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Tops Down and Kickstands Up for the 10th Annual Hogs and Rags Motorcycle Rally PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jim Jones and Bill Bowman   
Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A sure sign of spring in Fayetteville is the sight of hundreds of motorcycles and convertibles converging on the Airborne and Special Operations Museum for the annual Hogs & Rags Spring Rally. 

For the past 10 years, Gardner Altman and Bobby Bleecker (of Bleecker Chevrolet, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge) and other civic-minded community businesses, organizations and volunteers have joined forces to create one of the community’s best fundraisers. Since its inception, this event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for organizations that directly benefit the residents of Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. 

The idea came together in 2005, when Altman floated the idea of bringing car and motorcycle enthusiasts together to benefit worthy local causes. The community agreed and has gotten behind the event wholeheartedly. Year after year, the participation and sponsors continue to grow for this Dogwood Festival-sanctioned event.

The event, which starts at the ASOM and ends in Myrtle Beach has continued to grow. Last year, the rally drew motorcycle and car enthusiasts from across the state. With kickstands up and tops down, the participants were quite a sight, with Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson and his first lady, Kim, taking the lead as the Grand Marshals. 

Working to top last year’s extremely successful event, the Hogs & Rags committee has been working hard for months to ensure that the event will continue to grow.  Included in that is the addition of a new event, a pre-registration party the night before the ride, which will bring together local residents and those from across the state who have made their way to Fayetteville to participate in the event. On Friday, April 24, from 7 – 9 p.m., Mac’s Speed Shop on McPherson Church Road will host the Hogs & Rags Welcome Party. The free event is hosted by Mac’s and the Hogs & Rags committee for all event sponsors, participants, riders and their guests. The party is a chance to welcome out-of-town guests, conduct pre-registration, give out T-shirts, sell raffle tickets, play games, give away prizes and listen to great live music provided by the band Lotus Sun. Of course, you can also taste Fayetteville’s hospitality with some cold beverages and Mac’s barbecue. Mosheh Samson,  bar manager at Mac’s Fayetteville and Mac’s general manager Nick Hart are excited about hosting the inaugural welcome event. They have been diligently promoting the rally since early April with banners and posters. 

The next morning it is show time. Saturday, April 25, at 7 a.m.,  registration for the event officially begins. At 9 a.m., it’s kickstands up, with Mayor Nat Robertson again taking the lead. Leaving the 

As the riders cross the Cape Fear River, the smell of biscuits greets the participants as they approach the Rockin-A-Ranch, where they are welcomed with southern hospitality and served a wonderful breakfast. As an added bonus, the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team will parachute into the ranch, while the West Bladenboro High School Junior ROTC Color Guard presents the colors. As breakfast winds down, door prizes and raffles will close out the morning.parking lot, the ride moves at a quick pace. The ride is escorted by local and state police from Fayetteville to Myrtle Beach.  

From there, it is off to Myrtle Beach. The ride stops briefly at the South Carolina state line for a water break. The next stop is Margaritaville at Broadway at the Beach. Riders will enjoy a great lunch, get their beach groove on and take their chances at a winning the $2,500 reverse raffle and assorted door prizes. 

Participants can elect to return to Fayetteville and rock-out to Warrant and Quite Riot at the Dogwood Festival or spend the afternoon or evening shopping or with their toes in the sand. 

Although everyone has fun at this event, the big winners are the beneficiaries. This year, the proceeds will go to the Green Beret Foundation, Kidsville News Literacy and Education Foundation and the American Cancer Society. 

“This event benefits the people in this community. One way or the other, we all know people with cancer, children or in those in the military who need a little extra help,”
 said Bleecker.

The Green Beret Foundation provides immediate financial assistance to Special Forces soldiers who are injured in the line of duty, to their families and to the families of fallen soldiers. They also provide funds to support the extended care of an injured Green Beret who requires help while waiting on VA funding. The foundation is focused on the immediate special needs of wounded soldiers and is dedicated to the long-term health of Green Beret families.

The Kidsville News Literacy and Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides reading and educational materials free to Cumberland Country children from kindergarten to sixth grade. Kidsville News! is a fun, family resource that promotes education, literacy and good character traits in the community’s children. 

For more than 100 years, the American Cancer Society has worked relentlessly to save lives and support those suffering from cancer. Together, with millions of supporters worldwide, the organization helps people in need, funds research and aids people in their fight against cancer.  

