Category Archives: monroe

Local ministry prepares community for threat of war

Gabriela Cabrera, Staff Writer

MONROE –

The threat of war with North Korea is becoming increasingly real and a local thrift store in Monroe, NC is starting preparations to help the community by gathering clothing and farming materials needed if panic should arise.

Crystal Oliver, manager of Good Steward Ministries (GSM), sat down with her six employees at their monthly meeting, held Wednesday, Oct. 4, to discuss the possibility of North Korea invading U.S. soil and how they should plan.

“War seems almost inevitable and we want to be prepared,” she said. “We want the community to know that if something were to happen they can rely on Good Steward to help provide clothing and equipment needed to survive.”

Run mostly off of donated goods, the store is well-known for helping locals by offering an assortment of clothing, houseware items, books and shoes for an affordable price. Oliver wants to go one step further by making sure their supplies will last for the rush of people who may panic if North Korea invades the U.S.

Recently, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump have exchanged heated words, causing worry in the U.S. that a war may break out. President Trump tweeted last weekend that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate” with Kim Jong-un.

The employees listened carefully to Oliver’s plan of slowly setting aside clothes in their storage rooms. GSM’s mission is to have clothing and farming material ready to be provided when other stores run out.

Oliver said that she knows that many people don’t want second-hand things, but when the time around she believes people will accept it.

“I think it’s great that Good Steward wants to look out for the community,” Raphaela Moore said. “We are family.”

This mindset in some of the employees sparked conversations and game plans for preparation.

Other employees, however, were more skeptical.

“There is no reason to prepare,” said employee Patrick Love. “America is completely equipped to stop any attack before it reaches our home.”

While the employees may be split on whether a war with North Korea may happen, they are still working together to prepare GSM for helping the community.

 Edited By: Cierra Smith and Harrison Taylor

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What’s Your Story: Sherwood reflects on his time at Wingate

Jackson Kaplan, Staff Writer

Since 1985, David Sherwood has served as the Sports Information Director at Wingate University. Sherwood resides in the same town where he has lived for his entire life and never had plans of going anywhere else. A graduate of nearby Forest Hills High School, Sherwood was granted the opportunity to go to another college besides Wingate, but chose to stay here after earning a full scholarship. The rest was history for the WU athletic department.

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Photo Source: Wingate Athletics

Over the last 32 years, Sherwood has enjoyed watching the campus grow including the school’s transition from a junior college to a four-year university. The Bulldog athletic department continues to provide its student-athletes, coaches, administration and fans with new facilities.

The new building that first came to mind for Sherwood is Cuddy Arena, which was established after the retirement of Sanders-Sykes Gymnasium where the WU basketball teams used to play their home games. The brand-new, state-of-the-art McGee Center is another new addition that has impressed Sherwood as another sign of Wingate’s rapid growth.

Being an NCAA Division II school, Wingate University is significantly smaller than many major Division I institutions with its small, yet growing student body. Sherwood sees many benefits of working at a smaller school rather than a larger one including “there is more opportunity to learn about people’s stories.” Building strong relationships with fellow colleagues and student-athletes are more great benefits of working at a small university, which Sherwood cherishes greatly.

For the last three decades, Wingate University athletics has seen tremendous success in many sports, but the memory that has stood the most was the opportunity to see the Bulldog men’s soccer team win its first National Championship in the athletic department’s illustrious history.

Going back further in time, another great memory for Sherwood was following the 1987-88 women’s basketball team when they won 33 straight games and advanced to the NAIA Final Four. Sherwood also covered the 2010 WU football team when they went to the NCAA Playoffs for the first time in 2010. He also remembers being at the game where Wingate defeated Morehouse in the first round and recalls the memory of how excited the school was when it happened.

In his illustrious tenure at Wingate, Sherwood has received multiple awards of recognition including winning the 2016 Lester Jordan Award last summer from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The Lester Jordan Award is presented annually to an individual for exemplary service to the Academic All-America® program and for promotion of the ideals of being a student-athlete.

He was also the recipient of the CoSIDA 25-year Award. Sherwood was also awarded the AVCA Grant Burger Media Award for the NCAA Division II Southeast Region in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

The AVCA Grant Burger Media Award is an honor intended to recognize members of the media who have been involved in the advancement of the sport of volleyball.

In 2007, he received the Wingate University Faith Award and the Wingate University Service Award from his peers. In 2003, Sherwood received the Bob Kenworthy Award from CoSIDA. The Kenworthy Award is given annually to a CoSIDA member for community involvement and accomplishments outside the sports information office.

