Serving Kenly, Selma, Smithfield, Princeton & Pine Level since 1973
Local News
Tony Spence of McGee's Crossroads tries to pick up a spare on Thursday at Rainbow Lanes Family Center.

Bowlers throw strikes at governor’s order

CLAYTON — The sounds of balls striking pins and people cheering returned to Rainbow Lanes Family Fun Center on Thursday. And by 11:30 a.m., the socially distancing bowling alley had filled every …
Commissioners listen as County Braston Newton, left, talks about a minimum lot size in rural Johnston.

County closer to minimum lot size

SMITHFIELD — County Commissioners are closer to mandating a minimum lot size for housing in rural Johnston. On Aug. 3, commissioners will hold a public hearing on a proposal to require housing …
Pastor Matt Frye delivers a sermon at C3 Church in the Cleveland community.

Churches adapting to COVID-19

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnston pastors have changed the tenor of their sermons. “The theologian Karl Barth always said you had to prepare for a sermon with the Bible in one hand and a …

Clayton defends police chief’s security detail

CLAYTON — An around-the-clock security detail for Clayton’s police chief cost taxpayers nothing extra, the town’s spokeswoman said on Friday. That’s because those officers were already …
Diners enjoy their meals outside at Redneck BBQ Lab in the McGee's Crossroads community.

Barbecue eatery, food hall part ways: Old North State Food Hall wanted Redneck BBQ Lab to change its name

SELMA — Redneck BBQ Lab wanted to be part of Johnston County’s first food hall. But the price to join Old North State Food Hall was simply too high, said Jerry Stephenson Jr., owner of the …
COVID-19 Map
Balloons complemented this sign in Smithfield.

Signs salute the Johnston County class of 2020

With graduation ceremonies on hold, Johnston parents and schools have taken to celebrating their high school seniors with signs. Here’s a sampling from across the county.
David Morgan of Wendell and his daughter, Morgan, 11, pick strawberries at Pace Family Farms in the Archer Lodge community.

A ‘berry’ different season: Business is good, but Johnston strawberry patches are different this year

North Carolina’s response to COVID-19 has changed his farm in many ways, says Mitch Smith, an owner of Smith’s Nursery near McGee’s Crossroads. “In a normal year, we host field trips from …

Friends mourn retired Johnston health educator

CLAYTON — She had a contagious smile and a faith-driven passion for helping others, especially the neediest Johnstonians. That’s how friends described Cynthia Toudle, a retired health educator …
The Morning Glory Inn, a bed and breakfast in Clayton, is on the market.

It’s the ‘inn’ of an era in Clayton

CLAYTON — A former editor of Bon Appétit magazine. A world-famous ukulele player. A model who appeared on album covers, most notably “Whipped Cream & Other Delights” by Herb Alpert and the …
The Junior Women's League of Smithfield now has Blessing Boxes at six fire stations across Johnston County. The one above is at the Archer Lodge Fire Department, 6483 Covered Bridge Road, Clayton. Contributed photo

Blessing Boxes spreading across Johnston

SMITHFIELD — Less than a year after placing its first four Blessing Boxes in Johnston County, the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield has installed two more, with plans to add another …
Garrett Russell Johnson, a senior who will graduate from Hunt High School on Saturday, has received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.
Class of 2020

Hunt senior heads to US Naval Academy

From the moment he applied, the idea of attending the U.S. Naval Academy changed Garrett Russell Johnson’s life. The Hunt High School senior is headed to Annapolis, Maryland, after …
Oliver Hedgepeth

Kickstarting new business and education trends

Wilson already sees businesses in trouble. But there are some silver linings in these dark clouds from this pandemic. We already see new jobs that are emerging using robots and smart …
Jessica Bailey

Wilson Community College offers dual admissions to four-year universities

Did you know that Wilson Community College has a dual admissions program with East Carolina, N.C. State and UNC-Wilmington? At WCC, we offer two college transfer programs to get you well on your …

Albert Thomas Jr.

Weathercast: Heat indexes soar into mid-90s this week

The heat continues. Thanks to a high pressure ridge expected to build in, temperatures Tuesday through Thursday will get to the low 90s. Heat indexes, meanwhile, touch the mid-90s under mostly …

Missing woman’s sister won’t give up: ‘I’ve got to fight for her’

Free Christy Ruffin often catches herself listening to her sister’s voicemails. “I thank God for technology,” she said. “You really never know how important that stuff is until that’s all …

Diners detoured: Wilson balancing public safety, restaurant business

Specialist takes extra steps for child

Innovation hub nearly complete

Farm app links customers with Wilson County produce

Steak, lobster, credit and free utilities: Audit says Rocky Mount misused taxpayer funds

ROCKY MOUNT — A scathing state audit report released Friday paints a picture of officials who used City Hall as their personal ATM while bilking taxpayers of thousands of dollars. The report …

Rocky Mount wrote off nearly $50K in councilman's unpaid utility bills

Girlfriend denies involvement in missing person case

Murder suspect can bail out of jail


Sometimes God must tether us

My curiosity piqued as I sat waiting to hear the story behind why my husband — the most laid-back of all the Kirk boys — was the one that had to be “leashed” at times as a child. Upon hearing …

Nathan Click

It’s time our country had a talk

Recently, I had “the talk” with my four children, two sons and two daughters. For Black families, “the talk” is not about the birds and the bees. The talk is about what to do when you …

Top sports stories
Clayton senior forward Megan Flockhart (15) pushes the ball ahead during the NRFA Cup championship game  against Cleveland on March 6. Flockhart would love to see the season, her final one, resume after it was paused due to COVID-19 concerns.

‘Special’ group at Clayton contemplates impact of COVID-19

CLAYTON — The seniors on the 2020 Clayton girls soccer team are a special group for head coach Joseph Mott. When Mott first came to the school in 2017 to coach soccer, eight now-seniors, who …
7 make college choices official at North Johnston signing ceremony

KENLY — Seven graduating seniors at North Johnston High made official their college choices during a signing ceremony June 4 at the school. Caroline Leegins signed with NCAA Division II Barton …



Community Calendar: Church plans yard sale fundraiser

Church plans yard sale fundraiser FOUR OAKS — Bethel Original Free Will Baptist Church, 3168 N.C. 96 S., will hold a yard sale from 7-11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 to benefit its youth fund. Free breakfast will be available while …

From the pages of your Johnstonian News