Category Archives: May 2015


When History Is Revived

By Stacy Hilton Vanzant

It’s not unusual for Focus Magazine to find local historical imagery connected to articles we cover in the magazine. More often than not those images are lacking names, locations, or other information that we can share with our readers. A few years ago we did an article on the Mills Home in Thomasville. Many of you may recall the article and the cover photo was of three young boys eating watermelon. At the time the article was published we didn’t know the context of the picture, who the children were, or even when the photo was captured. After a month or so of the magazine’s being available to our readers, we were able to identify the boys’ names and information about the photo from call-ins and letters. It was amazing to find the names of three orphan boys taken more than 30 years prior to being featured on a Focus magazine cover.

The most recent issue on Coble Dairy published in March 2017 proved to be no different. We found this lovely photo of a young girl picking up cartons of milk from a front porch. As an editor, the photo took my breath away when I found it in a stack of photos at Jerry Smith’s house and his Coble Dairy collection. When I saw the picture I knew it had to be our cover photo. Jerry had no information on the image. For that matter, he wasn’t even sure the photo was taken locally. I recall saying to Jerry, “Ya know, it wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve identified someone with the magazine. If this is a local photo, I can about bet that we will find out who it is.” Jerry looked at me with an inquisitive gaze and I reassured him again, “It is very possible.”

KathyMargieEverhartThree days after the magazine hit the streets of Davidson County and the cover image was uploaded on the Facebook page, we found her! Sure enough, local lifetime resident Kathy Everhart was the unknown little girl on the cover. Kathy’s daughter, Leigh Strickland, posted on our Facebook page that it was her mother. I was ecstatic! In three days we were able to identify the image and all the stories that go along with it. Once I connected with Kathy she was bursting at the seams with excitement. She could not believe that her picture was on the cover of our magazine. Not only was it her picture, but a photo of her that she didn’t have a copy of.

Kathy, an avid reader of Focus Magazine, picked up a copy a day or so before and put it in her car. “I always look for a copy and get one for myself and my mom, Margie Everhart,” recounted Kathy. “That day I just set it aside in the car and forgot about it. A day later I picked it up and yelled, ‘That’s me!’”

That’s right. In the early 1950s when Kathy was a little girl around the age of three, her mother was asked if some photos could be taken of Kathy for an advertisement brochure for Coble Dairy. Kathy’s mother, Margie, worked for Coble Dairy as a receptionist, and the higher ups at the company thought Kathy would be perfect for the shot.

“When I saw this photo I asked my Mom if she did my hair like that or did they pay someone,” said Kathy. “My mom kind of chuckled and said, ‘Oh, of course I did your hair like that.’”

Kathy’s father, who is currently in his early 90s, was at home the day she brought the photos to show her mom. “Daddy, do you see the little girl in this picture? Do you know her?” she said to him. “Why of course honey, that’s you!” he exclaimed. When we found the image in the stack of pictures it was black and white. With the help of our designer we added a little white washed color over the image to give the robe a little hue of pink and make the bear a slightly watered down brown. Funny enough, Kathy was excited to share that the robe she was wearing that day was a light shade of pink and that the bear was actually brown.

It has been a fun experience showing up in Focus Magazine according to Kathy. To her and her family it has brought back a many pleasant memories that they’ve been able to share. Since the article, Kathy and Jerry Smith have connected and now Kathy has copies of the cover image and another one taken that day to have for her own.

The Everharts weren’t the only images identified as a result of that issue. We have received additional information on a photo taken by H.L. Waters from the Davidson County Historical Museum of the boys milking cows. These boys were orphans from the Junior Order Home and they milked cows for Coble Dairy. They milked 25 cows per day, but based on the stories from those who identified the boys, they often drank more milk than what they took back to the dairy.

These are just many of the fun stories we can share that happen after Focus magazine goes to press. We hope you have enjoyed a follow-up to history!

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Local Engineering Brings Ease to Land Development Projects

KennerlyED-Logo_5-11-2016northHusband and wife duo, Tim and Nikole Kennerly, are changing the norms and making waves in the engineering industry with their local company, Kinnerly Engineering & Design. These North Carolina college sweethearts are positively impacting community development across the state and region.

