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August 7, 2009


Are You Ready For Some Football

What’s Up in Local Sports

New SD 3-D EPS Format

By Calvin Hastings

Believe it or not, we’re one week away from local high school football.   Action gets underway next Friday night, August 14th at North Gaston with the Gaston County High School Football Jamboree.  Round two of the Gaston County Jamboree will be held Saturday night at Hunter Huss.   There will be some differences in area conferences.   The Big South 3A/4A will include Kings Mountain, Ashbrook, Crest, Forestview, Hunter Huss, North Gaston and South Point.   The Southern Piedmont 1A/2A will include Bessemer City, Cherryville, East Lincoln, Lincolnton, North Lincoln and West Lincoln.

There will be plenty of opportunities to catch your favorite teams on the local radio stations.   On WLON-1050 AM  you can hear all the Lincolnton Wolves games.  All  Maiden Blue Devil games will be re-broadcast on WLON on Saturday mornings from 10 am till 12 noon.   The Maiden games can be heard live at hrnb.com.   WCSL-1590 AM will once again carry all the Cherryville Ironmen games.   WADA-1390 AM in Shelby will feature the Shelby Golden Lions games.   WGNC-1450 AM is set to broadcast all the Forestview Jaguar Games.    WGWG-FM will carry all of the Kings Mountaineer Games and the Crest Charger games can be caught live on the internet at www.teamline.com.  And of course there is the What’s Up Shopper/Sundrop/Times Turnaround tailgate parties.   You can catch them at various stadiums each week or visit www.whatsupshopper.com or www.sundrop.com and watch it live.   Also on WADA and WGNC on Friday Night  you can tune in for all the scores on the Postgame show with Dennis Davis

Hats off to Shelby Post 82 American Legion for an exciting baseball season.   In the state tournament Post 82 lost their first game and battled back to force a championship game with Rowan County.   Post 82 lost in the title game by a 5-3 score.   Shelby finished 30-9 on the season.  Rowan County will advance to the Southeast Regionals which will be held August 6-10th at Riley Park in Sumter, South Carolina.   The regional winner will advance to the American Legion World Series in Fargo, North Dakota.

The Southeastern Regionals begin today (Thursday) in Sumter, South Carolina.   At 10:00 am today Shelbyville, Tennessee takes on Bayamon, Puerto Rico.   At 1:00 pm Tuscaloosa, Alabama meets Bradenton,  Florida.   At 5:00 pm Irmo-Chapin, South Carolina meets Conyers, Georgia and at 8:00 pm host team Sumter, South Carolina takes on Rowan County, North Carolina.  The finals are set for August 10th at 4:00 pm.

The Cleveland County Amateur golf tournament is set for August 21-23.   The 54 hole event will be played Friday at Pine Grove.   Saturday at the Cleveland Country Club and Sunday at Deerbrook Country Club.   Josh Philbeck is the defending champion and Mike Boatwright is the Senior’s division champion.   The tournament is open to amateur golfers in Cleveland County with at least six month’s residency.   Entries will close at 5:30 pm on August 13th and the entry fee is $55.00 per player.   Entry forms are available at all local Cleveland County golf shops.

Hats off to Shelby’s Roger McKee.   McKee is returning to Philadelphia to be honored this weekend by the Phillies.   On October 3rd, 1943 McKee pitched a complete game over the Pittsburgh Pirates for the Phillies at Forbes Field.   McKee became the youngest pitcher to get a complete game win during the 20th century at the age of 17 years and 17 days.   McKee will be introduced to the fans before the August 8th game against the Florida Marlins at Citizen Bank Ballpark.   The McKee family will stay at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia and will be dinner guests on Friday and Saturday nights.   Other Phillies to be honored include Robin Roberts, Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and Jim Bunning.   McKee is a member of the Cleveland County Fellowship of Christian Athletes Sports Hall of Fame.

Forestview Jaguar swimmer William Quarles will be swimming at East Carolina.   Quarles has been guaranteed a roster spot with the Pirates and is the 2009 Big South Conference swimmer of the year.

Congratulations to West Lincoln’s Ashley Rhyne.   Rhyne has been selected to compete in the Queen of Diamonds Showcase South in Rock Hill, SC September 4th-6th.   The event is the second largest fastpitch softball showcase in the United States and will be held at Winthrop University.   Athletes from 33 states will be represented along with two Canadian provinces.   The Criteria for selection includes ability, potential, academics, graduation year, coaches requests and referrals.   Only 48 pitchers from 2000 entries are invited.

