• 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.

    Suspension

    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

    Miss

    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?

     

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    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

     

  • BOF VOTING NOW BUTTON 2017

  • 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.

  • 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 was defeated in the finals by Apex Fencing Academy’s Datla Medha. Patterson also renews her E rating.

    The sport of fencing is growing world-wide. In a historically European dominated sport, U.S. teams have consistently been in the top places on the world stage for several years. In the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, fencing, for the first time, will have a full medal count. There will be 6 individual medals and 6 team medals in this next Olympics.

    The All-American Fencing Academy also hosts a Walk-In Class for fencers that want to give it a try without making a full month commitment. The Walk-In Classes occur during Downtown Fayetteville’s Fourth Friday events.

    The All-American Fencing Academy is located in Downtown Fayetteville at 207 B Donaldson St. It instructs and trains recreational and competitive fencers starting at age 7, teens, adults and veterans ages 40+. Its fencers compete regionally and nationally. Their coaches include former World Cup and NCAA fencers.

    For more information about the All-American Fencing Academy and its classes, please call 910-644-0137, e-mail info@allamericanfencing.com or visit www.allamericanfencing.com.

    Pictured above: Two fencers in a recent bout. (Photo courtesy All-American Fencing Academy).

  • 06 Markus McCormickMarkus Odon McCormick, 36, was sentenced to serve at least 24 years in state prison following his conviction this month on human trafficking charges. In 2018, police officers conducted a traffic stop which led to an interview with a victim of human trafficking. Fayetteville Police detectives spent three years gathering evidence that resulted in McCormick’s trial. Det. D. Graham had arrested the accused for trafficking two victims for the purpose of sexual servitude. McCormick was found guilty by a jury on two counts of human trafficking, five counts of felony promotion of prostitution, and one count of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine.

  • 05 Recycling carts 3Bi-weekly recycling has been delayed until August. City officials say material unavailability and production issues caused the delay. Every other week recycling was scheduled to begin this month and was heavily promoted. The delay wasn’t announced until July 1. Recycling customers who have not yet received their new, blue 96-gallon recycling carts should continue using the small carts.

    Residents who haven’t received the new ones by Aug. 1 should call 910-433-1329. City crews will eventually collect the old carts which should be left at the curb. “We appreciate your patience as we work to deliver new carts,” Public Services Director Sheila Thomas-Ambat said. “This is a change, but the new schedule will be in line with the industry standard, and we will see cost savings in the future.” She didn’t explain what industry standards govern the use of bigger recycling implements.

  • 01 N1809P30001HWe Americans are proud of our First Amendment — a guarantee that government at any level cannot restrict freedom of speech in the United States — and we should be. It safeguards our own individual speech and that of the “press.” Originally the press was defined by our primary news and opinion medium — newspapers — but today translates to “media,” encompassing print and digital platforms, ones common to me and those I have never heard of and will likely never use.

    But I am nervous about our First Amendment and particularly, the freedom of the press. As you and I speak with millions of different voices and opinions, local media is speaking less and less. That means we know less and less about what is happening in our own communities.

    The press, which began with relatively few voices, has long since morphed into millions of voices with a versatile range. From television networks with distinct points of view and unrestricted social media comments to individual blogs and podcasts representing every viewpoint and experience under the sun, a lot is being said. We are all free to partake of as much or as little of this as we please. We can and do read, watch and listen to voices that agree with ours, relaxing with our own choir in an echo chamber that preaches only to us and those like us. Successful politicians of all stripes know to keep their friends close and their enemies closer. Otherwise, we have no clue what others are thinking and doing. It is as if we are living in the tower of Babel, an existence dangerous indeed.

    Dangerous as well is the consolidation of media throughout our nation. Gone from most places, including Fayetteville and Cumberland County, are locally owned and operated news outlets, including newspapers and radio and television stations. Cape Fear Broadcasting, a local media company that carried local news and broadcast editorials, was sold to a publicly traded corporation 20 years ago. The Fayetteville Observer is now owned by a national newspaper chain. With such consolidation have come “synergies,” which translate into fewer local jobs and much less local news.

    Estimates vary, but The New York Times reports that 1 in 5 newspapers in the U.S. have shut down. Researcher Penny Abernathy at UNC-CH’s School of Journalism and Media puts the number at about 1,800 since 2004, roughly 100 a year. Actual closure of local broadcasting outlets is not as dramatic, but the existence of fewer newsrooms and reporters is taking a toll. Local news media are shadows of their former selves, and many U.S. communities are now local news deserts.

    So why should we care that news outlet voices are decreasing and that less local, state and regional news coverage exists? We should care because how else will we know what our local and state elected officials are up to? What is Fayetteville City Council doing with downtown development? How are our law enforcement agencies handling diversity issues? What is the Cumberland County Board of Education doing to help students recover from a year away from in-person classes? How is the General Assembly going to fund the UNC and community college systems? Unless you plan to attend every meeting of every elected body, you will be unaware that local media coverage is absent. Don’t even think about trusting random social media posts for accurate local news. To read more on this, see the Brookings Institute 2019 report “Local Journalism in Crisis: Why America Must Revive Its Local Newsrooms.”

    Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglas, Patrick Henry and other earlier Americans who saw a need for eternal vigilance to preserve liberty could not have imagined today’s cacophony of voices. That we struggle to agree on basic facts about our nation would astound them, but that is our present state. We do not have to agree with much less like the views of other people and news outlets, but we ignore them at our own and our nation’s peril.

    It is up to us to protect our precious First Amendment by keeping ourselves informed as best we can, even about events, ideas and points of view with which we disagree.

    Especially about those with which we disagree.

    Editor's Note: This Essay on Liberty by Dickson first appeared in the July issue of Women's View magazine.

  • 23 Picture1Over the past year, many owners have been working hard to keep their businesses afloat. Now, as things are turning around, some are asking “Should I sell my business?” Here are some steps to follow to achieve the best price and experience.

    Step 1: Get a business valuation
    Once you know the value of your business, you’ll have the opportunity to increase its worth before listing to achieve a higher selling price. In today’s climate, business valuation experts will be assessing your 2021 revenue and earnings. Meanwhile, ignoring your 2020 profits. That’s why it’s crucial to get your business to where it was pre-COVID or better.

    Step 2: Organize your financials
    Buyers are shifting their focus to businesses that not only survived the pandemic but will provide long-term viability. Before choosing to make an offer, they’ll want to know everything about your business — from your financial statements and taxes to your inventory and equipment. This is the time to take care of any outstanding orders, like tax liens or PPP loan forgiveness, that can prevent any sale from going through. For a smooth transaction, meet with a business advisor to review your financials before you begin the sales process.

    Step 3: Prepare your exit strategy
    You shouldn’t wait until the next downturn to sell your business— it’s always good to sell when things are getting better.
    Putting a sound plan in place will help facilitate a faster exit. It can also help you achieve a higher return on investment. Baby boomer business owners will be looking to retire in the upcoming years, overwhelming the market. This is the perfect time to maximize your value and ensure your business stands out from the pack.
    There are many exit strategies to consider — selling to friends or family, selling to an internal party, or selling on the open market. Each plan of action has its advantages and disadvantages.

    Step 4: Find a business broker
    The most important thing an owner can do while selling their business is focusing on running their business. A broker uses their expertise and aggressive marketing program to create competition for you, manage prospects and help you achieve the best price. No matter the size of your business or industry, a business advisor is going to be an expert. With the right guidance and advice, you’ll be able to seamlessly sell your business to the right buyer.

    Step 5: Qualify potential buyers and negotiate
    One of the main reasons a transaction will fall apart is because buyers fail to secure loans after entering into a sales agreement. When you work with a broker, buyers are qualified for financial ability to meet the offer.

    A business broker can approach and continue to track potential buyers without weakening your position. The best part is brokers will control the information being released, and pre-qualified buyers are required to execute a confidentiality agreement. This will protect you and your company from someone prying through your financials without proper supervision.

    When you’re selling a business, especially in a hot market, it’s crucial to negotiate to achieve the best price and terms. With the help of a professional, you’ll be able to avoid confusion during your sales transaction. They’ll be able to identify when a buyer is asking for too little and have your best interest at heart.

  • 04 Proposed Day CenterThe city of Fayetteville is purchasing a warehouse at 128 King St. off Person Street (formerly the Rock Shop) for conversion to a homeless day center. The design contract was awarded to Raleigh-based architectural firm IBI Group which designed Oak City Cares, the Raleigh day center that’s being used as a model for Fayetteville's day center. The building is a 12,800-square-foot warehouse that was built in 2006. $4 million has been provided by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s disaster recovery program. The money will be used to purchase the property, construction, design and equipment. Windows will be installed in the front of the building.
    The center will also function as an emergency shelter when needed. Chris Cauley, the city's director of economic and community development said preliminary plans for the day center include shower and laundry facilities, a large community room for people to use computers and charge their devices, plus a warming kitchen and offices.

  • 02 N1307P21005H 1Students have many options to explore concerning careers related to Computer Information Technology at FTCC — from programs that teach building mobile applications to creating digital art and everything in-between.

    Advertising & Graphic Design. FTCC’s Advertising and Graphic Design associate program equips students with the skills necessary to illustrate and design logos, advertisements and an array of other printed and digital visual communication to express ideas through typography, imagery, color and layouts. Students are equipped with industry-standard software, such as Adobe Creative Suite, Webflow and Figma. Students also have an opportunity to obtain certification in Adobe Applications.

    Digital Media Technology and User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX). This Digital Media program prepares students for professional opportunities involving digital design and multimedia. Coursework includes 2D & 3D animation, interactive technologies, website design, programming and audio/video editing. Graduates of this program should qualify for employment as animators, UI/UX developers, multimedia specialists and many other emerging professional opportunities in this expanding field. The UI/UX degree is new for fall 2021 and includes coursework in coding and design, selected to enhance the user experience for websites and mobile applications.

    Simulation & Game Development. Students interested in FTCC’s game development associate program gain the skills to develop videogames, such as 3D modeling and animation, creative writing and game programming. Graduates of this program are also qualified to work for health and government agencies.

    Computer Programming & Development and Mobile Application Development. In order to be an effective and successful programmer, one must be able to logically and creatively solve business-related problems for prospective clients or employers using the appropriate software and programming languages. Programming languages taught to students include Java, C#, C++, Python and more.
    The Mobile Application Development associate degree program is for those interested in becoming a developer for mobile applications. Coursework includes instruction in both Android and iOS programming languages, including Swift.

    Network Management and Administration and Cloud Management. Networking Management and Networking Administration programs prepare students to install and support networks and develop strong analytical skills and extensive networking knowledge. Course work includes hands-on experience with both Cisco, Windows and Linux operating systems. FTCC is part of the Cisco Networking Academy Program and offers coursework to prepare students for the Cisco CCNA exam. The Cloud Management program is new for fall 2021 and includes coursework in AWS, Google and Microsoft Azure.

    System Security & Analysis. FTCC’s Cyber Education Center has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. This program provides students with the skills required to evaluate and implement effective and comprehensive information security controls. Security analysts monitor, prevent and halt attacks on private data.

    FTCC also offers an Intelligence Studies curriculum designed to provide students with skills necessary to work in the intelligence profession with an emphasis in Geospatial Intelligence. The program emphasizes cyber defense with industry partners, such as Cisco, RedHat, Palo Alto and EC-Council. The program prepares students for numerous industry certifications, including CompTIA Security+, several EC-Council certifications (CE|H and CND), and Palo Alto Certified Network Defender and many others.

    PC Support & Services. IT/PC Support & Services is a program for those interested in more traditional information technology technician work, including PC maintenance and repair. The curriculum will prepare students to install, operate and manage various operating systems ranging from industry standards like Windows to more niche operating systems like Linux. Course work includes hands-on experience with troubleshooting PC hardware/software, mobile devices and various peripherals. Students will build customer-service, problem-solving, communication and writing skills. Certifications to enhance the associate degree include CompTIA A+ & Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE). Graduates are qualified for entry-level positions in technical support services.

    Join us for Fall semester. Classes begin August 16. Let FTCC help you find your way forward.

  • 07 SSGT Logan MelgarA court martial panel found Marine Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2017 death of Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar. Madera-Rodriguez was also found guilty of hazing, making false official statements and conspiracy.

    The incident took place in Melgar’s bedroom at off-site housing that he shared with other special operators in Bamako, Mali. The jury came to its verdict after a day’s deliberations in a three-week trial at Norfolk Naval Station, Virginia. Madera-Rodriguez was the last of four co-defendants charged in Melgar’s death by strangulation. Madera-Rodriguez’ sentencing is pending.

  • 10 rockn logo jpegThe Rock’n On The River concert series continues in July with two bands that are sure to keep the audience singing and dancing along. The July 16 show will feature Joyner, Young & Marie at 6 p.m. and Heart Breaker at 8:15 p.m. Both groups are known for vocal powerhouse performances of rock ‘n’ roll hits.

    Bill Joyner, Dan Young and Marie Grimsley make up Joyner, Young & Marie, a local band that has been performing for more than 30 years. No stranger to area festivals and events, Joyner, Young & Marie performs their own music and covers of rock ‘n’ roll hits from the likes of Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton and Aretha Franklin, among many.

    “My favorite memory with the band was when our song ‘Live the Blues’ from our first CD ‘Full Circle’ made number one in the beach charts and got to perform at the Cammy Awards [Carolina Beach Music Awards],” said lead singer Marie Grimsley. The band is currently working on releasing another CD in the near future. Grimsley said the band enjoys performing together and bringing back the rock hits that everyone knows and enjoys.

    Also performing will be Heart Breaker, a Heart tribute band, featuring Staci McBeth and Joan Burton, backed by a talented band of musicians. Although based in North Carolina, Heart Breaker tours nationally with the goal of playing each song with respect and true passion for the original. They not only perform the Heart classics such as “Alone,” “What About Love,” and crowd favorite “Barracuda,” but they also give the audience a taste of Led Zeppelin hits that Heart often played on tour as well.
    The Rock’n On The River concert series was created in 2015 starting with three shows. The popularity of the series and demand for live entertainment helped increase the number of shows each season. This year, the series has been hosting a concert each month from May until October.

    Each concert this season showcases a different genre of music, bringing together different crowds of people for a good time with friends and family. Rock’n On The River is located at 1122 Person St. in Fayetteville, (behind Deep Creek Grill).

    Parking for the event opens at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 6 p.m. Parking costs $5 per person in each vehicle. Outside food and beverages are prohibited, but can be purchases on site. Pets are also not allowed onto the concert grounds.

    Rock’n On The River is a free event sponsored by Healy Wholesale, Bob 96.5 FM radio, and Up & Coming Weekly.

    For more information visit www.facebook.com/Rockn-On-The-River-271048666818630/

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  • 22 Max Greene faces Greensboros Emery AlexanderFencing is not a sport targeted toward any particular age, gender or social status, and Coach Gerhard Guevarra believes it offers a place for everyone.

    The All-American Fencing Academy of Fayetteville offers great opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to learn the sport of fencing.

    “Our academy is not some big sports program, this is a place for people of all different athletic backgrounds,” said Coach Guevarra, also the owner of the Academy. “Most people come to us because their child or themselves wanted to do fencing and didn’t know there was a spot in Fayetteville to do that. All we can say for those who don’t know fencing or are skeptical about it, ‘hey come try it out,’” he said.

    The All-American Fencing Academy is an official registered school of USA Fencing and the North Carolina Division of USA Fencing.

    Guevarra has been coaching since 1999, and brought fencing to Fayetteville through the Pine Forrest Recreational Center. In 2008, he moved the program downtown to open his fencing studio, the All-American Fencing Academy. Guevarra continues to compete nationally and internationally. He competed in the 2006 Vancouver World Cup and has won several North Carolina Division Championships.

    Students at the Academy can compete locally, regionally and nationally. Some have qualified for National Championships and some have qualified for Junior Olympics. Some fencers have been recruited and continue to fence for Division I, II, and III university fencing teams.

    The All-American Fencing Academy currently has between 30 to 40 students ranging from the lowest age of 7 up to students in their 60s. The beginner classes start on the first week of the month and are for those who have never fenced before. This class teaches the basics, history and proper blade work for fencing. There is a membership option for students who want to continue to pursue fencing, which offers one scheduled class and additional open fencing nights.

    The Academy also offers a class for adult learners too — the 40+ class — for those who are interested in the art of fencing but didn’t realize it until later in life.
    Private lessons are available based on coach availability.

    For those who are just looking for something new and fun to do in Fayetteville, or maybe want to learn more about fencing before committing to a class, the Academy offers a Fourth Friday walk-in class every month, except July. Anyone ages 7 and older can participate for just $10 a student.

    All-American Fencing is located at 207B Donaldson St. in downtown Fayetteville. For more information call 910-644-0137, email info@allamericanfencing.com or visit www.allamericanfencing.com/#welcome.

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  • 15 DSC 0515Fayetteville Cumberland County Parks & Recreation offers a number of activities to get out and enjoy nature. Clark Park & Nature Center is located at 631 Sherman Drive. For more information call 910-433-1579.

    Bug Safari at StoryWalk® Clark Park
    Explore reading along a stretch of trail near the playground. Stands tell the story of “Bug Safari” by Bob Barner. Funded by the Women’s Giving Circle of Cumberland County, a fund of Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc. Available Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to sunset. Free and suitable for ages 3-6.

    Small Wonders From the Mountains to the Sea: A Diorama of Miniatures by Wildlife Artist Joe Morgan
    Find all the tiny critters nestled in this work of art and take home a prize. Available during Center Hours: Available Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

    Animal Feedings
    Alligators chomping, snakes swallowing, and turtles snapping, come see what is for dinner at the nature center. Call to register. Wednesdays on July 21, 28 and Aug. 4, 11 from 3-4 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

    Marvels of Moths
    While butterflies may be better known, after the sun goes down the night belongs to their relatives, the moths. There are far more species of moths than butterflies and they live fascinating lives. Learn about the importance of moths in the environment, how they survive, and about some of the many different kinds that call North Carolina home. Part of National Moth Week and Moth Night. Call to register. Saturday, July 24 from 7-8 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

    Moth Night!
    Clark Park’s woods often yield giant silkworm moths like the Luna and Polyphemus. Come hear about how moths differ from butterflies, how to attract and trap moths for identification and study, and see what we can catch at Clark on this night. Moth Night is part of National Moth Week, a celebration of moth diversity, beauty, life cycles and habitats. Call to register. Saturday, July 24 from 8-10 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

    Homeschool Discovery Series: Reptiles and Amphibians
    These free programs are designed with homeschoolers in mind to help supplement their curriculum. Call to register. On Aug. 5 from 10-11:30 a.m. discover what makes reptiles different from amphibians through this hands-on experience.

    For more information on what programs and events are available at parks throughout Fayetteville and Cumberland County visit www.fcpr.us/

  • 09 The Struggle by Angela StoutBecoming a professional artist can be a personal goal early in life, or it can be the result of a series of unexpected events and influences. Due to the latter reason, I thought it was particularly important to write an editorial about the artist Angela Stout; but also, to write about her notable exhibition titled Evoke at the Cape Fear Studios in Fayetteville.

    First and foremost, Angela Stout is an extraordinary artist who is able to successfully cross disciplines and be exceptional in whatever medium she undertakes. Anyone who visits the Cape Fear Studios, to see her recent body of work, will be pleasantly surprised at the artists’ approach and method to painting, sculpting the figure, and printmaking.

    The challenge for any artist who focuses on the portrait is how the subject, an important genre in the history of art, fits into the rage and complexity of contemporary art styles. For Stout, the subject is just the starting point to reveal more than a likeness, but an essence that transcends the individual, an ascension to a state of being that is our humanity. For this artist, it is our humanity that connects us -not gender, sex or race.

    Visitors to Evoke will see a body of work which reflects this artist’s vision about the place of portraiture in contemporary art. For Stout, portraiture is not just about a likeness, but her intent is to evoke emotion and transcend the focus from the individual to the many. What she may not realize is that she creates a context that is inclusive and illusive at the same time; we sense the precipice, we sense the humanity in the room – and it is everyone.

    All the paintings in the exhibit are 30” x 40” on stretched canvas, the scale of the figure, larger than life-size, invites our attention. On close inspection you can see the marks of color from Stout’s paint brush being dragged across the surface or the blending of layers of color - she moves seamlessly between opacity and translucency as needed. The painting titled “O” is an example of her exactitude and pursuit to move past the individual to a human condition, using only the warm and cool colors of indigo, phthalo blue, and a hint of magenta.

    As in all her paintings, Stout has a clear understanding of the potential of color and its complexity to create meaning on different levels - all at the same time. For example, she is keenly aware of the characteristics of color and ways to exploit its complexity: the symbolism of a color, the temperature and weight of color, tone, tint, shade, and saturation are all possible means for Stout to create a feeling, an emotion, a moment, or even a state of beingness.

    Visitors to the Cape Fear Studio will see how Stout moves easily between mediums. Not only are their nine new paintings, but she is also exhibiting 4 portrait heads in clay, and over eighteen monoprints. What becomes relevant is why and how she moves effortlessly between mediums. In order to get to the significance of an artist successfully working in different mediums, I need to go back to the beginning of the article: “becoming a professional artist can be the result
    of a series of unexpected events and
    influences.”

    Stout, raised in Ohio, the city of Warren, has drawn since she was three years old. At the age of 16, she asked her mother for a Bob Ross kit as a Christmas gift, and her mother surprised her with the Master Bob Ross kit (complete with supplies and a video). In high school she focused on playing drums instead of art lessons and was told upon graduation that she was not prepared or good enough, as an
    artist, to apply to art school.

    Those negative words and lack of encouragement from a teacher changed the direction of her life for the next twenty years. After serving in the military, married with three children, almost completing a degree in radiology before she became ill, now married again with 2 additional children (for a total of 5): Stout was out of the army and painting portraits as a self-taught artist in Broadway, North Carolina. With encouragement from family and friends, she enrolled in and completed a two-year Associate of Arts degree from Fayetteville Technical Community College, which included four art classes.
    Stout had the experiences of painting murals for dayrooms when she was in the military, but it was the beginning painting and drawing classes at FTCC where she received her first formal instruction in the mechanics of drawing and painting. Katey Morrill, her painting instructor, identified her preferences in painting and introduced her to significant artists for her to study, those artists who focused on using light to create dramatic effects. Equally important, Stout was encouraged by the art faculty to become a professional artist and continue into a 4-year art program.

    Confident in her achievements at FTCC, Stout entered Fayetteville State University in the Department of Performing and Fine art and was affectionately told “you have a lot of talent” and “you have a long way to go.” Only working in black, white and greys, her solid education from FTCC was the beginning of her personal journey in the arts.
    Stout worked with five different instructors at FSU, each bringing their own influence. After taking fifteen hours in art history and art criticism, painting classes, printmaking classes, and various sculpture classes she graduated from FSU with a 4.0 average. Because of Stout’s ambition to know as much as she could and her work ethics, she worked tirelessly at the challenges each course would demand but was always open to new ways of seeing and working.

    Stout explains it like this: “Painting classes improved my understanding of color theory and composition, printmaking classes challenged the way I viewed the process of painting and image-making, from painting I could create volume in clay modeling, and clay modeling helped me to see spatially and that helped my painting. Art criticism and contemporary art class challenged everything I thought I knew, I was then able to refine the direction of my work, I become open to new possibilities in ways I had never considered before.”

    Stout was not only a student of art who wanted to know all that she could learn in a short period of time, but she was always taking advantage of any situation where she could exhibit her work. She participated in local and national exhibitions, put her artworks in coffee house and any place that would showcase her works.

    By the time she graduated from FSU in 2019, and soon after, she had created and was facilitating a Facebook page called “acrylicpaintingforeveryone” (link at the end of the article) which has 106,000 vetted members. A website created as a positive social media platform to encourage anyone who paints, includes an exchange of ideas, videos, tips, and critiques.

    Stout has been in many exhibitions, local and regional. Due to her social media persistence, a curator contacted her to exhibit one of her paintings in an online exhibition in Milan, Italy during COVID. As an advocate of the arts, Stout is a member of the Cape Fear Studios and regularly gives classes to any age interested in painting. She participates in community outreach projects and continues to do portrait commissions.

    Anyone who has visited the exhibit, and those who have plans to see Evoke at the Cape Fear Studios might be interested to know what influenced the direction of her work. Stout was asked how her work has evolved over the last ten years. She began by saying: “In the beginning it was important to learn and practice technique. I was self-taught so I did not understand the philosophy behind art, and the ways in which my work needed to be developing. Studying art and art movements, understanding the evolution of art gave me the courage to evolve in my own way.”

    She continued, “Initially I just wanted to develop technically and portray the subject as accurate as possible. Now I want to convey an emotion. Every aspect of the painting is important to the overall meaning, the subject, color, abstraction, and techniques are used to evoke an emotion.”

    “I never would have thought that courses in printmaking could have had such a dramatic effect on how I see painting, but it did? I am a perfectionist, but in the printmaking studio any number of things can happen, often accidents, that made me understand how process is relevant. I didn’t have the expectations I was going to be a professional printmaker at the time, so I felt I was free to fail and to explore. All good lessons, I moved from mimicry to intent in my work - possibilities in printmaking translated into possibilities in painting.”

    After working six months towards her first-person exhibition, I was interested to know what the experience meant to her after the opening and what her future plans are as a professional, free lance artist. Stout was resolute in her response, “I feel as if my intent for the exhibit was met, and I hope the works communicate the emotional connections to anyone who see the exhibit in the painting, the sculpture or a print. During the process, I had to make choices during the making, I felt a sense of relief that, as a whole, there is a continuity in the body of work.”

    “My plans at this time are to continue to explore image making and intent, continue teaching, network for opportunities to exhibit. It would be nice to have a gallery outside of North Carolina carry my work, and I love being involved in community projects. At this time, I have written a grant for disabled veterans to take my workshop in acrylic painting and healing; and I have a written a grant to be able to work with Gold Star Children. One big goal is to write an extensive grant for underprivileged children to have art lessons and artkits. Afterall, it was a Bob Ross Master Kit, given to me when I was 16 years old, that made a big impact on the direction my life would eventually take in the arts!”

    Visitors to the Cape Fear Studios at 148 Maxwell Street in Fayetteville, North Carolina will be able to see Angela Stouts’ exhibit titled Evoke until July 20th, 2021. The hours of the studios are Tuesday-Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Email the gallery at artgallery@capefearstudios.com or call 910-433-2986.

    To join Angela Stouts Facebook page for “acrylicpaintingforeveryone” the link is www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=acrylicpaintingforeveryone.
    For information in taking classes with Angela Stout, call 910-433-2986 for information on times and cost.

    08 O by Angela Stout

  • 03 banner C2G major updates 2Fort Bragg commissaries are now offering their ‘CLICK2GO’ curbside grocery pick up services to all Department of Defense ID card holders.

    Both the North and South post commissaries will offer the service and allow customers to order up to 6 days in advance, with the option to make changes to their order for up to 6 hours before pickup time.

    You can find this service at the local commissary website as well as commissaries.com or go to shopcommisaries.com, where customers can order and pay online, and pick a time for curbside pickup.

    “With the system, we have signage to identify designated parking spaces,” said Tanya Cooksey, business analyst/product coordinator for Defense Commissary Agency.

    “When the customer pulls up into a designated parking space, there’s a phone number on the sign, and the sign rings inside and alerts the commissary team member who will dispatch someone to retrieve
    the order.”

    The ‘CLICK2GO’ service provides contactless delivery to the customers, where, after showing them your ID, the team member will place the items in the backseat or trunk of the car, Cooksey said.

    “The hours vary by store but the average operating hours by store is Tuesday through Friday and the operating hours are usually between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.,” Cooksey said. “For the past year or so there was a $4.95 service fee but as of recently waived so customers no longer have to pay the service fee.”

    The curbside pickup is a part of DeCa’s e-commerce initiative which began in 2013 as an incentive to attract millennials with commissary privileges to use the services.

    “But we are finding that everyone loves this service, retirees, new enlistees, everyone,” Cooksey said. “It’s just convenient.”

    Last year the service added eight stores in the program but are now aiming at adding all 236 stores to the service by the end of the year, she said.

    For more information on the program or to check store hours visit www.commissaries.com/shopping/click-2-go.

  • 17 IMGL0435The National Day of the Cowboy is one where people can remember and celebrate America’s cowboy culture and pioneer heritage. Recognized on the fourth Saturday in July, National Day of the Cowboy honors the American cowboy, often a symbol of freedom and adventure. Created in 2005 by the National Day of the Cowboy Organization, the day celebrates cowboy culture in the American West associated with the years following the Civil War.

    One of the important jobs performed by 19th-century cowboys was to drive cattle from Texas northward to Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming. At the time there wasn’t a direct railway line that connected Texas with the Northern and Eastern portions of the U.S. Cowboys often used cattle trails to move up to 3,000 heads of cattle at a time.

    Cowboys would move cattle along the cattle trails to the towns known as cow towns in Kansas. They would also use the Chisholm Trail to move cattle north of the Mexican border to Abilene. Other trails included the Shawnee Trail that led to St. Louis, and the Great Western Trail that led to Dodge City.

    National Day of the Cowboy recognizes that cowboys were more than just cattle herders. They were people who truly loved adventure and the land. Cowboys were often seen as loyal and willing to work hard.

    The folks at 7 Branch Farm in Lumber Bridge continue to celebrate the American cowboy each year. The public is invited to join 7 Branch’s seventh annual National Day of the Cowboy event on July 23 and 24. The 7 Branch Arena hosts the only sanctioned professional rodeo close to the Fayetteville area. The event will show what it truly means to be a cowboy/cowgirl and to live by the code.

    The rodeo will recreate events from the Old American West including bucking horses, calf roping, mounted shooting and more. This year the rodeo is bringing back barrel races where professionally skilled horseback riders attempt to run a cloverleaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time. There are estimated to be about 100 competitors in this year’s rodeo. The preshow event will take place at 5:30 p.m. with live entertainment from country singer/ songwriter Tyler Tew. There will also be bounce houses, pony rides and more from the kids. The main show will start at 8:00 p.m.

    This year, like others in the past, tickets are selling fast. “We encourage rodeo fans, and those wanting to come out to purchase tickets online and get here early,” said Buddy Blackman. The rodeo will have bleachers but will fill up quickly, so people are more than welcome to pull up a chair in the lawn seating area. This event is family-friendly, so no alcohol will be sold or permitted on the property.

    7 Branch was started by Blackman’s father, Ron Payne. The family-run farm started with only eight acres. Today, 7 Branch has 30-plus acres and hosts several rodeos and training events every year. When approached by the National Day of the Cowboy Organization to start a rodeo in North Carolina, there was no hesitation for 7 Branch. Part of the rodeo’s proceeds benefits Cape Fear Valley’s Friends of the Cancer Center, which 7 Branch has supported for several years.

    Tickets can be purchased online at www.dayofthecowboync.com or at the gate. Tickets are $15 per person, and kids 3 years old and under get in free. 7 Branch Arena is located just outside Hope Mills at 62 McGougan Road in Lumber Bridge. For more information, call 910-813-7881.

    19 2T9A2781

  • 24 N1602P66021HWe are inundated with countless creative marketing efforts on packages with buzz words that appeal to our quest to make healthy purchases. Reading the ingredient label of a product is often ignored because of the packaging that suggests a healthy choice.

    An article caught my eye that talked about how reading food labels can help you lose weight. That is a rather pronounced statement, but reading food labels can help with a better-informed decision for your purchase.

    Food manufacturers are in competition to entice you to purchase their products with targeted marketing tactics. When packaging catches your attention, ignore the buzz words! A little investigation on the back tells you the real story.

    I decided to look at some packaging claims and found that many were vague. Here are a few.

    “Free Range” is applicable to chicken. I envisioned happy chickens outside pecking around! “Free Range “can be anything from an outside chicken or a chicken that is in an enclosure with windows open.

    The wording “All Natural” means little and is not currently regulated by the FDA and can be misleading to consumers that think they are purchasing a healthy product.

    “Sugar Free“ is captivating but does not mean that it contains less calories or is healthy.

    “Real fruit juice” can be misleading because it may not say how much is real.

    “Beef Flavor,” the word flavor in anything means that the product has been enhanced with spices to replicate a flavor in a product. Meat origins do not go in the category of flavor and are identified on the label.

    “Vitamin C or D added” is another one that can be misleading to how much is added.

    The word “Organic” has been regulated by the FDA and carries three levels of Organic criteria to qualify.

    “Gluten Free” is a term that the FDA has regulated for grains.

    You would need to be a certified nutritionist or dietician to fully understand the complexity of labeling and food ingredients, but reading a food label is relatively easy and a good summary of what is contained in the product you are purchasing.

    I begin with the first line that reads the number of servings in the package and how many calories are per serving. As an example, if the package says 4 servings and each serving is 250 calories and you eat the entire package you have just consumed 1,000 calories.