Of course, this would not be possible without the help and assistance of dozens of volunteers, event supporters and sponsors and participants of this event to make a difference like Kristie Holtsclaw of Ray Price Motorsports who is the Hogs & Rags premier sponsor. From day one, Holtsclaw and her company have embraced the Fort Bragg/Fayetteville community. 

Join the sponsors and participants of this event to make a difference in our community. Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 25. Come with a full tank of gas and expect lots of food, entertainment, riding, prizes and fellowship. The event is $50 per person. Pre-register at www.hogsandrags.com or call Wendy at 910-818-0458. Learn more about the event www.hogsandrags.com. 

Smokey Robinson Closes Out Community Concerts Series PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Erinn Crider   
Tuesday, 07 April 2015

This is the 79th season of Community Concerts and its 20th year working with the Crown Coliseum. Community Concerts was founded in 1935, making it Fayetteville’s oldest arts organization. The longevity of the group is impressive in its own right, but the fact that it is comprised of volunteers who are dedicated to bringing the best entertainment from around the world to the Fayetteville community is a reflection of their dedication to its mission. 

This month, Community Concerts brings R&B legend Smokey Robinson to the Crown Theatre. Chances are, if you don’t recognize his name, you will surely recognize his music.

Born Feb. 19, 1940 in Detroit, Michigan, as William Robinson Jr., he started singing at a very early age. In the early 1950s, he formed the group that would become world famous R&B group The Miracles, and his ticket to fame. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was the Vice President of Motown Records. In the 1970s, he decided to take on a solo career and produced his first Grammy for the best R&B vocal performance in 1987. Since then, Robinson has continued to delight audiences all around the world with his smooth musical poetry.

He has also had a successful career as a songwriter, writing songs for his own group, The Miracles, as well as hits for The Temptations, Mary Wells, Brenda Holloway, Marvin Gaye and many others. Some of his most famous songs are “My Girl,” “You Beat Me to the Punch” and “Don’t Mess with Bill.” Bob Dylan is quoted as saying Robinson is America’s “greatest living poet.” 

Robinson faced many struggles as a young man. He grew up in a rough part of Detroit and was raised by his older sister. In the ‘80s, he struggled, but overcame cocaine addiction. He attributed his recovery to religion, which greatly influences much of his new music. In addition to his thriving musical career, Robinson shares his experiences through public speaking. His works have left a powerful imprint on American culture. The Miracles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, he has been awarded an honorary degree from Howard University and he was chosen as a Kennedy Center Honoree. His influence has also reached across the pond with The Beatles citing him as a major influence on their work. 

Robinson’s career has been a long one, but after four decades, every performance is as engaging and entertaining as his very first. His concert is perfect for those who already love his music and those who have not yet discovered it. Robinson has evolved as an artist over the course of his career, but his sound and messages have remained timeless. The concert is not generational; it is an amazing experience for everyone who enjoys incredible music. 

Community Concerts has spent decades bridging the gap between generations. When conversations fail, it is often a song that can deliver a message. Showing true dedication to its vision, Community Concerts has several programs that are designed to engage the community and support those who seek to make the greater Fayetteville area better through music and entertaining. Community Concerts awards scholarships each year to deserving high school seniors in the community. Since the program’s inception, 24 students have received scholarships. Local musicians and performers are often invited to open for the main acts during the concert season. Local citizens are recognized for their contributions to the music and arts culture in Fayetteville and are inducted to the Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame each year. Senior citizens and other community members who often don’t have the extra cash to purchase concert tickets are often given free tickets to the concerts. In recent seasons, these have included the Vision Resource Center, Urban Ministry, The Sunshine Center, members of local fire and police departments, high school theater arts classes, members of our military and many more.

The Smokey Robinson concert will be held on April 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Crown Theatre, which is located at 1960 Coliseum Drive. For more information, visit http://www.community-concerts.com/index.php or call 910-323-1991. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Crown Box Office or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets range from $38 to $83. Community Concerts is a nonprofit organization so sponsorship is integral for the survival of the organization. Season membership starts at $160 and includes tickets to the six shows of the season. 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 April 2015 )
Refresh Leadership Simulcast Seeks to Build Better Leaders PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Stephanie Crider   
Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Express Employment Professionals takes its commitment to matching employers with qualified candidates seriously, but there is much more to this organization and its commitment to the community it serves. 

“We want to help local businesses and organizations grow and improve and consistently do well,” said Brad Loase, owner of Fayetteville’s Express Employment Professionals. 

