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Boy scouts clean up streets

Local Boy and Girl Scouts helped clean up Lee County on Saturday by picking up trash alongside Valley Road.

Eight scouts and four adults in Venturing Crew 907 and Boy Scout Troop 953 “braved the morning fog, hot sun, and ditch mud to clean up several miles of Valley Road this past weekend,” said participant Tamara Lewis, an adviser to the Scouts.

They collected about 14 bags of trash including large pieces like tires, pipes and car parts, and small pieces like metal and glass cans, food wrappers and cigarette butts, according to Lewis.

“We spent a lot of time saying to each other, ‘We don’t understand why people would do this.’ ” Lewis said. “Everybody’s bad habits landed on the side of the road. When I drove down the road later, it was just really calm to see the sides of the road clean, and just the woods and just the grass, and to know intimately some of the things that had come out of there.”

The street cleanup was organized by Alex Bullock, an Eagle Scout and member of Venturing Crew 907.

Bullock encouraged others to help clean up the streets and advised anyone doing so to come equipped with gloves, waterproof shoes and extra drinking water.

Library to expand operating hours

The Lee County Libraries is expanding its hours at the main library in Sanford.

Starting Monday, the library will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to a Lee County news release.

Curbside services will continue Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The service will be available until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, the release said.

The Broadway branch library remains closed, but the book drop is available for use.

COVID-19 protocols will remain in place. Patrons will be asked to have their temperatures checked at the entrance, the release said.

Face coverings and social distancing will be required as well, the release said.

The library’s public computers will be available for use in one-hour increments. The hour may be extended if the computer is not needed by someone else.

The library’s book sale room is open to the public, but the library will begin taking donations in April.

Virtual programming and services are scheduled through the end of April. The virtual and in-person programs will be evaluated as the COVID-19 restrictions are eased, according to the release.

For more information, go to library.leecoun tync.gov.

Remains ID'd as missing West End man

The human remains discovered Sunday in Moore County have been identified as a West End man who was last seen in July.

The death of Jamal Orlando Bostic, 32, is being investigated as a homicide, a Moore County Sheriff’s Office release said Tuesday.

Bostic was identified as a result of an autopsy Monday at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Raleigh, Chief Deputy Richard Maness said.

The remains were found along Murdocksville Road, between Carthage and West End, by a person riding a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle, Maness said.

Bostic’s whereabouts have been unknown since July, according to media reports.

Bostic was a member of the Pinecrest High School Class of 2007, according to social media posts.

Friends posted memories of Bostic and condolences to his family.

“Just found out that an Angel has left earth, rest in Heaven Jamal Bostic,” one post read. “I could help thinking about that one time you were mad at me, I remember I did or said something and you gave me the look … the look like I knew better. For some reason I just remembered that he seemed to always expect people to be their best person. Jamal you will be missed.”

Another stunned acquaintance posted this offering:

“I can’t believe it was you! R.I.P Jamal Bostic Gone way to soon but will never be forgotten! Praying for your precious family!”

Yet another classmate offered these regards:

“Jamal Bostic I’ll never forget about you Jamal. I am so sorry this happened to you. I thought about you every day and I will always forever.”

Women in farming: It's a family business

Agriculture is often perceived as a male-dominated profession, but unlike some other industries, women have had a pivotal role in farming since the first English settlers planted seeds in the 1600s.

“It’s an untold story,” said Minda Daughtry, a horticulture agent at the Lee County Cooperative Extension. “Women have always been an active part of farming operations.”

Running a farm isn’t just about harvesting fields or looking after animals, Daughtry said. It’s a business that requires many different roles.

“You pitch in where you fit in, in order to keep everything going well,” Daughtry said.

That holds true for women as well as men, who are involved in every aspect of farming. Stepping into a role to help keep the farm running might mean operating a tractor and forklift, checking commodity prices, managing insurance and accounting or looking after the computer systems in the poultry house, Daughtry said.

“It’s all hands on deck all the time,” she said. “One of the things you’ll see throughout farming is a very strong focus on family, so everybody is pulled into the mix to get the final products out the door.”

Mary Beth Jackson, who grew up on a tobacco farm, is well-acquainted with the life of a farmer. She now helps run White Hill Farms with her husband Duane and their two children.

As a child, Jackson was constantly called upon to help harvest crops and look after the animals. She got all the benefits of farming, but also had to deal with all the hardships, she said.

“You get to go fishing with your granddaddy and you get to ride in the truck to the tobacco market with your dad, all those fun things,” Jackson said. “But you also have the obligations. Having to get up hay when it’s hot. Bottle-feeding the calf when the mom won’t look after her. You’ve got all the good and the bad.”

Growing up on a farm taught Jackson how to deal with hardship, she said. There was a certain amount of pride associated with the work, but it wasn’t easy. A sudden weather event could wipe out days of hard work, for example.

“You do feel out of place, because the life you live was so very different from the life that my friends lived,” Jackson said. “They went to the pool and they had beach houses and they went on vacation. We were working in tobacco. Even as an adult, you still have that challenge, because your life at home is not like everybody else’s.”

Caring for the animals takes precedence, so if an alarm goes off at 2 a.m., “you’ve got to get up and go,” Jackson said.

Tina Gross, of Gross Farms, agreed, saying, “It’s definitely a lifestyle and it’s a culture. It is not a 9 to 5 job regardless of what your role is on a farm.”

Despite being long time participants in farming, women still face challenges in the business, Gross said.

“It’s definitely a man’s industry, but women are becoming more prominent in agriculture,” she said. “I have seen improvement over the years.”

Farms primarily operated by women accounted for 13% of all farms in 2016, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s an increase from 25 years ago, when less than 5% of farms were primarily operated by women.

Women have always had a place in farming, but now, “more invitations are being extended to women for leadership roles,” Gross said.

“As with any other career that is male-driven, it takes time,” she said. “You have to take your seat at the table and let your voice be heard.”