    Sodium is my next go to on the label line for amount in the product and is a key factor in health illness. The recommended allowance per day based on an industry standard 2,000-calorie diet is 2,500 to 3,000 mg. Fast food and sodas can easily mount to the recommendation.

    The next items for review are carbohydrates and fat followed by sugar.

    Trans Fat is a product you should try to avoid all together because it is used in product packaging to sustain the shelf life of food.

    The bottom part of the label list includes the ingredients in descending order in relation to the amount in the product. Many ingredients can sometimes be an indication of how much was added, and many times the fewer the better.

    Take the time to read the story behind the packaging — it can help you make informed food choices.

  • 08 N2108P21008HEducation is a powerful investment and the key to future success. Every morning during the announcements at my school, I talk to my elementary babies and my staff members about the importance of obtaining a quality education, becoming lifelong learners and to not live from hand to mouth which is better known as living from paycheck to paycheck.

    As of May 21, there are 286 students who withdrew or dropped out of a Cumberland County Comprehensive High School and that is why Cumberland County Schools is hosting their annual “Get Back-To-School Launch Party” for high school dropouts July 15 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

    “The purpose of the virtual event is exposure and we want to connect with students and families that withdrew from school, dropped out of school or in some way disengaged from school,” said Sheral Raines, dropout prevention supervisor of Cumberland County Schools.

    “We want to make certain that those students and their families know all of the resources that are available to them to complete their high school diploma requirements and to advance into the next stage of their life.”

    Raines added the next stage of life includes going directly into the workforce, pursuing military engagement or some type of postsecondary training or college preparation.

    “A lot of times we find that students and their families don’t know that there are other options than just the traditional high school track,” said Raines. “We also want to make certain that they understand there are nontraditional high school tracks, one of which is Alger B. Wilkins High School, and we also have connections with Fayetteville Technical Community College that provides high school diploma programs and adult General Educational Development programs.”

    “We also have connections with Miller-Motte Technical College and Penn Foster College who can help these students obtain their high school diploma at no additional cost,” said Raines. “There are several options that we want to make certain that students and their families are able to benefit from all of the resources that Cumberland County Schools directly provides.”

    The National Dropout Prevention Center cites some of the reasons why students drop out of high school that include missing too many days, lack of childcare, became a caregiver, boredom, failing too many classes, obtained a job, did not like school, become pregnant and more.

    “It is not just that we reach current dropouts but we are also casting our net for any dropouts even if they disenrolled in previous years,” said Raines. “Community advocacy is key and we want to be able to help all of the students that we can under the
    age of 21.”

    The link for the virtual event can be found on Cumberland County Schools’ website at www.ccs.k12.nc.us and their social media platforms. Families who want to receive personalized attention can call the hotline at 910-475-1145. The hotline will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. through July 24.

  • 15 JMF Band picWarm weather and sunshine invite us to venture outdoors to enjoy friends, good food, a favorite beverage and great music. With the easing of COVID restrictions, we are seeing the local summer concert scene flourish with opportunities to entertain fans of all kinds of music – from classic rock to jazz. On July 17, local audiences can venture over to the Gates Four Golf & Country Club Pavilion and enjoy a Rockin’ in the 80s party with the Jan Michael Fields Band.

    Fields is a charismatic performer known as one of the top vocalists in the southeast. His stellar voice and ability to work the stage are just as relevant today as in the 80s when he was the frontman for the international touring act, Sidewinder. A consummate professional, Fields’ dedication to his craft earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 for outstanding contributions and support of the North Carolina music industry.

    “I started beating around on pots and pans when I was about 6 years old. That’s where my love for music started,” Fields said. “I started with the drums as my first musical instrument and played in the high school band. Then, I joined the school chorus, because I always loved singing and performing. I remember when MTV played ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ by The Buggles, and it made me want to be in a band even more,” said Fields Band.

    Since he was 18 years old, Fields knew that music was something he wanted to pursue as a career. In 1985, he joined the band Sidewinder, which toured up and down the east coast, as well as parts of the Midwest and Canada. The COVID pandemic put a halt to live performances, but the band is ready to hit the stage and entertain audiences.

    After the Fayetteville show at Gates Four, the band will perform at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh later this year. The Jan Michael Fields Band has been performing hits of the 70s and 80s for 7 years, completing several hundreds of shows across the region.

    “We really enjoy bringing music to people and watching them sing along, smile and unwind. I have a great group of guys behind me that make what I do possible,” said Fields.

    Tickets for Rockin’ in the 80s with the Jan Michael Fiends Band all concert dates are available for purchase online at www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com. Tickets are $60 per person and include the concert, food and lawn seating (bring your chairs).

    Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with food served from 6-7:30 p.m. A complete line of beverages will be available at three convenient full-service cash bars serving Healy Wholesale beer, wine products and mixed drinks. Concierge table service will be provided for VIP tables inside the Pavilion. Fayetteville's own Mash House Brewery will also have a large selection of their custom craft beers available.

    For VIP Tables, group rates or more information, call 910-391-3859. Tickets are limited in order to keep the concert attendees comfortable and socially distanced.

  • 06 Child Nutrition MealCumberland County Schools want to keep children healthy over the summer break. The Child Nutrition Services is providing free meals to children. The meals are being served at various locations throughout the county Monday through Friday through July 30. There are no income requirements or registration, and anyone 18 or younger can receive free meals from 11 a.m. until noon at the following locations: Douglas Byrd High School, 1624 Ireland Drive; Cape Fear High School, 4762 Clinton Road; Jack Britt High School, 7403 Rockfish Road; Seventy-First High School, 6764 Raeford Road; and W.T. Brown Elementary School, 2522 Andrews Church Rd.
    Parents may call any of the 14 recreation centers in Fayetteville, Hope Mills and Stedman to request meals. They must do so by 9 a.m. and pick up the meals at the front desks the same day between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Meals must be reserved by phone. For more information visit the CCS website at www.ccs.k12.nc.us. or call 910-678-2502.

  • 07 N1306P14003HThe Cumberland County Animal Services Department has been recognized with the Transformational Change Award from Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters. The department received the honor for having the largest improvement in their “live release rate” (the number of animals leaving the shelter in a positive outcome) for shelters intaking 2,000 to 10,000 animals per year.
    “This award recognizes the hard work on the part of our department, rescue groups and other partners. We are proud that over 80% of the shelter animals we received left and went to forever homes or to other organizations that help find new owners. We will continue to work to maintain a low euthanasia rate,” said Animal Services Director Elaine Smith.

    Animal Services is a member of the Best Friends Network, which comprises more than 3,300 animal shelters, spay/neuter organizations and other 501(c)(3) public charity rescue groups across the country working to save the lives of dogs and cats in their communities.
    "It's incredible to see so many shelters around the nation taking dramatic steps to increase lifesaving,” said Brent Toellner, senior director, national programs for Best Friends Animal Society. “Whether it be through new programming, progressive leadership or better collaborative partnerships, these groups are showing that lifesaving success is possible regardless of a shelter’s size or location.”

  • 14 Mountain FOlk by JOhn Hood cvoerI see you’ve written another book. What’s this one about?”

    “It’s called 'Mountain Folk.' It’s a historical-fantasy novel set partly in North Carolina during the Revolutionary War.”

    “It’s a what?”

    I’ve had some version of this conversation many times in recent months. Having spent most of my journalism career writing about government and politics, and authoring books of economic and political history, people assume any new project of mine would fall into the same category.

    When they learn I’ve written a novel — and particularly when they discover it doesn’t just have an historical theme but also includes dwarfs, elves, magic, and monsters — they grow concerned. Am I having a midlife crisis, or indulging some childhood whim?

    Not at all. While I greatly enjoyed writing "Mountain Folk," and hope that my readers will enjoy it as a rollicking tale of frontier life and high adventure, I admit there is more than just simple escapism going on. Perhaps it’s just because I was in the 4-H Club growing up, but I believe I can summarize my reasons for writing the novel in four words: History, Heroes, Heritage, and Humanity.

    First, I hope to encourage a greater understanding of and appreciation for our country’s history. According to one recent survey, only a third of Americans possess enough historical knowledge to pass the U.S. citizenship test. Most can’t say which countries were on which sides in World War II, or why Americans declared their independence from the British empire.

    Second, I want to rescue, refresh, and expand the concept of American heroism. Yes, historical figures such as George Washington, Daniel Boone, and Abraham Lincoln were imperfect in real life. We should come to know as much as we can about them, warts and all.

    But we can and should still admire the important contributions these old-school folk heroes made to the growth and development of our country, even as we properly integrate a broader variety of tales into the story of America. In "Mountain Folk," one of the main characters is a Cherokee heroine named Nanyehi who as a young woman led her people to victory in battle but later in life became a legendary peacemaker.

    Third, I use elements of history and folklore to explore what it really means to be an American. Our country is different from most others in a key respect: we do not share a common ethnic heritage. During centuries of migration — some voluntary, in search of a better life, and some involuntary, the consequences of removal or the slave trade — America has become a dynamic, sprawling, sometimes-brawling society encompassing many different peoples, religions, values, and cultures.

    The resulting diversity can be vibrant and powerful. But Americans still require a common creed to unify us, and a common set of institutions to convert abstract principles into practical governance. Freedom is central to that common creed, or so I argue in the pages of "Mountain Folk."

    Finally, although my novel has many non-human characters, I actually use them to illustrate the inescapable realities of human nature. We are all fallen creatures. We yield to temptation. We make mistakes. Even the best of us, if entrusted with great power, may end up abusing it, insisting all along that our noble ends justify ignoble means.

    “We always have a choice — a choice whether truly to live according to our principles, or simply to survive by abandoning them,” one of my fairy characters says towards the end of the book. “With that freedom to choose comes the responsibility to accept the consequences. I accept mine. I will not submit. I will not be complicit to tyranny. If that robs me of my home forever, so be it.”

    Now, "Mountain Folk" is hardly a history textbook or a philosophical treatise. There are heroes, villains, thrilling rescues and epic battles. Daniel Boone even fights a giant, fire-spitting salamander! But there’s a serious purpose underneath — a fact that should come as no surprise to longtime readers of my column.

  • 04 IMG 7711Do things seem a bit odd to you lately? Do you find yourself being a chip off the old blockchain? Confused? Puzzled by the latest developments?

    Well, Bunky, you have come to the right place. Mr. Science is here today to explain life to you. After both of my faithful readers finish this column, all will be understood. As Alex said in “A Clockwork Orange,” the meaning of life will be “As clear as an unmuddied lake. As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer. You can rely on me, friend.”

    Let us begin by noting a couple of recent curious art world events which in the first blue light of morning seem unrelated and hard to understand. Life is controlled by the Prime Directive that there are no coincidences, everything is related to everything else. The Prime Directive, like gravity, is not just a good idea, it’s the law.

    Herein lies the tale of when Beeple met MetaKovan. An artist named Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million. This was good news for Beeple and the Christie Auction House which handled the sale. Right now you are probably asking yourself, “Self, who is Beeple, what is an NFT, and who paid $69 million for a JPEG computer image?”

    As Samuel L. Jackson said in "Pulp Fiction," “Allow me to retort.” Beeple turns out to be the nom de plume of Mike Winkelmann who lives just down the road from us in Charleston, South Carolina, which incidentally is also the home of the world-famous Purple Buffalo night club. Beeple is a computer geek who is also an artist.

    He created the digital artwork called “Everydays: The First 5000 Years” as a Non Fungible Token, which abbreviates into NFT. An NFT is essentially a picture on the internet similar to cats playing the piano on Facebook. But unlike the musical cats which anyone can copy, an NFT original only shows up in one place on the owner’s computer screen. The original digital image uses the same magic that Bitcoin’s block chain uses to keep track of who owns which Bitcoin. Mr. Science does not understand how Bitcoin works. It just is, at least for the time being until it vanishes into the digital ether.

    The new proud owner of Beeple’s masterpiece is an art patron named Vignesh Sundaresan who also goes by the superhero name of MetaKovan.

    MetaKovan made his money in the crypto currency market which is where “Everydays” was born. MetaKovan explained he would have paid even more for the “Everydays” JPEG as it represents the first digital art asset which will become a part of art history. So now you know about NFTs. Aren’t you glad you stuck around? But wait, there is more in the bonus round below.

    Also, from the Art Desk comes the news that over 15,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org urging Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to buy and eat the "Mona Lisa."

    The petition is quite simple: It says “Nobody has eaten the 'Mona Lisa' and we feel Jeff Bezos needs to take a stand and make this happen.” Why you might ask, should Jeff Bezos purchase and devour the "Mona Lisa?"

    Signers of the petition have offered a number of reasons: “Who else is gonna eat it?," “I’m signing to draw attention to how ridiculous and dangerous this level of capital accumulation is. No one should be that rich," “It should be rolled up like a froot roll up and swallowed whole”, “There are billionaires in Asia who can’t even afford to eat a de Kooning, and here is the richest man in the world refusing to eat a perfectly good da Vinci," “Come on Jeff, you know you want to," “Mona Lisa is just the appetizer before the Sistine Chapel," "I believe this will truly help the world."

    This list goes on and on. There is a ground swell of support for Jeff to eat the "Mona Lisa." The USA Today article estimated Jeff has a net worth of $201 billion and the estimated worth of the "Mona Lisa" today is about $850 million. Mere pocket change for Jeff. It is definitely doable if the French government will cooperate. If France won’t sell, Jeff can just buy France, allowing him to own the "Mona Lisa." Then it’s break out the Texas Pete hot sauce and chow down on the
    "Mona Lisa."

    To the untrained eye, these events may seem insane. However, consider what Deputy Barney Fife said when Andy and Helen got trapped in a cave. Barney told Thelma Lou the reason he didn’t like caves is because of bats.

    Barney: “Bats. Do you know what they do? They fly in your hair and get tangled up in there and lay their eggs and you go crazy. You want a head full of bat eggs? Well, I don’t.”

    Clearly what has happened is too many people have been going into caves. They have gotten their hair full of bat eggs. Barney was right all along. The world has gone crazy.

    Today’s lesson: Wear a hat. Avoid bat eggs in your hair. Remain calm and save the "Mona Lisa."

  • 02 women arguingI don’t know about you, but I find our national politics more confusing than ever. We tend to pigeonhole people by what we think they believe and by their political registrations, but in reality, human beings and our politics are much more nuanced. The venerable Pew Research Center, which bills itself as “a non-partisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, trends, and attitudes shaping the world,” has come up with 9 political categories to describe Americans in 2021.

    These classifications range from “Solid Liberals” on the left to “Core Conservatives” on the right with lots of diversity in between, including “Disaffected Democrats,” “Market Skeptic Republicans,” “Devout and Diverse,” and not surprisingly, “Bystanders.” Both ends of the spectrum, liberals and conservatives, are mostly white, even though the diverse progressive wing of the Democratic Party gets the most press. Liberals are the most educated of the nine groups, while conservatives are the whitest.
     
    In between, the lines are more blurred. Minority Americans tend to be less liberal than the solid liberals, favoring border security and skeptical about free trade. They are also religious and worry about crime. They reject the racism of the far right. The same can be said of working-class Americans of all races and backgrounds. Hence, devout and diverse category. The Pew Research Center, with all its polls, research and analysis, is saying what we all know in our hearts — that most Americans are moderate, caring people who want only good for our nation and for each other. The screaming, name-calling, and — yes, violent behavior, comes from the extremes of each end of the spectrum, not the broad middle.
     
    The recent mayoral contest in New York City has rocketed ranked choice voting to the national consciousness. Ranked choice voting is new-ish, having been used by overseas voters in some states for federal elections. It is also used in non-governmental elections, including student government and Academy Award elections. It is gaining increasing acceptance for city and state contests, largely in the western part of the United States. 
     
    There are various versions of RCV, and all involve marking a first-choice candidate and then ranking others. Gradually, some candidates fall away, and someone eventually prevails. North Carolina experimented with the system in 2010 in elections for Superior Court and Court of Appeals judges. The Republican controlled General Assembly repealed RCV in 2013 as part of a sweeping Voter ID bill, later struck down by the courts. 
     
    While RCV would be a learning curve for most of us, it makes sense. In today’s highly contested elections with prolonged recounts and charges of fraud, RCV would ultimately result in an elected official most voters selected, if not first, then somewhere down the line and would go a long way toward eliminating elections with crowing winners and bitter losers and their like-minded supporters.
     
    As we emerge from pandemic restrictions, it is clear that people are ready to return to “normal life,” whatever that means to each of us. It is also clear that our COVID year-plus has changed some things forever. Some of us will continue to work remotely. We will likely continue to meet via Zoom or something like it both professionally and in our personal lives. Restaurants may be less sit-down and more casual. And, after months in yoga pants and sweats, relaxed dressing seems here to stay, making business casual the new everyday norm.
     
    It all makes me wonder what about pre-pandemic life I really do want to bring back…
  • 01 BOF LOGOThis year, as Up & Coming Weekly is celebrating our 25th anniversary, I am incredibly proud that 2021 also marks our 24th Best of Fayetteville celebration of the Best of the Best people, businesses and organizations in Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. For a quarter of a century, we have showcased this community and told its stories. We have championed its successes, supported its causes and celebrated our diverse community's quality of life and uniqueness. 

    We’ve all heard the saying “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Well, that’s exactly how I feel about working here at the Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper. And, it is this time of year that I like the most. This is the time for the Best of Fayetteville readership survey - a time when we reach out to our readers and ask them what and who they love and appreciate most about this community. Do they have a favorite restaurant? Who has the best car wash? What is your favorite theater, nonprofit organization, entertainment venue or veterinarian?
     
    This is your chance to tell us who is the Best of the Best in Fayetteville. The voting takes place during July. So please pick up a copy of the Up & Coming Weekly, fill out a ballot, mail it to us, or visit our website, www.upandcomingweekly.com and vote online. Either way, make sure you VOTE! 
     
    After all the votes are in, verified and counted, we publish a Special Best of Fayetteville Edition of Up & Coming Weekly showcasing the winners. The Special Edition will be presented at the Best of Fayetteville Party, where we congratulate and celebrate the winners. This Special Edition will be on our website for the entire year.
     
    The ballots are out, so make sure you VOTE! And on September 29th, you can pick up the Special Edition announcing the winners — the people, organizations and businesses that YOU have designated "Best of the Best." 
     
    About Best of Fayetteville: Best of Fayetteville is sanctioned and audited. We do not use nominations, and Up & Coming Weekly does not pre-sell advertising ads to nominate, promote or influence specific businesses or organizations for Best of Fayetteville. However, we encourage businesses to promote themselves and encourage their customers, friends and family to cast a ballot on their behalf. Up & Coming Weekly does no pre-ballot advertising sales. Nor do we sell or require businesses or organizations to participate with advertising purchases for pre-contest special sections to get their business officially printed on the ballot. 
     
    After the ballots are verified and tallied, there is only ONE winner in each category. At this time, winners are allowed to purchase advertising and marketing packages in the Best of Fayetteville Special Edition to thank their customers and supporters. The Best of Fayetteville Special Edition is a valuable component of the program because it is used all year long to promote the Fayetteville community to visitors, guests and newcomers to Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. This is the most effective way for the winners to capitalize on their Best of Fayetteville achievement. Also, in recognition, these unique marketing programs are significantly discounted so winners can take full marketing advantage of the honor. Winners have only one opportunity to participate in these advertising programs — and it's only after they've won. 
     
    In addition to a beautiful wall plaque awarded to each Best of Fayetteville winner, they are authorized to use the official Best of Fayetteville logo in all their advertising and marketing. Best of Fayetteville is an exclusive designation. The way we implement and manage the program is what has made it credible and sustainable. Is the survey perfect? No. However, the survey results speak for itself, recognizing the Best of Fayetteville as one of this community's most respected and prestigious achievements and awards. 
     
    We launch the Best of Fayetteville readership survey during July to avoid conflicting with The Fayetteville Observer's Reader's Choice Awards, their annual advertising sales promotion. The Reader's Choice advertising-based program should not be confused with the Best of Fayetteville Awards program. If you have any questions about whether you're participating in the Best of Fayetteville readership survey or someone else's advertising program, take a good, long look at the ballot. If it refers to nominations, names and ads pre-printed on the ballot, it is NOT the Best of Fayetteville.
     
    So, what are you waiting for? Cast your vote and let your voice be heard! Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.
  • 05 pay parking downtownDowntown Fayetteville streets are no longer free for parking. For the first time in more than 20 years, parking kiosks, which replaced meters, have been positioned around town. All on-street parking in the downtown area, including handicap parking spots, will follow standard 2-hour or 3-hour limits and are in effect from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays. On weekends those parking spots are free including baseball game days and other downtown events. Rates are $1.00 per hour, with a $5.00 daily maximum in the two parking decks and lots. All "Park Fayetteville" parking locations are free on Saturdays and Sundays unless there is a Special Event taking place. In addition, parking is free before 9:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. More information, including how to acquire an app, is available at Parkfayettevillenc.com

  • 12 VON DThe Sandhills Jazz Society is back after more than a year on a COVID hiatus. The Come Together City Music Festival will take place July 10 at J.P. Riddle Stadium in Fayetteville featuring some of North Carolina's finest jazz and rhythm and blues artists.

    Scheduled to appear are Reggie Codrington, Von Demetriz, George Freeman, Dez Humphrey and Buddy Mcleod.

    The Sandhills Jazz Society shares a musical vision that encompasses a wide spectrum of jazz, blues, world, creative and improvised music, including evolving forms of jazz and the technologies and media that influence jazz as an art form. The result is an entertaining evening for audiences who enjoy jazz, blues, funk and soul, and everything that falls in between.

    Founded in 2018, the Sandhills Jazz Society is a community-based nonprofit arts education organization in Fayetteville. Members strive to promote interest in jazz music across multiple generations. The goal is to bring awareness to jazz and other music genres and strengthen the arts community by offering performances, collaborations, workshops and other educational opportunities.

    Tickets for the Come Together City Music Festival can be purchased on the website for $25 dollars or $35 on the day of the event. The gates will open at 4 p.m. will performances scheduled to begin
    at 6 p.m.

    This event will happen rain or shine and all ticket sales are final. Outside food and drink are not permitted but there will be several food vendors at the festiv al.

    J.P. Riddle Stadium is located at 2823 Legion Road. For more information about this event and future events visit the website at www.sandhillsjazz.com/ or call 910-987-2426.

    Pictured Above : Von Demetriz

  • 10 DragonThe World-Famous Harlem Globetrotters are bringing their newly reimagined Spread Game Tour to the Crown Coliseum on Aug. 4, at 7 p.m. This new tour is a basketball event like no other. Ankle-breaking moves, jaw-dropping swag, and rim-rattling dunks are only some of the thrills you can expect from this fully modernized show. Part streetball from the players who defined it, part interactive family entertainment, the new tour will show off the best of the Globetrotters in a dazzling exhibition of talent and game.

    The Spread Game Tour is the rescheduled event from the March 2020 game that was cancelled due to COVID. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at CapeFearTix.com, at the Crown Complex Box Office and at Leisure Travel Services on Fort Bragg.

    This tour introduces new premium fan experiences with unprecedented access and interaction, including celebrity court passes, meets and greets with players, and in select markets, the #SQUADZONE, where fans have the opportunity to feel like part of the show.

    For over 95 years, the Harlem Globetrotters organization has been committed to spreading joy through their artful athleticism and unparalleled basketball skill. The Globetrotters have always been global ambassadors of goodwill. The reimagined team is even more committed to bringing their voice to social justice conversations while inviting communities all over the U.S. to come together and recognize the power of our commonalities and celebrate our differences. The Globetrotters’ mission, to spread game and bring family entertainment to the world, continues to drive them today.

    The originators of basketball style, influencers on today’s game, and skilled athletes of the highest order, the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 124 countries and territories on six continents since their founding in 1926. Proud inductees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, their mission to spread game and bring entertainment to the world continues to drive them today. The Globetrotters are innovators of the game who popularized the jump shot, slam dunk, and invented the half-court hook shot.

    For nearly a century, the Globetrotters have exhibited Black excellence on and off the court, entertaining, inspiring and advancing the racial progress of today. The Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. is a subsidiary of Herschend Enterprises, the largest family-owned themed entertainment company in the U.S.

    For more information about the Harlem Globetrotters, visit the Globetrotters' official website  www.harlemglobetrotters.com  and follow them on social media.

  • This year, as Up & Coming Weekly is celebrating our 25th anniversary, I am incredibly proud that 2021 also marks our 24th Best of Fayetteville celebration of the Best of the Best people, businesses and organizations in Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. For a quarter of a century, we have showcased this community and told its stories. We have championed its successes, supported its causes and celebrated our diverse community's quality of life and uniqueness.

    We’ve all heard the saying “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Well, that’s exactly how I feel about working here at the Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper. And, it is this time of year that I like the most. This is the time for the Best of Fayetteville readership survey - a time when we reach out to our readers and ask them what and who they love and appreciate most about this community. Do they have a favorite restaurant? Who has the best car wash? What is your favorite theater, nonprofit organization, entertainment venue or veterinarian?

    This is your chance to tell us who is the Best of the Best in Fayetteville. The voting takes place during July. So please pick up a copy of the Up & Coming Weekly, fill out a ballot, mail it to us, or visit our website, www.upandcomingweekly.com and vote online. Either way, make sure you VOTE!

    After all the votes are in, verified and counted, we publish a Special Best of Fayetteville Edition of Up & Coming Weekly showcasing the winners. The Special Edition will be presented at the Best of Fayetteville Party, where we congratulate and celebrate the winners. This Special Edition will be on our website for the entire year.

    The ballots are out, so make sure you VOTE! And on September 29th, you can pick up the Special Edition announcing the winners — the people, organizations and businesses that YOU have designated "Best of the Best."

    BOFLogo

     

    About Best of Fayetteville: Best of Fayetteville is sanctioned and audited. We do not use nominations, and Up & Coming Weekly does not pre-sell advertising ads to nominate, promote or influence specific businesses or organizations for Best of Fayetteville. However, we encourage businesses to promote themselves and encourage their customers, friends and family to cast a ballot on their behalf. Up & Coming Weekly does no pre-ballot advertising sales. Nor do we sell or require businesses or organizations to participate with advertising purchases for pre-contest special sections to get their business officially printed on the ballot.

    After the ballots are verified and tallied, there is only ONE winner in each category. At this time, winners are allowed to purchase advertising and marketing packages in the Best of Fayetteville Special Edition to thank their customers and supporters. The Best of Fayetteville Special Edition is a valuable component of the program because it is used all year long to promote the Fayetteville community to visitors, guests and newcomers to Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. This is the most effective way for the winners to capitalize on their Best of Fayetteville achievement. Also, in recognition, these unique marketing programs are significantly discounted so winners can take full marketing advantage of the honor. Winners have only one opportunity to participate in these advertising programs – and it's only after they've won.

    In addition to a beautiful wall plaque awarded to each Best of Fayetteville winner, they are authorized to use the official Best of Fayetteville logo in all their advertising and marketing. Best of Fayetteville is an exclusive designation. The way we implement and manage the program is what has made it credible and sustainable. Is the survey perfect? No. However, the survey results speak for itself, recognizing the Best of Fayetteville as one of this community's most respected and prestigious achievements and awards.

    We launch the Best of Fayetteville readership survey during July to avoid conflicting with The Fayetteville Observer's Reader's Choice Awards, their annual advertising sales promotion. The Reader's Choice advertising-based program should not be confused with the Best of Fayetteville Awards program. If you have any questions about whether you're participating in the Best of Fayetteville readership survey or someone else's advertising program, take a good, long look at the ballot. If it refers to nominations, names and ads pre-printed on the ballot, it is NOT the Best of Fayetteville.

    So, what are you waiting for? Cast your vote and let your voice be heard! Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    BOF2021Ballot Header 03

  • The local artist community has no greater advocates than the Fayetteville Public Works Commission and the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. Each year, the organizations celebrate artists of all mediums, ages and levels of expertise with the “Public Works” exhibition. This year marks the 15th Annual “Public Works” exhibition. Usually beginning on Fourth Friday in May, this year’s event runs Aug. 28-Oct. 17, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    In the past, the event opening coincided with Fourth Friday and included of live music by local bands, a variety of vendors in front of the Arts Council downtown and more. The gallery inside the Arts Council was also open on the occasions.

    “We have an immensely talented city,” said Metoya Scott, public relations manager at the Arts Council, “(including) active galleries that display the talent of our neighbors.” She listed local businesses and studios like Greg’s Pottery, Cape Fear Studios, Winterbloom Tea, The Sweet Palette and City Center Gallery & Books, all of which stayed open for the in-person Fourth Friday night events.

    Each community member can vote for his or her favorite piece — or shop, as some submissions will be for sale,” said Public Works Commission representative Carolyn Justice-Hinson. “People can publish their public vote online, and that will be another way we can hear how the word is traveling.”

    Every submission has a chance to win. During the “Public Works” exhibit, the community is invited to submit votes on their favorite works of art for a “People’s Choice.” There will also be an online app for virtual voting.

    A variety of mediums is accepted. “It can be any kind of artistic expression that you want to exhibit, including photographs, paintings, drawings and more,” said Hinson. “One lady even had a wedding dress made from toilet paper.”

    Residents from Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson and Scotland counties, as well as Fort Bragg or Pope Field can submit art. Bring artwork submissions to The Arts Council at 301 Hay St. between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14,  or Saturday, Aug. 15, between noon and 4 p.m. To find out how and when to enter, visit https://www.theartscouncil.com/opportunity/call-art-public-works-exhibition

    For updated information regarding the Arts Council’s exhibitions, visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/artscouncilFAY.

  • 18 01 susanbradyNormally at this time of year, fall sports coaches would be working with their athletes to get them in condition for the official start of practice on Aug. 1.

    But the COVID-19 pandemic has put everyone into a holding pattern as news about the spread of the disease changes daily. Instead of firm dates, coaches for schools in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association have had to deal with multiple changes in when fall sports will resume, if at all. Most recently, they learned the earliest they will be allowed to begin 18 02 brianrandolphfall practice will be Sept. 1.

    Jesse Autry, who is beginning his 29th season as cross country coach at South View, voiced the situation best for all of his fellow coaches.
    Autry talked at length about being separated from his athletes for much of the summer until coaches were given permission 18 03toddedgeto contact them via computer.

    “We communicate at least once a week by way of Zoom or Google Meeting or something like that,’’ Autry said. He talks with his athletes online and invites their parents to join in.

    The first time he did it, Autry said things got a little emotional. “For all of them to see each other’s faces on the screen I was 18 04 IMG 7183really surprised,’’ he said. “I’m worried about the long-term impact of this, social isolation, kids seeing each other. Not being able to play team sports, to learn from camaraderie and friendship that comes from getting in the trenches together.’’

    Autry said he knows COVID-19 is a serious matter and he supports the decisions of his superiors, but he’s hopeful there will be some kind of return to sports soon.

    18 05 jalestywashington“I want us to compete,’’ he said. “I want us to be able to practice. I can see on my kids faces and hear in their voices what they are going through.’’

    Todd Edge, golf coach at Cape Fear, saw the same thing when it came to his athletes being separated. “When we were finishing up our schooling on Google Classroom, when we stopped the teaching and recording part of it, the kids wanted 18 05 IMG 1865to stay online and talk to the teacher and their peers because they aren’t seeing anyone,’’ he said. “They’re not socializing with one another.’’

    Jack Britt football coach Brian Randolph said the key issue remains the safety of the athletes, athletic trainers, coaches and all the sideline personnel involved in his sport.

    “I don’t think we can create the bubble as the NBA and other higher level sports are doing,’’ Randolph said. “The first thing we have to worry about is the school aspect and getting kids back into school safely.’’

    Terry Sanford tennis coach Susan Brady is confident most coaches would be willing to accept any form of abbreviated schedule just to be able to have competition this fall. Her main concern, which is shared by other coaches, is how much time the athletes need to get in competition shape.

    For tennis, she thinks two or three weeks of practice while doing some cardio conditioning on the side would be enough to get in condition for matches. “The nice thing about tennis is when you’re on the court playing it’s constant movement,’’ she said.

    Gray’s Creek volleyball coach Jalesty Washington feels that if people can go out and shop and interact in other ways in public, there has to be a way to figure out a safe method to return to athletic competition. “I feel like everybody is going out and doing normal stuff,’’ she said. “I don’t know what’s different with the school and getting in the gym.’’

    Pine Forest soccer coach Isaac Rancour is trying to stay as positive as possible and not focus on the frustration of repeated delays and no definite word on when or if the fall season will begin.

    “I’m just kind of going with the flow and passing information along as I get it,’’ Rancour said. “I don’t think it does any good to get frustrated about it.’’

    He knows his players have worked hard and the seniors are worried if they will get the chance to play this year.