The Bulldogs lead the state of North Carolina across all divisions of athletics in producing Academic All-Americans. He has spent 20-plus years on the Academic All-America® committee and a one-year stint on the Membership Services Committee. He has also been part of the Daktronics All-American and the NCCSIA All-State committees.

There have been many changes to Wingate University over the last three decades, but one thing has remained constant, David Sherwood. The dedication to his craft, the treatment of his student-athletes, love for Wingate and production of exemplary work is unmatched in collegiate athletics. Sherwood is the gold standard of Sports Information Directors regardless of any level and is loved by everyone in the community. Sherwood’s legacy still continues to this day as the WU athletic department continues to produce champions on and off the field of competition.

 

Edited by Brea Childs

Review: El Aguacate adds to Mexican restaurant choices in Monroe

Maggie Smith, Staff Writer

In Monroe alone, there are approximately seven Mexican restaurants. New Mexican restaurants open in Monroe often. I personally am an Mexican food enthusiast, so naturally when there’s a new Mexican restaurant I want to try it out.

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Photo Source: Yelp

Recently a new Mexican restaurant called El Aguacate opened up on E Roosevelt Blvd. and I decided to check it out.The restaurant has two separate entrances, the one on the right is for take out and the one on the left is for dine-in. The restaurant is pretty big on the inside, so there is a lot of room for sitting.

The business was very slow for a Sunday afternoon compared to other Mexican restaurants on Sunday afternoons when many people pile in after church for their Sunday fix.

It could be because it’s a new restaurant and business isn’t up to par yet, or it could be that it’s location is tucked away off of the Blvd. in a strip of stores connected to the Food Lion, which keeps it hidden.

So if you’re craving Mexican food on a Sunday afternoon and all the other Mexican restaurants have a long wait, El Aguacate will have a table available. Like many restaurants they bring you chips and salsa immediately when you’re seated, but what I really liked was that they also bring you a delicious complementary dip which is Queso mixed with refried beans.

Typically at Mexican restaurants I order a Pollo Con Crema or something similar to it, so I decided to also order it at El Aguacate to better compare it to other Mexican restaurants. The Pollo Con Crema is a plate that consists of marinated chicken strips covered with Queso and comes with a side of Rice and Refried Beans.

They also bring offer a choice of flour or corn tortilla shells with the meal so you can make your own burritos if you want, which I recommend. The mix of the Chicken, Rice, Beans, and Queso is the perfect mix.

The Pollo Con Crema at El Aguacate was $9.75, which is the average price at most Mexican restaurants. The overall pricing was average on the menu and they have different specials each day of the week.

On Sunday’s the special is the Burrito Acapulco, which is a burrito stuffed with Mexican rice, melted cheese, pinto beans, grilled mushrooms, and a creamy white sauce. On Monday’s, the specials are Enchildas, in which you get to choose an Enchilada from the menu for a discounted price. On Tuesday’s, the special is Chimichangas in which you choose the one you desire from the menu as well. Wednesday’s are taco nights. Thursday is fajita night. Friday’s special is the Pollo Con Crema, and Saturday is the Camarones Diabla, which is a garlic spice marinated with butter, grilled onions, and pepper.

It’s served with rice and salad. The menu also has a varied selection that is not limited to just Mexican food. El Aguacate also serves Seafood, Pork, Wings, and Pizza. They also have domestic and imported beers and tend to have specials on certain days for beer.

For instance, on Thursday’s along with the Fajita’s they also have $3.00 large beers. If you’re a sweet tea drinker and like your tea pretty sweet like I do, you’ll definitely like their tea. They also have other mixed drinks to choose from that run as specials certain days, they also serve smoothies, and of course Margarita’s.

The service was great and the owner even came over to check on us a couple of times as well. He was very nice and wanted to ensure that we had everything we needed.

El Aguacate is open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday’s.

I was very pleased with this new restaurant and really recommend giving this place a shot.

Edited By: Brea Childs

Review: Hilltop brings culinary diversity and family fun to the Monroe-Wingate area

Jackson Kaplan, Staff Writer

MONROE, N.C. – – – When going out to eat for a meal, do you consistently struggle with deciding what to get on the menu? Spiro’s Hilltop Fish Fare and Steakhouse may very well present this challenge; however, any food item you choose is guaranteed to satisfy anyone’s taste buds.

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Photo Source: The Knot website

Since 1930, Hilltop has provided quality American, Italian, Seafood, and Greek dishes to the Union/Mecklenburg county area. When a customer walks in through the front doors, you instantly smell the combination of a very diverse menu this restaurant has to offer. Hilltop has something for everyone during all times of day.

