• 11They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Personal fulfillment is the essence of capturing compelling moments in life that tell a story, that have a profound impact and create indelible memories that last a lifetime. As with all matters of the heart, Dara Colón’s passion is priceless when it comes to her love of photography.

    “I own a photography business and I also offer videography and graphic design services,” said Colón, owner, Serendipity Creative Media, LLC. “The biggest thing that I want to say about my photos is that no matter how you look, whether you are tall, short, young, old, different nationalities, ultimately everyone, in their own way, is beautiful and deserving of having a moment where they feel confident in who they are.”

    She is a native of Bronx, New York, and moved to Fayetteville, during her senior year of high school. She is a graduate of E. E. Smith High School and Fayetteville State University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration.

    In 2014, Colón was practicing photography as a hobby and in 2018, she decided to make it legal, form an LLC, and turn it into a professional side hustle. She left her full-time position at FSU as a marketing and social media coordinator for Student Affairs in March of 2020 to make her photo hobby a full-time business.

    “It was a great way to make some extra money on the side in addition to my job at the time,” Colón said. “It has been going great so far and I love what I do, I love to make people smile, I love to make people feel good about themselves. And being behind the camera gives me an opportunity to do that. ”

    Every photographer has a favorite camera and Colón’s favorite is the Canon 5D Mark IV.

    “My favorite part of my camera is the lens that I use, which is a Sigma 135 mm lens,” said Colón. “It gives me a really amazing shallow depth of field, which is when the subject really stands out and the background is blurry so that the focus is on the individual.”12

    Her skill set as a photographer did not come from the classroom.

    “It comes from trial and error, YouTube University and following other local or out of state photographers on social media,” Colón said. “I have to give credit to two amazing local photographers, Larry Shaw and Ezekiel Best, for their mentoring and support.”

    The sky is the limit for this rising photographer and her ultimate goals for Serendipity are promising.

    “I want to have a sustainable income where I am comfortable, but I am also growing the business,” Colón explained. “Secondly, I want to pay it forward and pour into other up and coming photographers.”

    The studio runs by appointment only. For questions or information about picture packages a visit www.serendipitycm.com or follow her on Instagram @serendipitycm_ and on Facebook at Serendipity Creative Media LLC.


  • 08The 53rd annual Cumberland County Golf Championship turned into a father-son celebration. Brian Dreier won the CCGC at Gates Four Golf & Country Club, while his son, Sutton Dreier, won the inaugural CCGC Junior Division title.

    "I'm proud of him," Brian Dreier said about his 15-year-old son. "He's just getting his feet wet with tournament golf. He's improving a lot, but he's got a ways to go. I'm excited for him. But considering the field I competed against and the field he competed against, I'm going to say my win's a little bit better."

    "I think it's awesome that we both won the same year. They said we're making history, so I guess it's the first time it's ever been done. I'm excited to see what I can do in the future,” the Northwood Temple sophomore said.

    Brian Dreier had to come from five shots behind in the final round to win his first CCGC title since 2012. This was the first time he had played in the event since 2015, when he turned professional.

    He just regained his amateur status in January. Brian Dreier, 48, shot the only subpar round, a 1-under 71, on the last day of the 54-hole event.

    The playing conditions toughened up with cooler, windy weather moving in, and the tees moved back to 6,962 yards.

    "This was very unexpected with the quality of players in the field," Brian Dreier said. "But today was one of the best ball-striking rounds I've had. That's what it takes when you play a tough golf course in the wind. You've just got to be patient. You can't force anything. It was good enough to hold everybody else off."

    As Brian Dreier headed to the tenth tee box of the final round, he was locked in a battle with some of the best amateur golf talent in Cumberland County. Defending champion Thomas Owen, the two eight-time CCGC champions in Billy West and Gary Robinson, Jack Keefe, the leader after the first two rounds, and Brian Dreier were separated by only two shots.

    Things started to change quickly on the back nine. Keefe bogeyed three holes in a row and finished in third place at 3-over par after rounds of 69-71-79 — 219.

    Robinson saw his chances end with bogeys at 11, 12, and 13 and a double-bogey at 15. He tied for sixth place with rounds of 72-72-79 for a 7-over 223.

    He did end his tournament on a high note with a birdie on the last hole.

    Owen's putter let him down on the back nine. He tied for fourth place with Spencer Goodnough after rounds of 70-75-75 — 220. West made the turn at even-par and held a one-shot lead over Brian Dreier with four holes left to play.

    But he missed the green at the 15th and 16th holes and couldn't get up and down. Those two bogeys opened the door for Brian Dreier. He took advantage by making a 10-foot birdie putt on the 52nd hole of the tournament, the 16th, to open a two-shot lead.

    Brian Dreier had a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-5 17th, but he slapped his leg in frustration when it slid by the hole.

    "I left myself a perfect look on 17 up the hill," he said. "I was trying to get that putt to go in to give myself a little bit of a cushion."

    West, 47, needed to birdie the last two holes to tie.

    He missed his 12-foot birdie putt at 17 to end his chances. However, he did walk off the 18th green smiling when he holed a 30-foot birdie putt to lose by one shot.

    "It was ironic to make a 30-footer when I had missed some six to eight footers that you need to make to hold onto the lead," West said. "Brian just went out and played an excellent, clean round of golf. I couldn't be happier for him. I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to get it in one or two better."

    West, who was trying to win for the ninth time, shot rounds of 72-69-75 for a one-over 217. West could blame his loss on the par-4 16th hole, which he played in 4-over par for the tournament.

    "I thought whoever shot par or better on the back nine was going to win," he said. "Brian played the best golf down the stretch."

    West pointed out that when he was trying to win the CCGC title for a third straight year in 2012, Brian Dreier beat him.

    And this year, when he was trying to break the tie with Robinson who holds the most championship titles, Brian Dreier was his nemesis again.

    Ironically, Brian Dreier's father-in-law is Gary Robinson.

    That may explain why Sutton Dreier is off to a good start in his young golfing career with his dad and grandfather as teachers.

    "His granddad and I are trying to instill as much wisdom as we can," Brian Dreier said. "I think it's important for him to see me and his granddad play well. It gives him something to move him along and help him gain

    Sutton Dreier won the CCGC Junior Division title in a playoff over Chris Bucholtz. Both players shot 167 in the 36-hole junior tournament.

    Sutton Dreier parred the 18th hole while Bucholtz made a bogey to force the playoff. In the playoff on the par-4 first, Sutton hit his tee shot into a fairway bunker.

    But he blasted the second shot to within 15 feet of the hole and made the birdie putt to win. Next up for Sutton Dreier will be trying to beat his dad on the course.

    "He hasn't beaten me yet," Brian Dreier said. "But it's not going to be long. He already hits it past me. He's going to put together a good round, and I'm going to have a so-so day. But I'm going to beat him as long as I can."

    13-year-old Taft Courie won the first year of the CCGC Boys Middle School Division with rounds of 72-74 — 146.

    Allison Ferguson shot 103-99 — 202 to win the Girls Middle School Division.

    Charles Robertson won the men's Open Division with rounds of 77-82-81 — 240. He won by two shots over Brett Miller and Jon Riddle.

    Mike Lane took the Senior Division title with rounds of 73-74-74 — 221.

    Scott Azzarelli finished two shots behind. In his 27th consecutive CCGC tournament, Charles Franks was the Super Senior champ with rounds of 82-79 — 161. He won by four shots over Ray Miranda.

    Jennifer Eavenson shot 84-91 — 175 to win the Women's Division CCGC Title three shots over the 2020 Women's Champion Clara "Duckhee" Brown.

    "I'm pleased with the momentum the tournament is getting," said tournament director Bill Bowman.

    "These are the champions of tomorrow. They will carry on the golfing tradition in Cumberland County. Yes, I think the tournament is in good shape for the future."

    The 54th Annual Cumberland County Championship dates have been set for Oct. 7 – Oct. 9, 2022, with registration beginning on Aug. 1, 2022.

    Gates Four will remain the "official" site of the CCGC with some new enhancements designed to make the tournament more enjoyable, competitive and accessible to more Cumberland County golfers.

    Additional information and tournament updates can be found on the CCGC website: www.cumberlandcountygolfclassic.com.

  • 07All answers in this forum have been printed as submitted by the Hope Mills mayoral candidates. The only edits have been for style and punctuation where needed. Each candidate was given the same questions and the same requested word count for their responses.

    Jessie Bellflowers currently serves as the department chair at Fayetteville Technical Community College and is retired from the United States Army. Bellflowers was born August 22, 1956. His Family members include his wife, Bambi, daughter, Jessica and he has three granddaughters. Bellflowers has served as commissioner for the Town of Hope Mills since 2017.

    Jacquelyn Warner is a small business owner at Carleen’s Baby Boutique and a retired principal and teacher. Warner was born June 24, 1950. She is married to, Alex, and has two children a son, Teddy, daughter, Molly and has five grandchildren. Warner has served as mayor of the town of Hope Mills since 2011 and previously served as a town commissioner from 2007 to 2009.

    As Mayor of one of Cumberland County’s fastest-growing communities, describe what a typical routine work week would look like.

    BELLFLOWERS: According to the U.S. Census, Hope Mills has grown 17.3% in the last 10 years. More and more people and businesses are choosing our community mainly because of schools and recreational opportunities. But, despite this growth, the town hasn’t been able to keep up [with] infrastructure and traffic congestion.

    Since I was first elected four years ago, folks ask me what a typical week looks like. I always respond with every week is different — there is no typical weekly routine. Serving as an elected official, regardless of position, is a full-time 24-hour, 7-days a week where you must be available to community citizens — returning phone calls, answering emails and text messages, checking the town website, meeting with citizens and business owners, attending town sponsored business functions and serving on various committees, for example the Gateway Study Committee, Heroes Homecoming IX, etc. Over the past four years, I have attended every town board meeting with 100% attendance, something unheard [of] these days in politics.

    The role of mayor is one who conducts the meetings, signs legal documents and acts as ambassador for the town.

    Each week, I review the upcoming town board meeting agenda, for example, I spend hours researching every agenda item before board meetings. This action includes driving to each zoning and annexation property location to learn if the request fits the integrity of the surrounding neighborhoods.

    As mayor, our sense of inclusiveness and identity as a community will always be a priority for me. Remember, elected officials are public servants.
    We should always support community engagement that builds deeper, stronger and more trusting relationships between our town board and citizens. Servant leaders are also ethical leaders with no hidden agendas.

    WARNER: A mayor’s primary role is leadership in the best interest of the municipality. The mayor represents its township in ceremonial events and, when necessary, states of emergency, e.g, hazardous weather conditions, accidents, etc. that disrupt normal town functions. The mayor presides over board meetings and other committee meetings. The mayor also promotes partnerships with other stakeholders for the benefit and future planning for the community at large.

    As mayor, my typical work week is busy rotating around attending meetings, virtual workshops and answering emails or phone calls. I prioritize work based on how urgent and important the different activities are. I address the issues or concerns in the order of priority. But, being mayor is not limited to our home government. The role must be integrated with surrounding mayorships (Mayors Coalition), participation with local and state programs such as FAMPO, Senior Tarheel Legislature, Mid-Carolina Council for Aging, FCEDC and interacted with cooperative participation with state and national issues as well. Being part of a larger government makes our local board even stronger.

    Even though being mayor is highly rewarding in seeing progress for Hope Mills, the extra hours required, especially overseeing such a busy town, makes it challenging. I work overtime to be constantly available for town concerns as the spokesperson for our citizens. Building partnerships to bring more resources to our town is a priority, therefore my involvement with the Mayor’s Youth Council, Tier I Committee, Heroes Homecoming Committee are examples of how my time is spent to get input from our youth, seniors and our veterans to identify what is needed to improve our quality of life through partnerships. Being retired from my chosen field of employment, I have the time to be available. I know that I possess what is required and will deliver to the best of my resources. I love serving people and believe the happiness of Hope Mills residents provides the motivation for our board to work harder and smarter. Being mayor is an honor for me, personally, to work for the citizens in one of the finest small towns in our great state.

    As Mayor, what will be your top three (measurable) priorities for improving the livability in the town of Hope Mills? Which one will present the biggest challenge.

    WARNER: The priorities that are listed below are my personal opinions only since the mayor has no vote in our actual prioritization of future town projects and appropriations for such. That responsibility is left to our elected town commissioners. Personally, I feel three projects of concern and need are as follows:

    1. The completion of capital projects, namely, our Public Safety Building, grant-funded improvements for Main Street items (cross walks, bike path), municipal park improvements adding splash pad and all-inclusive playground is a family priority, a restoration of the location of our first and largest mill factory area known as Heritage Park is a historical priority. These projects will provide recreational opportunities for our citizens along with improvements for public safety.

    2. Transportation for our citizens to provide bus routes around Hope Mills and to surrounding points of interest or need. This can be accomplished by working with community partners to maximize our funding sources to include grants available for seniors, youth and the disabled mobility.

    3. Preparation for present and additional traffic concerns related to the impact of the fast approaching I-295. This priority is the most challenging as we continue working with Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Department of Transportation for completion and opening of I-295 along with the widening of Rockfish, Golfview Roads and Main Street to improve traffic patterns. This priority will present the biggest challenge because of the inconvenience of the construction work to include road closures, paving and detours.

    Also the time it will take to complete projects will be frustrating—our community will benefit in the end with sidewalks, pedestrians crosswalks to improve safer walk-ability along with safer movement of vehicular traffic.

    BELLFLOWERS: Without question, our community is at a crossroads regarding residential and economic development growth. With growth, comes traffic congestion. One of the enormous challenges will be to address our town’s aging infrastructure where public safety and limited community parks and recreational opportunities are high priorities.

    These challenges may be separate, but I consider them linked to our community’s sustainable quality of life, commercial/residential growth challenges and economic development opportunities.

    We must have the courage to be smart about planning our future and managing growth with a sustainable, visionary long-term strategic economic development plan. For example, future residential and economic development growth regarding I-95, Exit 41 and Future I-295 bypass gateway areas.

    Public safety has always been my number one priority. Currently, the new police and fire department complex, named the John W. Hodges Public Safety Center is being built and [will be] completed in 2022. Even with completion of this project, we must still find a workable, affordable solution to build at least one or two new satellite facilities over the next five years.

    Another top priority is community recreational programs whereas the town must invest in improvements to existing facilities, programs and the development of new recreational opportunities in order to maintain and enhance community quality of life. Hope Mills Lake Park is the centerpiece of our downtown and another testament to the power of vision, planning and results-driven leadership that will be required to address future residential and economic development growth in our community, for example, the Heritage Park and Golfview Greenway projects.The biggest challenge with managing these priorities going forward will be to locate sustainable funding resources without raising property taxes.

    The U.S. Congress is currently debating infrastructure legislation. What infrastructure project(s) in Hope Mills should have the highest priority? What ways would you maximize funding resources for Hope Mills?

    BELLFLOWERS: The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is a defining moment with a unique opportunity to invest in our town’s long-term future. But, I would like to emphasize the importance of municipalities-county collaboration. For example, elected officials should think as one Cumberland County regarding the strategizing of priorities for spending this one-time funding throughout our county.

    In July 2021, the town received $2,525.517.90 in ARP funding. The town will receive the second half of the funding in July 2022. The town has until 2024 to obligate the funds, and 2026 to use them.
    This is not the time to make quick, unresearched decisions to spend this money on immediate needs that may not be eligible for these funds. Eligible uses for ARP include: supporting public health expenditures; addressing the negative economic impacts of the pandemic; providing premium pay for essential workers and investing in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. Remember, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity not only for Hope Mills, but all the municipalities in Cumberland County. Collectively, it may not be the best practice to duplicate spending efforts.

    If elected mayor, my sound recommendation to maximize funding for Hope Mills: Identifying eligible ARP funding priorities should start with reviewing the town’s current Capital Improvement Plan and the Stormwater Strategic Master Plan. During the Spring 2022 Budget Retreat, departments should make priority recommendations during the budget process to begin the process of researching the priorities that may qualify for matching grants, therefore, adding additional funding to the ARP funds. We have one time to get this right regarding appropriate uses of the funds and the audits required.

    WARNER: In my opinion, the maintenance and paving of our town streets should be ranked near the top.

    We have had a study completed with a plan for maintenance and paving for all town streets with the price tag that we simply can not afford.

    Even budgeting on a yearly basis, it would be difficult to stay on target with inflation issues, normal road deterioration, etc.

    Also needed is the ever-present, growing funding for stormwater preparations. Thankfully, included within the state budget expenditures for 2021 is $350,000 for our town’s study for future requirements for storm water funding.When this study is completed we can use it for leveraging our infrastructure funding. Our town’s strategic plan can be used for evidence in both instances (street maintenance and stormwater) to assure ways of acquiring and maximizing funding.

    Working collectively with the other Hope Mills Commissioners over the current term, what three achievements are you most proud of?

    WARNER: One of the achievements that our board can be proud of is the successful adoption of another balanced budget with no property tax increases for our citizens.

    Our budgets have provided cost of living increases for our staff and met the needs of our community with a focus on public safety. Another achievement would be successful planning, financing and ground breaking of our new public safety building. This construction is on schedule and our board receives timely reports on expenditures and progress.

    Third, results from a first ever round-table discussion with area legislators of town needs that have been granted within the state budget of 2021. Our Capital Improvement Plan allowed quick access to projects with estimates of cost to give necessary information to our legislators. Our request for $350,000 for stormwater projects was put in the budget first and thanks to our delegation more projects were requested for possible funding.

    We should receive with approval of the state budget the following funding: at Municipal Park -$340,000 for splash pad, $340,000 for all-inclusive playground, at dam area-$500,000 for Rockfish Creek Bed clearing, $2,500,000 for repair of sides of creek bed on East Patterson Street (due to flooding damage from hurricanes) and $650,000 for pavement and repairs of streets in Woodland Hills. Our board can now re-prioritize the remaining Capital Improvements and plan for additional community needs. This mayor is thankful for Senators deViere, Clark, Representatives John Szoka, Billy Richardson, Marvin Lucas and Diane Wheatley for making this happen for Hope Mills.

    BELLFLOWERS: Town operating budget. The town board approved its budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year that does not include an increase in the tax rate. The approved budget is the largest town operating budget in the history of Hope Mills that meets the needs of the town while living within its means without raising property taxes!

    John W. Hodges Public Safety Center, the town board unanimously approved a new police and fire department complex at the site of the old headquarters next to Town Hall.

    The new safety facility is being built and completed in 2022. The town budgeted $17 million for the project which is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan. Even with completion of this project, we must still find a workable, affordable solution to build at least one or two new satellite facilities over the next five years.

    Closing Crampton Road stub. As our community continues to grow, neighborhoods must be protected from the dangers of too much traffic. For example, recently the citizens of two established neighborhoods (Golfview and Brightmoor) voiced their concerns about a potential traffic problem that would have evolved with an apartment complex that wanted to use their neighborhoods as a possible ingress and egress for apartment traffic. I agreed with their safety concerns.

    This issue dragged on for eight months while Mayor Warner formed a committee to study it. The committee only met one time without resolution. Finally, after frustrating delays by Commissioners Marley and Edwards, Mayor Pro-tem McCray and Mayor Warner, the town board made the decision to close the road stub. It was the right thing to do to protect and maintain the safety for these neighborhoods.

    Hope Mills has a very diverse and growing population including young families, millennials , military, seniors and plenty of retirees and disabled veterans. Collectively, what programs and policies would you recommend and implement to enhance everyone’s quality of life?

    WARNER: As mayor, to identify quality of life programs, I have aligned with our youth through a Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council — representative of our three high schools-Southview, Grays Creek and Jack Britt — our veterans and military by being involved with Heroes Homecoming, attending and participating with our military at Fort Bragg events, our seniors by representing our community on the Senior Tarheel Legislature and the Mid-Carolina Council of Aging, the Pastors’ Coalition, using these avenues to identify the needs and concerns for a better Hope Mills.

    Partnerships are important as we address the needs of these populations to include available funding that can be acquired by working together with others in our county. Currently, our Tier 1 Committee with board approval is in the process of researching how a facility could provide services for our seniors and veterans to include rehabilitation and prepared meals free of charge, a pool for high school competitive team practice, swimming lessons for our youth, a family friendly facility with childcare while other members are involved in certain activities and more gym space for our recreational needs — funding partnerships so our citizens receive the benefits without tax increases. Our committee’s findings to include estimated costs and details will be presented to the town board for their input and approval. We need to encourage recruitment and retention of our police department personnel to include more funding for a drug task force. Our new Public Safety Building should help in recruitment. Public safety is necessary for quality of life—as our population increases our policies and programs must develop around a safe and secure town.

    Finally, bringing programs to Hope Mills such as classes provided by FTCC, FSU or Methodist University, Art Council exhibits and cultural arts programs to enhance our community such as we have started with our partnership with UNC Pembroke.

    BELLFLOWERS: Research has shown that recreation is an important factor in quality of life for everyone, for example, a very diverse and growing population in Hope Mills. One of Hope Mills most valuable resources is its network of parks and the main recreational facility.

    For example, Hope Mills Recreation Center is a recreational facility primarily used for Parks & Recreation programs. With just over 28 acres, Hope Mills Municipal Park is one of the community’s most treasured resources along with Ed Herring and Bonayre Gardens neighborhood parks.

    And, Hope Mills Lake Park is the centerpiece of our downtown where people from all over our community gather to enjoy recreational opportunities and the natural beauty of the lake. Another example is the Golfview Greenway Park where open green space is a premium in any community as a quality-of-life amenity.

    Parks are places to meet and celebrate with family and friends. They are inclusive, accessible and venues for community events and sports activities. On any given week day and especially on weekends, you will find plenty of young families, millennials, senior citizens, military families and disabled veterans with service dogs all enjoying the park.

    And, on the horizon is the Heritage Park project which has been funded for Phase I completion. Going forward, we need a senior citizen center and a town museum. Our community parks and recreational facilities can be just as important as fire and police services to the quality of life in our community.

    We must guard these valuable community assets that has served generations past and those generations to come. This is called vision and if elected as mayor, I pledge to protect our limited recreational space and the historical culture of our town.

    Finally, each candidate was asked to include a question of their own. One they felt should have been asked.

    BELLFLOWERS: Why would Hope Mills citizens vote for you as Mayor?

    I am totally committed to improving quality of life, economic development, public safety, recreational opportunities and preserving the history of our community. My vision includes addressing and finding workable solutions to fix infrastructure needs, traffic congestion and roadway improvements.

    There is no question that addressing the many challenges that face our community will require results-driven leadership, creative thinking, building cooperation and consensus, and a tremendous amount of teamwork.

    Our community deserves an effective town board, one that can work and communicate together with a “collective vision” for future prosperity and one that demonstrates unselfish representation and pre-eminent leadership.

    I am committed to ensuring that Hope Mills continues to be a wonderful place for all people to live, work and raise their families. Hope Mills continues to grow in residential and economic development growth. Managing this growth requires continued vision, planning and results-driven leadership. We need a vision with the passion, time and energy to continue to build a family-oriented community all of us are proud of today and years to come! I bring to the table many years of results-driven, proven leadership and pledge to listen to citizen issues and concerns, have an open mind on all decisions, and spend a significant amount of time researching community issues facing our community. I am committed every day on enriching the lives of our town citizens by creating an exceptional community to work and live in while providing exemplary town services that enables our community to thrive and prosper, while leading our community as one we are proud to call home … this is my compass. This election is not about me … but all about YOU, your vision, issues and concerns! I respectfully ask for your vote on Nov 2nd.

    WARNER: Do you think a plan is needed for downtown?

    What is considered our downtown is our historic Trade Street—in the 1900s it was a busy street with shops, a pharmacy, post office, theater, pool halls, groceries and a funeral home to name a few.

    Nearby were two Mills and the mill villages where people lived. The train depot and a boarding house also meant visitors came to Hope Mills and spent time on Trade Street.

    Today Trade Street is important to our town not only for historical reasons, but it is near our lake where many people congregate for a variety of activities so we are putting more emphasis on revitalization.

    This area, with new opportunities for funding, is in the early stages of planning for revitalization — I am excited to say that after early attempts to join the Main Street program did not materialize, we now have a new focus on Trade Street.

    We have new businesses willing to share in the vision along with our Historical Committee and Appearance Committees providing leadership.

    Our Economic Development Planner supports revitalization in this area and is looking for ways to make it happen.

    Election Day is, Nov. 2. On Election Day, go to the polling place assigned to your precinct between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Those in line by 7:30 pm, will be able to vote. If you go to the wrong polling place in Hope Mills and don’t have time to go to the correct poll, ask to use a provisional ballot. If you have any questions or concerns you can call the Cumberland County Board of Elections at, 910-678-7733.
    If you are properly registered, your vote will count.

  • 06Cumberland County schools’ Joy Williams, a 23-year veteran educator, has been named the 2022 Principal of the Year. Queesha Tillman, a 16-year educator, was selected assistant principal of the year.

    Williams is principal of Luther "Nick" Jeralds Middle School. She began her career as a classroom teacher at Douglas Byrd Middle School after graduating from Fayetteville State University. She later earned her Master of School Administration from FSU.

    "We strive to find real-world examples that include culturally relevant language for students which allows them to relate to what is being taught," Williams said.

    Tillman is the assistant principal of Loyd Auman Elementary School. She too graduated from FSU and joined the school system as an exceptional children's teacher in 2002.

    There were eight other finalists for principal of the year and six other finalists for assistant princpal of the year.

  • 10 FTCC Library PhotoThe original reason I returned to college at the age of 39 was to finish what I started after completing high school. However, except for finishing and getting a degree, I had no goal—only to finish. But open enrollment to college had its hurdles, and for me, the hurdle was doing well on the assessment test. With no one to turn to, I was somehow led in the direction of the campus library, and had it not been for the librarian who helped me at that point in my life, I would not have begun college and certainly would not have completed college. The librarian I met that day helped me get the resources I needed to do well so I could begin college credit-earning courses.

    That experience drew me even closer to the library environment. I discovered that I wanted to help people succeed with their education as much as I had been helped. Six years later, I changed careers from being a bulldozer operator to becoming a librarian. Now, as the Director of Library Services at Fayetteville Technical Community College, what brings me joy is when a graduating student comes into the library waving their degree and thanking the library staff for their help.

    Helping students succeed is what the library is all about. By continually assessing students’ needs and implementing strategies based on that feedback, we can prepare the 21st century student for the globally competitive workforce.

    The Paul H. Thompson Library recently installed additional study rooms based on student feedback, and the latest innovation is the upcoming Makerspace where students can work individually or meet in groups to collaborate on research projects, class assignments and homework.

    There are now three library locations across Cumberland County that can support FTCC students with library services. Those locations are the Paul H. Thompson Library at the Fayetteville campus; the Spring Lake Campus Branch of the Cumberland County Public Library; and the John L. Throckmorton Library on Fort Bragg. At each location, students have access to print books, e-books, journals, e-journals, multiple electronic databases, films, audio recordings, maps, photos and digital archive materials.

    A wide variety of spaces are available where students can study, conduct research, and read or meet in small and large groups to collaborate on projects. Laptops are also available for checkout for use within the Paul H. Thompson Library reference room and at the Spring Lake Campus branch library.

    All students are welcome to the library to get the help they need to graduate with success. But, they don’t have to come on campus to get the help they need.

    On-campus and distance learners have access to library staff at the Paul H. Thompson Library during business hours by calling 910-678-8247, or emailing library@faytechcc.edu. When the Library is closed, students can contact a librarian by using the online “Ask-a-Librarian ChatNow” button located at https://www.faytechcc.edu/campus-life/library/

  • 12 Rockin on the river logoRock’n on the River is closing out their 2021 concert season with their last performance of the year.

    On Friday, Oct. 22, Rivermist and Tuesday’s Gone will finish the year with free music and family-friendly fun.

    Rivermist is a local band with great musicianship and always host high-energy shows.

    They have been voted Best of Fayetteville's Best Band for the fifth year in a row.

    The band was recently listed as Up & Coming Magazine’s 2021 Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg area’s Best Local Band.

    Rivermist kicked off the very first Rock’n on the River in October 2018.

    Rivermist was formed in July 2014 in Fayetteville, but is formed of musicians that have been playing in and around the Fayetteville area for more than 40 years.

    They are primarily a variety/party band, playing the best music from the 70s-2000s eras and in all genres.

    They have released original songs that have charted on the Country and Beach Billboard charts.

    Tuesday’s Gone will start their performance at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday's Gone is the ultimate tribute to legendary southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    Based out of Raleigh, the cover band travels all over the country paying tribute to the original 1970's version of Skynyrd.

    Tuesday’s Gone has been together for 20 years.

    “What sets us apart is how diligent we are in being a very authentic 1970s Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band.
    We even use the same instruments,” Ryan King, the lead vocalist of the band said.

    Rock'n on the River is typically held the third Friday of each month. The event runs from April through September. This year, the concert series was held May through October.

    Rock’n on the River will take place at 1122 Person St., behind Deep Creek Grill.

    Parking for the event will begin at 5 p.m. and will cost $5. Beer and food sales will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the concert will start at 6 p.m.

    Concert goers are encouraged to bring their own chairs.

  • 11 Women of Power BrunchA brunch for women leaders by women leaders. The Women’s Business Center of Fayetteville, part of the Center for Economic Empowerment & Development, will be hosting a networking event at the end of October that will focus on connecting women entrepreneurs with each other. The theme for the first annual Women of Power Brunch is the “State of Women in Business.”

    Caitlin Chastain, the Business Consultant for the Women's Business Center of Fayetteville, says the goal of the event is to create an overall understanding of how women in the county are doing.

    “We want to create a dialogue of what is going on with women in business, what is going on with women in leadership in Fayetteville,” Chastain said. “We really want to start recognizing women entrepreneurs and women in business in our city that often get overlooked.”

    Another one of the goals of this networking brunch is to create mentorships for younger women and for women who are new to the area, including military wives.

    Chastain hopes women will leave with a sense of motivation, inspiration and an understanding and awareness of how they can better themselves. By doing that, these women can then better the community.

    “They can get educated on facts in our community on women in leadership, get inspired by entrepreneurial stories, and can have fun networking,” Chastian said.

    According to the U.S. Census, women-owned businesses make up little more than 41% of all businesses in Cumberland County. In Fayetteville, that number rises to at least 43%.

    This event also launches the partnership between An Affair to Remember and the WBC of Fayetteville to celebrate and acknowledge female leaders making a difference in the local community.

    The owner of An Affair to Remember is Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Jensen and she will be speaking at the bruncheon about her Women of Power Society, a group that hosts a local local fashion show, and her entrepreneurial path to success.

    Jensen will be announcing the theme of her Women of Power Fashion Show for 2022.She will also be accepting nominations for next year's Women of Power class that will walk at the Affair to Remember Fashion Show.

    Lashanda Shaw, a local real estate agent and owner of Lashanda Shaw Realty, will also be speaking at the event. She will be focusing on her doctoral dissertation about the lack of women leaders in Cumberland County.

    Suzy Hrabovsky, the Executive Director of CEED and the 2021 Woman of Power Alum, will also speak.

    Brunch will be provided by Dorothy’s Catering. The event will take place on Monday, Oct. 25 and will be at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person.

    Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-of-power-brunch-tickets-172208800157 until Oct. 24.

  • 08 FSO 3Want to get in the Halloween spirit through music?

    Well, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra is hosting a fantasy and ghostly themed performance, just in time for Halloween. The Ghosts and Ghouls one-night event will take you on a Halloween themed journey of exceptional orchestral music.

    The performance will feature music from Disney’s Fantasia as well as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Some of the other pieces that will be performed include:

    • "Waltz from Masquerade" by Aram
    • "A Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest
      Mussorgsky arr. Rimsky-Korsakov
    • "Danse Macabre" by Camille Saint-Säens
    • "Beauty and the Beast" from "Mother Goose" by Maurice Ravel
    • "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice" by Paul Dukas
    • "Firebird Suite (1919)" by Igor Stravinsky

    Stefan Sanders will be the conductor of Ghosts and Ghouls. He is an arts advocate, and focuses on cultivating cultures of artistic excellence, sustaining growth and development and having meaningful engagement within the community.

    When asked what his favorite piece to conduct has been, Sanders explained that whatever piece he is conducting at the moment is his favorite. Although he does have some preferences.

    “I like the ending from the "Firebird Suite" 1919 by Igor Stravinsky,” Sanders said.

    The entire performance will be an hour and 20 minutes long.

    Ghosts and Ghouls will also be kicking off the 2021-2022 season for the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. There are six total season concerts this year. People have the option to buy tickets for the full season, tickets for three concerts or tickets for each individual concert.

    Ticket prices for the Ghosts and Ghouls performance ranges from $5 for children, $20 for military and seniors, and $25 for adults.

    However Ghosts and Ghouls isn’t the only spooky event that the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra is performing. They will also be performing at the Heckler Brewing Company Oct. 28 for their community concert series, Symphony on Tap. This concert will be Hogwarts Edition, so the music – and the alcohol – will all be Harry Potter themed.

    Symphony on Tap is a new series by the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra that aims to engage the community through music and beer. Symphony on Tap performances are free admission.
    While there is no dress code to attend, the Ghosts and Ghouls concert encourages costumes for both attendees and the musicians. The one thing that is required to be worn are face masks.

    Ghosts and Ghouls will take place, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Seabrook Auditorium at Fayetteville State University. Tickets can be purchased at https://ci.ovationtix.com/36404/production/1075542

  • 01 vote No on YesOur city is currently being flooded with a disingenuous campaign to change the structure of our City Council. You might have received a mailer asking for your signature in support of changing local elections from district-based to a hybrid model of district and at-large elections.

    To recap, district elections mean that individuals within specific neighborhoods will elect someone to represent them downtown. At-large means that the whole city gets to vote for a candidate.

    Fayetteville does NOT need to change how we elect our local representatives. Let's not fall victim to the arguments presented by the Vote Yes Fayetteville committee.

    Let's talk about those arguments.

    To begin, there is no connection whatsoever between crime in Fayetteville and the way we elect our municipal representatives. There is crime in cities and towns regardless if they have district or at-large elections. This is a scare tactic to make you think that the city is out of control which is not.

    According to the 2020 Fayetteville Police Department's Annual Report, crime in our city has been in a five-year decline. This report was compiled by a Police Department that received an increase in their budget this year.

    Citizens in Fayetteville can contact and share their opinions with ALL members of City Council. Our elected officials constantly discuss issues outside their own district. Changing our elections will not fix the issue of priority focus, it will worsen them.

    Running a political campaign at-large versus a district wide campaign requires BIG MONEY. This means that at-large representatives will focus more on obtaining sufficient finances for an election that happens every two years rather than the needs of our city.

    Besides, who do you want to represent YOU? Someone that lives and understands your community or someone who simply has the money to run and win? The financial interests of at-large candidates will overshadow the interests of marginalized communities.

    There is a criticism about our district maps and how they are gerrymandered and confusing to voters. According to the Census Data and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, our city districts have to be redrawn anyway based on population changes. This issue can be fixed by showing up to the City Council's redistricting meetings and advocating for our communities.

    Changing the structure of our elections is not needed at all. The institution that creates the biggest confusion among voters is the N.C. General Assembly, not how we elect our local leaders.

    The purpose behind this push is to take away the power of communities across our city. It is insulting to utilize the election of our two African-American mayors as a talking point. Marshall Pitts Jr. and Mitch Colvin have a combined leadership of 8 years in a city first settled in 1783.

    Do not sign the petition.

    Vote "NO" to "Vote Yes."

    Jimmy Buxton is the President, Fayetteville Chapter, NCAACP.

  • 06 voteEarly Voting in Hope Mills will kick off on Oct. 14 and run through Oct. 30. as residents of the town start voting for their next Mayor and five Town Commissioners. The winners of the election will serve for the next two years.

    The candidates for Mayor are Jessie Bellflowers, a current commissioner and military veteran, and Jackie Warner, the current Mayor. Warner has served as Mayor for the past ten years. Bellflowers has been a town commissioner for the past four years.

    Up & Coming Weekly will conduct a joint Q&A session with the two candidates. That interview will be published in the Oct. 27 edition.

    There are seven people running for Town Commissioner. Only five will be voted in. The candidates are: Sally Bailey, Jerry Legge, Bryan Marley, Kenjuana McCray, Grilley Mitchell, Jim Morris and Joanne Scarola.

    No photo identification is needed to vote unless you are a newly registered voter.

    If you want to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day, you will need to bring an ID with your name and your current address. The document may be a digital image on your cell phone.

    When entering the polling location, you will be asked to state your name and your address.

    Curbside voting will be available at all voting sites for those who cannot enter the polling location due to age or physical disability.

    Voting sites have designated parking indicating curbside voting and will have an alert system that will notify the election officials. An election official will come to the vehicle to obtain the voter’s name and address. Before a ballot is issued, the voter must swear an oath affirming his or her qualification to use curbside voting.

    During early voting, voters can go to the Cumberland County Board of Elections at 227 Fountainhead Lane in Fayetteville to cast their ballots. The poll is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Monday through Friday.

    On Oct. 30, the poll is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    On Election Day, Nov. 2, there will be six polling locations which will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

    For those who live in the Cumberland 1A, 03 and 04 precincts, the polling location is E. Melvin Honeycutt Elementary School.

    For those who live in the Hope Mills 1A precinct, the polling location is at the Hope Mills Recreation Center.

    For those who live in Hope Mills 1A or Hope Mills 1B precincts, the polling location will be the Cotton Fire Department.

    For those who live in the Hope Mills 3, Pearces Mill 2A and Pearces Mill 2B precincts, the polling location will be at the Hope Mills Middle School.

    For those who live in the Hope Mills 4 precinct, the polling location will be at C. Wayne Collier Elementary School.

    For those who live in the Stoney Point 1 or Stoney Point 2 precincts, the polling locations will be at the Lighthouse Baptist Church.

    If you don’t know your precinct, look it up at www.cumberlandcountync.gov/departments/election-group/elections/resources/polling-sites or call the elections office at 910-678-7733.

    The last day to hand deliver an absentee ballot will be Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. at the Board of Elections office. Absentee ballots that will be sent by mail must be postmarked by Nov. 2 and the Board of Elections must receive it no later than Nov. 5.

  • 13 Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsIf you are looking for an afternoon or evening of laughter and entertainment, head over to the Gilbert Theater located at 116 Green St. to catch “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - The Musical” before it is too late. The show runs through Oct. 17.

    In the exotic French Riviera, Lawrence Jameson makes his living by smooth talking rich, single women out of their money. He has been in the trade for many years and has gotten his technique down to a tee. But then he bumps into Freddy Benson.

    Freddy takes a humbler, more laid back approach, swindling women with emotional lies about his grandmother’s failing health and his own economic struggles. The two men initially decide to form a double act but their egos soon clash and the French coast isn’t big enough for the two of them.

    To settle their rivalry, they agree on a bet: the first to swindle $50,000 from the latest young heiress in town, Christine Colgate, can stay and the other must leave town. However, is Christine really all she seems? Hilarity and confusion ensue as the two men pull out all the steps to prove they are the best con man in town.

    The Gilbert Theater is unlike any I have visited. It is a small to medium sized room with a small stage of which the actors use every inch. Prior to the event, there is a refreshment station which includes soda, wine, beer and candy, that is run strictly on donations.

    The cast was created through an open audition process. Rehearsals begin three to four weeks before the show starts.

    For “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” the actors in the show made sure we, as an audience, had as much fun as they did performing for us. Chris Walker, who played Lawrence Jameson, was my favorite actor. His voice took command of the room. He was confident and funny and a great singer.

    Freddy Benson, played by Dan Adams, was a hoot. His physicality in the show had the audience laughing. He was a tremendous comedic actor and I looked forward to his scenes.

    The lead female actress is Megan Barnes playing Christine. Not knowing much of the musical before I attended the show, I was wowed by how she manipulated the audience.

    An actress with a small part as Jolene, Maggie Cannon of Fayetteville, was cute and funny. Her bit about Oklahoma made me smile. I am confident I will see her again in the local theaters.

    Linda Flynn, Assistant Artistic Director at the Gilbert Theater, is making her debut as director of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Flynn joined the theater in 2017 as an actor in the show, “Evil Dead the Musical,” and became an employee in February, 2020.

    “I have always had a great passion for theater. In my position I have learned a lot about every aspect of the theater. I get to do every job there is in theater and I enjoy every aspect.”

    Lawrence Carlisle, Artistic Director of the Gilbert Theater, hopes people have fun at the show. “The goal for all shows is for the audience to have fun and come away thinking that was really funny. Let’s do it again.”

    The show runs through Oct. 17 with shows on Fridays at 8, Saturday at 2 and at 8, Sunday at 2.

    Tickets are $18 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 910-678-7186. For more information visit www.Gilberttheater.com or www.facebook.com/gilberttheater.

  • EarlVaughanI was a guest on The Sports Page with Trey Edge and Bill Boyette this week, the two-hour talk show on WCLN-FM Christian radio 107.3 that airs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Mondays.
    The guys asked me if I was surprised there are five teams tied for first place in the Patriot Athletic Conference football standings with three weeks left in the regular season.
    The answer from me was no. If there’s one player in Cumberland County who had the potential to separate his team from the pack, it was Cape Fear’s Justice Galloway-Velazquez. His throwing hand injury that could sideline him the rest of the season has pulled Cape Fear back to the rest of the pack and made it anyone’s guess which team has the best chance to take it all.
    Based on the remaining schedule, South View has the clear inside track. After a big home game Friday with Terry Sanford, the Tigers finish with Overhills and Gray’s Creek, a couple of schools close to the bottom of the standings.
    The second-easiest schedule belongs to Pine Forest, which has tough games with Terry Sanford and Cape Fear and then ends with Overhills.
    E.E. Smith, Cape Fear and Terry Sanford all have the toughest routes left. Terry Sanford plays three of the five teams tied for first while Smith and Cape Fear both have open dates and play two of the top five in the final three weeks.
    To say the stretch run will be interesting is an understatement. Buckle up for the ride.
    The record: 64-14
    Told you it would be a tough week. I’m not complaining at all to get out alive with a 6-2 record. I’d likely have picked the South View-Cape Fear game differently had I known in advance of the injury to Justice Galloway-Velazquez, but you don’t get mulligans in the prediction business so I have to live with that one. I had a strong feeling E.E. Smith was celebrating too much after beating South View, plus last week was homecoming for the Golden Bulls. That plus the brilliant level of play Pine Forest’s Lavonte Carter has been displaying should have warned me, but I didn’t have the guts to predict the upset.
    Lesson learned.
    The season total is 64-14, which is good for 82.1 percent.
    Cape Fear at Pine Forest – This is a tough call. Pine Forest appears to be peaking while Cape Fear is trying to regroup from losing quarterback Justice Galloway-Velazquez. I think Cape Fear can still run the football, and the Colts have a better defense than Pine Forest. The Trojans are an excellent running team with Lavonte Carter, but they’re also one-dimensional. I think that will let Cape Fear scheme ways defensively to slow down Carter and pull out a win.
    Cape Fear 18, Pine Forest 16.
    Gray’s Creek at Douglas Byrd – The frustration ends for one of these teams tonight. I’ll give a slight edge to Byrd as the home team.
    Douglas Byrd 21, Gray’s Creek 20.
    Hoke County at Jack Britt – This should be the last easy win for the Buccaneers before big meetings with Pinecrest and Seventy-First.
    Jack Britt 30, Hoke County 8.
    Purnell Swett at Seventy-First – The Falcons quickly bounce back from their loss to Scotland.
    Seventy-First 28, Purnell Swett 7.
    Terry Sanford at South View - This is a big one for the Tigers. It’s the toughest game left on their schedule, and a win could almost assure them a piece of the Patriot Conference regular-season title. I give South View a slight edge playing at home.
    South View 22, Terry Sanford 20.
    Overhills at Westover – The Wolverines should get back on track this week after some frustrating losses.
    Westover 27, Overhills 14.
    Open date – E.E. Smith
    Other games –
    Trinity Christian 35, Fayetteville Christian 6.
    Raleigh Ravenscroft 18, Village Christian 16.
  • 08PinwheelFayetteville’s Child Advocacy Center works with 19 community agencies, from the District Attorney’s office to Cumberland County Schools, to support victims of child abuse in an integrated, efficient and empathetic way. Every service the CAC provides comes at zero cost to the child’s family, as financial burden can be an impediment to getting child abuse victims the help they need. The CAC’s annual Pinwheel Masquerade Ball & Auction to Unmask Child Abuse is one of the ways it raises funds to keep its services free of charge. 2017 marks the fourth year of the Pinwheel Ball, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Metropolitan Room in downtown Fayetteville.

    The gala invites guests to get creative and have fun dressing up. As in past years, awards will be given out for best masks in the categories of male, female, couple, group, overall ensemble and most unique.

    The evening also features a DJ, dance demonstrations, a photo booth and live and silent auctions with items donated from all over the county and state. Big items include a football ticket package to the UNC vs. vs. the Miami Hurricanes game, tickets to the 2018 NCAA final four basketball tournament, a trip to Bali, a one-week stay at a condo in Myrtle Beach, and tickets to a Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra concert.

    Smaller items include themed gift baskets and locally made items like jewelry and hand-painted mugs. Vanessa Deering, co-chair of the event with Ann Shaw, said the live auction is her favorite part of the night every year. “We have so much fun watching the reaction of the bidders, especially when there is a bidding war,” she said.

    Trish Neely, culinary chair of the event for the second year in a row, said guests can expect delicious food from Chris’s Steakhouse, R Burger, Dorothy’s Catering 2, Evans Catering, Elite Catering, Sherefe, Sweet Palette, Sweet Surprise Candy Buffet and Agape Bakery. Specific menu items include crab dip, chopped sirloin, jalapeno sliders, spanakopita and special pinwheel cookies. Beverages will be provided courtesy of Healy Wholesale, The Wine Café and The Coffee Cup.

    Roberta Humphries has served as executive director of the Child Advocacy Center since 2009. She explained that the Pinwheel Ball is named for the initiative that Prevent Child Abuse America started in 2008, Pinwheels for Prevention. “The blue ribbon used to be a symbol for child abuse prevention, and (nine) years ago … they switched and came out with the symbol of the blue pinwheel,” Humphries said. “Basically, they wanted to change the way our nation thinks about child abuse prevention.” As stated on the Prevent Child Abuse America site: “What our research showed, and what our experiences since then have borne out, is that people respond to the pinwheel....the pinwheel connotes whimsy and childlike notions. In essence, it has come to serve as the physical embodiment, or reminder, of the great childhoods we want for all children.”

    Securing the future that all children have the right but not the access to takes organizations like the CAC and the community’s support of them. Deering said a committee of 15 volunteers helped put the Pinwheel Masquerade Ball together while more volunteers help set up and tear down. “I love how the participants are genuine in giving and supporting such a wonderful organization,” she said. “It’s not truly about getting a deal on (an auction package), it’s about raising money to help this organization. It truly shows the love our community has for children and their well-being.” The CAC is hoping to raise $45,000 this year, all of which will go toward providing support and a voice to children in this community. The organization saves the community about $700,000 a year with its integrated approach.

    Tickets to the Pinwheel Masquerade Ball on Oct. 14 cost $100 per individual, $175 per couple and $1,200 for a table of eight. They can be purchased in person at the CAC at 222 Rowan St. or online at  www.CACFayNC.org.

  • 25Carmen TuckerCarmen Tucker

    Terry Sanford • Junior • Golf

    Tucker has a 83.0 stroke average for the Terry Sanford golf team while maintaining a 4.406 grade point average.

    She is active in the Science Olympiad, National Honor Society, Key Club, Amp Club and Health Occupations Students of America.








    26Isaiah BennettIsaiah Bennett

    Pine Forest • Junior • Soccer

    Bennett plays both soccer and baseball for the Trojans.

    He has a 4.0 grade point average.

    He’s a two-time player of the year and an all-conference selection in baseball.

    He’s committed to play baseball for the University of North Carolina.

  • CoverFrom the decorations to the vendors to the hum of anticipation in the ticket line, it is obvious that the Junior League’s Holly Day Fair committee is passionate about the annual show. This year, the Holly Day Fair is Nov. 3-6. The fact that it is the 50th Holly Day Fair makes it that much more special — on several levels. 

    Jami McLaughlin is the chairperson this year, but she’s served on the committee for several years. “It is so rare that a fundraiser lasts for 50 years. The fact that we are still doing this and it is still going strong is an honor for all of us,” she said. “We will definitely be rolling out the red carpet.”

    This year’s presenting sponsor is Carolina Pottery, bringing so much inventory that the event organizers have set aside and entire space just for them. “Carolina Pottery will have a huge space outside our normal foot print. They really know how to do Christmas right and will be bringing all kinds of things that our shoppers will just love,” said McLaughlin. “We are excited about them coming and especially about their level and quality of items. They will help decorate the lobby, too.  I think our shoppers will be impressed.”

    The main shopping gallery is already filled to overflowing with 165 vendors, including returning favorites as well as some new vendors. Quality and variety are key when it comes to selling here. And with an impressive track record for success, the Holly Day Fair is a show vendors want to attend. Unique clothes for adults and children, home accents, gift items, food related items, accessories, sports-related items are just a few of the treasures available at the Holly Day Fair. “We try diversify and make sure we have something for everyone. We love our vendors. Over the years so many of them have become like family. We look forward to seeing them every year and watching how much shoppers enjoy the products they bring to the show,” said McLaughlin. “And our vendors look out for us, too. Many of them are professionals and make a living at shows like this. So it is not unusual for a vendor to call and say ‘Hey, listen, I was just at a show and there was a vendor there selling X,Y,Z, and they had a line down the aisle. You may want to give them a call.’” 

    Researching new vendors is responsibility the committee takes seriously. Before opening vendor applications online, the committee visits shows in places like Raleigh, Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and even Richmond, Virginia. “Recruiting and selecting the best vendors is an important part of the show,” said McLaughlin.

    By any standard, the Holly Day Fair is a successful show. The fact that the Holly Day Fair is celebrating 50 years is just one way to measure its success. The 50/50 raffle that lands the winner a five-figure prize is a sure sign of the size and scope of the Holly Day Fair. The more than 22,000 shoppers that come every year — that’s a successful show by anyone’s standards. The more than $250,000 this event raises each year and that the Junior League returns to the community — for a total of more than $5 million to date … also a huge success. But when a group like the Junior League of Fayetteville’s volunteers invest in something like this, it is about more than numbers. “One of the parts that is very heartwarming is when you see the Holly Day Fair actually happening. When you see the vendors that return year after year, when you experience the camaraderie with the other volunteers, when you see the shoppers get so excited when they come through the doors and when you see how happy they are with their purchases when they leave — things they won’t be able to find anywhere else … it is just a happy time,” said McLaughlin. “Because the Holly Day Fair has been around for 50 years, we have generations of shoppers that come and shop together. Grandmothers who started coming years ago — now they bring their daughters and granddaughters and it is part of their family holiday tradition. We have shoppers that come from as far away as Ohio and Virginia and South Carolina every year. There is one group that comes from South Carolina that makes T-shirts for their trip to the Holly Day Fair. It is their girl’s weekend. It is always so much fun to see them and watch them enjoying themselves.” 

    For the volunteers, that’s success.

  • zombiesOn Oct. 28, the streets of downtown Fayetteville will be flooded with zombies. This month the official theme of 4th Friday is the Zombie Walk. 

    This event is an annual family-friendly event that allows for the people of Fayetteville to transform into a remarkably friendly hoard of zombies. Zombies, ghouls and the occasional zombie hunter should begin gathering at the Headquarters Library (300 Maiden Lane) at 6 p.m. for the pre-party and preparation. The walk to downtown will begin at 8 p.m.

    Headquarters Library, the initial gathering spot for the hoard, will join in on the ghoulish fun. Free family-friendly games are planned on the front porch from 4 until 7 p.m. Even the youngest of zombies can join in. From 7 until 9 p.m., storytellers will present frightening local legends, scary fictional stories and classic ghost stories. This is also a free event, though it may not be entirely suitable for young children. 

    In addition to roaming ghouls, 4th Friday also features incredible local art. The Arts Council, located at 301 Hay Street, will host the opening of Recycle: The Art of Transformation. This installation features local artists taking discarded materials and recycling and reusing them to create incredible and beautiful pieces of artwork. The exhibit is open and free to the public from 7 until 9 p.m. The exhibit is presented with The City of Fayetteville’s Environmental Services Department.

    Fascinate-U Children’s Museum is designed specifically to engage children in fun and safe learning. Exhibits mimic real life situations like broadcasting studios and stores, and are intended to be touched and played with to stimulate exploration and learning. Fascinate-U will also offer a free creative craft. From 7 until 9 p.m., children are invited to make a cute cat and enjoy free admission in the museum, which is located at 116 Green Street.

    Cape Fear Studios is hosting a gallery opening on Oct. 28, 6-8 p.m.  The exhibit is the 20th Annual Nellie Allen Smith Pottery Competition. This competition has grown from a local to a national competition, but it has always maintained the core goal of giving clay artists the opportunity to compete with peers. This year the juror is potter Simon Leach, who comes from a family of potters. His work is influenced by his fathers and grandfathers work as well as by Japanese and Korean art. He will also  attend the opening reception and the exhibit will run until Nov. 23.  

