• 13KoonceThis fall will mark the 50th anniversary of the victory of the "Amazin'" New York Mets over a talented Baltimore Orioles team in the World Series. A veteran bullpen pitcher from Hope Mills named Calvin Koonce played a key role in that title, winning six games down the stretch for the Mets and earning seven saves.

    Late last month, friends and family of Koonce, who died in 1993 at the age of 52, traveled back to New York to take part in a 50th anniversary celebration held at the Mets’ current home stadium, CitiField. 

    Peggy Koonce, wife of the late Mets reliever, had a hard time believing it’s been 50 years. It was shortly after her husband’s death that she attended the 25th anniversary reunion.

    Many of the former Mets stars have since died, players like Tommie Agee, Don Cardwell, Don Clendenon and manager Gil Hodges.

    Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, the biggest pitching star for the 1969 Mets, was also absent. His family recently announced he is no longer making public appearances as he’s suffering from dementia.

    One of Koonce’s closest friends on the team, Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, was unable to attend the 50th anniversary. Mrs. Koonce said her husband was a mentor to the younger Ryan, helping the flamethrower deal with control issues taming his lethal fastball. Ryan ended his career with the most no-hitters in major league history: seven.

    The Mets treated the Koonces and the other families there for the 50th anniversary weekend firstclass, putting them up at the Plaza Athenee, which has hosted guests like actress Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana.

    The ceremony held before New York’s Saturday, June 29, game with the Atlanta Braves took about 30 minutes. The deceased Mets were introduced first, with their pictures individually flashed on the giant video screen, followed by a live camera shot of the family member or members there representing them.

    The living players were driven via golf cart to a platform in the infield. Lifetime Met Ed Kranepool spoke on behalf of the entire group.

    “It was bittersweet because the health of so many of them has failed,’’ Mrs. Koonce said.

    But the memories of the victory over the Orioles were still fond ones for her. “I think the thing that was so important was knowing we were playing the Orioles and they were so good,’’ she said. “We were a team not chosen to win it. We were holding our own, and the young pitchers were doing their job.

    “When you’ve got Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman and a bullpen consisting of Calvin and Ron Taylor and all those guys, it looks pretty good.’’

    Mrs. Koonce said she felt pretty special just sitting in the stands for that World Series, looking around and seeing the late Jacqueline Kennedy just a couple of rows behind her, and the entertainer Pearl Bailey not far away.

    “Just seeing the look on Calvin’s face after it was all over,’’ she said. “It was just wonderful. The expressions of love they had for each other.’’

    Also along for the 50th anniversary observance was Timmy Smith, who played baseball for Koonce when Koonce was first head coach at South View High School and later at Campbell University.

    “Most anybody you talked with about Mr. Koonce talked about how he was a positive influence (on his teammates) and took them under his wing,’’ Smith said.

    Smith added that Koonce had a similar effect on him. “He was like my second father,’’ Smith said. “He could tell you more by not saying things than he could with words. Just his looks and his motions.

    “One player told me (Koonce) sold him a couple of sport coats, took him under his wing and took care of him and his reputation. Another person said it was great to have (Koonce) there to talk with because he could have made a lot of wrong choices along the way. Mr. Koonce helped

    him make the right ones.’’

  • 15FultzSouth View track athlete Isaiah Fultz made history and won a state championship earlier this year in a rented wheelchair with a flat tire. Now the school is trying to get him a chair he can call his own.

    Fultz, who was left paralyzed after a childhood car accident, became the first Cumberland County athlete to compete and win an event in the wheelchair division of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A track meet this spring. He won in the 100-meter wheelchair division with a time of 21.91 seconds.

    So far, Fultz has been competing in a rented wheelchair that costs $150 a month. In addition to the cost of renting the chair, he had to spend additional money for repairs during the recent track season.

    The week of this year’s state championship meet proved to be a nightmare for Fultz, South View athletic director Chad Barbour and South View track coach Jesse Autry. The Monday of the state track meet, Fultz had a tire to blow out on his wheelchair. Barbour took it to a local vendor, who promised to have it repaired in time for the meet. The day of the meet, the vendor had not received the new tire for the chair, and it wasn’t ready. Barbour and Autry picked it up and did the best they could to patch the tire so Fultz could race.

    “He actually could have raced a lot faster,’’ Barbour said after Fultz won in his broken chair.

    So this summer, Barbour began pricing racing wheelchairs and found one that sold for $3,055. Barbour started a fundraiser for the chair, but so far has only raised $150.

    Barbour said the investment in the chair on Fultz’s behalf would be worth it to potential donors. “He’s the type of kid, if you get him what he needs, he’s going to be out there putting in the work,’’ Barbour said. “He’s as determined a young athlete as I’ve ever seen. He’s just a great kid who inspires me to do my job better.’’

    Donations of any amount are welcome and can be dropped off at South View High School during normal summer business hours or mailed to Barbour at the school mailing address: 4184 Elk Rd., Hope Mills, NC 28348.

    Barbour said checks should be made out to South View High School/Chad Barbour.

    Photo: Isaiah Fultz currently relies on a rented chair for racing

  • 12HM teamThe Hope Mills Nationals 8U baseball team will carry the North Carolina Dixie Youth Baseball state title banner to Ruston, Louisiana, in search of a championship. But to get there, they'll need a lot of financial support.

    Jesse Cox, one of the coaches of the Hope Mills team, said a fundraiser has been started to try and cover the numerous expenses involved with getting the squad of 12 players and four coaches to their destination.

    “We are looking at having to reuniform our team in North Carolina attire,’’ Cox said. “We’ll have some expense in that.’’

    But that’s only the tip of this expensive iceberg. The distance by road from Hope Mills to Ruston is just under 1,000 miles and will take just over 13 hours by car. The tournament is scheduled to run July 26-30, and the Hope Mills team is hoping to rent as many as 20 rooms for the players and coaches. Those rooms will cost from $120-$150 per night.

    Figuring out how to handle transportation is also a challenge. Cox doesn’t want to rent a full-sized bus. The team hopes to be in Louisiana for more than a couple of days, and a bus would not be a convenient way to make repeated trips to the ballpark and other places.

    “We want to be more mobile,’’ he said, considering possibilities like passenger vans or carpooling in SUVs because of the large amount of baseball equipment they’ll need to transport.

    Flying wouldn’t be cost effective, he said, unless someone out there wants to offer the team use of an airplane.

    “They are a special team and group, and you do want to make it fun,’’ Cox said. But, he also noted, “I’m going down there to win that thing, to compete.

    “The town and community should realize this is not only for Hope Mills but the state of North Carolina,’’ he said. “It gives us the opportunity to represent this town in a broad spectrum. We want to do everything possible to get these boys down there, to get them there and enjoy themselves.’’

    Sponsorships are available for larger donors from $250 to $1,000. All major donors get their name or business logo on the team banner.

    The team is also selling 50/50 tickets for cash only. A date for the 50/50 drawing had not been established at press time.

    The GoFundMe web address for the team is www.gofundme.com/state-championship-bound. The page was originally created to raise money for the trip to the state finals in Brunswick County.

    Editor's note: The Hope Mills 10U softball team came out of the losers bracket last Wednesday afternoon and defeated Lumberton 2-1 to win the 10U Dixie Softball state championship. In doing so, it become the second Hope Mills team advancing to a Dixie Youth World Series.

  • 11Macky HallFormer coworkers at South View High School and friends from the education community remember McKinley “Macky” Hall Jr. as a devoted supporter of education who had a strong loyalty to his many friends in the South View school district. Hall, a former football coach, Hope Mills political leader and longtime school board member, died earlier this month at the age of 85.

    Bobby Poss was head football coach at South View during Hall’s final years as the school’s athletic director. He had a special nickname for Hall no one else used, calling him Tiger One.

    “He was so encouraging and supportive,’’ said Poss, who guided the Tigers to their only state 4-A football championship in the fall of 1991. “He was a great administrator but also a very good friend. That’s all he tried to do, be a helper. He was thinking and the wheels were turning.’’

    When Poss arrived at South View in 1989, the school had never made the North Carolina High School Athletic Association football playoffs in its previous 17 years.

    Poss was placing his first equipment order with Hall, and Hall asked if there was anything missing. Poss told Hall that at his previous job at Seventy-First, he always ordered new socks for his team to wear in the state playoffs.

    “South View had never been to the playoffs, but Macky said we better order playoff socks,’’ Poss recalled. South View finished the 1989 season 9-4 and won the first two state football playoff games in school history.

    “We ordered playoff socks and we got to wear them,’’ Poss said. “That was an example of the kind of encouraging he can do for a guy.’’

    Poss said Hall did the same for other South View coaching legends like Randy Ledford, Ron Miller and Eddie Dees.

    “I don’t think a coach ever felt slighted by Macky,’’ Poss said. “He was the first all-in guy before it became a popular term.’’

    Greg West served with Hall on the Cumberland County Board of Education. He called Hall a pleasure to work with and someone who cared deeply about schools, both the buildings and the people in them.

    “He didn’t raise his voice, and he spoke to the point and spoke his mind,’’ West said. “He wasn’t confrontational. He worked with people to try to talk you into seeing it his way.’’

    Current South View athletic director Chad Barbour first got to know Hall five years ago when Barbour took over the position. Though retired, Barbour said Hall continued to show support for the schools, and especially South View.

    “Anything you look at as far as South View athletics and the success we’ve had in the past is basically a direct reflection of his efforts here as athletic director,’’ Barbour said. “He was the engineer behind that great state championship run.’’

    Over a period of about a half-dozen years just before and after Hall stepped down as South View athletic director, the Tigers won state championships in baseball, football, boys golf, boys basketball and softball.

    “He got the right coaches in place, gave them what they needed, and they built somewhat of a dynasty through his leadership,’’ Barbour said. “That carried over for many years.’’

    Even after his health began to fail, Barbour said, Hall was a regular at South View home football games and was instrumental in getting the school a larger, modernized press box. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to have the press box named in Hall’s honor.

    “He held South View very near and dear to his heart,’’ Barbour said.

    Former Cumberland County Schools student activities director Fred McDaniel coached with Hall when the latter was head football coach at Terry Sanford in the mid-1970s.

    “He was really an advocate for kids,’’ McDaniel said. “As a board member, he was concerned with athletes, not so much winning and losing, but our integrity, making kids do the right thing. He worked hard for kids and their well-being, giving them the best opportunity.’’

    Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner followed Hall's work as athletic director at South View and recalled he was a familiar fixture at town events, athletic fields and restaurants.

    “He was involved in the community beyond being on the school board,’’ Warner said. “He was always very active until the last few months.’’ 

    Warner said Hall was part of a special time when South View was the only school in Hope Mills, before Jack Britt and Gray’s Creek opened.

    “It was the height of school spirt in Hope Mills,’’ she said. “That was when they decorated the town orange and black.’’ This was something that Tiger One certainly appreciated.

    Photo: McKinley "Macky" Hall

  • 11rivermistRock’n on the River, presented by Healy Wholesale Company, Inc., is set for Friday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m. The music event will take place at 1122 Person St., behind Deep Creek Outfitters.

    “Rock’n on the River is Fayetteville’s newest free music venue where adults can take kids, be safe, have police protection, have beer and food and listen to free music,” said Greg Adair, founder of Rock’n on the River. Adair compared the event to a small-scale Fayetteville After Five, noting that Rock’n on the River is usually on the third Friday of the month.

    The August concert features Adair’s band, Rivermist, and a Leonard Skynyrd tribute band. “Rivermist is a great group of guys,” said Adair. “We have been together since 2014 as a band.

    “The direction changed at the end of 2016. We were limiting ourselves to classic rock, and you cannot limit yourself to one genre and succeed there unless you are a tribute band.”

    Adair added that some of the biggest things that have contributed to Rivermist’s success locally are being humble, approachable and kind to people. The band has a Christian background. Its members believe their success and anything they do is a blessing, and they know where it comes from. 

    “Two of the band members, who are another guy and I, had open-heart surgery years ago, and both of us are walking testimonies,” Adair said. “It has been 10 years now, and I feel better now than when I was in my 30s.”

    “My purpose of the event is to have another family-friendly event that all families can go to that does not cost an arm and a leg,” said Adair. “It has been my vision to do this. Plus, it is right by the river, and nobody has really done anything with the Cape Fear River in years.”

    Adair added that the first Rock’n on the River show hosted approximately 440 people. At the last show, there were 580 people, which keeps it intimate. The audience is not far from the stage and can hear the music easily.

    “I want people to come to the event and be relaxed and drawn to it,” said Adair. “I want to thank Healy Wholesale. I appreciate their friendship and support because we could not do this without them.”

    The event is free and open to the public. Food, beer and drinks will be available for purchase. Parking begins at 5 p.m. and costs $5 per car. Coolers and containers are not allowed. Bring chairs, umbrellas and blankets. For more information or to become a sponsor, follow the event on Facebook or email rocknontheriver@gmail.com.

  • 02pubpenimageFINALExcept for Democrat Sen. Kirk deViere, Cumberland County politicians in Raleigh have demonstrated a refreshing display of unity, cooperation, communication and focus on the needs and priorities of the people in our community.

    First and foremost is their desire to create a stronger, more vibrant, more competitive Fayetteville and Cumberland County for residents and future generations. Finally, we have responsible leadership with vision — leaders who are placing people over politics and assuring Fayetteville and Cumberland County will be taking their places amongst the larger, more prosperous cities and counties in our state. It is this delegation that, along with a substantial number of residents, businesses and organizations, has worked for years to improve our community. For too long we have watched other North Carolina communities receive special favors and funding from our state legislature while leaders ignored the needs of Cumberland County.

    Many of our former legislators worked hard to improve the situation for Cumberland County and Fayetteville. Their efforts laid the groundwork for this current legislative delegation to garner state legislative support for much-needed projects that will impact our community for decades. This group of relentless bi-partisan leaders can only be described as a visionary tour de force for recognizing the needs and opportunities for Fayetteville/ Cumberland County, the likes of which we have never seen before.

    The 2020-22 budget presented by the North Carolina Legislature brings more than $132 million in projects that benefit diverse aspects of our community. In a rare show of unity, their vision and “people over politics” leadership style has netted us big and long-lasting benefits, including projects that, once completed, will net Cumberland County $20-$40 million dollars a year in additional revenues.

    While no budget meets all the needs of the community, this budget is a oncein- a-lifetime win-win for all of us here in Fayetteville and Cumberland County. A very special thank you to Rep. John Szoka, R-District 45, and Sen. Ben Clark, D-District 21, for leading this charge.

    This being said, it would be nice to celebrate our good fortune. Unfortunately, we cannot. Gov. Roy Cooper, D-N.C., has vetoed the budget.

    Why? I smell partisan politics and Cooper’s desire to impress his fellow left-leaning political cronies by demonstrating that he’s a team player willing to reject the state budget because it excludes Medicaid expansion. Cooper and political opportunists like deViere have put the possibility of this $132 million infusion into our community in jeopardy.

    Here’s what we would gain with the approved budget — or what we could lose if Cooper’s veto is upheld.

    • $12 million for the North Carolina Civil War and Reconstruction History Center; $3 million in year two with anticipation of a total payout of $46 million in the years ahead

    • $28.8 for school construction and renovation and repairs

    • $8 million to fund Cape Fear Valley Medical Center’s physician residency program

    • $1.53 million for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park

    • $1.5 million for Kingdom Community Development, which includes affordable housing construction

    • $900,000 for the North Carolina Military Business Center headquartered in Fayetteville

    • $750,000 for Airborne and Special Operations Museum’s renovation second-year funding

    • $750,000 for Cumberland County Veterans Healthcare pilot program

    • $16.2 million to Fayetteville State University

    • $20 million to Fayetteville Technical Community College

    Opportunities like these don’t just happen. It takes thousands of residents, businesses and organizations spending time, energy and money to make projects of this magnitude a reality for any community. It takes a dedicated group of hardworking, business-savvy political leaders who understand the needs of our community and care more about their constituents than they do about themselves or their political futures. This is why it is vitally important that we support and encourage our local legislators — Sen. Clark and state Reps. John Szoka; Marvin Lucas, D-District 42; Elmer Floyd, D-District 42; and Billy Richardson, D-District 44.

    Encourage them to stand up for Fayetteville/Cumberland County constituents by keeping people before politics. Encourage them to pursue the $132 million infusion into our community by rejecting Gov. Cooper’s veto of the 2020-22 legislative budget.

    For some, this will be a bold and challenging move. However, it will demonstrate to everyone in Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the rest of North Carolina that our leadership possesses the integrity, vision and talent needed to aggressively move our community forward by doing the right thing for the right reasons.

    No doubt, tough, gut-wrenching decisions will have to be made. That’s what real leadership is all about. However, in doing so, the rewards are many and the consequences are few. Without a doubt, this budget touches many people in wonderful and diverse ways. A vote by our legislators to reject the governor’s veto will be a vote that will assure a bright and bountiful future for current Fayetteville/Cumberland County residents and future generations.

    Again, a very special thank you to our hardworking local delegation: Clark, Szoka, Lucas, Floyd and Richardson.

    Keep up the good work!

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 08borderFriday, July 13, Bud Light presents On the Border as part of its Fayetteville After 5 Concert Series. The concert takes place at 6 p.m. in Festival Park.

    “The purpose of the Fayetteville After 5 Concert Series is to help us raise money for our Fall Festival and our signature Spring Dogwood Festival,” said Sarah Suggs, marketing and events coordinator for the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival. “All of the funds we make at each event is a fundraiser for the following event, so the more revenue we can generate at these Fayetteville After 5 events, the bigger and better we can make our fall festival and spring festival.”

    July’s headlining act is On the Border – the Ultimate Eagles Tribute Band, and the opening act is Rivermist. “We have had On the Border in previous years, and they are really popular and definitely a Fayetteville favorite,” said Suggs.

    On the Border hails from Charlotte. Their shows feature timeless hits from the iconic rock band The Eagles. During performances, each member of the band plays his respective character of the original Eagles band.

    Rivermist is a classic rock band from Fayetteville. The band represents the collaboration of musicians who have been playing in and around Fayetteville for more than 20 years. Rivermist’s classic rock sound dovetails perfectly with the evening’s headliner.

    Another way that the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival makes a difference in the community is by supporting other nonprofits and organizations. This season, there is something new.

    “Every month this season, we have done a thank you to different groups of employees,” said Suggs. “For June we did teacher appreciation night, and (in) July we will be doing city and county employee appreciation night.”

    Suggs added that city and county employees can go to the radio station tent near the stage to enter for different giveaways such as a gift card and a Bud Light prize pack.

    Come hungry. “We have 12 food trucks for the event,” said Suggs. Beer and wine will also be available. The concert is free and open to the public. Gates open at 5 pm. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair to enjoy the concert. Outside coolers, food and beverages are not allowed. For more information, call 910- 323-1934.

  • 11Alex Warner with flagThis Fourth of July, Alex Warner will display the United States flag and the POW/MIA flag outside his business, Countryside Furniture Co. on Main Street in Hope Mills.

    He’ll set up chairs beneath his covered storefront so folks can sit and enjoy the annual Fourth of July parade as it traverses the roughly two-mile route from Hope Mills Middle School to Rockfish Elementary School when it begins at 10 a.m.

    For Warner, a former politician who is the husband of Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner, the Fourth of July is filled with tradition, memories and deep respect for what the celebration means.

    Warner thinks back to his youth, when Hope Mills ground to a halt for the holiday.

    At midnight on July 3, Warner said, the machinery at the textile mills the town was named for would shut down and go silent. The only noise you might hear was people setting off fireworks or firing a shotgun in celebration if they didn’t have them.

    The following day the whole community would gather to celebrate, something that Warner said wasn’t easy in a mill town since you always had people coming off a work shift and preparing to go on the next one.

    For Warner, it wasn’t a celebration just for the sake of celebration. There was history behind it.

    “We knew the history of our country, and we knew that we were celebrating the rebellion from England and the almost impossible establishment of a brand-new country,’’ Warner said. “It could not have happened without the leadership and the grace of God that created it.’’

    Work benches were taken out of the mills and set up for people to come and sit and enjoy food that people brought and shared. The folks from Merita Bread donated loaves to make all manner of sandwiches, but peanut butter and jelly was always a big hit.

    Lemonade was served from huge wooden tubs. Warner said he can still remember how sweet it tasted.

    Elderly veterans were in attendance, proudly wearing old military uniforms that in some cases were becoming threadbare from age.

    For a vantage point to watch all the things that were going on, Warner said he and some of his young friends scouted out a huge acorn tree. They used a fence near the mill to climb up and get to the lowest branch, and from there they had ringside seats to all the action.

    There was plenty of music, mostly singing of patriotic and religious favorites, accompanied by guitar, banjo and maybe a flute.

    There was a watermelon seed spitting contest, a three-legged race and softball games, sometimes between mill villages, and sometimes the kids played.

    It was a day of pure fun. The only real danger of getting hurt, Warner said, was stepping barefoot on a lit cigarette butt or a hill of red ants, so everybody watched where they were walking.

    Warner said the celebration in Hope Mills was timed so everyone could travel to Fayetteville for the parade there. “I remember Uncle Sam would show up on stilts 10 feet tall,’’ Warner said.

    In his store today, Warner has a framed American flag he got from Charlie Biggs that was flown at the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918, and the Fourth of July every year after that.

    “Today, the small towns have preserved much of that,’’ Warner said. “We were appreciative of the freedom and liberty given us by our forefathers. It was a day of appreciating our country, a great day of excitement and unity among our people.’’

    In Hope Mills this Fourth of July, it still is.

    After the parade, activities will move to Municipal Park near Town Hall on Rockfish Road. There will be a horseshoe tournament at 4 p.m., a cornhole tournament at 4:30 p.m. and a frozen T-shirt contest at 5 p.m. The object is to take a T-shirt that has been frozen, try to thaw it out and put it on over your clothes.

    The official welcome will be at 6 p.m., followed by performances by two bands, Eastline and Rivermist. Both play beach and country music along with hits from the ’80s and ’90s.

    The day will conclude with fireworks at 9:15 p.m.


    PHOTO: Alex Warner displays an American flag that was flown at the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918.

  • 07Declaration of Independence 1819 by John TrumbullThe British Empire settled its first permanent colony in the Americas at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. This was the first of 13 colonies in North America. The colonies can be divided into three regions: New England, Middle colony and Southern colonies.

    The New England colonies included Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

    The Middle Colonies were those now described as the mid-Atlantic and included Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Settlers in these colonies included English, Swedes, Dutch, Germans, Scots-Irish and French, along with Native Americans and some enslaved and freed Africans.

    The Southern colonies were North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. Long before Jamestown, in 1587, a group of 115 English settlers arrived safely on Roanoke Island off the coast of North Carolina. By the middle of the year, the group realized they needed more supplies, and they sent John White, governor of the colony, back to England. When White got back to  Roanoke, there was no trace of the colony, his wife, his daughter or his granddaughter.

    Conflict between the colonies and England was already a year old when colonial leaders convened a Continental Congress at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776. In a June 7 session, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution with the famous words: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

    Lee’s words were the impetus for the drafting of a formal Declaration of Independence. A committee of five was appointed to draft the document, and the task itself fell on Thomas Jefferson. Discussion of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence resulted in some minor changes, but the spirit of the document went unchanged. The process of revision by the Continental Congress began July 1. It continued through all of July 3 and into the late afternoon of July 4, when the Declaration was officially adopted.

    Of the 13 colonies, nine voted in favor of the Declaration, and two – Pennsylvania and South Carolina – voted no. Delaware was undecided, and New York abstained. July 4 has been designated a national holiday to commemorate the day the United States laid down its claim to be a free and independent nation.

    Benjamin Franklin was a member of the committee of five that drafted the Declaration. Historians consider his contributions vitally important in the history of the movement from 13 individual colonies to one unified nation. He said of the new United States of America: “We must, indeed all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” Franklin’s actions as elder statesman and diplomat helped ensure independence. His scientific and literary achievements earned him respect at home and abroad. His significance cannot be understated.

  • Suicide report for active duty military, veterans confusing

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs late last month reversed itself on a new suicide study that appeared to show thousands of unreported military deaths in recent years. The VA’s annual National Suicide Data Report is a collaboration between Veterans Affairs, defense researchers and census analysts. It found that from 2008 to 2016 about 20 veterans took their own lives daily.

    For the first time, this most recent update breaks down the figures into veterans receiving VA health care, veterans not using the department’s health services, and a group including active-duty troops, guardsmen and reservists. The new calculation would put the official Defense Department suicide total among troops at close to 1,400 for 2015, or 65 percent higher than what the military previously reported.

    Several news outlets took note of the sudden data spike following the report’s release. VA officials acknowledged that the military figures are misleading. “In our report, VA did not differentiate deaths between active duty... Guard and Reserve,” said Dr. Keita Franklin, VA’s national director of suicide prevention. “This difference in the report may have caused some confusion and led to the misperception that approximately 1,000 more current service members died by suicide than DoD reported in 2015.”

    VA officials blamed the confusion regarding the troops’ suicide information on inconsistent definitions used by various agencies. Individuals who served in the Guard or Reserves and are considered “veterans” in census reports may not have been counted in the Defense Department statistics.

    VA researchers are now emphasizing they have not found fault with official military suicide statistics, which have counted between 550 and 450 active-duty, Guard and Reserve suicides in each of the last five calendar years. Fort Bragg authorities do not disclose suicides when reporting soldier deaths. The Army does not disclose cause of death in such instances.

    05Prince Charles RenoPrince Charles Hotel project update

    There is clear evidence of progress in the renovation of the former Prince Charles Hotel on Hay Street. A photo taken from the floor of City Hall across the street shows that window frames are being removed for replenishment. The Historic Resources Commission has told owners of the building that its facade must remain intact. Developer Jordan Jones said renovations are on schedule and should be completed by the end of the year. By February 2019, Jordan said, the building should have 61 apartments plus offices on the eighth floor with restaurants, coffee shops and retail facilities at ground level.

    New public safety hires

    The Fayetteville Fire Department has hired 17 recruits who graduated from the Fire Academy in June. A significant number of the graduates were minorities. The department has been under pressure in recent months to diversify its force. Fire Chief Ben Major said the academy class included three African-Americans, two Hispanics and two Asians. A total of 62 applicants were interviewed for the vacancies.

  • 16 DKSports RadioStarting on Aug. 7, fans of local sports in Fayetteville will have another source for news and commentary as DK Sports debuts its weekly radio talk show, “The Sports Page.”

    Don Koonce, founder of DK Sports, said he’s been kicking the idea of a local talk show around for a couple of years. It will air weekly on Monday nights on WCLN, 107.3 FM, featuring well-known local play-by-play announcers Trey Edge and Bill Boyette.

    Both Edge and Boyette have been working with DK Sports for some time in various roles. Last year Edge also anchored the weekly Terry Sanford football radio show while Boyette has for some time handled the DK Sports weekly pre-game football coaches show.

    “Bill’s got connections with basketball, Trey with football and I’ve still got some with baseball,’’ Koonce said. “I thought we could attract some good interviews for the show. We wanted it to be quality, locally based, with guys with ties to the community.’’

    The show will air four times a month from 6-8 p.m. It will be available both on air and via internet streaming.

    “The sports base in Cumberland County has been looking for something like this,’’ Koonce said. “I certainly hope we fill that void. This show brings together two premier play-by-play guys.’’

    Edge and Boyette have worked together in the broadcast booth before, and Edge said he’s excited to resume that pairing. But he said coaches he’s spoken with are excited too, for a different reason —“Getting even more exposure for their kids and their programs,’’ Edge said. “For us, that’s a win-win. If you can get more exposure of a kid doing something on the field or in the classroom, it’s a good thing.’’

    While high school sports will be a big part of the show, Boyette said it wouldn’t end there. “Trey knows college football coaches, and I’ll have ties with college basketball coaches,’’ Boyette said. “I think we’ll have a good shot of making them a part of our program.’’

    The Sports Page will also have an association with Up & Coming Weekly, with the two outlets cross-promoting their work covering high school athletics.

    Bill Bowman, publisher of Up & Coming Weekly, said the new alignment is part of the community newspaper’s role in the Newspapers in Education program. By the start of this school year, Up & Coming Weekly will have racks in all Cumberland County Schools providing free copies.

    Bowman said this will provide students the chance to read about themselves in the High School Highlights feature each week in the newspaper. “It not only recognizes the outstanding young people, but we can get children reading... about other things going on in the community,’’ he said.

    “Now DK Sports can be everywhere Up & Coming Weekly is and Up & Coming can be everywhere DK Sports is. With Don Koonce, Trey Edge and Bill Boyette being advocates for these young people, they are going to become advocates for education, literacy and community involvement. "We're excited about that."


    PHOTO: Bill Boyette, Don Koonce, & Trey Edge

  • 14 MotorcycleMany motorcycle enthusiasts love the feeling of being on the open road and in touch with one’s surroundings. The style of a bike and the reputation of its manufacturer factor heavily into riders’ decisions when choosing bikes. But while bike fans may have their favorite features, safety and comfort remain at the top of many riders’ priority lists when choosing new motorcycles.

    Recent technological advancements have pushed motorcycle comfort and safety to the forefront. Engineers continue to reimagine bikes and gear so riders can enjoy the road that much more. The following are some features to consider when buying a motorcycle.


    Fully active suspension systems are impractical in motorcycles because of the weight of the components, but some manufacturers, such as Ducati and BMW, are now offering semi-active suspension systems, which allow for a more stable ride and give riders greater control, particularly on rough terrain or uneven road conditions.

    Cornering advanced braking systems

    Also known as lean-sensitive, anglesensitivity or race ABS, this technology employs data gathered from various sensors on the bike. The data is then transferred to a processing unit, which computes the optimal amount of pressure to apply to the brake pads, as well as the proportional levels of braking force between the front and rear brakes. This is an important safety feature for any rider, regardless of his or her level of experience.

    Adaptive headlights

    Riding in the dark has long been a concern for bikers. In addition to the rider’s limited ability to see, other motorists on the road often experience difficulty seeing motorcycles. Turning while riding at night proves problematic as well, because standard headlights on a motorcycle will only light up a portion of the turn.

    Adaptive motorcycle headlights, such as those produced by J.W. Speaker, are changing night riding. According to the American Automobile Association, adaptive headlights can make nighttime riding considerably safer. Such lights work when a bike leans into a curve and the onboard sensors calculate the angle at which the motorcycle enters the curve. The headlights then adjust the lighting array to illuminate areas where traditional headlights might provide inadequate lighting.

    Liquid-cooled engines

    Riding motorcycles on a hot day or when stuck in traffic can quickly become a steamy endeavor with aircooled engines. Air-cooled engines dissipate heat directly through the fins on the exterior of the engine. This heat can radiate and make riding uncomfortable for riders.

    Liquid-cooled engines, however, have a streamlined and closed design, producing less noise and heat. They also transfer heat to a radiator near the front of the bike.

    Evolving technology strives to make the motorcycle experience safer and more enjoyable for riders.

  • 13 DGMartinCan you believe it has been almost a year since I last wrote a column about local countrycooking eateries, my favorite stopping places when I’m on the road?

    My editors have been kind enough to let me write about eateries every few months or so in place of my usual topics such as books and politics. It turns out that the foodrelated columns are almost always the most popular of all.

    I confess I have exploited my editors and readers by getting them to tell me about their favorite stopping places when they are traveling North Carolina roads. Then, I used their reports to write more columns about eateries. All of that help eventually led to the descriptions of more than 100 eateries featured in “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: A Traveler’s Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints.”

    “Roadside Eateries” was designed for regular travelers with an adventuresome bent. It is for those who would rather experience a special or unusual local favorite restaurant at mealtime than eat another quick meal at one of the ubiquitous national chains.

    Since you and other readers and editors helped write that book, you are entitled to a report about how it is doing. There is good news and some bad news.

    The good news is that the book is selling well and has gotten good reviews. The publisher, UNC Press, is pleased. Folks seem to like the way the book is organized along the routes of the interstates so that it is a good glove compartment resource and reference. If you do not have the book, you can see a list of the eateries covered and read the introduction and a sample chapter at: https://unc.flexpub.com/shelfpreview/oEEpO.

    But there is bad news too. A few of the book’s favorite restaurants have closed. Fuller’s in Lumberton was destroyed by flooding after Hurricane Matthew. The Acropolis in Cornelius sat on ground too valuable not to sell. The owners of Angelo’s in Graham just wore out. We know such things happen, but each one still makes  me sad.

    More bad news. Some readers tell me they wish that  “Roadside Eateries” had not restricted itself to restaurants near the interstates. They say, “There are plenty of other great eateries and barbecues in other parts of the state and along other North Carolina roads.”

    To respond to these comments, I am considering another book to complement and supplement “Roadside Eateries” by covering more North Carolina highways. Many of the roads in the U.S. highway system are as important as some interstates, and they cover North Carolina more completely. For instance: U.S. 64 runs almost 600 miles from Murphy to Manteo and into Tennessee, U.S. 74 begins near Murphy and runs to Wrightsville Beach, and U.S. 17 runs along our coast from Calabash through New Bern and Elizabeth City to the Virginia line.

    Along these highways and others with numbers like 70, 264, 501, 421 and the iconic U.S. 1, I hope we can assemble a group of local eateries where the food may be modest, but tasty enough to attract the locals.

    I want to be sure to include some classic favorites such as King’s Barbecue in Kinston, TL’s in Manteo, the Daniel Boone Inn in Boone, Shatley Springs in Crumpler and West Jefferson, Cyprus Grill in Jamesville, Short Sugar’s in Reidsville and lots of similar ones that I am counting on you  to recommend.

    The new book would be a great project, but I am not sure I have the strength to take it on right now — certainly not without your help and willingness to suggest your favorites. So let me hear from you. Write me at nceateries@yahoo.com and share your favorites.

  • 12 FTCCWork-based learning is a partnership involving the employer, the student and the college — a situation where everyone benefits. At Fayetteville Technical Community College, the Work-Based Learning program has been successful in intern placement with partnerships developed for on-the-job training experiences. The experience focuses on enhancing classroom knowledge by allowing students to apply knowledge in the workplace. Students also develop a professional work ethic, workplace skills, resumes and employer contacts.

    FTCC offers the work-based learning experience in over 50 programs of study. Over 300 FTCC students completed internships during the 2016-17 academic year. Employers throughout the community work with students in all academic areas, including funeral services, culinary arts, health care management technology, paralegal technology, criminal justice technology, business administration, carpentry, A/C, heating and refrigeration technology and medical office administration.

    The program offers each student the opportunity to collaborate and network with individuals in their chosen careers. In some cases, employers hire students immediately upon completion of the  internship.

    During the internship, an FTCC faculty coordinator and an on-the-job supervisor advise the students. This partnership builds the bridge between college student and hired graduate. The faculty coordinator is a specialist in the career area at the college level, and the supervisor is the professional expert on the job. The internship provides the opportunity for students to ask questions when in doubt. It also encourages the students and gives them a sense of confidence to achieve success in their careers. 

    The Work-Based Learning office is located at the Fayetteville campus of FTCC at the Tony Rand Student Center, Room 3. Prospective students and employers can call, email or stop by to learn more about the opportunities available through workbased learning experiences. 

    Registration for fall semester classes is currently underway. Fall classes begin Aug. 21. FTCC is the smart choice for a high-quality education at an affordable price, with more than 250 programs of study to choose from that lead to an associate degree, certificate or diploma.

    Students can begin work after graduation or transfer to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor’s degree and beyond.

    FTCC offers opportunities to help students achieve success. To learn more, visit www.faytechcc.edu or visit our Fayetteville, Spring Lake or Fort Bragg locations. To learn more about the Work-Based Learning program, call (910) 678-8268, email nunneryj@faytechcc.edu or visit www.faytechcc.edu/academics/work-based-learning/.

  • 11 Book DriveThe economy does not work well for some individuals. For many, keeping food on the table and lights on in the house is a challenge. It is not an easy task for some students to obtain school supplies for the upcoming school year, and that is why the Register of Deeds Office is having its annual backpack school supply drive for Cumberland County Schools’ homeless students.

    The idea for the school supply drive started when one of the senior staff members at the Register of Deeds Office came to work discouraged. She shared that at church the previous evening there was a presentation on the number of homeless students in Cumberland County. She indicated there were some children who lived in storage units, under bridges and in vacant houses. This news affected the entire office. The office had a meeting that day and decided they wanted to try to help.

    “This is our 10th year that we have collected school supplies for backpacks for Cumberland County’s homeless students,” said J. Lee Warren Jr., register of deeds for Cumberland County. “Our third year of the supply drive Zan Monroe and his Realtor Association wanted to help, so they bought all of the book bags that year and have continued purchasing them every year since including this year.” Warren Jr. added that they want every child’s book bag to look alike.

    There are plenty of other items needed, too. These include pens, pencils, notebooks, rulers, folders, composition books, notebook paper, pencil sharpeners, erasers, glue sticks, crayons, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toothbrush cases and hand sanitizer.

    The goal this year is to collect items for 1,000 backpacks for students. “This year, due to Hurricane Matthew, we have 800 homeless students,” Warren Jr. said. “So this year we are doing an additional 200 backpacks for Hurricane Matthew victims. That makes it 1,000 backpacks, and it is kind of a stretch for us.” Warren added that he and other Register of Deeds employees have faith that the residents of Cumberland County will come through to help. 

    School supplies can be dropped off at the Cumberland County Courthouse in room 114 by Aug. 1.  

    Gift cards and monetary donations can be dropped off until Aug. 7. No checks, please.

    “If you would like to drop something off at our office, please give us a call, and we will have someone to meet you in the parking lot to obtain the supplies or the donation,” Warren Jr. said. “This is something that really touched our hearts, and we have done (it) every  year since.”   For more information, call (910) 678-7775.

  • 07 farmers marketThe time and place of the Murchison Road Community Farmer’s Market remain constant, but the market’s organizers aren’t letting it go stale.

    MRCFM organizers are bringing more than just local produce as a resource to the Murchison Road community. They’re bringing a safe medication disposal bin and knowledgeable health service providers, too.

    On Aug. 9, the Fayetteville Police Department is set to host Operation Medication Drop at the farmer’s market to collect any unused or outdated medications. “Medicine take-back programs are a good way to safely dispose of most types of unneeded medicines,” according the Food & Drug Administration.

    “Medicines play an important role in treating many conditions and diseases and when they are no longer needed it is important to dispose of them properly to help reduce harm from accidental exposure or intentional misuse.”

    Julius Cook, MRCFM manager, said for now Operation Medication Drop is a one-time event, but he hopes it will serve to spearhead a more frequent initiative. The market is also planning Healthy Wednesdays, a health-oriented market to be held on the second Wednesday of every month.

    During Healthy Wednesdays, community members will be able to get free health screenings and healthcare information from community service providers, including representatives from Stedman-Wade Health Services, Cape Fear Valley Health System, the CARE Clinic, the Cumberland County Department of Social Services and more.

    According to a Fayetteville State University press release, there will be many perks of attending Healthy Wednesdays. “Blood pressure, blood sugar and other simple, but important screenings are provided,” the press release said.

    It went on to say that local chefs would also provide healthy cooking demonstrations with produce from the market.

    As always, shoppers can purchase produce, chicken eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs, pastureraised processed chickens, baked goods, organic tea blends, boiled peanuts, fresh herbs, herbal salves and handmade soaps — all fresh and from local farms and vendors.

    Cook has managed the MRCFM for three years while attending FSU for entrepreneurship and owning his own business, Bezzie’s Homestyle Foods, Inc. He said in his three years working with the market, he’s seen the market have a positive effect on the community.

    “The community’s very satisfied with the market coming to them and not having to go to the market,” Cook said. “(Before) they had to wait on some form of transportation in order to go and even attempt to shop.” This is the MRCFM’s fourth season serving the community. The market was created after a few food markets closed and four business students at FSU recognized the need for fresh food that was accessible to their community.

    “Food deserts are defined as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas,” according to the American Nutrition Association. “This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy  food providers.”

    Don F. Bennett Jr., MRCFM operations and marketing manager, said, “We try to make it as convenient as possible for the families to come and shop without having to go too far out of their neighborhood.” It’s for convenience, too, that the farmer’s market accepts all major forms of payment, including EBT.

    Even though the market is intended to keep Murchison Road community from becoming a food desert, Bennett said, it’s open to anyone in the city looking for good, fresh, local foods.

    “It may be small, but it definitely packs a large experience and offers everything you need to supplement your weekly groceries with local items,” community member Anna-Caterina Fiore said in a Facebook review. “Almost all of my produce comes from local farmers markets in town, including the Murchison Road Community Farmers Market!”

    In the future, Cook said he hopes to “grow the market to where we’ll be able to conduct the market more than one day per week.” For now, the Murchison Road Community Farmer’s Market is set to be open every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 18 in Bronco Square across from FSU.

  • 08 Confederate War MemorialTedious restoration and repair work in Fayetteville’s historic Cross Creek Cemetery Number One downtown has been completed. An artisan hired by the city spent months resetting headstones, setting monuments upright that had fallen, repairing cracks and even locating stones that had sunk into the ground.

    The City of Fayetteville owns Cross Creek Cemetery Number One and four others. “That’s rare because only a few cemeteries are municipally-owned,” said City Historian Bruce Daws.

    Cross Creek Cemetery Number One, located at N. Cool Spring and Grove Streets, is among the oldest in North Carolina. The others stretch along Ann Street from Grove Street to beyond Lamon Street. Number One was established in 1785, following the American Revolutionary War. Some markers date to 1786 and are the graves of Revolutionary War dead.

    The cemeteries are managed and maintained by the cemetery office of the Fayetteville/Cumberland Recreation and Parks Department. Cross Creek Cemetery Number One was added to the National Register of Historic Places in September 1998 as a national historic district. “It’s one of Fayetteville’s most significant historic landmarks,” Daws said. “Being listed on the national registry is a big deal because cemeteries are rarely considered for the honor,” he added.

    Following the Civil War, the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Fayetteville had soldiers who had been killed in battle — along with those who had died and been buried in various nearby locations — interred or re-interred in the cemetery. The group raised funds to erect a Confederate Soldiers Monument in the cemetery. It was crafted by noted Scottish stone mason George Lauder and is believed to be North Carolina’s first Confederate monument, dedicated on Dec. 30, 1868.

    In 1915, the General Assembly created the Cross Creek Cemetery Commission to provide for the graveyard’s upkeep.

    Brookside is an area of Cross Creek Cemetery dedicated to burials of post-Civil War African-Americans. It contains the graves of many notable families of the Fayetteville area. They include E.E. Smith, members of the Chesnutt family, Dr. Paul Melchor, Robert Harris, the first principal of the Howard School and Bishop Hood. The grounds consist of free blacks buried after the Civil War and others born during the days of slavery.

    Cross Creek Cemetery Number One, and to a lesser extent Number Two, has been desecrated by vandals from time to time. In 2001, Daws and then-City Councilwoman Betty Milligan toured the grounds noting significant damage. Milligan called for security fencing to protect the sacred property. In June 2010, more than 50 headstones were damaged and in disarray following another period of vandalism.

    Finally, in 2013, a massive eightfoot wrought iron fence was installed around the perimeter of the cemetery. In 2016, the city installed fencing across Grove Street along the front of Cross Creek Cemetery Number Two to discourage vandalism there. “Since their completion, there has been no vandalism in the cemeteries because vandals can’t cut through them now,” said Recreation and Parks Director Michael Gibson.

    The other three cemeteries are not fenced because officials said they are not as vulnerable to vandalism. Daws noted that Cross Creek Cemetery Number One sees regular tours of students attending high school humanities classes. “It’s a museum of Fayetteville’s history,” he said.

  • 07 Prince Charles HotelSkeptics have yet to be convinced, but talk of minor league baseball in downtown Fayetteville has already attracted interest in the financial market. PCH Holdings, LLC, expects final approval of a $9 million loan commitment from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development any day now. The firm’s renovation of the former Prince Charles Hotel into 62 apartments is expected to cost $15 million.

    “Conversations with banks, which were initially disappointing, have started to be more productive as the amount of confidence in investing in downtown Fayetteville has increased,” said PCH Development Manager Jordan Jones. He added:

    “We have received several term sheets from bank lenders that have a strong interest in providing us a loan. We have also secured all of our historic tax credit investors as well. Essentially, funding for the Prince Charles Hotel is secured, and we look forward to starting the project this fall.”

    That puts the enterprise a few months behind schedule. Ironically, Jones’s grandfather built the hotel, which opened in 1923. The $33 million stadium and the millions to renovate the Prince Charles represent about one-half the financial developments planned for the remaining two acres of property adjacent to the ballpark. A four-story hotel topped with a four-story parking garage will also anchor the Hay Street project. A pedestrian patio and main gates will showcase the stadium entrance between the two buildings, according to design plans recently approved by the City of Fayetteville and Houston Astros Baseball Club.

    07 Park Bridge 1Lafayette Park Handicapped Accessibility 

    Officially, the park on Green Street in the heart of downtown Fayetteville is called “Cross Creek Park.” The park was badly damaged by the flood when Cross Creek overtopped its banks during Hurricane Matthew. Repairs have been a long time coming, but “they’ve been worth the wait,” said Recreation and Parks Director Michael Gibson. Last week, FEMA approved reimbursement for the cost of replacing the pedestrian bridge that stretches from the Green Street fountain to the statue of Lafayette. “The FEMA award will cover up to $200,000,” Gibson said.

    The original bridge was built more than 30 years ago. The new bridge will eliminate steps and will be handicapped-accessible. New footings and pilings will secure the bridge where it crosses the creek. Design work is underway. 












    07FFD Station 12

    New Fire Station

    The City of Fayetteville is about to replace an aging fire station with a brand new $3 million station house.

    The former Lafayette Village Fire Station on Hope Mills Road became the Fayetteville Fire Department’s Station 12 following the annexation of the area. “The new Fire Station 12 is a needed addition for our department,” Fire Chief Ben Major said.

    The station was built 60 years ago and has become structurally unsound. It likely would have cost more to bring the old building up to standards than replace it, said FFD spokesman Battalion Chief Michael Martin. “It was easier to build new with land conveyed by the school system at no direct cost,” Martin said. The Cumberland County School Board donated property in front of J.W. Coon Elementary School, 905 Hope Mills Rd., to the city for the new station. Construction is underway.


    Workforce Development Honors

    The Cumberland County Workforce Development Board presented awards to program participants and partners during its annual recognition luncheon held at Cape Fear Botanical Garden. Workforce
    Development offers programs for youth, adults and dislocated workers through the Cumberland County NCWorks Career Center.

    The objectives are to increase employment and training opportunities and to enhance participants’ productivity and competitiveness in the workplace.

    Honorees included: Outstanding Young Adults – Tiquell Allbrooks, William Johnson and Daniel Thompson; Outstanding Adults – Christine Diamond, Elaine Johnson and Marion Person; Outstanding Employer – Mears Construction Company; Outstanding Workforce Development Partnerships – Nursing and Allied Career Pathway, Cumberland County Public Library and Cumberland County Schools.

    Hot Weather Emergency Funds

    The Salvation Army is accepting Energy Crisis Intervention Program applications from individuals and families who are experiencing or in danger of a health emergency.

    Household assistance with cooling needs is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Cumberland County Department of Social Services administers the program, but applications are made to the Salvation Army at 1047 Southern Ave. in Fayetteville, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Funds will be available until they  are exhausted or through the end of the State’s  fiscal year.

    Household benefits may vary depending on the amount needed to alleviate the crisis but cannot exceed $600. Individual identification and crisis verification must be fully documented. A household is considered in crisis if a resident experiences or is in danger of experiencing a life-threatening or healthrelated weather emergency. More information is available at (910) 307-0359.

  • 06 NC Attorney General Josh SteinLaws, to have an impact, must be enforced — fairly and impartially. In North Carolina we have elected district attorneys to enforce laws in our hundred counties. But it is the elected attorney general who oversees enforcing our laws in North Carolina. As such, many call our attorney general North Carolina’s chief law enforcement officer.

    The attorney general, to be effective, must have the respect and support of all elected officials and the citizens of our state. Josh Stein is currently our elected attorney general. He needs our support and respect.

    Apparently, our legislature does not want our current attorney general to be an effective law enforcement head. During the last days of the last long session, after our Appropriations Committee met and decided about the attorney general’s budget, leadership, at the urging of the Tea Party, decided to cut the attorney general’s budget by $10 million.

    Not only did they cut his budget, but they cut it where it would hurt the most: personnel. And to ensure that the attorney general did not replace the cuts with leftover monies or reserves, they put a ban on his ability to transfer monies into these areas.

    Such cuts are not just cruel. They are mean politics, and they are flat-out dangerous.

    The cuts will impair the attorney general’s ability to keep criminals behind bars. For example, with more than 126 attorneys and other key personnel being laid-off because of this $10 million cut, who will be available to prosecute white-collar criminals and our most violent offenders? Who will handle close to 700 criminal appellate cases each year? With these lay-offs we also lose institutional experience, which further adds to the loss.

    These cuts affect the department’s ability to handle frivolous and other lawsuits filed against the state. Presently, there are 115 civil lawsuits pending with over $400 million in potential liability. These include everything from breach of contract to tort claims.

    The attorney general’s staff who will be laid off are all dedicated, hard-working employees. They enforce DWI revocations, do countless calls from agencies and citizens and enforce consumer protection laws. They enforce credit and usury laws. They represent every phase of the state and state agencies that we have, reviewing transportation contracts, enforcing regulations and protecting our interests.

    Now, every state agency will be short staffed and face difficulties without effective assistance and counsel. Who will enforce and protect our waters from pollution and unintended consequenc
    es of the same?

    This careless action by our leadership is unnecessary. We did not do this for cost-saving or out of necessity. We especially did not do this after hearings and deliberations. We did not even get the attorney general’s input on the cutbacks. And we did not hear from our bosses — you the people.

    Rather, this is mean, cruel, harsh politics designed to hurt the attorney general, presumably because of his party-affiliation or because he refused to defend the unnecessary court cases our bad laws have created.

    Currently, we have more than 22 lawsuits pending that are the result of bad legislation. This is wrong. Wrong intent. Wrong process. Wrong result.

    Laws not enforced, agencies not advised and 110 fine state servants laid-off because of political gains and intent to harm. Mark Twain once said, “It’s never wrong to do the right thing.” The same is true of doing wrong. It’s never right to do the wrong thing. This is wrong. We have important laws that protect you that need to be enforced. An unenforced law is worse than no law because it creates disrespect for the law. The rule of law is essential to  our democracy.

    Citizens want lawmakers to serve with a servant’s heart. They want us to stop playing petty games and to compromise with each other and put their interests first.

    As former Republican Justice Bob Or said, “Our citizens deserve a General Assembly who will stop this vindictiveness and move on to doing their business, which is serving the people.” He is spot on. Playing political games with people’s lives and the one-ups-man ship must stop. It is past time to put North Carolina first and political party engagement ship last on the priority list.


    PHOTO: NC Attorney General Josh Stein.


  • 05 legally speakingI am the product of a Bible college. In the fall of 1977, as an 18-year-old, I enrolled in a college in Birmingham, Alabama. I graduated four years later with a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministries.

    God graciously allowed me opportunities to go back to school three subsequent times for two master’s degrees and a doctoral degree — for which I am grateful. With each course taken and additional degree earned, I learned truths that were new to me. That being said, it is not a stretch when I tell people that a significant part of who I am and the foundation for much of my life and ministry over the past 35+ years was laid in those first four years at Bible college.

    Bible colleges exist to prepare men and women for various ministries, including but not limited to pastoral roles, youth and children’s ministries, missions and nonprofit ministries.

    They are similar in many ways to seminaries except for the degrees offered — associate’s and bachelor’s degrees rather than master’s and doctoral degrees.

    Why was Bible college so foundational for me? After all, I have nine years of additional study in graduate schools and seminaries and only four years in Bible college. The following are a few reasons I advocate for Bible college:
    • My degree from Bible college required a healthy dose of Greek (the original language of the New Testament) and Bible interpretation courses. These courses aimed to prepare my fellow students and me to understand what the Bible says with greater clarity.

    • Six semesters of preaching and communication courses aided me greatly in taking what I’d learned from my study of God’s word and being able to communicate it effectively to others. I am sure I would have been a much less effective communicator without those courses.

    • Finally, I met others who had the same goal I did. They wanted to serve Jesus, be instruments used to bring him glory, and help people find peace with God and purpose for living. Those classmates became my best friends … one became my wife.

    Since 2004, I have had the privilege to be at Carolina College of Biblical Studies. I have the joy of leading a team of faculty and staff that are being greatly used by God to lay a foundation in our campus and online students’ lives for current and future ministry around the world.

    I often tell CCBS students if they get half as much out of Bible college as I did, they will still be transformed, useful for God’s purposes and grateful as I am. Hardly a day passes, even 36 years after graduating, that I don’t find myself reflecting on and relying on the truths I learned in Bible college.


  • 04 houston astrosHit

    The Houston Astros 

    It doesn’t hurt local enthusiasm for minor league baseball that the parent organization of our team is the best team in the American League. The Astros have posted a winning record of 60-30 and have a commanding 10-game lead over their nearest opponent.





    04 Utility patchesMiss

    City Streets

    Why doesn’t the City of Fayetteville take better care of our streets? Numerous utility patches deteriorate and make for rough roads. Manholes become the equivalent of pot holes.


    04 FDTlogowithTowerHit

    Fayetteville Dinner Theatre

    What a wonderful idea! Dinner Theatre has returned to Fayetteville, ironically at the same hotel where it was last seen decades ago, but now under a new name. Off-Broadway mainstay “The Fantasticks” was the inaugural show.





    04 Bike Lane with Car


    Bike Trail

    In historic Haymount and some nearby neighborhoods, there are bike paths marked along newly-paved streets. Three issues: Planners put them on steep, hilly roads. Most of the bike paths are not marked as such. And the lack of a city ordinance means cars can park on bike paths. Huh?








    04 StadiumLeftFieldDevelopmentHit

    Baseball Park

    Ground breaking for the downtown minor league baseball stadium is on schedule. City officials hope to begin the project Sept. 1. Preparations are already underway. Construction is expected to take 18 months.


    04 Cross Creek Park FlagsMiss

    Flag Disrespect

    Flags flown at the historic Lafayette statue in Cross Creek Park off Green Street downtown have become badly faded, and one of them is torn.









    04 Splash Pad BannerHit

    Splash Pads 

    The city is wasting no time. Crews broke ground for the first two splash pads authorized by voters in last spring’s recreation and parks referendum. Mayor Nat Robertson was the moving force behind the water features.


    04 NY Restaurant 2Toss up

    New York Restaurant

    The popular Eastern Boulevard restaurant is a throwback to 50 years ago when it first opened: It still serves delicious and inexpensive southern-style home-cooking. But, patrons have to pay with cash. There’s no handicapped parking and the restrooms are outside the building.








    04 Hiring VeteransHit

    Hire Vets

    More and more local and national businesses, literally hundreds of them, are hiring veterans. Two vets I know who’ve been living on the street now have full-time jobs with benefits.