Hilltop features a family friendly, welcoming atmosphere with multiple sectors of the restaurant that appeals to every type of person who prefers a particular dining experience. If you walk through the entrance and turn left, this room provides a quiet, calm atmosphere for small to large parties.

When walking to the right of the hostess stand, Hilltop brings a first-class bar/buffett area which features multiple TVs and a large projector screen to watch sports or the local news. Walk further to the back and down a spiral staircase, you will experience a lively bar area for people who want to watch their favorite sports team in a fun atmosphere. Again, Hilltop has something to appeal to every customer.

First time at Hilltop and looking for its specialties? All you need to do is read the full title of the restaurant and it will provide a clear indication of its best dishes. For steak lovers, try Hilltop’s signature steaks like the bone-in ribeye or the prime filet mignon. The steaks are cooked to perfection and are highly recommended for first-time visitors.

Not a fan of steaks? Customers could never go wrong with a solid assortment of signature fishes including Chilean sea bass, halibut, mahi mahi and grouper. Don’t worry, there are many other different fried, blackened or grilled fishes to choose from if you aren’t a fan of either of the aforementioned options.

Hilltop offers the same menu at lunch and dinner time, but the lunch crowd can enjoy a variety of sandwiches, paninis, wraps, soups and salads. The possibilities and combinations of menu options are almost endless.

Hilltop is one of those unique establishments that has you covered for all three meals of the day, including a delicious breakfast. The lunch and dinner crowds are much more popular (especially on weekends), but Hilltops provides all of the classic breakfast time favorites. Pancakes, omelettes, french toast, waffles, eggs and biscuits.

There are also many unique offerings like country ham biscuits, chicken biscuits, country fried steak, country fried ham, toasted bagels, and many more. The food options for all three meals are too many to list, so it’s best to check out the menu yourself because chances are good that you’ll find everything you’re looking for.

Personally, there are very few negatives with Hilltop because of the many food choices, friendly service, family environment and the southern atmosphere. One downside is parking. If you decide to dine at Hilltop on a Friday or Saturday night and arrive at around 5:30-6:00 p.m., good luck finding a parking space. Sometimes customers get lucky and someone is leaving their space as they arrive,  but there is very little parking to accommodate everyone who comes to Hilltop.

However, the parking lot of nearby Southern States provides additional parking if the Hilltop lot fills up, but it’s quite a hike from there to the restaurant. Other than the bad parking options for vehicles, Hilltop is sure to be a satisfying experience for every customer looking for quality and southern fun.

Stars: 5

Reservations?: Yes. Reservations are required for parties greater than 15 people.

Atmosphere: A combination of noisy and quiet depending on what section of the restaurant you sit in.

Hours:

Breakfast – 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. | Saturday and Sunday until noon.

Rest of the day – 12 noon to 11 p.m.

Prices: Low to high depending on the food item.

Busiest times?: 6 to 9 p.m.

Time spent: 45 minutes to 1.5 hours.

Size: Very large

Edited by: Brea Childs

NCG movie offers a great movie experience to the Monroe area

Andrew Elliot, Staff Writer

You open one of the many doors available, and you are greeted by the smell of delicious popcorn. The friendly staff greets you from across the room over the hum of the icee machines; “Hi! Welcome to NCG!” they call. Now this, is a movie theater!

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Photo Source: NCG Movies website

Many of the locals have taken the opportunity to go and spend the day at the new NCG (Neighborhood Cinema Group) Cinema Monroe. The first run theater is located at 1911 Dickerson Blvd. in Union Square; where the old theater was when it closed in 2012. In 2015, the wait was over for people looking for a place to catch the latest movies as NCG opened its doors on December 12th.

NCG Monroe is a place the whole family can come and enjoy the latest blockbusters; NCG is wheelchair accessible and hosts birthday parties. The theater has eight screens and is open seven days a week; NCG is open 365 days a year.

The ticket prices are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors, students, with valid I.D, military, and children under 12 years of age; $6 matinee tickets are available before 6 p.m. and $5 tickets on Reel Deal Tuesdays. The theater accepts credit cards and cash; as well as reward vouchers from the NCG Club Card, free on purchase.

If you decide to go to see a movie, be sure to arrive early, should your movie be a popular hit. Parking is available in front of the theater.

When you enter the theater, you will buy your tickets at the registers on the right; there are plenty of concession items to choose from such as popcorn, candy, nachos and pretzels; all items are discounted on Reel Deal Tuesdays as well.

After buying your tickets and concessions, you will take your popcorn bucket to the popcorn counter; where you can get unlimited refills throughout your movie.