    The Fayetteville Transportation Museum offers the perfect place to explore local history on a crisp October evening in Downtown Fayetteville. Located at 325 Franklin Street, the museum is open and free from 6-8:30 p.m.  The current exhibit is called Cumberland County Goes to War. It focuses on the areas involvement in the Civil War both on the battlefield and at home. The Market House also focuses on area history. From 6 until 10 p.m., 4th Friday participants can visit the Market House and see Post Cards of Fayetteville and the permanent exhibit A View from the Square: A History of Downtown Fayetteville

    To learn more about 4th Friday, call 323-1776.

  • zombiesOn Oct. 28, the streets of downtown Fayetteville will be flooded with zombies. This month the official theme of 4th Friday is the Zombie Walk. 

    This event is an annual family-friendly event that allows for the people of Fayetteville to transform into a remarkably friendly hoard of zombies. Zombies, ghouls and the occasional zombie hunter should begin gathering at the Headquarters Library (300 Maiden Lane) at 6 p.m. for the pre-party and preparation. The walk to downtown will begin at 8 p.m.

    Headquarters Library, the initial gathering spot for the hoard, will join in on the ghoulish fun. Free family-friendly games are planned on the front porch from 4 until 7 p.m. Even the youngest of zombies can join in. From 7 until 9 p.m., storytellers will present frightening local legends, scary fictional stories and classic ghost stories. This is also a free event, though it may not be entirely suitable for young children. 

    In addition to roaming ghouls, 4th Friday also features incredible local art. The Arts Council, located at 301 Hay Street, will host the opening of Recycle: The Art of Transformation. This installation features local artists taking discarded materials and recycling and reusing them to create incredible and beautiful pieces of artwork. The exhibit is open and free to the public from 7 until 9 p.m. The exhibit is presented with The City of Fayetteville’s Environmental Services Department.

    Fascinate-U Children’s Museum is designed specifically to engage children in fun and safe learning. Exhibits mimic real life situations like broadcasting studios and stores, and are intended to be touched and played with to stimulate exploration and learning. Fascinate-U will also offer a free creative craft. From 7 until 9 p.m., children are invited to make a cute cat and enjoy free admission in the museum, which is located at 116 Green Street.

    Cape Fear Studios is hosting a gallery opening on Oct. 28, 6-8 p.m.  The exhibit is the 20th Annual Nellie Allen Smith Pottery Competition. This competition has grown from a local to a national competition, but it has always maintained the core goal of giving clay artists the opportunity to compete with peers. This year the juror is potter Simon Leach, who comes from a family of potters. His work is influenced by his fathers and grandfathers work as well as by Japanese and Korean art. He will also  attend the opening reception and the exhibit will run until Nov. 23.  

    The Fayetteville Transportation Museum offers the perfect place to explore local history on a crisp October evening in Downtown Fayetteville. Located at 325 Franklin Street, the museum is open and free from 6-8:30 p.m.  The current exhibit is called Cumberland County Goes to War. It focuses on the areas involvement in the Civil War both on the battlefield and at home. The Market House also focuses on area history. From 6 until 10 p.m., 4th Friday participants can visit the Market House and see Post Cards of Fayetteville and the permanent exhibit A View from the Square: A History of Downtown Fayetteville

    To learn more about 4th Friday, call 323-1776.

  • zombiesOn Oct. 28, the streets of downtown Fayetteville will be flooded with zombies. This month the official theme of 4th Friday is the Zombie Walk. 

    This event is an annual family-friendly event that allows for the people of Fayetteville to transform into a remarkably friendly hoard of zombies. Zombies, ghouls and the occasional zombie hunter should begin gathering at the Headquarters Library (300 Maiden Lane) at 6 p.m. for the pre-party and preparation. The walk to downtown will begin at 8 p.m.

    Headquarters Library, the initial gathering spot for the hoard, will join in on the ghoulish fun. Free family-friendly games are planned on the front porch from 4 until 7 p.m. Even the youngest of zombies can join in. From 7 until 9 p.m., storytellers will present frightening local legends, scary fictional stories and classic ghost stories. This is also a free event, though it may not be entirely suitable for young children. 

    In addition to roaming ghouls, 4th Friday also features incredible local art. The Arts Council, located at 301 Hay Street, will host the opening of Recycle: The Art of Transformation. This installation features local artists taking discarded materials and recycling and reusing them to create incredible and beautiful pieces of artwork. The exhibit is open and free to the public from 7 until 9 p.m. The exhibit is presented with The City of Fayetteville’s Environmental Services Department.

    Fascinate-U Children’s Museum is designed specifically to engage children in fun and safe learning. Exhibits mimic real life situations like broadcasting studios and stores, and are intended to be touched and played with to stimulate exploration and learning. Fascinate-U will also offer a free creative craft. From 7 until 9 p.m., children are invited to make a cute cat and enjoy free admission in the museum, which is located at 116 Green Street.

    Cape Fear Studios is hosting a gallery opening on Oct. 28, 6-8 p.m.  The exhibit is the 20th Annual Nellie Allen Smith Pottery Competition. This competition has grown from a local to a national competition, but it has always maintained the core goal of giving clay artists the opportunity to compete with peers. This year the juror is potter Simon Leach, who comes from a family of potters. His work is influenced by his fathers and grandfathers work as well as by Japanese and Korean art. He will also  attend the opening reception and the exhibit will run until Nov. 23.  

    The Fayetteville Transportation Museum offers the perfect place to explore local history on a crisp October evening in Downtown Fayetteville. Located at 325 Franklin Street, the museum is open and free from 6-8:30 p.m.  The current exhibit is called Cumberland County Goes to War. It focuses on the areas involvement in the Civil War both on the battlefield and at home. The Market House also focuses on area history. From 6 until 10 p.m., 4th Friday participants can visit the Market House and see Post Cards of Fayetteville and the permanent exhibit A View from the Square: A History of Downtown Fayetteville

    To learn more about 4th Friday, call 323-1776.

  • zombiesOn Oct. 28, the streets of downtown Fayetteville will be flooded with zombies. This month the official theme of 4th Friday is the Zombie Walk. 

    This event is an annual family-friendly event that allows for the people of Fayetteville to transform into a remarkably friendly hoard of zombies. Zombies, ghouls and the occasional zombie hunter should begin gathering at the Headquarters Library (300 Maiden Lane) at 6 p.m. for the pre-party and preparation. The walk to downtown will begin at 8 p.m.

    Headquarters Library, the initial gathering spot for the hoard, will join in on the ghoulish fun. Free family-friendly games are planned on the front porch from 4 until 7 p.m. Even the youngest of zombies can join in. From 7 until 9 p.m., storytellers will present frightening local legends, scary fictional stories and classic ghost stories. This is also a free event, though it may not be entirely suitable for young children. 

    In addition to roaming ghouls, 4th Friday also features incredible local art. The Arts Council, located at 301 Hay Street, will host the opening of Recycle: The Art of Transformation. This installation features local artists taking discarded materials and recycling and reusing them to create incredible and beautiful pieces of artwork. The exhibit is open and free to the public from 7 until 9 p.m. The exhibit is presented with The City of Fayetteville’s Environmental Services Department.

    Fascinate-U Children’s Museum is designed specifically to engage children in fun and safe learning. Exhibits mimic real life situations like broadcasting studios and stores, and are intended to be touched and played with to stimulate exploration and learning. Fascinate-U will also offer a free creative craft. From 7 until 9 p.m., children are invited to make a cute cat and enjoy free admission in the museum, which is located at 116 Green Street.

    Cape Fear Studios is hosting a gallery opening on Oct. 28, 6-8 p.m.  The exhibit is the 20th Annual Nellie Allen Smith Pottery Competition. This competition has grown from a local to a national competition, but it has always maintained the core goal of giving clay artists the opportunity to compete with peers. This year the juror is potter Simon Leach, who comes from a family of potters. His work is influenced by his fathers and grandfathers work as well as by Japanese and Korean art. He will also  attend the opening reception and the exhibit will run until Nov. 23.  

    The Fayetteville Transportation Museum offers the perfect place to explore local history on a crisp October evening in Downtown Fayetteville. Located at 325 Franklin Street, the museum is open and free from 6-8:30 p.m.  The current exhibit is called Cumberland County Goes to War. It focuses on the areas involvement in the Civil War both on the battlefield and at home. The Market House also focuses on area history. From 6 until 10 p.m., 4th Friday participants can visit the Market House and see Post Cards of Fayetteville and the permanent exhibit A View from the Square: A History of Downtown Fayetteville

    To learn more about 4th Friday, call 323-1776.

  • hauntingWhat do murder, a séance and Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart have in common? Heritage Square. On Oct. 27, 29 and 30, the Woman’s Club of Fayetteville invites the public to Historic Hauntings for a peek into the macabre past of the Oval Ballroom on Dick Street followed by a basement performance of Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart. Led by Dr. Gail Morfesis, Historic Hauntings is nothing like other local Halloween haunts and trails. 

    In 1849, Ann Simpson and her husband, Alexander, lived in Fayetteville. They dined in what is now the Oval Ballroom at Heritage Square. By 1850, Alexander was dead and Ann stood accused of poisoning her husband.  She was the first Fayetteville woman accused of murder. It’s said she was encouraged, maybe even coached by her friend and soothsayer Polly Rising. Historic Haunting at Heritage Square delves into the case of Ann Simpson with Morfesis’ production of Arsenic and Old Fayetteville. The piece includes local thespians Staci Graybill, Claudia Warga, Gary Clayton and Stanley Seay.

    “The property lends itself very well to that time period and to the time of this murder,” said Morfesis. “The murder took place in the ballroom, so we do a scene there. We go upstairs and have a story time and talk about the Harvard transcripts that document the case, then we have a séance.   Polly Rising was a fortuneteller in this story and many say she encouraged Ann to kill her husband, so we call her forth and hear more about the details of the murder.”

    After the séance, the production moves to the basement for a performance of Edgar Allen Poe’s A Tell-Tale Heart. It’s a one-man show and Stanley Seay is the sole performer. 

    “I’m a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe. My English teacher in eighth grade requested I do a dramatic reading of one of Poe’s works and that is where I got into it. He did some fantastic writing. I thought it would be a fun cool show to do,” he said.

    While Seay doesn’t change the words in Poe’s work, he says this performance is “interesting and a little different.” The setting itself makes it the perfect place for a performance like this. 

    “The house is phenomenal. Anybody that likes Edgar Allen Poe, Halloween, tales of the macabre, this is something they will enjoy. Even Steven King fans can easily relate to this as well as — Goosebumps fans.”

    While Historic Hauntings at Heritage Square is family-friendly, Seay noted that younger children may find it overwhelming.

    Proceeds from this event benefit Heritage Square. 

    “Over the years, the Woman’s Club has worked very hard to raise funds to support these three buildings that make up Heritage Square,” said Morfesis. “The buildings are more than 200 years old. It takes a lot of money to maintain the properties and they do it mainly by fundraising. We did A Christmas Carol Revisited last year during the holiday season and will have it again on Nov. 18-20 this year.”

    Historic Haunting at Heritage Square is on Oct. 27, 29 and 30 at Heritage Square. Admission is $10. Tickets are available at the door or at the Pilgrim in Westwood Shopping Center. For more information, call 483-6009.

  • cotton clubOn Nov. 5, Fayetteville State University will host Cotton Club II, which is a jazz-inspired performance by Fayetteville State University students who are part of the Department of Performing and Fine Arts. Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications Jeffrey Womble is looking forward to the performance. “Singers, dancers, artists and theater students will provide entertainment of the highest quality. A live jazz band consisting of FSU students and musicians from the Performing and Fine Arts Department is slated to perform. We had a similar event last year that featured actress Jasmine Guy and it was such a hit, we decided to do it again, but this time put the spotlight on the many talented students we have at Fayetteville State University.”

    The name of the event is inspired by the famous Cotton Club in Harlem in the 1920s. The students, inspired by the incredible jazz music of the era, will capture the electric atmosphere of creativity that emerged in the Cotton Club. “Men attending the club wore zoot suits, wide-brimmed hats and wing-tipped shoes. Gold chains dangled from their pockets. The women donned flapper dresses made of fringe and sequins and bell-shaped hats. In its heyday, The Cotton Club was the spot to be and be seen. The venue featured singers and dancers, and it helped launch the career of many artists to include Duke Ellington, whose orchestra was the house band there for four years,” Womble explained. “Cab Calloway and Dorothy Dandridge were regulars. We are going to recreate that entire scene at The FSU Cotton Club II on Nov. 5 with singing, dancing, champagne and great food.”

    Cotton Club II has been billed as a tribute to Duke Ellington and celebrates his classic songs and style, but the performances are truly a tribute to jazz and to the era. “Music featuring other jazz artists from the Harlem Renaissance era is also on tap. You just might hear some Ella Fitzgerald, some Dorothy Dandridge or Cab Calloway. There’s going to be something for the jazz lover in everyone,” Womble said.

    The event is in part a fundraiser. 

    “It is part of First Lady Nancy Anderson’s initiative to raise money for the Department of Performing and Fine Arts at Fayetteville State University,” Womble said. “Proceeds from the event will provide scholarships and other needed support for the department.” 

    Nationally, arts programs have been struggling fiscally, but the arts are an important aspect of having a prosperous and healthy community. This event allows the region to support their local students and the artistic future of the area. 

    “This is a community effort and it’s for the community. While we have many university employees involved in the planning and execution, much of the work is being coordinated by Nancy Anderson and a committee consisting of community leaders and friends who want to see the performing and fine arts at FSU flourish and provide quality programs for the citizens of this region,” Womble said. “Great food, incredible music and the champagne will flow. Attendees are encouraged to dress in attire reminiscent of the Harlem Renaissance era and come help us bring The Cotton Club II to life. This is an event that you don’t want to miss.”

    For tickets and information, visit the website at www.uncfsu.edu/arts.

  • jeff8Three people died in Cumberland County during Hurricane Matthew which struck Fayetteville on Saturday, Oct.  8.  Throughout the day, 14 inches of rain fell, followed by another eight inches Sunday, Oct. 9. The previous weekend, an eight-inch rainfall had already inundated Greater Fayetteville. 

    The damage it caused was catastrophic. Six hundred homes in King’s Grant on Fayetteville’s north side were cut off from the rest of Fayetteville when a utility culvert beneath Shawcroft Road blew out causing the roadway itself to collapse. It’s the only city street providing King’s Grant residents ingress and egress to the subdivision. Fayetteville Engineering and Infrastructure Director Rob Stone estimates it will take six months to make repairs. Meanwhile a temporary access road has been created by extending Cottage Way to Shawcroft. It crosses private property owned by Cedar Falls Baptist Church and the Kings Grant Home Owners Association. 

    The Cedar Falls Church parking lot became a marshaling area for the Red Cross and North Carolina Baptist Men disaster relief organizations. The Red Cross at one time had 400 volunteers working in Fayetteville from across the state and as far away as New York. 

    Rayconda is another community hard hit by Matthew. The earthen dam beneath Siple Avenue partially collapsed and more than 200 homes were cut off from Raeford Road. A contractor hired by the City of Fayetteville and city crews repaired the roadway and reopened it for emergencies only on Oct. 20. Full-size fire engines and ambulances now have access to Rayconda. Siple Avenue is expected to be opened to all traffic by Oct. 28, which is two weeks ahead of the original schedule. 

    The Mirror Lake Drive dam in Van Story Hills washed out, again. The first time was when Hurricane Fran washed it out in 1996. In Aaran Lakes, the dam at Greenoch Drive was blown out as was a dam on Sykes Pond Road.

    Across the county, 40 homes were destroyed. In all, 900 structures were damaged, said Cumberland County Manager Amy Cannon. Initial estimates include residential property losses totaled $30 million. Other areas of significant damage included Veterans State Park on Bragg Boulevard. Underground electric pumps were destroyed. Recreation and Parks Director Michael Gibson reported three feet of water in the building. The basement of the headquarters library downtown was flooded. One building on the Public Works campus off Wilmington Road had 12 inches of water in it at one point, according to PWC General Manager David Trego. Three city owned buildings on Alexander Street were damaged by high water. They housed traffic services and engineering departments. Forty thousand homes on the PWC system were without power during the height of the hurricane. Efforts to restore power were completed by late Tuesday, Oct 11. 

    Associate School Superintendent Tim Kinlaw said 38 of the county’s 86 schools suffered temporary power outages, but none had significant damage. Eight county vehicles including sheriff’s patrol cars were damaged in the storm. Seventy-one city vehicles were damaged, 20 of them seriously. Twenty PWC vehicles were damaged.

  • jeff7The City of Fayetteville is experiencing an unprecedented increase in homicides this year, and is on track to set an all-time high record. The current total is 28 with two months to go in the year. The city’s worst murder count was in 1993 when the number hit 30, but it was an anomaly. In August of that year four people were killed and eight others wounded in a mass shooting at Luigi’s Italian Restaurant. Fort Bragg solider Kenneth French Jr., was tried and convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

    This year’s increase follows a significant decline in murders in 2015 with only 19 which makes the turnaround more baffling.  Police officials say it’s difficult to attribute reasons for the annual ups and downs of killings. 

    “Law enforcement cannot predict when a son will murder his parents, why a husband kills his wife and then himself, why individuals recently released from long prison sentences become victims or suspects in homicides,” said Interim Police Chief Anthony Kelly. These are actual cases this year. 

    The police department, adds Kelly, is committed to programs designed to reduce violent crimes, but they may not show results for years to come. They include the EKG program (Educating Kids on Gun Violence), the LEAD program (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) for low-level drug offenders, and the newly created Misdemeanor Diversion Program intended to keep 16- and 17-year-olds from being put in a system that could have the unintended consequence of life-long involvement in criminal activity. The Police Activity League and Operation Ceasefire are other programs designed to help combat crime. 

    Kelly notes homicides have increased nationally this year, but police professionals don’t entirely understand why. Major cities across the U.S. have experienced a surge in homicides. Murders are up in roughly 30 big cities so far in 2016, according to data released by the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Kelly says the FPD evaluates each murder and reaches out to the families of victims and suspects in efforts to understand the whys and wherefores as well as to reduce additional violence. Fayetteville Police records show that all of this year’s murder cases have been cleared with arrests.

    How can police and local leaders mobilize the citizenry to stop the killing in their communities? Police chiefs generally agree that homicide is a community problem with solutions present in the community. Washington, D.C.’s recently retired Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier, pointed out after a rash of homicides that there is a limit to what law enforcement alone can do to prevent killings.* Chief Kelly, a 22-year veteran of law enforcement, agrees that fighting crime is a shared societal responsibility. 

    “Social and economic issues related to the lack of educational opportunities, affordable housing, limited job opportunities, substance abuse and mental health issues contribute to crime,” he says. “Everyone plays a role in keeping the community safe, and we endeavor to do everything we can to continue our efforts to reduce violent crime.”  

    * “Another Shooting Adds to District’s Deadly Weekend,” The Washington Post, Metro Section, Monday June 2, 2008.


  • jeff6Creating a brand and building an image for a new minor league baseball team is not something that concerns the Fayetteville City Council. At least that’s the belief of Council’s baseball committee chaired by Mayor Pro Tem Mitch Colvin. In Colvin’s eyes, that’s up to the owners of the franchise. 

    By the end of this month the City expects to finalize a binding contract with the Houston Astros to host a Carolina League Single A minor league ball club. The City has chosen the site behind the former Prince Charles Hotel downtown for a $33 million stadium to be patterned after a Triple A stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. The city owns the property, which represents a significant saving.

    If the project remains on schedule, the City hopes to begin construction of the ball park in July. Mayor Pro Tem Colvin points out that their obligation is to provide the ball park. The Astros will manage the team and operate the stadium under a $250,000 annual lease with Fayetteville. 

    “The city is not involved in the operation of the team and their decisions,” he said. 

    A question under consideration is where will the Fayetteville team play while the stadium is under construction? That decision is the province of the parent organization. But it appears that team won’t be playing in Fayetteville. 

    “I am certain we will begin to see more activity in the days to come by the Astros,” Colvin added.

    J.P. Riddle Stadium on Legion Road has been considered as a temporary home for the team. It hosted previous minor league teams — the Fayetteville Generals and Cape Fear Crocs. County government, which owns the stadium, was asked by Minor League Baseball to upgrade the facility to help boost sagging attendance. The county declined. The Crocs were sold in 2000, and moved to New Jersey. For the last 15 years, the college summer league Swamp Dogs have called Riddle Stadium home. Colvin tells Up & Coming Weekly that an unnamed county commissioner said he “did not believe the Swamp Dogs were interested in subleasing their stadium to the Astros Minor League team.”

    An option that the Astros organization may consider is playing at Jim Perry Stadium at Campbell University. According to Campbell’s website, the park’s refurbished grandstand seats 630 fans. It’s 35 miles from Fayetteville in Harnett County. Colvin doesn’t see that as an impediment to developing support for the new team.  “I am confident in the ability of this professional organization to engage and get the support of the local community,” he said.  

    When asked whether his committee has given any thought to playing at Methodist University or Fayetteville State University? Colvin said “I do not have an answer on Methodist University’s field, and I am not aware of FSU having a viable baseball stadium that would accommodate the new team,” noting again that it was the City’s job to build the stadium and The Astros make decisions concerning the team’s operations.

  • “Fayetteville and Cumberland County have suffered enough,” said Interim Police Chief Anthony Kelly. 

    He joined Mayor Nat Robertson and District Attorney Billy West in cautioning residents to beware of scammers in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. 

    “We will not tolerate re-victimization of our citizens,” said West. 

    Fraudulent solicitation of people in need of help carries jail terms and financial restitution, West added. Most commonly, predators approach elderly and poor residents offering to make home repairs. They often require some money up front to purchase supplies. That’s part of the scam. Legitimate contractors do not require down payments or deposits. Robertson was unable to cite local instances of scam artists at work in Greater Fayetteville. West hopes to keep it that way by alerting the public to illicit contractors saying North Carolina district attorneys have teams of financial prosecutors who are prepared to take rip-off artists to court. Officials say home owners should get two or three repair estimates before hiring a contractor.


    jeff2PWC Water is Flowing

    Fayetteville’s Public Works Commission doesn’t say how much water was saved in the wake of Hurricane Matthew when a pair of conservation measures were put in place after two water treatment plants failed during the storm. 

    Emergency generators kicked in at both, but broken water mains prevented maintaining pressure in the system, PWC spokesperson Carolyn Justice-Hinson said. 

    Mayor Nat Robertson declared a Stage IV water crisis the day after the hurricane struck. It was followed three days later by  Stage I voluntary conservation measures as conditions improved in the water system and at the water treatment plants. 

    “The emergency declaration was in response to the need to rebuild acceptable water pressure levels in the PWC system,” said Justice-Hinson. She said at the time there was a temporary loss of water pressure because electrical power was lost at the plants and water mains in the distribution system had burst. 

    “The plants were able to pump enough water to refill all the storage tanks while crews checked 2,400 miles of water lines for any problem areas which were not immediately identified after the storm,” Justice-Hinson added.  


    jeff3New Rowan Street Bridge 

    The State Department of Transportation says construction on the new multi-million dollar Rowan Street Bridge is expected to get underway as soon as Nov. 1.  Construction of the six-lane dual span bridge and realignment of Bragg Boulevard, Murchison Road and Rowan Street is expected to take three and a half years. A $24 million contact has been awarded to S.T. Wooten Corporation of Wilson.  The new structure will be built adjacent to the existing bridge which dates back to 1956. It will be demolished once the new overpasses are up and running. Motorists can expect periodic detours throughout construction. Project completion is slated for May of 2020. This was one of six road and bridge projects recently awarded by N.C. DOT. They came in at about $95.5 million, which was $5.8 million under the estimated budget.  Photo credit: N.C. DOT.





    jeff4Military Job Fair

    CivilianJobs.com, where America’s military connects with civilian careers, will conduct 35 job fairs across the country in November. One of them is at Fort Bragg. 

    The company offers recruiting and staffing services. “Military job fairs not only connect companies with the sought-after talent they’re looking for, they put candidates face-to-face with companies excited about hiring military,” said Jake Hutchings, general manager, CivilianJobs.com. The local event is Tuesday and Wednesday Nov. 8-9, at Fort Bragg’s Conference and Catering Center at 2658 Reilly Road from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Major employers will offer both local and national job opportunities. 

    The event is open to all active duty soldiers, veterans, retirees and reservists as well as spouses, dependents and civilians. Active duty and prior military can pre-register at www.civilianjobs.com.




    jeff5Fort Bragg Medics Graduate

    Fayetteville Technical Community College’s first class of Army paramedics graduated last week and are now eligible to take state and federal paramedic license exams. FTCC’s program was started with the encouragement and cooperation of Womack Army Medical Center. The class began in January with 28 active duty combat medics and two employees of Fort Bragg EMS. The course consisted of 600 hours of classroom instruction and 600 hours of internship. 









  • margaretI am living for Nov. 9.

    That is the day after Nov. 8, Election Day 2016.  On the ninth, we will know who our next president, our next governor, our next U.S. senator, and a host of other honorables will be for at least the next two years and some up to eight years.  I have been confused by much of what has occurred during this election season, words and behaviors of both candidates and their supporters, and it is clear that we are a nation deeply divided in many ways.

    It is also clear that a dialogue has opened about American women, who we are, what we are doing with our lives and how society regards us.  Love her or loathe her, Hillary Clinton is the first woman in our nation’s 238-year history to head the ticket of a major political party, despite the fact that women make up about 51 percent of our population.  And, love her or loathe her, her candidacy is a major American historical benchmark.  If North Carolina elects a woman senator this year, she will become one of fewer than 40 women elected to the Senate over that same time period.  It is also clear that much of this year’s campaign rhetoric revolved less around the accomplishments of American women than about our physical appearances in the workplace and elsewhere.  And, it is crystal clear that a distressing conversation has begun about what is acceptable touching between men and women, but it is a conversation we need to have as a nation.

    The Dicksons made it a priority to teach respect for all people to the Precious Jewels, and if they are so blessed, I hope they will do the same with their children.

    To that end, I am sharing with them some advice from US. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, known fondly as the “Notorious RBG.”  The justice has written a new book, My Own Words, and she shared some thoughts with Bill Murphy writing in the New York Timesin advance of her book’s publication.  Ginsburg’s advice applies to everyone, but she is aiming her words at parents who want their daughters to become confident, competent, and high-achieving women.

    Here is part of what she prescribes.

    Nurture a love of reading.

    Reading is the tool that opens the door to the entire world.   It allows us to explore any topic that grabs our interest, and it does not matter whether we are rich or poor or in what part of the world we live.  If we can read, we can go anywhere.  Reading enlarges our thinking and trains us to want more knowledge.  And knowledge, once we have it, is ours forever.

    Teach them to be independent.

    If nothing else, election year 2016 has shown us all how many directions we can be pulled in and how much diversity — both positive and negative — is competing for our attention.  If we learn to know ourselves, trust ourselves and enjoy our own company, we are less likely to be led astray.  Independence is the way we stay true to ourselves and our own values.

    Encourage them to seek excellent teachers and mentors.

    I can count on one hand the teachers who really made a difference in my life, beginning with my third grade teacher all the way through graduate school.  Ditto for people who guided me in my professional life.  It makes all the difference when a young person knows she has people to turn to for advice and counsel.

    Help them learn to ignore from time to time.

    Successful people know that sometimes it is better not to react to some slight, some offense, some unkindness whether they come in the workplace or in a relationship.  Put simply, not everything deserves a response — or in our era, a Tweet.  Ginsburg’s mother-in-law advised her new daughter-in-law that sometimes it is helpful “to be a little deaf.”  She was right.

    Encourage them to focus on achievement, not on the barriers to it.

    Barriers always exist and certainly did for women when Ginsburg, now 83, was establishing her career and had a young family.  She plowed through the days when it was legal to pay women less than men for the same work and when she could not get a credit card without her husband’s signature.  She persevered.

    Akin to that advice is this.  Teach them that they can create their own luck.

    Circumstances outside our control always affect us, but it is largely our reaction to those circumstances that determines our outcomes.  This may be perseverance as well.

    And finally, keep your fingers crossed that they marry the right person.

    Handsome, wealthy, and charming are wonderful attributes, but a supportive partner willing to go the distance with us is the goal.

    The Notorious RBG looks nothing like a supermodel, but she makes a perfect role model for our young women.

  • Pub PenFriday evening, several weeks ago, I attended a special event in downtown Fayetteville at the Cameo Art House Theater. Afterwards, around 9:30 p.m., I had only two blocks to walk to the reception held at SkyView on Hay. In these two short city blocks, I was approached three times by panhandler’s and vagrants. 

    I was brought up to be compassionate, kind and generous and cannot remember when I have failed to offer assistance to someone truly in need... “By the grace of God go I.” However, if you live or work in Downtown Fayetteville your nerves, resources and patience are probably being tested by what seems to be this ever growing influx of vagrants and panhandlers. 

    I’m not going to use the word “homeless” because our community has yet to define that term. However, the problem is real and getting worse as Downtown Fayetteville becomes their preferred sanctuary. A shameful circumstance that quickly turns sympathy, generosity and empathy into fear, apprehension and frustration. Fear, initially from the abrupt unknown approach. “What is going to happen next?” Apprehension from our crazy, unpredictable and erratic judicial system that puts in question what rights we actually have to defend ourselves should this panhandler or vagrant become overly aggressive or violent. These concerns are real. Will I be sued or go to jail for defending myself from this derelict? Or, maybe I’ll be accused of violating his human rights. 

    The frustration comes from thinking about the impression we are making on first time visitors to Fayetteville or on someone who has just moved into one of the lovely apartments or condos downtown or recently set up business downtown. Frustration also comes from knowing it doesn’t have to be this way. All that is needed is a show of “law and order,” an increased police presence, enforcement of existing laws and an inclination to address the problem. It’s doable.

    Without punity these vagrant and panhandling intruders use our bushes and landscapes as camp sites, our back doors, parking lots and alley ways as toilets and downtown pedestrians as a revenue source. Those worried about the new downtown Transportation Hub attracting and harboring these undesirables have a legitimate concern, which I believe is soon to become a reality. 

    The city bureaucrats who claim we have no money to address this situation also have no idea what the real cost to the city will be if the problem is not addressed. New stadium, new baseball team, innovative arts and entertainment district. Now is the time to address this issue, not later. Continued denial is not an option. Agree? 

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • COSIn 1991, music lovers around the world commemorated the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death. In Fayetteville, Alan Porter gathered a group of community members to perform Mozart’s Requiem. 

    “It remains as ‘the’ moment that began this organization,” said Cumberland Oratorio Singers Director Michael Martin. To celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary, Alan Porter returns to conduct a portion of the season’s first concert, which is set for Oct. 29, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. The COS is also inviting past members for recognition at the event as well.

    In a nod to the group’s history, this first concert features a performance of “Requiem”, along with another collaboration with the Methodist University Chorale. “Alan was the original director of the COS,” said Martin. “He was the face of choral music in Fayetteville from his hiring in the earliest days of Methodist (College) University in the early 1960s until ending his time in Fayetteville choral music in 2008. He has also been a big supporter of mine and a person I am grateful to call my friend. For well over 40 years, he forged many relationships with people all for the sake of music and singing. It is no wonder that he still lives in the hearts of many people here in Fayetteville and all the students that passed through Methodist’s doors.”

    For Martin, it is only natural to recognize Porter’s efforts, even if it means breaking a few rules. “I am breaking concert protocol to make sure that Alan gets the opportunity to conduct the “Requiem”. Generally, large multi-movement pieces are conceived to have no applause between the movements, primarily because they are all part of the same work,” said Martin. “However, this time, I intend to stop the “Requiem” before we perform “Lacrimosa”, have Alan conduct this one part, and take his community bow at that point. For a man who has done so much for so many, this is something I am excited to assure for him.”

    There are three other performances this season. December 17 at 7:30 p.m., St. Ann Catholic Church hosts the annual “Messiah Sing,” which is a free concert. This is what the COS calls its “gift to the community.” The concert includes Lord of the Rings soloist Kaitlyn Lusk and Joshua Conyers of Piedmont Opera. March 24, at 7:30 p.m., at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church is a concert called “The Student and the Teacher,” featuring the music of Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughn Williams. Britten was a student at the Royal College of Music while Vaughn Williams was a teacher there. The last concert of the year is called “The Trumpets Shall Sound,” and features choral music accompanied by brass, percussion and organ. This concert is on May 19 at 7:30 p.m., at Haymount United Methodist Church.

    While COS is about music, it is also about community. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, the board decided to donate $5 from every ticket sold to Second Harvest Food Bank to support their efforts with hurricane relief. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. For more information, visit: www.singwithcos.org.

  • coverThe Department of Performing and Fine Arts at Fayetteville State University would like to invite the public to join more than 100 visitors arriving from six states to attend a distinctive gallery crawl on Nov. 4. 

    The exhibits are the direct result of the indirect support of two national conferences taking place at FSU on Nov. 4-5, the 16th National Alliance of Artists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the National Conference of Artists, an organization of African-American artists and educators that has been in existence since 1959. 

    Although there is a small fee to attend the conference, it is an historic event on the campus of Fayetteville State University and for the community; the conferences have been committed to the works of African-American artists and their canon in the history of art. During the past five decades the NCA has counted among its membership some of the leading African-American artists and historians of the 20th century. Through its annual meetings and related exhibitions, it has been in a position to monitor the evolution of African-American artists throughout that period as well as assess the work of their African-American forebears. 

    Six galleries are participating in the gallery crawl on Friday, Nov. 4, between 3 and 8 p.m. Students from many historically black college/universities and their professors/alumni will be exhibiting in local galleries; while other galleries are involved by hosting exhibitions that include significant contemporary or historical African-American artists. 

    Rosenthal Gallery on the campus of Fayetteville State University is hosting the faculty and alumni from the NAAHBCU and organization of historically black colleges and universities. Many of the artists exhibiting are historically significant and have contributed to the history of the African American canon in art.

    Ellington White Contemporary Gallery is hosting the Charles White Sketchbook exhibit. The exhibit features 17 sketchbook drawings and watercolors by one of America’s most historically important and recognized African-American and Social Realist artists. His work is included in the Smithsonian, Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum and many more well respected institutions. 

    The Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County has included several African-American artists who use recycled materials in their annual recycle exhibit titled Recycle: The Art of Transformation. The student exhibits are in three gallery spaces: Gallery 208, Gallery 116 and the Rudolf Jones Student Center at Fayetteville State University. 

    Schedule of Gallery Crawl Openings on Friday, Nov. 4:

    Rudolph Jones Student Center at FSU (Student Exhibit, FSU): 3:30-5:30 p.m. 

    Rosenthal Gallery, FSU   (HBCU Faculty and Alumni Exhibit, FSU): 4:30 - 8 p.m. 

    Gallery 208 (Student Exhibit, 208 Rowan Street): 5:30 - 8 p.m. 

    Gallery 116 (Student Exhibit, 116 Anderson Street): 5:30 - 8 p.m. 

    Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County (301 Hay Street, Recycle: the Art of Transformation includes several African-American artists who recycle): 5:30 – 8 p.m. 

    Ellington White Contemporary Gallery (113 Gillespie Street, Charles White Sketchbook Exhibit): 5:30 - 8 p.m.  

    The gallery openings are free to everyone, but there is a $50 fee to attend the 16th NAAHBCU and 54th NCA conferences. The theme for the conference and its presenters at Fayetteville State University is Into the New Millennium: New Media Abstractions and Identity Politics.

    Conference events begin in the FSU Rudolph Jones Student Center on Friday, Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and continue on Saturday, Nov. 5, in Seabrook Auditorium and FSU Rosenthal Building (classrooms and the recital hall) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The featured conference speakers will include: 

    Dr. Regenia A. Perry, a retired Virginia Commonwealth University Professor of African-American Art History, is the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Art History. She is also the foremost expert in African-American folk art. 

    Lisa Farrington, chair of the Art Department at John Jay College CUNY and is a curator, author and art historian specializing in Haitian, African-American and women’s art. She has published widely, including Common Goals, Common Struggles: Women of the Harlem Renaissance (University of Mississippi, forthcoming), Creating Their Own Image: the History of African-American Women Artists(Oxford University, 2005), and two monographs on artist Faith Ringgold. 

    Dr. Jeffery C. Stewart, a Professor in the Black Studies Department at the University of California at Santa Barbara, has an extensive list of publications and essays. His most important research has been on the Harlem Renaissance, the black arts movement of the 1920s, and his specialty has been the work of black philosopher Alain Locke. 

    Willis “Bing” Davis, is the Founder and Director of the EbonNia Gallery in Dayton, Ohio. He has served as past President of the National Conference of Artists and has had a distinguished career as a curator and an artist who exhibits in galleries and museums in America, as well as West Africa and Germany.

    Dr. Leo Twiggs, is widely seen as the country’s main pioneer of batik as a modern art form. He is an important and noted South Carolinian artist since the 1960s. The subject of his art is about issues and people close to his Southern upbringing. 

    Although all the exhibits will be up a month, the night of the official opening is a gallery crawl to visit each Fayetteville gallery participating in the exhibition as part of the conference between the hours of 3:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, and the public is invited. For information on the conference events and times, contact the conference coordinator: Dwight Smith, Assistant Professor of Art, at 672-1795. 

    For conference details and events, go to the FSU Department of Performing and Fine Arts, click on Fine Arts Series website: http://fsuarts.com/event/national-alliance-of-artists-from-hbcus-exhibition/

  • soylent greenSustainable Sandhills presents the viewing of the 1973 film Soylent Green on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 11 a.m. at the Cameo Art House Theatre in downtown Fayetteville.  

    The purpose of this event is to start a dialogue on climate resiliency in Fayetteville. The film is a part of the Sustainable Saturdays film series and the plot entails the year 2022. Food rations are short, global warming has taken effect and the earth is overheating. Investigator Robert Thorn, from the New York Police Department, investigates the death of an executive at the company that makes the food ration Soylent Green. 

    “The film was produced in the early ‘70s and people are rioting and the government is trying to control the riots,” said Denise Bruce, environmental outreach manager for Sustainable Sandhills. 

    “We chose this film because it is actually one of the first films that Hollywood produced that references climate change,” said Bruce, adding that although they use the term global warming, Hollywood in the ‘70s took a look at what could happen if the population on Earth continued to grow and they wanted to take a look at what would happen if global warming continued. 

    “At the end of the film we are going to have a discussion about climate change, where science is now on climate change and the UN’s climate talks,” said Bruce. “We are also going to talk about the Fayetteville-Cumberland County climate change action plan.” Sustainable Sandhills and many partners throughout the county created a climate change resiliency plan for whenever we have major climate events such as a major hurricane, heatwave or flooding. How do we not lose people at the hands of a climate event in our area?

    Sustainable Saturdays feature documentaries that have generated lively discussions among the group. 

    “We try to put forth a topic that creates a dialogue,” said Bruce. “We understand that some of the issues that we work on can be very political and polarizing.” 

    Bruce added that rather than hammering away on that side of it, we look at what the real solutions can be.  

    Donations are strongly encouraged. Doors open at 10:45 a.m. For more information, email Bruce at greenaction@sustainablesandhills.org. 

  • dogwood festivalBud Light presents Fayetteville’s Dogwood Fall Festival from Thursday, Oct. 27 – Saturday, Oct. 29. 

     “There are many elements that make up this event and lots of things that fold into it that make it what it is,” said Carrie King, executive director of the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival Incorporated. “Saturday is our big day with the food truck and craft beer festival end of it.” 

    King added that this event started many, many years ago with Historic Hauntings, which was a fundraiser for the Dogwood Festival. Patrons were put on a wagon for a hayride and they would be taken to downtown Fayetteville and get off of the wagon to see skits and vignettes that told the history of Fayetteville.  Visitors to this year’s festival can enjoy a variety of activities.  

    Historic Hauntings (Thursday – Saturday) 

     There will be a guided walking tour in the dark through Cross Creek Cemetery Section II.  It features ghostly reenactors and storytellers that share the creepy side of Fayetteville’s history. 

    “This year, you must go online to purchase the tickets and set up a time,” said King. “Then you go to Festival Park and ride the shuttle to the location where you will be taken on a guided tour through the cemetery in the dark.” Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online. 

    Haunted House (Thursday- Saturday)

     The LaFayette Insane Asylum, better known as the haunted house, is guaranteed to deliver the hair-raising chill that thrill seekers desire. It will be located in the back near the Ray Avenue entrance to Festival Park.  Tickets are $10 or $9 with a canned good donation to benefit our local food banks. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds will benefit Fishing to Fight Cancer.  

    Hayrides (Thursday-Saturday)  

     There will be 20 – 30 minute narrated hayrides through historic downtown. Hayrides will be offered Thursday from 7 – 9 p.m.; Friday from 6:30 – 10 p.m. and Saturday from 3 – 10 p.m. Wagons depart at the corner of Mason & Ray Avenue every 30 minutes. Ticket cost is $5 at the gate.  

    Bands and Brews 

     “We have a national headliner coming and it is country artist Brett Young,” said King. “Chase Bryant will also perform.” Beer and wine will be available for purchase. There will be over 20 craft and domestic beer selections. This is a free concert on Saturday presented by WKML 95.7.  If you would like to sit in the front two rows at the concert the cost is $25 per person.  A wristband will be mailed to the address provided during the purchase. Brett Young will take the stage at 7 p.m. and Chase Bryant will perform at 9 p.m.  There will be entertainment on the stage all day Saturday starting at 3 p.m. featuring local artists.  

    Fayetteville’s Food Truck Festival 

     This event takes place on Saturday, October 29 from 3 – 10 p.m. It hosts 28 food trucks from North Carolina featuring gourmet foods and culinary favorites. Purchase a Dine & Dash pass for $5 and get in 30 minutes before the crowd at 2:30 p.m.  Tickets will be on sale in October. 

     “Every event that we do we give a portion of the proceeds to a nonprofit organization that assists us,” said King. “So, 50 percent of the ticket sales for Historic Hauntings go back to unbudgeted funding items for Bruce, who is our city historian and items for display.” King added that over the past nine years, the Dogwood Festival has contributed over $110,000 to other nonprofit agencies that assist them.  

     “We look forward to seeing everyone at the festival,” said King.  For more information call 323-1934. 

  • jeff2At least three local deaths have been attributed to Hurricane Matthew. 

    Isabelle Ralls, 81, of Falcon was found dead in her car Oct. 10. The state Medical Examiner’s office ruled the death accidental by drowning.The body of Tarry Faircloth, 53, was found the afternoon of Oct. 13 on Clinton Road near an I-95 exit ramp. Faircloth had been  missing since the night of Oct. 8. A third storm-related death was  reported by the governor’s office. An unidentified 63-year-old man died,  but state officials provided no details. His death is the 26th in North  Carolina related to Hurricane Matthew. There have been at least 43 nationally.










    jeff3Aftermath of the Storm

    An unheralded response to the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew was that of regular people, neighbors and concerned citizens. Local organizations and individuals reached out to help communities from Fayetteville, Hope Mills and Spring Lake to Lumberton and Pembroke. The recovery effort involved prominent faith organizations from Baptist Men to Manna Church and Covenant Love Church/Operation Blessing’s Disaster Relief. Manna Church on Cliffdale Road helped coordinate volunteer efforts related to trash and debris removal. One-on-one assistance included providing water and food, and help filing claims with insurance companies. Covenant Love Church and Operation Blessing Disaster Relief on Dunn Road served hot evening meals daily. Volunteers also helped with debris removal as well as packing and salvaging personal belongings. Green Springs Baptist Church, on the Cumberland-Robeson County line served as a drop-off point for people to bring clothes, blankets and hygiene items for distribution to the numerous shelters in Robeson County serving the victims of the flooding in Lumberton.

    A Van Story Hills resident collected items including water, diapers, paper cups and plates, blankets and more, and drove them to Lumberton, which was hard hit by flooding. And the Sandhills Chapter of the Red Cross coordinated the arrival of volunteers from out of state who came to North Carolina to help. The Red Cross mobilized more than 400 workers and 80 response vehicles.


    Holiday Wreaths

    Holy Trinity Church’s Preschool is taking orders for Christmas wreaths and accessories through Nov. 1. They’re fresh from Alleghany County, North Carolina. The 20 - 22 inch Fraser Fir wreaths are $21. Wreath bows are $4 and 20 feet of white pine garlands are $15. Advance orders and payments can be made at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 1601 Raeford Road. The items will be available for pickup on Nov. 19 at the church parking lot. 


    Jeff1Public Assistance

    Cumberland County residents who receive food and nutrition benefits and have experienced flood damage or power outages may apply for replacements by doing so in person at the Department of Social Services on Ramsey Street. Also, because Cumberland County is included in a presidential disaster declaration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is making its assistance available locally to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts. Federal funding is available to effected individuals to include grants for temporary housing and home repairs as well as low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. Federal funding is also available to local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to help defray the costs associated with emergency work. Fayetteville City Council dipped into its reserves to provide $1.5 million dollars for emergency relief. 







    jeff4Museum Enhancements

    The 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum on Fort Bragg will undergo a major exhibition gallery upgrade starting next month. The $2.5 million upgrade is expected to continue through August of next year. The new gallery will be open in time to honor the Division’s centennial according to an 82nd Airborne Division spokesman. 

    The U.S. Army Center of Military History funded the improvements to better tell the story of the 82nd Airborne Division’s combat service from 2003 to 2015. During the construction, museum exhibits will remain displayed in the Hall of Heroes on the museum grounds on Ardennes Road, Fort Bragg. The museum gift shop will remain open.

  • MargaretI started this column on Sept. 22, while watching reports and commentary on rioting the previous night in Charlotte, North Carolina. Businesses in the downtown area were looted, police officers were attacked and one person was shot. This situation came about in the aftermath of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shooting resulting in the death of a black man named Keith Lamont Scott. As with Ferguson and Baltimore, I sat there wondering why this kind of chaos happens. That is: the rioting, looting and absolute destruction of property owned by people who had nothing to do with the shooting of Scott.

    I think a part of the answer shows in an event at a pw

    “A history teacher in Cumberland County was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday after coming under fire for stepping on the U.S. flag as part of a lesson on the First Amendment.”

    “He was teaching a junior-level American History class with 26 students when the incident happened Monday. He had been teaching about Texas v. Johnson, a case that upheld that flag desecration was protected by the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights.”

    The teacher referred to is Lee Francis. The McCleary/Banks article referenced above reports that Francis is surprised and disappointed by the tremendous public opposition to his treatment of the American flag and his teaching technique. His approach to teaching is quoted as follows:

    “But this is exactly what I teach: You don’t teach kids how to think or what to think; you teach them to go their own path,” he said. “If they feel so convicted that this is their cause they’re going to stand for, I don’t blame them. It’s an upper-level school for those who aspire to go to college and in that regard, we have rigor and expectations, so I treat them as such.”

    What this teacher says is a major part of the answer to my question in regards to why people choose to act as they did in Charlotte on Sept. 21, in Ferguson, Baltimore and so on. I agree we should not tell people what to think, but there must be instruction on how to think. One’s thinking is done within the framework of what is believed to be right, to be acceptable behavior.

    The apostle Paul understood and spoke to this critical factor of framework for thinking and its impact on behavior. In Romans 12:2, Paul writes: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The apostle is calling on us to adopt a framework for thinking that is controlled by what God wills for us and not by what is acceptable to society, in general, apart from God’s desires for us. Dr. David Jeremiah invites us as we consider taking a particular action, ask if we would be comfortable taking that action in the presence of Jesus.

    Although Francis obviously does not realize it, by his flag-stomping action and saying “... you teach them to go their own path,” he is teaching students how to think. His message is, “Say whatever you want and you are protected by the First Amendment.” Without doubt, promoting this position likely contributes to a mindset, a framework for thinking, which leads one to conclude that what happened in Charlotte, Baltimore, Ferguson and elsewhere, is acceptable behavior. 

    I remember well when commitment to the common good was taught and encouraged as an essential element in a person’s framework for thinking. An article at www.scu.edu titled “The Common Good” speaks to this matter by saying, in part:

    “Commenting on the many economic and social problems that American society confronts, Newsweekcolumnist Robert J. Samuelson once wrote: ‘We face a choice between a society where people accept modest sacrifices for a common good or a more contentious society where groups selfishly protect their own benefits.’ Newsweekis not the only voice calling for a recognition of and commitment to the ’common good.’’’

    “What exactly is “the common good,” and why has it come to have such a critical place in current discussions of problems in our society? The common good is a notion that originated over 2,000 years ago in the writings of Plato, Aristotle and Cicero. More recently the contemporary ethicist, John Rawls, defined the common good as ‘certain general conditions that are... equally to everyone’s advantage’.”

    These quotes precisely describe America’s present reality and we appear locked-in on the course that is totally contrary to what made us the greatest nation in the world. Commitment to “the common good” is now becoming a relic on the dusty shelf of “what used to be.” In great part, this is the case because thought frameworks of individuals are being dangerously shaped by actions and influences such as the flag-stomping done by Lee Francis. Again, in his words, “…you teach them to go their own path.” The result is that far too many people live life selfishly, while likely identifying with and promoting the interests of some group to the detriment of other individuals or groups. 

    In America, the examples of how this plays out in real life seems endless. Consider Charlotte. A man is killed, and even before minimal facts are collected and examined, people are rioting, looting and even shooting in downtown Charlotte. Be reminded, the owners of those businesses or people working in that area to earn a living had absolutely nothing to do with the officer-involved shooting. On a news broadcast, I saw one black speaker calling for a boycott of Charlotte. All of this is a clear picture of disregard for “the common good.” Simply put, this is the willingness of one small group to penalize innocent people in the name of protest. 

    I see, in the same light, actions by many who oppose HB2, which is often referred to as North Carolina’s Bathroom Law. Key wording from the law follows:

    “Single-Sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities. Public agencies shall require every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility to be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex. Accommodations Permitted. – Nothing in this section shall prohibit public agencies from providing accommodations such as single occupancy bathroom or changing facilities upon a person’s request due to special circumstances, but in no event shall that accommodation result in the public agency allowing a person to use a multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility designated under subsection (b) of this section for a sex other than the person’s biological sex.”

    Individuals, groups, businesses and organizations opposed to this legislation have brought tremendous financial harm to North Carolina citizens in an attempt to force repeal of HB2. The NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte; the ACC moved 10 neutral-site championships out of North Carolina for the 2016-2017 academic year; NCAA moved seven championships scheduled for this academic year; PayPal cancelled plans to bring 400 jobs to North Carolina. This is only a sampling of what is being done which does not consider common good. An op-ed in The News & Observer by Chris Armstrong titled “Potentially $5 billion in losses from HB2 and still no repeal” says of HB2, “In total, a report from UCLA estimates the law may cost the state up to $5 billion a year.”

    All of this is being done so that a small group of men may go into restrooms and changing areas with women and vice-versa. Note that the law only applies to public agencies. Businesses and other non-public entities may do what they want. Further, single occupancy bathroom or changing facilities are allowed and should satisfy the concerns of transgender persons. In spite of this accommodation and the horrendous financial, mental, and emotional strain being placed on millions of innocent hard-working North Carolinians, many opponents of HB2 totally disregard “the common good.” 

    The Charlotte events described above and opposition actions regarding HB2 are just two examples that show consideration of “the common good” is becoming an American relic. Indications are that this consideration hardly ever appears as a component in the thought framework of many citizens, or our leaders. This dangerous progression toward relic status is fueled in great part by words and actions like those of Lee Francis before that class of young minds developing a framework for thinking. Does the Constitution allow him to say and do what he did? Yes. Did he consider the common good? No. Does that failure by him and others likely affect the thought frameworks that produce what we saw in Charlotte and in the devastating responses of many opponents of HB2? Yes. We better give attention to helping individuals develop thought frameworks that produce right actions. 

  • Pub PenLast week about this time, some of us were still without power and water. We were in that window of hope where our world would soon be made right. And for most of us, it was, but for many, their world was just starting to unravel.

    Our kids lost a week of school. Some of us had to find creative ways to get to work. And once there, we had to find creative ways to get our work done. But for others in our state, the pain had just started. As the Cape Fear River began to slowly move back into its banks, rivers across the state began to crest and our neighbors to the south in Robeson County and to the East, in areas like Kinston and Goldsboro, began to flood.

    It would have been easy for our community to say we have enough to take care of and leave our neighbors to fend for themselves. But we didn’t. Instead, we rolled up our sleeves and began to look for ways to help not only our neighbors here in Cumberland County but also those we do not know.

    On Fort Bragg, commands reached out to the soldiers and civilians who work there to see what kind of damage had occurred, and then they put hands and feet to work helping to salvage what could be salvaged and to find ways to get assistance to those in need.

    The civilian community worked the same way. Neighbors offered shelter to those who had lost everything. Clothes drives were launched, volunteers started cooking for those in need and collecting the basics to share.

    This reminded me of the question asked in the Bible: Who is my neighbor? Is it the person who lives beside me? Is it the person who looks like me, believes like me and has the same economic condition that I do? I’m proud to say that our community knew the answer to that question. That became readily apparent as groups all across the county scrambled to help our neighbors in Robeson County.

    At the church I attend, Green Springs Baptist, an immediate call to action was given and people answered wholeheartedly. Clothes, blankets, pillows, soap, deodorant, tooth brushes and tooth paste … whatever the need, began appearing, and each evening volunteers made a run to the shelters in Robeson County to distribute all the donations. Each day, the donation room was full again. At my office at Fort Bragg, I mentioned the work the church was doing, and I loaded my SUV three days in a row with things brought to me by my coworkers and friends. That’s just my experience. Many of you have similar experiences.

    People can say what they want about our community, and I will stand and tell them they are wrong. Fayetteville/Cumberland County is a community of heart. It is a community that cares. I am proud to call Fayetteville home.