    Whatever is done, Rancour wants it to be safe for everyone. “We are going to need more time to make sure we are able to social distance the kids and get everything checked before we get everything started,’’ he said. “If we have everyone doing their part it should all work out.’’

  • President Donald Trump says he might veto a congressional bill to change the names of military bases in the South named after Confederate generals.

    “I don’t care what the military says. I’m supposed to make the decision,” Trump told Fox News about plans to change the names of bases that have stood for decades. “Fort Bragg is a big deal. We won two world wars — nobody even knows General Bragg. We won two World Wars,” Trump said in a contentious interview with Chris Wallace.

    Trump mocked Wallace, asking him what he was going to rename Fort Bragg. “Are you going to name it after the Rev. Al Sharpton?” arbitrarily suggesting the name of the Black civil rights leader. “There’s a whole thing here. We won two World Wars, two World Wars, beautiful World Wars that were vicious and horrible, and we won them out of Fort Bragg,” Trump declared.

  • 15 sharon mccutcheon bEDh PxXZ0c unsplashThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Even as the world begins to unpause, wearing masks seems likely to continue.

    According to Penni Watts, Ph.D., RN, an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, masks are designed not to prevent the wearer from getting ill, but to protect other people from getting the virus. Masks protect others from your germs when you cough or sneeze. They're also an effective way to help people to avoid touching their faces.

    Masks are exposed to the elements and germs each time they are worn, meaning they will require cleaning. Even though Harvard Health suggests COVID-19 may live more readily on hard surfaces than fabric, the CDC urges people to give cloth face masks the same level of care as regular laundry. Masks should be washed and dried often. The CDC offers these tips on how to clean most cloth and fabric masks.

    Fabric face masks should be washed depending on the frequency of use. More frequent use necessitates more frequent washing.

    A washing machine should be adequate for properly washing a face covering. Choose a warm setting for water temperature. Place masks in the dryer afterward.

    More delicate, hand-sewn masks may be washed by hand, suggests The Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. Lather masks with soap and scrub them for at least 20 seconds with warm or hot water before placing in the dryer.

    For additional sanitation, iron masks on the cotton or linen setting for a few minutes to kill remaining germs.

    If masks are fortified with a filter, such as a coffee or HVAC filter, keep in mind that these filters are designed for single use. Paper filters should be replaced after each use. HVAC filters are washable, but manufacturers warn that their effectiveness decreases with each wash. Medium weight nonwoven interface used as filter material is typically washable.

    Various health agencies do not condone using steam or microwaves to clean cloth face masks, as these sanitizing techniques are not as effective as regular laundering. Also, never microwave non-fabric dust or N95 respirator masks if you are using them. They can catch fire or be rendered useless.

    Cloth face masks can help safeguard against germs like the novel coronavirus. However, they need to be cleaned regularly to remain sanitary.

  • 17 01 IMG 0260The potential for growth in the area near the recently-opened Golfview Greenway in Hope Mills is drawing a lot of attention, some of it not for good reasons.

    That’s especially true for residents of Crampton Road, a quiet neighborhood street near Golfview that dead ends into the old golf course that is now the new Greenway.

    What’s causing concern is the old golf course area is currently shared by three different groups. The town of Hope Mills controls about 90 acres, while two developers have plots of 30 acres and 20 acres respectively.

    One of the developers has put forward plans to build some housing on his share of 17 02 greenway1the land, with access to the property coming from a road that would connect through what is now the dead end on Crampton.

    Not surprisingly, many people in the neighborhood are not excited about the prospect of a dramatic increase in both population and
    traffic.

    “Most of the people have lived there 40 years or more,’’ Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner said of the residents of Crampton Road.

    The town had two chances in 2019 to have more of a direct voice in the future of the area when the YMCA approached the town about purchasing or developing the 20 acres of land it owned. A committee was formed to look into the possibility of developing the land and maybe constructing a swimming facility there. But the committee was disbanded by the Board of Commissioners after one meeting, and the town declined to discuss purchasing the land from the YMCA.

    When the YMCA eventually found a buyer, it made one final offer to the town to purchase it first, but the board again said no.

    So the YMCA sold the land, and now with three different groups in the mix, Warner is trying to put together a plan to get everyone involved at the same table so a plan can be put together that will take into account everything going on in the Golfview Greenway area so both the future growth of the town and the concerns of the residents of Crampton Road will be respected while the town looks ahead to future growth.
    Representing the town on the committee will be Warner, Chancer McLaughlin of the town’s Development and Planning office and town manager Melissa Adams.

    Also on the committee will be the developers of the other two pieces of property, a representative from the Department of Transportation, and former Hope Mills commissioner Eddie Maynor, who was added to the committee at last week’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners.
    Warner said it was important to get the Department of Transportation involved because they already have plans in the works for developing the area around Golfview Greenway since it’s in proximity to the future addition of the Interstate 295 bypass that will be eventually built near the outskirts of Hope Mills.

    “We know we need to get DOT on board so we don’t have to redo anything,’’ Warner said. “If they’ve got a plan we can start working on that plan sooner.’’

    The other key for the committee, Warner said, is to have face-to-face meetings with the two developers and hopefully get them to coordinate their plans with both the needs of the families that already live on Crampton Road and in the rest of the area, while at the same time getting everyone on the same page with whatever DOT has in the works.

    Warner thinks an ideal solution would be for the town and the two other property owners in the Golfview area to come to a mutual agreement on a shared entry way into the Golfview property so that the residents on Crampton Road can continue to enjoy the privacy of their neighborhood without a dramatic influx of traffic and neighbors.

    “We want to have a way of coming up with an entrance off of Golfview that would be safe,’’ Warner said, “whether you have a pedestrian crosswalk, signal lights, whatever is needed. There would be one entrance to the main road and not go through the neighborhood. “By setting up this committee, we know everybody is on board.’’

    Warner said the good news so far is that a decision on what is going to happen in the Golfview area has been deferred until after the committee meets and hopefully is able to come to a workable consensus.

    Once Maynor’s addition to the committee was approved by the Board of Commissioners, Warner was hopeful the committee would have held its first meeting sometime last week.

    Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public will not be able to attend the committee meetings, but Warner said the town will likely share the committee meetings on its Facebook page and the town website, both live and via tape delay for those unable to watch the meetings while they are in progress.

    “We are trying to have a vision for what it (the Golfview area) will look like 10 years from now when there will be even more reasons for people to be there and visit Hope Mills.’’

  • The Cumberland County Board of Education accepted the recommendation of Dr. Marvin Connelly Jr., superintendent of Cumberland County Schools and voted unanimously to start the school year with classes meeting online. The traditional school year is scheduled to begin Aug. 17. Under the plan approved by the school board, classes will operate remotely through at least Sept. 25.

    Connelly said he had discussed local COVID-19 trends with county health director Jennifer Green. “The number of COVID-19 cases is trending upward at an alarming rate in North Carolina, including Cumberland County and surrounding areas,” he said.

    A highly contagious coronavirus causes the disease. Forty-seven people have died in Cumberland County. The plan approved by the school board calls for the schools to transition to a blended learning environment beginning Sept. 28 if conditions locally have improved.

  • 04 01 IMG 2486In case you haven’t noticed, it is a bit warm outside. Not just a wee bit toasty. We are talking second circle of hell toasty. Have you been wondering why the heat? Are you tired of saying, “It’s not the heat. It’s the humidity.” Go ahead, say it again. It won’t cool the temperature, but it will make you sound wise to whomever you are trapped inside with during Corona time. Trigger warning: Be careful how often you say it, as you may irritate your housemates into murdering you in your sleep. As only about five people read this column, the loss of even one of my gentle readers would cut my audience by 20%. Please say it sparingly.

    If you have gotten this far without throwing up a little bit in your mouth or falling asleep, stick around. The reason for the unseasonably seasonable heat will be laid beneath your feet like a cloak across a mud puddle placed by a gentleman for his lady love. You may have seen the pictures of the sun from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. The images are spectacular. Kindly absorb some facts: The Solar Probe 04 02 IMG 2487was launched way back in 2018 B.C. — Before Corona. It is flying at 430,000 miles an hour, which is faster than someone grabbing the last piece of bacon at a Weight Watchers breakfast buffet. The Solar Probe will fly within 4 million miles of the sun. This is the closest a satellite has photographed the sun. The Solar Probe sling shots around Venus and the sun 21 times while getting closer with each orbit. The Solar Probe will fly into the sun’s corona to take a gander at the solar wind and find out what is doing inside the corona.

    The reason the sun is so hot is that it is on fire. Fire is hot. The sun is a flaming gasbag of fire, not to be confused with Mitch McConnell speaking in the Senate. The sun is 109 times bigger than the earth. That is enough heat to cook a whole passel of s’mores if you could get close enough. Mr. Science says the sun has been hanging around about 4.6 billion years. It is used to being alone. The sun is getting up in years. Sol is cranky like an old man yelling at the kids, “Get off my lawn!” The Solar Probe is now messing with the sun’s corona.

    Some readers may remember the old ad in which Mother Nature is fooled into thinking that Chiffon margarine is actually butter. When Mother Nature finds out it is margarine, she becomes wrathful. She brings on a violent storm yelling, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!” Same thing applies to the sun. Unhappy at having his solar corona disturbed by the Solar Probe, old Sol sent the coronavirus to Earth to smite us mere mortals with COVID and excessive heat. It is not an accident. The ancient Egyptians foretold this eventuality with their story of the sun god Ra.
    Give me that old-time religion. Ra showed up in the 25th century B.C. as the King of the Egyptian gods. He created humans from his sweat and tears. Egyptians viewed the sky as a giant celestial cow, calling themselves the cattle of Ra. The celestial cow was not a carnation-contented cow. Ra crossed the sky each day on the morning boat the Mandjet and then left at night on the good ship Meseket to travel through the Underworld, only to pop up in the East the next morning. Each night, a giant snake named Apophis would try and fail to stop Ra from showing up the following day. As usual, humankind tried to overthrow Ra. You would not like Ra when he is angry. Feeling betrayed, Ra sent his psychotic daughter Sekhmet in the form of a lion to clamp down on man’s rebellion. Similar to the storm troopers in Portland putting down protesters.

    Sekhmet was really good at killing humans. Like eating peanuts, it was hard to stop once she got going. She was the COVID-19 of the 25th century B.C. She was so good at wiping out humankind that Ra became concerned that she might do in all of humanity. Ra was confronted with the existential question, “What good is being a god if all of your worshippers are dead?” This was a conundrum. Ra was upset that man had strayed from his straight and narrow. But it would be pretty boring being a God if there is no one to kiss your feet and offer up a human sacrifice to make sure the Nile flooded on time and the sun came up tomorrow.

    What to do?

    Ra concluded he didn’t want all of humanity wiped out. So Ra ordered all the beer in Egypt to turn red. Ra had the red beer poured out all over Egypt. Sekhmet, in her killing rage, thought the red beer was blood. She tried to drink it all. She drank so much red beer she got drunk and passed out. The killing stopped. The Egyptians lived happily ever after, at least until the Arab Israeli war of 1967.

    So what have we learned today? NASA has its version of the sun’s story. The ancient Egyptians have their version. Teach the controversy. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Ra is watching. He may have sent the coronavirus with his vengeful daughter Sekhmet to get us.

  • In 2014, I had the pleasure of interviewing Civil Rights icon Congressman John R. Lewis. I remember having a busy day at work, and on my way home, my cellphone rang. On the other end of the phone was the former chancellor of Fayetteville State University, James A. Anderson. He told me that Lewis was visiting FSU and asked if I would like to interview him on my TV show, “Let’s Talk with Shanessa Fenner.” I immediately agreed and hung up the phone, thinking about the carefully constructed questions I would ask him. I wanted to have an informative interview that would serve as a rich history lesson for everyone to learn and reflect upon. I knew that I wanted to discuss the tragic events surrounding the demonstration known as “Bloody Sunday,” as well as the plight of the Black male, the Civil Rights movement and the reason why the Black race has always been disliked.

    The day of the interview, I was a bit nervous. I arrived at the TV studio to prepare and got my emotions together. He walked into the studio and introduced himself. We began to talk a little before the interview. I immediately took notice that he was a very humble man with a forgiving spirit. His mere presence was captivating, and during the 30-minute interview, I was in awe the entire time. I looked in his eyes as he talked and hung on to every word. When he talked, he took you back to the time and the place of the event, and it made you feel like you were there experiencing it with him.

    When the interview was over, I felt like I had been sitting in a history class because he shared many things that had happened to him, including the many times he was beaten nearly to death. He spent his entire life fighting for equality.

    I feel this is the perfect time for the interview to circulate, during this time of tragic events in our country. One disheartening thing is that our younger generation does not know who John Lewis is, so we have to do a better job of educating them about this great man and his powerful journey — even though they have the ability to conduct research on their own. They need to know about these historical events because history has a way of repeating itself, and it sets the tone for the path to move forward. My favorite quote from him is, “There comes a time when you have to say something. You have to make a little noise. You have to move your feet. This is the time.”

    I have had people tell me that after they watched the interview, they cried. They shared their experiences of racism and the utter disdain of being mistreated because of the color of their skin.

    Some shared that the interview made them ask themselves if are they doing all that they can to make a difference in the lives of others.
    I am elated that I was given the honor of a lifetime to interview a Civil Rights icon on my TV show.


    My thoughts and prayers are with the Lewis Family. You are blessed to have had a strong icon in your family. He is a rich part of history. We will continue to ensure his legacy lives on. May he rest in peace.

    Search “Let’s Talk with Shanessa Fenner” episode 7 on Youtube to see the interview.

  • The Heritage Square Historical Society presents its annual “Christmas in July” event Thursday, July 30 –Saturday, Aug. 1, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at 225 Dick St.

    “This is an annual event, and we normally don’t have it until October or November,” said Elaine Kennebeck, president of Heritage Square Historical Society. “However, having to postpone or cancel all of our wedding rentals and events, we have not been able to have any kind of fundraiser.”


    Kennebeck added that the organization is running dangerously low on money to pay monthly expenses. The members are committed to keeping the doors open, which is why they pushed the Christmas event up to July. The purpose of the event is to help maintain a historical property and also to allow people to tour the houses to make the public aware they are open for business.


    The event takes place in The Sandford House, which is one of three houses the organization owns. The other two houses are The Oval Ballroom and The Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House.

    “One of our longtime members, Judy Dorman, passed away,” said Kennebeck. “Her family decided to donate all of her Christmas decorations to Heritage Square because she loved Heritage Square so much. They have brought decorations by the carload, and it’s been unbelievable because it is thousands and thousands of things.”

    “It is going to be quite a big sale, and everything is priced from 25 cents and up,” Kennebeck added.

    “People love this event, and I think this year it is going to be more uplifting because we have all been caged in our homes looking for something to do and places to go.”

    Kennebeck noted the sale consists of about 24 huge tables that are packed with everything Christmas and that it is beautifully displayed. “We have everything on display — if it is animated, makes noise or moves, we plug it up and show you that it’s going.”

    The decorations include figurines, Christmas tree ornaments, candle holders, candlesticks, animated collectibles from the ‘70s, unique one-of-a-kind items and so much more. Christmas music will play as customers enjoy this fun experience.

    “We accept donations and Christmas decorations for our Christmas Bazaar and Silent Auction throughout the year,” said Kennebeck. “This event is a favorite of a lot of people in Fayetteville, and this year, it’s going to be even bigger and better.”

    Admission is free. If you would like to attend the event the day before for a sneak peak, the cost is $10. For more information about this event, call 910-483-6009.

  • 03 N2004P64024CLet me start by saying I really, really do not like wearing a mask.

    It is more difficult to breathe. I get lipstick on the inside. It is hot and sticky, especially during the heat wave we have just experienced. I have trouble recognizing masked friends and neighbors. As Dr. Seuss said in “The Cat and the Hat,” “No, I do not like it! Not one little bit.” More than once, I have wondered how medical professionals, construction workers and others wear the darn things all day, every day.

    Whining aside, I have a variety of masks — the first handmade by a dear friend, and others I have purchased. I keep masks in my pocketbook, in my car, in my waistband when I walk the new puppy by myself, and on my face if someone is walking with me. As uncomfortable as I find wearing them, I do so both for my own health and for the health of my family and close friends and the people I come into contact with but will never actually know. It is the very least I can do for my larger community during the worst pandemic in a century.

    The New York Times reported last week on mask-wearing throughout our nation, complete with a map colored darker to show where masks are commonly worn and lighter where they are worn less often. As we might expect, the darker colors are in higher population areas along the east and west coasts and the Gulf of Mexico. The lightest concentrations are in our nation’s midsection with its vast plains and fewer people and in the South where several states have attempted — an apparently failed at — widespread re-openings.

    Social scientists tell the Times that other factors beyond population density are at work. Elizabeth Dorrance, an assistant professor of communications at Michigan State University, says mask-wearing responds to peer pressure. If our family and friends regularly wear masks and value that behavior, we probably will as well, and vice versa. And while the goal is 100% masking, that is unrealistic. Harvard Medical School’s Julia Marcus notes that not everyone buckles a seatbelt, wears a bike helmet, gets vaccinated, has stopped smoking or practices safe sex — no matter what the law says or how often they hear admonitions.

    All of that said, it will probably not surprise you to learn that political partisanship is the major predictor of masking or not masking. Generally speaking, more Democrats wear masks and cite protecting others as a reason, and more Republicans go barefaced, citing a right to individual decisions. Shana Gadarian of Syracuse University is blunt. “The big takeaway of all the data is partisanship is the big determinant of all the behavior. It is not age. It is not where you live.”

    Really?

    Tension between community wellbeing and individual rights has been with us since the birth of our nation. Our Founding Fathers argued — and never resolved — federalism versus states’ rights, and we struggle with those same issues today. I get that regarding political issues and am grateful that North Carolina and the other 49 make our own decisions about public education, voting issues and other important aspects of life in a democratic republic.

    But when it comes to public health?

    Viruses, including COVID-19, are neither Democrats or Republicans, nor do they care whether they infect members of one or both parties. Sick is sick and dead is dead, no matter what one’s party affliction. Various versions of this saying exist, and it often attributed to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” It means that, yes, I am free to make my own decisions, but I am not free to hurt you or to infringe on your rights.

    In other words, I am not free to spew my germs on you just because I do not like wearing a mask, and neither are you.

    For the health of our nation, Democrats, Republicans and everyone else should just put on a darn mask and quit whining about it.

  • 16 bookSome North Carolina old-timers still talk about the disastrous 1943 train wreck south of Fayetteville. It killed 74 people, including the father of one of the central characters of beloved author Jill McCorkle’s new novel, “Hieroglyphics.”

    McCorkle, who grew up in nearby Lumberton, says she remembers her dad talking about visiting the site right after the crash and seeing all the scattered debris.

    The late Joe Oxendine, who was featured in my recent column dealing with Indian sports nicknames, told me that he and other boys from Pembroke drove over to see the wreck and collect some of the stunning remnants scattered over the site.

    McCorkle lived in Boston for a number of years. There, she heard about a 1942 nightclub fire that took more than 492 lives, including the mother of another character in “Hieroglyphics.”

    When Lil, whose mother died in the fire, and Frank, whose father died in the train wreck, first met, they discovered their common bond, a bond that held them through 60 years of marriage.

    As the story begins, they have retired to Southern Pines, which, coincidently, is not far from the site of the tragic train wreck. Close by the wreck site is the modest home where Frank lived for several years after his dad’s death.

    Frank and Lil have driven to the old house, now occupied by Shelley, a single mother, and her young son, Harvey.

    Shelley has seen Frank driving by before and is nervous. “It doesn’t help that that old man rides by so often now, his green Toyota slowing in front of the house and then circling the block.”

    When Shelley meets Frank at the door, he explains, “I grew up here. I would love to see inside if convenient. My wife, too.”

    Shelley resists, but at the end of the book Frank is in the backyard of the old house finding some closure.

    In the 300 pages between its opening and closing at the old house, McCorkle takes us deep into the lives of the characters we met on the first pages: Frank, Lil, Shelley and Harvey.

    Frank carries the consequences of the train wreck throughout his life. Both his father and mother were on the train, coming from Florida to their home in Massachusetts, where Frank and his grandmother waited for them. Frank’s seriously injured mother remained in North Carolina to recuperate. She was sure she heard Frank’s father calling, “Don’t leave me.” So she stayed and ultimately married a local man.

    She and Frank lived in his house, and Frank grew up there. Ultimately, he went to college and graduate school, married Lil and became a college professor specializing in ancient history and archeological relics. Along the railroad tracks he collected relics from the wreck, including a toy decoder that he imagined his parents were bringing him for Christmas.

    Lil cannot get over the loss of her mother, a ballroom dance instructor, who had not told her husband and Lil that she was going to the nightclub. The questions of who her mother was with and why still haunted her as an adult. She is also a collector. McCorkle uses Lil’s collected newspaper clippings and copious notes to help tell a story that include her agonizing experience of Frank’s misadventures with a younger academic.

    Shelley is a court reporter in a Robeson County courtroom during the trial of a brutal doctor who murdered one of his many girlfriends, not unlike a similar murdering doctor in McCorkle’s previous novel, “Life After Life.”

    Shelley’s son, Harvey, is a collector of horror stories about the Beast of Bladenboro, the Glencoe Munchkins and other scary tales that kept him awake at night and he used to frighten his schoolmates.

    That McCorkle builds these complex characters together into a complex, layered, and gripping novel is just another example of her great storytelling genius.

  • The grandson of retired Cumberland County Schools Superintendent John Griffin drowned earlier this month while swimming at the Lake Pines Swim Club. Fayetteville Police identified the victim as Taylin Mack, 20, of Fayetteville. He was found underwater near a diving board. CPR was performed until emergency personnel arrived. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Police said Mack had been swimming at the lake with friends.

    “I will be conducting a thorough investigation into the events of this case,” said swim club owner Frank Lay on Facebook.

  • For inveterate optimists, the past several months have been excruciating. A global pandemic has produced great suffering and death. A protest movement that began with righteous anger about the death of George Floyd has devolved in all too many locations into vandalism, looting and violence. Reeling from these blows, economies sank into recession as businesses bled money, shed jobs and, in some cases, shut down for good. Families struggled. Social ties frayed. Partisan divides widened.

    To be an inveterate optimist, however, is to reject despair as unhelpful and, in the end, unrealistic. You champion context. You look for unforeseen opportunities. You counsel patience. And you spotlight outcomes that aren’t as bad as worse-case scenarios had predicted.
    Consider the latest economic and fiscal trends here in North Carolina. After a combination of consumer behavior and government mandates shoved the state into recession, tens of thousands of North Carolinians lost their jobs in March, followed by hundreds of thousands in April.
    Something comparable happened across our region, as well. But during the month of May, most labor markets in the Southeast rebounded more strongly than North Carolina’s did. Indeed, our state’s headline unemployment rate barely changed from April (12.9%) to May (12.8%).
    In June, though, North Carolina began to catch up. Employers added back some 173,000 jobs last month — one of the largest monthly gains in employment in state history. Sectors with notably large increases included accommodation and food service (56,000), retail trade (18,000), entertainment and recreation (13,000), health care (11,000) and local government (26,000, including employees of summer camps and other local offerings).

    Does Gov. Roy Cooper’s slower approach to phased reopening explain these events? Surely to some extent. In many cases, jobs that other state economies recovered in May, North Carolina’s recovered in June.

    But that’s not the whole story. Individuals are also making their own decisions, quite apart from what public officials are doing. In a study just posted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, two University of Notre Dame economists found that the relative importance of the two factors — government regulation and private choice — differ by type and sector. Using GPS tracking, they discovered that stay-at-home orders had a surprisingly small effect on overall mobility, for example, while restrictions on restaurants and retail matter a great deal.

    To be sure, one good monthly jobs report does not a recovery make. North Carolina has still lost a net 377,000 jobs since the beginning of the crisis. And while our headline jobless rate for June (7.6%) now compares more favorably with our regional peers, some of the decline in measured unemployment occurred not because jobless North Carolinians found jobs but because they stopped looking. Our labor-force participation rate was 57.4% in June, compared to 61.6% in February. Among the 12 Southeastern states, only Kentucky has experienced a worse decline.

    Still, as more North Carolinians manage to get and stay employed, our immediate economic future becomes less gloomy. The same could be said for the fiscal outlook of state and local government.

    Another piece of relative good news, to my mind, was that state government’s General Fund revenue for the first 11 months of the 2019-20 fiscal year came in $973 million below what was originally projected. Given the economic devastation of March, April and May, I had expected a larger revenue hit. If the positive economic momentum of June can be sustained into the fall, state and local budget deficits will become more manageable.

    The headwinds are daunting, admittedly. People continue to be worried, understandably, about daily reports of COVID-19 cases and deaths. And Cooper’s decision to limit access to public schools, and subsequent decisions by many districts to deliver only online education this semester, will put a substantial strain on parents — potentially forcing some to cut back hours or exit their jobs entirely to care for their children.
    North Carolinians will need all their resilience and inventiveness to get through this. As an inveterate optimist, I wouldn’t bet against them.

  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper has issued guidance for flags allowed on military installations. It does not explicitly ban the Confederate battle flag but provides criteria for allowable flags.

    “Flags are powerful symbols, particularly in the military community for whom flags embody common mission, common histories, and the special, timeless bond of warriors,” Esper wrote in a memo, adding “The flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols.”

    Esper’s guidance narrows down the types of flags that can be displayed. They include flags or banners of U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia, flags of the military services, as well as those of generals or admirals and civilian political appointees, plus flags representing the positions of Senior Executive Service employees, the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action flag, flags of countries that are allies or partners of the United States — but only when displayed for official purposes — flags of organizations the U.S. belongs to, including NATO, the United Nations and ceremonial flags representing units or branches.

  • 02 jessica radanavong 0ZkAINlmtOs unsplashThis week, our publisher, Bill Bowman, yields his space to Congressman Richard Hudson.

    Friends,
    As Fort Bragg’s Congressman, it’s an honor to represent so many active-duty soldiers, their families and our veterans. We owe a debt to everyone who has served in our nation’s military, as well as their families, for the sacrifices they have made to protect our country. We also owe it to them to make sure they have all the available tools and resources they deserve.

    Congress returned this week to pass the latest National Defense Authorization Act. This annual defense bill lays out all of the priorities to keep our military strong and support military families and veterans. This year, I was proud to work with my colleagues to include a record-setting number of provisions in the bill.

    These provisions included a 10% increase in hazardous duty pay for those serving in eligible locations. This increase will support our warfighters who put their lives on the line and is in addition to an overall 11% pay raise for our troops since President Trump entered office.
    For members of the Special Operations Community, I secured improvements to the Preservation of the Force and Family program established to create a holistic approach to address pressures on the force and increased stress on operator’s families.

    Military families make sacrifices for our country, too. That’s why I secured language in the bill that will help improve future Impact Aid funding for schools in military communities. I also secured improvements to strengthen the Exceptional Family Member Program that supports special needs education for military families.

    Finally, for veterans, I worked across the aisle to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs burn pit registry is expanded to include veterans who served in Syria. Our community has one of the fastest growing veteran populations in the country and we owe it to these heroes to take care of them both during and after they have served our country. After years of fighting in the Middle East, many of our servicemembers were exposed to toxic chemicals through the use of burn pits which have been linked to serious health conditions, including cancer.

    Together, these provisions in the NDAA will further support our troops, their families and our veterans.

    Also, as part of my commitment to our military, earlier this year I helped secure a President Unit Citation for the 30th Infantry Division for its service in World War II.

    Made up in part of National Guard soldiers from North Carolina and nicknamed the “Old Hickory Division” after President Andrew Jackson, the division landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and became a vital part of the Allied effort to defeat Nazi Germany.

    Among their accomplishments, the division of 13,000 soldiers held off an advance of 80,000 German troops at Mortain, France in August 1944. Historical records indicate that general, and later president, Dwight D. Eisenhower intended for the 30th Infantry Division to be recognized with the Presidential Unit Citation. However, the designation went overlooked for nearly 70 years.

    Former Congressman Larry Kissell fought for the 30th Infantry Division’s recognition and when I came into office, he asked me to carry on the fight. I worked for more than seven years throughout the Obama and Trump administrations to have the 30th recognized. Finally, nearly 75 years after their heroic stand at Mortain, in March President Donald Trump directed the U.S. Army to award the Presidential Unit Citation and ensure these veterans get the credit they deserve.

    This week, the citation was presented to the 30th Infantry Division at a ceremony at the North Carolina National Guard. This ceremony was a culmination of years of hard work and I have been proud to work with so many veterans, the North Carolina National Guard and President Trump to make it happen.

    You can rest assured that as long as I am your Congressman, I will continue to do everything I can to support our troops, their families and our veterans.

    Richard Hudson

    Member of Congress

     

  • City Council may be eager to reform policing in Fayetteville. Still, the head of the Police Accountability Community Task Force, Shaun McMillan, said consideration “might be messy and uncomfortable” for council members. The group is proposing the creation of a Civilian Police Oversight Authority. Demands to increase the power of police oversight has gained traction as protests in North Carolina against police brutality continue since the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police. The Raleigh City Council voted unanimously this month to ask the state to grant more power to that city’s new police advisory board, which was formed in February. Fayetteville City Council has agreed to establish a police advisory board, but the Fay PACT wants a Civilian Police Oversight Authority to have jurisdiction over the review board.

    “I need to see (current) data,” Councilman Johnny Dawkins said. “It’s disappointing to me, you come in here with demands.” Dawkins has been outspoken in his criticism of anything more than a review board.

  • The Cumberland County area, particularly Fayetteville, has seen its fair share of torrential storms. Every hurricane season, we glue our eyes to the TVs for a week or two and listen intently to our radios to hear predictions of strong wind gusts and heavy rains. With hurricane season in full swing now, and being that it occurs every year, now is a perfect time to make sure you, your family and your property are prepared for a coming storm.

    Although hurricanes hit the coast hardest, many locals can still recall the effects of Hurricane Hazel in 1954, Hurricane Fran in September 1996 and, in more recent years, Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Matthew, to name a few. Aside from the damage done by the storms, being close to the Cape Fear River has been a concern in the past because of flooding. When Florence hit, many people were evacuated from their neighborhoods, and the Person Street Bridge had to close temporarily for the first time ever because the waters rose so dangerously high.

    Hurricane season started June 1 and continues through early September. Rather than living in fear of a potential storm, citizens can find peace in knowing that there are simple precautions that can keep them and their property safe in the event of a natural disaster.

    Firstly, it’s important to establish a communication plan. If a storm hit Fayetteville hard and your family was separated from each other, a contact out of town would be crucial. It is not uncommon for family members to be separated during natural disasters. Plan a spot to meet with loved ones in a more dire instance. Although it would be ideal to keep accessibility in mind, a hurricane can quickly change the convenience of travel, and having a central meeting place might be all you can count on.

    Having that spot to meet will not mean much without a plan of how to evacuate and get there. While a GPS device on a cellphone might be helpful usually, in the case that there is no cell coverage, consider keeping an updated map on hand. Don’t wait until there is a crisis to practice your plan. When you have your map and a route in mind, consider driving it and coming up with backup plans for traveling to your designated evacuation location, in case the roads you initially planned on are inaccessible. You’ll also want to make sure your gas tank is full before the storm hits.

    Having an escape plan will help keep you and your family safe and together, but don’t forget to take precautions in bracing your home for strong winds and heavy rains.

    Check to see if your roof needs repairs. If shingles are damaged or loose, you’re going to be more at risk for property damage. Check your shingles and unclog gutters and downspouts.

    Trimming greenery in the areas surrounding structure on the property is a must, and if there are any loose items in the front or backyard, pick them up.

    Make sure you and everyone dwelling at your residence know how to turn off the electricity, water and gas.

    When possible, secure breakable and heavy objects in cabinets and drawers; additionally secure water heaters and other major appliances.
    Installing a smoke detector on each floor of your house is a good precaution year-round — also keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
    In addition to the safeguards for your home, here are some tips for a survival kit.

    Many people are familiar, when any bad weather sweeps in, with the rush at the grocery store to stock up on bottled water. When the water is cleared from the shelves, the search can feel desperate. One way to accomplish this, even if you have an unsuccessful trip to the store, is to fill up reusable water bottles, tupperware containers or zipper storage bags that are on hand before the storm moves further inland. It’s a good idea to keep a gallon of water per person in the household for three-seven days. Nonperishable foods, including canned goods, snacks, special foods for infants or the elderly and utensils and a can opener are all critical for a survival kit. Although it is better to be overprepared than underprepared, remember that many stores will have to throw out bottled water and food if you buy more than what you’ll need and try to return it after the threat has passed.

    A first-aid kit might sound like a no-brainer to some, but be sure to include prescription medications in your supply. Having all medical supplies in the same, easy-to-access place might save you trouble later.