Even though this year’s Gastonia Grizzlies did not reach the playoffs they did have an outstanding season with several team records being broken.  Randolph Oduber broke the Grizzlies single season home run record with nine.   The team hit a record 38 home runs this season.   Greyson Schram’s 38 RBIs tied Seth Waller for the most RBIs in a single season.   Robert Jeroszko set a new strikeout pitching record with 92.  Grizzly pitchers struck out 452 batters this season for a new single season record.   The team also broke the attendance mark with over 30,000 fans this summer.

Email Calvin Your Comments & Questions To:


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As Seen On TV: Tomato Socialism

What’s Up with Howard Black

howard black

By The Grace Of God And Constitutionally Guaranteed,

Howard Black Pokes Fun At The Realities Of Life, Politics And Human Insanity


A couple of months ago, I wrote about my gardening experiment of growing tomatoes using a Topsy Turvy Tomato planter.  Here is my final report.

My Topsy Turvy Tomato planters were my excursion into where no man had gone before.  I was consumed by the excitement of television commercials and overwhelmed at the prospect of devouring large juicy tomatoes from my own homegrown vines.

Well, it’s almost the middle of August and I haven’t got one darn tomato from my Topsy Turvy Tomato planters.  Not one red globe of joy.  Not one mouthful of nature’s bounty.  The mission was a total failure.

Jerry Porter, my next-door neighbor has had more success.  His two planters have yielded tomatoes and he got to enjoy the fruits of his labors.   I’m envious of Jerry.  His efforts were validated with homegrown tomatoes and I simply have two Topsy Turvy Tomato planters that will probably end up in the trash.

Once again, I feed the worms for another year!

The reason for heartbreaking failure eluded my thinking.  At first, I thought I was over-watering, then under-watering, more fertilizer, and then less fertilizer.  Then Jerry Porter, my next-door neighbor finally enlightened me on the answer to my tomato-less state.  He explained that water wasn’t reaching the roots because they are growing upward, and the water goes downward.

But, there is good news.  The Obama Administration has announced a new tomato wealth redistribution plan that would take the overabundant bounties of good tomato growers and subsidize the lesser fortunate.    It’s a stimulating plan that would share the efforts of a few, with everyone!

Is it fair that Jerry must share his wealth with me?  I smell some rotten tomatoes here!

No, it’s not fair.  Jerry worked hard to make his tomato plants bountiful.  I didn’t have the success he did, but that doesn’t give me any right to demand that government take his.  The lesson to be learned here is simple, people should be able to keep what they earn and share what they want.

People are going to have to stop demanding that government take from one and give to another.  We don’t need socialized medicine, cash for clunkers, or government bailouts.  That is not the purpose of government or what our forefathers envisioned.

I think I’m going to send Obama a tomato plant, maybe he can learn something.

Dog Days Of Summer

What’s Up in Hollywood Sports


By Kevin “Hollywood” Hastings

August is arguably the worst month in sports.  There’s no basketball, no football, and the baseball season is so long and arduous it’s getting a bit ridiculous.  While it heats up around the country during the dog days of Summer, August is full of anticipation to what’s to come in September and October.  These months bring us the Chase for the Cup in NASCAR, the baseball playoffs, the start of college & NFL football, and the start of the NBA.

What August does bring is the release and national holiday of the Madden video game franchise on this Friday, August 7th.  For me and a few of my friends we dedicate the whole day, if not the whole weekend, well maybe the whole month of August to playing the game.  I have to admit I was never a fan of the franchise before the Playstation 2 version of the game wiped out the competition (Anyone remember GameDay?)  and Madden signed an exclusive deal with the NFL to produce league sponsored video games.  Whether that constitutes a violation on the NFL’s anti-trust agreement has yet to be determined.  But now it’s my favorite game and the only one I’ll probably play for the next two months.  So here’s wishing you a Happy Madden Day, err Month!  May all your trick plays net you six.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Michael Vick dilemma before Commisioner Goodell had made a decision on what to do with Vick.  Since then the Commish has decided that Vick will be reinstated on a few conditions not named.  Vick’s options are signing with an NFL team and playing a few pre-season games before probably missing the first 4-6 weeks of the regular season on suspension.  Or, he could sign with the UFL or CFL, a decision Vick has stated that he does not intend to make.

