The end of the year is most notably a time to look back on the good and bad of the year. From a national, state, and local standpoint, there have been many good, and many bad things to go on. From sports to weather to law enforcement, there were many mixed answers on what Sampson County citizens thought of 2015.
“The best thing that happened this year was us being blessed with a lack of harmful weather,” said Louis Preddy. “South Carolina and Texas really had some tough breaks and were not so lucky when it comes to weather this past year, so I think that we have been blessed in that sense.”
Her friend, Jo Ann Owens, smiled over a cup of coffee alongside her friend at Bojangle’s in Clinton, and mentioned that she was thankful to get through 2015 with good health and all of the bare necessities of life.
“Me, my family and friends are all healthy,” said Owens. “We have a place to live, good friends, good family, clothes to wear, food to eat. We can’t complain too much on this past year, I don’t think.”
Many folks turned to sports to find their favorite part of 2015. “I think Duke winning their fifth National Championship back in April was the best thing of the year,” attested avid Duke fan, Billy Sutton. He also went on to speak on how nice it has been to see the Carolina Panthers have a great year, and mentioned his hopes of a title coming their way as well.
“They haven’t won anything yet, but as far as 2015 goes, they have been pretty good,” he said.
In the small town of Salemburg, Nelson Crumpler mentioned that a great local thing that happened in 2015 was Joe Warren becoming the new mayor of Salemburg. Webster Reiber seconded the notion, and expressed his appreciation for former Mayor Bobby Strickland, as well.
“Bobby was a great mayor here,” said Reiber, “but we are really glad that Joe is the mayor now. They are both great men, who want the best for this town”
Reiber and Crumpler also went on to talk about the bad things 2015 brought.
“I think the passing of gay marriage in North Carolina, and the passing of hunting on Sundays were bad things,” said Reiber, who is the pastor of Plain View Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church, and an avid hunter.
“I don’t like the passing of the gay marriage, because it simply isn’t Biblical,” he said. “As far as the hunting on Sundays goes, I am a hunter, and I love to hunt. But I think that this is something that is taking people away from church and just isn’t necessary.”
Crumpler mentioned the domestic violence as being at the top of his list for the worst of 2015.
Kate Peacock, Miss North Carolina, said there were both good and bad that came to her mind over the last year. She said the best was something the Miss North Carolina Outstanding Teen Organization came up with.
“The Miss North Carolina Outstanding Teen Organization started the #NoMakeupSelfie campaign that spread nationwide,” she said. “It was a stand against cyberbullying, and an empowerment of women to be confident in their own skin. Miss America even participated, and we are very proud of that.”
As for the worst, she felt it was political discourse.
“It is my hope that in 2016, a new election year, that the politicians of our nation will be able to put aside the divisiveness of the parties and focus on the solution and the well-being of the people rather than the slandering and bashing of one another.”
From a law enforcement standpoint, Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley and Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton have taken note of the good treatment of police in the community.
“The best of 2015 has to be the support shown to the Clinton Police by its citizens,” said Tilley. “Nationally, law enforcement officers and police practices have come under great scrutiny. We have met with many citizens and groups and have been open about our practices and willing to take feedback from the community. The transparency in how the CPD conducts business has allowed us to develop procedures that best serve our community. We plan to continue to grow and build upon the respect we have with our citizens.”
Thornton also mentioned how much it meant to him to see the support of local law enforcement.
“The surrounding area has kind of gone against the national trend, and have shown support and concern for our police in the area. The outpouring and cooperation of the community has been a great thing,” he said.
As for the bad, Thornton alluded to the 21 meth labs found in the county this year, a number that nearly tripled from last year.
“The increase of the drug is a bad thing, but we are glad that the citizens are cooperating with us and communicating it with us so we can keep it off the streets and out of the hands of our young citizens,” finished Thornton.
All in all, Sampson County citizens had an easier time recalling the bad as opposed to the good from last year. According to some Sampson County residents, one thing all mentioned they were looking forward to in the upcoming year is hope for 2016.
Reach Adam Capps at 910-214-9585.