    For your furry friends — or nonhuman family members — include food, medications, a leash, cage, a tag with their ID, etc. in the survival kit.
    Other items like toiletries, clothing items, blankets and pillows are helpful. Think about what you would use in a typical day or week. Of those items, what would you need most? And, in the case of emergency, which items would you want that you might not need daily? A phone and charger, cash/cards, keys for vehicles/buildings/safety deposit boxes, insurance policies, a driver’s license, Social Security cards and tools might come to mind. Secure paperwork in a waterproof container. A flashlight and radio aside from what is in your car or phone may come in handy.

    To keep up with what’s happening locally before, during and after storms, and to find helpful resources, visit https://www.fayettevillenc.gov/city-services/corporate-communications/public-information/storm-information-center for the City of Fayetteville’s storm information center, https://www.co.cumberland.nc.us/emergencyservices/hurricane-florence-information for Cumberland County’s resources and https://www.faypwc.com/storm-central/ for Fayetteville’s Public Works Commission’s resources.

  • As I helped a man load lumber onto his truck, I couldn't help but wonder what he was going to build and if he had help lined up to build it. He appeared to be several years older than me, and somewhat frail. If he were to place any one of the massive 4x4s on the other end of a seesaw, I'm fairly certain he'd be stuck in the air until help arrived. He was grumbling a bit about how it took me so long to get there, obviously unaware that I was a passing customer and not a store employee. I just smiled and asked if he wanted a flag for the wood extending beyond the tailgate of his truck.

    As I moved on to the load I was buying for my own project, I was a little saddened by what had transpired. Not for the grumbling, not for the lifting and loading, but for the realization that in the era we both live in, we take too much for granted.

    The man had been waiting for assistance the store offered, and yet was struggling to load it himself when I happened to walk out the door with a huge load of wood, easily twice the length of the bed of my truck. Several men, younger and stronger looking than me had passed him by as they were coming or going, yet none stopped to offer assistance. Maybe, like the man himself, they thought a store employee would be along soon.

    Whatever the case, the only right thing to do was help. The only choice for me was to do good. In Galatians 6:9 it says, "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." In other words, what goes around comes around. Be kind, be patient and do good in the world. God will make sure you are rewarded.

    The words of the Apostle Paul in that Bible passage aren't meant to reduce doing good to the cause and effect of karma, but rather to encourage and remind us that God sees us. He knows our thoughts and actions and promises he will take care of us beyond any of the good we do.

    Here's some truth for your day: Things won't always fall into place. Every kindness will not be returned. Even so, the attitude we develop as we persevere on the worst of days will buoy us well above the water line on all the others. As we learn to live and love the way we were meant to, we easily begin to recognize the good in others, and respond with the best of ourselves.

     

  • 11 image3Publisher’s note: The turmoil gripping downtownFayetteville is infuriating as well as heartbreaking. This edition of U&CW is a nod to those frustrated by a lack of resolve from city leaders in recent weeks and a lack of respect from those who chose to deface and destroy our downtown, damaging personal property and ruining the lives and businesses of so many. We could write pages about it. Instead, we’ve chosen to let the community members speak for themselves. The pages that follow include just a few of the letters and postings about recent events, as well as uplifting photos and a chilling piece of history dating back to1963 and taken directly from the Congressional record. It is a 1963 prediction on how the Socialists and Communists will take control of America. It is a shocking reality of a 21st century America. The Communist/Socialist plan to take over America, conceived in the 1950s and ‘60s, is definitely working. See for yourself on page 15.  Unfortunately, law-abiding citizens who believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the only ones who can save Fayetteville and our country.  Caving in, being silent, ignoring the situation and not wanting to get involved has only gotten us where we are today. Below are just a few who choose to not be silent.

     — Bill Bowman

     
    “an-ar-chy – a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority” 
    — from Oxford Dictionary on Lexico
    We had grown accustomed to the loud noises emerging from the Market House and the frequent motorcycles that visit. But we were startled on Sunday night to see 4-wheeler ATVS cruising up and down the Person Street sidewalks. These were on the actual sidewalks, not the streets. But our surprise was minor compared to the disappointment we experienced as we once again had to sit and watch as not so much as one police officer arrived to address the growing infractions.

    In some ways, it seems like the wild west down here. The boarded-up stores with their painted plywood fronts seem somewhat quaint in the daylight. But our downtown takes on a more sinister and threatening look at night as large crowds grow and are joined by motorcycles and ATVs. You see far fewer people and cars as people secure themselves behind locked doors and peer through the curtains in anticipation of what happens next. 

    A state of disorder exists today in our downtown. What we do, or opt not to do, is going to have implications for this entire city for years to come. 

    I have heard far too many people say they are sorry for what is happening in our downtown, but they will not be visiting downtown as long as all this anarchy exists. Imagine the impact this is having on the small businesses in our downtown following so closely to the COVID closings. Several have already incurred thousands of dollars of repair bills from last month’s unmanaged demonstrations. Many likely will not survive the financial impact. This situation has set back the economic development of our downtown for decades. 

    This is not a failure that arose from any party’s legitimate right to demonstrate. In fact, many of the demands of the protesters seem reasonable as we all seek ways to challenge our traditional thinking about race relations, to ensure that all people are treated fairly and to take all steps necessary to ensure our police department is well-trained, respectful and professional to every citizen. 

    This is not a failure of the police officers. I have heard from far too many police officers and firemen who want to fulfill their responsibility to protect and to serve but are held back by our city’s elected and/or professional leadership. The tactical decision to sit by and allow this situation to grow to this point is unacceptable. Someone should be held accountable. 
     
    This is a failure on many fronts — a failure of communication that prevents citizens from knowing what is happening, a failure of the free press perhaps too understaffed to ask the hard questions and a failure of our reluctance to get involved until it is too late. 

    But mostly it is a failure of leadership. 

    The City of Fayetteville FY2020 Strategic Plan reports that a core value of our city is to “safeguard and enhance the public trust in City Government.” Our elected leaders and our City’s professional staff are failing us in this basic responsibility of every local government everywhere. There has been far too little communication, far too few creative solutions identified and far too much willingness to allow the situation to grow unchecked to the unacceptable place we find ourselves today.

    In the absence of real corrective action, in the absence of real leadership demonstrated by those we elect and those we employ to lead us, we could likely see this state of anarchy reach even higher levels with devastating impact to property and people. 

    Our downtown does not belong to any one of us — not to our elected officials, the protestors, the residents, the business owners or our police department leadership. They have merely been temporarily charged with its stewardship. 

    Our downtown belongs to all of us — each of those that came before us in the 250-plus years of our history and to the thousands that will come after.

    It is time we acted like it.
     
    Tony Chavonne, 
    Former Fayetteville Mayor
     
     
     
     
     
    Dear editor, 

    Here is a quote to consider: “Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it, showcase it, and you’ll start believing in it.” The author is Jesse Owens.

    For those of you who unfamiliar with Jesse, he was the greatest Olympian of his day. He was a black man born in Alabama during the “Jim Crow” era of the south. He was a track star who earned the right to represent the United States in the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany. This was no ordinary Olympiad. It was the showcase event for the Nazi government of Adolph Hitler. He was going to show that white Aryan Germans were superior to all races of the world. Well, Jesse would have none of it. He won four gold medals in track and field, as well as setting a few world records. All this was filmed for the world to see.

    For those of you who are protesting the perceived racism of white Americans, the Founding Fathers, and the Constitution of the United States, I have a few words for you to consider. I cannot speak for all white Americans, nor can any black man speak for all African Americans. So, let us talk of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution.

    The Founding Fathers, those all-white male gentries, gave the world the greatest governing document ever conceived. It gave to the people the right as to how they are to be governed, and people retained rights that had never been granted in the history of the world.
    That document gave you the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of worship, freedom to bear arms, protection from unlawful search and seizure and, as amended, the right of all citizens — male and female, regardless of race — the right to vote. This document established a representative Republic — a totally new way to represent all citizens and states.

    This is the legacy of our Founding Fathers. Sure, they had faults, and some were slave owners, but they designed a government structure that ultimately gave freedom to all citizens. If Jesse Owens could find the good the United States offered in his time, maybe you will look for the good as well.

    PS: Here is the difference in protesting/demonstrating in the U.S. versus Communist/Marxist country. The Chinese government has taken over the policing and criminal systems of Hong Kong, which has been self­ governed since Britain turn it over to China. The government was concerned about Hong Kong citizens demonstrating for democracy and the right to be self-governed. Now the Communist government has banned a series of words, including freedom, democracy, and other similar words. People are protesting by handing out blank papers with no words on them to protest the restrictions. They are being arrested for doing so. That is a prime example of total control being the hands of the government rather than the people.
     
    - Warren L. Hahn
     
     To the Editor, 

    We wanted to write a review of the events surrounding The Citizen Cares Project Walk of Support that we planned solely to support our local police department. We want to be transparent as to what we have heard from our local police officers and also share how we feel about what we have witnessed firsthand. To be clear, our interpretation of these events are our feelings only. 

    A group of citizens felt the need to show support for our local PD. This idea came from conversations we had with officers, who felt unsupported — specifically, after being told to stand down during a time when active gunfire was taking place and mayhem was occurring. They shared that the emphasis was on not upsetting the rioters rather than allowing the police officers to uphold law and order. When making decisions regarding our peaceful walk of support, we created our mission statement, which is: “We believe in Police Officers who do good work and lay their lives on the line every day to protect all people and property. We believe in encouraging them and lifting them up in prayer along with their families. We believe in showing them gratitude and love.” 

    The intent of the walk was solely to show support for our local law enforcement and leaders. The day of the walk, the Fayetteville PD requested we alter our route. After discussing it, we decided modifying the route was the best way to fulfill our mission, which was showing our local PD that they are respected, appreciated and loved. We also did not want to create more stress for them; they are under a tremendous amount already. 

    Why did none of our city leaders come out and support our police department? Is it because they are trying to cater to those who want us all to be intimidated? These are questions you need to ask yourselves. The general public does not see them working tirelessly behind the scenes, trying to find solutions. We are running out of time and are worried that one more day might be too late. It is only getting worse by the minute, and rumors are flying everywhere. Call in the National Guard — do whatever you have to do to ensure total chaos doesn’t ensue and to make sure nobody gets hurt. Do what you must, I guarantee the rest of the country will follow suit. 

    Our little walk in Fayetteville, North Carolina, has received national attention — attention is not what we were after. Still, we have had people from other states reach out to us and ask for our action plan and timeline. They want to replicate what we did. 

    People want a place to share their beliefs and principles peacefully without being attacked. When I say we, I mean our city that we all so dearly love. People came out in any way they could to support this cause. The silent majority feels the way we all do. We — you and I — support and want law and order. 

    After our walk started, they (the Market House group) realized we were not going to walk by, and this infuriated them. Our CCP walk had nothing to do with them, as it was scheduled long before they ever camped out. They ran down Hay Street to engage with us when we turned onto Ray Avenue. They locked arms and blocked the road, thus breaking the law. We were then asked to change our route, yet again, to come into the backside of the PD. Our group refused, as we felt we had the right to be there and walked on. When we reached the PD, the Market House group was yelling and chanting at us. 

    As far as I know, there was not a cross word from our group. In fact, statements were made that these individuals may want to rethink some spaces they entered — personal spaces. As for me, I was not going to engage with them in any way or respond to the statements they were screaming at me. I kept repeating, “Jesus loves everybody,” drowning out the hateful comments they were spewing. The hateful things they were screaming at us and about our Police Chief were unacceptable. We all have a right to freedom of speech. We don’t have the right to disturb the peace, and they were disturbing ours. 

    They continue to disturb the peace in downtown Fayetteville. When you allow people to violate little laws, they then break bigger laws. This is exactly how chaos starts. When people are allowed to break little rules, they will continue to test the limits, and those little laws they were breaking will turn into bigger and bigger offenses. This is what concerns us now, as law-abiding citizens, and we should not be discounted just because we are law-abiding citizens. Where is the reward for us? What is the reason for following the law if everyone is not held accountable in the same way? Why did we have to remain on the sidewalk as instructed by police on the CCP march while the protesters were allowed to block a street and disturb the peace — even after we attempted to avoid them? 

    I am begging you to do something now. You see what painting the lane around the Market House has done — nothing good. It has empowered people to incite racism rather than bring about equality. The proof is right before our eyes. We are all on the same team. We all want better for everyone. 

    At the end of the day, I do not think most people give much thought to someone’s skin color. Good people are good and bad people are bad, and this has no color.

     Respectfully, Lisa G.
     Co-Organizer of Citizen Cares Project
     
     
     Fayetteville leaders,

    I want to thank each of you (community leaders) for stepping up and serving our community as public servants. You are “in the arena” and all credit goes to those of you who have the guts to get into the arena. 

    As co-organizer of the Citizen Cares Project’s Walk of Support, I want to share with you a few of my thoughts, and my motivation for getting involved with this project. I hope you’ll take the time to read my words. 

    I’m a recently retired (2016) Army Veteran of 26 years, my wife served 30 years before retiring in 2017. We are both children of immigrants that fled their countries of Cuba and El Salvador due to civil unrest and revolution. While serving in uniform, we had the good fortune of having support from all  America. I was proud to wear the uniform, and our citizens showed their gratitude and appreciation routinely. The way our Vietnam veterans were treated is a deep scar to our nation. Our nation has gone out of its way to heal that wound by treating the military generations after Vietnam with respect and appreciation. 

    When I see (across the country) the way that our law enforcement officers have been disrespected, assaulted and even killed recently, it causes me great concern and fear. I fear that cops are leaving the force. I fear that cops are scared to do their jobs. I fear that when we don’t have law enforcement, anarchy presents itself and revolutions bubble up very quickly, as happened to the countries from which our parent’s fled. It was my hope that our show of support to our  police officers would give them an extra boost and reassurance that the public is behind them. Unfortunately, with the appearance of the “Market House Group” on Wednesday eve, many folks stayed at home. I very much believe the “Market House Group” reduced the attendance for our walk of support by half. 

    I’m a Buckeye by birth and a Tarheel by choice.

    I love Fayetteville. So much so that when my wife and I retired from the Army, we chose to stay here. I’m a real estate agent that has been selling the heck out of Fayetteville over the past few years. I have been promoting the tremendous downtown revitalization efforts. I have been singing the praises of the leadership of this city as well as the private investors that have poured money into our town. I can’t count the number of folks that were looking in Moore, Harnett and Hoke county that have bought homes through me in Fayetteville over the past few years. I am selling Fayetteville because I believed in it. With the apparent lawlessness, anarchy and civil unrest that appears to be condoned by the leadership of this city, in good conscience I don’t know if I can continue to sell Fayetteville to my clients. 

    If you want your legacy to be the leadership of this city that lost this city, then keep allowing this ugly behavior downtown. I have read the demands of the group downtown — some of them really don’t seem unreasonable. But they all take funding. If you lose this city, you will lose so much tax revenue that the programs they are requesting will be impossible to fund. If you lose this city, recruiting, training and retaining the best police force in the state will be impossible to fund. Do not let your legacy be that of losing this city. Businesses don’t want to be downtown anymore, investors don’t want to invest in downtown any more, and families don’t want to go downtown any more — all of those people/groups are good. Please, for the sake of the city, don’t let this go on a day longer. I want to stay in Fayetteville and contribute to this city the best way that I can. I’m afraid that all of this has caused me and my wife to reconsider whether or not we want to stay here — and I am 100% confident that this same discussion is happening around this city, even by folks who have much deeper roots in this town than I do. 

    I know how difficult leadership is, and you have a lot of constituents to satisfy. We pray for you and our nation’s leaders. When making decisions about which side you are going to choose, ask yourself who’s contributing to this city and who’s hurting it. You can no longer play peacemaker to everybody. The constituents that are doing the most for this city hang in the balance of your decisions.
    This happened in our city on Saturday night into the morning hours of Sunday. 

    Respectfully, Tony D.
    Co-Organizer of Citizen Cares Project
     
     
     
     
  • 10 fort bragg 1200The U.S. military’s top commander has described Confederate leaders as traitors and said he is taking a “hard look” at renaming 10 Army installations that honor them, despite President Trump’s opposition. “The Confederacy was an act of treason at the time, against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution and those officers turned their backs on their oath,” the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, told members of the House Armed Services Committee. 

    “For the young soldiers that go onto a base — a Fort Hood or Fort Bragg... or a fort wherever named after a Confederate general — they can be reminded that that general fought for the institution of slavery that may have enslaved their ancestors,” he said. 

    Last month, Trump rejected calls to rename installations after Defense Secretary Mark Esper signaled a willingness to do so, saying his administration will not even consider that plan.

    Milley stopped short of offering a policy prescription for how to handle the installation names, which has become a flashpoint at the Pentagon, as the nation grapples with the history of racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death by police in May. The installations, all in southern states, were named with input from influential residents during the Jim Crow era following reconstruction. The Army agreed because it needed large swaths of land to build bases during the military buildup of World War I. That decision was political, Milley told lawmakers, and renaming the installations would also be a political move.

    Two of the Army’s biggest installations are named after Confederate commanders and avowed white supremacists. Fort Bragg, the headquarters of Army Airborne and Special Forces troops, bears the name of Gen. Braxton Bragg, a commander often assailed as one of the most bumbling Confederate commanders in the war. He was a native of North Carolina. Fort Benning, Georgia, the home of Army infantry and airborne training, is named after Brig. Gen. Henry Benning, who laid out the protection of slavery as the motivation for secession in a speech in 1861.

    Gen. Milley served as Forces Command’s Commanding General before being named Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Forces Command has been headquartered at Fort Bragg since 2011, when it and the Army Reserve Command moved to Fort Bragg from Fort MacPherson, Georgia, which was closed under Federal Base Realignment and Closure legislation.

    FORSCOM’s subordinate units include five headquarters led by lieutenant generals — the Army Reserve Command, 1st Army, I Corps, III Corps and XVIII Airborne Corps — and nine division headquarters, led by major generals. FORSCOM prepares conventional forces to provide a sustained flow of trained and ready capabilities available to combatant commanders in defense of the nation at home and abroad. It has direct authority over all continental United States conventional units of the active Army, and oversight of much of Army Reserve and Army National Guard units. 
     
  • 12 N1604P37012CThe pandemic has taught us the importance of maintaining our skills and learning new technologies, processes and software. Fayetteville Technical Community College is the perfect place to help you stay connected to something positive while pursuing your dreams through education.

    You can begin a path to a new or enhanced career in office administration. FTCC’s office administration program is designed to teach you skills, such as office procedures, customer service, text entry and computer applications, including word processing. Employers today are looking for individuals who can effectively and efficiently manage an office with professionalism. Learning and improving these skills can help you acquire the best opportunities.

    FTCC's office administration program has three tracks — general office administration, legal office and office finance. Each track has classes specific to its area and is designed to ensure the best preparation for your desired employment. You will learn both technical and soft skills. To view the office programs offered, go to faytechcc.edu and enter “office administration” as a search term. 

    FTCC offers a variety of methods and schedules for classes — seated, online and virtual. Virtual classes are a great alternative to coming to campus. The classes meet online during the week, and you are able to communicate face-to-face with your instructor and classmates in real time. Virtual classes are a perfect alternative for learning if you need to stay home, travel, balance work schedules or just prefer your own location while enjoying the interaction of a live class. Additionally, the office administration program offers a work-based learning option that allows you to earn college credit while gaining work experience. 

    Remote and virtual office workers proved to be extremely valuable during the recent pandemic. They were able to maintain employment by completing their work from home while taking care of their families. Companies were able to count on these remote workers to keep businesses operating.

    Graduates of the office administration program can expect employment opportunities in a wide variety of businesses. The possibilities for employment are endless, and your skills are marketable anywhere. You can take them with you if you relocate. As an added bonus, many of the jobs available in these areas provide paths for advancement. You can become a vital part of a business team and use the professional skills you learn. Enroll in the office administration program at FTCC today.
    Financial aid, scholarships and loan options are available if you are qualified. If you have been thinking about starting or returning to school, now is the perfect time. FTCC will assist you every step of the way, from submitting your application to applying for graduation. Fall semester begins Aug. 17. 

    Applying is fast, easy and can be completed online: https://www.faytechcc.edu/apply-now/ftcc-admissions/.

    If you are interested in a career in office administration, or if you have questions, please contact me at faganl@faytechcc.edu or  910-678-8361. Start plans today for your new career in office administration!
     
  • 17 nchsaaThe North Carolina High School Athletic Association will delay the start of the fall sports season until at least Sept. 1.

    The first five days of the 2020-21 student school year will be a dead period for all sports. Phase One of the NCHSAA’s summer conditioning and workouts will continue until further notice.

    “For now, we believe these steps provide hope for our student athletes and the possibility for playing fall sports,’’ said NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker. “We know that many decisions are being made relative to the reopening plan your schools will follow.’’

    Tucker said the NCHSAA will conduct a survey of its members to determine what is possible as far as sports this fall is concerned, adding the current delay is not in cement and could be changed.

    Tucker said the NCHSAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee believes sports can and should be offered, at least in a modified format.

    “In the coming weeks, we will continue working with the SMAC as we plan our next steps for the fall,’’ Tucker said.

  • 06 criminal justice reformGov. Roy Cooper has created a statewide task force to address racial issues in North Carolina’s criminal justice system. It is cochaired by Supreme Court Associate Justice Anita Earls and Attorney General Josh Stein. Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin was selected as a representative of locally elected officials. Colvin was elected in 2017 and previously served on the Fayetteville City Council. Colvin was instrumental in assisting former Mayor Nat Robertson in bringing a minor league baseball team to the city and authorizing the construction of Segra Stadium. Colvin also serves on the governor’s Crime Commission. 

    “I am grateful to the people willing to serve on this task force to help our state acknowledge racial inequities in our systems of law enforcement and criminal justice, and then work to eliminate them,” said Cooper. 

    “The North Carolinians Gov. Cooper has appointed to this task force are public-spirited and committed to achieving racial equity in our criminal justice system,” said Attorney General Josh Stein.
     
  • 07 Market House in Fayetteville NCThe mayor has said the protest in area of the downtown Market House has gone on long enough and that it is no longer safe for the demonstrators or the motoring public. 

    “They’re in the middle of a four-way intersection in a traffic circle, which is definitely not safe for them or others,” he said. Colvin has offered the demonstrators several alternative locations where they could continue to exercise their right to protest. “The police chief and the city attorney’s office basically know what the law is and... it’s just like any other matter with the police department.” 

    As of this writing in a rapidly developing issue, protestors have agreed with the mayor, that enough is enough for now. Leaders of the movement disbanded the encampment on the Green Street side of the Market House, and demonstrators have left. They say they will continue monitoring demands they have made of the city police department but are grateful that city council has taken them seriously. 
     
  • 04 N1607P49005CIf you were to inherit a large sum of money, what would you do with it?

    The question may not be hypothetical, especially if you are in the millennial, Gen X or Gen Z demographic groups.

    That’s because the baby boomers — often referred to as the richest generation in history —  are poised to transfer some $30 trillion in assets over the next few decades, according to the consultingfirm Accenture.

    Of course, this is a “macro” figure, and everyone’s situation is different. Furthermore, since baby boomers are living longer, more active lives, the total amount passed on may end up being considerably less than the estimate. Nonetheless, you may well receive a medium-to-large inheritance someday, and when that day arrives, you’ll need to decide how best touse your newfound wealth.

    Your first move may be to do nothing at all. Generally speaking, you have enough time to decide how to handle the various elements of an inheritance, although if you are inheriting an investment vehicle such as an IRA or a 401(k) plan, you will eventually have to make some decisions about liquidation or withdrawals. And since these accounts may carry tax obligations, it’s a good idea to consult with your tax advisor fairly soon after you receive your inheritance. But if a big part of your inheritance simply consists of cash parked in a bank account, there’s nothing wrong with moving the money into a cash management account at a financial services company until you decide what to do with it.

    However, after some time has passed, you may want to put your inheritance to good use. If you’re already working with a financial advisor, you might want to get some guidance on how to use your new assets to strengthen your existing investment strategy. Do you have any gaps in certain areas? Can you use the money to help diversify your holdings? Diversification can’t guarantee profits or protect against all losses, but it can help reduce the impact of volatility on your portfolio.

    And, of course, if your inheritance is large enough, it may permit you to “max out” on your IRA for years to come, and possibly free you to have even more of your salary deferred into your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement account. Plus, you could use the money for other long-term goals, such as funding a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan for your children.

    You also might use part of your inheritance to donate to the charitable organizations you support. Due to recent changes in tax laws that caused many people to stop itemizing their deductions, charitable groups are in more need of support than ever.

    And last, but certainly not least, take this opportunity to review your goals. Is your inheritance large enough for you to adjust your planned retirement age? And if that age may indeed change, what about your other plans for retirement? Will you now be free to travel more or pursue other hobbies? Will you even need to modify the way you invest for your new reality, possibly by taking a less aggressive approach? Again, a financial professional can helpyou answer these questions.

    Someone thought enough of you toleave you a valuable inheritance —   so use it wisely.
     
  • 05 N1909P34008CThe COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in uncertainty, leaving many of us feeling confused, frustrated and fearful. Daily we face threats to our physical safety and financial security. An accumulation of these macro-level stressors makes it more difficult for us to handle the mundane, daily stresses of living. Our traditional methods of coping are challenged and we are forced to reimagine a new “normal.” 

    During times of crisis, it is more important than ever to practice self-care. Self-care is a popular term that brings to mind visions of bubble baths, expensive shopping sprees and decadent foods. The ugly truth is that self-care is often not glamorous. It is a daily practice of building healthy habits for a strong body and mind. Said another way, self-care is deliberately taking care of your well-being through restorative activities. 

    About seven months ago, I would have defined self-care as simply making sure to eat and sleep. At the time, I was working as a clinical assistant professor and staff psychologist at a top 10 university. I started every day darting out the door with no breakfast in my belly and haphazardly putting makeup on while I drove to work. I went to work and had few breaks and finished my day only to crash on the couch to watch Netflix and scroll social media. I was in complete denial about what I needed to do to take care of myself. Ultimately, I burned out, and I quit my job. I decided to pursue my passions of entrepreneurship and family by moving closer to home (Fayetteville) to start my private therapy practice. As a licensed psychologist, a large part of my job is to support people who are suffering from stress and mental health-related concerns. I learned quickly that to serve my clients successfully in a sustainable way, I needed to be a relaxing presence, which meant I had to take care of myself. That’s when I discovered how to practice self-care. My foundation began with a healthy diet, proper hydration, physical activity and adequate rest. I added three other restorative activities to this foundation, which were: moments of stillness in silence, practicing spirituality and belonging to a community. 

    Self-care involves attention and intention. Moments of stillness in silence can draw our attention from external noise to our inner voice. When we meditate, it brings awareness to that internal voice. When we have awareness, that’s when we can choose thoughts and feelings we’re holding onto and those we want to let go. The intention is to observe compassionately and nonjudgmentally those places inside yourself that need care. 

    In conclusion, I have one recommendation for you. I encourage you to try waking up one hour earlier in the morning to carve out some self-care time. My self-care daily ritual consists of: 10 minutes of meditation, 10 minutes of journaling, 10 minutes of affirmations, 10 minutes of visualization, 10 minutes of gratitude and 10 minutes of physical activity. You are so worth it. Start small, and remember, this is a practice and is not something you have to get perfect. 
     
  • 03 N1301P58005CMillions of Americans of various skin colors and ethnicities profoundly sympathize with the Black Lives Matter movement and the distress that has come from the murder of George Floyd. Many participate in protests all over our nation and around the world. It seems that our nation may have reached a tipping point regarding race and the inequities that have plagued the United States even before we were the United States.

    Despite the very real pain in our nation, people of goodwill are trying hard to find new paths and avenues of healing. That said, many of us are learning about implicit bias, also called unconscious bias, and the more clinical implicit social cognition. However it is labeled, it is deep-seated prejudice so much a part of us that we are not conscious of it. It often contradicts the views we openly express and think we hold.

    Psychologists from Harvard, Stanford and the University of Virginia have developed Project Implicit, which is not without controversy. Easily available online, I took its test seeking to expose implicit bias. It revealed pretty much what I thought it would, but not quite. I found it instructive and am glad I made the effort. 

    Like millions of other people, I am also studying and learning more about how and why we find ourselves in the painful situation we face in America in the 21st century. The pandemic has provided many of us with more discretionary time, and I am using some of that to read more and turn to other media for different and often troubling takes on what it means to be black or brown in our country. I know my journey is just beginning and that it is a long one.

    Educational resources abound, and pictured are a few from the July/August 2020 issue of Raleigh magazine. This list seems a good starting point, and there is much more dating from 1619 to right this minute. The bad news is that many of us have a lot to learn, including those of us who believe we have little implicit bias. The good news is that bias is not genetic. It is not part of our DNA. We learned it from our culture, and if we learned it, we can unlearn it. 

    We will not get beyond this as long as we are unable to talk to each other honestly about the pain we are feeling and until we try.
    Here are several resources that may help.

    Movies: 
    “12 Years a Slave”
    “Malcom X”
    “Fruitvale Station”
    “Moonlight”
    “The Hate U Give”

    Series:
    “Dear White People”
    “Seven Seconds”
    “Shots Fired”
    “When They See Us”
    “Watchmen”

    Documentaries:
    “Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement”
    “Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story”
    “13th”
    “Freedom Riders”
    “Whose Streets?”
    Nonfiction Books
    “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla F. Saad
    “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
    “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
    “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin
    “Stony the Road” by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

    Fiction Books
    “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones
    “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston 
    “On Beauty” by Zadie Smith
    “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
    “Middle Passage” by Charles R. Johnson

    Podcasts
    “Code Switch” by NPR
    “Justice in America” hosted by Josie Duffy Rice
    “1619” by The New York Times
    “The Nod” by Gimlet Media
    “United States of Anxiety” by WNYC
  • 09 Maureen Stover2 2Maureen M. Stover, a science teacher at Cumberland International Early College High School has been named the 2020 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year. Stover was selected from a field of nine finalists representing the state’s eight education districts and charter schools. 

    A former intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force, Stover began her teaching career 11 years ago in Florida through the federal Troops to Teachers program. She said her students understand that her commitment to them extends beyond the 90 minutes of classroom instruction each day. “My role as a classroom teacher is to be part giver of knowledge, part cheerleader, part counselor, part mom, part nurse and part what my kids need me to be that day,” Stover said. 

    “Maureen says that her training and experience in the military ingrained in her the mantra of service before self,” noted State Superintendent Mark Johnson. “She proves that every day for her students, who have her as both an excellent teacher and a great role model.” 

    With an undergraduate degree in biology from the United States Air Force Academy, Stover has also earned two master’s degrees.  
     
  • 02 City of Fayetteville city limit welcome sign 2014Make no mistake about it. I love Fayetteville. I arrived here as a 19-year-old soldier and never left. I was educated here and immersed myself into a successful marketing career. It was here that I met Leonard G. McLeod, who ultimately became my most valued, endearing and closest friend until his death nearly two decades ago. It was here I met my loving and supportive wife of 40 years, Merrilyn. This is where we raised our son — in an atmosphere that embraced and radiated pride, patriotism, love, support and exciting anticipation for the unlimited opportunities awaiting the future of a growing and emerging community.

    It was here in Fayetteville, 25 years ago, that I started the Up & Coming Weekly newspaper. The purpose and premise of this unique local publication was simple and easy to articulate — promote the good news about Fayetteville and Cumberland County. I wanted to share the wonderful stories about the people, events and quality of life of Fayetteville that I knew existed here. During my lifetime, I watched some of the most dynamic civic and government leaders ever assembled as they worked diligently and harmoniously to catch the glimmer and sparkle of the diamond called Fayetteville hidden and stagnant so long in the rough.

    Fayetteville was no longer a hidden jewel nor a diamond in the rough. My city was starting to emerge as a significant North Carolina municipality, proud and economically independent, ready to be a contender and take its rightful place in the hierarchy of other thriving North Carolina cities. Well, that was then and this is now. Now, our community finds itself in a state of confusion bordering between shock and depression.

    What happened? Our leadership collapsed.

    1963 happened. Read about it on pages 14 and 15. We, as Americans in the greatest nation on Earth and under the security blanket of the U.S. Constitution, have taken our Founding Fathers’ freedoms for granted. We have ignored and forgotten the evil, cynical entities and diabolical governments that have been methodically and patiently plotting to take away our freedoms and our country.

    Fayetteville is only one microcosm of that malicious movement, and it boils down to our leadership. Or, in Fayetteville’s case, our lack of leadership. Mayor Mitch Colvin and Police Chief Gina Hawkins have perpetrated a harsh injustice on our community by not implementing and demonstrating leadership that is representative of the safety and well-being of all the citizens of the Fayetteville community. By encouraging, endorsing and siding with the protesting Black community, they left the white, Asian, Hispanic and Native American Fayetteville citizens wondering what happened to their representation and assurance of safety and protection?