So here we go again with my nitpicking and questioning of the Carolina Panthers front office decision making.  The Panthers went 12-4 last year right?  Right.  The Panthers earned home field and won their division last year right?  Right.  They lost  to the Arizona Cardinals at home in the playoffs because their quarterback, who I’ve been telling you isn’t a top fifteen quarterback for two years, turned the ball over SIX TIMES in the game.  To a man I could ask everyone in the Carolinas why the Panthers lost in the playoffs last season and they’ll all answer “Jake Delhomme.”  Geez, if Tony Romo had played the way Jake did the Obama Administration would have had him deported.

So where’s the heat on Delhomme? Where’s the demanding by the press that the Panthers get a QB to replace Delhomme?  Replace, shoot, the Panthers gave him a 5-year $42 million dollar extension!  For what?  Delhomme single handedly cost Carolina a shot at another Super Bowl and the Panthers didn’t find a replacement or even a backup to challenge him.  Not only that, they didn’t even get a backup good enough to spot start if Delhomme goes down for a few games much less the whole season.  If I would tell the other 31 teams in the NFL that their QB turned it over six times and cost their team a shot at the Super Bowl and in turn the team would give said 34 year-old quarterback a 5-year $42 million extension, what would they say?  I don’t know but there’s only two teams in the league who wouldn’t have gotten rid of their quarterback after a performance like that, or at least signed a backup.

If the Panthers really like Delhomme fine, but let’s get a backup in here who can challenge him or at least spot start.  Delhomme is 34 years-old and has never been able to get the ball to Steve Smith in stride.  What makes you think he can get it to him when he’s 39?  The Panthers are wasting years of Smith’s prime by having a quarterback who won’t, err, can’t win a game by himself, but he sure will lose a game.  That’s why all this leads us to one dynamic and overwhelming question to the Panthers off-season.  Are the Panthers just content  being a middle of the road team who wins between 7-11 games every season?  It sure seems like it because the only position that cost them a playoff game last season was Delhomme’s, and they did nothing to sure up the position.

And this brings us to our next question…Why have the Panthers not called Michael Vick?  Wouldn’t he make this team better?  Wouldn’t he give John Fox a reason to call draws on third and long?  Wouldn’t Vick be a better backup than Matt Moore and Josh McCown?  In Vick’s career he’s almost single handedly destroyed the Panthers, so they know how difficult he is to prepare for.  With the Wildcat running rampant throughout the NFL Vick’s skills are even more valuable to a team.  The Panthers like to run the ball and with Vick, Fox may never have to call another pass again.  And I’ll tell you this, if Vick is in the game, Steve Smith won’t have to turn around, run back 10 yards and outjump the defenders to make a catch on another Delhomme duck lob.  Vick can throw the ball 75 yards and Steve Smith will be the happiest receiver in the league.

What are the consequences to bringing in Vick?  Media scrutiny?  Well someone needs to scrutinize this team’s decision making and if all the media can come up with is a story on the backup quarterback and his past aggressions then there’s really not much to worry about right? Vick’s jerseys will fly off the shelves and like they say, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”  Vick can rebuild his reputation by working in the local community to spread information about the wrongs of dog fighting.

The only reason this story is still as big as it is, is because the news media outlets are waiting with baited breath on a team to sign Vick so they can send a news crew to cover the story and run up ratings.  You don’t think Fox News already has a day’s worth of dog fighting related material to throw at the team who signs him?  Please.  That’s the saddest part about all this.  The “news” media is sensationlizing everything just to bump up some ratings so they can charge advertisers more, who in turn charge you the consumer more. So don’t believe the hype by the news outlets and Hollywood.

Vick will return and in a few years we’ll have forgiven him for what he’s done.  The question is will the fans of the Carolina Panthers be able to forgive the front office for not signing Vick to backup and eventually replace Delhomme?  I guess the Richardson’s are content just making it to the playoffs and having Delhomme lose the game again.  It’s going to be another exciting season in Charlotte.

Remember as always that  televised sports are businesses and to sell television you need a little drama.  Sometimes you have to wonder if Hollywood is scripting this mess.