  • PRINCEIt’s homecoming week at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Givens Performing Arts Center is pulling out all the stops with two unique performances. The shows are open to the public. Shanghai Nightsfeatures China’s premier acrobats, while the second show, The Purple Xperience is a tribute to musical great Prince.

    “We’ve brought acrobat acts to GPAC previously, and our audiences have loved them. It’s a family-friendly show that thrills everyone regardless of age,” said GPAC Marketing Director Chad Locklear. “We usually bring a concert during UNCP homecoming weekend to add to the festivities. There are UNCP alumni returning to campus and families and friends of our students are visiting, so it gives them a time to come together to celebrate and another option of entertainment during the week.”

    On Oct. 18, don’t miss the Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China debut of their brand new program Shanghai Nights! Visit the Far East through performance art. The acrobats use stories and vignettes along with movement, music and color to take the audience to the lively and diverse city of Shanghai. The sophistication, bustling energy and beauty of the city are all played out on stage. More that 50 of China’s finest acrobats come together to bring the Shanghai experience to the audience.

    “The performances are breathtaking, and you can sense the enthusiasm from the performers. Many of them train their entire lives to perform. Audiences can expect to be mesmerized by their talents, focus and energy. They really are pushing the limits of the human body. Many of the acts you witness seem impossible,” said Locklear. 

    The company of Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China 2016 belongs to the artistic entities of governmental finance allocation. An elite performance group, the company is one of China’s most decorated company, performing in more than 30 countries since the 1980s and bringing home awards from acrobatic and circus competitions around the world. In 2009, the troupe won the Silver Clown award at the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival. 

    “The Shanghai Acrobats started in 1959 and are considered one of the best acrobatic troupes in the world,” said Locklear. “They’ve won many awards throughout the years and traveled extensively. You might see similar circus acts to the ones you would see in Cirque du Soleil, but many of these are unique to this company and you won’t see them anywhere else. The costumes, music and occasional dance that you will see are all Chinese in origin.” 

    On Friday, Oct. 21, The Purple Xperience takes the stage with Matt Fink leading the five-piece Prince tribute band. Find is a three-time Grammy Award winner and an original member of the Prince and The Revolution. The Purple Xperience started in 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The performance includes all the fan favorites from the Prince catalog.

    “This show is going to be a lot of fun,” said Locklear. “Audiences are going to see Dr. Fink perform who was Prince’s original keyboardist for years and even has co-writing credits for some of Prince’s songs. Marshall Charloff will perform as a Prince impersonator. He sounds very much like Prince and does a great job at channeling Prince’s appearance and stage presence. Many people didn’t get a chance to see the legend before he passed away earlier this year. With one of Prince’s original band members, this is one tribute band that can perform the music of Prince’s catalog authentically.”

    Purchase tickets online at uncp.edu/gpactickets or by calling 910.521.6361. 

  • COVERIt’s been more than 30 years since Flash Gordon came to Fayetteville. Actor Sam Jones, known for his role as Flash Gordon in the 1980 film of the same name, is one of the many guests attending this year’s Fayetteville ComicCon on Oct. 15 and 16. More recently, Jones was also in Ted and Ted 2 with Mark Wahlberg. Like many events, ComicCons come in a variety of genres, and Fayetteville’s ComicCon encompasses just about all of them. 

    Michael Chaudhuri cast a wide net when he set out to host Fayetteville’s 2015 ComicCon last year. And why wouldn’t he? He knows the area and the diversity that thrives here. In short, last year’s event was a success, drawing more than 8,000 visitors. Chaudhuri could have stopped there. Instead, he decided to go even bigger this year. “Our con features a little bit of everything. If its geek, we got it,” said Chaudhuri, adding, “We do more than most conventions in the country. We have great guests, gaming, cos play, a kids dome, sci-fi speed dating — we put Fayetteville on the map. We had a lot of people say Fayetteville wouldn’t support an event like this … then people came and were amazed.”

    With 72,000 square feet of space to fill, Chaudhuri pulled out all the stops bringing in special guests from the world of comics and popular culture; MtG, Heroclix, Yu-Gi-Oh other items of interest include video game tournaments; panels; portfolio reviews; trivia contests; martial arts and swordplay demonstrations; door prizes; photo ops; free comics or packs of non-sports cards to everybody (while supplies last); and two cosplay contests, with prizes galore, including one for best active-duty military entrant. 

    Jones has been attending ComicCons for about 20 years, but the last two years have been especially busy. For fans, this is a great opportunity to come out and talk with Jones one-on-one and take pictures with him. “I am usually scheduled for a panel, and I really enjoy these because the moderator usually opens it up to the fans. The questions are always really good,” said Jones. “One common comment is, ‘It must have been a lot of fun making Flash Gordon.’ Believe it or not, because I was in every scene, I didn’t get any time to enjoy it. It took five months to complete. I was sent from one set to another to shoot a scene, to rehearse a scene, to practice with a bullwhip artist, the list went on. And in your 20s, it is easy to do. Now, I get to do screenings and other events with the fans, and I enjoy that.”

    The guest list is impressive with ghost hunters, actors from a variety of films and shows including Power Rangers, Pokémon and The Walking Dead. Comic book artists and authors, Tugg the Super dog, Kitt the car from Knight Rider and the Scooby van will also be onsite.

    For Chaudhuri, bringing guests like Jones to the event is an important part the activities, but it is one piece of a big and colorful puzzle. “It is going to be crazy for us,” he said. “I like to see the smiles and people having fun. One of the highlights was dancing and a main stage … last year we had 10 Harley Quinns dancing together. There were Dead Pools, dancing furbies and other characters. We didn’t have a plan for that, but when I saw 12 Dead Pools dancing together, I knew we had something good.”

    If EJ Snyder looks familiar, there’s a good reason. This retired Army combat veteran fell in love with survival training when he was at the U.S. Army Ranger School. He was a U.S. Army Ranger School instructor, a Survival and Tracking instructor and a drill sergeant. He went on to appear on Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid three times, TNT’s 72 Hours and History Channel’s Patton 360. He’s currently the host of Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival. “A lot of people don’t realize I am a Fayetteville resident. I get asked all the time what I am doing here,” said Snyder. Being a retiree, it works for my family. It was nice having survival work waiting for me. I’ve been on three Naked and Afraid’s, and I am the host of Dual Survival. We did three episodes in Brazil, we went to Utah and the Louisiana swamps as well as the country of Georgia. That episode aired recently. Our last two episodes take place in Africa.”

    While the Dual Survival season is almost over, Snyder says he’s not done with survival shows just yet. “We are waiting for Dual Survival to let us know if we are going to do another season. We will see what happens. I have several other shows I am getting ready to pitch to different networks, too.”

    When he’s not filming, Snyder stays busy in the community. He is a motivational speaker, makes appearances at local venues and looks for opportunities to share his survival training and knowledge wherever and whenever he can. “I offer classes for backpacking and survival training. I do demos at schools and have even done birthday parties,” he said.

    Fans can find Snyder at the Fayetteville ComicCon Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop booth on from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. “I’ll be there to meet and greet fans and talk with them,” said Snyder. “There will be some survival items for sale. I am also bringing items I used on Naked and Afraid and Dual Survival. I will answer questions about any of the shows. We are talking about maybe doing a Zombie Apocalypse survival panel, too.” 

    For more information about Snyder, visit www.ejsnyder.com.

  • PINWHEELIt’s not always easy for big organizations to work together, especially when it comes to sensitive subjects like child abuse, but the Child Advocacy Center and its partners do just that. They work together to provide a safe place for abused children (more than 670 of them last year alone) to talk about traumatic events — one time. Then local agencies and law enforcement get to work on behalf of the young victims. There is no telling and retelling. No reliving the drama. A mission this big and this important takes a lot of planning and coordination. And money. On Saturday, Oct. 15, the Child Advocacy Center is set to host its Third Annual Pinwheel Masquerade Ball and Auction to Unmask Child Abuse at the Metropolitan Room in Downtown Fayetteville. 

    This is Ann Shaw’s third year on the planning committee, and she’s looking forward to the big day. “My favorite part of the whole thing is watching everyone and seeing how they are dressed up. The thing I really like about the ball is that it is almost like walking into a winter wonderland. The decorations and lighting are fantastic, and seeing every one dressed up and getting into the theme is a lot of fun. We wanted to make sure is that it didn’t look like a prom. We wanted it to be a fascinating event, and I think we did that.” 

    Come ready for a good time, and don’t forget to bring a mask for pictures in the photo booth that will be on site and the mask contest. A deejay, dance demonstrations, live and silent auctions including things like vacation packages and other items are planned. Come hungry, too. The 11 culinary sponsors are going out of their way to impress the crowd with food and drink options.

    “We have a mask contest and that is fun to watch. Some people really get into it,” said Shaw. “We have seen everything from handheld eye masks to painted on masks to a porcelain mask that was custom made to fit the person wearing it,” said Shaw. Mask contest categories include (most unique mask, best mask couple, best mask female, best mask male, best mask group and best ensemble from head to toe.)

    The menu is designed to enhance the already elegant event. All 11 of the culinary sponsors come ready to impress. This year, the food is provided by Evans Catering, Inc.; Sweet Surprise Candy Buffet; R Burger; Chris’s Steak House; Dorothy’s 2 Catering; Sammio’s Italian Restaurant; The Wine Café and The Coffee Cup; Elite Catering; PDQ; Sherefe; and Cooking Connection; and A Taste of West Africa. “We also have a signature drink that will be provided by Broadslab Distillery,” Shaw added.

    The auctions, both silent and live, are a big part of the evening. Items up for bid are: lodging and breakfast at the Cape Fear Winery; a golf package for golf enthusiast; Alaska Cruise on Royal Caribbean; UNC football game tickets with signed UNC football; private villa for eight in Cabo San Lucas; Costa Rica getaway; two Myrtle Beach vacations and many more exciting live and silent auction packages. 

    Proceeds from the event go to the Child Advocacy Center and bolster efforts and programs to serve local children. “Growing up in a community where people watched out for each other’s children gave me a sense of security as a child. Remember the old saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child?’ Finding that mentality today is very rare. That is why the need to provide educational programs that recognize and prevents child abuse is greater now than it has ever been before. Victims of child abuse are often left without hope, and it saddens my heart. I’ve always felt very blessed as a child and as a mother, and so I want to be a part of an organization that provides hope, help and healing to victims of child abuse,” said Shaw. 

     Tickets are $100 per person, $175 per couple and $850 for a table of eight. Tickets can be purchased at the Child Advocacy Center, or order online at CACFAyNC.org; Eventbrite or text PINWHEEL to 44222. 

  • SPOOKYOct. 15 is the beginning of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra’s 2016-2017 season. The concert, Fall Spooktacular is focused on fun, seasonal music and sponsored by Sandhills Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. For this concert, the musicians perform a mix of classical and popular music with the idea of celebrating a fun, spooky and family-friendly Halloween. All of the music is set to stories of witches and sorcerers. Some of the featured pieces are works like Bach’s “Toccata & Fugue in D Minor,” music from Harry Potter and even music from Psycho. Families are encouraged to get into the spirit of the season and to enjoy the concert, in Huff Concert Hall at Methodist University, dressed in their finest Halloween costumes.

    Another exciting aspect of this concert is that it is part of the Final Five Series. This series highlights five conductors applying for the position of music director/conductor of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. In order to give the community a voice in the decision of who will be the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra’s next conductor, these five applicants have been invited to guest conduct a concert. These concerts are essentially public auditions. After each concert, an opportunity for audience members to comment on the concert and on the conductor is planned. The feedback received in this manner is used by the Symphony Board of Directors to make the final decision. 

    The guest conductor for the “Fall Spooktacular” is Alfred Sturgis. He is currently the conductor of the Tar River Orchestra, Carolina Ballet and the North Carolina Master Chorale. Audience members will have the opportunity to get to know Sturgis a little before the concert with the Pre-Concert Talk. Joining Sturgis on the stage is the FSO “Music Nerd.” The Pre Concert talk will start at 6:45 p.m., and everyone is invited to learn more about the potential new leader of the orchestra. 

    Tickets for the “Fall Spooktacular” are $27 and can be purchased at www.fayettevillesymphony.org. However, there are also season packages available that offer discounts with the purchase of multiple tickets. 

    From it’s inception in 1956 the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra has been dedicated to the citizens of Cumberland County. The symphony works to educate, entertain and inspire through its artistic excellence. Having community input in the selection of the new musical director/conductor is vital for the future of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. This is a unique opportunity to help shape the artistic nature of the musical community in Fayetteville. Community support and participation is what makes this work, and it may be difficult to pick your favorite conductor if you have only seen one of the five auditions.

    The next guest conductor is Stefan Sanders who will lead the concert, “Czech is Out!” on Nov. 19. During this concert, the Fayetteville Symphony will bring to life Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 8,” which harkens to Bohemian folk music. Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 8 in E-Flat Major” is also part of the performance by soloist Scott Marosek. Sanders is currently the Associate Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He will also be available for conversation during a Pre-Concert Talk with the FSO
    “Music Nerd.”

  • JEFF7The issue has bubbled beneath the surface for years: Does the annual Dogwood Festival have a broad appeal to Fayetteville’s diverse population? The most recently available demographic data indicates the city’s population of 204,000 residents is 45 percent White, 41 percent African-American and 10 percent Hispanic. Mayor Pro-Temp Mitch Colvin alluded to the figures at a Fayetteville City Council meeting when questioning whether festival musical headliners appeal to all segments of the community. Colvin had met privately with Festival Executive Director Carrie King prior to the meeting to discuss musical diversity that might broaden the appeal to African-Americans. Historically, Friday and Saturday night headliners have been country and rock performers. 

    Colvin, and Councilmen Chalmers McDougald and Larry Wright contend the main acts do not represent music preferences of half the community. King contends that over the course of the three-day festival as many as 25 diverse acts appear on stage. Colvin said the city contributes more than $100,000 in in-kind services and should expect main events to appeal to a broad swath of the community. During the popular three-day spring festival, King says, the events attract from 200,000 to 250,000 people each year. “We think we do a fair job of programing,” King said, adding that a 2011 study found the top four musical genres favored by festival-goers were country, rock, jazz and Christian.

    More than once King invited Council members to join with the organization’s board in the selection of performers. She said the board of directors takes into account festival goer’s preferences, sponsor considerations and the budget in selecting musical acts. “I think there is a way that we can amicably work this out and make this more of a community event,” Colvin said during the Council meeting. Mayor Nat Robertson agreed. But McDougald pointedly took note that only one member of the festival board present was black. “It’s really lacking a little bit,” he said. “We have never excluded anyone from the decision-making process,” King insisted. She has been executive-director of the private organization since 2006. 

    “The Dogwood Festival recognizes the … growing diversity in the community and inclusion at festivals,” Board Chair Mary Beth MacKenzie said in a news release issued immediately following the Council meeting. “We have already planned our 2017 festival and entertainment, but this discussion will potentially frame the 2018 process,” she added. King would not disclose the performers or musical genres chosen for next year. MacKenzie pointed out the board has a non-scientific survey available on the Festival’s website asking about musical preferences. The survey choices are country, rock, urban/R&B/hip hop and jazz/blues. 

    For nearly 35 years Fayetteville’s Dogwood Festival has placed among the top festivals in North Carolina. The organization has donated more than $110,000 to other non-profits in the community. It’s stated purposes includes in part “encouraging unity through celebration and fostering civic pride.”

  • JEFF6Houston Astros President Reid Ryan came to Fayetteville last week, four days after he purchased a California minor league baseball team for $10 million. He plans to move the club to Fayetteville where it will join the Carolina League as an expansion team. Reid, 43, is one of the youngest team presidents in the game. He stopped in at Fayetteville City Hall for a few minutes to introduce himself to members of City Council’s Baseball Committee. Consultant Jason Frier was on the phone as the son of Hall of Fame Major League pitcher Nolan Ryan was introduced. 

    Frier is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hardball Capital whose core business is the operation of affiliated Minor League Baseball teams. He owns stadiums in San Antonio and Columbia, S.C., and has been hired to guide Fayetteville through the process of building a $33 million stadium. City-owned property behind the downtown Prince Charles hotel building is the site of the new ballpark. It will be modeled after Frier’s Triple-A stadium in Columbia. He told the committee that he expects a formal lease agreement will be ready for council’s consideration in the next 30 to 45 days. “That’s when the city’s memorandum of understanding becomes a binding contract,” said Frier. At the same time, a stadium architect will be selected. Thereafter business details will be finalized with an eye toward executing the contract and beginning site construction in July. 

    The South Carolina facility, Spirit Communications Park, was honored by Ballpark Digest as its 2016 Ballpark of the Year. It was selected as the top park across Minor League Baseball nationally for 2016. “Spirit Communications Park is not only our Ballpark of the Year, it’s also one of the best ballparks opened in the last decade,” said Publisher Kevin Reichard. It’s “the centerpiece of serious economic development in Columbia,” he added. Fayetteville’s Baseball Committee members and city staffers visited the Columbia facility this summer and came away committed to patterning the local stadium after it, albeit on a smaller scale. 

    The team the Houston Astros purchased is one of two franchises that are leaving the California League at the end of the 2016 season. Both will join the Carolina League. Kinston, which has a professional baseball history dating back to 1956, landed a Texas Rangers MiLB team. With the Sept. 30 purchase of its California team, the Astros have committed to Fayetteville for the second Carolina League club. “We are happy that professional baseball will return to Kinston and we are pleased with the steps Fayetteville has taken to bring professional baseball back to that great city as well,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. 

    Fayetteville won’t be thought of as home of the new team during construction of the stadium. It will play in a yet to be determined temporary location, probably not in Cumberland County because officials are not optimistic that a Fayetteville location can be found. County government is said to be negotiating an extension of its agreement with the summer college league Swamp Dogs for use of J.P. Riddle Stadium. Jim Perry Stadium on the campus of Campbell University is under serious considered as the temporary home until the new Fayetteville stadium opens for the 2019 season. Jim Perry Stadium seats fewer than 700 fans. Buies Creek is 35
     miles from Fayetteville in Harnett County.

  • JEFF5About 50 people were present at the Fellowship Hall of Highland Presbyterian Church for a community meeting some knew nothing about until they got there. The City of Fayetteville’s Planning Division organized the session as a follow-up to some brainstorming about the future of Haymount over the summer. Urban Designer Eloise Sahlstrom told the group she wanted to hear ideas from Haymount residents and business people about their hopes and concerns for the future of the community. 

    Haymount was named for a prominent 18th century citizen of Fayetteville, John Hay, whose estate was named Hay Mount. Hay Street bears his name. In 1789, Hay was made one of the original trustees of the University of North Carolina. 

    Sahlstrom and Fayetteville Planning Director Scott Shuford said ideas from residents would help the city better understand key planning issues that are critical to the future of Haymount.

     “How do you envision Haymount 20 years from now?” Sahlstrom asked. An hour later, the responses gleaned from a dozen or so roundtable discussions were varied, but there were some common concerns. Many residents are disappointed that older houses are being torn down and replaced with newer homes that don’t always match the traditional character of the neighborhood. Parking in the five points business area has always been a problem. Some bemoaned the lack of sidewalks in some areas. The retail community is varied but residents would like to see a small, mom and pop grocery, which they believe the community would support.  What they don’t want is a big box supermarket. 

    City planners came up with the idea of “Uptown Haymount” as a way of branding the historic area. 

    “One hundred-year-old homes could qualify for the National Register of Historic Places,” said Sahlstrom. 

    She displayed a map of century-old homes and others known to be 75-years-old. She told the gathering that the study conducted by the city is especially timely and pertinent given a number of factors, including the recent destruction by fire of the Haymont Grill. Many are still wondering if it will be rebuilt. She also pointed to talk of building a Civil War History Center at Arsenal Park. As envisioned, the center would replace the Museum of the Cape Fear, and once built would be operated and maintained by the state.  

    Some of those in attendance said they had no idea what the meeting was all about but had heard about it by word-of-mouth from neighbors. They were the same longtime residents who recently persuaded the Fayetteville City Council not to allow conversion of an historic ante bellum house on Morganton Road known as Fair Oaks into a private school. City officials describe the community is “very neighborly” and self-protective. A follow up meeting is planned for Nov. 3.

  • JERFFFormer Fayetteville City Manager Ted Voorhees is working for an executive recruiting firm that has been retained by Cumberland County to find a new director of the Solid Waste Management Department. Developmental Associates is a North Carolina-based company that most recently conducted searches for county government to hire an assistant county manager and tax administrator. “Voorhees is doing consulting work for Developmental Associates, which … is assisting with our Solid Waste recruitment process,” said county spokesperson Sally Shutt. Voorhees is employed by and being paid by Developmental Associates and is not employed by the county, she added. Former Solid Waste Director Bobby Howard retired on Dec. 31, 2015. He was with the county for 33 years and was Solid Waste Management director for 11 years. Engineering and Infrastructure Director Jeffery Brown is serving as interim director. Voorhees resigned under fire earlier this year after three-and-a-half years as Fayetteville city manager. 






    JEFF22017 Principal of the Year

    Dr. Vernon S. Lowery, principal of Westover Senior High School, is Cumberland County Schools’ Principal of the Year. Lowery will now compete against other regional award recipients. One of them will be selected as North Carolina’s 2017 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year. Lowery has served as a school administrator for nine years. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Chemistry from Methodist University. Lowery later obtained Master’s in Education and School Administration and a Ph.D. in Education from Fayetteville State University. Lowery only recently was appointed principal of Westover High. As Principal of the Year, Dr. Lowery received an award from the Cumberland County Board of Education, plus a cash award and floral arrangement, an engraved desk clock, a commemorative Principal of the Year ring, a $5,000 check for school use and $1,000 for her personal use from LaFayette Ford/Lincoln. E.E. Smith High School Principal Melody Chalmers won statewide accolades this past year as the North Carolina Principal of the Year.





    JEFF3Police Command Staff ChangesThe retirement of Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock has resulted in a number of personnel changes in the police department’s command staff. Interim Police Chief Anthony Kelly has named Captain Jesse Devane an acting assistant chief. He will supervise the Uniformed Patrol Bureau for the next 10 weeks while Assistant Chief Michael Petti is away attending the FBI National Academy. Assistant Chief Chris Davis is in charge of the Administrative Bureau, which provides technical services and training. Davis also heads the training and communications division. Assistant Chief Katherine Bryant continues to lead the Investigative Bureau as Chief of Detectives. Petti will resume his post as Administrative Bureau Chief when he returns to duty and Davis will lead the Patrol Bureau, said spokesman Lt. Todd Joyce.






    JEFF4Fox Attacks Two Men

    The State Public Health Lab in Raleigh has confirmed a positive result of rabies in Cumberland County. Animal Control picked up a dead fox at Rosamond Drive, off Ramsey Street near Methodist College Oct. 4. County spokesman Jon Soles says the fox chased two men, one of whom was in a golf cart. The men jumped over a fence into a nearby resident’s yard. “The fox tried to jump over the fence, but the two men killed the animal by striking it with a golf club and a tree limb,” said Soles. Animal Control officers retrieved the fox’s body afterward. It was the seventh case of rabies in the County this year.

  • Deep in our hearts, we all know what is most important in our lives — who and what are dearest to us, who and what have shaped the lives we are living. For me, outside my own family, closest friends and good health, my education has shaped and enriched my life more than any factor I can name. My education, most of which was delivered in the public schools of North Carolina and in our revered UNC system, has given me the tools to understand at least some of our world, helped me enjoyed cultural and artistic creations by my fellow human beings and encouraged me to satisfy my curiosity about whatever crosses my mind, first in libraries and now in the comfort of my own home with my own computer. I even confess to waking up in the middle of the night with some question on my mind and researching it right then and there with my tablet computer. This is the real gift of technology for me! Like everything else, though, education is changing. I would not change my liberal arts studies — I was an English Literature major —a s I know I would not be “me” without all that reading — some engrossing, some boring, and lots somewhere in between. I also know, though, that the way many people view education and particularly higher education has changed dramatically. Gone are the concepts of education’s inherent value to individual and his quality of life and of the critical importance of an educated society. In is the notion that education is merely a ticket to a better job and higher income with no emphasis on less quantifiable but undeniable enrichment of education. As the concept of education as a ticket to income and little else spread, so did the idea of the receiver of an education as a “consumer,” not as a student. And, if that person is a consumer, he must then pay for what he consumes, resulting in rising tuitions and falling public funding for education at all levels. This is the thinking that education is an individual expense, not a public good, that has turned education into a business saddled millions of Americans with debts some of us will never be able to repay. Now you know some of the worries that keep me up at night, researching on my tablet or just tossing and turning. A new documentary, Starving the Beast, takes a hard look at what is happening in American public higher education, including such respected research institutions as Louisiana State University and the Universities of Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, and our own University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All have seen significant funding cuts from state legislatures, so deep in some cases that LSU actually considered filing bankruptcy. Writing in Inside Higher Ed, Ellen Wexler describes the issue the film confronts this way. “The film lays out an overview of the debate’s philosophical underpinnings: originally, states saw public colleges as a worthwhile investment in their residents. Poor students could gain useful skills and move up in the world while also contributing to their states’ economies. In the early days of public higher education systems, many states charged little if any tuition. “On the other side, there are the reformers and think-tank leaders, the anti-spending politicians and political operatives... say that public colleges are too wasteful, and lawmakers feel an obligation to keep taxes low.” Count me on the side of quality public education at all levels in North Carolina, as our state Constitution clearly mandates. Article 1 reads, “…. knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, libraries and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” Article 9 tells us whose responsibility higher education is. “The General Assembly shall provide that the benefits of the University of North Carolina and other public institutions of higher education, as far as practicable, be extended to the people of the State free of expense.” I believe that education is not a product but an enriching experience that grows and lasts a lifetime. I believe that education strengthens both the individual and society at large, and that is important to know the history of where we come from and to recognize works of great literature and art. I believe that if we think of education the same way we think of buying a car or a house, we are not seeing the big picture of what it means to be an educated person or an educated society. Someone can take your car or your house, but once you have an education, you can share it with others without losing it and no one can ever take it away.

  • 05Expensive runway repairs at Pope AAF have been completed under budget along with improvements to the airfield electrical system, according to an Army news release. The project was budgeted at $100 million.

    "Since World War II, Pope Army Airfield has served as a critical component of America's national security infrastructure," said Lt. Gen. Michael Kurilla, commander of the 18th Airborne Corps.

    Until a realignment of military facilities a few years ago, Pope was a U.S. Air Force base. The Army said Fort Bragg units temporarily used civilian airports, including Fayetteville Regional Airport, during the repairs.

    The main runway and taxiways were reconstructed with concrete instead of asphalt.

    The airfield had not been "completely resurfaced" in more than 50 years, said Col. Joseph Vanoni, commander of the 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group.

    The first aircraft to touchdown after the airfield reopened was an Air Force C-17 with Fort Bragg Commander, Col. Scott Pence on board.

  • 03The Biden Administration has released a plan to tackle toxic PFAS pollution. The plan could create a national drinking water standard and designate certain chemicals as hazardous. The project is the result of an analysis conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency Council on PFAS that EPA administrator Michael Regan established in April 2021. As a former North Carolina official, Regan dealt with an unregulated variant of toxic chemicals called GenX that was spread from a Chemours plant east of Fayetteville into local private water wells and the Cape Fear River.

    Senator Kirk deViere said that he applauds the plan, but believes there could be more short-term solutions to help people get access to clean water now.

    The strategies include increasing research, leveraging authorities to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and accelerating the cleanup of PFAS contamination.

    “This is a public health crisis and the time for drastic immediate improvement is now,” deViere said. “I am calling on NCDEQ Secretary Biser, Governor Cooper, as well as Chemours to provide bold and aggressive leadership to ensure clean water and help my constituents and so many others affected by PFAS pollution."

  • 01 classroom

    Almost 30 years ago, Cumberland County Schools joined with four other low wealth school systems in a lawsuit arguing that every child in North Carolina is Constitutionally entitled to a sound basic education. The suit asserts our state’s Constitution means all children, not just those living in counties blessed with a solid tax base able to fund public education adequately.

    Equal opportunity was the argument in 1994 when the lawsuit was filed, and it remains the case today.

    In the intervening decades, the original presiding judge has retired, lawyers have come and gone, North Carolina has had six different governors, and the Hoke County student for whom the suit was named has completed high school, both college and law school, and now practices with a Raleigh law firm.It would take more trees than we want to chop down to go through all the permutations — judicial rulings, appeals, reports, commissions and political hot air, that have occurred and all the energy expended since 1994, but here we are heading into 2022, and very little has actually changed.

    Children in wealthier counties — think Wake, Mecklenburg, New Hanover and others — have considerably more and higher quality educational opportunities than children in poorer, largely rural counties. You cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip, and you cannot squeeze tax dollars for education out of businesses and individuals who simply do not have it.

    I have heard it argued that children in poorer counties are even worse off educationally now than they were in 1994, because economic inequity is growing in our nation, not shrinking, and because the General Assembly has since allowed students to opt out of public schools into private institutions, with tuition paid by tax dollars, yours and mine.

    On the long legal trajectory of Leandro, where are we now?

    Last year, the judge now shepherding Leandro through the courts found that despite North Carolina’s clear Constitutional responsibility and various state programs, many students are still not receiving a sound basic education. Earlier this year, the same judge issued an order that the state not may but must, implement the comprehensive education plan agreed to by all parties in 2020. He gave Oct. 18 as the date by which the state is legally obligated to pony up sufficient funding to address educational inequality.

    So, what is the hold up? What is the problem? Why is nothing happening?

    North Carolina has not had an approved budget since 2018. The old budget just keeps rolling over at the same level of spending. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper supports increased funding, but the Republican controlled General Assembly is loath to provide it despite a budget surplus bumping up on $30B — yes, billion.

    There are signs that the Governor and legislative leaders are at least speaking, but as of this writing, no agreement has been reached, so there is yet to be a budget.
    The stage is now set for a legal showdown.Whatever your place on the political spectrum, a generation is a long time to wait for a shot at educational equality. Millions of young students have received less than stellar educations, and they and their communities continue to suffer for it. It is time — past time — for the General Assembly to do its Constitutional duty to provide educational funding for all our children, not just some.

    Mr. Leandro has been waiting so long he grew up.

  • 02America’s chattering classes are yakking up a storm as election year 2022 looms. It will be a big year with a U.S. Senate race in North Carolina as well as the U.S. House, the General Assembly and a host of local offices.

    Queues are already forming — some on the downlow — for the 2024 Presidential race, and to top it all, the redistricting that comes after every U.S. Census will change the political landscape in many of those contests.

    Local analyst, commentator and activist Troy Williams published an op-ed in the Fayetteville Observer earlier this month. Using 2020 census data, Williams points out that Fayetteville’s self-identified white population has declined from 64% in 1960 to 34% in 2020, with 11% of that decline in the last decade, meaning that Fayetteville is now a majority black city.

    He also notes that our community has more black elected officials, including our mayor, a majority of the city council and local judges than in recent memory.

    He asks the question, is “white flight” affecting Fayetteville?

    The U.S. Census does not answer that question.

    No agreed upon definitions of black or white exist — we all identify ourselves.

    And to muddy the waters further, the U.S. Census Bureau has more boxes to check than in earlier censuses including the 1960 one, so we are comparing apples and oranges about who is moving and much less why.
    The reality is that there are probably as many reasons for moving as there are people making that decision.

    Williams rightly observes that the people who are moving, for whatever reasons, are taking their assets and taxable property with them.

    That means that without comparable or more resources moving in, Fayetteville’s tax base is reduced which translates into diminished city services.

    On that point, he challenges local leaders to listen to the people they represent.

    “Do they understand that many middle-class families, black and white, have similar goals: newer houses, better schools for their children and attractive environments?”

    To that list, I would add fair and effective law enforcement, all of which goes to the point that we are more alike in our goals and desires than we are different.

    Williams asserts that with elective and appointive authority comes responsibility, and he is dead right on that. Politics has always been and is now a blood sport, not for the faint of heart.

    In addition, widely discussed political divisions of recent years coupled with ridiculously low salaries have repelled would-be candidates at all levels.

    That said, it is incumbent on Fayetteville residents — and every other community — to recruit, support and elect the most responsible, reliable and honest among us to seek public office, including ourselves. Running for public office is not rocket science and serving is a balancing act between competing interests of different constituencies, frustrating and sometimes difficult, generally with no one “right” decision — just many, many shades of gray. In short, neither is easy and both are necessary.

    Democracy, if it is to prevail and there are real threats against it at the moment, demands people of good will and of all colors participate in the political process as candidates, supporters and voters for contests from the Presidency on down to local offices.

    Failure to do so means we have abdicated our responsibility to participate in self-governance, and we will get the government our abdication deserves.

    Chances are excellent we are not going to like it.

  • 10The Joy of Giving: that’s Holly Day Fair’s theme this year. The fair is the largest holiday gift and craft show in Eastern North Carolina.

    With over 150 vendors, there will be an extensive selection of unique handcrafted and manufactured products for the 22,000 visitors expected to attend.

    The shoppers will shop a selection that boasts the best in holiday decorations, handmade crafts, stylish jewelry and clothes, children's toys, specialty food items and much more.
    Proceeds from the Holly Day Fair benefit the Junior League of Fayetteville and its programs targeting homelessness and food insecurities. These funds have a substantial and lasting impact on the community.

    Katie Crawford, a local artist, has participated in the Holly Day Fair for a little over a half-decade.

    "It's always one of my better shows for the year. I have done it enough years in a row now that I have people that come to see me every year," Crawford said. "It's great to have a well-known and established show to keep the tradition going."

    Crawford sells several pieces of her artwork at the fair, including her watercolor paintings, felted sculptures, notecards, and giclee prints.

    She will also be selling her book, “What the Map Left Out” for the first time this year.

    "It's a fun show," Crawford explained. "You have a mix of local and out-of-state dealers and food vendors. It's not a traditional "art show" either, so there are a lot of different products for people who are not necessarily into art."

    Holly Day Fair kicks off on Nov. 4 with Super Shopper hours from 9 a.m. to noon. The Holly Day Fair will also be offering its Sip & Shop event for the third year. Sip & Shop will be held during super-shopper hours but provides an exclusive shopping experience.

    Sip & Shop guests will be treated to a continental breakfast with mimosas and receive a special commemorative gift. The Sip & Shop tickets are $30 and are limited. Strollers and any rolling carts are strictly prohibited during Super Shopper hours.

    Regular hours of the event are Nov. 4, noon – 8 p.m., Nov. 5, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Nov. 6, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Nov. 7, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at CapeFearTix.com, and in person at the Crown Complex Box Office, Leisure Travel Services on Fort Bragg, The Pilgrim Gifts in Fayetteville, Junior League of Fayetteville office, Jernigan's in Dunn, Jernigan's in Lumberton and Fabulous Finds Boutique in Fayetteville.

  • 09More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease – a leading cause of death in the United States.

    In North Carolina alone, there are more than 180,000 people living with the disease and 358,000 caregivers.

    The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

    The Alzheimer’s Association hosts 17 walks across North Carolina including Fayetteville.

    “We invite the community to join us in taking steps for Alzheimer’s disease. More than ever, we need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia,” said Lisa Roberts, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter. “With the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association provides care and support to families while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.”

    Dementia is not a single disease; it’s an umbrella term that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Disorders grouped under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes.

    These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings and relationships.

    Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.
    Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.

    Jay Reinstein was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2018 at age 57. At the time, Reinstein was working as the assistant city manager in Fayetteville.

    He started noticing that he was having a hard time remembering things – writing notes as reminders, taking more time to do tasks than in the past. He struggled to recall names of colleagues he had worked with for decades. Reinstein sensed something was wrong and reached out to a friend, who was a neurologist at Duke University. After additional testing it was confirmed that he had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
    Reinstein is looking forward to the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s with his team, the Jaywalkers. This is the fourth year he has been a part of the fundraiser. So far, he has raised $91,000.

    “I hope to make it to $100,000,” Reinstein said. “I have 3 teams: PWC sponsors a team; Fayetteville sponsors a team; City of Durham has a team.”

    “Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is not a death sentence,” Reinstein said. “It is very challenging but make sure you don’t isolate. Science says exercise, being social and healthy diet are all important. Join a support group. It has been a saving grace for me.”

    On walk day, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony — a mission-focused experience that signifies our solidaity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent people’s connection to Alzheimer’s — their personal reasons to end the disease.

    “The Alzheimer’s Association is moving forward — and we’re offering options for supporters to join us at our local event or Walk From Home in their own neighborhoods.” said Roberts. “No matter where people walk, their health and safety are our top priorities.”

    The Fayetteville walk has raised over $84,000, achieving the goal amount. All funds raised will help further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes place on Saturday, Oct. 30, 9 – 11 a.m. at Segra Stadium. Check-in opens at 9 a.m. with an Opening Ceremony at 10 a.m. The walk will begin at 10:30 a.m.

    To sign up as a walker, team captain or to learn more about becoming a sponsor of Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Fayetteville, visit act.alz.org/fayettevillenc or call 800-272-3900.

  • 13The first historic proof of dance came from wall paintings in a 9000-year-old cave in India and was with us before written language. For thousands of years dance has been present in celebrations, entertainment, ceremonies and rituals and has evolved through the centuries in many forms.

    There are historians that believe social dance is one of the essential factors of development in early civilization. Watching a baby or toddler move to the beat is a prime example of how dance could have evolved before written language.

    The benefits of dance can help with weight loss, flexibility, balance, reduce stress and has no age limits young or old. Your style of dance may be swaying to a favorite song while you’re driving, dancing around the house or rocking those moves on a dance floor. Wheelchair dance is popular in over forty nations with styles ranging from ballroom to line dances and is becoming an International Paralympic Committee Championship Sport.

    Another benefit of dance is how it makes us feel. It is a powerful expression that grabs us with inner light, speaks to our creative outlet and makes us happy.

    It is an expression of movement with music that speaks a universal language and for the enthusiast requires no special skill, experience or form.

    We enjoy dance in countless styles and enjoy watching others dance.

    Recently I attended a Mick Jagger concert. The man is a phenomenal entertainer and at seventy-eight commands the stage of someone more than half his age.

    We all take memories from a concert and for me it was the way he moved on stage. Jagger has a choreographer, trainer and his exercise regimen consist of dance, kick boxing, Pilates, yoga and running. He isn’t the only one. Goldie Hawn strives to dance or do some form of exercise every day for a set amount of time or in intervals and is the epitome of someone that dances like no one is watching.

    Age is certainly limitless with ninety-five-year young Dick Van Dyke who exercises his abdominals, legs and more. A quote from Dick Van Dyke is exemplified by his lifestyle. He has no plans to slow down and looks forward to being one-hundred years old.

    “All you old guys out there, listen to me. You can go on for a long time. I’m still dancing and singing.”

    It can be easy to say that celebrities have the benefit of a personal trainer. The common factor is that the love of dance and music is universal without celebrity status or a trainer.

    My mother and aunt were dance instructors, and my family seems to have inherited the dance gene.

    Mother enrolled me in ballet classes at an early age and growing up I loved the old movies with Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and later the more pronounced dancers with gyrating moves such as Hawn, Ann Margaret, Tina Turner and Elvis Pressley. Michael Jackson is an all-time favorite and of course there are the inspiring movies like Dirty Dancing and Flash Dance. I love to dance and when the music starts there is a driving energy in me to hit the dance floor and feel the beat!

    Dance classes are popular for ballroom, Latin, Shag, line dancing or Zumba group fitness classes. Have you ever noticed people just about running to the dance floor for a popular line dance?

    Be the one who enjoys dancing like no one is watching socially, or at home or in a class. Live, love life and reap the benefits.

  • 04New employees of the Cumberland County School district have received signing bonuses four months into their new jobs. The board of education approved a recruitment and retention plan to pay staff members who were hired June 1, and were still on the job Sept. 30, $1000 bonuses.

    These bonuses were funded through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

    Employees hired after June 1, who continued to be employed on Sept. 30, received $500 bonuses.

    The retention bonus concept gave school officials the opportunity to thank new employees for the challenges they faced because of positive COVID-19 cases while serving the district's 49,700 students.

    The Durham Public School System is giving all full-time employees, including teachers, $1000 bonuses to those who remained with the district during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 14The weather may forget every few days, but the calendar says it's officially fall.

    There's just something about the season – the trees we thought we recognized begin to show off with remarkable colors as they work in harmony to create unforgettable sunlight scenes. And the weather.

    I truly love fall weather.

    We begin to feel a certain crispness in the air each morning, while the afternoons remind us to bring a little jacket as the sun begins to set a little earlier day by day.

    Fall is a perfect buffer between a humid North Carolina summer and when winter officially sets in to send us on daily trips to the woodpile.

    The fall weather is more than beauty and comfort, though. It's a sign. A signal to us all that the time for gathering as family and friends is just ahead.

    It's a season for gratitude and thoughtfulness, where the coolness of the air outside is perfectly countered by a warmth that seems to grow within us all.

    We started a new fall tradition in my family a few years ago, and I think it's a good exercise in humility. The gratitude pumpkin.

    Maybe you've done this, too (or at least heard about it.)

    The concept is simple: get a pumpkin, place it where it's easily visible to your family and guests, and use a permanent marker or paint (for the really artsy among us) to write down things you're grateful for.
    It doesn't take long to get past the cool stuff and start writing really simple things like health, family or a home, and that's where the gold is. Realizing how immensely blessed we are in our everyday lives.

    Life — even abundant life — isn't about money or cars or possessions. It's about the relationships we build. It's about the joy we get from or bring to others.

    There is an undeniable joy in the laughter of a toddler, or the tender moments with a newborn. There is cause for joy and much to be thankful for all around us. It just takes us pausing long enough to recognize it.

    The gratitude pumpkin at our house was so filled with the thankful thoughts we wrote on it last year you could hardly tell it was ever orange at all. And that's how I want to live.

    I'm ready for the negativity, and the pain and the ugliness we see in this crazy, divided world to give way to a sense of gratitude for what we have.

    There is freedom in that place. There is joy in that place. And there is love in its truest form in the place where gratitude lives.

    So, consider getting a pumpkin and a marker. Or you can just sit down with a spiral notebook and a pen and begin writing.

    Encourage your children, spouse or people you work with to do the same. Record the things that make you smile. Write down the people who bring you joy.

    Count your blessings. One at a time. It's almost certain you will run of paper (or pumpkin) before you're finished.

  • 01The Hope Mills political scene is in a state of disarray. Especially with regards to the mayor’s race. It is a near-perfect example of how the threads of selfishness, greed, hypocrisy and personal agendas have become commonplace and interwoven into every aspect of local politics.

    Hope Mills is one of the most desired and habitable communities in Cumberland County. It is recognized as progressive and one of the fastest growing towns in the state. This growth is a product of past decades of competent, responsible and dedicated leadership.

    Yet, regardless of the town's achievements, accomplishments and successes, there are always a few (a very few) disgruntled individuals who insist on placing their personal agendas ahead of the constituents they are supposed to be serving. With the advent of social media, these ill-spirited individuals want to have prominent voices in the future and direction of the Hope Mills community, but without the commitment and responsibility of management that goes along with it.

    Full disclosure, I am passionate about the Hope Mills community. I was a friend and admirer of former seven-term Hope Mills Mayor Edwin Deaver, who passed away in 2016. He was a good friend and a one-of-a-kind character. He graciously loved serving Hope Mills and its citizens. His impact on the town was positive in nature and gentle with a spirited touch of homegrown enthusiasm that can still be felt on Trade Street today. Former Mayor Eddie Dees likewise contributed to the Hope Mills quality of life by keeping the welfare of the residents his highest priority.

    Again, full disclosure, I am a Mayor Jackie Warner supporter. From the start of her tenure, with the help and guidance of a competent board and staff I watched her build and expand on the foundation built by Deaver and Dees. Together, working in cooperation with each other they took Hope Mills to an elevated level of respectability and prestige, both culturally and economically.

    So, one might ask, why all the negativity? And, what can be so bad in a community recognized for being so good? The answer to both is nothing at all.

    What makes it even more interesting and concerning is that the two primary individuals responsible for the negativity are former Hope Mills Commissioner Meg Lawson and current Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers. Both of whom were active in the town's prosperity and growth over several years, working closely with the Mayor, who, by the way, has no voting power or sole jurisdiction over decisions directly affecting the town. Yet these two are leading a cabal of negative criticism against Warner, whose leadership has led the town to statewide recognition and prosperity.

    The next question should be why would they do this? The answer, for personal power and control. Neither Bellflowers or Lawson bring anything to the table that contributes to quality of life in Hope Mills that is not already present; thus, their strategies and platforms all hinge on slander, character assassination and false or misleading information attempting to diminish the accomplishments of Warner. A Herculean task at best.

    This brings me to the most concerning and dangerous aspects of this situation. One of the very first actions Lawson took in her role as a Hope Mills Commissioner was to team up with Bellflowers to cancel a media contract with Up & Coming Weekly. The purpose of the contract was to assist in the creation of a community newspaper for the town of Hope Mills. This partnership with Up & Coming Weekly would have provided the mayor and all Hope Mills governmental departments with a weekly communication with residents, businesses and organizations. A local community newspaper would have been a win-win situation for all concerned. Finally, Hope Mills had devised a plan for a media voice for the sole purpose of informing citizens on town-related news while promoting local businesses and economic development. The Hope Mills commissioners unanimously agreed that the town needed a newspaper and voted likewise. However, Bellflowers, Larson, and their small cabal pursued actions that would stifle free press, free speech and free expression. Not only did they vote to cancel the Up & Coming Weekly contract, but they failed to bring forward any alternative media options or newspaper prospects to fill the void. The newspaper project should have been valued at a quarter of a million dollars yearly. The town’s actual investment? $28,000. It should concern every citizen in Hope Mills that Bellflowers is challenging Warner for the Mayor's seat when he and his like-minded supporters do not support or advocate for local media, transparency in government or free speech. Most recently, Larson submitted a Public Records Request to the town of Hope Mills for all e-mail correspondence between the Up & Coming Weekly newspaper and Mayor Warner and Commissioners Bryan A. Marley, Pat Edwards, and Kenjuana McCray. Why? What are they looking for? Anything that they can use to discredit the mayor and anyone in support of the town creating a community newspaper. After 25 years of publishing, I can assure you they will be vastly disappointed.

    My message to all Hope Mills residents is to beware of anyone in opposition to the free press or government transparency.

    Hope Mills is not located in Russia or China. In America, local communities embrace the U. S. Constitution and our First Amendment rights. Hope Mills residents and voters need to be very cautious and skeptical of people, especially elected officials, who do not support a local free press.

    As a final thought, if you have, or even if you have not, read the most recent Fayetteville Observer article with questions and answers from the two candidates, I suggest you turn to pages nine through ten in this edition of Up and Coming Weekly. Please take a moment to read a unedited, even-keeled comparison of how the two candidates stack up against one another in their own words prior to voting on Nov. 2.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 04 FT Bragg Sharp GO BagSix Army posts, including Fort Bragg, have been selected for a one-year pilot program that creates additional locations for soldiers to report sexual harassment and assault.

    They will have all the resources needed for personal recovery and prosecution.

    The “fusion directorate” is part of the planned redesign of the Army’s Response and Prevention program, known as SHARP.

    A pair of recent independent reports found the Army was failing the soldiers who report these crimes.
    The directorate creates facilities that will include care providers, investigators, and criminal prosecutors, “allowing them to...keep victims better informed at each step of an emotional and complex process,” the Army said.

    The program serves as an additional resource for soldiers that is outside of the chain of command.

    “Soldiers and civilians must feel comfortable raising allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, and quickly receive the care and services they need,” said Lt. Gen. Gary M. Brito, the deputy chief of staff for the Army’s personnel office.

    Congress is poised to pass a measure that paves the way for this change in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

    If the soldier chooses to make an unrestricted report, which does attempt to hold their perpetrator accountable, the chain of command receives all the same information that it would from any other method of reporting.

  • 03 Cumberland County SchoolThe Cumberland County Board of Education narrowly voted to approve bonuses for Superintendent Marvin Connely Jr. and his cabinet for the upcoming year.

    Connely will receive a $10,000 bonus. The nine employees on Connely’s cabinet will each receive a $5,000 bonus.

    The Cabinet includes Dr. Mary Black, Ruben Reyes, Joe Desormeaux, Nick Sojka, Clyde Locklear, Lindsay Whitley, Betty Musselwhite, Dr. Stacey Wilson-Norman, and Ron Phipps. 

    The raises and the one-year contract renewals come after the Board did their annual review of the Superintendent and the Cabinet and found they were doing a “satisfactory job.”

    The board approved the raises and the one-year extnded contracts with a five-to-four vote. Board members Alicia Chisolm, Donna Vann, Nathan Warfel, Greg West and Susan Williams voted for the approval while board members Deanna Jones, Charles McKellar, Judy Musgrave and Carrie Sutton voted against it.

  • Chante OatesA Fayetteville Police Officer was hit and dragged by a car while investigating a hit-and-run, Oct. 12.

    The suspect, Chante Oates, 24, allegedly hit her grandmother and then hit her grandmother's home with her car while driving while intoxicated.

    After crashing into the home, Oates drove to Beuer Street. The officer attempted to stop her, but Oates allegedly hit the officer and ran over her leg.

    The officer was transported to the hospital and is recovering.

    Oates is facing a number of charges including assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, assault on a law enforcement officer inflicting serious injury and driving while impaired. She is currently being held in the Cumberland County jail on a $153,500 bond.

  • .02 market house

    It will likely be next spring before the Fayetteville community learns the future of the historic Market House.

    An ad hoc citizen's committee has begun a project to fulfill a city council directive to recommend repurposing the center city landmark. The group includes young people, people of various racial/ethnic backgrounds, faith leaders, civil rights advocates and service providers.

    A U.S. Department of Justice representative has been appointed to help facilitate receiving feedback on the Market House. The first of two private meetings were held a week ago. A second event will be scheduled for early 2022. The USDOJ and the Fayetteville-Cumberland Human Relations Commission created the group to represent the community.

    The committee has been asked to prioritize at least three potential options for repurposing the Market House.

  • 05 ERAPThe Fayetteville City Manager announced at last week’s City Council meeting that the money for the emergency rental assistance program have been used as of Oct. 7. The city did not plan for that money to be fully used until December.

    “I am asking you to recharge that pot of money with an additional two million dollars in what we call an ERAP 2.1,” City Manager Doug Hewitt told the council. “Once that money is in the pipeline, that additional two million dollars. then we'll go back to the federal government and ask for an additional three billion dollars to be able to draw down to recharge that for a total of over 10 or 11 million dollars that we hope to be able to provide to our residents in Cumberland County.”

    However, many people voiced concerns that even though they were awarded money, they have not received it. Hewitt told the council that the average time to distribute money after it has been awarded is around 3 weeks, but they need more staff to help cut down those costs.

    City Council unanimously approved to request a little more than 2 million dollars from the U.S. Department of the Treasury as well as allocate $280,000 to Innovative Emergency Management Inc. to hire more staff to reduce the wait times and issues that people have been having.

  • 16 group walkingWith the beautiful days and cooler weather, fall beckons us to be outside and walk. The most popular exercise in the U.S. is walking, and a person can average walking 65,000 miles in a lifetime which is equivalent to walking three times around the earth.

    Walking is a minimal impact, moderate intensity exercise and one that you can do alone or socially. Walking can be beneficial for your health, wellness, put less stress on your joints and can be an opportune time to gather your thoughts and clear your mind.

    A good pair of shoes that are not stiff are essential for the flexibility to roll from heel to toe and a good arch and heel support to avoid injuries. If you do not presently have a suitable shoe for walking seek the advice of a professional for proper shoe fit and sock choice.

    Walking is something that is easy to start for a fitness regimen beginning with five to 10 minutes each time you go out and suitable for most fitness levels.

    The average walking time per mile is fifteen to twenty minutes. The three sequences of warmup, walk and cool down are important for best results. Walking with good form can improve your balance, posture and lessen chance for injuries.

    Warmup — Preparation should begin with a warmup of five minutes or more to elevate your heart rate, body temperature, warm your muscles, increase your range of motion and prepare your joints. It should include shoulder rolls, light marching, ankle rolls, flexing and pointing your feet. If you do not have the time to warm up begin your walk slowly and gradually increase your pace.

    Walking — Walk with your shoulders relaxed and down keeping your head up and looking forward. Your hips should shift slightly from side to side swinging your arms and walk with a stride that is comfortable for you while engaging your core. Take your breaths in through your nose and out through your lips in a consistent manner. Allow yourself time to decrease your pace toward the end of your walk to gradually bring your heart rate and breathing down.

    Cool Down /Stretch — Do not
    skip the stretch! A cool down is
    essential for the body’s time to recover, reduce soreness and should include static stretching of your muscles 20 to 30 seconds for each group. Stretches include standing quadriceps, calves, ham strings, hips, glutes and shoulders.

    Add a challenge to your walk — If you have been walking for a while you might want to consider adding a challenge to your walk without increasing your miles and adding more cardio.

    The perceived rate of exertion is a good indicator of your cardio intensity. Level one is ease of conversation, level two is short sentences and level three is your maximum which consist of few or no words.

    Mix up your walk with variety adding these examples: increased cardio burns more calories, swing your arms with more intensity, shave the time off your walk by increasing your pace, increase and decrease your pace in segments. Make a one-month walking plan with variation on the days you walk and a goal. Once you have reached your goal move on to more distance and/or hills.

