News, Information, Opportunities & Benefits
June 23, 2015
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Now Open in Morganton

Burke County is now home to a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. Representatives from the company's home office in Lebanon, TN, along with local management and staff, were hosts at an early morning ribbon
County Commission Chairman Johnny Carswell, Cracker Barrel Manager Reed Mutzberg and Morganton Mayor Mel Cohen celebrate the ribbon-cutting as Retail Manager Yolanda Ruiz (Left) looks on.
cutting and at special events for community leaders and public service workers on Friday, June 19. The restaurant and retail store officially opened to the public yesterday.

Reed Mutzberg, who began his Cracker Barrel career eight years ago, has been named general manager."We are excited to bring Cracker Barrel to Morganton and become a part of this charming community," Mutzberg said. "The new layout of the store is one way we are staying true to our mission of pleasing
people while making subtle yet distinct changes that will create an even better experience for our guests, who will find the same menu and retail merchandise they love and will still see original pieces of Americana on display."

Located off Exit 105 on I-40, the Morganton Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is the 39th in North Carolina and 635th in the country. This newest member
Guests at last Friday's special events were among the first to shop at the Country Store inside Cracker Barrel.
of Burke County's business community created about 185 new jobs, including management and hourly staff positions. This team will serve customers seven days a week in a family-friendly atmosphere that will include not only the restaurant but also retail shopping in its Country Store. Expected to serve about 1,000 guests every day, the new Cracker Barrel can seat 169 diners in its more than 8,000 sq. ft. venue. 

Besides bringing new full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs, Cracker Barrel plans to use local vendors and suppliers when possible. Its economic impact will also be felt in tax revenues (property, payroll, sales. etc.). At Cracker Barrel, breakfast is available all day with lunch and dinner options
Cracker Barrel treated invited leaders to breakfast at a Special Guest Preview, before hosting public service workers on June 19.
beginning at 11 a.m. Cracker Barrel serves home-style meals prepared from scratch like homemade chicken n' dumplins and also offers Wholesome Fixin's, classic country meals with a lighter twist - full of flavor and under 600 calories.

Each Cracker Barrel location is uniquely decorated with real American artifacts, memorabilia and signage collected by a team of Americana experts. The walls of Cracker Barrel stores reflect the nation's rich history and gives each of location a homespun appeal for local residents and an interesting twist for visitors.
Cracker Barrel's signature rocking chairs beckon guests to sit a while on the porch.
Cracker Barrel's signature rocking chairs Along with dining in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, Cracker Barrel guests can enjoy shopping in the old country store for toys, games, food items, apparel, accessories and other unique items. Gift wrapping is complimentary and purchases can be shipped directly from the store.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL) was established in 1969 in Lebanon, TN, and now has 635 stores in 42 states. "Cracker Barrel provides a friendly home-away-from-home in its old country stores and restaurants," said General Manager Reed Mutzberg. "Guests are cared for like family, while relaxing and enjoying real home-style food and shopping that's surprisingly unique, genuinely fun and reminiscent of America's country heritage, all at a fair price. We are looking forward to serving residents and visitors alike and to becoming an integral part of this community."

To keep up with the latest news on the Morganton store, visit

Breathe Yoga & Wellness to Offer Workshop on Chronic Pain 

Between 50 to 75 million Americans are living with chronic pain, and they deal with chronic pain in a variety of ways. Some of these, such as drug dependency, lead to worse problems. Through holistic methods that support and complement traditional medical care, more people are discovering relief. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 16% of people who practice yoga do so for health conditions. More than 10% of those use yoga for back pain.

On Saturday, June 27 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, yoga instructor Karin Novak, RYT200 will lead a workshop called "Yoga & Meditation for Chronic Pain" at Breathe Yoga & Wellness at 131 West Union Street in downtown Morganton. The workshop fee is $20, $15 for Breathe Yoga & Wellness members. Information about Karin, the event, and registration, can be found at

"By addressing pain from a neurological standpoint, yoga gives people tools to not only relieve and support healing of the body's tissues, but also to reduce the perception of pain and interrupt the cycle of pain-related mental, emotional, and physical response," said Rhonda Cook, yoga therapist and owner of Breathe Yoga & Wellness. "People who have attended Karin's classes and specialty workshops know that she is very tuned in to her students' questions about their bodies and overall wellness. Her therapeutic workshops are very helpful to so many people."

Enjoy Wine through New Glasses at Treat

Join your friends at Treat on June 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm for a surprising program that will take your enjoyment of wine to an entirely new level.  A representative from Riedel - considered the Rolls Royce of stemware - will be at Treat to demonstrate the relationship between the shape of a wine glass and its impact on the consumer's experience. 