Let’s Get To Chasing

What’s Up in NASCAR with Clint Spencer

Kevin Hastings

Kevin Hastings

By:  Hollywood Sports with Kevin Hastings

Clint’s on vacation this week so it’s up to me to let you know What’s Up in NASCAR!  We’re going to have a little fun this week with Hollywood’s Power Rankings.  This week I’m breaking down the contenders for the cup into five categories.  1) History Chasing Contenders, 2) Don’t Count’em Out Contenders, 3) Have No Shot Pretenders; 4) Close But No Cigar Pretenders; 5) What is Junior doing?

History Chasing Contenders

1st - #48 Jimmie Johnson - Johnson actually trails Tony Stewart in points but once The Chase begins in six weeks they’ll be a whole lot closer in the standings and the 3-time defending champion will be breathing down Smoke’s neck.  Now we all know Stewart isn’t the coolest of cats on the track and no owner/driver has ever won the championship; let alone in their first season.  I can guarantee you that the conspiracy theorists, Stewart fans, and Jimmie haters will come out of the woodwork if one of Stewart’s Hendrick Motorsports built engines happen to falter in one of the remaining races.

Jimmie and Chad want this championship more than any other they’ve won.  Winning four straight not only will be the first time ever a driver has achieved the feat, but will put Johnson in a class of All-time greats who all can say they never did what the Lowe’s Team did.  If Johnson can pull off this championship who do you rank where in the top five of all time?  Richard Petty won 7 championships and 200 races.  David Pearson won 3 titles and 105 races;  Jeff Gordon won 4 titles and 82 races; Dale Earnhardt won 7 titles and 76 races; and Johnson will have won 4 championships in a row and currently has won 43 races.

2nd - #14 Tony Stewart - Speaking of all-time greatest drivers, if Smoke can survive the onslaught of the chase with Gordon and Johnson behind him he can supplant his place in the books as possibly a top ten driver.  I’m just worried that being an owner/driver will catch up to Tony.  Having to be responsible for all team decisions can weigh heavily on a guy but Tony’s up to the task.  I just think the Lowe’s 48 Team will beat them, it’s a gut feeling.

3rd - #24 Jeff Gordon - Another driver with a chance to advance his name on the all-time greats lists.  Gordon’s looking to become only the second driver to win five titles.  Gordon is also three wins away from being alone in third place on the all time wins list with 85.

Don’t Count’em Out Contenders

4th - #2 Kurt Busch - Busch is a former champion and has the know how and ability to win another championship.  Don’t count him out, but it’s hard to pick against the top three.

5th - #11 Denny Hamlin - Hamlin’s a wild card in this chase for the cup. In 50 contests he hadn’t won a race until this past week.  Pocono is Hamlin’s stomping grounds and if they raced there every week he’d be the favorite.  Hamlin has a chance, but a slim one.

6th - #99 Carl Edwards - Edwards is one of the best drivers on the circuit and wins a lot of races no matter what circuit he runs in but has yet to prove he can make it through all ten chase races as a consistent front runner.

The No Shot Pretenders

7th-12th - #9 Kasey Kahne; #42 Juan Montoya; #39 Ryan Newman; #5 Mark Martin; #17 Matt Kenseth; & #16 Greg Biffle.

Like they say sometimes, “The truth hurts.”  Sorry boys, you guys have no shot at winning the chase.  The good news is that if you make it you are sure to please your sponsors and fans but NONE of these guys are out racing Johnson, Gordon, and Stewart when they’re all this close to making history.

Close But No Cigar Pretenders

13th-16th - Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers, Clint Bowyer, & David Reutimann.  I shouldn’t even mention these guys but they’ve still got a shot at making the chase.  Only Busch out of this group puts a little fear into the contenders because you never know what Rowdy’s gonna do on the track.  Like the group before them these guys have no shot at the championship.

What Is Junior Doing?

I know this is blasphemous, especially in Mr. Spencer’s column, but what is Dale Jr. doing on the track these days?  Well that’s to say if he can hit his parking spot. Hearing a lot of whispers from fans that Junior’s turning into Kyle Petty just riding around the track and waving at pretty girls instead of racing for wins and championships.

