Friday, 20 October 2017 09:49

Rockingham Downtown Corporation Holds October Meeting; Discusses City's Progress, Events

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ROCKINGHAM – County Extension Director Susan Kelly and the Rockingham Downtown Corporation members are the proverbial “movers and shakers” behind the scenes of much of what is happening in and around Rockingham.

In what has been a common trend in recent years, motivated citizens and business owners are volunteering their time and working diligently in their respective roles to ensure that Richmond County continues on a progressive path, while simultaneously offering a number of public events that directly benefit everyone in some way.

Group members Neil Cadieu, Jamie Moss, Jacquelyn Welch, Misty Barnes, Judy Cagle and Neel Peacock, as well as the Wright family of Chuck, Sherry and Will, met on Tuesday, October 17 at Hudson Brothers’ Deli to discuss a variety of projects.

The Affair on the Square, which was held last Thursday, is one such event for which the group is responsible.  Held on the second Thursday of May and October, it is designed to offer local merchants a chance to bring attention to special products and promotions.   

While the weather (a significant rainstorm materialized an hour before commencement time) was detrimental for attendance, a sufficient number of patrons nonetheless braved the elements to render the Affair a moderate success.

The next event of interest is coming up this Saturday, October 21, at Camp Millstone, when the Pickin’ in the Pines benefit concert will be staged from 6 to 10 p.m.  Operating under the auspices of the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, the bluegrass and barbecue festival will donate proceeds to provide scholarships for 4-H campers at Camp Millstone. 

For $50 per person, one can enjoy live performances by three bluegrass bands, along with a “pig pickin’”, hors d’oeuvres buffet, beer and wine and a live auction.  Specific information about tickets can be found at Go.NCSU.EDU/Millstone4HPickinInThePines, or Millstone4HCamp.com.

Next week, the Rockingham Spooktacular will be held on Tuesday, October 31 (Halloween) from 4 to 6 p.m.  A number of downtown businesses will offer special treats for kids ages 12 and under, with the participating merchants having balloons out front to indicate their participation. (Please note that this event is separate and apart from the City of Rockingham’s “Trunk or Treat” that will be held at Browder Park from 6 to 8 p.m. the same night.) 

Christmas on the Square is another special project sponsored by the Downtown Corporation.  Scheduled for Saturday, December 2nd, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the festival will mark the commencement of the Christmas season with plenty of arts, crafts, food vendors, and holiday-themed entertainment for all ages.  And, if attendees made the “nice list,” Santa himself could possibly make an appearance.

An upcoming seminar mentioned at the Corporation meeting is a function of the Senior Center’s Dementia Awareness program.  Jacqueline Welch, Executive Director of Aging Services, noted that Cole Auditorium (on the campus of Richmond Community College) will be the site of a special discussion on Wednesday, November 15, from 8:30 a.m. till noon. 

The debilitating effects of dementia and the specific ways to cope with such will be addressed by a panel of experts in the field of gerontology. 

“The impact of dementia is much more serious than most people realize,” Welch said. “Nearly one in three seniors will suffer from it.”

There is no charge for this educational event, so anyoneis interested in learning more about dementia, Welch encourages those to attend.

Public transportation was next on the list of interests for the Corporation.  Area of Richmond Transit (ART) representative Neel Peacock presented an overview of a proposed project that seems to be “moving forward” at a rapid pace. 

The plan is to provide the county with a fixed route public transportation system with eight (8) stops throughout Rockingham and Hamlet.  The bus would run Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. till 5 p.m., making 11 loops (thus allowing for hourly intervals between given points of pick-up/drop-off) at a nominal cost of $1 per boarding. 

Sponsored by Richmond Interagency Transportation, Inc., this pilot project would supplement the existing Rural General Public (RGP) route. 

“The entire area would benefit from this,” Peacock said. “And it would be the first public transit route of its type in the county.”

 More information can be found at websites http://www.richmondnc.com/173/Area-of-Richmond-Transit and http://www.richmondnc.com/DocumentCenter/Home/791.

Perhaps the most unique presentation of the evening came from the Pee Dee Paranormal Group.  Spokesperson Stephanie Barnes related multiple investigations that her team has conducted in the area, noting a planned “tour” of some of Rockingham’s older buildings that are reportedly occupied by ghostly spirits and apparitions. 

Barnes produced an audio recording of an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) and invited “doubters” to join her and her team in action.