    Making matters worse, they were not supporting protesters exercising their constitutional rights; they were supporting criminals, gangbangers and lowlifes whose only objective was to rob, steal, destroy personal property and cause mayhem. Colvin and Hawkins gave them a pass while laying bare to the community that “standing down” is their new standard-bearer. It is horrible leadership. Now, Fayetteville may be at a point of no return.

    This unfortunate situation will continue as long as good citizens remain on the sidelines and remain silent. We can no longer afford to be victims of our empathy, inaction and lack of involvement. The letters in this edition are a very few of the dozens of letters, emails, texts and phone calls our newspaper has received since the May 30 incident — the devastation of downtown — and since the Citizen Cares Project march on July 9 in support of Fayetteville’s police officers. Many others are afraid to speak up for fear of the cancel culture retribution. The fear is real. Fear they will be called a racist. Fear their families will be harmed. Fear their property will be damaged. Fear their businesses will be destroyed. Fear their good works and good names will be tarnished beyond repair.

    Thirty years of hard work was destroyed within days, and our leadership displayed little if no remorse, justification or accountability for their actions. That brings me to my closing point: We have brought this upon ourselves. We allowed this level of incompetent leadership to infect our community as apathy moved honest, competent, hardworking dedicated leaders who really cared about Fayetteville to the sidelines, making way for those with little concern about the welfare of city residents or advancing the community and enhancing the well-being of the citizens.

    Well, these fears are real and intentional. Like a deer in headlights, so many in this community feel helpless and distressed. They are thinking, hoping and praying the situation will fix itself. It will not. Read the Socialist/Communist Manifesto written in 1958 and entered into the Congressional Record in 1963. You will see the problem will not fix itself.

    I greatly admire and appreciate the people who have agreed to stand up and speak out and make their voices heard about how they feel about our community and what’s taking place in it at this very moment. Now is the time we must muster our resolve not only for the preservation of our community but for the protection of our rights and freedoms as Americans. Fayetteville needs real leaders. Who will it be? Will it be you? Let’s hope so.

    Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 15 john schnobrich 2FPjlAyMQTA unsplashEven before she became a member of the Board of Commissioners for the town of Hope Mills, Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Kenjuana McCray said she was often approached by young people, so-called millennials, on how to get involved in local issues.

    Now McCray has helped to create a town committee that will hopefully give members of that generation both access and inspiration to share in the vision of planning for the future of Hope Mills.

    Members of the Board of Commissioners recently gave approval to McCray’s idea of a committee composed of people from the millennial age group to offer advice and direction to the board on a wide variety of subjects.

    McCray has been involved with a variety of organizations at Fayetteville Technical Community College where she works, particularly in the area of social issues. The clubs she worked with there took part in a variety of activities, and as recently as April had planned to do something in conjunction with Earth Day until all events of that nature were ground to a halt by COVID-19.

    McCray thinks it’s especially important during the current situation to hear from millennial voices. “I believe they have something to say and can do good work in the community,’’ McCray said. She also believes they need a stronger connection to government bodies like the Board of Commissioners, which can be created by putting them together on a bona fide town committee.

    “It’s good to take that energy they have,’’ McCray said, “and have their input included.’’

    McCray feels the millennials can become involved in a variety of areas in the town, everything from beautification and culture to organizing food drives for the homeless and underprivileged.

    McCray has tentatively set the age range of candidates for the committee from 18 to 39.

    “We want a variety of people from different areas,’’ she said. “We are also hoping to get people that have different skill sets.’’
    She’s hopeful to get people with backgrounds in the arts, marketing and media along with active duty and retired military.

    All town committees have a member of the Board of Commissioners and a member of town staff as part of the committee. McCray has asked to be the representative from the commissioners and she asked Chancer McLaughlin, the town’s development and planning administrator, to serve as well because of his role with the town’s economic development.

    She thinks it’s possible for the committee to be chosen and begin meeting in as few as three months.

    “I would like to keep our young people here,’’ she said. “We end up losing a lot of our talented young people. I want them to be in this community and invest in this community.’’

    McCray hopes an application for membership on the committee will be available shortly on the town website, www.townofhopemills.com. 
     
  • 14 IMG 7667Some public walking areas in Hope Mills are going to the dogs, and the staff of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department is working quickly to correct the problem.

    Lamarco Morrison, head of the department, said he first got word a couple of weeks ago that there was a growing problem at the recently opened Golfview Greenway of dog owners walking their animals and not properly cleaning up after them.

    If the problem continues to mount, the town could resort to some extreme measures, like fining dog owners observed leaving animal waste at the greenway or the walking track at Hope Mills Municipal Park near Town Hall. A worst-case scenario would be not allowing dog owners to walk their animals at all. 

    But Morrison said the town would prefer not to do that and is implementing some plans that will help dog owners to police the waste their animals produce.

    “At the end of the day, it’s still on the owners to clean up after their dogs,’’ Morrison said.

    The first thing that will be done, especially at the greenway, is to install what are called doggie stations. Two are already in place, and two more have been ordered. The walking trail at Municipal Park already has multiple doggie stations. 

    Each doggie station includes bags for collecting dog waste and a small waste container to put the bags in once the waste has been collected.

    At the greenway, they’ll be located at the four corners of the area.

    For situations when owners and their dogs are on the trail some distance from one of the doggie stations, Morrison and his staff are giving away what he referred to as a doggie keychain. It’s a small plastic receptacle that the owner can easily attach to a belt, keychain or even the dog’s leash.

    The receptacle can carry empty doggie bags and then be used to hold a filled bag until the owner reaches one of the doggie stations and can drop it into the waste container there. 

    There will also be signs along the trail reminding dog owners to clean up after their dogs.

    To further help with the problem, town maintenance workers who are already assigned to working at the greenway and Municipal Park will also be policing the trail for dog waste.

    Aside from the simple nuisance of possibly coming into contact with dog waste left along the trail, Morrison said there’s also a health hazard associated with dog waste being left in a public area.

    “If your dog hasn’t been immunized with all his shots, you could spread things to other animals,’’ Morrison said.

    Although he doesn’t encourage confrontations, Morrison said one of the best ways for the problem to be resolved is for dog owners to police each other and encourage making sure everybody is picking up after their animals. 

    Morrison is hopeful that will prevent the town from having to go to the extreme of banning walkers at the greenway and Municipal Park from bringing their dogs along. 
     
  • 08 N2008P24005COn Aug. 17, the Cumberland County School system is giving parents an opportunity to decide how they would like their children to be educated during the 2020-2021 school year based on what’s best for their families. Gov. Cooper has issued an executive order directing that Plan B be used as guidance for all schools, meaning that school districts may offer a blended system of face-to-face learning or remote learning from home. Parents have the option of selecting remote learning if that is their preference. Cooper also indicated that complete remote learning could be implemented if the COVID-19 situation worsens. Children will have their temperatures checked as they enter school each day. Each school building must have an isolation room designated for anyone who tests positive. And all children, teachers and staff members must wear face coverings in school buildings. Physical distancing and one-way school hallways are also encouraged. 

     
  • 16 N2002P32003CNote: This story was written hours before the announcement of the NCHSAA's delay of the start of fall sports and could not be updated prior to this week's deadline. 

    When I was a teenager I used to enjoy going to unusual gift shops with my parents and seeing what off-the-wall gifts I could find.

    On one such trip, I saw a unique jigsaw puzzle. It was a picture of a single, solid, red ball.

    I couldn’t imagine someone wanting to tackle the challenge of solving it. It would obviously take hours of trying to match the various pieces together since the actual picture was one solid color with no variation in hues or texture.

    I think of that puzzle as I stay in touch with high school athletic leaders and people in education as they ponder if there will be a fall sports season for high schools in North Carolina this year.

    The picture was made a tiny bit clearer this past week when Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina announced his plan to return North Carolina to school on Aug. 17 using a blended plan of some classroom teaching with specific safety precautions, while also allowing students and teachers to use virtual classrooms with learning from home via electronic means.

    But there are countless pieces left to this real, giant, red puzzle, and what’s worse, the puzzle pieces keep changing shape from day to day.

    Que Tucker, commissioner of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, held a lengthy virtual press conference with statewide media prior to the governor’s announcement, then issued this statement afterward.

    “We will continue discussing the numerous options and scenarios that have been developed and recommended, identifying the most appropriate scenarios,’’ she said. “The NCHSAA staff will work with the Board of Directors, Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and other stakeholder groups to solidify the details of the best plan for the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and the communities the Association represents.’’

    Meanwhile, the Cumberland County Schools held a virtual briefing of its own last week after the governor’s announcement to address what it meant for local schools.

    Joe Desormeaux, associate superintendent of auxiliary services for Cumberland County Schools, said everything is on hold locally until the NCHSAA provides specific direction on the next step.

    “We know they are actively discussing many options at this time, to include everything from no sports to reduced seasons, changing seasons and swapping between spring and fall sports,’’ Desormeaux said.

    The one concrete thing Desormeaux shared was that whether county students opt for the blended learning program that the governor said the state will adopt, or chose to enroll in Cumberland County’s all-online virtual learning program, they will be eligible to compete in athletics.

    Students who choose to go with 100 percent virtual learning will be assigned to compete with the school in the district where they maintain a physical residence. “It is very important that if you have changed your address recently you get those new addresses into the system,’’ Desormeaux said.

    Although there are multiple sports waiting for word on what will happen this fall, the most complex one, and the one that has a bearing on income that supports the total athletic program, is high school football.

    Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools, noted that Aug. 1, the traditional start date for fall sports in North Carolina, is rapidly approaching and decisions must be made soon on when or if the fall season will start.

    This is especially true for football, which has a lot of moving parts and needs to allow ample time to prepare before actually playing games.

    Aldridge said he had consulted with some of the county’s veteran head football coaches, and the consensus among them was they need a minimum of four weeks to work with their teams on the field before they will be able to safely compete in a game.

    Another major issue for football is going to be transporting players to and from road games. While all the county senior high schools have four activity busses that can each hold 72 passengers, social distancing requirements will limit each bus to one person per seat, meaning they can only carry 24 people.

    Aldridge said home teams may be able to share their busses with the visitors from fellow county schools and work out a plan to transport everyone, but that would just account for the football teams.
    Aldridge indicated until there is further direction from the NCHSAA, no plans have been discussed about transporting marching bands or cheerleaders to games.

    “We need some answers pretty quickly so schools and school systems can be making decisions,’’ Aldridge said. “Nothing is off the table right now. Maybe (it's) something we are worrying about we might not have to worry about.’’

    There has been talk about moving a sport like football to the spring, but if that happens, Aldridge is concerned about what you do with other sports. Everything can’t be played in one season, so that could mean moving spring sports like baseball and softball to fall.

    Aldridge is concerned about that because those athletes have already lost a season to COVID-19.

    “We need to make sure those kids don’t lose two years,’’ he said.

    And suddenly, that solid red puzzle is looking like an awfully easier option to tackle.

     

  • 12 cannonIt was during preparations for last year’s Heroes Homecoming observance in Hope Mills that Jim Blevins of the town’s Veterans Affairs Committee made a troubling discovery.

    While working with the flags behind the town’s veterans memorial on Rockfish Road, one of the nylon ropes snapped.

    Blevins said committee members quickly realized they needed to perform regular maintenance and function checks on various aspects of the veterans memorial. As part of that process, one of the things they put on a to-do list was to spruce up the appearance of the 105mm howitzer that is part of the memorial.

    The retired weapon was a staple of American field artillery from the time of World War II all the way through the conflict in Vietnam. According to army.mil, it was the primary field artillery weapon used by the Army during World War II and is still in use in some parts of the world today.
    Blevins said another member of the Veterans Affairs Committee who helped paint the howitzer, Grilley Mitchell, estimated it’s been as long as 15 years since the gun had gotten a fresh coat of paint.

    Blevins and other members of the committee first used sandpaper to remove the old paint that was badly oxidized and peeling.

    They tried to get some traditional OD green Army paint from an official source but were unsuccessful. But another committee member, Bill Greene, was able to secure several spray cans of the official Army shade and it was used to put a new coat on the howitzer.

    “As long as we stuck to OD green, that’s the main thing, just the painting for now,’’ Blevins said.

    Other members of the Veterans Affairs Committee who helped refurbish the howitzer were Joanne Scarola and Jim Morris.

    The next big project for the committee is going to take a little more effort, not to mention more money.

    The monument at the veterans memorial has some cracks in it, and some of the seals are worn as well. Blevins estimates the repair project will run in the neighborhood of $13,000.

    While there is some money in the town budget to pay for the repairs, Blevins said the Veterans Affairs Committee doesn’t want the town to have to foot the entire bill.

    He said the committee hopes to work with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts to come up with a variety of fundraising projects to help cover the cost of repairing the monument and other projects the committee may promote in the future.

    Ideas being considered are allowing people to purchase pavers that will be placed somewhere at the veterans memorial, along with building a fence at the memorial and letting people pay to have signs placed along it sponsoring sections of the fence.

    Blevins said the most important thing is to keep the park alive and in good shape to properly honor the veterans from the community.

    “That’s our military heritage to the people that came before us,’’ said Blevins, who is retired Air Force. “It’s to honor them and hopefully pass it on to the next generation.’’

     Photo credit: Elizabeth Blevins

  • 15 CumberlandCountySchoolsNEWlogoBarring any late changes due to the status of COVID-19 cases in Fayetteville and Cumberland County, coaches and athletes from Cumberland County Schools are scheduled to begin off-season workouts on Monday, July 20.

    Originally the date to resume practice was July 6, but that was pushed because of concern over COVID-19 locally.

    The county and the state are waiting for word from both Gov. Roy Cooper and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association on the status of returning to school this fall and the chance of seeing high school sports resume on either a full or limited basis come August and September.
    “Our district is continuing to evaluate when to resume athletic activities,’’ said Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for Cumberland County, in a prepared statement. “Any resumption will be conducted with the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff in mind and in compliance with the NCHSAA’s Reopening of Sports/Activities Summer Guidelines.’’

    The county will also be guided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Cumberland County Department of Public Health.

  • 11 highschoolWhen I was a student at Fayetteville High School, it was on Robeson Street in downtown Fayetteville where the Highsmith-Rainey Specialty Hospital now stands. I fondly remember being a member of the FHS band that was directed by George Tracey and later by Harvey Bosell.

    When I was in the ninth and 10th grades, the band members wore blue and white uniforms because those were the school colors. Our second band director, Harvey Bosell, composed a marvelous march entitled “The Blue and White Blues.” This song became so popular that we played it at every football game that was held in the large stadium directly behind our spacious school building that occupied an entire city block.
    When I was in the 11th and 12th grades, the band changed from conventional band uniforms to Scottish kilts. Some of the male students did not like the new uniforms because a few of the girls seemed to greatly enjoy pulling the boys' skirts up to see what they were wearing under them. The FHS band was so large that we had to charter two busses when we played for out-of-town football games and other events. We also rode on a chartered train when we played for games in Wilmington. Some of us liked to play popular music as we traveled by rail to other cities, but our band director usually stopped us before we had time to finish playing our music.

    When I was in the ninthth through the 12th grades, I formed and directed the school orchestra. We played for school dances and also at Fort Bragg services clubs and for many other events. We had the honor of playing at the Main Post Officers Club which, at that time, was managed by Leroy Anderson. He was a world-famous composer of many wonderful songs, to include “Sleigh Ride” — a song that is still very popular during the Christmas season.

    Movie about Fayetteville
    While I was a student at Fayetteville High School, one morning, an announcement was made over the school’s public address system that a Hollywood movie crew was coming to town to make a movie about Fayetteville. We were told that, at a certain time that afternoon, they would be filming some of the movie at The Carolina Soda Shop next door to the Carolina Theatre on Hay Street. The soda shop was owned and operated by the late Bill Crawley, who made some of the most delicious hot dogs in town. Students from Fayetteville High School loved to visit The Carolina Soda Shop every day after school. Many of us were featured in that historical movie as we sat at the counter eating hot dogs and drinking Cokes or milkshakes. When many of my friends saw me the following day, they commented about seeing me sitting at the bar enjoying a milk shake from The Carolina Soda Shop. If you happen to know who has a copy of that movie, please email me at weekspjr@infionline.net.

    The FHS Radio Club
    In the center of our school building, there was a lovely coupler where the radio club, of which I was president for three years, had an amateur radio station whose call letters were W4MQW. Our radio club was sponsored by V. R. White, principal of the school. Mr. White often invited club members to visit him in his home at 1414 Old Fort Bragg Road, where he had his own amateur radio station. His call-letters were W4BPQ, and we were thrilled when he allowed us to talk to other stations a far away as Australia through his short-wave radio.

    Name change
    Several years after I graduated from Fayetteville High School, the name was changed to Terry Sanford High School in honor of Terry Sanford, who was the 65th governor of the state of North Carolina. If you have ever been a student at either Fayetteville High School, or at Terry Sanford High School, I am sure you are proud to have been a member of one of the finest schools in the state.

    Fayetteville High School on Robeson Street
    This postcard picture of Fayetteville Senior High School was made when it was located on Robeson Street on the present site of the Highsmith-Rainey Memorial Hospital. The high school building was constructed in 1940 and was used as the senior high school until 1954, when a new building was constructed on Fort Bragg Road. In the fall of 1969, Fayetteville Senior High School became known as Terry Sanford
    High School.

  • A08 01 Confederate generals new funding bill would prevent military construction funds from being used for projects on installations named after Confederate generals from the Civil War, the latest effort by House lawmakers to address the Confederacy’s legacy in the military. The bill would prevent any funds from being “obligated, expended or used to construct a project located on a military installation bearing the name of a Confederate officer, except in the case that a process to replace such names has been initiated,” according to a provision in the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bill from a subpanel of the House Appropriations Committee. The issue of military bases named after Confederate generals reemerged amid antiracism and police brutality protests following the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis, Minnesota, police May 25. Legislation introduced in the House and Senate has sought to create a process and timeline to remove Confederacy-related names from 10 Army bases, as well as other military assets and property, including two Navy ships. Stars and Stripes first reported this event.

  • 03 N1911P30004CFriends,

    As Fort Bragg’s Congressman, I understand the strength of our servicemembers depends on not only the training and resources we provide them, but also the support we provide to their families.

    Our warfighters shouldn’t have to worry about whether their next duty station can support the medical needs of their family or whether they will be able to afford safe, reliable childcare.

    That is why I am proud to have cosponsored the military family readiness legislation recently included in the National Defense Authorization Act that Congress will vote on later this month.

    This legislation directly addresses many of the concerns I’ve heard from Fort Bragg families, including reforms to strengthen the Exceptional Family Member Program which provides access to health care and special needs education, in addition to behavioral health, opioid abuse and child care initiatives.

    I have also remained in close contact with Fort Bragg leadership on other top priorities, including key infrastructure projects that will have a direct and immediate impact on military readiness. While Congress has consistently recognized the importance of funding the Special Operations forces at Fort Bragg, this has often come at the expense of conventional forces at the base. Most notably, this includes the 82nd Airborne Division also known as our nation’s Immediate Response Force (IRF).

    That is why in March, I testified before the Subcommittee on Military Construction to request they fund priorities to support the mission of the 82nd Airborne, as well as Pope Army Airfield.

    As a result, last week the subcommittee released their report, which included both of the provisions I asked for. The first provision urges the Army to prioritize facilities that will support the global mission of the IRF. The second provision urges the Army National Guard (ARNG) to support readiness of ARNG aviation units as they prepare to gain new aircraft platforms. This includes emergency support infrastructure around the airfield to deal with possible fires or mishaps during a deployment. The inclusion of these provisions will bring meaningful investments into our forces and infrastructure at Fort Bragg and Pope Army Airfield.

    While I continue to fight for these resources for our community, I am also continuing my commitment to supporting our servicemembers.
    Last week, I was proud to have my proposal to increase military hazardous duty pay in this year’s national defense bill pass the House Armed Services Committee unanimously. This proposal would increase the monthly pay awarded to some personnel stationed in certain locations and those who work under hazardous conditions as part of their military duties. This increase is a step in the right direction to show our servicemembers who deploy in harm’s way that we support them as they fight in defense of this nation and our allies while separated from their friends and family.

    As Fort Bragg’s Congressman, I’m constantly reminded of the sacrifices of so many of our servicemembers, especially those who have been awarded the Medal of Honor. July 12 marks the 158th anniversary of the creation of the Medal of Honor. Since it was established by Congress and enacted by President Abraham Lincoln, more than 3,500 brave Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor, including the latest recipient, Fort Bragg’s own Master Sgt. Matthew Williams. I’m honored to represent so many servicemembers, military families and veterans who have all sacrificed for our country. Today and every day, let’s honor their courage and service.

     

  • 04 N1109P39002CWho among us, as a child, was not forced to eat something disgusting because children were starving in China? Return to those thrilling days of yesteryear when you could not leave the table until you cleaned your plate. My sainted mother believed that unless I cleaned my plate, a child in China would starve. After a recent Zoom meeting with my extended family, a common food-related thread emerged when we discussed the merits of okra. My childhood agonies at the dinner table were duplicated in the homes of my relatives. The clean-your-plate theory originated with my grandmother, Araminta, who passed it on to her three daughters, who then passed it on to my brother, my cousins and poor old pitiful me.

    My mother had many fine qualities, but at supper time, she was the Dictator of the Dinner Table. Remember the opening of the “Lone Ranger” TV show? “A fiery plate of okra placed on my dish with the speed of light, and a hearty ‘You can’t leave the table until you clean your plate!’” I spent untold hours alone at the dinner table until I had cleaned my plate of some offending food item. On many nights, I was the Lone Ranger at the table while the other members of the family moved on. I would sit there and stare at a cold turnip, a pile of misshapen okra or sometimes even a cold piece of beef liver. Life would go on all about me as I sat staring at some misbegotten food item mocking me from my plate. Instead of being outside, I was chained to a plate of some hideous food. As Colonel Kurtz said in “Apocalypse Now”: “The horror. The horror.”

    On mercifully rare occasions, she would deliver liver from the kitchen. She didn’t like liver. My father didn’t like liver. My brother didn’t like liver. I didn’t like liver. Even my dog didn’t like liver. When your dog refuses food, it is bigly sad. Mother served liver because “It is good for you.” Her father once told me that when he was a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, class of 1912, he would take one class a semester that he didn’t like because the discipline of taking that class “was good for him.” This character trait, while commendable in the abstract, was soul-crushing in practice when the parsnips hit the plate.

    Okra had a special place in my childhood. There is nothing like the slime of boiled okra to bring back precious memories, how they linger. It is a scientific fact that okra is the only vegetable with mucous. You don’t have to chew it. It will just slither down your throat like water running downhill.

    In the pantheon of regrettable childhood meals, the most common offender was my nemesis — green peas. We had green peas frequently. I hated them. Tiny little balloons of green glop would stare at me from my plate. I tried all the kid tricks with them: spreading them around my plate so it looked like I had eaten some; feeding them to the dog; and stuffing them into a napkin in my pocket to be given a stealthy burial at sea in the toilet. She was on to all my tricks. I couldn’t fool her. Like the time Thomas Jefferson dined alone, I would be left at the table in lofty miserable splendor — just me and a pile of green peas daring me to eat them or spend the rest of my childhood staring at them. Upon chewing a green pea, the nasty bilious contents of the pea explode, triggering a gag reflex in normal human beings. It’s science. Green peas are the devil’s vegetable.

    The only thing worse than hot green peas is cold green peas. I was my own worst enemy as I would sit there watching the peas attain room temperature. I knew the peas would be worse cold, but I could not force myself to eat them while they were hot. I hoped lightning would strike me before I had to consume the peas. In the battle of the dinner table, I was always outmatched by my mother. If she had been at the Alamo, Gen. Santa Anna would have been defeated and made to eat green peas and liver before retreating to Mexico.

    One of the most conflicted things I confronted at the dinner was two-thirds wonderful and one-third abysmal. I refer to something called Rosette. Homemade mashed potatoes were carefully arranged in a circle on a Russel Wright serving dish. The potatoes were artistically sprinkled with shredded cheddar cheese. Yum. If it stopped right there, it would have been my favorite food. But no. Into the hollow center of the circle of mashed potatoes came little green men. Green peas would invade the potatoes’ doughnut hole, turning a celestial food combination into a concoction from hell. The secretions from the green peas would contaminate the mashed potatoes, turning the event horizon between the peas and potatoes green. When servings were scooped, the spoon would upset the equilibrium of the peas and potatoes, allowing aggressive green peas to hide under mashed potatoes. Biting into mashed potatoes only to discover a green pea unexpectedly detonating is enough to require years of psychiatric therapy.

    All mother was saying was give peas a chance. However, peas are not good for children or other living things. As Forrest Gump once said, “And that’s all I have to say about that.”

     

  • 08 05 DrDr. Tiffany Watts has been named Associate Vice President of Curriculum Programs at Fayetteville Technical Community College. Dr. Murtis Worth has been named Dean of Nursing. Watts will assist FTCC’s Senior Vice President for Academic & Student Services and the academic deans in the development, planning, implementation and support of for-credit curricular programs and services.

    Watts received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, with honors, from North Carolina State University and completed her doctorate in school psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill.
    Worth will lead the College’s nursing programs. Previously, Worth was Interim Associate Dean of the School of Nursing at Fayetteville State University. She has also been an assistant professor and clinical coordinator at FSU’s School of Nursing and a nursing and clinical instructor at FTCC. Worth 08 06 Drearned an associate’s degree in nursing from FTCC and her bachelor’s degree in nursing from East Carolina University’s School of Nursing. She also earned a master’s degree at East Carolina University’s School of Nursing and completed her doctorate at the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

  • 14 demetriabookDemetria Washington Davis will be forever remembered as one of the most decorated track and field athletes in Cumberland County history.
    At the 1998 North Carolina High School Athletic Association state indoor track meet, Davis won the 55, 300 and 500 meter dashes, scoring enough points by herself to earn the Terry Sanford team second place in the meet.

    Unfortunately, because she was the only Bulldog entry in the event, she wasn’t allowed to take home the prize for second since she didn’t officially constitute a team.

    Washington also won the NCHSAA outdoor 400 meter title twice, along with single titles in the 100 and 200 meters.

    She continued her brilliance in college at the University of South Carolina, where she made school history by earning NCAA All-American honors 21 times and capturing six NCAA national titles.

    She was the 2002 National Indoor Athlete of the Year, and in 2003 won a gold medal running in the 4x400 meter relay in the World Championships.

    Now Davis has decided to share some of her motivational tips and advice to people of all levels of fitness who want to improve themselves both physically and emotionally.

    Davis recently published her first book, "Parallel Fitness: A Champion’s Mindset." It can be purchased on amazon.com or at Washington’s website, getparallelfit.com. Davis will autograph any book purchased directly from her website.

    “I’ve known for a few years I wanted to write a book,’’ Davis said. Ironically, this wasn’t the book she had in mind.

    Davis leads a busy life and has many interests, from her involvement with fitness to cooking to being a mother and to being a pastor.
    She was looking to the future to put together a work that would deal with some of those areas, but instead she found herself straying from consistent workouts and not staying in the kind of shape she enjoyed when she was in competition.

    Although friends told her she was in great shape, it wasn’t where Davis wanted to be. So she went on Facebook and began posting regular motivational themes to inspire her to do better.

    Those same friends told her she could put together a book using the assorted themes she had shared on Facebook. After looking back from last November until the present, she realized they had a point.

    Davis stressed the book is a good motivational tool for anyone, and it doesn’t deal strictly with physical activity. “It’s motivation for so many different areas of your life,’’ she said.

    The book is laid out for a 21-day period, and Davis uses a play on words for each day to get her point across about what the motivational focus for that day is.

    She recently held a signing for the book that was largely attended by friends and family. She compared the emotions she felt the day of the event to how she used to feel preparing to run a race.

    “The most enjoyable part was seeing my family and friends there,’’ Davis said. “They really came out and were so excited.’’
    Davis is hopeful her second book will be coming out in August or September of this year. She said it will deal with specific workout strategies, nutrition and some of her recipes.

  • 13 legacy insideThere’s something new to cheer about in Hope Mills, both in the literal and figurative sense.

    Tammy Melvin-Carlile, Angela Fitzgerald and Jasmine Lyles have united to open Legacy Athletics at 2824 Legion Rd.

    The trio took over the facility in May and after making some upgrades to the building, opened for regular hours effective Monday, July 6.

    Melvin-Carlile said the goal of Legacy Athletics is to provide an affordable gym experience that will cater to cheerleading, dance, gymnastics and tumbling, along with programs designed for special needs people of all ages who would like to take part in the kind of activities the facility offers.

    All three of the new owners have extensive backgrounds in the various disciplines the gym will offer. In addition to providing instruction in cheer and dance, they plan to include yoga as well as allow the gym to be rented out for birthday parties or by the hour for outside cheer groups and dancers who just need a place to practice their craft.

    Fitzgerald said there will be no limits on the age groups that can utilize the facility. At the same time, they’ll accept people from all levels of experience — from newcomers to people who have been involved in any of the activities for years.

    Fitzgerald said the inside of the building is every little girl’s dream, designed to leave them wide-eyed and open-mouthed.

    The primary workout area features a spring floor with carpet-bonded foam. There is also a 30-foot tumble track along with various types of equipment, including training mats and materials for stretching.

    The special-needs programs aren’t designed for competition but will allow the participants to take part in routines and exhibitions.
    Current hours are Mondays from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
    For those who want to use the gym just as a workout space or to practice with a team not being trained by one of the gym staffers, the gym can be rented on an hourly basis.

    Lyles said the gym can also be used by home schoolers as a place to earn their physical education credit.

    For further details on rentals, scheduling special events and finding out more about fees, call the gym at 910-229-2762.

  • 09 sharon mccutcheon Vl0KHsz67kE unsplashIn trying times, one consistent and uplifting occurrence across Cumberland County is that people support each other and fill each other’s needs with fervent compassion. For the 11th year, the community will come together through Aug. 1 to support homeless children in the Cumberland County Schools system and fire victims served by the American Red Cross through The Register of Deeds office’s annual school supply drive.

    The deadline to drop off items is July 24. The office hopes to receive enough donations that it can fill 1,000 book bags. Particularly, the office is looking for pencils, pens, notebooks, rules, composition books, folders, notebook paper, pencil sharpeners, erasers, glue sticks, crayons, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer and toothbrush cases.

    The collection would not be a success without the caring hearts of individuals and organizations across the county. The Longleaf Pine Association of Realtors, the Cumberland County Clerk of Court, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville Police Department are some of the key players; but other organizations, churches, civic groups, dental offices and citizens have been supportive of the cause this year and in years past.

    “We would like to thank everyone for their support in the past and thank them for their consideration again this year,” said Register of Deeds Lee Warren.

    When dropping off donations, a face mask or covering will be required to enter into the courthouse. The mandate will be enforced.

    At the end of the collection period, Fayetteville Police Department, Cumberland County Schools, and the American Red Cross will be responsible for distributing the donations.

    Of course, monetary giving is welcomed and appreciated as well, although checks will not be accepted. Cash donations and gift cards are helpful ways to support the cause.

    Donations will be accepted at the Register of Deeds office in Room 114 of the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse, located at 117 Dick St., Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 910-678-7775 upon your arrival to drop off the items or for more information about
    the drive.

  • 10 01 Get Together GuitarJumbo Arts International provides opportunities for arts, culture and performance as well as educational programming for people of all ages and promotes the well-being of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in southeastern North Carolina. What that looks like in real life is things like The Journal of Creative Arts & Minds, which is a juried project that highlights art and artists. Other JAI projects include virtual art exhibits, benefit concerts and other music-related events. JAI’s most recent project involves a collaboration with one of the group’s community liaisons, 10 02 Get Together Smilesinger/songwriter Morris Cardenas, to create a heartfelt music video recording of the 1960s hit “Get Together.” Known for its refrain, “Come on people now/Smile on your brother/Everybody get together/Try to love one another right now,” “Get Together” is a plea for peace, brotherhood and love. It explores the dynamic of love versus fear and having to choose between them. And the message couldn’t be more timely.

    The project has been an uplifting endeavor for everyone involved. “It’s been an interesting year,” said Jumbo Arts 10 03 Get Together Chorus4International President Margie Labadie. “We haven’t been able to do any in-person programming. With this video, we can contribute something that is really important right now. We are very excited about sponsoring the video and thrilled that Morris brought it to us as a fundraising opportunity. The music is fantastic. They did a fabulous job. We are just really excited to sponsor it.”

    10 04 Get Together congaThe video features North Carolina professional musicians who came together because they believe in the song’s message. They believe it is a positive message and one everyone needs to hear. “COVID-19 wasn’t even on our radar when we started the production,” Cardenas said. Considering how much the world has changed in recent months, “I think we could all use some peace and love to get us through,” he added.

