10/05/11 — Chamber's dancing stars named

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Chamber's dancing stars named

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 5, 2011 1:46 PM

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Carl "Bubba" Williams, right, and Ella Mae Hooker, instructors at Top Hat Dance Studio, perform a dance demonstration Tuesday night during the organizational meeting of the second annual Dancing Stars of Wayne County, planned for March 24 at Walnut Creek Country Club. Twenty-five participants will perform in the fundraiser for education.

Twenty-five area residents have agreed to don dancing shoes and perform in the second annual Dancing Stars of Wayne County event next spring.

Among them are homemakers and military spouses, business owners and elected officials, a tree climbing champion and a woman who has had two hip replacement surgeries in the last three years.

Kathy Jones, 55, director of information technology at Wayne Community College, had her latest hip replacement done in June of this year.

"Someone asked me, what are you doing having this so young?" she said. "I said, so I can enjoy the rest of my life."

She feels "terrific," she says, and won't let something like a little surgery slow her down.

"I have always enjoyed dancing," she said, although her experience in the activity has been limited. "Not competitively -- I took shagging lessons for a few years and have done square dancing and line dancing. ... I'm probably going to pick something (different) because I love to learn something new."

Holly Harper, a military spouse who moved to the area a year ago, readily admits she has no previous dance experience. The Oregon native, owner of Blue Bike Communications, will be representing the Chamber of Commerce in the dance competition.

"I started reading about the event (last year) and thought, I would love to do that next year," she said. "How fun would it be to learn to dance and dance for a good cause?"

The fundraiser for education proved a rousing success in its first year, grossing about $78,000 and netting an estimated $57,000. Scholarship awards have already been presented to a dozen teacher assistants, with more mini-grants anticipated in the near future.

"I participated last year and I had a lot of fun," Dr. Ed Wilson, chairman of Wayne Education Network, told the group. "I think you'll have a lot of fun."

Last year's initial concern about ticket sales proved unfounded, he said.

"We sold the thing out last year in January," he said.

"We sold out in less than 21 days," added Dr. Debbie Grady, event chairwoman.

Tuesday night marked the first official meeting between the "dancing stars" and the instructors at Top Hat Dance Studio. Mrs. Grady and Dr. Charles Zwerling, owner of Top Hat and producer of the show, discussed particulars of the upcoming contest, planned for March 24 at Walnut Creek Country Club.

"This event would not have been successful without the stars. The stars really come together and make this happen," Mrs. Grady said. "(Attorney) Geoff Hulse has already said he wants to do a tap dance. He's got it all figured out."

Zwerling said he looks forward to making it even splashier this time around.

"We found things we can do better," he said. "My main goal, No. 1 priority is to put on a great show. ... I'm going to warn you, there's going to be some outrageous numbers. I might as well say it -- I need a Lady Gaga. We have got some crazy stuff we're going to do. I think we're going to have fun with it.

"The second thing I have got to do is make you look good. We'll get the job done and I think you'll have a lot of fun."

Marian Mason, Chamber president, said the organizers and committee had "struck gold" when they introduced the fundraiser in Wayne County.

"It just doesn't happen that tickets sell that quickly," she said. "I think we have stumbled on something here that works ... and I think right now it's a wonderful opportunity for us to come together as a community and have some fun, and this is a great way to do it."

Not only are different backgrounds and areas of the community represented, Mrs. Grady said, but the event allows for everyone to participate -- as stars, an audience member or a voter.

She added that a website with pictures and biographies of each participant is expected to be up and running in December.

•Thomas Bradshaw, vice president of operations at Wayne Memorial Hospital

•Kevin Coakley, manager, Accu Copy

•John Collins, president/financial consultant, Collins' Wealth Management

•Jimmie Edmundson, senior vice president and city executive, Branch Bank & Trust

•Gloria Flowers of Mount Olive Family Medicine Center and wife of school board member Arnold Flowers

•Lloyd Godley, senior vice president market president community banking, Wells Fargo

•Anthony Grady, assistant manager, Tony's Service Center Inc.

•Lindsey Grimes, manager, Sam's Club

•Holly Harper, owner Blue Bike Communications, representing Wayne County Chamber of Commerce

•Michael Headen, Goldsboro city councilman

•Dr. Teague Horton of Goldsboro Pediatrics

•Geoff Hulse, attorney with Haithcock, Barfield, Hulse & Kinsey

•Whitney Jansta, community engagement manager with United Way of Wayne County

•Phillip Johnston, account executive with Curtis Media Group East

•Kathy Jones, director of information technology at Wayne Community College

•Kim LaFevers, homemaker and wife of dentist Dr. Scott LaFevers

•Ronald Lawrence, attorney with Everett, Womble, Lawrence & Brown

•Allen Lumpkin, assistant tax administrator with Wayne Tax Office

•Dr. Sandra McCullen, county commissioner and associate superintendent with Wayne County Public Schools

•Bethany Perry of Goldsboro Builders Supply

•Leonard Person, foreman of the tree crew with Tri County EMC

•Stephanie Ross, vice president business development of D.S. Simmons

•Col. Ann Winkler, 4th Mission Group commander on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base

•George Worrell of Wayco Ham

•Tammy Yates, director of competitive aquatics at the YMCA.