"We will be sampling several exquisite wines,and every guest will be taking home four unique Riedel glasses," said Treat co-owner Sabrina Hurt. "Our guests will discover how the shape of glassware can truly enhance your enjoyment of fine wines. The proper glass, one's wine experience -- each varietal's smell, taste and feel -- can be elevated. With the wrong glass, a varietal's unique characteristics can be negatively impacted."  

We will also be offering the sampled fine wines and Riedel glasses at a discounted price. The Riedel family is the world's leader in forward-thinking beverage glassware, not only in terms of form but function. Tickets are $40. Call 475-1078 or stop by Treat to purchase your tickets in advance. 

Hospice Employees Earn Certification



Catawba Regional Hospice (CRH) is pleased to 

announce that five employees have recently received specialty certification as hospice care professionals. They are Patti Goodwin, RN, CHPN, Director of Clinical Services and Sherrills Ford Hospice House


 Manager; Heather Morris, RN, CHPN;  Crystal Thurman, RN, CHPN; Missy Brown Lail, RN, CHPN; and Shoua Yang, CNAII, CHPNA.


They join an additional 7 physicians and 40-plus nurses, nursing assistants, and social workers at CRH who have achieved certification. Being certified as a hospice professional ensures that CRH staff members are well equipped to provide exceptional care to patients facing advanced illness. Certification is earned following years of practical experience 

and a rigorous examination 
that tests knowledge about serving hospice patients and maximizing their care needs. Additionally, this certification proves each individual employee's dedication to excellence and demonstrates to patients and families CRH's firm commitment to providing care tailored to specific needs. CRH's team serves homes, community facilities, and hospitals in a 10-county service area, plus inpatient hospice houses in Newton, NC, and Sherrills Ford, NC, in the Lake Norman area.To learn more about Catawba Regional Hospice and its variety of services, call 828.466.0466 or visit their web site.

 Turner Opens Edward Jones Office

Edward Jones has announced that Trent Turner has taken over as financial advisor at the Edward Jones office at 507-B Burkemont Avenue in Morganton. Trent is from Morganton has spent the last 12 years working in financial services.

"I entered the financial services industry because I like helping people work toward achieving their long term financial goals," he said.

Financial Advisor Trent Turner cuts the ribbon officially opening his new office, as Chamber Ambassadors Kolby Watts (L) and Ansley Mace (R) anchor the ribbon and Chamber President Jerry Davis looks on.

"Building relationships with my clients and in my community is key." Edward Jones financial advisors meet face-to-face with clients to build strong relationships, the company stated. "And we do so by offering excellent client services through our convenient branch locations in the communities where our clients live and work," said Turner,

Edward Jones provides financial services for indiviodual investors in the United States and through its affiliates in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities where thye live and work. The firm's 14,000-plus financial advisors work directly with nearly seven million clients.

Edward Jones, which is ranked number six on FORTUNE magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For 2015," is headquartered in St. Louis. The Edward Jones web site is and its recruiting web site is Member SIPC.


Molded Fiber Glass NC and Morrison Family Donate                       Fitness Trail for Catawba River Greenway

Are you ready to do try some vault-overs, arm-walks, and body-tucks? Then head to the Catawba River Greenway and try out the new fitness trail!

The new $15,000 fitness trail was donated by the Morrison Family, owners of Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MFG). Dean Justus, Human Resources Manager for MFG North Carolina in Morganton, said the management team at the Morganton plant came up with the idea as a way to support health and wellness in the community.

"We wanted to do a project that would benefit our teammates and the community," Justus said. "I knew we had a great greenway, and I thought we could make it even better by adding exercise stations."

Joe Wilk, Senior General Manager of MFG North Carolina, proposed the idea to the Morrison Family, and the family agreed to fund the project. The Morrison Family funds various community programs at their factory locations across North America.
The Morganton City Council and management from Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MGF) dedicated a new fitness trail on the Catawba River Greenway on June 1. From left to right are City Councilman Forrest Fleming, Mayor Mel Cohen, MFG NC Human Resources Manager Dean Justus, Parks and Recreation intern Ethan Anderson, Parks and Recreation Director Gary Leonhardt, City Councilman Ronnie Thompson, City Councilman Sidney Simmons, and MFG NC Senior General Manager Joe Wilk.

"The exercise stations donated by the Morrison  foundation are another example of MFG's commitment to our teammates and to the Morganton community," Wilk said. "MFG truly values the health and safety of our teammates. These exercise stations will help enhance the opportunities for a healthy lifestyle here in Morganton."

The new fitness trail consists of seven exercise stations, each with exercise instructions, located along a one-mile section of the Catawba River Greenway between the Greenlee Ford access at Judge's Riverside and the River Village Access. The equipment was installed by the City's Parks and Recreation Department.

Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MFG) is a leader in the field of reinforced plastics and composites, serving diverse markets with a variety of composite material systems. The company has 16 operating entities in the United States and Mexico, strategically focused to supply high value, high quality products and manufacturing services for applications such as wind energy, automotive, heavy truck, defense, construction, material handling and water treatment. The company is headquartered in Ashtabula, OH and is privately owned.

The company was founded in 1948 by Robert S. Morrison (1909-2002) and a handful of dedicated men and women who collaborated to mass-produce the first commercial products using polyester resins and fiber glass reinforcements. In 1953 a watershed event occurred when MFG was selected to produce all FRP body parts for the new Chevrolet Corvette. This success led to a sequence of other "firsts" - FRP boats, high volume truck and tractor components, bakery trays, concrete forms and satellite dishes among others.

MFG has been recognized by the State of North Carolina numerous times with gold and silver safety awards, along with reaching one million hours without a lost time incident three times since 2000.

The Morganton City Council and management from Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MGF) dedicated a new fitness trail on the Catawba River Greenway on June 1. From left to right are City Councilman Forrest Fleming, Mayor Mel Cohen, MFG NC Human Resources Manager Dean Justus, Parks and Recreation intern Ethan Anderson, Parks and Recreation Director Gary Leonhardt, City Councilman Ronnie Thompson, City Councilman Sidney Simmons, and MFG NC Senior General Manager Joe Wilk.

Over 1,000 Athletes Able to Rest Easy this Summer

The end of the school year has been busy, especially for those athletes that recently attended Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge's Athlete at Heart events. Over 1,000 students received free screenings, having everything from their vision to strength and flexibility to heart conditions reviewed. Now, athletes can rest easy this summer knowing that their fit and healthy to participate in next year's sports season.

CHSBR: Meet Our New Physicians

Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge recently welcomed several new providers to its facilities and practices.

Sheikh Asadazzman, MD, joined Blue Ridge Nephrology.

Ellen Collett, MD, and Carolyn Gordon, MD, joined Mountain Valley Health Clinic in Morganton.

Thomas Kennedy, MD, joined
Blue Ridge Pulmonary; and Zed Mansfield, PA-C, joined McDowell
Medical Associates Express Care.

Paramedic Wins Excellence in Care Award

Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge and Mountain Emergency Physicians have named John Hood, a Burke County EMS paramedic, the recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Prehospital Medical Care Award.

The Excellence in Prehospital Medical Care Award is presented to individuals with outstanding clinical skills who have gone above and beyond to provide patient care in the prehospital environment.

"John Hood is remarkable paramedic," said Dr. Seth Hawkins, Medical Director of Burke County EMS. "His clinical care skills are second to none, and like the best clinicians, he has emerged as an outstanding teacher as well. I'm delighted to see him recognized with this award."

Sgt. Hood serves Burke EMS not only as an ambulance-based paramedic, but also serves on the Burke EMS Special Operations Team as both a tactical and wilderness paramedic.

Hood graduated from basic law enforcement training in 2014 and is now a sworn sheriff's deputy in Burke County. He is one of the only dually credentialed tactical EMS paramedic-law enforcement officers on active duty in the state of North Carolina. His primary duty in the tactical medic program is to provide rapid medical treatment to the Burke County Sheriff's Office SWAT team as well as any injured by-standards or perpetrators.

"Burke County EMS is a top leader in the field of tactical medicine and has gone above and beyond what most other county EMS services currently offer for tactical medics in NC," said Hood.

Hood graduated from Freedom High School in 2002. He then went on to earn an Associate degree in Emergency Medical Science from CVCC, graduating in 2005. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2013 with multiple duties including shift training.

Healthy Places Update

Here are a few updates on some of the exciting efforts going on in the community:

KaBOOM! is coming to Burke County

Kate B. Reynolds Trust Healthy Places has announced that KaBOOM! is coming to Burke County to build two new playgrounds. KaBOOM! will be working with the Trust by mapping playgrounds in order to understand the quantity and quality of current play spaces.KaBOOM! is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations and municipalities in Burke County that would benefit from and embrace the process of a community-built play space partnership. If your organization might be a good fit for a new playground, contact Kevin VanLiew ( or at 202-464-6069) to learn more. Once the sites are selected, we hope residents from all over Burke County will help design and build the playgrounds. Stay tuned for more information on those playground design and build dates.

Community Mapping Effort Launched

The Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) Planning Division will be creating a comprehensive community asset database for Burke County. The map will include the location of community assets such as county and municipal parks, churches, convenience stores, day care centers, food banks, greenways, grocery stores, medical services, sidewalks, schools and more. Once the initial mapping is completed, the map will be overlaid with socio-economic data including the location of high rates of poverty (adults and children), minority and ethnic group concentrations and children and elderly age group concentrations, in order to identify resource gaps in the community. KBR will need community input during the public viewing process. Dates to be announced soon.