The popcorn is best when you ask for the popcorn server to fill the bucket halfway, so that you can apply butter and flavoring to make your already tasty popcorn even more delicious; the popcorn server will then fill the rest of your bucket while you fill your cup with either a coke product drink or an icee from the frozen and Coke Freestyle machines on either side of the popcorn counter.

On your ticket, there will be a number for the theater, ranging from one to eight. On the far side of the theater, are theaters one thru five; on the side nearest the counters, are theaters six thru eight.

After you give your ticket stub to the ticket taker, if there are any the day you go, you are ready to enter the theater and sit in there comfortable reclining seats; just make sure you don’t fall asleep and miss your movie!

For more information on tickets and birthday party hosting, go to https://ncgmovies.com/monroe/ or call them at (980)-313-8503

Edited by: Brea Childs

Wingate takes on Tusculum to grasp a 77-45 SAC Victory

Rachel Lods, Staff Writer

Wingate, NC- On Saturday, January 2, the Wingate University Women’s Basketball team hosted Tusculum College gaining their fourth consecutive victory. Marta Miscenko (Riga, Latvia), junior center, led the Bulldogs to victory with 16 points, followed closely by Danasia Witherspoon (Hickory, N.C.) who scored 13 points and led the game in rebounds, racking up 8 out of the 43, to help Wingate finish 77-45 over Tusculum.

Senior guard Shelby Tricoli (Waynesville, N.C.)  said, “Without the influence and game changing play of Kristina Rumplasch, it would have been a much different game. She put up a lot of big baskets and fast break lay-ups coming off the bench and inspired the whole team to elevate their level of play.” Rumplasch (Mount Airy, N.C.) scored 13 points in 19 minutes after coming off the bench.

The start of the third quarter was pivotal for Wingate, coming out with a 20-2 lead over Tusculum. When asked about game-changing moments, Wingate’s head Coach Ann Hancock said, “We started a little slowly, but we got it together at the end of the second quarter. I thought our defense tightened up and we got some easy baskets to start the third to keep the momentum going.”

Wingate swept Tusculum in every statistical category with a .509-.395 field goal percentage and 1.000-.375 three-point field goal percentage. Rebounds were also a huge factor Wingate nabbing 43 while Tusculum only managing 17. Coach Hancock said, “Rebounding was key as was taking care of the ball better in the second half.  Tusculum has some talented players who started the game hot. I was glad to see us fight through a rough start.”

Tricoli said, “Despite Tusculum’s record, we knew they would come in and put up a fight and our coach was proud we took care of business.”

Edited by: Brea Childs

Hilton Vineyard a hidden gem in Dowtown Monroe

Summer File, Staff Writer

In Monroe, Nc there are tons of hidden treasures like the Hilton Vineyard, which is a place for people of all ages to come and enjoy on their weekend. Located at 104 S. Main Street Monroe, NC, the Hilton Vineyard is a wine bar where customers come to enjoy samples of wine they offer all year-round.

Welcoming to all ages, this wine bar has many weekend events. For example, there was a Head Shaving Party on Feb. 5th called, “Hair Today…Gone Tomorrow” it was a fundraiser for Beth Tourtellot in which all donations went towards her breast cancer.

Also, they had a “Shave a Strip for a tip” to encourage donations. This event was good for anyone looking to be a spectator or participant, to come out and enjoy some of their best wines.

When speaking to Renee Christy, the representative for Hilton Vineyard, she told us the top wines to taste when visiting. Top selling wines are the Apple Cranberry Cinnamon mulled wine, which is warm and great for the cold winter, Chocolate Raspberry, Peach Pineapple pear wine and wine slushies.

Renee tells us that in 1969 the Hilton’s started making wine and slowly the business started expanding with time. The Hilton’s son, William Hilton, started the idea of the winery to be able to expand the wine making so that people everywhere could enjoy their wine.

Hilton Vineyard’s has grown, fermented, bottled and labeled all their wines in Union County. Renee says “being able to expand the company and create handcrafted wine for people to enjoy is like seeing our dream come true”

Renee has future plans for the vineyard, she says she would love to have more college students come out to enjoy the wine shops atmosphere, especially since it is located only 15 minutes from the Wingate University campus. Also, Renee says they would like to see more people come out to see the Treehouse Vineyard. It is located at 301 Bay St. Monroe, NC, and offers many events, including upcoming pink and Red ladies night out, on February the 12th.

Both the Hilton Vineyard and the Treehouse Vineyard can be found of Facebook, with complete listings of upcoming events and more information on the Head shaving Party.

Edited by Brea Childs and Shea Murray