I don’t know what he’s doing out there but right now he’s 23rd in points, 1,126 behind Stewart for the lead!  Rick Hendrick can’t be happy about his “Face of the Franchise” being in 23rd.  Hendrick should blame no one but himself because he already has actual all-time great drivers on his team in #24 & #48.  Having Junior on the team is for one reason only and that’s to sell merchandise and sponsorships; because it sure as heck ain’t for winning anything other than a popularity contest.  Bringing in Earnhardt couldn’t have made Gordon or Johnson happy.  They consider themselves the flagships of Hendrick’s Motorsports and NASCAR, not Junior.

Now I haven’t heard any rumors or read anything on the subject but I wouldn’t be surprised if “Little E” gets fired after the season.  He’s brought nothing to the Hendrick organization except losing and distractions.  With the economy the way it is you just can’t have a driver out there wasting time missing pit boxes.  I’m sorry for telling it like it is to Junior Nation but you know it and Dale knows it.  The proof’s in the pudding and it’s time for Little E to start pulling his weight and start earning those paychecks for what he does on the track instead of his last name.  If not, Junior needs to buy a ticket if he wants to watch a NASCAR race instead of taking a nice Sunday drive every week.

It’s That Time of Year

What’s Up in Prep Football


By Lewis Carpenter

Hello high school football fans.  It is that time of year again, football practice started in North Carolina, August 1.  Several of the local teams should again be well represented this year as in years past.  South Point went to the 3rd round last year and lost to a fine Rowan team.  East Lincoln and Newton-Conover both made it to the state finals, with Newton winning in their division.

One major coaching change for this season is Matt Beam taking over at Burns High School.  Matt had good success at North Lincoln and looks to carry that over to Burns.  I talked with Coach Beam earlier this summer.  He was real impressed with the athletes and speed at Burns.  He remarked about how hard the kids were willing to work and he is optimistic about this upcoming season.

North Lincoln appointed Scott Stillwell to replace Coach Beam.  He had been an assistant at Fred T. Foard for several years.  Congrats to John Carpenter on his appointment as North Lincoln’s new athletic director.  He takes over for Mark Lackey who resigned this year.  John started his career at Bessemer City assisting with football and baseball.

Coach Scott Cloninger, Lincolnton, has returned from his stint as the head coach for the East-West All Star Game in Greensboro.  The West lost 6-0 to a fine East team.  Scott says that his team will be young again this year.  He returns some good skill people, Tevin Avery and Rashadd Thompson at the wing positions.  Brandon Wilson, a junior and two-year starter at quarterback also returns.  Lincolnton has changed  their offensive set this year to a version of the wing-T or as Coach Cloninger calls it the South Point “Red Bone” offense.  He made the change because of a lack of experienced lineman and experienced skill people.  They want to take advantage of their speed.  Scott says that East Lincoln should be the team to beat this year with West Lincoln being improved.  I personally feel that Lincolnton will be in the thick of that race as well.

On Monday, August  3rd , I will have a total knee replacement on my right knee. This will cause me to miss some of  the early games, but I will be reporting to you for most of the season.  Hope everyone has a great year, get out and see some high school football.  Through circumstances beyond my control, I will not be doing a radio show this year.  Good Lord willing and the creek don’t’ rise, I will see you in the Whats Up Shopper.

See ya, Lewis

Editor’s Note:  Lewis will be making some appearances at the What’s Up Sun-Drop Tailgate Show on Friday Nights from 5:30pm-7:30pm.  See page 18 for more details.

The Foothills Farmer’s Market

What’s Up-town Shelby


By Janet Workman Berry, CPF

Frame Masters Gallery & Gifts, Shelby, NC


Who?  Local farmers

What?  Foothills Farmers’ Market

Where?  On the Square, Uptown, Shelby

When?  Wednesday and Saturday, 8:00am-1:00pm


Foothills Farmers’ Market vendors not only offer in-season produce such as corn, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, cukes, melons, berries, squash and beans, you can also find cakes and pies by Phyllis Feaster, breads, spreads and salsa (made from local produce) by Lowery Young.   Bring a bit of the outside in, treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers from Lori Wellmon’s flower garden.

Succulent tomatoes are also grow by Lori Wellmon.  Each season with  help from husband, Tim and their 3 sons, Rock Bottom Farm sets over 1,200 tomato plants.

Underwood Family Farms, Michael and Christy Underwood raise beef, pork and lamb without using antibiotics and hormones.  Their animals are pasture-raised and grass-fed.  Dining out in Charlotte you can enjoy Cleveland County raised meat at Sonoma Restaurant, Ratcliffe on the Green and  The Club at Longview to name a few.