    Breathe the crisp fall air, enjoy the foliage, stay hydrated before during and after, listen to great music, put your shoes out as a reminder, layer your clothing for cool days, walk against the traffic, challenge yourself, talk about it on social media and keep a journal of your progress!

  • 15 dif kinds breast cancerMillions of women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, more than 2.3 million women across the globe were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020.

    The BCRF also notes that breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in 140 of 184 countries worldwide.

    Breast cancer statistics can give the impression that each of the millions of women diagnosed with the disease is fighting the same battle, but breast cancer is something of an umbrella term. In fact, there are various types of breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, and metastatic breast cancer. Learning about each type of breast cancer can help women and their families gain a greater understanding of this disease.

    Ductal carcinoma in situ
    DCIS is a non-invasive cancer that is diagnosed when abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. The National Breast Cancer Foundation notes that DCIS is a highly treatable cancer. That’s because it hasn’t spread beyond the milk duct into any surrounding breast tissue. The American Cancer Society notes that roughly 20% of new breast cancer cases are instances of DCIS.

    Invasive ductal carcinoma
    IDC is the most common type of breast cancer. The NBCF reports that between 70 and 80% of all breast cancer diagnoses are instances of IDC. An IDC diagnosis means that cancer began growing in the milk ducts but has since spread into other parts of the breast tissue. This is why IDC is characterized as “invasive.” Though IDC can affect people, including men, of any age, the ACS notes that the majority of IDC cases are in women age 55 and older.

    Inflammatory breast cancer
    The NBCF describes IBC as an “aggressive and fast growing breast cancer.” Breastcancer.org notes that IBC is rare, as data from the ACS indicates that only about 1% of all breast cancers in the United States are inflammatory breast cancers.
    Many breast cancers begin with the formation of a lump, but Breastcancer.org reports that IBC usually begins with reddening and swelling of the breast, and symptoms can worsen considerably within days or even hours. That underscores the importance of seeking prompt treatment should any symptoms present themselves.

    Metastatic breast cancer
    Metastatic breast cancer may be referred to as stage IV breast cancer. When a woman is diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, that means the cancer has spread, or metastasized, into other parts of
    the body.

    The NBCF indicates that metastatic breast cancer usually spreads to the lungs, liver, bones or brain. Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer vary depending on where the cancer has spread. For example,
    if the cancer has spread to the lungs, women may experience a chronic cough or be unable to get a full breath.

    These are not the only types of breast cancer. A more extensive breakdown of the various types of breast cancer can be found at https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types.

  • 14 benefits of art educationWhy does art matter? This is a question that has given philosophers and artists food for thought for centuries.

    It’s also been a leading question in many school districts when budget cuts have forced school administrators to put various curricula on the chopping block. Very often arts programs are the first to be cut.

    From their earliest years, many children communicate and learn through artistic expression. Songs help them learn words and repetition to develop speech and reading skills. Drawing, painting and crafting helps to solidify motor skills. Though 88% of Americans consider the arts part of a well-rounded education, an American for the Arts public opinion survey found that the percentage of students receiving arts education has shrunk dramatically over the last few decades.

    Houston’s Arts Access Initiative, in conjunction with Houston Education Research Consortiums, found a substantial increase in arts educational experiences had remarkable effects on students’ academic, social and emotional outcomes. Students who participated in arts education experienced a 3.6% reduction in disciplinary infractions, an improvement of 13% of a standard deviation in standardized writing scores, and an increase of 8% of a standard deviation in students’ compassion for others. Compassion translated into wanting to help people who were treated badly and being more conscious of how other people feel.

    The Nation’s Report Card, the largest ongoing assessment of what students in the United States know and can do, shows that American students continue to score lower than many of their peers in Europe and Asia. Seeking to improve performance in reading and math may be as simple as including arts education. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education say that instruction becomes more effective when educators integrate creative activities.

    Encouraging creativity and imagination across all disciplines can help shine light on new concepts and help students discover connections and innovative ideas.

    To bolster support of arts in the classroom, parents and educators can point out the following benefits of arts education.

    Increases creativity: The arts let students express themselves in different ways and offer outlets for all types of skills.

    Improves academic performance: A report by Americans for the Arts indicates young people who regularly participate in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement than non-participants.

    Develops motor skills: Arts helps foster motor skills, which are essential for writing letters and words, playing musical instruments, using paintbrushes, and much more.

    Helps one appreciate numeracy: Art involves patterns and problem solving. Learning these skills translates into many different disciplines, including mathematics.

    May accelerate brain development: Bright Horizons, a U.S.-based child care provider, reports learning to play an instrument has been found to improve mathematical learning, boost memory and lead to improved academic scores.

    The benefits of arts in the classroom cannot be ignored. The arts encourage students to use many skills that translate to various subjects.

  • 12 BNB logoAfter being suspended for over a year, Blues-N-Brews is coming back to Fayetteville. The annual fundraiser is bringing over a dozen North Carolina breweries to the city, all in order to raise funds for the Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

    The usual summer event was moved to October this year since Festival Park only recently opened up. Ashley Owen, the Marketing Director for the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, said that as soon as reservations opened up, they grabbed the Oct. 30 date.

    The season won’t be the only thing different this year. Instead of the usual 3-ounce sample glass that is given out, attendees will instead be given full size cans of beer. The change comes amid COVID precautions. Having less hand-to-hand contact with the passing of the glass prompted the change.

    “We are really hoping that by having the cans and having more products at a time, you are spending less time in line and spending more time in the field, looking at the food trucks and listening to music,” Owen said. “It’s a little bit different this year, but it’s still the same Blues-N-Brews festival that people love.”

    The list of 16 breweries includes Dirtbag Ales (Hope Mills), Southern Pines Brewing Company (Southern Pines), the Mash House Brewing Company (Fayetteville), Gaston Brewing Company (Fayetteville), Red Oak Brewery (Whitsett), Foothills Brewing (Winston-Salem), Aviator Brewing Company (Fuquay-Varina) and Gizmo Brew Works (Raleigh).

    The breweries will be organized by location so attendees will be able to start with the mountain breweries and end with the beachside ones. Owen says that by organizing the breweries this way, people will be able to drink their way across North Carolina. There will also be eight food trucks at the festival so people can purchase food with their drinks.

    For those who don’t enjoy craft beers, there will be a special tent where people can get seltzers, ciders and wine.

    Outside of the several breweries and food vendors, a lineup of three returning bands and musicians will be performing at the festival along with one new performer.

    The Guy Unger Band will be playing during the VIP Hour, which is from 4 to 5 p.m. and can only be attended by those who purchase a VIP ticket.

    Next will be Nattalyee Randall, who has history not only with the festival but with the Cape Fear Regional Theatre. She has previously performed in one of their productions, but she has also performed as a backup vocalist at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards with Sam Smith.

    After Randall, Willie Bradley will be returning to the festival for his second performance. Bradley is a trumpet playing, chart-topping jazz artist from Orangeburg, South Carolina, who considers Fayetteville a second home. He used to teach music in several Cumberland County and Fort Bragg schools.

    “During the pandemic, all of my shows started dropping off. I used that time to complete my new CD project,” Bradley said. “From March 2020 up until July 2, I was completing my new project. I had stuff to do.”

    The album, “It’s My Time” was released back in July and two of the songs on the album trended on the Smooth Jazz Billboard. The song, “It’s My Time” peaked at number one.

    Coming back to the festival, Bradley is excited to play not only some covers and his older music, but tracks from his newest album as well.

    “I think people are ready to get out and have a great time and I think that even though we are in the midst of COVID protocols, I think it will still be a huge event just based on the reputation from previous events,” Bradley said. “I think that it will be a great turnout as usual.”

    After Bradley, the 2 Bald Guys Dueling Piano Show will perform. Chris Ketchman and Mark Pleasant are known for giving a high energy, interactive, sing-and-clap-along comedy show at many Fayetteville venues. This local act will be performing for the first time at the festival and will close the night out.

    A CAN Do Attitude ticket can get you four drinks for $30, if purchased before the event. If purchasing at the gate, the ticket price is raised to $40. Non-drinking tickets are $10, and a single drink ticket is $5. There will also be a $5 discount for active duty military, front line workers, healthcare workers and educators.

    The $75 VIP Experience ticket holders will get an extra hour of the festival, 5 drink tickets, shaded seating, exclusive
    merchandise, a catered meal and “Unicorn Beer” from the Mash House.

    The money will go back to the Cape Fear Regional Theatre to help with costs of performances, their theater camps and renovations.

    “It’s not been an easy year to be a theatre,” Owen said. “The more people that will come to Blues-N-Brews, the better off we will be when we reopen our newly renovated theatre.”

    The fully renovated theatre is expected to reopen in December, if there are no further delays with supply chain issues.

    Owen says they are still looking for volunteers to help out with setup, help backstage, pass out beer, check-in guests, deliver ice to brewers and vendors, and help clean up. There are more than 200 positions available to sign up.

    Those who work two or more hours during the event will receive a free t-shirt. Those who work four or more hours will be able to attend the rest of the event for free and receive two tickets to one opening weekend show during the Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s 2021-2022 season.

    To find out more about how to volunteer, go to https://www.cfrt.org/bnb/

    The festival will take place in downtown Fayetteville’s Festival Park on Oct. 30 from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are available by phone at 910-323-4233, at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre Box Office Monday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. or at Anstead’s Tobacco Co.

  • 10 bazaar 6Are you looking for some interesting gift ideas for the upcoming holidays? Or do you just want to get out and enjoy some good food?

    There are two bazaars scheduled this month in Fayetteville and Hope Mills that will offer both while benefiting good causes.

    Pencil in the Berean Baptist Church Holiday Bazaar in your planner.

    The bazaar takes place at the Berean Baptist Church located at 517 Glensford Drive in Fayetteville. It will be open to the public on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    The bazaar will have 35 vendors, many of whom are selling handmade crafts such as floral arrangements, goat’s milk soap, honey, quilts, canned goods, baskets and a variety of other items.

    The church’s first bazaar was in 2019 (pre-COVID-19). The first event saw about 450 people attend. The church and organizers are hopeful for a large turnout for this year’s event. Organizers hope to increase attendance and sales by extending the hours of the event this year.

    The church has a lot of people involved with making the bazaar a success. There are 15 people on the committee. The day before the event there will be 40-50 church volunteers preparing the church and, of course, there will be vendors.

    Lunch will be available at the bazaar. Patrons can pick two items from the menu. The menu is pick two from three different soups, three different sandwiches and three salads. Chips and drinks will accompany lunch. The cost of lunch is $7. When you are done with lunch, check out the baked goods for sale.

    There will also be a photographer on hand to take holiday photos.

    Visitors can stop by the church’s café for specialty coffee drinks to enjoy while browsing the vendor offerings.

    All of the proceeds from the Berean Baptist Church Holiday Bazaar will go to Operation Blessing, which is a (501c3) nonprofit Christian humanitarian organization. Operation Bleesing provides short term assistance of food, clothes, limited approved financial assistant and crisis pregnancy support to those in need in Cumberland County and surrounding areas.

    The Gray’s Creek Bazaar and Buffet will be held at the Gray’s Creek Community Building, 3024 School Road in Hope Mills on Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

    It is a great way to support local vendors. Items up for sale include craft items such as holiday decorations, wreaths, door hangers, ornaments, candles, jams, jellies, pickles, dried herbs, cakes, pies, cookies and candies. The bazaar draws people in with country store items for the crafts, canned goods, homemade cakes and pies.

    Crowd expectation depends on the year. About 4-500 visitors have attended in election years while other years draw 3-400. Of those visitors, many come from other counties and states.

    “As a Club committed to our budgeted community service projects, we were concerned last year,” said Helen Brockett, corresponding secretary and the Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club’s publicity chair.

    “We reached out to our annual sponsors to consider their usual contributions to meet our service commitments, and the response was very good. With a pork roast and loin donation from Smithfield, we were able to hold two drive-by, take out benefits earlier this year which were very helpful. These plate sales provided much needed monies for the general and budgeting funds.”

    The Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club Bazaar began in 1970 and has always been held at the Gray’s Creek Community Building owned and maintained jointly by the Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club and the Gray’s Creek Ruritans.

    The all-you-can-eat buffet was added to the bazaar in 1974, and probably the best addition to the event for those who love southern cooking and eating as much as browsing through handmade items and baked goods.
    It been 51 years since the first bazaar. Even with a pandemic cancelling the event last year, they are thrilled they are able to hold number 50 this year,
    Brockett said.

    The biggest annual item is the hand pieced quilt made by the members. Raffle tickets are only $1 each and folks from near and far buy tickets for a chance to win. The drawing will be held at 2 p.m. at the close of the bazaar. You do not have to be present to win.

    The “all-you-can-eat” buffet is $12. The menu includes chicken ‘n pastry, country ham, fried chicken, green beans, corn, cabbage, sweet potatoes, collards, potato salad, deviled eggs, variety of relishes, pies and cakes.

    The community outreach includes scholarships, the Grays Creek Christian Center, four district Gray’s Creek Schools, and other needs that might present themselves.

    Pictured above: A highlight of the Gray’s Creek Bazaar and Buffet is the raffle of a hand pieced quilt made by members of the Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club. (Photos of previous event courtesy Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club)

    Pictured below: Volunteers work diligently to get the Berean Baptist Church Holiday Bazaar ready for vendors and visitors. (Photos of previous event courtesy Berean Baptist Church)

    11 BBC volunteers

  • 08 warnign signs domestic abuseDomestic violence is a serious issue that’s more prevalent than people may realize. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States, and researchers suggest the pandemic contributed to increased instances of domestic violence.

    A study from the University of California, Davis released in February 2021 found that 39% of the nearly 400 adults surveyed indicated they had experienced violence in their relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers noted that the increased social isolation during the pandemic created environments in which victims and aggressors, or potential aggressors in a relationship, could not easily separate themselves from each other.

    Victims of domestic violence often feel helpless against their aggressors, and those feelings might have been exacerbated during the pandemic, when people were urged to stay home as much as possible. But domestic violence victims are not alone.

    Anyone can help by learning to recognize the warning signs that someone is being abused, and WebMD notes that such signs include:
    -Excuses for injuries
    -Personality changes, like low self-esteem in someone who had previously been a confident individual
    -Constantly checking in with their partner
    -Never having money on hand
    -Overly worried about pleasing their partner
    -Skipping out on work, school or social outings for no clear reason
    -Wearing clothes that don’t align with the season, such as long sleeve shirts in summer to cover bruises

    Concerned individuals also can learn to spot the warning signs of an abuser. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, abusers come from all groups, cultures, religions and economic backgrounds. In fact, the NCADV notes that one study found that nine out of 10 abusers had no criminal records and were generally law-abiding outside their homes.

    That can make it hard to spot abusers, though the NCADV indicates that such men and women may exhibit certain warning signs, including, but not limited to, the following:
    -Extreme jealousy or possessiveness
    -Unpredictability or a bad temper or verbal abuse
    -Cruelty to animals
    -Extremely controlling behavior
    -Antiquated beliefs about gender roles within relationships
    -Forced sex or disregard of their partner’s unwillingness to have sex
    -Sabotage of birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed upon methods
    -Blaming victims for anything bad that happens
    -Sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school
    -Controls all the finances
    -Abuse of other family members, children or pets
    -Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
    -Control of what their victim wears and how the victim acts
    -Demeaning the victim, either privately or publicly
    -Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others
    -Harassment of the victim at work

    Instances of domestic violence have been on the rise since the onset of the pandemic. Anyone who is a victim or suspects a loved one or acquaintance is a victim of domestic violence is encouraged to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) immediately.

  • 07 wpns testing 1Operational testing of the Army’s newest generation sniper system — the MK-22 Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) — marks the project’s final hurdle before fielding.

    “The modular nature of the PSR allows it to be tailored to meet mission requirements and is appealing to airborne Snipers who are typically armed with long-barreled precision rifles of a single caliber offering,” said Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Love, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, Test Noncommissioned Officer.

    Because of the single-caliber offerings, snipers requiring additional capabilities must deploy with additional weapons. The PSR can be configured for multi-calibers by the sniper in the field and requires no higher level maintenance to reconfigure. It will also extend engagement ranges for both anti-material and anti-personnel target engagements.

    “The increased engagement range will keep snipers safer and increase the options for the local commander employing these combat multipliers,” said Sgt. Austin Stevens, a sniper assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

    “With a folding stock and removable suppression system, the PSR will provide airborne Snipers a more compact load during airborne infiltration operations without reducing their lethality while providing a precision rifle platform more conducive to their combat environment,” said MK-22 Project NCO Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Copley.

    Spc. Michael Liptak, a sniper with Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment immediately identified the attributes of accuracy in regards to the MK-22. “I was surprised at the accuracy and the straightforward approach to testing the PSR,” he said.
    Prior to testing, snipers from across the airborne and special operations community took part in new equipment training which included familiarization with
    the system, maintenance, target engagement, system configuration and zeroing procedures.

    For Spec. Nathanael Keffer, a sniper with 2nd Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, the PSR’s versatility to adapt to multiple mission sets was a marked advantage. “The PSR is a very versatile weapon system that can be tailored to meet multiple mission requirements,” said Keffer.

    Larry Harris, ABNSOTD Deputy Chief of Test said, “The critical task in testing any small arms platform intended for use by airborne forces is ensuring zero retention of the primary optic subsequent to airborne insertion. “This is a critical gauge of the paratrooper’s lethality during airfield seizure and other follow-on operations.”

    To evaluate this performance measure of the PSR, the ABNSOTD test team applied the organization’s mobile weapons boresight collimator to the rifle after jumping to make sure the sniper’s pre-mission zero was not degraded by shock during the jump.

    “This process establishes a baseline for sight reticle locations prior to and post airborne insertion,” said Miles Crawford, Test Technology Branch Chief, ABNSOTD. “Testers can monitor any shift in the weapon sight reticle that may have been induced by shock associated with static line parachutes,” Crawford said.

    The Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate is based at Fort Bragg. It plans, executes and reports on operational tests and field experiments of airborne and special operations forces equipment, procedures, aerial delivery and air transportation systems to provide key operational data for the continued development and fielding of doctrine, systems and equipment to the warfighter.

    The U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at West Fort Hood, Texas, and its mission ensures systems developed are effective in a soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which they train and fight. Test unit soldiers provide feedback by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight.

    Pictured above: A sniper conducts post-drop live-fire test trials of the MK-22 Precision Sniper Rifle at Range 61 on Fort Bragg. (Photo by James Finney)

  • 04 fayetteville police departmentIn August, Fayetteville City Council created a citizen police review committee.

    The mission of the Community Police Advisory Board is to provide advice and recommendations to the Council, City Manager and Police Chief to improve the quality of policing.

    Applications to serve are being taken through Oct. 20.

    The agency is described as a cooperative effort between the community and the police to review and recommend policy changes and enhancements to better meet the needs of the community.

    The idea is to support a training curriculum that allows police and the community to share public records to improve the perception of law and order and enhance trust of the police.

  • 05 05 Horizontal County LogoThe Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc., recently awarded the Cumberland County Department of Public Health a $64,000 grant to support the department’s Improving Health Outcomes through Mobile Clinics and
    Social Determinants of Health program. Over a two-year period, the Health Department will identify patients with high unmet needs by screening all patients for social determinants of health with a focus on patients with food, transportation and housing needs and those experiencing violence.

    Identified patients will meet with a public health social worker on an ongoing basis for case management, care coordination and referral through NCCARE360, the statewide coordinated care network.

    Money from this grant will be used for direct payments to vendors to provide services for Health Department patients’ unmet needs including transportation to appointments, utilities, rent and childcare. This will allow clients to improve health outcomes by meeting basic needs. This support will be provided when clients are in a situation which they are unable to receive financial support from other sources.

    “We look forward to using this grant to assist those citizens of Cumberland County currently in need,” said Dr. Jennifer Green, the Health Department Director. “Our goal is to make Cumberland County a better place to live for each of our friends and neighbors, and this grant will go a long way to make that a reality.”

    Funding will also support communication strategies and small incentives to help improve access to health services by implementing mobile and outreach clinics in underserved areas.

    For more information about the Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc., please visit their website at https://www.cumberlandcf.org/

    Find out more about Cumberland County Department of Health programs by visiting cumberlandcountync.gov/departments/public-health-group/public-health

  • 03 elk 1Each year the male Elk, called a "bull," will fight another bull to collect a female elk called a "cow" into his herd. When a bully bull threatens a dominant bull, the fight is violent. These fights only have three outcomes: surrender, a tie or a kill. The tie is the most brutal of the battle. The antlers of the two bulls lock together and they cannot get free. Eventually, fatigue leads to collapse, starvation, and finally, death. The other bull may still be alive only to watch his opponent die in his clutches. His end is near and his victory is in vain, but a win is a win.

    That is America these days. During the election, America locked antlers, and America is now fatigued — exasperated by the pressures of inflation, government spending, overregulation, open borders, Afghanistan, increasing taxes.

    At the same time, people are getting paid to stay at home (aka "the Great Resignation”) and COVID restrictions, mandates, bipolar mask rules and rules which make absolutely no sense at all.
    The COVID data shows that the vaccines are working, but the virus is still spreading. The Delta variant has caused new concerns. Hospitals are reporting that most life-threatening cases are in non-vaccinated people.

    Advocates for the vaccine question why people do not want to get the vaccine. On the other hand, many people think it should be their choice. Many people have gotten the vaccine but believe that it is their right to keep their information private and resent the idea of showing a COVID card to go into an event or business.

    On Sept. 9 President Biden announced an Executive Order for mandatory vaccines. He is issuing this order with a needle in one hand, holding a gun to your head in the other while waging war on the Second Amendment. The order lacked details, but behind the scenes, Biden is using the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to draft an "emergency temporary standard."

    According to news reports, officials said the agency would begin enforcing the rules: collecting reports of violations and sending out inspectors who will be empowered to impose $13,650 fines for violations and up to $136,500 for those that are willful or repeated.

    Biden and his administration are working on implementing his new policies to address some form of a vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more employees and in most Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulated workplaces. This means that if you work at less than 100 employees and your business receives Medicare or Medicaid payments, everyone must be vaccinated or lose that revenue. Military, federal executive branch workers and some federal contractors will be required to have the vaccine. He wants military personnel who refuse to get the vaccine to be dishonorably discharged. That is the discharge usually held for those convicted of murder, treason and other serious crimes. So good luck with getting a decent job with that discharge but thanks for fighting and keeping us safe for all these years. Note: The Legislative branch and Federal Courts are exempt.

    Last year millions of health care workers, teachers and first responders were the frontline heroes of the COVID pandemic. With this Executive Order, these same courageous, frontline workers and millions of others are being told to get vaccinated or LOSE YOUR JOB!

    Now, the government uses employers to be "Great Terminators," the enforcers of his vaccine. As with many socialist countries, starvation will be the root motivator to get you to comply. You will not get unemployment, no insurance, no way to pay your rent or mortgage.

    Here is the potential career-ending question. How is it that some of the most intelligent people in our society (doctors and nurses) choose not to get the vaccine after working in this since the beginning? Is it because they know something we do not? Is it because they have had COVID and have antibodies? Is it because they have been around it so long that they believe they have natural immunity? Is it because they think that medical choices should still be a choice?

    Last month on CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke with Dr. Fauci. Dr. Gupta said that a study in Israel showed that natural immunity showed that it was better than the vaccine; Dr. Fauci's response was, "You know, that's a really good point, Sanjay. I don't have a really firm answer for you on that. That's something that we're going to have to discuss regarding the durability of the response … So, I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously, because you very appropriately pointed out, it is an issue, and there could be an argument for saying what you said."

    Dr. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President, and he hasn't studied natural immunity.-Does it seem that my mom knew more about viruses when she sent me down the street to play with a kid who had chickenpox?

    Here are why some people struggle. We have watched Dr. Fauci change his story so many times that if he were in your high school science class, you wouldn't cheat off him because you know he will change his answers.
    Where in the Constitution does it say it is the government's job to keep you safe? If that was the case, they should outlaw cars, cigarettes and the 8,000 other ways a person can die.

    How does this work out? How does a doctor see patients without a staff? Will teachers go to 100 students per class? How do first responders save lives with less people?

    Like the mighty bull elk, the courageous, the cowards and the bullies who are hell-bent on a fight, the government, business and the people are in the process of locking horns with their employees and in the process will kill themselves while winning the battle for the cows, but a win is a win.

  • 02 Pitt IMG 8766Remember when Lou Reed sang, “Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side?” Not so much? Is your memory balky? What did you have for lunch yesterday? Remember in your twenties when you wondered what was the meaning of life? Now you just wonder where you parked your car? Is your Remembrance of Things Past getting more difficult? You have come to the right place. Today’s column will help you restore your memory without the use of Prevagen.

    Mr. Science says think of your memory as a bucket. At the bottom of the bucket are your first memories, childhood pets, childhood traumas, first dates, that sort of thing. As you get older more events pile into your memory bucket squashing the long-term memories down at the bottom of the bucket. The new events float on top of the bucket. Unfortunately, long term memories are not infinitely compressible. Eventually the new memories fill the bucket up to the rim and splash out. The old memories remain at the bottom of the bucket and are easily retrievable. The new short term memories splatter onto the floor and can’t be recalled. That is why you can remember the name of your first-grade teacher but can’t remember what you had for lunch.

    Can your fading memory be saved? Read on, MacDuff, have we got a deal for you. Today we are going to literally take a walk down Memory Lane. We go right to the source of all things memory related. We are going to visit the Greek Goddess of memory herself, the right honorable Mnemosyne. This is another one of those irritating columns that explore the curious world of Greek mythology. If mythology is all Greek to you, stick around. You can dazzle your friends if you find yourself on TV playing "Jeopardy" and Greek mythology is the Daily Double. Once you meet Mnemosyne and pay her proper respect, your memories will become shiny and new as a hot Krispy Kreme donut.

    First, some family history for Mnemosyne. Her friends could never remember how to pronounce her name. They just called her Mimi which is what we shall do in today’s lesson. Mimi was born into Greek God royalty; her Baby Daddy was Uranus the God of the sky and her Momma was Gaia the Goddess of Earth. Mimi turned out to be the Goddess of Memory. Mimi got together with her nephew Zeus on Spring Break. Zeus thinking his aunt Mimi might not cotton to sleeping with her nephew, changed himself into a mortal shepherd. Mimi fell for the handsome shepherd and spent nine nights with Zeus making whoopee. Mimi ended up in the family way as a result of her time with Zeus. She had to drop out of Goddess college to have Zeus’ nine daughters. These kids were the nine Muses. The Muses served as inspiration for creative types ever since then. According to Mr. Google, the Muses were Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (music and lyric poetry), Erato (love poetry), Mepomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (hymns), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy) and Urania (astronomy). Mimi’s kids were arty, not a warrior in the bunch. The moral is that if you get Mimi on your side, you will find inspiration in the arts and possibly win "America’s Got Talent."

    Mimi wasn’t just a vessel for producing children, no Sirree Bob. She also worked outside the home. However, with nine kids she must have had domestic help. Mimi was a lifeguard for a pool in Hades where dead Greeks go. Hades has the river Lethe where dead Greeks would drink to forget their past lives when they got reincarnated. The river that fed Mimi’s pool was named for Mnemosyne which was the river of memory. Drinking from Mimi’s pool had the opposite effect on dead Greeks causing them to remember their past lives thereby preventing them from being reincarnated.

    Mimi’s name is the basis for our current word “mnemonic” which our pal Webster defines as a device such as a pattern of letters or associations that assists in remembering something. If you ask Mimi to put in a good word for you, she can help you remember where you parked your car, what you had for lunch or your anniversary. Unfortunately, not all memories are good ones, so be careful in your requests to Mimi for help. Do you really need to know what you had for lunch yesterday?

    Randy Newman wrote a song called “Potholes” about when he was a kid pitching in a baseball game and walked 14 batters in a row. He started crying and walked off the field going home in humiliation. He did his best to forget this event by turning it into a song. He wrote: “God bless the potholes/ Down on Memory Lane/ God bless the potholes/ Down on Memory Lane/ Hope some real big ones open up/ Take some of the memories that do remain.”

    Have we learned anything today? Nothing we can’t forget tomorrow. Some of those potholes on Memory Lane are our friends. No memories were harmed in the writing of this column.

    Pictured: Reviewing the story of Mnemosyne in Greek mythology can offer explanations on modern memory troubles.

  • 22 Casting CrownsIn a recent conversation with songwriter Mark Hall, we laughed over the irate response to their first single to Christian radio back in 2003. The song was, “If We Are The Body” which asks us — the church — if we are collectively here as the hands, the feet, the heart of Jesus, why are we not reaching, touching and going to everyone, everywhere?

    Within weeks of the very first time the song played in Fayetteville on WCLN, we received a call from a missionary home on sabbatical who asked “...who is this band, and what gives them the right to level this sort of judgment?”

    No more an affront to Christians than saying “We need to clean up this city” to a town council, the song was as much a surprise to the band as a first radio single as anyone else. During our phone call, the man who penned the song commented that the record label made the decision, and that they just realized the band would be coming out swinging.

    The band is Casting Crowns, and after nearly 20 years of Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, Grammy nominations, and number one songs, they are bringing their unique sound — now a staple of Christian radio and playlists far and wide — to Fayetteville's Crown Theatre on Oct. 9.

    Lead man Mark Hall and his wife Melanie still serve as youth workers at their home church in south Atlanta, and they only do so many dates per year — always ending up back home for their weekly gatherings on Sunday.

    Casting Crowns began as the student worship band that Hall formed while he was serving at First Baptist Daytona Beach in 1999. Since then, they have moved their home base to Georgia, amassed a string of chart-topping songs and albums, and developed a musical following others merely dream of.

    Singer/songwriter Matthew West joins Casting Crowns for the “Only Jesus Tour." He brings his share of radio hits and accolades to the table.

    West, who came on the scene about the same time as Casting Crowns, has scored numerous top ten singles, and has to make room on the mantle for yet another award. In September he was named American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Christian Songwriter of the Year. For the fourth time.

    Originally scheduled for March 14, 2020, the Fayetteville stop on the tour has been rescheduled several times for reasons circling the pandemic, and is truly a stellar package wrapped in a spirit of humility. Come expecting an evening of stories and songs that have touched a generation of listeners. The “Only Jesus Tour” with Casting Crowns and Matthew West lands in Fayetteville for one night only on Saturday, Oct. 9.

    Pictured above: Christian music group Casting Crowns will be at the Crown Theatre Oct. 9. (Photo courtesy www.castingcrowns.com)

  • 06 McLITIG datesSweet Tea Shakespeare, a theatre and music company in Fayetteville, continues their raucous take on drunk Shakespeare, the LIT series, this October. “McLIT” is a stripped-down version of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy of murder, guilt and rebellion combined with improv, games and a pub-like atmosphere.

    “McLIT” will visit a variety of venues including Hugger Mugger Brewing in Sanford, and the Church at Paddy’s Irish Pub in Fayetteville. “McLIT” imagines the writer, director and actors of Macbeth know the story they want to tell, but get lost at a frat party on their way to the show. Performances feature live music, drinking games and a lot of heart.

    LIT performances are recommended for adults 18 and up only. “McLIT” performs Oct. 16 and 23 at Paddy’s Irish Pub, and Oct. 22 and Nov. 12 at Hugger Mugger Brewing. All events start at 7:15 p.m.
    Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s 2021-2022 season is possible due to a generous grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. Additional season partners include the Capitol Encore Academy, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex, Paris & Potter Management and Napkins.

    General Admission Advance tickets for McLIT are $20; seniors/military advance tickets are $18; student Advance tickets are $10. All tickets at the door are $25. Tickets can be purchased at sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets/.

    Call the Sweet Tea Shakespeare Box Office at 910-420-4383 or email tickets@sweetteashakespeare.com for more information about upcoming shows.

  • 100DollarBillsHC1404 02 source"A President's greatest responsibility is to protect all our people from enemies, foreign and domestic. Here at home the worst enemy we face is economic — the creeping erosion of the American way of life and the American dream that has resulted in today's tragedy of economic stagnation and unemployment." President Ronald Reagan said these words in 1982. However, they ring as true today as ever before.

    As the crisis on our southern border worsens and inflation reaches new highs, last week Washington liberals ignored these problems and continued their reckless spending spree. The House passed legislation which would once again raise the debt ceiling in order to pay for their $3.5 trillion liberal wish list. Keeping our government open is critical. However, I opposed this move to allow more debt. Democrats — who control the House, Senate and White House and who have spent trillions already this year — should not have a blank check to recklessly spend even more of your tax dollars. Their bill will raise taxes on everyone, give the federal government more control over your life from the cradle to the grave, and only make our inflation crisis worse.

    Despite this, their bill did have one good provision — funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. However, Washington Democrats caved to racist, anti-Semitic factions and stripped this funding from the bill. Later that day, we forced a second vote to approve the funding for Israel. Once again, radical, racist Democrats opposed it.

    America should always stand with Israel at every opportunity. Failing to do so is shameful and our allies, as well as our adversaries, are watching.

    As threats increase around the world, I was glad the House was able to come together and pass our nation’s bipartisan annual defense bill last week.

    This year’s National Defense Authorization Act is not perfect. But I was proud to support this bill which included much needed funding for Fort Bragg and our men and women in the military.

    Overall, it provides a 2.7% pay increase for servicemembers and reverses dangerous cuts to our military proposed by President Biden. It also adds resources to secure our border, holds the Biden administration accountable for its withdrawal from Afghanistan, and protects servicemembers’ personal liberties.

    I am especially proud that the bill includes provisions I have worked on throughout the year. For Fort Bragg, $27 million was included for needed construction projects on the base. For military families, my bill to expand and improve education funding was included. I also championed included provisions to increase PFAS testing on bases, combat sexual assault in the military, and modernize the Basic Allowance for Housing.

    There are several provisions in the bill I am concerned about, including red flag laws that threaten the Second Amendment rights of servicemembers. However like last year, I will now work to ensure these provisions are removed as negotiations continue between the House and Senate.

    I will never waiver from my commitment to support our troops, their families, and our veterans. The NDAA is an example that we can still come together and solve problems for our nation. Now we must do the same on issues like growing our economy, supporting our allies like Israel, and ending the crisis on our border. I will stay focused on common sense solutions on behalf of you and your family.

  • 12 IndigoMoonWhiteCir The 6th Annual Indigo Moon Film Festival will be held in-person and virtually Thursday, Oct. 7 through Friday, Oct. 15.

    “The purpose of the Indigo Moon Film Festival is to showcase films from around the world before a diverse audience,” said Pat Wright and Jan Johnson, co-founders of Indigo Moon Film Festival.

    “Film is an underrepresented cultural art in our community and by bringing it here we allow people to see the world through different eyes, enjoy entertainment, and be inspired and informed more than they normally would.”
    Wright added that they are independent films that you would not see in regular movie theaters.

    “Last year the event was 100% virtual due to COVID-19, but this year we found a way to safely social distance so we are having two in-person events at Segra Stadium and the rest of the event will be virtual,” said Wright.

    The event kicks off Thursday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. with a free Family Film Night in downtown’s Segra Stadium.

    “We are screening Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ and we hope that everyone will come out,” said Wright. “We will safely social distance and we are giving away free masks at the door.”

    The opening night film, “Peace by Chocolate,” takes place Friday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. in Segra Stadium. It is the story of a young Syrian refuge and his family who come to Canada to try to start over. The young refuge wants to become a doctor, but his family wants him to stay and help run the chocolate business.

    “It is a really uplifting great film and it falls right in line with our theme this year ‘Diversity and Resilience,’” said Wright. “We will have a live question and answer session with the filmmaker, Jonathan Keijser, of ‘Peace by Chocolate’ after the showing of the film.”

    “He has several short documentaries of this type of film and this is his first feature length film,” said Wright. “He is really excited about coming and helping to promote the film and I think they are getting a distribution deal with one of the big distribution groups too, so we are interested to hear more about that.”

    Saturday, Oct. 9 thruugh Friday, Oct. 15 is the Virtual Film Festival. More than 80 films will be represented and their categories entail Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Student Films, Documentary Short, Narrative Short and

    Some of the films include “Dreams of Emmett Till,” “Adventures in the Time of Covid,” “In Jesus’ Name,” “Love & Coffee,” “Validation,” and more.

    “The films will be available by website and you can purchase an individual ticket or buy a pass to look at all of them,” said Wright. “You can watch them on your computer, digital device and download the app on Roku, Fire TV Stick and Apple TV so you can watch it on your television.”

    She added, “You get to watch it from the best seat in the house — your own, it is definitely safe from COVID-19, and you can watch all of the films you want for an entire week.”

    GroundSwell Pictures is a 501(c)(3) with a mission of engaging and inspiring diverse communities by producing films, showing films, teaching filmmaking and supporting films that make a positive difference. “GroundSwell is the umbrella organization and Indigo Moon is one of the programs of GroundSwell,” said Wright. “We also create films that are of social significance, but right now we are focused on the Film Festival and creating films to make a positive social difference.”

    Even though the film entry deadline has passed, the process of entering a film for the contest is done through a portal called FilmFreeway.

    “The films that we are looking for are Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Student Films, Animation, Narrative Shorts, and Documentary Shorts,” said Wright. “We are going to open a new category next year for strictly North Carolina films.”

    “We have received some awesome grant funding from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, Cumberland Community Foundation, and we have got so many great sponsors and supporters,” said Wright. “It is great because last year we hunkered down, did everything mostly in house, and had a couple of stalwart supporters, but this year we are reaching back out and people are happy to support us.”

    “This event is our way of saying thank you to the community for their support,” said Wright. “We are looking forward to the film festival’s comeback.”

    Ticket cost is $100 for VIP, $15 for a student pass, and $14 for three films or a film block. There is also a pay what you can option. Tickets are $5 for each film but you can pay as little as $3.

    Masks will be required inside Segra Stadium. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase.

    For more information call 910-309-6580 or visit the interactive website at www.indigomoonfilmfestival.com.

  • 10 249853 1520696195Bright Light Brewing Company has been a member of the downtown Fayetteville community since November 2016 and opened its doors to the public in April 2017. They call a remodeled-gym-turned-taproom home. Joining forces, BLBC, AOP Orthotics and Prosthetics and Silverback Fitness, all local veteran-owned downtown businesses, are offering the Fayetteville community an avenue to remember 13 fallen U.S. service members.

    The fallen include Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah; Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts; Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California; Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California; Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska; Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California; Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio; Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.

    The 13 service members above were killed outside Hamid Karzai International Airport Aug. 26. They were in Kabul “while supporting non-combatant evacuation operations,” according to a U.S. Department of Defense press release.

    “We decided to do this to honor these soldiers as all three of us are veteran-owned businesses,” said Olivia Caughey, event manager, BLBC.

    “We believe … honoring late soldiers, current soldiers, military mental health and spreading awareness of those who risk their lives for our freedom are incredibly important.”

    Community members will meet at the BLBC taproom at 444 West Russell St. as early as 1 p.m., Oct. 10. BLBC will be offering their American Lager for $4 a pint as opposed to $6 in honor of the event. The 13-block memorial walk will commence at 2 p.m. As the group walks through downtown Fayetteville, they will encounter a flag on each block they pass bearing one of the names of the fallen 13.

    The walk will close with a moment of silence at the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum’s 14th annual Field of Honor installation. The Field of Honor Installation is on display until Nov. 14.
    One of the service members who plan to be in attendance recently returned from Kabul and will attend with their family. This service member was near enough to feel the blast at HKIA, according to AOP Orthotics and Prosthetics co-owner Nick Rahl.

    This event is near to these businesses’ hearts.

    “It’s an honor to do it,” Rahl said.

    BLBC will be hosting two additional events over the next few weeks. Beers and Bouncing is a free fitness event co-sponsored with 9Round Fitness, Oct. 16, from 1 to 2 p.m. and a Halloween event is planned for Oct. 30 at 1 p.m.

  • 04 07 Cumb CtyThe National Parent Teacher Association recently designated Seventy-First High School and Stoney Point Elementary School as 2020-2022 Schools of Excellence for their "commitment to building an inclusive and welcoming school-community." They join nine other North Carolina schools and 351 schools nationwide to be recognized as schools of excellence.

    The objective of the School of Excellence program is to encourage best practices for improving family engagement, building inclusive school communities and increasing local PTA participation.

    "We congratulate Seventy-First High School and Stoney Point Elementary School, along with their PTAs, for receiving this recognition," said Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., superintendent of Cumberland County Schools.

    For more information about the National PTA School of Excellence program, visit the program's website.

  • 07 trolleyThe Cool Spring Downtown District and Coldwell Banker Advantage are bringing a new ride to the streets of downtown Fayetteville. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bianca Shoneman, CEO and president of the Cool Spring Downtown District, approached Ralph Huff, founder of H & H Homes and co-owner of Coldwell Banker Advantage, with an idea to bring trolleys to downtown Fayetteville.

    “I told her it was a fabulous idea and that I would be interested in helping,” Huff said.

    Three months ago, once restrictions started to loosen, Shoneman revisited the trolley idea. Two 2004 “Molley Trolleys” have been selected. They have 36-person seating capacities, Cummins diesel engines, wooden benches, internal PA system, Shoneman said. “One of the trolleys is wheel-chair accessible.”

    The Cool Spring Downtown District will be responsible for scheduling, operating and maintaining the trolleys. The trolleys began test runs Sept. 24 to gain input on routes and scheduling.

  • 09 candle vigilThe ”Remember My Name” candlelight vigil will be held Thursday, Oct. 7, at 5:15 p.m. on the steps of the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse at 117 Dick St., to raise awareness for domestic violence.

    Kelly Taylor will be the keynote speaker. She is a Womack Army Medical Center registered nurse and advocate for victims of domestic violence.

    Others scheduled to speak at the event include Chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners Charles Evans, Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin, District Attorney Billy West, Chief District Court Judge Toni King and Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Col. Scott Pence.

    The U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division Band and Chorus will perform.

    This ceremony will memorialize the victims of domestic violence homicides in North Carolina over the past two years since “Remember My Name” was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19.

    Retired Chief District Court Judge Beth Keever will read the names of the victims.

    Cumberland County Family Court, the CARE Center Family Violence Program, The Phoenix Center, Army Community Services, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville Police Department, Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Hope Mills Police Department have collaborated to hold the event.

    Community resources available for domestic violence victims include:

    • Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office: 910-323-1500; victim assistance 910-677-5454 or ccsonc.org
    • Cumberland County Family Court: 910-475-3015 or www.nccourts.gov/locations/cumberland-county/family-court-administration
    • Cumberland County Clerk of Court Lisa Scales, Safe-Link Domestic Violence Assistance Program: 910-475-3000, Cumberland County Courthouse, Room 340, 3rd floor
    • Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office: 910-475-3010
    • Fayetteville Police Department: 910-433-1529; Victim Assistance 910-433-1849 or fayettevillenc.gov/city-services/police
    • The CARE Center Family Violence Program: Crisis Line 910-677-2532 or office 910-677-2528
    • Army Community Services: 910-396-8262 or myarmybenefits.us.army.mil
    • Legal Aid of North Carolina-Fayetteville Chapter: 910-483-0400 or legalaidnc.org
    • The Phoenix Center Hot Line: 910-485-7273
    • U. S. Army Family Advocacy Program: 910-322-3418 or hotline 910-584-4267
    • Hope Mills Police Department: 910-425-4103; Victim Assistance 910-705-3560
    • Spring Lake Police Department: 910-436-0350

    In the event of inclement weather, the vigil will be held inside the courthouse in Courtroom 4A with Courtroom 4B serving as an overflow room with a television monitor so participants can watch the event live.

    For more information about “Remember My Name,” contact Family Court Case Manager Bobbi Mattocks at 910-475-3225 or Bobbi.L.Mattocks@nccourts.org.

  • 17 cybersecuirty digital lockFighting cyber threats on the firewall frontlines has become increasingly more challenging as a result of heavy workloads due to the shortage of cybersecurity professionals, unfilled job openings, and limited time for workers to learn the latest security technologies.

    Cybercriminals are sophisticated in their attack schemes, which means that security techniques must become more vigorous. Employees’ skillsets must align with the progressive expertise needed by companies as they combat the persistent cyber-attacks faced daily. Without this specialized skillset, cybersecurity teams are ill-equipped to protect companies — the same companies we entrust with our personal and financial information — from being compromised by cybercriminals who have every intention of stealing data for their personal gain.

    Fayetteville Technical Community College and Montreat College have partnered to establish the Carolina Cyber Network to correct the cybersecurity workforce gap in North Carolina. The idea behind the initiative is to revamp the talent pipeline of workers to better align with the needs of employers. CCN created a unique triadic approach in response to this situation by providing support to K-12 educators, collaborating with neighboring colleges and universities, and partnering with businesses.

    As high school students complete an Information Technology track, they can progress through the talent pipeline as they pursue higher education. CCN connects universities and colleges across the state to create a collaborative environment for students to receive specialized training to enhance their technical and essential skills. The initiative will help provide college students with real-world experience through work study, internship, and apprenticeship opportunities. With coveted skills and entry-level experience, students will be well-equipped, work-ready, cybersecurity professionals.

    In addition to FTCC’s involvement with CCN, FTCC’s Small Business Center, the Cyber Defense Education Center, and the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg Chapter ISSA are presenting two free webinars:

    Protect Your Business from Cyber Attack!
    Oct. 6 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Register at www.ncsbc.net/workshop.aspx?ekey=200410069

    Build a Company or Career in Cyber Security! Oct. 12 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Register at www.ncsbc.net/workshop.aspx?ekey=200410070
    The spotlight on cybersecurity awareness during the month of October reminds everyone about the importance of cybersecurity and the demand for individuals to be properly trained to fill in-demand jobs in the field. FTCC’s Cyber Defense Education Center and involvement with the CCN represent a unique training opportunity for individuals wishing to pursue a rewarding career in the field.

    FTCC provides students with expertise through many training options to pursue a great career in cybersecurity. FTCC is working to strengthen the existing workforce and decrease the employment gap. FTCC is also helping cyber-compliant businesses become better staffed and skilled in cybersecurity to handle attacks by malicious hackers.

    Learn more about cybersecurity and other areas of study in the Computer Technology program area at FTCC. Fall 8-week classes begin Oct. 14, and Spring classes begin Jan. 10. Find your way forward at FTCC with a career in the high-demand field of cybersecurity.

  • 19 women breast cancer awareness(StatePoint) October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual opportunity to spend your dollars on products and services that benefit breast cancer advocacy, research and patient care services.

    However, experts say that the clutter of pink products on store shelves and online can make savvy shopping a challenge.

    “Determining if a given product sold during October actually benefits a breast cancer charity, is not always easy,” says Sarah Rosales, vice president of Corporate Partnerships at Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization.

    One way to ensure that your purchases are making the impact you think they will is by shopping with Komen’s Annual Live Pink program.

    This year, Komen has partnered with more than 25 companies, and the lineup of products and services available includes everything from specially designed clothing and skin care products, to bagels and bikes.

    By shopping with the brands in the Live Pink portfolio during October, you can help fund research and care services that support people through their breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and beyond.

    Program details are transparent on the Live Pink site. To learn more and to shop, visit www.komen.org/livepink.

    For other purchases you make this National Breast Cancer Awareness Month that make charitable claims, Susan G. Komen recommends asking the following questions:

    What charity is the program supporting? Do promotional materials about the product or service clearly and conspicuously state this information?

    How will the benefitting charity use the donation? You should be made aware where your money is going and what charitable programs your purchase will support. Funds raised to benefit Komen, for example, go to support the organization’s advocacy for breast cancer patients, investments in research and a number of direct patient care services.

    How is the program structured? What percentage or exact amount of the proceeds will go to the charity? Will the company be making a minimum or maximum donation to the charity? Shop only with companies that offer transparency with regards to program details and how donations are structured.

    By shopping savvy this October, you can support the fight against breast cancer and ensure your purchases are making the biggest impact possible.

  • 05 Horizontal County LogoCSX Transportation has awarded Cumberland County Emergency Management a $5,000 Community Service Grant.

    The funds will partially offset the purchase of a damage assessment drone to enhance the county’s ability to evaluate property damage in the wake of disasters. It will also help first responders with search and rescue operations.

    The drone’s features include a thermal imaging camera, high visibility strobe light, and a loudspeaker for communicating instructions to victims or responders.

    “This drone will provide an additional way to support our community as well as our first responders before, during and after disasters,” said Cumberland County Emergency Management Coordinator Garry Crumpler. “Our goal is to find new and innovative ways to respond to emergencies and improve the safety of our citizens.”

  • 03 vote yes3 copyYou can’t grow and become a great city if you leave entire segments of the community behind.

    I remember those words from our city council’s budget message for the 2012-2013 City Budget.

    Sadly, we have continued to see that the current structure with nine single-member districts has precisely done that over the past twenty years. By only focusing on the needs of nine individual districts, not enough attention is given to the major issues that face our entire city. Some are often more complicated and expensive. And increasingly, the issues that only face a few of our districts, making it even more difficult to gain support from other districts that fight for their own issues.

    Fayetteville’s growth is not keeping pace with the rest of the larger cities in the state. At the same time, this structure leaves entire segments behind, often our poor and powerless.

    The continued shortage in sworn police officers, still over 50 officers or more than 10% of the staff, threatens our citizens. But especially the ones in those neighborhoods that aren’t getting the coverage they deserve. These citizens are more likely to have an encounter with a police officer who is tired and stressed from overtime.

    In a city with 45% black registered voters, why are 81% of the murder victims this year black?

    We have identified over $100 million in stormwater needs to protect us from the next Hurricane Matthew or Florence. Again, this year the city council failed to add to the stormwater fees to help address these significant issues. What parts of our city are likely to be impacted by a flood? It is most often those living in the low-lying lands, often our poorest and most powerless.

    There is no better example of this failure than Shaw Heights. Stuck right between our city, our state university, and the most significant economic engine in southeastern North Carolina, Shaw Heights continues to be an unincorporated area. Shaw Heights residents are deprived of essential city services like sewer and urban police protection.

    If Shaw Heights had a different demographic, it would have been annexed years ago. But it doesn’t, and we should be ashamed to perpetuate a system that continually overlooks the least of us.

    Ironically, some defend a system of nine single members districts as better for the vulnerable and poor in our community. The facts tell a different story.

    Let’s have six city council members directly accountable to those who fear the next flood.

    Let’s have six city council members directly accountable to those who worry about the crime in their neighborhoods.

    We can’t become a better city by continuing to leave people behind.

    Suppose you would like to vote for 6 members of the City Council instead of the current 2.

    In that case, I encourage you to sign the Vote Yes Fayetteville petition and give every citizen the opportunity to vote on this critical issue.

    Editor's Note: Bobby Hurst is a former five-term City Council member and former business owner.

  • 11 N1506P22010HThe Cumberland County Department of Public Health will host a “Vax Your Pet, Vax Yourself” event Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Health Department located at 1235 Ramsey St.

    Rabies vaccinations will cost $5 per pet. COVID, flu and back-to-school immunizations will be free.

    Organizations will distribute free items and information about programs and services. The Cumberland County Public Library, Positive Parenting Program, the public health education team and tobacco cessation education program will participate. Gift Cards of $100 to various grocery and retail stores will be raffled off every hour.

    North Carolina Law states requires cats and dogs over four months of age to be vaccinated against rabies. Dog and cat owners in Cumberland County who have not vaccinated their pet in accordance with this law are subject to a civil penalty in the amount of $100. Cash is the only accepted method of payment. Please bring exact change to pay the $5 per animal fee. Please do not bring rolled coins.

    North Carolina Law requires students K-12 to receive necessary vaccinations to attend school. The Back-to-School vaccination list can be found at https://immunize.nc.gov/schools/k-12.htm.

    North Carolina requires parents to present the required immunization record for their student within 30 calendar days from the first day of their child’s attendance. After 30 calendar days, students will not be allowed to attend school. This deadline has been extended to Nov. 1.

    Flu shots are free to everyone regardless of insurance status. If insured, a copy of insurance cards will be made, and the insurance company will be billed.

    Children 18 and younger can receive a free flu vaccine through the Vaccines for Children program. Anyone accompanying a minor must show proof of custody.

    The Department of Public Health administers Pfizer and J & J COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccines are free to all regardless of insurance status. Anyone aged 12 and older is eligible to take the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

    CDC now recommends people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings to receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their primary series.

    People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their primary series.

    People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

    People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their primary series. This is based on their individual benefits and risks.

    For now, boosters are only for those that had the Pfizer vaccine. Eligibility criteria for individuals seeking an additional third dose or booster shot can be found on the Department of Public Health website.

    The CCDPH Sexually Transmitted Disease clinic will also be open during this event. Confidential testing for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and other STDs will be available. Testing is free, regardless of insurance status. Walk-ins are welcome.

    For more information about Cumberland County Department of Public Health programs visit www.cumberlandcountync.gov/departments/public-health-group/public-health.

  • 16 BnB Logo and Socials 2Cape Fear Regional Theatre invites the communty to “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Party: A Live Listening Experience” generously hosted by the Cape Fear Botanical Garden as a one-night-only special event on Friday, Oct. 15.

    Organizers say if you loved the books, the smash Netflix hit, or the new concept musical album by Barlow & Bear, you are sure to love this themed special event.

    Directed by Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke and featuring choreography by Emmy Award winner Tyce Diorio (“So You Think You Can Dance,” CFRT’s “Music City”), this party-meets-performance is sure to delight “Bridgerton” newcomers and devotees alike.

