Piedmont Online; Dec 20, 2021

Welcome to Piedmont Online, a community e-paper serving the Henderson area. We are a free alternative media that operates on donations.

The publishing company we have been using is experiencing difficulties, so this week’s edition will look much different. I hope it provides a better viewing experience; if you like it better, we’ll keep it. I apologize for any delay or incovenience.

Oz Bennett (photo by Gill Clopton)

Local Boy Raises Money For St Jude

Oz Bennett had a different idea for his eighth birthday; he wanted to do the giving. Oz decided to donate all the money that would have used for his birthday and make a donation to St. Jude Children’s Hospital to fight childhood cancer.

So far, Oz has raised about $500 for the hospital. Although he hasn’t personally known anyone with childhood cancer, he has known many adults who have fought the disease and he is aware of what his gift will be used for.

St. Jude is a world known children’s cancer research hospital in Memphis, treating over 8000 patients a year. They have an affiliate hospital in Charlotte.

If you’d like to support Oz’s efforts, you can make a donation in his name at stjude.org or by mail to St Jude Hospital, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105

Addison Rowan, one month after her cancer surgery (photo courtesy of Keisha Rowan)

VCS Athlete On The Comeback From Cancer

In a few short months, Addison Rowan went from young volleyball player with potential to a dominant force on one of the state’s top 1A volleyball teams. Then cancer disrupted everything.

Around mid-season, Addison was diagnosed with a rare form of Sarcoma Cancer, a cancer which forms in a muscle or cartilage. Surgery was required and, to Addison’s disappointment, it could not wait until volleyball season at Vance Charter School was complete.

Shortly after the news of Addison’s diagnosis was shared, Vance Charter held their annual “pink out” game to raise awareness for breast cancer. The game took on a whole new meaning this year and was played before a standing room only crowd.

Players from several other schools offered friendship and support for Addison. Some sent cards of well wishes. Several players and coaches from Vance County High came to the pink out game to support her.

Addison’s surgery at Duke was successful and her recovery has seen only minor temporary set-backs. She has retained total movement in her left arm through occupational therapy and will soon begin physical therapy. She was able to keep her grades up through virtual learning and was able to return to campus last week for exams. She plans to return to school in Junuary… cancer free.

Addison attributes her courage during this crisis to family, friends and teammates, and most of all to her faith in God.

Addison serves during Vance Charter’s Pink Out game (Gill Clopton)
Addison and her family after her final game before surgery (Gill Clopton)
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Henderson Sanitation Schedule

The City of Henderson’s sanitation schedule for the upcoming week will be as follows:

Mon, Dec 20: Monday and Tuesday routes

Tue, Dec 21: Wednesday and Thursday routes

Wed, Dec 22: Friday route

City workers will be off for the holidays on Thursday and Friday. Garbage collection by Waste Industries will operate on a normal schedule.

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Maci Taylor and Emma Hammond (Gill Clopton)

Maci Taylor and Emma Hammond, both of Wake Forest, made their annual trip to Henderson over the weekend to donate time to The Salvation Army of Henderson. Both girls are high school juniors; Maci at Wake Forest High and Emma at Heritage High.

Remember When

For this week’s “Remember When” photo, here is a look from the air at the South Henderson cotton mill. The street along the left is Alexander Avenue. The field in the top right corner is the future home of South Henderson Ball Park. (John Paul Jones photo, courtesy of Vance County Historial Society)

Remembering A Legend; by Bill Dennis

We lost a legend the other day.

Howard Cutts, without doubt the greatest T-ball coach in the history of the sport, passed away at the young age of 74.

I’m not sure “sport” is the proper way to describe the joyous chaos that is T-ball, but I had the privilege of coaching in the Vance County rec league with Howard a few years ago. Seems like a few years, anyway, until I realize most of the 7-year-olds we coached are now in their 40s.

“Privilege” might be a stretch as well, since his Padres routinely hammered my Dodgers over the years I coached. All in fun of course.

When I first met Howard, I have to admit I was a bit intimidated. He was big and loud and gruff. His unkempt, longish hair flowed out from under his baseball cap, and he had the most piercing eyes — not sure if they were green or blue or brown, but they could burn right through you. And I was thinking, THIS guy is coaching little kids?!!

Yes, he was, and he was darn good at it. Every single one of those kids absolutely loved him, and he loved every single one of them back. Shoot, I even grew to love the guy myself. He and his assistant, Dennis Roberson (for sure the NICEST guy in the history of T-ball), taught those kids the fundamentals of the game better than any coaches I’ve ever seen. They knew what plays to make in the field, and how to make them, and could hit to the perfect spots for manufacturing that golden 5-run inning. 5 runs was the max they’d let you get in a single inning. Thank goodness. Otherwise some of those games might still be going on, with my team still waiting to bat.

As I still tell people, coaching T-ball is about the most fun you can possibly have with clothes on. Or off, though they tended to frown upon that at Fox Pond Park. You can be around baseball all of your life, as I have tried to be, and STILL see things in every game you’ve never seen before. A batter hitting the ball and running the bases backwards. A kid blowing a run by going directly from third base to the dugout, not getting within 20 feet of home plate. A right-fielder watching the ball skitter past her toward the fence and never making a move to go get it. Grand slam “home runs” that weren’t hit even halfway to the pitcher’s mound. And, once, an unassisted quadruple play — the shortstop caught a line drive and just kept tagging people.