Dennis Stamey from Waco, specializes in watermelons raised from seed developed by Florida State University to be extra sweet and delicious.

Along with offering regular in-season produce, Thomas Moore uses milk from his goat heard to make fabulous Goat Milk soap.  It not only looks pretty, smells great and leaves your skin soft and smooth – it is good for the enviroment.

Quail Hollow Farms, Charles and Chip Camp, also have great produce but their giant cantaloupes will leave your taste buds yearning for another slice of this succelent melon.

These are just a few of the hard working farm families who bring you locally grown products (eggs to meat to produce to flowers)  and  contribute to the quality of life we all enjoy in Cleveland County.

You will be surprised at all the foods you find at the market.  Bring your family and friends, come out and enjoy the freshest taste of Cleveland County, Wednesday and Saturday from 8:00am-1:00pm.

Be Inspired, Be Different, Be Uptown Shelby !!!

Shop Locally - Support Independent Merchants

that Support Your Community.

What Hour Do You Pray?

Let’s Talk Bible - Since 1975


By Evangelist W.C. “Dub” Dellinger - Age 90

If you study the Bible close, you can find out that Jesus usually prayed early in the morning then He would go into the temple.  Let’s learn from Him.  True, He would go away from home and pray first.  We do not have to go out of the house.  The writer does just out of bed.  Our Savior left us with a gift of prayer.  At times in life, prayer will be the only thing that will satisfy your soul.  Keep in mind that all the time you are praying just who you are talking to.  Reciting a prayer does no good, unless it comes from the heart, and to the right person.  If you have a child be very patient in prayer with what you say before them.  If more than once you  name and give each one a chance at the start.  They will catch on quick.  First, teach them the importance of prayer and just who they are talking to.  Yes He is listening.  Explain to your child that there is only one God all mighty, that sees all with mighty power, and that He gave them their breath with a live soul that will never die.  He left us with the power of grace to take care of us until we become of age to make rightful decisions.  His name is Jesus Lord and Master.  Never forget that you have an enemy that wants you.  He has accumulated many names.  Forget them.  Only one name counts and that is the Devil, enemy of your soul.  Never think that you can beat him yourself.  No one has yet.  There is only one way you can get loose from him.  In reality, give him to Jesus when He is your Lord, and follow in the righteous path of Jesus as Lord, and in the time being you can be found in heaven with the rest of the holy ones.  So many think they don’t have to do anything to be reborn or saved from the devil’s punishment.  Some preachers even say that you don’t, but that is far from the truth.

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Wonderful Watermelon

What’s Up with the NC Cooperative Extension

By Melinda M. Houser - Extension Agent

Family and Consumer Sciences


Watermelon is a summer favorite at picnics, cook-outs, and other summertime events.  Native to Africa, it was a valuable and portable source of water for desert situations and when natural water supplies were contaminated.  Watermelons were cultivated in Egypt and India as far back as 2500 B.C. as evidenced in ancient hieroglyphics.

The red pulp provides a powerhouse of nutritional value.  It is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C.  A plant pigment found in only a few red plant foods such as tomatoes and watermelon, lycopene, like vitamin C, neutralizes cell-damaging free radicals.  While tomatoes traditionally have been used in lycopene research because of their established lycopene levels, scientists recently discovered that watermelon have as much lycopene–or more than—that found in raw tomato.  Deep red flesh is the best indicator of the sweetest and most nutritious watermelon.

Watermelon, like most fruits and vegetables, is a good source of potassium.  Foods high in potassium seem to help protect against high blood pressure.  Potassium also helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of body cells, aids in muscle contraction and helps transmit nerve impulses.

Low in calories, yet filling: A 2-cup serving of watermelon has only 100 calories.  However, as a result of its high water content, watermelon is quite filling.

How do you know you’re getting a good watermelon?  The National Watermelon Promotion Board offers these tips:  1) Look it over – choose a melon that’s symmetrical and free of bruises, cuts and dents; 2) Lift it up – it should be heavy for its size; 3) Turn it over – it should have a creamy yellow spot on the underside where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.

Safe food handling is always important but especially during summer months when outside temperatures can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Harmful bacteria on unwashed rind comes in contact with the fruit during cutting.  When the cut pieces are then held unrefrigerated, the harmful bacteria are able to grow to levels that cause illness.  The longer the cut pieces are unrefrigerated, the more the bacteria grows.