    “This event provides an exciting way for the theatre to celebrate current trends and share an exciting new work with our audiences. The album is a fantastic re-imagining of the ‘Bridgerton’ characters and story. We’ve added our own flair to create this evening of entertainment, including Tyce’s incredible choreography, period costumes and an awesome company of performers. Our Listening Experience will be a hybrid of camp, costumes and choreography, interwoven with narration for those who aren’t as familiar with the original content.

    Performers will be dressed to “Bridgerton” standards, and, while not required, audiences are invited to break out their hats, gloves and party clothes too!”

    Tickets are $25 and include a specialty cocktail. CFRT offers military, first responder, teacher and SNAP discounts.

    After experiencing supply-chain delays for their auditorium renovation, CFRT announced last week that their scheduled production of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” has been postponed to the opening of their 2022-2023 season.

    Subscribers can use their Flex Tickets for “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Party: A Live Listening Experience” among other options. Tickets can be purchased or redeemed at CFRT.org or by calling the box office at

  • 08 Emerg Services smoke alarm grantIn September, Cumberland County Emergency Services received a $4,989 grant from South River Electric Membership Corporation’s Operation Round Up program. The funds will go towards smoke alarms which will be distributed to residents for free in the county.

    Residents can request a smoke detector for their home by contacting the volunteer fire station in their district. To find the closest one, visit www.cumberlandcountync.gov/emergencyservices/fire-marshal and use the Fire Station Lookup tool, then call the station to schedule a day and time to have a smoke alarm installed.

    “We’re so grateful for this grant which will allow us to get about 350 additional smoke alarms,” said Fire Marshal Kevin Lowther. “Emergency Services is planning to canvass various neighborhoods within the county to ensure residents can have a smoke alarm.”

  • 01 Report Card Mock UpOver 200 people representing the best of the best businesses, institutions, and organizations in Fayetteville and Cumberland Country assembled at the Crown Coliseum for our 24th Annual Best of Fayetteville Awards Party. In attendance, showing appreciation and extending congratulations to the honorees, were Shari Fiveash of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, Randy Fiveash, interim President of the Fayetteville Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Jackie Warner, Mayor of Hope Mills. No one representing the City or Cumberland County was there. Personal invitations were not issued, nor were they required.

    Over the years, our elected city and county officials were more than anxious to attend any prestigious local event that showcased the people, businesses, institutions and organizations that define the quality of life in our community. After all, it is a congregation of their constituents. Or is it? Fayetteville is currently struggling with that question, even though everyone is quite aware of the answer.

    And, that is NO!

    With our city divided into nine separate and distinct districts, I'd wager each council member wouldn't find six attendees living or working in their specific section. And, with this being the case, why bother showing up all? Unfortunately, this thought process has become the mindset of most of our current elected officials of the Fayetteville City Council. This situation and mindset must change if Fayetteville as a community is to grow and prosper.

    You can't grow and become a great City if you leave entire segments of the community behind.

    Bobby Hurst, a former five-term City Councilman in District 5, recently reminded us of this dire warning and prediction that resonated nearly a decade ago from the Fayetteville City Council's 2012-2013 budget meeting. Sadly, that prediction has become a sad reality as nine individual districts try to govern over 210,000 residents by focusing only on the needs of their ward while ignoring major issues and situations affecting the entire city.

    It's a matter of record that Fayetteville's growth is not keeping pace with the rest of the cities in the state. There is a reason for that. The City of Fayetteville has an inferior and embarrassing Report Card when it comes to leadership and management:

    We cannot become a better city by continuing to leave people behind. By focusing on each of the nine individual districts, they are collectively ignoring major citywide issues.

    Image above by Dylan Hooker.

    Ultimately, our horrific statistics will continue to worsen unless collective voices are heard regarding the future of our city. Fayetteville residents from all districts will suffer and die due to this poor governance, unabated homicides and neglected infrastructure maintenance like stormwater unless the citizens vote to change the structure of city government by designating four of the nine citywide districts as At Large districts. This would give Fayetteville residents six votes when it comes to elections rather than two. What's not to like about that? A Fayetteville resident gets to vote for five council members and the mayor rather than just voting for the mayor and one district representative. Common sense dictates that it's a shame we even have to make such an argument. However, I just did.

    I encourage you to sign the Vote Yes Fayetteville petition at www.voteyesfayetteville.com and give every citizen (Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, rich or poor) the right to vote on this critical issue. Fayetteville's future depends on it, and you can rely on that.

    In closing, let me say that even though we currently have a terrible report card, it definitely can be improved just like any other academic institution: i.e. Get a better curriculum. Hire better teachers and, if need be, replace the principal. We have plenty of options. The best one yet: 6/4 Vote Yes Fayetteville.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 18 kids outdoor exploringThe pandemic has impacted learning experiences for students across America. Educators, parents and students will continue to navigate these challenges as they look for ways to redefine learning.

    With new norms of educational learning still being defined, we have a real opportunity to find creative and engaging ways to expose young and diverse thinkers to the vast world of science around them. One of the ways to do this is by connecting science to the things kids are already passionate about — sports, music, dance, art, gaming, or anything else they may be interested in.

    America’s favorite rapping teacher, Dwayne Reed, shares creative ways educators and parents can help kids find a “way-in” to science that will ignite their passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning and make science more approachable:

    1. Extend STEM Beyond the Classroom. Show kids how to apply the scientific method in their day-to-day lives and activities. As individuals, we make observations daily and ask questions — or hypothesize — based on what we observe. Parents and educators can foster an inquisitive mindset by challenging kids to explore the world around them. This creates fun and relatable learning experiences inside and outside the classroom.

    2. Connect Personal Passions to STEM Learning. When students lack confidence in a particular subject, it can feel intimidating. As a result, they can often have a hard time seeing themselves as successful in that subject or can lose interest altogether. We want to encourage our kids and show them they can be anything they want. One of the ways to do this is by connecting what they already love to something they are not as confident in. STEM is a perfect example of this. Show students how science can be applied to their other interests. By helping connect the dots for students, they can turn their passions into something that can benefit the world around them.

    3. Keep A Pulse on New Educational Resources. Stay updated on new resources and information that could positively impact your students by reading blogs, educational articles, and looking for resources on social media. One learning resource to check out is 3M’s Science at Home video series. This online library of DIY science experiments uses common household items to help make STEM learning fun and accessible while showing kids they can connect science to just about anything. Teachers will also note that the step-by-step resources include national science teaching standards for easy lesson planning.

    4. Challenge Kids to Try Something New. Challenge kids to put themselves into roles they may not naturally see themselves in. Provide encouragement and resources to get them to the next level. With a bit of creativity, you can open their eyes to a whole world of opportunities. Make STEM learning feel relatable and fun — even if it’s new for them. It’s all about reframing the way students look at the world and giving them assurance and an opportunity to explore what’s around them.

    The importance of maintaining a stable and engaging learning experience for students remains a priority. And with just a few creative learning techniques and models, educators and parents can ensure their students are connected, actively learning and feeling encouraged both in and out of the classroom.

  • 15 2021 Walk to End Alzheimers stock photo2The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting Cumberland County and surrounding area residents to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® on Saturday, Oct. 30. The Walk is the world’s largest event dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

    Presented by McKee Homes, the Alzheimer’s Association Eastern North Chapter will be hosting Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Fayetteville at Segra Stadium. Check-in opens at 9 a.m. with an Opening Ceremony at 10 a.m. The Walk route will open at check-in time and remain open throughout the event to allow teams to start walking when they are ready.

    “We invite the community to join us in taking steps for Alzheimer’s disease. More than ever, we need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia,” said Lisa Roberts, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Eastern North Carolina Chapter. “With the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association provides care and support to families while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and

    On Walk day, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony — a mission-focused experience that signifies our solidarity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent people’s connection to Alzheimer’s — their personal reasons to end the disease.

    Added Roberts, “The Alzheimer’s Association is moving forward — and we’re offering options for supporters to join us at our local event or Walk From Home in their own neighborhoods. No matter where people walk, their health and safety are our top priorities.”

    The Fayetteville Walk will implement safety protocols including physical distancing, contactless registration, hand sanitizing stations and more. The Alzheimer’s Association will continue to closely monitor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local guidelines to ensure Walk events adhere to recommendations and are safe for attendees. Per CDC guidelines around crowded outdoor settings, the Association asks that all Walk attendees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear a mask when in an overcrowded area. Masks will be available on-site. Options will also be offered to participate online and in local neighborhoods. Those who prefer to walk from home can still engage in many Walk-day experiences through the Alzheimer’s Association’s website and mobile app.

    More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease — a leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 11 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

    In North Carolina alone, there are more than 180,000 people living with the disease and 358,000 caregivers.

    To sign up as a walker or Team Captain or to learn more about becoming a sponsor of Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Fayetteville, visit act.alz.org/fayettevillenc or call 800-272-3900.

    The Alzheimer’s Association hosts 17 walks across North Carolina including: Alamance County, Asheville, Charlotte, Gaston/Cleveland/Lincoln Counties, Fayetteville, Guilford County, Henderson County, Hickory, Iredell County, Jacksonville, Moore County, Mount Airy, New Bern, Rowan-Cabarrus Counties, Triangle (Raleigh and Durham), Wilmington and Winston-Salem.

    To register and receive the latest updates on any of this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit the website at alz.org/walk.

  • 14 115567021 3633294656686224 5142382093780506115 nIt’s been a good year on and off the golf course for Thomas Owen.

    On the course, he played in his first USGA championship when he qualified for the U.S. Mid Amateur in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

    Off the course, Owen and his wife welcomed the birth of their second daughter in July.

    Now, Owen gets ready to defend his title in the Cumberland County Golf Championship on Oct.15-17 at Gates Four Golf & Country Club.

    “It’s been on my short list of goals to make a USGA championship,” Owen said. “I’m tickled to death. But I haven’t played as much golf as I did the last couple of years. We’ve got a newborn baby girl and I didn’t want to stray too far from her.”

    Owen, 33, has been the dominant player in the CCGC for the last five years. Since 2016, he has won twice and finished as the runner-up three times.

    “I’m always excited to play in that,” Owen said. “I have a better understanding of how to play that course successfully. I know what clubs to hit and how to play it. I’m looking forward to it.”

    Owen’s biggest challengers are expected to be two eight-time champions of the event — Billy West and Gary Robinson. They tied for third place last year but were a distant 10 shots behind Owen when the final round was rained out.

    “I think Thomas Owen is the favorite, not trying to put pressure on him,” West said.

    “He’s the defending champion, he qualified for the U.S. Mid Am and he’s among the top 10 amateur players in North or South Carolina.”

    Robinson, who will turn 63 on the first day of the CCGC on Oct. 15, has a remarkable record of longevity in the tournament. He is not only trying to win the event for the ninth time but is seeking to win it in a fifth decade. His first victory came in 1982.

    “The ninth time would be great, it is important,” Robinson said. “But winning it in five decades would be, to me, more important. It means more to me just to be able to compete at this age. I’m happy with that but it still doesn’t mean I don’t want to win.”

    West, who is 47, is impressed by what Robinson has accomplished and the way he still can play golf.

    “One thing I’ve always admired about Gary and the reason I have so much respect for his game is he’s obviously always set the benchmark,” West said. “One of the things I have the most respect for is the longevity of his career.”

    Robinson attributes being able to play at a high level for nearly 40 years to a couple of things.

    “One thing is, I’ve been blessed with good health,” he said. “I try to stay in shape. I did do physical labor most of my life. I did a lot of stretching and it kept me limber. I don’t lift weights but I do use bands and do a lot of stretching to try and stay loose that way.”

    West said Robinson can still hit the ball farther than him despite the difference in their ages.

    “The power he still has in his early 60s is incredible,” West said. “It gives him a competitive advantage in those senior events he plays in and allows him to compete and win when he’s playing people of all ages. He really is nothing short of extraordinary how he’s been able to maintain his game at his age.”

    But Robinson knows his chances of beating West and Owen, only 33, will be more difficult as he gets older.

    “I know Thomas and Billy with the age they are, they obviously still have more chances than I do,” he said. “I would like to win a couple more if possible but we’ll just take them one at a time.”

    West also is building quite a record in the CCGC. He also is trying for a ninth win and trying to win in a fourth decade. His first win came in 1994.

    “It would mean an awful lot,” he said.

    “The one reason I love this tournament so much is it has sort of followed me throughout my life. When I first played in it, I was a 16-year-old kid in high school. Then I was a college student, then a law student and then a young professional. Now, I’m married with two kids. To be able to win through the years, it links to each one of those points in my life and has been very
    special,” he said.

    “To be able to say I won it in four decades would be quite an accomplishment. I guess Gary and I, for the moment, have this competition going and it would be great to win another.”

    Robinson is coming into the tournament in top form. He teamed up with Preston Edmondson of Morrisville to win the N.C. Senior Four-Ball Championship in August in Clemmons.

    In September, Robinson had a top 10 finish in the Carolinas Senior Amateur in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, and a top 20 finish in the North Carolina
    Mid Amateur in Sanford going against players who were mostly younger than him.

    There are other players expected to be in the field who could challenge the Big Three. Jake Barge finished second last year and Matt Hudson won the Cumberland County Match Play Championship in the spring. Chris Holland beat Owen in that event, ending his six-year winning streak.

    This will be the 53rd year of the CCGC, a tournament that has survived losing a major sponsor in 2014 and seeing a drop in participation.

    Bill Bowman, the publisher of Up & Coming Weekly, took over as tournament director and has staged the event at his home course of Gates Four. That is a change from the past when the event rotated to different courses in Cumberland County.

    “We almost lost this tournament altogether,” Bowman said. “There are few tournaments in North Carolina that have been around 53 years, that’s for sure. Keeping this one is extremely important, I think, to the community.”

    The tournament will take a step toward involving other courses next year. Bowman said King’s Grant has agreed to host the first round in 2022. Robinson is a co-owner of King’s Grant.

    “The sentiment of the players is they would like to see it moved around,” he said. “I think Bill Bowman is doing the best he can in keeping up with some of the traditions of the tournament. So, we’ll take the first round and see where it goes.”

    This year’s tournament will have a new wrinkle with the creation of a Junior Division for players 12-14 and 15-18. The field will be limited to 30 players. The entry fee is $145 and they will play Oct. 16-17.

    Entry forms for the CCGC and the junior division are available at cumberlandcountygolfclassic.com and at local golf shops.

    The entry fee for the CCGC is $175 for 54 holes for the Men’s and Senior Divisions and $145 for 36 holes in the Women’s and Super Senior (age 65 and over) Divisions.

    Players in the Adult Division must be 16 or older and live in Cumberland County. The deadline to enter is Oct. 10 at 5 p.m.

    William Schaefer won the Men’s Open Division last year, Michael Lane took the Senior title, Edwin Baez was the Super Senior champ and Clara Brown won the Women’s title.

    For questions, call Gates Four general manager Kevin Lavertu at 910-425-6667 or Bowman at 910-391-3859.

  • 12 N2004P64099HMarch 13, 2020, is a date that will be added to our ever-growing dates of historical events in the United States. Why? It was the date many of our states’ governors issued stay-at-home orders for all of its citizens amid growing concerns related to the coronavirus. By 5 p.m. on March 13, CNN.com reported that at least 1,666 coronavirus cases and 41 deaths had been confirmed in the U.S.

    At Fayetteville Technical Community College, we were already on alert, as the news of the deadly virus spread. Faculty received training on how to use Blackboard Collaborate, a tool much like Zoom or Google, and were directed to teach from home. In addition to this training, College administrators surveyed students regarding their access to wi-fi services and computers when away from the campus.

    I will admit that when the notification of the email flashed across my i-phone, I was a little taken aback. I knew how to prepare for a snow storm or hurricane but not a pandemic.

    Thoughts filled my head about what I needed to do and how to get it done. The only computer I had at my home was more than ten years old and had no web-camera. I had no printer, and to be honest, I did not have the money to purchase what I needed to continue serving my students.

    Fortunately for me, FTCC provided the needed computer with a web-camera for my use. I still had no printer, but because I teach math, my job doesn’t entail a great deal of printing. Internet service providers offered free internet service, and my cell phone service provider gave an additional 8 GB of data for the remainder of the month of March.

    That Saturday back in March, I was busily trying to help my middle-schooler adapt to his new learning environment—the kitchen table—while I set up my new office in the dining room.

    I fielded myriad emails from students.

    I did my best to reassure my students that we would all work together to get through this ordeal. Then the day arrived for us to have our first of many virtual class meetings.

    My experience felt like the first day of school all over again … I had to take time to help students find their virtual classroom, navigate the tools within the software and go over proper etiquette for meeting online.

    Needless to say, by the end of the first day, I was exhausted yet very pleased that my students could continue learning. They could continue to explore the concepts of binomial experiments, hypothesis testing and compounding interest rates!

    Fast forward, and here we are in month eight of this pandemic. Even though no one knows if and when our COVID-19 situation will go away, one thing is for sure: at FTCC, we are working to ensure that our students can continue to learn.

    Spring classes begin January 11; we hope you will register today and begin the new year staying connected to something positive — education at FTCC.

  • 10 01 sibling IMG 1952 COPYJared and Janna Rhodes are a brother and sister duo who have always been close despite their 8-year age difference. Jared, 25, is a house parent at Falcon Children's Home and Janna, 17, is a senior at Pine Forest High School. The two wrote a murder mystery book that was released earlier this year and is available online. The pair recently sat down with Up & Coming Weekly to share the idea behind the book, their writing process and future projects.

    Tell us how you conceived the idea for “Speak No Evil.”
    We kind of have a specific way of talking to one another. Something happened and she said something smart to me and I said, “You better shut up before I sew that mouth shut.” We kind of laughed about it and thought it was an interesting idea. We started discussing it and it became this whole idea of what if there was a serial killer named 'The Seamstress' who killed people who used their words to destroy rather than to build people up. To tell you the truth, it was the easiest project that we have ever worked on, the first draft was probably done in about two weeks.

    What is the inspiration behind this book?
    We are both musicians and are big TV people. A show that we had started watching is "Broadchurch." It is a British television crime story so that was kind of fresh on our minds. We were also thinking about the show "How To Get Away With Murder." It was almost like the stars aligned and all the information that we needed was in our heads and we were like "let’s just make this happen."

    What is the purpose of the book?
    I think the main purpose of it is entertainment, but we definitely have something to say in the book as well. We talk a lot about how words mean something. Words can build people up and they can destroy people as well. We thought what better way to show the power of how bad words can be. It is literally having someone take on this persona where he decides to physically shut someone up and then to emotionally and mentally shut the whole town up.
    Also, a purpose is to show how two different people can work on something like writing a book or trying to solve a mystery. The two main characters in the book are very much like my sister and I. We kind of use that to make a more cohesive dynamic when it comes to the main

    What can you tell us about the book without giving away any spoilers?
    It is set in the fictional town of Little Heaven, Georgia. We follow the exploits of a seasoned detective, Leroy Stone, and his police commissioner, Marleen Stricker. They are trying to find out who is killing these prominent members of the community. 'The Seamstress' is killing people who are not good people for the community or just in general not good individuals. To help out with the case, intrepid reporter Simone Garcia joins forces with the police to essentially uncover what’s going on in this town.

    Did you encounter challenges during the writing process?
    Yes, just really sweating the details because both of us are very much cut-to-the-chase big picture people. I had a friend of mine read through the first draft. We knew where the story was going but we just needed a little bit more meat so it felt like a more vibrant and cohesive story throughout.

    What has been your greatest achievement with this book?
    I think it may very well be the book itself. Neither of us ever thought we would write something like this. We love working with each other because we both think the same but we communicate things very differently. We can both say that we have a book that’s out and we did this and it was fun. We just want to do it again.

    What do you hope to gain from this book?
    Another aspect of my life is that I am a house parent at a children’s home. My boys love this kind of genre so I’ve been reading it to them. Them coming up to me having a theory about who 'The Seamstress' is or them wanting me to read them the next chapter is the best part. The fact that it is resonating with kids that have come from really bad situations and it puts a smile on their face is what we are really after.

    Will there be other books in the future?
    Maybe, yes. We have nine other books planned from one level to another. I can definitely say that they are not all going to be murder mysteries but they will be in the same universe.

    Final thoughts?
    Focus on the little details when you read the book. We put in a lot of details that if the right person knows this set amount of information they are going to find out who the killer is by the first couple of chapters. We also have a pen name and it is Grant Griffin. In the foreword and the afterword we write those things in the voice of this fictional author and he gives a thesis of the book and lets us be as weird as possible. It is just a way to spice up the book reading process.

    "Speak No Evil" is available online https://www.amazon.com/Speak-No-Evil-Grant-Griffin/dp/1663206376/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=speak+no+evil+grant+griffin&qid=1598115086&sr=8-3

    10 02 Speak No Evil

  • 07 Suzanne OwenThe principal of Cliffdale Elementary School, Suzanne Owen, has been named Cumberland County Schools’ 2021 Principal of the Year during the district’s first-ever virtual celebration.

    With 24 years of experience in education, Owen has served as principal of Cliffdale Elementary since 2018. Under her leadership, students met growth in all measures, exceeding growth in reading.

    “Her dedication to supporting teachers and building positive relationships with students is commendable, and we are fortunate to have her in CCS,” said school superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly.

    Tianna O’Brien, assistant principal at Bill Hefner Elementary School, was named the CCS 2021 Assistant Principal of the Year.

    As the district’s Principal of the Year winner, Owen received $3,000 from Lafayette Ford-Lincoln ($1,000 for personal use, $2,000 for school use), a cash award, iPad mini and floral arrangement from CCS, a commemorative Principal of the Year ring, an engraved desk clock and a trophy from the board of education.

    “This year—more than ever before—it’s important that we celebrate our school leaders who have shown resilience during a challenging and unprecedented school year,” said Dr. Connelly. As the district's Principal of the Year winner, Owen will now compete for the regional title.

    Pictured: Suzanne Owen

  • 01 01 kid abuse crayon drawingThe month of October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month to bring attention to the continued prevalence in the community and highlight resources and information available to victims and those trying to help them.

    About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience intimate partner physical violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Taking a closer look, about 43.9% of women and 19.3% of men in North Carolina experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.

    “We have seen an increase in calls not only in our county but in surrounding counties and out of state, all domestic violence shelters are filling up and staying at capacity,” Amy White, program director for Care Center Family Violence Program said. “As a result of COVID-19, many shelters to include the Care Center have had to reduce our capacity to be able to promote social distancing and keep everyone safe from not only domestic violence but from the virus too.”

    Cumberland County has a high volume of domestic violence cases, and most cases are referred to them by Child Protective Services, law enforcement, hospitals, and a lot of self-referrals, White said.

    “Our call volumes are pretty close to pre-pandemic numbers, but our crisis calls have increased from the short time-frame,” she said.

    County Resources

    The Care Center functions under the Cumberland County Department of Social Services to provide domestic violence counselling and education to both victims and abusers, as well as a safe house in the event that a victim and their children need to flee from an abusive situation.

    White said the center offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, women and children support groups, as well as outreach to educate the community on domestic violence. The Center also has a victim advocacy program offering guidance in the legal system such as how to obtain domestic violence protective orders, with a victim advocate that can accompany the victim to court to be a support system.

    The Care Center offers support groups in English and Spanish for women and children who have experienced domestic violence.

    Another available resource at the Care Center is the ‘Resolve Batter Treatment Program’ for abusers who attend a 26-week intensive class to be educated about domestic violence and it costs $175 dollars, she said.

    The Care Center sees the victim and the abuser separately and has three Human Services Clinical Counselors that are assigned either to the victim or the abuser. The counselors provide a domestic violence assessment (series of questions) to determine how much counseling the victim and the abuser would benefit from. Once the determination is made of how many sessions are needed, the victim and the abuser will begin counseling sessions.

    “During the sessions, our counselors focus on educating customers on what is domestic violence, how to avoid domestic violence, and provide coping skills to decrease the possibility of reoffending and victimization,” White said.

    We don’t allow them to graduate or get certificates because we don't know if they reoffend or not, but focus on providing the indication they need. Often times the abusers that enter the program are court-ordered to attend or are on probation, she said.

    The Care Center is the only domestic violence shelter in the county that offers stay at an undisclosed location where victims are escorted in by Fayetteville Police.

    “If someone calls in to get immediate shelter, we assess them to find out if they need emergency shelter, do they have any other family that they can go to and if they don’t then we accept them into the shelter,” White said.

    The shelter connects victims with legal aid, medicine and clothing among other needs.

    Fort Bragg Resources

    Fort Bragg’s Family Advocacy Program has eight victim advocates and a 24-hour hotline said Tom Hill, program manager at Family Advocacy which falls under Army Community Services.

    The program focuses on prevention but also provides advocates for victims of
    partner abuse.

    “The one thing we do have to tell them if an advocate is talking to them is that ‘hey if you bring up that you have been abused by your spouse or partner or child has been neglected, then the Family Advocacy Program kicks in which is mandatory,’ and there’s a review board that goes over each case,” he said.

    Hill said if victims aren’t ready to give their names yet and want to be anonymous, the program will help them as much as they can.

    Hill said that when working with soldiers, advocates remind them that there are rules of engagement in a combat zone and rules of engagement when they’re at home too.

    “Say a wife catches her husband cheating on her, she maybe punches him or something and a lot of us would do that but rules of engagement, you can't let your feelings get the better of you and not strike out,” Hill said. “Folks really need to know that this program will kick in if you have lost your temper and abused a spouse or a child.”

    The Family Advocacy Program will inform the service members command within 24 hours of a reported case.

    The Army offers a variety of rehabilitation efforts and corrective behavior programs, Hill said. All reports of abuse are taken very seriously, he said. A repetitive offense may lead to a discharge from service.

    “If a person has had time to get treatment done and has a second case of abuse then they are considered for a chapter or discharge but they do try very hard to rehabilitate,” Hill said. “The most difficult is to get dependents who are perpetrators into treatment.”

    When family members are the victims, they are often hesitant to report abuse because of the instability it would cause to the family if the spouse were discharged from the military. Hill said when a person is thinking about leaving their spouse they might have to completely start over with housing, finances, job, and FAP has many resources that can help with that process.

    “So [the Army] created a program called ‘Transitional Compensation’ where if a dependent comes forward and says I am being abused and their partner gets kicked out of the military, or incarcerated they will still be eligible for pay, medical and dental insurance and PX and Commissary privileges for up to three years after,” Hill said.

    The FAP works with the courthouse to provide a person a domestic violence protective order electronically by meeting the judge online at Fort Bragg. The program works closely with shelters in Hoke, Cumberland and Moore

    Signs of healthy versus unhealthy relationships

    White said part of the Care Center’s responsibility is to educate both victims and abusers of what a healthy relationship looks like.

    “The main important part of a healthy relationship is communication, you must be able to express your thoughts and feelings, bottling your emotions often results in an explosion and increases the risk of domestic violence,”
    she said.

    Other important factors of a healthy relationship include trust, being a good support system for one another and having time to yourself.

    “Being together 24/7 is not healthy in a relationship, it is important to be able to have time apart and do things you enjoy doing,” White said. “The saying is true about absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

    White said other signs of an unhealthy or unsafe relationship can be if the partner wants to move in after two weeks of meeting, if they become easily jealous, checking your whereabouts or your phone, throwing things when they get angry, calling you names or belittling you, making you feel like it’s your fault that they hit you.

    “If you spot these early in your relationships, then you need to get out as quickly as possible. The longer you stay, the worse the abuse becomes,” she said.

    Hill said the Care Center works with cases every week that involve other forms of abuse. “Some are emotional abuse, verbal abuse, financial abuse by controlling the money, or holding onto a person's ID cards and such,” she said.


    “COVID-19 and the pandemic absolutely has affected the hotline, we have seen an increase in the number of calls,” White said. “They are cooped up together, they don't have an outlet, this seems to have increased the hostility in the home, so we have seen a major increase in calls.”

    Fort Bragg hasn't seen an increase in cases during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hill said, noting that The Army Times released an article that said the Army overall has seen less cases during
    the pandemic.

    “But it's still worrisome to know that there’s still folks out there that could be cooped up with an abuser and we really have to get the word out,” Hill said.

    Be an ally

    If you see someone who has suspicious bruises, or if you know someone who is experiencing domestic violence, give them the Care Center Crisis Line which is 910-677-2532.

    White advised it is up to that victim or the abuser to seek out help, and it is important for the community to know that sometimes all you can do is provide them with resources that can help.

    “Be a listening ear, let them know you are there for them. It usually takes up to 7 times before a victim finally leaves their abuser,” she said. “Often, when we have a friend who might be in an abusive relationship, we are quick to tell them to leave - do not do this. It is up to that victim to decide when they feel comfortable to leave, it is their decision.”

    She said there could be several reasons a person may not be leaving a relationship some of them being financial, fear of life and safety, no place to stay.

    The Care Center is always in need of donations for things like hygiene items, women’s products, clothes, diapers in different sizes for kids, twin bed sheets and comforters. To help call 910-677-2528 and the Care Center will provide a list of immediate donation needs.

    Although the Care Center has been around for 41 years, many people are not aware of it, White said.

    “We just want them to know that we are here for them, and if they know someone out in the community that experienced domestic violence to provide them with our contact,” she said.

    Available Resources
    Local area resources for victims of domestic abuse are listed below:
    Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office
    Non-emergency 910-323-1500
    Victim assistance 910-677-5454 or https://ccsonc.org/
    Cumberland County Family Court
    910-475-3015 or https://www.nccourts.gov/locations/cumberland-county
    Safe-Link Domestic Violence Assistance Program
    910-475-3029, Cumberland County Courthouse Room 340, 3rd floor
    Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office

    Fayetteville Police Department
    910-433-1529; Victim Assistance 910-433-1849 or
    The CARE Center Family Violence Program
    Crisis Line 910-677-2532 or office 910-677-2528
    •Legal Aid of North Carolina-Fayetteville Chapter
    910-483-0400 or legalaidnc.org
    Rape Crisis Center Hot Line
    910-485-7273 or https://www.rapecrisisonline.org/
    Army Community Service
    910-396-8262 or bragg.armymwr.com/us/bragg/
    U. S. Army Family Advocacy Program
    910-322-3418 or hotline 910-584-4267

  • 04 Dobbins2016 000 1Covid-19 has exposed the inadequacies of our society and economy.

    All across North Carolina and here in Spring Lake we’re seeing our families, friends and neighbors go without proper health care, jobs and sufficient unemployment benefits.

    North Carolina is one of only 12 states that has not adopted Medicaid expansion even though 90% of the costs would be covered by federal funds.

    It is past time for our elected officials to invest in North Carolina, our citizens and our hospitals.

    It’s time to send legislators to Raleigh who’ll put aside partisan politics and listen to the needs of our citizens.

    We can’t afford to be short-sighted any longer; we must begin investing now.

    Affordable and accessible healthcare is necessary to ensure the wellbeing of our families, friends and neighbors.

    Medicaid expansion will help close the coverage gap and increase economic growth to our state.

    As retired state employees, my wife and I were fortunate to have adequate insurance coverage through the North Carolina Teachers’ Retirement System.

    Because of the fact that she was insured, she received great medical care and treatment.

    We didn’t have to experience bankruptcy when she became terminally ill as her final medical expenses greatly exceeded $2,000,000.00.

    Many citizens of Spring Lake are not as fortunate, through no fault of their own.

    As the richest and most progressive country in the world, we have a responsibility to speak up in support of the less fortunate, the disenfranchised, the poor and our elderly.

    I speak on behalf of the 13,000 residents of the Town of Spring Lake, many of whom are on fixed incomes, working low-wage jobs, or have no jobs at all.

    Pictured: Spring Lake Mayor Larry G. Dobbins

  • 03 WhiteHouseFlagNot much is certain about the 2020 presidential race except one cold hard fact.

    No matter who is elected—Joe Biden or Donald Trump, he will be the oldest man ever sent to the United States White House by American voters. At 77 and 74 respectively, neither Biden nor Trump is anywhere near spring chicken status, and that triggers more than a few thoughts about the aging of our nation’s leadership.

    Are some of our leaders simply too old to serve—or as Trump sometimes put it, “losing it?”—or are we being ageist even to suggest that? Ronald Reagan was 77 when he left the White House, and more than one observer hinted that he had cognitive issues even then.

    Here are the facts. We have age floors to run for political office—25 for the U.S. House, 30 for the U.S. Senate, and 35 for President.

    We have no ceilings, however, and here are the ages of some of our other decision makers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 80. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is 78. The oldest House member is Don Young of Alaska, 87, and seeking his 25th term in Congress. Senator Diane Feinstein is also 87 and has 3 years left in her current term. Senator Strom Thurman died at 100 and was by many accounts well into la-la land when he met his maker.

    State and local officials around the nation skew a bit younger. Governor Roy Cooper is a spritely 63, and Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin practically a teenager at 47.

    Leaders of other nations are generally younger than ours as well. France’s President is 42; Austria’s 34; North Korea 36; and New
    Zealand 40.

    To what do we attribute our aging leadership, our gerontocracy, defined as a state, society, or group governed by old people?

    Writing in Politico, Timothy Noah pictures a 3-legged stool.

    Our leaders age in place. Many factors contribute to this. The power of incumbency keeps them in their jobs. The seniority system in Congress and state legislators guarantee that the longer one stays in office, the more powerful he/she is likely to become. And, over the last decade, extreme gerrymandering—North Carolina is ground zero of this phenomenon—makes the vast majority of seats in both Congress and state legislatures the absolute property of one party or the other. A small percentage of seats are actually partisanly competitive.

    American voters are old. Pundits expound on the youth vote, which is certainly important, but reality is that Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, love to vote and do so reliably. This gives them clout that other demographics can only envy until they start voting in similar numbers.

    And, finally, our nation itself is old. We like to think of ourselves as a youthful nation on the world stage, but in truth we are the world’s oldest existing democracy. According to Noah, no nation in the world has an older written Constitution than ours, and ours has become a tad creaky. In this election season, our Electoral College is front and center as a Constitutional relic that needs attention unless we want to continue seating Presidents who do not prevail in the popular vote. Other provisions, enacted by white property-owning men in the late 1700s, could stand another look as well.

    So, do we establish mandatory retirement ages for our electeds? North Carolina has set 72 for our state judges, and we have lost many capable people and retained some we should not. The same could be true for Presidents, members of Congress, state legislators and others. There is a lot to be said for the wisdom that comes with age and the institutional memory that comes with service.

    Once we install the next elderly white man into the White House, national, state, and local efforts to decrease gerontocracy should focus on the structures and processes that have allowed it to develop and take hold, not on the individuals blessed with longevity.

  • 10 HolmesMy name is Heather S. Holmes and I am your Republican candidate running for the House of Representatives District 44. I am a single mom and have a 12-year-old son.

    I am a Christian and a member of First Baptist Church in Raeford. I’m acting youth leader at my church and the VBS director as well as a member of the choir and handbell choir.

    I have humble roots. My maternal grandfather was a WWII veteran and coal miner in West Virginia. My paternal grandfather had only a 4th grade education, but as an entrepreneur taught my parents the values of hard work, perseverance, pride of self and country and instilled not only those but my Christian values in me and my younger sister.

    Professionally, I’m a government contractor and I work to provide commercial products to federal and military customers with the Defense Logistics Agency.
    I want to be the one to represent you in Raleigh by introducing new legislation to protect our children from pedophiles and sexual abuse. There needs to be stricter laws and harsher punishment for those who rob the innocence of others. I will be the voice for those silenced.

    I believe in school choice. As a full-time working mom who homeschools I believe parents should have the right to choose how to educate your child.

    As the daughter of military veterans and law enforcement veterans, I have seen first-hand the impact of war both abroad and local to our community. Our military and law enforcement (both active and veteran) are mistreated, neglected and forgotten when it comes to their mental health. I will work with medical and naturopathic doctors to provide safe and alternative treatments for those who suffer with PTSD, depression and anxiety and other mental illness. They have given so much and don’t ask for anything in return.

    I am a card carrying member of the NRA and North Carolina Grassroots and will vote to protect North Carolinians’ right to keep and bear arms.

    As a Christian, I believe that all life is sacred. I am a strong pro-life advocate and will fight for the lives of unborn children.

    The coronavirus has hit our state pretty hard and the restrictions that were initially put in place for safety have now become about control. North Carolina needs to reopen businesses and get back to normal life in a safe way. Small business owners especially are struggling with the shutdown and it has and still is affecting their way of life. It's important to balance the needs of the economy with the concern’s citizens have for their health. I will work with the governor and other legislators and medical officials to reopen our state and bring back our thriving economy.

    North Carolina has made significant improvements in education funding and teacher pay and we are committed to continuing improvement. Democrats and Governor Cooper voted against every teacher pay raise because they said they weren't good enough.

    Not only do we need more teachers, we need better education, vouchers for parents wanting to use other options for their children’s education as well as more materials and funding for the arts.

    I won't play politics. I will do whatever I can to improve educational outcomes for students and help retain teachers.

    I will not make promises I cannot keep but I will work very hard for the citizens of Cumberland County to not only make our county better, but also our state.

    I hope you will vote for me to be your House of Representative for District 44.

  • 09 araguesMy name is Christina M. Aragues, a single mother of three and Army veteran who is currently running as a write-in candidate for Cumberland County School Board District 3 in North Carolina.

    I came to Fayetteville in 2010 for assignment to Fort Bragg and made this my home. I have a varied and unique background that I can draw from to help our community. I am the daughter of a retired public school teacher. I worked for special programs in California teaching math, essay writing and SAT skills in disadvantaged schools. I was an EMT in the Air Force and then an officer in the active duty Army. I have planned and helped build training areas in Romania and Bulgaria. I have worked as a project manager for a major bank developing diverse technological solutions for its customers. Developing multiple contingency plans is my expertise.

    When I first learned of the lack of solutions for returning to school whether in-person, in a hybrid manner or remotely, I was appalled. I could not understand how the board had not worked with experts in the community to find solutions. We are not the only ones in the world, country or state facing these challenging decisions. We need more diversity among our school board. We need parents with diverse backgrounds who will seek to communicate and listen to all in the community.

    The school board’s mismanagement during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was the final straw that convinced me to enter the race. As an Army officer, I was taught to think about and plan for second- and third-order effects. This approach is clearly lacking with the current school board’s response to COVID-19 and I will point out why.

    First, the current school board voted to keep schools closed and continue with online education. They decided this without listening to the plan that Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly had worked hard to create. Sadly, there are currently over 10,000 children in our county who have not logged onto the training and 7,000 special needs children. With each passing day, these kids fall further and further behind. The gap is greatly increasing between the privileged and underprivileged children. Had the school board planned for second and third-order effects they would have ensured that no child was left behind.

    This leads me to my next point: the current school board members do not have children who attend school. In essence, they do not have a dog in the fight. It is easier to dictate closings, openings and school schedules when it doesn’t impact you at all. What was the impact of the school closings on single parents or dual-military parents? The school closings added an additional expense of up to $600 per month per kid for parents and single parents who already have tight budgets. Parents need a voice.

    Lastly, if the school board failed to plan and adjust for COVID-19 , can we really expect them to handle the next pandemic or crisis that will arise? Are they planning for the reintroduction of children back into the school system? How many kids will get left behind under the current leadership? Since I’ve been in North Carolina my current district has dropped from 47% to low 30s% in test scores. We cannot let our children suffer anymore. The time for change is now.

    As a last-minute write-in candidate, getting the word out is especially difficult. Our current board member is running unopposed on the ballot. Unless someone hears my name, she is the only choice. When elected, I plan to ensure that Cumberland County Schools are doing the right thing for all students.
    For more information visit www.facebook.com/christinaaragues1/

  • 05 diverse group circleE Pluribus Unum or “Out of many, one” is the United States’ traditional motto. I can’t think of anywhere else in the world that such a slogan would even be proposed, let alone embraced. It has produced a society that is unique in human experience. Our national personality has morphed through the years as different cultures have been adopted and embraced the American experience.

    I see this in our cuisine. What shall we have tonight, Asian, Italian, Greek, Sushi, barbecue? All these are similar yet somewhat different from what you would get in the places of origin. Each is influenced by the different cultures that make up the American personality. I think they are better than the originals, and the same can be said about Americans. As a nation, I genuinely believe that we are the most accepting, generous and engaged people on earth.

    So how did we get to the point where we now find ourselves? A place where friends, families and portions of society are against one another. How do we get back to E Pluribus Unum? We could start with our Constitution. In the beginning, the Preamble lays out for us the intent of this steadfast document. “We, the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union...”

    Notice it says “a more perfect union,” not a perfect union. The Framers thought we should work towards perfection. They knew we had flaws, some of them severe. The challenge was to strive towards perfection, something they knew was unattainable but still worthy of the effort.

    Maybe the most important word is “union.” Defined, a union is an act of joining or being joined. It’s “a club, society, or association formed by people with a common interest.”

    Today we have people, agencies and organizations pitted against one another with what appears to be an all-or-nothing mentality. We seem to have lost our ability to empathize or compromise with opposing views. Worse is the willingness to vilify and demonize anyone who disagrees with us. The lack of civility in public discourse is stunning—the use of deception and falsehoods to silence someone who dares to think differently borders on being immoral. Is the willingness to resort to violence for the same purpose dangerous to individuals and the larger society? This will lead to catastrophe if we don’t get it under control. So how do we stop this level of intolerance?

    First, we must accept the fact that no one is the center of the universe. While we all have value, no one is inherently more valuable than anyone else. At the same time, as the Declaration of Independence states, “We are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” We should be steadfast in defending those rights as much for others as we do for ourselves.

    Secondly, we should not just be willing to listen to other opinions; we must make an effort to truly understand them. This is tricky because we often mistake opinions for facts — especially our own. It is essential sometimes to let go of your views and listen to the other person's concerns. Emotions have to be vented before moving on to an honest discussion.

    If you can bring yourself to consider the other person's point of view with an open mind and heart, you will begin to develop understanding. You may conclude that some things you thought were real and genuine are not. You may convince the other person that they were not 100% correct. You may even conclude that the things that have divided us are more about misunderstanding than they are about cross-purposes. At this point, we may even begin to drift back to E Pluribus Unum.

    This is why I am running for Cumberland County’s District 43rd Seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Communication is crucial, and if we talk with one another and treat each other with respect and fairness, there is no situation or problem we cannot collectively overcome. I have decades of public service experience and a verifiable record of working and communicating with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to solve problems and find workable solutions for my constituents. I will continue to do so as your representative in District 43 of the NC House.

    We have lots of work to do for Cumberland County and North Carolina. Recovering the economy, providing affordable health care, educating our children, protecting the environment, expanding broadband to rural areas, protecting our citizens and providing for our needy and vulnerable. These are my priorities, and they are all within our grasp. E Pluribus Unum. May God make it so.

  • In the “Game of Thrones” when a character wanted to scare people he would say “Winter is coming.” But before the Night King shows up in 2020, Halloween is coming. This column will grace the streets and bird cage bottoms the week before Halloween. As this year has been an abyss of boredom, it is only fitting to ponder what the endgame of 2020 might be able to bring us in the way of excitement and constitutional crisis. So far 2020 has been a mundane and forgettable experience. Nothing new has happened. Everyone has gotten along swimmingly.

    The lions have lain down with the lambs without tufts of bloody wool or even rancor in the air. As our old French pal Voltaire’s character Candide said: “This is the best of all possible worlds.” Voltaire may have been funning us just a little bit with this philosophy, but he wrote in French so who knows? The French also think that Jerry Lewis was the world’s greatest comic genius and that snails are good to eat. You might want to take French philosophy with a grain of salt. If you have some salt left over you can spread it on the snails in your back yard, fry them up in garlic and wine and have them for supper. But I digress.

    Back to Halloween, which next to Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for anyone who is keeping score. Mr. Google opines that Halloween began once upon a long time ago as a Celtic festival called Samhain. Samhain is many centuries old, coming to us courtesy of the Druids. Samhain was the event horizon between the end of summer and beginning of the winter. Fun time was over and survival time was about to begin. The living and the dead bumped up against each other on Samhain. Ghosts came back to mess with the living. In order to prevent the ghosts from harming the living, the Celts turned to their priests, the Druids. Like Jerry Falwell Jr. and other religious leaders, the Druids were in charge of telling the common folks what they should do to stay on the good side of the Gods.

    It turned out the best way to keep ghosts at bay was to have a party. The Druids built bonfires to offer sacrifices to the Gods. The common folks dressed up in animal skins and costumes to boogie down around the sacred bonfires. They partied like it was 100 B.C. As smart as the Druids were, they weren’t smart enough to keep the Romans out. Around 43 A.D. the Romans ruled the Celts. No one ever accused Romans of missing the opportunity to have a party. The Romans combined Samhain with a couple of their festivals: Feralia which honored dead Romans and Pomona which honored apples and fruit trees. Mr. Google says Pomona is the source of the custom of bobbing for apples at Halloween.

    The Catholic church in 1000 A.D. declared November 1 and 2 as All Saint’s Day and All Souls’ Day to remember the dead. The proximity of the date of All Souls’ Day with Samhain was a means of getting rid of the Celt’s holiday but replacing it with a Vatican approved holiday doing about the same thing. The Medieval peasants partied down dressing as angels, saints and devils hanging out around bonfires. The night before All Saint’s day was called All-Hallows which eventually became our old friend Halloween. As you sit at home socially distancing this Halloween without trick or treaters or COVID-19 knocking at your door, kindly give a thought to the Druids who made this all possible.

    Now back to the premise of this written waste of your time. What comes at the end of 2020 that might wake us from our stupor of this most bland of years? There is an election coming up shortly that might be somewhat interesting. Recently our Dear Leader had a rally on the South Lawn of the White House with about 400 of his friends, the good people of BLEXIT. The BLEXIT fans may have had some of their travel expenses paid to attend the rally. Nothing says we are behind you like paid supporters. The White House rally was a striking super spreader festival of red hats and turquoise shirts. It appears as a result of this rally, that Dear Leader has wrapped up the Garden Gnome vote as the attendees all dressed like Garden Gnomes. In a close Presidential election, the Garden Gnome vote could be decisive. Like Hillary Clinton ignoring the voters of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in 2016, Joe Biden’s failure to court Garden Gnomes could prove fatal to his Presidential ambitions. There is no known Gnomes for Joe PAC supporting the Biden campaign. Biden has given short shrift to the Gnome vote.

    The Garden Gnomes are a mysterious cohort of voters. No one knows why there is a G in their tribal name of Gnomes. Wouldn’t a Garden Nome without a G smell as sweet? Our favorite antelope the Gnu also has a silent G. A gnat without its G would still be as irritating as a Nat. If The Rona is causing you to gnash your teeth at night from stress, wouldn’t your teeth wear down at the same rate if you dropped the G and just nashed your teeth? What’s up with that? Why does the English language waste all these G’s? Ponder this Mr. English Professor: Nome, Alaska has gotten along perfectly well without a G in its name since it was founded in 1901.

    As Tiny Tim almost said, “A Merry Samhain to us all; may the Druids bless us, every one!”

    04 01 IMG 3899








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    Pictured: The author postulates that POTUS may have secured the Garden Gnome vote since attendees at a recent rally were dressed as gnomes.

  • 03 we the people gavel constitutionIn less than 2 weeks, the U.S. presidential election and down-ballot races will be history. While it might take a while to sort out the top race, at some point either Joe Biden or Donald Trump will be declared the victor, and the United States will move forward just as we have done every year since 1792. Supporters of the winner will be elated and vindicated, and supporters of the losing candidate will be sad. There is a possibility, some observers say a probability, of violence in some parts of the nation no matter which candidate prevails.

    At some point, though, there will be acceptance. The president and other newly-electeds will take up the business of governance, and the rest of us will return to our lives, such as they are during COVID.

    America is going to have a monumental hangover, however, not from substances but from our own anger. Somehow politics in our country has gone from wanting the best for America, even though we might differ about how to achieve that, to anger, even rage, at each other. Both sides now call names and demean the other, although it has to be said that Donald Trump has turned rage driven name calling into a new and despicable art form. So intense is our national anger that political scholars have taken to studying and writing about it, as does Steven W. Webster in “American Rage: How Anger Shapes Our Politics.”
    In his book, Webster posits that “identity politics,” mixing partisan feelings with ethnic, cultural and ideological leanings are pitting “us” against “them,” with very little concept of “we.” He also addresses the rise of “niche” media, which allow us to listen only to positions we agree with in our own little echo chambers. Ditto for the development of the internet and other technologies that allow for little policing of fact and facilitate the spread of not only false but wacky and dangerous ideas, like QAnon.

    Anger operates within and motivates both Democrats and Republicans. Writing for University of Virginia Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball,

    Webster says that in 2008, 43% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans reported anger toward the other party’s candidate (Barack Obama and John McCain respectively). By 2016, those numbers had zoomed to 89% of Democrats reporting anger at Donald Trump and 90% of Republicans expressing anger at Hillary Clinton. God only knows what those numbers are now with election day 2020 looming.

    The question becomes, at least for me, is anger any way to choose the leader of our nation who also remains the leader of the free world?
    Politicians, of course, stoke anger because it drives out turnout of their bases, and Donald Trump is the undisputed master. But we all pay the cost for that. The price is trust in government, down from 73% in 1958 to a woeful 17% in 2019, according to Webster. Government at any level is far from perfect, but it does act, at least theoretically, on behalf of the “we.” If “we” do not trust it even 20%, how can we ever keep support for programs like Medicare and Social Security that benefit millions of Americans? How can we hold our nation and our democracy together if we regularly hurl metaphorical—and sometimes actual—stones at each other?

    Both Trump and Biden can contribute to the problem, but neither of them can solve it. We, the American people, have got to want our democracy enough to work for it. We have to quit allowing ourselves to be played by anger and to think not just of “me and mine” but “we and ours.”

    This feels like the 11th hour.

  • 02 open our schoolsThe first segment of the 2020 Virtual Candidates Forums has aired, and the second segment featuring Cumberland County Commissioner candidates concluded Oct. 20. We can only hope that the second Commissioner's Forum provides more insights and substance than the first. With very few exceptions, the six school board candidates that participated (two did not) for the Cumberland County Board of Education segment were extremely unimpressive, lacking substance and details.

    The 2020 Virtual Candidate Forum introduces candidates to the community so voters can evaluate their talent, intelligence, desire and capabilities to be responsible public servants and successfully move our community forward. Regretfully, if you are a parent or guardian with children in the public school system, once you have viewed the candidates' forum, you will probably consider moving out of the county, advocating for school education vouchers, or scrambling to enroll your child in a private, Christian or charter school program.

    My disappointments with the segment were many. However, there were two that struck me as most conspicuous and egregious. First, the emphasis many candidates placed on the need for more funding and financial resources from the state and county. It was like their sole solution to a more responsive and effective school system was "more money!"

    More money seemed to be the answer and overall panacea for all the ills, woes and challenges facing the CCS. Crazy! I acknowledge the current school board had to spend a lot of their financial resources dealing with the COVID-19 situation. Yet, with approximately $13 million in reserve remaining, I hardly think anyone believes they can spend their way out of a steadily declining school system.

    Secondly, and the most disturbing to me personally, Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly was never mentioned by any of the candidates during their interviews. The word "superintendent" was never spoken or even referenced in any context. How could this be? For decades Cumberland County has prided itself on the talent and leadership qualities of our school system superintendent. With Dr. Marvin Connelly, we have one of the best administrators with over a quarter of a century of proven success in North Carolina public education. School Board candidates did not even mention his name or indicate their willingness to work with him to support the school system's successful management. Several years ago, Dr. Connelly came to Cumberland County from Wake County, one of the state's largest school systems. The school board hired Connelly for his experience and expertise in managing large school systems. It is disturbing that no candidate recognized his contributions, accomplishments, leadership abilities, or indicated their enthusiasm and willingness to work with him and other board members to produce and secure the best possible education for the children of Cumberland County. Extremely disappointing.

    Yet, many of the candidates spoke openly of the importance and need for working together in harmony by having more productive and effective communications. Again, never mentioning the school superintendent. In my opinion, a very glaring omission for anyone serious about seeking a board position. You be the judge. Go directly to the 2020 Virtual Candidates Forum at https://vimeo.com/467489706 or log on 24/7 to any one of the websites hosted by the sponsors: Piedmont Natural Gas, The Fayetteville Observer, Longleaf Pine Association of Realtors, the Home Builders Association of Fayetteville, Greater Fayetteville Chamber, and Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper.

    Do this today. It is vitally important. Open Our School signs are popping up all over the county. There is a critical message here. Parents and guardians want to know who the people are looking out for their children's best interests. They want competent and responsible leaders. They want people who will reopen the schools to minimize and avoid the risk of raising our next generation of children intellectually deficient and socially ill-prepared to meet real-world challenges.

    Parents, guardians and teachers alike want intelligent nonpartisan education leaders who understand the consequences of humanity's harsh realities. These realities crush ignorant, uneducated and culturally disadvantaged children without empathy in as they are helpless while trying to survive in a competitive, ruthless environment. With fifty thousand Cumberland County student lives at stake, an unqualified, inept and politically charged board of education will be engaged in a high-risk gamble using our children and future generations' lives as table stakes. It's a sucker's bet we cannot afford to make. We must know beyond a shadow of doubt in whose capable hands we are entrusting our childrens' education.

    The following week's forum will feature North Carolina legislative races, and the last segment will include statewide offices, according to Henry Tyson, chairman of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber's governmental affairs committee. Forum segments are currently online. The questions presented to the candidates during the forums were provided by the Government Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, the Legislative Committees of the Longleaf Pine Association of Realtors and Homebuilders Association of Fayetteville.