  • 03 Melon sign 2017In a column titled “Tim White: Time to kick government out of the booze business,” White wrote, “Remind me again, please: Why is it that North Carolina needs to regulate when a restaurant can serve a drink?”

    He was referring to SB155: legislation passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by Governor Roy Cooper. A key component of the legislation allows cities and counties to adopt ordinances that permit restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays. The previous start time was noon, in consideration of the normal church worship hour.

    Tim White is not alone in supporting this legislation. Jeff “Goldy” Goldberg, host of “Good Morning Fayetteville” on WFNC Radio, described opposition to the legislation as “ridiculous.” These two men, who are in positions of influence, are joined by others who argue that preventing the sale of alcoholic beverages before noon on Sundays will not cause more people to attend worship services or deter those who do. White wrote:

    “And while we’re at it, can someone give me a really rational explanation why we’re getting so worked up over legislation that would let restaurant brunch customers order Bloody Marys before noon on Sunday? Does anyone really think that an 11 a.m. mimosa will be the deciding factor for anyone pondering the church-or-brunch conundrum?”

    My response to Tim White and the multitude of others who support this legislation has nothing to do with worship attendance. I oppose the legislation because of the message it sends. In a country founded on Judeo-Christian values and ushered into greatness because many people embraced those values, the message of this legislation belittles those values. Dr. Richard Lee listed some of these Judeo-Christian values in an article titled “Seven Principles of the Judeo-Christian Ethic.” Here are six of the listed values which are rather selfexplanatory: the dignity of human life; the traditional family; a national work ethic; the right to a Godcentered education; common decency; our personal accountability to God.

    Every indication is that, across several centuries in the history of America, leaders understood the tremendous benefit to society of messaging that held these values as deserving respect and attention. I contend the previous regulation on serving alcoholic drinks on Sunday mornings was, in part, meant to encourage respect for Sunday as a primary day of worship. I remember that in my youth most businesses were closed on Sunday. The following quote from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Blue+Laws speaks to this point:

    “Blue laws have been part of U.S. Legal History since the colonial period. These laws, which today are usually referred to as Sunday closing laws, prohibit certain types of commercial activity on
    Sundays. Originally these laws were directed at personal activities regarded as moral offenses, such as gambling or the consumption of alcohol. In the nineteenth century, however, state and local governments passed laws that forbade businesses from operating on Sunday. Although these laws were clearly based on Christian beliefs, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled they do not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Many blue laws have been repealed since the 1960s, but some laws that ban the sale of alcohol on Sunday remain in force.

    Consider those Judeo-Christian values provided by Dr. Richard Lee referenced earlier in this article. I find it very difficult to understand how anyone would fail to see the tremendous positive impact on society if respect for these values is encouraged. I am old enough to remember when respect for Judeo-Christian values was encouraged. In spite of all the societal challenges of that time, I remember a country that was far more moral, civil, patriotic, family-oriented … simply a much better place. Among the reasons was the messaging of those  blue laws.

    We have come to a time when the prevailing thinking is that Judeo-Christian values are to be relegated to a period in the far-flung past. Consequently, these values have been shelved by far too many individuals and groups who control the messaging in our country. My father talked about how there are many voices that cry out to us regarding what is acceptable behavior and reasonable thought. My observation is that the voices that oppose promotion of Judeo-Christian values are so strong, so powerful, that they are drowning out the voices that support these values and call the world to them. I contend that one who chooses any of the challenging issues of our world will, upon honest examination, find that embracing Judeo-Christian values is our best hope for rectifying those destructive conditions. Choose one … poverty, crime, racial tension, war, homelessness and on the list goes.

    He does not specifically refer to Judeo-Christian values, but in a column titled “The sequence to success,” George Will speaks to this practice of routinely discarding past approaches:

    “In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s day, as in ours, it was said that problems were so daunting that old principles must yield to new realities. Perhaps, however, unfortunate new realities are the result of the disregard of old principles. Hawthorne recommended consulting ‘respectable old blockheads’ who had ‘a death-grip on one or two ideas which had not come into vogue since yesterday morning.’ Ideas like getting an education, a job and a spouse before begetting children. 

    The words and actions of those in authority influence the thinking of the masses as to what behavior is acceptable. In pursuit of power, people in positions of authority are also influenced by the desires of the masses. In this circumstance, messaging flows both ways. Couple this two-way messaging with JudeoChristian values being shelved and replaced by feel-good values, and the result is what George Will and Nathaniel Hawthorne warned against.

    We are on the precipice of totally turning from the values that helped make America an amazing country. Our rapid movement is toward being a nation with no moral compass. My problem is that the message from many in authority, and many under that authority who support the Brunch Bill, is that replacing Judeo-Christian values with feel-good values is acceptable. No matter the destructive consequences to society, this shift is viewed as and messaged as acceptable.

    I spend a good bit of time in the Fayetteville Community Garden. On a recent visit, a young lady who has a garden plot told me someone stole three of her watermelons. She also showed me a sign she had put in the plot. It read, “Is that the way you want to be when Jesus comes back?” After hearing her account and thinking about the possible effectiveness of the sign, I concluded it will not likely be a deterrent when the melons next to it are large enough for eating. In a time when society embraced Judeo-Christian values more fervently, the sign probably would have caused a thief to pause and maybe not steal the melons. Today’s messaging says those values belong in the past and that we should leave them there. I contend that messaging is extracting a high cost from America and the cost is rising. The Brunch Bill is part of this messaging.

    I hope the thinking presented here qualifies as “a really rational explanation why we’re getting so worked up over legislation that would let restaurant brunch customers order Bloody Marys before noon on Sunday.”


    PHOTO: In a time when society embraced Judeo-Christian values more fervently, the sign probably would have caused a thief to pause and maybe not steal the melons.

  • 02 Fayetteville Dinner Theatre FlyerWnewlogoThe timing couldn’t be better for the local theater scene. Good things are happening. The Cape Fear Regional Theatre has a new artistic director, and Fayetteville has a new live theater venue. We are “moving on up!” 

    This being the case, I’m yielding my editorial space this week for the awareness and promotion of the newest cultural venue coming to our community. This will be an exciting week for Fayetteville. On Thursday, after an absence of more than three decades, the curtain will rise on the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre at Bordeaux, which is returning to the Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County
    community. July 27-29 the Ramada Plaza Convention Center and Up & Coming Weekly, in conjunction with Purple Door Productions, will present the wonderful and delightful romantic musical comedy “The Fantasticks.” This is one of the most popular and continuous-running musicals in the world. It is the longestrunning off-Broadway play of all time.

    The Fayetteville Observer’s Rodger Mullen wrote an excellent feature on the show and the production company in the Family Life section of Sunday’s newspaper. You can read it here: http:// www.fayobserver.com/news/20170723/ dinner-theater-returns-to-fayetteville.

    So, no more four-hour round trips to Greensboro. Hallelujah for that!

    “The Fantasticks” is being billed as “A unique theater experience.” And, it will be. I promise. 

    See the details below and check it out for yourself at www. fayettevilledinnertheatre.com. We hope to see you there. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.


    PHOTO: Go to www.FayettevilleDinnerTheatre.com to learn more.

  • 13 piney woods boysOn the evening of July 28, Downtown Fayetteville will come alive with its monthly 4th Friday festivities. Local restaurants, shops, galleries and museums host special events and extend their normal hours. Vendors and performers fill the streets, making a stroll through beautiful Downtown new and lively.

    4th Friday focuses on showcasing the arts and entertainment in Downtown Fayetteville. This monthly event is a perfect opportunity for new and longtime residents to explore what Fayetteville has to offer. It runs from 6–10 p.m. 4th Friday is in large part organized by the Downtown Alliance, a not-forprofit membership advocacy organization. Local business owners work together to revitalize and strengthen Fayetteville through business recruitment and support, economic development, marketing and special events. The DTA organizes several events throughout the year.

    The Arts Council kicks off the opening of the “Cultural EXPOsure” exhibition. Enjoy a Cultural Cabaret featuring Scottish music. The short performances highlight the community’s diverse cultural arts industry. The opening reception lasts from 7  to 9 p.m.

    The Ellington-White Gallery, at 113 Gillespie St., continues its exhibition “Resemblance: New Works by Soni Martin.” See the art from 7 to 9 p.m. Martin is a local professor and artist.

    From 7-8:45 p.m., the Headquarters Library, located at 300 Maiden Ln., will be filled with lively music, stories and discussion. This month, The Piney Woods Boys play Southern traditional string band music. This style of music has its roots in “oldtime” and bluegrass music genres. The Piney Woods Boys, back by popular demand, are a local favorite. This program is sponsored by Systel. Light refreshments provided.

    During 4th Fridays, Fayetteville’s history is on display. The Market House in the center of Downtown is open to the public from 6-10 p.m. and admission is free. A National Historic Landmark, this iconic building serves as a small museum for local history. It has a permanent exhibit called “A View from the Square: A History of Downtown Fayetteville” and a rotating exhibit that changes monthly. The rotating exhibits focus on different aspects of local history. Past exhibits have included “Scottish Heritage,” “Vintage Postcards” and “Banking.”

    The Fayetteville Area Transportation Museum, located at 325 Franklin St., is a restored 1890 Railroad Depot and includes exhibits that rotate frequently. The exhibits cover local history from pre-history to the early 20th century. The museum is open from 6-10 p.m. on 4th Friday, and admission is free. This is a particularly fun place to visit for history buffs interested in trains and cars. Fascinate-U is a great place for families with smaller children to visit.

    Fascinate-U is a museum specifically designed for children. The exhibits are designed to be interactive so kids can learn about the world through play. It makes learning vital skills fun and natural. On 4th Friday, admission is free from 7-9 p.m., and kids are usually invited to participate in a free artistic project.

    Call the Downtown Alliance at (910) 222-3382 to learn more about 4th Friday.


    PHOTO: The Piney Woods Boys are set to perform at Headquarters Library on 4th Friday.

  • 10 Purple Door ProductionsIt was the military that brought Jeanne Koonce to the Sandhills. She was a singer and an actress — a performer steeped in the magic that is theater. And she stayed. 

    She found work with the Bordeaux Dinner Theater and later at the Carolina Civic Center in Lumberton. While there, she created a program for the public schools. It was a a series of countywide productions that allowed students from all over the county to meet each other and participate in musical and theatrical events.

    “I ran it for many years,” Koonce said.  She and the choreographer for the program eventually realized they shared a dream. “She and I started talking about wanting our own company,” Koonce said. “It was great doing shows with young kids, but these were teens, and I wanted to work with adults. I wanted to do shows like ‘Chicago,’ and you can’t do that with high school students. My friend and I put our heads together and decided to take the plunge.”

    Four years ago, Koonce and three colleagues opened Purple Door Productions. Between them, they shared a multitude of skills. They were all actors, dancers and singers. One had experience in stage design, and two were choreographers as well. “This is something most theater groups don’t have,” Koonce said. “You may have a director and some actors or a business person; you seldom have a core who can do everything plus two choreographers and a director. We had two costumers, and two could build sets.”


    They rented a studio space in downtown Lumberton to put on small shows designed for audiences of 25–30 people. There, they also taught dance and music and acting.

    Then Koonce bumped into a student of hers from years ago who worked at Robeson Community College. “She and I talked about it and entered into a partnership,” Koonce said. “We would do big shows there, and part of the money goes to her foundation at RCC to pay for scholarships.”

    Suddenly, the group was performing in a theater with dressing rooms, sound equipment and more. That was in 2015. Now, the staff of four, including Koonce, Jacob Barton, Lance Carter and  Teresa Davis produce shows that can entertain small groups or audiences as big as the 800-seat space at RCC.

    Now, three-and-a-half decades after performing in the Bordeaux Dinner Theater, Koonce is back.  The Fayetteville Dinner Theater returns for the inaugural performance, “The Fantasticks,” under Koonce’s direction. July 27-29, this romantic musical comedy takes place at Ramada Plaza.

    “The Fantasticks” is the longest-running off-Broadway show of all time. “There is a reason why,” Koonce said. “It is a crazy, peculiar little piece of work. It has its roots in Shakespeare, but it’s a musical. It has sharp edges, but its word play is quite good.”

    Playing on the strength of the script and the talent of the actors, Koonce sees the intimate setting a dinner theater provides as another strength for this production. It is a smaller-scale show with only eight characters. “The philosophy of young lovers and family arguments is carried forward into (this) intimate little play,” Koonce said. “It is done very sparsely — just like it was in Shakespeare’s day. The focus is on the actors and it is lovely this way.”

    The cast is composed of regional talent that many local theater enthusiasts will recognize. Amber Jansen, a junior at Massey Hill Classical High School and a regular performer at Purple Door Productions for the past three years, plays Luisa. Ryan Ransom plays Matt. Ransom is a St. Pauls native and a music/theater student at UNC Pembroke. Matthew Jacobs and Steve Chambers are the meddling fathers. Jacobs is a Robeson County native with more than a decade of acting experience in the region. Chambers is a working actor from the Lumberton area who has been a stage performer since he was five.

    Clay Rogers is El Gallo. Rogers is a native of Fairmont and has performed across the country for the past eight years. He currently works at Givens Performing Arts Center in Pembroke.

    Denver McCullough, an Oklahoma native, plays Henry, the old actor. McCullough has performed in many regional theaters, including Fayetteville’s own Cape Fear Regional Theatre. “Denver has a long history in Fayetteville’s theater world,” Koonce said. “He’ll be easily recognized here.”

    The evening includes much more than dinner and first-rate theater. The event opens with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. Cape Fear Vineyard and Winery will be on-site offering a variety of wines for tasting and sales. Located in Elizabethtown, Cape Fear Vineyard and Winery offers fine dining and lakeside lodging and hosts weddings and events.

    At 6:30 p.m., dinner is served. The curtain rises at 8 p.m.

    Special musical guests include the award-winning Fayetteville Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the Cross Creek Chordsmen.

    “With a V.I.P. reception, door prizes, a great dinner, an awesome show, an exclusive wine-tasting, dinner entertainment by the Cross Creek Chordsmen — all culminating in a post-show meet-andgreet with the actors and a giveaway grand prize from Cape Fear Winery each night — this is truly a unique theater experience,” said event producer and Up & Coming Weekly publisher Bill Bowman.

    Tickets cost $75 per person and are available at www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com or from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the box office at Ramada Plaza. Proceeds benefit the Kidsville News Literacy and Education Foundation.


    PHOTO: Matt (Ryan Ransom) defends Luisa (Amber Jansen) from swashbuckler El Gallo (Clay Rogers) and his gang (Wynona Oxendine and Dakota Hammonds), while the fathers (Matt Jacobs and Stephen Chambers) are excited by the whole plan.


  • 07 news digest Mitch ColvinIt’s official now. Mayor Pro Tem Mitch Colvin issued a formal announcement that he is running for mayor.

    He joins fellow City Council member Kirk deViere in challenging two-term mayor Nat  Robertson.

    A fourth candidate, Quancidine Hinson Gribble, has also filed for the post. After declaring for months that he would not seek a third term, Robertson announced in April that he would run again.

    Colvin’s entry into the race makes for interesting political dynamics, especially since two of the nine incumbent Council members have chosen not to seek re-election. Because more than twice the number of candidates for the mayor’s seat are in the running, a primary election will be held Oct. 10. The candidates who receive the top two most number of votes will meet in November.




    07 ness digest Voter VotingSpeaking of Elections…

    The Cumberland County Board of Elections is seeking precinct workers for the 2017 municipal election Nov. 7. Interested persons must be U.S. citizens, registered voters in Cumberland County, available to attend required training and able to operate laptop computers.

    They must remain non-partisan on the day of the election and be available to work the entire day from 5:30 a.m. until dismissed by the Chief Judges, usually between 9 and 11 p.m.

    Precinct workers are compensated for attending training and for working on Election Day. Twentysix precincts/polling locations are especially in need of workers. Interested people should call (910) 678-7733.

    07 news digest Soldier Re enlistingFort Bragg Soldiers Are Encouraged to Re-up

    The Army is offering big bonuses to qualified soldiers it hopes to retain in order to build the force back up to 1 million troops. It’s an acrossthe-board effort in the regular Army and the reserves. Bonus money is available to persuade service members to stay on, especially in critical MOSs. Applicants will be expected to score well on aptitude tests.

    “There is a group of young men and women that are motivated by money,” Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Stoneburg told the Army Times. For example, an airborne-qualified combat medic NCO interested in Special Forces can reenlist, complete special operations qualifications and receive up to $72,000 in bonus money, depending on rank and contract commitment. Non-airborne infantrymen can also earn bonuses by becoming paratroopers. Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Division is the only parachute division in the military and is considered the Army’s elite.

    07 news digest Tokay Fitness CenterTokay Senior Fitness Center to Open Soon

    The City of Fayetteville missed its mid-July target date for reopening the popular Tokay Senior Fitness Center on Hamilton Street off Tokay Drive. It will reopen Aug. 1, according to Fayetteville / Cumberland Recreation & Parks Director  Michael Gibson.

    The interior of the building sustained smoke damage in late March during an electrical fire caused by a short circuit in an electric treadmill. The rubberized floor of the building had to be replaced, and air conditioning ducts were cleaned, all of which delayed the reopening of the center. Patrons and some city officials voiced concerns that it took four months for city contractors to make repairs to the building.

    07 news digest Veterans Park Dedication CoinNorth Carolina Veterans Park

    Fayetteville was chosen by the North Carolina General Assembly to host the nation’s first state park devoted to military veterans. The multi-million dollar facility at 300 Bragg Blvd. is adjacent to the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. It was built at state expense and is maintained by the City of Fayetteville. It is the first state park dedicated to military veterans — young and old, living and deceased, from all branches of the  armed services.

    Admission is free. The North Carolina Veterans Park’s hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m. It’s closed Mondays, except on federal holidays. It’s also closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter.


    07 news digest Pedestrian CrosswalkImproving Pedestrian Safety in Fayetteville

    The City of Fayetteville is asking residents to take part in a survey to help improve pedestrian safety in the city. City Council wants to complete a pedestrian master plan in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Transportation. A committee met this spring to begin the process for developing the plan. Since then, a consultant has been creating an inventory of options for pedestrians. The committe has built a website for the project: www.WalkingFayetteville.com.

    A section of the website is devoted to collecting input from residents who are encouraged to complete the survey.


    02 pub otesSorry for the confusion this year folks! However, we appreciate the calls for Best of Fayetteville clarification on how our readership survey works and how to properly submit a valid ballot. So, I will clarify what the Best of Fayetteville is, what it stands for and what it means to this community. This, in turn, will explain why it is such a coveted, distinguished and soughtafter recognition. For 19 successful years, we’ve presented and launched the Best of Fayetteville Readership Survey during the month of July to avoid conflicting with The Fayetteville Observer’s Reader’s Choice Awards, which is its advertising sales promotion. This annual sales program has been in existence for 23 years, and until this year, The Observer ran it during September and announced their winners in October.

    Even though our two programs are completely different in nature and purpose, to avoid reader confusion we voluntarily agreed in 1997 to launch our Best of Fayetteville Readership Survey during the month of July and announce the winners in September. For 19 years, this arrangement worked perfectly without conflict or confusion. This year, we were surprised to find that Gatehouse Media, the new owner of The Fayetteville Observer, arbitrarily and intentionally changed the format and launched their Readers Choice Advertising Sales Program in July, after the Best of Fayetteville program was launched.

    We cannot explain these actions considering our cooperative 19-year working relationship. It was our newspaper that made the recommendation and went out of the way to not conflict or interfere with their program. Weird. Who knows? Has it affected our Best of Fayetteville Survey results? Absolutely not. It has only served to confuse and inconvenience those we are so ardently trying to please. According to Don Garner, the Best of Fayetteville project manager, ballot counts are up, and participation is ahead of last year.

    However, the final numbers won’t be in for another couple of weeks. At this writing, the numbers reflect that 2017 will be the best year ever. And, rightfully so. This is our 20th anniversary! So, here’s the bottom line, we cannot control how Gatehouse Media runs its newspaper or its business. Honestly, this is just another routine, shortsighted and bazaar action initiated on the corporate level confirming and reinforcing its disconnect with the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community.

    Please don’t be confused or distraught. We are here for you. Matter of fact, here are a few fun facts that will help you understand and distinguished between Best of Fayetteville Readership Survey and the Readers’ Choice Award Advertising Sales program. Please share this with your friends, and let us know if anyone needs more clarification. 

    Up & Coming Weekly’sBest of Fayetteville is a readership survey. It is not an advertising sales program. Here is the distinction:

    Up & Coming Weekly does not pre-sell advertising to promote or showcase specific businesses and organizations for Best of Fayetteville. However, we do encourage them to promote themselves and encourage their friends, family and customers to vote Best of Fayetteville.

    Up & Coming Weekly does not sell or require businesses or organizations to participate with advertising purchases in pre-contest special sections to get their business officially printed on the ballot. The Reader’s Choice ads that are pre-sold before the ballot is printed are called sponsorships. These Reader’s Choice Award sponsors get their names preprinted on the ballot, making a legitimate survey invalid. However, it does identify first-, second- and third-place finishers, entitling everyone to a Readers’ Choice Award. Since the award itself does not designate what place the business finished, a third-place rating has the same credibility as a first-place standing.

    In comparison, Up & Coming Weekly does no pre-ballot advertising sales. After the survey is complete and the ballots are tallied, there is only one winner in each category. At this juncture, winners only are given the opportunity to purchase advertising/marketing programs to thank their customers and supporters and to market and brand their companies, capitalizing on and taking advantage of their Best of Fayetteville achievement. These Best of Fayetteville advertising programs are unique and significantly discounted so winners can take full marketing advantage of the honor. Winners have only one opportunity to participate in these advertising programs. In addition to the beautiful ($25) wall plaque awarded each Best of Fayetteville winner, they can use the official Best of Fayetteville logo in all print advertising, radio, billboard, TV or social media advertising.

    The Best of Fayetteville is an exclusive and extremely valuable designation. The way we manage it is what makes this program credible. Is it perfect? No. However, it has developed into one of this community’s most respectable and prestigious awards. Now, if this is not enough clarification for you and it is still unclear whether you’re participating in Best of Fayetteville Readership Survey or someone else’s advertising program, take a good long look at the ballot; if the ballot has names already printed on it, it is NOT the Best of Fayetteville. 

    OK, here’s the fun part. Every year, we have a Best of Fayetteville Award Party - and you’re invited. Mark your calendar for Sept. 19, and join us at the 20th Anniversary Celebration recognizing the 2017 winners. This is their party and what a party it will be. Join us at the Ramada Plaza, when Up & Coming Weekly, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, the Beasley Media Group and Five Star Entertainment all assist CPA Lee Utley and Jimmy Keefe of the Trophy House in recognizing this community’s Best of the Best. Don’t miss it.

    Meet, celebrate and congratulate the people, businesses and organizations that make Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County a great place to work, live and raise a family. Curious? So, is everyone else. It is always fun, exciting and a virtual Who’s Who. So, join me, Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson, Senator Wesley Meredith, State Representatives Billy Richardson and John Szoka, Cumberland County Chairman Glenn Adams and several hundred of Up & Coming Weekly’s very best friends.

    Be there. And oh yeah, Vote Best of Fayetteville. Click the yellow “Vote Best of Fayetteville” button on our website www. upandcomingweekly.com, or complete and send in the ballot on pages 21 and 22 of this issue of Up & Coming Weekly.

    Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.


  • 12 Cover StoryThe Wild West. Dusty trails. Cattle drives. Campfires. Cowboys. It was a simpler time, when grit and hard work were the measure of a man and his word was his bond.

    It still exists, this world of quiet bravado and carefree charm. In fact, 7 Branch Farm spends an entire day celebrating it. Celebrate National Day of the Cowboy at a rodeo on July 28 and 29 at 7 Branch Farm in Lumber Bridge.

    This is the 4th Annual National Day of the Cowboy at 7 Branch, and it looks to be a winner for participants and audiences alike. National Day of the Cowboy celebrates the spirit of the west and the ruggedness and independence that made cowboys the icons we know and love. It celebrates the code that governed the Wild West.

    While cowboys only get one official day of recognition, at 7 Branch Farm, the cowboy spirit is obvious every day. Ron Payne bought eight acres of land nine years ago. His intent was to turn it into a horse farm. With the help of his children, Payne did just that and
    so much more. Today, the farm boasts 37 acres and is home to several rodeo events each year.

    “I was involved in professional team roping and qualified for the National Finals of Team Roping three times,” said Buddy Blackman, general manager of  7 Branch Farm. Blackman’s experience at rodeos helped shape the way the horse farm grew. “We decided to put in an arena at our farm,” he said. “It eventually grew into a full-size competition arena with bleachers and a 1,800-square-foot arena and building, including a lit parking area and water stations for competitors. We held our first official competition in 2012 and our first rodeo in 2014. We were the first venue in North Carolina to hold a National Day of the Cowboy Rodeo.” 

    Growing up steeped in the rodeo and equine culture, it was no surprise when Blackman started competing in rodeos.  His family owned horses, and he rode them as a child. By the time he was 18, he was riding bucking bulls and horses in professional rodeos. He was good at it, and he loved the excitement it added to his life. He got to have adventures and see different parts of the country.

    “Participating in rodeos is adventurous; it allowed me to travel from state to state,” Blackman said.

    Eventually, he was ready for a new kind of thrill and started hosting rodeos. It turns out that hosting rodeos is also fun for Blackman. “Hosting and producing a rodeo is a lot of hard work. It includes planning and coordinating with others to produce a wonderful event,” he said. The legwork can be exhausting, but when the rodeo starts, it is all worth it, he said. “The best part is when we finally get to the opening ceremony, and the rodeo is underway.”

    But there are other things he loves about putting on a rodeo, too. “There are many favorites,” he said. “The big crowd, watching the bull riders and the cowboy mounted shooting. (They shoot) .45 caliber pistols at balloon targets on a predesigned pattern. The wild bull riding is always the main attraction — a 2,000+ pound bull versus a 150-pound rider.”

    Whether this is old hat or a new experience, the events are lively and fast-paced and are sure to keep the crowds entertained. The lineup includes rodeo standards like barrel racing, team roping, cowboy mounted shooting, bull riding and trick riding.

    There is a new event this year, too. “We are having a bull pinball competition,” Blackman said. “Five or six guys are in the arena in a 10-foot diamond or circle. We let a bull out and the last guy left in the ring wins.” It’s something he’s been meaning to add, he said, and this just seemed like the right time.

    Blackman expects a crowd of 1,500 to 2,000 people and suggests coming early. Gates open at 5 p.m. “We will have several vendors of food, information and plenty of activities to see and do,” he said. “The show starts at 8 p.m. Based on previous events, there is always a long line at the ticket window at 8 p.m.” 

    There was no law in the Wild West, so cowboys had to make up their own code of conduct. It wasn't legally binding but more of a code of honor.

    7 Branch hosts several events throughout the year, but the National Day of the Cowboy Rodeo is a special one for Blackman because this event is not only a great time, it is also a fundraiser for two charities. Cape Fear Valley’s Friends of the Cancer Center is the main charity. The Lumber Bridge Fire Department also benefits.

    “We hope to raise enough money to make a difference so that both organizations get a good donation,” Blackman said.

    Tickets are available at www.dayofthecowboy. wordpress.com. Find out more about 7 Branch by searching its name on Facebook.

    PHOTO: Buddy Blackman

  • 02 Margaret 2.jpg in his wordsThe chattering classes have been using the words “Donald Trump” and “sexism and misogyny” in the same sentences for decades now. It did not matter much when he was a real estate developer and reality television star, but it matters tremendously now that he is president of the United States. It matters both to Americans for whom he makes lifechanging decisions and to people who watch us all around the world and who are also affected by his actions.

    Trump apologists say they are disappointed and personally would not say such things, but that we should not worry — it is just “Trump being Trump.” Each of us can decide that for ourselves. Here, in his own words, are actual documented quotes Trump has uttered about women in general and some women in particular.  He and his staff have tried to reinterpret some of them, but no one has denied he actually said these things.

    During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump attacked both prominent women and private citizens.

    Revealing an unsettling interest in bodily functions, he ridiculed Hillary Clinton for going to a ladies’ restroom, using the word “disgusting.” And who can ever forget his characterization of news anchor Megyn Kelly when he said she “had blood coming out of her where ever.”

    Also opinionated about women’s looks, Trump slammed fellow Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina saying, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” He did not care for Clinton’s appearance either, commenting, “I just don’t think she has a presidential look. And you need a presidential look.” 

    Private citizen Ghazala Khan also drew Trump’s scorn. The mother of an American soldier who was killed in Iraq stood beside her husband as he spoke at the Democratic convention. Trump criticized the grieving mother, suggesting she “wasn’t allowed to have anything to say,” because she is a Muslim. 

    Incredibly, Trump’s views of women were apparently even more toxic before he went into politics. His 2005 comments about being attracted to beautiful women are well-known. “You know I am automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them,” he said. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. And when you are a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p***y; you can  do anything.” 

    But these words are hardly the most shocking. During proceedings related to a real estate lawsuit, Trump objected to an attorney taking a break to breastfeed her infant. “You’re disgusting,” he said, and walked out of the room. Stunningly, he also suggested that he might like to date his daughter, Ivanka. “Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one,” he said. “If I weren’t happily married, and ya know, her father….” He also told Howard Stern in a 2004 interview that he did not mind if Stern referred to Ivanka as “a piece of a**.” 

    Trump’s feud with comedian Rosie O’Donnell is well-known and exceptionally cruel and hypocritical. “We’re all a little chubby, but Rosie’s just worse than most of us,” he said. “But it’s not the chubbiness — Rosie is a very unattractive person, inside and out.”

    A quick Google search reveals much more, some of which I could not bring myself  to transcribe. 

    Most Americans — those who voted for him and those who did not — are under no illusion that any of this is going to change.  Donald Trump is our president, with both the right to free speech and the international spotlight to make sure everyone hears exactly what he says and tweets. We are just going to have to live through it.

    The red flags here are not Trump’s obvious disdain for women other than as beautiful and sexual objects. The red flags are that his attitude will become an acceptable social norm — that it will become OK for other men, and sadly women as well, to speak in such painful and degrading ways.  Young people who are still forming their views hear Trump’s words.  Just as Americans have looked up to presidents since George Washington, we may come to see Trump’s views as acceptable.

    The rest of the world hears all this as well, and the international community is forming opinions not only of our president but of us for tolerating and, in some cases, embracing his views of women. 

    Would any of us tolerate someone saying such things about our mothers, sisters, wives and  daughters?



    UAC070517001 for webAnyone interested in a fresh and highly creative approach to image-making and ceramics should plan on attending the opening of a new exhibit at Gallery 208. “In the Between: New Work by Kaela Nommay” opens with a public reception at 208 Rowan Street, from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 11.

    Gallery 208 is very pleased to introduce such a fresh and gifted artist to the community at large with her first one-person exhibition in the region. Nommay brings the contemporary sensibilities of a postmodern pop culture artist to Fayetteville and the area. The artist employs her exquisitely detailed drawing ability as a way to bring the viewer in closer to look at her work. After taking the time to look closely, the viewer may be perplexed. It’s as if the work alludes to something we should remember but have forgotten, or maybe something we missed and should pay attention to?

    Having flawless design skills, Nommay juxtaposes large areas of negative space and sometimes patterns with details of the recognizable in nature. If her work is anything, it is idiosyncratic, and the viewer senses from the images and forms a bigger dialogue is taking place — the whimsical is foreboding, something seemingly romantic is perhaps a metaphor or evidence of a state of being. Inherent value in the work is that it is not decorative but visually calls to be examined.

    After looking at Nommay’s work, I was interested to know if my sense of the content was at least close to the artist’s intent. The artist affirmed parts of my interpretation when she explained what inspires her and her approach to the work.

    “When creating these works, I was thinking of the relationship between human-constructed space and nature and how both sides are affected — the ongoing push and pull for defining whose space is where,” Nommay said. “As an answer, I ended up with an ambiguous gray space as the starting point to explore in this new body of work. Often, I reverse the roles of animals and humans to lighten the mood and create an absurd and humorous experience of the animal’s displacement.

    “The scenarios in the work are recreated from my everyday observations and experiences. Whether it be from a phone call with my mother, catching a snippet of a conversation or a funny scene I see idly walking by strangers — all of these small moments stick with me. Mundane moments are what I believe can make life interesting. It separates each day from the next, but these small moments are constantly in flux, much like defining our space apart from nature with roads and structures as we are constantly restoring areas and adding new ones.”

    Although her style is highly graphic, drawing and painting is one way in which Nommay distinguishes herself from a reproduced or scanned image. The use of patterns has also been used by the artist in older work and continues in the new work. When asked about her design practice and why she often uses patterns, she explained, “The patterns found in my work are common to home interiors such as wallpapers, fabrics and pillows. Integrating patterns that are commonly found in the home suggests the presence and influence of the human figure. On a formal level, this flat space contrasts and balances the more rendered areas and forms. It also leads the viewer’s eye throughout the artwork, directing it to other significant areas of the composition.”

    The Fayetteville community and region is fortunate to have an artist of Nommay’s caliber as a local artist, educator and resource for innovative work and thinking. Nommay moved to Fayetteville from San Antonio, Texas, a year ago. She earned an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Texas at San Antonio in May 2016, and a BFA from the University of the Incarnate Word in 2013, also in San Antonio, with a double concentration in ceramics and painting.

    Since Texas is a different landscape from North Carolina, the artist was asked if living in our region has affected her work. “Since I primarily recreate observations from everyday life, I have had a new influx of inspiration since moving to North Carolina,” she said. “Having trees all around, a river a few feet from my balcony at home and experiencing the changing seasons has given me a new source to observe the relationship between human space and nature.”

    As a young and emerging artist, Nommay has already been regularly exhibiting her work. In 2017 her work was included in the exhibit “Game of Chance” at the Freight Gallery in San Antonio. In 2016 her work was included in “Dreamers and Realists” at the Ruiz-Healy Art Gallery in San Antonio and  in the exhibit “Blue Star Red Dot: Emerging Artist” at Blue Star Contemporary Gallery in San Antonio.

    Nommay has already been formally influencing the area’s art students since arriving in Fayetteville. During this past academic year, she has been busy working as adjunct faculty for all three of the local institutions of higher learning: Fayetteville State University, Methodist University and Fayetteville Technical Community College. She has plans to continue teaching in the area and exhibit her work as much as possible in the region and nationally.

    The public is invited to the opening reception at Gallery 208 to meet the artist and have a preview of “In the Between: New Work by Kaela Nommay” July 11 from 5:30–7 p.m. The exhibit will remain up until Sept. 10, 2017. If you are not able to get to the opening reception, Gallery 208 is open during regular business hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For questions about the exhibit or location of Gallery 208, call Up & Coming Weekly at (910) 4846200 or go to www.upandcomingweekly.com



  • JurassicOn July 9 and 10,  Jurassic Quest comes to the Crown Complex. Both days, the exhibit opens at 9 a.m. and is open all day. This is not a performance in the traditional sense. It is really an experience. The Crown Complex will be filled with exhibits featuring realistic animatronic dinosaurs. These dinosaurs are ultra-realistic and life sized. This family-friendly event is perfect for any dinosaur enthusiast. But kids certainly don’t have to love dinosaurs to love this exhibit. It is the closest anyone can come to really walking with dinosaurs. They leap off the pages of history books and move right before audiences. Visitors can even interact with the exhibits where entire realistic scenes are depicted in vivid detail. Jurassic Quest brings fun, history, learning and science together in one incredible day. 

    Cool exhibits are not the only dinosaur fun available at Jurassic Quest. According to Jurassic Quest, general admission includes, “Dinosaur exhibit, exhibit Tour, Dino Theater, Science Station, Dino Crafts, Dino Coloring Station, Baby Dino Interaction, Walking Dino Interaction, Touching real fossils and Games.” There is enough fun to delight any kid and inspire a new love for the long-gone beasts. This is an interactive and fun peek back in time, which encourages learning and creativity in a more engaging way than the average museum. Reading about paleontologists just doesn’t last as long as digging up a few bones yourself. Jurassic Quest brings history to life and creates life long memories of fun and ancient beasts come to life.

    There are also VIP tickets for children, which are $27. As this event is intended for children, there are no VIP tickets for adults. This ticket option includes, “Everything in general admission plus:  unlimited dinosaur rides, fossil digs, dino scooters, inflatables and a bungee pull,” Jurassic Quest staff explained. However this does not include, face painting, which costs $5 for one side of the face and $10 to paint both sides of the face. Green Screen photos that place your family in a photo with a professional dinosaur background costs $10 for a 4x6 photo and $20 for a 6x8 photo. 

    All of the events are held inside the Crown Complex and customers are permitted to leave and return on the same day with a wristband or a hand stamp. One ticket can provide an entire day of entertainment and learning. 

    “It generally takes about three hours to experience the show.  There are no show times. It is an interactive experience and customers move through the show at their own pace. Strollers are not a problem. Lines are generally shorter during the last three hours of the day. Customers with time constraints should come toward the end of the day,” Jurassic Quest staff advised. 

    Adult tickets are $23 and general admission for kids is $18. No outside food or drink is permitted, but concessions will be sold.  For more information of to purchase tickets visit www.crowncomplexnc.com/events/detail/jurassic-quest. They can also be purchased on site the day of the event.

  • Historic ToursAt this writing, a stroke of Governor McCrory’s pen is all that remains to complete a long hoped for collaboration between Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and Campbell University. Legislative approval of $7.7 million in recurring funds makes it possible for Cape Fear Valley to be reclassified as a “rural” hospital, allowing it to greatly expand its residency program. Becoming a rural hospital will allow the medical center to receive an additional $30 million in federal funding for its residency program for training and salaries for the residents, said Cape Fear Valley Health System Chief Executive Officer Mike Nagowski. They’ll earn about $50,000 a year with full benefits while in training. The fledgling physicians will be instructed by full- and part-time physician professors who will earn up to $400,000, depending on specialty. 

    “These are all new jobs, and most will reside in Cumberland County,” County Commission Chairman Marshall Faircloth told Up & Coming Weekly. Campbell University trustees pledged their support to expand the residency program at Cape Fear Valley during a board meeting in May. Faircloth noted that, with the reclassification, Cape Fear Valley will lose $10.7 million in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. Campbell pledged $3 million and the general assembly’s appropriation of $7.7 million makes up the deficit. “What a major win this is, and what an effort by a lot of great folks,” said Faircloth. “This will be a combination of economic development and future expansion of community medical resources that we have not seen before. Cape Fear Valley’s relationship with Campbell and its excellent work with Harnett Health is paying dividends.”

    Cape Fear Valley Medical Center has had a fledgling medical residency program for three years. But, the new collaboration will make it possible for the hospital to train up to 300 resident medical school graduates. The first year there will be 157 slots in several specialties. Nagowski said they’ll train in specialties such as general surgery, emergency medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. Studies have indicated that, when they complete their residencies, many of the new docs will choose to live within 50 miles of where they received their training “Thus giving a huge boost to rural health care access for our community in the future,” Faircloth observed. Osteopathic medicine provides all the benefits of modern medicine including surgery, prescription drugs and technology. In addition, it offers the added benefits of hands-on diagnosis and treatment using manipulative medicine. Osteopathic medicine emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness.

    Faircloth noted that there are significant residuals for the community as well. The residency program will give county government the financial flexibility to entertain some level of participation in projects that the Fayetteville/Cumberland community is considering like a ballpark, Civil War History Center, an arts and entertainment district, performing arts center and other quality-of-life enhancements many believe are crucial to the county’s future. 

    It’s the first time the chairman has indicated an interest in county commissioners joining with Fayetteville City Council on the construction of a minor league baseball stadium. Fayetteville Mayor Pro Tem Mitch Colvin has suggested adding a couple of county commissioners to the city’s stadium subcommittee. Faircloth observed that not everyone is happy that these projects are concentrated in or near downtown Fayetteville. But, he said, “If you look around at cities which have made a successful transition in their livability, that’s where the investment has been made.”

  • NEWS1The Army’s Kiowa helicopters, which departed Fort Bragg after a patriotic sendoff, are on station in the Republic of Korea. The First Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade arrived in Korea to complete the Kiowa’s final deployment. When Task Force Sabre returns to Fort Bragg next Spring its OH-58Ds helicopters will be retired and replaced by AH-64D Apaches. Soldiers of the 17th Cavalry Regiment are the last squadron in the Army to make the conversion to Apaches. The addition of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, is a force multiplier. “Teaming Apaches and unmanned aerial vehicles essentially changes the face of the battlefield,” said Captain Adan Cazarez, spokesman for the 82nd CAB. The Apache will play a supporting role for the RQ-7 Shadow UAV.
    An Apache crewman operating a UAV can survey enemy movements and relay information back to ground forces. 








    News2More on Opioid Abuse                         

    Governments at every level have joined the war on prescription opioid and heroin abuse in America. “I think the public doesn’t fully appreciate yet the scope of the problem,” President Barack Obama told people attending the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, earlier this year. New initiatives include making funding available to states to purchase and distribute the overdose reversal drug, naloxone, and to train first responders and others in its use.

    Fayetteville Police have been saving lives administering emergency naloxone for nearly a year now. Opioids such as Percocet, Vicodin, Lortab and heroin are highly addictive drugs. Deaths linked to opiates soared to more than 29,000 in 2014, the highest number on record, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued its first-ever recommendations to clinicians on prescribing opioids. The CDC developed materials to assist clinicians with implementing the recommendations, including a decision checklist. The Food and Drug Administration recently announced safety labeling changes for all immediate-release opioid pain medications, including requiring a new box warning about the serious risks of misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose and death associated with these drugs.



    News3SFC Earl Plumlee’s Mixed Emotions                                                

    “It seems kind of odd” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Earl D. Plumlee as to why he was denied the Medal of Honor for his heroics in Afghanistan three years ago. Plumlee’s comment came in a Stars and Stripesinterview. He said he does not “lie awake every night burning up with anger” about it. His concern is the subjective nature of the honors decision-making process. In August, 2013, Plumlee’s Special Forces unit was attacked by Taliban fighters. The battle that followed resulted in the death of one Green Beret and the wounding of several others. Plumlee was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but he received the Silver Star Medal, two levels below the nation’s highest award for valor in combat. “I kind of have mixed emotions about it,” Plumlee told Stars and Stripes. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. asked for a Defense Department inspector general investigation to determine what happened. After all, Plumlee is credited with leading his men in a fierce battle that fought off the insurgents. Several service members were decorated for valor with one receiving the Silver Star Medal posthumously. Senior commanders in Afghanistan at the time, including Marine Gen. Joseph  , now the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Mark Milley, now the Army Chief of Staff, had recommended that Plumlee receive the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty.  But Plumlee’s nomination was denied once it reached the Pentagon. Army Secretary John McHugh instead signed off on a Silver Star Medal after a panel known as the Senior Decorations Board recommended that the higher award not be approved. 


    News4Fayetteville Chamber Revitalizes Membership     

    The Greater Fayetteville Chamber hopes to grow its membership by revitalizing its popular Ambassadors program. Beasley Media Sales Representative Gary Rogers chairs the program in the fiscal year ahead. He’s currently serving as the Ambassador of the Year. “He acts as the chamber’s liaison for support and services to members,” said Kelly Moore, Chamber Membership Engagement Specialist. She calls it a goodwill outreach to get business owners more involved in the organization in order to improve branding and grow the membership. The Chamber currently has 708 members according
    to Moore.










    News5Judge  Lou Olivera Elected 2016-2017 Vice President of the N.C. Bar Association

    At the June, 2016, membership meeting and annual conference, the members of the North Carolina Bar Association, endorsed and confirmed by the NCBA Board of Governors, voted Judge Lou Olivera as vice president for the Association. The organization consists of more than 15,000 active members.

     Other Fayetteville residents who have served as Vice President of the NCBA from its inception in 1899 are Judge Maurice Braswell, Justice Cheri Beasley, Judge Elizabeth Keever and Judge Lynn Johnson.

     Judge Olivera is a graduate of the Campbell University School of Law and is a Veteran of the United States Army.  He is a District Court Judge in Cumberland County, North Carolina. 

    The North Carolina Bar Association is a voluntary organization of lawyers, paralegals and law students dedicated to serving the public and the legal profession. 

  • Historic ToursDid you know that the city of Fayetteville offers historic tours? The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum, which is an educational resource, offers year round customized tours of our city. Tours may include a visit to the Market House, the Fayetteville Light Infantry Museum and Armory, one of a number of historic churches, Liberty Point, Cool Springs Tavern and Cross Creek Cemetery.  This summer three specific tours each with its own historical focus are available. The Downtown Alliance offers horse-drawn carriage tours, too.

    Historic Tours by Carriage

    Tour historic downtown Fayetteville in a horse-drawn carriage on July 9. The narrated tours include historic sites from Fayetteville’s 250-year history, including many from the Revolutionary War era or earlier. 

    “We started developing this back in March and as we were researching and putting this together, we decided to do a test run thinking the tour would only take 45 minutes,” said Downtown Alliance Events Committee member Hank Parfitt. “It ended up taking two and a half hours, so we ended up focusing on the Revolutionary War era because a lot of people don’t realize Fayetteville’s history goes back that far.” 

    Parfitt also noted that if the tours do well, the Downtown Alliance would like to add tours that focus on other historical eras as well. “We use S&S Carriage Rides because their horses are so well-trained and their equipment is always clean, which makes the carriage rides that much more fun.” 

    The carriage rides take place once a month and run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tours leave hourly from the Downtown Alliance office at 222 Hay Street every hour. Tickets are $25 per person ($20 with military ID, active and retired) and $15 for children between 3 and 12. Purchase tickets at 222 Hay Street or by calling 222-3382. Tickets are also available online at www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com. The rain date is Sunday, July 10. 

    Downtown Architecture Walking 

    Join staff from the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum at the Headquarters Library on Saturday, July 30 at 9 a.m. and bring your walking shoes. A presentation begins a fascinating look into the arches, gates and gables of some of the most noteworthy buildings in Fayetteville.  Then, travel with us on a guided walking tour in the core Downtown Historic District. Admission is free.

     Cape Fear River Presentation and Boat Tour 

    Learn about the history of boats on the Cape Fear River and then hop on board one for an evening boat ride on Aug. 6, at 6 p.m. The presentation will be in the museum annex and then participants will travel to Campbellton Landing for a sunset river tour to the confluence of the river and Rockfish Creek. The boat ride has a fee of $25 per person and pre-registration is required. Contact the museum at  433-1457 for more information or to register.

    Lafayette History Bus Tour 

    Museum staff will lead you on a fascinating trip through time as you retrace General Lafayette’s footsteps when he was a guest of the city on March 4, 1825. The tour begins at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum and takes participants to several historic sites via bus. There is a small fee which includes lunch. Pre-registration is required. Contact the museum at 433-1457 for more information or to register. This tour is part of the annual Lafayette Birthday Celebration and takes place on Saturday, Sept. 10. Learn more atwww.lafayettesociety.org.

     The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum is located at 325 Franklin St. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. The museum is operated by the Historic Properties Division of Fayetteville Cumberland Parks and Recreation, a department of the City of Fayetteville. For more information, visit www.fcpr.us or call (910) 433-1457, 1458 or 1944.

  • Margaret

    No one, friend or foe, has ever called me a crafts person.  

    As a little girl, I did make potholders on a handloom by threading colorful cotton loops over and under and crocheting the edges. This was a regular pastime as I rode the Greyhound to visit my grandparents in Kinston. As a young woman, I took up knitting briefly but obsessively. In just a few days, I knitted an afghan the Dicksons still snuggle under, ignoring the fact that I ran out of yarn so that one end is festooned with a luxurious, deep fringe and the other end is naked as a jay bird. I also knitted my boyfriend, later husband, a sweater of a lovely blue, which matched his eyes but whose sleeves could have accommodated the arms of LeBron James. My sweetie duly wore the thing a time or two, looking like a slender fellow with Michelin Man arms.

    That was the end of my crafting career. No scrapbooking. No stained glass making. No hand- thrown pots. No jewelry made out of beads and shells.

    This summer I am breaking my long-running craft boycott.

    As a gift to the Precious Jewels, I am sorting through and organizing  thousands of family photographs and documents so that they, their children and their children’s children will have some sense of where we all came from and why we are who we are. My maternal grandmother put together a notebook of that side of our family nearly 50 years ago, but my knowledge is sketchier about my father’s family and certainly about my husband’s kin. But I will pass along what I do know, and even though the Precious Jewels are not especially interested at this point in their lives, I am confident they will be later.

    Overwhelming is the only word I can think of to describe this process, but I am also learning that I am far from alone in diving into this task. The internet is full of “how-tos” about dealing with mountains of family material, including “ethical wills,” documents that attempt to pass ethical values down to new generations and directions about writing family narratives. The thinking goes that it is much easier to understand the personal stories of immigrant ancestors, Jane and Joe Dickson perhaps, arriving at Ellis Island and becoming Americans than it is to memorize the history of Europeans coming to our shores.

    Among the helpful hints I have found that resonate with me are some by Ann Brenoff in The Huffington Post. They make perfect sense, and we are likely to have most of these items. Among Brenoff’s recommendations is your first passport. This is a real conversation starter, as in, “Mom, I had no idea you went on a Mediterranean cruise when you were 15!”  

    How about your military discharge papers. I do not have any of these myself, but I would love to have my father’s to share. He served as a medic in Europe during World War II, including during the D-Day invasion of France. So few of his generation remain, and these papers would feel like a voice from a different time.

    I do have many pictures of my wedding to the Precious Jewels’ father, and they have seen some but not all of them. I plan to make sure they see others, so they will know their dad and I were once their age and—dare I say it? — fun!

    Brenoff also suggests something that belonged to the oldest relative your children know. My aunt died earlier this year at 90, and they knew her well and loved her.  Memories of her and the tangible gifts she made over the years will keep her alive in their hearts.

    How about a sentimental piece of jewelry? It does not have to be a 10-carat diamond. My mother’s childhood friendship bracelet has been turned into a pair of earrings, and those who wear them in the years to come will know who first wore those itty-bitty blue stones. Ditto for some monogrammed gold cuff links of my grandfather’s, who died before I was born.

    I do not have one of these but wish I did — a receipt with a date on it showing that a gallon of milk really did cost $1.50 and a nice car could be had for less than $10,000. These fall into the “you’ve got to be kidding” category.

    A picture of the first time you held your Precious Jewel. Got those, thank goodness, including some discreet delivery room hugs and kisses after all the action was over.

    Brenoff has more suggestions. Childhood report cards, especially if teachers commented on them. Those are generally good for a laugh. Tags worn by childhood pets are guaranteed to bring back memories, maybe even a tear or two.

    And, maybe best of all, your favorite music — think oldies! — recorded on a platform they can use. Think iTunes, not cassettes, or — heaven forbid! — 8-track tapes!

    I know. I know.  

    This is to be a huge effort.  

    But what else is more worthwhile during the heat of July?

  • PUB PENWow! What a great weekend we had. Celebrating our country’s birthday always makes me recognize and appreciate  the great country we live in. Though I think we have a tendency to take our freedoms for granted, especially in times like these when we seem to be straining and stressing under the weight of our own governance. Well, I’m not really worried about it. Americans have always proven their resilience time and time again when it comes to defending our rights and the American way of life. I love Fayetteville. Life here is good. Could it be better? Absolutely. But, then again, we suffer from too much governance locally where old habits, unilateral motives and conflicting priorities hinder and stifle our progress and growth.

    Recently, a former resident of Fayetteville returned for a visit after a 30-year absence. He was amazed and pleasantly surprised and even impressed with our city’s transformation - especially downtown. He hardly recognized it. Taking pride in his compliments and observations, I couldn’t refrain from making the comment, “Yeah, but we’re not where we should be or could be. If only we could get out of our own way.”

    And, it’s true. Everyone I talk with loves Fayetteville/Cumberland County. The problem is, they love “their” community. A common theme runs through every conversation I have with Fayetteville and Cumberland County residents. That one single thing that everyone mentions and agrees with consistently is: we are a community that fails to communicate or cooperate with each other. It is amazing. Everyone agrees that we should communicate and cooperate, but, openly admits that we don’t. Go figure. This is sad and not necessarily the type of thinking that inspires, energizes and motivates a progressive community.

    We seem to be in a perpetual circular firing squad. 

    At least everyone recognizes the problem, and they say that’s 50 percent of the solution. I agree, we have made great progress over the past three decades. However, we still have plenty of work to do - and with several awesome opportunities on the horizon, let’s all hope that our collective community communication improves. After all, we could talk ourselves into a future baseball stadium, a performing arts center and a North Carolina Civil War Education Center. It could happen! What do you say? Can we talk about it?

    Thank you for reading the Up & Coming Weekly.

  • Cumberlan Co logo Cumberland County Manager Amy Cannon on Monday, Aug. 1 again is expected to propose the creation of additional water and sewer districts during a meeting of the county Board of Commissioners.

    The board meets at 9 a.m. in Room 118 of the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse.
    Cannon's proposal to create two more water and sewer districts is in response to an increase in contaminated drinking water wells as a result of chemical air and water discharges from the Chemours chemical plant on N.C. 87 on the Cumberland/Bladen County line.

    The Board of Commissioners was expected to consider Cannon's proposal during a July 18 special called meeting. However, Chairman Glenn Adams adjourned the meeting because the group did not have a quorum. The board in June said it did not plan to meet in July. Adams said after the special called meeting that he was not aware that most board members were going to be absent.

    Cannon is expected to propose creating a water and sewer district in the Cedar Creek and east central portions of Cumberland County. The proposed districts would join the Vander and Gray's Creek water and sewer districts created to provide countywide water and sewer service eventually.

    Additionally, the county manager is expected to ask board members to adopt resolutions giving county staff the authority to apply for grants from state and federal agencies for water feasibility studies.

    Currently, the county Public Utility Department is working with an engineering design firm for the first phase toward extending public water to Gray's Creek and Alderman Road elementary schools.
    The Public Utility Department plans to apply for fall 2022 funding with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality's Division of Water Infrastructure funding.

    But before the county can proceed, Cannon is asking the board to adopt several resolutions, among them are adopting the county's Code of Ethics, the county's Minority/Disadvantaged Business Contracting Goals, and authorizing her and the chairman to execute those documents.

    After the presentation, Cannon is expected to ask the board to consider creating the two new districts, hold a public hearing on Aug. 15 to get comments on the creation of the water districts and have all the necessary board-adopted resolutions in place to meet the Sept. 30 fall funding deadline for grant applications.

    The board also is expected to hold a public hearing on helping Cargill Inc. acquire $27 million in revenue bonds so it can build and install a solid waste disposal system at its Fayetteville soybean processing plant.
    On July 28, the Cumberland County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority approved issuing the revenue bonds in an amount not to exceed $27 million.

    The seven-member Cumberland County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority's function is to help issue revenue bonds for paying all or any part of the cost of industrial or pollution control projects.