Your Voices Have Been Heard

During the Healthy Places launch event last October, Burke County residents expressed that there are not enough wellness facilities in the county. The Trust is excited to announce that it is working with the Valdese Parks and Recreation Department to double the size of its wellness building. This state of the art facility will include a playground, splash pad, corn hole court and other amenities. It will also include classrooms for healthy living programs.

City of Morganton Water Plant Receives Award

The City of Morganton Water Treatment Plant staff recently received an award from the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for providing high-quality drinking water to Morganton residents. The award was given by DENR's Division of Water Resources as part of the North Carolina Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP). AWOP is an effort to enhance the performance of existing surface water treatment facilities.
Awards are given each year to water systems that demonstrate outstanding turbidity removal, a key test of drinking water quality. Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness or haziness of water caused by individual particles that can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth.

"I am very proud of the water treatment plant staff for their efforts to ensure that the citizens of Morganton have the highest purity drinking water possible," said Brad Boris, Water Resources Department Director. "They are a team that is very dedicated to providing outstanding customer service and a quality product 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!"

While all drinking water systems have to meet strict state and federal drinking water standards, the City of Morganton Water Treatment Plant met performance goals that are significantly more stringent than the current regulations.

The City of Morganton Water Plant has received this award for 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2014.

Local Students Receive $10,000 in Scholarships

Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge Volunteers recently awarded ten $1,000 scholarships to graduating area high school students.

The objective of the scholarship is to aid financially deserving and academically promising individuals who plan to prepare themselves for a healthcare related career.

The ten recipients are: Summer Collins, Marlen Gomez-Rodriguez, Kristy Loomis, Abigail Powell, Ciara Smith, Caroline Stamey, Kathy Torres, Lourdes Velasquez, Scarlett Wall (Merit Scholar), and Melissa Xiong.

This year, 30 scholarship submissions were received. An eight-person selection committee narrowed the list to ten using criteria including financial need, scholastic achievement, personal qualifications, and professional promise in the healthcare field.

Belk Donates to Mountain Crest

Belk department stores in Morganton, Hickory and Lincolnton joined together for a charity sale and chose to donate $3,591 from the sale to Mountain Crest Elementary School. The money will be used for hands-on learning projects, said Principal Lora Austin. Students created a poster to show their appreciation and presented it to the store in Morganton.

East Burke, Draughn, Patton Receive National Recognition

Three Burke County high schools have been awarded Bronze Stars from U.S. News and World Report in the 2015 Best High Schools rankings.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam said, "Congratulations to Patton High School, East Burke High School and Draughn High School for their bronze star recognitions. All four of our traditional high schools plus Burke Middle College and Hallyburton Academy are great places for high school students to learn, grow and discover. Like U.S. News, we place great value on providing a well-rounded, equitable education that starts in pre-school and continues into high school. I appreciate our hardworking students as well as our staff and the community for their dedication and passion to education and seeing students succeed."

U.S. News and RTI International, based out of North Carolina, reviewed 19,753 high schools from across the country and analyzed their student-to-teacher ratios, reading and math test scores, minority and low-income student performance and college readiness successes. On the 2015 North Carolina list, there are 14 gold medal schools, 26 silver medal schools and 100 bronze medal schools.

A great high school, according to, "serves all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators."

Tradition of Giving Continues at PHS

Patton High School will continue its tradition of giving back to the community with the 2015 and 2016 Giving Games and a program called "We walk, so others can ride." Over the next two school years, Patton students and staff will focus on raising money to fix cars to help those in the community who can and want to work but are deterred because they lack transportation. The second part of the program involves recreation and getting the Patton community to move more by simply walking. Patton started the Giving Games in 2012 after a school-wide initiative to read "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. The novel inspired the school to focus on poverty and other issues in the community and find ways to give back.Each year since, the school has planned school-wide, cross-curricular study and partnered it with a project. In 2013, the school read "A Long Walk to Water" by Linda Sue Park. It prompted the school to raise awareness about South Sudan and form a partnership with the Any1Can Project. Last year, the school joined forces with Habitat for Humanity and built a home in the school's neighborhood.


Director Level
 News Herald



Executive Level
Burke Hospice
Case Farms
Catawba Valley Staffing
CPI Security
Square One Energy
Western Piedmont Community College

Advisor Level
Siegwerk Environmental Inks
Duke Energy
Friday Staffing
Grace Ridge Retirement Community

CPI Security

Supporter Level
Abele's Family Restaurants
Canteen Vending
HF Financial/J. Branstrom & Associates
Pepsi Cola Bottling Co.
Servpro of Burke County
Shenandoah Furniture
Toner Machining Technologies
Wendy B's