Kennerly Engineering & Design, a North Carolina certified Woman Owned Business Enterprise (WBE), is a one of a kind engineering company specializing in civil engineering. “Civil Engineering can include services on anything outside of a building structure, such as road design, water and sewer design, parking, storm water management, storm drainage design, grading, erosion control design, and construction inspections,” according to Nikole Kennerly.

Being a woman owned business in the engineering field is definitely unique. “It’s rare,” says Nikole. “I feel girls are sometimes discouraged at a young age with math and there is still a stigma that boys are naturally better at it. I want to show girls that you have the ability to be good at anything you set your mind to.”

After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Nikole and Tim worked for various engineering firms specializing in different types of arenas and built upon their impressive resumes and vast knowledge in the field. Looking to settle down and call somewhere home, they found the North Davidson area inviting and bought their home there. “We want to be a part of helping the City of Lexington and Davidson County grow to be one of the prime places in the state to work and live,” says Nikole.

The Kennerly’s worked in Charlotte for 12 years during a time of immense growth and now see many issues that come with growing too fast and not having a proper infrastructure to support such growth. “We would love to help the area grow responsibly by using our experience and expertise gained by working in the larger metropolitan areas.”

100According to Kennerly, “One of the services we can provide to residents and property owners comes in the form of assisting realtors.” Kennerly can assess any issues that could potentially cause issues when selling property as well as assist in rezoning, development, and permitting as well as developing water and sewer line infrastructure for property development and expansion.

Both Nikole and husband Tim believe the greatest potential for additional growth in Davidson County is centered on the Davidson County Airport. “Our company specializes in airport design including taxiway, taxilane and runway design. There are very few engineering companies in the state that have this experience,” according to Nikole.

KennerlyED-Logo-Vector-paths-NoTaglineAs parents to three children, ages 10, seven and four, they understand the importance of being involved in the community. “We care about the area,” says Nikole. “We support the community in its growth and development and would love to see it become a place where people want to live and will come back to live.”

Nikole recalls a conversation with her four-year-old when asked what she does at her job. “Apparently, I go on the computer and take pictures of dump trucks,” laughs Nikole. “Obviously, we take time and consideration for each customer as no job is too big or small that falls within our services. I look forward to continue taking pictures of dump trucks.”

For a complete list of services offered by Kennerly Engineering & Design please contact 336-775-2118 or visit their firm online at

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Farmers Market

Fresh, Local, Now: County Markets Benefit All

By Ryan Jones

DETA-5 Grocery store lines may soon look a little shorter as hundreds of Davidson County residents begin to ditch fluorescent lighting in favor of sunshine and open air.

From late spring through early fall, three farmers markets in Lexington, Thomasville, and Denton become the destinations of choice for those looking to shorten the divide between farm and table. But visitors to these markets are doing much more than filling their own fridges with healthful options. They are boosting the local economy and helping small-time farmers make ends meet.

Supported by the Davidson County Cooperative Extension office, all three markets are deemed grower-only and local-only, meaning vendors are not permitted to sell anything that they didn’t grow personally or purchase directly from another local farmer. According to vendor guidelines, a farm is considered local if it is within Davidson County or a contiguous county.

In addition to favoring provincial farmers, this emphasis on geography means a fresher, healthier, and tastier product, says Amy-Lynn Albertson, the horticulture extension agent for Davidson County.

“If you’ve only ever gotten asparagus from the grocery store you have no idea what you’re missing. The produce at your grocery store has traveled on average around 1,500 miles. Produce starts losing nutritional value the second it’s harvested,” Albertson says.

“It’s also a matter of knowing where your food comes from and … spending your dollars locally,” she adds. “For every dollar you spend at the farmers market, at least 90 cents goes straight to the farmer, who in turn buys supplies and other things locally. It has a multiplier effect.”

Lexington Farmers Market

download (9)The county’s most well-attended market is tucked amid fallen furniture factories under the cover of the old train depot on Railroad Street. The Lexington Farmers Market features a weekly average of around 22 vendors selling seasonal produce, plants, meat, honey, prepared foods, baked goods, crafts, and more. Unofficial counts have placed shopper attendance as high as 500 people over the course of a day.