    The Financing Authority also helps to finance industrial and manufacturing facilities to alleviate unemployment or raise below-average wages, helps to finance pollution control facilities for industry, and conducts other activities appropriate to its stated legal objectives.
    Although the Financing Authority approved issuing the revenue bonds, its actions do not create a liability or cost to the county. The Internal Revenue Code requires the board to hold a public hearing and render its decision after considering the comments.

  • 03 Market House in Fayetteville NC The Fayetteville City Council on Monday, Aug. 1 is expected to receive an update on the proposed repurposing of the Market House. The council meets at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

    The Market House has been a divisive issue for years, mainly because of its history of slaves being sold there.

    Some people in the community have called for it to be torn down while others have suggested it be moved. The City Council has decided to repurpose the structure.

    The Market House Repurposing Group was formed in late January 2021. The city worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, which held meetings to gather input on how the structure could be repurposed.

    In March, after hearing a report from the Department of Justice, the council voted to hear from more residents, and not just a select group, before making a decision on how to designate a true purpose for the building.

    The report from the Department of Justice came together after the department worked with 80 people — in what was described as a diverse group from different walks of life — during two sessions in October and January to glean opinions for repurposing the Market House.

    Several options were identified. They included educational or themed events at the Market House; expanding the base and alleviating the multiple traffic lanes; using the space for vendor events; and using it as a place where diverse artisans could display their work.

    When the groups were asked to develop solutions to the proposals, they suggested involving various groups in the community, including Fayetteville State University, Methodist University, the Fayetteville History Museum, the Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County, as well as artists.

    The Fayetteville-Cumberland Human Relations Commission gathered additional community input on the proposed repurposing of the structure. It held meetings and created an online survey, according to background materials in the agenda packet.

    According to materials in the agenda packet, the top recommendations from those meetings include:
    Changing the language on the Market House plaque to reflect the involuntary nature of the enslaved.
    Using the four corners of Market Square to display rotating art exhibits by local artisans.

  • pexels Crime tape Two people have been charged in connection with a Wednesday morning, July 27, shooting that left a woman with life-threatening injuries.

    Officers responded to a report of a shooting just after 1:30 a.m. in the area of the 3300 block of Village Drive, police said in a release.

    A woman had been shot and was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Police said an “unknown type of disturbance’’ occurred before the shooting.

    Wednesday night police identified the woman as 44-year-old Angie Anderson of the 200 block of Eastwood Avenue.

    “Detectives have determined the victim was not known to the suspects,’’ police said in a release. “The attack on the victim was the result of the disturbance between the victim’s boyfriend and the suspects.’’

    Tyrece Kodjo, 19, of the 3000 block of Queen Anne Loop, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and shooting into an occupied vehicle, police said in the release. He was arrested Wednesday and is in the Cumberland County Detention Center under no bond.

    Justin Simmons, 19, of the 3000 block of Armour Drive, was charged with accessory after the fact. He was arrested Wednesday and received a $50,000 unsecured bond, police said.

    Police said there was a report of shots fired in the area of Village Drive and Roxie Avenue prior to the reported shooting.

    Anderson’s vehicle, a red Ford Fusion, was stalled in the intersection of Village Drive and Roxie Avenue, police said. Her passenger was trying to help her. Multiple vehicles passed through the intersection during this time, police said.

    Anyone who has information about the shooting is asked to contact detective R. Vernon at 910-729-2525 or Crimestoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).

  • N2008P18002H The Fayetteville City Council will undergo a considerable change next month with four new members joining five incumbents, according to unofficial results Tuesday.

    Three of those new council members – Mario Benavente in District 3, Deno Hondros in District 9 and Brenda McNair in District 7 – ousted incumbents in Tuesday’s municipal election, according to unofficial returns from the North Carolina State Board of Elections. The fourth, Derrick Thompson, was elected in District 6, where Councilman Chris Davis chose to run for a legislative seat.

    Mayor Mitch Colvin defeated his challenger to win another term, according to the unofficial returns.

    The mayor and the council members are set to be sworn in during an inauguration ceremony scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 11 at Seabrook Auditorium on the campus of Fayetteville State University. The event is open to the public.

    Meanwhile, there is the possibility of a recount in District 3 if Councilman Antonio Jones requests one and the lead in his race with Benavente remains as narrow as it is.

    Benavente edged Jones by six votes, 1,012 to 1,006, in the tightest race of the night.

    “At this point, we don’t know,” said Vicki Hilburn, who serves as administrative support with the Cumberland County Board of Elections. “That would be after the canvass (process) was done. Right now the margin could widen.”

    That’s because the absentee and provisional ballots will be added to Tuesday’s results during the scheduled Aug. 5 canvass to make unofficial wins official.

    "After all that's done," Hilburn said, “we can discuss that.”

    The canvass will be conducted at 11 a.m. at the Board of Elections, 227 Fountainhead Lane.

    Angie Amaro, interim director of the Board of Elections, said at this point Jones would be able to call for a recount. “But,” she noted, “everything is not final.”

    Jones, 48, is a pastor and a real estate agent. He said he plans to ask for a recount should Benavente's unofficial margin of victory remain like it is.

    For a non-statewide ballot item in North Carolina, a candidate has the right to request a recount if the difference between the votes for the candidate and the votes for a prevailing candidate is not more than 1% of the total votes cast, according to the state recount law.

    "I have my own personal set of ethics," Jones said. "I will not do those tactics, like send out lies and try to defame people. I saw the fliers. If it may have cost me, it's fine. I run a clean campaign. That does not move me. I'm not winning at any cost."

    In response, Benavente said, "We ran a grassroots campaign with a lot of first-time volunteers. Getting young people involved in the political process. We knocked on doors, we pounded the pavement, and we had real conversations with people. And that's the real big difference between our campaigns. I got to know my neighbors, we spent real hours out in the community, and I don't think the same can be said about my opponent."

    Amaro said a request for a recount must be made in writing. The Board of Elections must receive the written request by 5 p.m. on the first day of business following the canvass.

    She said that overall, election night went “very smooth.”

    Turnout in Fayetteville was 11.72% for this off-year election, with 14,833 residents voting out of 126,533 registered voters, Amaro said.

    A grassroots campaign

    Thompson, 60, and originally from Philadelphia, has lived in the Fayetteville area since retiring from the Army after 22 years of service in 2003. He also is a retired postal worker.

    He believes he won the District 6 seat by running a grassroots campaign. He also credited his involvement in the community.

    “Me being a president of the Rayconda Homeowners Association, being a former mailman and having collaborations with other community watch leaders in Arran Lakes, Hickory Grove, Ashbury and Woodland Village, we have the same issues," he said.

    Thompson said his main focus will be collaborating with communities in the district.

    “Every community in my district, I want to get to know you,” he said Wednesday. “To me, it’s about serving the people. My district and my city.”

    The new council will need to come together, as well, he said, when asked how he thought the new members will get along.

    “We need to collaborate together so when we walk out of a planning session, we’re all in one accord,’’ Thompson said. “We stand together or we will all fall.”

    Thompson said he will bring new ideas, an incentive to do hard work, transparency and a willingness to work with others.

    “I’m anxious,” he said. “I’m ready.”

    ‘I want to be a winner’

    McNair, who is 61 and from Hoke County, has called Fayetteville home for 22 years.

    She’s an entrepreneur, having established four beauty salons, a bail bonding business, an HVAC company that does repair work and a landscaping company for her son. McNair also has purchased real estate over the years.

    What did she think led her to victory over District 7 Councilman Wright, who has served four terms on the council?

    “Well, I don’t think I put a whole lot of thought into that,” she said. “I think my strength was with the idea of winning. I’m the type of person, once I start something, I have to finish it, and I have to be at the top. I want to be the winner; I don’t like to lose.

    “I’m very passionate about becoming a city councilman because I have a heart for people, and bringing change and bringing it to the next level,” she said. “I don’t like being stagnant. I don’t like poverty. I grew up in that. My mom and dad struggled, raising six kids. … I was always the one who was a trailblazer.”

    Once she is sworn into office, McNair said she would like to hold a town hall meeting so she can touch base with her District 7 constituents.

    “Because they’re really counting on me,” she said. “I’ve had several calls already. Requests from individuals who are heartbroken and feel they’ve been left out.”

    The newcomers and the incumbents on the City Council have different goals and have set standards, she said.

    “I do believe people coming in now have certain standards,’’ McNair said. “We have to learn each other’s personalities and learn to respect each other. Everybody brings something good to the table.”

    McNair said she likes unity and believes she can apply her common sense.

    “I have the ability to tear down things that are not good and rebuild to a place where it’s good,” she said. “Where it’s functional on a different level. Where everybody will be satisfied. I have very high standards.”

    First-generation American

    Benavente, 32, was born in Korea to a military family. When he was about a year old, the family moved from Fort Bragg to Fayetteville.

    He's a first-generation American, he said, whose father immigrated from Peru and his mother from Korea.

    Benavente felt that his win was due to his working in the Deep Creek community in a variety of capacities since he graduated from undergraduate college. When he returned to Fayetteville about five or six years ago, one of the first things he said he did was go back to his alma mater —E.E. Smith High School. He said he asked, what can I do for my high school?

    "And we started the college bound community, where I would come in once a week and work with students to help them," Benavente said. "To fill out college applications. To fill out college scholarship application essays. It went from there. I got to know the alumni association; I worked on the scholarship community. I'm now the vice chair of the board of directors for E.E. Smith.

    "That's not something that they handed me," he said. "It's something that I earned — the trust of the association, very well established with community leaders. So folks got to know me over this time doing real work for the community. So when I made the shift to try to represent them as a City Council member, it was a logical progression. I had already been doing the work, and now I want to be able to do even more."

    Benavente said that when he joins the council, he intends to continue his efforts on behalf of community members to push for a civilian review board that would provide civilian oversight when police misconduct occurs within the Fayetteville Police Department.

    "I think that's going to be the very first priority for me once I'm on council," he said. "That's exactly what we need to make sure we're improving public safety in the right way."

    Benavente said he has gotten to know most of the council members by attending council meetings and work sessions over the years.

    "So I'm confident of the working relationship that I will have with them," he said. "We'll be hitting the ground running. When it comes to some of the newer faces, we certainly got to know each other in early voting polling locations and seeing the kind of dedication and time that they're willing to invest in serving the community. It tells me that we all want to make Fayetteville a better place. I am looking to move the city forward."

    ‘A true group effort’

    Hondros, 45, is a Fayetteville native who graduated from Terry Sanford High School and Fayetteville Technical Community College. He started in the restaurant business but has worked as a commercial real estate broker for 23 years.

    He credited his victory over incumbent Yvonne Kinston in District 9 to God, his wife, Liza, his son, James, and his campaign team.

    "It was a true group effort," Hondros said.

    He plans to stay true to his campaign platform, focusing on public safety and city infrastructure. Hondros previously served on the Fayetteville Stormwater Advisory Board.

    "Loss of life or potential loss of property — there are a number of things going into public safety to make the community safer," he said. "Workforce housing: I believe that everyone should be afforded the opportunity to live where they labor."

    According to Hondros, Fayetteville is roughly 20,000 units short when it comes to workforce and affordable housing.

    "That's definitely something we can improve upon," he said. "We need to invest resources in doing that" while collaborating with public/private partnerships and land trusts.

    The new City Council will have its own makeup and focus, he said, calling it "a new character."

    Hondros said he intends to apply the standards that he uses in the real estate business.

    "We pledge to ethically represent our clients. Not discriminate. Treat everyone the same," he said. "We pledge to work together and come to a resolution on a daily basis. These are things I think transfer from client to constituent."

  • Deno Hondros Political newcomer Deno Hondros defeated first-term Councilwoman Yvonne Kinston on Tuesday for the District 9 seat on the Fayetteville City Council, according to unofficial returns.

    Hondros received 911 votes; Kinston received 804, according to unofficial returns with the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

    Hondros, 45, is a commercial real estate broker. He could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night.

    Kinston, 53, was first elected to the City Council in 2019. She is a sales and service agent for AT&T and executive vice president of the 530-member Communications Workers of America Local 3680 branch.

    “I am proud of the race I ran. I’m proud of the work that has been accomplished,’’ she said Tuesday night.

    Kinston said she called Hondros to congratulate him.

    During the campaign, both candidates said transparency and public safety were among their top issues.

    Kinston said that when she was elected to the council there were things that she wanted to accomplish. “And I think we’ve done that,’’ she said.

    When asked if she might consider running for the seat again, she said: “I’m going to take a pause on that and we’ll see.’’

    She said she may find other ways to serve the community.

    “You ain’t seen the last of Yvonne Y. Kinston,’’ she said.

  • Courtney Banks McLaughlin Freshman City Councilwoman Courtney Banks-McLaughlin will return for a second term representing District 8, according to unofficial election returns.
    A strong advocate for the homeless, the 37-year-old received 748 votes, or 79% of those cast, according to unofficial returns reported Tuesday by the N.C. State Board of Elections. Downtown businessman Michael Pinkston had 196 votes.

    Canvassing of unofficial returns is scheduled for 11 a.m. Aug. 5 by the Cumberland County Board of Elections to certify the results, according to Angie Amaro, interim director of the board.

    The mother of five and wife of a former 82nd Airborne Division soldier, Banks-McLaughlin did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday evening.
    Banks-McLaughlin has said she opposes the city funding $7.5 million for the proposed $80 million N.C. Civil War & Reconstruction History Center. She also has said she opposes an initiative to restructure the way City Council members are elected, changing from nine single-member districts to five single-member districts and four at-large council members.

    Pinkston said he was surprised by Tuesday’s election result.

    “I spent more than $30,000,” said the retired Army veteran. “It’s almost inconceivable. I lost 10 pounds walking and meeting people. I sent 17,000 mailers three times. … All the pieces seemed to be falling into place.”

    Pinkston, 70, said he thinks “the election was very clean.”

    “We didn’t spar. There was no mudslinging, …” he said. “But the election is done, and it is what it is. The voters spoke, and they chose Courtney.”

    Pinkston has said that crime was an important issue for the city and called for the removal of Police Chief Gina Hawkins, who has announced her plans to retire.

    District 8 includes the neighborhoods of Cliffdale Estates, Fairfield, Four Seasons, Hammond Hill on Fort Bragg, Kings Mill, LaGrange, Middle Creek, Parkers Ridge and Westpoint.

  • Brenda McNair Political newcomer Brenda McNair on Tuesday upset incumbent Larry O. Wright Sr. for the District 7 seat on the Fayetteville City Council, according to unofficial returns.

    McNair received 679 votes compared with Wright’s 656, according to unofficial results from the N.C. State Board of Elections.
    Wright was first elected to the City Council in 2013.

    This was the first time McNair had run for office. She ran on a platform of change and envisioned becoming more of an advocate for the people.
    Wright and McNair are both ordained ministers. Wright is head of Heal the Land Outreach Ministries. McNair owns several businesses.
    Wright said he doesn't feel bad about losing per se, because, “when one door closes, one door opens.”

    “We congratulate the winners and hope they are successful in their endeavors on City Council and their efforts to help move the city forward,” Wright said.

    Wright said he plans to continue to serve the community.

    “That was my goal from the very beginning of my tenure was to make Fayetteville a better place,’’ he said. “We are still going to work with our community.

    That's what we did before we became a city councilman and that’s what we will continue to do as a pastor and a minister in outreach.”

    “We will look for opportunities to serve,” he said.
    McNair said she faced roadblocks from the mayor and some members of the council who supported Wright. But she said many residents came out to say they were ready for a change.

    “There was so much support from people coming out of nowhere that I have never heard of before,’’ she said. “People reached out to me and volunteered to help.”

    McNair said she couldn’t have done it without that support.

    “I want to thank God because this was really tough for me,’’ McNair said. “It was my first time running and it couldn’t have been done without him. I want to thank my team and the citizens for coming out and voting for me and believing in me.’’

    She said she’s “ready to take this city to the next level.’’

  • Derrick Thompson Derrick Thompson defeated business owner Peter Pappas in Tuesday’s municipal election, according to unofficial returns.

    Thompson received 962 votes and Pappas received 619 votes, according to unofficial results from the N.C. State Board of Elections.
    Thompson and Pappas were running for the seat vacated by Christopher Davis, a one-term councilman who ran for the Democratic nomination for the N.C. House District 45 seat. Davis lost in the primary.

    Thompson, 60, an Army veteran, moved to Fayetteville in 2003. He is retired from the Postal Service.

    “I am just thankful, appreciative and humbled tonight,” he said Tuesday.

    Thompson said being on the City Council will be an opportunity to serve the city on a larger scale.

    “I will continue to serve my district, my neighborhood and my community. It’s what I’ve done for the last 19 years since I’ve been in Fayetteville, including the last five years as president of my neighborhood HOA and on the board for the last 13 years.”

    Thompson also applauded Pappas for running a clean and respectful campaign.
    Pappas, 44, has owned and operated Baldinos Restaurants for 24 years and is a commercial real estate broker.

    “I appreciate the residents who came out to support me and even the ones who voted for my opponent,” Pappas said Tuesday. “We need that involvement in our community. It’s important that we are all involved.”

    Pappas said he will continue to be engaged in the community and encourage participation from others.

    “This has been a very exciting and rewarding journey, and I look forward to more,” said Pappas.

  • Johnny Dawkins Incumbent Fayetteville City Councilman Johnny Dawkins handily defeated political newcomer Fred G. LaChance on Tuesday in the election for the District 5 seat on the council, according to unofficial results.

    “We’re keyed up,” Dawkins said Tuesday night. “I’m not going to be able to sleep for a while. It’s an exciting time.”
    This would mark Dawkins’ fourth term in office.

    Dawkins received 1,643 votes and LaChance received 750, according to unofficial results from the N.C. State Board of Elections.
    Dawkins, 63, has been a member of the City Council since 2017 and is a former chairman of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the City Council from 2003 to 2005.

    Dawkins, a health insurance and Medicare benefits consultant, campaigned on the issues of public safety, economic development and improving stormwater infrastructure.

    Dawkins said he’s been in politics with his father, former Mayor J.L. Dawkins, since 1975.

    “We got started early, No. 1; started working on the campaign in March 2021,” he said. “Then the pandemic and census delayed everything. Our team has been working and talking to constituents and listening to their concerns for almost a year and a half. I think being willing to work hard and be willing to listen is what matters with our citizens. My focus has been public safety and improving stormwater infrastructure. Our citizens care about our stormwater and infrastructure and good jobs.”

    LaChance owns an antiques store on Bragg Boulevard. This marked the first time the 70-year-old Navy veteran has run for public office

    “I would have liked to have seen a better turnout,” LaChance said. “We’ve got 12,000-plus voters in the district, and a little over 2,000 turned out. That’s just not good. But it is what it is. I think, personally, it’s the name (recognition for Dawkins). … I congratulate him. … I gave it a shot.”

  • DJ Haire D.J. Haire will be one of the longest-serving members of the Fayetteville City Council after easily turning back challenger Thomas C. Greene on Tuesday for the District 4 seat, according to unofficial returns.

    The 63-yer-old veteran councilman received 1,232 votes and Greene, 50, had 237, according to unofficial returns from the N.C. State Board of Elections.
    Canvassing of unofficial returns is scheduled for 11 a.m. Aug. 5 by the Cumberland County Board of Elections to certify results, according to Angie Amaro, interim director of the board.

    “I thank the Lord for my wife, family and team,” said Haire, who is self-employed in real estate. “We put it all in. I thank the Lord for the residents of District 4. We’ve worked great together.’’

    He will be starting an 11th term on the council. He was first sworn into office on Dec. 1, 1997, and remained in office until November 2013. He stepped away from the council for two terms before winning the district seat in 2017 and winning reelection since.

    “It just means citizens from every precinct are giving you the thumbs up. It means people hear you and see you,’’ he said.

    “They build a trust, and I think that goes a long ways,” Haire said. “I’m always telling new people coming along that you have to build trust.”

    Greene is an Army veteran, bails bondsman and member of the local chapter of the Proud Boys, a nationwide activist organization linked to far-right and white nationalist political causes. At least five members of the Proud Boys were indicted on seditious conspiracy charges in the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol. Greene says he was not in Washington that day.

    Greene told CityViewToday he does not support the organization’s participation at the U.S. Capitol.
    He believes in term limits for council members and said in his campaign that Haire has served too long, but Greene was gracious in defeat.

    “I’d like to congratulate D.J. Haire on his win,” Greene said. “I learned a lot. This was a big learning curve for me. I learned about local politics. Hopefully, we will improve on public safety, our police can be more active and we can hope for a better environment and standard of living for people.”

    Council members and the mayor are scheduled to be sworn in at 6 p.m. on Aug. 11 in Seabrook Auditorium at Fayetteville State University.

  • Benavente Headshot Challenger Mario Benavente edged incumbent Antonio Jones by six votes on Tuesday in the election to represent District 3 on the Fayetteville City Council, unofficial returns show.

    Benavente received 1,012 votes to 1,006 for Jones, according to unofficial results from the N.C. State Board of Elections.

    The count, which was reported about 9:15 p.m., showed that there were 10 write-in votes that could have changed the outcome.
    Benavente said public safety and the search for a new police chief will be his priorities. He said his training as a lawyer and in law enforcement will guide him in helping find a new chief.

    “I look forward to learning about not just their experience in years but something that they can point (to) in the last department they were in,” he said Tuesday night. “Someone who is not just good on paper but on what they accomplished.”

    “I’m very proud of my team,” said Benavente. “I was able to go out into the district and knock on doors and hear about constituents’ concerns. I look forward to being a zealous advocate for them.”

    Jones has held the seat since December, when the City Council appointed him to fill out the term of Councilwoman Tisha Waddell, who resigned. Jones and Benavente were finalists for the appointment, and Jones won a second-round vote 6-3.

    Benavente, 32, is a community organizer and legal professional. This would be his first elected office.
    Jones, 48, is a broker and military relocation agent with the family-owned Jones Realty. He also is a pastor at Temple of Faith Church.

    He could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

    District 3 includes parts of Fort Bragg and the neighborhoods of Cottonade, Country Club North, Hillendale, Hillendale West, Kornbow, North Hills, Tiffany Pines, University Estates, University Hills, and parts of Pondero

  • Shakeyla Ingram City Councilwoman Shakeyla Ingram, running for her second term in office, held off former Councilman Tyrone Williams in Tuesday’s election for the District 2 seat on the Fayetteville City Council, according to unofficial results.

    Ingram received 749 votes and Williams received 653, according to unofficial results from the N.C. State Board of Elections.

    There were 144 write-in votes, according to the state tally.
    Ingram said Tuesday night that she does not know what the difference in the race was.

    “But what I do know is I went in this race saying I would focus on this race and this race only. I stayed true to that,” she said. “I served in the pandemic and social unrest in my term. Maybe that was what it was. I’m grateful through it all. …

    “It was in the voters’ hands, and I understood that,” she added. “The voters stated what they wanted.”

    Both candidates grew up living in the district.

    Ingram, 31, works in marketing and community relations

    Williams, 53, was a member of the City Council in 2018 for a partial term. He resigned roughly two months after allegations emerged that he tried to solicit money from a developer. At the time he left office, Williams blamed local media for false accusations. Williams also blamed his former wife for falsely accusing him of molesting a 10-year-old boy.

    On Oct. 21, 2019, court records show, Williams entered into a conditional discharge on a charge of assault on a child under 12, a misdemeanor, and received 30 months of unsupervised probation, which came with specific conditions he was ordered to follow if he were to have the charges later dismissed.

    Cumberland County Court records show that Williams did not meet those conditions.

    On April 4 of this year, a judge revoked the conditional discharge and Williams was convicted on a misdemeanor charge of assault on a child under age 12. He was sentenced to 60 days suspended for 12 months and placed on supervised probation, according to court records.
    Williams is a real estate developer and Navy veteran. He could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night.

  • Kathy Jensen Kathy Jensen will serve her fifth term on the Fayetteville City Council after defeating Alex Rodriguez on Tuesday in the race for the District 1 seat, according to unofficial returns.

    Jensen, 57, received 807 votes to the 561 that Rodriguez received, according to unofficial results from the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

    “I look forward to serving our city for the next year and a half,’’ Jensen said. “This gives me great opportunity to finish working on the parks and recreation bond and to bring more jobs into our city.”

    Moments after hearing the election results, Jensen was humbled, thanking her family, friends and everyone who has supported her over the last eight years.

    Born and raised in Fayetteville, Jensen, her husband, Jerry, and their four children live in North Fayetteville, where she owns An Affair to Remember, a small business featuring prom, pageant and formal wear on Ramsey Street.

    Rodriguez, 48, is a retired Army officer and former police officer. He said he ran for office because he sees Fayetteville heading in the wrong direction with crime, pollution and economic development.

    “I closed the gap on the primary from 29% to 36%, but I am a little disappointed with the results,’’ he said. “Fayetteville isn’t ready for change.’’

    He said part of the challenge was along political party lines.

    “I’m proud of the effort that I put into this and look forward to seeing what happens next,’’ Rodriguez said. “I wish it had been different, but this is a very blue city and getting bluer by the day.”

    Rodriguez said he was undecided if he would run again, but applauded the race as being a good one.

  • Mayor COlvin Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin easily won re-election Tuesday, complete but unofficial election returns show.

    Colvin, who was first elected mayor in 2017, defeated political newcomer Freddie de la Cruz. Colvin received 9,253 votes – or 62.74% of the total cast – compared with 5,452 votes for de la Cruz – or 36.97%.

    Colvin could not immediately be reached for comment. This will be his third term as mayor. He served on the City Council for two terms, including a stint as mayor pro tem, before first being elected mayor in 2017. De la Cruz served 32 years in the Army.

    After it became apparent that Colvin had won, de la Cruz expressed disappointment, not so much that he had lost, but that so few voters went to the polls. Figures from the North Carolina State Board of Elections show that only 11.72% (14,833) of the city’s 126,533 registered voters cast ballots in the City Council election.

    “The biggest thing is look, I gave the citizens of Fayetteville an opportunity to make a change, and they stayed home. That's the message. That's my message,” de la Cruz said.

    Although Fayetteville’s voter turnout was only 11.72%, the turnout for the Charlotte City Council race was almost as low, at 12%. Greensboro saw a 16% turnout.

    De la Cruz said he plans to regroup, continue to operate his businesses – Venus Vogue Weddings and Formals and Fayetteville Limousine Service – and take a vacation with his wife before beginning another run as a mayoral candidate. He said he will take a look back at his campaign and see what he can do better next time.

    During their election campaigns, Colvin and de la Cruz placed a high emphasis on improving public safety, as well as other quality-of-life issues, such as affordable housing and educational opportunities.

  • 19 We have taken down the Silent Sam Civil War monument on University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s campus and the statues of Confederate soldiers on many courthouse plazas.
    But there are other monuments to the Civil War and slavery that cannot be removed — unfortunately.

    In “Scars on the Land: An Environmental History of Slavery in the American South,” David Silkenat explains how over a 200-year period slavery made possible environmental disasters that cursed and continue to curse our region.

    Silkenat says the slave owners in America’s South saw their landscape as disposable.
    Using intensive farming methods made possible by slavery, southern plantation owners wore out their farms. Rather than rehabilitating the land as they exploited it, they simply bought new land to replace what had been ruined.

    Sometimes, the replacement land could be purchased nearby. Other times, the owners and slaves from worn-out plantations would move from North Carolina to fresh lands in Alabama or Mississippi, with the enslaved people walking all the way.

    In Virginia, Thomas Jefferson noted in 1793 that he did not use manure to fertilize or replenish his worn-out tobacco fields “because we can buy an acre of new land cheaper than we can manure an old acre.”
    Twenty years later Jefferson acknowledged that the intensive farming by his slaves had left his soils inert.

    But the environmental damage associated with slavery was not limited to farmlands.

    In North Carolina, for instance, intensive enslaved labor made possible the exploitation and destruction of the magnificent longleaf pine forests that covered our state. To secure the pitch and tar from the pine trees, enslaved labor tapped, and scratched the surface, taking the ‘blood’ the trees needed to sustain themselves, leaving only ghosts of once-magnificent forests.

    Silkenat wrote, “Intensive extraction conspired with environmental factors to expedite the forests’ destruction. Scarification caused by repeating chipping made the trees vulnerable to wood-boring insects such as the ips beetle, the turpentine bore and the black turpentine beetle. Stripped of their bark, the pine trees stood defenseless against these insects. A turpentine-borer epidemic in 1848 –1849 along the Cape Fear River devastated the heart of North Carolina's longleaf pine.”

    Also, in North Carolina, the use of enslaved labor during the gold rush days before the Civil War made possible the extraction of gold but left a ruined landscape behind.

    In South Carolina, the rice plantations that made that state wealthy before the Civil War, required an enormous commitment of enslaved labor to dig and manage the canals and other waterways that provided the right conditions for the crop. Those canals and their upkeep, adjustment and repairs destroyed the natural environment and left the coastal lands permanently affected.

    Similarly, along the Mississippi River, the construction of levees to protect farmlands from flooding required enslaved labor. Continuing maintenance and repair demanded a long-term commitment of enslaved labor. The adjustments to the normal ebb and flow of the river still make for the continuing disruption of the great river’s natural flow.

    In cotton and tobacco fields, hardwood and pine forests, rice fields, goldmines, rivers and levees, slavery brought about even more damage to the environment. Although the author sets out many more examples of damage, he acknowledges that “the environmental devastation chronicled in this book pales in comparison to the brutality of American slavery on human bodies and souls. Yet looking at slavery through an environmental lens reveals how the chattel principle poisoned everything it touched.”

  • 17 Dr. Marye J. Jeffries has been named an Honorary Trustee of Fayetteville Technical Community College.
    Jeffries, who served on FTCC’s Board of Trustees for 26 years, including four years as Board Chair, was honored June 21 in a ceremony at the monthly meeting of the FTCC Board of Trustees.

    The designation of Honorary Trustee recognizes an individual for exceptional service and support of FTCC through the years. Jeffries served on FTCC’s Board of Trustees from 1992 until 2018. She served as Board Secretary from 1993 to 2004 and as Board Chair from 2004 through 2008. Jeffries was instrumental in the installation of the College’s two most recent presidents, Dr. Larry B. Norris in 1997 and Dr. J. Larry Keen in 2007.

    Born in Victoria, Texas, Jeffries began her teaching career in Tacoma, Washington, then moved to Fayetteville in 1963 and began teaching elementary school. She was the first African American teacher at Vanstory Hills Elementary School and earned her Master’s degree in Education while working at Vanstory.

    In the early 1970s, she joined Fayetteville State University as an associate professor of education. She earned her Doctorate in Education Administration and Supervision from UNC-Chapel Hill and held a series of positions at FSU, culminating in her appointment in 1995 as Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. She was the first African American female to hold that position. Dr. Jeffries retired from FSU in 1998 but remained extremely active in her community.

    Her community service has included chairing the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Arts Council and the Cumberland County Auditorium/Arena Commission (now the Civic Center Commission).
    She is a longtime member of the Fayetteville Chapter of The Links, Inc., an international women’s service organization, and served on its Executive Council and as its president. Her daughter, Dr. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, is currently the national president of The Links. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard and several officers and other members of the Fayetteville Chapter of The Links, Inc., attended the ceremony at FTCC. Also in attendance were Glenn Adams, chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, and his wife, Superior Court Judge Gale Adams; and FSU Chancellor Darrell
    Allison and his wife, La Nica Allison.

    Jeffries’ awards include the Order of the Long Leaf Pine and the Old North State Award. In 2011, she was honored by FSU as an Outstanding Black Woman in American Culture and History.
    Jeffries is the 10th person to be named an Honorary Trustee of Fayetteville Technical Community College. Previous honorees include Tony Rand, W. Dallas Herring, Helen E. Batten, Thornton W. Rose, Lura S. Tally, Thomas R. McLean, Jeannette M. Council, Glenn Adams, and Larry L. Lancaster.

    FTCC President Dr. Larry Keen praised Jeffries for her dedication and leadership at FTCC and in the community. “She has done such a remarkable job in so many ways,” he said. “We have all benefitted and learned so much because of her.”

  • 16 A new exhibit dedicated to banking will be opening at the Fayetteville History Museum Aug. 2. The exhibit will focus on the history of banking in the Fayetteville area beginning in the late 1700s.
    The exhibit will take the place of the History of Baseball exhibit on the museum’s second floor. Staff are working to create a space reminiscent of the opulence often found within banks. The room has been painted deep green, and white columns decorate the space. All of these finishing touches within the exhibit help to create the atmosphere of a bank, according to Bruce Daws, museum director.

    “Architecture in banking was important. The bank had to speak to opulence, it had to speak to being solid, and it was usually classic architecture,” Daws said.

    One of the panels in the new space is dedicated to architecture in the banking world, highlighting buildings in downtown Fayetteville such as the building at 100 Hay St. Originally built to be the National Bank, it has now been converted into office spaces. The building was built to replace the original National Bank, a three-story classic brick building.

    “When they decided to build the 10-story skyscraper to replace [the old building], they asked the city if they could move into the Market House. The bank conducted business, not in the upstairs, but put windows and infill in the arches and opened that up as the bank while the mammoth structure was being built,” said Daws.

    Stories like this fill the new exhibit space, which in addition to information about the architecture of banks, will hold a large collection of banknotes used in the Fayetteville area for 200 years. Most notable will be a 20 shilling note from 1754, the same year Cumberland County was established. The note is British, as, at the time, everyone who lived in the area were subjects of the Crown. In addition to this rare note, foreign coinage that would have been used for transactions will also be on display. Foreign currency was allowed as payment until the 1850s, when an act was passed forbidding it.

    These coins and notes, known as “obsolete bank notes,” tell the story of the Fayetteville financial sector during the 1700s and 1800s.

    “Banking is an important subject just to who we are as a city,” said Daws. “We were a colonial port city located at the head of navigation on the Cape Fear River. We were an important trade community. Fortunes were being made and lost on the Cape Fear River. Banks were certainly an important ingredient in the big picture of Fayetteville.”

    The museum will be displaying obsolete bank notes from the local banks that popped up between 1807 and the Civil War. A rare set of four Bank of Clarendon notes will be shown. The notes are significant in that they are unsigned and uncut, meaning they never saw circulation.

    The exhibit continues through the Civil War. The Civil War impacted banks in the South quite significantly, and the exhibit will have several displays detailing the roller coaster of currency during the war.

    “Now, that was an interesting time because all of a sudden, overnight, you had to develop a treasury department and start printing money. Money was being printed so quickly at the very beginning that clerks were signing bank notes; they were being cut with scissors often times instead of being professionally cut,” said Daws. “At first that confederate currency held its value, it was kind of a trust that it was what it represented itself to be. As the war drug along and it wasn’t looking as good for the South, it had lesser and lesser value.”

    On display will be a pile of confederate money that came down through one of the old families in Fayetteville.

    “It was worthless, but it wasn’t thrown away. Often, it was tucked away as a souvenir, and after many years these saw the light of day again. Some of these notes are heavily worn where they were in circulation for a while; some are pristine,” said Daws.

    Another significant piece on display is a banknote signed by the mayors and commissioners of Fayetteville on Aug. 1, 1865. Fayetteville fell to General Sherman in March of 1865. This note is important because of how soon after the war it was printed. A display panel also tells the story of William G. Broadfoot, a banker and confederate agent during the war at the Bank of Fayetteville. As Sherman was marching into town, he had an idea to hide the bank assets around Fayetteville. He put notes in a bank stationery envelope with details as to where these were hidden.

    Several of the assets have since been located, affirming that Broadfoot’s plan worked.

    Daws hopes the exhibit will showcase the importance of banking to the city’s history. From prominent bank presidents, vice presidents and directors such as Dr. Paul Melchor and Dr. E.E. Smith to Jacob Stein and E. A. Poe, the history of banking within Fayetteville is varied and tells a unique Fayetteville story. The banknotes on display all tell a tale of where the city has been.

    “The notes themselves to me are like artwork. They are so finely done,” he said.

    Daws said a special thanks should be extended to David Boitnott of North Carolina. The majority of the collection that will be on display is from his own private collection, and he generously allowed the museum to feature the history he has collected. Rev. Robert Alves of St. John’s Episcopal Church has also generously loaned out coinage for the exhibit.

    The exhibit opens Aug. 2 at the Fayetteville History Museum at 325 Franklin St.

  • 15Be inspired by art and music at Kreativity Unlocked on Aug. 4 in the Orangery Ballroom at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden. Host Keith Sykes is a local photographer who will have prints on display to view with select items available for sale.

    There will be an open bar with wine, spritzers and hors d'oeuvres. Guests can get creative with a 360-photo booth. There will also be musical performances by Testimony and DJ Liek, who both hail from Norfolk, Virgina.

    This is not the first photography exhibit Sykes has organized. He held a show in 2018 at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre and one in 2019 at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden. He chooses locations that will inspire creativity in his guests so they can fully experience the art and music.

    "One of the things that I always say when I'm putting (events) together is that it's all about the experience," said Sykes. "I want the people that come through the door to really experience something different than they've experienced in the first two shows."

    Sykes has had a varied career that led to becoming a photographer and owner of an event planning company, IKreate Consulting. The New Orleans native joined the military when he was 20 years old. Sykes traveled the world while he served, which sparked his interest in photography. He settled in Fayetteville after 20 years of service.

    "I have had a love for photography for a very long time because one of my older brothers was a photographer at one point, but it was never really serious," said Sykes. "And then, in 2015, I started taking it seriously because a couple of friends suggested it. So, my very first exhibit was in 2018."

    Much of Sykes' inspiration comes from travel, and guests will be able to see areas like Edisto Island and Greenville, South Carolina, and some local spots in Fayetteville through his lens.
    This event will be the last featuring his work as he plans to organize future events to help local artists.

    "I want to give other local artists who are not very well known and who are not very visible in the local community the opportunity to show their work," he said. "So, I think the next thing I do will be something collaborative with a couple of different artists."

    The event is limited to 100 guests. The cost is $50 and includes all drinks and appetizers. No tickets will be sold at the door. The event is not formal, but guests are encouraged to dress to impress.

    Purchase tickets here www.eventbrite.com/e/kreativity-unlocked-tickets-302584035997.

  • 13 The Summer Concert Series at Gates Four Golf & Country Club will be "Back in Black" on Aug. 5, with headlining band Shoot To Thrill set to take the stage. Presented by Fayetteville Dinner Theatre, the all-female AC/DC tribute band will grace the stage at 7:30 p.m. prepared to rouse the crowd in grand fashion.

    The family-friendly event is intended "For Those About to Rock," and the buzz around one of the hottest bands out of Raleigh couldn't be louder.
    The concert series has proven both successful and popular amongst those looking for good music and good vibes on a lazy Friday night.

    The show offers concert-goers a little bit of everything up on the stage. Heartbreaker, Tuesday's Gone, and Mostley Crue, cover bands for Heart, Lynard Skynard and Motley Crue, respectively, are just a few of the bands still destined for the Gates Four stage before the concert series is over.

    The relaxed, outdoor event will have food for purchase as well as beer with liquor provided by Healy Wholesale Co. Inc. Guests are encouraged to unfold their camping chairs and spread out their blankets to enjoy this awesome show against the backdrop of a fiery North Carolina sunset.

    The gates open at 5 p.m. and local musician, Judah Marshall, will open the show shortly thereafter. The "Hometown" crooner's folksy, acoustic-driven offerings will undoubtedly be the perfect counterbalance to Shoot To Thrills' hard rock riffs.

    Shoot To Thrill, featuring the talents of Kara (Vocals), Susan (Guitar), Jai (Bass), Wendy (Guitar), and Kate (Drums), are a powerhouse ensemble that brings the Australian rock n' roll band to which they pay tribute boldly to mind during their high voltage sets.

    The five Raleigh women often take to the stage in a mix of lingerie and thoughtful nods to AC/DC, like Angus Young's classic school boy uniform and Brian Johnson's iconic newsboy cap. The energy and heart they bring to the stage as the crowd before them whips into a frenzy, stomping along to the first heart-stopping chords of "Dirty Deeds" is quite an experience, and the Gates Four audience should prepare for a wild ride.

    "We love to have a lot of audience participation," Wendy, Shoot To Thrill's guitarist, told Up & Coming Weekly. "We really try to put on
    a show."

    Shoot To Thrill's journey started around five years ago with Kate, Susan and Wendy. Originally a southern rock cover band, the response to their hard-rock covers, especially AC/DC, caused the band to shift focus and drill down on their niche. From there, Shoot To Thrill was born.

    "People were just going crazy," Wendy joked. "We thought maybe we should just do an AC/DC tribute band, and here we are."

    Despite their success, popularity, and undeniable talent, the road isn't always easy. As an all-female band, the women have had to deal with the challenges of sexism throughout their careers.

    "People think we have it easier because we're women, but we get rejected a lot," Wendy said candidly. "People are concerned that women won't show up to see us, but our audience is about 60% women. We definitely have our own fight to get in, but we're working hard, and we're really happy, we're having fun, and we're all friends."

    Fans of the classic rock band will hear hits from throughout their catalog, and there will be plenty of opportunities to sing or scream along. From Bon Scott era "Highway to Hell" to Brian Johnson's powerful anthem "Back in Black," Shoot To Thrill aims to please and knows how to get a crowd going.

    "We watch a lot of live AC/DC, and we try to change it up, even the more obscure stuff. We try to design the sets, so the die-hards are happy, as well as the people who've never heard a single AC/DC song," Wendy said.

    Off the stage, the women all lead lives very different than their rock-star stage personas. Wendy has worked at IBM for the past 22 years, Jai is a veterinary surgeon, Kara is a salon owner, Susan is a professor of music at Elon University, and Kate is an architect. To accommodate the demands of their two worlds, the band tries to maintain a three-week on, two-week off schedule to ensure there's room in their lives for all the things that matter.

    "We were going non-stop, and then COVID happened, and it helped us realize we need to find a balance, to take our time for our family vacations. We don't want to miss anything."
    The Gates Four performance will be the band's second time playing Fayetteville, and they're excited to return. After Shoot To Thrill wraps for the evening, guests are invited to hit the free after party at the Sand Trap Sports Lounge, which promises more fun beginning at 10 p.m. with an opportunity to meet the band.

    Though the event is free and open to the public, the Gates Four Summer Series offers an experience for every taste and budget. VIP packages are available for those that crave a more exclusive experience. Four packages range from $38 for single tickets, including table seating and all food, beer and wine, to $500 for a table seating eight inside the pavilion with food and beverage included. Guests can also look forward to door prizes.

    As the summer season winds down, there is no shortage of opportunities for people to come together for a good time in all corners of Cumberland County, a primary goal for the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre.
    Businessman and Up & Coming Weekly publisher Bill Bowman reconceived the Bordeaux Dinner Theatre intending to bring premium entertainment options to Cumberland County residents living outside of downtown Fayetteville.

    With a name change and a move to Gates Four, Bowman and many talented performers have more than made good on that intention.

    Additionally, events held under the banner of Fayetteville Dinner Theatre support Cumberland County education by contributing to Kidsville News Literacy and Education Foundation.

    "Through Fayetteville Dinner Theatre, we get to create new cultural events and help fund an education initiative," Bowman said.

    Gates Four Golf & Country Club is at 6775 Irongate Dr. in Fayetteville. For more information about Gates Four, visit www.gatesfour.com/.
    For more information concerning the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre and to purchase VIP tickets, visit www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com/.
    To keep up with Shoot To Thrill, visit www.shoot2thrillband.com/. For those about to rock, we salute you.

  • 12 Segra Stadium, home of the beloved Fayetteville Woodpeckers, will host its inaugural “Back to School Bash” event on Aug. 5.

    As the days melt off the summer calendar, parents throughout Cumberland County know the time when they must trade flip-flops and sunscreen for lunch boxes and three-ring binders grows closer. Soon, the dreaded school supply lists will start circulating around Target, Walmart and grocery stores, sending local parents into a frenzy.

    For some, the color-coded folders and index cards bear no additional financial stress; for others, the notoriously picky lists will be placed in the queue next to a growing number of items that have become increasingly expensive.

    North Carolina gas prices still hover around $4 per gallon, and the price of groceries continues to increase; many families will struggle to secure the school supplies their students need to start the year.
    To remedy this concern and ease some of the hardship associated with this time of the year, Segra Stadium is partnering with over 22 organizations to hand out school supplies to students across Cumberland County from 6-9 p.m. at the event on Aug. 5.

    Up & Coming Weekly spoke to Kristen Nett, Community and Media Relations Manager for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, about the event and its importance within the community.

    “I knew a ton of ‘Back to School’ events happening all over the city,” she explained. “So instead of duplicating, I decided to bring all those efforts together. Our big goal is to partner with people who share the same goals — that‘s really important to us.”

    The family-friendly event will entertain guests with games, a kid zone, batting cages and face painting — all free to those in attendance. Additionally, the stadium’s concession stands will be open and offer food and beverages available to purchase. “We want families to stay and have fun, enjoy time with each other,” Nett said.

    To prepare for August’s event, fans can donate school supplies during games from July 26 — July 31 in exchange for a voucher which can be redeemed for a discounted $7 ticket. The ticket is good for any game left in the 2022 season. Public donations will be accepted until Aug. 5.

    Nett expressed her excitement over the forthcoming event and why projects like these are close to the organization’s heart.

    “We are a multimillion-dollar business and can use our platform to come into this community and make a serious difference. It’s very important to me that we equal the playing field and provide opportunities to people regardless of socioeconomic status. School is starting soon, and some people simply don’t have the resources — we want to bridge that gap.”

    Families must register to participate, and supplies will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Segra Stadium is located at 460 Hay St. in downtown Fayetteville.

    To register for the event, visit https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=bLr1ayMS-0aHO5q1XAC9JFug2voy1hFAl18UB_YKCyJUQTMzVjJCWkJJREFTNFZOTEtRRkQzQjVCTC4u.

    To donate, email Kristen Nett at knett@astros.com.

    To learn more about the Woodpeckers, visit www.fayettevillewoodpeckers.com/.

  • 11 Kia Walker places her blue violin underneath her chin. She smiles, as she so often does, says a sentence or two, partially in song form, as she often does, and then straightens up to begin. Her soft ringlet curls fall just slightly onto her forehead as she looks down at the instrument. She moves her slender fingers over the string at the neck of the violin while the other hand glides the bow across the strings. In a flash, the bow is moving quickly over the strings, stirring up white resin dust on the strings, neck and bridge of her instrument. Her fingers slide from string to string. They glide in unison, almost dance-like. This instrument has become natural to her. It is second nature.

    In Walker’s studio, piles of thin books line the walls and shelves. They range from beginning music books to more difficult levels, some are duplicates — meant for students. There are pieces of artwork around, all of which revolve around music. In each window sill, signs with quotes about music or God sit. The studio is quaint and bright with natural light pouring in. Just outside, through the window is the bustle of downtown Fayetteville. Walker continues to play, drowning out the faint noise of the city that can be heard just outside. She is in her own world now.

    Walker puts down her instrument and rearranges herself. Her makeup is always done and she can usually be seen wearing long, dangly, bright earrings. She loves her jewelry. She loves people. She loves teaching. And most of all, she loves music.

    In various corners of the room, instruments are displayed. At the entrance is a cello, held by its stand, and in the room next to it is a piano and a guitar. These are not for show. Walker plays all of these instruments and uses them at The Blue Violin Music Education Center — her music studio where she gives lessons for piano, violin, viola, cello, guitar and voice. Well, almost all of them are played. In the corner of the entire studio stands bright red conga drums.

    “I don’t play the drums. I bought those drums because they are pretty,” Walker laughs. “I just thought it would be a nice little splash of color.”
    Walker began her life with music singing as a 7-year-old. Around age 10, she started playing the violin when Cumberland County came to her school to introduce orchestra. She remembers even at those young ages, being in love with music. She tried her hand at writing songs, including one she gave to her orchestra teacher.

    “I thought she was going to be all impressed. But she said, ‘Kia, your song doesn’t have any rests in it,’” Walker laughs again and then shakes her head. “She said, ‘your song has to breathe.’”

    And so did Walker. For about 18 years, Walker put the violin down. In high school, she took piano lessons that she paid for herself. She remembers driving herself to her piano teacher’s home. Her mom, a single parent, was busy working, taking care of Walker and her younger sister.

    “I just wanted music that badly,” she said.

    Eventually, Walker went off to UNC-Chapel Hill to study psychology. But music still was her first passion. During college, she got lots of offers for credit cards. They would come in the mail and she would look them over. She decided to get her first credit card and make her first big purchase.

    “I bought my first piano. I put my piano on my first credit card,” she said.

    The piano that she bought still sits in her studio and she uses it to this day to help teach her students. Occasionally she’ll sit down to play it for herself.
    Walker returned to Fayetteville to finish out her last years of college at Fayetteville State University. She eventually met her husband, Skip, at his recording studio in town. She would come into the studio to sing and record songs — both that he wrote and that she did.

    “I started noticing that I was falling in love with him. After our recording session, we’d end our sessions at the Waffle House. I would get the scrambled eggs with cheese,” Walker sings the word scrambled eggs with cheese.

    Walker continued on to take a job doing special education at an elementary school for Cumberland County Schools. At the end of each day, Walker would return home exhausted.

    “I noticed I was too tired after teaching all day … I was too tired to practice. I thought maybe if I began doing music as my job I could practice too. I wanted to be fresh enough to practice. I wanted to play the piano or the violin.”

    Walker looked outside the window for a moment and smiled. This portion of her life is where she picked the violin back up. She picked up other instruments too. She began to combine her first passion with one of her other passions.

    She transferred into teaching music. This is where her life made sense to her. On the side she learned to play the organ and played for a church in Massey Hill. This is a job she still holds to this day. This position taught her some great life lessons that she carried into her later projects.

    “I was not that good at it. I was learning that you don’t start being good at it until you practice it for a while and give yourself the time to get good at it. To this day, I have that job. Some songs I smoke them. Some songs I don't,” Walker laughs a loud, infectious laugh and shakes her head.

    Walker went on to get a Master's in Divinity Church Music from Campbell University Divinity School. For Walker, faith is very important. She said she has been a Christian for a very “long, long time.”

    “As I have become older, seen life and experienced things, my faith has become much stronger. Sometimes I’ll just sing to the Lord.” Walker sings a little bit in a normal sentence. Her life is part musical.

    This year Walker began an online TV show for her music that she named “Music Life.” She says she wants to show the parallels between music and life and life and music. For her, there’s no separation of the two.

    “There are life lessons that come from playing an instrument. I was really slow at playing the cello because it’s a big instrument. There’s a parallel there. Sometimes in life we don’t want to face the big problems that we have in our life, we want to play the small instruments. We want to play things that are more familiar to us. We don’t want to try new things.”
    Walker stops for a moment. She looks around her room, the place where she learned so many lessons in life.

    “Music Life is highlighting those areas in life where we learn to … there’s a saying, be patient everything is difficult before it is easy. Playing cello is difficult for me. Playing the violin was difficult for me at one time. It’s easy for me now.”

    Walker continues to the piano and plays a song, on the same piano she bought with her first credit card in college. Her head bobs as she moves through the music. Rain began to patter outside but nothing distracts her from the song at hand. She trips over a part and starts over. This correlates perfectly to the first episode in her show. Walker is having each interviewee pick a focus word for the session. The first one is practice.

    “If you mess up, you go back to the beginning and start again. Same thing with life. You aren’t going to get it all right the first time but if you keep perfecting what you do, and perfecting who you are, and excellence is your goal … you will get there.” Walker smiles and then packs up her violin.

  • 10 Fort Bragg is one of the world’s largest military bases. Housing over 50,000 active duty troops and over 100,000 retirees and family members, Cumberland County is home to a brave population of men and women who have dedicated their lives to keeping America safe.

    The price of service

    But service, no matter how noble, can sometimes come at a high price. According to national research, incidents of major depression in the military are five times higher than in civilian populations, and PTSD is almost 15 times higher.
    A 2021 study found that while over 7,000 soldiers have died in combat in the 20 years since 9/11, over 30,000 active duty and veteran soldiers have died by suicide.
    Mental health has become one of the largest threats to modern military service, and resources to help struggling soldiers and their families are in high demand. One valuable resource available to the abundant military population in Cumberland County is the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone.

    Founded in 2016 by philanthropist Steven A. Cohen, the father of a United States Marine, the Cohen Veterans Network is a national not-for-profit network of mental health clinics for post-9/11 veterans, active duty service members and their families. Cohen Veterans Network has helped over 30,000 former and current service members and their families through 21 nationwide clinics.

    The local clinic treats several mental health challenges for all post-9/11 veterans regardless of rank, discharge status or role while in uniform; all active duty service members with a Tricare referral; and the entire military family from spouses to in-laws. Clients can seek care for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, adjustment issues, anger, grief and loss, family issues, transition challenges, relationship problems and children’s behavioral problems. Care can be managed in person or through face-to-face video therapy.
    Up & Coming Weekly spoke to Retired Army Major Sharjuan Burgos, Outreach Director for the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone, about Cohen Veterans Network’s work within the local military community.

    “Nearly everyone who works for our organization is military affiliated,” she explained. “In this clinic, we understand the lingo — we have a very high military, cultural competency here. We believe that military families deserve a healthy life, and that’s our goal: ‘getting families back to better.’”
    Burgos served in the military from her high school graduation to her retirement in 2020. With 27 years of service under her belt, she has been a compassionate witness to the sometimes heavy burden such an honor can bestow and feels right at home in this new position.

    “It’s such an honor,” she said, beaming. “I thought I knew everything about the military, but it’s a huge transition working this side of it, but it’s wonderful to serve the people I know best. I knew I wanted to live a life of purpose and give something back. Taking off that uniform can be hard — I know I felt lost when mine came off.”

    Stigma of seeking treatment

    The stigma surrounding mental health and health care is still quite prevalent in the civilian world, but even more so in the military. Fear of career derailment or possible discharge keeps many soldiers from seeking the help they need. Burgos understands the pressure many in the military face to slap a “Hooah!” on their pain and keep it moving.

    “There are so many reasons service members don’t seek treatment,” she said. “Many military service members struggle to be two people; they hide a lot, put on their cape, shield and boots, and then go home and have to be themselves — it’s hard. They put on their super capes, and then they must try to be the things they fear they aren’t.”

    Underserved populations

    One underserved population supported by Cohen Veterans Network is female veterans. The unique challenges of female military service pertaining to family, sexual safety and pressure not to appear weak in a male-dominated career field make it even more difficult for these soldiers to seek help. Among veteran clients, women comprise 30% of the group — more than two times the female veteran population in the United States. These numbers are especially important to Burgos. “One of my jobs is to make sure everyone is included, especially female veterans, because they’re so often overlooked,” she explained.
    Military children are also a very high priority to the clinic and its larger organization. “We see kids as young as five years old,” Burgos said. “Kids don’t know how to express themselves the way we do. We give them the atmosphere and space to help them work through the challenges of having parents in the service. These kids are so resilient — unexpected PCS [permanent change of station,] constantly leaving friends — they’re strong but need support too.”