    Get involved. Vote! Someone said, "…. the threat of losing our democracy and American freedoms is only one generation away." Well, folks, that generation is starting kindergarten in 2020. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 01 01 vmacocss05 1190982319063 1 123 1Thomas Owen put the 52nd annual Cumberland County Golf Championship in his pocket even before rain canceled the final round.

    Owen shot 68-67 for a 135 total of nine under par at Gates Four Golf & Country Club. It gave him a likely insurmountable lead of nine shots over runner-up Jake Barge.

    “It would have taken a pretty special round,” said Owen, when asked if he thought anyone could have caught him. “I was playing well with tough conditions so I would have liked my chances, but it's certainly possible.”

    Barge, who shot 70-74 for an even par total of 144, would have liked an opportunity to play one more round.

    “I don't think I could have caught him,” Barge said. “My goal was just to put a little pressure on him. As far as catching him, the way he was playing, I don't think that was a possibility.”
    Billy West, who tied for third with a 145 total, agreed with Barge.

    “Thomas played incredible golf considering how difficult Gates Four was playing,” West said. “The rough was as high as it's ever been out there. No one would have caught Thomas. He was clearly playing the best. He is a smart player with great course management.”

    The win continued an amazing streak for Owen in the county championship tournament. Except for a few strokes, he could have five straight victories. He won the title in 2016 and then finished as runner-up three straight years before this year's victory.

    “I was motivated to play my best after feeling like I let a couple slip away,” he said. “I didn't want to let another one slip away.”
    Owen made 13 birdies and only four bogeys.

    “I played really well,” he said. “My putting has really clicked and that's the difference in shooting really good scores. I did not three-putt which is always helpful.”

    Owen has a unique way of practicing his putting. He doesn't even have to go outside.

    “I putt in my living room quite a bit,” he said. “I have a good rug for putting. Even though, that's not playing golf, it's helpful to just get the ball started on the line you want it to and try to putt the ball to a small target.”

    Tournament officials made the decision to cancel the final round after heavy overnight rain following the second round and an unfavorable forecast from the remnants of Hurricane Delta.

    “We told the guys when they were checking in Saturday to play hard because we may have to shorten the tournament,” said Gates Four General Manager Kevin Lavertu. “We didn't see any clearing for Sunday and transitioning to cart path only. Plus, we've got some holes that from time to time hold some water on them. Overall, I think it was the right decision.”

    Lavertu said the course received six-tenths of an inch of rain overnight.

    “Even though it's a competitive event, you still want people to have a little bit of fun,” he said. “If people go out there and they're miserable, it just makes the whole experience bad. I always try to take the pulse of the players and weigh all the outcomes.”

    Owen said he understood the decision to cancel.

    “I know Gates Four can sometimes get pretty wet out there,” he said. “It can make the playing conditions almost unmanageable on some holes and the forecast was pretty terrible. It was bittersweet because I wanted to play some more golf since I was playing well. But at the same time, I was leading the tournament, so I will take it.”

    Owen said he wasn't thinking that the second round might be the last one.

    “That never crossed my mind,” he said. “I was a little late to realize how bad the weather was supposed to be. I was just trying to keep the pedal to the metal.”

    West, who has played in all but one of the county championships in the past 30 years and is sort of an historian of the event, said it was the first time the final round had been canceled by weather since 1996.

    He said another final round was canceled in the 1980s and, ironically, both rain-shortened tournaments were won by Gary Moore.

    West was tied for third place with Gary Robinson, also at 145. Both men have won the most county titles with eight.

    William Schaefer won the men's open division by shooting 78-79 for a 157 total. He won by one stroke over Luke McCorquodale, Michael Gonsalves and Trenton Reid.

    Michael Lane shot 72-73 for 145 to win the senior division by two shots over Gary Moore.

    The men's super seniors and the women's division were scheduled to play 36 holes but only played 18.

    Edwin Baez shot 74 to win the super seniors by four shots over Charles Franks and Marv Houghton.

    Clara Brown, who won the women's senior division last year, won the overall title this year with a round of 88. She won by four shots over Lisa Harvey.

    There were only four women competing this year and that is a focus for tournament director Bill Bowman.

    “We've got good women golfers in Cumberland County,” he said. “We just need to get them out and the way we're going to do that is we're going to raise the prestige of the women's play and we're going to promote it.”

    Bowman has another idea to grow the tournament. Next year, there will be a youth division for players age 13-17.

    “We want to try to cultivate players of the future,” he said.

    There were only 63 players this year compared to 88 last year. Bowman feels COVID-19 hurt turnout.

    “Covid has just overshadowed everything this year,” he said. “We had a lot of last-minute signups because a lot of people didn't think we were going to have it.”

    Bowman has worked hard since he took over as tournament director in 2016 to try and increase participation. He said next year's final two rounds would remain at Gates Four but he wants to hold the first round at another county course. Last year, the first round was held at Stryker Golf Course on Fort Bragg.

    “Gates Four has been really gracious in helping me retain and build this project,” Bowman said. “We're very excited about next year’s tournament, and the dates for the 53rd Annual Cumberland County Golf

    Championship have already been confirmed for October 15, 16, 17 in 2021."

    Details and updates can be found on the official CCGC website www.cumberlandcountygolfclassic.com. Further information may be obtained by calling the CCGC Tournament office at 910-391-3859.

    Pictured above:  52nd Cumberland County Golf Champion Thomas Owen poses with his daughter and the 2020 championship trophy.

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    Pictured: Women's Division champion Clara Brown (left) poses with CCGC tournament director Bill Bowman (right) at Gates Four Golf & Country Club.


  • 02 Virtual Candidates Forums Quarter RegularYou can watch the Election 2020 Virtual Candidates Forum at https://vimeo.com/467489706.

    This forum features candidates for the Cumberland County Board of Education.

    The next forum will be Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. featuring Cumberland County Board of Commissioners candidates.

  • 17 dad and son in pumpkin patchFunny how our perspective can change. Until recently, I didn't think I'd ever enjoy arriving somewhere to find it already crowded. The past few weeks have seemed completely alive in our part of North Carolina.

    Waking to cooler mornings and flipping the page on the calendar to seal the arrival of October made it really feel like fall. Overnight, it became more acceptable to lean into the colors that only seem appropriate at this time of year.

    Traditionally, it's a time for festivals celebrating harvests of one kind or another, and a time when people begin to drop the pretense the summer seems to carry with it.

    As I drove past the farms on Gillis Hill the past few weekends, I was thrilled to see the crowds. People lined up for ice cream, and families wandering through the pumpkin patch on a quest for the one that will perfectly adorn their porch. And the kids. It was a joy to see dozens of children, unaffected by all that's tainted their parents' worlds these past seven months, laughing, playing, jumping and just being together.

    If we've learned nothing else since we closed the doors on so many of our regular haunts since March, I hope we've learned how much we need each other. We're built for community. Whether or not we'll admit it, we all crave human contact.

    To hear a voice speak directly to us, see a smile directed at us, and even to shake a hand or feel an arm around our shoulder is irreplaceable.

    Being secluded at home and having to wonder as we wander in a store as we gather necessities has been trying at best. I wonder if he's smiling? Do I shake his hand? Is it going to freak my old friend out if I try to give her a hug? But the sunshine, the cooler days, and the feeling of fall has beckoned us all out of our castles and into the open where we can begin to share experiences once again.

    With all the forces that have seemingly been working to divide us, this fresh, new season has given us all a way to both forget and remember. Like a family reunion on a grand scale, coming together again gives us the opportunity to forget that bad news gets good ratings as we remember that we were always on each others' side.

    If you haven't done so already, I hope you get out and enjoy the company of other humans soon. Go for a walk in one of the great parks surrounding us. Enjoy lunch in the fresh air outside a favorite restaurant. Visit one of the many agri-tourism spots here in Cumberland County. Wear a mask if it makes you more comfortable, but let people get a peek at your smile every now and then. We need you. And we need each other.

    Pictured: The beginning of fall can give us a fresh perspective on sharing our lives with each other.


  • 16 shanatucker creditThe Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater, located in downtown Lumberton, is presenting two upcoming virtual concerts that have been pretaped on its stage while the theater is closed to in-person audiences due to COVID-19 social gathering restrictions.

    These performances were originally scheduled as part of its 2020-21 season and continue the theater’s commitment to programming during the ongoing pandemic and its related audience restrictions for performance centers.

    The first concert will premiere 7 p.m. Oct. 17 and will feature the Raleigh-based musician and singer-songwriter Shana Tucker and her quartet.

    With a deep respect for lyrical storytelling, Tucker delivers a unique voice through her self-described genre of "ChamberSoul.™ Her melodies weave strong hints of jazz, classical, soulful folk, acoustic pop and a touch of R&B into a distinctive rhythmic tapestry.

    The performances are premiering on the theater’s Facebook page at “Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater” and are shared on its website at www.carolinaciviccenter.com.

    The theater’s previous “Spotlight on Local Talent” Performance Series, featuring eight installments also can be viewed on its website. This performance is partially underwritten by a grant from the Robeson County Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council.

    Touted by JazzTimes Magazine as a jazz talent “…whose imprint and vitality has already been quite visible…” Tucker’s style and sound has been described as a blend of Dianne Reeves, Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman, with an efficient complexity that is reminiscent of Bill Withers.

    ChamberSoul™ best describes what the listener should expect when experiencing Shana’s music. “I’m intrinsically drawn to 'real' instruments, with resonance, tone and depth that can sound without amplification. Whenever and however possible, I always try to set a tone of acoustic intimacy with my colleagues on stage, and also with the audience, so that the music, performers and audience feel close and tangible, no matter the size the venue.”

    Tucker has opened for internationally-acclaimed artists including Norah Jones, Lisa Fischer, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Hamiet Bluett, Javon Jackson, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Indigo Girls.

    While the concert is free, a donation link will be available to help support artist fees and production costs. The next concert will feature the all-female bluegrass group Sweet Potato Pie and will premiere Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 26.

    For additional information, please contact the Carolina Civic Center at 910-738-4339 or visit

    Pictured:The first of two virtual concerts from the Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater will feature Shana Tucker and her quartet. The concert will premiere Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. (Photo courtesy Shana Tucker.)

  • 15 virtual ddeviceOn Oct. 8, Fayetteville Technical Community College hosted College Transfer Day via a virtual platform. While this year’s event looked slightly different than years past, the Office of University Outreach adapted and was pleased to continue this opportunity for FTCC students.

    College Transfer Day serves as an avenue to promote the transferability of students’ community college academic credits to public and private four-year colleges and universities.

    College Transfer Day represents an important opportunity for students to connect with other college representatives to receive answers to questions regarding admissions requirements, programs of study, and financial aid processes. The ability to connect with a multitude of educational representatives at the same time is a valuable and convenient resource for students.

    The process of transferring to another college is not identical to applying to college for the first time. While a student’s high school transcript and SAT/ACT scores may be reviewed, these items typically take a back seat to the academic college transcript that a student has earned at the community college level. Students need to be cognizant in earning strong grades if they hope to stand out in the application process utilized by some extremely competitive transfer programs. The community college student’s academic college transcript will be reviewed more rigorously than the high school transcript.

    College Transfer Day presented by University Outreach is a great way for students to learn about each school’s unique policies and deadlines. Transfer students need to be mindful of adhering to a university’s specific deadlines, a contrast to the open-door admissions policy held by many community colleges. Universities not only have deadlines that may vary from one school to another, many also have specific policies for transfer students.

    College Transfer Day is a great way for students to learn about these policies and deadlines firsthand from advisors and college admissions representatives. It is also an avenue for students to make contacts, receive college and university literature, and have specific questions answered as related to academic requirements for transferability.

    While the current pandemic has presented students and universities with several challenges, the challenge of being able to visit university campuses before deciding if it is the right fit is one that seems to have been solved. Many universities have begun offering virtual tours of their campuses to allow students the opportunity to assess whether or not a school meets the student’s needs both academically and emotionally.

    FTCC’s Office of University Outreach provides many opportunities and programs to promote a better understanding of the academic landscape of various colleges/universities for community college students who are interested in pursuing a four-year college degree. Transfer Thursdays are offered every Thursday and allow students to make an appointment with the University Outreach office to receive an evaluation of three universities of the student’s choosing with regards to the major they are seeking. A student’s current course load is evaluated, the student is given additional advisement, and the student is then registered, if this is their end goal.

    Questions regarding the Virtual College Transfer Day event or other services offered through FTCC’s University Outreach office can be directed to me at
    nelsonl@faytechcc.edu or 910-678-8205.

  • 14 DSC 5176“Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill,” the musical play that opened Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s long-awaited 2020-2021 season, is far from the blockbuster musical openers of previous seasons. This is a piece of serious theater particularly well suited to its makeshift staging. Performed in a parking lot behind an abandoned building on Hay Street, complete with ambient traffic noise as background, it is easy to imagine that one is seated in the gritty South Philly neighborhood where the play is actually set.

    “Lady Day” is the story of one of the great jazz legend’s last performances just a few months before her untimely death. A victim of her times (or of her own vices, let each member of the audience decide), Billie Holiday has been stripped of the cabaret card that entitled her to play the big clubs and reduced to singing in a small venue in a place she thought she’d sung herself free of.

    Janeta Jackson gives a selfless performance as Holiday. Those who saw her in “Crowns” know the power of Jackson’s voice, which breaks through most notably in numbers such as “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” and “Strange Fruit.” But Jackson is playing Holiday at the end of her career, when alcohol and drugs have taken their toll on her health as well as her voice. Her performance reflects this. Clad in mink and glitter at the outset, Jackson as Holiday disintegrates onstage and the songs follow her down. Brian Whitted as Jimmy Powers, Holiday’s accompanist, brings his piano in at critical moments to prevent a complete breakdown. Much as folks passing the scene of an accident, the audience is drawn along, mesmerized.

    “Lady Day,” written by Lanie Robertson, is called a musical play because there is much dialog in addition to the musical numbers. Holiday’s onstage ramblings give the audience an idea of the trajectory of her life. Some of her reminisces are hilarious but much of the dialogue is raw. Holiday is presumably speaking to a Black audience so theatergoers who are not Black may squirm a bit.

    Given COVID-19 restrictions and the fact that CFRT’s theater is undergoing renovations, Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke and company are to be commended for choosing an opener that is well suited to both our time and place. The cast is small. The lighting is low. The night itself becomes part of the show. Social issues that are still relevant over 60 years after Holiday’s death are served up, if not as entertainment exactly, then certainly as art. And art is always worth supporting. If you want to hear Billie Holiday at her best, buy a CD. If you want to witness a heroic performance of serious theater, book a ticket to one of the performances of “Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill.”

    For information on performance schedules and ticket availability, please visit cfrt.org or call the box office at 910-323-4233.

    Pictured: Janeta Jackson performs as Billie Holiday in CFRT's "Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill" through Oct. 25.

  • 01 Square Banners CFRT copyAfter closing its doors to audience members back in March, the Cape Fear Regional Theatre spent the last 6 months innovating and leading the way for regional theaters during the pandemic.

    One of the first to create daily online programming for kids, CFRT launched virtual Edutainment classes that offered daily lessons for students in grades K-5. After 9 weeks of online classes, CFRT opened its doors for 15 sessions of summer camps between June and August, following CDC guidelines for in-person camps and ultimately reaching almost 200 campers.

    In September, CFRT announced the receipt of a $225,000 Community Organization Resource grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, Inc. for the 2020-2021 Season.

    "We are so honored to receive this grant from the Arts Council. This funding will allow us to continue producing high quality productions and serving parents and children adapting to this new paradigm. We know how essential art is to healing and processing, and we look forward to another year of creatively engaging with our community,” said Ella Wrenn, CFRT’s managing director.
    CFRT is committed to presenting an annual series of plays, performances, and special events that, in addition to entertaining, will enlighten, inspire, and educate performers and audiences.

    "We are proud of the work we’ve done throughout the last year to continue to provide the award-winning productions and nationally recognized education initiatives, and we could not have this impact without the tireless advocacy and support of the Arts Council,” said Artistic Director Mary Catherine Burke.

    Just last week, CFRT returned to in-person productions with “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” The show is being performed outside, right down the block from CFRT behind Haymount Auto Repair. Extensive safety procedures are in place for these performances. Audiences will be limited to fewer than 50 people in accordance with state COVID-19 guidelines. Seating will be in six-foot distanced pods of two or four. Masks will be required of all audience members, and temperatures will be checked at the entrance. Robust sanitation will take place between performances and the show will be as low contact as possible with digital programs and no paper tickets.

    The rest of the 2020-2021 season will be performed in the spring. Dates for those shows will be announced later in the year.

    The Wizard of Oz
    Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy, and her little dog, too. They’re off to see the Wizard in the magical land of Oz, but in order to make it there, they have to face the Wicked Witch of the West. This iconic musical reminds us that there truly is no place like home. Join us for this beloved family friendly musical that has entertained generations.
    The show is by L. Frank Baum and adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company. It is based upon the classic motion picture. It is rated G for everyone.

    Clue: On Stage
    It’s a dark and stormy night, and the host of a dinner party has turned up dead in his own mansion. Inspired by the board game and film, join Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, and other colorful guests for this hilarious murder mystery. As the guests race to find the killer, audiences will be in stitches to try and figure out who did it, where, and with what.
    Rated PG for parental guidance, this play contains mild and comedic themes of violence. It is based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn, the motion picture and the board game “Clue.”

    Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story
    Before the Beatles, there was Buddy Holly and the Crickets. It’s the 1950’s and a young man from Texas with big glasses and an even bigger dream of catapulting to the top of the Rock and Roll charts. With classic songs like “Peggy Sue,” and “That’ll Be The Day,” along with “La Bamba,” this high octane musical is a celebration of a man whose music and values were ahead of his time.
    The show is rated PG for parental guidance and contains some mild adult themes. It is written by Alan Janes.

    The Color Purple
    Based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, this landmark musical is about a remarkable woman named Celie. All she knows is heartbreak and despair, until her friend Shug helps her realize her own self-worth. Celie uses her flair for fashion to build a better future. With a joyous score featuring jazz, gospel, blues, and African music, it is a story of resilience and a testament to the healing power of love.
    The show is rated M for mature audiences, it contains some language and adult themes.Based upon the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel written by Alice Walker and the motion picture.

  • The veterans-supported nonprofit organization, Whole Vet Building Lives Together, makes its community-event debut in Cumberland County Oct. 24 with the Braggin’ Through the ‘Ville Car, Truck, Jeep and Bike Show at I-95 Muscle from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

    A classic, used and new car retailer located at 4115 Legion Rd. in Hope Mills, I-95 Muscle is a frequent host to car shows, movie nights and community events. Benefiting Whole Vet, the show features multiple vehicle divisions in both judged and nonjudged categories, as well as food trucks, a DJ, drawings and raffles. The event is open to the public for viewing.

    “Life is all about connection that becomes trusted relationships” is the mantra and guiding life principle of Dale Robbins, the founder and CEO of Whole Vet, a 501c3 nonprofit serving veterans, service members and their families. The quote speaks to the doors that have opened to Robbins along his 10-year-journey with volunteer veterans affairs and with the start of this fledgling organization. However, the phrase also provides a glimpse into what matters to this local man — namely, building lasting bonds and putting programs in place to impact the lives of service members, both past and present.

    Whole Vet seeks to provide veterans, transitioning servicemembers from all military branches, National Guard and Reserve members, and their families, with the tools, resources and support to have a fulfilling civilian career and life.

    Robbins, a 19-year-veteran of Cisco Systems with over 25 years total spent in corporate America, never served in the military. His trajectory toward nonprofit work and interest in the nation’s armed forces and veterans began with a deep sense of admiration for those who serve and have served, coupled with years of physical and medical challenges both he and his family faced and eventually overcame. The times of struggle magnified his faith in God and belief that he was being called to do something more with his life. Already a long-term volunteer in his workplace with veteran relations and events, Robbins saw a real need and an open door to step-up and serve this population of selfless individuals more directly. Now engaged in full-time work with Whole Vet, Robbins explained his outlook for the organization.

    “This is a comprehensive vision to create a platform that can serve our military and veteran community,” he said. “Everything from helping them make connections at our events to getting jobs and internships to the mentorship piece that gives them someone that really cares — these are all components of Whole Vet.”

    According to Robbins, Whole Vet encompasses building up the life of the veteran physically, spiritually, mentally, social-emotionally, economically and beyond — the whole person, in other words. The organizational colors, purple and white, are symbolic of representing all branches of service memebers. Purple is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue. Hence the saying, “Purple Up!” a national slogan used to solicit support for military families and kids.

    In addition to purple up, Whole Vet seeks to build up the career and family of Whole Vet clients, a twofold mission, as well as create community between the private sector and military and veteran groups. Robbins established the Military and Veteran Enablement Coalition made up of vested parties to help get this job done. Like seed to soil, the tasks grow as the nonprofit does.

    While operating on Harnett and Wake county lines in North Carolina in Robbins’ home office in Willow Springs, the company founder describes his vision as stretching across the state, country and beyond. Since 2017, the Whole Vet’s Military Career Transition Event, has been held in Raleigh, Cary, Clayton and Wilmington.

    Employer-focused virtual sessions kicked off in 2020 in keeping with the pandemic, with programs serving Fort Bragg, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station and more. These networking, employer-spotlight events help transitioning service members connect with corporate representatives from companies such as Biogen, Pike Corporation, PSA Airlines, NetApp, SAS, Biotest Pharmaceuticals. Educational entities like Campbell University, East Carolina University and North Carolina State University are also at the table.

    Large scale conferences from Whole Vet welcome governmental giants such as the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, NC Troops to Teachers and the State of North Carolina governmental agencies. Veterans-affiliated institutions that, on paper, reads like a Who’s Who list, have made a great showing at these Whole Vet days. Present and accounted for have been NC4ME, Onward2Opportunity, Hire Heroes USA, The Honor Foundation, USO-NC, Marine for Life Network, K9s Serving Vets and Hope for The Warriors, to name a few. Other event offerings include professional development panels, workshops, networking opportunities and inspirational speakers.

    In conjunction with transition events, Whole Vet hosts quarterly Military Corporate Networking campus visits. These tours have been held at host company campuses such as Biogen in RTP, Deutsche Bank in Cary and Caterpillar of Clayton to allow participants to experience the corporate environment while gaining valuable insight on civilian career paths. The tours also help participants make connections and build relationships, a familiar Whole Vet refrain.

    Though standard programming is on hold due to COVID-19, Robbins looks forward to resuming a regular schedule as soon as possible.

    After rolling out the red carpet to military members and veterans with exceptional and well-executed events, Robbins plans next to put mentorship, marriage and youth programs center stage. First up: The Military Mentorship Program.

    Mentors and mentees will be matched to align servicemembers who are exiting the military with a civilian that can share feedback, knowledge and contacts to ease the transition process to a nonmilitary career. Mentors will come from a participating MVEC company.

    The marriage and youth tracks will begin once additional program funding is secured from sources such as grants, donations, sponsorships and fundraising avenues. According to Robbins, retreats and conferences are in the line-up for marriage programming, while collaboration with the General H. Hugh Shelton Leadership Center at North Carolina State University is on tap for youth directives.

    Are you interested in learning more? Options exist to give your time, talents and resources to Whole Vet, as well as participate. Community events like the I-95 Muscle car show are held to bring fun, fellowship and some fundraising to bear.

    To learn more, go to https://www.facebook.wholevetinc. You can also check the T-shirt box by sporting Whole Vet gear available at their online store, https://wholevet.square.site/.

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    Pictured: Nonprofit Whole Vet raises funds through activities such as car shows to support veterans initiatives like mentorship programs, job networking conferences and counseling services.

  • 12 IMG 5968Fayetteville City Council wants a select committee created by Mayor Mitch Colvin to study controversial issues pertaining to the Market House.

    Council decided Oct. 5 to not take immediate action to repurpose or tear down the building. Council voted 6-4 rejecting Councilwoman Courtney Banks-McLaughlin’s efforts to require council to take a formal vote to demolish the historic landmark. Banks-McLaughlin serves District 8 on the city’s west side.

    The debate over whether to tear down the historic landmark has been at the center of controversy for decades because it was a place where enslaved people were sold during the early 1800s.

    Many African-Americans consider the building a constant reminder of oppression. “The Market House has been an eyesore to many citizens within the city of Fayetteville due to slaves being bought and sold,” Banks-McLaughlin said. She said people representing both sides of the debate have already made their views known to the council through comments, letters, emails and protests.

    Those who support the building acknowledge that enslaved people were once sold there but point out that they were also sold at other city buildings and locations.

    They note the building is on the National Register of Historic Places and has a rich and significant history not tied to slavery, as well as noted architectural significance. North Carolina ratified the U.S. Constitution at the site where the Market House now stands in center-city Fayetteville. The University of North Carolina, the oldest public university in the country, received its charter there in 1789.

    Protests calling for an end to racism and police brutality have been centered around the Market House following George Floyd's death. On May 30, demonstrators tried to set fire to the building which “sustained charring and mass wood loss to the second story floor,” according to federal prosecutors. Two men have since been arrested and charged with “maliciously damaging property.”

    When Fayetteville was the temporary capitol of North Carolina, the Market House was described “in a statement of significance as performing two functions: under its arches meat and produce were sold by local farmers, while the second floor served as the Town Hall.” The paperwork does not, however, mention the buying and selling of slaves.

    According to a study by Duke University professor John Cavanagh the sale of slaves “happened occasionally at the State House and Market House” for about 75 years up until 1865.

    “Sales were spaced on the average about two months apart, if that frequently, and in most instances very few slaves were involved in each transaction,” Cavanagh wrote.

    Most of them were reportedly sold “in conjunction with the settlement of estates.” Unlike Charleston and Richmond, Fayetteville was not a slave market.

    Twenty years ago, a plaque commissioned by the city was posted on a Market House pillar acknowledging the enslaved people's occasional sale. As for Mayor Colvin’s vision of a pair of ad hoc committees to deal with issues associated with contemporary race relations his hope is regular meetings will get underway soon.

    “This is not on the back burner,” Colvin said.

  • 11 Public Library HeadquartersThe Cumberland County Board of Commissioners has established temporary virtual learning centers at six of the county’s public libraries for school-age children of county employees.

    County Manager Amy Cannon came up with the idea of using the libraries to assist employees who have been unable to report to work because they’re at home with their children.

    It is “out of a dire need to ensure that critical and needed services can be provided without delay or disruption,” Cannon said.

    Approximately 160 children are expected to participate. Under the agreement, Cumberland County Schools will provide lunches and snacks for the children and assign staff members to assist with operation of the sites.

  • 10 Remote Learning 2The Cumberland County school system has created a COVID-19 dashboard to provide up-to-date information on positive COVID-19 cases. District staff updates the dashboard every Friday.

    “As we navigate through this pandemic, we encourage everyone to follow the guidance of health officials,” said Shirley Bolden, director of Health Services for CCS. “It’s important that we continue to practice the three Ws.”

    CCS is currently operating under Plan C, whereby students participate in remote learning through the end of the first semester.

    The origin of each COVID-19 case varies based on the individual; not all the cases listed in the dashboard originated on CCS campuses.

    To comply with federal privacy laws, the school district does not release information about individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 beyond what is indicated in the dashboard.

    The district remains in close contact with the Cumberland County Department of Public Health and continues to follow necessary protocols related to the coronavirus. To access the dashboard, visit

  • 09 vote by mailThe Cumberland County Board of Elections is meeting frequently to review absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 election.

    The meeting schedule and links for each session are posted on the Board of Elections webpage at www.electionready.net. The five-member board meets twice weekly through Oct. 16 and each weekday from Oct. 19 through Election Day.

    At the first absentee meeting on Sept. 29, the elections board approved 6,793 mail-in ballots.

    Before each meeting, staff members review all absentee mail envelopes received. Staff members determine whether envelopes have been properly completed, and if so, recommend to the board that it approve the applications and ballots. During absentee meetings, board members review deficient ballots and perform random checks of those that have been recommended for approval by staff members.

    After each meeting, the board notifies voters that had problems with their ballots and provides them with a process to verify that the ballots are theirs. At least one member from each political party is represented at each absentee meeting when the board is approving absentee applications.

    For more information on the Board of Elections, visit co.cumberland.nc.us/departments/election-group/elections.

  • 07 Ruritan Club LogoThe 71st Ruritan Club announced that District 45 Representative John Szoka and Wesley Meredith, candidate for North Carolina Senator District 19, will be special guests at its regularly scheduled meeting Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.

    The public is invited, according to Ruritan spokesman Ronald Sharpe. The 71st Ruritan Club of Fayetteville meets every third Thursday of the month and membersdedicate themselves to improving the community and building a better America through "fellowship, goodwill, and community service."

    The upcoming program is part of the regular series focusing on people, businesses, organizations and programs that affect Fayetteville and Cumberland County's quality of life. These programs have included representatives from the Fayetteville Police Dept., CrimeStoppers, Fayetteville Homeless Officer, Hospice, Warriors on the Water. The club also supports and sponsors organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, Special Olympics, Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, Warriors on the Water, Student Essay Contest, Scholarships and Fayetteville Beautiful.

    The public is invited to attend monthly meetings and get involved in their community projects. The 71st Ruritan Club is located at 240 Ruritan Drive.

    For more information, contact Ronald Sharpe 910-391-1241.

  • 08 Road Rage IncidentFayetteville Police detectives continue an investigation into a shooting that officers say stemmed from a road rage incident.

    Police spokesman, Sgt Jeremy Glass, did not describe the incident, saying only that the victim was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

    The preliminary investigation indicates that the shooting involved the victim and another motorist who was driving a late model black Ram pickup truck.

    The police department’s aggravated assault unit has requested the public’s assistance in locating the suspect and vehicle involved in the incident that occurred on the night of Oct. 2 at Yadkin and Fillyaw roads, near an entrance to Fort Bragg.

    Glass said the suspect fled the scene in the Cottonade neighborhood. Police ask that residents with Doorbell or security cameras contact the police.

  • 06 mom and kids outside masksWhen Democrat Jen Mangrum and Republican Catherine Truitt first filed to run for state superintendent of public instruction, neither could have expected that the central issue of the 2020 race would be whether to allow public schools to provide in-person instruction to North Carolina children.

    No one would have seen it as a debatable issue. Of course local districts must teach their students in school, we’d all have said. Most students couldn’t succeed without it. Many working parents couldn’t keep their jobs without it. And the state constitution requires it.

    Yet here we are. Whether to reopen North Carolina’s public schools is, indeed, the central issue in the campaign, thanks to COVID-19 and the understandable concerns it raises about safety.

    Jen Mangrum, a former classroom teacher who now serves as an associate professor of education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, is the more skeptical of the two when it comes to reopening schools.

    During a recent televised debate, she largely defended the go-slow approach of relying on distance learning rather than in-person instruction during the fall semester. For teachers, Mangrum argued, the first responsibility is to protect “student welfare.” Delivering academic content is fourth on the priority list, she said.

    “We know children are carriers” of COVID-19, Mangrum said, so it is necessary to prioritize the risk of spreading the virus at school over the risk that distance learning might prove inadequate for some.

    North Carolina’s educators have “been like ninjas” since the coronavirus outbreak in March, setting up their distance-learning systems overnight and then improving them significantly over the subsequent months. “There are populations of students who are falling behind” with schools closed, Mangrum said, but there are also “populations of students who have more one-on-one [attention] than they’ve ever had before.”

    The Republican nominee, Catherine Truitt, is also a former classroom teacher who now works in academia, in her case as chancellor of Western Governors University North Carolina. WGU is an all-online university, so one might expect

    Truitt to be at least as sanguine about the potential upsides of distance learning as Mangrum was. But Truitt argued during the debate that disadvantaged children, in particular, often require the kind of attention that only in-person instruction can provide.

    “We have children who were already significantly behind and unfortunately they are our most vulnerable students,” Truitt said. Only 28% of Hispanic eighth-graders can read and do math at grade level. For black students, the share drops to 14%. These students are frequently the ones who lack good internet access and parents available at home to supervise and assist with their children’s online learning, she said.

    “My first priority is to get kids back in school,” Truitt added, while Mangrum argued that the schedule for reopening public schools is “going to depend on metrics” such as the share of COVID-19 tests that come back positive in a community.

    While the reopening question has become the central one in the superintendent’s races, it wasn’t hard for Mangrum and Truitt to connect it to other longstanding issues of contention in North Carolina education. Mangrum argued that a lack of sufficient funding for personal protective equipment, cleaning, and training was a significant barrier to getting schools reopened — and that the state legislature, under Republican control for the past 10 years, hasn’t give the education system enough money to clear that barrier.

    Truitt argued that a “one-size-fits-all” approach was keeping North Carolina from grappling effectively with the COVID challenge. Local districts should have been given more flexibility to respond to the pandemic, she said, and parents should have more authority to decide what kind of educational setting — in-person or at home, district-run public school or something other option — best advances the welfare of their children.

    The state superintendent of public instruction is only one of many voices in formulating education policy. But it’s an important one. And North Carolinians have an important choice to make.


  • Letter to the Editor

    05 Hank ParfittI appreciated Jim Jones’ thoughtful article in “Publisher’s Pen” about the Market House, current unrest, and Maslow’s Hierarchy (Oct. 7). I understand his and others’ concerns about the barricades surrounding the Market House, and I know some people are anxious for them to be removed.

    In fact, however, as a business owner with a store at “Ground Zero” in the 100 block of Hay Street, I have observed a steady increase in foot traffic and customers over the past two months.

    This is related in part to the gradual relaxation by Gov. Cooper of COVID restrictions but also because there have been no incidents downtown since the May 30 protest and since the Occupy Fayetteville tent city was taken down. I have not heard any complaints about the barricades from customers or fellow merchants. The barricades are
    not keeping people from coming downtown.

    However, taking them down prematurely may invite out-of-control demonstrations and protests, which will drive people away.

    As with any damaged building, the barricades must stay until needed repairs have been made.

    Beyond that, however, the barricades should stay until our entire community has had a chance to learn all the facts. good and bad, about the Market House. Only then can we can make sound, carefully considered decisions about its fate.

    In the meantime, we should at least begin to address racial inequality in the community.

    I disagree with Councilwoman Banks-McLaughlin who, at the Oct. 5 work session said “Council has yet to have that tough conversation on … the Market House. We need to vote and decide NOW, so that we can move forward and direct our attention to other issues that are impacting our city such as COVID-19, poverty, and infrastructure.”

    Unfortunately, she has the cart before the horse, her “NOW” in the wrong place.

    We absolutely must talk NOW about racial injustice in our society and how racial bias affects policing, education, joblessness, unemployment and even health care in our very own community.

    This is something we can do NOW, and we must. The city should consider hiring an objective, outside consultant to lead us in these difficult discussions. Not just “town halls” but meaningful, one-on-one and small group discussions. I am confident that as we work our way through this, as we sit down with each other and talk about these issues, we will find to our surprise that the question “What to do with the Market House” really wasn’t so difficult after all.

    Hank Parfitt

    Pictured: Hank Parfitt

  • Letter to the Editor

    04 Pastor letter to editorNorth Carolina is one of a few states that have not adopted Medicaid Expansion, even though 90% of the costs would be covered by federal funds, and more than 400,000 residents would benefit. It ought never be the case that a person has to choose between having insurance or having groceries.

    The request for Medicaid Expansion is not an issue of someone merely looking for a handout, nor is it an issue of providing assistance to someone who refuses to work. The simple fact of the matter is that 60% of the North Carolinians who fall into the coverage gap and would benefit from expansion are “working families.”

    Many of these persons work in the service industries. The current pandemic has shown us how critical a role our service industry workers play. They have not had the option of working from home, etc., to remove themselves from harm’s way. They have continued to serve in the midst of the dreadful virus, yet many of them cannot even afford insurance for themselves.

    It is a cruel irony to think that those who perhaps need health insurance the most, those who have helped guard the health and safety of so many of us, could benefit from Medicaid, but cannot currently do so because we have, at least to this point, neglected to approve Medicaid Expansion in North Carolina!

    There is no “good” reason for the fact that North Carolina is among the 12 states that have not approved expansion. Research has shown that states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility have been among the most likely to see decreases in the number of uninsured persons.

    Why haven’t we already gotten this done? We cannot allow, and morally should not allow, the political fights of the past, surrounding the Affordable Care Act, to cloud our current judgment regarding what is the right thing to do, which is to get this expansion done as soon as possible.

    Maintaining the status quo should not be an option. The status quo would guarantee that thousands will continue to go without medical assistance who could have otherwise been assisted; it would mean that many of the most hard-working among us will not be able to afford the most basic medical attention. “Just say no” to the status quo.

    Saying no to the status quo must be accompanied with corresponding action. So, please contact your state representatives by letter, phone, email or all of the above. They need to know that this is an issue that you care deeply about.
    If you are a person in leadership, share this issue with your constituents. If you use social media, discuss the issue online. We need to do everything within our power to get this done. Let’s help protect those who have protected us.

    Vincent D. Long, Pastor
    Bethel African Methodist Episcopal
    Zion Church, Spring Lake

    Pictured: Pastor Vincent D. Long

  • 02 Virtual Candidates Forums Quarter RegularFor the first time in my lifetime, I will be a Poll Observer during this election cycle. Why? Because rumors abound about the safety and security of the most cherished right we have as Americans: the right to vote. Voting is our constitutionally protected patriotic duty that defines and reinforces our freedoms as American citizens. This election year, I want to personally witness this freedom and, hopefully, dispel the conception that the process is diabolically being compromised.

    This 2020 presidential election may be the most important ever in our history as this country battles inside and outside enemies and political sources whose sole purpose is to transform America into a communist country.

    Make no mistake about it, the overly used, benevolently disguised and distilled term "socialism" is nothing more than the initial stepping stone to Marxism and, ultimately, communism. And, as predicted by many scholars decades ago, this socialist/communist threat is coming from within. You only have to look at the changing and catastrophic ideologies of the once-patriotic and honorable Democratic Party. In summation: its integrity has been breached, and its values are compromised. The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights have been designated insignificant, making it a target of extreme compromise and ultimate obliteration. This is why all citizens who cherish American freedoms, safety and security, regardless of political affiliation, need to VOTE!

    Kudos to local Fayetteville businessman Henry Tyson, currently the Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. He has rallied with likeminded people, businesses, and organizations and created a unique forum to introduce local candidates to the community. The online platform is designed to create awareness of voting's importance while informing and educating local citizens on critical regional and statewide issues.

    Starting on Oct.13, these organizations will host a series of candidate forums ahead of the general election. The event will be conducted virtually and feature video interviews with local, county, state and federal candidates, who will discuss local, regional and state issues. Moderators will not distribute the questions in advance, and each candidate will answer identical questions as it relates to the timely and essential topics pertinent to their race. The interviews will be streamed online and available on all the websites of the hosts and sponsors.

    Residents will be able to tune in throughout the month as new candidate interviews are uploaded and streamed in segments, beginning with the Cumberland County Board of Education, Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, local N.C. legislative races and statewide and federal offices. The schedule will be posted online each morning.

    This effort took a lot of work and coordination. According to Tyson, everyone was on board from the very beginning: "We wanted to have a format that allowed for the community to be informed — especially during the time of COVID-19 — provide for a natural and unprepared response from those running for office and give the voters insight on the pressing issues we are faced with here in the greater Fayetteville area."

    I want to thank Henry Tyson for his leadership in shepherding this virtual forum and the five hosting organizations that saw value in the project. See the schedule on the flyer. Also, a special thanks to the forums cosponsors: Coldwell Banker Advantage, Tyson Commercial Real Estate, Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper, Bronco iRadio of Fayetteville State University and JerFilm Productions.

    Thanks for reading Up & Coming.

  • 03 20 20 lightbulbsWhen Americans woke up on January 1, 2020, we were looking forward to a fresh new year, hoping for a good one for our nation and for ourselves.

    The economy was humming, and a big political year lay ahead with a significant field of Democratic contenders to challenge the incumbent. Most Americans were beginning the year in good health.

    Then the bottom dropped out of everything.

    Americans began to understand the seriousness of COVID-19 in early March, when it became clear that the virus was spreading rapidly. We began behaviors Americans have rarely had to exhibit. We holed up with our families and sometimes alone.

    We did not go out for meals, shopping, or socializing, and those who could began working remotely. Schools shut down, and people began leaving—or losing—their jobs. The stock market tanked initially—though it has since rallied—but the economy slowed dramatically and has pretty much stayed that way.

    Small businesses struggled. Some set up Go Fund Me pages to meet payrolls and other expenses. We began a practice Asians have been doing for years. We put on face masks to protect people around us and ourselves.

    We are still at all of this as the year winds down, though, some government regulations have eased a bit.

    Then we entered what many Americans call the “silly season.”

    After a messy campaign season, Democrats did what observers had predicted from the outset.

    They choose former Vice President Joe Biden to challenge Republican President Trump, and it has gone downhill ever since. Trump pretends COVID-19 was not happening and gathers huge crowds, generally unmasked. Biden campaigns mostly virtually. Then came the debates, shouting matches really.

    In the Biden-Trump debate, Trump talked so much that Biden actually told him to “shut up, man.”

    Pundits speak openly about giving debate moderators mute buttons to cut off any candidate who talks over others, and someone even suggested a dunking booth so that candidates who do not stop when time runs out land in a barrel of water, like at a county fair.

    Then the president himself came down with COVID-19 as have dozens of White House staffers and others who attended a White House ceremony, again generally unmasked. The world watched as Trump took a joyride to wave at supporters camped out around Walter Reed Medical Center, though some joked that he was actually going to a McDonald’s drive-thru.

    Last week’s debate with vice-presidential hopefuls, Kamala Harris and Mike Pence, was calmer, but Harris was forced to remind Pence several times, “I am speaking!” That is a sentiment women all over the world well understand.

    The real winner of that debate, however, was the big black fly that landed and stayed on Mike Pence’s well-coiffed and highly shellacked head for more than two minutes without his feeling it through that hair. More than one American has suggested the fly needs a COVID-19 test after such close exposure.

    And then there is the story of a militia plot to kidnap and “try” Michigan's Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a stunning thought if there ever were one.

    Politics in North Carolina is less high profile but plenty nutty itself.

    In the U.S. Senate race, Democrat Cal Cunningham sent racy texts to a woman not his wife, certainly a marital mistake but nothing like other elected who have sexted photos of various body parts or a president who has paid a porn star and another woman for their silence.

    As a result, incumbent Republic Thom Tillis finds himself reading media rehashes of his two divorces (both from the same woman) who alleged “cruel and inhuman treatment” in their marriage. Does anyone actually care about the private lives of political office seekers?

    No one knows how any of this is going to come out, of course, but we can all agree on this. The year 2020 has been and continues to be almost beyond belief. No one, even Hollywood’s most talented screen writer, could have come up with all this.

    The only real question is, “What next?”

  • 15 DSC 5176Following the best theatrical tradition that the show must go on, Cape Fear Regional Theatre returns to “telling great stories” with the opening performance of its 2020-2021 season on Oct. 8, featuring an innovative and exciting musical production of “Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill.” Performances will be outdoors at 100 Broadfoot Avenue (behind Haymont Auto). Thanks to the graciousness of the owner of Haymont Auto, and with support from the city of Fayetteville, CFRT is able to provide live theater that is safe and enjoyable for die-hard jazz fans and those who may be new to this national treasure.

    Nicknamed “Lady Day,” by her good friend and occasional musical partner, tenor saxophonist Lester Young, Billie Holiday remains one of our most renowned American jazz legends. Like all great jazz musicians, Holiday was known for her improvisational skills. She was influenced, while still quite young, by Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong, and she became enthralled with “scat singing” wherein a singer uses the voice as a musical instrument, improvising melodies and rhythms rather than singing actual words.

    Despite a very rough childhood, and as a victim of rampant racial prejudice throughout much of her career, Holiday became an international jazz sensation. Recording for various record labels, her instantly recognizable hits are too numerous to list in this preview. Frank Sinatra lauded her as “the greatest musical influence on me.”

    “Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill,” was written by Lanie Robertson and played successfully on and off Broadway before being made into a movie. Set in a South Philly bar, it tells the story of one of Holiday’s last performances before her untimely July 1959 death. Although chock full of legendary jazz numbers, it is called a “musical play” because the title character engages in quite a bit of intimate conversation between songs. Despite some raw moments, this is ultimately a story of resilience.

    “During this period when many of us may feel unsure of life itself,” said Greensboro-based artist, Gregory Horton, who directs and designed the costumes, “Lady Day will be so life affirming … especially in the face of COVID-19.”

    Janeta Jackson, from CFRT’s sold-out May 2019 production of “Crowns,” brings her amazing voice to the role of Holiday. Jackson reprises her 2019 Charlotte performance, albeit under very different circumstances. Asked how she planned to compensate for an outdoor performance, Jackson replied, “I intend to reimagine the whole setting. I worked at Disney, so I’m used to performing outside.”

    Broadway artist and Fayetteville native Brian Whitted acts as music director for the production and also plays the part of Jimmy Powers, Lady Day’s pianist. CFRT audiences will remember him from the 2015 production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

    Due to the size of the outdoor space, which might mimic the capacity of that Philly Bar& Grill, seating will be very limited so everyone is “encouraged to book early.” The show runs through Oct. 25. Tickets and programs will be paperless and masks will be required of all staff and audience members.

    For performance schedules along with available ticket and discount information, please visit cfrt.org or call the box office at 910-323-4233. Please join Up & Coming Weekly in welcoming CFRT’s bold resurrection of live theater here in Fayetteville by making sure that all of these performances are sold out.

    Pictured: Janeta Jackson performs as Billie Holiday in CFRT's "Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill" Oct. 8-25.

  • 14 heaven hellReligion is everywhere, even in three important books with North Carolina ties.

    North Carolina’s beloved novelist Lee Smith takes us back to an earlier time in her novella, “Blue Marlin.” Its central character, Jenny, age 13, deals with her strong but immature religious views as she seeks to have God help her patch up her parents’ crumbled marriage. On a trip to Key West, she bargains with God to do good deeds if he will bring her parents together again.

    Smith says that for all the stories she has ever written, “this one is dearest to me, capturing the essence of my own childhood.”

    The book is also a reminder that Jenny’s immature view of God is one that is widely shared and not to be scoffed at.

    What really happens to us when we die? Active churchgoers are caught between two ideas. First is the belief set out in the Apostles’ Creed in “the resurrection of the body” and judgment day accounting. Second is the conflicting idea that believers in Christ go directly to heaven when they die while others go straight to a place of punishment that lasts forever.

    UNC-Chapel Hill religion professor Bart Ehrman’s “Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife” deals with this dilemma, and he sets out a detailed history of ideas about afterlife.

    Ehrman describes how ideas about afterlife developed in many religious traditions. He asserts that Jesus and the Apostle Paul did not believe in hell. The punishment for sinners was, they believed, simply annihilation, not everlasting punishment.

    Many North Carolinians do not appreciate our state’s important place in the history of modern popular music or the influence of religion and church music on our music culture. Former Raleigh News & Observer journalist David Menconi’s new book, “Step It Up and Go, The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk,” helps set the record straight.

    The connections between gospel music, both black and white, run throughout the book. Menconi gives Ray Charles credit for “turning sacred gospel into secular soul, a new style that translated religious rapture into much earthier feelings.”

    Charles transformed a gospel song, “It Must Be Jesus,” into a “randy song” called “I Got a Woman.” Menconi writes, “Changing that song’s subject matter from uppercase him to lowercase her scandalized the church, but it caused a pop music sensation.”

    A Winston-Salem group, “The 5 Royales,” brought evangelistic fervor to secular music even before Charles. The group was one of the top R&B bands in the 1950s. Though forgotten by many, the group is immortalized by a street in Winston-Salem named after them.

    Menconi writes about a Charlotte group called Jodeci whose “spin on hip-hop soul was churching it up with gospel feeling. Whether pleading for sin or salvation, they had the same urgency.”

    In 1992, one member of Jodeci told Menconi, “Someday I’m sure we’ll all go back to gospel because that’s where our roots are.”
    Maybe he was speaking for some of the rest of us.


  • 16 JH 09125After a six-month hiatus due to COVID-19, the Gilbert Theater is back in action with “Barefoot in the Park,” a Neil Simon classic. “Barefoot in the Park” runs through Oct. 18 with limited seating and social distancing in effect due to COVID-19 guidelines for public gatherings.

    “Barefoot in the Park” first premiered on Broadway in 1963 and went on to have a successful movie adaptation with countless stage performances around the country since. Seeing it now — in the year of pandemics, riots and election ads — is a breath of fresh air and a simple reminder that a little bit of laughter is often just what you need.

    After a six-day honeymoon, Corie and Paul start their married life in their fifth-floor-walkup in New York City. The tiny apartment leaves something to be desired, but Corie sees the possibilities. Paul sees the lack of a tub and a hole in the skylight.

    The newlyweds differ in their attitudes toward these inconveniences with Corie being the fun-loving free spirit wearing her heart on her sleeve. Paul, a new lawyer, has a more business-like approach and is not spontaneous as his wife, who is always willing to, as they say, walk barefoot in the park.

    Director Lawrence Carlisle III brings together a terrific cast and crew to deliver an entertaining escape from our own troubles in 2020. If only we could go back to when a gal could still get excited about getting a new Princess phone. In the meantime, “Barefoot in the Park” is a fun two hours to enjoy live theater.

    The “Barefoot in the Park” cast includes Tanisha Johnson and Gage Long as newlyweds Corie and Paul; Deannah Robinson as Mother Banks, Corie’s mom; Gabe Terry as neighbor Mr. Velasco; and James Merkle as the telephone repairman.

    It is a small cast of solid performances, each engaging and interesting. Johnson is full of energy and delivers a fun, believable and adorable Corie. I wanted everything to work out for her character and I look forward to seeing Johnson at the Gilbert in future shows.

    Long holds his own because his portrayal of Paul and is as much measured with patience as Johnson’s is uninhibited. Long and Johnson make a good pair on stage and their performances remind me that love and relationships are often about how our differences make us stronger rather than tear us apart.

    Robinson is convincing in her supporting role of Mother Banks. One of my favorite Gilbert regulars, Robinson always delivers and is a great addition to the cast.

    Terry and Merkle deliver fine performances as quirky neighbor Mr. Velasco and the telephone repairman. Both bring levity to the story and the ensemble.

    Safety precautions in place include masks for theater attendants, hand sanitizer stations, no-contact concessions, temperature checks upon entry and cleaning between performances. There will also be two performances on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 2 and 8 p.m. in which the actors will wear masks.

    The Gilbert Theater is located at 116 Green St. Contact the box office for more info on the show or to purchase tickets at boxoffice@gilberttheater.com.

    Pictured: The cast of "Barefoot in the Park" take a break during a recent dress rehearsal. The play runs through Oct. 18 at the Gilbert Theater. Photo by Jonathan Hornby Productions.

  • 02 IMG 5971In 1943, Psychological Review published a paper by Abraham Maslow called "A Theory of Human Motivation." Today, this work is better known as "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs." It uses a pyramid of needs to describe what motivates humans, based on their basic, psychological and self-fulfillment needs.

    At the foundation of Maslow's pyramid are physiological needs: food, water, sleep, shelter, clothing and reproduction. Safety needs are the next highter level in the pyramind and include emotional, financial and personal well-being.

    Maslow's other needs include belongingness, love and esteem. At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization. Self-actualization is that place in life when a person has reached their full potential. Here is where they find that place in life called "joy."

    As a community, we are far from self-actualization. And we are coming up short on many fronts when it comes to belongingness, love and esteem as well. Locally, our preoccupation with the pandemic, civil unrest, unemployment, racial divisions, social justice and criminal justice all play on our collective psyche and create frustration accompanied by fears of a collapsing society. This sows seeds for further misunderstanding and conflict.

    I recently took a photo of the Market House in historic downtown Fayetteville. This nationally recognized landmark is now fenced-in — a visual metaphor reflecting our recent turbulent times. I wonder how residents and visitors view and interpret the fence that surrounds it. And the circumstances that led to the fence going up. Does the fence protect the Market House from people who want it destroyed because they view it as a symbol of hatred and suppression? Is it being used to keep people from enjoying it as an iconic backdrop for happy and fun events like family outings, weddings and graduations? Or, does it keep our growing homeless population from using it as an overnight shelter?

    With no access to the building, residents wonder what platform the Arts Council will use to celebrate its traditional Dicken's Holiday, which traditionally ushers in the holiday season. Perhaps the fence will stay up for years and become known as the infamous Fayetteville Wall. Maybe the building will become the Fayetteville Market Jail.

    No matter how it is defined, it is an uncomplimentary reminder that no one will enjoy the Market House in its current state.

    Today, basic human decency seems to be under attack almost everywhere you turn. It is a shame that people call their friends and family names like "fascist" or "communist" based on their political preferences. How are so many willing to sacrifice lifeling relationships on the altar of politics and division?

    Meanwhile, our current candidates differ greatly in their views about how to move forward as a nation and as a society. As citizens and constituents, it seems like we do, too. Both political parties/candidates should represent and define those things that are essential to every American — the basics such as food, clean water, shelter, safety and security. These should have the highest priority and should be the issues they address first. Americans should vote for whomever best represents their beliefs of what is best for them, their family, community and country.

    This upcoming election would serve everyone much better if all politicians focused on solutions that pursue Maslow's basic needs for their constituents, especially safety and security. This would guarantee a stable, safe and secure American way of life no matter who is elected and would enable us to experience more joy and less fear.