And another thing I’ve never seen before, or since, that was uniquely Howard: As I noted, he was big and loud and gruff — on the surface. He didn’t mind being heard, to say the least. One night we had the second game at Rollins Field and were standing together at the top of the bleachers next to the street, watching the early contest. I can’t remember the exact situation, but a call was made in the game that Howard thought was wrong. So he started offering “constructive criticism” to the umpires, Leo Durocher style. Just because. The umps that night were Peggy Pegram and Evelyn Edwards, who belong in both the T-Ball Hall of Fame as umpires, as well as the City Softball League Hall of Fame as players. If those Halls of Fame don’t actually exist, they SHOULD. Anyway, Peggy listened for as long as she could stand it, then suddenly looked up where we were, pointed at Howard, and shouted, “You’re out of the game!” Howard fired back, “I ain’t IN this game.” And Peggy countered, “No, I’m talking about YOUR game!!”

And so it came to pass that Howard Cutts became the first manager in recorded baseball history to be thrown out of the game 30 minutes BEFORE the game even started, and without even having set foot on the field. That record still stands.

I saw Howard several times over the years after we “retired” from T-ball, and every single time we had a good chuckle about that night, as well as the countless 5-run innings his team subjected me to.

Peggy passed away herself a few years ago. Now I picture her and Howard laughing together in Heaven about the same things.

I sure miss them, and I sure miss those good times. Farewell old friend. I’m certain St. Peter is giving you a T-ball team to coach. I don’t think they can throw you out of there, but just the same, be nice to the umps!

Devils Get A Visit From #1

photos by Madison Primm

With it being a light schedule in sports this week because of exams and the upcoming holidays, student photographer and Piedmont Online contributor Madison Primm made the short trip to Durham to see Duke and South Carolina’s women’s basketball teams square off. Duke put up a fight, but USC held on for a 55–46 victory.

Piedmont Sports

Kadence Woodlief unloaded for 25 points as Oxford Prep defeated Louisburg 56–32

Boy’s Basketball Scoreboard

Tuesday: Falls Lake 53 Roxboro Comm. 37; Louisburg 77 Oxford Prep 37; North Raleigh Christian 67 South Wake Academy 61

Wednesday: Triangle Math & Science 43 Falls Lake 39; Franklinton 76 East Wake Academy 53; St David’s 63 Thales 57

Friday: Carrboro 59 South Granville 43; Southern Durham 72 Granville Central 51; Webb 67 Durham Sch of Arts 59; Crossroads 72 South Wake 69; High Pt Christian 62 North Raleigh Christian 44;

Saturday: Crossroads 90 SE Home School 66

Girl’s Basketball Scoreboard

Tuesday: Falls Lake 49 Roxboro Comm 20; Oxford Prep 56 Louisburg 32; North Raleigh Chr 68 South Wake 58

Wednesday: Falls Lake 54 Triangle M&S 36; Franklinton 38 East Wake Academy 35; St David’s 55 Thales 3

Friday: Carrboro 41 South Granville 22; Southern Durham 62 Granville Central 12; Durham Sch of Arts 69 Webb 41; Oak Forest 57 Crossraods 12; Bunn 40 Franklinton 32; North Raleigh Chr 66; High Point Chr 38

This Week’s Games

Monday: Warren County at Granville Central

Wednesday: Person County at Webb

Mon, Tue and Wed: NRCA girls in tournament at

Tue & Wed: Falls Lake boys in tournament at Princeton

Tue, Wed and Thur: S Granville girls in tournament at Wakefield, Crossroads boys in tournament at Richmond VA

Trista Collins serving in pre-season game against Vance County (Gill Clopton)

The Long Road Back

On October 18, Chase City student-athlete Trista Newcomb and her family were faced with news no family wants to hear: Trista had been in a serious car crash. The Bluestone senior was hit head-on by a truck and was taken to Duke University Hospital where a long road to recovery began.

“I first thought how sad it all was, and why me? But now I realize how very lucky I am.”

It was certainly a stressful period for Trista and her family, but Trista’s faith and positive attitude helped her fight back. It’s a long journey, but her mom Shauna Newconb told me this week that Trista’s healing is running ahead of schedule. “…right now we are going to PT once a week and starting January we move to twice a week, she’s able to get a 120 degree bend in her left knee assisted and has been walking with a walker.”

Trista will meet with her surgeon after Christmas and is hoping for more good news. Shauna says Trista’s spirits have been high, thanks to her closest friends who have been by her side through it all.

Piedmont Online would like to join Trista and her family in thanking everyone for the prayers and comments… local volleyball teams, fans and everyone else. We’ll report another update here when we have more.

Trista Newcomb returns to Bluestone in a wheelchair to supprt her teammates (Gill Clopton)
Emma Newcomb and Skyla King help Trista stand for a team photo (Gill Clopton)
Trista goes through physical therapy (photo courtesy of Shauna Newcomb)
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Piedmont Online is a free alternative media e-paper and blog. Our mission is to promote our hometown area in a positive light, especially our young people. We do not offer politics or controversy. You can contribute in several ways:

Stories, photos, Remember When segments, leads and non-political writing can be submitted by readers.

Ad space can be purchased at a cost of $10 for two issues.

Donations are greatly appreciated and are the only way this blog can remain free. All donations go into production.

You can reach us through e-mail or PayPal at gillclopton@outlook.com

To donate or purchase ads through mail, write to Gill Clopton; 134 W. Belle St; Apt B; Henderson NC 27536

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Gill Clopton

Gill Clopton

Freelance photographer

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