    Understanding the personal and environmental challenges associated with seeking help, one of Cohen Veterans Network’s foundational principles is removing barriers to care. The clinic provides transportation to appointments, on-site childcare and Telehealth appointments for those who’d prefer to get help from the comfort of their own home. Additionally, the clinic works with clients individually to ensure that neither finance nor circumstance supersedes treatment.

    Additional resources

    Equally important to the clinic is linking clients to resources that will help them and their families with various needs.
    Clinic case managers connect clients with additional support such as housing, employment, healthcare, legal support, educational opportunities and other necessary support based on the client’s needs. With such a high military population to serve, the clinic endeavors to meet all needs, one case at a time.
    “There are just so many resources in the community, and that’s one of our goals here,” Burgos said. “Our case manager works to get people what they need outside mental health services. We’re gap fillers.”

    Continuity of care

    Because the Cohen Veterans Network builds its service around military bases, service members are never far from the care they need. Also, the continuity of care is especially important. The services a person receives at one Cohen Military Family Center will be available at another.
    Burgos is proud to continue her service to such a deserving community and is honored to be a part of a growing legacy here in Fayetteville.

    “It’s an amazing community, an amazing place to work, and the same work is needed everywhere you go.”

    The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone is located at 3505 Village Dr. in Fayetteville. For more information about The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone's services, visit https://centerstone.org/cohen-military-family-clinic/fayetteville/.

  • 9 A global food crisis is hitting the pocketbooks of those in the United States, including U.S. service members.
    Jeremy Hester, the Executive Director for the Fort Bragg Armed Services YMCA Food Pantry, says they have seen an increase of 15% of service members coming to the pantry.

    “Right now we're seeing an uptick in usage,” Hester told Up & Coming Weekly. “We're also seeing kind of a downturn in donations.”

    The pantry typically receives calls from companies like Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods on random days when their meat is about to expire. The pantry will accept this frozen meat and then do a massive giveaway to families on post. However, the last time they received these donations was over two months ago.

    “We're not getting those phone calls anymore,” Hester said. “So there's this little bit of fear of just the food insecurity stuff, the scarcity that everyone's talking about and supply chains and things like that. So it makes us worry a little bit as to what six months will bring, a year will bring as far as us being able to supply [assistance to those in need].”

    Individual donations have also gone down in the last three months.

    “I would say in 2021, like clockwork, every couple of hours people would come in. Whether it's a small bag of food or they're bringing in boxes of stuff that they bought for us, or they're bringing in a couple of items that they just have extra. That has slowed down quite a bit as well,” Hester said.

    This comes as inflation reached 9.1 percent in June, the largest 12-month increase in more than forty years. Food prices increased by 1%, with certain products seeing sharper increases, like margarine (6.8%), flour and prepared flour mixes (5.3%), butter (4.8%), ice cream (4%), breakfast cereals (2.5%), canned vegetables (2.1%), salad dressing (3.3%), and chicken (1.7%).

    The food pantry is working to continue to keep the pantry stocked. One way is taking donations from the Commissary's Feds Feed Families program. Last week, the Commissary donated 70 bags of food.
    Another way of creating more food is using the Victory Garden, just a few blocks north of the pantry. The Fort Bragg Victory Garden provides on-post residents a way to plant and grow nutritious produce in a social atmosphere. Two of the plots are reserved for the pantry.

    “We're really recruiting volunteers to help us with the gardening because we want to prove that we can keep those gardens going,” Hester said. “We're getting some of those vegetables and things and bringing them to the pantry. And we're taking our group out there a couple of times. If we can keep that going and not lose a beat and not let it grow out, then I think there's an opportunity for us. Do more plots and just get more people involved. Right now we're getting a good amount of stuff out of there. But if we had 100 plots, it can really help.”

    Plans to increase the food pantry are underway with a mobile food van that delivers food to Linden Oaks, a Corvias community located away from the military installation. There are also plans to move the pantry itself away from the small building it's currently in and somewhere more centrally located and filled with more freezers and fridges.

    “We're the only food pantry on Fort Bragg and we have the potential to expand,” Hester said. A new, more central location that would be more conducive for a food pantry could potentially help more families, he said.

    “I'm pushing now for people to think they have the capacity to reach out through donations or monetary donations to make sure that we can continue this on for the next couple of years at least.”

    Currently, the most requested items for the food pantry are canned fruit, healthy cereal and bagged/canned beans. Donations of food, personal hygiene items and baby items such as formula or diapers can also be donated. The pantry is located on the north end of Fort Bragg at 2411 Rodney Trail #2 from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for donations.

    The U.S. Army Public Health Center and U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service released a survey last year that found that nearly 33% of more than 5,600 respondents at an unidentified Army installation were considered marginally food insecure, meaning they faced food hardship or had difficulties ensuring their food budget stretched through the end of the month.

    Blue Star Families’ annual national member survey found that 14% of almost 4,500 enlisted active-duty family respondents reported low or very low food security in 2020. This can be compared to 10.5% of all U.S. households.

    The Center for Strategic and International Studies and advocacy group Military Family Advisory Network both released studies this year that found structural parts of military life, such as high rates of spouse unemployment and moving and child care shortages, are driving the growing rate of food insecurity among active duty military families.

    A new report from the Defense Department reviewing food insecurity in the U.S. military is due by Oct. 1.
    In the meantime, University of North Carolina graduate students are doing a study on food insecurity at the Fort Bragg food pantry.

    “They've done voluntary interviews with some of our families and they're really doing a good job there. They're going out talking to food banks. They're going out talking to lots of different organizations on post and off. And they're putting together a kind of an action plan,” Hester said. “How can we connect more? How can we help this organization that can help our food pantry?”

    The Fort Bragg Armed Services YMCA offers other services outside the food pantry to help military families. Those services include financial planning classes and family support services that include child care,
    mentoring and infant support.

    For more information about the Fort Bragg Armed Services YMCA, go to their website, www.asymca.org/what-we-do-fort-bragg, or their Facebook page to learn more about special food giveaways.
    The food pantry is open every Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and every second Saturday, excluding holidays.

    Service members and their families do need to register and can only do one pick-up a month. Registrants can choose their preferred date for pick-up on the monthly online registration form, which can be found on their website.

  • 7b The N.C. Green Party has filed an emergency motion in federal court in its bid to gain access to the state’s election ballot this year.

    The motion filed Thursday, July 21 contends that the N.C. State Board of Elections has failed to provide a legal reason for excluding Greens from the ballot. The group seeks a preliminary injunction. It would force the elections board to recognize the Green Party and place its candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot.

    “It has been 51 days, and counting, since NCGP timely filed its petitions with NCSBE, and NCSBE still has not certified NCGP as a new party, which it is required to do ‘forthwith,’” according to the Green Party motion.

    “NCSBE has cited no legal authority for its failure to certify NCGP as a new political party,” the motion added. “NCSBE has cited no applicable statutory provision, regulation, or other legal requirement with which NCGP failed to comply. On the contrary, NCSBE concedes that when it voted not to certify NCGP, county boards of elections had validated 15,953 signatures on NCGP’s petitions – 2,088 more than the 13,865 valid signatures required under state law.”

    “Thus far, the only explanation NCSBE has given for its failure to certify NCGP comes from its Chair, Defendant [Damon] Circosta, who stated that he had too many ‘questions’ to vote in favor of certification, because NCSBE staff claim to be investigating ‘irregularities’ in the NCGP petitions,” the motion continued.

    “NCSBE has never produced evidence of any ‘irregularities’ in NCGP’s petitions to NCGP, nor has it provided NCGP with any opportunity to defend the validity of the signatures on its petitions or the integrity of its petitioning process,” according to the motion.

    “Yet NCSBE appears to have undertaken a wide-ranging investigation into NCGP’s petitions, pursuant to which a team of NCSBE investigators has contacted NCGP’s petition circulators by telephone and email to request information about virtually every aspect of their petitioning efforts,” the Green Party asserted.

    “NCGP has fully and voluntarily cooperated with NCSBE, promptly providing all information and every record requested by NCSBE’s investigators. Further, NCGP has repeatedly requested the opportunity to meet with

    NCSBE to review its petitions and resolve any questions regarding particular signatures, but NCSBE has rebuffed NCGP each time.”

    The Green Party argued that the state elections board “continues to invalidate NCGP petition signatures that county boards of elections validated.” That process has removed 127 signatures to date, and “That number continues to drop each day.”

    The motion noted the involvement of Michael Vincent Abucewicz, “who appears to be a field operative of the North Carolina Democratic Party,” in the campaign to keep the Green Party off the ballot. The Greens allege a “concerted campaign by Democratic Party operatives to contact NCGP petition signers and convince them to request that their names be removed from NCGP’s petitions.”

    “Thus, there is documented evidence of fraud in this case – Plaintiffs have audio and video recordings proving it, which they are prepared to submit – but it was perpetrated by Democratic Party operatives seeking to gain political advantage in the 2022 general election, not by NCGP,” according to the motion.

    The Green Party initially filed suit on July 14. The party’s U.S. Senate candidate, Matthew Hoh, discussed his concerns about the state elections board’s actions in a one-on-one interview with Carolina Journal.
    A hearing on the Green Party complaint is scheduled Aug. 8 in Raleigh before U.S. District Judge James Dever.

  • 7a On the recommendation of Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Marvin Connelly Jr., the Board of Education approved five district-level appointments and one principal appointment at a meeting Wednesday, July 20. The special meeting was held largely in closed session and focused on the personnel changes.

    Lawrence Smalls was approved as principal of Ramsey Street High School. After joining the system as an administrative intern in 2011, Smalls was an assistant principal and athletic director at both E.E. Smith High School and, most recently, Pine Forest High School.

    In 2007, Smalls earned his master’s degree in teaching and a special education general curriculum license from Fayetteville State. Smalls earned a principal certification from Sandhills Regional Education Consortium in 2012 and completed the local school district’s Aspiring Principals Program in 2016.

    The new district-level appointments follow the naming of four new associate superintendents and two other district administrators in June. Five former associate superintendents retired over the summer.

    The appointments approved Wednesday include:
    Christine Catalano, assistant superintendent for K-12 curriculum and instruction. Catalano is new to the district and most recently worked for Durham Public Schools as executive director of K-12 curriculum and instruction, CCS said in a news release. She began her career as an exceptional children and regular education teacher in Halifax County. She held multiple jobs as she advanced to leadership roles with Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools. After obtaining her master’s degree in education administration from East Carolina University, Catalano earned a doctorate in education leadership in 2018 from ECU.
    Donell Underdue, assistant superintendent for district transformation and strategic initiatives. He joined CCS in 2018 and most recently was principal of E.E. Smith High School. Underdue began his career in education as a teacher in 1993 after serving in the Marine Corps Reserve. He has certifications and licenses in Florida, Illinois, Georgia and North Carolina. Underdue obtained his master’s degree in school administration from ECU in 1998.

    Christopher Young, executive director of technology. Young's career with the school system started in 2002. While working as a network systems administrator, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in business education with a focus on information technology from ECU in 2012. The release said Young is a member of several professional organizations and technology committees, including the N.C. K-12 Cybersecurity Advisory Council.
    John A. McMillan, director of exceptional children's services. McMillan joined the district in 1998 as a teacher's assistant and bus driver at Howard Hall Elementary School. He has been in numerous jobs, including special education teacher, assistant principal, athletic director and principal. Most recently, McMillan was the district’s exceptional children's programs coordinator. After earning a master's degree in school administration from Fayetteville State University in 2009, he earned his education specialist degree from Wingate University in 2015.

    Ann-Marie Palmer, Title I coordinator. Palmer joined the school district in 1995 and most recently was principal of Massey Hill Classical High School. She obtained her master’s degree in school administration from Fayetteville State in 2004.
    In addition to arts education, Palmer has served the district as an exceptional children’s resource teacher and case manager. She has been a school administrator in multiple CCS elementary and high schools since 2002.

  • 6 People who stand up to violent criminals resonate with Americans of all walks of life. The courage to fight back against crime is heroic. Everybody believes this today except the woke prosecutors in our midst.
    One of the most notorious woke prosecutors is New York City District Attorney Alvin Bragg. He brought charges against Jose Alba, 61, who stabbed an ex-con and assailant to death at a bodega shop he owned. After an earlier argument with the attacker’s girlfriend about not paying for an item, Alba defended himself when the perpetrator went behind the counter to assault him.

    The New York City bodega owner was stabbed multiple times by the attacker's girlfriend. Despite the incident being caught on security footage, the district attorney’s quest for a scalp of somebody who dared to defend himself overrode common sense. The girlfriend who stabbed Alba was not charged, according to news reports. Bragg’s office not only charged Alba with murder but even tried to throw excessive bail at him, sending Alba to the notorious Rikers Island jail.

    Fortunately for Alba, a judge lowered the bail, allowing a bond to be secured for his release. And eventually, weeks later, given clear evidence in favor of Alba’s actions and public pressure, charges against him were dropped. Still, Bragg’s office sent out the message that they aren’t afraid to criminalize those who act in self-defense.

    The right to self-defense is inherent and something John Locke called a “fundamental right of nature.” Yet, woke prosecutors are increasingly concerned about social engineering over rights or justice.

    “Jose Alba should never have been charged with a crime, but New York city’s anti-self-defense authoritarians are determined to protect criminals over citizens,” says Jordan Stein, Southeast region director for Gun Owners of America. “NYC should take heed of the Supreme Court's recent decision, which not only affirmed the God-given right of self-defense but also affirmed the right of the people to bear arms in public.”

    Thankfully, North Carolina has better laws than New York City, including stand-your-ground protections that extend to one’s workplace or vehicle. Self-defense protections are generally strong if one has a legal right to be present at a property or place of business. New York has a duty-to-retreat law, meaning somebody is required to try and flee a violent aggressor outside of one's home. Still, if one legitimately fears for their life and can’t escape — as in the case of Alba — they do have legal protections. Alba’s encounter shows that New York’s law empowers agenda-driven prosecutors, not citizens. If there was no security footage or public outcry over

    Alba’s charges, one can only wonder how much ruin he would have faced.

    Residents in North Carolina and across the country see what woke prosecutors in increasingly left-wing urban environments want to accomplish. Woke prosecutors, who are attracted to the profession because they decide what and whom to prosecute, often make excuses for criminals. Furthermore, as revealed again in the Alba or Kyle Rittenhouse cases, they criminalize those who try to push back against rising crime if they choose to defend themselves.

    Fortunately, soft prosecutors are paying the price for their pro-crime social engineering. Chesa Boudin, the former district attorney of San Francisco, was recalled and removed from office by voters on July 8. “There are no victimless crimes, and we have to send a strong message that repeat offenders will face the consequences for their actions if they continue to choose a life of crime,” declared Brooke Jenkins. After Boudin’s removal, the San Francisco mayor appointed Jenkins as district attorney.

    Rising crime and lawlessness are bad enough that we shouldn’t have to worry about prosecutors taking the side of criminals. Soft-on-crime policies only lead to death and destruction. The only humor in the rise of a woke criminal justice system is many of the same government officials talking about taking away firearms from law-abiding citizens.

  • 5 Ever hear the old saying “Heck hath no fury like a woman scorned”? There may be grain of truth the size of Mount Everest hidden in that proverb. If you have ever said to an angry woman, “Just calm down,” you are yet another clueless man. That helpful advice didn’t work, did it? Gentlemen, consider this column a learning experience to help you deal with women of the female persuasion.

    Today we return to the land of Greek Mythology to visit our old friend Medea. She was not a woman to be trifled with. Actually, trifling with any woman is a good way to regret your birth. Medea was a mortal woman, but her granddaddy was Helios the Sun God. She had some pretty impressive magic powers, the most impressive of which was her skill at revenge. Think of Glenn Close on mega steroids in the movie "Fatal Attraction" and you begin to approach Medea.

    History has given Medea a pretty bad rap. But she didn’t mean nothing by it. Medea fell in love with Jason who was the leader of the Argonauts. Jason had family troubles. His Uncle Pelias had killed Jason’s daddy who had been the King. Pelias sent Jason on a suicide mission to bring back the Golden Fleece in return for restoring Jason as King.

    Jason knew he was going to need help on his quest. He also knew Medea had magic powers which could come in handy. Like Meat Loaf’s famous song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” Medea and Jason were smitten by each other. Whoopie was about to be made. But as Jason neared home plate, Medea said: “Stop right there! / I gotta know right now! / Before we go any further/ Do you love me? / Will you love me forever? /

    Do you need me? / Will you never leave me? / Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life? / Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?” Like many men before and since, Jason promised to marry her and love her forever until the end of time. Spoiler Alert: This will not work out well.

    Jason had three tasks to get to the Fleece. First, he had to plow a field with a team of ornery fire-breathing oxen. Medea made him a magic skin cream poultice of Sunblock 9000 which kept him from getting burned by ox breath.

    Next he had to sew the plowed field with Dragon Teeth. The problem with Dragon Teeth is they immediately sprout into armed psychotic soldiers who want to kill Jason. Medea saved Jason’s bacon by telling him to throw a rock into the soldiers. The soldiers then started killing each other instead of Jason.

    The last task was to grab the Golden Fleece which was guarded by a dragon who never slept. Medea whipped up an ancient version of Ambien. Her Sleep Potion Number 9 put the dragon right into dream land, thus allowing Jason to flee with the Fleece.

    Uh oh. Wouldn’t you know it? When Jason got the Fleece back to Uncle Pelias, the deal was off. Medea came up with a plot to have Pelias’ daughters kill him. Media got his daughters together and chopped up an old ram. She dropped the ram parts into a magic stew pot. Immediately, a young ram jumped out of the pot dazzling the daughters and going on to become UNC’s mascot Ramses. Thinking that their Daddy Pelias could use a return to his youth, they chopped up Pelias and put him in a pot. Unfortunately for Pelias, nothing happened but Dead King Stew.

    Jason and Medea high-tailed it to Crete. They married, had kids, and lived happily for ten years until their love sell by date expired. Jason imitated "Mad Men’s" Don Draper. He fell in love and married Princess Glauce. Abandonment by Jason after she gave him the best years of her life did not sit well with Medea. Seemingly forgiving, she sent the newly wed Glauce a beautiful poisoned dress as a wedding present. Although the dress killed Glauce, it did give Putin his idea for poisoned Polonium tea.

    Boiling the family bunny was not enough for Medea. Not content to be left alone in the castle with their kids, she was still mad at Jason. Medea murdered two of Jason’s sons as an act of revenge. She refused to let Jason bury the boys. She left town on a chariot pulled by flying dragons sent by her Granddaddy Helios taking the corpses of the boys with her. This is one angry lady.

    So, what have we learned today? Jason would have done better to have taken Meat Loaf’s advice by staying with Medea and praying. Mr. Loaf advised: “So now I’m praying for the end of time/ To hurry up and arrive/ Cause if I got to spend another minute with you/ I don’t think that I can really survive/ Praying for the end of time/ So I can end my time with you.”

    If you make a commitment, stick to it. You don’t want any chariots pulled by dragons showing up at your front door.

  • 4 I have strong opinions — but not about how to perform brain surgery, write an app, design a golf course, or produce a hip-hop album. Perhaps you do have a strong view about one of these, but almost certainly not about all four.

    Why? Because none of us can simultaneously be a surgeon, a software engineer, a golfing expert and a music producer. When it comes to our work, we specialize in a few things and then trade what we produce for the goods and services other specialists produce. The exchange makes us all better off.
    We live most of our lives engaged in such exchanges. There is a great deal of specialized knowledge, with more produced every day. But individually, we possess or are even aware of only a tiny fraction of that knowledge. It would be too difficult or costly to acquire. We don’t need it. We just need to trade for its fruits.

    Among specialists or other discrete communities of interest, however, there is often robust debate. Surgeons learn, practice, and disagree about the merits of new ways to attack brain cancers. The rest of us don’t typically know which side to root for in these contests. We just root for them to keep at it, so we as potential cancer patients can benefit, and otherwise leave them alone as we go about our own business.

    Now consider what happens when goods and services are provided by government agencies and public employees rather than private companies and independent professionals. Suddenly, we all feel the need to express our expert opinions about the best ways to rehabilitate a prisoner, treat a mental illness, or teach a child to read — even though we can’t possibly possess expertise about so many different and challenging fields, and even those possessing such expertise may lack consensus.

    The problem is that, unlike in the earlier cases, we can’t simply sit back and let the professionals fight it out. If we don’t like a new smart-phone app or hip hop album, we don’t have to buy it. If a particular brain surgeon or hospital seems to have poor results, we can go elsewhere.

    But what if we don’t like the outcomes produced by our prisons, public health agencies, or public schools? It’s either impossible or highly expensive to “take our business elsewhere,” as it were, by relocating ourselves and our tax dollars to another state. Instead, we seek to change the mix of professionals providing those services by casting ballots in the next election.

    This is not nearly as effective an accountability mechanism. For one thing, we may be outvoted. Even if our preferred candidates win, they may not be in a position to swap out the personnel in question or overrule their professional judgments. And through it all, we end up doing the very thing I’m suggesting we lack the capacity to do well — engaging in debate about matters we don’t and can’t fully understand.
    There is no magic wand one can wave here. Ensure more competitive elections? Great. Collect more data and encourage more experimentation and research? Sure. But the problem will remain in some form. It is endemic.

    I submit that the best response is to minimize the extent to which people are compelled to receive services from professionals they don’t select. That argues for more choice and competition in education, health care and transportation, even when those services are substantially funded by governments. The next best thing is for governments to pay for measurable performance, by public or private providers, rather than focusing on inputs or dictating procedures.

    More fundamentally, this argues for limiting the scope of the public sector. In fact, I think it’s one of the best arguments for limited government. Although you may care and worry about me as a person, it does you no harm if I have a wrong idea, do a foolish thing, or hire an incompetent doctor. You can even learn from my mistakes.

  • Chief Gina Hawkins FPD City Manager Doug Hewett said he plans to work with a recruiting firm as he looks to find a replacement for Police Chief Gina Hawkins, who announced last week that she intends to retire early next year.

    Hewett said he also plans to get input from the community.

    As the city manager, Hewett is responsible for hiring and firing the police chief.

    “This doesn’t happen often, thankfully, that you’re having to replace a police chief or a position of this magnitude,” he said Friday. “I want to make sure that we do this right and that it’s not something that’s rushed. I appreciate people’s input, whether it’s good or bad. This is a professional process, and it takes time.”

    Hawkins announced on July 15 that she plans to retire effective Jan. 17.

    “I want to thank her, of course, for her time here in service to the city and for giving me, hopefully, enough time to do a thorough search,’’ Hewett said. A “comprehensive and nationwide search to find our next police chief.’’

    He said the process starts with finding a recruiting firm that will help identify candidates and that will set out the process for selecting the next chief.

    He said the city will have a structured process “to make sure that we notify as broadly as possible any candidates who are interested.’’

    Councilman Johnny Dawkins said he expects Hewett to hire a consulting firm that will gather resumes and probably pick the top eight or 10 candidates for the post.

    "And my hope is that we get someone who is a lawman or lawwoman very focused, very experienced, in dealing with gangs and drugs," he said. "Those are the two areas in our society that create a lot of crime."

    Dawkins said he also hopes that Hewett will hire someone experienced in solving drug crimes and someone who has dealt with aggravated assault. Both, he added, are prevalent in Fayetteville, along with gang activity.

    "Now it's much more violent," he said of the city. "Now there are so many guns."

    Mayor Mitch Colvin said the council needs to be clear as to what the expectations are and that will help Hewett make a better decision.

    "I have confidence that he understands that the City Council sets the policy for this hire,’’ Colvin said. “We'll have that conversation when we come back."

    The City Council has primarily taken off the month of July and will begin meeting again in August.

    Colvin said the next police chief needs to be someone who connects with the community.

    "Basically, they need to be someone that is willing to connect with the community and not over police,’’ he said. “But they also have to understand the law enforcement side — the necessity to enforce the law and be a pragmatic person and understand the diversity of the community."

    "Be community police orientated and the law enforcement component, as well, to enforce the law in our community to keep us safe," he continued. "Sometimes that's a difficult balance, but I know there are people capable of doing it. At the end of the day, what I'm looking for are the results of their efforts. I want to have some clear matrix to show there's progress being made."

    He said he supports a national search but is not opposed to an in-house hire.

    "You don't know what's out there if you don't look," he added.

    The search process

    Hewett said he is still trying to put his thoughts together as to what would be the best approach to take. A significant part of the recruitment will be identifying the skills and traits of the candidates. To do that, he said, he plans to have discussions with members of the Police Department, the City Council and the community.

    He said that will help him prepare a recruitment profile.

    Hewett said he also wants to spend time with Hawkins, the Police Department and the community describing where the city is when it comes to public safety.

    “That way, anyone who is interested in applying, not only are they trying to sell themselves to us, but we’re also trying to sell our community to them,” Hewett said.

    “There are several ongoing issues that we have as a community which aren’t really different from what is going on (at) a national level,’’ he said. “But really, (we) owe it to any candidate seeking the position to make sure they understand where we are as it relates to our crime reduction strategies, where we are as it relates to our recruitment issues and challenges, where we are trying to work with our state and federal partners.”

    He said the city “will be looking for a leader who can take the recent success of our department and build upon it for the future while fostering a strong working relationship between the department, the city and the residents we serve.”

    A decision to retire

    In North Carolina, a police chief is eligible to retire after a half-decade, and Hawkins is already surpassing the five-year mark.

    “The chief is not resigning; the chief is retiring,” Hewett said. “And when she was hired – she came to us from another state. How the retirement process works in the state of North Carolina is that you’re eligible to retire after you have served for five years.”

    “I was not surprised that the chief chose to retire now,” Hewett said. “She has served our community for five years.”

    When asked if Hawkins was retiring on her own or would otherwise be forced to step down, Hewett said: “That’s not any consideration that I had. That’s not even an adequate question.”

    “This was her decision alone to retire, and I had no conversations with her about anything other than that,” he said.

    Hawkins has come under fire by members of the community in recent years. She has been criticized for telling officers to stand down when protesters became violent and tried to burn down the Market House on May 30, 2020, following the death of George Floyd. An independent review of Hawkins’ handling of that situation by an organization called the Performance Evaluation Review Forum – or PERF — also found issues with morale in the Police Department and officers leaving in numbers higher than national averages.

    The city has increased salaries for new officers and offered other incentives as it works to recruit officers.

    Hewett said looking back at the tenure of chiefs since Tom McCarthy – who was chief when Hewett first came to Fayetteville in 2004 – they have almost all served five to six years before retirement.

    The late McCarthy headed up the Fayetteville Police Department for six years. Former chief Tom Bergamine served for five years. Harold Medlock, Hawkins’ predecessor, held the position for about 3 ½ years.

    “By the time Chief (Hawkins) retires in early 2023,” Hewett said, “she will have been with us for 5 ½ years. Just in Fayetteville, that seems to be the tenure.’’

    Hewett said he “would love to keep folks as long as we can, but I definitely respect her decision to retire.“

    “This last five years,” he said, “has been a challenge for the country, it’s been a challenge for the city, and it’s been a challenge for the Police Department, including Chief Hawkins, as well.”

  • pexels Crime tape A Sanford man was arrested Thursday and charged with statutory rape and 23 other counts in a sexual assault case, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.

    William Darryl Wright, 56, was arrested by detectives with the Special Victims Unit. He also was charged with six counts of indecent liberties with a child, six counts of felony child abuse, six counts of crimes against nature and five counts of second-degree sexual offense, the Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

    He was being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center under a $1.2 million bond, the release said. His first appearance was scheduled for Friday afternoon at the detention center.

    Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact detective S. Odenwelder at 910-677-5477 or Fayetteville / Cumberland County CrimeStoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).

  • FPD logo A Fayetteville man has been charged with robbing a business on Ramsey Street on Saturday afternoon.

    Officers with the Fayetteville Police Department were dispatched to a business on the 5300 block of Ramsey Street at 3:48 p.m.

    The Police Department said in a release that a clerk was helping a customer when a man got in line behind the customer. Once the customer left, the man placed a bag on the counter and demanded money from the clerk. The man left with money from the register, the release said.

    Officers were given a description of the robber and the vehicle he left in, a red Chevrolet Cruze, the release said. Officers located the vehicle, and the suspect fled on foot, the release said. He was detained by officers and taken into custody.

    Josiah Jennings, 22, of the 7000 block of Bucktail Road, was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, common law robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and possession of stolen goods, the release said.

    Police said the vehicle that Jennings was driving had been reported stolen from Walmart on Skibo Road the day before.

    Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact detective S. Berrios-Rivera at 910-703-6243 or Crimestoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).

  • Cumberlan Co logo In response to dangerously high temperatures this week, Cumberland County Government has opened several County facilities as cooling stations for residents who do not have access to air conditioning.

    The National Weather Service predicts high heat and humidity for the entire week of July 25-30. Beginning Monday, July 25, the heat index may be over 100 degrees daily. The heat index will peak with 106-degree temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday. Cumberland County Emergency Services urges residents to take precautions as this is the second consecutive week of high heat and humidity.

    The Department of Social Services, located at 1225 Ramsey St., has opened the auxiliary lobby as a cooling station. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The lobby is on the first floor waiting area by the reception desk. Masks or face coverings are optional. However, masks and and social distancing are encouraged.

    The first-floor lobby of the Cumberland County Department of Public Health, located at 1235 Ramsey St., is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Anyone entering the Health Department is required to wear a mask and pass a temperature scan. Masks will be provided to anyone who does not have one.

    All eight Cumberland County Public Library locations are open as cooling stations. Libraries are open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Headquarters Library at 300 Maiden Lane, Fayetteville, along with Cliffdale, North Regional, and Hope Mills branches are also open Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m. To find your local library, go to cumberlandcountync.gov/departments/library-group/library.

    The 18 Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation Centers are open to the public year-round, during normal operating hours and can be used by residents as respite from the heat. Recreation center locations, hours, contact information and programming schedules are posted at fcpr.us/facilities/recreation-centers/.

    Extreme heat and humidity will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working outdoors. Cumberland County Emergency Services reminds residents to take precautions during the hot weather. Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned rooms, stay out of the sun, avoid strenuous work, check on relatives and neighbors, and never leave children or pets unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

    Stay informed by visiting the County’s website at cumberlandcountync.gov or County social media pages at facebook.com/CumberlandNC, facebook.com/CumberlandCountyNC911 and

  • Tyrone Williams On a podcast in May, City Council candidate Tyrone Williams denied that the FBI investigated a secretly taped conversation in which Williams tells the project manager of the Prince Charles Hotel properties that he can make “a cloud” on a lien disappear for $15,000.

    On the same podcast, Williams blamed his former wife for creating a false accusation about him molesting a 10-year-old boy and threatening to tell the media unless he paid more in child support.

    But Billy West, the district attorney for Cumberland County, and Jordan Jones, the Prince Charles project manager, said the FBI did investigate Williams.

    And Cumberland County court records show that an arrest warrant was taken out against Williams on Aug. 30, 2018, charging him initially with the felony offense of taking indecent liberties with a child. The alleged incident happened between Dec. 21 and Dec. 22, 2017, according to the court records. Williams was served the warrant on Sept. 11, 2018.

    On Oct. 21, 2019, the records show, Williams entered into a conditional discharge on a charge of assault on a child under 12, a misdemeanor, and received 30 months of unsupervised probation, which came with specific conditions he was ordered to follow if he were to have the charges later dismissed. The records show that Williams did not meet those conditions.

    On April 4 of this year, a judge revoked the conditional discharge and Williams was convicted on a misdemeanor charge of assault on a child under age 12. He was sentenced to 60 days suspended for 12 months and placed on supervised probation.

    Williams, who reluctantly resigned from his City Council seat shortly after the audio recording of him surfaced, is again running for election in District 2. He faces incumbent Councilwoman Shakeyla Ingram in the July 26 general election. Ingram received 26.29% of the vote in the May primary. Williams was the second-highest vote-getter with 24.48% of the ballots cast, which qualified him to compete against Ingram in the general election.

    Williams was reached by phone Tuesday but declined to comment about his past before politely hanging up. He was sent a text message asking him to call back. He responded, “Out at the poll helping my people.”

    He was reached again Wednesday and said he would provide court records showing he was not convicted of sexually abusing the boy and then hung up again.

    He is correct in that respect: The felony charge was lowered, and he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child abuse.

    Williams interviewed on a podcast

    About 10 days before the primary, Williams appeared on a podcast – "UP Zone" – hosted by former Fayetteville Councilwoman Tisha Waddell; former state Rep. Elmer Floyd, who is again running for election to the state House; and former Councilman Wade Fowler.

    During the podcast, Williams alleged that the audio recording of him offering to remedy a lien on the Prince Charles properties for $15,000 had been doctored.

    “There was a lot of those cut-and-paste, and I didn't realize at the time, but that's something that can be done with audio. He can change places, names and words and put it together and paste it all together,” Williams said.

    The “he” Williams is referring to is Jones, the project manager in the Prince Charles properties. Jones made the recording on his laptop in December 2017 during a meeting with Williams and a man identified as Fayetteville businessman T.J. Jenkins. Jones later shared the recording with The Fayetteville Observer and the FBI. He said the recording had never been doctored.

    Jones said he met multiple times with the FBI to discuss his dealings with Williams. West, the district attorney, also said the FBI investigated Williams. Jones and West said they do not know the outcome of the investigation. An FBI spokeswoman said she could neither confirm nor deny that Williams was investigated.

    Williams: ‘There was no FBI investigation’

    “There was no FBI investigation,” Williams said during the podcast. “This was City Council. I was never charged with anything, never was any bribing. I didn't get a call from the FBI. This was all council.”

    At another point in the podcast, Williams emphatically said, “There was no FBI investigation. Never. I never went and talked to any FBI. There was no contact from the FBI. There wasn't nothing to investigate. It was all city individuals.”

    Williams also denied during the podcast that he abused a boy, but he didn’t say that he was convicted of misdemeanor assault on a child a month earlier. He also didn’t mention that he had been given the opportunity to have the charges dismissed if he abided by the conditions of his probation.

    One of those conditions was that he complete 24 hours of community service within 120 days. Williams said in the telephone interview Wednesday night that he mistakenly did his community service work through an organization that had not been approved by the court.

    The District Attorney’s Office has a different account.

    “He never provided any proof to the court that he completed community service,” Senior Assistant District Attorney Alicia Marks said in a message to West. “He was supposed to submit it to the court within 120 days of the plea, and he did not. He was supposed to immediately obtain a mental health assessment, complete treatment and provide regular reports to the court of his treatment every six months, and he did not.”

    Williams said he did nothing inappropriate with the boy. He said his former wife threatened to tell the media he had abused a child unless he paid her $2,800 in monthly child support. If he agreed to her demands, Williams said, his ex-wife told him she would “squash the story.” He said he didn’t agree, and the story went public. Williams’ former wife could not be reached for comment.

    According to a grand jury indictment, Williams “did unlawfully, willfully and feloniously take and attempt to take immoral, improper and indecent liberties … for the purpose of arousing and gratifying sexual desire” with a child under the age of 16.

    Despite his conviction, Williams denies that ever happened.

    “It was actually nothing more than grabbing him and sitting him down and disciplining him,” Williams said. “But she (the ex-wife) took it to another level and had no evidence of anything.”

    Williams insists that he was convicted only of hitting a boy — not sexually abusing him — and emphazied that the original felony charge of taking indecent liberties with a child was lowered to the misdemeanor charge of assault on a child under age 12.

    The matter of a lien

    In the matter of the lien, Williams said he loaned former Prince Charles owner John Chen $100,000 for work that needed to be done on the then-ailing hotel. He has said publicly that he both didn’t get repaid and that he did get his money back. Records show that he was paid and that any liens on the property had been satisfied before Prince Charles Holdings bought the properties.

    Williams also has said that another $15,000 worth of work he did for Chen was canceled when the hotel was sold to Jones’ company.

    Then why did he tell Jones he could clear up the lien for $15,000, according to the audio recording?

    “So looking forward, you'll see that the property transferred without having the lien released,” Williams said during the podcast. “So what happened was an individual tried to get a loan on the property and the lien came up. I got a phone call (that) the lien needs to be satisfied before we can fund it.”

    Jones said there were no outstanding liens on the properties when his company — Prince Charles Holdings Inc. — bought them. Those properties are now the sites of Segra Stadium, the renovated hotel and a parking garage.

    Williams gives reasons for running again

    Williams said on the podcast that he wants to return to the City Council because he believes District 2 has fallen deeper into social ills and he believes he can help fix the problems. The district includes the B Street, Old Wilmington Road and Massey Hill communities, some of the city’s poorest areas. Williams said he moved back to the district from Norfolk, Virginia, some years ago to be closer to his family.

    “I rode through my district and it looked worse than ever,” he said. “The people I know, the people I talked to, was doing far worse. Homelessness everywhere, poverty everywhere. It's like it's been totally let go. … Mental health is everywhere on the streets. It’s like we forgot about District 2.”

    Jones said he was surprised when he heard that Williams is running again.

    “We do live in a democracy, so it is up to the voters to decide what to
    do,” he said. “If I was a resident of District 2, I would not be voting for Mr. Williams.”

  • cumberland co schools Students will not have to wear uniforms in Cumberland County public schools in the coming school year.

    School uniform requirements will be waived for the 2022-23 term, according to a news release from Cumberland County Schools.

    The pause is the result of supply-chain problems that the district has verified with major retailers in the area.

    “Some stores said that it would likely be late September or October before they received sufficient inventory,” according to the news release.

    Parents of children who attend schools that usually require uniforms may choose to dress their children in uniforms, but there will be no penalties for students who don’t wear a uniform.

    The student dress code will remain in effect for all students, meaning their attire must be school-appropriate, the release said.
    The Board of Education waived the dress code and uniform policy in the 2020-21 school year because of the financial impact of COVID-19 on families.

  • FTCC logo The Fayetteville Technical Community College board of trustees met Thursday in a special called meeting to receive recommendations from the Presidential Search Committee on the potential successor to President Larry Keen.

    In January — after nearly 15 years of service at the school off Hull Road — Keen announced his plan to retire on Jan. 1, 2023.

    “The full board met today almost entirely in closed session to discuss recommendations of the candidates that were recommended by the search committee,” said Catherine Pritchard, a spokeswoman for FTCC.

    She said some candidates were interviewed last week before the Presidential Search Committee determined its recommendations for the job. Those applicants were then presented to the full board at the special called meeting.
    After emerging from the approximately 30-minute closed session, Pritchard said, the full board accepted the recommendations from the search committee.

    “They will invite those recommended candidates to campus for interviews the first week of August,” she said. “These are the finalists for the job.”

    The names of the finalists were not released.
    Pritchard said she didn’t know how many applicants remain in the running for the job and, if she did, she would be unable to release that information at this time. Likewise, she didn’t know the overall number of applications the school received for the position.

    Keen’s successor will be the fifth president in the history of FTCC. Keen joined FTCC as the college’s president on Aug. 1, 2007.

    The board of trustees is scheduled to meet again on Aug. 15, when its members are expected to discuss the finalists and may come to an agreement on its top candidate.

    Once the board comes to a consensus, its recommendation will go before the State Board of Community Colleges.

    “It would be anticipated that the state board would consider and, hopefully, approve the candidate in September – Sept. 23,” Pritchard said.

    Fayetteville Tech serves roughly 28,000 students annually.

  • pexels Crime tape The Fayetteville Police Department has identified the man who was found shot to death Wednesday in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Frankie Avenue.

    Tony Ray Parker, 64, of the 1800 block of Frankie Avenue, was pronounced dead on the scene, police said in a release Thursday.

    Officers were dispatched to the 1800 block of Frankie Avenue just after noon. They found Parker in the parking lot of the apartment complex.

    No charges have been filed, and the investigation is continuing.

    Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to contact detective D. Arnett at 910-929-2565 or Crimestoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).

  • FPD logo The Fayetteville Police Department is asking the public for help identifying a man it says robbed two Family Dollar stores of cash and cigarettes on consecutive nights.

    The robberies happened at the Family Dollar stores on Owen Drive and Raeford Road on Monday and Tuesday between approximately 9 and 9:30 p.m. In both instances, the robber entered the store with a handgun and demanded money from an employee, the Police Department said in a release. Each time the robber left with cash and cartons of cigarettes, the release said.

    After the robbery on Tuesday, the man was seen getting into a black Nissan Versa. Police released a photo of the man and the vehicle.

    “Through the investigation, detectives have reason to believe the suspect is the same in both of the robberies,’’ the release said.

    Anyone with information regarding the identity of the man or this investigation is asked to contact detective K. Glass at 910-605-1975, Sgt. C. Hudson at 910-703-1058 or Crimestoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).

  • pexels Crime tape The Fayetteville Police Department is investigating after a man was found shot to death in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Frankie Avenue Wednesday afternoon.

    Officers were dispatched to a shooting on the 1800 block of Frankie Avenue just after noon, police said in a release. Frankie Avenue is off Bingham Drive.

    They found a man with gunshot wounds in the parking lot of the apartment complex. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said in the release. His name is being withheld until next of kin can be notified.

    “Those involved in the shooting remained on the scene and are cooperating with the investigation,’’ the Police Department said in the release.

    Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact detective D. Arnett at 910-929-2565 or Crimestoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).


  • N2008P18002H Shakeyla Ingram is campaigning to keep her District 2 seat on the Fayetteville City Council. Challenging her is former Councilman Tyrone Williams, who is running for office again after reluctantly resigning four years ago when allegations emerged that he tried to solicit money from a developer.
    Both are Fayetteville natives who grew up in District 2. Both regard themselves as entrepreneurs.

    Neither responded to repeated requests for a phone interview or to answer questions by email.

    District 2 encompasses the entire downtown district and areas across the Cape Fear River including the Cedar Creek Road area, part of the Baywood subdivision to Dunn Road, and everything up to the Gillespie Street and Massey Hill areas as well as the Holiday Park neighborhood.
    Ingram says she's able to understand what the needs are in Fayetteville after living in Atlanta while attending school.
    Looking back, Williams says his family took a chance, leaving his parents’ 14-acre farm in Raeford to move to Fayetteville for the chance at a better life.

    “I don’t want the investment of my parents to be a bad investment,” he said during the Greater Fayetteville Chamber general election forum on June 30. “I want District 2 to be the district and not to be a bad investment.”

    Over the years, he said, he has served on the Economic Development Board in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Safety and Procedures Board of the Norfolk and Southern Railway.

    In 2018, Williams resigned from the City Council after weeks of pushing back against calls for his removal. Williams was under investigation by the FBI after allegedly asking Prince Charles Hotel developer Jordan Jones for $15,000 in exchange for handling a favor related to the property’s title.

    He maintained that he had done nothing wrong. In his resignation letter, he wrote: “I did not violate any law, or ordinance, or other legal authority.” He placed the blame on the media for “false and misleading accusations.”

    Williams has denied there was an FBI investigation, but Jones and Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West said the agency did investigate. A spokeswoman for the FBI said she could neither confirm nor deny that there was an investigation.
    In 2018, Williams was accused of inappropriately touching a 10-year-old boy. He was charged with taking indecent liberties with a child, according to court records.

    In October 2019, he entered into a conditional discharge on a charge of assault on a child under 12, a misdemeanor, and received 30 months of unsupervised probation and was ordered to follow specific conditions to have the charges later dismissed, according to court records.
    As part of the agreement, Williams returned to court on April 4 of this year to determine if he had fulfilled the terms of his conditions and probation. The conditional discharge was revoked and a judgment was entered for a conviction of assault on a child under 12, a misdemeanor, according to court records. Williams was given a 60-day sentence that was suspended for 12 months as well as supervised probation, according to court records.

    Williams did not respond to emails or phone messages seeking comment on the allegations.

    Neither candidate responded to CityView TODAY’S requests to discuss issues facing the city. The following responses were culled from their answers during the Greater Fayetteville Chamber candidates forum.

    Crime in the city continues to rise. Are city officials – specifically, the police chief and Police Department – doing enough to address crime? If not, what should be done differently? (Note: Police Chief Gina Hawkins has since announced that she plans to retire effective in January.)

    Ingram: “Yes, we are. We’re doing all that we can to address crime in the city of Fayetteville. I would like to lean on the other side to say that I think we, as a community, have to do a little bit more to help with the efforts by City Council to better the crime here. We have made many investments where police officers are being paid more.

    We’re now at 8% staff (low) where that number within the last six months was a bit higher. Our staffing for police officers has gone up comparably to other large cities. We're doing a bit better than most in North Carolina where it comes down to staffing. As it relates to being able to pull in our community to help with crime, we started the community safety micro-grants where we are giving money to help with crime in the city of Fayetteville. You can’t arrest your way out of everything. And so we have to bring in our partners in the county and judicial system to ensure that the laws – when people are being charged with something, it sticks. Because what you will see are repeat offenders who continue to get out and not learn their lesson, for whatever reasons, and continue to commit the same crimes. Those are the things we’re doing to help better the crime.”

    Williams: “The city police, Chief (Gina) Hawkins, they’re doing a good job. Are they doing a good enough job? No, they are not. And I’m saying that because my brother got killed three years ago right here in the city of Fayetteville. And I understand they’re doing a lot, but it's never enough. I feel like I’m personally responsible for my community. And I think the citizens and also City Council feels the same way. If something happens in our district, we should know about it. Some way or other, there should be some individual who knows that person and that we should go talk to. … These are the people who need to get involved in the city to curb the crime, to curb the homelessness and to curb what’s going on in our city and also District 2, which I’m focused in. These are the people I would talk to start the programs, pilots, STEM programs. The people that they already respect. But the problem is we’re geared now to so much crime going on over America, seeing the blue suits show up. There's a problem. We need to get back to local leaders that have the respect and the leadership to have things done.”

    Sometimes it seems almost like there are two District 2s. There’s the District 2 that includes downtown, where we’ve seen lots of investments, lots of opportunity. Then there’s the other District 2, where people are struggling. Some of the struggles have already been mentioned. What specific ideas would you bring to that (part of) District 2, where there’s a great need and people are trying to make ends meet and they’re dealing with crime? What investment opportunities would you specifically say to target that part of District 2?

    Williams: “One of the things I’ve been following is Fayetteville Technical Community College. They just gave a program that’s just awesome. I give kudos to the Cumberland County board. They put a program together when you’re coming out of jail, if you are felony offenders, you can come and apply for a program that puts you through an eight-week course. You can become a plumber, electrician, you can become an HVAC person or a contractor. If you go through that program, it’s subsidized by the county. Half the money the employer who hires them to be paid is by the employer who hires them to give initiative. And then they work on-the-job training. I was actually part of on-the-job training. In high school, I went to Terry Sanford. I was bused out of the community. What happened is, that program — that two summers I went to school – I learned a trade. And it was construction. And to this day, I do construction. They paved the way. That OJT (on-the-job training) — I’m all for it – 100%. You have to put the work in the programs that they can get into.

    Felonies, offenders, you’ve got to give them a chance. Not only change their generation but also change the next generation. And by them changing that next generation, it changes your people where you are and their family and gives them a job. You’ve got to make them employers, not employees. You’ve got to raise people up like never before.... It’s not two District 2s; it's one. The other one’s coming to the district downtown and making statements.”

    Ingram: “I’m going to tell a very short story about how I got here. … I had been talking with my grandmother when I moved back. I was talking with my grandmother about what I was seeing. I used to live in Atlanta for school. I was talking a lot with my grandmother about what I was seeing and why the community was looking the way it was. I was concerned because I was seeing the development of a new baseball stadium, but I was seeing where my grandmother lived in Haymount, it was just up and down. I attended a forum the mayor was having at that time. Then I went to a hospital room where my grandmother was pronounced deceased.

    From that time on — I was actually going to move to Durham. But that changed because I was very concerned about what was happening in my community. Concerned about the mindset of two different District 2s. … What I think makes this district conclusive, we have to bring up equity, to get everybody’s needs. What council has done, we have added a lot of money into to our corridors, in our communities, for beautification and homeownership. We’re also added money to the workforce development. So those three things — along with our community safety efforts and making sure we educate our citizens about these opportunities. I believe this work the council is doing now will be able to help spread equity not just across Distinct 2 but the city of Fayetteville.

    There is a lot of concern among the residents of District 2 and all districts about community safety, property damage and especially our murder rate, which is escalating. There is also talk about police accountability. You see those words a lot. The police chief heads up the Police Department, and she works for the city manager. How do you define police accountability?

    Ingram: “So back in 2020, of course, we had a specialist come in to talk about community policing. With community policing, we learned that community policing is not the police officer's job. We learned that community policing is how and what we want to (do) within our own community. When it comes down to police accountability, and let me say this, when it comes down to violent crimes, gun violence, I have been on the receiving ends of both where I've had family members that have committed gun violence, and I've had family members who have been victims of gun violence. So being in the middle of that and understanding what police accountability looks like, it looks like this: We call our officers to do a job and respond to what our needs are.... Accountability is our officers showing up and presenting constitutional law and enforcing within the right manner. It is up to us to recognize when the law is not working, and we have to be educated, in short.

    To me, police accountability is having the education and knowing what your rights are as a citizen. Knowing what jurisdiction the police officer has. Knowing not just what the police officers do but knowing what the Sheriff's Department does as well as your N.C. special police officers. You must as a citizen know and feel the need to build a relationship and get to know your police officers. There's contact information on the website where you can reach out if you see something going on. You have every right to ask an officer what is going on. You have every right to report something. That is accountability, not just for police but citizens, as well."

    Williams: “Police accountability, we have lost that. And tell you why we've lost it. Because of the media, the TV and all the activity going on. District 2, when you turn on the TV, you see all the murder, you see all the abuse, all the claims of people who died and got shot by a police officer with their back turned.

    So you must understand that is what they see, that is what they understand. So what we have to do now is to go back to the middle schools and the elementary schools and have the police officers showing up. They have to come in with their blue uniforms and talk to the kids and let them understand that is not who they see on TV. Encouragement. Good words. Now the older generations, it's going to be a task. But if you start with the younger generations, and they go home and tell mother how the police officers came today and how he taught the class and how he showed a few things, those types of things are going to evolve over time and you could make this a better system. But the system — as calling the police initially went up, there's already animosity going on and the thoughts already in their mind — it's a critical situation. Sometimes it escalates it even more. I love the police officers. I know half of their names.

    When I see them, I shake their hands on the street, pat them on the back and tell them, 'Thank you for your service.' Also, the Fire Department. I understand their work is very hard. It's not because of the individuals; it's because of the sense of who they are. … So we have to go back to the elementary schools. We have to go back to the middle schools and retrain the kids over the next generation. And, hopefully, they would change the parents' view. Just a whole other level of policing. We have to get human nature involved. We have to love one another to make this world go round and round."

    Shakeyla Ingram
    Occupation: Entrepreneur in marketing and community relations
    Elected office: Fayetteville City Council, one term
    Contacts: 910-644-0368; shakeylaingram@fayettevillenc.gov; votesingram@gmail.com; https://www.facebook.com/smifaync/; https://twitter.com/IngramDistrict2; https://instagram.com/IngramDistrict2

    Tyrone Williams
    Occupation: Owner of Veteran’s Reality and Community Advancement Awareness, real-estate investor and developer; Navy veteran
    Elected office: Fayetteville City Council, partial term
    Contacts: 910-584-9249 or tyrone.williams70@yahoo.com

  • FOrt Bragg sign Fort Bragg soldiers who were training with Somali forces in Mogadishu went from training mode to responder mode when a civilian plane crashed Monday morning, the U.S. Army said in a press release.

    Three 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade soldiers provided emergency care to 30 passengers when a Jubba Airlines aircraft crash landed at Mogadishu International Airport around 10:30 a.m., the release said.

    The Fort Bragg soldiers were conducting medical training with a platoon of Somalia’s Danab commandos when the crash occurred.

    The plane skidded to a halt upside down near their training location, the release said. The Danab and SFAB soldiers climbed a razor-wire fence to reach the plane.

    Members of the Danab commandos pulled injured passengers from the aircraft while the SFAB team members established a triage station and helped local emergency responders evacuate 16 injured passengers to nearby medical facilities, the release said.

    The Army identified the soldiers as Sgt. 1st Class Caleb Vanvoorhis, Staff Sgt. JoAnna Baxter and Staff Sgt. Taylor Palmer. They were training with Somalia’s Danab Brigade as part of an ongoing effort to train and enhance Somalia’s military medical capability, the release said.

    Leaders of the SFAB praised the reactions of the soldiers and the Danab commandos.

    “I am very proud of the team and their partners, the Danab,” Lt. Col. Sean Nolan, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd SFAB, said in the release. “Their combined actions demonstrated the agility, quick thinking and decisive action that is essential to the advisor mission.”

    Col. Michael Sullivan, 2nd SFAB commander, offered similar comments.

    “In our minds, the key thing to highlight is the Danab’s reaction to the crisis,” Sullivan said in the release. “Our soldiers supported their response, which was highly professional and demonstrates the value of our commitment to long-term security cooperation efforts in the region.”

    The SFAB soldiers are part of the Maneuver Adviser Team 2231, which is working with the Somali National Army Danab Brigade to help its mission to conduct offensive operations against violent extremist organizations, the release said.

    The U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa employs the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade to train, advise and assist African partner militaries on a number of ground force tactics, techniques and procedures, the release said.

  • virus North Carolina officials have confirmed 11 cases of monkeypox, a disease caused by the monkeypox virus, in the state as of Wednesday.
    Of those cases, 10 involve North Carolina residents, and one involves a nonresident.

    At least 929 people in the United States — and over 7,500 people around the globe — have been infected with it since May 18, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    North Carolina’s first case during this outbreak was diagnosed in Haywood County and announced by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on June 23. Mecklenburg County announced its first case four days later on June 27. Durham County confirmed its first case on Tuesday.
    While some individual counties are announcing infections, DHHS said it is not providing a county-by-county breakdown or saying where new cases have occurred, citing a desire to protect patient privacy.

    Monkeypox is part of the Orthopoxvirus genus, which also contains the virus that causes smallpox. According to the CDC, most outbreaks of monkeypox are linked to countries in central and western Africa.
    The West African strain involved in this outbreak has a high survival rate but can be “extremely painful” and leave lifelong scars, according to the CDC.

    Treatment and prevention

    While the West African strain of monkeypox has a survival rate of over 99%, the CDC lists several common factors that may increase the risk of death from monkeypox, including individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding, children younger than 8 years and individuals who have had eczema or who are immunocompromised.

    Monkeypox can cause a rash with a fluid-filled blister that later dries and scabs over.

    “People who have been diagnosed with monkeypox outside of Africa have all had skin blisters,” UNC Health notes. “Some have only a few — or even a single lesion — on the penis, anus, hands, feet, arm, legs or face. Sometimes blisters form on the palms or soles of the feet, which are unusual places to have a rash.”

    According to UNC Health, some patients might experience other symptoms before they notice any bumps. Some individuals may feel ill, be fatigued, experience headaches or notice swollen glands, according to the website.
    While asymptomatic individuals can spread COVID-19, the CDC says individuals infected with monkeypox can spread the virus only if they have symptoms.