    Participants in the video included Cardenas, acoustic guitar; Danny Young, guitar and vocals; Cliff Bender, guitar; Darrell Collins, bass guitar, filming and production, mixer and audio; Tony Raimondo, drums; Robert Turner, piano and Bob Lawrence, congas, chimes and percussion. The backup singers included Bill Joyner, Marie Grimsley, Danny Young, Allen Diffee, Monique McCleod, Terie Lawrence and Michelle Weaks.

    “Darrell Collins of Sound Images of North Carolina LLC, who did the majority of the audio and camera work, did such a great job,” Cardenas said. “The video represents a statement of peace, love and understanding among us all. It is not to be used as a political statement. And among the musicians in the video, there are several sects of religion and races — we have white, black and brown people in the video, showing we can all come together as one.”

    Cardenas said he got the idea for the video when he was involved in some contentious discussions on social media. “There are all kinds of ‘experts’ on Facebook, and there was all kinds of noise and fighting. I found myself getting involved in it, and I realized I needed to take a step back and take a breath. Then COVID happened and George Floyd. I am not religious, but the song speaks about coming together in more than just getting together. It has to do with spiritually coming together, too.”

    So far, the video, which used the song with permission from Universal Music Publishing Group, has been well-received. “We had only one person put their thumbs down, so far,” said Cardenas of the YouTube rating system. “We’ve been heard in Vietnam and Hong Kong and Spain and France. We’ve been heard in England and in El Salvador. That’s just what I am aware of, and it’s not counting all the states we’ve been heard in in the U.S. The reaction has been very good, in my opinion.”

    While this project is large in scope, this is not the first time Cardenas has worked with JAI. The organization has produced music programs, called Jumbo Jams, for about eight years. Along with Cardenas, JAI has supported multicultural music performances in North Carolina, most recently in the Hispanic community. Working together on this new music video seemed like a natural fit.

    Released on YouTube, the video was directed by Cardenas, who has entertained crowds from Los Angeles to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to El Salvador. The video is also on the Jumbo Arts International Facebook page as well as through its website at JumboArtsInternational.org. Donations in any amount are appreciated to the all-volunteer, federally recognized nonprofit. Tax deductible donations are only used for programming and projects.

    Cardenas has another project n the works called American Dream SOS, which is based on one of his songs.

    While JAI is always looking for opportunities to support art and artists, live events have come to a standstill, at least for now. But the organization found a way to support an entirely new group of artists with its summer 2020 issue of The Journal for Creative Arts & Minds. “We did an all-student publication for the students who didn’t get to have an exhibition because of the virus,” said Labadie. “This is the first time we’ve ever done a student journal. I teach at UNC-Pembroke, and the art students didn’t get to do the capstone project. The journal features 21 students who it is the first time they’ve all published their own works and interviews.” The journal is available online at the JAI website.

    Visit https://jumboartsinternational.org/index.html to view the “Get Together,” video, to learn more about JAI or to view The Journal for Creative Arts & Minds.

  • 05 N2008P69004CIf you are among the minority of North Carolinians who haven’t supported the expansion of parental choice in education over the past two decades — in the form of charter schools, open enrollment among district schools and aid to private-school students who have special needs or modest household incomes — the challenge of COVID-19 presents you with an excellent opportunity to reconsider your position.

    School choice isn’t some scary conspiracy or ideological scheme. It is a basic tool for addressing a practical reality: people are different. One size does not fit all.

    Gov. Roy Cooper and his aides are grappling with this reality right now. Faced with the critically important question of how to reopen North Carolina schools for the fall semester, the administration initially sketched out three options.

    Plan A would have all students return to school with “minimal social distancing,” which, in reality, would involve extensive daily precautions that will consume lots of time and resources. Plan B would limit schools to 50% capacity, in effect requiring students to stay at home for at least half the semester through some kind of alternating-day or alternating-week schedule. Plan C would keep schools closed for the semester.

    Originally, Cooper set July 1 as the date he would announce which option would be the statewide default. School districts were to be allowed to adopt a more-restrictive plan but not a less-restrictive one. When July 1 arrived, however, the governor flinched. No announcement came.

    For many students, parents, educators and employers trying to make plans for August and beyond, Cooper’s delay was infuriating. But it was also unsurprising. North Carolinians have varying needs, perspectives and tolerance for risk. We simply don’t agree on school reopening. According to a recent Elon University poll, about a third of North Carolinians agree with Plan A, just over a third with Plan B, and just under a third with Plan C. The views of parents are distributed similarly.

    Whatever the statewide policy may be, a significant share of the population will disagree with it — passionately in many cases. That is precisely why there should be no statewide policy, at least not in the way state politicians have been thinking about it up to now.

    Based on their comments, it is clear that Cooper and his aides have read the American Academy of Pediatrics guidance on school reopening. They know that, according to the best-available evidence, children face an extremely low risk of suffering serious symptoms from a COVID-19 infection and are very unlikely to transmit the virus to teachers, parents or other adults.

    They also know that if schools do not reopen on a normal schedule, hundreds of thousands of North Carolina children will suffer. Many will fall further behind academically. Some will suffer harm to their physical and mental health. Moreover, many of their parents will be unable to care for them at home without losing income or even their jobs. The state’s economic recovery will stall. And the costs will be disproportionately borne by disadvantaged North Carolinians.

    As you can tell, I remain firmly convinced that the state’s schools would be reopened under a light version of Plan A. But I also know, as do Cooper and his team, that many North Carolinians will disagree. Some parents will refuse to send their children back. They will insist on some other solution. And they have every right to do so.

    Many districts are already planning to offer virtual academies with more-robust offerings than the meager fare the schools came up with during the spring shutdown. Private associations and vendors are doing the same, in response to record interest in homeschooling. Some private schools have long offered hybrid schedules and would welcome new enrollees. The state should expand opportunity scholarships, at least temporarily, to ensure greater access to that option.

    I may not agree with the preferences of the more risk-averse parents, but I support their right to choose the publicly funded option they think best for their children. I always have.

  • 02 01 image013Fayetteville, North Carolina, a once-proud, up and coming, developing urban community, is beginning to resemble a war-torn country. Dirty, trash-littered streets, boarded up storefronts, graffiti-laden walls, shanty tents and makeshift nomad-occupied encampments surround the Market House, a historic building and monument that means so many things to so many people.

    Hopefully, by the time you read this editorial, the mayor and city council will have put their collective intelligence, authority and sensibilities to good use to clean up the blight around the Market House. It is creating a blemish on our community and an ugly public safety hazard on city-owned property.

    02 02 image014However, as in life, the direst of situations often bring out the best in humanity. Last Thursday evening, hundreds of Fayetteville and Cumberland County residents rallied together in front of the Cumberland County Law Enforcement Center downtown to “Back the Blue” in a show of unity and appreciation for the rank-and-file Fayetteville law enforcement officers serving on the Fayetteville Police Force. The Citizen Cares Project was an impromptu citywide tour de force response to the negative narratives being touted about law enforcement and being amplified in Fayetteville and all across the nation. The CCP event was 100% Americana at its best. Hundreds of participants waving flags, cheering, laughing, praying, singing patriot songs and pledging allegiance to our flag demonstrated how much Fayetteville citizens appreciate and support their local police officers and how much they love their community and their country.

    The CCP event was amazing! The outpouring of support was awe-inspiring. In a matter of weeks, a handful of 02 03 image015volunteers rallied the Fayetteville community to raise more than $35,000 to provide gift packages to the 420 police officers who have dedicated their lives to the protection and service of Fayetteville citizens. Each gift pack was a token of appreciation that contained a $60 restaurant dine-out card for them and their family, a personal handwritten note of gratitude and encouragement from a local resident, a prayer for safety and protection, and an assortment of items intended to make their jobs and lives more enjoyable.

    The CCP led a peaceful march to personally deliver these gifts to the Fayetteville Police Department amid Black Lives Matters protesters.
    Police officers and members of the Full Throttle/Full Mag Motorcycle Club, known for their community service and support of law enforcement and first responders, escorted the marchers and the vehicles transporting the gift packets to their final destination at the Fayetteville Police headquarters on Hay Street. Here, the packages were delivered to the Fayetteville Police Foundation for distribution.

    CCP participants remained calm, focused and dignified in the face of the protesters’ shouts and chants.

    In a recent local survey, crime and public safety were two of the biggest concerns of Fayetteville residents. The events taking place in our city since May 30 lend credence to those fears. Defund police? Really? The whole world saw how that model worked out in the CHOP zone in Seattle, Washington.

    Thank you to all the men and women of Fayetteville’s law enforcement community and to all those who organized and participated in the CCP. This action reflects the spirit of boundless determination and renewed enthusiasm that assures us Fayetteville will remain a city known for its hospitality, diversity, tolerance, dignity, history and heroes. The CCP rally participants represented the entire scope of this community: men, women, children and grandparents; Black white, Hispanic and Asian residents; all religions; and active duty and retired military.

    A special thank you to our local Fayetteville police officers and all the volunteers and participants that made the CCP a success.

    Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

     

  • 06 01 coverEditor's note: On Feb. 19, 2018, Up & Coming Weekly published an article called “Eulogy for the Fourth Estate.” We quoted former Fayetteville Observer publisher, Charles Broadwell, in that article. He recently reached out to UCW. Here is a link to the piece in its entirety.
    https://www.upandcomingweekly.com/views/4794-eulogy-for-the-fourth-estate

    With so much going on in the world and with the professional news media being tested in unprecedented ways these days, I wanted to clarify something that was published in Up & Coming Weekly from February 2018.

    Yes, that was a long time and many news cycles ago. But the article, headlined “Eulogy for the Fourth Estate?” has been gnawing at me because of a quote attributed to me as the former publisher of The Fayetteville Observer.

    The article focused on changes to The Observer since our family-owned company sold the newspaper in 2016. It included a lengthy excerpt from a piece published by The American Prospect about the decline of community-based newspapers across the country that quoted me as saying, after the sale of The Observer, that “It was like walking around at my own funeral.”

    The American Prospect writer did his job and quoted me accurately; in fact, he called me back after the interview to double-check things. What somehow got lost in translation, unfortunately, is that my comment was simply about how I felt after the sale. I had just learned that I would no longer be part of The Observer after a transition period. I knew it was likely that any new owner would want to bring in a new publisher, but the reality had hit me hard that my life at the newspaper was over. So that was the reason for my comment that inspired the headline — no more, no less.

    I decided to let it pass instead of stirring up more dust, trusting that my former colleagues would understand, but I regret if this self-focused (if not self-centered) comment may have left the wrong impression.

    In my last column for The Observer four years ago this month, I expressed my faith in the newspaper’s enduring strength, and that’s exactly how I felt. Today, facing even more challenges than we did during my 16-year tenure as publisher, the good people of The Observer continue to work hard to serve the community every day. They are personal heroes to me.

    Thank you for allowing me to clear the air and clear my conscience.

    — Charles Broadwell
    Former publisher of The Fayetteville Observer

  • 08 04 united way copyUnited Way of Cumberland County’s Board of Directors has named Amy Navejas its new Executive Director. Navejas previously served as CEO/Executive Director of Better Health. She replaces Robert Hines, who retired after 16 years leading UWCC. “We are very fortunate to have found an exceptionally qualified person locally to lead the United Way into a changing future,” said Steve Blanchard, UWCC Board Chair.

    Navejas has worked closely with UWCC over the years while at Better Health. “The UWCC is an important pillar in our community,” Navejas stated.

    During her tenure at Better Health, the Spring Lake Diabetes Clinic was added, as was the Fayfit childhood obesity program. Navejas graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and psychology. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the Norman A. Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University. She has prior experience in nonprofit management, case management, outreach, community events, human resources and professional development.

     

  • 07 N2002P44006CWe have all seen the distracted drivers — missing a light change, drifting out of their lane, slamming into the back of vehicles slowing or stopped for traffic. They are usually deep in conversation or are looking down texting on their phone.

    North Carolina drivers might be more aware of the dangers of texting and driving. Still, studies show that they — and motorists throughout the country — are not only getting distracted in their driving by cellphone calls and texting, but also gaming and social media while they drive.
    In one study by Students Against Destructive Decisions and Liberty Mutual Insurance, people of high school age were asked to rank distracting activities by how dangerous they were. Only 6% chose posting to or looking at social media as the most dangerous. A quarter said that writing a text message was the most dangerous, and 29% named driving under the influence.

    The National Safety Council surveyed 2,400 drivers of all ages and found that nearly three-quarters would use Facebook while driving. Nearly one-third said that they would use Instagram and more than one-third said that they would use YouTube and Twitter while behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that daily, more than 1,000 people are injured, and eight are killed as a result of distracted driving. The National Safety Council says that around a quarter of all crashes happen due to phone-related distractions. However, because the numbers often depend on self-reporting, many experts believe estimates are too low. When someone causes a crash and injuries or death, however, law enforcement will likely check cell phones and vehicle data recorders. Attorneys also regularly subpoena cellphone records in auto injury and death claims and seek downloads from vehicle crash data.

    So, what do we do to protect ourselves? Put your phones away when you are driving — even if you are not one of those folks who text and drive or otherwise. Phones are a distraction from safe driving, period. There is nothing that cannot wait until you get to your destination. Next, protect yourself by having adequate insurance coverage. If you are significantly harmed by a distracted driver who carries minimum limits ($30,000 in liability coverage), you need adequate underinsured coverage on your own policy to protect yourself. I recommend at least $100,000 in uninsured/underinsured protection. The reality is that we have no control over the decisions and actions of other drivers. We can control our own decisions and actions to drive safely and protect ourselves with adequate insurance coverage.

     

  • 08 03 Roman MaryinezThe U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is offering a reward of $25,000 for credible information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the homicide of Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez of Fort Bragg. Partial remains of the 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper were found near Cape Lookout National Seashore May 29. Positive identification was made using the soldier’s dental records. Spc. Roman-Martinez, 21, was last seen May 22, at a campsite on South Core Banks, one of the islands that make up Cape Lookout National Seashore. His phone and wallet were found at the campsite. Roman-Martinez entered the Army in September 2016, attended airborne school at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was assigned as a paratrooper at Fort Bragg in March 2017. His awards and decorations include the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Army Parachutist Badge. Anyone with information, contact Army Criminal Investigation Division Special Agents at 910-396-8777.

  • Demand for testing increases
    08 02 N2006P71014CAs cases rise across the country, there has been an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing locally, which has created a backlog for many laboratories and extended the turnaround time to process tests. Individuals tested by Health Department staff may not receive test results for five to seven business days.

    “Testing is a critical part of our strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green. “The demand for testing is unprecedented.”

    The Cumberland County Department of Public Health is offering drive-thru testing on Tuesdays and Thursdays while supplies last and staffing are available. Visit the department’s Testing and Collection page online to schedule an appointment. On Tuesdays, test collection will be conducted at Manna Church, 5117 Cliffdale Rd., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Thursdays, test collection is conducted at the Cumberland County Health Department, 1235 Ramsey St., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

     

  • “Life is uncertain — eat dessert first.”
    — Ernestine Ulmer.

    Does this quote resonate with anyone? Life has not been normal since COVID-19 reared its ugly head, causing massive quarantines and economic instability. Ernestine Ulmer’s advice is timely, and summertime is the best time to enjoy a universally loved dessert — ice cream. I easily persuaded family members to “go glimmering,” our family’s nickname for a spontaneous adventure, and taste test the unique flavors of homemade ice cream in the Cape Fear region.

    There are a plethora of commercial businesses where you can buy ice cream in our region — too many to list in here, so our emphasis was on homemade and hometown entrepreneurs who offer not only delicious ice cream but also a fun destination worth exploring. For this article, I chose three locations, each under an hour’s drive from downtown Fayetteville. Still, I felt guilty leaving out Sweet Frog, Baskin-Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery and the employer of teenage me — Dairy Queen. It was at DQ that I learned how to artistically twist the soft ice cream into a little curlicue on top of the cone and quickly dip it into the chocolate without dumping the whole confectionary treat.
    On the road, our first adventure was to Gillis Hill Farm, which is always a fun family excursion. We visited on a “strawberry Saturday” where, in addition to getting delicious ice cream, we could also pick strawberries and purchase fresh produce, jams, jellies and honey. Before we even sampled the ice cream, we bought two baskets of berries and a round watermelon we tucked into our trunk. Children love visiting Gillis Hill Farm as there are animals and play areas sprinkled throughout the grounds. Farmers in this area since the 1700s, the most recent generation of the Gillis family has expanded into agritourism.

    The ice cream shop was open during the quarantine but operated responsibly by requiring social distancing and allowing only one person at a time to order at the window. Instead of the usual perch on the porch rocking chairs, Gillis Hill Farm encouraged us, and all visitors, to enjoy treats in our cars. The homemade flavors vary — check their Facebook page to see what to expect during your visit. They offer cups, homemade waffle cones and pints you can take home. I sampled the strawberry, having just left the patch, and it was creamy and flavorful. My daughter tried the banana and found it oh so “a-peel-ing.”

    Sunni Sky’s was our next day’s adventure, and it did not disappoint. Described as “ice cream heaven,” there are almost always over 120 flavors to choose from and a larger-than-life hot-pink ice cream cone statue to take a selfie by. In the past, they even had “hot” flavors — one famously named “cold sweat” that would cause partakers to break into one. Cheers to the employees, aka “inspectors” — per the stenciled titles on every worker’s shirt, who managed a two-car line up to keep fans fed and moving efficiently. My choice was a butterscotch bliss, my daughter had blue nerd, and my husband tried a double scoop of coffee. Bits of butterscotch provided extra sweetness, and the coffee choice smelled as good as it tasted. The blue nerd was colorful but excessively filled with nerds and a little too sugary.

    We decided to “double-dip” our Sunday adventure and head to the nearby town of Coats to try the ice cream at Smith Farm. Unfortunately, it was closed due to the quarantine. We were excited to try their fresh fruit flavors and creamy ice cream but will have to plan another date to experience their offerings firsthand (and mouth). Their Facebook page promises wood churned ice cream, delicious shakes and root beer floats.

    During the “shelter-at-home” days, some families invested in ice cream makers to make recipes from scratch. From low-cost hand-cranked models to speedier high-tech machines, anyone can create homemade cold and creamy treats. The magical transformation of the simple ingredients of fresh fruit, cream and sugar into ice cream enthralls both the young and the young at heart.

    Make time to celebrate summer by making a batch of homemade ice cream or setting out on an excursion to one of these locally owned venues. The unique flavors, fresh ingredients and pride in craftsmanship will be your reward.

    More homemade ice cream shops in and around Fayetteville

    Gillis Hill Farm
    2701 Gillis Hill Road
    Fayetteville, N.C. 28306
    910-867-2350
    http://www.gillishillfarm.com/

    Sunny Sky’s Homemade Ice Cream Inc.
    8617 NC-55
    Angier, N.C. 27501
    919-427-7118
    http://www.sunniskys.com/

    Smith Farm
    NC-55, Coats, N.C. 27521
    910-897-4269

    Smallcakes: Cupcakery & Creamery
    2132 Skibo Rd #114
    Fayetteville, N.C. 28314
    910-835-1074

    The Sweet Palette
    101 Person St.
    Fayetteville, N.C. 28301
    910-489-7342

    The Coffee Scene
    3818 Morganton Rd.
    910-864-0555

     

  • 12 SAACE.J. McArthur and Colin Baumgartner are both students and athletes at Jack Britt High School who have been directly impacted by the statewide shutdown of sports for all athletes at member schools of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

    But McArthur, who plays basketball, and Baumgartner, a cross country, track and field and swimming competitor, have a little different perspective on the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their peers. McArthur and Baumgartner are the Region IV representatives to the NCHSAA’s Student Advisory Athletic Committee.

    The SAAC is made up of 16 athletes representing each of the eight geographical regions of the NCHSAA. In normal times, they travel to the NCHSAA office in Chapel Hill one Sunday each month to discuss topics of importance to the state’s high school athletes.

    Though the pandemic has forced McArthur and Baumgartner and their fellow committee members to hold their meetings virtually over the last couple of months, they are still doing the business of the committee while also discussing the challenges of trying to reopen the state to practice and competitive sports by the time the fall season begins.
    Barring a late change by the NCHSAA, many of the state’s school systems were scheduled to begin off-season summer workouts on July 6.

    As a basketball player, McArthur was among the athletes who was able to complete play for the 2019-20 season, but he empathizes with those who weren’t as fortunate as he was.

    “Most people were really devastated when their season ended,’’ he said.

    Baumgartner said one of the biggest challenges of not being able to hold structured practices with teammates is developing the discipline to work out alone. “You’ve got to make the best of what you’ve got,’’ he said.

    McArthur said many athletes he knows are speaking together daily to encourage each other. Some are holding small group workout sessions, either together or in some cases virtually.

    His biggest concern remains that his peers make sure any workouts they are holding are being done with precautions against spreading the virus. “Some kids are just being kids while others are taking precautions,’’ McArthur said.

    While no one is happy with not being able to practice or play, Baumgartner thinks most of the people he’s been in contact with are doing the best they can to observe the COVID-19 restrictions in hopes of returning to a more normal order of things as quickly as possible.

    "I'm very understanding of what's going on," he said. 

    Looking to the fall and hoping for a return to normal competition, McArthur said he agrees with what most people in education have said about a return to athletics. If the students aren’t able to be in the school building on a daily basis, the consensus is that athletic competition shouldn’t be allowed either.

    “If we aren’t safe enough to be around each other, what makes sports different?’’ McArthur said. “It’s risk and reward. If we risk it now and things happen, then everything is shut back down. Right now it’s the safety of the kids, coaches and officials.’’

    McArthur noted the complicated nature of COVID-19 as a concern, adding
    that even people who survive the disease are being diagnosed with various complications. “Kids should take precautions,’’ he said, “if not for themselves,
    for their loved ones, the people in their house and everybody else.’’

    There has been some discussion of moving some or all fall sports to the spring season, if needed, to allow the COVID-19 curve more time to flatten. Baumgartner sees some benefit in doing that, but added it could also create problems, especially for those athletes who play multiple sports and might have to choose between sports if their favorites were played at the same time.

    Baumgartner doesn’t think it would be a good idea to allow some sports where it is easier to practice social distancing to resume while preventing other athletes in sports with greater contact from resuming practice and play.

    “I feel that would create a lot of friction between contact and noncontact sports,’’ he said. “We could catch a lot of flak for promoting something like that.’’

     

  • 05 01 Mitch Colvin 2Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin has created two City Council-led committees to review policies related to the city’s healing and reconciliation movement. “It’s my intent that we take a hard look at what we do from both an internal and external perspective at the city level,” said Colvin.

    Councilwoman Tisha Waddell will lead an internal review committee, and Councilman Larry Wright will lead the external review committee as they relate to racial inequality. Colvin and Mayor pro tem Kathy Jensen will serve as co-chairs of both committees, which will propose mission statements during the Aug. 3 City Council work session. With more than 1,600 city employees, Colvin said there are a lot of personal interactions among them and the citizens they serve. “It is important that we ensure that our policies, and most importantly, our actions, reflect equality and fairness for all,” Colvin stated.

    05 02 PWC logo 2Open letter from PWC executive

    Public Works Commission CEO David Trego posted a message this month on the utility’s website, encouraging customers to keep their accounts under control. Trego noted that state government issued orders during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic providing utility customers certain protections. The order has allowed residential customers not to pay their utility bills in full without fear of having service turned off. The idea was to provide short-term economic relief for customers. Two weeks before the order was issued, on March 16, PWC had already stopped cutoffs for past due bills. Then in late May, the protections were extended.

    “We want to help customers manage overdue balances,” Trego said. “If you are unable to pay your PWC bill in full, we encourage customers, who are able, to make partial payments... so that the total amount due is manageable when the protection period expires. I want to thank our customers for how you’ve helped our community and thank you in advance for staying diligent in the coming weeks as we all work together to get through these trying times,” Trego added.

    05 03 Fort Bragg HeadquartersFort Bragg’s name will not be changed anytime soon

    The Army has announced several measures to reduce racial bias in the military justice system, but renaming posts bearing the names of Confederate military commanders will have to wait for a Pentagon-wide order. “We are advisers,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville during a recent press conference. “We pass military advice to our civilian leaders, and they are working through that trying to come up with a long-term and enduring policy.”

    In early June, Army leaders and Defense Secretary Mark Esper said they were open to discussing the renaming of Army installations that bear the names of Confederate generals. But President Trump tweeted that his administration “will not even consider” the move. That apparently does not mean the idea is dead. Congress could ultimately push the issue forward. There are at least 10 Army posts named for prominent Confederates, including Fort Bragg. Gen. Braxton Bragg commanded Southern rebel forces during the Civil War.

    Pet adoptions are again available in Cumberland County
    05 04 Pet Adoption 3
    The animal control department is making pet adoptions available by appointment during the COVID-19 situation. Animal control staff members wear face masks and observe physical distancing protocols. They ask members of the public to do the same while in the animal control building on Corporation Drive off Tom Starling Road. Pet adoption fees are $28 through the end of July, thanks to a grant from PetSmart Charities. Hours of operation for pet adoptions, stray animal intakes and owner claims are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. All services are by appointment only. Call 910-321-6852 to schedule an appointment.

    05 05 Summer VacationIt’s summer vacation time for local government leaders

    City and county elected officials take time off in July every year. Fayetteville City Council and the Board of County Commissioners have not scheduled regular meetings this month. The members try to take their vacations during the month. “If a special or emergency meeting is needed, then one is scheduled,” said Assistant County Manager Sally Shutt. “County management and our department directors coordinate leave time within their offices to ensure sufficient staff coverage.”

    Shutt added that technology allows senor staff members to work remotely if needed, even while on vacation. The same is true in city government. Senior management team members vary their schedules so that at least one of them is on duty weekly.

    05 06 Hannah CogginsImagine not missing a day of school
    Cape Fear High School graduate Hannah Coggins completed her school experience knowing that she had not missed a single day of school in her life. Coggins not only celebrated completing high school, she was proud to have achieved a perfect attendance record, according to CFHS Principal Brian Edkins. “I have completed my entire school experience, from daycare to senior year, with perfect attendance,” Coggins said. “My inspiration for this accomplishment is my father; he pushed me to do my best.”
    Coggins’ family is confident she will continue the same study ethic as she makes plans to attend Fayetteville Technical Community College in the fall to become a physical therapist assistant.

  • 06 Oldest monumentFayetteville has a rich wartime history, much of it memorialized in Cross Creek Cemetery. One familiar story regards the U.S. Armory, which the Confederates appropriated and used to manufacture weapons, including the Fayetteville Rifle. In March 1865, Fayetteville was visited by Union Gen. William T. Sherman, who destroyed the armory building. Fayetteville is also the site of North Carolina’s first Confederate monument. Since 1868, North Carolinians have been building monuments commemorating the people and events of the Civil War.

    The first Civil War monument erected in North Carolina was in Cross Creek Cemetery #1 in Fayetteville. Led by Anna Kyle and Maria Spear, a group of local women raised money to build a monument. Kyle, who served as a nurse in the hospital during the Civil War, established the Confederate Burial Ground soon after Sherman and his army left Fayetteville. She and Fayetteville Mayor Archbald McLean selected a spot to inter the soldiers in the back section of the cemetery overlooking Cross Creek. The Rev. Joseph C. Huske of St. John’s Episcopal Church officiated at a mass burial later in the spring.

    The remains of 30 Confederate soldiers, who had fought Sherman’s army and had been buried in various places around town, were reinterred in the new Confederate section of Cross Creek Cemetery. The ladies pieced together a quilt and sold raffle tickets not only in Fayetteville but also in Chapel Hill, Tarboro and Wilmington. Their goal was to raise $1,000. In a war-ravaged economy, they only managed to raise one-third of that sum. Martha Lewis won the quilt in May 1868 and sent the prize to former Confederate president Jefferson Davis.

    The ladies employed a local stonemason to construct and install the monument. The memorial was the work of George Lauder, the most productive stonecutter in North Carolina during the 19th century. Lauder, a native of Scotland, also worked on the State Capitol in Raleigh and the Fayetteville Arsenal before opening his own marble yard in Fayetteville in 1845. On Dec. 30, 1868, the monument to the Confederate dead at Cross Creek Cemetery, the first in North Carolina, was dedicated. It was taken down by its owners last week.

    This was the fifth Confederate monument raised in the South following the end of the war. The monument consists of a white marble column with a cross at the top. The base of the column contains inscriptions on all four sides. Stanzas from the poem “The Bivouac of the Dead” by Theodore O’Hara appear on the front. Cross Creek Cemetery #1 is the oldest public cemetery in Fayetteville, begun in 1785. The cemetery contains over 1,100 grave markers and is the burial site of many early settlers and notable persons from throughout Fayetteville’s history.

    Among the gravestones is a tall stone monument for Revolutionary War hero Robert Rowan, who was the leading town patriot as well as the organizer and a signer of the Liberty Point Resolves.

    In the late 1860s, John R. Tolar dedicated another memorial in this section. It honored his father and eight uncles who were killed or disabled during the war. In addition to the Confederate dead, many Civil War veterans — both Southern and Northern — are interred in this part of the cemetery.

  • 02 futuregenThese are crazy times. So much upheaval. So many changes. So much anger. So much fear. And not enough love and understanding. There is no escaping the protests, tension, hostility, chanting, hypocrisy and unethical partisan political maneuvering in Fayetteville, Raleigh, our great state of North Carolina and throughout America.
    It feels like the America I’ve lived in and loved for the past seven decades is turning into a country of contradictions where bad means good, illegal has no meaning at all, police are treated as criminals and the criminals are innocent, misunderstood and righteous souls. It’s where shootings and murder are accepted and criminals run rampant. The burning of cities and looting of businesses and destroying personal property are time-tested antidotes to improving humanity.

    I have heard from many of our readers who share the same frustration. I understand their concerns and feel their hurt. These kinds of dire thoughts and worries carry a tremendous amount of parental anguish and guilt. We ask: What kind of America will we be leaving our children and grandchildren?

    So, to all the parents and grandparents out there struggling with these concerns, please know you are not alone. This may help.

    Below, I have reprinted a letter written by a loving father to his child. It contains a message that speaks volumes for many parents in our community who want to provide reassurance to their adult children that they love and support them while reaffirming traditional family values, convictions and lifestyles. As parents, they did the best they could. Now, out of respect, they will not interfere with their child’s family or future. They will remain the same loving and supportive parents they’ve always been.

    Enjoy, and thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    The Letter

    Names and places have been changed. This could be any city or town in the country.

    Dear child,

    Your mom and I are very concerned for you and your family’s safety in Seattle. With a call for unfunding the police on the horizon, it’s only a matter of time before the outrage, carnage and lawlessness cross into your private neighborhood with no one to protect you and your family. This concerns us very much.
    The “peaceful” CHOP community downtown presents itself as the near-perfect sneak preview of what life will actually be like in an idealistic, lawless, Marxist and socialistic America. At this writing, two more young, black teenagers were shot dead last night.

    You both are young and successful professionals and have worked extremely hard for what you have. You have given us a beautiful grandchild who has their whole joyful and innocent life ahead of them. Please, don’t put your careers on hold or your lives in jeopardy chasing an idealistic utopia that will never come to be. Seattle, New York City, Baltimore and Detroit are all casualties of this madness, and they will not recover any time soon, if ever.

    Your mother and I prepared you for the real world by exposing you to real-life situations and teaching you honorable values — especially those that relate to honesty, decency, integrity and humanity.

    This new idealistic and destructive cancel culture movement aims to stamp out and eliminate the very environment you were brought up in — the same environment that made you a successful and confident adult, a devoted spouse and the caring and loving parent you are today. Once canceled, what will replace it?

    Rest assured, we do not want to run your life or tell you what to do or believe. We raised you to the best of our ability, and we are truly impressed with the person you have become. We are so very proud of you! Our only wish is for you and your family to be happy and safe and to continue to love us.

    However, please do not judge us or fault us for not renouncing our government or our way of life, for not taking a knee during the national anthem and for not apologizing for honoring and loving the only America we have ever known.

    Love you always!

    Dad

     

  • 09 jesse dyer UtiKgdpOmEI unsplashWithout a doubt, the year 2020 has been one to remember. Although things developed so rapidly on so many simultaneous fronts, it's been an easy year to forget, as well. How many things have you adapted so far? Birthdays, holidays, school and vacation — all of us have had to adapt to a continually shifting environment as we try our best to maintain forward momentum, haven't we?

    Personally, I've learned a lot about resilience. This year has been a journey into what it looks like to walk away from any sense of status quo and learn to do the things you've always known in a way they've never been done before. Like you and everyone else, there was no choice but to slow down, regroup and redefine the path — and in many cases, even the goal itself.

    As we've challenged ourselves to rethink everything from work to church to birthday parties, this tired old adage has become more relevant each day: "Change is inevitable. Learning from change is optional." As we continue to learn and grow, we easily offer more challenges to another tired mantra: "We have always done it that way."