  • 12 01 Stanley GreavesCape Fear Studios will host “Retrospective - A Varied Path” featuring member artist Stanley Greaves through Oct. 20. Greaves is an internationally acclaimed artist from Guyana who now lives in Fayetteville. He is well-known for his colorful surrealist paintings which have made him popular in the Caribbean art world.

    “I am showing examples of work I have done in different regions including recent woodworking activities,” Greaves said. “I have been making boxes, two of them are on show at the exhibition, which showcases a mix of sculptures, examples of my calligraphy and my poems in calligraphic form, and ceramics.”

    The name of the exhibition, in effect, would be kind of retrospect because not all of the work exhibited is recent, he said.

    Greaves’ exhibition as a member artist at Cape Fear Studios is a glimpse into the heart and soul of an internationally recognized artist, or ‘maker’ as he refers to himself, said Rose Kennedy, also a member artist.

    “This is a rare opportunity to experience his work in painting, pottery and sculpture in an intimate, welcoming environment,” said Kennedy, who also serves as the retail gallery chairperson for Cape Fear Studios. “Stanley … is widely recognized throughout the world for his contributions to art and literature.”

    Kennedy said Greaves’ artwork isn’t usually for sale, but he has generously donated a pottery piece to be auctioned benefitting Cape Fear Studio’s mission of providing arts and education to the community.

    The pottery piece up for auction is called “Key Pot.”

    “I had a collection of house keys that I collected over the years and always wanted to do something with that,” Greaves said. “And eventually, the thought came up that you know what, I can use some of these keys and put them on the pot. And that's why I named it a ‘Key Pot.’”

    Greaves asks people to bring their own experiences to the exhibition, and he doesn’t think it's a necessity for the artist to explain the meanings behind the work.

    “In order for people to look at the picture and read it and extract whatever they can from it. And in that way, those experiences are more valid to them instead of me giving them something,” he said.

    Born to Guyanese parents, Greaves studied and lived in the United Kingdom, United States and Barbados. He doesn’t think living in different places has affected his art but instead made him more secure of it, as to not follow trends, he said.

    Now living in Fayetteville, Greaves said he tends to avoid big metropolitan scenes and crowds stating the work he’s interested in doing is of no relevance to the art scene in larger

    Although he has received many awards and prizes, including Guyana’s national honor ‘Golden Arrow of Achievement’ in 1975, Greaves says he hardly seeks art exhibitions.

    “I am not a competitor, I don't feel the need to show myself that way,” he said, “I have been able to hold exhibitions from time to time, but that's just not for me.”

    According to Kennedy, Greaves works in the pottery studio and is very engaging to talk to and a joy to watch as he intently works his magic with clay. He was a natural choice for a feature show because of his stellar work, introspective nature and international recognition, she said.

    “Come in to absorb the workings of an extraordinary, creative mind and place a bid in the auction. His work is (usually) not for sale, so the auction is a great opportunity to own a special creation by Stanley,” she said.

    Cape Fear Studios is located at 148 Maxwell St. in downtown Fayetteville. “Retrospective - A Varied Path” runs through Oct. 20. Admission is free to the public during their new hours of Wednesday and Friday from 2-5 p.m. and by appointment on Saturdays. For more information visit http://www.capefearstudios.com or call 910-433-2986.

    12 02 IMG 5865

    12 03 IMG 5867











    Pictured:  (top) Stanley Greaves is a member artist at Cape Fear Studios. (above left) "Key Pot," a pottery piece by Greaves will be auctioned off. (above right) A work by Greaves on display during "Retrospective - A Varied Path" at Cape Fear Studios through Oct. 20.

  • 09 road constructionThe N.C. Department of Transportation has begun distributing $132.7 million in street aid to municipalities. Also known as Powell Bill funds, 508 municipalities will receive funding. Half of the allocation went out last week. The other half will be paid by Jan. 1.

    The Powell Bill statute requires municipalities to use the money primarily for street resurfacing, but it can also be used for the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, drainage systems, sidewalks and greenways.

    “Powell Bill funding helps local governments improve transportation systems within their communities,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette.

    The amount each city receives is determined from an established formula, with 75% of the funds based on population, and 25 percent based on the mileage of locally maintained streets. Charlotte receives $13.7 million based on its population of 863,985. Fayetteville is receiving $4.9 million.

  • 13 FORT BRAGG EAPFort Bragg’s Employee Assistance Program held an event Sept. 25 to educate and inform the community about substance abuse awareness and resources available for treatment.

    The event held at the Soldier Support Center on post was in honor of National Recovery Month. The theme “Join the Voices of Recovery: Celebrating Connections” highlighted two Fort Bragg family members who shared their stories of addiction and sobriety.

    “Recovery month gives us the platform to address the total community and Fort Bragg is a big part of that community, to be responsive, our theme this month has to do with community connectedness,” said Lisa Lofton-Berry, Fort Bragg Employee Assistance Program coordinator.

    The event allowed people to hear success stories and come away knowing that if they are not satisfied with their level of risk, there are things they can do to make a change, Lofton-Berry said.

    The EAP, under the Army Substance Abuse Program, is the branch that focuses on all non-uniform personnel like the Department of Defense civilian employees, military family members, retirees. The goal is to support their work life well-being and mission readiness, Lofton-Berry said.

    Military spouse and Alcoholics Anonymous member, Kate (*last name withheld by request), whose alcohol addiction began at the age of 11, said it’s a problem not just in the military but everywhere.

    “The most difficult part of my struggle was admitting that I needed help and asking for help,” she said. “I tried to quit several times but was unable to, which surprised me because I am usually able to do anything I want.”

    Having struggled with alcoholism for 13 years, she attended her first AA meeting at the age of 24 and is now celebrating 34 years of sobriety.

    She said it was much more helpful to talk to people who understood the struggle from personal experience.

    “Since I have been sober, I have been very active in AA here in Cumberland County, and the best way to help my sobriety is to help other people,” Kate said.

    AA offers in-person meetings, virtual meetings, a hotline, and you can find out more at FayAA.org.

    “When I was drinking, I was running from my problems. Because of AA, I can face my problems, walk through them and get to the other side much more easily,” Kate said.
    Active-duty family member Jenny Schumacher grew up in a stable, fun-loving house.

    Her struggle began following a life-altering deadly car accident in high school, leaving her with a broken pelvis and fractured back, which eventually led to her narcotics addiction later in life.

    “That changed the whole turn of everything, the song and the drums that I was dancing to,” she said. “I realized, you know, that I was never going to be a Rockstar, I was not going to be anything that I wanted to be, I was just going to be average, and that was the arrogance of my mind.”

    Having moved on with her life, and gotten married, she faced multiple complications during her pregnancies due to her injuries.

    Multiple tests, different diagnoses like osteoporosis among others, she was addicted to the drugs to combat her pain.

    “Long story short, I wanted to be the mom that can pick her kid up when he's skinned his knee and wanted to be able to run after the other toddler,” Schumacher said.

    After losing her marriage and kids, and blowing up her sister's house manufacturing methamphetamine and being sentenced to prison, she chose the path to recovery through a faith-based outlook.

    She said every duty station she goes to, the first place she walks into is PWOC — Protestant Women of the Chapel — and she has sisters running up to her.

    “If I miss a Tuesday, there's someone there to call me on the phone, and say ‘hey, I didn't see you this Tuesday. Are you sick, do you need some soup, do you need something?’ and vice versa,” Schumacher said.

    "We are all there to help each other and hold each other accountable, and I recommend you reach out," she said.

    “There are chapel communities out there that are available to help, and it's not just the faith-based community. There are other communities here on post that are here to love on those with substance abuse issues, injury issues, PTSD issues, chronic pain issues,” Schumacher said.

    People sharing their story makes all the difference in the world because It’s a personal connection, Lofton-Berry said.

    “When you hear real-life stories of how people have experienced challenges and how they have reached out and found ways to turn their lives around in the direction they want, if I'm listening to that, I am like ‘hey if they can do it, I can do it, let me get started today.’” she said.

    "We have a weekly class where people know that they can come and get on the path to moving in the direction they'd like to," she said.

    “It is a courageous first step, so it is our goal to provide a safe space where people feel comfortable to reach out,” she said. “We manage and invite people to share what's going on and then receive a non-judgmental response.”

    Jacqueline Truitt, director of the Addiction Medicine Intensive Outpatient Program at Womack Hospital said she works with soldiers and family members who are in a need of higher-level care to address substance abuse concerns.

    “I have patients come and they are in groups five days a week. They get individual counseling as well as other services, (such as) art therapy and meditation to make sure they are ready and really able to integrate with their families and the community,” Truitt said.

    "Addiction is a disease, and that’s how we treat it here, and make sure to follow evidence-based practices," she said.

    “We want to make sure that people feel confident that when they come in, they receive the help that they need and remove any type of stigma that may be attached with getting help,” Truitt said.

    The community can reach them at 910-907-6825; select option 1 to make an appointment and be connected with a licensed clinician.

    “This is a huge mission that we have on Fort Bragg. These folks make sacrifices to protect our nation and we want to be there for them,” Lofton-Berry said.

    Kate said it is important for people to know they don’t have to struggle. “You can find help with people who understand your problem. We are out there, and we really want to help you.”

    “This month is focusing on substance abuse issues, but substance abuse comes from another core issue in our spirit and so if I could say anything, I want to leave people with that message of hope that change does happen,” Schumacher said.

    Individuals have an opportunity to explore the level of risk in their lives revolving around substance use by attending weekly classes. They can call 910-396-5784 available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Picture: The Fort Bragg Employee Assistance Program office is located in the Soldier Support Center, Bldg. 4-2843 Normandy Drive on Fort Bragg. The EAP offers resources to non-uniformed personnel (DoD civilian employees, military family members and retirees).

  • 10 Battlefield communicationArmy soldiers want network communications on the battlefield that can connect at any time, from any place, is secure and reliable.

    The Army’s modernization effort is delivering new radios, applications, satellite terminals and cross banding solutions to allow coalition partners to better share information with the troops. All American Division soldiers are at the forefront of this modernization effort, which is called Capability Set 21 and the Integrated Tactical Network.

    For more than a year, 82nd Airborne leadership and soldiers have been testing and evaluating new network gear and have provided feedback to help shape technology across the Army.

    Feedback from Fort Bragg soldiers has helped the Army prioritize units which will receive new network kits starting in 2021.

  • 03 teens school table laptopFormer presidential candidate Bernie Sanders got a lot of mileage with his proposal of “free college for all.”

    Other political hopefuls have embraced the same idea, at least in part, since at some level all human beings appreciate something for nothing.

    The notion is also appealing because higher education costs have exploded in both public and private institutions and lower income students graduate at lower levels than students from more advantaged families for all sorts of reasons, including money. Young Americans, not surprisingly, love this idea.

    Free college for all would also be so astronomically expensive it is difficult to contemplate. But should everyone go to college at all? And, if they do, can they, their families and the larger community expect them to graduate?

    The everyone to college question has been around for generations, and the answer is clearly no. Some students are not physically or mentally capable. Others are not interested in any way.

    That said, technology has greatly lessened the need for semi-skilled or unskilled labor, and jobs that require a high school degree or less are hard to come by and poorly compensated. Students and their families should understand that when the college decision is being made.

    Researchers have long known that college degrees are valuable personal assets. College grads earn more than nongrads almost from the outset and certainly over their working careers. Statistics show that they also live longer, are healthier, divorce less frequently and generally report happier lives.

    More affluent families with generations of college goers and graduates understand the value of a college degree, and their children are more likely to graduate than the children of middle- and lower-class families with less college going experience.

    The New York Times reported recently on a study by professors at Harvard and MIT that affirms the value of a college degree. Some students in the study were awarded significant scholarships while others paid their own ways. Scholarship recipients graduated at a higher rate than nonscholarship students, especially among minority and financially disadvantaged students, and those whose parents were not college grads. All of that seems to support the notion that a free education would help many students.

    Here again, one size does not fit all. Students from families with a history of college-going are likely to graduate anyway, since their families expect them to do so. They may also be more college-ready, having attended high-quality, sometimes independent, schools. It makes little sense to provide tax-payer funded higher education for them.

    Targeting capable students from other backgrounds for free education may make sense. American workers now compete not only against each other but against people literally on the other side of world, many in nations that do provide free educations. If we want our nation to be competitive in our global economy, our people must be prepared to do that, and education is an important aspect of that preparation. It would be expensive, of course, but not likely as expensive as a stalled economy or the long-term burden of individuals and families unable to support themselves sufficiently.

    So, no, not everyone should go to college, but those who do should have the support they need to be successful. And, yes, an educated and productive workforce in a humming economy benefits all of us, not just those who received the education.

    More than ever in today’s small world and global economy, we really are all in this together.

  • 01 01 20161001 164327Five years ago, the inaugural Indigo Moon Film Festival weekend was nearly washed out by Hurricane Matthew. Festivalgoers braved strong winds, heavy rains, power outages and the beginning of historic flooding in downtown Fayetteville to take part in a sold-out opening night.

    If a hurricane couldn’t cancel the IMFF, there was little chance that a pandemic could.

    Instead, IMFF founders Jan Johnson and Pat Wright put their heads together with the festival board of directors to devise a way to continue the festival while reducing health risks associated with in-person audiences.

    The solution is a fully virtual event for 2020. All films will be streamed online through a virtual portal. Anyone who purchases a ticket or pass can watch from the comfort and safety of their own home on a computer or television using common apps for streaming.

    While some festivalgoers will miss the experience of viewing films on the big screen in one of the traditional venues, Johnson and Wright said the virtual experience has opened up a lot of possibilities for this year and for future festivals, too.

    “It’s been exciting learning this new interface,” Johnson said of the process to prepare the virtual venues on the internet site and upload trailers and interviews with filmmakers.

    What audiences will see is a streamlined online site that can be searched and selected as easy as ordering any product online.

    “If you can turn on your computer, you can watch the films,” Wright said. “Or hook up your computer to the TV, whatever you are comfortable with.”

    Festivalgoers can watch trailers and select which films to see, Johnson said.

    The virtual experience and online platform allow viewers to watch all of the films if they choose — something that wasn’t possible during past festivals. At four traditional venues, viewers would choose which films or blocks of films to see over a weekend. Using the online platform, viewers have a week to watch as many of the films as they choose.

    “Before, each person had to buy a ticket,” Johnson said. With a virtual festival, you buy a pass and can watch films for the entire run of the festival.

    There is still a schedule this year, but all films will open on Saturday, at different times. After they are shown, they will be available online and viewers can rewatch them if they want.

    Passes are available at VIP, “Three Fer” and student rates. A VIP pass is sold online at $100 and will give access to all films after their scheduled showtime until the festival ends at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 16. Student and “Three Fer” passes are sold online for $25 each. Viewers can choose to purchase single viewing tickets and can purchase anytime during the festival.

    There are more than 60 films in this year’s festival, including opening night’s “Finding Manny,” a documentary directed by Kacey Cox. The movie is inspired by the book “Carved in Stone” and tells the story of Holocaust survivor Manny Drukier, who jumped from a Nazi “death train” at the age of 16 and found refuge in a home for orphans. Drukier was tracked down 71 years later by a German researcher who invited him to return to the orphanage, now a school, to share his story.

    “It is a fantastic film,” Johnson said. “The kind of film that makes you laugh and cry.”

    In the documentary, as Manny Drukier revisits places that hold some of his darkest memories, he tries to reconcile the past so that he can educate the future.
    This sentiment is similar to the motto Johnson and Wright have for the festival — “film inspires change.”

    “This is again the season of year and time of our lives we can take a look at how we’re going forward,” Johnson said.

    Creating and sharing films can inform and enlighten us — and others — to different experiences, customs and cultures, Wright said. It is a benefit to taking part in a film festival that offers diverse film topics from around the world.

    “We get to watch all these films from all over the world,” Wright said. “It’s a way to make our world a little bit smaller and work on these issues that face us.”

    One benefit of a virtual festival is that filmmakers can provide Q&A videos to run after the films, Wright said. So far, more than two-thirds of the films will have accompanying Q&As. This introduces viewers to filmmakers and gives some insight to how the films were made.

    One Q&A available is from local filmmakers Brian Adam Kline and Nicki Hart who made “Live Vid,” in the Shorts Block: Love.

    “It’s about a woman dealing with COVID-19, and I thought Brian’s script was hilarious,” Hart said of the film that takes places in the early stages of the pandemic.

    “She is locked down with her husband in her apartment,” Hart said. “She had a social life and friends. Now, all of a sudden, they’re forced to be cooped up and she has no other way to talk to her friends than in a live chat room.”

    In the film, viewers see the character talking to her friends, and the responses of her friends, typed out on screen. “She’s really telling them how she’s really feeling,” Hart said.

    Making the film was a rewarding experience, Hart said. A veteran of local live theater, this was Hart’s first film to be released to the public. It is also her first producing credit.

    Kline, who has directed Hart in multiple shows at the Gilbert Theater, approached her with the script earlier this year.

    “In this crazy time of COVID-19, we wanted to do something to make people laugh,” Hart said. “I’m proud of it. It’s a small film, but it’s still impactful. We make you laugh with this film, but we explore that dark underbelly of COVID-19.”

    “Live Vid” is also semi-finalist in the Peak International Film Festival, but Hart is proud that her collaboration with Kline was accepted in the IMFF.

    “Indigo Moon has a great following and reputation,” she said. “It’s a great, great thing we can claim, culturally, to have a film festival in this town.”

    This year’s festival will have Jury and Audience awards that will be presented online after the festival is complete. Viewers will have the opportunity to vote on awards in categories at the end of viewing blocks.

    Much of the transition to a virtual festival was made possible by a grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville Cumberland County, Johnson said.

    The 5th Annual Indigo Moon Film Festival will take place Oct. 9-16. To purchase tickets/passes or learn more about viewing, visit


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  • 07 NC supreme courtThe North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that three death row inmates will have their sentences reduced to life in prison through the state’s now-defunct Racial Justice Act.

    The 2009 law allowed death row inmates to go through an appeal process to receive life without parole if they could prove racial bias was a significant factor in their original death sentences. The law was repealed in 2013.

    The American Civil Liberties Union represented Christina Walters, Tilmon Golphin and Quintel Augustine in the original hearings in Cumberland County.

    Walters, who led a Fayetteville street gang, was convicted of the 1998 murders of 18-year-old Tracy Lambert and 21-year-old Susan Moore and the attempted murder of Debra Cheeseborough.

    Augustine was convicted of killing Fayetteville police Officer Roy Turner Jr. in November 2001.

    Golphin killed State Highway Patrol Trooper Ed Lowry and Cumberland County Deputy Sheriff David Hathcock during an I-95 traffic stop in September 1997.

    Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks, in 2012, cited a “wealth of evidence” of racially biased jury selection in all three cases.


    Pictured: North Carolina Supreme Court

  • 04 Pitt trojan horse objects in mirror are closer than they appearThere are real moments of insight and clarity on late night TV if you will only look. Once upon a time, in a galaxy pretty close to ours, came such a moment of clarity. Heck, it was our very own Milky Way galaxy while I happened to be watching a rerun of “Highway Patrol.”

    “Highway Patrol” was a 1950s show featuring Sgt. Dan Matthews. Sgt. Dan seldom took off his hat and usually killed a bad guy in the last five minutes of the program. Right after Dan killed the bad guy, a commercial came on selling gold-plated fake buffalo head nickels for only $9.99 each. Each household was strictly limited to being able to buy five fake nickels. What got me interested was the tag line: “AVOID DISAPPOINTMENTS AND FUTURE REGRETS. You must order now!” The low, low price could only be guaranteed for five days due to the ever-increasing cost of gold plating and unlimited suckers with credit cards.

    I certainly wanted to avoid disappointments and future regrets. Who wouldn’t want to avoid disappointments and future regrets? If buying a fake gold-plated nickel is a vaccine against future regrets sign me up. If $50 worth of junk will avoid disappointment in the Year of Our Lord 2020, that is a small price to pay. I began pondering, was there a character in Greek mythology who had encountered disappointments and future regrets? Sure enough, consider the story of Paris, the instigator of the Trojan War. Instead of buying a fake gold-plated drachma, he had snatched Helen of Sparta winding up with the Trojan Horse at the gates of his city.

    Paris had a colorful background. His baby daddy was King Priam of Troy and his momma was Hecuba. Right before giving birth to Paris, Hecuba had a bad dream that she was going to give birth to a burning torch. Yikes! The oracle cyphered this meant the new baby would end up destroying Troy. King Priam ordered his Flunky to kill the newborn Paris. The Flunky took Paris up to a hill but couldn’t kill a baby. He just left the baby on the hill hoping Paris would have the good sense to die.

    Fortunately for Paris, a lactating Momma Bear lumbered along and nursed him back to health. The Flunky came back about a week later hoping to bring Paris’ body back to show the King. As Gomer would say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!” Paris was still alive. The Flunky decided to adopt Paris. Then the troubles began. (Trigger warning to PETA fans) To prove to Priam that Paris was dead, the Flunky brought Priam a dog tongue claiming it was from Paris.

    The gods decided to have a Miss Olympus Beauty pageant to decide who was the most beautiful goddess of them all. The three finalists were Hera, Aphrodite and Athena. Zeus the King of the gods, was asked by the bevy of beauties to decide who was the best looking. Zeus wasn’t King for nothing. He knew whomever he picked, that the other two would hate him. So he delegated the judging to Paris. Paris was no dummy either. He had each of the goddesses undress so he could decide who was the best looking. Miraculously they were all so beautiful he could not decide. Each goddess then tried to bribe him to choose her as Queen of the Hop. Ultimately Aphrodite’s bribe won when she offered Paris the most beautiful woman on Earth, Helen of Sparta.

    Let me tell you, Helen was a doll baby. However, there was a catch. Helen was already married to King Menelaus of Sparta. Paris snuck into Menelaus’ palace and snatched up Helen. Then off he ran with her. Helen became smitten with Paris. They went back to Troy to live happily ever after. But there was another catch. Menelaus wanted her back pronto. He gathered up an army of angry Greeks and hightailed it to Troy. Paris refused to give up Helen, noting possession was 9/10s of the law. Menelaus replied to Paris, quoting Bugs Bunny saying “Of course you know, this means war!” Turned out it was the Trojan War.

    A whole bunch of fighting, stabbing, dueling and slaying ensued between the Greek and Trojan armies. Lots of Greek heroes ended up dead including Achilles who got an arrow right slam into his ankle. His ankle was the only place he could be killed. When Achilles was a baby, his Momma dipped him into a magic stream that would protect him from all wounds. She held him by his ankle when she dunked him. Medically, this meant his ankle didn’t get wet resulting in an unprotected spot. As luck would have it, Paris’ arrow hit him right in the wrong ankle resulting in Achilles expiring. That is why you have Achilles tendons in your feet to this very day.

    The Greeks hung around Troy for about 10 years doing siege stuff that didn’t work. Finally, the Greeks built a giant wooden horse to trick the Trojans into thinking the Greeks had given up. The Greeks filled up the horse with soldiers, leaving a note saying the horse was a gift and that they were going back to Greece. The Trojans saw the horse, read the note, and believed they had won. Counting their chickens before they were hatched, the Trojans hauled the horse into Troy to celebrate. Once inside the gates, the Greeks popped out of the horse and wiped out the city of Troy. Hence the old saying, beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

    So, what have we learned today? Once again, not much. While you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, buying a fake buffalo head nickel might lead you to avoid disappointment and future regrets. Neither Steve Reeves or any dogs were harmed during the writing of this column.

  • 05 special needs home schoolThe coronavirus pandemic has created many challenges for every part of our daily lives. If you’re a parent like me, you’re probably well aware of the difficulties with remote learning. Unfortunately, these difficulties have impacted some families more than others.

    Last month, I heard from parents and school administrators in our community about their concerns that special needs children were not able to access caregiving services during remote learning. This was due to a loophole that restricts families with special needs children from having respite care during the school day. This is an appropriate safeguard during normal times when students are able to attend school. But in a pandemic when children may be kept at home, these safeguards would not allow the program's intended purposes to work to provide care for children and relief for parents.

    As soon as I heard about this issue, I got to work. I immediately urged the Trump Administration to take action to rectify this situation and get support for special needs children in our community. After directly appealing to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, I am thrilled to report that last week, CMS granted a waiver for North Carolina to provide home and community-based services for these at-risk children.

    This would not have happened without parents reaching out to my office and is just part of my job to work on behalf of everyone in our community to solve problems. While the COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges, families with special needs children deserve the peace-of-mind that they can continue to access caregiving services during this time. As we continue to address the coronavirus, I am committed to getting our community the resources we need so that ALL children can succeed.

    In addition to supporting students at this time, I also remain focused on rebuilding our economy.

    Also last week, I was proud to announce a $13.1 million Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant award from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway.

    I have had the pleasure of touring the ACWR rail operations based in Montgomery County. A lifeline throughout our entire region, the ACWR is critical to transporting goods and supporting jobs across the 8th District and our state.

    Last week’s announced grant will enable many growth opportunities, particularly in rural areas, between Moore, Montgomery, Stanly, Cabarrus and Mecklenburg Counties. The funding will greatly improve ACWR's infrastructure and freight operations and will attract new industry and jobs into this service area.

    It was a thrill to call ACWR Railway President Julie White to tell her the grant was awarded. Julie told me this grant was a “game changer” that will allow critical improvements to the rail line that will benefit farms and other businesses throughout our region. I am also excited about the impact this will have on bringing new jobs to our community.

    As your Congressman, I will continue to fight for common sense solutions to rebuild our economy, renew the American dream for all Americans and restore our way of life. You can count on me to keep coming to work every day on your behalf, staying focused on public health, and doing whatever it takes to emerge from this time stronger than ever.

    Picture: A loophole prevented families with special needs students from accessing caregiver services during remote learning. After appealing to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, North Carolina was granted a waiver.

  • 06 suicide pain depression WORDSSenior Army leaders say they have seen a 30% increase in active duty suicides so far this year.

    Army officials said discussions in Defense Department briefings indicate there has been a 20% jump in overall military suicides this year. The numbers vary by service. The Army’s 30% spike, from 88 last year to 114 this year pushes the total up because it’s the largest service. Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Division has endured 10 suicides so far this year, a number that stood at four during the corresponding period last year.

    In 2018, six paratroopers in the division took their own lives; four did so in 2017. Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, who assumed command of the 82nd in July, believes forced periods of isolation and other stressors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been major factors.

    “There is absolutely a stigma that’s out there,” Donahue said. “And if we don’t acknowledge that, we’re lying.”

    The increase has pushed Donahue to make suicide prevention a priority and a frequent topic of conversation within his ranks. James Helis, director of the Army’s resilience programs, said virus-related isolation, financial disruptions and loss of childcare all happening at the same time has strained troops and their families.

    “We know that the measures we took to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID could amplify some of the factors that could lead to suicide,” said Helis. Army leaders also said troops have been under pressure for nearly two decades of war and that deployments compounded by the virus have taken a toll.

  • 11 PCH ComplexCOVID-19 is having a significant impact on commercial real estate. The pandemic directly affects the demand for office space through quarantines, shutdowns, supply chain disruptions, employment loss and a shattering of consumer confidence, according to real estate research experts who spoke with Development magazine. “One investor told me that he cannot close on a building because he cannot get an appraiser to go out and look at it,” said Emil Malizia,” a research professor at the University of North Carolina. “What does that do to occupancy, particularly office buildings?”

    “Similar to Fayetteville, office tenants across the country are pausing new office leases as officials re-evaluate how they use their offices and how many employees businesses will have due to financial harm from COVID-19,” said Jordan Jones, manager of the PCH expansion projects in downtown Fayetteville.

    “We have to recognize that this is not a financial crisis,” said Timothy H. Savage of NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate. “It’s a natural disaster in which it is not the physical capital that is being affected — it is the human capital … that directly impacts the economy.”

    PCH developers have proposed building a seven-story office building and a five-story Hyatt Hotel atop the recently completed five-story parking garage on Hay Street. The city of Fayetteville agreed to purchase the garage and did so at a cost of nearly $18 million. The structure will provide parking for the new hotel, the office building, Prince Charles apartment tenants and to a limited extent, the public. The projects were initially slated for completion next year. “We are unable to provide an updated timeline on the projects moving forward,” Jones said. “We remain committed to executing phase two above the parking garage and continue to actively move these projects forward.”

    The $40 million Segra baseball stadium to the rear of the parking deck and PCH’s acquisition of the Festival Park Plaza building were also elements of a $120 million economic development undertaking in mid-town. What about the planned hotel? “On the hospitality side, the industry's occupancy across the country (including Fayetteville) has seen a significant decline,” Jones noted.

    “Without occupancy, a hotel is not financially feasible.” But a firm with expertise in the hotel industry has concluded that Hyatt is the hotel chain that has instituted the best customer-friendly and customer-safe policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. NerdWallet analyzed and graded the policies of eight hotel companies and found that Hyatt's face mask requirement and staff training procedures set it apart from the others.

    The chief executive officer of Hyatt Hotels Corporation is optimistic about the new normal. “I think there is clear evidence that there will be a robust return to travel even without a vaccine as long as you have a really rigorous, committed and vigilant approach to managing the virus,” Mark Hoplamazian said. “The more practice we all have in being vigilant, being compliant, making it a part of our lives, the better off we’re going to be. That’s my aspiration and my hope for the near future.”

    Pictured:The PCH expansion projects in downtown — to include an office building, hotel and parking garage — were slated for completion next year, but have been delayed due to the COVID-19 impact.

  • 08 early voting signRegistered voters may cast absentee ballots in person during the early voting period. In North Carolina, this period is sometimes called “one-stop early voting.”

    This year the in-person early voting period begins Thursday, Oct. 15, and ends Saturday, Oct. 31.

    During early voting, Fayetteville area voters may cast ballots at any early voting site in Cumberland County. This is different from Election Day, when registered voters must vote at their assigned precincts.

    Find early voting sites and schedules at https://vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/.

    Voting sites and schedules change for each election and are only available through the search tool once finalized.

    To see the voting equipment Cumberland County uses for one-stop early voting, go to https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting/voting-equipment, and check the map for “One-Stop Early Voting Equipment, by County.”

  • adjusted helmet
    Where has this football season gone?

    I write this picking column the day before Halloween, and when we kick off Friday night we’ll be in November with only one more week left in the regular season.

    Also as of this writing we’re still waiting, as usual, for those magical, mysterious average daily membership numbers from the State Department of Public Instruction that the North Carolina High School Athletic Association will use to determine which schools will be AA and which will be A in the state playoff brackets.

    Those that pull out the slide rules and sun dials and try to forecast who’s going where suggest we could have as many as four Cumberland County teams in the 4-A classification playoffs and two in the 3-A classification. 

    I’ll wait until the official call from the NCHSAA before going through all those headaches.
    The record: 52-16
    This picking business can drive you insane if you let it. I missed two games last week, both by a single point. That put the record for the week at 5-2, running my season count to 52-16, 76.5 percent.
    Cape Fear at Pine Forest - The title of hottest team in Cumberland County now goes to Cape Fear after the Colts notched their fifth straight win with a huge 7-6 victory over South View last Friday.
    With only one Patriot Athletic Conference loss to Terry Sanford, Cape Fear is in a strong position for a state playoff berth, but the Colts need to win out and get some help from the rest of the league to get the best seeding possible.
    I think they start the process for themselves Friday with a win over Pine Forest.
    Cape Fear 28, Pine Forest 13.
    Gray’s Creek at Douglas Byrd- Two teams facing disappointing seasons to date. The Bears are my pick in this one as they bid to finish the year strong.
    Gray’s Creek 30, Douglas Byrd 12.
    Jack Britt at Pinecrest - I’d love to pick the Buccaneers in this one, but Pinecrest is playing too well.
    Pinecrest 27, Jack Britt 13.
    Seventy-First at Richmond Senior - I’m afraid it’s going to be a long night in Rockingham for the Falcons.
    Richmond Senior 32, Seventy First 12.
    Terry Sanford at South View - South View is in command to get the No. 1 4-A playoff berth from the Patriot Athletic Conference. Meanwhile Terry Sanford has already locked up the 3-A top seed by sweeping its 3-A league opponents.
    So all that’s at stake here is the regular-season conference championship. Trust me, both teams want it badly.
    South View 20, Terry Sanford 18.
    Overhills at Westover - The frustration is likely to continue for Westover this week.
    Overhills 24, Westover 16.
    Open date: E.E. Smith.
    Other games: Trinity Christian 39, Asheville School 6.
  • 06 01 N1805P67008CThe Cumberland County Board of Health has adopted suggested amendments to the local smoke-free ordinance to include e-cigarettes and vaping products, which are suspected links to recent nationwide deaths from severe lung disease.  As of Oct. 17, there were 54 cases of suspected vaping and e-cigarette related lung disease reported in North Carolina in individuals ranging in age from 13 to 72. No deaths related to vaping have been recorded in Cumberland County. The Board of Health has prepared draft language to be included in the proposed ordinance amendment, which will be submitted to the Board of County Commissioners for adoption.

    In related news, the health department is offering flu vaccinations to children and adults at its Immunizations Clinic on Ramsey Street. Uninsured children 6 months to 18-years-old may receive the vaccination free. For other patients, the cost depends on the type of flu vaccine received. The immunizations clinic is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., every second and fourth Tuesday evening until 7 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon. For more information, phone 910-433-3633 or 910-433-3657.

    Child Safety teamwork

    Most adults, particularly parents, can’t fathom the idea of neglecting a child. Sadly, though, thousands of cases of child neglect exist in the United States. During 2015, the U.S. Department of Health 06 02 neglected girl 4and Human Services estimated that 683,000 children in the country were victims of abuse or neglect. Even worse, the agency estimated that 1,670 children died in 2015 from abuse or neglect. Locally, the Cumberland County Department of Social Services has been awarded a best practice award in recognition of a program that forged relationships between community partners. DSS received the award for its multi-team approach in assisting a large group of children after an investigation uncovered unsafe living conditions. The outcome of the investigation was the successful removal of 16 children. DSS joined with law enforcement to remove the children without incident or additional trauma. Other community partners included medical providers, schools, nonprofit organizations, county, state and federal governing bodies. The collaboration saw to it that the children were immediately provided foster homes, medical attention, clothing, hygiene supplies and food.

    PWC Community Solar Farm

    Fayetteville’s Public Works Commission has built North Carolina’s first municipal community solar farm, and it’s a big one. It’s a large-scale, ground-mounted solar array of 3,384 solar panels offering electricity customers a shared renewable energy option and an alternate to rooftop solar. The solar farm is adjacent to PWC’s Butler-Warner Generation Plant in Eastover. All PWC utility customers — whether they own or rent their homes — can participate as subscribers in this program. Customers can enroll in the program beginning Nov. 1, pay a monthly subscription fee and in exchange receive bill 06 03 PWC Solar Farmcredits for the value of the solar less the cost to operate it. The solar farm will help provide cleaner, greener power for the community. And, according to officials, it will reduce the amount of electricity PWC purchases from Duke Energy.

    Outer Loop section to open

    In anticipation of opening the next segment of the Fayetteville Outer Loop, the future Interstate-295, a N.C. Department of Transportation contractor last week replaced overhead signs and restriped the pavement of the new segment of the thruway. Previous signs directed all I-295 southbound traffic to exit at the All American Freeway beyond which construction continued. Next month DOT will open the six-mile section of the highway from the All American Freeway to Cliffdale Road in west Fayetteville. The 39-mile outer loop will bring unprecedented interstate connectivity for the region and provide Fort Bragg direct connections to I-95. The Fayetteville Outer Loop will help support the military, promote continued economic growth and strengthen North Carolina’s ability to attract and retain business and 06 04 I 295 New Segmentindustry, DOT said in a news release. Other benefits include a reduction in the volume of traffic on the local network of city streets and connect major routes in the south, west and north portions of Fayetteville.

    Deer Season Safety

    As daylight hours get shorter and deer become more active, the North Carolina Department  of Transportation is reminding drivers to be alert at roadway deer crossings. Last year, there were nearly 19,000 animal related crashes across the state. Over the past three years, these collisions have resulted in nine deaths and injuries to 3,000. DOT urges motorists to slow down in posted deer crossings and heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon or early evening. Deer often travel in groups so assume that if one crosses the road in front of you there may be others following.

    06 05 DEER CROSSING 1 Cumberland County Schools Study

    Cumberland County Schools are charting a course to reduce out-of-school student suspensions. The school system and the Cumberland County Chapter of the NAACP recently held a forum to review strategies and develop new approaches to embrace restorative justice practices and reduce suspensions. Restorative justice is an approach in which the response to an incident is a meeting between the victim and the offender, the goal being to share their experience of what happened and create a consensus for what the offender can do to repair the harm from the offense.

    The forum aimed to stop the school-to-prison pipeline and how the community can work together to improve academic and life outcomes for students.

    Associate Superintendent Lindsay Whitley said the most up-to-date information that has been certified and can be released is from the 2017-2018 school year: “Out-of-school suspensions by ethnicity,” involved 6,526 African-American pupils compared to 1,175 whites. Lindsay said 29.07% of the student body was African American. 
    06 06 Cumberland County Schools
  • 14 PiaEvery quarter the Fayetteville Ladies Power Lunch hosts a luncheon for the women of this community. Not only does it include a meal and a keynote speaker, there are prizes, a Shopportunity Expo with a variety of vendors and a wine tasting, too. The next luncheon is set for Nov. 14 at Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

     A perfect fit for this event, the botanical garden offers a professional yet serene setting for the gathering.

    The Fayetteville Ladies Power Lunch board and partnering sponsor, Women's View Magazine, have been working diligently to heighten guests' experience going into 2020. "Changing the venue and caterer are a couple of the modifications that you will see going into this final event of the 2019 season. We think that everyone will agree that the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens offers a magical space and Two Brothers Catering provides top notch cuisine and we're very excited that we could make those changes happen in November," said Paulette Naylor, a member of the advisory board for the Power Lunch.

    Doors open at 10 a.m. with the Shopportunity Expo. Previous events have hosted fitness centers, locally owned and operated pet stores, home businesses, spas, events venues, home interior firms and more. Enjoy a glass of wine while shopping and networking before the midday meal is served.

    The formal portion of the luncheon starts at noon. The Vine will cater this month’s meal. The catering company provides delicious fare for all kinds of events, including weddings and gallery openings as well as business events.

    Pia Duncan is this month’s keynote speaker. Duncan is a college educator, an entrepreneur and the cofounder of Ben and Pia Duncan Foundation. According to its Facebook page, the BPDF is a charitable organization that seeks to “pioneer initiatives that will bridge the opportunity gap for youth in the areas of Health & Science, Arts, Global Education, Social Justice, and College accessibility for youth in the community. … The Ben and Pia Duncan Foundation strives to instill these principles in youth and in the community to help bridge the gap of opportunity to children and youth. The foundation will support education, through the granting of scholarships; provide valuable information, knowledge and resources; and to provide a framework for new and innovative research to help narrow racial gaps and to improve the quality of life of all Americans across a wide spectrum of areas.”

    Lunch ends at 2 p.m. with plenty of time left to continue shopping and networking before the event ends at 2:30 p.m.

    While the mission of the FLPL is to inspire, educate, empower and celebrate women in the community, the organization also supports local nonprofits. This year, the Power Lunch has chosen education as its charity of choice platform. A portion of the luncheon proceeds will benefit the Kidsville News Literacy and Education Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides funding assistance for reading and educational resources to school children in Cumberland and Hoke Counties.

    Tickets cost 45 dollars and are available at https://www.fayettevilleladiespowerlunch.com. Sponsorships are also available.

    Pictured: Pia Duncan, the keynote speaker for the Fayetteville Ladies Power Lunch

  • 15 ParentingIn 2017, I was pregnant — not “super” pregnant, as in I could still see my feet but could still rest a soda can on my belly without it spilling — and I stumbled upon a video on Facebook of a college acquaintance and her 2-year-old son. She was sitting on the floor folding laundry while her son ran around the room giggling and playing. As I watched, I noticed she was asking her son a series of simple questions about God, called catechisms, most of which required an answer of only a few words.

    The series of questions went something like this:

    Mom: “Who made you?”
    Son: “God!”
    Mom: “And what else did God make?”
    Son: “All things!”
    Mom: “Why did God make you and all things?”
    Son: “For his own glory!”
    Mom: “How can you glorify God?”
    Son: “By loving him and doing what He commands!”

    Tears. I cried big crocodile tears as I watched it over and over again, joy beaming from the child's face as he responded to her questions, sometimes on his own, sometimes with her guidance. She was teaching her sweet 2-year-old boy who God is and how much he loves him — the call that is on every person's life if they claim to follow Jesus. That was discipleship (teaching and instructing others  about who Jesus is) in its simplest form and I needed to take notes.
    That has always baffled me. Where do you even start with someone, anyone, much less a child,  to tell them that there is a god who created the universe and everything in it, who specifically thought of them and formed them in their mother's womb, who has a plan and a purpose for their life, when they have no framework for who he is? How do you tell them that he sent his son Jesus, who is also God and part of the Trinity — pretty confusing, to Earth because of this ugliness called sin that's inside the human race, to die for them and save them from sin, so they can know him and his love and spend eternity in heaven? Yeah, say that five times fast. For someone who didn't grow up in church or around church, or has a bad taste in their mouth from people who call themselves Christians, it sounds absolutely insane, and I see that.

    But on the other hand, what a weighty, beautiful, glorious responsibility to start with a blank canvas — a child. Its almost too much to bear. It's terrifying. Disciple-ing my son means not only am I telling him about Jesus, but I'm teaching him. He's an eye witness to my life — my life with all of my sin, selfishness, pride and mistakes. He's going to observe how I'm living, and eventually what he will think about Jesus will be colored by whether or not I was a big, fat phony, or whether I truly tried to live for what I say I believe. He will see how I handle relationships, discipline, my health, blessings, heartbreak, finances, our home, apologies, loss, tough emotions, asking for help, hard work —the list goes on.

    My relationship with Jesus directly affects my son's future relationship with him, but here's the crazy thing about all of it: There is nothing I can do in and of myself to make him believe. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. The Holy Spirit must do something miraculous and supernatural with my measly attempts to show who he is and how he works. Then my son must make his own decision. I just pray with all my heart and soul that God will burn the “fake” out of me, that I learn to trust him more and that what was promised to the prison guard in Acts 16:31 was a promise for my family as well — “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
    May he choose you, Jesus. I pray I will, too.

  • 02 01 helmet 1 2 1 DLast week our legislative delegation, along with some of the members of the New Hanover delegation, were invited to visit the Fayetteville Chemours plant to see what the plant is doing to abate the GenX contaminant that has severely affected our river, streams, air, soil, area wells and people’s health. GenX is a man-made chemical compound whose practical uses extend life in products we all use —from clothing to pots and pans. Its durability allows it to have myriad uses. But, its durability also makes it very difficult for Mother Nature to break down and restore it to its original state. It makes one wonder if we can coexist with these chemical compounds. This question is complicated by Chemours’ actions, despite significant pressure from our governor and legislature concerning the need to reduce, clean up and prevent these chemical compounds from entering our rivers, streams, groundwater, soil and air. To put it bluntly, we are still facing challenges in understanding the nature and degree of the harm GenX might do and how to protect our residents.

    The good news is you have a committed local delegation determined to fix and abate the GenX situation we are facing. With that determination, we attended a meeting with Chemours Plant Manager Brian Long. The meeting began with Long answering some concerning GenX questions from the delegation. I cannot speak for everyone, but I was amazed at how little I knew regarding chemical compounds like GenX and the long-term challenges they pose. Initially, it appeared that Chemours had a genuine commitment to Cumberland County and North Carolina residents. But, like many citizens, I have become wary of excuses and delays and want action now.

    The meeting got more interesting when Long introduced us to Chemours’s latest big investment, which we were surprised to learn was currently under construction. A brand-new $199 million thermal incinerator. That’s Chemours’ solution to the GenX problem. To infer this is a mammoth project does not come close to doing it justice. The site enhancements include an underground foundation and piping that extends 40 feet below the surface. However, what is on the surface is even more impressive. In simpler terms, it is a giant all-in-one furnace and washing machine. A thermal incinerator produces intense heat then scrubs the compound elements, after which additional heat is 02 02 CHRMOURS SIGNreapplied. This leads to the breakdown of GenX into its basic elements, which are then recycled back to nature, presumably here in our county. The plant is scheduled to be operational by December.

    At first look, it appears Chemours has made a major commitment and investment into providing a solution to the ongoing GenX problem. I, like many others, am skeptical even though it does seem to be a better alternative than shipping and relocating 40,000 gallons of GenX-laced water to deep-water wells in Texas. Especially since deep-water wells pose their own set of issues, and I don’t particularly like dumping North Carolina problems onto another states.

    Incinerating GenX chemical compounds appears to be a viable option going forward, and Chemours is betting the farm on this alternative means of disposal. The Chemours leadership also hopes the new incinerator will be profitable for Chemours. When it goes online in December, it will be operating at less than half its capacity. It has far more capacity than Chemours needs. This being the case, either Chemours intends to grow its production or invite other industries to use the facility to dispose of their toxic compounds. I immediately became curious as to what Chemours’ true motives are.

    We want to trust Chemours. The company employs over 700 workers and pays reasonably good salaries. It has made a capital investment into technology that leadership believes will solve 99.9% of the GenX concerns. But, was this investment for our benefit — or was it to be a profit center for Chemours stockholders or a convenient dumping point for other contaminants for other industries?  After all, the new incinerator will only be operating at a 40% capacity, leaving availability for an additional 60% more compounds capable of being processed at the Fayetteville plant. This could mean more contaminants being shipped into North Carolina for disposal. And those imported contaminants will travel over our roads and through our communities and arrive at our ports as they work their way to their ultimate destination, the Fayetteville Works-Chemours plant.

    Many questions need to be addressed and answered. Will North Carolina and our community be the final destination for the nation’s contaminants? Or, will Chemours’ new incinerator prove to be a successful, viable solution, creating high-paying jobs and greater economic opportunity for our region?  It is puzzling and somewhat concerning that Chemours’ $199 million commitment to build something of this magnitude could move forward without benefit of public hearings, if only to share its intentions and provide citizens and commissioners an opportunity for public input.

    It begs the question: Has Chemours, under the pretext of solving the GenX problem, outwitted local and state officials and circumvented the checks and balances needed to safeguard the community? Chemours has now invited, or will be inviting, other chemical businesses to offload their chemical products to the local plant to be processed using the natural resources of our state. Sure, if all goes well and the processes are executed properly, then everything may be fine.

    However, what if it doesn’t? What if there are accidents or spills along the way to the plant? Or at the plant? What if the technology doesn’t work as planned or becomes inoperable, breaks down and creates additional contamination of our air, rivers and soil?   

    Well, it doesn’t look like Chemours is going anywhere anytime soon. It is here to stay and in a major way. Is this because no other state wants them or because North Carolina has the fewest and most lax environmental laws in the country and too few inspectors to enforce laws or provide oversight of the permits we do have? 

    Lastly, the most important question yet to be answered is: What is Chemours going to do for all the North Carolinians who already have contaminated wells and soil in and around their homes, businesses and schools? Here is a modest proposal for Chemours that would go a long way in restoring their good faith and credibility to residents. Consider investing twice the sum it spent on the incinerator and its future by fixing wells and eliminating contamination, providing North Carolinians the confidence to drink and use their water without fear or risk to their health, the health of their children, livestock or the air they breathe. Cumberland County does not have countywide water and sewer. Chemours could assist the county in placing real infrastructure in our Grays Creek area. Simple filters under the sink will not make our people safe. We need real solutions. I hope that Chemours embraces these ideas, addresses the problems by restoring clean water sources to our communities and embracing the community they claim. It’s the right thing to do.

    Picture 1: We are still facing challenges in understanding the nature and degree of the harm Chemours’s GenX might do and how to protect our residents. The good news is you have a committed local delegation determined to fix and abate the GenX situation we are facing.

    Picture 2: We want to trust Chemours. The company employs over 700 workers and pays reasonably good salaries. It has made a capital investment into technology that leadership believes will solve 99.9% of the GenX concerns.

  • 11 PattiMost of America knows Patti LaBelle for her voice and music career spanning four decades, but she is a true entrepreneur in every sense of the word. If you’ve missed her on TV, or on the Broadway stage, the Crown Theater presents music icon LaBelle in concert Friday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m.  LaBelle, born Patricia Louise Holte, is known as the “Godmother of Soul.” She began her musical career as lead singer and front woman of the vocal group, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. She is a dramatic soprano who has sold more than 50 million records worldwide.

    LaBelle became a mainstream solo star in 1984 following the success of the singles “If Only You Knew,” “New Attitude” and “Stir It Up.” In 1986, she scored with the No. 1 album, “Winner In You” and the No. 1 duet single “On My Own,” with Michael McDonald.      

    Outside of touring she has written six books and started her own product line of cakes, sauces, cobblers and sweet potato pie. She has her own cooking show, “Patti LaBelle’s Place,” which premiered its second season on the Cooking Channel in 2017.

    Her humanitarian efforts include being an advocate for adoption, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS and many other causes. In 1994, LaBelle was diagnosed with diabetes and became the spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association.    
    LaBelle has been inducted into the the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame.       
    Ticket cost is $55, $70, $95 and $135. For more information call 910-438-4100.

  • 19 Dorian Clark copyThere has been no shortage of great running backs at Fayetteville and Terry Sanford High Schools, dating back to the tales of the great Nub Smith during the post-World War II era.

    In modern times, names like Roger Gann, Booten Jackson, Louis Craft, Dwight Richardson and Jordan McRae were often in headlines.

    But all of them never achieved the numbers that current standout Dorian Clark has.

    Clark recently became the all-time rushing leader in the rich history of Fayetteville High and Terry Sanford. Through last week’s win over Douglas Byrd, Clark has rushed for 4,724 yards in his career as a Bulldog with 50 touchdowns.
    This season alone he’s amassed 1,125 yards and 15 scores.

    None of this came as a surprise to head coach Bruce McClelland, who saw Clark’s potential as he came up through the middle school ranks. He arrived at Terry Sanford as a freshman eager to learn and get even better.

    “He’s one of those gym rat type of kids that always wanted to know what was going on and when we were working out,’’ McClelland said. “Combined with the skill set and wanting to work, you put those two together and you see the promise of him.’’

    McClelland describes Clark as a downhill runner who can put his shoulder into a defender and carry two or three of them with him. “I would probably say at least half of his yards have come after contact,’’ McClelland said.

    While Clark doesn’t possess sprinter’s speed, McClelland said he’s got enough to to make him an effective runner. It’s also been enough to attract the attention of colleges like Wake Forest, Wofford and Elon to name a few.

    If anyone is surprised by Clark’s success, it’s Clark himself, who just came to Terry Sanford hoping he could live up to the reputation of the running backs that preceded him.

    As far as his thoughts on his running style, he considers himself a disciple of the Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott. “I watch him and study how he runs,’’ Clark said. “That’s my favorite football player. That’s who I feel like I run like, with toughness, the physical part of running.’’

    Clark said he still wants to hit 5,000 yards for his career. With three regular season games and a near certain first-round state playoff game left, he has time to make that happen.

    But he and the Bulldogs are seeking bigger prizes. “I want us to win our conference,’’ he said. “I want us to be conference champions and go undefeated (in conference play). I’m really excited about what’s going to be coming up for us and all the things we are about to do.’’

    Pictured: Dorian Clark

  • 13 THE CROSSINGTwo of North Carolina’s most beloved authors, Ron Rash and Charles Frazier, come from our mountain region. Two of our most promising younger writers, Jason Mott and De’Shawn Winslow, are African Americans from eastern North Carolina.

    These four important writers join together in November to close the current season of UNC-TV’s "North Carolina Bookwatch."

    Growing up in a working class family in rural Columbus County, Jason Mott developed an imagination, story telling gifts and a flair for writing that propelled his first novel, "The Returned," to The New York Times’ best seller-list and a television series based on the book. “The Returned” featured the reappearance in fully human form of people who died years ago. Mott’s ability to persuade literalists like me to suspend disbelief opened the door to my enjoying his provocative stories. He has done it again in his latest book, “The Crossing,” a story of a teenaged narrator and her twin brother coping in a world battered by deadly disease and war.

    For many of us, Charles Frazier’s “Cold Mountain” is a favorite novel, blending his beautiful writing with a compelling story. From the books that followed, “Thirteen Moons” and “Nightwoods,” Frazier gained recognition as North Carolina’s most admired writer of literary fiction since Thomas Wolfe.

    Now he has another book set in Civil War times, with another imaginative story of a refugee from war. This time the central character is Varina Davis, wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and until now an obscure Civil War footnote.

    Through his fiction Frazier attempts to portray a true idea of Varina’s life and the times she experienced. Frazier refers to Varina as “V.”

    He builds V’s story around an unusual fact. While living in Richmond as first lady of the Confederacy, she took in a young mulatto boy she called Jimmie. She raised him alongside her children. At the end of the Civil War, Union troops took the six-year-old Jimmie away from V, and she never learned what happened to him.

    Ron Rash is famous for his poetry, short stories and novels. He is perhaps best known for the best selling novel “Serena,” although some of his fans and critics say that his latest, “The Risen” set in the mountains near Sylva, is his best.
    Early in “The Risen,” in the present time, the local newspaper reports the discovery of the body of Jane Mosely, who had disappeared in the summer of 1969. The central character, Eugene Matney, and his brother had become involved with Jane with drugs and sex. When Jane’s body is found, the boys, now grown men, become possible murder suspects.