    “Monkeypox is transmitted person to person through direct skin-to-skin contact, having contact with an infectious rash, through body fluids or through respiratory secretions,” according to DHHS.

    “Such contact often occurs during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex. While anyone can get monkeypox, in the current outbreak, many of the cases are in men who have sex with men.”

    There are other ways to contract the virus.

    “Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids is another way monkeypox spreads,” according to the CDC.

    “It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by eating meat or using products from an infected animal.”

    Symptoms can last for two-four weeks, and infected individuals can be contagious until their rash disappears and new skin covers the affected area, according to the CDC.

    “Anyone who has symptoms consistent with monkeypox and those who have had contact with someone who has monkeypox should isolate at home away from others and notify their health care provider,” said Sarah Henderson, health director for Haywood County.

    “It is important to remember that anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.”

    Dr. David Weber, medical director for UNC Hospitals’ departments of hospital epidemiology (infection prevention) and associate chief medical officer of UNC Health Care, said there is “always concern about mutations” with the virus.
    Weber said that since genome sequencing has been completed, it can help reveal if the virus has mutated.
    Weber said there are two primary worries when it comes to mutations: whether the virus can become more transmissible and whether it might become increasingly “capable of causing serious disease.”

    North Carolina cases

    According to Dr. Raynard Washington, director of Mecklenburg County Public Health, Mecklenburg’s patient is not thought to be tied to another case within North Carolina.

    Henderson said the Haywood County Health Department has received a small number of phone calls regarding monkeypox.

    To protect the Haywood patient’s privacy, Henderson could not say whether there were any other potential cases under investigation or how many contacts the Health Department needed to reach out to regarding the case.

    “Following the initial press release, we received a few calls from local providers regarding sample collection and the algorithm for testing,” Henderson said via email.

    “We have also received a few calls from residents seeking further information and education. If we were to have an increase in cases in the future, we would communicate that with the residents of Haywood County.”
    Once a case is diagnosed, the state assists organizations in determining the next steps.

    “When a monkeypox case is identified in a North Carolina resident, (DHHS) works closely with the CDC, local health departments and health care providers to identify and notify individuals who may have been in contact with an infectious person and to assess each individual contact’s level of risk,” a spokesperson for DHHS said via email.

    Henderson said Haywood County is equipped to handle the outbreak.

    “Public health response to a communicable disease varies slightly based on the illness that we are dealing with,” Henderson said via email.

    “While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light our response on a larger scale, we at the local level are prepared to respond to public health issues and emergencies as they present themselves.”
    In Mecklenburg, Washington said, public health experts are constantly learning.

    “Our public health teams continue to build on lessons and experience gained via public health response to include COVID-19 response for case investigation, contact tracing and vaccination efforts,” Washington said via email.

    On June 28, the White House announced that it would begin sending vaccines to areas that needed them the most.

    “With today’s national monkeypox vaccine strategy, the United States is significantly expanding deployment of vaccines, allocating 296,000 doses over the coming weeks, 56,000 of which will be allocated immediately,” the White House said in the press release.

    “Over the coming months, a combined 1.6 million additional doses will become available.”
    Last week, DHHS announced the state will receive 444 doses that will go to Buncombe, Durham, Forsyth, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Pitt and Wake counties.

    JYNNEOS is a two-dose, FDA-approved vaccine for high-risk individuals 18 years old and older and can help reduce the chances of contracting monkeypox and smallpox.

    A spokesperson for DHHS said more vaccines will be distributed as availability increases.

    “Because of limited supply, vaccination will first only be offered to individuals with known or suspected exposure to monkeypox,” the spokesperson said via email.

    “This includes people who have been in close physical contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox and men or transgender individuals who have sex with men and have had multiple sex partners in the last 14 days in either a venue where monkeypox was present or in an area where the virus is spreading.”

    Additional vaccines should be sent soon, though no firm date for the next shipment has been announced.

    “The second wave of JYNNEOS distribution, likely arriving next week, will allow (DHHS) to implement a broader strategy for preexposure vaccinations,” the spokesperson added. “(DHHS) is continuing to work with local health departments and community partners on education efforts and to be prepared if a wider push for treatment is needed.

    Health officials ask that people with symptoms of monkeypox have a doctor examine them.

    “Though this is the first confirmed case in the county, we know there are likely other cases,” Washington said in a press release when Mecklenburg’s case was first announced. “We are encouraging doctors to consider this in people who have a rash or skin lesion that looks like monkeypox.”


    According to the CDC, individuals infected with monkeypox can only pass on the disease if they are showing symptoms, unlike COVID-19, which can be spread by asymptomatic people.
    Dr. Rachel Noble, a professor of marine and environmental microbiology whose lab is helping lead COVID-19 monitoring in wastewater in North Carolina, said the state could begin checking wastewater for monkeypox, if necessary.

    “We have developed the methods and have established the capability to do surveillance for (monkeypox) in wastewater,” Noble said via email. “However, at this time, we have not been called upon by the state of North Carolina to do so, we are ready if it becomes a need.”
    The N.C. Wastewater Monitoring Network began tracking SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in wastewater in January 2021. The wastewater data is about six days ahead of the COVID-19 clinical testing data and can provide a heads-up when an outbreak occurs, even before symptoms become


    “For monkeypox, it may be better to conduct clinical testing because of the need for an individual to be symptomatic in order to transmit the disease, but these are decisions that will be made in the near future,” Noble said.

    A spokesperson for DHHS said there is no timeline yet for making the decision.

    “We are currently evaluating the laboratory tests for identifying monkeypox in wastewater and how to interpret this data into public health action,” the spokesperson said.

    The representative said it is possible the state may add a dashboard to allow the public to monitor the spread in North Carolina, similar to the dashboard that was implemented for COVID-19.

    “We use our reportable disease surveillance system, NCEDSS (N.C. Electronic Disease Surveillance System), to track cases and are considering a public-facing dashboard to display case and vaccine data,” the NCDHHS spokesperson said. “In the meantime, the CDC has up-to-date information on case numbers and ASPR (the U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response) will be sharing vaccine distributed.”

    Neither Haywood nor Mecklenburg plans to create a local dashboard in the near future. With a low number of patients, adding a dashboard could threaten patients’ privacy, according to Washington.


    While monkeypox can be spread through physical contact, including during sex, monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease.
    Weber addressed some common misconceptions about monkeypox.

    “Monkeys are not the source/reservoir of the disease — carriage by rodents is the reservoir,” Weber explained. “(It is a) generally mild disease, unlike smallpox. (It is) transmitted generally by direct contact, although close, prolonged contact may lead to droplet transmission.”

    Weber said vaccines should be used for high-risk individuals as well as those exposed to the virus. If it is administered within four days of exposure, the chances of infection decline. Within four-14 days after exposure, receiving a vaccine may help lessen the severity of the infection.

    Weber also pointed out other key lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as identifying needs for “public health interventions, transparency, global cooperation [and avoiding] stigmatization.”

    To learn more about monkeypox or for the latest case numbers, visit the CDC’s website.

  • classroom “Good morning, Hornet family!”

    With that opening delivered over the intercom, Principal David Greene kicked off the new school year Monday morning for the 525 students who attend Anne Chesnutt Middle School on Skibo Road.

    The school system’s other year-round schools, E.E. Miller Elementary and Reid Ross Classical, also welcomed students Monday.
    At Anne Chesnutt, vehicles were lined up in the parking lot Monday morning waiting to drop off children who attend the school’s sixth through eighth grades.
    After being dropped off, the students moved along at a steady clip to go indoors. One girl stopped to hug Assistant Principal Whitney Iglesias before turning the corner with the rest of the students.

    Superintendent Marvin Connelly Jr. said the parents were probably more excited than the students.

    “We’re pretty happy to get her back in school,” Fred Hardison, who is 72, said of his 12-year-old daughter, Valentina. “In the classroom. Face to face.”
    Last year, she attended Cumberland County Virtual Academy.
    And what were Valentina’s thoughts on returning to school — this time among fellow students?

    “She’s got mixed feelings,” Hardison said just outside the school. “She was happy to get back, but she’s never been a big fan of going to school.”
    Earlier in the morning, Connelly greeted some of the parents and caregivers who drove their children to school.

    “Good morning. We are back. Cumberland County Schools are open,” Connelly told reporters. “We never really closed. We’ve been open all summer. Year-round starts back today at Anne Chesnutt Middle, EE. Miller Elementary and Reid Ross Classical.”

    More than 1,600 year-round students kicked off a new school year Monday, according to Connelly. He also said the district has 16 school buses on the road.

    "We are excited to have our children back in the building," he said. "Everyone is excited to try to move forward from the pandemic. We realize we’re still in it, but we’re ready.”

    In terms of how the system will continue to address in-school COVID-19 concerns, he said the system will rely on the steps that were taken last year to keep the numbers as low as possible.

    “The measures we had in place last year – wear your mask, wash your hands, social distance when you’re able to – they worked last year as well as encouraging everyone to get vaccinated,” the superintendent said. “If you’re eligible, get the booster.”
    Masks are optional for students and staff.

    Spanish Immersion program

    Anne Chesnutt offers a Spanish Immersion choice program. For students in that program, instruction is primarily in Spanish throughout the day.
    About 60 students are taking that program this year, Greene said. The Spanish Immersion choice program has been offered at Anne Chesnutt for about a decade.

    The students also are taught social studies, science and math in Spanish.

    “Anne Chesnutt is a choice school. One of our options is our year-round schedule, and what I call our crown jewel is our Spanish Immersion program,” Greene said. “The program has meant a lot to this school in that it has allowed us to grow.

    “So we have students that would have started the Spanish Immersion program in elementary,” Greene added. “They get to come to us. If they make it through the eighth-grade year, they earn two high school credits in Spanish and are basically fluid in Spanish.”
    Four Spanish instructors, all from Colombia, talked with reporters about the importance of the students learning the language and studying the Hispanic cultures.

    “Right here – this program. It allows students to get a different look at culture,” Spanish teacher Andres Rangel said. "I think the program teaching is really important. Spanish people are emerging in the (U.S.) population.”

    Angelica Restrepo, another Spanish teacher at the school, said "international teachers need to work through the learning. When we share our culture, our language and our heritage, we give them different perspectives. For me, this is the best part.”

    Bus app

    Kristi Harden, the school system's director of transportation, talked about the "Here Comes the Bus" tool that allows families with access to view the real-time location of their child's school bus on a smartphone or computer.

    Parents can sign up or learn more about the app at the "Here Comes the Bus" website.
    Aicha Kine, who is 29, said her family had just moved to Fayetteville from Texas. This was her 12-year-old niece’s first year at Anne Chesnutt. She said her niece has been excited about returning to the classroom. With a laugh, Kine said, her niece had been talking about it “all the week.”

  • Cumberlan Co logo A called meeting of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners was canceled Monday evening because a majority of the commissioners did not attend.
    County Manager Amy Cannon had been expected to ask the board to consider creating two more water and sewer districts to combat a growing accumulation of forever chemicals in part of the county’s well-water supply.

    But board Chairman Glenn Adams adjourned the meeting moments after the 6 p.m. start time.
    The new water and sewer districts would serve an existing district in the Linden and Vander areas in an effort to stem the pollution of drinking water by forever chemicals that leech into the Cape Fear River and groundwater.

    The chemical compound GenX is a byproduct of the manufacturing process used by Chemours chemical company. Formerly known as DuPont, the company has a plant on the Cumberland and Bladen county line. In 2017, chemicals associated with Chemours’ manufacturing process were discovered in the Cape Fear River. Since then, additional chemical contaminants have been found in hundreds of private wells.

    Adams and Vice Chairwoman Toni Stewart and Commissioner Jeannette Council attended Monday’s meeting. Commissioners Larry Lancaster, Michael Boose, Jimmy Keefe and Charles Evans were absent.

    Adams said he was not aware beforehand that a majority of the commissioners would not attend Monday’s meeting.
    In the past, board members who could not attend a meeting in person had the option to participate by phone or online stream.

    Former commissioners Chairman Marshall Faircloth, currently an at-large candidate for a seat on the board, said he was surprised and concerned that a majority of commissioners failed to show up for the meeting just a week before the state is scheduled to hold a public information session about chemicals in private wells in the county.

    The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public information session at 6 p.m. on July 26 at the Crown Coliseum complex. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.
    Assistant County Manager Brian Haney said Monday evening’s meeting will be rescheduled.

  • hope mills logo On Monday night, the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners agreed to place a temporary moratorium on certain businesses while the town’s staff works to create an overlay district.

    The moratorium is effective immediately and will stay in place until January, the same month the staff plans to introduce the town’s new overlay districts.
    The temporary moratorium allows the town to restrict and even temporarily hold business licenses until an overlay district can be put into place. Overlay zoning is a regulatory tool that creates a special zoning district over existing zoning. It can include additional or different regulations that apply within the district.

    “The overlay only affects the commercial district,'' said Chancer McLaughlin, the town’s planning and economic development director.
    The board will decide during work sessions which business will be allowed in what commercial areas.

    “It just stops certain businesses from being in those particular commercial areas,” McLaughlin said.

    “Businesses think we are limiting their uses outright, we are not,’’ he told the board. “We are just saying for a period of time we are not allowing you to move forward.”

    McLaughlin said he was still getting calls from concerned business owners about the moratorium and the overlay districts. However, those calls are mostly from businesses that have just been approved and are preparing to go forward. The new policies will only affect businesses that have not applied for a license and are in their current planning phases.

    The board held a public hearing on the proposed moratorium before the vote. No one spoke during the hearing.
    The moratorium includes the following businesses:
    ● Motor vehicle parts and accessory sales.
    ● Motor vehicle repair and/or body work.
    ● Motor vehicle rentals.
    ● Motor vehicle sales, new and used.
    ● Retail establishments primarily tied to smoke shops and vape establishments.

    The board also heard an update on the public safety building project from its architect, Scott Garner, and unanimously passed a requested change order for nearly $75,000.
    Before the vote, Commissioners Joanne Scarola and Grilley Mitchell raised concerns regarding one of the items listed on the change order — a motorized damper listed at $12,873 for the kitchen’s four-burner gas stove.
    Both asked whether the change was necessary.

    Garner stepped aside to allow Steve Lopez, the town’s operations chief, to better explain the expense. The motorized damper was required for the stove and allowed firemen who live at the station to access the stove in large groups. Lopez said that on some days, as many as 40 firemen would need access to the kitchen at one time and that particular damper was required by code. The expense also paid for additional ducts and wiring.

    After hearing from Lopez, the board approved the change order.
    In other business, the board also voted to move forward with its proposed splash pad and voted to allow the town manager to negotiate the deal with Carolina Parks and Play.

    The splash pad will have a baseball theme, making it unique to the town.
    Before the vote, Commissioner Bryan Marley expressed his excitement about the project and the board’s ability to get it done.

    “This is another item that all the citizens have asked for,’’ Marley said. “Once again, this board is finally getting it done and moving forward with it.”

    After the vote, Town Manager Scott Meszaros took a moment to recognize Parks and Recreation Director Lamarco Morrison for his drive in making the town’s vision a reality.

  • pexels Crime tape Two men are being sought in connection with a road-rage incident that left a man with gunshot injuries on July 11, according to a Fayetteville Police Department news release.

    The victim’s wife and infant child were in the vehicle at the time of the shooting, the release said.
    Demetrius Tydre McNeill, 27, of the 3500 block of Town Street in Hope Mills, and Alphonza Demorris Teasley, 45, of the 2800 block of Baywood Road in Eastover, have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury; shooting into an occupied vehicle; and felony conspiracy, the news release said.

    Just after 5 p.m. on July 11, Fayetteville police officers responded to reports of a shooting near the intersection of Cliffdale and Pritchett roads. The officers found a man lying on the ground and suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
    The man, his wife and their year-old child were in their vehicle when the shootings occurred. The wife and child were not harmed, the police report said.

    Witnesses described the shooters’ vehicle as a gold Jeep Cherokee that left the scene on Skibo Road. The vehicle was located and the suspects were identified.

    McNeill is described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall; 140 pounds; and having black hair and brown eyes with tattoos on his face, neck and arms.

    Teasley is described as 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 155 pounds. He is bald, has brown eyes, and has multiple tattoos on both arms.

    McNeill and Teasley are considered armed and dangerous, the news release said.
    Anyone with information about the suspects or the shooting is asked to contact Officer A. Wolford at 910-705-2141 or Crimestoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).

    Crimestoppers information also can be submitted at http://fay-nccrimestoppers.orgor by downloading the fre “P3 Tips” app available for Apple devices in the Apple App Store and for Android devices in Google Play.

  • 13 Fairies, flowers and rainbows set the stage for a fantastic downtown adventure on July 29 and 30.

    Expect a hint of enchantment in the air as Midsummer Magic returns for its seventh year with more fairy fun for the entire family.
    Inspired by William Shakespeare’s tale of magic and mischief, “A Midsummers Night’s Dream,” the fun-filled two-day scavenger hunt will send participants on a journey around downtown Fayetteville to search for clues.

    Following a fairy journal, which can be found online or at several downtown businesses, those participating will journey to a fairy door, behind which will be a letter to help reveal a secret message.
    And, like any good guidebook, the fairy journal will also point out where participants can find special promotions, points of interest and special activities.

    Everyone is encouraged to dress in their most fantastic fairy, sprite, goblin, dwarf or wizard ensemble for a chance to win this year’s costume contest. Participants only need to tag their picture on their personal social media page with #MidsummerMagicFayNC to enter for a chance to win prizes.

    The costume contest is separated into categories for pets, groups, adults and children aged 12 to 17, 5 to 10 and 0 to 4 years old.
    The LlamaCorns of Midsummer Magic will return for their second year, provided by Shaky Tails Party Animals, and performers will be scattered throughout the event to delight those on their quest.

    The day promises a wealth of unique sights and sounds, which is what Betsy McElwee, former social media marketing coordinator for the Downtown Alliance, is looking forward to the most.

    “I love walking around downtown and seeing people and talking to them. I’m really excited to see the new performances this year. I’m looking forward to just being downtown,” she said.

    According to their social media page, “The Downtown Alliance’s mission is to encourage business and retail growth in downtown Fayetteville, and to promote the success of downtown businesses.”
    Conceived as a signature event for the Downtown Alliance, Midsummer Magic is a unique opportunity to bring the people of Fayetteville together for a tour of the businesses downtown has to offer.

    Each participating business is tasked with creating a unique theme-driven experience for potential customers so that each stop will provide something new and different.

    “Even if you don’t want to do the scavenger hunt and quest, it’s still fun to go down and see everything,” McElwee explained.

    “We want people to know about the businesses and shops downtown. It’s really about getting people to engage with the businesses, see how great downtown is and circulate through the area.”

    The festivities begin at 11 a.m. on July 29 and 30, but there’s no official “start” time for the scavenger hunt.

    Midsummer Magic is free and open to the public, but some activities will have an associated cost.
    All fairy journals must be turned in by July 30 to be eligible for prizes.
    For more information regarding Midsummer Magic and to download a fairy journal, visit https://www.faydta.com/our-events/downtown-fayetteville-scavenger-hunt/.

  • 19 How did a Salisbury woman beat the powerful forces of Smithfield Foods, Inc. and its hog farming allies?
    As described in my column last week, Mona Lisa Wallace and her law firm won $32 million in verdicts against the Smithfield group for its nuisance damage to the homes and lives on properties near hog farms.
    In a letter promoting his new book, “Wastelands; The True Story of Farm Country on Trial,” for use in college and law school classes, the book’s author, Corban Addison, explains how he learned about Wallace and her efforts.

    “Three years ago, a friend called me and told me a story that sounded almost too good to be true. It was about a lawyer he knew, a woman named Mona Lisa Wallace from his hometown in North Carolina.”

    Addison’s Salisbury-connected friend is best-selling author John Hart, whose most recent novel is “The Unwilling.” Addison continues, “In 2013, Mona took up the banner of a rural community ‘down east,’ as the locals call it, a community comprised of mostly Black people of modest means. Over the course of a generation, that community had seen its ancestral land — as well as its air and water — degraded by pollution from factory farms tied to the world’s largest hog producer, Smithfield Foods. They had agitated for change, but the change never came. Not until Mona took Smithfield to court.

    “Her mass action required seven years to litigate. It sparked rallies in the streets, a firestorm on social media, death threats to the lawyers, witness intimidation and an attempt by the industry’s bedfellows in the state legislature to modify the centuries-old definition of nuisance retroactively to prevent the lawsuits from ever reaching a jury. Notwithstanding these headwinds, Mona and her co-counsel persisted, bringing five cases to trial and winning five plaintiffs’ verdicts.”

    Of course, Wallace could not have done the whole thing by herself. Lawyers and paralegals interviewed people who had been impacted by the hog farming, mostly people whose homes were nearby, mostly in Duplin, Bladen, Pender and Sampson Counties. They did the research and drafted motions and briefs. And Wallace engaged a talented and energetic
    co-counsel, Mike Kaeske, a Texas lawyer with working class roots. Kaeske handled the trial witness presentations, cross examinations and, most important, opening and closing arguments, for which he spent hundreds of hours in preparation and practice.

    All the work paid off in trials in a Federal District Court, but the defendant appealed the verdict to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Although one judge dissented, the panel of three judges, including conservative J. Harvie Wilkinson, voted to assure Smithfield’s loss.
    Addison noted that Wilkinson, in a concurring opinion, wrote “with Mosaic thunder,” saying that the Smithfield group’s “interference with their quiet enjoyment of their properties was unreasonable. It was willful, and it was wanton.”

    For Smithfield, Addison writes, the ruling was a devastating blow. Its public relations team launched a preemptive strike in an attempt to staunch the bleeding. Its press release “then regurgitates the same warmed-over pablum that the hog barons have served up for more than a generation — that no one understands the industry, that all the negative media and lawsuits and jury verdicts are biased and unfair, that Smithfield cares about farmers, and that it is committed to feeding the world.”

    But writes Addison, “The press release, however, is not just propagandistic. It contains a nugget of news: ‘We have resolved these cases through a settlement that will take into account the divided decision of the court. Information about the terms of the settlement will not be disclosed.’”

    Unfortunately, the book ends on this note, leaving the reader to guess how much more Smithfield had to pay to each plaintiff and whether the settlement will significantly change Smithfield’s methods.

    Still, the book has gained national attention, including a detailed review in the July 10 edition of The New York Times Book Review. Stay tuned. The hog wars are not over.

  • 18 We have a great thought – an epiphany even — and begin hatching a plan to carry it out. Then we gather a few people to rally around our well-intended plan and begin to see the vision of what could be if we get everyone on board with the idea.

    Maybe the goal is to end gun violence, clean up the planet, address an epidemic or something a little less global, but whatever it is, we’re sure as soon as they hear it, everyone else will see the logic in our plan and climb aboard; until they don’t.

    What happens next in too many cases is that the people we sought as allies in our cause suddenly become detractors and fools — at least in our eyes.
    This has played out countless times in history. Heck, it played out several times last week!

    The lack of true unity in our world — down to the smallest denomination of people — is why politics, lawyers, the Constitution and “big brother” exists: When there is no unity, we begin to look to an enforcer of ideas.
    In the Bible, we see this play out as the new order under Jesus becomes known as the way begins to take hold. Righteous-thinking leaders gradually lose sight of the goal and start devising ways to employ and incorporate this new path to God.

    What once was exclusive and bound to a large (and growing) set of hard-to-keep rules was seemingly erased and replaced by a new deal that centered not around the old code, which punished wrongdoing, but around the central idea that God has wanted us all along and loves us so much, he allowed his own son to step up and defend us.
    But tradition — as traditions do — died hard.

    Not everyone agreed on the way to come together under this new deal. So the well-known Apostle Paul writes a letter to a group of leaders in Ephesus who are divided over the process.
    In what we consider the fourth chapter of his letter, he reminds us that the mission itself unites us.
    Not the method. Not the rules. Not the endless disgruntled chatter over what you can and can’t eat or which rules matter most — the mission.
    So, whether your plan is to unite people around the next great way to stem playground violence or clean up the streets in your city, maintain your focus on the goal. Realize many parts make the whole in accomplishing the mission.

    Likewise, for believers — we may differ in the how, but we need to maintain our unity in Christ nonetheless. Love must be our motivation — love for the gospel and one another.

  • 6 I’m a liberty-minded conservative, not an anarchist. I think government is inevitable and necessary but its legitimate scope and practical competencies are rather limited. The many public-policy failures during the COVID-19 pandemic illustrate the point well.

    For the most part, these failures were about competency, not legitimacy. As I argued when the COVID crisis began, combating communicable disease has always been a proper exercise of the police power enjoyed by states and localities. And reacting to truly national emergencies is one of the few powers properly enjoyed by the federal government.

    Alas, when the time came to deploy these powers in a prudent manner, public officials mostly blew it. In Washington, the Food and Drug Administration excluded private firms from offering rapid testing and then bungled the release of its own test kits. Congress and the executive branch (under both Donald Trump and Joe Biden) ran massive fiscal deficits to fund massive expansions of cash relief, unemployment insurance, business subsidies, Medicaid and aid to state and local governments.

    While some fraction of this largesse might have been justified if judiciously spent, that’s not how things worked out. Billions of dollars flowed to households and businesses that were never at significant financial risk. A large share of UI payments, as much as half in some places, turned out to be fraudulent.
    Many states and localities exited the pandemic with piles of (borrowed) federal money they wouldn’t or couldn’t spend on the originally stated purpose of keeping schools open and avoiding mass layoffs. Indeed, a new study by Jeffrey Clemmens and Philip Hoxie of UC-San Diego and Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute estimated that the federal aid amounted to a mindboggling $855,000 per job saved in state and local government.

    Speaking of school closures, public officials in North Carolina and most other places got that policy wrong, too. Perhaps there was a justification for shutting down schools and other critical services during the first weeks of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. Much was then unknown about the severity and transmissibility of the coronavirus. But by the start of the 2020-21 school year, it was obvious that the costs of closure, in both educational and economic terms, far outweighed any health and safety benefits.

    As a longtime advocate of restoring the constraints of the federal constitution on Washington and devolving power and responsibility to states and localities, I will freely admit that the greatest public-policy success during the pandemic was a federal one: Operation Warp Speed, which used a combination of financial rewards and regulatory relief to encourage the rapid development of effective vaccines by private companies. To the extent states and localities facilitated the rapid deployment of the vaccines, they also deserve credit.

    If you look at COVID death rates adjusted for age, obesity and other risk factors — and you should only be looking at the data that way — the statistical relationship between vaccination rates and mortality is unambiguously negative. That is, the vaccines clearly reduced the severity of the illness and somewhat reduced the chance of getting it.

    On the other hand, when researchers study state and local policies such as school closures, shutdowns and limits on public gatherings, they typically find little-to-no relationship between the stringency of state and local restrictions and health outcomes. What they do tend to find is that places with more stringent regulations had larger job losses during the height of the COVID recession.
    While North Carolina and other states have largely recovered from the economic costs of the shutdowns of 2020 and 2021, the same can’t be said for the economic costs of the federal government’s policy errors during the pandemic. By adding trillions of dollars to the federal debt while vastly expanding the money supply, Washington set the stage for our current inflation crisis as well as the recession that may well follow it.
    Government coercion is a blunt instrument, best used sparingly. We’ve just relearned this timeless lesson.

  • 4 Ok, Fayetteville City Municipal elections are fast approaching on July 26. By now, most are aware that voter turnout has been pretty lackluster during the Early Voting period, which began on July 7 and runs through Saturday at 3 p.m. on July 23.

    As I write this, less than 1300 residents have made it down to the Board of Elections on Fountainhead Lane in downtown Fayetteville. Observers say that is disappointing and pathetic, but I say it's engineered and self-inflicted! It makes you wonder what the Cumberland County Board of Elections were thinking when arranging the Early Voting period or if they were thinking at all.
    Many others are speculating such negligence could only be intentional with the intent to design and engineer a voting period that fosters low turnout to shore up and protect the incumbents. This would make a great debate, with plenty of evidence substantiating this notion. Our current nine districts form of city government and the Board of Elections couldn't have made it more difficult for Fayetteville residents to participate in one of America's most cherished rights, the right to vote.

    Voting disincentives are many. There is only one inconvenient Early Voting location in Downtown Fayetteville. Some residents in outlying districts must travel 12 to 15 miles and 30 to 45 minutes to reach the polling location. Voters only get to vote for two out of 10 candidates, not making the journey downtown worthwhile. The only (inconvenient) Early Voting location in downtown Fayetteville closes at 5 p.m. and does not provide those voters who are getting off work at 5 or 5:30 in the evening an opportunity to vote. However, 5 p.m. is when the county election officials get off work.

    There were too few relevant candidate forums and no debates, especially at the district level. Consequently, voter awareness of the candidates and the critical issues that impact the residents of Fayetteville is lacking.
    During the past several weeks, I have fielded many personal calls and requests from friends, family and residents asking me, "Who should I vote for?" Even though many newspapers and media outlets across the country endorse political candidates, Up & Coming Weekly does not.

    However, here are my assessments of all 20 candidates. These are based on their achievements, community involvement, work ethic, integrity and overall willingness and desire to represent all Fayetteville residents of all districts. These candidates know and love this community and have demonstrated their advocacy for doing what's in the best interest of Fayetteville's citizens, businesses and organizations while enhancing our quality of life through better and more efficient government.

    I have bolded the candidates demonstrating the values I feel Fayetteville needs to move successfully into the 21st century.

    • Mitch Colvin - incumbent
    • Freddie de la Cruz
    District 1
    • Kathy Keefe Jensen - incumbent
    • Alex Rodriguez

    District 2
    • Shakeyla Ingram - incumbent
    • Tyrone A. Williams
    District 3
    • Mario (Be) Benavente
    • Antonio B. Jones - incumbent
    District 4
    • Thomas C. Greene
    • D.J. Haire - incumbent
    District 5
    • Johnny Dawkins - incumbent
    • Frederick G. LaChance III

    District 6
    • Peter Pappas
    • Derrick Thompson
    District 7
    • Brenda McNair
    • Larry O. Wright, Sr. - incumbent
    District 8
    • Courtney Banks-McLaughlin - incumbent
    • Michael Pinkston
    District 9
    • Deno Hondros
    • Yvonne Y. Kinston - incumbent

    Most of my preferred candidates, not all, favor term limits and adding four at-large seats to the Fayetteville City Council. This would give Fayetteville citizens six votes when choosing municipal leadership, rather than only two (one for Mayor, four for at-large council members, and one for their district).
    Many pundits are calling this a "friends and family" election, meaning that because of the collective barriers to voting mentioned above, the winning candidates will be determined by how well they turn out the vote. One thing you can count on, and I have said this many times before, is that we will ultimately end up with the Fayetteville leadership we deserve.
    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 11 Around 500,000 Americans use American Sign Language to communicate throughout the United States and Canada. Introduced in 1817 by Thomas Galludet, ASL is one of over 300 sign languages used worldwide.
    Interest in ASL has increased with additional available access to tutorials like those found on YouTube and TikTok. Additionally, ASL is often offered as a foreign language in the country's secondary and post-secondary education curricula.

    Deaf visibility has also risen tremendously over the last several decades, with interpreters signing major political events, awards shows and press conferences for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, the ASL community is comparatively small, comprising only about 1% of the population, and opportunities for socialization can be difficult.

    One way for both deaf and hearing people to come together for conversation or to practice conversational ASL is through Deaf Coffee Chat. With chapters all over the country, Deaf Coffee Chat is a social event where deaf people, students of ASL, or otherwise affiliated members of the deaf community meet regularly to socialize.

    While these gatherings often occur in local coffee shops, they can also happen in malls, ice cream shops and generally any place serving food and drink. No matter the setting, Deaf Coffee Chats’ chief objective is to offer a safe environment for members of the deaf community to interact in their native tongue.

    After a lengthy hiatus due to COVID-19 precautions, Deaf Coffee Chat Fayetteville is set to return to its regularly scheduled meetings on the first Thursday of every month beginning August 4 on the second floor of The Coffee Scene on Morganton Road from 6 to 9 p.m.

    The free, family-friendly event isn’t exclusive to fluent speakers of ASL. From beginners to interpreters, the door is open to anyone interested in learning more about the language and deaf culture.
    Up & Coming Weekly spoke with Tabby, owner and web developer of DeafCoffee.com, a website that provides an index of social places in the United States where deaf people can “get together, chat, and enjoy!”

    DeafCoffee.Com was first launched in 2003 by Grant Laird, Jr., and has since operated under one goal: to create connections across the United States for members of the Deaf Community no matter where they happen to live or where they happen to visit. The site is designed to be an easy-to-use reference and works diligently to keep meeting places up to date.
    In addition to the Fayetteville chapter, there are at least three active coffee chat meet ups out of North Carolina in Apex, Boiling Springs and Princeton, according to DeafCoffee.com.
    While socializing is at the top of the group’s agenda, Tabby sees great value in the get-togethers outside of sharing a laugh and a cup of coffee.

    “Opportunities for ASL students to further practice their signing by meeting deaf people are quite valuable. They also have a chance to learn things they would not have learned in a classroom setting. Also of value is meeting people in a deaf coffee chat which could lead to friendships and even careers (such as interpreters).”

    Deaf Coffee Chat is free and open to the public. While no purchases are necessary to participate, support of the coffee shop is encouraged.
    Coffee Scene is located at 3818 Morganton Road in Fayetteville.
    For more information on Deaf Coffee Chat Fayetteville, visit https://www.facebook.com/deafcoffeefayetteville.

  • 17 Watermelon is a stand-out fruit in the summer and is easily accessible at roadside markets, grocery stores and pickup trucks selling by the road. This common summertime delight is used for elaborate carvings, salads, drinks and desserts. Rinds are used for pickling, and you can even line dance to The Watermelon Crawl. It is also used in a popular dessert in Italy, consisting of almonds, chocolate and cinnamon.

    The first recorded watermelon was documented about 5000 years ago in Egypt. It has been depicted in ancient wall carvings and was often placed in burial tombs for nourishment in the afterlife. The most repeated account of watermelon is from South Africa, where it was believed to have been domesticated more than 4000 years ago. Watermelon was often used in the desert when water was contaminated or not available.

    Watermelon is a fruit related to cantaloupe, zucchini, pumpkin and cucumber. Watermelon is a summertime favorite and comprises about 90% water and about 85 calories per serving.
    Outside of the refreshing flavor and color combination of the skin, meat and rind, it has many health benefits. The bright red flesh is packed with nutrients that include antioxidants and contain Vitamins A and C. Other nutrients include potassium, fiber, iron, Vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium.

    The fruit also contains other antioxidants such as lycopene, and cucurbitacin E. Studies have suggested that lycopene may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The fruit can help with inflammation, eye health, skin and digestion. Who would think this bright and refreshing fruit would read with such a long list of benefits for our health?

    The easiest way to cut watermelon is by cutting off each end to create a flat surface, taking your knife, slicing down the sides and slicing to your liking—types of watermelon available vary.
    There is watermelon with the traditional hard black seeds and the seedless, cultivated with soft and edible seeds. The seeded variety is extra-large and oblong with a green rind, pink flesh and large black seeds. Watermelon seed spitting has been a tradition for decades, and the furthest recorded was 78.6 feet in Georgetown, Texas. Seedless melons were cultivated over 50 years ago with a lengthy process of cross-pollination in a protracted process with male and female flowers. Any seeds the fruit tries to produce remain immature and result in white edible seeds.

    The Japanese have developed ways to grow melons shaped like cubes!

    There is a difference between male and female watermelons. The males are larger, oblong and contain more water, while the female is round and sweeter. Watermelons are produced from plants or seeds, and both male and female flowers can be found on each plant. The difference between males and females is that females have a large bulb at the base for pollination.

    Bees and other pollinators pollinate the female, which grows into a watermelon. It takes about 50 days for full harvest, which means bloom to pick.
    There is an art to choosing a sweet watermelon. If there are white stripes where the melon is laid on the ground, it is not fully ripe. A “field spot,” usually yellow, indicates that it has been ripening for a long time while ripening on the ground. The melon should be heavy, and the stem dry and not green. A low-pitched sound when you thump it should be present.

    Enjoy your melon in the summer in various ways, seeded or seedless!
    Live, love life and watermelon.

  • 7b Fort Bragg may soon go by another name: Fort Liberty.
    In last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, Congress charged the Naming Commission with renaming any military installation whose name commemorates the Confederacy.
    Fort Bragg is named after North Carolina native Braxton Bragg, a Confederate general and slave owner prior to the Civil War.

    The Naming Commission released the potential new name of Fort Bragg, along with eight other military installation names that commemorate the Confederacy, in April.
    In October, the commission will present the new names to Congress for review, after which the U.S. Department of Defense will implement the new names by Jan. 1, 2024, per the federal legislation.

    According to documents from the Naming Commission, Liberty was chosen as a name due to its value being “more essential to the United States of America and the history of its military” than any other.
    Views on name change

    Jimmy Buxton, president of Fayetteville’s NAACP chapter, said that, while growing up in the area, he wasn’t aware that Bragg was named after a Confederate general. But after learning the history in adulthood, he supports the change.

    “If you have a chance to correct it, correct it,” he said, referring to the racist history of Confederate monuments and commemorations.
    Some, however, feel differently about the name change.

    Grilley Mitchell, president of the Cumberland County Veterans Council, said he viewed the name change as erasing history.

    “You should never try to erase history,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that he that (does) not learn from history (is) doomed to repeat it.”
    Mitchell, a Black man who grew up in the Jim Crow south in Georgia, said the name change won’t heal the racist past of that era.

    “Changing the name, it’s not going to heal anything, it’s not going to fix anything,” he said. “To me, it covers it up by putting a coat of paint on something.”
    Mitchell said the history involved with the name of Fort Bragg shouldn’t be ignored.

    “That’s just the truth, this history,” he said. “That’s the ugly part of history in this nation. That is something that we should understand and know that no human being that walks the face of this Earth should be subjected and treated in that manner. Period.”

    Mitchell did say he recognized that some view the name change as stopping the glorification of Confederate figures.

    “Some feel and believe that taking that name away would allow them to move forward with that part of the past behind them,” he said.
    Buxton said, speaking specifically to white people who oppose the renaming, that change is inevitable.

    “Change is something most people don’t know how to take, especially when you do a big change like this,” he said. “I can live with the name change because I can see the reason why, I would say, a lot more because of my color as a Black man.”

    While many may not be ready for the change, regardless of their reason, Buxton said it is for the better.

    “That’s something I think we as a people have to get used to, change for the better,” he said. “In the long run. We shouldn’t have a Confederate general’s name on an Army post, especially one who owned slaves.”
    Even though Mitchell initially opposed the change, he said that many on active duty, as well as veterans, will accept it.

    “The decision was made, and I’m an old soldier,” he said. “Once the leaders make the decision, we adapt to the new decision.”

  • 15 Many in the Fayetteville community have given back to help Ukraine and its citizens as the small country fights Russia. The Gilbert Theater plans to join that growing group of supporters.

    Two summer camps at Gilbert Theater will perform a Ukrainian play called “The Blabbermouth, The Puff Monster and The Wolf.”

    The play comprises three comedic folk tales from Ukraine. In “The Blabbermouth,” a clever woodsman devises an ingenious ruse to keep a buried treasure secret, despite his gossipy wife. The following story is about the goofy, cellar-dwelling “Puff Monster,” who bites off more than it can chew. The last tale, “Sirko and the Wolf,” tells the story of two wolfy cousins who outwit a cranky, noodle-wielding Babushka.
    Tammy Woody, the education director at Gilbert Theater, says they chose this play because the playwright, Patrick Rainville Dorn, and Pioneer Drama Service will donate all of their royalties to the International Red Cross’s Ukraine Emergency Appeal.

    “The Gilbert Theater is very outreach-oriented. As a non-profit, we look to help other people. The situation in Ukraine is sad, and when this came through, it just seemed like something we could be a part of to help the country,” Woody said.

    On top of purchasing the rights to the play, the Gilbert Theater will also be donating a portion of the proceeds from the camps to the Red Cross in support of Ukraine.
    According to Pioneer Drama Service’s website, the Gilbert Theater is one of eight current productions of this Ukrainian play.

    Performers will come from two camps, separated by age. The first camp is for kids 12 to 18 years old. Their performances will be held on July 22 at 7 p.m. and July 23 at 1 p.m.
    The second camp, scheduled for the week of Aug. 8, is for kids aged 7 to 11 years old. Their performances will be held on Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 13 at 1 p.m.

    Woody says the camp will teach the kids all about acting, singing and dancing to prepare them to perform the play within one week.

    “We will have theater games and exercises. They will have a vocal performance to learn the vocals and choreography time to learn the movements. We will be adding some songs to the play,” Woody said. “It takes a lot of time to put a play together and to do it in one week. It’s a pretty fast-paced week.”
    Details on ticketing for productions have not been finalized at the time of Up & Coming Weekly’s interview with Woody. Still, she says more information about the performances will be available on their website and social media pages.

    Camp registration is still open for the younger age group. Registration costs are $150 for one child. Each additional sibling is $125.
    To learn more about the camps, email Woody at education@gilberttheater.com for more information.

  • 9 Cumberland County has a cool solution for beating the heat this summer.
    With daily average temps hovering in the 90s and weekly heat advisories making outside fun exhausting and dangerous, parents with little ones to keep safely entertained need to look no further than their local splash pad and community pool.

    With over twelve locations throughout Cumberland County, splash pads provide a fun, safe alternative for water play. It’s not uncommon to visit a splash pad and see children of all ages playing together amongst the various spouts, nozzles, sprinklers and dumping buckets.
    Up & Coming Weekly spoke with Nacarla Webb, Public Information Specialist for the City of Fayetteville, about the splash pad’s many advantages.

    “Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation splash pads are free to everyone,” she said. “Many splash pads are located near recreation centers or schools which are visible, public sites. These locations are areas where neighbors and families can look out for each other.”

    Another benefit of the popular water feature is that, unlike public pools, splash pads don’t require a lifeguard on duty and are generally much safer for children who are not yet confident swimmers, a relief to parents who may want to relax as their children have fun.

    “The splash pad zero depth entry feature is welcoming because it means the play area is flat,” Webb explained. “Additionally, there may be children in the community who haven’t learned to swim or are afraid of larger bodies of water. A splash pad is a place where they can get wet and then easily step away. Also, a parent can be nearby to watch their child’s movements and join in on the fun with little hassle.”
    The splash pad maintains a detailed seven-day-a-week cleaning schedule, ensuring those spaces stay safe and sanitary.

    Cumberland County offers four public pools and several aquatic programs to develop safe, confident swimmers for children ready to move from splashing to diving.
    For residents aged 12 and under, the pool costs $1, while non-residents in the same age group will pay $2. For residents 13 and up, the cost is $2, and $4 for non-residents.

    Lifeguard certification courses are held throughout the year for those fifteen years of age and older. Registration for weekly swim camp is still open until July 25, with the last camp offered this summer Aug. 5.
    The many aquatic offerings in Cumberland County allow parents to treat their kids to some fun without breaking the bank or a sweat, and many are grateful for the convenience.

    “We’ve been to a few of the splash pads and have thoroughly enjoyed them every time,” local author K.M. Rives shared with Up & Coming Weekly. “We try to go once a week if we can. Our kids love them, and it’s a great way to get them outside during the summer.”

    Cumberland County splash pads are open from May 1 until Labor Day, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    For more information on the splash pad and pool locations, visit https://www.fcpr.us/facilities/aquatics.

  • 5 “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”
    — William Butler Yeats

    “But things don’t just fall apart, people break them.”
    —Robin Wasserman

    It is increasingly difficult for this American, and perhaps for you too, to feel that our nation is at a pivotal moment in our history, a moment at which we are deciding which direction we want to take as a nation. Harvard
    Historian Jill Lepore’s astounding book, “These Truths,” posits that the United States was founded on two contradictory pillars — the idea of natural rights and liberty and the reality of human slavery. She goes on for 29 hours in the audiobook version to explain how these truths have shaped us since 1619 and continue to shape us today.

    The innate tension between these two pillars has rarely been clearer than today in our divided nation. Two wildly controversial issues make this division crystal clear.
    Since America decided, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murders in 2012, that our guns, especially military-grade assault weapons, are more important to us than our children, mass shootings have become so commonplace that we hardly notice them. The Washington Post reports more than 300 mass shootings in the United States in 2022, about 20 since the Uvalde Elementary School murders in late May. Ask yourself how many of those you are even aware of, much less knowledgeable about.

    Shocking as mass shootings used to be, the numbers of people injured and killed in them pale compared to the everyday gun-related deaths across the country — murders, accidents and suicides. If we define mass shootings as those in which at least four people die, they account for less than 1% of all gun deaths, yet our reaction to this is increasingly “ho hum.” We are the only nation with more guns than people, 393 million to 330 million, according to a 2018 report by the Small Arms Survey. This imbalance will only grow as we Americans have been on a gun-buying spree since COVID began, and we can now manufacture our own, do-it-yourself unregistered weapons at home.

    And then there is the other divisive issue, a woman’s right to control her own body, a right recently rescinded by a highly politicized U.S. Supreme Court decision. No matter what side of the abortion issue one falls on, it is impossible not to acknowledge some of the absurdity of the current situation. Some states ban abortion altogether, recognizing a fetus as a person.

    A pregnant woman in Texas took advantage of this point of view by driving in the High Occupancy Lane of a freeway. When a law enforcement officer pulled her for being the only person in the car, she announced that her unborn child was a person under Texas law, making her HOV driving legal. The officer ticketed her anyway, and her court date falls on her due date.
    Internet memes take this legal head-butting even further by encouraging Americans to call the IRS and demand a tax deduction for their fetus, for pregnant women who are imprisoned to sue for wrongful imprisonment of their fetus, to check with the Fire Marshall on occupancy regulations because pregnant women now count as two people and to demand life and health insurance for their fetuses. In other words, a fetus is either a person, or it isn’t. We cannot have it both ways.

    This American is sad, alarmed and apprehensive about our nation’s future. We must find ways to dial down the heat in our national conversations, respect each other even when we disagree and get out of our silos and actually talk to each other.

    Marianne Williamson, author, spiritual leader, activist and 2020 presidential candidate, said this, “don’t be concerned that things appear to be falling apart: This has to happen for something new and wonderful to emerge.”

    I hope and pray she is right.

  • 8 It's a sunny Sunday morning. The streets of downtown Fayetteville are quiet at 7 a.m., and the urge to tip-toe feels appropriate so as not to wake the sleeping city.

    Plush green lawns sparkle in the early morning sun, the roads are empty ahead of the Sunday morning church rush, and it's the perfect time for a run — or leisurely walk if one feels so inclined.
    For members of the Fayetteville Running Club, it's always a good time for a run.

    A loose group of people, around 12 or so, assemble in the Airborne and Special Operation Museum's deserted parking lot, and it's hard to detect a stranger among them. The club members all squeeze in for a smiley "before" picture snapped by hostess Nichole Jenkins, and then they're off.

    The group immediately falls into threesomes, pairs and singles as everyone sets their pace for the four-mile loop through a shuttered downtown.
    It's a motley crew as some in the group look as if they'll attack the four miles in a single bite, while others have only come to graze. The chatter is light and easy as they wind down Hay Street, around Festival Park and through gardens in riotous bloom.

    There's not a whiff of competition or judgment as everyone finds their rhythm within the group, and it's easy to see the camaraderie and affection between them.
    Long-time members Karen Shotwell and Trina Tellames, who arrived in matching Fourth of July-inspired T-shirts, make it a point to speak to everyone; their energy is nothing short of infectious.
    Angela Crosby, director of operations at Cozy Corner Child Development Center and Jump Start University, who arrived with her 9-month-old granddaughter in tow, has been a member of Fayetteville Running Club for two years and smiles easily when asked about it.

    "It's a great way to stay active," said the newly minted grandmother. "A friend from my gym told me about it, and I originally came just to hang out with her — now here I am."
    The feeling of acceptance is immediate and genuine. No one is left out or left behind, and according to Fayetteville Running Club's President, Shawn Wussow — that's the point.

    "The first hurdle is signing up," he explained. "There's a fear of not fitting in, of thinking you're not a runner or that you won't be able to keep up. We have people in our club who can run a mile in 20 minutes and people who can run it in six. We try to make our meetups inclusive. We try to make them fun. It's more about community and dynamics rather than how fast you can run. We're a socially inclusive club, and we celebrate every milestone."

    A member of the group since 2012, Wussow summed up the Fayetteville Running Club with one word when asked:


    Fayetteville Running Club, established around 2009, is an ongoing active running club that offers weekly runs, social gatherings, training, support and accountability to the people in their community.
    While there is a heavy emphasis on running, Wussow wants people to know that Fayetteville Running Club is much more than just a running club.

    "Fayetteville Running Club is one of the most incredibly diverse groups of people I've ever seen, and that's what drew me to it," he shared. "People think we're a pack of Olympic runners, but there's a lot they don't see —we're much more than a group of runners."

    As a non-profit organization, Fayetteville Running Club dedicates its time to the betterment and support of its community in a number of ways. From monthly donations to local charities to volunteering to run with animals at local shelters, Fayetteville Running Club is an organization committed to an attitude of service.

    With over 10 weekly meetups, and at least one every day, the club takes the running aspect of its reputation very seriously. With runs that suit every fitness level, lifestyle, body type and schedule, the Fayetteville Running Club is first and foremost a club for all people — not just the athletic ones.

    The sign-up is the same for the first-time walker ready to get healthy or the seasoned runner with medals adorning their wall.
    Potential members can look up Fayetteville Running Club on its various social media platforms or register through runsignup.com. While access to meetups is free, a paid membership offers the following incentives: a free T-shirt, a discount at local running store Fleet Feet, access to a private Facebook page, nutrition and fitness advice and discounts on fun activities and races.
    As outlined on runsignup.com, current membership rates are $30 for the year for new members or $45 for a 12-month membership for a family of four (new membership only).
    Wussow, dedicated to "making membership matter," invites anyone interested to check out a meetup, introduce themselves, and get a feel for the group.

    "We have a walking group twice a day. You can find a run at 5:30 in the morning or 5:30 in the evening, and two a day on the weekends. We try to fit into your schedule, so you don't have to work hard to fit us into yours."

    The running club, which also partners with Cool Spring Downtown District, can be seen on the streets of downtown Fayetteville handing out flyers on 4th Friday. They also partner with Black Girls Run, Team Red White and Blue and other organizations supporting health and empowerment.

    Through Fayetteville Running Club, Wussow hopes that walkers, runners and those in-between find a place to belong as they explore their personal goals.

    "This club is my family," Wussow said. "I look at every single person and see them as a person I'm responsible for. I even worry about the new folks. I worry about them feeling welcome because joining something new is hard. I want everyone to have the time they think they should, and I want everyone to have a sense of accomplishment."

    To sign up as a member of the Fayetteville Running Club, visit. https://runsignup.com/Club/NC/FAYETTEVILLE/FayettevilleRunningClub.
    To join them for a walk or run, visit https://www.meetup.com/fayrunclub/.

  • 7a The Chemours chemical company blamed for polluting water supplies in southwestern Cumberland County, the Cape Fear River and points south into Wilmington today filed legal action against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its health advisory data released in late June.

    In June, Chemours hinted it was considering legal action after EPA and North Carolina released new health advisories for private drinking water wells in the Gray’s Creek Community. Those advisories upgraded what EPA believed were dangers to the public exposed to chemical compounds that leached into local area wells.
    Chemours Fayetteville Works is located along the Cumberland/Bladen County line and was previously known as DuPont.

    Today, the Chemour Company petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for a review of the June 15 EPA health advisory for hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA) and its ammonium salt.
    In a recent statement, Chemours states that it supports government regulation “that is grounded in best available science and follows the law.” It claims that the health advisory issued by EPA in June fails to follow science or the law.

    “When an agency misuses its authority to promulgate a health advisory that is scientifically unsound, in a manner contrary to the agency’s own processes and standards, we have an obligation to challenge it, administratively and in the courts,” according to the statement.

    Chemours argues that nationally recognized toxicologists and other scientists evaluated the EPA’s analysis and determined it “fundamentally flawed.” Chemours also contends that EPA knew its data was flawed, ignored relevant data and used “grossly” incorrect and “overstated” exposure assumptions in determining GenX levels.

    Hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt are compounds used in manufacturing and referred to by their trade name GenX. Chemours states that its parent company DuPont sought EPA approval to use GenX under the Toxic Substance Control Act and was given the go-ahead by the EPA in January 2009.

    In its June 15 health advisory, the EPA dramatically changed the minimum levels of GenX in drinking water from 140 parts per trillion (ppt) to 10 parts per trillion. The new minimum ppt replaces the state’s provisional safe drinking water goal for GenX, established in 2018.

    The EPA’s final health advisory for GenX affects a current consent order requiring Chemour to provide whole house filtration or connection to public water for any private drinking well that tests above the new health advisory ppt.

    The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality already directed Chemour to revise its drinking water compliance requirements by considering the 10 ppt for GenX. According to the state, the newly released lower GenX ppt levels will make about 1,700 more private wells eligible for whole house filtration systems.
    The concern of GenX contamination of private water wells in area communities is prevalent among County leaders and staff. So far, well water contamination has ranged 10 miles south and 25 miles north of the plant.

    The EPA had also listed interim health advisory levels for several other PFAS chemicals: PFOS at .004 ppt and PFOA at.02 ppt. A third chemical, PFBS, did not have significant concentrations in samples taken to date in North Carolina.

    The NCDEQ scheduled an in-person community information meeting on Tuesday, July 26, at the Crown Theater. Registration is open at 5:30 p.m., and the meeting starts at 6.
    The intent of the meeting is to share information and answer questions about how the EPA’s newly revised lower health advisory for GenX affects drinking water well sampling in Cumberland, Bladen, Sampson and Robeson counties.

  • 4 Publisher's Note:
    Unfortunately, lies and misrepresentations of the Vote Yes initiative are creating a significant injustice for the Black community, by the Black community.
    In essence, this proposal to add four at-large seats on the council with five district seats is not a racial issue by any stretch of the imagination. Approving and passing this proposal will allow every Fayetteville citizen to have a voice in choosing Fayetteville's elected officials.

    Under the current system, citizens get only two votes. Under the proposed plan, each citizen would receive six votes. One for Mayor, one for their district council member, and four at-large council members. Every citizen benefits!

    Much discussion lately has been aimed at low voter turnout at the polls during election time. The presumed blame falling mostly on “apathetic and lazy citizens.” Not so. With 10 elected officials running our city, we ask citizens to leave their homes, families and places of employment and travel to a precinct polling location to cast a ballot for only two out of 10 candidates. Fayetteville residents obviously do not see the value in that, yet those currently on the city council ignore this fact so as not to weaken or jeopardize their position.

