• Robert Hamilton drives his Scooby Doo-themed van, the Mystery Machine, through Murphy during the parade. Photo by BEN KATZ
  • A total of 60 students were inducted to the Junior Beta Club of Ranger Elementary/Middle School on Friday. Photo by SAMANTHA SINCLAIR

SCOUTING AROUND: Mystery Machine adds to parade fun

   Anyone who went to a parade this weekend knew where Scooby-Doo was, as the Mystery Machine rolled through both Andrews and Murphy’s parade routes. The Mystery Machine is a 1973 Ford van, just like the one from the cartoon. Robert Hamilton was owned the van for nearly 30 years.
   “It wasn’t always a Mystery Machine,” he said.
   About six years ago, when The Learning Center charter school in Murphy was planning Halloween events, the school was going to get a van to be the Mystery Machine, the vehicle the gang of crime-solvers use in The Scooby-Doo Show. Hamilton said he already had the perfect van in storage.
   Hamilton always built something for the school’s Halloween activities – his niece went to the charter – and was happy to get his van painted like the Mystery Machine. He enlisted help from Ground to Graphics to paint it and Curtis Glass to do the vinyl for free, as those businesses also had a relationship with the school. Hamilton’s business, Sounds Good Electronics, also installed a full sound system in the van.
   He has kept it as the Mystery Machine ever since, making improvements as needed so it’s like a new van.
   “It’s just too awesome,” Hamilton said. “It’s six years later, and the paint still looks new.”
   He thinks it’s amazing that the Scooby-Doo franchise has endured all these years. He brings the Mystery Machine to events, like parades, the annual Punkin Chunkin and birthday parties.
   “I do so enjoy it, and it brings smiles to little kids’ faces. That’s why I do it,” Hamilton said.
   For the parades, he got Scooby-Doo snacks – otherwise known as baked graham crackers – to toss to the crowds of children as bubbles floated from the back of the van. For the nighttime Andrews parade, the van was trimmed with lights.

Junior Beta comes to Ranger
   Sixty Ranger Elementary/Middle School students were inducted as the charter members of the school’s Junior Beta Club on Friday night. To be eligible for membership, all students had to be on the A-B Honor Roll, have good character and be servant leaders.
   “We really care about our community and want to be more involved in the community,” said Theresa Allen, the middle school level advisor.
   The elementary level advisors are Shannon Holliday and Jessica Ennis. The teachers said the creation of the club is inspiring students to want to improve their grades so they can join, too.
   “We are so encouraged because there are other kids who want to be a part of this,” Holliday said.
   Fourth-grade students inducted were Aiden Bennett, Kaylee Brady, Gideon Closser, Josh Gunter, Cheyenne Hunt, Landon Koch, Brady Orton, Madison Standbridge and Bryana Totherow.
   Fifth-grade students inducted were Ethan Brendle, Adara Collier, Ari Collier, Bradey Golden, Chloe Grizzle, Ethan Harris, Chloelynn Little, Bo Meyers, Brandon Morrow, Ryan Morrow, Angel Newton, Jack Raper, Landen Spies and Cooper Twiggs.
   Sixth-grade students inducted were Lonnie Crisp, Lacy Gallman, Isabella Jensen, Emma Ledford, Tyler Miller, Noah O’Connell, Jacob Phillips, Dominick Rummler and Ty Smith.
   Seventh-grade students inducted were Dalton Campbell, Savannah Deren, Emily Dillard, Preston Hyde, Sarah Ledford, Candace Leovao, Dozer Mashburn, Charli McDaniel, Emily Parker, Kara Penland, Danelle Stovall, Emily Tomczak, Nataly Tomczak, Caden Twiggs and Zara Walker.
   Eighth-grade students inducted were Xander Allman, Lauren Brooks, David Charles, Rylee Guess, Issac Jensen, Elizabeth Kisselburg, Aidan Orlandi, Hunter Osborne, Payton Palmer, Sydney Payne, Amber Rascol, Kristain Romesberg and Kolby Stiles.
   Each student received a certificate of membership, membership card and lapel pin. As part of the ceremony, Palmer, Mashburn, Spies and Gunter presented the keys of achievement, leadership, character and service.
   The ceremony was held at Oak Grove Baptist Church. Other area middle schools with Junior Beta Clubs are Andrews and Murphy.
   Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.