    With change being the order of the day, the real question now is where to look for constants in our life. Where is your foundation and what is the source of stability as everything around you is shifting?

    As a former military family, we've long since learned the value of a solid home life. One where meals together at the table, siblings attending each others' dance recitals, ball games and school plays are not in question. We moved around the world and across the country, but we were always a family, and family mattered. As my children now have families of their own, I see that playing out in their homes, too.

    Another constant for many is a strong spiritual life. One where accountability to God and others comes in high on the list. For those who ascribe to Christianity, its namesake himself taught that those commandments (out of the 10) were the greatest, "... to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love others as you do yourself."
    In all honesty, when we observe those two, most of the rest of life falls into place pretty nicely. It's when we take those commandments into our workplace, into our families and into our social life to heart that we find ourselves more adaptable to changes that come our way — whether they find us in the midst of a pandemic, an economic crisis or civil unrest.

    So, whatever is shaking in your world today, I hope your foundation is firm. If not, the changes going on around us provide the perfect environment for a personal shift toward more solid ground.

  • 04 N1203P32001CThe recent market volatility has affected just about everybody’s financial and investment situations — so, if you were planning to retire soon, will it still be possible?
    Of course, the answer depends somewhat on your employment situation. With so many people’s jobs being affected by the coronavirus pandemic, your retirement plans may also have been thrown into confusion. But assuming your employment is still stable, what adjustments in your financial and investment strategies might you need to make for your retirement?

    Here are a few areas to consider, and some questions to ask yourself:

    Retirement goals Now is a good time to review your retirement goals and assess your progress toward achieving them. You may want to work with a financial professional to determine if the current environment has materially affected your goals or if you need to make modest adjustments to stay on track.

    Retirement lifestyle You probably created your investment strategy with a particular type of retirement lifestyle in mind. Perhaps you had planned to become a world traveler when your working days were over. Of course, in the near term, extensive travel may not be possible, anyway, but once we move past the pandemic, your freedom to roam will likely return. But if your investment portfolio is not where you thought it might be, can you (or do you want to) adapt your lifestyle plans? And can you accept the same flexibility with your other lifestyle goals, such as purchasing a vacation home, pursuing hobbies, and so on?

    Tradeoffs Based on your retirement goals and your willingness to adjust your retirement lifestyle, you’ll want to consider your options and tradeoffs. For example, would you be willing to work more years than you had originally planned in exchange for greater confidence in your ability to enjoy a comfortable retirement lifestyle? By working longer, you can continue adding to your IRA and 401(k) or similar retirement plan, and you may be able to push back the date you start receiving Social Security to receive bigger monthly benefits. You might also review your budget for opportunities to reduce spending today and potentially save more toward your retirement goals.

    Social Security You can file for Social Security benefits as early as 62, but you can get 25% to 30% more if you wait until your full retirement age, which is likely between 66 and 67. As you created your retirement plans, you likely also calculated when you would take Social Security, but you may need to review that choice. If you postpone retirement a few years, what effect will that have on when you choose to take Social Security and, consequently, the size of your benefits? You won’t want to make a hasty decision — once you start taking Social Security, you can’t undo your choice.

    This is certainly a challenging time to be entering retirement, and you’ll have some questions to answer. But even in the midst of uncertainty, you still have many choices.

    Consider them carefully and make the decisions that work for you.

  • 03 morning brew rU0WGGbGg4c unsplashAmerica’s culture wars are on full display in our take-no-prisoners response to wearing masks to protect others from COVID-19. Our nation’s inherent tension between individualism and collective good has pushed us into different corners, even though polls find more of us are in the collective good corner by better than 2 to 1. The smaller but highly visible my-rights-are-more-important-than-your-health crowd stands firm despite warnings from top pandemic officials, some of whom offer different ways to think about the situation. Pretend we were living in London during the Blitz of 1940-41 when Germany bombed the city and other parts of England every night for 11 weeks. During the Blitz, the British government required nightly blackouts to hamper the German bombing effort. What if your next-door-neighbor insisted it was his right to burn lights, and bombers missed his house but destroyed yours? Would that have been a proper assertion of individual rights? Or, how about this excuse offered by mask supporters tired of COVID, “I don’t like wearing a mask.” This cynical rejoinder comes from a mask wearer also tired of COVID. “So, you don’t like wearing a mask in public for whatever reasons? Well, you are really going to hate your ventilator!”

    ********************

    Continuing on COVID-19, no one knows what our situation will be when Nov. 3 rolls around. Will we feel comfortable voting in person, either early or on Election Day, when lines are likely to be long in a presidential election year? Will enough election officials be comfortable enough to oversee the voting process?

    Many Americans, including this one, are opting to vote by mail because of those very uncertainties. I printed my absentee ballot request from the North Carolina Board of Elections website, filled it out and mailed it in last week to the county Board of Elections. According to the website, I will receive an official ballot correct for the candidates in my precinct in September, to be mailed in before Election Day.

    If I decide to vote in person, I will simply tear up the absentee ballot. Voters have many reasons to request absentee ballots — age, illness, travel, incarceration, physical limitations and more, but voters do not have to give any reason for requesting an absentee ballot, nor is an ID required. All that is needed is name, address, N.C. driver’s license number or the last four digits of one’s Social Security number to be checked against Elections Board records. If you are interested, the state Board of Elections website is www.ncsbe.gov

    ********************
    Speaking of elections, campaign season is heating up, and it is not pretty. In the presidential contest, outside entities — those that were legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010 — are running all sorts of television ads on behalf of Biden and Trump, both positive and negative. The official campaigns are also running ads, which have the voices of Donald Trump or Joe Biden, acknowledging that they have “approved this ad.” A former candidate myself, I am always interested in political ads — whether they build up their candidate or tear down the other person, and how honestly they do so either way.

    So far, I have seen several official Biden ads touting his experience and patriotism and at least one going after Trump’s record. Trump’s campaign is hitting Biden hard, with less emphasis on Trump’s achievements as president. All of this could — and probably will — evolve over the next few months, but we can all rest assured about one thing.
    It is going to be a long summer and fall.

  • 10 joelA handful of law enforcement officials around the state of North Carolina have announced they have no plans to enforce the latest requirement of Gov. Roy Cooper that people wear masks in public the prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo isn’t among those who will ask his officers to ignore the provision. At the same time, he said the emphasis won’t be heavy-handed, and based on how the community has reacted to previous restrictions put in place to help curb the spread of the illness, he expects the citizens of Hope Mills to be supportive.
    “The goal is not to go out and write people tickets,’’ Acciardo said. “The goal is to educate people and bring them into compliance. So far we haven’t had any issues in that area.’’

    One of the most popular locations in town for regular large gatherings of people is Hope Mills Lake. While the initial job of getting people to observe the restrictions while at the lake falls on lake attendants, Acciardo said whenever the police have had to be called in so far, intervention and education have usually resolved the situation without complication.

    If someone does refuse to abide by the requirement to wear a mask in public, Acciardo said a charge of criminal trespass could be assessed if the person refuses to wear a mask and won’t leave the premises.

    “Dialogue goes a long way,’’ Acciardo said.

    As long as people are on their own property and not having a gathering in excess of 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors, they are free to not wear a mask.
    Acciardo said if the police do encounter someone without a mask, the police department currently isn’t able to provide people with them.

    “Our supplies are so limited,’’ he said. “Most of the time we barely have enough to cover our staff.

    “These facemasks are not meant to be used forever. There is a pretty quick turnover. Our supplies are pretty finite.’’

    As long as the officers are inside their cars, Acciardo said they will not be required to wear a mask, only needing to put them on when they have to interact with the public.
    As of this writing, Acciardo said the police department was still developing the policy and when masks would have to be worn inside police headquarters.

    He strongly suggested that everyone familiarize themselves with the latest requirements set down by Gov. Cooper in his most recent official order regarding safety measures required in public.

    Go to www.nc.gov/covid-19/covid-19-executive-orders and click on the link to the June 24 order for complete information.

    If anyone has questions about the enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions in Hope Mills, Acciardo can be reached at 910-425-4103.

     

  • While the Board of Commissioners and the staff at Town Hall do most of the heavy lifting of government for the town of Hope Mills, there’s another important group of volunteers that provide a lot of input to the decisions that are made about the town’s future.

    That group is the people who serve on a variety of official town committees that delve a little deeper than the full board does into various town issues.

    Jane Starling is the Town Clerk, and her job includes getting applications from people who are interested in serving on the various committees.

    In addition to taking a closer look at issues before the town, Starling said the committees also provide valuable exposure to town citizens on how government actually works. She said it's often the beginning of a citizen becoming more active while at the same time getting an education.

    Currently, the town has five committees and one commission. The committees include Parks and Recreation, Veterans Affairs, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Historic Preservation and Mayor’s Youth Leadership.

    The lone commission is Appearance.

    Nearly all the committees regularly meet at least once a month, unless the meeting date for a certain month falls on a major holiday.

    The committees are constructed around the election cycle. The January after an election is held in November, the committees get new members who are each added for a two-year term.

    The major exception to the rules is the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Its members serve a three-year term, and it only meets when a specific zoning issue is brought before it that requires action.

    If someone steps down from one of the committees between election cycles, they can be replaced by someone with an application Starling keeps on file. All applications for committee positions are held for one year.

    11 town hallOne of the reasons most of the Hope Mills bodies are committees and not commissions is the rules for filling the slots on a commission are more stringent.

    Starling said commissions require members who have specific experience or professional training connected with the specific mission of the commission. “It’s really difficult in this small of a municipality to find people to fill those positions,’’ she said.

    The Historic Preservation Commission was recently changed to a committee, and there has been talk of doing the same with the Appearance Commission.

    Most of the committees are made up of seven members. One exception is the Veterans Affairs Committee, which has two additional members who represent local veterans organizations.

    Each committee also has two liaison members, one from town staff and one from the Board of Commissioners.

    To find a complete list of the town committees and a description of their duties, go to townofhopemills.com, click on the Government tab and look for the list of committees.
    Most of the committees have resumed regular meetings in the community room at the Parks and Recreation Department building off Rockfish Road, where they can safely meet while observing social distancing.

    Normally, the public is allowed to attend committee meetings, but under the current COVID-19 restrictions, only committee members are permitted at the meetings.

    If anyone is interested in applying for a committee position for the 2021 election cycle or when an opening comes up, they can get a form from the town website, pick one up at Town Hall or request to have one mailed to them. The number at Town Hall is 910-424-4555.

  • 08 mateus campos felipe zd8px974bC8 unsplashDo you enjoy watching shows like “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Bull” or “All Rise”? Have you ever thought about a career in law? If you answered yes, then perhaps the paralegal profession is the career choice for you.

    Although a paralegal cannot practice law, as a trained professional, they do much of the behind-the-scenes work that ultimately influences the final product. Some of the work involves interviewing clients, drafting legal documents, assisting in trials, conducting legal research and investigating the facts of a case.

    Being a paralegal can also lead to career advancement. Advancement opportunities may exist within a law firm or private business or as a steppingstone to law school.
    There are also career opportunities for paralegals outside the traditional legal field. Businesses recognize the value of employing paralegals. There currently is, and will continue to be, an increase in the need for trained paralegals in such areas as finance, insurance, consulting and health care.

    At present, the U.S. Department of Labor projects the need for paralegals will increase at a minimum yearly rate of 8% through the year 2024.The Bureau of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor, in its “Occupational Outlook Handbook,” reports that as of May 2019, the median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $51,740, an amount $11,930 higher than the median wage total for all occupations of $39,810.

    If you are ready for a rewarding and challenging career as a paralegal, then Fayetteville Technical Community College and its paralegal technology program are for you. FTCC offers two programs in paralegal studies: the associate degree in applied science program and the diploma program. The diploma program is a fast track for those who have already completed a bachelor’s degree. Both programs are approved by the American Bar Association and the North Carolina State Bar Association. Both programs are excellent and will get you to the place you want to go.

    Classes for the 2020 fall semester begin Aug. 17. Register now for fall classes. You can also reach out to an FTCC admissions professional at admissions@faytechcc.edu.
    For a high-quality education at an affordable price, make the smart choice for your education. Also, make the smart choice to register early for your fall classes. FTCC is a place where you can pursue your dream career. FTCC is a military-friendly college and ranked fifth in the nation by Military Times Best for Vets (2020).

    Contact me if you have questions about the paralegal programs. I can be reached by phone at 910-678-7379 or by email at groboskm@faytechcc.edu. You can also visit the FTCC website at www.faytechcc.edu. Enter “paralegal” as a search term using the search tool on the homepage to read about program details for both the associate degree and diploma programs.

  • 07 03 The Lodge Alumni AssociationFayetteville Area Operation Inasmuch has had a strong presence in this community for a long time. The nonprofit organization is set to celebrate two special anniversaries in the coming weeks, and the public is invited to participate. The organization will host a 10th anniversary and 13th anniversary celebration Monday, Aug. 5, through Friday, Aug. 9. 

    “We are celebrating... our 10-year anniversary for our breakfast program, where we serve the homeless and the poor here in the greater Fayetteville area, and we are celebrating our 13th anniversary as an organization,” said Rev. Ronald Rallis, deputy director of Operation Inasmuch. “For example, this morning we had over 105 individuals that we served breakfast to, and we had about 16 volunteers from the Elks Lodge and a church that wanted to come serve and minister to the homeless population.” 

    Thirteen years ago, the founder of Operation Inasmuch, Sue Byrd, started the organization with a couple of people. They had the vision of seeing a ministry on Hillsboro Street that would serve the poor and the homeless in the area.

    “St. Luke AME Church donated the facility that is here at 531 Hillsboro St.,” said Rallis, “and we have been serving breakfast for the last 10 years. It grew from that. When we say serving breakfast, that means we do it restaurant style. 

    “Last year, we served over 23,000 people and had the privilege of having more than 9,000 volunteers from over 100 07 01 Free Haircutschurches, businesses and professional organizations to come and serve every weekday morning.” 

    Rallis noted that the organization added some houses and built a lodge two years ago, across the street from the breakfast program. It is a transitional work program lodge that has 40 beds for men who no longer want to be homeless. 

    “In order to become a part of the program, they have to come to the breakfast first at 7:30 a.m. to register, and (they) become a family member,” said Rallis. “They will meet with our family services coordinator, Sheri Duarte, who will give them an overall briefing as to what services are being offered.”       

    Rallis added that Operation Inasmuch is the only place in Fayetteville that works with the Fayetteville Police Department in providing identification cards for the homeless.   

    “Aug. 5-9 is a weeklong celebration of our 10th anniversary of serving breakfast and our 13th anniversary of the ministry itself,” said Rallis. “This whole ministry is 10:13, which references Romans 10:13 that says, “And all that call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 

    During the celebration, the following organizations, groups or individuals will serve breakfast as follows: 
    • Monday, Aug. 5: 15 philanthropic organizations — Kiwanis, The Elks, The Rotary  
    • Tuesday, Aug. 6: Civil service members — Judges, Cumberland County Commissioners, City Council                                                                 
    • Wednesday, Aug. 7: Businesses — Pep Boys, Staples, Peaden’s
    07 02 Craft making 1• Thursday, Aug. 8: Professionals — Law firms, dental offices, insurance companies
    • Friday, Aug. 9: 15 churches 

    Aug. 7 is also Operation Inasmuch Baseball Night at Segra Stadium at 7 p.m. “We would love for everyone to come out and support (this event),” said Rallis. “We are giving God the glory of allowing us to be able to serve the community.” Tickets for the baseball game cost $12. 

    Operation Inasmuch offers a variety of other services, including counseling, family services, dental missions of mercy, eye glasses, haircuts, hygiene and grooming products, resume preparation and more. For more information, call 714-309-0814. 

    Fayetteville Area Operation Inasmuch provides a vast array of services to help homeless and low-income people in the area get back on their feet.

  • 04 mike pettiThe recent promotion of Fayetteville Police Major James Nolette to assistant chief gave rise to the question, “What happened to Assistant Chief Michael Petti?” 

    Up & Coming Weekly asked Police Chief Gina Hawkins, who said: “Michael Petti is still with the police department. He is a lieutenant assigned to the Criminal Investigative Division.” 

    City officials, including Mayor Mitch Colvin, Manager Doug Hewett and Attorney Karen MacDonald declined to comment on the change. 

    Up & Coming Weeklylearned Petti recently left the police department but was rehired so he could complete the time required to be eligible for retirement. Former Chief Harold Medlock promoted him. 

    Two-and-a-half years ago, Petti graduated from the FBI National Academy program in Quantico, Virginia. The FBI said less than one-half of 1% of law enforcement officers are selected to attend this training course. It is internationally known for its academic excellence. The National Academy provides 11 weeks of advanced communication, leadership and fitness training for selected officers having proven records as professionals in their agencies. 

    Garbage trucks broken down

    The city of Fayetteville’s Solid Waste Division is still operating with a shortage of garbage trucks. Some city sanitation employees are temporarily off the job. 

    “Those without available equipment are reassigned, if possible,” said City Public Information Specialist Kevin Arata. “If not, they are sent home with the option of using compensatory time if they have it — most do as they have been working a lot of additional hours lately — or vacation time.” 

    Deputy City Manager Kristoff Bauer said 19 of the city’s 44 trucks experienced mechanical problems July 18. Many of them are still out of service as of this writing. The breakdowns initially resulted in next-day yard waste pickup not occurring. Bauer said the mechanical problems included broken seals, gaskets and blades. 

    The city said on its website that “heat has significantly impacted the readiness of our solid waste and yard waste trucks. As a result, we haven’t had enough available trucks to maintain solid waste and yard waste pickup schedules. 60% of the fleet is down.” 

    Other communities have not reported similar problems, nor has Waste Management, which is contracted by the city to provide recycling and apartment complex solid waste pickup. Residents were encouraged to leave their roll-out carts at the curb until they are emptied. 

    History comes alive at the Museum of the Cape Fear 

    The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex Foundation announces its annual fall/winter program series, “History LIVE!” The local museum was awarded a project support grant for $9,000 from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. The “History LIVE!” series offers a live look at the past through historical re-enactments, artist demonstrations, musical performances and live-action theater with four special events. 

    The Museum Foundation will match the grant. “Grant funds and other donations allow us to offer this programming for free or at minimal cost to the public,” said Megan Maxwell, the “History LIVE!” program series coordinator. 

    Colonial life in North Carolina takes center stage at the Festival of Yesteryear: A Celebration of Early America on Sept. 7. 

    Hallowe’en Revels Night Tours of the 1897 Poe House spotlights live theater with a historical Halloween twist Oct. 23-25. 

    Celebrate an old-fashioned Halloween with a free kids concert and costume contest at the Poe House Trick or Treat Oct. 26. 

    Christmas traditions are highlighted Dec. 8 with the Holiday Jubilee, featuring carolers, historic décor and Santa.

    Rare brain disease claims a life in Cumberland County

    A Greensboro area individual has died as the result of contracting a rare disease in Cumberland County July 12. The state Department of Health and Human Services notified the local health department of the death, saying that an individual from Guilford County died after developing primary amebic meningoencephalitis. It is an illness caused by an ameba that is naturally present in warm freshwater during the summer. The individual became ill after swimming in Fantasy Lake Water Park near Hope Mills. 

    The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the individual’s illness was caused by an amoeba, which apparently was forced up the swimmer’s nose. That is the only known cause of the infection. This amoeba is mostly likely to be present when it is hot for prolonged periods of time, resulting in higher water temperatures and lower water levels. 

    County Interim Health Director Duane Holder expressed condolences to the family of the victim, noting that the case was one of only five known instances in North Carolina between 1962 and 2018. 

    “We encourage everyone to use precaution when swimming, diving or water-skiing in warm freshwater lakes,” he said. Holder suggested limiting the amount of water going up the nose by holding the nose or using nose clips when swimming in warm freshwater lakes. For more information about primary amebic meningoencephalitis, visit www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/. 

    If you have questions or concerns, contact the Cumberland County Department of Public Health at 910-433-3645 or 910-433-3655. 

    FAST survey underway

    The Fayetteville Area System of Transit is conducting a customer feedback survey that allows residents to offer input on service improvements and potential new service areas. Bus riders and nonriders can take the survey. FAST staff and interns are surveying passengers and others at various locations around Fayetteville as well as onboard buses. 

    The FAST survey can be found at ridefast.net or facebook.com/ComeRidewithFAST. 

    Economic development group gains new executive

    The Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation announces Jessica Aspiras as its new vice president of marketing and business development. “Together with our public and private partners, FCEDC continues working to promote the Fayetteville and Cumberland County community as a top business destination,” said Robert Van Geons, president and CEO of FCEDC. “We’re happy to have Jessica on the team and look forward to the tangible results she will help us achieve.” 

    Aspiras holds a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree in mass media studies from Florida State University. “I am eager to help continue our community’s growth and momentum through strategic marketing and communications initiatives,” she said. 

    Van Geons said Aspiras specializes in strategic planning, integrated tactics, servant leadership, collaborative direction, team building, focused execution and business agility. 

    Pictured: Michael Petti

  • 11 14u Hope MillsRichard Martinez has already taken an all-star team to a Dixie Youth World Series. Next month, he’ll take a second trip as he guides the Hope Mills 14U state Dixie Youth champions to this year’s series in Aiken, South Carolina.

    “It’s a very special group of boys,’’ he said of his 12-member team.

    He told them earlier that he had previously made a World Series bid and there was no reason this team couldn’t do the same. “If you all work together as a team, and everybody believes in the ‘we’ instead of the ‘I,’ there’s nothing to stop you guys from going all the way,’’ he said.

    The strength of this team could be pitching depth. Martinez said all 12 of his players are capable of throwing strikes, and at least nine of them have the ability to dominate when they’re on the mound.

    The top hurler so far has been Dallas Capps. He has a 3-0 record in the postseason that includes 13 innings pitched with 16 strikeouts and only three runs allowed.

    Anthony Spatorico, who normally is a catcher, shut down Columbus County over five innings as Hope Mills rallied from an early four-run deficit to win 5-4. Garret Smith shut out defending state champion Brunswick County through six innings before being relieved.

    At the plate, Capps is the team’s leading hitter with a whopping .777 batting average. Brandon Novy is batting .438.

    “All the boys contributed greatly,’’ Martinez said.

    Unlike the other three Hope Mills teams headed to World Series play, which will be in Louisiana, Martinez and his team only have to drive roughly three hours to get to Aiken.

    The opening ceremonies are on Friday, Aug. 2, and the first game for Hope Mills is Saturday, Aug. 3, vs. Tennessee.

    “These boys are resilient; they never give up,’’ Martinez said.

    In the time remaining until they leave for South Carolina, Martinez said the focus will be on pitching and bunting. “We missed a lot of scoring opportunities because we couldn’t execute our bunts,’’ he said. In the last two games, Hope Mills stranded 22 runners on base.

    Although they don’t have a lot of time — less than a week from the time this story prints — Martinez said the team is going to try to raise as much money as possible to fund the trip.

    The tournament ends with the championship game on Aug. 7. “Our goal is to be there on Aug. 7,’’ Martinez said.

    Players: Nathan Camacho, Dallas Capps, Stephen Kriner, Adrick Murray, Brandon Novy, Jacob Patawaran, Maddox Powers, Garret Smith, William Smith, Anthony Spatorico, Brayden Speis, Jacob Sports

    Coaches: Richard Martinez, Blake Smelcer, Joey Smith, Juan Viera

     

  • 08 walkersWhen Fayetteville Assistant City Manager Jay Reinstein revealed that he had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s last summer, he started a crusade. The city and the community rallied around him and, with less than a month to prepare, fielded one of the largest Walk to End Alzheimer’s teams in the state. The Jay Walkers raised close to $28,000 for Alzheimer’s education, support and research at last September’s Fayetteville Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Reinstein has since gone on to serve on the national Alzheimer’s Association Early Stage Advisory Council, enabling him to educate and raise awareness on a nation-wide level. 

    This year, the Jay Walkers are once again rallying to support Reinstein. Tracey Broyles, budget and evaluation director for the city of Fayetteville, is team captain for the Jay Walkers. “On July 31 last year, Jay bravely shared his diagnosis with his colleagues,” Broyles said. “On that very same day, I received an email with details of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s (scheduled for) the first weekend in September. I also learned that the kickoff meeting for team captains was the very next evening.

    “With the support of City Manager Doug Hewett, and Jay Reinstein and Elizabeth Somerindyke as co-captains, we began our team recruitment and fundraising efforts with a goal of $2,000 in donations. We ended up with a team of over 100 members and raised almost $28,000 by the time we had finished. 

    “It was an easy mission, in large part, due to the relationships that Jay had formed and nurtured over his lifetime. We had so many city employees volunteer to participate, and we also had former coworkers of Jay’s at the city of Durham join us as well. I think it was Jay’s openness with his diagnosis that moved so many people to participate.” 

    In addition to city employees, many private citizens who knew and heard about Reinstein also participated. Fayetteville’s Public Works Department fielded a team and raised $2,000 in Reinstein’s honor.

     Reinstein and the Jay Walkers will be back for this year’s Sept. 7 Walk to End Alzheimer’s after a summer of fundraising. Reinstein reached out to Walmart corporate headquarters and was put in touch with the Ramsey Street Walmart store manager. As a result, the Jay Walkers were invited to fundraise over three weekends at the store. Through this team effort, the generosity of Walmart’s customers and a generous donation from Walmart, the Jay Walkers raised more than $6,500 toward this year’s team fundraising goal. 

    The Fayetteville Woodpeckers also hosted an Alzheimer’s Awareness night July 27 with $2 from the purchase of each ticket donated to the cause.

    “This year,” said Broyles, “Elizabeth and I have been joined by coworker Cynthia Blot in serving as co-captains for the Jay Walkers. And, of course, Jay is hard at work as well. While we are (at) over 30% of our $40,000 goal, we are still hard at work planning other fundraising events. Look for us around town this summer.”

    The Fayetteville Walk to End Alzheimer’s will begin at Festival Park Saturday, Sept. 7, at 9 a.m. It is open to everyone in the community. To sign up to participate and to learn more about Alzheimer’s, visit act.alz.org/fayetteville. 

    The Jay Walkers have raised more than 30% of their $40,000 goal. The group raises money to help end Alzheimer’s disease.

     

  •  03 Smiling ManA smart-aleck friend of mine, who shall remain nameless — Shawn Schultz — recently sent me an email remarking on my personal physical resemblance to the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus. Aeschylus, or Scully as his buddies called him, was bald. I am bald. My grandfather was bald. I’m aware. 

    Recall what George Costanza said in a memorable exchange with Elaine over George’s new toupee. Elaine, referring to George’s fake hair: “You’re bald!” George: “No I’m not. I was bald!” Elaine then grabs George’s toupee, yelling: “I don’t like this thing. Here’s what I’m doing with it,” and tosses the offending hair piece out the window to the streets below. 

     You might well ask what this has to do with Scully. It turns out Scully’s death is a warning to all the bald persons of Earth. If you are bald, or Follicularly Alternatively Blessed — FAB as we in the bald community prefer to refer to ourselves — consider this column a public service announcement that could save your life. 

    If you are cursed with hair on your head due to an excess of Neanderthal genes, you can skip the rest of this column and go directly to the crossword puzzle. 

    However, if you are FAB, please read carefully and take notes. Your baldness could lead to your premature demise. Like Charlie on the MTA who got caught without an extra nickel when the fare went up, this could happen to you. Now back to the sad tale of our friend Scully. 

    Scully was a very popular dude abiding in ancient Greece. He was born in 523 B.C. Before he started writing plays, he had a distinguished military career. He fought in the battle of Marathon in 490 with the Athenians when they whipped the Persian hordes led by King Darius. This made the world safe and profitable for Nike shoes almost 2,500 years later. 

    When he was 26, Scully had a dream in which the god Dionysus came to him and told him to start writing plays. Scully, not wanting to disobey a Greek god, started writing tragedies and didn’t stop. Scully is credited with writing between 70 to 90 plays. He has been called the Father of Greek tragedies. 

    The Greeks had play-writing contests. Scully won many first-place awards in the ancient Greek version of the Tony Awards. He had the format for writing tragedies down pat. You might say he had the Grecian formula. But if you say that out loud, people will look at you like you lost your mind. So just think it. Don’t say it out loud. 

    But in a case of life imitating art, the tragedies Scully wrote appeared in his own life, or rather in his own death. 

    Long before telephone psychics appeared on the scene, the Greeks had oracles who, for a price, could predict the future using nothing more than smoke and chicken entrails. An oracle told Scully to watch out for falling objects as one of those Unidentified Falling Objects, or UFOs, had his name on it, which could prove fatal. Scully took this prediction seriously. He started spending most of his time outdoors, where chandeliers and walls wouldn’t fall on him. 

     Like Robert Burns wrote: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’men/ Gang aft a-gley.” Scully’s careful plan to remain outside away from heavy objects wasn’t going to pan out the way he had hoped. 

    If the oracle says you are going to encounter a heavy object, it’s gonna happen. You can’t fool the oracle. Like the old Chiffon margarine commercial said in a slightly different context: “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. If you think it’s butter/ But it’s not/ It’s Chiffon.” Oracles and Mother Nature always prevail despite the best efforts of mortals. 

     So, here is what happened: One day, Scully was outside warming his bald head in the bright sunshine. An eagle was flying overhead carrying a turtle in its talons. Eagles can’t eat turtles when the turtle is in his shell. But eagles are pretty smart birds. They will pick up a turtle in their claws, fly up into the delirious, burning blue sky and look for a rock to drop the hapless turtle on. The impact cracks the turtle’s shell, and it’s turtle tartar time for the eagle. Yum. 

    On this day, instead of the usual eagle-eyed eagle, the eagle overhead was nearsighted and had lost its bifocals. The eagle mistook Scully’s bald head for a rock. He dropped the turtle on top of old Scully all covered with peach fuzz. As Sancho Panza said in “Man of La Mancha”: “Whether the pitcher hits the stone, or the stone hits the pitcher, it’s going to be bad for the pitcher.” The turtle and Scully both expired from the impact. 

    So what does this mean for the FAB community? If you are outside, wear a hat so a nearsighted eagle does not mistake your head for a rock. I always wear a hat. Jim Morrison of The Doors advised us that “No one gets out of here alive.” There are better ways to leave this mortal coil. Consider the exit strategy of 71-year-old former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, who had a heart attack while “working” with his attractive 26-year-old female assistant. Rocky died with a smile on his face. And not a turtle in sight. Now, go put on a hat. 

    If you are bald, or Follicularly Alternatively Blessed — FAB as we in the bald community prefer to refer to ourselves — consider this column a public service announcement that could save your life.

  • 14 Vernon Aldridge copyAfter consecutive months of record-setting heat in June and July, high school football players and other outdoor fall sports athletes return to the practice fields in force Aug. 1 for the first official day of North Carolina High School Athletic Association preseason workouts. 

    Heat is always a concern for athletes in Fayetteville and Cumberland County, but the string of triple-digit heat index days that were recorded during the last two months makes the challenge of keeping athletes safe in the heat a major focus heading into August.

    Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for Cumberland County Schools, said heat awareness is always a priority for his office and the coaches and athletes he helps to oversee.

    “Every athletic trainer is equipped with a wet bulb, and there’s a heat protocol for what’s supposed to take place at different temperatures on the wet bulb,’’ Aldridge said.

    The wet bulb Aldridge referred to is a specially designed thermometer that is covered with a water-soaked cloth. Used in conjunction with a standard dry bulb thermometer, it measures the relative humidity of the air. The reading warns when precautions, up to and including suspending outdoor practice, should be taken.

    The NCHSAA Handbook requires constant observation and supervision of all athletes at outdoor practices when the wet bulb temperature reaches 88-89.9 degrees. Once it hits 90 or above, all practice should be suspended. If that happens during an actual game, mandatory breaks are required.

    Aldridge said Cumberland County has long adhered to those policies, while also making sure athletes get frequent water breaks and that water is readily available in all practice situations.

    “We have misters that will be out to help keep the players cool,’’ he said. If a true heat emergency takes place, each school needs to have an immersion pool on-site so they can immediately put a player suffering from any symptoms of heat illness in the pool and cool them off.

    Aldridge said that specifically in the case of football, where all the extra equipment increases the danger of heat illness, teams are discouraged from practicing between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

    “Most of our football teams practice either early in the morning or late in the evening,’’ Aldridge said. “If for some reason the heat does come in earlier, I send out emails to the schools letting them know we are going to extend that time to 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. We keep a close eye on the heat index and try to make those decisions to keep the kids safe.

    “That will be our No. 1 priority.’’

    Pictured: Vernon Aldridge

  • 15 Alex Scruggs copyHere’s a brief recap of how Cumberland County’s players fared in the annual East-West All-Star football and basketball games held earlier this month in Greensboro in conjunction with the annual North Carolina Coaches Association Clinic. 