    As a result, thousands of residents are being represented (or misrepresented) by unqualified candidates elected by only a few hundred votes or less.
    For our community to move forward into a prosperous 21st century, we need good ethical people with common sense, intelligence and leadership abilities.
    Without it, crime, overall community safety, homelessness, affordable housing, infrastructure and stormwater issues and trash-litter problems will continue to escalate throughout our city.
    — Bill Bowman, Publisher


    The term “democracy” comes from two Greek words: "demos" (the people) and “kratia” (power and authority). So, democracy is a form of government that gives power to the people. Lately, America's democracy has been strained at all levels.

    First, there's the U.S. House Jan. 6 committee hearing about an effort to overturn the 2020 elections. Second, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued some controversial opinions this term: upended a 50-year-old precedent on abortion, expanded gun rights for the first time in a decade, bolstered religious rights, notably those of Christians and declared that a violation of Miranda does not necessarily constitute a violation of the Constitution.
    Passionate opinions have caused demonstrations on both sides of the issues. Democracy is a model form of government, but it's not a guarantee.

    Life won't always go the way you want it to sometimes.
    Democracy is supposed to allow all citizens an opportunity to have an equal voice, and it achieves that purpose most of the time. Democracy is imperfect but inherently and highly flexible.

    What happens in Raleigh and Washington, D.C., gets most of the attention, but local government is the most important for several reasons.
    First, municipal governments impact constituents far more frequently and positively than either state or federal legislators. Second, citizens can have far more influence at the local level than they ever will at higher echelons.

    One-stop voting for Fayetteville's municipal election is from July 7 through July 23. The General Election is July 26. Voter turnout is predicted to be very low. The power rests with the people, but that power can't be realized if citizens don't vote. Fayetteville elected officials are presently under a council-manager form of government.
    The council comprises the mayor and nine council representatives elected to single-member districts. Lately, the question has become, as Fayetteville is evolving, should it continue with all single-member districts, or is the time ripe for change? A Vote Yes Fayetteville initiative recently secured 5,007 signatures from city residents to change the Fayetteville City Council from nine single-member districts to a combination of five single-member districts and four at-large districts.

    If the Vote Yes initiative is successful, Fayetteville City voters could cast six votes — one for Mayor, four for at-large council members and a district council member. Fundamental fairness dictates Vote Yes supporters deserve an equal voice, and we expect this matter to be on the November ballot.
    The current council has 10 members — eight are African American, including the mayor. The mayor and several African-American council members have voiced concerns about the proposed change.
    It is rumored heavily in the Black community that racism is behind the call for change since eight out of 10 present members of the council are African American.

    Vote Yes supporters, including two former mayors, two former mayors pro tem and two past Fayetteville City Council members, deny the race allegation. The Vote Yes initiative began the signature collection process a year ago.
    Is the proposed change about race? Thus far, the allegations appear unfounded. I know players on both sides of the issue, and I believe this is more about trust than race.

    I fully understand some members of the Black community holding the white community as suspect, but declaring unfounded fears as racial motivation is unfair to both sides of the process.
    Again, democracy ought to give power to the people and provide an opportunity for an equal voice.

    Pause the racially-charged rhetoric and let the people decide at the polls. Indeed, the ability to raise enough money to run at large is not racial. It's economics.

  • 18 Empowering young girls and women, that is Andréa Williams’ mission in all of her projects.
    Williams is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization Blazin Beauty. The nonprofit’s goal is to educate, inform and empower women. Williams is also the owner and operator of Silhouettes Firearms Training, LLC.

    With her organizations, she endeavors to support the community.

    “I wanted to be able to contribute to the community in a different type of way, using Silhouettes and use partnerships within the community. So we’re always inspired by our youth. We do feel that it takes a village to raise a child. We believe in that,” Williams said. “So we just want to do our part to encourage our youth.”

    Williams' team at Blazin Beauty and Sillhouettes Firearm Training, LLC will be partnering with Family Martial Arts Academy to host a one-day seminar for girls aged 11 through 16. Williams says this age is critical.

    “Our girls are dealing with different stresses than what we were dealing with when we were growing up. And so it is critical that they have examples that are in the community that live among them where, one, they’re able to turn to as mentors, but two, they are able to see that ‘these people have kind of been where I was when I was younger,’ even though they may consider us old. These people have been where we are. They can relate,” Williams said.

    The event aims to teach the girls self-confidence, help them practice their social skills and communication, learn self-defense and learn how to use their body and voice as proactive defense tools. The seminar is not a firearms training event.

    “I think that [the girls] will have fun learning those self-defense tactics that Tracy Huff has in place,” Williams told Up & Coming Weekly.

    “But I would hope that they take away having that confidence to use their voices, whether it’s to stand up for themselves or even to stand up for others.”

    This seminar is the first time Williams is putting on this program. The goal is to see if the community responds well. She hopes that by providing a different set of tools to these young girls, they can use those tools again and have the courage to be themselves.

    “Because that’s what it’s about, is really just having the courage to be yourself, understanding that you are enough,” Williams said.

    The event is $15 and tickets can be purchased at www.buy.stripe.com/14k03989D6Di7QccMM. There are 80 spots total.

    The seminar will take place on July 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Silhouettes Firearms Training, LLC. at 1165 N Bragg Blvd. in Spring Lake.
    The event will include lunch. Parents and caregivers are welcome to stay during the seminar.

  • 5 Trigger warning: Today, we enter Room 237 at the Overlook Hotel. There is a 100% chance that this column will irritate certain readers. If you think that the Former Guy was the greatest President in American history, tear up this page, mutter some curses and buy a copy of “Guns & Glory.” You ain’t gonna like the rest of the column. I will wait while the room empties out. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Everybody out of the pool?

    Remember in Stanley Kubrick’s movie version of Stephen King’s “The Shining” when Mr. Halloran is talking with Danny about what happened in the Overlook Hotel? If you don’t recall, not to worry. I will mansplain it to you. Danny is a little boy who has moved to the Overlook Hotel, where his father is going to spend the winter as the caretaker for the empty resort. Danny has the supernatural ability to ‘shine,’ which lets him see events that happened in the past. Danny correctly intuits there is something bad about the Overlook. The hotel cook, Mr. Halloran, tells Danny that a lot of things happened at the Overlook, and not all of them were good. Danny asks, “What happened in Room 237?” Halloran says, “Nothing happened in Room 237. But you ain’t got no business going in there anyway. So, stay out! Stay out!” Naturally, Danny ends up in Room 237.

    The year of our Lord 2022 is the chronological equivalent of Room 237. This year we are all in Room 237. A lot of stuff happened in 2022. As Mr. Halloran said, not all of it was good. Instead of one of my usual ridiculous columns about cheese caves or Putin’s digestive production, today we will stare at mass shootings and the Supreme Court's decision on abortion. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    These topics have no common ground between opposing parties. They tend to offend. This column was written the same day of the Highland Park mass shooting. Accordingly, I am cranky about gun violence while producing this stain on western literature. By the time this doggerel hits the streets, there will probably have been yet another mass murdering. They seem to be rolling in about every 10 days. It is difficult to keep track of the latest fresh horror without a program. Mass shootings prove once again that crocodile tears, thoughts and prayers are not a defense against a moron with a grudge and an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle.

    Mass shootings claim elementary students, parade watchers, church goers and grocery shoppers. The mythical good guy with a gun doesn’t stop the slaughters. They keep happening. At Uvalde, a whole passel of good guys with guns stood in a school hallway while a moron with a gun killed kids and their teachers. If the cops are afraid to go against a moron with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, arming Beaver’s teacher Miss Landers at Mayfield Elementary with a pistol ain’t gonna stop said armed moron.

    The argument that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” is a catchy bumper sticker, but it’s wrong. The slogan’s premise is the gun just lays there and does not hurt anyone. It is not the innocent gun’s fault. Big Tobacco could make the same argument about cigarettes. A pack of cigarettes just lays there and does not hurt anyone. But when someone picks up the pack and starts smoking, the innocent little cigarettes kill people. When a moron picks up a gun and starts shooting, the guns kill people.

    The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, removing abortion as a federal constitutional right. This delighted the anti-abortion folks and angered the pro-choice side. For the foreseeable future, all Supreme Court decisions will be based on simple arithmetic: six is greater than three. The religious beliefs of the Court’s six are that abortion is murder. Other people disagree. We have entered the wonderful world of living in a theocracy. When religion becomes law, there will be a bad moon rising. Trouble is on the way.

    Guy A says: “My religion says I can’t do that.” Guy B responds: “OK.” Then Guy A says: “My religion says you can’t do that.” Guy B replies, “Buzz off.” (Dialogue cleaned up). When Religion A tells nonbelievers in Religion A, they must follow Religion A’s beliefs we are in Shiite versus Sunni territory. Any readers left? Are you mad yet? The six can change any rules to suit their politically and theologically correct thoughts. Math rules. Unlike when Jimi Hendrix sang: “Now if six turned out to be nine/ I don’t mind, I don’t mind.” Lots of people gonna mind while the six change all the rules.

    So, what have we learned today? Math conquers all. Six is more than three. The current Supreme Court can overturn any precedent it chooses. It’s always too soon to talk about gun control. Apologies for this rant. This column tries to avoid doom scrolling. Get your bad news elsewhere. My ability to ignore reality faltered briefly, resulting in today’s fuss. Goodbye to Room 237. A return to ridiculous
    topics next time.

  • 15 One Friday a month, the good people of Fayetteville can make their way down to the Cape Fear River for a truly awesome live music experience. In a sea of canvas camping chairs, people can gather together with beer and burger in hand, united in one goal: to have a good time.

    The Rock'n On The River concert series showcases some of the area’s most talented musicians in a laid-back outdoor venue that’s free for all and family-friendly.
    Located behind Deep Creek Outfitters at Campbellton Landing, the pavilion-like stage has already presented some of Fayetteville’s favorite bands this summer season. From the country music stylings of Dark Horse to 80s hard rock cover band, The Fifth, Rock'n On The River has a band for every taste.

    Next up, on July 22, is rhythm and blues band Autumn Tyde, followed by Foreigner tribute band Rev On.
    Autumn Tyde, created by legendary musician and Fayetteville Music Hall of Famer Doyle Wood, will grace the stage at 6 p.m. and Wood can’t wait.
    As a relatively new band on the scene, Rock'n On The River will be the band’s first concert in Fayetteville, which only adds to the excitement for long-time musician Wood.

    “This is a great band with such great musicians,” he said of the group. “We have four lead singers in the band — it’s not a one-man show at all, and I just really enjoy doing it.”
    Playing a mix of rock, R & B, original music and the beach music suggested by the band’s name, Wood is keen to share a little something for everyone. Concert-goers can expect to hear some Prince, James Brown, Joe Bonamassa and a little Poco.

    “It’ll be a fun show,” he assured. “We’ve got a different setup than most, and I think the crowd will really enjoy it. At the end of the night, I hope they enjoyed our original music and noted the musicianship and professionalism of the band. These guys are good; if not, I wouldn’t be doing it.”

    For those in the audience who “Want to Know What Love Is,” Rev On, featuring Jan Fields, will hit the stage at 8 p.m. and close out the night.
    While guests are encouraged to bring their camping chairs, no outside food, coolers or containers will be allowed. Food and beverages will be for sale courtesy of Deep Creek Grill, and event sponsor Healy Wholesale will provide alcoholic beverages for guests 21 and up.

    Though the concert is free and open to the public, on-site parking will be $10 per vehicle, a departure from last year.
    Rockin’ on the River is located at 1122 Pearson St. East in Fayetteville. For more information about the venue, follow them at www.facebook.com/Rockn-On-The-River-271048666818630.
    For updates, news and show information, follow Autumn Tyde at www.facebook.com/autumntyde.

    To keep up with Rev-On, visit the band at their website https://revonband.com/.


  • 12 It all started with a friendship. In 2014, 9-year-old Seth Wofford noticed Mr. Steve, a gentleman he often saw behind his school in downtown Fayetteville. The two felt a connection right away and struck up an unlikely friendship.  A simple wish

    “Steve was really kind,” Seth's mother, Lindsey Wofford, said. “He would also say hello to the parents as they passed by with their kids, and Seth just really liked him.”

    Filled with the curiosity common at that age, Seth asked questions that were difficult to answer.

    “Where does Steve live, and where does he go when it's cold?”

    Through a difficult conversation, Lindsey Wofford tried to help her son understand, Mr. Steve was homeless. Filled with the pure and dauntless intentions of a child, Seth was determined to help Mr. Steve and others in a similar predicament in any way he could. After months of brainstorming, the answer came from a surprising source — a television commercial.

    Capital One was running a campaign called A Wish for Others that asked viewers to submit a wish they had on someone else's behalf, and Seth Wofford had a big one.

    A national problem
    According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, over 500,000 Americans currently live in a state of homelessness. Homelessness as a national issue originated in the late 19th century, mostly in dense urban areas, and has been a steadily growing issue across the United States ever since. Due largely to a worsening drug epidemic, a steady increase in housing costs, stagnation of wages, the displacement of LGBTQ+ youth and few resources for those with mental illness, the number of homeless people in America has grown exponentially.

    As of 2019, an estimated 9,314 homeless people live in North Carolina, about 798 of whom are veterans, and just under 500 live in Cumberland County. With the economic fallout of COVID-19 and the highest spike in prices in over 30 years, the rate of homelessness in America isn't likely to slow down anytime soon.

    A wish fulfilled
    Armed with a $1000 gift card from Capitol One, Seth Wofford set about to make his wish a reality.

    “He was so excited,” Lindsey Wofford shared.

    “We picked out stuff for Steve and a couple of others, and we just kept meeting people who wanted to help. We learned as we went, it kept snowballing, and it slowly grew to this,” she said, her arms spread wide to demonstrate the enormity of their work. “Sometimes we look around and say, ‘how did this even happen?’”

    From the joy of that first shopping trip, Lindsey Wofford felt the power of her son's wish and has never looked back. After obtaining 501(c)3 status in 2015, Seth's Wish has created a space where people can get the help they need with dignity and kindness. The organization's mission: “To positively impact lives and bring together the community by providing the necessary resources to those facing food insecurity, homelessness and other poverty-stricken crises in Fayetteville,” is at the heart of all they do.

    Standing at about 5'2", Lindsey Wofford has a smile and a greeting for everyone who walks into the Day Room of Seth's Wish, now headquartered on South Reilly Road in Fayetteville. Warm and funny in cut-offs and a T-shirt, Wofford treats the people who walk into the white house with the blue shutters like guests in her home. The Day Room, open every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is well organized and meant to suggest a shopping experience no different than any other. There are no need-based forms to fill out or embarrassing questions to answer before people fill their carts.

    “People come in and say, ‘hey, I need stuff,’” Lindsey Wofford explained, “and if you need it, then you need it. It's yours. We're here to give it, so we're going to give it.”
    And while it might seem an opportunity for unscrupulous individuals to swoop in and take advantage of the generosity on display, Lindsey Wofford doesn't worry about that. “For every one person that takes what they don't need, there are a hundred people that do,” she said.

    Clothing items are hung on racks that line the walls, while baby items, toys, household goods, entertainment and fresh produce from the garden are laid out on tables in the middle. A pantry off to the side holds a wealth of non-perishables donated from food banks and people in the community, and a refrigerator houses essentials such as milk, eggs and deli sandwiches. Seth's Wish also serves food from their kitchen if anyone wants or needs a plate for the road. Meals like lasagna with rolls and a glass of sweet tea might be the only full meal some patrons have all day. Seth's Wish and the items found therein are donated by people of the community, with clothing items — especially those for children, being the largest percentage of donations.

    “Donations are literally how we function,” Lindsey Wofford said. “They're how this room stays full.”

    Seth's Wish also partners with Second Harvest Food Bank and receives donations from outlets all over the city, including Walmart. With help from Sustainable Sandhills, Seth's Wish also grows fresh produce in the house's backyard.

    “Everyone just comes and plants stuff,” Lindsey Wofford joked.

    “I don't even know what's in here.”
    The tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers are easily identified in the carefully tended gardens, and it's clear they're grown by a very green thumb. Fresh vegetables, which are often overlooked due to their cost and fragility in times of food insecurity, are a welcome and necessary addition to the organization's pantry. While the Day Room is a space for patrons to fill a basket with what they need, the front of the house, called Seth's Wish Gift Shop, is a space where they can shop for the things they want. Filled with jewelry, paintings, pottery and wreaths, the little boutique is a project of which Lindsey Wofford is immensely proud.

    “This is our coolest program ever,” she gushed while walking through the shelves of handmade items.

    “People that come in for services who are talented or crafty, we open a file on them and feature their work in the store. When they make a sale, 100% of the money goes back to the artist that created it. It's just a way for them to make some extra money.”

    Many of the items are created through donated crafting materials, which keep costs low for the artists and free up space at Seth's Wish.

    “We have such great stuff here,” Lindsey Wofford said. “There are just so many talented people.”

    A home lost and found

    It's hard to argue with the success of Seth's Wish in the community, but that's not to say there haven't been a few setbacks. Originally operating in a building on South Cool Spring Street, the organization, known for its efforts in the homeless community, suddenly became homeless themselves. About two months after COVID-19 gripped the city and the nation, tragedy struck Seth's Wish literally and figuratively when a van crashed through their building, destroying the Day Room. While no one was injured, the building was officially condemned. It was another two years before the organization found a space they could call home.

    “We're very definite on the fact that the money that comes in or is donated goes toward services. We don't want to pay $1000 monthly to rent a space when that money could go toward helping people.”

    A chance meeting with a gentleman who owned a house used as a food pantry for his church donated the space to Seth's Wish. The rest is history.

    “I never thought we'd be able to find something like this,” she said, the gratitude plain on her face. “It was just meant to be.”

    A request

    Seth's Wish, run by Lindsey Wofford and a smattering of volunteers, is more than grateful for the organization's success and the kindness of the community. And while the Day Room and back room are filled with clothing for people to take home, Lindsey Wofford admits there are at least two things they could always use more of, food donations and time.

    “Groceries are so hard right now,” Lindsey Wofford told Up & Coming Weekly. “We'll take anything, but we really need non-perishable items the most.”

    Another donation Seth's Wish could use is help from the community.

    “We always need volunteers,” she admitted.
    People are always needed in the garden and can sign up for tasks via Seth's Community Garden, found on Facebook. Volunteering to water the plants or flip compost are all small acts that go a long way. Everyone is welcome to show up and lend their time every Tuesday and Thursday.

    Passion in practice

    Seth, now a teenager, often helps his mom in the little house founded on his selfless wish.

    “He loves it,” his mom said, beaming with pride.
    The new space, with its wide front lawn and big backyard, offers many opportunities for Seth's Wish to engage with its community in meaningful and heartfelt ways. With a back room stocked and ready for the next batch of people in need through Seth's Wish, now in operation for the past seven and a half years, Lindsey Wofford hopes to continue what her son started for as long as they're needed. When asked why she does it, Lindsey Wofford had a simple answer:

    “I just like it.”

    Seth's Wish is located at 204 South Reilly Road in Fayetteville.

    For more information regarding donations, volunteer opportunities, and events, visit www.facebook.com/sethswish/ or call 910-476-6613.

  • 11 Ron Dahle shouldered his PVC-constructed potato gun and fired yet another shot of compressed air over the limb of a tall North Carolina pine tree. His shot propelled a plastic projectile attached to a fishing line. A fishing reel mounted atop the launcher fed the line out like a well-practiced angler. The goal was to get the projectile to thread the fishing line up, over and down the other side of the limb. Reaching the right limb enabled him and his fellow radio enthusiasts to hoist antenna wire high into the tree. It was the first part of creating a loop antenna. To finish the project, the process had to be repeated at another tall nearby tree.

    Dahle is president of the Cape Fear Amateur Radio Society, a 130-member-strong amateur ham radio organization in Cumberland County. The CFARS routinely steps up to help local emergency responders with radio communication services during hurricanes, blizzards or any other community crisis. When the call comes, members set up in local disaster shelters and provide communication via ham radios, while other forms of communication may have been affected by outages.

    Dahle and his compatriots recently spent a hot Friday afternoon setting up antennas to prepare for the following day’s Field Day, an annual event testing the club’s ability to set up and communicate with other amateur radio organizations throughout the United States and Canada.

    “This was a readiness exercise to determine the ability of CFARS to provide communication support to the community in emergency operations and disasters,” Dahle said. He emphasized this was not a contest to see how many radio contacts were made, although contacts are tracked and tabulated. “There are numerous varied contests throughout the year in different disciplines of communication where the main goal is purely a number count.”

    CFARS held its annual Field Day on Saturday through Sunday, June 25 to 26, at the Hope Mills Golfview Greenway Walking Trail. The field day spans a continuous 24 hours, from 2 p.m. Saturday through 2 p.m. Sunday. The event is held under the auspices of the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio in the United States founded in 1914.
    This was the first year CFARS held the event at the Hope Mills Walking Trail. In the past, CFARS’ Field Day took place at Methodist University, which also housed the group’s repeater. The previous chancellor of the University was a CFARS member.

    Among ARRL’s missions is promoting and recruiting people into the amateur radio hobby. But another key job of ARRL is to protect radio frequencies used by amateur radio organizations and ensure they remain available to the public. Radio frequencies are limited, and someone always vies for Federal Communications Commission-controlled radio frequencies.

    The annual readiness exercise and Field Day occur in the United States, Canada and even some worldwide locations may participate. It is held on the fourth full weekend in June. Along with testing their ability to function properly in the event of an emergency, amateur radio operators try to make voice or Morse code contact with as many other amateur radio operators as possible.

    The CFARS’s setup at the Golfview Greenway site included a Morse code station, a Get-On-The-Air station, and a voice communications station. A GOTA station allows people without a radio license or newly licensed individuals to speak and connect with someone on ham radio. It gives someone a chance to experience first-hand radio communication.

    The ARRL website provided 2022 Field Day locations throughout the United States for interested citizens or news media. In North Carolina alone, there were dozens of sites, including Dublin, Calabash, New Bern, Jacksonville, Robbins, Albemarle atop Morrow Mountain and in the mountains of West Jefferson, among many others.
    Local radio enthusiasts established CFARS as a non-profit organization in 1976 with 31 members, according to George Davenport, current vice-president and event coordinator. Davenport joined CFARS in 2016 after getting his FCC-required license. A year later, the club asked him to help coordinate its Field Day. He’s been coordinating the event ever since.

    “I became interested in amateur radio after joining a Special Forces Facebook page,” Davenport said.

    The page identified friends and Special Forces colleagues who were amateur radio operators. “I did a little research and found CFARS,” he said.
    Both Davenport and Dahle are retired from the military and were initially introduced to radio communications during their time as Green Berets. Davenport’s introduction to communications came when he was cross-trained on a Special Forces team. Dahle, a retired command sergeant major, says the first part of his career was dedicated to communications but lessened as he was promoted through the ranks into leadership positions.

    But when Dahle was in his mid-70s, he needed an outlet for what he describes as “his creative juices.”
    He joined CFARS in 2018 after getting his FCC license.

    “Ham radio and Morse code was a natural path for me,” he said.
    Dahle, who describes himself as process-driven and regimented, says a successful field is knowing the club performed to expected standards. He defined these standards by noting whether the equipment held up

    throughout the exercise, whether the club adequately handled unforeseen issues, if any, and whether the club left the grounds in the same condition as they found it.
    To Davenport, a successful field day has many faces.

    “It should be a learning experience for all involved,” he said.

    It needs to have a wide range of tasks and activities that encourages member participation, and the event should meet all of its operational goals.
    But, since one of its other goals is to foster greater interest and participation in the hobby, Davenport believes a successful field day should be a “fun activity.”

  • fayetteville nc logo Foot traffic was slow around noon Thursday, July 7 on the first day of early voting at the Cumberland County Board of Elections. There were more candidates and their supporters outside the elections office than there were early voters.
    At 12:18 p.m. — more than four hours after early voting began — 123 people had cast their votes, according to Angie Amaro, the interim director for the Cumberland County Board of Elections.

    “It’s about what we expected,” she said. “It will pick up probably the last week.”
    Early voting continues through July 23 for the July 26 municipal election. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hours on July 23, a Saturday, are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Early voting is only available at the Board of Elections Office at 227 Fountainhead Lane. Fayetteville voters will select a mayor and nine City Council district representatives. Fayetteville has 126,989 registered voters, Amaro said.

    “They’ve got to live in the city limits of Fayetteville,” Amaro said of the residents eligible to vote.

    She estimated that the overall turnout for this off-year election would be roughly 16%.

    “Because every race is contested, which is unusual for Fayetteville,” she said.
    She said the May primary drew 16.25% of the voters. Amaro, who has served as the Board of Election’s interim director since Jan. 1, said a lot of people tend to vote early.

    “It’s picked up over the years,” she said, “as more and more people have heard about it.”

    Wesley McIntyre El, 26, of Fayetteville, was outside the Board of Elections Office to support Brenda McNair, who is running against incumbent Larry Wright for the District 7 seat on the City Council. He said he voted Thursday morning.

    “You always prepare for a storm,” he said. “Anything in life — you prepare for. You don’t want to wait until the last minute.”

    McIntyre said he wasn’t surprised that turnout was slow on the first day of early voting.

    “It’s a polarized climate,” he said. “There’s no love in the air.”

    Several candidates — including Mayor Mitch Colvin and his mayoral opponent Freddie Delacruz — were mostly trying to brave the stifling heat and humidity by sitting under tents and standing in the shade of a tree.
    Maria Cantu, 28, was working for candidate Mario Benavente, who is campaigning for the right to represent District 3. District 3 Councilman Antonio Jones, who was appointed to the seat and is running to keep it, was also among the candidates outside the Board of Elections Office. Cantu said she cast her vote earlier in the day.

    “I feel that not enough young people are engaged. Both parties want to engage the millennial voter and the GenZer voters," she said of the Republicans and Democrats. “Basically, everyone wants to see young voters.

    “It’s important to vote and make my voice heard,” Cantu said. “Even one vote can make a difference.”

    On the ballot
    In Fayetteville, voters will choose between the following candidates in 10 contests.

    Mitch Colvin, Freddie Delacruz
    City Council District 1:
    Kathy Keefe Jensen, Alex Rodriguez
    City Council District 2:
    Shakeyla Ingram, Tyrone A. Williams
    City Council District 3:
    Mario Benavente, Antonio Jones
    City Council District 4:
    Thomas Greene, D.J. Haire
    City Council District 5:
    Johnny Dawkins, Fred Lachance
    City Council District 6:
    Peter Pappas, Derrick Thompson
    City Council District 7:
    Brenda McNair, Larry Wright
    City Council District 8:
    Courtney Banks-McLaughlin, Michael Pinkston
    City Council District 9:
    Deno Hondros, Yvonne Kinston

  • 17 Local nonprofit Grace Helping Others is hosting its inaugural Mother & Son Date Night on July 16, at the Kiwanis Recreation Center.
    The event will offer a unique opportunity to celebrate the bond between young men and the special women in their lives.

    While it is advertised as a “Mother & Son” event, grandmothers, aunts, sisters or any other notable women are invited to attend and honor the important relationships they share with the young men in their lives.
    Grace Helping Others was established in January 2021 by Carmen Jones as a nonprofit tasked with offering support to surrounding communities. The volunteer organization commits to at least five fundraisers per year to assist a minimum of 200 individuals or families per year, empowering them to become more self-sufficient.

    The idea for a mother and son event came to Jones when she noticed how often the area offered organized outings for fathers and daughters.

    “I saw lots of father/daughter dinners and such, but nothing for mothers and sons,” Jones said.

    This sparked an idea.
    While it is quite common for young ladies to have the chance to try on fancy attire, the same is not always true for young men. Mother & Son Date Night offers time together and time for which attendees are encouraged to pull out their best attire, from semi-formal to dress-to-impress. There will even be prizes for Best Dressed Duo.

    As this will be the first year for Mother & Son Date Night, Jones is hoping that it will be the stepping stone to bigger events in the years to come.

    “We hope to have more participants each year as word spreads and excitement builds,” Jones said.

    Mother & Son Date Night is the perfect opportunity to create magical memories while letting Grace Helping Others handle all the details, including endless hors-d’oeuvres, dancing and a 360 photo booth. All participants will be emailed a link to the photos taken in the 360 photo booth, a video platform that captures 120 frames per second as users stand within a revolving camera while it captures slow-motion video.

    Couples’ tickets start at $30 for general admission ($10 for each additional child), or a VIP option is available for $45 ($15 for each additional child).

    Individual tickets are also available for $20 per person.
    Mother & Son Date Night will be held July 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Kiwanis Recreation Center and Honeycutt Park, 352 Devers St.

    For tickets, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/mother-and-son-date-night-tickets-314025457597.

  • 14 Knowledge is power, and the United Negro College Fund said it best: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
    Education is learning what you didn’t know that you didn’t know, and becoming a lifelong learner striving to become the best version of oneself is imperative.
    Cumberland County Schools currently have 470 students who dropped out of school, and that is why they are presenting their Back-to-School Launch Party Thursday, July 21 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Alger B. Wilkins High School.

    “The purpose of our Back-to-School Launch Party is to reengage students who have gotten out of school for various reasons such as lack of engagement, being unmotivated, having to work during COVID-19, experiencing a sickness, missed a lot of days of school and more,” explained Candice Revels, a school social worker for the Office of Indian Education with Cumberland County Schools.

    “And this was a part of that lack of engagement, and they just felt like they were overwhelmed, so we really want to reengage them and give them the best option for their circumstances now.”
    The event will discuss the options for students returning to school, if a student qualifies to attend the online academy and what kinds of community resources the student may need.

    “There will be tables set up so that students can rotate and receive the information that they need,” said Revels. “For example, Miller-Motte College will be there to assist with information on how to obtain your truck driver certification.”

    The party will feature a Speak On It Teen Health Awareness Fair. “They will talk about some of those health aspects to include mental health awareness, safe sex practices, navigating life after COVID-19, self-care, financial literacy, resources and next steps,” Revels said. “They will also discuss what life after high school will look like for the individual.”

    There will be many future options presented to potential returning students. “The discussion will center around if the student wants to go into the workforce, join the military or
    attend a two-year or four-year college, Revels said.

    The event is free and open to the public. Organizers will have door prizes and swag bags will be given to each student who attends the event and reenrolls in school.
    Alger B. Wilkins High School is located at 1429 Skibo Road.

  • 9 The Bragg ‘N Barn on Fort Bragg is making room to better serve the families that serve their country. The main post thrift store is currently undergoing renovations to bring positive logistical changes to the beloved second-hand shop. Conceived in large part by the Bragg ‘N Barn's manager of three months, Monica Allen, the World War II-era building will undergo a remodel that focuses on enhancing the experience of both shoppers and workers.

    “The end goal is a clean, safe shopping environment for our community, as well as a good proper flow of donated and consigned items,” Allen explained to Up & Coming Weekly. “We want to ensure there's a place for everything and that the store is organized so we can increase sales and give back even more through our welfare grants and scholarships to military dependents.”

    The Bragg ‘N Barn is a space nearly bursting at the seams with good intentions and is stocked full of clothing, furniture, household goods, books and toys. Still receiving donations during this time, the store is excited to implement the new plans and get more merchandise out on the floor.

    “We're focused on making more floor space to accommodate more donated items,” Allen said, sharing plans for the store's renovation. “There's a lot of focus on cleanliness in the dressing rooms and the children's play area. The children love the play area, and it's a constant struggle to keep it clean and organized because they're having fun with their shopping. We want to make it safer and easier for employees to keep it clean.”

    Originally a mule barn built during WWII, the Bragg ‘N Barn gets its rustic moniker from its roots. The historic brick building is a slice of the past now serving as the site of so much good. Dawn Miller, president of the Board of Directors for the Bragg ‘N Barn, feels the building's current duty as a thrift shop is more than fitting.

    “It's always good to repurpose,” she said. “It's a great use of the building. By people shopping here, donating here, consigning here, volunteering and working here — it's a wonderful cycle. Our sole mission is to help the

    Fort Bragg community and the greater Fayetteville area; it's the only reason we're here.”
    Apart from their service as a place for families across Fort Bragg to shop for needed items at affordable prices, the Bragg ‘N Barn has fingers that reach far beyond the crowded shelves and overflowing racks in the shop.

    The Bragg ‘N Barn has been a long-time employer of military spouses and dependents. The money received through in-store purchases goes toward the aforementioned welfare grants and scholarships for military high school seniors and those who wish to continue their education.

    As the project progresses, there have been interruptions to daily operations, and a few more are likely to occur before August. As the workers commit to keeping up operations while keeping shut-downs to a minimum, Allen admits, it's been difficult.

    “We've had a lot of obstacles, but our volunteers have been great. We're hoping to get more volunteer teams in to help.”

    Miller also chimed in with the store's need for those willing to give their time and talents to help the Bragg ‘N Barn thrive.

    “We need more people to come in and lend that helping hand. Volunteers have become a precious resource that is disappearing,” she stated. “It's only ‘goodness’ when you volunteer for your community.”

    For those who wish to volunteer, Allen is more than happy to help log those hours into the Volunteer Management Information System for the military. Allen also invites teenagers on school break to come and lend a hand as long as they're registered with Child & Youth Services.

    Additionally, the Bragg ‘N Barn is hunting for a washer and dryer for their warehouse and items to spruce up the employee breakroom.

    The scheduled August grand reopening coincides with National Thrift Store Day, observed on Wednesday, Aug. 17, this year. Allen hopes to make it a full month of celebration.
    The Bragg ‘N Barn is located on Ft. Bragg at 2-2412 Woodruff St.

    Volunteer forms can be found in-store or through the Bragg ‘N Barn Facebook page www.facebook.com/BraggNBarnThriftShop/.

  • 16 A new Association of the U.S. Army event is coming to the Crown Complex this month. The AUSA Warfighter Summit and Exposition is a two-day, in-person summit to teach leadership and professional development.
    The theme this year is “America’s Response Force: Ready Today, Ready Tomorrow.”

    Retired Brig. Gen. Jack Haley is the Vice President, Membership and Meetings for the AUSA. He says they have wanted to host a big event at Fort Bragg for a while and is excited to kick this event off as it’s aimed at the everyday soldier.

    “We wanted to do an event that was focused purely on the soldier, the warfighter,” Haley said. “We have been wanting to do this for a long time, and it’s finally coming together.”

    The summit will feature presentations by Army senior leaders and commands based at Fort Bragg, as well as experts from industry and academia. Topics will span the seven warfighting functions and highlight the way Army operational forces can sharpen their capabilities to win on the future battlefield.

    There also will be discussions on best practices to sustain foundational readiness and modernization and promote installation resilience.
    But it won’t be all lectures and panels. On the other side of the Crown Complex will be an obstacle course called the Battle Challenge Area.

    “We will run soldiers through the obstacle course and reward top male and top female over the two days,” Haley said.
    The keynote speaker on the first day of the summit will be Gen. James C. McConville, the Chief of Staff of the Army. The keynote speaker on the second day of the summit will be Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Michael A. Grinston.

    One speaker Haley thinks will excite people will be former NFL Player and Army Captain Alejandro Villanueva. Villanueva will deliver a PRIME Talk on People, Readiness, Innovation, Modernization and Education.

    “He’s going to talk to soldiers about leadership, morals and ethics that he learned when he was deployed in Afghanistan,” Haley said. “I also think he will run the battle course with a couple of troops and do a physical training session with some of the soldiers at Fort Bragg.”

    Gen. Andrew Poppas, the new commander of United States Army Forces Command, will also have a chance to talk to Fort Bragg soldiers during a town hall on the second day of the summit. Poppas and Grinston will hold a discussion on building readiness through cohesive teams that are highly trained, disciplined and fit.

    In addition, a session dedicated to the spouses and families of servicemembers will be held. That panel called Community Grit: Building Family Support Readiness will take place on the first day of the expo.

    For those who can’t make it to all of the panels, many of them will be live-streamed on AUSA’s website and social media.

    Online registration is open until July 20. The event itself will take place on July 27 and July 28. There is no cost for military and government civilian personnel.
    All attendees, exhibitors and speakers are to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Masks are optional. To register, go to https://meetings.ausa.org/warfighter/index.cfm.


  • FPD logo The grandparents of the woman who was fatally shot by Fayetteville police on Friday night dispute the department’s account of the incident.

    "This was bad. It was an egregious murder by the Fayetteville police," said Rick Iwanski, who is the grandfather of the woman killed, Jada Johnson. "Mental illness is not a crime."

    Johnson's family said she was suffering a mental crisis when she was tackled by police trying to get a handgun away from the 22-year-old. Police said the struggle came after officers spent about an hour trying to deescalate the situation and working to persuade Johnson to put down the handgun.

    Police said Johnson was threatening to hurt herself. Her grandmother, Maria Iwanski, and her daughter La’Naya also were in harm’s way, police have said.

    The shooting happened at Rick Iwanski's home in the 2300 block of Colgate Drive.

    The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the shooting.

    Two police officers have been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard procedure, said Officer Jeremy Strickland, a spokesman for the Police Department. He said the officers' names and the amount of time they have been with the Police Department are not being released at this time.

    The department has said its Internal Affairs Unit will conduct an internal investigation to ensure departmental policies and procedures were followed during the incident.

    Strickland said he could not comment further on the case.

    "Pretty much everything else will come from the SBI because we turned everything over to them," Strickland said. "Any further questions should be directed to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation because they have taken the case."

    Events unfold

    Officers were sent to Iwanski’s house just after 9:40 p.m. when an attempted break-in was reported, Assistant Police Chief James Nolette said during a news conference early Saturday.

    Officers were told that four men tried to break into the residence. Officers contacted the occupants, Nolette said. No evidence of a break-in could be determined, he said.
    The Iwanskis, who are married but estranged, were inside the residence along with Johnson and Johnson’s 2 1/2-year-old daughter.

    Nolette said there were inconsistencies with Johnson’s story. She also appeared “as if she were in crisis,’’ he said.

    “And then suddenly, she produced a firearm,’’ Nolette said, adding that she began to threaten to harm herself.

    Nolette said two officers spent about an hour talking with Johnson, trying to get her to put down the gun and discussing getting her help. After about an hour of trying to deescalate the situation, Nolette said, officers tried to secure the weapon and the struggle went to the ground.

    Maria Iwanski described her granddaughter as being tackled, like a football player, by one of the officers who edged closer to her while another one spoke from farther away, apparently in an attempt to distract Johnson.

    “I had the baby with me. I was close to her,” Maria Iwanksi said.

    Maria Iwanski said Johnson felt threatened by police. At one point, Johnson told the officer who continued to draw closer to her to back off, according to her grandmother.

    “'See, Mom, they’re trying to do something,’’’ Iwanski said Johnson told her.

    “She said as long as the baby was with me, they would not shoot her,” Maria Iwanski said.

    After her granddaughter was restrained, the 64-year-old Iwanski said, “she hit the edge of the table and fell flat on the floor. Her eyes were wide open, but nothing in her eyes.”

    Iwanski said she heard two shots and the baby screaming.

    She said Johnson was shot multiple times in the back "when she was largely unconscious already.”

    Strickland referred questions about the shooting, including how many times Johnson was shot, to the SBI.

    “They shot her like a freaking horse, like an animal,’’ Maria Iwanski said in an emotional outburst Tuesday.

    Maria Iwanski said Johnson had placed the handgun on the floor for a couple of minutes before being shot. At the time, they were both in the living room with La'Naya and Rick Iwanski.

    "Police never made an attempt to get it," she said.

    Earlier mental health treatment

    Maria Iwanski said her granddaughter was released earlier in the day from Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. She said Johnson had been admitted two days before after experiencing mental problems, including ramped-up anxiety.

    She said doctors told her at the time of Johnson’s release that her granddaughter had "mental problems." She was given pills, Iwanski said, and released.

    Maria Iwanski said her granddaughter was anxious about a toxic situation with her former boyfriend, from whom she had recently split. Johnson got the gun for protection, her grandmother said. She told Iwanski that the only thing her ex-boyfriend respects is a gun.

    Iwanski said she and her husband raised Johnson like a daughter.

    During the Saturday morning news conference, Nolette said two officers spent about an hour talking with Johnson trying to get her to put down the handgun. They also discussed getting her help, he said.

    Johnson agreed to get assistance through Cape Fear Valley, according to Nolette, and police had medical crews ready to respond.

    But Maria Iwanski said police canceled the emergency vehicle while they continued to try to persuade Johnson to give up the gun.

    “They said it was not needed,” she recalled of the EMS vehicle. “She wanted to go back to the hospital. She got more and more anxious.’’

    At one point, Iwanski said, the officers went outside and talked in private. When they returned, Johnson asked what they had been talking about, Iwanski said. She was told that the conversation was private.

    After about an hour, police said they attempted to take the gun from Johnson and secure control of it. Police and the woman struggled and fell to the ground before the officer fired, according to Nolette.

    Maria Iwanski said she saw an officer shoot Johnson in the back.

    Rick Iwanski said he did not hear any shots fired by Johnson.

    "From what I saw, it was the police. I did not hear any shots from her, from when she went down or after she went down," he said.

    Iwanski said the family plans to take some type of legal action, but at this point, "we don't know the route. I believe we have to wait until the SBI's investigation is complete. In the meantime, we'll have some protests, some picketing, some demonstrations. We're working it now," he added.

    "She was a wonderful girl," Maria Iwanski said of her granddaughter. "I have cancer. She helped me. She was here for me during the treatments. She was very helpful."

  • pexels Crime tape A woman was found shot to death Wednesday morning in a street in north Fayetteville.

    Fayetteville police officers were dispatched just after 10:50 a.m. to the 2000 block of Blake Street in reference to a shooting. Blake Street is off Sherman Drive in north Fayetteville.

    A woman with an apparent gunshot wound was found in the street, police said in a release. She was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Her identity is being withheld until her next of kin is notified.

    Members of the department’s Homicide Unit are investigating.

    Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Detective S. Shirey at 910-751-3009 or Crimestoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).

  • sunny pexels pixabay 301599 Fayetteville will see temperatures above normal for July over the next few days, and Cumberland County officials want to make sure people without air conditioning have a place to stay cool.
    The county announced Wednesday that it has opened select buildings as cooling stations for those residents who do not have access to air conditioning.

    The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory until 7 p.m. Wednesday for Cumberland County with a heat index value up to 109 degrees.
    At 3 p.m. Wednesday, the temperature in Fayetteville was 95 degrees with a heat index of 107, the National Weather Service said.

    “The temperature reported is actually the temperature in the shade,’’ said meteorologist Aaron Swiggett.

    The warm temperatures are expected to continue Thursday with a heat index of 100 to 105 degrees, Swiggett said.
    Fayetteville is seeing temperatures four to five degrees above normal. The normal high for Fayetteville is 91 degrees, Swiggett said.

    Cooling stations

    The county said these buildings are available as cooling stations:

    The auxiliary lobby on the first floor at the Department of Social Services at 1225 Ramsey St. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Masks or face coverings are optional. However, masks and social distancing are encouraged, the county said.

    The first-floor lobby of the Cumberland County Department of Public Health at 1235 Ramsey St. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Anyone entering the Health Department is required to wear a mask and receive a temperature scan.

    All eight Cumberland County public libraries also are open as cooling stations, the county said. Libraries are open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Headquarters Library at 300 Maiden Lane is also open Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m.

    The 18 Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation Centers — which are open to the public year-round during normal operating hours — may also be used by residents to escape the heat.

    Extreme heat and humidity will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working in outdoor activities, the county said.

    Swiggett said people who work outdoors should take breaks often and be aware of heat-related illnesses and symptoms. He also reminded people to:
    Drink plenty of fluids.
    Check on elderly relatives and neighbors and make sure they have adequate ways to stay cool.
    And never leave children or pets unattended in vehicles.

     The area could see relief this weekend. A cold front expected to pass through on Saturday could bring below-normal temperatures Sunday and Monday. The high Sunday is expected to be 83 degrees.

  • North Carolina Leglslature Building by Frank Taylor Carolina Public Press The state’s nearly $2 billion budget for the new fiscal year includes $1.5 million to boost Fayetteville State University’s fledgling training program for sexual assault nurse examiners, or SANE nurses.

    The program, led by Dr. Sheila Cannon, recently received approval from the state Board of Nursing. Late last year, legislators approved $125,000 for a SANE nurse pilot training project in Cumberland County, overseen by Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County.

    With that initial amount, Cannon told CPP she expected to train 10 students this summer.
    But the legislature’s appropriation, if the state budget is approved by Gov. Roy Cooper, could expand her program over multiple years.
    Fayetteville State University is a historically Black university and may be the first HBCU in the entire nation to become a hub for SANE nurse training, according to Jennifer Pierce-Weeks, chief executive officer for the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

    “Having nurses who provide trauma-informed, evidence-based, patient-centered care who also represent the communities they serve is one of the many ways we can begin to bridge the gap in health disparities,” Pierce-Weeks said.

    Cannon has plans to train SANE nurses who intend to remain in North Carolina. A Carolina Public Press investigation published last year surveyed 130 hospitals and community programs statewide. The responses showed that few SANE nurses work in rural areas, and many urban areas only had a few.
    The investigation showed some rape victims had to travel to multiple hospitals across several days to find a credentialed SANE nurse.

    “This is a big step forward,” said Skye David, an attorney for the N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault, of the appropriation for FSU.

    “Your reporting shed some light for folks to see we really need to focus on that. Having a training program at an HBCU and encouraging people to stay in North Carolina is really huge both for survivors and for Fayetteville State.”

    While 18% of white women will face a sexual assault in their lifetimes, nearly 19% of Black women and more than 1-in-3 Native American women will also face sexual assault, according to the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
    People of color are “not likely at all” to see someone who resembles them when they seek a SANE nurse, Cannon said in April.

    “Because we are so culturally diverse here at FSU, we can certainly generate more people of color who are SANE-trained and can grow that interest in that way.”
    Cannon said the state needs a sustainable way to train SANE nurses.

    “This is a long-term problem,” Cannon said in April. “This is something that needs to be fixed, and I don’t think people get the magnitude of what this might mean.”
    People arriving in an emergency room after an assault “need the compassion, need the support and care, and need (SANE nurses) to get them through that trauma they are experiencing,” Cannon said. “They are often retraumatized from the lack of compassion.”

    Other legislation related to sexual assaults

    Lawmakers also passed a bill last week to collect DNA from domestic-violence abusers and increase payments to hospitals for sexual assault exams.
    The state reimburses hospitals up to $800 for a physician or SANE nure to conduct a sexual assault exam, and hospitals are required to accept that money as “as payment in full.” However, sometimes victims are billed for the costs anyway, and hospitals have said $800 isn’t enough to pay for a nurse’s time for what can be a multihour examination for forensic evidence and compassionate care to a sexual assault victim.

    State Sen. Natasha Marcus, D-Mecklenburg, filed a bill to increase the cap to $1,500 last year. She said she was pleased Sens. Danny Britt, R-Robeson, and Kathy Harrington, R-Gaston, along with Rep. Billy Richardson, D-Cumberland, were willing to roll her bill into HB 674.

    “It’s my understanding that one of the main reasons why providers were billing victims for their forensic exams was because they were not receiving full reimbursement for the exams due to the cap,” Marcus said.

    If signed by the governor, House Bill 674 requires the state to collect DNA from people convicted of assault on a female, a charge typically associated with domestic violence. The bill initially sought to collect DNA when someone was charged with assault on a female.

  • 4Everyone knows I am a huge Chamber of Commerce advocate. So when our newspaper was invited to assist in moderating the June 30 Fayetteville Municipal Candidate's Forum at the Crown Coliseum along with CityView TODAY and the Fayetteville Observer, I was delighted. The Chamber's Government Affairs Committee hosted the forum under the direction of Eva Henderson, and Gary Rogers emceed the event. The event was well attended by all incumbents and challengers seeking city council elected positions for all nine districts and the office of mayor. Only Deno Hondras, District 9 candidate, was absent due to an out-of-town commitment. The attendance of concerned citizens, estimated at 70, was disappointing considering that this was the final forum before early voting beings on July 7.

    I was excited to be a part of this informational exercise. However, I was equally disappointed in the outcome once it was over. It left me with a hollow feeling about the future of our community. Without a doubt, the candidates readily identified and acknowledged the Fayetteville community's needs and its citizens' concerns. Homelessness, the crime and homicide rates, the need for affordable housing, higher-paying jobs, the desire to attract more industry, improve our image and have a cleaner, more beautiful city. But collectively, and with only a few exceptions, after listening to the incumbents' positions, they confirmed what I and many others suspected, they are primarily about maintaining their roles within their districts and have little knowledge or concern for the needs of the cumulative 210,000 citizens. This became evident when I reviewed my notes, which revealed this sentiment was a pattern among incumbents from the mayor on down. When Mayor Mitch Colvin was asked about Fayetteville's homeless encampments on Gillespie Street and the four city center encampments encompassing three blocks between Rowan and Hay streets, he instinctively punted the problem over to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Colvin stated that this city council had done more for homelessness over the last term than in 25 years. I don't remember homelessness being an epidemic problem 25 years ago. Truth be known, the situation has only gotten worse under this administration.

    As I listened to the mayor and the nine incumbents responding to questions about homelessness, crime, overall community safety, out-of-control traffic, lack of police accountability and the shameful amount of trash and litter in our city, it became apparent that their main priority was to safeguard and secure their positions. They radiated little concern, empathy or knowledge of the needs of the entire Fayetteville community. Evidence of this surfaced with the incumbent's adverse reactions to the viability of term limits. And again, concerning the pending referendum that will appear on the November ballot for changing Fayetteville's nine district/mayor structure. This structure only allows a resident two votes out of ten in determining Fayetteville's leadership compared to a possible four at large seats and five districts plus the mayor. This change would give all Fayetteville residents six out of ten votes in determining local leadership. Six votes versus two! One would think, “what's not to like about that?”

    I'll close by saying everyone needs to look to the future. Go to the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce website and view the Forum video. It says it all. Fayetteville's future is now! Voting starts on July 7, and I will make this prediction hoping and praying it doesn't turn into a sad and disappointing epitaph. “Fayetteville will ultimately get the kind of leadership it deserves.”
    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 27I don’t get to use the word flabbergasted much. It simply means greatly surprised or astonished, but it sounds more striking, so I’m going to use it today.

    Flabbergasted. That’s the state I’d have to say I’ve found myself in more than once in the past couple of years.

    As I see and hear the responses to local, national and international events from people who I’ve worked with, worshiped with, and even shared meals with, I’ve had multiple occasions to realize just how little I know about the people I thought I was close with, and I’m, well, flabbergasted!

    Publicly, I’m a fairly low-key guy, so you’re not likely to trip me up after a reckless social media post or outburst at a gathering somewhere.
    The river runs deep, though. I’ve just learned to listen more than I speak.

    Moreover, other than emergencies, I believe a little thought goes a long way before action.
    So when I see the public outcry and people tearing one another down in response to wars, sanctions, Supreme Court decisions and new legislation, I am often greatly surprised or astonished — especially when it comes from people I’ve locked arms with.

    I take the collective charge to the Church (capital C) seriously. Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say about us staying on the same page: Ephesians 4:1b-6... I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    This is clearly a call to unity. It’s a call for us to remain friends and continue working together toward honorable goals no matter how much we may disagree.
    It’s a call to recognize that though many things may attempt to divide us, through humility, gentleness and with patience, there is little that can succeed in doing so.

    There is no doubt that we live in a world and culture that adopts rules and enacts legislation that runs counter to the Truth of who God calls us to be. Yet, we must endure and even flourish.
    I’m with you, friend. I don’t agree with everything I read in all caps on social media the other day, but I understand you better and am still willing to talk it out and work together for a better tomorrow.


  • 8Candidates and incumbents for the Fayetteville City Council squared off in brief mayoral and council district debates on June 30, hoping to sway voters to their way of thinking.

    The Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce hosted the candidate forum at the Crown Coliseum Complex. The Fayetteville City Council and Mayoral election are on July 26. The election consists of a mayoral race and nine single-member districts.

    The forum did not allow the approximate 60 audience members to understand how all members felt about any single topic since district candidates were asked different questions. Candidates who served in the military touted their leadership expertise, while those who owned or operated businesses touted their business acumen.

    One emerging theme among those seeking office for the first time was that the current leadership was lacking. Incumbents mostly pointed to current city programs when asked about their accomplishments. Many candidates seeking their first terms promised more of everything, among them enticements to keep those getting out of the military and recent college graduates to stay in Fayetteville.

    Mayor Mitch Colvin said the city is business-friendly and has demonstrated that through supporting small businesses, especially during the height of the pandemic, and forming partnerships to help businesses. He points to the more than 2,500 jobs created and $250 million in new investments.

    Mayoral candidate Freddie de la Cruz said his focus would be on better mass transportation to help people get from their homes to work and back again. He advocated a more efficient way of getting to bus stops from homes, possibly using Lyft or Uber.

    De la Cruz also criticized the city’s leadership response to the riots and the burning of the Market House.

    “I didn’t like the way that was run,” he said. He said removing the “black painted stripe” around the Market House and then paying to repaint the street was an inefficient use of city resources. The Black Lives Matter issue surrounding the Market House was divisive, he said.

    Colvin and de la Cruz also differed on their approach to finding a solution for the growing number of unhoused individuals in the city and the idea of term limits for the mayor and city council. Colvin noted the city is currently working on several programs to mitigate homelessness in the city, citing a proposed homeless shelter and other programs.

    De la Cruz said much of the homelessness is a family matter and should be handled accordingly. He supports using public money for homeless centers for those who, because of mental illness or drug addiction, are not able to function without help. Others, who are capable of working, should be put back into the workforce, and that should be accomplished by bolstering the city’s economy, he said.

    De la Cruz, a retired lieutenant colonel, said the mayor and city council offices should have term limits. He likened it to the Army’s change-of-command, where new leadership is infused often. Colvin, who has served as councilmember and mayor pro tem before becoming the city’s second African-American mayor in 2017, said the current two-year term works best. He was first elected to City Council in 2013.

    “We have the shortest terms in the state, and we all run at the same time,” Colvin said. The city council and mayor all run for two-year terms and are not staggered.

    “At any given time, there can be a complete turnover. Citizens decide every 24 months,” he said.

    District 5 candidate Frederick LaChance, a Navy veteran and a graduate of the original Pine Forest High School, called for the removal of Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins. LaChance is running against long-time incumbent Johnny Dawkins Jr. LaChance also said his position is based on how the city, in his view, failed to respond to the riots and burning of the Market House. LaChance also endorsed combining city and county services.

    Dawkins said he is a staunch proponent of a well-paid and well-equipped police department. He agreed with LaChance that some services should be combined and noted the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation services currently are a joint city-county venture.

    The issue of race relations emerged in the debate between District 8 incumbent Courtney Banks-McLaughlin and downtown businessman Michael Pinkston. Pinkston previously ran for city council in 2015.

    When asked about race being an issue in Fayetteville, Pinkston replied, “Race disturbs me deeply, but we need to get over ourselves.” He envisions a council that will discuss issues, not race, one that works on problems and votes for whatever is best for Fayetteville.