“The community really has embraced the farmers market,” says Albertson, admitting that she initially was nervous that the location would be detrimental. “The depot is not where regular traffic runs through town. It’s not Main Street. But the city has been very supportive in getting signage and promoting it (the market) and we’ve gotten a lot of support from neighboring businesses.”

Southern Lunch was closed on Saturdays when the Lexington Farmers Market was established in 2005, but soon started opening for breakfast, which helped draw visitors into the vicinity.

In 2008, a grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission helped further the City of Lexington’s plans to renovate the train depot structure, which allowed the market to move from the street into its current home.

“We still struggle with visibility and every week people come and say ‘I didn’t know this was here.’ (But) the market has worked hard to have events and organize itself well. It formed a 501(c)5 (designation as an agricultural corporation) in 2011, which gives it tax exemption and opens it up for more grants,” says Albertson.

She adds that in the 10 years since it was founded, the market has helped establish a sense of community for Uptown Lexington. “It’s a social event. It’s really a lot about relationships. A lot of the growers have developed strong friendships.”

“It’s a gathering place,” agrees Brenda Garner, who owns Sandy Creek Farm on Highway 150. “It’s become a place where friends come to shop, bring their kids. It’s a Saturday morning ritual for a lot of folks.”

Garner and her family are among the very first vendors to sell at the Lexington Farmers Market. Being relatively new to farming at the time, she says they needed the support of a public venue.

“There was no question that we would do it,” she says. “It keeps you out there. I like being with people and for them to see the things we have and learn about how we do things.”

Garner considers Sandy Creek to be a niche farm, specializing in things many growers don’t offer like shitake mushrooms, figs, blueberries, and blackberries.

“We like to teach and help people understand how something is grown or recipes on how to cook it. A lot of times we’ll have tastings. We really believe in community and we love being out there. It’s not something we feel like we have to do. We do it because we want to.”

Beth Leonard, owner of Beth’s Greenhouse and acting president of the Lexington Farmers Market, is also a founding vendor. She says she has been involved as a volunteer from day one because she recognized the positive impact it would have.

“It’s something Lexington and Davidson County really didn’t have. When I learned that it was going to be a restrictive market wherein you have to grow what you sell (and it would be) the only market where you’re pretty much guaranteed that it’s local produce … that was just something I wanted to support,” she says. “I wanted to see that kind of market happen.”

The Lexington Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. starting May 2 and on Wednesdays from __ a.m. – __ starting in June. A full schedule of special events is listed online at

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Around the same time that Lexington founded its market, a nonprofit organization in Thomasville set the wheels in motion for one of its own.

People Achieving Community Enhancement (PACE) has anchored its mission in revitalizing the downtown area of Thomasville by encouraging relationships and cooperation between merchants, city officials, and residents. The group came together to raise the funds needed to purchase a vacant lot on the corner of Commerce and Guilford streets from the City of Thomasville and build a structure to house a farmers market.

“Thomasville has a different community than Lexington does. It has been a struggle for the Thomasville Farmers Market to really get the customer support that they need,” says Albertson, who attributes this mostly to the lack of activity in downtown Thomasville on a typical weekend morning. “We need both customers and vendors. It’s hard to get the two to come together.”

But the future looks promising and the Thomasville Farmers Market is slowly meeting its goal of providing a source of farm-fresh food to people without much historical access to it.

“It has seen a lot of improvement in the last three years,” says Albertson. “Thomasville is starting to embrace more local foods. Newer businesses are opening like Southern Sisters, which is very supportive.”

Beginning this season, the market will also be able to support purchases using EBT, debit and credit cards.

“It has always been a smaller market,” says Marrillyn Conrad, who manages the Thomasville Farmers Market. She is expecting an increase in the number of regular weekly vendors from around five last year to as many as 13 this year due to more recruiting.

“I’m trying to build that up by advertising EBT … and trying to get more transportation. The community can help by spreading the word,” she says.

Conrad’s passion and desire to help the Thomasville Farmers Market reach its potential is twofold. She wants to connect growers to the people who need exposure to more nutritional options while boosting the local economy.

“I want to see children from low-income families getting good, homegrown food. Thomasville is a poor area. The more money we can get to stay here, the better,” she says. “It’s good food and your get your money’s worth. The reward is a lot better. We may not have a big area, but we have a big variety. We’re just common folk. We’re a family market.”