    Basketball:Wake Forest-bound Alex Scruggs of E.E. Smith High School was named Most Valuable Player for the East girls’ team as she led her squad to an 81-78 victory. The East built a comfortable 48-35 lead at halftime but had to hold off a strong West rally to get the win.

    Scruggs hit nine of 14 shots from the floor and one of three 3-pointers for a game-high 20 points. She led the East in rebounding with eight. East teammate Kendal Moore of Pine Forest, who’s headed for N.C. State, also stood out with 17 points. She made six of 14 shots, two of six from 3-point range, and grabbed three rebounds. Scruggs and Moore both started in the game. 

    Terry Sanford’s Kate Perko, who will attend Meredith, scored two points and had four rebounds. 

    Pine Forest’s David May got the win as head coach, his final game as a head coach as he will be stepping into an assistant’s role next season.

    16 Kyler Davis copyIn the boys basketball game, Brion McLaurin of Seventy-First and his East teammates had a tough night as they lost to the West 119-80. McLaurin was one of four East players in double figures, coming off the bench to score 11 points on four of nine shooting from the field. He made his only 3-point attempt. He was the East’s No. 2 rebounder with six.

    Football:The East’s Kyler Davis of Seventy-First and Dante Bowlding of Terry Sanford both started and contributed to a dominating 20-8 win over the West All-Stars.

    Davis earned a spot in the East-West All-Star game record book when he threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to Lamont Murray of Pamlico County in the first quarter. That broke the record for longest completed pass in game history by two yards.

    Davis finished with five completions in nine attempts and no interceptions for 116 yards.

    Bowlding started in the secondary for an East defense that totally throttled the West. The West team got no first downs in the game and finished with minus 15 total yards, including minus 36 rushing. 

    The only touchdown the West scored came on a fumble return in the first period.

    Also enjoying the win for the East was Seventy-First head coach Duran McLaurin, who served as an assistant coach on the East staff.

    From top to bottom: Alex Scruggs, Kyler Davis

  • 09 01 SIKES Photo 1Every year, the U.S. Army hosts the Best Warrior Competition. This event tests the knowledge and skills of soldiers and noncommissioned officers from 11 Army commands. The Association of the United States Army created the Soldiers of Excellence program to recognize the accomplishments of those who did not win the highest level of the competition but are outstanding and high-performing individuals. The Soldiers of Excellence Luncheon is set for Aug. 7 at the Crown Coliseum Ballroom. 

    The keynote speaker for the event will be United States Sen. Thom Tillis. He is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Retired Gen. Carter F. Ham is the CEO and president of AUSA and will speak on the local AUSA program as well as those that exist nationwide. Retired Maj. Gen. Al Aycock will speak on the Corporate and Individual Membership Program, AUSA’s new initiative. 

    The AUSA Braxton Bragg Chapter will recognize Sgt. 1st Class Jorden Colby and his wife and son as Family of the Year. Colby, who has a combat tour, is a paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. Colby has volunteered as a Wolf Den leader for Pack 776 and volunteers at Manna Church as a children’s service assistant. His son, Trenton, volunteers at Manna as well, and plants flags and cleans a veterans cemetery with his Cub Scout den. Colby’s wife, Gena, is a classroom assistant at Bowley Elementary School and volunteers for the Parent Teacher Association. They are being recognized for their hard work and willingness to volunteer in the community.

    09 02 MSG Mason ARSOAC AUSA 1Among the soldiers being recognized individually are Staff Sgt. Derek R. Guy, Sgt. Nicholas C. Branch, Spc. Jordan R. Molyneaux, Spc. Darren T. Sikes and Master Sgt. Kayla J. Mason. 

    Guy distinguished himself this year when he won the 2019 82nd Airborne Division Jumpmaster of the Year competition. 

    Branch won the 2019 82nd Airborne Division Non-commissioned Officer of the Year competition. 

    Molyneaux stood out because of his volunteer work in 2017 as part of a recovery team after Hurricane Irma when he assisted the victims.

     Sikes competed in the Best Civil Affairs Team competition and the Best Warrior Competitions up to the First Special Forces Command level. 

    Mason distinguished herself with her leadership skills as she led the financial oversight and audit aspects of the command. 

    “The program recognizes those who have done excellently. It’s an opportunity for the community to be involved and for the soldiers to be seen,” said Jimmie Spencer, the executive vice president of the AUSA Braxton Bragg Chapter. The diligence and leadership of the soldiers have earned their recognition at the luncheon. 

    Community partners that have supported AUSA for more than 40 years will also be recognized at the event. These include the city of Fayetteville, Cashwell Appliance Parts, First Citizens Bank & Trust, Bryan Honda and Eastern Turf Equipment, Inc. 

    The Soldiers of Excellence Luncheon is open to the community with the purchase of a ticket in advance for $30. People who want to attend can search “Soldiers of Excellence Luncheon” on EventBrite and reserve their seat. Tickets are limited. To learn more about the AUSA Braxton Bragg Chapter, visit www.ausa.org/chapters/braxton-bragg-chapter.

    From top to bottom: Spc. Darren T. Sikes, Master Sgt. Kayla J. Mason

  • 13 Milton BardenIs it possible that it’s been 50 years? Am I really that old?

    Even though the years are piling up, that August of 1969 remains vivid in this aging mind. It was my one and only fling with trying to be a member of a real football team. 

    Let me take you back those 50 years to the North Carolina mountain town of Bryson City. I was fresh from reading "Instant Replay," the classic book by Jerry Kramer of the Green Bay Packers. It recounted his personal observations from the last NFL championship season the Packers enjoyed under the great Vince Lombardi.

    I also bought a book by the legendary Frank Gifford that dealt with the basics of the game of football. How to block. How to tackle. All the important stuff.

    I was ready for battle. So I showed up that first day of practice at Swain County High School’s 1950s-era gymnasium, where our locker room was housed in the basement.

    My coach, the late Milton Barden, was far kinder to me than he should have been. I was about 5-feet-8-inches tall on a good day, weighed all of 180 pounds and had never lifted a weight in my life. In spite of all that, he let me go out for the team. 

    Coach Barden wanted to give us the full training camp experience, just like the professionals, so we actually brought cots and mattresses and sleeping bags to our gym and lived there for two weeks. 

    Twice a day, we boarded our ancient activity bus, lovingly called the Meat Wagon, and rode the half-dozen miles or so to our practice field, a gorgeous place that was an abandoned driving range on a nearby hilltop.

    We would take turns slamming into the seven-man blocking sled, tasked with driving it from one end of the practice field to the other. At the end of the field was heaven, a spigot rising out of the ground with the coldest mountain spring water you could imagine. It felt even colder after a hot afternoon of banging the sled. 

    It was not long after those two weeks were over that I came to the conclusion that the body the good Lord put me in on this Earth was not designed for this kind of activity. So, I went to Coach Barden and asked if he needed someone to be a manager. He kindly gave me the job.

    I spent that year mostly on the sidelines, figuring my playing days were over. We put together a 6-2-1 record going into our final game. Unfortunately, the two losses and the tie were against the three teams we had to beat in our split conference to make the state playoffs.

    That left us with a final game against Towns County, Georgia, a team we were told hadn’t won a game and was down to about a dozen players. So Coach Barden decided to let us and them have some fun. He dressed every able-bodied player on the team, including yours truly, the water boy.

    We all played that final night of the season, and we had one of the highest-scoring games in the history of North Carolina football. I played my part in letting the guys from Towns County have their fun. I let a guy whiz by me on an 80-yard kickoff return, and I tackled another guy three yards into the end zone after he scored the conversion.

    The result was an 81-46 Swain County win. That score is still listed in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association record book if you want to look it up.

    Tomorrow we begin another high school football season in North Carolina. My best wishes to all of the young men who will be taking the practice field. I encourage you all to dream big. Every night you play, you could wind up getting into the record book like my team did — even if you’re not a star.

    Pictured: Coach Milton Barden

     

    d: Coach Milton Barden

  • Michelle Hurley attended 12 diff06 School bus and kidserent schools in six states by the time she reached high school graduation. “You just learn to deal with it,” she said. “I was in the third grade before I did a full year of school without moving.” 

    Hurley was on the move often with her family. Her father was on active duty in the Army during her childhood. Each time he was reassigned, his family had to build new relationships and adjust to new surroundings. 

    Hurley remembers the frustration that came with each move and the fear that came with the phone calls in the middle of the night. Usually, the wives of other military men called her mother for late-night support, relying on the solace of sharing their situations with others. 

    According to the Department of Defense, there currently are more than 2 million children of military parents in the United States. Each relocation brings with it the numerous problems associated with transitioning between communities and education systems. These issues add to the emotional distress children face when parents are absent for long periods, often deployed to dangerous destinations. 

    Robert Blum, professor of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, elaborated in an interview with the American Association of School Administrators. “Military families and military children are amongst the most transient of populations,” he said. “With high mobility come issues of engagement, disengagement and reengagement.” 

    The Department of Defense found that children are affected in different ways at different stages of development. Kids ages 3 through 6 were found to exhibit stress including regression, physical complaints and fears of separation. Older children, who understand the reality and potential dangers associated with their parent’s absence, exhibit signs of fear, irritability and sometimes aggression. Teenagers were found to be rebellious and at higher risk of using drugs and engaging in early-age sexual behavior. These emotional responses can have grave implications for their academic performance.

    There are some ways that academic institutions can help ease the burden of transition for these kids. One of the best ways to help military dependent children is to make sure that teachers and support staff know who their army-connected students are. Educators have the resources for how to create a welcoming learning environment for them. 

    The Fort Bragg School District manages nine public schools, serving about 4,162 students on post. The school system is comprised of one primary school, one intermediate school, five elementary schools and two middle schools. Most dependent children in grades 9-12 attend high school in Cumberland County. High school students who live in the Linden Oaks Community off NC 87, north of Spring Lake, go to school in Harnett County. 

    A provision under the new Every Student Succeeds Act signed by President Barack Obama in 2015 represents good news for our nation’s schools. This bipartisan measure reauthorized the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act, providing a longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. Today, high school graduation rates are at all-time highs. Dropout rates are at historic lows. And more students are going to college than ever before.

    One of the best ways to help military dependent children is to make sure that teachers and support staff know who their army-connected students are. 

  • 12 Food Truck Rodeo 1After a one-month absence for the observance of the Fourth of July, Hope Mills resumes its monthly Food Truck Rodeos with an extra emphasis on helping the community.

    “A lot of people didn’t realize we didn’t have a rodeo in July because the Fourth of July was the first Thursday of the month,’’ said Chancer McLaughlin, development and planning administrator of the town. “In August we are back, and the theme for this month is Back to School.’’

    The rodeo is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 1, from 5-8 p.m. It will still be at Municipal Park on Rockfish Road but will be held near the outdoor basketball courts and the playground area at the park. 

    All of the vendors who have been invited to take part at this month’s rodeo provide services related to children in the community. Among the organizations that will be represented are the Teen Wellness Clinic, C.H.I.L.D. Incorporated, Partnership for Children, Operation Inasmuch and Fayetteville Urban Ministry.

    As usual, donations of nonperishable food for the Hope Mills ALMS HOUSE will be collected, but in keeping with the Back to School theme, school supplies will also be collected.

    Because the ALMS HOUSE already has a distribution system set up for sending food to the local schools, McLaughlin said the school supplies will be turned over to them for distribution as well. Donations most needed are white loose-leaf notebook paper, pens, pencils and standard composition books. Book bags should be avoided because there are some schools that require all book bags to be made of a clear or mesh material that is see-through. McLaughlin said three-ring binders are also not good items to donate.

    Another group that will be represented at the event is Cut My City, a group of local barbers and others who will provide free services including haircuts to students at an event scheduled at the Crown Coliseum on Aug. 10. McLaughlin said they will be at the rodeo to share information about their project.

    As far as fun activities at this rodeo, there will be a gaming truck with free video games for the children, along with face painting and other activities.

    DJ King James, who has performed previously at Hope Mills events, will have recorded music as well as karaoke.

    The food trucks scheduled to appear include rodeo regulars Chef Glenn and Big T’s. Other trucks scheduled are Nannie’s Famous, Hopkins Barbecue, Coldstone Creamery, Kona Ice, Euasticias Fully Loaded Grill, Cedar Creek Fish Farm and Boss Ross Dogs.

    For updates on late changes to the rodeo, check either the Hope Mills Development or the Town of Hope Mills Administration pages on Facebook.

  • 10 Views of Lake Bulkhead 1The long-awaited bulkhead down the shoreline at Hope Mills Lake is finally complete. Now Public Works Director Don Sisko says it’s up to Mother Nature as to how quickly lake levels return to normal.

    “We have no control over the inflow of water,’’ he said just days after the work on the bulkhead was completed. “The gate is open minimally so we can maintain the flow in the creek downstream.

    “Hopefully we get a couple of days of rain in the next few days and that will take us over the spillway. Once it gets over the spillway to a normal level, we will close the gate completely and be under normal operation condition at the spillway.’’

    While the lake was lowered, Sisko said, people could actually see one of the primary reasons the bulkhead was needed: to deal with erosion of the embankment.

    “There were folks that were of the mindset you could put some soil there, maybe some sod, that would control the erosion,’’ he said. “The erosion would have a safety impact for the general public.’’

    The bulkhead will make the park area near the lake more family-friendly, he said, so people can safely spread out a blanket and watch their children swimming or just enjoy the natural beauty of the lake.

    In addition to the bulkhead, there are now steps down to the water and a beach area for launching kayaks and canoes into the water. “People can put their craft in the water without reaching to get over any riprap, rocks or that
    sort of thing," Sisko said.

    The access ramp is also handicap accessible.

    Sisko sees no major issues as far as maintaining the bulkhead. “It’s made of natural material (Southern yellow pine) and it will shrink in dry periods and swell in wet periods,’’ he said. “We may have to do some sanding here and there if it splinters out.’’

    The wood will be heavily treated with a preservative called chromated copper arsenate, which is used to protect outdoor wooden structures from microbes and insects.

    “I don’t anticipate anything out of the ordinary for years to come, barring a catastrophic event,’’ Sisko said.

    The yellow tape that is in place in areas around the park will likely stay there for awhile as new sod is being installed. “We don’t want any foot traffic on it,’’ Sisko said “We want it irrigated and rooted properly so we have a good standing of grass.’’

    Sisko hopes the end product is a park area the citizens of Hope Mills can enjoy. “They get to come out and create their own memories,’’ he said. “We want to give them an open
    space to enjoy.’’

    Hope Mills town leaders expressed satisfaction that the bulkhead project is done.

    “I know our community is ready to use the lake because of the extreme heat we are experiencing,’’ said Mayor Jackie Warner. “The good news is it won’t be much longer.’’

    Commissioner Pat Edwards said the town will likely look into more plans for erosion control at the lake but added that for now, “The bulkhead looks great.’’

    Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers thanked all the members, past and present, of the town’s Lake Advisory Committee for their work on developing the bulkhead project and the public swimming area.

    He further praised the various companies that worked on the project, along with town staff who were involved. “The Hope Mills Lake park is a great addition to the town’s already impressive parks and recreational programs,’’ he said. “Our lake park is one of the best family parks that directly impacts the quality of life by contributing to the social, economic... and environmental well-being of our community.’’

     

  • 05 CigaretteCigarette smuggling from North Carolina to New York has been going on for decades. State and federal governments charge excise taxes on cigarettes, ranging from 45 cents a pack in the tar heel state to $4.35 per pack in New York State. In New York City, the tax is $5.85 as of July 2019. The difference between tax rates is what makes cigarette trafficking appealing to the criminal element. 

    This month, federal authorities broke up a ring of smugglers based in Fayetteville. Officials said 31 people have been charged with a scheme to defraud the federal government, the states of North Carolina and New York, and the Commonwealth of Virginia of millions of dollars in tax revenue.

    Eastern North Carolina U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon said Justin Brent Freeman’s wholesale business, FreeCo Inc., at 231 Williams St. in downtown Fayetteville, served as the hub for the illegal operation. People would pay cash for large quantities of cigarettes at FreeCo and other retailers in North Carolina, including Sam’s Club stores in Raleigh, Fayetteville and Goldsboro. They would then pack the cigarettes into rental cars or vans for shipment to Virginia, Higdon said. 

    In Richmond or Alexandria, Virginia, the cigarettes would be transferred to other cars and driven to Syracuse, New York. There, the contraband would again be shifted to other vehicles to be dispersed across the state and sold for cash, Higdon said.

    Most of the people alleged to have been involved in the scheme, including Freeman, were arrested in connection with the $12 million cigarette smuggling operation and charged with money laundering and criminal conspiracy. Homeland Security Investigators, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputies, U.S. Marshals Service, Robeson County and Johnston County Sheriff’s Office took part in the operations. “This is not the conclusion of our investigation,” Higdon said. “This is simply a very strong first step.”

    The smugglers were making up to $54 profit per carton by selling the cigarettes in New York while avoiding the state and local taxes there, Higdon said. The U.S. Marshals Service and local authorities staged raids in five states, arresting 25 of the 31 defendants after U.S. grand jury indictments were issued the week of July 15. Others were taken into custody over the next several days. The U.S. Attorney said 4,700 cartons of cigarettes, $840,000 in cash, 11 vehicles and five firearms were seized.

    Last week, a federal grand jury indicted Freeman, FreeCo and the following defendants with criminal conspiracy and money laundering: Malek Hamoud Alsaidi, Ibrahim Ahmed Alsaidi, Sadek Dahan Shahbain, Ayed Yahya Ali Alshami, Alshami Yahya Ali Alshami, Mohamed Hafed Abdou, Mohamed E. Ould El Bechir, Akram Ali Amer, Mohamed Yeslem Ould Izid Bir, Mohammed Saaid Darweesh, El Hassen Hamadi, Musheer Mohammed Hazam Al-Naqeb, Ali Mohammed Mashli Al Qadhi, Mohamed Mounir, Aied Awad Shibli, Shibli Abu Issa Shibli, Manar Mohammad Talal-Mustafa, Mohammed N.M. Khalayfa, Saleh Mohammad Abdeljawad, Kaid M.K. Addailam, Amr Mousa Alhalemi, Ahmad Khalayfa, Rawhi Abdel Jabbar Khams Awad, Ali Aied Shibli, Amchad Rawhi Khamis Awad, Wachdi Awad, Abdallahi Mohamed Elhafedh, Ahmed Elhoussein, Dedde Cheikh and Arafat A.I. Abuhammoud. 

    Half a dozen of them were also charged with interstate trafficking in contraband cigarettes.

    This month, federal authorities broke up a ring of cigarette smugglers based in Fayetteville.

  • 02 Meg LarsonHope Mills Commissioner Meg Larson has announced she’s not running for office this time. She also announced she is throwing her full support behind fellow Hope Mills Commissioner Mike Mitchell in his bid to unseat incumbent Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner.

    If you’re wondering why, here is the explanation she gave on the private Facebook page Hope Mills Chatter. I’m not a member of the Chatter, but I have friends in that group who shared screenshots of Larson’s announcement.

    Here’s what she wrote: “I am not running. I appreciate everyone that has supported me. However, the thought of possibly sitting another two years with Jackie Warner or Pat Edwards makes my stomach turn. Two of the most ineffective elected officials.

    “Working with someone vs. seeing them as they give a cheesy speech at a government event, the Chamber or church does not mean they are good for the community.’’ 

    That is the real Meg Larson. No punches pulled there. 

    Larson has repeatedly accused Warner of being a bully, of forcing her agenda on the town and leaving the commissioners in the dark about what’s going on. I guess Larson dumped Edwards in the mix because Edwards has consistently defended Warner, not because Edwards is a poor commissioner, which she isn’t.

    Go back and take a look at town minutes and see how many times this current board voted 4-1, with Edwards usually being the one, to defeat some plan or idea that the mayor supported. And let us remember, the mayor doesn’t get a vote on this board. And she’s the bully? How ridiculous.

    I think one reason Larson and others accuse the mayor of being a bully is because of the way Warner runs town commissioner meetings. Excuse me, folks, but ever hear of parliamentary procedure? A guy named Robert wrote a book about it a long time ago. You can grab a copy on Amazon for $6.99.

    The town also has rules of order, adopted by this board, and when Warner has to gavel a commissioner down, it’s usually because they are trying to speak out of turn against the rules. This isn’t Saturday night poker with the boys. It’s an elected governing body with procedures and protocol.

    But let’s get back to the bullying issue. It’s a skill Larson has mastered. I know because she bullied me.

    In March of this year, I wrote an Up & Coming Weekly story about the town losing artwork donated by students at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke because the commissioners didn’t renew the agreement they had approved the previous year. The whole thing could have been handled with a couple of phone calls to me and my publisher, Bill Bowman. But Larson and company called a special meeting of the board to deal with this red-hot issue.

    What made the issue red-hot was they had egg on their faces for not doing their jobs, and they needed someone to blame. Even Warner herself said in my story that “we,” meaning herself and the full board, dropped the ball on the art project. She repeated that comment at the March 25 special meeting. 

     But pass-the-buck Larson and friends attacked Warner, who was legitimately afraid to bring renewal of the art project to the board because of the clear history they had established of voting against anything she supported. Further, the board blasted me. Larson accused me of manufacturing a quote from UNC-Pembroke professor Adam Walls. Walls told me in a phone interview about Warner’s fear of the board rejecting the art project.

    Walls later spoke to both Larson and town manager Melissa Adams, and at the special meeting, both said that Walls stated he did not recall making that comment. I attempted to reach Walls after the controversy exploded, but he did not return my phone call. 

    “For anyone to assume that and put it in print is irresponsible,’’ Larson said during the meeting. It certainly would have been. 

    There is a difference between not remembering something and denying you said it, and what Walls said and what Adams and Larson repeated was not a denial. It was a memory lapse. Walls made that statement I attributed to him during our interview, whether he recalls it or not. 

    Larson and others on the board chastised me for that “deplorable” article. They ripped me for not talking with any of them and added that the article contained multiple errors. You can hear the whole thing. The audio recording is on the town of Hope Mills website under minutes and agenda for March 25.

    My publisher, Bill Bowman, attended that meeting. The board had the opportunity to ask him to comment and didn’t. 

    Interviewing people is a two-way street. First, they have to agree to talk. I have tried to contact several members of the board for stories before. Larson, in an email I still have in my inbox, told me she would not speak to me because she did not approve of the relationship that the town had approved, and eventually rescinded, with Up & Coming Weekly. By the way, UCW is a legitimate North Carolina Press Associated weekly community newspaper — often referred to as news media.

    Others, including Mitchell and Jessie Bellflowers, replied to previous requests and said they were too busy to speak with me. I have their replies, too. To his credit, Bellflowers reached out to me at the time of the missing art story, and I have quoted him in stories since. Our conversations have been civil and professional. So have interviews I’ve had with citizens and town staff from Hope Mills in the months since I’ve been writing about the town. Larson remains the only person in that time who has questioned the accuracy of my quotes. 

     Not a single member of the board who complained about that story in that special meeting, save Bellflowers, spoke to me about it. And not one person on the board who complained about factual errors or misinformation in the story asked to write a rebuttal or asked me to print a correction or retraction. In addition, UCW’s longstanding policy is to allow anyone to submit a dissenting opinion, feature or article focusing on the community. The only requirement is that they own it. This is why each article and feature appearing in UCW is accompanied by a photo and short bio of the writer. 

     This whole business with Larson and the feud the board has with Warner is about ego and who gets to call the shots. It’s not uncommon in politics, especially for rookie newcomers, who often have trouble figuring out how one builds a base of support and wins the respect of his or her fellow elected while learning how the process of governing works. 

    Before I wrote this piece, I spoke with an acquaintance who is an elected official somewhere else in North Carolina. I explained the situation in Hope Mills to him, and he gave me some sage advice. He said it’s incumbent on people elected to office to do the best they can to work with the people they’re in office with and bury any personal animosity. 

    Judging from her Facebook statement, it’s clear Larson is not capable of that. This being the case, I have a suggestion for her. Resign. Now. If she can’t stomach two more years with Warner and Edwards, she shouldn’t suffer a few more months. She should do it for her health. But mostly for the town’s health. She can then devote the bulk of her energy to slinging more unfounded mud in support of Mitchell’s campaign to unseat the mayor she hates so much. 

    Maybe with Larson off the board, the remaining members can find the way to unity and a better Hope Mills. We can only hope so. 

    Pictured: Hope Mills Commissioner Meg Larson

  • 11 The Gift of MarriageMy wife and I share a date with one of America's most memorable and celebrated events. On July 20, 1969, America claimed its place in history as the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle landed and the first human walked on the face of the moon. We heard those famous words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as they were first spoken. TV news stations large and small worked tirelessly to deliver even the most minute detail of the historic event to a waiting world.

    Ten years later, on July 20, 1979, Dorothy Aafedt and I said “I do” in a remarkably unremarkable ceremony. Unlike the NASA mission, there were no television crews, no microphones or calculated illustrations. There was just a pair of kids surrounded by a couple of friends and family in a courtroom in southern Arizona. At the time it seemed like a small step, but it has proven to be a giant leap as Dorothy and I have continued to mark time since that date.

    This past weekend we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, and it's given me cause to reflect on all that's transpired since our historic first steps.

    Time has allowed us several years in Europe with our three children, and a home on both the East and West Coasts of the United States. The small, quiet union of two youngsters from Kansas gave way to an eventual family of 18, counting grandchildren and spouses. All but one now calls North Carolina home.

    As a military family, we share memories of being diverted en route — never once landing at our intended destination at the point of our departure. We've relocated to Germany as our belongings relocated to Okinawa and have lived in hotels and motels on two continents while making new friends time and again.

    Over the course of the last 40 years, one thing has become evident: there is nothing more important in a marriage than the relationship between husband and wife. When other things became more important, such as careers, children and personal pursuits, trouble isn't far behind. Though I've failed miserably at this on occasion, the facts show that when we make the relationship our top priority, the marriage flourishes.

    Just like any other married couple, we've had our share of trials. From the lack or abundance of money to devastating loss and health crises, we've navigated a lot of territory in the past four decades. And honestly, I don't know how we would have fared had we not put our faith in Christ early in the game.

    God has proven trustworthy. When we've faced struggles, we've been able to lean on the promise that there is more to this life than living and dying, or meeting and missing bills. Even death has stared us in the face, but with God in our corner, though our knees have gotten weak at times, we never blinked.

    In the end, there is no secret formula for a long or successful marriage. It is a gift — a gift you get to open anew each waking day.

    Marriage is a gift you get to open anew each waking day.
    Photo by Caroline Veronez on Unsplash

  • 04 Hands on ipadEvents surrounding our state’s current budget process, as of this writing, remind me of the truth in a statement by President Ronald Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’”

    In a column titled “People over politics: Local delegation advocates for Fayetteville and Cumberland County’s future,” Bill Bowman and Jeff Thompson addressed the status of North Carolina’s 2020-22 budget. The column appeared in the July 3, 2019, edition of the Up & Coming Weekly. The writers reviewed the benefits to Fayetteville and Cumberland County that are in the budget approved by the General Assembly but vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper, D-N.C.

    Those benefits were summarized as follows: “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 a year in additional revenues.”

    Cooper primarily vetoed this budget because the General Assembly has not agreed to expand Medicaid in North Carolina. Some 37 states, including the District of Columbia, have adopted expansion. By the time this column is published, the General Assembly will likely have acted on overriding the veto.

    No matter how that vote goes, I contend Medicaid expansion is another issue driven by what is popular with citizens, but not based on their exposure to and examination of the facts relative to the matter. As I have contended time and again, the vast majority of politicians specialize in playing to the emotions of people and withholding discussion of information that will allow for informed decision-making by citizens. This condition is exacerbated by far too many entities and personalities in media joining with politicians in this information-denying appeal to emotions.

    Now to look at how this information-denying, while appealing to emotions, plays out in Cooper’s veto due to the Medicaid expansion factor. His basic argument is that Medicaid expansion will provide medical care to a large number of North Carolinians, produce jobs, help struggling small hospitals survive and that the federal government will pay 90% of the cost. That paints a very attractive picture. Extremely relevant is what comes to light when one delves into the facts.

    First, unpack the 90% payment by the federal government. Republicans contend that there is the real possibility that this payment will not continue forever and that the state will have to, at some point, pay all or part of that 90%. My personal experience says this is an extremely reasonable concern. I joined the U.S. Navy in 1969. The promise made to me was that if I stayed to retirement, I would be provided health care for life. I never expected that health care to be free. However, it seemed reasonable to think that the health plan in force at the time of my retirement would remain basically the same for the rest of my life.

    Starting at retirement in 1991, my health care plan had an annual deductible of $150, paid 80% of my outpatient medical expenses and all but a small amount for inpatient care. I carried a supplemental at $35 to $40 a month, with a minimal deductible, to cover what was not supported by TRICARE, the military health insurance program. With me having no means of objecting, the federal government, in 2001, changed the TRICARE plan so that when I reached age 65, I was automatically moved to TRICARE For Life.

    Under this program, TRICARE became my secondary coverage and Medicare became the primary. That shifted me to paying, initially, $104 per month plus the $150 TRICARE deductible. That started seven years ago. Over those seven years, the monthly cost has gone from $104 to $135.50.

    At the bottom line, the government, in my estimation, dramatically changed my health care plan from what had been very reasonably expected based on the initial arrangement. Simply put, I contend Republicans are on solid ground to be concerned that the federal government will do exactly the same kind of thing with regard to the 90%. The likelihood of this happening is compounded by this nation’s growing debt, while absolutely nothing is being done about slowing or reducing it. Even further, there is the total mismanagement of the Social Security program. Should anybody believe the 90% will go on without a major shifting of financial responsibility from the federal government?

    Second, without a sufficient number of doctors, Medicaid expansion suffers or just does not work. Part of the reason I still live in Fayetteville is that I have extremely good doctors. I am afraid that if I move elsewhere, I might not be able to find equally capable doctors who will accept TRICARE For Life. I know firsthand that this program pays doctors pennies on the dollar of what they claim for treating patients. During one of my medical procedures, a friend who is an anesthesiologist oversaw my being put to sleep. TRICARE paid him about 25% of the amount he billed.

    Further, my mother retired after teaching in the public schools of Georgia for more than 30 years. After her retirement, Georgia changed her health insurance from an arrangement that had served her well to a Medicare arrangement that I could never figure out, even after reading many pages of information. My wife and I moved my mother from Georgia to Fayetteville when her cancer made it impossible for her to live alone. In an attempt to find a capable doctor for her in Fayetteville, I asked a friend in the medical field who she would recommend.

    I contacted the office of the doctor she recommended. The lady who answered the phone explained that the doctor was not accepting any new Medicare patients. My mother ended up seeing the physician’s assistant in that office. The PA was very capable. However, the PA realized my mother’s condition was such that she needed to be seen by the doctor and called him in. My mother only got to see the doctor because of the PA’s action. She died six weeks after coming to Fayetteville.

    I had a similar experience finding a doctor for my father in Albany, Georgia. Several years before this search, I had found a very good doctor who saw my father for many years under Medicare. That doctor left the area and I needed to find another. I read reviews on doctors in the area and called the offices of the seven doctors with the best reviews. Not one of them was accepting new Medicare patients. The best I could find was a clinic that did not have a strong reputation.
    I have talked about TRICARE and Medicare. The point is that it is difficult to find doctors who accept patients under these programs because they pay doctors so little. Medicaid has the same low payment problem, and participants experience difficulty finding doctors.

    Another concern is that Medicaid, by state, makes substantial use of managed care plans. The following is from my internet search of “managed health care” and going to “What is a managed care organization example?” under “People also ask.”

    “Managed care plans have arrangements with certain physicians, hospitals and health care providers to serve patients who are plan members at a contracted reduced rate.... However, the choice of physicians, drugs and treatment are restricted.”

    With that background, please read the article by Crystal Ayres titled “12 Advantages and Disadvantages of Managed Care” at https://vittana.org/12-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-managed-care. I contend that the article, with pure reasoning, demonstrates that the disadvantages of managed care far outweigh the advantages. Managed care is becoming more and more present in Medicaid.

    A column by Bill Bowman titled “Budget is not about Medicaid expansion: It is about politics” includes the following quote from Republican Rep. John Szoka as it appeared in his recent newsletter:

    “Medicaid is a separate issue that is very complex and, in all honesty, has been a mess from the beginning. To put money into an already inefficient and broken program would be irresponsible in the least and an absolute travesty to the taxpayers of N.C., at its worst.”

    Szoka is absolutely correct.

    The push for Medicaid expansion is simply another case of politicians employing class warfare and appealing to the pervasive entitlement mentality resident in American society. Essential to this strategy is the element of information-denying. In the end, what looks and feels like a good deal proves to be far from it.

    Medicaid expansion is a case where Ronald Reagan’s warning applies: “The most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’”