    Pinkston said he supports the “Yes Fayetteville” initiative, which seeks to have at-large council representation, thus giving city voters more than two candidates to vote for. Currently, city residents can only vote for a mayor and their respective district representative. Adding at-large candidates would give city voters more voting options and, once elected, more council members responsive to that district.
    Banks-McLaughlin told the primarily Black audience she was not in favor of the proposed “Yes Fayetteville” referendum, calling it racist and an attempt by some to achieve power and control over the city. Currently, eight of the 10-member council are Black.

    Pinkston said voting in favor of having at-large council members would put us in league with other North Carolina cities like Raleigh and Durham.

    Pinkston also said he supports the city’s previous pledge of $7.5 million for the proposed Civil War and Reconstruction Museum. Both the city and Cumberland County previously pledged $7.5 million each, with a county proviso that the committee behind the museum get other funding. The state of North Carolina has allocated $60 million for the project.
    Banks-McLaughlin said she does not support the museum. She said there were more important issues in the community that the city could use the money for. Supporters of the museum have repeatedly noted the economic boon to Fayetteville in jobs and recurring tourist dollars once the history center is complete and under state control and operation.
    District 4 incumbent D.J. Haire also supports single-member districts and does not support the proposed “Yes Fayetteville” referendum. Haire said the smaller single-member districts allow him to get to know his constituents better.

    His opponent Thomas Greene asked, “What difference does it make?” Whether all single-member districts or some at-large districts, Greene said the issue is quality.

    “Fayetteville has a leadership problem,” he said, maintaining that having the right people in place will make the difference.

    Asked about the Murchison Road corridor, Greene said making residents along that route safe, enforcing building codes, and creating a better standard of living for those residents would do much to enhance that I-295 gateway into the city. Greene, a bail bondsman, said Fayetteville has a narco economy and a 50% increase in the murder rate. Working on those issues would greatly enhance Fayetteville’s image.

    Haire countered that he had been a “drum major” for Murchison Road, citing the development of Bronco Square across from Fayetteville State University and securing $350,000 for supporting small businesses in the area. Haire so far has served 10 terms on the city council and is the second-generation owner of a real estate firm.

    Others vying for office include incumbent Katherine Jensen and Jose Alex Rodriguez in District 1. Jensen, a small business owner, said people should shop locally and not travel to Raleigh or elsewhere to shop. Jensen listed her strengths as someone who collaborates with others to achieve results.

    Rodriguez said Fayetteville needs to provide incentives to recruit big business to keep exiting military and college graduates to stay and seek careers here.
    In District 2, incumbent Shakeyla Ingram hopes to ward off Tyrone Williams in an effort to keep her seat on the council. Williams is a former city council member. He resigned in May 2018 over ethical concerns. Ingram is looking to serve a second term and is an advocate of affordable housing, police accountability and the inclusion of the community in fighting crime.

    “You can’t arrest your way out of everything,” she said.

    Williams, an investor and developer who served on an economic development board in Norfolk, Va., said his family left their Raeford farm years ago to seek a better life in Fayetteville.

    “It hasn’t turned out that way,” he said. He said development and the use of $40 million in American Rescue Plan money could encourage development in Fayetteville.

    Mario “Be” Benavente and Antonio Jones are vying for the District 3 seat. Jones was appointed to the council in December 2021 to replace Councilwoman Tisha Waddell who resigned from the District 3 seat in November, alleging unethical behavior by several members of City Council.

    Mario Benavente recently earned his law degree from North Carolina Central University and is a graduate of the Fayetteville Police Department’s Citizen Police Academy. Benavente claimed racial profiling by police at traffic stops has increased during the past 10 years. He said a citizen endorsed Civilian Review Board has yet to be established.
    Jones is a certified military relocation realtor and refused to debate Benavente’s claim that he accepted dollars from an out-of-town super PAC.

    “I’m not getting into mud,” he responded.

    Jones also said Fayetteville needs industry to keep young people interested in staying, but they also need better entertainment venues.
    District 6 pits two newcomers to politics: Peter Pappas and Derrick Thompson. District 6 was left vacant after Councilman Chris Davis opted to run for state office. Pappas owns and operates the family’s Baldino Sub Shops. Thompson is a 20-year Army veteran and former U.S. postal carrier.

    District 7 incumbent Larry Wright faces Brenda McNair who trailed Wright by only four votes in the primary. McNair is running on a platform of reconciliation. Third term Wright says his primary concern is reducing crime.
    Finally, Fayetteville native Deno Hondros seeks to replace incumbent Yvonne Kinston. Hondros is a commercial realtor. He did not attend the forum because of a previous out-of-state commitment. Kinston is a telecommunications customer service representative and an officer in the Communications Workers of America Union.

    For more detailed information about each candidate’s position, see Up & Coming Weekly’s 2022 Election Guide at www.upandcomingweekly.com.

  • 4President Ronald Reagan once quipped, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Certainly good for a chuckle, but also enormously insulting to public service employees, 76,000 of them in North Carolina, according to the Office of State Human Services.

    If you live in Cumberland County, the chances are good that you, someone in your family or a friend is a state employee. Cumberland County is well within driving distance to the Triangle, home to our state capital and the workforce that supports state operations.

    In addition, various state departments and agencies have offices all over North Carolina, employing workers at all levels, including hundreds in our community.
    Most of them take their job responsibilities seriously while under increasing pressure and enjoying little public support in this era of anti-government sentiment.
    More and more public service employees at the state and local levels are deciding with their feet and taking their skills and experience elsewhere, many enticed by higher pay in the private sector. While the Office of State Human Resources touts 76,000 state employees, the current reality is much different.

    The News and Observer recently reported that the current vacancy rate among state agencies is now 21%, with almost a quarter of all jobs unfilled. Three years ago, that rate was 12%. COVID probably accounts for some of this, but for whatever reasons, the number of state employees has dropped from 61,800 in April 2020 to 57,200 today. Ronnie Condrey of State Human Resources told The News and Observer that unfilled jobs and high turnover are a serious problem for our state.

    “We spend a lot of time training people, and they turn around and use that elsewhere.”

    It is hard to blame them.

    Private sector jobs traditionally pay more. Public sector jobs generally come with more job protections and more generous benefits, although those have waned in recent years. At the end of the day, though, public sector pay has to be enough to live on, and that simply is no longer the case in North Carolina and many local communities.

    The North Carolina General Assembly has enacted a 5% pay raise for most state employees over two years, which is significantly lower than the current inflation rate. Cities and counties are scrambling to give raises as well, but even when there is the will, the way is difficult in poorer communities.

    Other factors affecting the public workforce include aging public employees and a younger population that is more mobile than ever before.
    I cannot speak for you, of course, but I want and expect certain services from my government at the local and state levels.

    From the state, I want the roads my family and I drive to be safe, well-maintained and patrolled. I want the schools my grandchildren attend to have well-trained teachers and administrators and enough of both. I want North Carolina prisons to have enough corrections officers to keep themselves and those in their custody safe. I want adequate numbers of health care professionals at state facilities to provide care to people who need it.

    From local governments, I want law enforcement officers to show up when we need them. I want someone to answer my 911 call in a timely manner. I want safety inspections for buildings, bus drivers for public transit and lifeguards at public pools. I am also grateful for public parks where families can enjoy each other and public libraries we can all explore.
    I will go out on a limb here and speculate that you want those services as well. They are not the “help” Ronald Reagan joked about so cavalierly. They are the services that keep our communities safe and the amenities that make them attractive places to work and live.

    If we want to keep them, we must insist our state and local decision-makers fund them.

  • 16Limitless is the only way to describe the exhibitions at Gallery 208 in Fayetteville. Each exhibition is an opportunity to share experimental contemporary artists, how curiosity has shaped an artist’s style and how material, sometimes the immaterial, can communicate an idea or feeling in a work of art.

    Intersection: Textiles and Printmaking by Martha Sisk is the newest exhibition, opening July 12, and exemplifies an artist who has merged the boundaries of fiber arts and the art of print. The public is invited to meet the artist during the reception of Intersection at Gallery 208 on July 12, between 5:30 to 7 p.m., to view an exhibition of wall hangings and fine art prints. Visitors to the reception will see how effortlessly Sisk moves between fabrics and printmaking — each medium influencing the other, and the ordinary becomes extraordinary!

    Whether it is fabric or printmaking, the core of this artist’s success is being inspired by nature and how fragments, or parts, can result in balanced completeness. Working methodically and intuitively, Sisk responds to pattern, color, shapes and texture to create cohesive designs and compositions.

    Working with fabric since she was a child, as an adult Sisk continues to work with fabrics to create dolls, children’s clothing, quilts and wall hangings.
    Her turning point towards creating nonfunctional fine art with fabrics took place in 2005 when Sisk attended a workshop on a “confetti” embroidery technique. Her piece, “Thank you, Monet,” is the result of the workshop and is being exhibited in Intersection.

    “Thank You, Monet” is an 18” x 24” inch framed work created from an assortment of many, many small pieces of fabric arranged to create an image. Created by the “confetti” technique, Sisk and the other participants were inspired by pictures they took to the workshop. Many small scraps of fabric were arranged to resemble their images, the surface of loose scraps held in place with “tull,” an undetectable netted fabric, then machine sewn on top to keep all the small pieces of fabric in place. (On the label, next to the work, is a small picture by Claude Monet, which inspired her interpretation of his landscape using fabric.)

    In comparison, fast forward to 2014, an 18” x 24” woven silkscreen in the exhibit titled “Borne Along by Dreams” is an example of how Sisk was influenced by her experiences in fiber arts to create an original type of fine art print. Rhythmic patterns of shapes of color and the surprising ways of creating a recognizable image by the unexpected placement of various textures are the results of her fiber arts experiences.

    Since the 1970s, due to the Women’s Movement, there has been a growing interest in fiber arts as fine art. During the last thirty years, a true renaissance in fiber arts has taken place by contemporary artists — nationally and globally. Gallery 208 is exhibiting Sisk to share a regional artist’s response to fabrics by displaying her wall hangings and original prints as a way for visitors can compare the ways two different mediums have influenced each other.

    Intersection is also an exhibition that exemplifies the ways in which artists respond to materials and the endless possibilities of any medium to express an idea. Sisk has been influenced in many ways to continue to work in fabrics and eventually printmaking.

    “I am a collector of materials and tools, machines, patterns, books, paper and thread; I have a willingness to try something new, and a fascination with nature,” she said.

    “In any work I create, I am always trying to share my love of nature — especially trees. Trees are so beautiful and fantastic no matter the shape, condition, size or type. I have an appreciation for forms and colors; I notice textures and see beauty in places and things many people might not. I see color most of all. I would like for the viewer to see what I see — beauty in the way I have used colors and shapes. Hopefully, the viewer will be transported to their own memory of places in nature.”

    The progression from fabric to screen prints as a material for her work has been natural.

    “After so many years of cutting up fabrics, it seemed natural to cut up unsuccessful silkscreen prints and use the colorfully inked paper surface in some way. What began as an experiment, cutting the silkscreen into long bands of color, then weaving them into an abstracted image, became an exciting way to work with the printed image.”
    When asked about the pleasures of working with fabrics or printmaking, Sisk shared the importance of enjoying the process and working towards a finished product.

    “Sometimes, solving a problem is a joy because the problem allows you to think in a different way — occasionally even allowing collaboration with a family member. It is satisfying to hear the solutions and work together.

    For both, just being creative is a positive activity that makes me happy.

    With fabrics, the art form includes so many variations that it is impossible to ‘get tired of it.’ Plus, it is a ‘clean’ art — requiring no water or solvents — nothing to clean up after I am through — except little threads on the floor and other little messes made from scissors and fabric. In printmaking, you have the advantage of multiples. But I like the monotype printmaking approach — weaving together parts to make one unique print.”
    Since all mediums have their advantages and disadvantages, Sisk explained, “Since I don’t use plain fabric, it’s difficult to find fabric with the colors and pattern I like. I love tools, but scissors and needles can get blunt and thread breaks. Unfortunately, sewing machines themselves can break. Quite differently, the tools for printmaking are simpler — almost primitive — and not inclined to break. However, the supplies used in printmaking, like ink, can be difficult to get consistent for an edition. For me, printmaking requires more patience than sewing. In silkscreen printmaking, drying time prevails; after pulling one color, the screen must be cleaned, then areas blocked out and have to dry before the next color; drying time is required before one layer can be added to the older layer.”

    Working with fabrics has always been an enjoyable hobby throughout her life, yet Sisk did not become a professional artist until after a non-art career. With the many responsibilities as a military spouse, Sisk earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Master of Arts degree for Exceptional Children in the late 90s and became an educator. It wasn’t until she went back to school in 2013 to take some art classes at Fayetteville State University that she decided to complete the FSU Visual Arts degree. While working on the arts degree, Sisk began exhibiting her work; as a professional artist, her works are in many private collections.
    Intersection is more than an exhibit of works by Martha Sisk; the exhibit is a tribute to ways in which an artist explores the potential of material, alternate surfaces, shapes, color and texture.

    Hopefully, visitors will leave the exhibit excited about the possibilities of any collection of supplies, crafts or art and see the potential to express and share something beautiful, an idea or a feeling with unexpected materials.

    The public is invited to attend the opening reception for Intersection: Textiles and Printmaking by Martha Sisk on July 12, between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
    The exhibit will stay in the Gallery until Sept. 30. Gallery 208 is located at 208 Rowan St.

    Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, call 910-484-6200.

  • As the dog days of summer approach, families are scrambling to complete their activity bucket lists before the new school year beckons.

    While getting it all done in one day may seem like a tall order, Prime Movers of Hope Mills aims to try on July 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    After a successful initial run last year, Family Fun Day returns with even more in store for those with an epic summer wish list to check off.

    The Prime Movers is an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between millenials and the Board of Commissioners. Their primary goal is to increase millennial engagement within the community and the town of Hope Mills. Events like Family Fun Day align with the organization’s goal to create opportunities to unite people.

    “We had a great turnout last year,” said Monika Cotter, Hope Mills Prime Movers president. “This year, we wanted to make it bigger and better and change a few things. It’s a good way to get everybody to the Greenway

    Walking Trail, get outside, get active and let families have fun together.”
    Though “better” remains to be seen, a valiant attempt at “bigger” is apparent. This year’s itinerary is crammed with activities that appeal to every summer wish, dream and appetite.

    “Everybody should come to this event,” Cotter said. “It’s even dog friendly, and if your cat walks on a leash — you can bring them too,” she joked.

    Building on the success of last year’s Family Fun Day, this year will be packed with even more vendors and food trucks for people to enjoy. As a bonus, guests over 21 can take a stroll through Dirtbag Ales’ Beer Garden.

    For those under 21, there’s still fun to be had. Guests can enjoy some yoga, I-95 muscle cars, a craft table, a bounce house and a kid zone. And if that’s not enough, those who dare can step into the ring and test their mettle in a sumo competition, complete with a padded suit.

    The event will also feature an on-site photographer ready to snap an updated family photo in front of a fun background for just $5.
    Family Fun Day is a free event open to everyone, but Cotter is most excited to see kids enjoying the day with their loved ones.

    “I love seeing all the kids and their parents or grandparents taking part in what Hope Mills has to offer,” Cotter said.

    Though the primary goal of Family Fun Day is to bring people together for a good time, it’s also an excellent opportunity to serve the community.

    Prime Movers has organized a school supply drive to run concurrently with the day’s festivities as the school year approaches. Donations of notebooks, pencils, loose-leaf paper, disinfectant wipes, tissues, glue sticks, dry erase markers, water bottles and hand sanitizer will be collected on-site.

    At the end of the day, Cotter hopes people leave with a smile on their faces.

    “I hope to hear that people had a lot of fun with their families,” she said.
    Family Fun Day will be held at Hope Mills Golf Course, located at 3625 Golfview Road in Hope Mills.

    For more information about the event, visit www.facebook.com/hopemillsprimemovers2020.

  • 15Supporting local businesses and nonprofits is important to Gaston Brewing Company Founder and CEO Troy Rassmussen.
    After speaking to his team, they decided to create an event this summer that would be fun for the whole family while also supporting the community.

    “We wanted to do an event that would feature local vendors, local food, obviously local beverage, which was provided by us. And most of all, we wanted to partner with a local nonprofit organization to bring awareness to their cause and to help potentially raise some funds in support of what they're doing,” Rassmussen told Up & Coming Weekly.

    The nonprofit they chose was the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society — Cumberland County's only no-kill nonprofit animal shelter.

    The FAPS mission is "to provide a licensed, no-kill shelter for homeless animals until adopted into a loving and caring lifetime environment; to reduce the population of stray animals and to promote responsible pet ownership. FAPS receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of individuals and businesses to fund its lifesaving work,” according to their website.

    All profits from the multiple raffle drawings at the event will be donated to the FAPS.
    Some prizes for the raffle include gas gift cards, an indoor climbing package, local businesses' items and dancing lessons at Roland's Dance Studio.

    Rassmussen says there will be all types of vendors, boutiques, food and kid-friendly activities at the event. Some of the food trucks that have been named for the event include Big Chiefs Food Truck and Pelican Snowballs. Local musician Ethan Hanson will be performing at the event.

    For kids, Rassmussen says they are working on getting a kids zone section that will be a safe place for kids to play.
    Some planned activities include a possible petting zoo, a splash pad and various games.

    “It's going to be primarily an outdoor event," Rassmussen said. "So we'll have plenty for people to do and see and hopefully raise money for a good cause.”
    FAPS will be out at Shops N' Hops and bringing some of the animals they have available for adoption. While it won't be same-day adoption, Rassmussen hopes that the people who will come and see the animals will hopefully think about adopting.

    “So it'll be a great opportunity for people to come and meet the fine folks at FAPS, and hopefully, maybe one of the pups that they bring will find a new home,” Rassmussen said.
    Rassmussen hopes these Shops N' Hops events will continue as a regular event at Gaston's.

    “I think the idea is we would like to do this, you know, quarterly or maybe seasonally and choose a different nonprofit each time,”- Rassmussen said.
    Shops N' Hops will take place on July 15 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Gaston Brewing Taproom. The event is free and is geared toward people of all ages.

  • 23Passing the older generation's stories to the next generation is the goal of the Lumbee Women, who are putting on a production of their stories at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke this month.

    The play tells the story of six women, no one younger than the age of 65, and how they grew up in the close-knit Lumbee tribal community during the time of the Jim Crow South.
    Each woman will tell her own story. Some are humorous, others heartbreaking — most are a mixture of both. Accompanying each tale will be music performed by a group of Lumbee musicians. The music will range from American Indian flute to gospel.

    Darlene Holmes Ransom is one of the founders, producers and one of the women performing in the play. She helped create “lumBEES: Women of the Dark Water” here in Fayetteville. Ransom was inspired by the play,

    “The Dames You Thought You Knew" at Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

    “So after the show was over, we went backstage, and I talked to Bo Thorpe, who was the director," Ransom said. “I said, ‘I want to do this with Lumbee women.’ And she said, ‘You bring me the women, we'll do the show.’”

    The six “Bees” are Roberta Bullard Brown, Dolores Jones, Jinnie Lowery, Dr. Jo Ann Chavis Lowery, Della Maynor and Ransom herself. Ransom told Up & Coming Weekly that over the five years of creating, producing and finalizing the show, the women formed a sisterhood.

    “It was a very long process. A lot of hours. Thousands of hours. If the chairs and the walls and the tables could talk in Bo's home, the stories they would tell. Some of the stories were too raw to be on stage. Some of the ladies shared things they never shared before because every time, it would become a safe place to share your story, to say things and tell things about experiences that happened. Growing up brown in a Black and white world. Because our experiences were so different then, you know, than the norm.”

    The play debuted at CFRT in 2019. It was sold out — something Ransom never expected.

    “I get chills when I think about it. We're still in awe that somebody wants to hear our story," Ransom said. “And so after it was over, I mean, everybody loved it. There were so many demands for us to travel with it. We've been asked to go to theaters all over. Even to travel with it out West.”

    However, as with most things in early 2020, everything shut down due to the pandemic. There were talks and even plans of having the production occur again last year, but then COVID-19 numbers rose, and for the safety of everyone, they canceled it.

    But now, after three years, the Lumbee women will be telling their stories — this time at UNC Pembroke.
    But this upcoming performance won't be the end of this group.

    “So we're doing bumper stickers, we're doing a book, and we want to do a coloring book, and we want this to grow, you know, because we are seasoned. We know that we can't travel across the country and all the venues, but this needs to grow another generation. They have to tell their story,” Ransom said. “So that is our hope to start mentoring the next Lumbee Women of the Dark Water.”

    The production of “lumBEES: Women of the Dark Water" will be held at the Givens Performing Arts Center. The play begins at 7:30 p.m. on July 8 and 9 and at 3 p.m. on July 10. Tickets are $20. For more information about the show or to purchase tickets, go to www.uncp.edu/gpac.

  • 11Walking into Pan from the oppressive Fayetteville heat is a literal breath of fresh air. The interior is small and cool, nearly as cool as the maps and botanical prints that grace just about every wall. Framed prints of far-off places, and few pictures more than two hundred years old, give the charming sandwich shop a little something special.

    The celery green paint and neat green trim connote freshness, while the wooden tables and metal chairs seem effortlessly hip. A mix of high-top tables and family-style seating makes it a convenient lunch spot for downtown professionals or a place to grab a bite with friends.

    A handwritten chalk menu bears exotic sandwich names such as “Waiting on the Train” and “The Lafayette,” while a keen eye might notice some familiar local names such as “The Gilbert” and the “The Dogwood.” It's clear behind each name is a story waiting to be told.

    Open for two weeks at the time of this article, Pan is enjoying the rush that comes with being the new kid on the block.

    “We made five pounds of fresh pesto two days ago, and it's gone!” Brian Graybill, owner of Pan, laughed in disbelief. “That's a lot of basil — it's going very well.”

    Recently featured in the Fayetteville Observer's Forty Under Forty, Graybill, CEO of Graybill Hospitality and owner of local favorite, Napkins, is no stranger to the pace and intensity of the restaurant industry.

    “I'm used to Napkins,” he shared with Up & Coming Weekly. “I'm used to the speed paired with quality. We're very prep-intensive here, so customer service can be quick. But it's been great; we're learning things every day.”

    Graybill, a former air traffic controller with the U.S. military, found his way into the restaurant industry by chance. Making a transition to civilian life, Graybill had a difficult time finding work during the financial crisis of 2008.

    “I needed a job, and no one was hiring, so I got a job at a restaurant,” he explained. “I like being on my feet, I like being creative and I like food.”

    A folksy sort of charm weaves its way through Graybill's words as he speaks, and he gives the impression of a small-town guy with a great work ethic and a knack for people.
    After nine years at Pierro's Italian Bistro, picking up tips and taking notes — cooking for people became not just a way to earn a living but Graybill's personal philosophy.

    “Most people just want to eat and enjoy themselves when you see them at a restaurant. You can make a nice bright spot in everybody's day with food. In all the major events of our lives — there's always food involved. That's what people do," he continued, “they eat.”

    Switching roles from chef to chef/owner, Graybill knew he wanted to get back to an era of fresh ingredients, original recipes and housemade everything.

    “I think restaurants have gotten away from making their own recipes,” Graybill admitted. “When we opened Napkins, I made a commitment to make everything we can in-house. Every ingredient has an intent behind it. We want to make the food you can't get anywhere else.”

    For what the restaurant doesn't or can't make in-house, a serious effort is made to order it locally or within the state.

    “I am NOT a baker," he admitted, chuckling. “God bless them. We get bread from a local lady, Bead & Sugar, by Dali. We also get bread from Nick, a legend over at Superior Bakery.”

    Most of the delicious meats piled on Pan's thick deli sandwiches come from San Giuseppe Salami Co, based in Elon, North Carolina. Graybill loves to support unique small businesses, particularly those local to North Carolina.

    A local himself, graduating from Jack Britt High School, Graybill feels the city is poised for greatness, and his dream is to be a part of the changing cultural landscape of downtown Fayetteville.

    “Gosh, nothing too grandiose,” Graybill answered almost shyly when asked about his overall mission. “‘Fay’ is the next city aching for a food renaissance," he continued. “We've seen it all over North Carolina with Raleigh, Charlotte, and we're kind of there. I want to be a part of the movement — to get back to good chef-driven food. I want to raise the bar on the food scene here in Fayetteville and elevate the food and beverage culture.”

    Pan, whose mascot and symbol is a satyr bearing the same name, is Graybill's way of sharing his love of food with a city and community he appreciates so much.

    “Everybody involved in our restaurant cares about what we're serving,” he said. “Everything is from scratch — It's fresh, light and, as a result, flavorful. We really care, and while everyone says that, we're doing the things that show that we do. We support the local economy by sourcing from people we know by name that we can call up on the phone, and it's awesome to be able to do that. It's amazing to be a part of this community.”

    So much of Graybill's gratitude shows up in his food. The menu is filled with sandwiches named for the people who made the notion of Pan a reality.

    The most popular sandwich on the board is “The Leclair,” named for Patrick Leclair, owner of Leclair's General Store, whose influence helped craft Pan's signature look. The sandwich showcases local greens, smoked chicken, fresh mozzarella, and the restaurant's signature pesto.

    A self-proclaimed "pepper head," Graybill has his favorites narrowed down to two: “The Giuseppe” and “The Icarus.” Both feature the spicy soppressata provided by San Giuseppe Salami Co.
    Though the days are long and there are more basil emergencies than he'd like, Graybill is living the dream.

    “I enjoy the atmosphere and range of people I get to meet,” Graybill said. "You have to love it — somedays you don't, but it's a great place to be.”

    Pan is located at 105 Hay St. in downtown Fayetteville. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    For menu, prices, and news, follow Pan at www.facebook.com/panfaync/.

  • 14For those still looking for a summer camp for their kids, try looking to the past.

    The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex will be taking campers back to the Victorian Era and teaching them what it was like during that period.
    Leslie Leonard, the curator of education for the museum, tells Up & Coming Weekly that this camp will be educational and fun.

    “So we’re going to be doing games and activities that children would have done 120 years ago. We’re going to learn about what life was like, what art was like, what architecture, food, what children did for work, whether it be chores at home if they were in middle-class or upper-class families or even doing no work if they were in a lower-income family,” Leonard said.

    This museum’s historical artifacts and even parts of the museum itself will be incorporated.
    The camp will focus on life locally and not just, in general, Victorian times. This camp will have a direct focus on Fayetteville and the surrounding area.

    “We just kind of wanted to do a new thing every year and thought that this one would be fun and appropriate. It’s easy to use what we already have on hand since we have the 1897 house decorated as a Victorian-era home. So we’re able to use that as a backdrop for many of our activities,” Leonard said.
    There will be direct learning objectives every day, but Leonard says they just want the kids to have fun while also understanding that we have come a long way over the years.

    “We want kids to be able to understand what life was like 100 years ago and how far we’ve come in that time, whether it be through technology, through society and politics or just our everyday way of living,” Leonard said.

    The museum will be holding its second camp session in July. The camp will start on July 25 and end on July 29. The camp is only half-days, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The camp is for kids ages 9 to 12 years old.

    There is a limit of 15 campers total for the session.

    “We’re doing it a little bit different this year and maxing out the number of campers at 15 where we did 30 before, in the past, because we wanted to make sure that there would be no reason to cancel it this summer,” Leonard said.

    In order to register for the camp, parents must come in person to the museum.

    They must have the proper paperwork and proof of age for the camper and pay the registration fee.
    The registration paperwork can be found at https://museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov/events/summer-history-camp-2022-victorian-carolina-0. The museum has received grant funding to run the camp from the Cumberland Community Foundation. So the fee for the camp is only $30 for the whole week.

    The CCF is a charitable organization that helps donors make life better in our community.

    There are limited spots for the camp, and it is first-come, first-serve. For more registration information, call the museum at 910-500-4243.

  • 21bCarolina Drag Brunch is bringing the sass back to Saturdays. With live music, mimosas and plenty of laughs — it’s brunch, only fabulous.

    Drag Me To Dirtbag-Draft Queens, hosted by Tatianna Matthews, will take place at Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom on July 9.

    Two showtimes are available for guests to enjoy the show. The 11 a.m. option includes brunch, while the 1 p.m. show will be a “brews only” event.

    The taproom’s airy interior and light-filled floor-to-ceiling windows provide a perfect stage for lip-synching, posing and eye-popping looks. Guests can expect a little bit of everything and should come fully prepared to be entertained. Tap Room Manager, Michelle Bruening, expressed her delight with the show.

    “Drag Brunch has been here as long as I have, and I’d never seen a drag show before I worked here. I really enjoy the energy everyone brings. Everyone is just so excited to be here. A lot of people come just to have the most fun. It’s such a welcoming environment — everyone is in a great mood.”

    DJ Alan will get the party going as three charismatic queens take the stage. Ticketholders will be treated to the many talents of Amanda LaRouxx, Ebony Addams and Ravion Starr Alexandria St. James.

    The interactive show runs about two hours, and every minute is packed as the ladies work to put on a show.

    “I love the costumes they come out in,” Bruening admitted, “they’re just so glamorous.”

    Carolina Drag Brunch brings queens from all over the state to perform at different venues throughout the Carolinas. According to their mission statement, “our goal for our events are to enjoy the company of fabulous queens and have a good time.”

    Tipping is encouraged as the stunning performers sing and dance their way through the taproom. The crowd should also be prepared for some light heckling from the stage — all in good fun, of course.

    No good brunch is complete with mimosas, and Dirtbag, true to its brand, has more than the standard recipe on offer.

    Mimosa buckets (a whole bottle of champagne), Glittered Sangria and an enticing Dirtbag special called a Brewmosa all make for a truly unique brunching experience.

    True, the family-friendly show offers exciting entertainment options for locals looking for something different, but what’s unsaid speaks louder than any DJ turntable: Dirtbag Ales is a safe space — and within its walls, you are welcome.

    “I think everyone should come,” Breuning told Up & Coming Weekly. “As long as you’re comfortable, you’re invited. We include everyone here.”

    To put action to sentiment, the money raised during Drag Brunch goes right back into serving the LGBTQ community, most notably displaced queer youth. The brunch’s affiliation with organizations like Free Mom Hugs ensures the inclusivity and acceptance experienced during a Drag Brunch are both felt and shared once the show is over.

    Tickets for brunch and a show are $30; show-only tickets are $15. Tickets for children under 16 cost $10 for both options.

    For tickets, visit www.simpletix.com/e/drag-me-to-dirtbag-draft-queens-july-drag-tickets-106806.

  • 25Exercising on the beach comes naturally. Many people jog, walk, walk their dogs, play in the surf, dig holes, build sand art, look for shells, fish and hunt for shells at night.
    I recently visited my cousin, who has a sixth-floor condo in North Myrtle Beach. My 83-year-old cousin spends most of her day walking the beach, looking for shells in the surf, and if you met her, you would see the benefits from walks, jogs, hunting for shells and walks in the water and think she was much younger!

    Morning coffee on the balcony gave me a bird’s eye view of the many ways the beach is enjoyed for exercise and relaxation, which are both therapeutic. A great view of the ocean and people-watching are added benefits! Each morning I took my mat out and did my barre workout. There is something about stepping off the mat and digging those toes in the sand.

    The rewards of beach exercise are subliminal because you do not realize how many muscles you use, and there is beautiful sunshine and sand. Digging holes and making sand art involves all the movement patterns and use of muscle groups.

    Playing in the surf or hunting for shells requires a test of balance and strength with the force of the rolling waves. Walking seems to be effortless, and before you know it, you have walked a long distance and going back turns into a headwind or vice versa.

    There are many benefits to walking and jogging on the beach, and walking in sand is one of them, whether you are barefoot or have shoes on, and it is less stressful than walking on a hard surface. Your calf muscles work harder to push along the surface.

    By walking at a slower pace, the uneven variation in the sand requires more effort and about three times more energy than walking on a hard surface. Jogging also requires more energy, and the movement pattern is less stressful on your joints because the sand acts as a cushion.

    Jogging on the beach can build your strength while stabilizing your muscles and coordination. It takes more effort to stabilize your core on uneven surfaces. Your body begins to develop a natural and very efficient running form while adjusting to the instability. Running on sand has a long history of training benefits for sports. Top runners have made the beach a part of training for race preparations.
    Going into the surf to swim, board or hunt for shells is a good core and balanced workout. Looking for shells in the lapping waves improves your balance and core strength as you brace to stand up or stoop down to find that perfect shell or shark’s tooth.

    There are guidelines for walking or jogging on the beach, especially if you do it frequently. Injuries can occur because of the increased demand on your soles, hamstrings and calves. Walking in the sand with bare feet is fine for shorter distances, but longer distances should be undertaken with proper walking shoes to avoid shin splints.

    The slope of the beach can provide a challenge for stabilizing muscles, leading to pain or soreness. If you run or frequently walk, change the direction that you are going and go at either high or low tide.
    The sun can cause you to underestimate the impact of the temperature and sun rays on your skin. Walking with a water bottle and wearing sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses are always advisable.
    Live, love life and enjoy the beach!

  • 13Toys are part of our culture reflecting the values and trends in society. The temporary exhibit “Let’s Play! A Time Warp to Toys of the Past” at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex chronicles the development of toys and play as they accompanied the emergence of modern childhood.

    Toys can tell an interesting story about how kids grew up in America. Megan Maxwell, the exhibit curator, says that the exhibit will show that despite differences in economic background, race, ethnicity and culture — things all children have in common are toys and play.

    “The concept for this exhibit began with just a small group of toys that I found in the Museum collections room,” Maxwell said. “We thought it would be fun to do a toy exhibit for the summer since so many families visit the Museum during summer break. While there are toys representing many decades, I think kids of the ‘60s, 70s and 80s will be the most excited to see what we have on display. Toys are a universal language, and this exhibit will appeal to people of all ages and all walks of life.”

    Maxwell says the key to play is imagination.

    Highlights of the exhibit include rare tin lithograph mechanical toys, original Kenner Star Wars figures and handmade Black dolls that reflect the journey of Black Americans from enslavement through reconstruction and beyond.

    Many of the toys in the exhibit were donated by several local individuals.
    One of the stories told in the exhibit tells of Cassandra McMillion. There is a picture of 3-year-old McMillion holding her favorite toy, Sally. The picture was taken sometime around 1945. Sally was a sawdust/bisque porcelain doll. McMillion’s story is displayed next to the Handmade Black Dolls section of the exhibit.

    The exhibit is also interactive for kids and adults who are “kids at heart.” Visitors can play along as they travel through the exhibit by giving the color wheel a spin and moving to the matching game circles on the floor.

    Visitors can pose in a life-size Barbie box or stand in front of the Star Wars galaxy backdrop for a fun photo souvenir.

    The exhibit is currently open at the Museum and will run through Sept. 4. This exhibit was funded by the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex Foundation. The museum is run under the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. They work with a vision to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in the state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina.

    In creating the exhibit, the North Carolina Museum of History staff assisted our local museum with technical and design assistance.

    The Museum of the Cape Fear is located on the corner of Bradford and Arsenal Avenues in Fayetteville.
    Admission to the Museum and the exhibit is free. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. through 5 p.m.

  • 24Summertime for young people should offer fun, friendship and great memories, and what can be more fun than a cool, refreshing swim? Sadly, every summer brings the news that someone in our community, usually a young person, has drowned. Why is this the case, and what do we need to know before heading to the water?

    According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death worldwide, largely affecting children and teenagers. Males are especially at risk, with twice the mortality rate of females.

    The male brain certainly bears examining. Young males, in particular, are more likely to take risks, such as swimming alone or in secluded waters not authorized for recreational activity. Males of all ages succumb to predictable notions of invincibility and bravado.

    The point here is not to assign blame to drowning victims or their families but rather to spark a discussion. It is not they who are tragically tone-deaf. It is society at large for not giving drowning the urgency it demands.
    Adults, this is where you come in. First of all, we need to know what drowning looks like. Contrary to the popular notion of someone flailing madly in the water, experts agree it usually happens in silence. It can occur quickly, in as little as a minute.

    A swimmer with his mouth open, gasping for air, his head bobbing in and out of the water, needs immediate help. Hair blocking the eyes or forehead and trying to swim in a specific direction but with no progress are other danger signs.

    Safety experts agree on a few key suggestions: don't go swimming alone, learn CPR, avoid alcohol before swimming and boating, add fences, alarms and cameras to home swimming pools and swim only in designated waters (secluded spots pose such risks as rocks, debris, currents and extreme depths not always anticipated). Most importantly, encourage swimming lessons. The YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs and municipal pools are the best places to start.

    In a nutshell, supervise. Supervise the inexperienced swimmers, and supervise the experienced. In addition to adult supervision, encourage young swimmers to look out for each other.
    Fifty years ago this month, I lost a dear family member to drowning. Surviving family members tend to torture themselves, wondering what they could have done differently. We endlessly ponder how far our best efforts go before fate takes over, but, as mere humans, our best efforts are all we have.

    News reports alone can't convey the loss felt by families and communities touched by drowning. Individual stories are, in fact, chapters in a national tragedy, but we as a society reflexively write them all off as an unfortunate offshoot of an otherwise carefree season.

    My wish is that young people enjoy their summers and let go, if only temporarily, of care and worry while still looking out for themselves and each other. Our job as adults is to foster the perfect balance between having fun and exercising caution. Youth is fleeting enough; let us hold onto its energy and innocence for as long as we can.


  • 21aIn the heart of Harnett County, just about forty-five minutes from "everywhere," fields of gold, yellow, orange and red await those looking to shoot some beautiful photos amongst the sunflowers on Cathis Farm.

    The second annual Sunflower Days at Cathis Farm is a fun summer outing for the entire family, open Saturday and Sunday from July 9 to July 24.
    Sunflower Days bring the vibrancy of summer, and ticket holders have access to two acres of land dotted with over twenty varieties of sunflowers.
    Though most people are more than familiar with the lemon-yellow flower with a chocolate brown center, co-owner Stephanie Freas, loves to see people discover just how versatile the ubiquitous blooms can be.

    "Some of these sunflowers are around 10-feet-tall and bigger than your head. There are fluffy ones and some that come in purple, orange and red. Sunflowers come in such wide varieties; it's a lot of fun to go through and discover all these flowers you just weren't expecting."

    With a pivot toward events and seasonal activities in 2018, Cathis Farms teamed up with Freas, who brought her haunted attractions to the business. Their partnership proved a fertile environment for ideas, and the seed for Sunflower Days was planted.

    When we first started this event, we noticed there weren't a lot of sunflowers around," Freas said. "We wanted to create a fun experience; it's really nice out here, and people are looking for outdoor activities to do.

    People love sunflowers, and it's an opportunity to create great photos — it's just a fun summer event."
    Single-day admission tickets grant access to the sunflower fields for as long as the visitor cares to stay. Each person gets a sunflower on the house, but they're also free to pick their own. To complete the pastoral aesthetic, they can even collect them in lovely galvanized buckets.

    With a keen eye toward social media trends, Cathis knows its audience and offers Sunflower Days first and foremost as a prime destination for photographers and selfie-lovers alike. Friday, July 15 and 22, guests can access the farm in the evening to capture the beautiful sunset and some gorgeous late afternoon light.

    "This is a big photography event," Freas explained. "We're sprinkling photo-ops all around the farm. There are a lot of antique bicycles, tractors and benches, just mixed in with the flowers. It's perfect for maternity shoots or engagement photos. Most people run around and take these cool selfies because it's such a great background."

    Though not a totally kid-oriented event, Freas assured Up & Coming Weekly there will be plenty to do and see. The Cathis Farm concession stand will be open during Sunflower Days, and there is a hot dog cart featuring meat from the farm's own animals.

    Guests can also pop in and take a look at the little market on-site stocked with local and regional goodies.

    "It's a nice getaway to the country," Freas said thoughtfully. "We try to do things a little bit different here — something fun enough to bring the whole family. We try to provide a wide variety of things to do throughout the year."

    Tickets are $15 for ages 11 and up and $10 for ages 3 to 10. To purchase tickets, visit https://cathisfarm.ticketspice.com/sunflower-days-2022.
    Cathis Farm is located at 544 Falcon Road in Lillington.


  • fayetteville nc logo Two men who have been champions of downtown Fayetteville were honored as visionaries at a luncheon Wednesday at Segra Stadium.
    Menno Pennink and the late Harry Shaw received the 2022 CityView Downtown Visionaries awards in recognition of their longtime commitment to revitalizing and improving the downtown district.

    The awards are sponsored by CityView Magazine.

    Pennink, a retired neurosurgeon, recruited 17 businessmen in 1992 to purchase and renovate the Prince Charles Hotel. Over the years, he has restored numerous other buildings downtown, including the Pemberton building, McKeithan lawyers building and Point News.
    Perhaps his most well-known project is the $15 million residential and commercial building known as 300 Hay.
    Shaw worked for more than 12 years to develop Cross Creek Linear Park not far from his childhood home on Hawley Lane.

    The 2.7-mile park begins at Festival Park and runs through historic sections of downtown. Shaw, who died in May 2018, lived to see the 2017 ribbon-cutting to mark Linear Park’s completion.
    Pennink and his wife, Suzanne, accepted his award. Shaw’s daughters, Faison Covington and Sally Schmitz, accepted the award on his behalf.

    "It is always exciting to celebrate our downtown and the economic opportunities around the corner, but even more rewarding when we take a moment to recognize the visionary leaders that helped make it happen," said Tony Chavonne, publisher of CityView Magazine.

    As part of Wednesday’s luncheon, a video tribute to Pennink and Shaw, narrated by city historian Bruce Daws, was played.
    The ceremony also featured representatives of several downtown and Haymount projects that are now underway.
    Mary Kate Burke, artistic director of Cape Fear Regional Theatre, described plans for a $16 million renovation and expansion of the building. The theater opened in 1962.

    Mac Healy, co-chair of the N.C. Civil War and Reconstruction History Center Foundation, discussed progress on the $80 million building that will be off Arsenal Avenue and become part of the state-supported Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex.
    Assistant Cumberland County Manager Brian Haney spoke about plans for a new special-events center, including efforts to solicit public input about where it should be located.

    Bianca Shoneman, president and chief executive officer of Cool Spring Downtown District, delivered the State of the District report on business and economic activity downtown.

  • pexels max vakhtbovych 7393980 An owner of apartment communities in 19 states has purchased two more in Fayetteville with plans to make $7 million in improvements to the properties.
    Morgan Properties, regarded as one of the nation’s top three multifamily housing companies, has acquired Westlake at Morganton and The Preserve at Grande Oaks, which have a total of 642 units, according to a news release.

    The apartment communities were purchased from Morganton Management and Development of Fayetteville. The purchase price was not disclosed, said a representative of Morgan Properties on Thursday.

    The deal means Morgan Properties now owns five local apartment communities with a total of 1,530 units. The company purchased the Village at Cliffdale, Chason Ridge and Morganton Place in November 2021.

    “As relatively long-term holders with apartment communities in 19 states, we routinely seek to strengthen the geographic diversity of our overall apartment portfolio,” said Greg Curci, executive vice president of operations for Morgan Properties, said by email. “Likewise, when attainable, we prefer to have a mix of asset classes within a given market to provide rental options at various price points. Our recent acquisitions in the Fayetteville market satisfy both of those objectives by providing us with three 1990s-built assets and two assets developed in 2007 in the stable and enduring Fayetteville market.”

    The acquisition brings the company’s total portfolio to more than 93,000 units across the nation, the news release said.
    Morgan Properties cited Fayetteville’s access to Interstate 95, the presence of Fort Bragg and its proximity to the three largest cities in North Carolina as reasons why Fayetteville is attractive for economic development.

    “We look forward to growing our presence in this attractive market and continuing to build our experience in Class A multifamily across the country,” said Jason Morgan, president of Morgan Properties, in the news release.

    Westlake at Morganton and The Preserve at Grande Oaks are pet-friendly communities with amenities that include a pool; fitness center with an on-site trainer; business center; entertainment lounge; and movie room.

    The one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments offer updated kitchens and bathrooms, in-unit laundry rooms, new appliances, walk-in closets and patios, the news release said.

    Westlake at Morganton has direct access to parking garages.

    Morgan Properties plans to invest $7 million for interior upgrades and smart-home technology at the apartments, the release said. Other amenities planned include a new clubhouse, dog parks, patios for grilling and a bike-share program.

  • pexels Crime tape A man has been arrested in South Carolina and charged in the May 13 shooting death of a Fayetteville teenager on Yadkin Road, the Fayetteville Police Department said.

    Lamon Isaiah Townsend, 21, has been charged with first-degree murder, the department said in a release. His address was not immediately available. Townsend was arrested Wednesday, June 29, in Bennettsville, South Carolina, by members of the U.S.Marshals Service Task Force.

    Townsend is in jail in South Carolina pending extradition to Fayetteville.

    Townsend is charged in the death of a 17-year-old who was shot along the 5700 block of Yadkin Road. The Police Department has not released the teenager’s name, citing his age.

    Officers responded to a reported shooting in the parking lot on the 5700 block of Yadkin Road around 7:40 p.m. They found the male teen, who had been shot multiple times. He was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center but died as a result of his injuries, police said.

  • downloadIn a partnership touted as the first of its kind, Fayetteville’s economic development agency is teaming with the Army Reserve Command to help reservists and their spouses find civilian jobs.

    The Fayetteville Cumberland Economic Development Corp. signed the agreement with the Army Reserve Command’s Private Public Partnership Office on June 16, according to EDC officials.

    “We’re the first economic development organization to have this kind of partnership. I’m sure we will not be the last,” EDC President and CEO Robert Van Geons said Thursday.

    “I can’t think of a more fitting partnership,” Van Geons said in a news release. “This will enable us to continue to build, bridge and create an ongoing collaborative conversation here. I think we can do incredible things together, positively impacting the lives of our reservists and their families.”

    The EDC said the agreement will help soldiers and their families overcome barriers to getting a job or having access to education in ways that support mission-readiness goals and build community connections.

    The Private Public Partnership Office of the Army Reserve Command works to ensure that reserve soldiers succeed in civilian careers, the release stated.
    Van Geons said the partnership “shows how we're trying to position Fayetteville and Cumberland County to be innovative leaders in areas like this and in new technology (and) creative ways we can do more together in collaboration."

    “It is about retaining talent,” Van Geons said Thursday. “And so a survey we've done involving those who are engaged with our military -- full-time service or reservist or even folks in the (National) Guard – (shows) their future employment ultimately impacts where they eventually reside. The military makes investments in training and skills development, and we want to keep those skilled folks who serve our country here in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

    "Conversely, those skills and talent help us retain quality employers,” he added. “It's a win-win for everybody involved."

    Rob Patton, executive vice president of the Economic Development Corp., said that even though the partnership is a first, it is certain to lead to future partnerships with other economic development organizations.
    Patton is a retired Army colonel.

    “This is a big day for all of us,” he said in the news release. “We're very honored to be a part of this, but also, I'm humbled to know that we are the first EDO to be an official partner with the Army Reserve."

    More than 87% of reservists integrate military service with civilian careers, providing the Army with professional skills, education and expertise acquired in the private sector, the release said. But many reservists are either unemployed or underemployed.

    Many hiring programs are geared toward veterans who are leaving the military.
    But in this case, the reservists who are currently serving also need civilian jobs, the release said.

    “Some of the unsung heroes in the United States are the reservists," Patton said in the release. “That is an extremely tough job -- balancing family life, personal life, work life and then that other thing called the Army."

  • pexels Crime tape The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office is investigating a fatal hit-and-run that occurred May 21 in Stedman.

    Rose Zolman, 28, was found in the middle of Sandy Creek Road near Page Road, the Sheriff’s Office said in a release. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol initially looked into the case, and the Sheriff’s Office has assumed control of the investigation, the agency said in a release.

    Zolman was killed during the early hours of May 21. No other information was immediately available.

    The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about Zolman’s death to contact detective Senior Sgt. C. Zwan at 910-677-5503 or Fayetteville / Cumberland County CrimeStoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).

  • pexels rovenimagescom 949592 As people gather over the next few days to celebrate the July 4th holiday, firefighters and law enforcement officers are reminding the public to make safety a priority.

    “We hope that everyone is able to safely enjoy the July Fourth holiday by spending time with family and friends,” Fayetteville police Lt. Lori Holloway said in a release. “Be careful with fireworks and firearms, look out for your neighbor, be aware of your surroundings and consider celebrating with others at one of the local professional shows.”

    The assistant Fayetteville fire chief agreed that professional community fireworks shows are the best option.

    “Our area has only seen a small amount of rainfall this summer and conditions continue to remain dry,” said T.J. McLamb, who also is the city fire marshal.

    Igniting explosives in dry conditions can have dangerous consequences. Flames can spark unexpectedly and spread, the city said in a release.

    On July 4, 2021, the majority of fires in Fayetteville occurred after 10 p.m., many of the fires were in dumpsters, outside trash cans or rubbish, the release said.

    According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, nearly 13,000 emergency room-treated injuries are associated with fireworks annually, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

    The Sheriff’s Office offered these safety tips:
    Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
    Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
    Make sure the person lighting the fireworks always wears eye protection.
    Light fireworks one at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
    Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
    Never throw or point fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
    Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.
    Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

    According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina residents averaged 197 emergency department visits per year for firework-related injuries between 2017-2021, the city said in its release.

    A person can be charged with up to a Class 2 misdemeanor for a violation of North Carolina General Statute Chapter 14, Article 54 concerning pyrotechnics.

    Sheriff Ennis Wright also urged residents to use caution when swimming at the beach or a pool. He also urged motorists to be alert when traveling on the busy holiday weekend.

    Pet safety

    Cumberland County Animal Services also reminds residents to keep their pets safe on July 4th.

    Meredith Garringer, a veterinarian with Animal Services, said residents may want to keep their pets indoors the night of July 4 when fireworks may frighten them.

    “Being in the Fort Bragg area, a lot of our pets are acclimated to loud noises,” Garringer said in a release. “However, with fireworks, you’re also going to see flashes in the sky. To us, it may be neat, but to them, it’s very scary.”

    Garringer said that when animals are outside, they should have shade and cool water to help prevent heat stroke. If a pet is showing signs of distress, the owner should immediately call a veterinarian, the release said.

    Animal Services will be closed Monday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. Regular hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m.– 5 p.m. and Saturday 1-5 p.m.

  • FPD logo A woman who appeared to be "in crisis'' was killed Friday night in an officer-involved shooting on Colgate Drive, the Fayetteville Police Department said.

    Officers were dispatched just after 9:40 p.m. to a residence on the 2300 block of Colgate Drive in reference to an attempted break-in, Assistant Chief James Nolette said during a news conference early Saturday.

    Officers were told that four men tried to break into the residence. Officers made contact with the occupants, a mother, a daughter, a grandmother and a grandfather, Nolette said.

    No evidence of a break-in could be determined, he said.
    While talking with the mother, Nolette said, there were some inconsistencies with her story. She also appeared “as if she were in crisis,’’ he said.

    “And then suddenly, she produced a firearm,’’ Nolette said, adding that she began to threaten to harm herself.

    Nolette said two officers spent about an hour talking with the woman, trying to get her to put down the gun and discussing getting her help.
    The woman agreed to get assistance through Cape Fear Valley, and police had EMS ready to respond, Nolette said.
    The woman continued to have the handgun, he said.
    Several times during the talks, the grandmother and the woman’s child were around her, in front of her and “are in harm’s way,’’ Nolette said.

    “After about an hour of de-escalating, the officers attempted to secure the weapon and gain control of the handgun,’’ Nolette said. “At that point, the struggle went to the ground and tragically, officers discharged their firearm. The female is deceased at this time.’’

    The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has been contacted to investigate the officer-involved shooting, the department said.
    The officer will be placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard procedure, the department said in a release.
    The Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit will conduct an internal investigation to ensure departmental policies and procedures were followed during the incident, the release said.

    The names of the woman and the officers are currently being withheld.
    There is body camera footage, which will be turned over to the SBI, Nolette said.
    The department “reviewed it preliminary just to get an idea of the true facts that occurred there and not just perception,’’ Nolette said.

    “This is a tragic situation,’’ he said.

    “For almost an hour, the officers pled with this young lady, tried to get this young lady to put this weapon down. Tried to get the help that she wanted,’’ Nolette said. “... But it just escalated very quickly.’’

  • 16 N2107P34005HJane Fonda made the motto “No Pain No Gain” famous in the 1980’s with her exercise videos that became widely used in marketing fitness campaigns. Even though Jane Fonda received the credit, the term “No Pain No Gain” was coined by Benjamin Franklin when he wrote “There are no gains without pain.”

    Over three hundred years ago he might be considered the first fitness guru. He felt that exercise was the reason for continued health and should be done forty minutes a day.

    Pain is not an indication in exercise that you are pushing to the max and achieving your goals. Mild discomfort is acceptable but when pain occurs your body is telling you to stop before an injury occurs.

    As exercise science has progressed many of the ways we approached fitness are now different. Still, some of the beliefs are now myths, here are a few.

    Can you target specific areas for fat reduction? The answer is no. If you do countless sit ups for your abs you will gain muscle in that area, but the fat area remains. Our genetics play a role in how we store fat, and we lose it in the reverse order that it was accumulated. Weight loss and muscle gain result from diet and exercise. You cannot out exercise an improper diet.

    If women lift weights, they will get bulky. Very few women can gain the same bulk as men do because they are smaller and have lower levels of testosterone.

    Weight and resistance training are good for women and have proven effective for many health gains including bone density, strength and risk of injury. In other words, you will not bulk up if you pick up!

    Muscle weighs more than fat. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same. A pound of lean muscle however takes up less space in your body than a pound of fat because of density. The way your clothes fit tells you a lot about your weight loss. It is a nice feeling that your clothes are fitting differently!

    The scale can be encouraging and discouraging with weight loss. Try to resist that continual checking of the scales. Weight can fluctuate because of many factors and the scale is not a true picture of your health. Weight loss of one to two pounds per week is a sustainable goal and healthier than rapid weight loss.

    I am too old to exercise. Exercising has many health benefits at any age. People may think they are to out of shape, too old to start or cannot start because of an injury.

    There are people in their seventies, eighties and nineties that run marathons and are body builders. That may seem a lofty goal to a beginner but is not one that could be out of reach. Observing a group fitness class in an exercise facility or on the gym floor with older participants can quickly debunk that myth because many are rock stars pumping out that fitness level that could rival a younger participant!

    Who would have thought the science of exercise would have evolved to the level it is today and we have the pioneers in industry to thank including Benjamin Franklin and Jane Fonda.

    The industry is evolving with new studies and techniques, but exercise is only one component in fitness.

    A healthy lifestyle is followed by diet, sustainability and a balance in life for emotional and spiritual health.

  • 15 Nursing StudentThe U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded a grant of more than $499,000 to the Nursing Department at Methodist University. The funds target specific training for pre-licensure public health nursing students and faculty to recognize and respond to opioid use and strengthen the professional development of public health nurses across North Carolina.

    The investment in MU by HRSA to equip tomorrow’s nursing health care professionals is a solid investment and a step in the right direction to combat North Carolina’s opioid crisis.