For Loase, that means not only finding and providing qualified candidates to fill local and regional employment positions but also identifying and developing good leadership candidates for their clients. The Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast is all about that: building better leaders — leaders that will help businesses grow and prosper while moving communities forward through strong economic development and civic involvement. Scheduled for April 15, that is the purpose of the annual Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast. This is the event’s sixth year, however, this year, Loase has partnered up with Up & Coming Weekly, the Fayetteville Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Fayetteville I-95 Holiday Inn and local sponsors to take it to another level. This year, they have added an all-day Shop Local Business Expo showcasing local businesses and organizations, a Leadership Keynote Luncheon featuring the notable Denise Ryan, a Leadership workshop  and a networking Leadership Reception co-sponsored by the Holiday Inn and Chamber of Commerce. And, with the exception of the Leadership luncheon, Express Employment Professionals and sponsors are hosting the entire event free of charge to the local community. Voluntary Donations of $10.00 will be accepted for the Kidsville News! Literacy and Education Foundation, a local nonprofit (501 c3) organization that provides free reading and educational resources to all K-6 grade students and teachers in Cumberland and Hoke Counties. 

 “Leadership is very important in motivating employees and growing communities. It is an ongoing process that we all have to nurture, constantly encourage and develop,” said Loase. “There are several things that people always bring up when asked about their jobs. One of them is what leadership qualities and capabilities does their supervisor or boss have; this has always been the key to of what makes a company or organization successful.” Any  business owner, manager, community leader looking to gain insights and a better understanding about leadership can gain from The Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast. 

This year’s Celebrity Guest Speakers are Liz Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Daymond John. They bring a variety of humor, valuable insights, fresh perspectives on leadership and management strategies all from very different life experiences and points of view.  “I am very excited about the line-up,” said Loase. “I have heard all three speak; they are all great speakers and each has a great message to communicate.” 

Liz Murray known for her memoir about her life, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness and her book My Journey from Homeless to Harvard which was a feature movie on the Lifetime Channel titled: Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story. Murray has taken that difficult experience in her life and now uses it to help others.”

Dan Aykroyd is an actor, comedian, screenwriter, musician and businessman. From Saturday Night Live to The Blues Brothers and Ghost Busters, Aykroyd has entertained America for the past four decades, but he is a keen businessman, as well. Aykroyd also co-founded a night club called the House of Blues in 1992. 

Daymond John is the co-star of ABC’s Shark Tank. He got his start in fashion and has since become a master of branding. “Daymond John embodies the American dream. He had an idea and went for it, and grew one of the biggest most successful enterprises in the world. He is amazing,” said Loase. “I think that each speaker will have something unique and valuable to offer attendees. This program has been very successful in the past and I think this will be our best Refresh Leadership Simulcast yet,” he added.

There is seating for 300, however, Loase noted that they expect a full house. Although the doors open at 7:30 a.m. for check in and the Continental Breakfast, the program will begin promptly at 8:30.  There will be breaks in between the speakers for networking and visiting the Shop Local vendors and sponsors. The Leadership Luncheon with Denise Ryan will follow.  “Denise always has a great message,” he said. “We are also going to recognize Kim Robertson for her leadership as Principal of  Elizabeth Cashwell Elementary School and for being not only Cumberland County’s Principal of the Year but also the Regional Principal of the Year. She is currently competing for the North Carolina title.”

Ryan is excited to be back in Fayetteville and is looking forward to the event. “I started my business in Fayetteville. It is a terrific place not only to start a business but to do business. In a lot of places it is hard to break in but you can do that pretty easily in Fayetteville because there are so many resources and incredibly friendly and supportive people here,” she said.

 Following the luncheon keynote address, Denise will also conduct a seminar titled Survival Tips for Leaders. This will be followed by a distinguished panel of experts and the business reception. There will be prizes and surprises all day long. Important: If you go remember:  You must pre -register at www.refreshleadership/live or https://www.cvent.com/events/2015-refresh-leadership-simulcast-us-/registration-bc3b4af633454e7db955f1e815d1e258.aspx?r=d6b5fbce-250d-469a-8ed6-63328b130ccc&refid=NC-North%20

This event is free all day with the exception of the luncheon. Tickets for the luncheon are $45 for nonchamber members and $35 for chamber members. Luncheon tickets (if available) will be $45 the day of the event. To register for the luncheon, visit the chamber site at  http://business.fayettevillencchamber.org/events/details/2015-refresh-leadership-live-keynote-luncheon-with-denise-ryan-5551.


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