event Saturday, June 10

The free Men’s Health event this Saturday, June 10, 2023 at McLaughlin Park in Raeford will give men the chance to prioritize their health and wellness. The Men’s Health event is a free, community-based event offering a range of activities and resources to promote healthy living and raise awareness of men’s health issues. The event is open to men of...

Three new subdivisions approved, more on the way

Three new subdivisions approved, more on the way

[Photo: West Hoke Elementary Beta Club students appeared Monday night before the Hoke County Board of Commissioners to seek support for traveling to the national Beta Club convention in Kentucky. Several board members said they were committed to making sure the students had the money to travel for the convention. It was one of several matters discussed at the meeting.]...

G. Franklin Crumpler, county coroner for 62 years, dies at age 88

G. Franklin Crumpler, county coroner for 62 years, dies at age 88

Hoke County’s longtime coroner and funeral home founder G. Franklin Crumpler, the longest-serving elected official in the United States who outlived his own office, died Friday, May 26, 2023 at the age of 88. With approximately 62 years in the record book as Hoke County Coroner, Crumpler was known as the longest-serving elected official in the United States. He even...

Schools chairwoman was “fed up” with attorney, emails show

[Editor’s note, update for recent events: During the Hoke County Board of Education workshop meeting Tuesday, May 23, attorney Rod Malone of Tharrington Smith announced the law firm has resigned from working with the school board. That story will be in next week’s issue of The News-Journal.] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • School board Chairwoman Angela Southerland was “extremely...

Veterans gather at Briarwood Cattle Farm in South Hoke for Day of Healing

Veterans gather at Briarwood Cattle Farm in South Hoke for Day of Healing

[Photo: Veterans joined guest speakers and experts in agri-business for the Day of Healing at Briarwood Cattle Farm, hosted by farm owner and veteran Marvin Frink. The day included yoga, meals, a farm tour and support for veterans interested in getting started in agriculture.] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • Military veteran Marvin Frink keeps a chair out behind a...

Commission hears budget requests: raise for school board, cars for sheriff’s office, new staff at DSS among items on the table

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • A raise for the Hoke County Board of Education and money for a new bus garage, 12 cars and five officers for the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office and 10 new staff at the Hoke County Department of Social Services were among the highlights last week presented to commissioners during budget talks. Departments and agencies...

SandHoke graduates Class of 2023 with emotional farewell

SandHoke graduates Class of 2023 with emotional farewell

[Photos: SandHoke students enter the stadium for commencement, held Friday. ] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • “To begin something new, you must sacrifice something old,” Taylor Walker of SandHoke Early College High School told her classmates Friday, as she looked out over the podium at the sea of assembled students, families and guests. “I shared so many memories in...

Suicide prevention about ‘asking the question’

Suicide prevention about ‘asking the question’

[Photo: Hoke County Health Department staff hosted the suicide prevention symposium at the Robert A. Wright Agriculture Building in Raeford.] By Catharin Shepard • Editor • If you’re worried someone is suicidal, the first step to helping may be just to ask the question. That was a key takeaway from the county’s first suicide prevention symposium, Hoke County Health Department...