    Almost all the characters in Elizabeth City native De’Shawn Charles Winslow’s debut novel, “In West Mills,” are African American, but the book’s themes are universal.

    West Mills is a fictional small town in eastern North Carolina, somewhere near Elizabeth City, where the author grew up.

    That main character, Azalea Centre, or Knot, as she is called by everyone, has moved to West Mills to take a teaching job. Knot loves 19th century English literature. She also loves cheap moonshine and bedding a variety of men.

    Two unintended pregnancies result in Knot’s having two daughters. They are adopted confidentially by local couples who name them Frances and Eunice. The girls, not knowing about their common origin, come to despise each other and fight for the attention of the same man.

    On this situation, Winslow builds a series of confrontations and complications that challenge the comfortable order of the community.

    I hope Bookwatch will produce a new season soon. In the meantime repeat episodes from the current season will air and give us another chance to experience these four important North Carolina authors.

  • 04 Ezra Merritt at Evers graveMy last column was titled, “History Center: Another Hijacking Underway.” I addressed the effort by Mayor Mitch Colvin and some members of the Fayetteville City Council to make major changes to the planned North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center. No matter what the outcome — stopping the project, making changes, or proceeding as the project organizers plan — the actions of Colvin and his group guarantee substantial racial division and tension in Fayetteville for years to come.

    This concern, regarding how our city will be negatively impacted by what I see as an effort to, at the last minute, generate opposition to the History Center was validated and deepened when I attended a meeting on Thursday evening, Sept. 26. That meeting was organized by Val Applewhite, former city councilwoman, with Advance Carolina and the Fayetteville Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as cosponsors. Clearly, the goal of this meeting was to generate opposition, in the black community, to this project.

    I left that Thursday night meeting totally frustrated and feeling tremendous sadness. My concern is not only the racial tension, but the overall adverse impact on a city that is trying to become a better place for all people.

    One change called for by Colvin is in the concept of the History Center. He made this point during his comments at the meeting. I sent the mayor an email asking what he understands to be the current concept and what changes he desires. Getting no response, based on his meeting comments, it seems there is concern that slavery and the Civil War will not be accurately presented. Given this “concept” concern, research for my column titled, “Needed: NC Civil War & Reconstruction History Center” shows that the Center’s focus will be on telling the stories of people in North Carolina during the Civil War and Reconstruction. This from the Center’s website:

    “Our State’s story needs room to breathe because it extends beyond those four years of war and because it cannot be neatly wrapped in Confederate gray. North Carolina’s enduring Civil War legacy is more like a quilt: a patch work of blue and gray, white and black, and various shades in between.”

    Then: “History is not always neat; it is often complicated and messy. It is about people, places, and events that are both admirable and shameful.

    “Here at the site of General Sherman’s ‘final march’ on the Fayetteville Arsenal, this definition comes into stark focus. The History Center takes an unflinching look at all sides of the Civil War, for all North Carolinians. Taking multiple perspectives and many untold stories into account, the collective memory of our state and our heritage becomes rich and multi-layered, and the many thousands who created this history will not be forgotten.”

    At the bottom line, the History Center will focus on the stories of North Carolinians of every color and gender and how they were affected by, and responded to, the Civil War and the Reconstruction period. Giving attention to these stories can help build greater understanding between people who, because of how history has been portrayed, live in separate and contentious worlds. Simply put, there is tremendous power in storytelling.

    On the same night as that disturbing meeting, I received a text from Dr. Ezra Merritt. He does not live in Fayetteville, but told me about an opinion piece that was in that day’s Fayetteville Observer online edition and in the print edition Oct. 27. The column was written by Carol Megathlin and titled, “Murder still shocks, 80 years later.” Megathlin wrote, “I am a white woman who grew up in the deep South of the 50s and 60s.”

    That bit of background comes after the writer reflected on an article she read by Rachel Cargle titled, “I Refuse to Listen to White Women Cry.” Megathlin explained that Cargle calls for action in response to her stories about discrimination.  Cargle’s comment about stories of discrimination and the call to action prompted Megathlin to write:

    “I submit that when confronted with firsthand accounts of the dehumanizing indignity suffered by African Americans, people of conscience naturally grow sick at heart.

    “I felt just such an emotion as we took our Honor Flight veterans on a tour of their war memorials in the District.”

    Megathlin goes on to recount how, on that trip, she met Dr. Ezra “EZ” Merritt, an 85-year-old retired U.S. Army Colonel who served 33 years. He was the only black in Megathlin’s group. In the heart of this column, she shares a story that Merritt told her while walking in Arlington National Cemetery. Merritt was the youngest of six boys and two girls. His father, Ezra “Pete” Merritt, was a sharecropper who refused to play by the boss’s rules. For instance, Pete kept his own records of purchases at the company store. He did this because the company store would keep records all year and then claim that sharecroppers owed more than had been earned. Based on Ezra Merritt’s account, the writer paints a word picture of a man, Pete Merritt, who was independent in his thinking, sought to advance himself and his family — even in horribly difficult circumstances — and refused to be victimized or manipulated by anybody.

    Megathlin writes: “One night, a black man named Tom Williams burst into the Merritt’s sharecropper shack. Pete was seated at the dinner table with his children. His wife and a daughter were in the kitchen.” He went on to kill Pete Merritt by shooting him in the back. Williams was sentenced to prison, but not death. Later, he received the death penalty for killing several people after he was released from prison. It later came to light that somebody paid Tom Williams $50 to kill Pete Williams. In that time, for a black man, this was the price of being independent in his thinking, seeking to advance himself and his family, even in horribly difficult circumstances, and refusing to be victimized or manipulated by anybody. Pete Merritt’s eight children, all of them, went on to have very successful lives.
    Near the end of her piece, Carol Megathlin writes this:

    “Ms. Cargle preaches ‘knowledge plus empathy plus action’ to whites. We rely on people like her and EZ Merritt to provide the knowledge. What we do with it – confronting racism in ourselves and others, or not – requires the humility to be honest with ourselves. Our response tests the depth of our courage, and reveals the quality of our character.”

    To more fully appreciate and understand the story of Pete Merritt and the writer’s response, read Carol Megathlin’s piece at https://www.fayobserver.com/news/20190926/megathlin-murder-still-shocks-80-years-later.

    I know this story well. Ezra “Pete” Merritt was my paternal grandfather. In the book that he and I wrote about my father’s life, Daddy explains the $50 payment to Williams. The chaplain who walked Williams to the electric chair told Daddy he asked Williams why he killed Pete Merritt. Tom responded, “The white folk gave me $50.”

    I was in my early 20s when my father told me the whole story. For some 50 years, that story has inspired me and influenced my approach to life, but is has not filled me with hatred of white people. I suppose it helped that I saw my father assess people based on their life story and actions, not their skin color. He could take this approach because sharing his story with others, including white Americans, and hearing theirs with an open mind, allowed for forming positive and close relationships with many people... regardless of race.

    Obviously, Megathlin was positively affected by hearing Uncle Ezra tell our story. I have also been positively impacted by this story. There is power in storytelling. However, the stories that can touch hearts, change minds for the better and heal broken relationships are not limited to stories of black Americans and slavery. All of us have stories, and there is power in sharing them. Storytelling is central to the concept of the History Center. Let it happen... let it help us be reconciled in Fayetteville and across this nation. 
    Pictured: Dr. Ezra Merritt, at the grave of Medgar Evers is attached.
  • 20 BazzleSouth View athletic director Chad Barbour said Tyler Bazzle is the kind of student who brightens your day whenever you see him.

    Despite being hampered by cerebral palsy that makes him non-verbal and forces him to walk with the help of a walker, Bazzle is a friendly, outgoing youngster who is beloved by his teachers and fellow students.

    He also loves the Tiger football team, and Barbour came up with an idea for allowing him to experience being a part of the team firsthand.

    In September, Barbour approached head coach Rodney Brewington with the idea of allowing Bazzle to put on a uniform, go on the field with the rest of the team and score a touchdown.

    Brewington took the idea and in Barbour’s words, ran with it. He put together a full uniform for Bazzle, down to equipment and shoes, and gave it to him to remember the special night, which they scheduled for South View’s homecoming game with E.E. Smith.

    Barbour then reached out to Smith athletic director Lawrence Smalls to clear it with him. The plan was to delay the kickoff of the game and run an unofficial play near the goal line with Bazzle carrying the football prior to the actual kickoff.
    Barbour said Smalls agreed immediately, saying anything that the schools can do for kids they’re going to do.

    Just to cover all bases, Barbour also spoke with Neil Buie, the regional supervisor of high school football officials for the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
    Buie and his officiating crew bought in, manning their usual positions on the field while the play with Bazzle was run.

    The ball was handed off to Bazzle, his walker shoved to the side, as his best friend Kevin Brewington and South View star running back Matthew Pemberton helped Bazzle into the end zone for his touchdown.

    Long after the game was over, Barbour said Pemberton removed his game cleats and presented them to Bazzle as another gift.

    “It’s an experience I’ll never forget,’’ Barbour said.

    Barbour said the whole evening was a testament to the all-inclusive athletic program that has been promoted by Vernon Aldridge, the student activities director for Cumberland County Schools.

    Aldridge has been pushing the concept of Unified Sports, which tries to involve special needs students at the schools into mainstream sports. So far, special needs students in Cumberland County have been able to participate in track and field and wrestling.

    This winter, plans are in place to add bowling to the list of Unified Sports the county offers.

    Aldridge said he thought the special ceremony for Bazzle fit in perfectly with the county’s goal of inclusiveness. “I would love to have a unified sports in each of our sports seasons,’’ Aldridge said.

  • 05 N1910P49004CThere are stories that stick with us, pictures seared into our minds and moments we’ll never forget. I’ll always remember a tragic video a local reporter took on Main Street in Salisbury of first responders treating a couple who overdosed on opioids. I’ll never forget hearing a local mother’s story about the death of her son who overdosed after doing drugs that were laced with fentanyl. And I still think about the soldiers and veterans who became addicted after being prescribed opioids for injuries sustained during combat or training.

    At the end of the day, the opioid crisis truly knows no bounds. It does not discriminate based on age, race, religion, geography or income. We all know people in our community whose families have been ravaged by opioids or have lost a loved one to a drug overdose — maybe you’ve even personally experienced that pain.

    For years, I’ve been deeply invested in this issue and continue to work to combat this crisis. As your congressman, I worked with my colleagues to get the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act signed into law and to ensure North Carolina receives tens of millions of federal dollars to address the opioid crisis. These were important steps, and they were considered by leading national advocates at the time as “the critical response we need” to the opioid epidemic.

    Last year, I authored three bipartisan pieces of legislation that focused on the safe and responsible packaging and disposal of unused opioids. My bill was called one of “the most important opioid bills,” and I was proud to see President Donald Trump sign it into law as part of H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This is considered the most significant congressional effort against a single drug crisis in history, and this week marks the one-year anniversary.

    As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee — the main Congressional Committee working on opioids legislation — I worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to learn about the opioid epidemic and what legislative solutions could be pursued.

    Because of these efforts and those of our state government, local leaders and care providers, we’ve made progress. In 2018, the number of overdose deaths in North Carolina caused by opioids dropped – for the first time in five years. This is great news, but our work isn’t done.

    Saturday, Oct. 26, was National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This day serves as a reminder of the potential abuse of medications and provides a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs. DEA Take Back Days in the past have been hugely successful, collecting hundreds of tons of prescription medications over the past few years.

    To find a collection site near you, visit Hudson.House.gov or contact my office for more information at 704-786-1612.

  • 17 01 Ribbon CuttingSusan Moody strongly supports anything that can improve the quality of life in her adopted town of Hope Mills. Since she moved there in 1986 she’s embraced any positive changes to the community, including last Monday’s ribbon-cutting that officially opened the new Golfview Greenway Walking Trail to the public.

    But with some projects, and the Greenway probably tops Moody’s list, she wonders if the town’s Board of Commissioners hasn’t gotten ahead of itself in making the venue open without doing everything it could to make it fully ready.
    Moody is a regular at Board of Commissioners meetings. When she’s not able to attend in person, she scours the minutes that are provided after the fact to see what business has been transacted.

    She started having reservations about the haste involved with the Greenway when town director of public works Don Sisko discussed at length changes that would be needed to made to the greenway.

    “He started sharing what it was going to take to bring it up to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance,’’ Moody said. “He was talking about the grades of different paths. He was talking about the width of the path, what they were going to have to do.’’

    Moody said Sisko also discussed areas of the trail that were washed out and other issues.

    “My concern has been all along that it’s not ADA compliant,’’ Moody said. “The town has already been sued once.’’

    Moody is correct. In 2013, the town settled a lawsuit with Tim Wallen over handicapped access to the Parks and Recreation Building and facilities at Municipal Park and Brower park.

    17 02 Greenway signThe town agreed to pay for a variety of changes and was also assessed $6,000 in attorney’s fees for the lawsuit.

    But at its Aug. 20 meeting in 2018 when the Board of Commissioners scheduled tours of the golf course, Heritage Park and Hope Mills Lake bed No. 2, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Mitchell expressed no concern for taking its time in opening the new greenway at the golf course to the public.

    “All this property belongs to our citizens,’’ Mitchell was quoted as saying in The Fayetteville Observer. “They should be able to make use of it. As for liability, everywhere we look we have liability. It’s what insurance is for.’’

    Most people don’t purchase insurance with a goal of having to test its limits. They do it to be cautious. Pushing the envelope on what insurance covers would be risky in a case of someone who suffered a serious injury on the walking trail that would affect them and their families for the rest of their lives.

    Opening the park so soon could be compared to opening a big box store to consumers when construction is still in progress, hard hats are needed in some departments and others aren’t fully stocked.

    “We have a large senior population,’’ Moody said. “We have people that are wheelchair-bound. We have people that are in walkers. We have people that just can’t walk that far.’’

    Moody is concerned nothing has been done to address most of the issues that Sisko first raised with the board months ago.

    “It’s another rabbit hole that this board goes down,’’ she said. “They see something, the rabbit goes down the hole and they chase it.

    “Where are the plans? There have been no plans presented to the board.’’

    There was one plan presented that the board took no action on. At an earlier meeting a suggestion was made to construct an ADA compliant walking track at the new greenway. The board considered it, but took no action.

    “This wasn’t in the (recreation) master plan that cost how many thousands of dollars?,’’ Moody said. “They are going at this piecemeal. Where is the strategic plan to do any of this? That’s my concern.’’

    In a recent town manager’s report from Melissa Adams, a consultant for the town listed some minimum notices the town should post at the greenway.

    The list included signage describing the length, surface and slope of the trail. The signs are currently on order but as of the ribbon cutting on Monday had not been put into place at the greenway.

    Some who attended the ribbon cutting said a few modifications not related to handicapped access had been made and pine straw had been removed from the trail.

    Moody said she definitely wants the greenway open for all the people of Hope Mills but not in a hit-and-miss manner where it’s going to be put a band-aid on this or a temporary thing on that.

    That belief by Moody seemed to be confirmed by a Facebook post from town commissioner Meg Huse Larson. Responding to a post from someone saying that the greenway was in need of water stations along the trail, Larson said the town was putting in two watering stations and more “as finances permit.’’

    The town is also leasing the greenway’s only existing parking lot at a cost of $4,800 for one year.

    “What’s going to happen a year from now when this lease is out and these people have gone through and decided they are going to develop it or do something else with it,’’ Moody said.

    The total bill for the greenway so far is $11,769, with much of the signage that has been ordered still not in place when the ribbon cutting took place last week.

    “It should have been in place before they took down the no trespassing signs,’’ Moody said.

    The good news, if you can call it that, is the insurance is in place, ready for one bad incident on unfinished walking trail to test its limits.

    Picture 1: Jackie Warner went to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Hope Mills Greenway.

    Picture 2: Moody said she definitely wants the greenway open for all the people of Hope Mills, but not in a hit and miss manner.

  • 18 Generic football helmetWhen it comes to the long-term effects of concussions in sports, there is a wide range of information published — almost on a daily basis. Unfortunately, much of the media coverage as it relates to high school sports — and particularly the sport of football — is misleading.

    Recently, the Concussion Legacy Foundation introduced its new public-service announcement that compared youth football dangers to smoking. As the pre-teen football players puff on cigarettes, the voiceover says, “Tackle football is like smoking, the younger I start, the longer I’m exposed to danger.”

    The “Tackle Can Wait” campaign by the foundation is an attempt to steer children under the age of 14 into flag football. Although establishing a finite age may be difficult, reducing contact at youth levels is certainly a positive. USA Football is doing just that nationally through its Football Development Model. Likewise, the 51-member state associations of the National Federation of State High School Associations have enacted limitations on contact during preseason and practice sessions.

    Our concern is the term “exposed to danger.” These types of messages continue to spread unwarranted fear to parents of high school student-athletes. The “danger” refers to reports that players who incur repeated concussions can develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

    A 2017 study from the Journal of American Medical Association linked CTE in the brains of deceased National Football League players. Even if this report is accurate, these are individuals who endured repeated blows to the head for 20 to 25 years BEFORE any concussion protocols were in place.

    Less publicized is a study by Dr. Munro Cullum and his colleagues at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, which is a part of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Cullum’s group studied 35 former NFL players age 50 and older who had sustained multiple concussions throughout their careers. The findings showed no significant association between the length of the individuals’ careers, the number of concussions and their cognitive function later in life.

    Two studies, two different conclusions. Regardless of the outcome, however, they are not applicable to kids playing football before and during high school. There is absolutely no linkage to CTE at these levels, and the word “danger” should not be a part of the discussion.

    A more applicable and significant study was also published in JAMA in 2017. In a study of about 4,000 men who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957, there was no difference in cognitive function or decline between those who played football and those who did not as they reached 65 years of age. We would assume the majority of these individuals discontinued football after high school.

    With more than one million boys — and girls — playing the contact sport of football each year, severe injuries do occur from time to time, but parents should know that efforts to lessen the risk of a catastrophic injury, including head injuries, have never been stronger than they are today.

    In fact, new data from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study indicates some positive trends in concussion rates. The study, which was released in the American Academy of Pediatrics online issue of Pediatrics this week, indicated that concussion rates during football practices dropped from 5.47 to 4.44 concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures between the 2013-14 and 2017-18 seasons.

    In addition, repeat concussion rates across all sports declined from 0.47 to 0.28 per 10,000 exposures during the same time period.

    Concussion laws are in place in every state. All NFHS sports rules books have concussion management protocols. Helmet-to-helmet hits are not allowed in football. Limits on contact in preseason and practice in football are in place in every state.

    After considering all the available research, we encourage parents to let their kids play their sport of choice in high school, but we would discourage moving away from football – or any contact sport – solely based on the fear of developing CTE later in life.

  • When Creed Kolasa was featured in a recent article in Up & Coming Weekly that told the story of his battle with a rare ailment called Duchenne’s disease, he wanted to share it with a friend of his.

    That friend is Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, and last Monday Creed and his family were given the perfect chance to do just that.

    Creed, his parents, Jessica and Doren, and brother and sister, Jaren and McKinley, were invited to attend a closed basketball practice at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.

    The audience at practice included other families from Duke Children’s where Creed is being treated, along with boosters who had paid to attend.

    Creed’s mother, Jessica, was asked to speak to the group about Creed’s treatment and the work Duke Children’s had done on his behalf.

    Creed and his family toured the Duke Hall of Fame in Cameron and stayed for almost the full three hours of the practice.

    The children were allowed to go on the court to shoot baskets and talk with the Duke players.

    Later, everyone attended a dinner with Krzyzewski where he spoke, took pictures and signed autographs.

    McKinley, Creed’s sister, got to sit and talk with Krzyzewski’s wife, Mickie.

    McKinley loves softball and learned that Mickie Krzyzewski played softball growing up and in college.

    McKinley came away with a signed softball.

    Creed returned the favor to Coach Krzyzewski, giving him a signed copy of the Up & Coming Weekly article about Creed that included a picture of him and the coach.

    Creed Kolasa, bottom, with brother Jaren, sister McKinley. They are showing the note from Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s daughter, Debbie Savarino, excusing them from school Monday to attend a Duke basketball practice.

  • 03 anthony tran i ePv9Dxg7U unsplashSince Hinton James hoofed it from New Hanover County to Chapel Hill in 1795 to become the first student at the first public university in our fledgling nation, the University of North Carolina has educated generations of North Carolinians. First came white, land-owning men like James from all across what was once an entirely rural state. Today, the 17-campus system, including Fayetteville State University, serves nearly a quarter of a million students, the majority — but not all — from North Carolina. The university system has been our state’s crown jewel and has shaped our progress since its founding.

    All is not perfect, however, and the flagship institution, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has just had some of its dirty laundry aired on a national scale. The prestigious Association of American Universities has released a survey of nearly 200,000 students at 33 elite schools, which finds that more than a quarter of women students at UNC-CH for at least four years have experienced “nonconsensual sexual penetration,” otherwise known as rape. Most, but not all, victims were women, and the rates have risen from a similar study in 2015.

    Yep, you read that correctly. Twenty-seven percent of students at UNC-CH reported that experience on the AAU survey and they are not alone. The numbers are consistent with those from Ivy League schools, including Harvard and Yale, although far above government statistics, probably because only a small percentage of university assaults are reported to law enforcement authorities. Such numbers, if true, would mean that rape occurs in Chapel Hill, New Haven, Cambridge and other bastions of academia at rates higher than in war-ravaged and otherwise traumatized nations. It seems fair to say that if this were happening in Fayetteville and Cumberland County or some other nonacademic community, residents would be up in arms.

    The response from UNC-CH has been muted, with an understandable emphasis on education, prevention and overall awareness of what is acceptable and what is not. Part of what makes these numbers problematic, and the situation difficult to address, is that it is almost always a “he said, she said” circumstance. In addition, campus encounters often involve alcohol or some other mind-altering substance, a potent cocktail when mixed with raging youthful hormones. Low reporting occurs for all sorts of reasons, including embarrassment and not understanding what constitutes appropriate behavior or what to do about it, despite the rise of the #MeToo movement.

    UNC-CH is responding to the AAU report with several measures: working with students, faculty, and staff to beef up prevention efforts; working on bystander intervention more frequently, promoting consent education so that “no” actually means “no”; and confronting and changing the culture of sexual harassment throughout the university community. These are reasonable responses to what in other settings would be a law enforcement emergency.

    One cold, hard reality is that many of these situations involve serious criminal offenses, felonies for which many people have been imprisoned, even executed in years past. Another is that cases cannot be made, much less prosecuted, and convictions obtained if victims do not report, bystanders do not intervene, and people do not understand that a criminal offense has occurred.

    We already know we have a serious problem with sexual harassment and abuse in our nation. The takeaway from the AAU survey is that the problem is even more pronounced on the campuses of our nation’s most elite colleges and universities, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • 08 military housing familyFamily concerns about health and safety issues in military housing are widespread, according to a recent Army Inspector General report that reveals systemic problems with relationships between the Army and housing contractors. The government’s current oversight of these projects was insufficient to identify housing challenges. Inspectors found there was lack of joint authority, confusion regarding roles and responsibilities, lack of training, dramatic personnel cuts and lack of transparency among privatized housing companies. Inspectors uncovered a 2013 Army policy that specifically prohibited health and welfare inspections of military housing.

    Two-thirds of the 1,180 residents of military privatized housing communities who participated in the IG survey stated they were dissatisfied with their overall housing experience. Sixty-four percent said they would move off post if there were no financial costs or concerns, according to the report. The review was ordered by then-Secretary of the Army Mark Esper in the wake of reports about widespread problems of mold, water leakage, vermin infestations and other problems in military housing.

    Scores of Fort Bragg soldiers and family members complained to U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., about their military housing at a recent town hall meeting. It was the latest in a series of stops Tillis is making at military installations. It was his second town hall at Fort Bragg since summer. About 200 people bombarded him with complaints. The No. 1 issue was about mold in housing units. “I’ve seen the mold, and it’s legit,” Krista Lindholm said of mold in a neighbor’s house. “They’re sick, their kids are sick, and housing is just not coming and dealing with it.”

    Tillis said problems with military housing won’t be fixed overnight, but he said he hopes the information he gathers at town hall meetings helps him put things in place to speed up the process. “At every one of these town hall meetings, I ask people to call my office and open up a case so that we make sure we prioritize where medical professionals have said the conditions in the home are most likely the root cause of their health conditions,” he said.

    During the meeting, someone suggested that Fort Bragg commanders be given authority to hold private contractors to the same standards civilian landlords must meet. Off-post housing can and is placed off-limits when landlords fail to comply with military requirements.

    The IG report “validates the experiences of the brave military families who have spoken up for change,” said Shannon Razsadin, executive director of the Military Family Advisory Network, which conducted an online survey in early February of military families in all branches of service about their experience with privatized housing. More than half of 14,558 military families reported negative experiences. “There is a remarkable overlap between the Army IG report and MFAN’s research,” Razsadin said.

    Corvias Property Management is under contract at Fort Bragg and has committed $100 million for rehabilitation and new housing units on post.  Corvias relocated 4,670 families from their existing homes to newly built or renovated homes. The homes were then backfilled after renovation with another round of relocations to ensure all families received upgrades. The Army is already addressing most of the 20 recommendations in the IG report, according to a statement issued by Army officials.

  • 07 FireTrainingCenter copyFayetteville Technical Community College and county government have formally broken ground on the new Cumberland County Regional Fire and Rescue Training Center to serve the county’s volunteer fire departments. The ceremony took place Oct. 21 at the intersection of Corporation Drive and Tom Starling Road in the county industrial park. The complex will be constructed on 30 acres of property adjacent to the sheriff’s training center and will support Fayetteville Tech’s Fire Protection Technology program of study. The state-of-the art center will provide training opportunities for rural fire departments and other emergency responders in Cumberland County.

    The Center will enable FTCC to add classes not currently offered, including fire investigation/arson certification, thermal imaging, vehicular extrication and high-angle rescue.  In addition to classrooms, the complex will include live fire buildings, fire engine bays, technical rescue areas and specialized training areas. FTCC’s Corporate & Continuing Education Fire Training Program offers a number of certification courses that will allow volunteer fire fighters to keep their certifications current and their skills up to date.

    Classes will be available in daytime and evening schedules for fire academy certification courses. Interested individuals must be affiliated with recognized local fire departments and have appropriate training verification letters plus personnel protective equipment. “An educational facility that combines dynamic learning experiences for students in the classroom, laboratory, and through specialized training areas … leads to amazing results for students of Fayetteville Technical Community College and the citizens of Cumberland County,” said FTCC President Dr. Larry Keen.

    Cumberland County is responsible for funding capital projects at FTCC. The local facility is projected to cost $18 million. FTCC is committing $8 million, which the college was allocated from the Connect NC Bond Referendum. Cumberland County government has included $10 million for the project in its capital investment budget and will pursue grants and other funding opportunities to support the project.

    The paid Fayetteville Fire/Emergency Management Department will continue to operate its training division out of its own facility located at the airport. “The bulk of our recruit academy classes and multi-company training evolutions will be conducted at the airport training facility,” said Fayetteville Fire Chief Mike Hill. “However, we will participate in specialty classes and use some of the technical props planned for the new FTCC training grounds.” The Fayetteville Fire Training Center provides many of the same training facilities and opportunities to be offered at the county center.

    The city complex also offers training in specialized fields, such as confined space and trench rescue. A confined space simulator provides several tunnels and containers that allow trainees to conduct exercises that help prepare them for actual emergency situations. Each year the Fayetteville Training Division conducts a series of benchmark drills in accordance with National Fire Protection Association standards, which allow the department’s personnel to measure their ability to effectively mitigate situations on the fire ground.

    “Quickly gaining control of an emergency situation is equally as important as responding to it,” Hill noted.

  • 21 01 Roscoe BlueRoscoe Blue

    Terry Sanford • Football• Senior
    Blue has a 3.854 weighted grade point average. He is a captain on the football team. He is a member of the Key Club and enjoys taking college courses at Fayetteville Tech. Blue volunteers at other sporting events here at Terry Sanford and enjoys cooking at the baseball games.  During his free time he enjoys fishing.
    Jacob Knight

    Terry Sanford•Football•Senior

    21 02 Jacob KnightKnight has a 3.937 weighted grade point average. He is a captain on the Terry Sanford football team.  He is a member of Academically/Intellectually Gifted and National Honor Society and enjoys taking college courses at Fayetteville Tech.  Knight is a active member of Epicenter Church where his father Mark Knight is pastor.
  • 10 No ChildWith education being a hot topic on the county, state and national levels, discussions about the public school system are plentiful. By taking a humorous approach “No Child …” gives meaningful insight into the education system. The first show at the Cape Fear Regional Theater opens Oct. 31.

    The play, written by Nilaja Sun, is about her experience as a teaching artist who comes into a New York City classroom in 2006. With four years of teaching under her belt and a wealth of great ideas, she sets out to put on a play at the school, which is the worst-performing school in New York City’s district. 

    “It’s a story of a person coming to terms with the wonderfulness and resilience of the students that a lot of people have cast off, but also coming to terms with the education system and what’s guaranteed from a free public education,” said the play’s director, Kaja Dunn.

    The stars of the show are Ja’Maul Johnson, Tara Whitney Rison, Andrea Somera, Brandon Rivera, Monet Noelle Marshall.

    Rison plays Ms. Sun, an actor and educator who encounters experiences she’s never had before at the new school. She has to learn about herself and help students reflect on their lives to help them realize they can be better than what people expect them to be. In contrast, Rison plays Mrs. Kennedy, a seasoned administrator who, after working 17 years as a principal, has seen it all. 

    Somera plays Ms. Tam, Xiomara, Phillip and Mrs. Projensky. Ms. Tam is a teacher who worked in a law firm and is new to the world of education. Phillip, one of the students, is shy and Ms. Sun helps him get out of his shell.
    The characters have different backgrounds and perspectives and learn about themselves and each other.

    The show is humorous but has serious underlayers, so the theater recommends the play for ages 13 and up.

    The show’s set design will place the audience back in high school. “From the minute you cross into the theater, it’s like you’re falling through the wardrobe into Narnia, but instead of Narnia, you’re going into the Bronx,” said Mary Kate Burke, the CFRT artistic director. The seating for the production will be onstage.

    The play is a celebration of education and teaching, the power of art and the difference that good teachers can make to a group of children.
    The show will have a “Red for Ed” night, which is a teachers’ night that will offer a 25% discount and complimentary wine tasting to educators. In conjunction with the Junior League, CFRT is having a teacher basket giveaway. On CFRT’s Facebook page, people had the opportunity to nominate a teacher who impacted them for the chance to win.

    CFRT also has a program where, once a semester, they pick a show that 11th graders across Cumberland County can see for free with their English classes. “No Child...” is that show for this semester.

    On Nov. 6, Sun will attend the student matinee. After the evening show, there will be a talkback where the audience can ask questions.

    The play runs through Nov. 17. For more information or to buy tickets, call 910-323-4233. The cast pictured from L-R:The cast from L-R: Brandon Rivera, Monet Noelle Marshall, Tara Whitney Rison, Andrea Somera, Ja’Maul Johnson
  • 12 CoverstoryWhen the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra set out to find a new executive director, the committee was delighted to receive applications from around the world. In the end, it was a Fort Bragg soldier who won their confidence. Jesse L. Hughes Jr. is retiring from the Army and is set to begin his tenure at FSO Dec. 4. Hughes has played the trumpet professionally and has more than 15 years of leadership in the Army as a musician, instructor and organizational adviser, managing 28 military-connected musical organizations and 400 personnel. He has extensive experience in organizing and coordinating high profile musical events. Hughes has a Bachelor of Music in music performance from Wichita State University, a Master of Music in jazz studies from Howard University and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Northcentral University.

    “We did a national search, and we had some international candidates, which we did not expect,” said Deborah Teasley, FSO interim president and CEO. “The committee, comprised of board and nonboard members, went through the applications and did a first screening and some phone interviews and then narrowed the group and did another round of interviews.”

    Candidates were interviewed and the top seven were asked to write a scenario about their vision for the future of the symphony. “This allowed us to see their writing and their vision for FSO,” said Teasley. When the time came to select someone for the position, Teasley added, “The search committee’s recommendation was unanimous.”

    Although Hughes’ resume checked all the boxes from experience and educational requirements to management experience as well as a knowledge of the performing arts, it was his personality that stood out. “It was clear he is someone who had vision and would jump in and help in a variety of situations that come operating nonprofits,” Teasley said.

    Hughes knew he wanted to stay in the area after leaving Fort Bragg, finding a job that matched his skill set and passion so perfectly was a bonus.

    His music career started in earnest when Hughes was in high school. At 15, he was playing the trumpet and taking music lessons. At 18, he was at college on a music scholarship. “I went all the way through college and grad school,” said Hughes. “Then I got interested in military bands and started going to auditions. The Army was the branch most interested in me. I joined with the intent to do one tour and see the world and then get out. Once I got in, though, I was hooked. As I progressed, I wanted to learn more about how things work behind the scenes as well. In 2013, I enrolled in a doctoral program in educational leadership.”

    Hughes said he is looking forward to establishing a rapport with the community and with the other arts organizations here. He also has some big plans for helping FSO continue to grow. “I want to capture a wider audience and extend the organization’s reach to the schools to help solidify the future of the performing arts,” Hughes said. That might sound like a tall order for some, but Hughes disagrees. “It is like eating an elephant. You do it one bite at a time. There are a lot of people who don’t know there is a symphony here.” And he plans to change that.

     There are already initiatives in place that make FSO accessible and unintimidating to those unfamiliar with the symphony. “The Music Nerd,” Joshua Busman, who has a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, hosts a preconcert chat before most every performance. He spends about 45 minutes before each concert talking about the performers, the composers and their inspiration for the pieces they wrote as well as many other interesting facts that make the music make sense.

    The symphony was founded in 1956, and its mission is the educate, entertain and inspire the citizens of Fayetteville and the surrounding era. That means connecting with audiences. Making concerts affordable is one way to work toward achieving that goal. “We are totally indebted to our major donors,” said Teasley. “Our biggest donor is the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, but we also have a variety of grants. In our program, we have 29 corporate sponsors who give their money because they believe in the symphony and believe in bringing music to the community. We also have an endowment. The endowment, which has been gifted to symphony, provides our operating funds. Tickets to our concerts cost $25, and we have discounts for seniors, the military and kids. It is an incredible bargain.”

    There are several concerts remaining in the season. Thursday, Nov. 14, is “Copland in Paris.” It will be at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Green Street. “It is performed by three musicians,” said Teasley. “A flute, a piano and a clarinet. It features the music of Aaron Copland, the era in the 1920s and 30s, and his peer composers. The music is incredible. It is going to be a wonderful performance.”

    Saturday, Dec. 7, don’t miss “Deck the Halls” at Fayetteville State University’s Seabrook Auditorium. “That is our community holiday concert … and we are doing it jointly with Cumberland Choral Arts (formerly the Cumberland Oratorio Singers) and the Fayetteville  Academy choir,” said Teasley. “It will be a huge production. It will be everything from singalongs to nice classics and even some contemporary music.”

    Find out more about FSO, programs and future concerts at http://www.fayettevillesymphony.org/. Tickets are available on the website as well.

    Pictured: Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra‘s new executive director is set to begin his new duties Dec. 4.

  • 16 01 eatonOf all the people who will be hit hardest by the departure of the Fayetteville SwampDogs from the community, few will be more affected than Sam Eaton.

    Eaton is a 16-year-old special needs student at Gray’s Creek High School. For the past 12 years, the SwampDogs provided him with a place of joy that also gave his life a genuine purpose.

    The team embraced Eaton and Eaton embraced the team, and finding something that will fill the void of what used to be busy summers for Eaton will be difficult.

    It all started one day back in 2007 when Eaton’s mother Robin, a teacher in the Fort Bragg schools, was looking for a way to entertain her son and wound up taking him to a SwampDogs game.

    “He became very immersed in the rhythm of the onfield promotion of what was going on between innings,’’ she said. “The game was secondary to the fanfare.’’

    Despite an assortment of ailments that impaired his speech and also made it difficult for him to walk, Sam and the SwampDogs baseball team grew to be inseparable. He became close to the characters who wore the team’s Fungo mascot costume.

    Sam became an official unofficial member of the SwampDogs staff, and as time passed his responsibilities with the team grew.
    16 02 SN class
    He became friends with the guys in the Fungo costume, on and off the field. He’d advise them to drink water and stay hydrated on hot days at the ballpark, even making sure they went into the walk-in cooler on especially warm days.
    But he wasn’t just a sidekick to Fungo. “He knows the ins and outs of that whole place,’’ Mrs. Eaton said. “He knows when to turn on the lights, what inning to get the postgame meal prepped, what sequence of events is for the onfield promotions.’’

    In the real world, young Sam is just beginning to read, hasn’t mastered writing, and can’t drive a car or ride a bicycle.

    But in the SwampDogs world, he’s an asset. “He’s fully successful, depended on, relied on and treated as one of the staff and one of the team,’’ Mrs. Eaton said.

    Sam isn’t the only special needs person that the SwampDogs have offered a hand to. “They did the whole Special Olympics intern program,’’ Mrs. Eaton said.

    Sam is searching for something to occupy his time in place of the SwampDogs. He’s found some help at Gray’s Creek High School, where various members of the Bears coaching staff have welcomed Sam into their programs, including the baseball and football teams.

    But summers are still looking like a problem now that the SwampDogs are gone and Sam’s older sister has left for college.

    “I think he’ll be bored,’’ Mrs. Eaton said. “It will be a big change for our family and for Sam.’’

    Sam won’t be able to fit in just anywhere, because he doesn’t consider himself a fan. “He’s a worker,’’ Mrs. Eaton said. “He was in the right time at the right place and we’re sad it’s come to an end.’’

    But even in a time of sadness, Sam thought enough of his friends to make them recipients of charity from the SwampDogs.

    His grandmother, Peggy Jennings, helps keep the books for the SwampDogs, and she had the idea of putting together swag bags of team souvenirs that were no longer going to be needed. Sam immediately thought of his friends.
    “What came to mind were his classmates, Special Olympics athletes and Buddy Baseball athletes,’’ Ms. Eaton said. “Those are his peers. He knows they have a place with the SwampDogs.’’

    One of the groups that benefitted was the special needs classes at Gray’s Creek High School where Earl Horan is a special education teacher.

    He came into his classroom recently over a two-day period and saw bags filled with souvenirs, shirts and caps for his class and members of the faculty.

    "Sam’s a neat little character,’’ Horan said. “He has an infectious smile and everyone likes having Sam around.’’

    Horan also praised the SwampDogs for the work they’ve done with young men like Sam. “It gives the kids such a feeling of acceptance and self-worth,’’ he said. “It touches the whole family, makes them feel a part of the team and the community.’’

    Picture 1: Sam Eaton posing with and SwampDogs mascot, Fungo

    Picture 2: Students with Earl Horan’s special needs class show off SwampDogs swag shared by their fellow student Sam Eaton.

  • prediction football RESIZEDAs we head into the final weeks of the high school football season it’s a good time to remember the rules regarding fighting and ejections in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

    There’s never a good time to lose your temper on the field and get into an altercation with an opposing player, but the stretch drive is the worst time, especially for teams with playoff aspirations.

    The following violations get you kicked out of a game immediately: fighting, biting, taunting, baiting or spitting toward an opponent, obscene gestures or disrespectfully addressing an official.

    Everything on that list carries an additional penalty of one game missed, with the exception of fighting.

    If you are guilty of fighting, that means you are gone for the next two contests.

    Worse, if three players or coaches are ejected during a game, or six for a full season, that team loses its state playoff privileges for that year.

    It has happened before to teams from this area.

    Please make sure your team isn’t one of them this year. Keep calm and play by the rules.
    The record: 47-14
    I was almost perfect for two straight weeks but dropped one game to finish 7-1. The count for the year is 47-14, 78.3 percent.
    South View at Cape Fear- This is a huge Patriot Athletic Conference game for two of the league’s hottest teams.
    Both are peaking at the right time of the season. Home field definitely helps Cape Fear, but that still might not be enough for the Colts.
    I expect this to be a close one that a big play or key turnover could decide.
    South View 21, Cape Fear 20.
    Douglas Byrd at Overhills - I think Overhills has too much offense for the Eagles to get a win in this one.
    Overhills 28, Douglas Byrd 14.
    Pine Forest at E.E. Smith - This is a tough call because both teams have been inconsistent. I’m giving Smith the edge playing at home.
    E.E. Smith 22, Pine Forest 18.
    Hoke County at Jack Britt - Hoke has clearly been the surprise team of the season in the Sandhills Athletic Conference with its return to success. This is a big game for both teams trying to improve their state playoff chances.
    I think Britt will figure a way to win this one.
    Jack Britt 24, Hoke County 18.
    Purnell at Seventy-First - The Falcons get a much-needed win against a Swett team having a difficult season.
    Seventy-First 30, Purnell Swett 12.
    Westover at Terry Sanford - The Bulldogs celebrate homecoming with another victory as they brace for bigger foes down the road.
    Terry Sanford 31, Westover 8.
    Open date: Gray’s Creek.
    Other games: Word of God forfeited to Trinity Christian earlier this week; Faith Christian 30, Fayetteville Christian 14.
  • 14 Tell me a storyDid the late great writer, Pat Conroy’s late-in-life marriage to fellow writer Cassandra King make him a better writer?

    Just in case you don’t remember, Conroy, who died in 2016, was the best-selling author of “The Great Santini," “The Lords of Discipline,”  “The Prince of Tides," and “Beach Music." 

    All of these were dark compelling stories filled with angry characters and sad family conflicts.

    Conroy had what every writer or aspiring writer longs for, being a great storyteller and having a gift for writing moving prose.

    His storytelling gifts were intertwined with a life that was filled with turmoil and with unhappy and abusive family situations. Most memorable was his relationship with his father, Marine Corps Col. Don Conroy, who became the iconic and central figure in “The Great Santini.” 

    Conroy said that his dysfunctional family and abusive father were gifts that fueled his moving fiction.

    All that began to change in February 1995 when Conroy met Cassandra King at a party during a literary conference in Birmingham, Alabama. Their friendship began around a buffet table and conversations about food. But when the conversation turned to King’s book, Conroy told her to have the publisher send him a copy. “If I like it,” he said, “I’ll give you a blurb. If not. I’ll pretend it got lost in the mail.”

    King, now Cassandra King Conroy, tells the rest of the story in “Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy,” to be released October 29.

    I will hold most of the details for a later column, but will share some of the story as it relates to the question in this column’s opening paragraph.

    After a long and mostly long-distance friendship, one that only gradually turned to romance, Conroy and Cassandra wed in 1998 and settled down in Conroy’s house at Fripp Island, near Beaufort, South Carolina.

    Conroy’s close friends worried about the gossip Cassandra would hear about his former wives and girlfriends. But when they learned that Cassandra’s first marriage had been to a minister, she joked, “From a holy man to Pat Conroy. Talk about a leap of faith.”

    Cassandra’s writing benefited from Conroy’s encouragement. Talking with author and Conroy friend, Anne Rivers Siddons, Cassandra said she was writing a book about a group of her women friends, “real-life friends I’ve had for years.”
    Siddons was alarmed and asked if Conroy had “urged you to do that.”

    When Cassandra nodded, yes, Siddons cautioned, “Tread carefully. You know what that very thing has cost Pat. Beneath his tough shell he suffers more about the stuff he’s written than he’ll ever let anyone see."

    In 2013, Conroy appeared with me on North Carolina Bookwatch to discuss his non-fiction book, “The Death of Santini," a memoir that centered on the death of his father. He was calm and relaxed as he talked about his writing routine.
    In the early part of the day, he and Cassandra would each spend several hours writing alone, then lunch together, and have afternoons to relax. He radiated happiness. See this interview at https://video.unctv.org/video/nc-bookwatch-pat-conroy-death-santini/

    And his writing did change. He published only one more long book of fiction after his marriage, “South of Broad," which got a mixed critical reaction. In his New York Times’ review Roy Hoffman, while acknowledging that “Conroy remains a magician of the page,” wrote that his traditional themes “have simply been done better — by the author himself.”

    On the other hand, his non-fiction books such as “My Losing Season,” and “Death of Santini,” although they show some of Conroy’s fiery spirit, the tone is moderated and sustains an authoritative command of his narrative. These books are two of my all-time favorites.

    So did marriage make Conroy a better writer?  Certainly it made him a happier one.  And, I think it made him a better one, too.

  •   11 Boo tanical arborTricks and treats await Halloween fans at the family-friendly Boo-tanical Garden event coming to Cape Fear Botanical Garden Oct. 25-27. Each night from 6-9 p.m., guests can enjoy a haven of all things Halloween. Costumes? Check. Fun and games? Check. Candy? Check. Check.

       Now in its fifth year, Boo-tanical Garden is a highly anticipated event for those wishing to expand the Halloween season beyond a one-day calendar celebration. The festival is one way, according to CFBG Director of Events and Marketing Sheila Hanrick, “to get your Halloween going before the actual day.”

     “Boo-tanical is for all ages — children, adults, families and individuals,” she said. “This year, we are offering the same community favorites such as the Boo-tanical holiday lights and trick-or-treat stations throughout the garden, but also some new activities our guests are sure to enjoy.”

    Candy stations are scattered throughout the nearly 16 acres of the garden proper lit with the Halloween colors of orange, purple, green and white found among garden flora and in the form of themed light sculptures. The warm glow of some 300 jack-o-lanterns, both friendly and frightful, will light up the Cypress Pond lawn.

    The fright factor is small, said Hanrick, emphasizing the child-friendliness of Boo-tanical. However, “any time it is Halloween, you have to have a little bit of fright going on,” she said.

    The smidgen of spookiness can be seen in the Boo-Crew skeleton vignettes, courtesy of Fayetteville Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. Guests may find one of the Boo Crew planting flowers, weeding a garden bed, jumping rope or even fishing off the pond pier. They will be up to all kinds of mischief, said Hanrick, no bones about it.

    Friendly animated monsters will guide children in the Monster Bash dance on the garden’s Great Hall lawn. Singing pumpkins and friendly ghosts continue the animation action, with songs and skits galore. The children’s play area features lawn games, a hay bale maze and a giant tunnel slide built from hay bales. A tractor-pulled hayride around the Great Lawn completes the heyday of outdoor fun.

    Indoors the excitement continues with educational activities sponsored by Fayetteville Academy. Guests will learn about odd “monsters” in nature through hands-on lessons and touch boxes. They can meet CFBG’s eastern king snake, Duke, and eastern box turtle, Carlos. Face painting and balloon-animal making round out the inside fun.

    Don’t miss the festival fare, either. Boss Ross Dogs will be serving up hot dogs and sausages all evening, along with Nothin’ Fancy funnel cakes and the Pretty Stickie company’s candy and gourmet apples, and custom cookies. Find more food offerings at the newly opened garden cafe, including soups, salads and sandwiches.

    Tickets for Boo-tanical Garden can be purchased at the door each night. Tickets are $9 for garden members, $11 for nonmembers, $5 for children aged 2-12 and are free for children under 2. The event is weather dependent, so if in doubt, check the garden’s Facebook or website before heading out. For out more at https://www.capefearbg.org/.

  • 15 jazzThere’s just nothing quite as distinctive as jazz music. It reaches into the depths of your core and seems to radiate throughout your being. It’s smooth, harmonious and full of dynamic rhythm. It is perfect for relaxing after a long day, hanging out with friends and even to help set the mood for a romantic evening. It expands into multiple cultures, ages and generations. The Cape Fear Jazz Society knows the impact and the reach jazz has, which is why it has invited performer, Jazzmeia Horn, to provide an evening of culture and entertainment on Nov. 3, 2019 at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Kenan Auditorium. 

     According to Primus Robinson, who represents the Cape Fear Jazz Society, the collaboration between the Society and the UNCW provides an opportunity to bring in nationally renowned talent, such as Horn, to a larger audience within this larger facility and contributes to the arts culture of the community.

    This is the first collaboration between the society and UNCW, and the staff with both organizations chose Grammy-nominated, award-winning talent of Horn to share her unique, jaw-dropping vocal talent to foster and promote jazz, a mission of the CFJS.

    The day after the concert, Horn will also teach a free “Artist Master Class,” offering students and fans an opportunity to learn from her about how the art of jazz captures her essence and how they can find that within themselves.

     The CFJS presents jazz in different locations, from small to large, with its tenth season currently in progress at The Cameron Art Museum. They havehad continued success to date with a sold-out crowd for its eight-month run.

    CFJS just wrapped up its five-month outdoor series at the Bellamy Mansion Museum, making it their most successful while also celebrating their 10-year anniversary.

    The CFJS is a nonprofit organization and has a mission to educate others on the appreciation of jazz, which is why it will continue to present jazz artists.

    In the words of Robinson, “My favorite thing is experiencing togetherness. People enjoy exploring and delighting in innovative art. Jazz is creative, intellectual, accessible and unifying. Music is the healing force of the universe, Cape Fear Jazz Society has the great gift of music and art, which is the goal of the CFJS. We've been getting it right for 21 years.”

    Tickets for the Jazzmeia Horn Concert begin at $20, and the event is appropriate for all ages and demographics.

    Jazz lovers can look forward to seeing Jazzmeia Horn perform on Nov. 3 at the UNCW Kenan auditorium.

  • 03 philippe goulet zg9dfG9IHL0 unsplashAt the past Cumberland County Veterans Council meeting we were informed by an assistant director of the VA Medical Center that, effective Oct. 1, there will be no smoking on the campus grounds of VA facilities. It came across that there was no warning that this prohibition was coming, and it hit the ears as a slam-dunk directive and (was) effective immediately.

    I do believe most people will agree that a no-smoking policy should stand and be enforced inside all VAMC buildings for health reasons. VA has instituted many smoking cessation programs, and they are well received and are helping many veterans. However, over many recent years, medical practitioners have noted that some people are truly addicted to tobacco and will not quit or break their habits. Some truly enjoy smoking the various tobacco products and have done so for years and years, regardless of the known risks smoking entails to themselves and others.

    VA set up outside pavilions so smokers could go outside the facilities, and they served the smoking veterans well and kept them away from the nonsmokers — which was also well received. Now these smoking areas are off limits, forcing the veterans who smoke to leave the VA campus. This decree coming down from VA, in my humble opinion, is not well studied in regards to the psychological affects it will have on many veterans who have PTSD and other debilitating health issues.

    Smoking and its nicotine gives them a calm and relaxing time,  which helps them cope in their own way. Taking this away from these veterans will not serve their general well-being by forcing them off campus to smoke. Will this adverse action cause veteran suicides to increase? Personally, I suffered immensely over my 79 years being raised in a smoking family. My parents, brother, sisters, nephews, nieces, aunts and uncles all smoked. In 26 years in the U.S. Army, I was forced to attend countless meetings and conferences with smoke clouds so thick, at times, you could not see across the room.

    I have never smoked and don’t like being subjected to it by others. I find it quite discourteous of some smokers, regardless of rank or position, who force their rancid and smelly habits upon others and expect us to tolerate them.

    I still must offer words of support for my brother and sister veterans who have served their country well and find themselves in health harm’s way only to find comfort in having a smoke but having to leave the premises to do so. This is not helping the psychological well-being of the military veteran. Keep the smoking pavilions open on campus for those who need them. This situation that VA has slam-dunked on the veteran smokers should be discussed and challenged by every military fraternal organization from local to state and national headquarters, as with your help this adverse situation can be corrected by VA.

  • 09 01 Cirque Mei6Founded in 1976 and hailing from People’s Republic of China, Hebei Province, Cirque Mei is set to take the stage at Givens Performing Arts Center in Pembroke Oct. 27. The world-renowned group has performed internationally and recently appeared on an episode of “The Ellen Show.”

    In its entirety, the company is made up of 130 performers. The performance at GPAC features 40 of the elite circus artists and acrobats, who will perform popular routines, including hoops diving, lion dance, collective bicycle skills, flying meteors, foot juggling with umbrellas, female contortion and a ladder balancing act.

    Givens promises traditional and contemporary Chinese circus acts in a colorful and lively celebration of the internationally renowned Chinese circus arts.

    Cirque Mei blends ancient artistry with high energy for a non-stop extravaganza of family entertainment. With 30 elite circus artists and countless acrobats and stunts, Cirque Mei thrills young and old alike with their feats of agility, strength and poise.

    “This is not just a circus act, it’s a real cultural experience,” said James Bass, executive director of Givens Performing Arts Center. “This is not just a Chinese acrobat performance. This show contains a lot of traditional Chinese circus artistry, and so while it is amazing to see, it also exposes audiences to some of the glorious performing arts of Asia.”

    Tickets range from $10 for children under 12 to $36 and can be purchased online at uncp.edu/gpactickets or by calling the box office at 910-521-6361.

    09 02 Cirque Mei2If you can’t make this show, there are still exciting performances in the season lineup, including the UNCP Holiday Extravaganza, which is set for Nov. 22. The Nutcracker Ballet follows on Nov. 24.

    Established in 1887 as a normal school to train American Indian teachers, UNC Pembroke today has an enrollment of more than 7,600 in 41 undergraduate and 17 graduate programs. UNCP is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina System.

    For information about tickets and the full season lineup, visit uncp.edu/gpac or call 910-521-6361. Some shows on the season will also carry an option for the Act I Diner’s pre-show dinners. Call or check the website for dates.'

    Cirque Mei promises an evening of lively entertainment at Givens Performing Arts Center.

    09 03 Cirque Mei3