Keeping track of R-C area lifestyles

Published 5:14 pm Friday, March 3, 2023

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Speaking on behalf of Roanoke-Chowan Publications, I’m hopeful that you will take the time to reach inside today’s edition of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald or the Gates County Index and pull out a special section entitled “Made in the Roanoke-Chowan.”

I’m hopeful that you’ll take your time over the next several days or weeks to read through those 56 pages. There are interesting stories about average people from all walks of life here in the Roanoke-Chowan area, most of whom have average jobs, but yet still find the energy to come home where they engage in another line of work.

It’s through these “second jobs” where their creatively and passion emerge. Whether it’s creating colorful earrings, cooking and catering a large or small event, transforming a piece of wood into an artistic masterpiece, sketching cartoon characters, baking scrumptious treats, turning a blank canvas into color-splashed visual of the great outdoors, fashioning religious-themed clothing, combining colorful patches to create a quilt, shaping the elements of earth into eye-catching ceramics, turning roasted coffee beans into liquid goodness, or writing poetry, the citizens of our four local counties and beyond do not have to search far and wide to find unique crafts or food/beverage services.

These local individuals are just a small part of a growing trend of at-home businesses….thusly the premise of the title of the special section.

This marks our 23rd year of publishing Crossroads – so named back in 2000 based on the rural nature of northeastern North Carolina being the home of crossroad communities. We also felt our area was at a proverbial crossroads as far as future growth was concerned.

While we’re not a large base of population, we have noted growth in other areas. Since 2000 we’ve seen the likes of Nucor – and the ancillary businesses it attracted – a pair of Enviva pellet mills, a state prison in Bertie County, and Lowe’s Home Improvement Regional Distribution Center help employ our citizens in great numbers.

We’ve also seen existing businesses and industry expand their operations, leading to more jobs.

Currently, all four of the Roanoke-Chowan area counties (Bertie, Gates, Hertford, and Northampton) are heavily involved in economic development. Leaders within those branches of local government are constantly searching for new businesses to invest here, bringing even more jobs and, even as important, adding to our tax base. The latter helps ease the burden on property owners whose annual tax payments are the main source of revenue for our local counties.

The job of your local community newspaper is to keep you informed of the direction our county and municipal leaders are taking, hopefully spending our tax dollars wisely. If you are not able to follow what “road” they are taking, it’s our job to attend those meetings, those planning sessions, and report it to our readers, either in print form or on our website.

Crossroads – 2023, and its predecessors, give myself, and Holly Taylor (joined this year by our friend and former newsroom colleague Gene Motley) a chance to break from the daily tasks of general news/hard news reporting and provide fun features for our readers to consume.

Similar to the newsroom, the ad staff here at Roanoke-Chowan Publications is small in number, but BIG in talent and skill. Judy Farmer and Anna Phipps did a fantastic job of lining up advertisers to be a part of Crossroads – 2023.

While it takes a lot of work to balance a special project of this magnitude along with the daily tasks of producing a bi-weekly and weekly newspaper, the effort was well worth the time. We met a lot of interesting people along the way who allowed us to peek inside their professional lives. Upon reading their stories, we hope you will enjoy learning about these hard-working people as much as we enjoyed writing about them.

We collectively tip our cap to Allyson Leggett, Claire Harrell, Thelma Godwin, Belinda Smallwood, Mack Powell, Michel Bond, Reba Green Holley, Tammy Lassiter, Georgia Harrell, Kayla Joyner, Tyrell Mebane, Judy Overton, and Mamie Chamblee for allowing us nosey reporters to share details of what they make and how they go about that process.

After reading their stories, I encourage you to consider contacting one or more of these creative artists, cooks, and crafters. By supporting them (and others like them) and their endeavors, you are helping to stimulate the local economy as the money they make is turned back over among area merchants for goods and services.

We also give a big shout out to our advertisers. Be sure to check out their ads to see how they are growing as well and offering products/services to the citizens and visitors of the Roanoke-Chowan area.

If you missed seeing Crossroads or need additional copies, feel free to stop by our office here in Ahoskie to pick one up.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.  

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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