Thoroughly wash the surface of all melons with a scrub brush and plenty of water before cutting.  Also, use a clean knife and a clean surface when cutting melons.  You can minimize the growth of harmful bacteria by keeping cut melon in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Harmful bacteria grow very slowly at refrigeration temperatures.  When transporting melons to a picnic, consider cutting up the melon at home, putting the pieces into a closed container and storing the container in a chest full of ice until immediately before serving.

Quick Tips Using Watermelon

Puree watermelon chunks, then freeze this juice into colorful and tasty “pops” – everyone will love them as a cooling snack.

Mold melon balls into gelatin salads for lots of fresh flavor and color.

Serve a slice of melon for breakfast – it’s a delicious and juicy way to start the day.

•  Make watermelon rind pickles or preserves for a tangy-sweet complement to hamburgers, hotdogs and barbecued meats.

• “Eat a Cool Drink!” On hot days watermelon is a great choice to replenish body fluids since it is 92% water.

Watermelon Popsicles

3 cups watermelon juice

½ cup sugar

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

½ cup water

To prepare watermelon juice, cut watermelon into cubes and rub through a strainer to remove seeds. In small saucepan mix together sugar and water; simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in watermelon juice and lemon juice. Turn into 2 ice trays. Freeze until very mushy and insert a popsicle stick in each cube. Freeze. Makes about 36 small popsicles.

Does Sin Pay? Yes It Does…Read On

What’s Up with Thinkin’ Bout It

Vince Hefner

By Dr. Vincent Hefner, Pastor

First Baptist Church, Cherryville, NC

My first paying job was at the Great Smokies Hilton in Asheville, North Carolina. I would like to tell you I was a chef, or a line cook, or perhaps a waiter, but I can’t. I was a dishwasher, and occasionally I worked on pots and pans that needed special attention. At the end of a long nights work, I would smell like, well, I stunk! No matter how hard I tried to stay clean, at the end of a shift I would reek of the smell of leftovers and was soaking wet from dishwater. My hands would blister because the trays that held the dishes were scalding hot when I pulled them out of the dishwasher. I guess every business has a “Pecking order” and in the restaurant business, the dishwasher is the bottom of the bottom.

I wanted to be a waiter but I was only 15 years old and they told me I was too young. I wasn’t sure if my boss was telling me the truth, maybe he just liked the way I washed dishes, but I was too scared to ask someone else about another job. I thought about working on the salad bar but I didn’t have any experience with lettuce and salad dressings and nobody wanted to take the time to train me, especially when I smelled like I had just climbed out of a trash dumpster. I had a dream of being a chef, barking out orders and being in charge. Once again, I was just a kid and I seemed destined to wash dishes and look pitiful!

I know what you are thinking, “Why did you do this horrible job if you didn’t like it?” Well, one simple answer, I got paid. Yes, I’m not sure what the minimum wage was back in the late 70’s, but I got paid more than that! That is what I would tell people when they asked me why I washed dishes “Well,” I would respond, “I make more than minimum wage!” Besides, it was honest work and I was raised to work for what I wanted.

Getting a wage for a job is part of the job. This is one of the reasons people further their education, to get a better paying job. No matter what the job is, you are going to ask, “Well, what does it pay?” This is an honest question. I don’t know of too many people who get hired and don’t know what they are getting paid.

It is along these lines I want to ask you a question, “Does sin pay?” Before you answer the question, consider your options. The Bible says that you get a wage for sin. In other words, you get paid to sin! Romans 6:23 tells us, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I see very important truths in this Scripture. First, you will receive payment for sin but it may not be the wage that you desire. The payment you will receive is not money, stocks or bonds, property, or other items associated with work. The wage you will receive is death. Death is the only wage sin will pay. You cannot renegotiate with sin and tell it you want fame and riches. Some people live in sin and believe a worldly lifestyle is their payment. But they are wrong. When the final payment comes, it always comes the same way, Death. However, the second truth this Scripture teaches is that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We cannot earn, work for, or buy eternal life. This is a gift that only comes one way, and that way is Jesus Christ. Have you accepted this gift in your life? If not, why not? If not now, when? Payday is coming and I want to know I am trusting in God’s gift for my past, present, and future. Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it!