    MU’s was the only program in the Carolinas, public or private, to receive the grant and only 10 other nursing programs in the country received the award (including Ohio State University, Texas A&M, University of Tennessee, Emory University and the University of Cincinnati).

    “During the early days of the pandemic shut-down last spring, everyone became acutely aware of the need for highly qualified public health nurses,” said Shannon Matthews, director of Nursing at MU.

    “In addition to community strain on the public health system due to COVID-19, opioid overdose and substance misuse have reached all-time highs in Cumberland County and surrounding communities," Matthews said.

    The Methodist University Nursing Program graduated its first Bachelor of Science in Nursing class in 2014. Since then, the program has awarded nursing degrees to more than 170 graduates, many of whom have remained in North Carolina and the greater Fayetteville and Cumberland County areas. The program provides future nurses with a hands-on education using state-of-the-art simulation technology — including the MU General Simulation Hospital — as well as simulated patients of all ages. Cameras are equipped throughout the hospital to observe and guide students through their studies.

    “Nursing is one of the jewels in the crown at Methodist University — a university that is becoming rapidly known for its excellent health care programs,” said MU President Dr. Stanley Wearden. “This investment from the U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services Administration will not only help educate our students but prepare them for the hard work ahead in combatting North Carolina’s opioid crisis as health care professionals.”

    Methodist University’s Simulation Education Training-Recovery Now (SET-RN) is led by highly qualified and experienced public health nurse educators and prepares public health nursing students to directly impact objectives in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

    For the next two-years, the goal of MU’s nursing program is to prepare 75 unique pre-licensure nursing students with enhanced public nursing competencies to recognize and respond to substance and opioid misuse by creating enhanced interprofessional education simulation exercises in their state-of-the-art facilities.

    “Simulation scenarios and clinical experiences reflective of substance misuse will be threaded throughout the nursing curriculum to help our graduates recognize and respond to adult, adolescent, and pediatric clients with substance misuse and overdose in a variety of settings,” said Matthews.

    With this new grant, MU will strengthen statewide support and professional development by delivering workshops for nursing faculty and collaborate with state professional nursing organizations.

    Nursing faculty member and Simulation Director, Mitzi Averette, MSN, RN, CNE, CHSE, is a long-time advocate for recovery and will be the project coordinator. Averette has strong connections in the community and is a champion of increasing public awareness and resources to address substance misuse and developing programs to reduce stigma associated with substance use disorder. Averette has already begun work establishing collegiate recovery groups on local campuses and promoting training for faculty and students in recovery strategies.

    “We are excited to begin this project and the positive impact it will have on public health nursing and the care of those struggling with substance use disorders,” Matthews said.

    Methodist University is an independent, four-year institution of higher education with about 2,000 students from across the U.S. and more than 40 countries. MU offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs (including doctoral-level options) on campus and online. To learn more about MU visit methodist.edu.

    Pictured: The federal grant Methodist University received targets specific training for pre-licensure public health nursing students and faculty to recognize and respond to opioid use and strengthen the professional development of public health nurses across North Carolina. (Photo courtesy Methodist University)


  • 14 99431256 3072861549424143 3731088603145568256 oDr. Larry Keen, President of Fayetteville Technical Community College, is calling on adults across the greater Fayetteville region to visit BetterSkillsBetterJobs.com as a first step to gain the skills they need to secure the jobs they want.

    “After a year of challenges like no other, we know most adults understand it’s time to skill up, retool, and retrain — either to advance in their current careers or to change careers entirely,” Dr. Keen said. “So we are making an extra push this summer to reach out to and inform as many adults as possible about the variety of fast, flexible and affordable programs we offer.

    “From allied health training, to automotive systems technology, to systems security and analysis, and many more programs, our courses are a direct pipeline to many of our region’s top employers,” Dr. Keen said. “That’s why we hope everyone will visit BetterSkillsBetterJobs.com today to quickly connect with us and explore all of the opportunities we offer that can lead to better skills, a better job, a bigger paycheck and an even brighter future.”

    FTCC is a regional source for education and training in Cumberland County, with campuses in Fayetteville and Spring Lake, and an educational training center on Fort Bragg. The college offers more than 200 job-ready programs.

    The Better Skills. Better Jobs. campaign is a pilot project launched in early 2021 across five North Carolina community colleges to proactively reach out to and attract more adults back to college. Other key funders and partners for the initiative include the John M. Belk Endowment and myFutureNC.

    “The John M. Belk Endowment is pleased to partner with Fayetteville Technical Community College and four other outstanding community colleges to catalyze and supercharge their efforts to recruit and support adult students,” said MC Belk Pilon, President and Board Chair of the John M. Belk Endowment. “In a matter of months on a community college campus, adult learners can acquire skills and credentials that can change their families’ economic trajectory.”

    “The vast majority of higher-wage jobs today require more than a high school diploma, but that is something that less than half of North Carolinians in this age range currently have,” said Cecilia Holden, President and CEO of myFutureNC. “We know better skills lead to better jobs and to a stronger and more economically vibrant North Carolina. We are very pleased to be partnering on this important new initiative.”

    The John M. Belk Endowment is a private family foundation committed to transforming postsecondary educational opportunities to meet North Carolina’s evolving workforce needs. Its mission is aligned with the vision of its founder, the late John M. Belk, who served four terms as mayor of Charlotte and was CEO of the department store company Belk, Inc. Now led by Mr. Belk’s daughter, MC Belk Pilon, the John M. Belk Endowment continues to partner with innovative, results-oriented programs in North Carolina to further Mr. Belk’s values, legacy, and focus on the value of education as a means to personal fulfillment and community vitality. For more information, please visit jmbendowment.org.

    myFutureNC is a statewide nonprofit with the goal to create a stronger, more competitive North Carolina. myFutureNC is working across sectors and in communities throughout the state to close gaps in the education pathway, to promote alignment between educational programming and business/industry needs, and to ultimately improve educational opportunities. For more information, please visit myfuturenc.org.

    For more information about FTCC’s Better Skills. Better Jobs. initiative, visit BetterSkillsBetterJobs.com/FTCC/.

    Pictured: The Better Skills.Better Jobs campaign aims to get adults the instruction and job skills that lead to better employment opportunities. (Photo courtesy FTCC)

  • 13 N1809P02001CThe world has changed dramatically over the past year. We have faced unprecedented challenges that affected every single aspect of life.

    We have adapted, overcome and improvised on a daily basis in order to cope with the new normal of life. From wearing masks in public and keeping a safe distance to complete isolation, people have made major adjustments to their lives in order to cope with the pandemic. And, sadly, for many, the situation created by the pandemic has ultimately led to a desperate struggle for survival.

    Fortunately, we live in an era of technology. We are able to do things now that were impossible for past generations.

    We can telework, order food online, Skype, Facetime and teleconference from our homes or even from the palms of our hands. Even during times of isolation, we are able to stay virtually connected and be productive.

    Throughout the pandemic, a good number of people were able to continue working and feed themselves, thanks to the advances of the last century and especially the last few decades.

    We now take things such as cars, computers, smartphones and the internet for granted, but these items have made coping with the pandemic a completely different experience when compared to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

    We still face challenges, however, and it doesn’t look like things are going to go back to what we remember as normal for a while. To face these challenges, we are going to need fresh new minds to invent new ways of doing things. We now have a generation of young people who grew up in a world of technology and have an innate understanding of how to live in a cyber-connected world.

    Unfortunately, technology can be a two-edged sword, and with so many distractions, many are falling short of their true potential.

    The U.S. education system has been pushing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and careers for years because of the shortage of people in these degree fields.

    Now that we are faced with new challenges stemming from the pandemic, we need STEM-educated individuals now even more than ever. Who will research new cures, invent new ways to work and communicate, or design the next generation of ventilators?

    An old adage (late 1800s) states, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” But these words are far from the truth. Think of everything that has been invented since the late 1800s. Had this been true back then, we would still be riding horses for primary transportation and reading by candlelight. Without the technological advances of the last century, our current crisis would have been much more difficult to navigate.

    So, here’s a call for individuals to accept the challenge to become the next generation of scientists, inventors and engineers. You may be the one who invents something new that positively changes
    our world.

    FTCC’s Associate Degree Engineering program can help you begin this exciting journey. Fall classes begin Aug. 16. Apply for Fall classes today and allow FTCC to help you find your way forward. For more information visit https://www.faytechcc.edu/.

  • 08 FAP 9463Fort Bragg is calling out to the military community and public to donate boots for the annual boot display in remembrance of those who have lost their lives since 9/11.

    The boot display is traditionally held in May to align with the Memorial Day observance. This year, the observation will coincide with the “Run, Honor, Remember 5K” memorial run on Aug. 28 and the All American Run on Aug. 30 for the 82nd Airborne Division’s All American Week.

    “We are in need of 1,000 pairs of any and all types of military boots in good condition,” said Elvia Kelly, spokeswoman for the Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs Office. “We’re asking the community to donate any of their unwanted or unused military boots to help us honor and remember fallen service members.”

    Each boot displayed at Hedrick Stadium represents an active-duty service member who has fallen since 9/11. Volunteers prep the boots by carefully tying each lace and placing an empty bottle of water inside the boot as a foundation to hold its form.

    The boots are lined up in rows across the field, where volunteers attach a personalized tag with a photo of a fallen service member and includes a unit and date
    of death.

    “In addition to attaching personalized tags, volunteers place an American flag in each boot,” said Kelly. “It takes six to eight hours to setup the boot display on the field.”

    Due to extreme weather in the past years such as rain, there has been a breakdown of the boots and about 4,600 boots were discarded due to damage.

    Currently it takes over 7,500 individual boots to complete the memorial display at Hedrick Stadium and Fort Bragg needs 1,000 more boots to reach their goal of representing all the fallen service members.

    The deadline for the boot donation is on or before Aug. 13, which allows Survivor Outreach Services and volunteers to prep the boots for display.

    “The memorial boot display is open to everyone who has a Department of Defense ID card or those who can obtain a visitor’s access pass from the All American Visitor Center,” Kelly mentioned. “The display setup begins Friday, Aug. 27 and the boots will remain on the field until Monday, Aug. 30.”

    “It’s a powerful sight to see the memorial boot display when doing a run around Hedrick Stadium or walking across the field seeing each individual boot after being carefully prepared by volunteers,” said Kelly.

    “The field is lined up with boots in order beginning from 2001 to 2021 with a photo and identification tag.”

    Fort Bragg began setting up boots as a memorial display in May 2014, marking this year as the 7th anniversary for the display that is hosted and coordinated by Survivor Outreach Services in honor of all fallen service members who were on active duty since 9/11 and service members who died in an incident such as a training accident or illness on Fort Bragg and North Carolina.

    “The event is an opportunity for the community to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice serving our nation by participating in the run or visiting the memorial boot display,” Kelly said.

    The Survivor Outreach Services is part of the Army Casualty Continuum of Care and is designed to provide long-term support to surviving families of fallen soldiers.

    “The program offers assistance such as support coordinators to surviving family members during a time of tremendous grief,” Kelly said. “Our goal is to reassure survivors feel they remain valued members of the Army family.”

    Boots can be donated on Fort Bragg at the following locations:
    -Soldier and Family Readiness Group Center, 236 Interceptor Road, Pope Army Airfield
    -Soldier Support Center Main Lobby in Bldg. 4-2843 on Normandy Drive
    -Survivor Outreach Services, Building 4-2133 on Normandy Drive

    Boots can also be dropped off at the Up & Coming Weekly office located at 208 Rowan St. in Fayetteville no later than Aug. 12.
    For additional information or questions, the community can contact Survivor Outreach Services at 910-396-0384 or visit their website at https://bragg.armymwr.com/programs/sos.

    17 FAP 9465








    Pictured: The annual memorial boot display will be held in August this year and will coincide with the "Run, Honor, Remember 5K" run and the 82nd Airborne Division's All American Week. (Photos courtesy Fort Bragg Garrison PAO)

  • 07 NNO FPD 219293651 4410826818948292 1410943859391408261 nOn Tuesday, Aug. 3, the Fayetteville Police Department will join Community Watch groups throughout the city for National Night Out. It’s an effort to build safer and better neighborhoods through community involvement and provides as opportunity to get to know your neighbors and send a message to criminals that your neighborhood is no place for them.

    Citizens and Community Watch groups can register their events with the police department by visiting FayPD.com and filling out an electronic form.

    Additionally, an interactive map has been placed on the department’s website to help residents locate events near them. The map is updated as NNO events are registered.

    While one night is certainly not a single answer to crime, drugs and violence, National Night Out represents the spirit, energy and determination to help make neighborhoods safer places year-round.

  • 06 N1804P59001CCumberland County’s public library system has re-opened its locations in keeping with its COVID-19 Recovery and Re-opening Plan.

    Public access and customer safety are foremost, county government said. Hours of operation have been expanded to Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at all locations.

    Patrons can browse stacks, use computers and check out laptops for use in the buildings.

    Curbside service continues by appointment only. Those wishing to continue using curbside pickup may contact the branches to arrange the service.

    With the return to in-person programming each library performs one story-time per week with a maximum of 25 attendees. Attendees, ages 5 and up, are encouraged to wear face masks. Virtual programming will also continue.

    For more information concerning in-person and virtual programs, visit the library’s website at cumberlandcountync.gov/library.

  • 05 child care centerTwo dozen members of Congress have asked leaders of the House and Senate budget committees to provide a $15 billion investment in military childcare facilities. “We face a crisis in the quality and capacity of facilities for childcare for military families and housing for unaccompanied military personnel,” wrote Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Veronica Escobar, D-Texas in a letter.

    They’re requesting that the money be included in the upcoming budget reconciliation package, saying the annual appropriations process is not enough to deal with the backlog. Speier is chairperson of the House Armed Services Committee’s panel on military personnel.

    The letter said the military has 135 child development centers in “poor” or “failing” condition. DoD reported nearly 9,000 military children on waiting lists for child care, according to the representatives. “We believe the upcoming reconciliation package is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do right by our military families,” Spier and Escobar added.

  • 04 DSC 0965The 2021 Field of Honor on Fayetteville’s Airborne and Special Operations Museum parade field will be staged this year from Sept. 11 - Nov. 14.

    The museum foundation is taking orders now. Each flag comes with its own story and displays a tag identifying both the person who sponsored the flag and the flag honoree.

    This living display of heroism flies as a patriotic tribute to the strength and unity of Americans, and honors all who are currently serving, those who have served, and the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation’s security and freedom. The 2021 Field of Honor is sponsored by the Airborne and Special Operations Museum Foundation and the Cool Spring Downtown District.

    The price per flag is $45. After the display, flags can be shipped for an additional $10 charge or donated for use in Vietnam veteran pinning ceremonies. For more information or to order online visit www.asomf.org/.

    Pictured above: The Airborne and Special Operations Museum Field of Honor. (Photo by Dylan Hooker)

  • 03 OTQ Q2 2021 smallEach quarter, Cape Fear Valley Health recognizes members of its medical staff. These winners are later considered for an annual award, which is recognized each year on Doctor’s Day.

    For the second quarter of 2021, the winners are Physician of the Quarter Sree Jadapalle, M.D.; Resident of the Quarter Michael Kingberg, DO, MPH; and Advanced Practice Provider (APP) of the Quarter Machelle Burgess, NP.
    The awards were presented July 7, at a Cape Fear Valley Medical staff meeting.

    Dr. Jadapalle was nominated for her impact on the residency and psychiatry programs. She is in the process of creating the health system’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program Fellowship and will be the Program Director and lead the Adolescent Psychiatry Unit when it opens. She is described as a leading example of professionalism.

    Jadapalle received her medical degree from Kurnool Medical College in India. She completed her residency at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, and a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Cleveland.

    Dr. Kingberg is a third-year Emergency Medicine resident. He was nominated for his inexhaustible passion for emergency medicine, his care to his patients, and his consistent efforts to help others in the department. Kingberg received his medical degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Georgia.

    Nurse Practitioner Machelle Burgess was nominated because she is diligent, organized and a prized member of the surgery department. Whether she is rounding on patients, creating work schedules, managing medical students, or scrubbing into the operating room, Burgess is considered a valuable member of the team.

    Burgess is a certified Family Nurse Practitioner and a certified Emergency Nurse Practitioner.

    The quarterly and annual Medical Staff recognitions are made possible by The Caduceus Society of Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation, a leadership association of Cape Fear Valley Health Physicians, Emeritus Physicians and affiliated area physicians with a continuing commitment to the ideals of Cape Fear Valley Health and a common mission to provide the highest quality healthcare to the community.

    Pictured above: Dr. Samuel Fleishman (far left) and Dr. Chuck Chima (far right) present Physician of the Quarter Dr. Sree Jadapalle (second from left) Advanced Practice Provider of the Quarter Nurse Practitioner Machelle Burgess, and Resident of the Quarter Dr. Michael Kingberg with their certificates on July 7. (Photo courtesy Cape Fear Valley Health)


  • 02 IMG 9789Cumberland County joined RI International and Alliance Health to celebrate the opening of the Cumberland Recovery Response Center, formerly known as the Roxie Center, with an open house
    July 19.

    The Cumberland Recovery Response Center is a crisis facility for behavioral health including mental health stabilization and substance abuse detoxification. The center opened in May 2020 and has already served more than 1,400 individuals.

    The open house was delayed because of COVID-19 restrictions.

    The Cumberland Recovery Response Center features a 23-hour unit with 10 chairs and is awaiting state approval for a 16-bed crisis unit. The center is staffed by mental health and medical professionals as well as peer support staff who have life experiences with crisis situations.

    The center, located at 1724 Roxie Ave. in Fayetteville, operates 24/7 for individuals 18 years or older who are experiencing a crisis. First responders may drop off patients experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis directly at the recovery response center instead of a hospital emergency room.

    RI International has contracted with Alliance Health to operate the center. Alliance Health is the managed care organization for publicly funded behavioral health services for Cumberland, Durham, Johnson and Wake counties.

    “This has been a labor of love and something truly needed for our community,” said Glenn Adams, vice chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners and a member of Alliance Health Board of Directors. “It is about collaboration and all of us working together to make sure we meet the needs of the underserved and those in our community.”

    Guest speakers included Victor Armstrong, director of the North Carolina Division of Mental Health.

    “As an advocate for individuals living with mental health challenges, developmental disabilities and who struggle with addiction, I am always pleased to see when we create new and better avenues for access to those who need the services that we all strive to provide,” Armstrong said.

    “I want to thank the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners for their ongoing commitment and funding to behavioral health services,” said Alliance Health CEO Rob Robinson. “The funding they provide is critical to provide service individuals who are uninsured or do not have the means to pay.”

    A video of the open house ceremony can be viewed on the County’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzou0LZs3h4.

    For more information about the Cumberland Recovery Response Center, visit https://riinternational.com/listing/cumberland-recovery-response-center-fayetteville/ or call 910-778-5900.

    To learn more about Alliance Health and services for people who are uninsured or insured by Medicaid, visit https://www.alliancehealthplan.org/.

    Pictured above: Cumberland County Board of Commissioners Vice Chairman Glenn Adams speaks at the open house held July 19. (Photo courtesy Cumberland County Commission)

  • 01 N2011P45008HA recent opinion piece by Tina Sacks for CNN left me riveted to my desk chair.

    Sacks, an associate professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare, almost lost her 2-year-old son last year to what was ultimately diagnosed as multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MSI-C), even though he tested negative for COVID-19. Somehow the boy, who was on heavy doses of opioids and barbiturates, intubated twice, suffered heart failure, placed on a liver transplant list, and hospitalized for 4 weeks, survived.

    Sack’s opinion piece is entitled, “What antivaxxers sound like to me.” She does not use these words, but others have: Antivaxxers sound selfish and self-centered, all about themselves and their individual rights with little regard for the health and well being of their fellow human beings. They see themselves as very, very special.

    Since the founding of the United States, we have wrestled with the tension inherent between the freedoms guaranteed to us as individual Americans and the collective good of all Americans. This tension manifests itself in countless ways — states’ rights versus federal control, my right to play hard metal rock or use my leaf blower when my entire neighborhood wants to sleep, and on and on. Elections and wars have been fought over these tensions and friendships fractured.

    Vaccination during a worldwide pandemic is neither an academic, legal or political argument nor a mere annoyance. It is literally a matter of health or illness, even life or death. Yes, there are people who cannot take certain vaccines, but most of us can. And, yes, there are people in our nation who are rightly suspicious of the medical establishment that has treated them unfairly, even cruelly, in the past.

    Nearly 190-million Americans are at least partially vaccinated with minimal side effects. Look to your left and look to your right and you will likely see a successfully vaccinated American. The bottom line is that vaccinations, including those for COVID-19, work. People in other nations are literally dying to have what is freely and conveniently available to us.

    The question then becomes why some choose to remain unvaccinated, even though they are clearly putting themselves and others at risk as the highly transmissible Delta variant is spiking COVID cases in all 50 states with attendant hospitalizations and deaths.

    Sacks addresses the question this way.

    “Getting vaccinated against preventable diseases is one way to ensure that all people, especially, BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and People of Color], avoid health care encounters in which implicit and explicit bias lead to worse health outcomes.

    “It doesn’t help that many Republicans have been stoking vaccine skepticism and outright hostility. The Delta variant is already spreading rapidly across the country. Many who choose to forgo the shot may claim they are making a personal decision. But the continued spread of COVID-19 affects us all. And the truth is, the virus doesn’t care about so-called individual liberties. It simply infects whatever host it can find, Republican or Democrat, young or old, disabled, immuno-compromised, and anti-vaxxers alike.

    “If anything, remaining unvaccinated by choice — and not because of lack of access or contraindicated health condition — sounds more to me like shirking an individual responsibility than exercising an individual right.”

    None among us can see the future — where and how long COVID will ultimately exact its toll of human suffering and on how many. We cannot know how history will record the COVID pandemic, but my guess it will involve the usual dichotomy of nations who had access to vaccines and those who did not, those who availed themselves of the medical miracles before them and those who did not.

    The words grief, remorse and shame will also be included.

  • 09 CFRT Untitled design 1Local theaters in Fayetteville are back and ready to entertain the public with their upcoming season schedules full of new and exciting performances. With a mix of comedy, drama, mystery and musicals — there is something for everyone.

    Cape Fear Regional Theatre
    Cape Fear Regional Theatre will kick off their 60th season with six shows, starting with one of the world’s most successful rock ‘n’ roll musicals – “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” from Oct. 14 until Nov. 7.

    Set in the 1950’s, the show tells the story of a young man from Texas with big glasses and big dreams catapulting to the top of the rock ‘n’ roll charts. The show will feature Holly’s popular songs like “Peggy Sue,” and “That’ll Be The Day,” along with “La Bamba,” and celebrate the man whose music and values were ahead of his time. It will be directed by Suzanne Agins, who also directed CFRT’s productions of “Dreamgirls,” “Memphis” and “Mamma Mia.”

    “We’re super excited about that, it was a part of a previously planned season but we didn’t get to do it until now,” said CFRT Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke.

    Next on their list is the 30th anniversary production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” BCPE follows a group struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant while faced with casting the Herdman kids who are probably the most inventively awful kids in history. For local theater-goers, this is a traditional holiday fix. CFRT’s Education Director, Marc de la Concha, will direct the show which runs Dec. 3-19.

    The third show in the season will be “The Wizard of Oz,” a must-see for fans of the book, movie or original musical. Audiences will go on the journey with the classic characters of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy, and her little dog as well.

    The show will be directed by Tiffany Green, who previously directed “Shrek: The Musical.”

    “Next, a smaller play that’s unfamiliar to a lot of people but is fantastic called ‘Welcome to Arroyo’s,’” said Burke. “It’s like a hip-hop coming of age story that takes place in New York.” Audiences can look forward to DJs/narrators spinning the story in a comic heartfelt piece.

    “Welcome to Arroyo’s” is written by Kristoffer Diaz and runs March 10-27, 2022. The production will be performed with audience seating on stage.

    The fifth show in the line-up is “Clue: On Stage” directed by Burke herself, based on the best-selling board game and movie adaption. Audiences will join Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, and other colorful guests for this hilarious murder mystery. This show will also be performed with audience seating on stage.

    CFRT will end their season with “The Color Purple,” directed by Brian Harlan Brooks. The show is based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The musical follows a woman named Celie, her 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. The show features jazz, gospel, blues and African music.

    The musical, like the book and the film adaptation, is a story of resilience and a testament to the healing power of love. The show is being produced with support from The Junior League of Fayetteville and the National Endowment for the Arts.

    “Other than our Christmas show that happens every year, the rest of the shows depend on what’s happening in the world, what we think the community would love,” Burke said. “Sometimes we cast them based on conversations with the creative team that have done the show before.”

    For more information on shows or to purchase individual or season tickets, visit https://www.cfrt.org

    Gilbert Theater
    The first show of Gilbert’s season will be “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: The Musical,” which runs Oct. 1-17. The story follows two con men, a beautiful woman and the elite of the French Riviera who will collide in a sexy and irreverent farce.

    “It's about con men and money and the upper crust of society and trying to swindle them out of money,” said Gilbert Theater Artistic Director Lawrence Carlisle.

    Next, “The Carols,” a returning crowd favorite. The Christmas themed musical will play weekends Nov. 26 to Dec. 5 and Dec. 17-19. The show features the Carol sisters struggling to put up their annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” but there is a shortage of men due to WWII.

    “We’re excited to be doing this again, it’s a really good show, it’s funny and not enough people got to see it due to COVID,” Carlisle mentioned.

    The third show of the season will be “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” a dark comedy and thought-provoking work by Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis. The play follows Judas in purgatory where he is on trial. This show will run Jan. 28 through Feb. 13, 2022.

    Carlisle said he hopes “Judas Iscariot” will be the show everyone talks about because it’s weird and reflects how the intent of theater is to entertain people.

    Following that, the season will present “Othello,” adapted and directed by Montgomery Sutton. The show will run March 25 through April 10, 2022, and will tell the story of a powerful general of the Venetian army, Othello, whose life and marriage
    are ruined by a conniving, deceitful and envious soldier, Iago.

    Gilbert is currently the recipient of the Lilly Endowment Challenge, a grant that will match all donations up to $50,000 for the theater. Donors can contribute to the Gilbert Theater Endowment by visiting https://cumberlandcf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1389.

    For more information on season tickets and shows, visit https://www.gilberttheater.com.

    Sweet Tea Shakespeare
    “As of spring 2022, we will have been in Fayetteville for 10 years and so with the upcoming season we are looking forward to our 10-year anniversary,” said Jeremy Fiebig, Artistic Director for Sweet Tea Shakespeare.

    Their upcoming season starts in August and the first show will be “HamLIT” directed by Traycie Kuhn-Zapata. It will showcase how the prince of Denmark goes off his rocker on the rocks in this “bLITzed” take on Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy, “Hamlet.” “HamLIT” will play Aug. 13 and 27 at Hugger Mugger in Sanford; Aug. 14 and 28 at The Church at Paddy’s in Fayetteville; and Aug. 20 and 21 at the Arts Council in Fayetteville.

    Next in the season will be “Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare,” directed by Fiebig, which will run Aug. 19 through Sept. 5. The late Shakespearean romance brings family, fairytale and forgiveness to the stage. The tale follows King Leontes as he wrongfully accuses his wife of adultery and unleashes a storm of tragedy upon the kingdom of Sicilia.

    “The Winter’s Tale” will be staged and performed in Raleigh, and made available in Fayetteville via streaming later in the season.

    “We do a series of Shakespeare plays... we do at bars and craft breweries called LIT,” Fiebig said. “The biggest news for us other than the anniversary is we are expanding to Raleigh as well and we’ll be streaming it so folks from Fayetteville who can’t make the drive can view it as well.”

    “McLIT” will begin in October. Imagine if the writer, director and actors of “Macbeth” get lost at a frat party on their way to the show. It will be full of Shakespeare, drinking games, improv and lively music. This show is for adults only ages 18 and up. “McLit” plays Oct. 1 and 22 at Hugger Mugger in Sanford; Oct. 16 and 22 at The Church at Paddy’s in Fayetteville. Other shows will be added through April, 2022.

    The classic love story “Romeo and Juliet” will be on the stage in Raleigh from Oct. 21 to Nov. 7, followed by Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s annual Christmas show, “Behold” that will play Dec. 2 through Dec. 11 that returns to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Fayetteville.

    “Richard II” and “Henry IV, Part 1” which will be performed in rep by a single company of actors, constitutes the first half of Shakespeare’s history tetralogy — an epic tale of fathers and sons, loyalty and leadership, politics and power. It is the story of ordinary people weathering the winds of change in a fledgling nation. And it is a visceral reminder that history isn’t past; it’s not even history at all. The plays will run on alternating days in Raleigh from Jan. 13 to Jan. 30, 2022.

    April brings Jane Austen’s “Emma” adapted by Assistant Artistic Director Claire F. Martin who gives Austen’s rom-com a dazzling update. The show
    will run at multiple locations from April 21 to May 15, 2022.

    Tickets for Sweet Tea Shakespeare performances are $20 general admission and $25 at the door, with discounts for seniors, military and students. Guests can also become a Monthly Sustainer of Sweet Tea Shakespeare for special advance ticket rates and other benefits.

    For more information and show schedules, tickets and performance locations, visit https://sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets/.

    Fayetteville Dinner Theatre
    The Fayetteville Dinner Theatre returned to Gates Four Golf & Country Club with two successful shows this year. They opened in April with two sold-out performances of the musical comedy “A Sinister Cabaret: Love Letter/Sleight of Hand,” written and directed by Dr. Gail Morfesis and produced by Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper.

    The second musical show “Beyond Broadway: Music of Our Time,” was produced and directed by Bill Bowman, the publisher of Up & Coming Weekly, and featured local performers Tim Zimmerman and Linda Flynn.

    “We have an excellent feel of the type of dinner theatre entertainment the community wants,” said Bowman. “Gates Four is the perfect venue, and General Manager Kevin Lavertu has been very instrumental in assisting us in creating a theatrical venue that complements the other great live theater offerings we enjoy here in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.”

    Bowman said the intent is for Gates Four to provide local patrons an entertainment experience that is different and uniquely special to Gates Four.

    “It is an experience that would WOW the audiences and give the Gates Four theatre experience a unique brand,” Bowman said.

    FDT accomplishes this by abandoning the traditional buffet-style dinner and show concept for a more fun, yet elegant theater experience. The evening begins with the directors welcome reception and wine tasting featuring a wide selection of local wines and trays of hors d'oeuvres. The dining room welcomes guests with draped tables, cloth napkins, candlelight, a three-course plated dinner with dual entrees, and an elegant dessert buffet at the intermission. There is pre-show entertainment during the dinner hour, and once the show is underway, there are prizes and surprises.

    “The Fayetteville Dinner Theatre’s mission is to bring quality shows to local area theater-goers and provide local actors a venue to showcase their talents,” Bowman said.

    Gates Four and the FDT donate the money raised from the wine tasting to local children's literacy and education organizations or other community nonprofit organizations like the Care Clinic.

    While there are no shows scheduled for the rest of this calendar year, FDT does plan four shows in 2022.

    In the works is “Miss Congeniality,” a musical comedy written by Bowman and being produced and directed in collaboration with Dr. Gail Morfesis.

    Another planned show is “Mark Twain Himself” staring Richard Garey. This show was scheduled in May of 2020, but was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Garey is a student of history and has performed all over the world, entertaining audiences with the genuine wit and wisdom of Mark Twain.

    For the latest FDT schedule, visit www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com/.

    11 love letter ladies

    10 JH 09125 12 Midsoummer and Much Ado







    Photos courtesy Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Gilbert Theater, Sweet Tea Shakespeare and Fayetteville Dinner Theatrewith special thanks to Jonathan Hornby Productions and Tony Wooten.

  • 04 wild dust bunnyDust Bunnies. What are they? Where do they come from? What do they want? Where do they go? What if they aren’t stopped? These are the eternal questions that even in our enlightened 21st Century have no definitive answers.

    Today, Mr. Science will attempt to shed some light on our dusty friends. This column was triggered by the energetic efforts of Mrs. Science who recently took on the Herculean Task of cleaning out under our bed. We have a tall bed that has been the home and storage location of many quaint and curious objects of forgotten lore over the last 40 years. Once something was stored under the bed, it tended to remain there per Newton’s First Law of physics which says an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

    It turned out there was quite a Metaverse of objects under the bed. The most impressive object was Mr. Science’s Father’s World War 2 steel footlocker belonging to Lt. E.H. Dickey. Although the foot locker remains unopened, many people are saying it contains the original lyrics to the song “Louie, Louie”.

    Other subterranean inhabitants included two giant airtight plastic clothes bags containing at least 80 ancient T-shirts carefully sealed against the elements. Surrounding all the objects was a vast civilization of Dust Bunnies.

    According to Mr. Google, Dust Bunnies are "small clumps of dust that form under furniture and in corners that are not cleaned regularly. They are made of hair, lint, dead skin, spider webs, dust, and sometimes light rubbish and debris that are held together by static electricity and felt-like entanglements.”

    Now that we know what Dust Bunnies are and from whence they come, it turns out they are pretty disgusting.

    Next up is the question what do Dust Bunnies want? Dust Bunnies are silent. They do not make verbal demands. They just lie there, quietly proliferating. If left to their own devices, Dust Bunnies will take over the world, one unswept location at a time. They want world domination and must be stopped.

    Pondering the Dust Bunny Kingdom reminded me of the discussion in “Animal House” between Larry Kroger and Professor Jennings after they had smoked marijuana. Larry: “Okay, that means that our whole solar system could be like one tiny atom in the finger nail of some other giant being. This is too much! That means that one tiny atom in my finger nail could be. “Professor Jennings: “Could be one little tiny universe.” Larry: “Could I buy some pot from you?”

    Dust Bunny Metaverses are the inert cousins of Kudzu which also desires to take over the world. Kudzu can only be stopped by freezing weather in February. Dust Bunnies are even more dangerous than Kudzu as they can only be stopped by cleaning forgotten areas.

    Where do Dust Bunnies go? Everywhere, unless they are swept up and disposed of properly. Mrs. Science saved the Earth by sweeping up 40 years of Dust Bunny Kingdoms. Thanks be to Mrs. Science.

    Having seen the Dust Bunny Civilization swept away, it got Mr. Science thinking about other lost civilizations which fell victim to the silent tragedy of Dust Bunnies. Ponder the fate of the Mayan civilization. It flourished almost 3000 years from 2000 BC until about 900 AD when it collapsed. It is likely the Mayans neglected to sweep out their cities and pyramids leading to Dust Bunnies collapse. There were still Mayans around when Cortez showed up in 1525. However, the Dust Bunnies had already hollowed out their civilization making the Mayans easy pickings for Cortez.

    The Aztecs were a similar lost civilization which allegedly was wiped out by a nasty pestilence called the “cocoliztli” which may have killed up to 17 million people in the 16th century. The Aztecs where more into cutting the hearts out of their enemies than tiding up. It seems likely that Dust Bunnies were the cause of the pestilence.

    The prevailing theory about the extinction of dinosaurs 66 million years ago is that they were wiped out by an asteroid hitting the Earth creating the Chicxulub Crater in Yucatan. Nothing could be further from the truth. Uncontrolled Dust Bunnies conquered the dinosaurs. Have you ever seen the tiny arms of a Tyrannosaurus Rex? No way that a T Rex could have held a broom to sweep out the Dust Bunnies before they reached critical mass. Clearly Dust Bunnies then ruled the Earth.

    A final example of the perfidiousness of Dust Bunnies is the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island. John White’s band of plucky colonists landed on the beach in August 1587. Things got a bit dicey. John headed back to England for supplies which would have included brooms. He wasn’t able to get back to Roanoke until three years later in 1590. On his return, the Lost Colony was gone leaving only the word Croatan carved on a post. No one knows for sure what happened to the Colony.

    However, it turns out that Croatan means Dust Bunnies. The rest is history.

    One final note, Dust Bunnies are responsible for where the lost socks go. Only you can prevent Dust Bunny take over. Sweep under your bed. Be the unbalanced force. The civilization you save may be your own.


  • 05 Emergency Rental Assistance Program LogoLocal government’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program is distributing money received through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 to eligible residents who are unable to pay rent and utilities because of economic hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The program is for current costs or those occurring no earlier than March 13, 2020. A total of $10,119,409 has been allocated to the city and county. The program will operate through the end of this year.

    “COVID-19 changed our lives and people are trying to survive financial struggles brought on by the pandemic,” Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin said.

    Landlords may work with their tenants to complete applications for the funding.

    Renters in Fayetteville and Cumberland County needing assistance to cover past, current, or upcoming rent or utility payments may apply online at fayettevillecumberlandRAP.com or by phone at 888-495-7710.

  • 03 N1809P43007H Twin TowersSome events in American history engrave our minds so deeply that we remember where we were and what we were doing when they occurred. We mark our lives as BE and AE, before the event and after the event.

    November 22, 1963. It was a Friday and I was at school in my after-lunch class when the intercom interrupted to tell both teachers and students that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.

    July 16, 1969. American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on the moon, calling it “a small step for man but a giant leap for mankind.” I was taking my shift waiting tables at a resort restaurant as my summer job.

    September 11, 2001. I was in the Cannon Office Building next door to the U.S. Capitol with a delegation from the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce awaiting a briefing from the U.S. Secretary of Commence who never showed up because he, like every other American, was torn from his prior life by planes flying into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.

    January 6, 2021. The insurrection directed by a losing presidential candidate erupted around and eventually inside the U.S. Capitol, leaving 5 dead and many others wounded, including law enforcement officers. Arrests continue as rioters are identified and charged. I was at home watching an attempted coup unfold on television with tears streaming down my cheeks and my heart hammering.

    It has been just over 6 months since that dreadful day, and Americans are still absorbing an event that saw Americans engaging in military-style hand-to-hand combat with each other. The insurrectionists were mightily upset that their candidate was the clear loser of the 2020 presidential race, with more than 7 million fewer popular votes and 74 electoral votes behind.

    The election was not close, and the rioters failed to force Congress not to certify the election results. The rioters claimed to support democracy at the same time they attempted to overturn a presidential election.

    Six months ago, even the loser’s party officials condemned the mob actions, but memories are apparently short or political courage in short supply or both. Today, the loser’s supporters cry “voter fraud,” with virtually no evidence of it. The idea is to restrict minority voting, a replay of what happened during the Jim Crow era in our nation. Déjà vu of the early 20th century in the early 21st.

    Our country is also closing in on gerrymandering season, the time when legislatures and some independent commissions redraw legislative and Congressional districts to reflect the findings of the most recent U.S. Census. Fierce battles are expected, including in North Carolina, as one party tries to win more seats by gerrymandering even though it has fewer voters. This tactic has been used by both parties since the birth of our nation, and we will see it again later this year. Déjà vu 2011 in 2021.

    The really shocking aspect of the insurrections “after event” reality is that so many Americans have simply moved on, something that did not happen after the Kennedy assassination or 9/11. Maybe it is because life moves so quickly in our technological age or because they no longer want to think about Americans in combat with other Americans or because they want others to forget the deadly rioting. Whatever the motivation, pretending an insurrection did not happen in and around the grounds of the U.S. Capitol is profoundly dangerous, as it the belief that the losing candidate will be reinstated, a sort of political resurrection. As the writer and philosopher George Santayana reportedly said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    The terrifying reality is that they just might succeed next time.

  • 09 this one N2104P25003HThe Cumberland County School system hosted a Back-to-School Launch Party to show students that with the right support in place, they can get back on track and graduate from high school. The virtual event took place on July 15. Students received incentives for attending.

    Interested students and families can still learn about opportunities for getting back to school by calling the hotline at 910-475-1145 or by visiting the CCS website www.ccs.k12.nc.us/. Registration is required.

    The hotline is operational Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. through July 24.

    “We hope to help students re-engage and get back on track with their education,” said Sheral Raines, dropout prevention supervisor. “We want to be able to cheer them across the graduation stage and into the lives that they’ve always dreamed they could have.”

  • 15 1Boxing is a sport that takes a lot of practice, determination and heart. Amateur boxing is a lot like checkers - you never know who you will be competing against, says local boxing coach Juan Verdejo. Professional boxing is like chess because the boxers have time to plan and strategize for their competitors.

    When he trains young boxers at Burgess Boxing & Fitness in Spring Lake, Verdejo said he focuses on speed and endurance. With growth and experience comes control. Verdejo said that speed and control are important because throwing random punches might not land any hits. But endurance helps carry you through the fight.

    “Throw a combo and get out, don’t stick around for the other guy to learn your moves and get hits in,” Verdejo said.

    This is a training focus Coach Verdejo uses when preparing boxers for bouts, like the upcoming Christy Martin Title Belt Tournament scheduled for July 23-25.

    Burgess Boxing & Fitness owner Tony Burgess said he only likes his fighters to fight twice a month because the sport takes a toll on the body. He wants to make sure that his boxers get plenty of rest and recovery. COVID restricted several boxing tournaments and training schedules in the last year, and some gyms shut down. Burgess and Verdejo are glad to see competitions restarting as more pandemic restrictions are being lifted.

    “My favorite fights to see are little kids and the girls because they really get in there and fight. There isn’t a lot of dancing around,” said Burgess.

    His gym offers training to all interested in learning the sport of boxing. Participating in tournaments in not required, but many do. Verdejo said he enjoys helping young boxers learn and participate. For many, boxing is an outlet that gives them purpose and a positive outlet.

    The Christy Martin Title Belt Tournament will take place July 23-25 at Freedom Courts Sportsplex located at 3126 Gillespie St. in Fayetteville. Local boxers will have the opportunity to compete against other amateur boxers from across the state.

    The public is invited to attend the tournament. For more information call 910-890-5534.

    The tournament is named for Christy Martin, a worldwide sensation in the boxing ring. Martin is often credited with legitimizing women’s boxing. Martin had 49 wins (31 by knockout) when her then-husband and trainer, Jim, put her in the fight of her life. In 2010, he attacked Christy in their home when she tried to leave him. Jim stabbed Christy several times and shot her. Christy was able to get out of the house and flag down a passing motorist who took her to the hospital. Christy survived and was able to testify against Jim, helping to convict him. Jim remains in prison in Florida.

    Christy Martin will be in Fayetteville this week and is scheduled to speak at Rape Crisis of Cumberland County. The public is invited to hear her story of survival at 6 p.m. on July 22. Rape Crisis of Cumberland County is located at 519 Ramsey St.

    Pictured above: (Left) Gym owner Tony Burgess, far right, poses with a fighter and training team after a bout.

    Pictured Below: (Right) Coach Juan Verdejo, on right, trains boxers of all ages to compete in the ring.


    16 8

  • 06 FAST Coach 2Federal grants totaling more than $4.6 million will be used to purchase five new electric buses for the Fayetteville Area System of Transit.

    The buses are expected to arrive in Fayetteville in the summer of 2023. The projected date reflects a manufacturing backlog.

    “We want to replace all of our diesel buses with electric vehicles,” said Transit Director Randy Hume. “I believe that can happen over the next 15 years.”

    The grant awards also cover costs of bus charging equipment which will be used overnight during off-peak hours.

    The federal funds will also cover costs of workforce training to help FAST staff members transition from diesel to electric buses.

    Fayetteville’s Public Works Commission will assist FAST in the selection of bus charging equipment and development of strategies to reduce electricity costs.

    Hume said he believes the new buses will reduce emissions, improve air quality, upgrade the quality of life and reduce FAST operating expenses.

  • 01 pub penThere are countless numbers of people, businesses and organizations in Fayetteville and Cumberland County that we could celebrate, showcase and write about. All of them are engaged in doing things that make this community a great place to live.

    In every case these benefactors of humanity work tirelessly and silently throughout the community seeking no compensation or recognition with their satisfaction coming only from knowing they are lifting a burden from someone's troubled shoulders or easing the pain of an ailing heart caused by a terminal diagnosis, a personal tragedy, a sudden loss of a loved one or an unfortunate turn of ill fate.

    The world would be a kinder and gentler place if it were inhabited with more people like Holly Whitley of Legends Pub and her like-minded supporters affectionately known as the Gypsy Women.

    Together from the quaint confines of one of Fayetteville's and Bragg Boulevard’s oldest and most renown and respected "biker bars" comes an outpouring of charity and compassion that has identified both as paragons of humanity.

    My affinity toward Holly and her bar came naturally exactly 25 years ago in 1996, the year we both started our businesses.

    Incidentally, I have yet to put aside my penchant for fast motorcycles, pool playing and wine-drinking (all traits of my ill-spent childhood).

    Since then, we both have set our sights on building successful local businesses that contribute value to the community.

    Well, after a quarter-century, hundreds of charitable events and over a million dollars in charitable donations and contributions, Holly, and her band of Gypsy Women, have truly become legendary.

    In celebration, Up & Coming Weekly, Jay Dowdy, Gates Four Country Club and Piedmont Natural Gas recently had a '80s music concert where Holly hosted a party for the Gypsy Women and friends of Legends Pub.

    Holly, we salute you and thank you for 25 years of unconditional love and service to the Fayetteville community. You are the standard-bearer of generosity and compassion. Few will accomplish in a lifetime what you have done in 25 years. Congratulations!

    My 25 years, my achievements? I'm now the oldest paperboy in Fayetteville, and I’m still working on it. Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    02 UAC06022101

  • 10 Wading In the Water Alvin AileyThe possibilities of painting and mixed media is the underlying theme of the new exhibit opening at the Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County during 4th Friday on July 23.
    Revelation: 50 Years of Painting: Works by Dwight Smith is the Art Council’s first 50-year retrospect exhibition by a living artist, working in an abstract style.

    The public is invited to attend the opening or visit the Arts Council during the last week in July and through September 11.

    Visitors to the gallery will have the chance to see the progression of Smith’s work and experience the joyfulness he brings to an abstract style of painting and working in mixed media.

    To see Smith’s work is to become more familiar with a different way of looking at the possibilities of image making. Visitors will hopefully leave the gallery having greater insight in “how” the work of Smith conveys meaning in his style and ways he works with materials.

    To understand the “how” everyone visiting the exhibit should allow themselves to experience the art “as it is.” If you are an individual who prefers figurative or narrative works of art, take the time to see or try to see what the artist has been exploring for the last 50 years to express meaning in his work.

    Not required to enjoy Smith’s work, but understanding he comes from the tenets of the modernist school of abstract expressionism, is a doorway you should enter and immerse yourself in the style of abstraction.
    Smith has been always driven by the early abstract expressionist’s principles in painting: the sensation of immediacy, a painting is not a picture, but an object that has the same capabilities as sculpture to occupy space, possess thickness, density, and weight.

    In lieu of descriptive subject matter in a painting to evoke meaning, Smith focuses on form to conjure meaning. Although he started off predominantly in watercolors, he later moved to oil and acrylic.

    In the latter mediums, he does not use layers of transparent colors to create the immaterial; instead, the opacity of the ever-present paint surface, or the collage surface, leads us to materiality — the physicality of the work.

    The opacity of Smith’s color palette is not an elusive approach to painting; it invites us to know the physical sensation of touch. Combined with texture, we can begin to understand his painting is not about arrested or metaphorical touch, but the immediacy of touch.

    Being open to abstraction as a style, visitors will be able to study and experience how this artist embeds meaning in materials. For Smith, the sources of his lifetime pursuit in painting are combining iconic symbols with the exploration of surface quality and the power of abstraction to communicate an idea or a feeling, and collage as a significant 20th century method.

    This search stayed with him after his graduation from Wayne State with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting in 1976, during his return to Wayne State to earn a Master of Art in Painting in 1992, and the highest studio degree, a Master of Fine Art in

    Painting at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2012.

    Knowing the artist’s statement, we can follow the timeline of his pursuit of “integrating opposites into a state of harmony and balance. Each work is a commitment to intimate concerns about painting and the language of abstraction. Research and investigations into contemporary painting involve mixed media painting and drawings that are influenced by material surfaces, textures and scale.”

    Seeing the timeline of the paintings in the exhibit, it is easy to identify when the use of symbols emerged and the significance of the symbol. Smith’s artists statement explains the purpose of symbolism in his work: “Elements of design referenced in African, African American, or multi-cultural imagery create a catalyst to begin a visual language that informs the work. Through the work, I am responding to the tension generated by a resounding past and an insistent present.”

    The artist’s commitment to the abstract form and the use of specific symbols guides us to understanding personal meaning in his most recent work. Smith explains: “The works celebrate life, family histories and tributes to artists. I express certain social realities concerning the world while exploring aesthetic qualities of being black in America and addressing the literal symbology of contemporary blackness within the legacy of Abstract Expressionism, creating a pliable structure for intuition, improvisation, and chance.”

    Building on 20th century modernism, contemporary art is even more varied and complex. Personal expression can include beauty, but most often works can be highly political, globalization has influenced styles, the digital age continues to impact everyone, and themes of identity and social unrest is prevalent. Yet, Smith has remained focused on the formal problems of painting and the expressive power of material.

    His style is a way to express his personal narrative about states of being — specifically his experiences of being an African American male in America. Even though growing up Black in America continues to have serious challenges and obstacles in American culture, we leave Revelation: 50 Years of Painting understanding how joyfulness, spirituality, love of music, love of dance, and love of life are the core of Dwight Smith’s beingness: and it is this feeling, or state of being, which is communicated throughout his work.

    It is important to understand why an artist has the impulse to create, but it is also important to know what choices an artist’s makes that encourage or support their efforts to remain an artist.

    For Smith, a key influence was an African American art organization which was established in the 1950s, the National Conference of Artists, Michigan Chapter.

    While galleries and the “artworld” were not promoting African American artists up until the 1990s, the NCA was an important meeting place for artists to work together, encourage each other, have exhibits, travel to other countries, and network.

    As a very young and emerging artist, Smith was able to interface with a network of seasoned African American artists, many historically important in American Art. Mentored by John A. Lockart, knowing David Driskell, Howandena Pindell, Romare Bearden, Shirley Woodson and Al Loving had the greatest influence on his personal development of style.

    After retiring from a career as the advertising and display coordinator for the Automobile Club of Michigan in 2007 (and remaining an exhibiting artist), Smith, and his immediate family (partner Calvin Mims and Shirley Mims) moved to Fayetteville.

    Besides being an artist, the move to North Carolina began a new chapter in his life when he became an educator. Currently Smith is a tenured Associate Professor of Art at Fayetteville State University in the Department of Performing and Fine Art.

    While teaching at Fayetteville State University with a master’s degree, another important influence on Smith was when he decided to go back to graduate school to earn a Master of Fine Art at the Art Institute of Boston.

    He stated, “Everyone needs something or someone to solidify the legitimacy of your work during different phases. While earning my MFA the comments from the visiting artists helped to do that. As well, it was a period when I could revisit and analyze my work up to that point.”

    Smith’s accomplishments as an artist are way too extensive to start listing in this editorial. It suffices to say he is an artist who continues to show regionally, nationally and internationally, his works continues to be purchased by collectors, his paintings are in many private and public collections, including museums, and he has received many national honors and awards.

    Dwight Smith (and his partner Calvin Mims) have had a significant impact on the arts in Fayetteville by owning and operating Ellington White Contemporary Gallery on Gillespie Street.

    In addition, Smith has significantly contributed to the cultural landscape of Fayetteville and nationally by exhibiting, his continued participation in NCA, scholarly presentations, curating significant exhibits, and his community/professional service.

    Revelation: 50 Years of Painting at the Art Council is well worth the time to visit. But it is not an exhibit to rush through. One will have to spend quiet time with the work to see how a consummate artist gives evidence to a well-known statement:

    By knowing your craft, you spend less time in thinking about the process and can focus on the “why” of painting.”

    The exhibition opens during 4th Friday on July 23. The public is invited to the free event, and the exhibition will remain up until September 11.

    For information on the exhibition call the Arts Council at 910-323-1776 or visit www.theartscouncil.com/.

    The Arts Council is located at 301 Hay St. in Fayetteville. Hours of operation are Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. until noon.

    Pictured above: "Wading in the Water Alvin Ailey" by Dwight Smith

    Pictured Below:

    (Left) "Homage to Al Loving" by Dwight Smith

    (Middle) "A Conversation with Norman Lewis" by Dwight Smith

    (Right) "Girl in the Yellow Raincoat" by Dwight Smith

    11 11

    12 5 13 Girl in the Yellow Raincoat



  • 07 USE this Fowler picTwo area restauranteurs have been honored by inclusion in USA Today’s top 10 central North Carolina barbecue spots.

    Former Fayetteville City Councilman Wade Fowler who now serves as chairman of the Public Works Commission has been involved in many walks of life since retiring as an Air force jet fighter pilot. He owns Fowlers’ Southern Gourmet on W. Rowan Street near downtown. It opened in February 2018, and has already gained a reputation for delicious ribs, pork barbecue and smoked brisket.

    Whole hog barbecue is something of a dying art, but Fayetteville native Wyatt Dickson didn't get the memo. He and co-owner Ryan Butler opened Picnic in Durham five years ago.

    Dickson is one of the sons of Up & Coming Weekly columnist Margaret Dickson. His barbecue mixes old-school technique with a new-school mindset.

  • 14 PXL 20210626 152041971Fayetteville fencers at the All-American Fencing Academy earned national competitor ratings and national referee ratings during the Academy’s one and only sanctioned event during the 2020-2021 season.

    During most of the 2020-2021 season, sanctioned fencing tournaments had been cancelled. Recent policy changes with USA Fencing has now allowed national and local sanctioned tournaments.

    In June, Fayetteville hosted fencers from Greensboro, Charlotte, Apex, Greenville, Wilmington and the state of Alabama.

    In the men’s events Holden Moorefield was after his first national rating and came out of pools undefeated and seeded number 1. He defeated top seed teammate Bruce McRae, dropping Bruce down to 5th seed in the elimination rounds.

    In the elimination rounds, All-American Fencing Academy’s oldest fencer, Steve Cage, at age 65, upset the 4th seed to place in the top 8.

    Moorefield and McRae once again met in the semi-final round where McRae had trailed for most of the bout, but was able to squeeze in a victory winning against Moorefield 15-13. McRae and Moorefield will both be attending UNC-Chapel Hill where they will also be roommates.

    McRae continued on to win the men’s event against Leo Hinds from Greensboro. McRae re-earns his national E rating for Men’s Foil.

    Women’s foil saw a stronger pool of fencers with 5 already nationally rated fencers in the tournament.

    Megan Patterson seeded 1st coming out of the pools, followed by Isabelle Guevarra in 5th, Sabrina Krupenko in 7th, and Elinor Morkos in 12th.

    Unfortuantely, teammates Guevarra and Morkos faced each other in the first elimination round where Guevarra won 15-3 to advance. Patterson and Krupenko also advanced into the second round.

    Guevarra aged up in 2020 and was hoping to earn her first rating last fall, but had not had the opportunity to fence in any sanctioned events since the pandemic. This was her first tournament in the age 13+ (Seniors) category. A close victory against Greenville’s Lynn Harris put her in the semi-final rounds against teammate Patterson, guaranteeing Guevarra her first national E rating.

    Patterson defeated Guevarra but