The Thomasville Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. – noon starting May 9 and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. starting in June. More information can be found online at

Denton Community Farmers Market

market-logo Established in 2011 with a grant from Central Park North Carolina, The Denton Community Farmers Market can be found on Salisbury Street across from Harrison Park. The smallest of the three, this market features around three or four regular weekly vendors and many scheduled contests and events throughout the summer.

Like its sister markets, the Denton Farmers Market features staple produce like corn, tomatoes, strawberries, and blueberries with some vendors offering hanging baskets, crafts, and other foods.

Brenda Hogan manages the market and has made it her mission to grow the number of vendors and shoppers in the coming years.

“I try to bring in entertainment and things going on like quilt competition, watermelon eating contests, and live gospel, bluegrass and country music. Our market is not as big as Lexington’s (and) we struggle some,” says Hogan, adding that it’s worth a visit to the southern part of Davidson County to give the small market a chance. “Come try us out,” says Hogan.

Following a grand opening celebration on May 2 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., The Denton Community Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. – noon, and Friday and Wednesday evenings from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. A full schedule of events can be found online at



  • Bring Cash. There are some vendors who are willing to swipe your Visa, but many others who only accept cash. It’s probably a good idea to pay a visit to the ATM before your trip.
  • Reusable Bags. Vendors may supply bags for your purchases, but seasoned market shoppers know that a sturdy, roomy shopping bag or basket will make your purchases easier to wrangle. Plus you’ll score points for being green.
  • Take a Lap: Before you buy anything, take a walk around to see what each vendor has to offer. Selection and price can vary and it’s best to know what your options are.
  • Ask Questions: Not sure what to do with Thai basil? Stumped by shitake mushrooms? Chances are excellent that the vendor will be more than happy to give you a few suggestions or recipes.

Want to become a vendor?

Contact Amy-Lynn Albertson, horticulture extension agent for Davidson County Cooperative Extension. (336) 242-2085.





Water Safety this Summer

SPASH!! Safety on the Water

The fun of the summer is here and that means long summer days enjoying the lake, pools, beaches and outdoors. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in all the fun and forget about our safety. We want everyone to stay safe this summer, so here are a few reminders about safety that we hope you’ll remember this year!

When you’re planning a great day of fishing, it’s important to fish with a buddy. So many accidents can happen when you’re fishing alone, so grab a friend and enjoy the time together.

If you’re 14 years or older you are not required to wear a life jacket, but similar to “Seat Belts Saves Lives,” so do life jackets. Everyone, regardless of age, is strongly encouraged to wear a life jacket while on the water.

Check your safety equipment prior to launching a water vessel. Local North Carolina Wild Life and Sheriff’s personnel will be patrolling the water for your safety. It’s important to make sure you have the required safety equipment necessary to use the watercraft. Make sure all life jackets are up to date and there are enough for those using the watercraft.  Be prepared to show proper personal identification, watercraft registration and have all safety equipment required prior to use.

Obey weight limits or occupancy safety regulations on your watercraft.

Individuals under the age of 14 are not allowed to operate a personal watercraft. A person between ages 14 and 16 can operate a personal watercraft if accompanied by a person who is at least 18 or has proof of a boating safety certification. This certification was put into law in July 2009. It required individuals to have working knowledge of water vessels and has passed the safety course. For more information on this course, contact the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department.

Do not participate in reckless behavior while riding or driving a watercraft. Some of these behaviors include:

  • Unreasonably or unnecessarily weaving through traffic in congested areas
  • Jumping the wake of another vessel within 100 feet
  • Intentionally approaching another vessel in order to swerve at the last moment to avoid collision
  • Operating contrary to the “rules of the road.” An example would be following too closely

No one should operate any motorboat or vessel, or manipulate any water skis, surfboard, or similar device while under the influence or impaired by any substance.

ALCOA does NOT allow any alcohol products of any kind at their accesses, including the Pebble Beach and Buddle Creek Swimming Areas. Pets are also not allowed at swimming areas.

Whatever way you choose to enjoy your summer on the water, take these safety concerns with you so everyone has an enjoyable and safe time. This information was provided by the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department. If you have any questions related to water safe visit